Tag Archives: 538

Think – Today: Why Don’t Plastic Oven Bags (For Roasting Turkeys) Melt In The Oven?

by Anura Guruge


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turkeybagsI just bought some today and used a bag, very successfully, to roast a 14lb turkey. Yes, it sure does help keep it real moist. But, I couldn’t help wonder why the bag wouldn’t melt (despite the 2 tablespoons of flour you have to put in to prevent such melting?


Think first, then research, then THINK again. Think for the pleasure of thinking.


Yesterday’s ‘Think’‘538’ is the number of ‘electors’ in the U.S. Electoral College — which, in the end, is the body that formally elects the U.S. President. The ‘538’ corresponds to the 435 Representatives and 100 Senators, plus the three additional electors from the District of Columbia. The candidate that gets a majority of the 538 Electoral College votes is automatically the President. 1/2 of 538 = 269. Hence, the magical ‘270’ number. The absolute majority when there are 538 votes. 


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by Anura Guruge

Think – Today: Five hundred and thirty-eight (538)?

by Anura Guruge


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usaWhy will five hundred and thirty-eight (538) be the most important number in the United States next week?


Think first, then research, then THINK again. Think for the pleasure of thinking.


Yesterday’s ‘Think’360° in a circle. It has to do with the first (and most important) circle that our ancient ancestors, around 4,000 B.C. (or even earlier) had to contend with — and QUANTIFY. The circular orbit of the Sun (with the then belief that the Sun circled the Earth). 360° comes from the 365-days in a year. They had worked out, through very diligent observations of the seasons and stars (particularly the rising of the ‘Dog Star’ ‘Sirius’) that a year was around “360” days. I actually think they had nailed down the 365-days quite early on. BUT, in my opinion, they ROUNDED the 365 to the EASIER ‘360‘. 365 is not very divisible — and our early ancestors, thanks to sharing food, knew how to DIVIDE. Other than ‘1’ and ‘itself’, 365 only has two divisors: 5 & 73. You can’t divide it by 2, 4, 5 or 10. And then there is 360 which is hugely divisible: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 24, 30, 36, 40, 45, 60, 72, 90, 120 & 180. BINGO! Did you like that?


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by Anura Guruge

Nate Silver Of NYT ‘FiveThirtyEight’ (538) Notoriety Uses An ‘ASUS’ Laptop For His Political Predictions.


Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge


On Sunday mornings, just before getting out of bed, as a registered ‘Sun Worshiper‘, I like to watch the intentionally Sun-centric CBS ‘Sunday Morning‘ show with its eclectic repertoire of ‘trivia’ and compelling graphics of the Sun.

This morning their lead story was about ‘Nate Silver‘ which was quite a ‘coinkidink’ for me because the last thing I did ‘this morning’ [i.e., 12:22 am] before turning my PC off was to visit Nate’s supposedly super-accurate ‘FiveThirtyEight‘ (538) election prediction site.

IF you are a political junkie (like me) you know Nate and his hard to believe predictive accuracy in the 2008 presidential election. Until last night I have, intentionally, ignored Nate’s prognostications. Most likely because I am into statistical analysis and computerized predictions I think that Nate’s uncanny success in 2008 was a once-in-a-lifetime FLUKE. I don’t think he has got it right this time around.

Click to access the CBS ‘Sunday Morning’ story.

Click to access Nate’s 2012 predictions, THOUGH I do not recommend it. He is nowhere near to being even close this time around. 2008 was a fluke.


There was, however, one thing in the CBS coverage that amused me. Nate (no doubt in collusion with the producers of the show) went to inordinate trouble to showcase the ASUS laptop he uses … or at least did in the context of this show.

I like ASUS. I am a big fan of ASUS. The motherboard of this, my workhorse, PC is ASUS.

Deanna and Devanee both have (relatively) new ASUS laptops — albeit, both refurbished from TigerDirect. Nate’s would be a much fancier, 4x times as expensive version.

I have found the refurbished ASUS at TigerDirect (and Amazon.com) to be exceptionally good value. Most people have no idea when I say ‘ASUS’ in the context of Laptops. They invariably think of Dell, HP, Gateway, Sony etc. Those are consumer brands. ASUS is a step up in terms of component quality.

We also now have two (2) Google Nexus 7 ‘pads’ [i.e., tablets], one each for the kids. One of the reasons I got the Nexus 7, other than its hard-to-resist $199 price tag, was that they are made by ASUS. So we are kind of an ASUS household.

Seeing Nate plugging ASUS just brought that home to me.

So IF you are looking for an INEXPENSIVE, good quality laptop, start by looking at the REFURBISHED ASUS at TigerDirect.

Click … to access TigerDirect.


The ‘Sunday Morning’ show started off with an account of the 1952 presidential election and the UNIVAC mainframe that correctly predicted the landslide result. They showed this picture. Wow. This predates ME by one year. But, I cut my teeth on comparable, but more powerful, mainframes — albeit IBM (though I did do a very short stint at Univac in 1979 and then did some extensive consulting for them in 1996).

1952 election prediction with a Univac with Walter Cronkite.