Monday, December 29, 2008

Gas Tax

According to wikipedia,
fuel taxes in Germany are €0.4704 per litre for ultra-low sulphur Diesel and €0.6545 per litre for conventional unleaded petrol, plus Value Added Tax (19%) on the fuel itself and the Fuel Tax.

1 US gallon happens to equal 3.78541178 litres. With an exchange rate of 1 Euro = 1.3949 U.S. dollars, this results in a fuel tax (not including the V.A.T.) of $2.4838(3943) / $3.4559(373) per gallon for diesel/unleaded fuel.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

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Basis point

One basis point is one hundredth of a percent. 1 % = 100 bp. Or, equivalently, 1 bp = 0.01 %.

Monday, December 22, 2008

FICA tax

The FICA tax is the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax. It is a payroll tax, funding Social Security and Medicare. More details can be found in this wikipedia article.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Strong typing

Another nail in the coffin of the weak typist. According to Coding Horror, typing is a core programming discipline. With weak typing skills, a possible recourse might be to use weakly typed languages, or to devote more time to planning before embarking on the next hunting and pecking expedition.
The formula for the amortization schedule payment mentioned in the annual percentage rate wikipedia article is derived in the amortization calculator wikipedia article.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Premature optimization and its relation to evil is discussed in a wikipedia article on optimization. Premature optimization may result in traversing many local extrema that turn out to be unacceptable, before reaching the global extremum (or an acceptable local extremum, or running out of time). What is being optimized is the time to execute a program, while neglecting the time it takes to develop it.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

According to Paul Graham, The distinguishing feature of nasty little problems is that you don't learn anything from them. ... Working on nasty little problems makes you stupid. And this, in turn, makes you more qualified to work on more nasty little problems, resulting in an infinite regression.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Air quotes are typically double quotes, or possibly angle quotes (guillemets) according to wikipedia. It is not clear who invented air quotes, and how they relate to sign languages.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

According to Alan Greenspan, there could be
a flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works.
Would this be self-interest, which guarantees the best possible outcome?

Monday, October 20, 2008

The sentence What you are will show in what you do appears in "The Education of the Wage-earners" by Thomas Davidson (1840-1900). This is a quote commonly attributed to Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931).
The Development of Thomas Davidson's Religious and Social Thought

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The acronym RTC can stand for Resolution Trust Corporation. Touch-typists do not have to resort to the use of acronyms, of course.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Do non-touch-typists use shorter variable names?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

This article by Randall Hyde discusses the benefits of optimization, if performed at the right time.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Problem Solving

According to Albert Einstein, A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it. But what would a stupid person do?

Update: Instead of avoiding the problem, it is also possible to give up.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


A good way to magnify productivity differences between software developers is to have them work on the same set of files. Slower developers will have to continually merge changes made by faster developers until being able to commit their changes (without breaking any tests, assuming there are tests that go beyond successfully compiling and linking and a policy that requires to have tests pass before committing changes). Ultimately, their tasks will have to be reassigned to faster developers, or they will never be completed.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The performance of Qt's QItemSelectionModel with large numbers of selected items is a known issue.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

In SMILES, the '/' and '\' symbols are to be interpreted relative to the atom, not the double bond. X/Y(/Z)=R means that X is below the line Y=R and Z is above it. See the OpenSMILES specification for details.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Lennard-Jones potential in its various forms is described in a Wikipedia article. The truncation of the potential at large distances by a simple chop and lift operation is described, but there is no mention of splines to avoid discontinuous first derivatives, or of any special treatment at small distances. The canonical form of the potential is 4ε*[(σ/r)12 - (σ/r)6]; an alternate form is D*[(R/r)12 - 2*(R/r)6)]. The first one uses the distance at which the potential is zero (σ), the second uses the distance at which the potential is minimal (R). ε and D are the well depth in both cases.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Hagatna Bay - this is item # 570340. It comes in a pane of 20. Each of the 20 costs $0.90, and each and every of the 20 is also self-adhesive.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

If it is not possible to step into the same river twice, then it is not possible to make the same mistake twice. Instead, what appears to be the same mistake, will be a different mistake.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Is avoiding procrastination a different form of procrastination? Procrastination assigns higher priority to tasks that you want to do (but don't need to do) than to tasks that you need to do (but don't want to do), and acts accordingly. Is it possible to want to do things that you need to do? The want pulls more than the need pushes, and the want wins. I prefer walking downhill to running uphill.
Creating complex solutions to simple problems can provide the foundation for the production of more complex problems which may not have simple solutions. Productivity is proportional to the number of problems solved, inversely proportional to the effort to solve a problem, and inversely proportional to the number of problems created by the solution. This could be related to the measure twice, cut once concept.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What does it mean for an application user interface to be "responsive" while some task is being executed? It means that the application is still able to process input events, i.e. to react to user input. Depending on the task being executed, some input events may be ignored (for example, by disabling the part of the UI responsible for launching the task, until the task is complete and another one can be submitted). Some input events must not be ignored (for example, being able to close the application, or to interrupt the task).

Thursday, February 07, 2008

If the unexamined life is not worth living, the examined life not necessarily is either, but the evaluation is needed to establish worthiness. Can zombies be passionate about their zombie existence? Should every day be rated on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1 is Monday and 7 is Friday?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The perfect balance lies exactly between the extremes of too little and too much. Instead of doing everything now, or doing nothing never, you do something now and then.