I just received the following email. I'm tickled by some of these attempts to part me from my money:
We are from China, we are very interested in your grape wine.
If you can provide, we sincerely hope establish a longterm friendly cooperation
partner relationship with each other via our first cooperation.
1. Red grape wine 40000 bottles.
2. White grape wine 20000 bottles.
3. Request 750ml /per bottle.
4. FOB price,we will have a face to face talk about the details and sign the contract,
after both of us confirm the price. We will pay 40% T/T,then delivery the goods
after 40 days.
In a recent posting, I argued that OPS [On-base-percentage Plus Slugging-average] is an excellent comparatively easy and comparatively good statistic to use for assessing the performance of batters in baseball.
For the same reasons, I think OOPS [Opponents' OPS] is a comparatively easy and comparatively good statistic for assessing baseball pitchers. The statistic is readily available via the MLB website, and it measures how well a pitcher avoids letting batters reach base and how well the pitcher avoids letting opposing batters hit for power.
I have noticed that baseball sportscasters are moving toward telling us about opponents' batting average [which tell us nothing about walks given up nor about extra-base hits] or about WHIP, which is Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched [which is a bizarre measure telling us nothing more than (and really not as much as ) "Opponents' On-Base-Percentage].
Maybe in another ten years' time they will start using OOPS as well as OPS.
May I live to see the day.
From Western's ITS:
RISK: VERY HIGH
ALERT: Five Western faculties or business units are reporting new ransom-ware infections. This unnamed threat appears to be either an audio wave file attachment, an infected MP4 (movie file) or an email appearing to provide a user's resume. If you receive a resume unexpectedly (out of the blue) with an attachment, or with attached media files from someone not in your contact list, do not open the attachment.
Ransomware is software which scans a computer encrypting all data files it finds, basically hijacking the data. Unless backups exist, this data is unrecoverable unless payment is made to the virus author.
ITS is reporting our community is at risk. Faculty, Staff & Students are being targeted and victimized by a new ransomeware threat whose name is not yet known. Thankfully no faculty has lost data because all affected data was backed up, showing the importance of having backups.
Over 30 years ago, when I first started reading and participating in newsgroups on the web (rec.humor, rec.sport.baseball, etc.), I was cautious at first. One reason was that I saw some quoted email to the effect that,
Isn't it wonderful that we can carry on our affair now using email and our spouses won't know about it.
That message had gone viral, to the extent that "going viral" happened in those days. It was circulated as a warning to all that anything we write on the internet can, and likely is, on some server somewhere. Nothing is private. I have tried to keep that lesson in mind myself ever since then.
If you need more of a warning, watch this very brief (two minutes?) video:
Remember the massive US gubmnt lawsuit against Microsoft over a decade ago? One of the major issues in that case was that Microsoft's web browser, Internet Explorer, was included with Windows and that inclusion foreclosed the browser market to others, especially Netscape.
What a travesty that suit was. The policy makers/enforcers didn't foresee the specific potential entrants and so they myopically assumed there would be none. Hah!
Netscape is dead (much of it morphing into early versions of Firefox). And now Microsoft Internet Explorer is dying [see this]:
A commonly held belief among heavy web users is that it's only acceptable to use Internet Explorer for the purpose of downloading Firefox or Chrome.
Snarky as this sentiment may seem, for many who have purchased a computer running Windows in recent years it’s also painfully rooted in the fact that Internet Explorer can no longer keep up with its competitors.
Once a market leader with a whopping 95 per cent usage share when it peaked in 2002, Microsoft’s flagship browser has experienced a steady decline in its user base since Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome hit the scene in 2004 and 2008, respectively.
Competition and entry limited Microsoft's market power and continues to do so. I stopped using Netscape when it didn't keep up with computer changes and the other browsers offered better options and control. And I rarely used Internet Explorer ever.
For one of my earlier posts about Microsoft and the antitrust suit, see this.
As I wrote early on when I started blogging, US anti-trust policy is so short-sighted it behaves as if it has these two rules:
Policy makers have little to no idea where the next innovation or competition might come from. As a result, when the more market-oriented economists ramble on about competition and entry but have no specific answers to the question, "But who will even consider entering against such a behemoth?", policy makers tend to overlook the extreme power of longer-run market forces, especially if the gubmnt doesn't get in the way of them.
