Berkeley CSUA MOTD:2009:April:03 Friday <Thursday, Saturday>
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2009/4/3-5 [Computer/Theory] UID:52788 Activity:nil
4/2     Math gangsta rap
        link:xrl.us/benmir
        \- wow, i know all of those books ... those are the "cheep
           asian editions". in the us, those books together would be
           about $350. [i am assuming the one in the back is Herstein ...
           "Herstein is hard"]. actually i am not sure the front book is
           the DOOB Measure Theory book ... maybe there is another GTM
           called Measure Theory ... can anybody read the name of the author?
           "Herstein is hard"].
2009/4/3-10 [Reference/Tax] UID:52789 Activity:moderate
4/3     Tax on a pound of roll-your-own tobacco will go from $1.10 cents to
        $24.78 -- about a 2,200-percent increase. Large cigars jump from 5 to
        40 cents.  And a pack of cigarettes spikes from 39 cents to $1.01.
        \_ Who buys a pound of tobacco?
           \_ Uh, people you roll their own.  Like it says there.
           \_ Uh, people who roll their own.  Like it says there.
            \_ I know plenty of people who roll their own.  A pound is
               a fuckload of tobacco.
               a fuckload of tobacco.  A pack of drum is 40grams (tax of
               about 2 dollars) and makes about 2-3 packs worth of cigarettes.
              \_ I know plenty of people who roll their own.  A pound is a
                 fuckload of tobacco.  A pack of drum is 40grams (tax of about
                 2 dollars) and makes about 2-3 packs worth of cigarettes.
                 (Often more because people who roll their own tend to make
                 tiny ass cigarettes.)
                 \_ Who cares how many cigs a pound makes?
                    \_ Because $25/pound sounds a lot more unreasonable than
                       less than a dollar a pack.  Just the other day I spent
                       90k a pound of some medication!  Of course since they
                       are 5mg a pill, that's only 1 dollar a pill.  See,
                       context matters.
                       \_ It's the delta in the tax that's interesting. Fed Tax on
                          cigs more than doubled, but this is just insane.
                       \_ It's the delta in the tax that's interesting. Fed
                          Tax on cigs more than doubled, but this is just
                          insane.
                          \_ ...or it implies that the tax on a pound was
                             inordinately low before. -!pp
                             1 pound ~= 450 grams = 11.25 drums = 22.5-33.75 packs
                             1 pound ~= 450 grams = 11.25 drums = 22.5-33.75
                             packs
                             packs (thnx 80 col re-formatter!)
                             Tax increase per pack: $.39 -> $1.01
                             22.5-33.72 packs = $8.78-$13.16 -> $22.73-$34.09
                             1 pound = $1.10 -> $24.78
                             Sounds like they're bringing it in line. And since
                             the point of the tax is to discourage smoking,
                             it makes no sense to encourage a tax break for
                             it makes no sense to offer a tax break for
                             buying in bulk. This isn't competitive pricing.
2009/4/3-5 [Uncategorized] UID:52790 Activity:nil
4/3     DM "helps" out on a blind date:
        http://laughingsquid.com/dd-dungeon-master-running-a-blind-date-campaign
        \_ well, that's 2 minutes of my life I'll never get back.
2009/4/3-5 [Finance/Banking, Politics/Domestic/California] UID:52791 Activity:nil
4/3     LA homes are affordable again! 500K -> 200K. LA is where your
        American Dream comes true!
        http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/04/02/foreclosure.dream.homes/index.html
2009/4/3-10 [Industry/SiliconValley] UID:52792 Activity:nil
4/3     AAPL is up 45% since its mid-January low. Any other companies have
        such big swings? BRK is the only other one that I follow that's also
        done really well (+30% in <1 month).
        \_ It's been bouncing between 80 and 110 since October.  Volatility !=
           doing well.
           \_ What other stocks are up from where they were 6 months ago
              in Oct? GOOG and YHOO are about even, but AAPL is up
              significantly from October.
        \_ Pretty much every bank is up that much from its low.
           \_ Yes, and still down YTD.
2009/4/3-10 [Health/Men] UID:52793 Activity:nil
4/3     Is http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com written by a real white guy?
2009/4/3-12 [Recreation/Food, Recreation/Food/Alcohol] UID:52794 Activity:high
4/3     A few days back someone was advocating going to good restaurants over
        saving money.  I'm curious, I've never been to a really expensive
        restaurant. (Over $30 per person.)  In general I've found that once I
        get beyond about $10 the food doesn't get any better, instead I start
        paying for stuff I don't care about, like "atmosphere."  Which
        basically means I've rarely been to a restaurant where the food
        wasn't both tastier and more healthy at home.  At what price point does
        the food quality start to increase again?  Oh, and I don't like steak,
        which may affect the pricing.
