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November 13th, 2015

09:24 am: "Bad money drives out good"
The Gresham's law has two non-monetary examples:
  1. Anti-Jewish bias at the best Soviet universities admissions led to filtering out the best non-Jewish students too (according to Gelfand)

  2. Soviet purges hit the better people more (e.g., Shtern vs. Zhukov and Korolev vs. Kostikov)



October 3rd, 2014

08:17 am: Good morning children!
My name is Bill Gates, and I am your new math teacher.
Today we are counting to 10:
1, 2, 3, 95, 98, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10.

September 16th, 2014

08:09 am: Geometric mean
A human cell contains ~10^14 atoms; a human body contains ~ 10^14 (human) cells (plus ~10^15 symbiotic bacteria in the intestines).
Earth is ~2*10^8 larger (linearly) than an apple; an apple is ~2*10^8 larger than an atom.
Diameter of an atom is ~10^4 diameter of its nucleus; distance from the Sun to the Kuiper cliff is ~10^4 Sun's radius.

Wow!

Now, if you think about it, you can produce an inexhaustible stream of such "wow" facts.
E.g., take the total human population: ~7 billion. Take the smallest country: Pitcairn islands with 56 people. The geometric average is ~600k people. So, the world is 10,000 times as big as Montenegro, which is 10,000 as populous as Pitcairn islands. Wow!

September 10th, 2014

08:24 am: Диалог с преподавателем истории КПСС:
- Иван Иванович, а почему Маркса конспектировать проще, чем Ленина?
- Голубчик, но ведь Маркса переводили...

То ли в гебне идиоты, то ли время уже было вегетарианское...

September 5th, 2014

10:09 am: How to reduce motor vehicle deaths?
30+k people die on the American roads every year.
Most accidents happen when one of more cars change lanes.
Why do they change lanes? To pass each other!
10 years ago I was in Italy (famous for its crazy drivers but having 30% smaller traffic deaths than the US) and I was stunned by the stress-free "autostrada" driving. There are just two lanes, both quite busy. The right lane has speed 90km/h (~55 mph), the left lane - 120 km/h (~75 mph). When there are 3 lanes, the speeds are, I think, 90/110/130. Speed limit is, I think, 90 km/h. No jerk tries to drive slowly in the left lane slower than "accepted". The impression is that slowing down traffic by driving in the "wrong lane" is punished by death.
How about we try the same thing?
Instead of going crazy about speed, make sure that people respect each other.
Punish severely driving in the wrong lane, defined as being passed on the right!

August 29th, 2014

04:26 pm: An Information Theoretic Approach to Partying
Moderate Drinking and Partying increases the number of possible outcomes (e.g., the set of places where you will find yourself in the morning) and evens out their probabilities, thus increasing the entropy.
However, excess drinking collapses the space of possible outcomes to the trivial one (you will find yourself in the local morgue) thus reducing the entropy to zero.
Therefore there must be the optimal amount of drinking which maximizes the entropy, i.e., makes your life most interesting.

Now, how would we go about establishing that optimal amount for each circumstance?

July 21st, 2014

04:25 pm: Stop being nice
Israel is trying to curry favor with the West by minimizing the Arab casualties.
This is a total waste: no matter what the Jews do, they will be the guilty party. The world does not care whether 10 or 100 or 1,000 Arabs are killed - it is still "a massacre".
Ergo: Israel should stop the warnings and increase the use firepower, saving its soldiers.

June 27th, 2014

11:55 am: Samsung phones suck
Imagine you buy a car.
It is a brand new car with shining reviews.
You walk up to it and try to get in - but you cannot find a door!
The salesperson tells you that this is such an advanced car that it does not have a door because you do not need it - you teleport inside.
So, you press a button and - you teleport inside! And when you are done, you teleport outside.
You are excited and delighted and you use the car.
And then the car gets dirty - you know, crumbs and trash &c - and you want to vacuum it.
So you bring out your vacuum cleaner and ... THERE IS NO DOOR.
You can teleport inside, but not when the vacuum is plugged in.
So, there is no way to clean up the car - it remains dirty and you hate it.

When I connected my Motorolla Droid phone to a computer via USB, it behaved like a USB flash drive - any OS would connect to it and I can transfer the files to and from it as I see fit.
Now, Samsung phone are not like that. You have to download a special application (which, of course, exists only for THIS and THAT OS, but not for THOSE OSes) which has about 10% of functionality a normal file browser has.

Whoever designed this, I wish that you can never open any door yourself. You should always have to call Samsung tech support and have a technician visit you on-site and open the door for you.

June 24th, 2014

11:13 am: IQ Society
Today on the subway I saw a gentleman in a T-shirt which said

IQ Society
e=MC2

Yep.
Lower case e.
Capital M and C.
IQ society.

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