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How and Why Wall Street Programmers Earn Top Salaries

Christian Marks Re:Who likes to be screamed at (791 comments)

Never encountered anyone yelling? Do you work in credit risk? That's more sedate than trading. I sure as hell have had people yell at me at every Wall Street trading desk I've worked at. Here is a small sampling of incidents:

  1. 1) at an options trading desk by a future Forbes billionaire and his blonde assistant;
  2. 2) at a trading desk at Merrill Lynch when debugging the code of an options trader who was on his honeymoon cruise on the day his options were expiring;
  3. 3) at CitiBank by a random trader who angrily demanded that I fix something to do with Word Perfect--I had nothing to do with it.

This doesn't include violent outbursts by traders on the floor. I left Wall Street. I developed tinnitus and could no longer hear the yelling.

more than 2 years ago
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How and Why Wall Street Programmers Earn Top Salaries

Christian Marks The typical HFT job interview (791 comments)

Occasionally I receive calls for HFT jobs from recruiters
who represent elite hedge funds. Here is the typical exchange.

RECRUITER
You’ll be working with astronomically smart people. One
group uses crystalline cohomology to obtain the best
polynomial time approximation algorithms for
intractable problems in HFT. The engineer who did this
was an embryo prodigy who taught himself calculus
within ten to the negative sixty-seven seconds of conception.

ME
Is that the work you have in mind for me?

RECRUITER
No. You’ll be cleaning the group’s digital bed pans.

ME
Perhaps you should recruit a Nobel Laureate.
Thanks for calling.

more than 2 years ago
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Creator of China's Great Firewall Pelted With Shoes

Christian Marks Jobs? (220 comments)

Meanwhile admirers of the shoe attacker showered the anonymous young man with promises of everything from Nike trainers to replace his lost footwear, to iPads, sex and jobs.

I can understand an iPad, but what is he going to do with Steve Jobs?

more than 3 years ago
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Japanese Government Will Censor Fukushima "Illegal Information"

Christian Marks physicsforums.com (411 comments)

The Japan Earthquake thread in the nuclear engineering forum at physicsforums.com has become a more reliable and timely source of information on the stricken reactors at Fukushima than mainstream news sources, according to commenters posting from Japan. The latest news:Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says air may be leaking from theNo 2 and No 3 reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.Another example, as of March 30, 11 AM JST: Radioactive iodine 3,355 times legal limit found in seawater near plant. Another from March 30: IAEA Confirms Very High Levels of Radiation Far From Reactors.

April 11, 2011. The Japanese government's nuclear safety agency has decided to raise the crisis level of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant accident from 5 to 7, the worst on the international scale. Also, see this post from the physics forum. In each case, the news was available on physicsforums.com before publication in the mainstream press.

Let's hope that the Japanese government does not suppress this essential source of information.

more than 3 years ago
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Thousands of Blackbirds Fall From Sky Dead

Christian Marks Chicken Little vindicated! (577 comments)

Chicken Little has been vindicated at last!

more than 3 years ago
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The Wall Street Dollar

Christian Marks Re:ok (2 comments)

I wish there were a way to delete vague, hostile replies with no substantive content.

more than 3 years ago
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Amazon Censorship Expands

Christian Marks Re:What's a good alternative? (764 comments)

Consider the BeBook Neo or Club readers. These will read many of the popular ebook formats.

Some libertarian-minded commenters here seem to think that Amazon is operating strictly within a "self-regulating" free market and ought to have the rights of private individuals and especially conservatives, who demand the freedom to ignore externalities. In fact Amazon actively engages in monopolistic practices and resists free markets. (I'll avoid the larger issue that Amazon depends deeply on government to ensure that markets it operates in function under controlled conditions, but resists acknowledging this and tries to avoid paying for the services it takes for granted, such as trademark, copyright, trade secret and patent protection--like many companies.)

I used to have an Amazon Kindle. They advertise low prices for electronic books. But those purchases are tied to an Amazon Kindle account, not to you. You cannot transfer a book you have read to someone else, as if it were a real book. The analogy between physical property and intellectual property breaks down. Amazon controls downstream copies of the electronic books you purchase from them. You pay $9.99 to Amazon for an ebook in the mistaken belief that you are saving money on the purchase of merchandise that purportedly behaves like physical property. In fact, that $9.99 helps Amazon stifle markets. If I sold you my Amazon Kindle with the books I purchased, and you re-registered the Kindle in your name, my books would vanish. It would be as if I sold you my bookshelf with books I purchased from Amazon, and Amazon removed the books once you claimed the bookshelf.

You could say that I agreed to whatever terms Amazon devised. Fine: not acknowledging that Amazon's monopolistic practices have nothing to do with free markets is ideology. And that is one reason why I am recommending the BeBook reader.

more than 3 years ago
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Crookes, RIAA, MPAA, ICE — 'Linking Is Publishing'

Christian Marks Re:Linking != publishing (369 comments)

If linking is publishing, then the RIAA and MPAA are plagiarists, because they claim that something you published (a citation) violates their intellectual property. Their attempted identity theft by passing off a citation you wrote as if it were protected by their copyright is reason enough to avoid business with the companies they represent.

If linking is publishing, then citation is publishing [citation needed], and we are all guilty by transitivity.

more than 3 years ago
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Crookes, RIAA, MPAA, ICE — 'Linking Is Publishing'

Christian Marks The music industry is economically insignificant (369 comments)

There were around $15.8 billion in sales in "premium content" in 2010. No economist would consider this industry economically significant, but we have intellectual monopolists shrieking that piracy is shutting down the economy.