The result? The entrants have displaced Internet Explorer and the antitrust suit against Microsoft was a monumental waste of resources for both the US taxpayers and Microsoft's stockholders.
About 25 years ago I had an incident in which having an up-to-date set of backup disks saved my bacon. Since then I have been compulsive about making sure I keep backups of my computer's hard drive.
As hard drives grew in capacity (yet shrunk in size), it quickly became infeasible to use floppy disks to back up one's hard drive. I started using external hard drives for my backups.
And as the external hard drives also grew in capacity (while shrinking in size) it became extremely easy to set a backup programme running and just keep the external drive plugged into a USB port.
The problem I ran into began about 15 years ago when I started using only laptop computers. I'd sometimes stand up, put the laptop aside, and BLAM, the external hard drive with my backups would go slamming onto the floor or against my desk.
I'm a slow learner, so that had to happen twice (fortunately not damaging the backup drive either time) before I came up with the velcro solution. I velcro the external, backup hard drive to the lid of my laptop, and I've done so ever since:
Simple and effective. So much so that my older son, David Ricardo Palmer, has adopted the technique as well.
With the burning of books and the destruction of so many historical items, it is important that archivists digitize everything they can, especially rare books and manuscripts.
While the world was watching the Academy Awards ceremony, the people of Mosul were watching a different show. They were horrified to see ISIS members burn the Mosul public library. Among the many thousands of books it housed, more than 8,000 rare old books and manuscripts were burned.
“ISIS militants bombed the Mosul Public Library. They used improvised explosive devices,” said Ghanim al-Ta'an, the director of the library. Notables in Mosul tried to persuade ISIS members to spare the library, but they failed.
The former assistant director of the library Qusai All Faraj said that the Mosul Public Library was established in 1921, the same year that saw the birth of the modern Iraq. Among its lost collections were manuscripts from the eighteenth century, Syriac books printed in Iraq's first printing house in the nineteenth century, books from the Ottoman era, Iraqi newspapers from the early twentieth century and some old antiques like an astrolabe and sand glass used by ancient Arabs. The library had hosted the personal libraries of more than 100 notable families from Mosul over the last century.
Taking high-quality jpeg photos of each page is a quick and easy way to preserve old texts. I've been doing this with my mother's letters written back in the 1930s. Here's hoping libraries will digitize their rare collections and store the digitized files in several locations.
A few weeks ago, a classmate from gradskool posted a link on Facebook to a site with a number of GIFs that illustrate mathematical principles underlying many concepts from geometry, trigonometry, and calculus.
I thought the constructs on the page were fascinating. Some required quite a bit of concentration, and with some I really had to dredge up hazy memories from my math courses even to get a rough idea what they were talking about.
The GIFs are fun to study, but I really don't think they necessarily do a better job of teaching the concepts than my various instructors did. Here's one that made a lot of sense once I looked at it for a minute. It really might have helped me in high school math.
If you’re studying trig, you better get pretty comfortable with circles. Check out this visualization that shows what you’re really looking at when you deal with pi:
You might enjoy the others, too.
Yup, the storm going up the east coast of North America moved slightly to the east with the result that many areas received considerably less snow than the media warned might happen. See this, for example. People made plans and purchases, etc. that they wouldn't have made if they'd had a better idea what would happen.
The problem is twofold:Point estimates instead of interval estimates, and loss-minimization tactics.
Point estimates vs interval estimates:
We all know that weather models are imperfect. But the media don't want to take the time to say (as an example for the recent storm) "There's a 15% chance of 12" of snow, a 50% chance of 10", a 30% chance of 6", and a 5% chance of only 2" over the next 24 hours, depending on which way the major air masses drift." And I really wonder if many listeners/viewers would want that much detail. I have lots of friends who would respond, "Yah, yah, so what's gonna happen?"
However, the reports could present graphs of probability density functions showing the probabilities of expected precipitation, expected temperatures, etc. And given that different forecasting models spit out different probability density functions, it might even be useful to more than a few of us stat-type geeks to see a graphic showing the probability density functions from several different models.
Essentially this distinction was one of the errors made by forecasters in their submissions of information to the media and by the media in their presentations to the public. [see this, from WaPo]
When a forecast is so sensitive to small changes (eastern Long Island, not far away, received 30-plus inches), it is imperative to loudly convey the reality that small changes could have profound effects on what actually happens. ...
