Monday, March 24, 2008

Lasik success and dying alone

When you get Lasik, you can't just look at the 98% or whatever of people with successful outcomes, you have to consider how bad it would be if you lost sight or had painful dry eye syndrome. People seem to intuitively understand weighing the good outcome against the worst outcome when it comes to their personal well being. (But they understand less why it can make sense to short the stock market, even if there's a 70% chance the stock market will go up this week, even though the logic is basically the same.)

When I visited a cave last year by myself, I brought 3 headlamps with fresh batteries, and backup batteries for all 3 lamps (in different pockets even, in case I were to lose some). A friend once said this seemed excessive, but it's *just* adequate when you consider the potential magnitude of the fail if you lost light down there (dying alone, in the dark). (I read a listing of cave related deaths a few years back, the descriptions were truly awful: man drowned alone.)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Food for thought

When I was a kid, I used to be so starved for something to think about during breakfast that I would read the nutritional info on the cereal box over and over. Nothing has changed for me: when I wake up I grab a bowl of cereal and slam through 100 blog posts. (Thankfully the quality of my morning information has gotten better. I recall being a bored kid.)

When I worked construction, I remember being so starved for something to think about that I would put a talk recorded by Carmack on my 128MB mp3 player, and listen to the same talk over and over, in the hope that I would squeeze something more from it. God, I don't miss those days of boredom!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Good quote

"When you're looking into the abyss, you don't quibble over details"

on the Bear Stearns debacle

Monday, March 17, 2008

Libraries' scarcity mentality

When you download an audio book from your library's website now, you get put on a waiting list if one person has already downloaded that book in the last 2 weeks. A much better system would be to allow unlimited downloads, but with the price escalating as the demand increased. The first download of a given book could be free, but the next download of that book could be 50 cents, next could be a $1.50, etc. and then prices could fall back down over time as the downloads expire.

Friday, March 14, 2008


What happened to Bear Stearns?

It ran out of money.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Quote of the Day

"life is shit organized by bastards"

from The Geography of Bliss


Monday, March 10, 2008

Richard Dawkins talk

I had the pleasure of seeing Richard Dawkins talk about The God Delusion at ASU recently. The atmosphere was warm, like a coming out party for atheists. The ideas were clear, he was eloquent and entertaining. (There were a few ideas that didn't seem quite right, but I couldn't put my finger on why. I'd have to watch the talk again to remember. I got swept up in the moment, real thinking has to happen later.)

In a case of (very) mild irony, I ended up playing basketball in a Mormon church after the talk (we weren't supposed to even swear on the court.)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Fires scare me

I saw a lot of smoke out my window just now so I rushed to my car to see what the hell was going on. (It looks like it's just a large brush fire on the side of a pond that somebody set, so it's ok.)

I always investigate now when I see lots of smoke ever since a man died from a house fire on our old lake in Minnesota. We saw the smoke and a bunch of us got in our boats to check it out. Well all we did was sit in our boats scared, wondering if anyone was inside. I've always regretted not having the courage to tell them to drop me off on the shore so I could've ran inside and saved a man that didn't need to die. This wasn't a 30 story tower made of particle board, it was a one story cabin, I could've busted in I'm almost positive. I was right fucking there, I could've done something.