Monday, July 18, 2011

Dog catches car

No fun.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

But I want nothing to do with her

A strange situation has arisen. We have a chair that no longer fits anywhere so we put it on Craigslist to make a few bucks and save the planet. ( You know - reduce, reuse, recycle.) The first person to inquire is someone who we really don't want to have anything to do with. It's a teacher who we actually moved our kid out of her classroom because we disagreed with her teaching philosophy. At this point, the transaction is anonymous on our end since this person was responding to an anonymized ad, but we know it's her from the email address. Do we reply? ignore? or wait to see if someone else responds? Is there an ethical dilemma here or just the awkwardness of talking/transacting business with someone you would rather never talk to again?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sometimes Data Security Has a Lot in Common with Airport Security

Overwrought, bureaucratic, petty security theater and ultimately not worth fighting since it really is just a minor inconvenience for each individual even if the aggregate cost is many times the supposed benefit (even assuming the benefit is not wildly exaggerated); meanwhile cost effective measures are ignored or underfunded.

Update: Reports of me typing this with froth in the corner of my mouth and drops of spittle hitting the keyboard and screen are wildly exaggerated. That being said someone's comment, "It's a hell of a run-on sentence," was such a compliment that I decided to use a semicolon to streamline it even more.

Friday, January 8, 2010

No Expense Spared

Three times in the last three days, military jets have been launched to escort a plane with an unruly passenger. These were all domestic flights and in none of these cases was there actually any threat. Each diversion undoubtedly cost 10s of thousands of dollars in direct costs and comparable amounts in indirect and opportunity costs - hundreds of thousands total. I hate to sound like a broken record, but it pains me that others don't see how obviously ridiculous this is. Instead, people act like this is certainly the right decision in light of a single failed attempt to blow up a plane (flight originating outside the US) which injured noone except the alleged bomber.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Every day there is something that I miss because I have to make a choice. Sometimes it is between two fun things and so I don't feel so bad. Sometimes it's an obligation versus something fun and then I can easily start feeling sorry for myself. In that case, I have to consciously run down the mental checklist of everything that makes my life grand*. Anyway, I hope the P3 trivia team kicked some &&& tonight.

*health, family, material comfort, friends, Internet

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Number Needed to Treat

So in the medical world, we think about the efficacy of an intervention by calculating how many people need to be treated for one additional beneficial outcome to occur (as opposed to doing nothing or whatever is the current standard treatment). Anyway, an NNT of 10 to 20 is usually considered really good. NNTs of less than 200 are generally considered worthwhile interventions assuming risks are low. In the case of terrorism, the NNT seems to be about 500 million or so. May I suggest that the same people who think these ridiculous airport security procedures are anything but theater also probably think homeopathic medicine is effective.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Nothing needs to be reported until something happens

Every day the San Francisco Chronicle writes an article about whether Tom Cable will be fired by Al Davis as head coach of the Oakland Raiders. No new news is in any of these articles; they are just a rehash of the same thing every day. Would anyone notice if they printed the same article each day until the actual decision is made. Perhaps a countdown clock would be more informative.