Search found 7428 matches

by Zamfir
Thu Nov 20, 2008 3:31 pm UTC
Forum: Religious Wars
Topic: Upgrade PC: Now or later?
Replies: 40
Views: 7144

Re: Upgrade PC: Now or later?

Is there, outside of gaming, any reason left to upgrade a PC? I have pretty much the first generation intel dual-core, I run XP or Suse, and I really never ever feel the need for a faster computer. Even most photoshop editing goes fluent enough. My parents use my old 1Ghz Athlon, and it is a bit slo...
by Zamfir
Thu Nov 20, 2008 3:11 pm UTC
Forum: General
Topic: How do you deal with failure?
Replies: 28
Views: 2110

Re: How do you deal with failure?

Wouldn't it be better to think about the effects of failure after you have done the test and gotten the results?
by Zamfir
Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:42 pm UTC
Forum: News & Articles
Topic: Bailouts here, there, and everywhere... (Starts mid-page 3)
Replies: 121
Views: 8063

Re: Bailout 2: Automobile Industry Boogaloo (merg'd)

22/7, sure, they could sell already produced cars at fire-sale prices. But that's exactly the total bankruptcy people are talking about. ( A chapter 7, I think it is called). The option that might be impossible for a car manufacturer is a bankruptcy where the company would keep operating more or les...
by Zamfir
Thu Nov 20, 2008 11:32 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Orbital altitude
Replies: 17
Views: 1567

Re: Orbital altitude

If we assume you can heat a spot on the earth if the satellite is more than 10 degrees over the horizon, as seen form that spot, than a satellite at 270 kilometer can cover a circle with a diameter of something like 2500 km. So with 20+ satellites, you can provide continuous cover for a small band a...
by Zamfir
Thu Nov 20, 2008 11:15 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Orbital altitude
Replies: 17
Views: 1567

Re: Orbital altitude

I am glad your problem is clearly realistic, not some made-up fantasy scenario :) In theory, any orbit altitude is possible. For the period of the orbit, it doesn't matter much whether the altitude is 1 km or 200 km, since the characteristics of an orbit depend on the distance from the center of the...
by Zamfir
Wed Nov 19, 2008 7:13 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Sperm powered cars
Replies: 25
Views: 4032

Re: Sperm powered cars

Velifer, a quick Reynolds number calculation suggest that molasses completely underestimates the problem. Apparently, Re for sperm is of the order of 0.01, so for a body with a size measured in meters, a speed of the order of 10 m/s and a fluid with a density of 1000 kg/m3, we are talking about a vi...
by Zamfir
Wed Nov 19, 2008 6:49 pm UTC
Forum: General
Topic: We [i]Lord[/i] our Genealogy (and anscestors)
Replies: 47
Views: 3216

Re: We [i]Lord[/i] our Genealogy (and anscestors)

If you count back to the year 1000, you will certainly have a billion ancestors, and easily several orders of magnitude more. Of course, they are mainly the same people over and over again, but no matter from what continent you come, there are almost certainly some vikings in your family tree. I wou...
by Zamfir
Wed Nov 19, 2008 2:33 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Cooling for Satellites.
Replies: 6
Views: 1356

Re: Cooling for Satellites.

There is nothing simple about it, heat management, or thermal control, is a huge issue in satellite design. Basically, every surface of the satellite absorbs some portion of the external radiation falling on it, and emits radiation, roughly like a black body. Surface materials have different absorbt...
by Zamfir
Wed Nov 19, 2008 1:38 pm UTC
Forum: General
Topic: We [i]Lord[/i] our Genealogy (and anscestors)
Replies: 47
Views: 3216

Re: We [i]Lord[/i] our Genealogy (and anscestors)

I, too, descent from minor German nobility. But a quick thought made me realize that almost everyone would have nobility as their oldest recorded relatives. if you go back more than ten generations, your ancestors already number in the thousands, and surely inlcude people from every walk of life. Bu...
by Zamfir
Wed Nov 19, 2008 1:21 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Sperm powered cars
Replies: 25
Views: 4032