But the general lack of information provided about the forecast uncertainty is a major disappointment considering both the state of weather forecasting and the efforts some have made to improve how we communicate the forecast.
For many years, the need to express forecast confidence and communicate different scenarios during complex, high-stakes forecast events has been discussed and stressed in the weather community.
And that brings up the second problem,
Imagine if the weather services and the media had indeed presented interval estimates and probability density functions about the east coast snow storm, something like what I suggest above. Imagine further that New York City had received an unanticipated heavy snowfall of, say 18" [following the numbers used in the above example, this would have had probably only 2% probability attached to it.]. Imagine the outrage if the public and public officials hadn't been prepared. And especially if they hadn't been prepared for bad outcomes.
So what happens is that weather services shade their forecasts to allow for "what's the worst that might happen?" If they get it wrong on the extreme side, that imposes far lower costs and losses on the public (and hence on themselves) than if they don't place enough emphasis on the extreme outcomes. From the CBC link at the top of this post,
Kimbell said meteorologists at Environment Canada have the leeway to err on the side of caution, particularly when issuing warnings when public safety is at stake.
"It's better to say there is going to be a bad storm and save lives than to minimize it and be wrong on the other side and actually it's worse and the impacts are severe," he said....
"I would rather, if there is a lean one way or another, lean towards safety because I have seen the consequences the other way and it gets very frightening very quickly," said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
[CBC meteorologist] Scotland said forecasters cannot always err on the side of caution, because if they do people may start to take warnings of dangerous conditions less seriously in the future.
Exactly. Most of us are familiar with "The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf".
At the same time, exacerbating the problem, the media love "Storm porn" [see here and here]. And because of this tendency within the media, a couple of years ago I really tore into The Weather Network (aka the Storm Porn Channel):
Open Challenge to The Weather Network
aka "the Storm-Porn Channel"
You were forecasting 30-40 cms of snow in this storm for the Southwestern Ontario corridor. And some of your announcers couldn't restrain themselves, saying (with drool running down their chins), ".... and it could be more in some areas." How much did those areas actually receive?
I understand that you never, never want to be accused of under-forecasting the seriousness of a storm, but over-forecasting the seriousness of storms consistently means that people develop an immunity to your warnings.
Can you at least start providing us with decent confidence intervals instead of only dire warnings? Please? Do you have any announcers who dare to say, "... but it might be quite a bit less, too..."?
Addendum: Keep in mind that the storm did, indeed, drop tonnes and meters of snow on some places on Long Island and in New England.That it did not leave so much snow in New York City and that that is what became the major news story reflects the NYC-bias of the major media.
I set this website going a couple of days ago and have let the programme run since then. It shows the number of attempted cyber attacks (of sorts) by source of the attack, by target of the attack, etc. [via Jack]
Here is a screen shot of what I had seen after a couple of days (the data are cumulative).
The primary source of the attacks is China. North Korea doesn't even make the top ten. The primary target is the US.
Over the past month or so, I've seen some birthdays of contacts and Facebook friends, but people I really don't know all that well, showing up in my Google Calendar. I see no reason for those birthdays to appear there. In fact, I have no idea how they got there, and so I clicked on them to try to remove them.
Nope. Can't do it.
At the time of writing Google’s spokeswoman is “checking” on whether there is any way at all to unsubscribe from Birthdays, and says she’ll get back “as soon as possible”. So if there is a very elusive option to re-unsubscribe I’ll be sure to update this post and add it in....
Whether that option re-materializes or not one thing here is amply clear: Google does not want you to unsubscribe from information it determines should be universally available. That is not part of its mission. It is, in fact, the polar opposite of its mission. Hence making unsubscribing such a wild goose chase. So the theme of reducing user control and increasing algorithmic enforcement is not going to go away anytime soon.
On the contrary, as more and more information piles online — via connected devices and the like — expect more levers of human control to be quietly disappeared or disabled because the algorithmic entities conducting this increasingly pervasive digital symphony really prefer if you just sit there and lap everything up. It makes the big data so much more quantifiable if you do. In short: eyeballs, know thy place!
