Archive

Archive for October, 2013

daily 10/31/2013

October 31, 2013 Leave a comment

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized

daily 10/30/2013

October 30, 2013 Leave a comment
    • All of this started in 1933 when a crazy man from Indiana named Edwin “Cannonball” Baker drove from New York to Los Angeles in 53 hours and 30 minutes in some car called the Blue Streak. No one knows Baker’s motivation for the run, but his 50 mph average was highly impressive, considering the interstate system was not yet built. The record went unbeaten for 40 years.
    • Let’s start with the fuel tanks. There are two of them, both 22 gallons – and that’s in addition to the 23-gallon tank Mercedes installed at the factory. The result is a constant, pervasive gas smell when you’re standing anywhere in the car’s vicinity. But it also means the car can hold 67 gallons of fuel – or, put another way, over 400 pounds of gasoline. Hence the active suspension.
    • But it’s so much more than fuel tanks. There’s a police scanner. There are two Garmin GPS units with traffic capabilities. There are two iPhone chargers and cradles to run apps like Trapster; an iPad charger and cradle; and three radar detectors. And that’s just the easy stuff. There’s a switch to kill the rear lights, a switch to activate the fuel tanks, and a professionally installed switch panel mounted in the center stack that controls all of these goodies. There’s a CB radio, complete with a giant trunk-mounted antenna. There are two laser jammers. Ed had someone working on a radar jammer, but it wasn’t ready in time.P

      “How much do you think you’ve spent on all this?” I ask.P

      “I don’t even want to calculate it,” says Ed.P

    • new control arm bushings,
    • If that sounds like a lot of effort, it’s because the record-breaking car is no spring chicken: the odometer reads 115,000 miles.P

    • But that wasn’t Ed. Between the 67-gallon gas tank and the CL55’s “upper 13s” fuel economy, Ed says he was able to travel more than 800 miles between fuel stops. He removed the rear seat on the driver’s side to fit a spare tire, since trunk real estate was reserved for the fuel tanks. And he used the CB radio to pose as a trucker.P

    • He hired a GPS tracking company to document the car’s every move.
    • One of those calls came to me, about six weeks ago. Ed told me his plan, and then – politely as ever – asked me to be his co-driver. The cross-country driving record has always fascinated me, and I’ve always said I would break it one day – but right now, I couldn’t bear the intense liability and legal risk. Most potential drivers had similar concerns.P

    • But while the team was assembled, they weren’t necessarily ready. On a test run to find the best way out of Manhattan, Ed was stopped by the NYPD for making a right turn on red – and heading the wrong way on a one-way street – at the advice of a mobile app suggested by Dave.
    • Ed, Dave, and Dan left the Red Ball Garage in Manhattan, the site of the original Cannonball Run starting line, at 9:56 p.m. on Friday, October 19. They promptly got stuck in traffic.
    • They didn’t have night vision, as Roy did, and the police scanner wasn’t working. But the detection devices behaved perfectly, the CB was adequate, and, most importantly, every GPS unit was plotting the same course.
    • More importantly, however, they had a lead car to follow through most of Pennsylvania. It was the first of several they’d have along the trip: a friend of Ed’s or Dave’s who lived along the way and volunteered to get on the highway a few hours before the CL55 came raging past. The lead car would drive the speed limit, 150 or 200 miles ahead, and warn the team of police, construction, or other potential issues. It made all the difference on the first leg.P

    • Ed got an excited call from a friend back home who was tracking the group’s progress. He had some incredible news: the team could travel the speed limit for the entire remainder of the trip … and still break Roy’s record. They had 1,200 miles to go.P

    • Yes, the car smelled like the inside of a gas pump – but that was the tradeoff for its immense range. And the team could use two pumps simultaneously, which meant filling up all three tanks took about as long as filling up a normal car’s single tank.
    • As long as the CL55 could last a few more hours without catching on fire, Ed knew the team would make it.
    • At 11:46 p.m. on Saturday, October 20, the group reached the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach, California, the site of the original Cannonball Run finish line.
    • The team covered 2,813.7 miles at an average speed of 98 miles per hour. They stopped for fuel just three times. Based on that number, Alex Roy’s 31:04 record had been beaten by two hours and 14 minutes.
    • The world’s largest educational publisher, London-based Pearson, reported today that a backlash against its bullishly priced textbooks is eating into profits. The publisher warned that the margins in its American education business—which accounts for 50% of group sales—will fall this year. “Lower freshman enrollments and bookstore purchasing have produced a weak trading environment for college textbook publishing,” the company said
    • One-third of students download course materials from sites of dubious legality, according to the Book Industry Study Group, which also reports that the share of students who simply scan and copy a shared textbook is also on the rise. Though it’s a much more distant danger, digital textbook sales will likely squeeze big publishers’ margins even more.
    • Then there’s the chilling discovery made by attendees of the Group of 20 summit near St. Petersburg last month. After submitting the souvenirs from his Russia G20 gift bag for technical analysis, Belgian Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, discovered that the thumb drives and phone-charging cables could be used “for undercover detection of computer data,” reports the Los Angeles Times. The Kremlin has dismissed the allegations, and the European Commission denies “evidence of a problem” with the G20 freebies.
    • Limits are the core tool that we build upon for calculus.
    • There are many, many times where the function value is the same as the limit at a point.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Categories: Uncategorized

