Wednesday, July 23, 2014

D-Drez lays down some smack

So, this guy was pretty sure of himself.  Got all up in here and talking big.  I thought I was going to have to respond.  I mean, the guy's "data" is "a woman sent me a letter."  Really?

But D-Drez took care of it.  Better than I could have anyway.

First World Problems: A bad redeye in first class

I sometimes travel first class, as an upgrade.  On Delta, I get upgraded sometimes.

But for the trip back from LAX to Raleigh, I actually paid for first class.  And had a remarkable experience.  Rather than rant, let me just hit the bullet points...

1.  We arrived at LAS, and had to wait 25 minutes 50 yards from the gate, because they didn't have a ground crew.  Really?  No one knew we were coming?  They could have borrowed my cellphone, if they needed to call ahead.  Then at RDU, getting in at 5:50 am after a long flight, again we had to wait 20 minutes.  I timed it.  Delta is notorious for its indifference to customer service, but this was amazing.  If you fly Southwest, you'll notice that they have the door open and people filing out within two minutes of landing.  Delta wants to show you who's boss.  They are.  Apparently, this happens a lot.  I actually missed a flight once, because we waited 30 minutes to get a ground crew.  Got there with just enough time, but couldn't get off the place to go those last 50 yards.

2.  The head stewardess played video games on her cell phone the whole trip from LAS to RDU.  Never once, not once offered snacks or drinks, except when we first got on the plane.

3.  When I got up and asked for some water, she was indignant.  "How was I supposed to know you wanted a drink"?  Well, I don't know...Mental telepathy?  Or perhaps stop playing Tetris on your cell phone and get up and walk through first class and see if anyone ASKS for a drink?

4.  Never offered snacks.  Not once.  On a 4 hour flight.  Amazing.  I mean, the snacks aren't that great, even in first class.  But she never even offered.  Yes, I likely would have said "no."  But gosh.

5.  My tray table was broken. Actually broken.  The hinge was splintered, and the table kept falling down.

6.  My seat was broken, and would not recline.  Four hour overnight redeye, and the seat won't recline.  You may think that's not a big deal.  It's a pretty big deal.

7.  My air vent was broken.  Literally broken, smashed up into the plastic, like it had been hit with a fist.  Completely non-functional.  And it was very hot, the whole trip.

8.  At the end of the flight, the head stewardess actually said, "That was the easiest I've ever had a flight.  No one wanted anything the whole trip!"  Completely oblivious.  She had no way of knowing whether anyone wanted anything, because she never entered the first class cabin to check.  The passengers in first class talked to each other about this.  "Do you believe how bad she is?"  "Wow, this is terrible."  We had, in fact, wanted at least some water on that long trip.  But she never stood up from her smart phone games and even asked.

A note:  It is fair to say, "Oh, poor baby.  That's a first world problem.  No snacks in first class...Awww."  I hear you.  But this was the first time I had ever actually paid for first class.  It is not a mistake I will make again.  At least, not on Delta.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday's Child

1.  They can't keep companies from leaving California, Michigan, and New York.  But they think they can keep companies from leaving the U.S.  That's a pretty terrible idea, since it means that companies won't come to the U.S. in the first place.

2.  Expulsion after graduation?   Not as bad as posthumous execution...

3.  Research shows that people who cycle to work are mostly white and wealthy.  Demonstrating an old truth:  If green living saved money, poor people would do it.  But only rich people do it.  Because the sacrifice makes them feel good about being rich.

4.  On the other hand, maybe poor folk don't cycle because they smoke too much.   "Do you smoke after cycling?"  "I don't know, I've never checked..."

5.  A princess...


Friday, July 18, 2014

Without Much Strain?

This story contains a number of jaw-dropping assertions.  I was hoping it was an ironic parody, but the New York Times doesn't really have enough self-confidence to be ironic.  It's just painfully earnest, shading over into earnestly painful.


When city leaders and state legislators agreed last year to fund roughly half the $1 billion cost of a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, they attached the usual strings for such projects: It had to be architecturally iconic, employ steel made from Minnesota iron ore and offer at least a few cheap seats. 

So... Minnesota has a total population of 5.4 million souls.  Minneapolis has a population of just under 500,000, if you count the surrounding cities like St. Paul.  They need a $1 billion football stadium?  Really?  And taxpayers need to pay for half of it?  That's $2,000 per resident of the Minneapolis metroplex.  For a sports stadium that will be used, at most, 30 times per year, even counting monster truck shows.  The state is going to hit up taxpayers $1,000 per resident of the city to pay for a football stadium.  That's not $1,000 per fan, that's $1,000 per resident, in tax money.

That's the NYTimes' idea of "saving"?  Well, at least they have cheap seats.  Which will be scalped to rich people anyway.  Because the poor folks would prefer to have the money than the cheap/expensive seat.

I guess it's okay, though.  Knowing that they are using locally-mined, free-range artisanal iron gives folks a warm glow.  Because you should make sure and create giant, dirty mines as near as possible to where you live.  Oh, and the bathrooms will all be lit with $25 LED bulbs, too.  So that's something.

I guess Nick Gillespie just isn't a football fan.  Because he doesn't get it.

Seriously, the NYTimes is demonstrating a pretty remarkable support for crony capitalism here.  There is no conceivable "stimulus" justification, and the environmental justification is nonsense.  This is a giant waste of money, a giveaway from taxpayers to highly profitable large corporations.  And a perfect description of the program of the Democratic Party in the U.S.  Also the Republican Party in the U.S.

Nod to MK, who notes:  "I'm in the wrong business.  If a small amount of carbon is worth $500 million, I should set my hair on fire and sell the right to put it out on Ebay!"

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Breaking up is hard to do...

...but it's not as hard as cancelling your cable service.

Here is the story.

Here is the recording.

It's disturbing that the corporate mouthpiece for Comcast just blatantly lied when confronted.  Clearly the employees are trained to harrass and browbeat customers who try to cancel.

I tried for nearly a month to get a customer service rep at Time-Warner here in NC to talk to me about ways to change the service into a bundle, three years ago.  Never could even get anyone to talk to me.

But when I called to cancel, after I gave up and switched to ATT, I was immediately connected to an extremely aggressive and abusive guy who demanded to know what was wrong, and how they could fix it.  At least he did back off when I told him I was a consultant, and would be happy to discuss the many ways that Time-Warner sucked.  All that was required was a signed contract, $175/hour, 4 hour minimum, payable in advance.

In the meantime, though, cancel my service.  That didn't work for the guy above, though.  Amazing.

I should have said that I would be willing to talk to him sometime between 8 am and 2 pm, and I couldn't be more specific than that....

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Co-Authorship? Does This Extend to Academic Works?

When Multiple Creators Are Worse Than One: The Bias Toward Single Authors in the Evaluation of Art

Rosanna Smith & George Newman
Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, forthcoming

Abstract: The present studies investigate whether people perceive the same work of art to be of lower quality if they learn that it was a collaborative work (resulting from the efforts of multiple artists) versus the work of a single artist. Study 1 finds that indeed, as the number of authors increases, the perceived quality of an artwork decreases. Study 2 finds that this effect occurs because people tend to assess quality in terms of the effort put forth by each author, rather than the total amount of effort required to create the work. Study 3 further demonstrates that this bias toward single authors appears to be driven by people’s beliefs, rather than by any inherent differences between individual versus collaborative work. These results broaden our understanding of how perceptions of effort drive evaluative judgments, and are consistent with a more general notion that art is not evaluated as a static entity, but rather as an endpoint in a “creative performance.