Atendendo a algumas respostas apreciativas e inúmeras ignorativas, aqui está......

29 junho 2011

Vote NO on clamshell containers!

In Massachusetts, independents can vote in any party's primary, and there will not be a Democratic primary. Believe it or not, it crossed my mind to vote for Huntsman in the Republican primary, just so that Rosa and Hannah don't have to be ashamed of whichever meshuga the Republicans come up with to run for president of their country.

Now Susanna, who read the NYTimes magazine article on Huntsman - I didn't have the patience - tells me that his wealth comes from his father's invention of the Big Mac clamshell container. I hate those containers! They contain everything that is wrong in America: self-indulgence, bad food, trash, pollution, waste of energy, lazyness, all in the service of poor work and personal habits.

I hate those containers more than Sarah Palin. If Huntsman was counting on my vote, he lost it.

Clarificação sobre redes sociais

Uso muito pouco o Linkedin, mas aceito conexões de qualquer pessoa contanto que eu reconheça o nome, e a mensagem contenha algum texto no lugar do "fulano quer ser seu amigo no Linkedin". Quem conecta sem escrever uma mísera linha é spammer.

I don't get Facebook. A interface não faz nenhum sentido para mim. Vejo um monte de posts repetidos, porém os posts desaparecem depois de poucos dias, então não sei o que perdi. (I think I have a bad rapport with software written by Harvard dropouts.) I use it because you use it. I tend not to friend students on Facebook. Motivo: não quero unfriend ninguém, e aparecem posts além da minha capacidade de ler. Don't take it personally. I also don't friend suggestions, for the same reason. The fact that I have friended one student shall not be misconstrued as implying that I had any additional reasons to not friend another.

Twitter: I like twitter and I tend to follow anyone who doesn't tweet too much about things that are not relevant to me. When tweets become "too much" is a subjective decision.

Orkut: só não saio do Orkut porque para sair tem que entrar.

A melhor rede social é mathoverflow. Só se fala sobre coisas que interessam. Mas não é para todos.

Of course, all this may change if Google+ takes off. The idea of separate groups of friends makes a lot of sense. However social networks are a natural monopoly: I use what everyone uses. So unless everyone joins Google+, it will be irrelevant.

16 junho 2011

I have been completely unproductive in the past few days, so let's tell jokes.
A friend tells a story he got from his Japanese teacher. Not sure if the teacher saw it or just heard about it. 
Japanese Go club, full of strong amateurs and several pros. Anyone under 5 dan is there for lessons. One regular is a well-known 9-dan pro. Everyone knows everyone else here, and most of the other strong players around.
One day, someone nobody recognises walks in, immediately sits down with the 9-dan, takes two stones, and loses by a narrow margin. Observers are amazed.
After he leaves, someone gets up the courage to ask "Sensei, who the devil was that?" "My elder brother. I learned Go from him and did not win a game against him until I was 18, but I turned pro and he went into business."
 The forgot to tell the rest of the dialogue:

"Sensei, are you all that strong in your family?"
"No, our younger brother wins against both of us even."
"So why doesn't he play?"
"He stopped when grandma learned to play. She beat him with 4 stones handicap."

09 junho 2011

Morumbi contra o metrô

Li no jornal hoje que os bacanas do Morumbi estão em pé de guerra contra uma nova linha do metrô. O motivo é que a linha 17 Ouro vai passar perto da favela. O pretexto é ambiental. (Estou vendendo o bondinho do Pão de Açúcar a preço especial para quem concorda com eles que o metrô faz mais fumaça e barulho que carro.)

Previsão: a imprensa alternativa e os movimentos sociais não vão fazer muito escândalo nesse caso, ao contrário do caso da estação em Higienópolis. Será porque não tem simpatia pelo povo que vai se beneficiar da nova linha, ou porque não vão conseguir encontrar um grupo étnico para culpar?

Oportunidade: esticar a linha uns 2km traria o metrô para dentro da Usp, remediando em parte a oportunidade perdida com o traçado da linha Amarela.

07 junho 2011

Mileage may vary

The NYTimes states, in an otherwise impeccable editorial about fuel consumption standards, that

"actual highway mileage, as with all vehicles, is lower [than the EPA rating], in [the case of Ford Fusion S model with a rated mileage of 34.9 m.p.g.] about 27 m.p.g."

There is at least one exception to the rule. My 2002 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T is rated by the EPA at 21 miles per gallon city, 29 highway. I thought it was to 24-31, but Edmund's site has 21-29. In any case, my car runs about 30 miles per gallon in mixed driving, 28 in the city, and above 32 on the highway. A site called Buzztrader confirms my numbers.

I suspect that the EPA tests are designed to overstate mileage of cars with large engines and automatic transmissions, so perhaps they overestimate fuel usage of a turbo engine with manual transmission. Or maybe the red color causes an hitherto unsuspected Doppler effect on efficiency.