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Showing content with the highest reputation on 03/15/2012 in Posts

  1. No offense to you and this in fact may never apply to you, but when I was in college I was also very idealistic. As I've spent more time working and now owning my own business where I employ over 50 people I've become much less idealistic in my thoughts and beliefs. Life and reality have a way of changing how you see things. It would be unfair to you and, if you're like I was, fruitless for us to spend time debating the points I disagree with you on as you need to experience life on your own and draw your own conclusions. After you have been in the business world you may see things differently especially after you've had an opportunity to observe what I have. IMO the way the current government is structured there's no amount of money that can fix the problems they and past administrations have created.
  2. Patrick, the pattern for your posts: 1) You post something in which you ask questions but really you've already made up your mind. 2) People post and disagree with you. 3) You either shift the goalposts by claiming that you never said something (changing the rules) or belittle people without responding to their valid feedback. And no, lots of golfers don't feel their bodies doing certain things. In fact, you ask the vast majority where they stopped their last backswing and they'll invariably show you a position that's about 30% shorter than they actually stopped the club.
  3. Two reasons. One, because I injected a long rant about the healthcare argument as a point that debates on real policy issues are more about labels these days than facts. Two, because they're all related. The common denominator for any "worthy" public expenditure is whether the commodity is a public good or private good. Public goods are those which are provided centrally and consumed by all (none can be excluded). From a purely economic theory standpoint, they also have to be of a nature that consumption by one does not reduce the quantity of the good available. Politically, we treat things as public goods that do not meet this characteristic (education). (This argument is not about what is defined in economic theory as a pure public good. It's more about how does our social and political structure treat things as "public" or "private".) National (or global) defense is a pure public good, because the only successful implementation strategy is deterrence. Law enforcement is more localized, but still very much towards the public end of the spectrum, at least in any one discrete area. Energy and health care are viewed as private goods, but they have public good aspects. (Education has nearly identical attributes as energy and health care, but is treated as a public good.) One of the defining characteristics, as mentioned before, is that none can be excluded. Certain aspects of our society can not be denied health care: elderly, disabled, and very poor people all have specifically targeted programs. This is not due to the nature of the good itself: we could say "no one gets health care unless they can pay for it." We don't, however--our system says that if you are young and physically able, then you're on your own. Another attribute of health care that pushes it towards the "public" end of the spectrum is how we pay for it. The vast majority of people who receive treatment don't pay for it directly--the insurance company pays and spreads the cost out among it's risk pool (kinda similar to the way the Gov't pays for schools and teachers and spreads the cost among the tax base). Energy is the same way, kinda. Everyone agrees that the Gov't has a role in ensuring access to energy. If you disagree with this statement, then ask yourself what would happen if the country simply went black one day. Or why aircraft carriers park in the Persian Gulf and near the Strait of Hormuz. Or why generators and air conditioners are provided to the sick and elderly every summer in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Southern Cal, etc. Or why the corrupt energy trading practices of Enron and its affiliates were so clearly wrong and warranted swift government response. From another perspective, public goods are not optional: everyone needs them, and no one can survive without them. Energy and health care are both "public" in this regard. From an energy perspective, oil specifically is "mandatory" because there is no viable alternative. It's very hard to explain this argument and these principles in a short forum post. However, consider this one thing. If energy is truly a free market, then why does the government spend billions every year ensuring that the oil market continues to exist? Why not just let Iran close Hormuz, and tell the Saudi Kings and Princes to go f@(# themselves (and bomb the Wahabbi bastards into oblivion)? If energy is really a free market, then the free market should be able to figure out a solution and get us back on track, right? The answer is because the "mandatory" nature of oil gives it public good qualities that can't be ignored, and must be paid for, by the Government. Effectively managed, the gov't should be able to do both at least as well as the "market" can. (Note: I'll argue that from a Defense perspective, we don't do the best possible job at this. We spend a lot of money that has no impact on our "bottom line.") The "market" is exceptionally good at regulating price and consumption of optional goods; but, as I said, neither health care nor energy are "optional" for people who want to survive in the modern world. Thus, the government expends billions every year protecting the "market's" access to oil. Likewise, the government artificially (and ineffectively) tries to execute public health care programs through the "market." Basically, our government, and social/political systems, recognize the public good aspects of energy and health care. However, we are unable to actually treat them the way that you would normally treat a public good: centrally funded, scoped, planned, and managed. We approach them from a hybrid government/free market screwdangle that is inefficiently ineffective. Note to people who use words like "Socialist" and still think gas is too expensive: the surest and most efficient way to ensure (for the long term) low gas prices in the USA would be to nationalize the oil industry. The Gov't can control production and refining, and we could get all of our oil at home. The two factors that most directly affect prices at the pump are the market price of crude and refining capacity. If we allow the "market" to increase domestic production, then all that oil goes onto the global market which is, and will continue to be, driven way up by the demand spike from India/China (and market speculators). (Not to mention that most of the vast stores of unexploited American oil is only profitable--and therefore will only be drilled--at prices exceeding $80/bbl.) We have enough oil at home to satisfy our oil needs for 100 years, if we just kept it all here--but the market specifically impedes this. If domestic production costs (ie the increased cost of extracting shale) are above $50/bbl at the well head--the approx. price needed for $2/gal gasoline--then we can subsidize the cost by cutting CENTCOM's budget (which basically only exists to protect Middle East oil). Likewise, the market impedes increasing refining capacity. Basically, you're asking gasoline producers to expend billions upgrading and expanding refining capacity so that they can charge less for their products, all the while no one is sure how long gasoline will still be the energy of choice. The Government could overcome such impediments and uncertainties.