Re: Sperm powered cars

I am not sure what you consider far... I doubt my sperm ever travels a distance I would consider using a car for ( 5 miles at least...), unless we are talking stains. More precisely, I presume sperm is efficient for a cell-sized object travelling through water. The next time you have a cell-sized ca...
by Zamfir
Wed Nov 19, 2008 1:11 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: evacuated solar tubes and stirling power generation
Replies: 13
Views: 2302

Re: evacuated solar tubes and stirling power generation

Charlie says: The hotter the better, really. The efficiency (assuming room temperature outside (300 K) and an average input of about 100 C (375 K)) is 1 - 300 K / 375 K, or about 1/5. This is alright; for each square meter you cover with heat pipes, it's about 200 watts for most of the day, even as...
by Zamfir
Fri Nov 14, 2008 4:49 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Why can't we just print money... ?
Replies: 124
Views: 27085

Re: Why can't we just print money... ?

Calorus, 7.68% percent of wealth is a lot more than 7.68% of your income. If the real returns to investments are something like 4 or 5 percent (quite reasonable numbers), a 7.68% wealth tax would be equivalent to a capital gains tax of far over 100%. I have no idea where the 7.68% comes from, but if...
by Zamfir
Fri Nov 14, 2008 4:13 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: "His English is well."
Replies: 39
Views: 5766

Re: "His English is well."

Rinsaikeru, i am sorry to disappoint you, but toiletten is simply the Dutch plural of toilet. For comparison, the Dutch plural of 'net' is 'netten'. Your problem with the English toilet works the other way around too. if you ask for the bathroom here, people will assume you specifically do not want ...
by Zamfir
Fri Nov 14, 2008 1:00 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Why can't we just print money... ?
Replies: 124
Views: 27085

Re: Why can't we just print money... ?

I think this is actually two questions combined: 1. Is it a good idea to rely solely on a wealth tax to finance the government? 2. If so, is inflationary policy a good way to get that wealth tax? The answer to the first is easy: no, it isn't. It reduces any incentive to save, and it is way too progr...
by Zamfir
Fri Nov 14, 2008 12:20 pm UTC
Forum: News & Articles
Topic: Garry Glitter's Music Not Appropriate for Schookids?
Replies: 9
Views: 1160

Re: Garry Glitter's Music Not Appropriate for Schookids?

I thought Gary was into much,much younger kids? In fact so young that both Thailand and Vietnam have jailed him and kicked him out of their country for being too pervert? I always thought that was an accomplishment, in a certain sick way.
by Zamfir
Fri Nov 14, 2008 12:16 pm UTC
Forum: News & Articles
Topic: Bailouts here, there, and everywhere... (Starts mid-page 3)
Replies: 121
Views: 8063

Re: Bailout 2: Automobile Industry Boogaloo

In the mid nineties, there was a similar problem in the Netherlands, when both an aircraft manufacturer ( Fokker) and a truck manufacturer (DAF) went backrupt. The government was pressed to keep them alive, but it didn't. It did arrange some cheap loans to ease the situation. This ended all very wel...
by Zamfir
Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:35 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: "His English is well."
Replies: 39
Views: 5766

Re: "His English is well."

In Dutch, the W is pronounced "Way", and the C "Say", so a WC is a Waysay, a lot like that hungarian. I guess it is a lot weirder for English people to talk about a DoubleUsee.
by Zamfir
Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:11 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Why is protecting the US so expensive?
Replies: 57
Views: 7179

Re: Why is protecting the US so expensive?

