Monthly Archives: September 2017

TED Talk: How To Ask Good Questions

Why ask questions? Sometimes being able to ask a good question is more important than finding a good answer.

If the video above does not work, then try How To Ask Good Questions: David Stork at TEDxStanleyPark

What makes a question the best?

  • Clearly stated and unambiguous
  • There must be a solution
  • Solution method exists
  • Improved solution methods will likely be useful
  • Extremal
  • Goes to hear of issue
  • The “right” level
  • Leads to new questions

General techniques

  • Isolate components
  • Consider all attributes and combinations of attributes
  • Explore missing aspects
  • Consider extereme cases
  • How does X depend on Y?
  • How to measure?
  • Transisitions from state 1 to state 2
  • Invert things
  • Who, what, where, why, when?
  • Analogies
  • Different “languages” (math, code)
  • Different disciplines

From TED Talk: How To Ask Good Questions published September 26, 2017 at 07:22AM.

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How wide was the Equifax data breach?

143 million US consumers were caught up in the data breach. I keep seeing it portrayed as 44% of the US population. But, the US population includes children.

Initially, it seemed to me the better metric was 11 million more than all of 2016 IRS tax filers. The problems with this latter comparison? Lots of people who file taxes might not have a credit history and some with credit histories might not file taxes in a specific year. Which brings up taxes for a specific year comparing against people who had a credit history across many years is sketchy.

Other statistics give me headaches too.

  • The US Census’ latest 2016 estimate is that there were 325M (million) people in the country. The original 44% statistic is based on that.
  • The US Census’ latest 2016 estimate is that there were 249M adults in the country. That brings the percentage up to 57%.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics says in July 2017 when the hack occurred, there were 160M members of the civilian noninstitutionalized population. That excludes inmates and members of the armed forces most of whom probably have credit histories.

So, I took the BLS 160M and looked up the excluded populations.

  • It looks like there were about 1.5M in the prisons.
  • And there is about 1.4M active military.

Combining these, it looks like about 88% of people in the “potentially have worked population” were affected.

I feel good with the 88% number.

Really, though, everyone probably has had their SSN and birthday exposed.  If you have ever attended a K-12 school, post-secondary education, gotten insurance, gone to a doctor, engaged in any way with a financial institution, or given your SSN to a government entity, then you should assume that your personal information is ready to be exposed at any time. Nor should you rely on being told. The state of Georgia exposed every voter’s SSN to subscribers of the voting list by accident and notified no one because they felt the CDs being returned meant no one could have the info. (Because the subscribers could not have copied the files off the discs.)

The post How wide was the Equifax data breach? appeared first on Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4.

From How wide was the Equifax data breach? published September 15, 2017 at 06:55PM.

Review: Maori Myths & Legendary Tales

Maori Myths & Legendary Tales
Maori Myths & Legendary Tales by Alexander Wyclif Reed
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you have seen “Moana” and want to read some of the original stories about Maui, then this book is for you. He shows up in maybe up to a dozen ones.

I picked this up at Te Puia where we were able to attend as guests to a dinner. Maori have a fascinating culture. Their stories are much more varied and interesting than the Irish, Norse, and German ones I have previously read.

View all my reviews

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TED Talk: Defending Against the Earth Killer Asteroid

What’s six miles wide and can end civilization in an instant? An asteroid — and there are lots of them out there. With humor and great visuals, Phil Plait shows us all the ways asteroids can kill us (yipes), and what we must do to avoid them.

https://embed.ted.com/talks/phil_plait_how_to_defend_earth_from_asteroids

The post TED Talk: Defending Against the Earth Killer Asteroid appeared first on Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4.

From TED Talk: Defending Against the Earth Killer Asteroid published September 12, 2017 at 07:26AM.

Acknowledgement

Trying to get a price quote from a vendor. It has been two full weeks. The first week plus was confusion within their organization who should be working on it. See, back in April they reclassified our account, so we got a different representative, which is fine. But four months later, they should not be repeatedly trying to have the old one work on the quote. Only when the old one realized that we were not his client did it get shifted to the correct person.

However, three days since then I just realized that I have not seen anything from our representative that he is in indeed aware of the quote, confirming what is supposed to be in the quote, or providing the estimated time it should take to provide us a quote.

Hopefully, I am not a narcissist, but this lack of acknowledgment made me nervous the request had been overlooked. After yet another poke of the vendor, we did finally get a quote. Overall, it was two weeks, one hour, 28 minutes later after the initial request. I hate to nag, but I also hate to allow the request to be overlooked. The acknowledgment lets me know the fulfiller knows about it and it not being done is due to something else.

The post Acknowledgement appeared first on Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4.

From Acknowledgement published September 01, 2017 at 05:03PM.

Collected Quotes 2017-SEP-01

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
— Anaïs Nin (via thepowerwithin)

Staying true to yourself is not about staying the same. It’s not about making a goal to be the exact individual whom you were since day one. Staying true means expressing what you think, feel, and value; regardless of when in your life it arises. You may not be the exact same person who you used to be, however that’s completely natural. You have simply grown and deepened your self image since then.
— Nicole Addison (via thepowerwithin)

The post Collected Quotes 2017-SEP-01 appeared first on Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4.

From Collected Quotes 2017-SEP-01 published September 01, 2017 at 07:33AM.