  4. Do you have a large retail golf store in your area (Golf Galaxy, PGA Tour Superstore, etc)? If so, I'd recommend a ball fitting. Typically, it's only 20 or 25 dollars. You'll hit 8-10 drivers in the fitting bay, with the computer measuring all the details (swing speed, ball speed, launch angle, spin rate, dispersion, etc). Based on your preferred balance of distance vs. control vs. short game spin, they'll give you a printout listing all the balls out there in order of which will give the best performance for desired characteristics.
  5. I know what you mean. Yesterday I played with a guy I know from work and this was the first time we've played this year. He plays a R11 and was normally 20 yards longer than me. Yesterday I was even with him all day and even out drove him on a couple of holes. My initial setup was closed (to match my G20) but after a few rounds I felt like I was still having too many mis-hits. Changed the ball position just slightly and changed the face to square and I really like the ball flight now.
  6. Aye ... but he's no Colin Montgomerie.
  7. Yeah ... bring back the stymie!
  8. It is definitely something you will get better at once you practice it. For the 3/4 swing i take a normal swing but try to feel like the top of my swing ends when my arm is parallel to the ground. I am really not sure if it goes a little farther back than that or not, but it works pretty well once you are used to it.
  9. gfd66, Your neighbor gave you good advice. It's very difficult to play good golf when the player doesn't know which club to pick. A few people I play with have this problem constantly. B-Con's advice is also very good. My piece of advice would be to play with the game you have that day. My game hasn't been very good these last couple years because I haven't put as much time into it as I should. Some days all of my shots want to cut, other days they want to draw. No matter what shot I'm hitting that day, I play that shot!! Don't try to fix stuff on the course if the shot you're hitting is at least reasonable. Whether the ball is cutting 5-10 yards or drawing 5-10 yards is irrelevant to me. I play with what I have that day. Another tip I have is to make a mental note of a shot after you hit it. How well did you hit it, what distance did you hit it, etc. Many times this will help me pick a club on a later hole. If I hit 9 iron from 140 on that last hole and came up short, I probably shouldn't hit 9 iron from 142 on this hole......or whatever it is.
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    • I thought about this a while, and then had an epiphany last night.  Without a perfect test, the answer is almost definitely no. It's a fairly simple statistical calculation called Bayes' Theorem. The end result is that you'll end up preventing more people from driving when they aren't drunk than preventing drunk drivers. I'm going to plug in numbers, but since I'm (likely correctly!) assuming drunk driving is a rare event, the numbers don't really matter that much. I'm also going to assume the test is extremely accurate. Let's say that in 1/10,000 car trips, the driver is too drunk to legally drive. This is probably an underestimation by a factor of 100, if not more, if you think about how many car trips there are in a day. Let's assume that the when the test is positive, the driver is drunk 99.9% of the time. And then assume that when the test is negative, the driver is sober 99.9% of the time (in other words, if the test is negative, the driver is drunk 0.1% of the time). We can use this to plug in probabilities for each event. Probability that a driver is drunk: .0001 Probability that a driver is sober: .9999 Probability that a drunk driver gets a positive test: .999 Probability that a drunk driver gets a negative test: .001 Probability that a sober driver gets a positive test: .001 Probability that a sober driver gets a negative test: .999 Bayes' Theorem applies here. It says: The probability that someone is drunk driver given a positive test is equal to the probability of a drunk driver gets a positive test times the probability of a drunk driver; that divided by the following: the probability of a drunk getting a positive test times probability of a drunk driver plus the probability of sober driver getting a positive test times the probability of a sober driver. In mathematic terms (DD=drunk driver; SD = sober driver; + = positive test): P(DD | +) = (P(+ | DD)*P(DD))/((P+ | DD)*P(DD)+P(+ | SD)*P(SD)) Plug in the numbers: P(DD | +) = ((.999)*(.0001))/((.999)*(.0001)+(.001)*(.9999)) P(DD | +) = .0908 In other words, the probability of a drunk driver given a positive test is only 9%. Meaning that out of a 100 people that test positive under this test, 91 of them would actually be sober. Because the test is imperfect and drunk driving is rare, it's going to impact more sober drivers than drunk drivers. Even if the test is 99.99% accurate and as a false positive rate of 0.01%, the probability of a drunk driver given a positive test is only 50%. Note that I'm assuming that 1/10,000 car trips is one by a drunk driver. If you assume 1/100,000 car trips are by a drunk driver, the probability of a drunk driver given a positive test is 0.9%. (You can also use this calculate to find out the odds that a drunk driver will have a negative test, but I have other stuff to do now...) So, without a nearly perfect test, it's a bad idea for the entire population. If drunk drivers were more frequent, then it would make more sense. Hence, it makes sense for someone who is more likely to drive drunk, and why the current policy probably makes sense. 
