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May 28, 2003

Do not inflate until after you have exited the aircraft...

I am troubled by the "dumbening" of safety regulations and other important information. We are frequently told what to do without being told the far more important why of the matter. There are certainly many reasons one could debate for and against this policy, but it nonetheless disturbs me. I understand safety instructions need to be as simple as possible to penetrate as large a cross section of the population as possible. However, I believe that people need to be told why they are doing what they are doing instead of just what to do. Most people out there, I would argue, have the intelligence to assimilate that information and use it to greater effectiveness than just the "dumb" instruction.

So having flown nearly three quarters of a million miles, I finally figured out why we are told not to inflate the life vest until after we have exited the aircraft. This may be obvious to some of you, but it certainly wasn't obvious to me. And I would wager that the vast, vast majority of you hadn't even wondered why. Well, I'll tell you why:

If you inflate the life vest before exiting the aircraft, and the aircraft then fills with water past the height of the door, you will have a lot of trouble swimming down against the buoyancy of the vest to get down to the door opening and out of the aircraft.

This revelation came to me earlier today after being in the back of my mind for a good ten years. I'm glad I figured it out on my own, but this is the sort of thing that needs to be shared with us when we're told what to do. I absolutely hate being told what to do without a reason, and I would argue that many people feel the same way. We'd get more people doing the "right" thing if they knew why they were being told to do it.

PGP Signed Entry

May 9, 2003


"After The Matrix, I cannot wear sunglasses. As soon as I put them on, people recognise me."
-- Carrie-Anne Moss

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May 7, 2003

Revisiting the Legend with some Math

Came across an article about a guy who shot for three hours and six minutes at craps, and I became intrigued by the odds calculation on this, with respect to The Legend.

Using the Wizard's method of calculating the odds, I assumed that Vince shot for an hour, meaning 60 rolls. I'd say this estimate is a little on the high side because towards the end, the dealers were taking several minutes to pay out the winnings after each roll, but since this is the benchmark used by the Wizard in calculating that the odds of a single shooter rolling for 3 hours and 6 minutes are 1 in 664 billion, I'll use the same. If we assume 60 rolls, the average number of rolls per pass line bet to be resolved to be 3.38 rolls, we get 17.75 pass line bets. Subtract one to account for the last one, which he sevened-out on, and round up just for the benefit of the doubt, and we get 17 pass line bets. With the probability of either winning the pass line bet or losing on the come out (therefore, the shooter keeping the dice) being 60.4%, we get .604^17 as the probability of Vince shooting for an hour. This is about 1 in 5277.

Not insane, but still legendary, in my book.

PGP Signed Entry

May 4, 2003

The Resurrection

So my brother was talking to me about some piece of electronics he was working on "pulling a Jesus," meaning that it had stopped working only to inexplicably revived itself miraculously.

A couple of rather major things of mine miraculously returned to life over the past couple of weeks. The big one is my car, which for the past month has sat idle in my garage, the object of many a curse from my foul mouth. I'd begun to wish that someone would come along and steal it so I could claim the insurance and buy a PowerBook instead, among other things. But then tonight, as Egon Spengler is my witness, my car not only started, but drove around the block a couple of times with no problems. Now I have to decide if I want to take it into Ford for them to charge me a hundred bucks to declare that there's nothing wrong with it. I mean, that was the reason I bought the iPod in the first place, you know... I was like, "Screw Ford - why should those bastards get more of my money to fix a car that I've totally babied for all 23,000 miles of its life? I'll give that money to Apple instead in protest!"

The other thing that come back to life was my sweet Parasound power amp. It's been crackling and cutting out for the last couple of years, probably because of some pot wearing out, but then a couple of weeks ago I hooked it back up with the iPod just for the helluvit, and sure enough, it crackled and cut out, but for some reason (probably forgetfulness) I left it on overnight, and the next day it sounded as good as ever. The theory here is that the warmth has mitigated whatever contact was going bad, and as long as I keep the thing on all the time, it seems to work fine. I've got it back out on the main system now, with my Acurus ACT on pre/pro duty, my roommate's Arcam Alpha 10 driving the fronts, and the Parasound driving the center and rears. Mmmmmm.

So there. Patience and hopeless hoarding of junk pays off after all.

PGP Signed Entry