        \_ Anything over $15/person is Gluttony. Seriously. Spending so much
           time and effort on food is frivolous. You could spend the same
           amount of effort on making society better. People who are self-
           centered and are into self-indulgence are waaay too concerned about
           food. Just look at the post below. It disgusts me.
                                        -Zen guy, not really religious
        \_ Food is like porn. You start with cheap bland stuff, then as you
           gain experience you get into more hardcore stuff. Bland baby food,
           then McD, then fine hotdog/pizza, then real hamburgers, then
           New York Steak, then Filet Minon, then wine (light Shiraz->
           medium Merlot->complex Cabernet), etc. Likewise, you look at
           naked pictures of women, then noticed leg quality differences,
           then noticed boob size differences, nipple size, their curvatures,
           their vaginas, size of their vagina lips, then you want to get
           into XXX, XXXX, etc. It just goes on and on. My point is like
           any hobby the more exposure and knowledge you accumulate the
           more hardcore and the more $$$ you get sucked into.
           \_ You don't know much about Shiraz, but you sure know your porn.
        \_ If you go to New York City, $30/person isn't extraordinary. Having
           that said, I find that many city slickers and snooty urbanites love
           food and are willing to spend a lot of money on food, whereas
           people from the mid-west and south don't spend as lavishly on food.
        \_ If you think 30 bucks/person is "really expensive" I'm not sure
           I trust your experiance with high end restaurants.  Now I love food
           and I love to cook, and I know full well a lot of places are
           way over priced.  But still, there are damn good restaurants where
           you can eat some damn good food.  Often it's stuff you just can't
           make at home, or an attention to detail you need years of training
           and a level of talent most people just don't have.  If it's not
           your thing, that's great, but don't think that there's not a reason
           good restaurants cost a significant amount.  (And as I said before,
           yes there are plenty of places that charge way too much for crap,
           and some of them seem to be able to stay around for a long ass time,
           but then again, there's always suckers.  Look at Monster Cable.)
           \_ Oh, I see, you can't read can you?  Your posts make sense now.
        \_ 1. This depends on how good of a chef you are for one thing.
              Alice Waters cooks just fine at home. Many people are not
              good cooks.
           2. Do you mean over $30 for an entree or over $30 total?
           3. A big difference between expensive and cheap is the quality
              of the ingredients. Did the beans come out of a can or from
              the field? Is the shrimp fresh or frozen? Is the beef USDA
              Prime or USDA Select? Usually fresh ingredients taste better.
           4. Maybe you just don't have a good palate. I know my dad doesn't.
              It's all pretty much the same to him. Most people can
              recognize the difference between Olive Garden for $10 and
              a nice Italian restaurant like Acquerello. The dishes are more
              complex, the ingredients not only fresher but more unusual
              (e.g., you won't find truffles at Olive Garden), and the food is
              prepared more carefully (e.g, not overcooked or burned).
          \_1. I'm an OK cook, my wife is really good.
            2. I don't usually get anything but an entree because I don't eat
               very much, and don't drink, so it's about the same to me.  I was
               thinking of total though.
            3. I think this is often the problem.  I don't think I've been many
               places that use really fresh ingredients, where as we use really
               good stuff at home.
            4. I certainly don't have the palate my wife has, she can pick
               an amazing amount of detail about each dish (each ingredient,
               etc.)  But I can usually tell what's fresh.  It's probably
               a combonation of 1 and 3.
               \_ If your wife is a good cook and you are buying good quality
                  ingredients, than probably the food you get at home is
                  generally just as good or even better than a $30/person
                  restaurant. That is certainly the case in my home.
                  \_ Ditto in my case except I can't brag to my yuppie DINK
                     friends about how much knowledgeable I am with food
                     and how well we eat.
                     \_ There is one easy solution for that: throw a dinner
                        party. You have to talk your wife into this of course.
                     \_ You guys are kidding yourselves. My wife is an
                        excellent cook who can make a lot of
                        restaurant-quality dishes (we eat a lot of Julia
                        Child recipes) and we are not so silly as to believe
                        that we eat better than at a good restaurant just
                        because a few dishes turn out as good or better - and
                        when they do they are incredibly time-consuming (take a
                        whole day or more) and expensive (sometimes just $40 in
                        ingredients for a single course). You just need to up
                        the quality of the restaurants you eat at, admit you
                        don't have a good palate, or maybe you are one of
                        those people who just like simple foods better. Nothing
                        wrong with that. My parents don't really get into
                        a lot of the haute cuisine and just want mashed
                        potatoes and a chicken breast and that's what they
                        order when we go out most of the time. We could
                        make that at home, like you say.
