Thursday, August 13, 2009
"Their findings aren’t all that favorable to those of us with lofty views of Twitter, because as it turns out, 40.55% of tweets are pointless babble."I didn't click further to see how they defined "babble" or how they determined whether the babble was of the pointless or pointed variety. What stopped me cold was the precision of 40.55%. Not 40% or 45% or even 41%. 40.55%!
One of the concepts I learned in engineering school was that of significant digits. Way too many folks don't understand this important principle. For the innumerate it is the functional equivalent of a grammar error. It reflects poorly on the credibility of the author.
One-third of a million isn't 333,333, it's about 330,000. Any number more precise than that is drivel. There are only one or two significant digits in a million ( between 500,000 and 1,500,000 or even between 900,000 and 1,100,000) so a third of that number has only one or two significant digits.
That's today's lesson in Numeracy. For further reading, go to this book. I recommend it!
Friday, August 07, 2009
Kathryn Bigelow’s film, which was written by Mark Boal, manages to be many things at once—a first-rate action thriller, a vivid evocation of urban warfare in Iraq, a penetrating study of heroism and a showcase for austere technique, terse writing and a trio of brilliant performances. Most of all, though, it’s an instant classic that demonstrates, in a brutally hot and dusty laboratory setting, how the drug of war hooks its victims and why they can’t kick the habit.
I give the movie 4 Stars!
Thursday, August 06, 2009
"The notion that some lawmakers feel it beneath their dignity to travel with the masses on commercial jets is nothing new. But news of the House plan does bring to mind three salient facts, all of which the Democratic leadership hopes the public does not think of in relation to the jet purchase.
Congress isn't short of hypocrisy. Most of the Democrats and their environmentalist allies are reflexively opposed to private jet travel because of its excessive carbon footprint. Or, at least, they are opposed to private jet travel for others.
Neither does it recognize irony. CEOs of the Big Three automakers were excoriated for traveling in their private jets last year to testify in Washington.
And some have an outsized sense of privilege. In 2007, just a month into the new Democratic majority, Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked that taxpayers provide a jet that could make a nonstop flight to her Bay Area district. She reportedly wanted a luxury, stateroom-outfitted version of Boeing's 757-200 like those the vice president, first lady and Cabinet officials fly on.
And there was a lot of foot-stamping when the Bush White House said no."