Archive for the “FAIL” Category

Via Andrew, this graph shows the US Incarceration Rate from 1880 to 2008:

US Incarceration Rate, 1880-2008

As the CEPR report cited in the original post points out, the financial cost of this absurd policy is astronomical. “[A] reduction by one-half in the incarceration rate of non-violent offenders” would save U.S. state and local governments at least $14.8B/year, and would still leave the incarceration rate quite high in historical terms.

So what tipped the country into collective lunacy in 1980? Ronald Reagan? Or was he just a symptom?

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Here’s a weird unintended effect. Yesterday morning I was working on my iPad using the BlueTooth keyboard. When I was done, I chatted to a colleague while I turned off the iPad and put both iPad and keyboard in my shoulder bag. Suddenly music started playing from my bag! Then stopped. Then started again!

Eventually we realized that the media buttons on the keyboard were active, and were starting and stopping the iTunes app as the keyboard bumped around in my bag! The only way to fix this was to turn off BT on the iPad….

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More from James Fallows:

Counting the new Republican Senator Scott Brown from Massachusetts, the 41 Republicans in the Senate come from states representing just over 36.5 percent of the total US population. The 59 others (Democratic plus 2 Independent) represent just under 63.5 percent. (Taking 2009 state populations from here. If you count up the totals and split a state's population when it has a spit delegation, you end up with about 112.3 million Republican, 194.7 million Democratic + Indep. Before Brown’s election, it was about 198 million Democratic + Ind, 109 million Republican.)

Let’s round the figures to 63/37 and apply them to the health care debate. Senators representing 63 percent of the public vote for the bill; those representing 37 percent vote against it. The bill fails.

Makes me quite nostalgic for the three-line whip. And reinforces my long-held belief that the USA is simply too big to govern as a single country.

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I’m heading to China for 19 days, and so the big activity this weekend is packing. I found myself enumerating all of the electronics gear that I’ll be taking:

  1. Apple MacBook Air – my personal laptop
  2. Dell E6400 – my work laptop
  3. Power brick for the MacBook Air
  4. Power brick for the Dell
  5. Mouse – my Microsoft wireless mouse will have to do for both; I’m not bringing my new Apple Mouse
  6. Moshi combined SD card reader and USB hub
  7. Apple iPhone
  8. iPhone USB cable and transformer (the original one, which accepts Apple international plugs, not the cheesy little adaptor which they introduced with the iPhone 3)
  9. Android G1 – my international phone (which I hope to replace with an unlocked T-Mobile Pulse from Huawei)
  10. China Mobile SIM card
  11. G1 USB cable (incompatible with iPhone USB)
  12. Amazon Kindle 2 e-book reader
  13. Kindle USB cable (incompatible with iPhone and G1 – standards are wonderful)
  14. Sennheiser earbud headphones
  15. Panasonic DMC-TZ4 camera
  16. Battery charger and spare battery for DMC-TZ4
  17. Apple Airport Express (so I can create a WiFi access point if the hotel only has wired Internet)

There are definitely too many cables.

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I just posted this one-star review to

I bought my DV4-2045DX at Best Buy, on a whim. Soon after I got it, I headed to England for a family visit, and I decided to take this laptop along instead of my usual MacBook Air. Bad idea. Soon after we arrived, the machine began to malfunction. The symptoms were fairly consistent: I would close the lid (configured to “sleep”), and soon afterwards the logo would light up and the fan would come on. If the machine was unplugged, this would drain the battery in a few hours. Opening the lid did not wake the machine: the screen was blank, the keyboard unresponsive. More seriously, the power button wouldn’t work: holding it down for 5 or 10 seconds wouldn’t cause the machine to power down. The only way to stop it was to unplug it and remove the battery. After this, restarting was hit or miss. Usually, the machine would blink the CapsLock and NumLock lights in a pattern indicating “CPU failure”.

I struggled through the trip, and when I got home I called HP. They sent me a prepaid FedEx box to return the machine for service. I did so, and monitored the status of the service order on their website. For a couple of weeks it indicated that they were waiting for a part to repair it. Finally it was returned, two days ago. The service slip indicated that the problem had been reproduced during tests, and the CPU had been replaced.

I booted it up, loaded some software, and closed the lid. The problem returned in a few minutes: fan on, catatonic, wouldn’t power down, “CPU failure” after pulling the battery. I called HP, and they gave me a new service number. I’m still waiting for the next step.

Perhaps this is just a lemon, but the “waiting for a part” is suspicious. It suggests that this may be a common problem Hopefully HP will replace it this time. (I wouldn’t mind a refund, but that may be too much to hope for.)

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