                        \_ Most $30/person restaurants in SF just aren't
                           really that fancy. My wife is Vietnamese and
                           what she makes takes some time, but is at least
                           as good as what you would get at Slanted Door.
                           I have been to Masa's and La Folie and Aqua and
                           yeah, they were a whole different experience, but
                           I also spent $200/person at Aqua.
                           \_ And yet an entree at Aqua is only about $30.
                              I, too, spend about $150-200 per person when
                              I dine out, but that's just because I order
                              a lot of different dishes along with wine.
                              Just because some restaurants are bad doesn't
                              mean that anything over $10 is diminishing
                              returns and you may as well dine at home,
                              which was the original supposition. If your
                              wife is cooking like Masa's every night you
                              need to set that woman up with a restaurant.
                              http://www.masasrestaurant.com/masas_nine.htm
                              http://www.masasrestaurant.com/masas_menu_three_course.htm
                              \_ No, I just said the opposite of that, that
                                 "they were a whole different experience."
                                 With wine and tip, $30/person restaurants
                                 are places like Chow or Zuni Cafe or Encanto,
                                 all of which are fine, but nothing special.
                                 I drink wine with dinner at home, so I can't
                                 imagine why I shouldn't include that cost
                                 when I dine out. Some things are impractical
                                 to make at home, like Dim Sum and are well
                                 worth the value. Which restaurants are between
                                 $30-$150/person and well worth the value from
                                 a taste standpoint? Farallon, La Ciccia, maybe
                                 some sushi places, I can't think of much else,
                                 but I also don't tend to spend that much money
                                 on dinner. Oh, I am obviously not the original
                                 poster.
                                 \- You pick some hard to lump together restos.
                                    Chow does the kinds of comfort food you can
                                    do at home. But it is quite reasonably
                                    priced, so unless you really enjoy cooking,
                                    it is a reasonable place to go [I really
                                    like the short rib dish there for $12-$15].
                                    Zuni is a place with "buzz" ... that is in
                                    part what you are paying for ... for a
                                    night out, not just a plate of food.
                                    Encanto [sic -> Incanto], is exactly the
                                    kind of place that is going to make stuff
                                    you are not going to make at  home [like
                                    tuna heart, cockscombs etc]. Farallon is
                                    passe and frankly it was not that food
                                    focused ... it was partly "Disney" and
                                    partly Sex and the City.
                                    \_ Any recommendations?
                                       \- what are your parameters?
                                          \_ They were in the previous post.
                                             $30-150/person and worth the cost
                                             from a food taste standpoint.
                                             \-panda country kitchen, china
                                               village [solano av], for DEEM
                                               SUM the place next to ton kiang,
                                               village [solano av], "the place
                                               next to ton kiang [DEEM SUM],
                                               poc chuc -- upper mission, red
                                               jade, osteria del forno
                                               jade, osteria del forno, chinese
                                               laundry aka jai yun ... maybe
                                               little star pizza, han il kwan,
                                               lers ros, bodega bistro, maybe
                                               lahore karahi.
               \_ I think you just need to try a better restaurant than
                  you have in the past. As the guy above said, if you
                  think $30 is expensive then maybe you haven't had that
                  many good meals. Not every restaurant charging $34 for
                  an entree is good, though. Go to some reknowned for
                  high quality fish and creative dishes. Maybe a place
                  like Gary Danko or (if it's still good) Masa's and order
                  the more unusual dishes (especially the tasting menu).
                  People who go to a high end restaurant and order chicken
                  may as well have eaten at home. Get squab or grass eel or
                  caviar blinis or pureed leek soup or something your wife
                  doesn't usually whip up except on special occasions.
        \- I dont think there is especially any reason to cultivate
           "expensive" restaurants ... espcially if you are not big on
           fancy wine/drink, fancy cheej, "premium" ingredients like foie gras,
           truffle etc. Also, I never go to fancy places without friends
           I like ... so the social aspect of dining is a big part of the
           experience for me ... more so than the "atmosphere". However,
           there are definitely dining experiences you cant get at home
           and if you are interested food at all, it's worth doing some
           research. For example you can try the fancy cheej at home.
           For example you can have very interesting chinese,
           or thai food in the $30 range. There are places with better
           pizza than you can make in your home oven ... like say Pizzalio.
