Whole Foods vs. Safeway

Co-worker claim: Whole Foods is more expensive than Safeway.
Justification: They rip you off just because they can, and people are dumb enough to pay the higher prices.

My claim: That's BS! Their prices should be exactly the same.
Justification: This is what logical theory says. It's called Econ 101.

How to resolve this conflict? By doing an experiment, of course!

Here are my results from walking around in Whole Foods and Safeway with my camera-phone. I randomly chose different classes of foods, found products that were in both stores, and took pictures:

Banana Prices at Whole Foods and Safeway

Budweiser prices at Whole Foods and Safeway

Horizon Organic Milk Prices at Whole Foods and Safeway

Florida's Natural Orange Juice Prices at Whole Foods and Safeway

Honey Nut Cheerios Prices at Whole Foods and Safeway

Cheerios Prices at Whole Foods and Safeway

So what's the conclusion from all this? Averaging all of these products, Safeway is 4.3% more expensive than Whole Foods.

Result: We were both wrong. FAIL.

Posted on April 30, 2008
Filed under: General, Random Comments

Netflix Bandwidth

A random thought experiment that just popped into my head: what's the bandwidth of my Netflix "connection"?

Let's assume that Netflix mails me 3 DVDs per week, each of which is just a plain old single-sided single-layer disc with a movie on it. The bandwidth should be:

Netflix Bandwidth

The result surprised me: the bandwidth is 187 kbps! It's also sustained, full-duplex, and at 100% utilization (assuming I watch all the way through all the movies). The "download" speed is comparable to a low-end ISDN connection in the US. Switching to HD-DVD Blu-Ray would increase the bandwidth to 992 kbps, in which case the "upload" speed would actually be higher than my upload speed on my Comcast connection.

Of course, with an average latency of 2.3 days (201600000 ms), it would be pretty much impossible to run a protocol like TCP on it (unless the timeouts were really, really high). Just to begin downloading a simple HTML page would probably take several weeks, due to the SYN/ACK handshaking of the DNS and HTTP transactions..

Update 3/18: Fixed math error. Thanks Simon!

Posted on April 17, 2008
Filed under: General, Random Comments

Yoda Head

My Yoda pez-dispenser at work got into a fight with a Darth Vader dispenser. Unfortunately he lost..

Decapitated Yoda Pez Dispenser

Posted on April 15, 2008
Filed under: General, Humor Comments



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