daily 10/29/2013

October 29, 2013 Leave a comment
    • West Virginia for the first time is selling beer at football games to everyone of legal drinking age — not just high rollers in luxury suites — “and we’re expecting to profit around $1 million,” athletic director Oliver Luck said in an interview.
    • That season, the hapless Oilers traded for veteran quarterback Archie Manning, which meant Luck’s role on the team in the strike-shortened season of 1982 was reduced to little more than designated rookie gopher. And, as such, it often fell to Luck to drive out to the Houston airport each week to pick up the starting quarterback’s kids — two boys you might have heard of before, once or twice, named Cooper and Peyton.
    • So we had to squeeze both kids in or, sometimes, one went back into the hatchback. I’m guessing it was Peyton since he was younger. He would have been 6 at the time, I think. Looking back now, 30 years later, I realize how valuable the cargo was that I was carrying back there.”
    • All told, excluding student loans and their home mortgage, the Ackleys owed somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000—$50,000 “if you count the truck,” Tannie told me one balmy Sunday afternoon this April in East Texas.
    • His name is Dave Ramsey, and he is the most important personal finance guru in America.
    • If there were such a style, Ramsey’s could be described as “meticulous casual.
    • “I’m not here to get your money,” he said to an audience of people who had paid $39 a ticket. “I am here to change your life.”
    • If you don’t listen to talk radio, attend an evangelical church, live in the South, or watch Fox News, there is a decent chance you’ve never heard of Dave Ramsey
    • And finally there’s Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, a hugely popular video-based course that lays out his trademark, biblically inspired approach to debt and money in nine facilitated sessions. It convenes in weekly meetings at evangelical churches and on military bases across the country. There’s also the occasional series run at a hospital or jail.
    • No to anything you cannot afford with cash, with the exception of a fixed-rate 15-year home mortgage.
    • At this, the Texas crowd erupted in cheers. And it’s easy to understand why. Like the Ackleys, the audience members are mostly white, over the age of 35, and apparently middle class (in the way we generally assume people who aren’t obviously destitute to be middle class).
    • In his version of the story, the wider economy’s problems are not structural or political, but instead stem from the fact that most people, including his listeners, are weak-willed, self-indulgent, and stupid (he doesn’t shy from the word) when it comes to spending.
    • If you can only impose discipline on yourself, wealth will follow.
    • Purge yourself of debt through self-mastery, and you will enter a life of prosperity and 12 percent annual returns in the stock market (with the help of Ramsey’s endorsed network of financial advisers).
    • The phrase is a reference to Proverbs 6:4-5: “Give no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids. Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter.”
    • What he offers, in return, is hope through sacrifice—and, again, a sense of control. “It’s nice to see there is a way out,” Tannie confided in me before Ramsey’s stage show resumed.
    • His counsel even wards them away from a source of relief he himself once depended on: Before making his fortune as a self-help guru, Ramsey completed his own journey out of crushing debt by filing for bankruptcy in 1988.
    • But the majority of calls have something do with debt, job loss, or broken families.
    • Ramsey calls the college loan crisis at least in part a “parenting problem” caused by moms and dads who can’t say no, and he is forever telling people to look at state schools.
    • In the quagmire of today’s economy, Ramsey offers moral clarity: If you work hard, you can make it. If you are lazy, you won’t.
    • Though he appears on secular media outlets like Fox, Ramsey’s public persona owes much to a Southern Christian archetype: the wry, plainspoken pastor who doles out tough love.
    • He’s often telling callers to get second jobs, to drive “beater” cars, and to survive on rice and beans.
    • More specifically, when it comes to getting out of debt, Ramsey’s got a plan. It’s called the Seven Baby Steps.
    • When a family has paid down its bills—whether in arrears by $1,000 or $100,000—mom, dad, and the kids are encouraged to drop by the studio or phone in to recount the tale.