           The research part of this is going to the good places instead of
           the so-so places ... in the case of chinese restaurants, these
           places are often basically the same price or maybe 20% more
           expensive [as long as we arent talking high end asian sea food].
           So the question you should be asking yourself is "what *kinds*
           of cuisine do i like that i cant get at home" ... "expensive" isnt
           a kind of food. once you figure out what you want to chase, then
           you can start doing the research to optimize price-performance ...
           for example i am willing to pay for high end french, but generally
           not a fan of paying for high end sushi. and if you dont know what
           you like in terms of asian, latin american, african, french, sushi,
           steak, pizza, italian, middle eastern ... you can start doing
           "research" at modest places. BTW, high end food isnt just about
           ingredient sourcing ... there are lots of complicated dishes or
           desserts which are not reasonable to make at home because of the
           complexity (short of seeing it as a "project"), unless possibly
           complexity (short of seeing it has a "project"), unless possibly
           if you cook a lot and keep stuff like demi-glace on hand, or have
           specialized pastry equipment and ingredients. and of course there
           is cheep stuff you also probably wont make at home ... tandoori,
           (high temp oven) pizza, al pastor, shawerma, DEEM SUM (XLB) etc.
           specialized pastry equipment and ingredients.
           if you live in the bay area and have some discretionary income,
           why dont you just ask for recommendations.
           \_ Thanks for writing this. I think cuisine is a good starting
              point. And Pizzaiolo (or Pauline's or Little Star)
              is a good example of the difference between a $10 meal and a
              $25 meal. Cheese Board is a $10 meal which proves that price may
              be correlated with quality, but not necessarily so. Start with
              a cuisine you like but don't cook at home (e.g. pizza, Mexican,
              Chinese, Indian) and find what you like. Actually, a lot of
              ethnic foods aren't very expensive for pretty good stuff. It's
              a lot of the European foods (and sushi) that can get expensive
              very quickly.
           \_ Re: High end sushi: There's expensive sushi and very good
              sushi, but it's hard to know the difference without having
              experienced very good sushi. Unless you're a connosieur,
              Isobune or Samurai Boat is probably just fine. If you're a
              reincarnated sushi chef, order the omakase at Sushi Sho on
              Solano, but _don't_ add wasabi or soy sauce unless he tells
              you to-- and don't be surprised when the bill tallies $70+
              per person.
              \_ $70/person is not a lot for high-end sushi.
                 \- or for $88k, you can buy Sushi Sho
                    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/reb/1109818860.html
                    \_ GODDAMNIT.
                    \_ ok. So where are you going to find a sushi chef?
        \_ When I eat dinner with my friends in Manhattan and Brooklyn, the
           bill always comes out $25-$40 per person, and I start missing
           La Fiesta. - danh
           \_ When my friend's sister visited from London for a week, her and
           \_ When my friend's sister visited from London for a week, she and
              her husband ate Mexican food 8 times in 7 days. You're not alone.
2009/4/3-12 [Politics/Foreign/Asia/Korea] UID:52795 Activity:nil
4/3     "North Korea Perfects Its Diplomatic Game: Brinkmanship"
        http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/03/world/asia/03korea.html
        Any chance that those two American journalists are actually working
        *for* North Korea in a hoax?
2009/4/3-12 [Science/Electric, Finance/Investment] UID:52796 Activity:nil
4/3     My friend keeps trying to get me to buy Silver as it's $13/oz while
        gold is around $900/oz which is a huge disparage considering the
        comparative rarety of silver and it's industrial uses.  He thinks that
        the current price is artificially kept low.  Anyone know anything about
        these claims?  Most of the places he points me to sell silver and gold..
        \_ Precious metals are a hedge against inflation.  There's really no
           difference between silver and gold except the price/oz and that gold
           doesn't tarnish.
           \_ The belief is that silver will be worth closer to gold.  And it's
              the copper in sterling that tarnishes, fine silver or argentinium
              hardly tarnishes at all.
              \_ Could be. Could also mean gold prices will fall. Why didn't
                 he buy silver when it was $4/ounce not that long ago?
                 $13/ounce is not all that cheap.
        \- your friend's reasoning is stupid. i would avoid discussing
           finances with him.
           \_ Second what this guy says.  The valuation on both gold and
              silver is more psychological than it is driven by industrial
              use.  Can you predict when the herd will abandon gold/silver
              like when the herd abandoned the stock market?  If so, then
              you can make money on ANYTHING.  If not, avoid bubblicious
              investments.
Berkeley CSUA MOTD:2009:April:03 Friday <Thursday, Saturday>