Last year I wrote about borrowing umbrellas, sweaters, or water bottles from the lost-and-found at a university.
... I wrote to some people at The University of Regina and asked them to go to the lost and found to collect a couple of water bottles for me. ... They were somewhat taken aback, and then they realized I wasn't serious. Their plan, in response to my request, was to get all the water bottles and put them on my desk. Too bad it didn't work out; it would have been funny.
Three things dominate the lost-and-found inventory: water bottles, sweaters, and notebooks.
Anyone need/want a sweater?
Why do we feel such reluctance to do these things? Is it perceived as stealing? Or is it just too embarrassing to lie and say you lost something that isn't yours? In a way that's too bad because it might make more sense to borrow things from the lost and found now and then rather than inventory them ourselves.
Here is someone who recommends using the lost-and-found boxes at hotels if you forgot to take a charger with you for your phone, tablet, or laptop [via Jack]:
Inevitably, you wind up in some hotel without the charger or adapter you need. You forgot to pack it. You left it somewhere.
The great thing is that you’re not the first person to leave a charger or cable behind. Lots of people have left theirs behind — in the exact same hotel where you are!
So hie thee down to the front desk and ask. They’ll offer you a lost-and-found box of iPhone chargers, micro-USB cables (for Android phones, ebook readers, some cameras), and even laptop adapters of every description. Borrow the one you need.
Excellent advice. I wouldn't want to rely exclusively on lost-and-found boxes to provide me with chargers when I am traveling; the risk that they might not have one is too great for me to want to rely on them as a source.
But the odds are good that they can help you out pretty frequently. What's better is they are cheaper and more convenient than an emergency trip to an electronics supply store.
I just received the following email at my UWO email address. Fortunately their mail server flagged it. It's ingenious.
Shipping status: Transaction confirmation: 71872499590
Agatha Staebell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Your order #71872499590 will be shipped on 10.12.2014.
Date: December 08, 2014. 01:55pm
Transaction number: 0B6939A3F078A5
Please find the detailed information on your purchase in the attached file order2014-12-08_71872499590.zip
I was perplexed. I have, indeed, ordered some canvas prints recently but certainly not from this outfit and not from anyone in the UK and not using my UWO email address for confirmation. Also the confirmation number does not match the confirmation numbers on my orders. And, no surprise, there is no website for photocanvas.co.uk.
So this email looks like a massive attempt to infect some computers of people who have ordered canvas prints recently (which may be more likely this time of year).
Back in May, 2013, I wrote about the potential for using graphene to desalinate water. If graphene has all these miracle properties, watch for more economic growth and more change as entrepreneurs find less expensive ways to produce and use high-quality graphene . Wow!
Update: Jack recommends the Wikipaedia link to many of the potential uses being touted for graphene. Also, see this for the possibility that even more materials with even more desireable properties might be in the pipeline.
Two years ago, frustrated because Apple wouldn't bring out a larger iPhone and because their mini-iPad was too big to carry in my cargo pants pockets, I bought a Samsung Note2. I know many people love their Samsung phones and Android, but it was a big mistake for me (see this and this).
Despite using the Note2 for two years, I never adjusted to Android, and I never figured out some of the features on the Note2. I found myself using my iPad2 more often, and I can't count the number of times I said, "I hate this phone."
Finally, when the iPhone6+ was announced, I ordered one immediately. And I love it.
Everything was much easier for me to do on the iPhone 6+, most likely because my first smartphone was an iPhone, and I continued my familiarity with iOS using my iPad (see below).
I'm no tech guru (despite having been familiar with WatFor (Fortran II), DOS, and even some Windows programming for Windows 1.x). Digging around in Android to try to figure out how to do things was frustrating and certainly not fun. I don't have to do that in iOS.
Size: The screen of the 6+ is about the same size as the screen of the Note2, measured diagonally. But the 6+ is about a half inch longer and a quarter inch narrower. This difference means the 6+ (in a silicone case, see below) sticks out of my shirt pocket a bit more, but it also means that I can still easily fit a pen in my shirt pocket alongside the 6+, something that wasn't always easy with the Note2.
Battery Life: I had a backup battery for my Note2, and it seemed I was always having to charge up the phone and/or swap batteries. The iPhone6+ has an amazingly long battery life. Lots of my friends have complained about the short battery lives of their Samsung phones as well, so I'm not alone with this point.