    • Hey Ben, good to see you’re still around!   I remember those irons. They’re beautiful! Sorry, I can’t help with the driver though…
    • Sometimes this is called a Telehandler, and sometimes its called a Rough Terrain Fork Lift. It all depends on where you live. 
    • Dragging the handle without the correct wrist movements to go with it can lead to an open clubface at impact. But without a video it's hard to determine the underlying cause of your problem.
    • I'd go with this system over either of those. I have seen automatic braking systems malfunction before and it turns catastrophic in an instant. The incredibly unfortunate part is that automatic braking systems also have a disturbingly high number of ways they can be fooled. The two I have seen personally were leaves covering up the sensor (slammed the brakes on someone in town and caused a collision) and bugs from I-70 covering the sensor (the car locked up and the brakes remained engaged until the sensor covering could be cleaned). As far as GPS-enforced speed limits, this also introduces danger on the roads. It prevents drivers from making effective evasive maneuvers when driving at the speed limit. Malfunctions for this system would also be incredibly dangerous, considering the number one cause of traffic accidents is a differential in speed between the two cars that collided. If one car is limited to 10mph under the speed limit because their GPS glitched out then they just became a sitting duck on the road, though not as bad as the automatic braking malfunction. I'm fine with mandatory safety measures that don't risk lives compared to the alternative of not having them, such as seat belts and air bags. If those fail you may die, but if they fail you are no worse off than you would have been if the safety measures were never installed. I draw the line at mandatory safety measures that will actively risk your safety or life when they fail. Automatic braking systems that will slam the brakes in highway traffic. GPS-enforced speed limits that can hamper evasive maneuvers and cause the same symptoms as automatic braking system failures (if an error displays a limit lower than the true limit). And yes, mandatory BAC interlock devices for law-abiding citizens that can leave them stranded and stuck with a very costly repair bill in the best case scenario and death in the worst case scenario. If we want to talk about personal anecdotes about why it's incredibly important to be able to start you vehicle at any time, I've got the perfect example of how this can risk lives in real scenarios that actually happen. When I was 17 I took the bus with my friends down to the annual Denver Avalanche game and we hung out at the 16th Street Mall afterwards until we caught the last bus back to where our cars were parked. Having parked in opposite corners we parted ways getting off the bus and went to our cars, my friends having no issues driving home. I, on the other hand, had some trouble with starting my vehicle. You see that year the temperature was 15 degrees below zero and my car was an old (1979) Mercedes 240D diesel. Diesel engines don't particularly like the cold, so I cycled the glow plugs several times before trying to start. No dice, so I repeated that. This went on until my car battery died at around 2 AM, and the worst part of it was that stupidly I was only wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and a sweatshirt with no jacket or coat. The buses had finished their schedules and the park and ride was empty (I was the last car) in the middle of nowhere without areas I could take shelter nearby. I was lucky to have a mylar blanket and a comforter in the trunk of my car that I kept there only because my Grandpa insisted I'd need them if I was ever stranded in the cold. I wasn't able to get assistance at my location until 5:30 that morning because it was located in the mountain, a lovely cell phone dead zone. 3.5 hours spent in -15 degree weather with only jeans and a sweatshirt. Even sitting in my car without exposure to wind I would have risked frostbite in 30 minutes or less, and that temperature presents a high risk of hypothermia even with proper winter clothing. While wearing winter clothing at that temperature you'll lose one degree of core body temperature about every 30 minutes, sooner if you have no hat. Below 95 degrees (2 hours) is the beginning of hypothermia, below 93 degrees (3 hours) is when amnesia sets in. Profound hypothermia is 90 degrees (4.5 hours) and you'll find yourself no longer even shivering to keep warm. At 86 degrees (6.5 hours) your heart starts to pump arrhythmically. At 85 degrees (7 hours) you'll rip off your clothes for your final minutes of life. Those times are for proper winter clothing. When an ignition interlock device fails, it WILL kill people in the mountains every single year. People who went camping, skiing, hiking, or hunting and get back to their car in the evening only to have it refuse to start. Cell service is sparse at best in these areas, meaning only those prepared with extra blankets/gear and the ability to start fires will survive through the night without heat from their vehicle. I say when, not if, because the failure rate will be above 0%. 15 million new cars are sold each year, and if the failure rate is 0.01% annually then you'd see 1,500 failures in the first year, growing by another 1,500 every year and providing 1,500 more opportunities to kill in either what was described or other scenarios. This is exactly why using emotional arguments is dumb, because realistically the number of deaths would be small but a personal anecdote carries additional weight. The point is that any deaths that directly result from a safety device are unacceptable even if that safety device may save lives in other circumstances. Trading lives of innocent and law-abiding citizens because of a small number of criminals is morally reprehensible on every level.

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