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Everything posted by OldChemE

  1. Tototally agree. Somehow I find it amusing that one of the oldest principles from the very early days of computer technology has suddenly come back to haunt us in AI: Garbage in-garbage out.
  2. As an alternative, try expressing the situation as an oscillation (I say/he says/.......). When there is too much feedback the oscillation amplitude increases. The goal of conflict resolution is to reduce the amplitude of the oscillation until it approaches zero. In therms of a classical electrical oscillator, this means damped oscillation. The appropriate equations can be found in electrical textbooks. The point of using the oscillator analogy is that an argument can be de-escalated by making small concessions that gradually reduce the amplitude of disagreement (i.e. by turning the out of control oscillation into damped oscillation).
  3. My how times have changed. The last time I saw verbatim answers to a math problem my school gave all 6 of the boys automatic zeroes on the assignment, and retrieved the stolen teachers edition of the textbook they were using.
  4. That's they way I've been cooking pasta for years. Heat to boiling, toss in the pasta and turn down to barely maintain heating.
  5. 15 years ago (previous home, different State) one of my regular golfing buddies was a climate scientist who educated me some on what was going to happen. His comments were very much like the above. To paraphrase: 'We are putting more energy into the atmosphere and the oceans. Its like heating a pan of water to a boil-- lots of exciting things are going to happen, due to the energy input, but we cannot yet predict, exactly, what they will be.'
  6. Having dealt with the situation of death in my extended family, I've concluded that the most common thing following death is a garage sale.
  7. I don't seethe point of making gambling illegal. There is a certain human pleasure in making projections of outcomes and testing them (Why? I don't know-- maybe its something from our evolutionary history). I have known a number of people who gamble in small groups of friends for tiny amounts of money just for the pleasure of it. There used to be a small cafe near Oakdale, CA that I visited where the locals kept their jars of coins stored on the back of the counter for their weekly poker gathering. This sort of gambling is social as well as challenging. As a young man working for the US Forest Service we had our saturday night poker game: You could only buy $20 worth of chips (25 cents each) and the maximum raise was $1. We would play all night for less money than a trip to town. In gambling, just as in drinking or using recreational drugs, the issue is excess, not the act itself.
  8. I understand-- and don't disagree. It just wasn't fun when the playing field got leveled and I found out my company health plan was one of the things to get leveled.
  9. I read your post-- but couldn't find any mention of the hypothesis. What are you trying to say? My own observation from many years of commuting in an area subject to slow traffic is that the fastest route is usually the lane that is obstructed or being eliminated (as in three lanes going to 2). There are always a certain percentage of drivers who are early adopters and change to the open lane early, leaving the others to wait and (politely) merge at the end. Fewer vehicles in the lane that will be ending leads to faster progress in that lane. There is also the matter of distance between cars. If you calculate the number of cars passing a particular point at, say 20 miles per hour, the rate at which cars pass the point is inversely proportional to the gaps between the vehicles. This argues in favor of keeping as close to the vehicle in front as is safe.
  10. Personally, I am ambivalent on the benefits of government involvement in health care or insurance. For over 30 years I worked for a very large corporation that elected to save money on health insurance by being self-insured. They took a reasonable payment from my pay each month (slightly lower than typical premiums) and covered everything. The beauty of that was that their profit motive required that they keep their employees productive. They were very generous about health coverage simply because they wanted their employees at work, not on sick leave (they also went big on health maintenance with gyms located in their facilities so you could work out at lunch if you wanted, etc). They also covered 'borderline' treatments, as long as it helped get the employee back to work (such as weight loss programs or surgeries). Unfortunately, the requirements associated with the new insurance market under Obamacare forced them to stop self-insurance. So-- in my case increased government involvement hurt. My old employer still helps by paying a portion of my annual premiums, but now I too am subject to the profit motive of private insurance.
  11. AP and BBC mainly, occasionally Reuters. Also SCOTUS Blog. I particularly like BBC News for American news, as they don't seem to have as much of a vested interest in putting a spin on the news.
  12. I think you need to put the risk in context to make a good judgement on it. For example, when I was still teaching I had roughly 200 students I saw regularly in the course of a day. 2% would be 4 students that I knew well. If we were talking 2% risk of a deadly consequence - absolutely unacceptable. But, a useful medicine with a 2% risk of children missing a few days of classes -- totally OK.
  13. I believe the main issue with the broad definition is that it makes the problem more easily discounted or ignored ("What, 6 in 10?? politics!")
  14. The parent is not the customer. The Student is the customer. The whole purpose of education is to better a person's life, and that person is the student.
  15. Recently,my wife was in the hospital recovering from an operation, and her blood pressure was very low-- so the doctor kept her in for observation. I noticed that the automatic blood pressure monitoring system showed not only the systolic and diastolic values, but a value labeled "mean." However, from the numbers it was clear that there was some sort of algorithm involved, as the third number was not a simple average. I asked the Nurse the meaning of the value and she told me it was a measure of "stable" blood flow in organs, and the goal was to stay above 60 to avoid medical problems for some organs. Totally new concept to me, but it suggests the two pressures (S and D) have a more fundamental relationship that is desirable.
  16. There is still disagreement among geneticists on this. You can research it on the internet, and you will find that some geneticists believe it is genetic but suffers from "incomplete penetrance" which is a situation where not all those who have a gene can express it.
  17. Actually, until I retired from teaching a few years ago, writing in class was exactly what seemed to work best for teaching (at least for me). I was teaching Math. Instead of lecturing all during class and then having the math done as homework, I gave reading assignments for homework, then a quick review and had the students work their math assignments in class (on paper). This seemed to generate many discussions on best methods of solving problems, as well as ensuring the students had well-focused practice in solving problems. It also encouraged students to compare answers and self-correct, which is itself a good learning experience.
  18. Certainly. Fairly simple organic chemistry. I've got an organic chemistry textbook on my bookshelf that covers how ("VOGEL") but I'm away from home at the moment so I cannot quote the method. The real question is why? Fermentation is simple, inexpensive and allows one to tailor the alcoholic beverage taste to suit the drinker's preferences.
  19. How to assess abilities? The best way is to not rely on anything that can be generated via the internet, That's why, in math classes for example, the gold standard has been pencil and paper and "Show your work"
  20. You may not have fully understood one of the subtle points of Exchemist. He mentions compressible and incompressible fluids. With water, when the diaphragm moves it creates an instant large pressure change because the water cannot compress or expand. This is what gives good flow. With a gas, when the diaphragm moves the gas simply expands or contacts to fill the space, and you get a significantly smaller pressure change. This is the fundamental problem with trying to use a diaphragm pump to move gasses. It doesn't man it won't work, but the efficiency will be poor compared to pumping water.
  21. Certainly there are creators and those created by them, but the physical evidence seems to show that the religious have the identities reversed.
  22. At one time, back in the 60's, I learned to program computers in machine language, and I delighted in the fact that I could actually know, step by step, how the computer was performing its operations. Since then we have reached the stage in technology where the actual operations performed by the computer are complete buried in layers of code-- and the performance is vastly enhanced. Sure-- someone who knows a lot about the esoteric details might conclude that IEEE 754 was not the best approach. BUT its the one that things are built on. What you have in in the linked article is someone who sees the inefficiencies in the "wheel of choice" and wants to re-invent the wheel. The question is, can they demonstrate a financial and sociological benefit to the user of computation devices to make the change. "This is better" doesn't cut it.
  23. I don't convert F to C much, but for C to F you can do it in your head; double it, mentally take away 10% then add 32 for example: 100C: 100 doubles to 200. less 20 (which is 10%) is 180 plus 32 is 212
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