Comments of gerdemb (50)

Comment on post following through on a promise: links!:

The post about "libertarian" Japan was interesting, but I think the poster is suffering more from "expat fatigue" than making any kind of insightful point about Japan. First of all, his post really only applies to Tokyo and not the rest of Japan which is quite different and I think he misunderstands some things. For example, there are no trash cans to prevent another sarin gas attack. As an American it seems he values parks, WiFi and free parking. Obviously the Japanese don't value these things quite as much, but I don't think that has much to do with a "libertarian paradise".

Comment on post the best part of linking up...:

The "Teleporter Library" is an interesting though experiment, but I'm not sure I agree with the statment, "Here is a solution no sane person would propose to this problem, if it were a real problem: Prohibit people from using the teleportation network to loan books and movies to their friends, and monitor it to ensure they did not do so." That sounds exactly like what media companies would do...

Comment on post link smattering:

Interesting article about OBL with a lot of details. It sounds like they've given up pretending that the objective was to capture him....

Comment on post Poor Economics review:

When I heard an interview with the authors of the book on NPR's Planet Money I added it to my reading list. I've heard the anecdote about TV's influence on Brazilian families before, but always wondered if it was really true. Does that mean financing TV shows with "responsible" messages improves family planning? The Brazilians TV novelas I've seen do anything, but promote responsible behavior... :)

Comment on post Netflix for X, other random links:

I'm hoping that maybe someday my book trading site ( will become the Netflix for books! :)

Comment on post Why gays should come out at work:

Just curious, have you ever had a "bad" experience coming out to someone?

Comment on post just some links: movies, money, voting:

Interesting survey. In summary, women seem to dislike someone who committed a crime (prostitution or drunk driving), over 65 dislike irresponsible financial activity (raising own salary or having large debts) and Republicans dislike categories of people such as homosexuals, atheists and Muslims. Also if you're over 65 you don't like people who believe in evolution....

Comment on post hospice care:

The analogy of doctors fighting death as a war is a good one. It's a war you can't win...

Comment on post a few links:

The chart is confusing to me. What does the X axis measure? Don't know if you saw my previous post, but Google didn't something similar for their search volume:

Comment on post Brain Rules:

Sounds like an interesting book, and I'd ask to borrow it if we weren't so far away....

Comment on post quick linkies:

I don't think soccer is any different than other sports in this respect. Do baseball pitchers call their own balls, or football players their own illegal tackles? The only "self-reporting" sports I can think of are golf and tennis neither of which are team sports and both have infractions that are simple and easy to see.

Comment on post quick linkies:

What I never understand about these "rouge trader" stories is why there aren't safety mechanisms in place. Why can one trader with no authorization gamble with such large amounts of money? At AMD, we had more protection to check-in code than these guys seem to have to gamble with millions of dollars.

Comment on post quick linkies:

Interesting article about "cheating" in soccer. In my opinion, it's the referee who makes the calls and it's not the obligation of players to report their own fouls. Unlike tennis and a few other sports, there is no tradition of players self reporting infractions. In soccer, most many fouls are in a grey area anyway, but even in clear cases like the England goal even if the German goalie had tried to get the goal counted it wouldn't have been allowed by the referee.

What annoys me more is that players who spend the whole game faking dives to a to get a call and then complain when inevitably the referee calls a non-foul.

Comment on post world cup links:

That sounds like one crazy soccer match. I wonder why they had such strange rules...

Comment on post Best story of the World Cup so far:

I thought this was funny too. There was some discussion of whether he could start out playing keeper and then switch positions after the game started, but apparently FIFA wasn't going to allow that either...

Comment on post The World Cup starts tomorrow!:

What I think is interesting, is that every World Cup final match has involved one of only four countries: Brazil, Argentina, Germany or Italy! Considering the 80 year history of the tournament and the fact that any country in the world is eligible I think this pretty amazing...

Comment on post new external HD, project, life:

My 500GB Iomega drive just died after less than 6 months of use. No way to get a warranty repair in Brazil and a new drive here at that size costs almost $400. Sigh....

Comment on post Rich Dad Poor Dad review:

I tried to read the book a while ago, but I didn't like it all. Later I found this web page which pokes tons of holes in the advice as well as basically exposing Kiyosaki as a schiester.

Comment on post rumsfeld flashbacks:

I saw the same article about the Bible verses on the intelligence reports. Interestingly nobody involved admits on the record or anonymously that they ever saw or heard about them. The story seems just a little to fantastic that I wonder if it's really true. Why did this only come out now and how do GQ (of all magazines) get a copy of them? Not that I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be true...