Battery Life, continued: I used to plug my Note2 in overnight and then hope it could last through the day. Often it didn't; I was always checking the battery levels and recharging the phone. Because I had to keep the phone plugged in at night, when I woke up during the night, I would use my iPad to check my email, browse Facebook, and read novels. Now that I have my iPhone 6+, I have not touched my iPad. I plug the phone into my computer to charge it up now and then (with the side benefit of synching the apps and backing up the phone, all automatically), but I do everything on my 6+ and have never even come close to running out of battery power.
WiFi Connections: The wifi connections were never consistently automatic on my Note2. I have had ZERO problems with making and renewing wifi connections automatically on my iPhone6+.
Speed: the 6+ seems faster to me. I have run no tests and have no benchmarks, but it just seems faster. Many of the reviews agree that it is.
Screen resolution: The resolution on the 6+ seems better than anything I have seen anywhere else. I'm sure other smartphones do well in this regard, too, but this is pretty frickn amazing.
Things from Android/Note2 I thought I would miss:
Back button: I admit that I do sometimes hit the lower right-hand corner of the 6+, trying to go back to a previous screen. But most of the apps I use have a back button in the upper left-hand corner. I just need to learn where it is.
Menu button: Android beats iOS on this. Most iOS apps have a setting button that lets me do what I want to do, and some have a menu button near the upper left-hand corner. But having a specific menu button in the lower left-hand corner would be a nice addition to iOS.
Three-word smart-word completion possibilities: I was pleasantly surprised to see this on my 6+! Yea!
Number keys atop the QWERTY row of keys: I want this. Anyone who lives in Canada (or elsewhere) that uses a mix of letters and numbers for postal codes gets frustrated typing those on an iPhone or iPad. The same goes for most passwords. I've looked a bit for an app that will give it to me, and I would be grateful for pointers if you know of one.
Gmail: the Gmail app on both phones is frustrating. I detest the "conversation" view in gmail, preferring the chronological view of my messages; I still haven't figured out how to get rid of the conversation view on a smartphone, even though I have turned it off on my laptop. Also I haven't found a gmail calendar look that I like on my 6+ as much as I liked the one I used on my Note2. [Addendum: it would also be nice if there were an easy way to move messages out of the inbox into various folders. The autocompletion for doing this in Gmail on a laptop is wonderful, but I have not seen any easy way to do it with a smartphone]
Books: I am disappointed that the Stanza reading app is no longer available for iOS (and was never available for Android). I loved being able to swipe up and down to alter the brightness of the screen [Update: see below]
Books, continued: It is frustrating that Apple makes it more difficult to order ebooks from Kindle and Kobo on their iPhones. I don't always want to order iBooks.
Micro SD card: I loved being able to store things on a 64GB micro SD card for my Note2. Sometimes getting the Note2 to communicate with my MacBook was such a hassle, it was easier to take the phone apart, remove the SD card, and plug it into my laptop. Communication between my 6+ and my MacBook is smooth, though, and I bought a 64 GB iPhone 6+, and so this isn't a problem for me, at least not yet.
Case: I bought the silicone case from Apple, in part to protect the phone, but in part to keep the phone from slipping out of my shirt pocket too easily (e.g. when I lean over). It works perfectly.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Update: After reading this, my younger son, Adam Smith Palmer, wrote that with iOS 7 and iOS 8, it is possible to swipe up from the bottom of a screen to open the control centre and change screen brightness there. Okay, I see that it works, but so far I am struggling with the swipes, trying to get them to do what I want, when I'm using Bluefire (mostly to read scripts) or even Kindle (where I read novels). Much of the time, swiping up reveals a "control centre icon" or whatever it is called, but then I can't get it to open the control centre; eventually I'll probably master the touch. It seems to require a double swipe to make this work [duh!]. This feature looks much like the swipe-down feature on my Note2, from which I could check things and open control features.
Also, though, when I adjust the brightness that way, the iPhone doesn't show me what the screen will look like, and I'm left guessing about what level of brightness I might end up with [Ah, I see now that it does really show the brightness while I'm messing with the brightness slider].