    • Everyone in the Ramsey universe wants to work through the Debt Snowball and unleash the Debt Free Scream.
    • “Rather than repaying the debts with the highest interest rates more quickly (the financially optimal strategy), many consumers chose to repay the smallest debts as soon as possible.”
    • the Debt Snowball has the potential to cost people a lot of money.
    • But he argues that it’s more important for people to start feeling positive feedback by closing accounts.
    • A different study
      • start here. 
    • It’s estimated that up to 25% of household water consumption goes through (or to be more precise, down) the toilet. The average toilet uses about 11 liters (2.9 gallons) per flush. The new guidelines are expected to suggest maximum urinal flush volumes of 1 liter, and maximum toilet flush volumes of 3.5-5 liters. By way of comparison, the 1992 US Energy Policy Act set the American standard for toilet flush volume at just over 6 liters.
    • Huy Fong, which has struggled to meet global demand for Sriracha ever since it began making the popular hot sauce back in 1980, invested heavily in its future when it opened the new plant earlier this year. The factory measures 655,000 square feet, more than double the size of the old one a few miles away in Rosemead, and is meant to allow Huy Fong to triple its Sriracha output—if it resolves the clashes with its neighbors, that is.
    • Remember,  Fiat management doesn’t actually want Chrysler to go public. Marchionne has made no secret of his desire to secure 100% ownership of Chrysler to fulfill his ambition of creating a bona fide global auto giant. But Fiat has been unable to agree terms with the unions for its stake, and the two parties are billions of dollars apart in valuation.
    • The unions also need to monetize their stake in Chrysler, which is looking increasingly healthy, and will report quarterly results tomorrow. Last month, the unions revealed a $3 billion funding shortfall in their obligations to retiree members. In an effort to maximize the value of their stake, the union trust forced Chrysler into preparations to sell 16.6% of it, with the hope of getting a better price from the public markets than from Marchionne.
    • So that everyone is aware, it wasn’t a money issue or opportunity issue, Texas is viewed as an out of control circus right now. Political attacks against Bill Powers, regents contacting potential coaching candidates, pending law suits all add up to an environment that most first tier ADs want no part of.
    • Coaches are squabbling over facility times, pay, academic resources, media resources and more. If Plonsky is well regarded for her skills in media and marketing, she is viewed as a terrible manager of people.
    • Almost all of the ADs that Texas has spoken with want control of the AD department. Having a mens and womens department isn’t a structure that they are comfortable with. Add in the Kearney lawsuit and I would guess that womens AD Plonsky is not long for her job in Austin.
    • Entrenched bureaucracy needs to change. The Texas AD has too many long time employees with comfortable relationships. At this point many of them are there to justify and defend their own inflated positions. The new athletic director is going to need to make sweeping changes throughout the department in order to change the culture.
    • People like Wallace Hall are really hurting our chances because of the instability that they are creating.
    • Any settlement above $1mm has to be approved by the regents and their initial response was no.
    • If her allegations are true, their could be serious consequences in two mens sports and four womens sports.
    • I didn’t say in April that you would see (new product categories) this year and the first half of next year. Just to be clear on that. What I have said is that you would see some exciting new products from us in the fall of this year and across 2014. I obviously stand by that, and you’ve seen a lot of things over the last couple months
    • In terms of new product categories specifically, if you look at the skills that Apple has, from hardware to software and services and an incredible app ecosystem, this set of things is very unique, I think. No one has a set of skills like this, and we obviously believe that we can use our skills in building other great products that are in categories that represent areas where we do not participate today. So we’re pretty confident about that.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Categories: Uncategorized