Comment on post I am the law!:

Oops. Pushed post too soon. Anyway, just wanted to say that I enjoyed your commentary and like you I left jury duty feeling positive that they system works.

Comment on post I am the law!:

One of the very first posts I made on my blog was about my jury dury experience.

Comment on post Email to Time Warner re bandwidth caps:

Yeah, I guess my point was that in my opinion metered internet access in of itself isn't necessarily a bad thing and actually has some advantages. It does sound like the way the caps are being introduced and priced by TWC does suck.

Comment on post Email to Time Warner re bandwidth caps:

Also, I recommend you switch to Grande just to "stick to the man"! Todd and I had them for several years and had no complaints.

Comment on post Email to Time Warner re bandwidth caps:

My first introduction to bandwidth caps was when we moved to Portugal. Having never measured my bandwidth usage before, I wasn't sure how large an amount we would need. We opted for one of the cheaper plans that had a limit of around 15-20GB a month.

At first I was paranoid about downloading anything large, using Skype or visiting any sites with streaming videos. I installed bandwidth monitors on our computers and checked them carefully to make sure we weren't getting near the limit. In an average month, we'd barely even reached 5GB. After doing this for the first few months, I realized that there was no need to be paranoid and that you'd have to be a super-heavy user to get anywhere near the limit.

Since then I've almost completely stopped worrying about the limits at all and just use the Internet as I normally would. Unless you're downloading tons of huge movie files or ISOs (more than 1GB everyday!) I can't see how the average person would come close to the cap.

Outside of the US, bandwidth limits and paying per GB transferred are quite common. Having an clearly stated price for bandwidth can be an advantage over a "unlimited" plan that in reality has a secret or unwritten limit set by the ISP anyway. In Portugal, many of the plans had all you can use bandwidth "happy-hours" during off-peak times. They also offered very cheap monthly plans with low limits like ($10 a month for 1GB) for very light users or even pay-as-you-go plans.

So, I guess my point us that for most customers I think bandwidth caps are a non-issue and very light users may even be able to save money by using smaller plans. (Not sure if that is something that Time Warner is going to offer.)

It does stink that most people are probably going to pay the same amount for a limited service that was previously unlimited. I would also worry that this could be the beginning of the end for net neutrality. You can easily imagine, that specially approved Time Warner "partners" will be exempt from bandwidth caps effectively putting other services at a disadvantage.

Just my two cents. :)

Comment on post links for everyone!:

That's cool. I still don't really understand why he was offering a bounty for this. As several people (including me) pointed out on his blog there are already several Firefox extensions that do basically what he was looking for well. Enjoy your bounty though. :)

Comment on post PasswordHash firefox extension!:

What a weird coincidence! I just posted on this guys blog recommending PasswordMaker which I think basically meets all of his requirements.

Comment on post Ike:

Several years ago the National Park service implemented a policy of charging people for their own rescues if it was determined they were not following rules or acting in an unnecessarily risky manor. For example, despite the numerous signs warning you not to try, many people still think they can hike in and out of the Grand Canyon in one day. The Park Service got tired of footing the cost of all the helicoptor rescues and starting charging the "victims." I understand an hour of helicoptor time and a rescue team costs several thousand dollars.

Comment on post vote, etc.:

Many people here in Portugal are interested in the election and know a surprising amount about how the system works, but whenever I try to explain the whole primary system with different states with different rules for each party having elections or caucuses on different days and superdelegates, etc. etc., I start to realize how screwed up the process is...

Comment on post obama v. clinton:

Thanks for writing up the summary. Even though there is a lot coverage of the election here, we don't get the debates broadcast.

Comment on post united way iPhone giveaway - bleck:

This reminds of the reason that my parents never paid me to do chores. They believed that children should do chores, because it was their obligation as part of the family. If kids are paid to do chores, then it becomes just a job which they could chose not to do if they didn't want the money.

Seems like the same idea applies here (sort of). Donating to charity is something we do because we believe that it's the right thing to do. Offering prizes for donations, while perhaps increasing donations, cheapens the experience and conditions people to expect a reward (or chance at an award) for donating and in the future. In the future, the charity may find in the future they are forced to offer awards to continue receiving the same level of donations...

Comment on post fun with cell phones:

I'm constantly amazed about how bad cell phone design is. Not only does my current phone (Motorola) reboot itself randomly when I'm using it, but it sometimes also silently drops into a mode where it won't receive any messages or calls. It's interface is also confusing and full of bugs. The worst part is it's basically an upgrade of the same phone I bought in the states four years ago. It seems that all they added was a camera and some worthless multimedia features (seriously who watches moves on their phone?) when improving none of the bugs or interface annoyances...