But stifling natural markets is destroying the economy: the intellectual monopolists demand control over all copies (of a piece of music, movie, article, etc). This limits your ability to sell or give away the copy you purchased. The downstream control of all copies of a copyrighted work is completely unlike physical property, so the analogy between intellectual property and physical property breaks down.

The phrase "linking is publishing" is misleading. Copyright protects specific forms of expression; unless the link occurs within the copyrighted page (and even in that case), it is a new form of expression. A link is a citation. The claim that citations violate the intellectual property of the owner of some cited work is worse than copyright violation: it is plagiarism. In this case, the intellectual monopolist is claiming that a work he did not produce, the citation, is his own. This is plagiarism, which involves identity theft--a social evil.

If "linking is publishing" then "citation is publishing" and we are all guilty by transitivity.

It is because intellectual monopolists like the music and movie industry want to make their plagiarism your copyright problem that I avoid listening to their music and watching their movies. Thanks to their efforts to limit competition, it's rubbish anyway.

more than 3 years ago
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Should Wikipedia Just Accept Ads Already?

Christian Marks Why I will not donate to Wikipedia (608 comments)

My attempt join the Wikipedia community was prematurely cut short when an admin blocked a range of 8192 Verizon IP addresses. I found this out when attempting to edit my user page. My attempted appeal was summarily dismissed--there is no mechanism for distinguishing legitimate users from vandals. To add insult to injury, Wikipedia requires that the appeal remain on my talk page until the range block is lifted some time in 2011. Until then, I will not be donating to Wikipedia. There are plenty of other worthy causes.

more than 3 years ago
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Amazon Taking Down Erotica, Removing From Kindles

Christian Marks Jeff Bezos is asexual (641 comments)

Jeff Bezos does not want to be reminded about what he cannot have and is in a position to do something about it. This is going to continue. Amazon removed Orwell from Kindles, censored WikiLeaks, and now this. I was absolutely right to cancel my account.

more than 3 years ago
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Amazon Says Hardware, Not Hackers, Caused Outage

Christian Marks The real cause of the "hardware" failure (128 comments)

The surge of account terminations in protest over Amazon's treatment of WikiLeaks caused an outage after power needed for their data center in Europe was diverted to overloaded call centers outsourced by Amazon to the Indian subcontinent.

more than 3 years ago
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WikiLeaks, Money, and Ron Paul

Christian Marks Some of us left PayPal (565 comments)

Some of us voted with our feet and closed our PayPal, eBay and Amazon accounts. This may have had an effect as well. I'm proud to have jettisoned PayPal in protest and urge others to do likewise. The news that PayPal is giving WikiLeaks its money hasn't made the Times, not surprisingly.

more than 3 years ago
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Malicious Online Retailer Ordered Held Without Bail

Christian Marks DecorMyAss (225 comments)

Good thing he wasn't leaking classified documents or he'd be in real trouble.

more than 3 years ago
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FedEx Misplaces Radioactive Rods

Christian Marks Re:FedEx? (165 comments)

What we CAN fix is buffoons who take a totally unrelated story and try to twist it to fit whatever ideology they want to push.

How do you propose to fix them?

more than 3 years ago
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FedEx Misplaces Radioactive Rods

Christian Marks Re:FedEx? (165 comments)

If you believe in limited government, then it follows that it's a matter of corporate policy whether to ship radioactive materials, which would be completely unregulated. The free market would decide where those rods would end up, and disclosing anything about them would be strictly determined be the effect on the bottom line.

more than 3 years ago
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A Peek At the National Opt-Out Day Numbers

Christian Marks Re:Mine is: (297 comments)

I've completely opted out of flying commercially since 2001. That's a protest that allows me to vote with my wallet. It has transferred tens of thousands of dollars away from the airlines, and I expect that trend to continue.

Same here, only in my case it's more of a conscious effort than a behavioral trend that I happen to be monitoring.

more than 3 years ago
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A Peek At the National Opt-Out Day Numbers

Christian Marks The TSA (297 comments)

is only doing its hand job.

more than 3 years ago
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Homeland Security Drops Color-Coded Terror Alerts

Christian Marks I going to miss the Brown alert (183 comments)

Reserved for epic Katrina-level FEMA failures. Brownie did a heck of a job.

more than 3 years ago
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RIAA Now Blames Journalists For Its Piracy Trouble

Christian Marks Re:Let the market decide is stupid (367 comments)

I was being ironic: the market cannot solve all problems. I'm in favor of trademarks--a big government sponsored social program for business. I'm also in favor of copyright reform. For a reference on intellectual monopoly, I suggest Against Intellectual Monopoly a free online text by economists Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine. I also recommend their web site Against Monopoly. Intellectual monopoly is the exclusive "...right to control how purchasers make use of an idea or creation." This refers to all copies of an idea or creation. Boldrin and Levine assert that "not only should the property rights of innovators be protected but also the rights of those who have legitimately obtained a copy of the idea, directly or indirectly, from the original innovator." It is an empirical and not an ideological question whether and to what extent creators should "...have the right to control how purchasers make use of an idea or creation." The evidence I've seen is that copyrights and patents overwhelmingly favor moneyed interests at the expense of innovators and at significant social cost.

more than 3 years ago

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