Sunday, July 26, 2009

surfing big waves

I tried surfing some big waves last friday. I was not qualified. I could barely get out past the break. Huge rip current, so that sucked too.

I did manage to actually "surf" though, cuz the wave had so much energy I couldn't really screw it up. Once I hit someone (sort of, I ended up pushing their board away), because the wave took me with it, even though I wasn't trying to catch it.

Earlier in the week was awesome, we saw dolphins out in the water surfing with us. That was really cool, I spent some time just watching them, instead of trying to surf.


so, I learned today that disdain is spelled with a d, and not a "st" as I normally pronounce it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Interesting comment in SICP

In the endnotes for 1.2:

Numbers that fool the Fermat test are called Carmichael Numbers, and little is known about them other than that they are extremely rare. There are 255 Carmichael Numbers below 100,000,000. The smallest few are 561, 1005, 1729, 2465, 2821, and 6601. In testing primality of very large numbers chosen at random, the chance of stumbling upon a value that fools the Fermat Test is less than the chance that cosmic radiation will cause the computer to make an error in carrying out a "correct" algorithm. Considering an algorithm to be inadequate for the first reason but not for the second illustrates the difference between mathematics and engineering

Interestingly, PGP uses the Fermat Primality Test in some of its algorithms, which according to wikipedia gives it less than a 1 in 1050 chance of hitting a Carmichael Number. Seems good enough for me.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Interesting point on healthcare

I used to be fairly alarmed about the rising cost of healthcare.

But if you look at it under a different lens, maybe it isn't so bad.

Americans now have enough disposable income to spend on healthcare. If you have a weird mole, you can spend $1000 getting it checked out (that is, if you have a job..).

Just as other industries grew rapidly when they started becoming more accessible, so should healthcare.

We all seem to have enough money for food (not too many people die of starvation in the US), everyone* can afford a big screen tv, big car, etc. Now we are using healthcare as the next thing to spend money on.

Not sure if I completely buy that argument, but its interesting to think about.

* update: I meant "everyone" as a hand wavy kind of everyone. Like, 70-90% of the US or so?

Worker Terrorism

How is "US Firm Averts French Explosion" different than terrorism?

A US construction equipment firm has agreed to pay extra compensation to French workers who had threatened to explode gas canisters at their plant.

This is the third time that they have threatened violence.

Elsewhere, French workers have taken managers hostage in "boss-nappings".

so, if I want a raise, I kidnap my boss?


come on Frenchies, you can get your act together...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Swine flu kills fatties


another reason to eat less and exercise.

Basically though, the result is that if you are fat then you have a weaker body. You have more problems with fighting diseases and they tend to gang up on your body once it is weakened.

As a side note, then you cost more to take care of (healthcare wise), which does not bode well for the nationalized healthcare system that we seem to want without paying for it.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sovereign Nations

"Israel can determine for itself - it's a sovereign nation - what's in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else," he told ABC television.

"Whether we agree or not. They're entitled to do that ... We cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do when they make a determination, if they make a determination, that they're existentially threatened."

Interesting, I had to go to Aljazeera to get the whole quote.

The reason I point it out, is that you have to be careful about statements like that. For example, North Korea believes that it is being existentially threatened by the United States. I don't think Biden thinks that they are entitled to doing what they want.

Its a tough game, because you will eventually sound like a hypocrite unless you say "well, my friends, they be cool, they do what they want, and those other guys?.. nah" Which is how nations/people act, but don't say it out loud too much.

I'm not really sure how you answer this dilemma, because you don't want to say "do what you want" to everyone, but you also can't say "do what I tell you" to everyone.

On a side note, Biden has been speaking out of turn a lot lately, Obama is doing cleanup a few times a week.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

the belt stays in america

Chestnut wins again!