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One Year Since Assange Took Refuge in Ecuadorian Embassy

IntentionalStance Re:This is stupid (541 comments)

Go outside and see the sun!? - you've obviously never lived in London

about a year and a half ago
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Mozilla Handing Out Free Firefox OS Developer Phones To Bolster App Marketplace

IntentionalStance Linux on the hand-top (53 comments)

I'd love to see more diversity in this space but I think that Google is winning the battle. Chrome as a browser is pretty cool and Android as an OS is huge. I'd be surprised if Firefox can fight them off.

about a year and a half ago
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English May Have Retained Words From an Ice Age Language

IntentionalStance Re:Words in common - Thai and English (323 comments)

I've wondered about ay and shy, but figured it's just coincidence.

My Thai is not that good. Probably only 500 words or so and my accent is terrible. But I am unclear about ay and shy. Can you give me a clue?

about a year and a half ago
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English May Have Retained Words From an Ice Age Language

IntentionalStance Re:May have... (323 comments)

I certainly haven't had time to read the supporting papers carefully and consider them. I am not a professional linguist or cognitive scientist but it is a subject that has interested me for over 40 years, It's why I got into computers in the first place. Could you post some links to resources that could be informative to a keen amateur?

about a year and a half ago
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English May Have Retained Words From an Ice Age Language

IntentionalStance Re:Words in common - Thai and English (323 comments)

Sure, cool, not starting a flame war here, it could be a coincidence but of course they are similar in a whole bunch of languages. See the articles supporting info. These words get a high score.

Plus I wasn't asserting that they were similar because they came from some 'proto-language' I was just making an observation that very, very different languages had some words that sounded rather similar and I thought it interesting.

about a year and a half ago
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English May Have Retained Words From an Ice Age Language

IntentionalStance Re:May have... (323 comments)

Colin Renfrew, the editor of the paper is a highly respected linguist so I wouldn't dismiss it lightly. The article however, is very, very short on detail. I was also rather disappointed.

about a year and a half ago
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English May Have Retained Words From an Ice Age Language

IntentionalStance Words in common - Thai and English (323 comments)

I'll do my best to render Thai words phonetically but it's not easy.

Mare - Mother or often in English Ma

Pore - Father or again often Pa

Fi - fire

Those are the only non-loan words that overlap that I've come across

It is interesting that there are any words in common of course

about a year and a half ago
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How often do friends/family call you for tech support?

IntentionalStance Re:Database stuff (255 comments)

Well, yesterday a friend brought over a machine that had software issues, It took me maybe 10 minutes to fix a problem he'd been struggling with for months. While he was here he had a look at our tumble dryer that had stopped working. Whipped the back off - pointed at the broken drive belt - easy fix he said.

So he now has a working computer and I now have a working drier.

Win-win in my opinion. 10 mins work on my part in exchange for not having to spend $500 worth on a new dryer.

about a year and a half ago
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Astronomers Want To Hunt Down Earth's Mini-Moons

IntentionalStance Cruithne (44 comments)

is a moon of the Earth if you believe Stephen Fry and QI

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Were You Taught About Computers In High School?

IntentionalStance 1971 (632 comments)

I was very, very lucky. I got to learn Algol 60 when I was 14 in 1971. The school later organised for me to have a PL/I programming job between school and University. Thanks Burnley Grammar School!

more than 2 years ago
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Why Smart People Are Stupid

IntentionalStance It's a terrible article but... (337 comments)

Read Kahneman's book - it is one of the most important books I have read in years.

more than 2 years ago
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The Math Formula That Lead To the Financial Crash

IntentionalStance Re:No Really (371 comments)

You are, of course, correct and clear in all your points but I would just like to add one theme. These carefully constructed arbitrage positions only work out if the counter party can meet their obligations. If they can only do so because of their arbitraged position against yet another party ad infinitum then you end up with a house built from a deck of cards just waiting for any major event to knock the whole thing down.

The problem is that the methodology was, and as far I can tell still, completely is completely assailable

Essentially this involves making a bet justified by a set of assumptions, in particular that market movements are distributed over a Gaussian curve. You then insure yourself in case your forecasts *and* assumptions are wrong. Arbitrage protects you if your forecasts are wrong.

However, you aren't covered if your insurer made the same assumptions as you about how markets move and can't now pay out your insurance.

The maths may be unassailable given it's assumptions but that doesn't make it correct in the real world

I assume you know all this stuff and we're just exchanging alternative explanations - if not then I do strongly recommend reading Taleb. He's not just an academic - be personally made millions out of the late 80's and the late 90's market crashes

more than 2 years ago
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The Math Formula That Lead To the Financial Crash

IntentionalStance Re:No Really (371 comments)

Read the Black Swan by Nissam Nicholas Taleb

The essential issue is that models, such as Black-Scholes, that are used to price options assume that the market's movements are distributed according to a Gaussian distribution.

They aren't - it's a power law

The difference is huge

50% of all gains in the stock market in the last 50 years happened on 10 individual days and Black-Scholes says that this can never happen even once in a life time

more than 2 years ago
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Study Suggests the Number-Line Concept Is Not Intuitive

IntentionalStance Re:Valleys and Language (404 comments)

I'd mod that up if I could JoshuaZ - thanks for the link

more than 2 years ago
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Study Suggests the Number-Line Concept Is Not Intuitive

IntentionalStance Re:Valleys and Language (404 comments)

Language is much more strange than most people realise.

I speak some Thai and it is really difficult for English speakers to grasp

Imagine - no word for yes or no. Verbs don't change their form for person or tense.

In English we only really have 'it' as the third person singular. In French they have 'il' (masculine it) and 'elle' (Feminine it). In Thai they have literally different hundreds of pronouns for stuff like 'things with handles', 'long thin things', 'containers', 'things with limbs that are not people'

Language is so much more diverse than you would imagine if you don't study it.

Interestingly, this does not make the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistic_relativity) true.

The structure of the language has little, if any, relationship to the deeper mental understanding of the 'way things work'

more than 2 years ago
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Study Suggests the Number-Line Concept Is Not Intuitive

IntentionalStance Valleys and Language (404 comments)

I don't have the reference to hand but I recall there is a South American tribe which don't have words for left and right as most languages do. There words are equivalent to "Up Valley" and "Down Valley" Similarly, if I recall correctly, there's a Native American language that uses before and behind as an analog for time but the other way around to most languages. Their analogy is that you know the past and you can see what it in front of you so forward = the past. You can't see behind you and you don't know the future so behind = the future

more than 2 years ago

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