Comment on post unstuck not in st. louis:

I once had intermittent warning light problems with my Prius too. It was very frustrating because the light would go out before I could get to the dealership. Once I did manage to drive to the dealership with the light on, but somehow they couldn't read the code and the light went back off. Exactly like your case, besides the check engine light there were no other problems.

What is really stupid is that a car as sophisticated as the Prius can't seem to store any warning codes! Hell why not even show the driver the code on the LCD screen?

Comment on post escalefters, or escalumps:

In Japan, of course everyone follows this rule without any prompting - the advantages of a homogenized society. Interestingly in one part of Japan the standers stand on the opposite side. This is a topic of endless speculation and one the first things someone will warn you about when visiting the region.

Back to the Washington Metro, I can't understand why a non-cautionary sign can't be posted (close or not), but what about painting symbols on the escalator steps themselves or using audio warnings?

Comment on post beckham's back, all right!:

This seems to be one of the paradoxes of public transportation - in order to move people more efficiently you also have to concentrate them which creates congestion loosing efficiency.

Comment on post Happy Fifth of July!:

So, I've heard a lot of buzz about Twitter, but I'm still not sure what it is exactly...

Comment on post score your representative!:

Interesting web page. I wish there was more data to compare the votes to. I guess you don't have the same data set for senators too?

Comment on post Is the weekend here yet?:

Ha ha! Is Google trying to say something about Portuguese culture?

Comment on post Is the weekend here yet?:

It looks like you're number two on Google now!

Comment on post Public service announcements:


Comment on post /slap someone:

I agree with you completely and it's probably stories like this that get religious conservatives all excited:;_ylt=AoWuxlB2WyRT6xgFx0P2MqkDW7oF;_ylu=X3oDMTBhZDhxNDFzBHNlYwNtZW5ld3M-

If gay marriage were allowed, there would be more married households which is what I thought Christians wanted....

Comment on post newspaper irritations:

One of the things I never liked at work was justifying my time away from work. More than once, I scheduled a vacation close to a deadline and was forced to explain in detail why I needed to take the time off. To my mind, why should my employer care why I am leaving and do they really want to get into the business of prioritizing my vacation to visit my fiancee vs. a maternity leave vs. a doctoral dissertation etc.?

I've long had the radical idea to make all jobs paid by the hour and include no free vacation. Since your employer isn't paying you when you're gone (for any reason) they have less justification to try aprove or deny your time away and it would allow people to take longer time away from work if they were willing to accept the loss in pay. Also, if everyone is paid by the hour, there would be less incentive for employers to push overtime since it would cost them real money unlike the current salaried position with de facto overtime.

Since society probably wants to give working mothers a break to raise children, this money could come from the government in the form of a stipend or other payment, but should be divorced as an obligation on the employer. In America, I think too many societal benefits are expected to be provided by the employer (maternity leave, health care etc.) that are more fairly taking care of by the government. This would also be more fair to people who don't hold "traditional" (or any) jobs.

Anyway, I don't have any hope these kind of changes will ever happen in America though...

Comment on post last melodramatic post!:

Have a safe trip!

Comment on post one more milestone:

Have a good trip!

Comment on post last NI post:

I just finished cleaning out my desk too. Haven't cleard the Firefox cache yet though....

Comment on post look what we can do!:

ah that explains why i didn't know about it. i guess briton has the only other blog that i read outside of lj. it's here:

Comment on post look what we can do!:

Hey how did you syndicate Stanton's and Doug and Teresa's blog in LJ? I've been using a separate feed reader to read !LJ blogs, because I didn't know they could be added like that.

Comment on post Viva Italia!:

Hey, I had jury duty this afternoon too! What courthouse were you at? I was actually lucky (unlucky?) enough to get picked. The case is supposed to take all week.

That Zidane headbutt looks even more vicious when played in an endless loop. Ugly. I don't understand why professional athletes lose their temper like that.

Comment on post trippy game:

I'm glad to know I could introduce you to such a time wasting diversion... :) The music is freaky isn't it?

Comment on post Election 2005: not good, but not horrible:

Even though I didn't want it too, I knew the proposition would probably pass. What surprised and disappointed me was by how much. I agree though that in a few years (hopefully not too many) the majority of people will see this differently. I think it will be like the segregation of the 50s and 60s--no one can imagine supporting it now, but at the time it seemed defensible...

Comment on post busy week, fun weekend:

I don't know about humming, but I read a news article once about doing something similar with cell phones. The idea was that you'd be listening to a song on the radio that you wanted to know the name of, and you would call the number and hold your cell phone up to the speaker. Their software would do so some sort of pattern match and send you a text message with the name of the song (and a charge I'm sure). Of course this would be much easier since you're matching the exact same things together.

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