daily 10/25/2013

October 25, 2013 Leave a comment
    • A story doesn’t have to have a happy ending – it just has to have a satisfying ending.
    • Our main character has completed his quest, “cradled by two loving arms that I’ll die for” – what a fantastic line. And at the same time, you feel the terrible loss and destruction caused by one rash act fueled by desire. That’s how tragedy works, y’all.
    • And if you think hard about “El Paso,” a strict read, the narrator has to be dead from the beginning, unless you believe he’s narrating the song as it happens.
    • Campbell said, “We were quite optimistic that our portion of the system would work when the system went live.” That is either a lie or a revelation of ghastly incompetence, because no competent programmer or manager would ever display a shred of optimism until full end-to-end testing had been done
    • Campbell said, “There were use-cases and things of that sort,” evidently unfamiliar with what specifications are (hint: not use-cases). Slavitt said, “We believe we received appropriate specifications.”
    • This is dismal not least because this is exactly where a good manager would know how to save face: by saying the specifications were bad in spite of your best efforts.
    • A competent buck-passer would say that the performance guidelines in the specifications had proved inaccurate, or that she had warned the government that she could not meet the guidelines.
    • Slavitt’s worst facepalm, meanwhile, was when he defended the security of the data hub by saying, “Our systems don’t hold data. They just transport data through it.” Mike Rogers, R-Mich., immediately jumped on this: “You don’t have to hold it to protect it.”
    • . Her agenda is not to make healthcare.gov work, but to protect CGI Federal.
    • By sending people so ignorant of specifications, process, and technology to represent their work at a government hearing, CGI and QSSI displayed contempt for the crucially important job they were tasked with. Campbell, Slavitt, and those like them should be immediately removed from the healthcare.gov project. They are bugs.
    • Campbell and Slavitt, a senior vice president and an executive vice president, respectively, are not techies; they are not project managers. Their expertise is in extracting as much money as possible from the government in procurement contracts, and judging by the numbers, they are very good at it.
    • But if you place these kinds of managers on the critical communication chain of a software project, you immediately endanger its success.
    • Project quality is sacrificed for the sake of appearances—meeting the letter of the contract with indifference toward the actual practical outcome.
    • Campbell and Slavitt made many gaffes that would ensure that any programmer with common sense would never work under them. Let me debug their testimony a bit.
    • In other words, it was “ready,” but it wasn’t ready—because Slavitt is defining “readiness” not in terms of the product actually working, but in terms of meeting contract demands.
    • , the Pre-Operational Readiness Review in their contracts “required end-to-end testing results.”
    • “We have not been the systems integrator and we have never been the systems integrator.” Campbell saying it doesn’t make it so—CGI clearly was in charge of integration.
    • Let me explain how end-to-end testing works in integrating large systems owned by multiple vendors
    • Each vendor works out detailed specifications for how the systems should interact. These are made as clear as possible so that when something goes wrong—and it always does—you can point to the spec and say, “You weren’t supposed to do that and that’s why our component appeared to misbehave.” In order to meet the specs, each vendor simulates end-to-end testing by building a prototype of the larger system.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Categories: Uncategorized

daily 10/23/2013

October 23, 2013 Leave a comment
    • While more and more college and NFL teams are adopting the same up-tempo spread philosophy Briles used at Stephenville, Baylor has stayed one step ahead by taking these ideas — from formations to play-calling aggressiveness to pace — to their extremes.
    • By taking such wide splits, Baylor puts every pass defender on an island, transforming most zone defenses into a type of de facto one-on-one man coverage.
    • Briles’s experience with Yeoman’s veer has helped Baylor’s run game. While most spread-offense coaches are content to run basic zone plays, Briles and his staff mix in a variety of schemes. And if you give Baylor the run, it will certainly take it. Last year, the Bears finished fourth in the country in passing yards, but in their win over UCLA, they threw only 13 passes versus 67 runs.
    • Briles and his staff use a full assortment of play-action tactics to devastating effect: extended fakes, pulling guards, and tight ends and blocking backs who either stay in to block or slip out undetected.
    • The beauty of Baylor’s offense is that it’s almost all driven by structure and repetition rather than complexity
    • For truly great offenses, it’s never the cleverness of the plays or concepts individually. It’s how the entire offense fits together.
    • You only get 12 possessions a game, and we want to get our money’s worth.”3

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Categories: Uncategorized

daily 10/20/2013

October 20, 2013 Leave a comment
    • Olga is on her own. Her son is in prison, being held on suspicion of having committed what they are calling on television ‘the art theft of the century’. She knows that the accusation is correct. Along with friends, her son Radu stole seven valuab

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Categories: Uncategorized

daily 10/18/2013

October 18, 2013 Leave a comment
    • Congratulations, Tea Party. In the midst of Obamacare’s glitch-ridden debut, you did the one thing that could make us love our government: You took it away and held it hostage. Don’t expect any thanks from the president you helped.
    • “It turns out that when we lose consciousness, the communication among areas of the brain becomes extremely inefficient, as if suddenly each area of the brain became very distant from every other, making it difficult for information to travel from one place to another,” Monti said.
    • Surprisingly, Sharon, who was presumed to be in a vegetative state since suffering a brain hemorrhage in 2006, showed significant brain activity, Monti and his colleagues reported.

       

    • That’s the intense guy with an extensive NFL background who preaches fundamentals and rallying to the football and intensity.

       

    • The defensive tackles are consistently playing with better pad level as Malcom Brown has become a difference-making presence inside and the other three tackles in the rotation have also made pays of their own. On the outside at defensive end, junior
    • having Phillips and Steve Edmond flip assignments at one point when Oklahoma made their own offensive shift in an effort to get Edmond in coverage against a running back,

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Categories: Uncategorized