This method of controlling brightness seems to affect all the apps on the phone, not just the brightness of whatever app I am using to read ebooks. For now, I think it is easier just to use the settings buttons to adjust brightness. Stanza was much better with this feature (plus, it allowed me to choose from myriad options for colours, line spacing, etc.).
What kind of commission structure is Willy Loman working under in Death of a Salesman? It certainly seems strange to me.
Willy: I did five hundred gross in Providence and seven hundred gross in Boston...
Linda: ... That makes your commission .... $212!....... How much did you (really) do?
Willy: .... it came to roughly two hundred gross in the whole trip....
Linda: Well, it makes $70 and some pennies.
Apparently, when Willy doesn't sell much, he earns a commission slightly greater than 35%. But if he sells a LOT of merchandise, he earns only 212/1200 or 17.7%.
That is a really incentive-incompatible commission structure. No wonder Willy never sold much -- he had an incentive to make more, smaller sales trips. As a result, the company did less business and paid Willy more per hour (despite his growing failures as a salesman). Usually commission structures are designed to encourage salesmen to make more, bigger sales, not fewer or less.
Maybe Linda's math skills are weak?
That, or Arthur Miller (and his editors and publishers) were innumerate.
Everything I have read about the Apple Watch looks nice. But there's a killer drawback:
I like to wear my watch all the time, including at night and while swimming.
For some inane reason, Facebook still uses Bing as its default translater. When someone, in my case typically a former student, writes something in a foreign (by which I mean non-English) language, I am given the option to click on "translate" and Facebook gives me a truly horrid, unintelligible Bing translation. Most of the time I have no idea what the translation means, and most of the time I am too lazy to copy and paste the posting into a Google translater.
One thing about Google is that the programmers use adaptive techniques. They are constantly improving their search engine and their translater. So when you put something from a non-English language into their translater, you get a reasonable translation from Google. Google constantly improves itself, which is why it has been so successful.
Bing, however, seems to have a zero or really bad adaptive mechanism. The translations Bing offers are just as bad today as they were a year or two ago. They do not seem to care that the translations make no sense and are of no value to Facebook readers.
I'm surprised that Bing hasn't gotten better. I'm at least as surprised that Facebook hasn't dumped Bing for the Google translator.
I'd never heard of it until about a week ago, but it is clear from this article [via Jack] that I suffer from nomophobia.
Brought about by such triggers as a lost phone, poor reception, interrupted coverage, dead batteries, or lack of account credit, the condition — known as nomophobia — is characterized by the disproportionate “discomfort, anxiety, nervousness, or anguish caused by being out of contact with a mobile phone or computer,” ...
“Generally speaking, [nomophobia] is the pathological fear of remaining out of touch with technology,”....
Like internet addiction, it is a modern malady, arising from changes the mobile phone has made to human habits, behaviours, identity, and “common ways of perceiving reality.”
Sure, I'm addicted to the internet. I have been for decades. In fact, one reason I put off getting a smartphone several years ago was that I knew I would be on it a lot of the time. My signs of nomophobia:
Google often has fun with its various maps. I recall some directions that suggested swimming to Japan or jetskiing to China. But check this out [via MA]:
Travelling from the Brecon Beacons to Snowdon in Wales would take 21 minutes by dragon.
Riding Nessie between Fort Augustus and Urquhart Castle, which sit on Loch Ness in Inverness, Scotland, would take 28 minutes - four minutes faster than taking the bus.
Punting between Magdalene College and Mathematical Bridge in Cambridge takes 45 minutes, versus 18 minutes on the UNI4 bus.
While Magdalen College to Wolfson College on a punt in Oxford, weaving around the River Cherwell, takes 1 hour 32 minutes.
And it takes 1 hour 16 minutes to travel along the M4 between Windsor Castle, and Buckingham Palace.
Dragon travel is shown on this map:
Wow, the computer/cyber criminals are really sophisticated and nasty. The distributed denial of service attacks on Typepad have been horrendous. And now Ebay has been hacked.
eBay's morning just went from bad to worse. The e-commerce site confirmed Wednesday that its corporate network was hacked and a database with users' passwords was compromised. While eBay says there is no evidence that users' financial information was accessed in the hack, the company is telling all users to change their passwords.
I haven't used ebay much in the past few years, but I did go to their site and change my password (which, I might add, was different from all my other passwords).
