Is there an implicit "since" in the "most viewed questions" component of Quora's statistics page?

It appears that the answer is Yes, as I woke up this morning and saw all my top view counts down to low single-digits, down from the teens.

I asked a similar question: Do Most-Viewed questions aggregate views from day 1?

Are there any performance consequences of having lots of HTML elements that are removed from the document?

No. I've verified with Chrome 12 and the profiler, there are no memory leaks after running your snippet. It should be said though that jQuery has it's own garbage collector, you might not get the same results adding your elements manually to the DOM.

Are there other examples of NLP algorithms writing published books?

Sure, how about the 1993 book, "Just This Once", subtitled "A novel written by a computer programmed to think like the world's best-selling author, as told to Scott French." The book was said to be written by French's computer program "Hal" with considerable human intervention; the best-selling author it imitates is Jacqueline Susann. When the book was published it made it to the front page of The New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/1993/07/0…

Here's the book on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Just-This-…

The reviews are not really complementary ("Shallow, beautiful-people characters are flatly conceived and randomly accessed in a formulaic plot…") but I'm sure one of these days we'll have some great American machine-written literature. My toaster was just telling me the other day he's been working on a novel about appliances in turn-of-the-century London.

Are there any plans on Quora to implement a status system, be it a contribution-based point system or icons that appear next to my name on my profile?

Quora is a private island run by self-serving administrators, not a meritocracy. They want it to be like Wikipedia, the place you come to for information, for authoritative answers to specific questions. Acknowledging people who provide a quantity of answers doesn't necessarily set the right tone.

In fact, Quora has become a chat site, with people throwing out all kinds of inane questions and useless, but sometimes amusing answers. This behavior is tolerated so as to grow the user base, but they haven't figured out how to build the Quora they want to become. The product seems to reflect an internal struggle for power and direction that has not been resolved.

One solution would be to become more transparent and fair. They could involve users more and seek suggestions. Do you want a notation next to your name that you have nothing better to do with your life and have written over a thousand Quora answers so far this year? Would you be positively impressed by someone with that notation?

The problem is that like a lot of people, they went ahead and did something without asking me first. This is clearly an unreasonable over-reaction to the fact that my only Ph.D. is in phairy dust. I could fix things with a wave of my wand, but do they even pm me? Sadly, not.

Are there death threats against Mark Zuckerberg?

yea, there was. Some idiot made a Facebook group called "everybody draw Muhammad day"  and that's why Facebook is blocked in Pakistan and someone there is trying to get him sentenced to death. I don't think it's taken TOO seriously… if it was, i'd be all over the news… let's just hope Mark remains alive!!

Are there any comparative studies of the cloud services offered by Amazon, Microsoft, and Google?

It's hard to provide a generalized answer for the three services, but it should be something like this:

Most expensive: Azure
Least expensive: App Engine

If you already know SQL …
Easiest: EC2 (if you install a SQL database), Azure
Hardest: App Engine (non-relational datastore)

EC2 is a bit harder to compare since it's apples and oranges. With EC2, you get root access, but you also pay for idle time when you don't do any computation. With App Engine, you only pay for resources you use, so sometimes it's possible to believe you're paying more for a data migration when really it was only "free" on a VPS or EC2 because you already paid for the idle capacity. Azure's model is closer to App Engine's, though there is a baseline cost you must pay even if your application serves 0 requests per billing cycle.

This comparison of performance is interesting. Warning: I'm going to point out that I haven't yet read the 50-page report: http://radar.oreilly.com/2010/06…

Are there any examples of successful airline mergers?

Per the Economist:

Most countries ban cross-border airline mergers. International traffic rights are tied to designated domestically-owned carriers under bilateral government deal.

Source: http://www.economist.com/busines…

So Air France-KLM might be one of the rare examples.

Regarding acquisition, Lufthansa took over Swiss (after it went bankrupt as Swissair), which is operating quite successfully at the moment.

Furthermore discussion on the recent BA/Iberia talks via The Economist: http://www.economist.com/display….