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I typically receive X pieces of misdelivered (postal) mail ...

water-vole Re:More than 150? Seriously? (217 comments)

Where I grew up, we were at the start of a not so long street and had a large mailbox. When the postman was lazy, he would just put all mail for the entire street in our box.

about a year ago

Compared to my immediate peers, my typing

water-vole Re:Illusory superiority (240 comments)

Mod parent up. Americans are extremely good drivers, possibly on account of driving more than any other nationality.

about a year and a half ago

Could New York City Cut Emissions 90% By 2050?

water-vole Re:Replace the windows! (215 comments)

It was very probably steam heated. Replacing the windows would also make the room quieter by shutting out traffic noise, which would have improved the ambience. But as you say, the owners clearly decided it wasn't worth it.

about a year and a half ago

Could New York City Cut Emissions 90% By 2050?

water-vole Replace the windows! (215 comments)

I stayed at a really fancy hotel in NYC, where enormous amounts of money had been spent on interior decoration. But the windows were single glass windows which let through a lot of cold and noise. You cannot buy such bad windows in many European countries. Why do they not install proper triple-glass windows? I have not seen any building in NY with proper windows. Do they not sell them in the US?

about a year and a half ago

Email Trails Show Bankers Behaving Badly

water-vole Reboot (251 comments)

I think you Americans need a full reboot of your system over there. You have a federal government that is unable to get bills or budgets passed, a federal administration that is unable to oversee banks and business sufficiently and thousands of companies exploiting every loophole that your broken government leaves. Add a judicial system extremely susceptible to frivolous litigation to that. You may blame a few bankers or a few companies, but the problem is deeper than that and possibly has to do with your constitution.

about a year and a half ago

Researchers Opt To Limit Uses of Open-access Publications

water-vole CC would be to allow plagiarism (172 comments)

As a scientist I want everyone to be able to read my work. But if I write an article I don't want to allow others to modify it. If they change it, put their name on it and publish it anywhere, then they are commiting plagiarism, which is one of the most serious crimes in the scientific world. If they change it and leave my name on it, then they are publishing something I did not approve in my name, which is probably even worse.

about a year and a half ago

Paper On Conspiratorial Thinking Invokes Conspiratorial Thinking

water-vole Gold mine for a researcher (371 comments)

In this day and age when citations and publications determine your funding and job prospects as a researcher, it is a gold mine to stumble on a process like this. It recursively generates new articles, and so research funding will flow her way almost automatically.

about a year and a half ago

Employee Outsourced Programming Job To China, Spent Days Websurfing

water-vole Bellman (457 comments)

The 18th century Swedish poet Carl Michael Bellman did something similar. The king of the time (Gustav III) liked his songs and gave him a really cushy job as head of the state lottery. Bellman new he would not be able to hold down a job so he employed someone else to actually do the work and he lived from the difference of what he got from the king and what he paid the person doing the work. He spent most of his time in pubs and wrote an enormous number of drinking songs. He is the Swedish equivalent of Robert Burns.

about a year and a half ago

Muslim Medical Students Boycott Darwin Lectures

water-vole Re:What's evolution got to do with treatment? (1319 comments)

If you don't believe in evolution then by definition you cannot believe that bacteria can acquire resistance to antibiotics. This can and will lead to treatment decisions which are wrong.

more than 2 years ago

I've had a personal email account for ...

water-vole Re:The Central Limit Theorem (336 comments)

You might be. I see a bell curve but no independent random variables and no limit. Hence, no central limit theorem.

more than 3 years ago

Why Does the US Cling To Imperial Measurements?

water-vole I bought a bed in the US (2288 comments)

Bed sizes are not measured in cm or inches. They are twin size, queen size, and king size. Those are the most ridiculous length units I have ever encountered. And no, two twins do not fit in one twin size bed. Also, getting a buzz cut, you tell the hairdresser you want a no. 1, 2 or 3 haircut. The hairdresser has no idea what that is in cm or inches.

more than 3 years ago

Why Google Wants Your Kid's SSN

water-vole Re:It's ridiculous that SSNs should be sensitive i (391 comments)

If you turn up at a government office claiming to be me they will ask you for a valid ID. That can be a passport, drivers licence, a national ID card, an ID card issued by the postoffice, there are a few more possibilities. These are very hard to forge documents with holograms, stuff only visible in UV light, all sorts of security details. Let's say you steal my ID card. They will look at the picture on that card, then at you, then press a button under their desk. :) You have now committed a crime.

The card has my SSN on it. By showing this card I can prove that I am actually the real live person who, in their computer, is represented by that number. They can look me up in their system and take it from there.

more than 3 years ago

Why Google Wants Your Kid's SSN

water-vole It's ridiculous that SSNs should be sensitive info (391 comments)

The problem isn't with google for collecting social security numbers. The problem is that SSNs are so sensitive in the US. I live in Sweden and here social security numbers are a matter of public record and many companies collect these numbers from their customers for their databases. It's quite convenient and, if done right, not as privacy infringing as people seem to think. It's quite ridiculous to have, like the US, a system where you can impersonate someone by knowing their number.

more than 3 years ago

Why Published Research Findings Are Often False

water-vole Quantity, not quality, is often prioritised. (453 comments)

I'm a scientist myself. It's quite clear from where I'm standing that to get good jobs, research grants, etc one needs plenty of published articles. Whether the conclusions of those are true or false is not something that hiring committees will delve into too much. If you are young and have a family to support, it can be tempting to take shortcuts.

more than 3 years ago

Claimed Proof of Riemann Hypothesis

water-vole Re:not so fast (345 comments)

Most of the "proofs" that you talk about are by crackpots who have published almost nothing before. This guy has 21 publications according to mathscinet, some of which are in relatively prestigious journals. So we should take this a bit more serious than the RH proof spam on the arXiv that the parent talks about. That said, it has happened before that a well respected mathematician has announced a proof for the RH that has turned out to be false (de Brange comes to mind). So the jury is still out on this one.

more than 6 years ago


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