*nod*, the world would be crushed under the soviet boot, and dissidents would be mass slaughtered and/or liquidated. The US would probably be engaged in a war against soviet puppet states in South America, or it would have Soviet / Chinese expeditionary forces on it's border. I can see where you ar...
by Zamfir
Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:08 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: "His English is well."
Replies: 39
Views: 5766

Re: "His English is well."

still? Why should there be a time progression?
by Zamfir
Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:54 am UTC
Forum: General
Topic: Foreign names:Or, how a name can make you laugh,get censored
Replies: 50
Views: 5445

Re: Foreign names:Or, how a name can make you laugh,get censored

I should have seen that one. In fact I even know a Benjamin who is sometimes called Benny. But the Bens in my family are all Bernards Another one: the Dutch word for Parsley is peterselie. I have a friend who swears he knows a guy named Peter Selie, which sadly can only mean that his parents gave hi...
by Zamfir
Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:43 am UTC
Forum: General
Topic: Foreign names:Or, how a name can make you laugh,get censored
Replies: 50
Views: 5445

Re: Foreign names:Or, how a name can make you laugh,get censored

I am not quite sure if this would be as funny for native English speakers, but let's try. I once was in a project with a girl, I think from Iran, who had some serious hair on her cheeks. We didn't know her last name until we wrote the report, when we found out her name was al-Zuhairy. BTW, what's fu...
by Zamfir
Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:16 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: "His English is well."
Replies: 39
Views: 5766

Re: "His English is well."

In Dutch, WC is the normal word. Toilet is the version for polite company and restaurants, 'bathroom' or something like it means you are an American, and might get you laughed at.
by Zamfir
Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:06 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: The Economic Results of Socialism
Replies: 39
Views: 4544

Re: The Economic Results of Socialism

Bluggo, the HDI is not a good instrument to judge developed countries. It was designed to tell something about developing countries, and its inputs are aimed at those. It measures literacy, life expectancy, school enrollment and log(GDP/capita). Those are very useful characteristics for a developing...
by Zamfir
Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:54 am UTC
Forum: School
Topic: Teaching and evaluation systems around the world
Replies: 3
Views: 862

Re: Teaching and evaluation systems around the world

I studied aerospace engineering. In the first years, courses were 2 to 3 hours of lectures every week with an 3-hour exam at the end. A course usually takes one or two blocks, a year has 4 blocks. Something like 20% of credits were for practical group exercises, ususally some design work. These were...
by Zamfir
Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:28 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Balancing a Bicycle
Replies: 42
Views: 19210

Re: Balancing a Bicycle

Actually, F15's have thrust-to-weight ratio slightly higher than 1, so they could, in principle, take-off when standing on their tail. After sawing off the wings, the weight would be even lower :) The question "What causes an aircraft to fly" is much trickier than it seems. Yes, it's the w...
by Zamfir
Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:03 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0503: "Terminology"
Replies: 292
Views: 46634

Re: Terminology

The terms West and East come from different origins. Randall's West comes from the East-West cold war divide, and means Western-Europe + North America, while the 'East' is the Second World, without Asia (except for Siberia). The East Randall is using comes from the colonial ages, when the West were ...
by Zamfir
Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:25 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: The Economic Results of Socialism
Replies: 39
Views: 4544

Re: The Economic Results of Socialism

Absolute, I would be very careful with using Heritage as a source for these kind of topics, especially if you yourself are already leaning towards their point of view. Heritage is not an institute with a slight right-wing philosophy, it is an institute with the explicit aim of opposing social democr...
by Zamfir
Tue Nov 11, 2008 4:12 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Assassination, ever justified?
Replies: 90
Views: 8963

Re: Assassination, ever justified?

Immortal, I am confused about two parts of your story. First, you say that murder should stay illegal, and that you oppose deaths. Then why would you want to make murder easier? Just charging them if caught is exactly the same as keeping it illegal, where getting caught is also needed to get punishe...
by Zamfir
Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:46 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Nuclear Power (merged threads)
Replies: 325
Views: 51874

Re: Nuclear Power (merged threads)

marvinM, their own website doesn't even claim that it will be cheap enough to compete with grid-based electricity. The customers they are currently aiming at are oil fields that use steam injection to keep pressure on the field. Currently these fields burn massive amounts of gas to produce the steam...
by Zamfir
Tue Nov 11, 2008 1:46 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Nuclear Power (merged threads)
Replies: 325
Views: 51874

Re: Nuclear Power (merged threads)