I find that when I'm on a plane or train, my noice-cancelling headphones are a wonder. Even if I don't listen to any music or podcasts, the noise canceling dramatically reduces my discomfort and maybe even reduces stress levels.
Here is another reason to wear them [via MA]. They will likely make the food taste better.
[S]eparate research revealed the sort of noise we are subjected to inside aircraft cabin affects taste buds, reducing our sense of saltiness and sweetness - and increasing crunchiness.
To test the theory, 48 diners were blindfolded and fed sweet foods such as biscuits or salty ones such as crisps, while listening to silence or noise through headphones at Unilever's laboratories and the University of Manchester.
Each volunteer rated the foods for flavour and said how much they liked them.
Background noise led to the foods being rated less salty or sweet. They were also perceived as more crunchy.
I'm not at all sure I believe this. And I'll grant that carrying over-the-ear noise-cancelling headphones is just another thing to worry about on an airplane. But often the bother is worth the effort.
Apple seems to be betting that the nominal price elasticity of demand for the iPhone6 will be even less than it was for the initial offerings of the iPhone 5C and 5S. Or so it seems. There are rumours the price will be $100 higher for the new version of the iPhone when it becomes available in the fall. From Slate:
Jefferies analyst Peter Misek says, “Our checks indicate Apple has started negotiating with carriers on a $100 iPhone 6 price increase. ....
There are two ways to look at this if you’re Apple.
On the one hand, an internal presentation from Apple last year showed that people around the world want cheaper phones with bigger screens. This suggests it needs to cut the price and bump screen size.
However, Apple believes it’s not really susceptible to the pricing pressure of Android phone-makers. The iPad, for example, was originally going to sell for $400, but Apple figured people would pay $100 more, and it was right.
If, in fact, market conditions have changed such that customers who want a new iPhone really want one (even more than customers really wanted the earlier versions), then it will be a profitable move for Apple charge more for their new iPhones.
Econo-geek speak: If they are right, the intersection of the MR and MC curves will occur at a lower q/t, but their revenues will rise and their total costs might even decline. The implication is that Apple is guessing that if they price the iPhone6 the same way they priced the 5s, they would be in or mighty close to the inelastic portion of the demand curve [granting truckloads of assumptions].
This is not from The Onion or other similar sites. [via Jack]
I can imagine many thoughts, feelings, comments. I'll abstain.
Canada Revenue Agency has shut down public access to its tax-filing data amid reports of a major security flaw in a commonly used code for login services. ...
Ms Eclectic and I both received the following email from a friend this morning. We'd read about this scam, so we didn't believe it:
Sorry to bother you this time but this seems to me more than a dreadful ill-luck for me and my family.I am in Simferopol (UKRAINE) right now for a short vacation and unfortunately i ran out of cash, i have tried to access my credit card from the cash machines here but it keeps saying network errors.
I also tried to withdraw funds from my own bank account here but the lady at the paid desk informed me that i can't withdraw from my account here in a foreign country,wondering if i could get a quick loan of ($2,550 USD) from you to clear some little things here and also take a cab to the airport i promise to refund it as soon as i get back home later this week.
I anticipate your response .
It is addressed as it came from her email@example.com, but when you click on reply, it goes to an account at yahoo with a slight misspelling of her name.
If you receive something like this, write separately (i.e. do not click "reply") to check with your friend and let them know about the scam.
I don't ordinarily post or link to YouTube videos anywhere: not here, in email, or on Facebook. Yet this is the second one I've posted to the blog today. And (horrors) I don't always Rick Mercer's humour.
But this video is hilarious and worth the minute and a half it takes to watch it. It very clearly explains why, beginning in late February or early March, Environment Canada always says the temperature will rise above freezing to +1C on the 7th day of the seven-day forecast [via RedHen and MsEclectic].
I love the line that "Pretty much everything beyond five days is like throwing darts." That line reveals a clear, intuitive understanding of confidence intervals. See this, for example (including the comments!):
It looks as if the prices of micro SD cards are falling precipitously ... again. About a year ago I bought a Class 10 (i.e. pretty fast) 64gb micro SD card for about $70, but look at these prices from Amazon.com. Wow!
At least those were the prices when I looked. And the links are fixed now (I hope).
Addendum: Of course the prices at Amazon.ca are around $50 or so. :-(