Mr Rose, these units are expensive, and definitely no competition for grid power even at the prices they claim they can reach. Those prices are already considered to be one the low side. Look at their intended customers: Whether the location is a small island, a remote mining site, or a hospital cam...
by Zamfir
Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:14 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: The Economic Results of Socialism
Replies: 39
Views: 4544

Re: The Economic Results of Socialism

I encountered this meme that European social states pay for themselves by oil exports quite a few times here on xkcd, so I decided to take a closer look to the numbers. Unsurprisingly, Norway has indeed a per capita production of oil and gas comparable to Arabian oil states, hundreds of barrels per ...
by Zamfir
Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:48 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: The Economic Results of Socialism
Replies: 39
Views: 4544

Re: The Economic Results of Socialism

Lemminkainen, I don't think your division works. The NEtherlands may have some things in common with the Nordics, but Ireland has definitely followed a separate track for the past 2 decades, while the UK's policies really are not that different from mainstream Europe as they sometimes appear. The Br...
by Zamfir
Mon Nov 10, 2008 5:30 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Why is America more right-wing than other democracies?
Replies: 109
Views: 9641

Re: Why is America more right-wing than other democracies?

Katrina, I think you raise some interesting points, but I can't see for all of them how they lead to a more right-wing America. I know the banana-republic stories about Central-America, and they are indeed ghastly. But all other countries have them too, with almost identical laws. And many European ...
by Zamfir
Mon Nov 10, 2008 5:16 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Why Are (Economic) Conservatives Still Relevant?
Replies: 75
Views: 6046

Re: Why Are (Economic) Conservatives Still Relevant?

jferry wrote: The problem is that gas is just too inelastic of a good. The tax for externalties (road maintenance, etc) is necessary given the system we've established but if you increase that tax strictly as a deterrent, you're going to be deterring more economic action than just the sale of gasol...
by Zamfir
Mon Nov 10, 2008 3:09 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: A torch has been passed ...
Replies: 82
Views: 210865

Re: A torch has been passed ...

If I am allowed to make a suggestion: do not punish people who write that they didn't read the previous pages. The effect you would like to achieve is that people start reading previous posts. But I predict the effect will be that those people still won't read them, but will stop telling so in their...
by Zamfir
Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:46 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: The Economic Results of Socialism
Replies: 39
Views: 4544

Re: The Economic Results of Socialism

Absolute, I think the argument is more that social-democratic welfare do not damage an economy as much as naive economics might suggest. There is a very large study, "Growing public" by Peter Lindert that looks at public spending over the last two centuries. It's very interesting, not just...
by Zamfir
Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:11 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: The middle class
Replies: 35
Views: 2738

Re: The middle class

I once read an interesting book about the history of 'class concepts' in Britain. The book traces the use of words like 'class' and 'standing' form the 17th century or so on. Some of the conclusions: Pretty universally, people claim that the true class-based society is something from the past, that ...
by Zamfir
Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:27 pm UTC
Forum: Gaming
Topic: Giants: Citizen Kabuto
Replies: 13
Views: 2176

Re: Giants: Citizen Kabuto

I bought this games years and years ago, but it ran horrible on a 350Mhz Pentium, so I returned it and bought "American McGee's Alice". If it's really good, I might try to find it again...
by Zamfir
Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:14 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: If life were to evolve on Earth again
Replies: 42
Views: 4457

Re: If life were to evolve on Earth again

I am never too happy when people compare GAs to evolution, just as neural networks are really nothing like brains. Both were origininally inspired by the biological proces, bu they do not have much more in common than the original inspiration. The main problem (which someone already mentioned) is th...
by Zamfir
Wed Oct 29, 2008 1:29 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Existential Equation
Replies: 32
Views: 4229

Re: Existential Equation

Spirit of Lew, I am still intrigued by you project, but I think we are hitting the stereotypical divide between the hard sciences approach and the rest of the world. Usually, the strength of mathematical modelling is that it forces you to be precise, and to be reductionist: you try to find the simpl...

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