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Whole Organ Grown In Animal For First Time

alexander_686 Re:Wouldn't it be rejected? (76 comments)

Maybe not.

One could grow organs inside a person's body or in a tube, but there are issues about blood supply, proper growth, etc. A possible solution would be to grow human organs in animal hosts. Transgenic pigs are often cited as a possible choice. They are about the right size for many organs and their immune system should be able to be tweaked so as not to reject the foreign tissue. Of course, this approach has other technical hurdles to overcome. I am not willing to bet on what the answer will be.

Still in the realm of science fiction but we are getting closer every day.

3 days ago
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Helsinki Aims To Obviate Private Cars

alexander_686 Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (276 comments)

It is not just "fun" things. Cities are more productive than rural areas. Bigger cities are more productive than smaller cities.

It is not because the more productive people move to larger cities – that variable has been controlled. Bigger cities offer economies of scale, allows deeper areas of expertise to developed, and networking effects. And if one wants to argue that in theory the internet can overcome the need for physical proximity, hard data argues otherwise. In the past 30 years, productivity and income has risen faster in larger cities than mid-tier cities.

about a week ago
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Telegram Not Dead STOP Alive, Evolving In Japan STOP

alexander_686 Re:$4.30? (144 comments)

If I had to guess it is a quasi-legal thing. People probably want some type of assurance that their message had been delivered.

I worked in a US Bank and we were still sending out telegrams in 2002. The telegram served kind of the same function as certified mail. We could confirm that the message had been received on the other end. We were conducting "urgent" business (generally business that needed a turnaround time of 1 to 3 business day) with older cliental (e-mail was not assured).

about two weeks ago
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Why the Public Library Beats Amazon

alexander_686 Re:It's the twenty-first century (165 comments)

You got me on the date thing – I am showing my age.

On to your point, I would agree that we need librarians and archivist. However you are off point. The topic at hand is about lending libraries and the most efficient way to lend out books, music, movies, etc. Almost everything you point out is in the domain of research, archive, and other special collection libraries. These libraries tend not to lend stuff out. Does it matter if a library or a historical society holds these archives? I can't think of one.

about two weeks ago
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Why the Public Library Beats Amazon

alexander_686 Re:The #1 reason public libraries are better (165 comments)

Then I would suggest, and I do in fact encourage, reform of the copyright laws.

Clinging to yesterday's 19th century inefficient technology with some ill-defined nostalgia for the past is probably not the best way to ensure liberty in the 20th century. As a case in point, my library immediately deletes all borrowing history the moment a book is returned or the e-book lending period expires. Not exactly on point to what you are saying, but pointing out the type of things we should be doing. That being said, even if all libraries go DRM, there is nothing stopping you from walking into a bookstore and buying a hardback with a $20 bill.

about two weeks ago
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Why the Public Library Beats Amazon

alexander_686 Re:selection (165 comments)

Libraries do carry books for "financial reasons", in the sense that library space is a cost and libraries don't have unlimited money. They do try to get the most bang out of their buck to server their "customers". Libraries routinely cull their collections. Most libraries have book sales where they get rid of their excess inventory, making room for new books.

That being said, most libraries tend to take a long and deep view. What was trendy yesterday and obscure today is the stuff of historical research tomorrow. This is particularly true for research and archival libraries. That being said, digital storage of media is getting cheaper and better every day.

about two weeks ago
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Why the Public Library Beats Amazon

alexander_686 Re:The #1 reason public libraries are better (165 comments)

Not exactly true and kind of misses the point.

You say not everybody can afford Kindles? The point was to close down all of the libraries, and used the money saved to buy everybody a Kindle or some other type of e-book. If e-books and libraries were equivalent than society would win. E-books and libraries are not equivalent yet, at least the book lending portion. However, my local library does allow me to check out e-books and audiobooks via the internet so we are getting close.

Taxes could be cut, libraries could be redeployed to something more useful - like coffee shops that could be used for networking. I say the last bit half in jest. If you are interested in networking, community meetings, etc. then we should figure out the best way to delivery that. Maybe generic community centers could do better? Other people have mentioned internet access and tech support. Maybe free city wide wifi would be a better choice?

I love libraries, but let's not try to justify their existence with a bunch of ad hoc ad ons in ex post facto rationalization of logic.

about two weeks ago
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Nokia Buys a Chunk of Panasonic

alexander_686 Re:From Finland (54 comments)

No insult intended (seriously) but you were pretty much the only one who thought that.

IIRC there was a joke in the first Michael Bay's Transforms movie along those lines.

I think part of the reason is that it sounds kind of like Japanese and Finnish and Japanese are kind of in the same language group. Not saying there are kissing cousins like the romance languages, but as languages go they seem to be orphans which share a common great grandparent.

about a month ago
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Chinese Government Probes Microsoft For Breaches of Monopoly Law

alexander_686 Re:Anti-monopoly behavior? (110 comments)

It is not about the NSA, it is about Windows XP. Windows XP (the pirated version) dominates the market. Microsoft has withdrawn support, which leaves China in a bit of a pickle. I am sure this will all go away if Microsoft would just start supporting XP again or China bought a couple of million of Windows 8 licenses.

about a month ago
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US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

alexander_686 Re:Can we just recognize it as currency and be don (172 comments)

Here is an analogy. I don't consider Klingon, Esperanto, or Latin to be real, living languages. They fill all of the requirements of being a language but people can't live their daily lives using these language and they don't think in these languages. Books may be translated into these languages, but few books are written in these languages. Native speakers are rare. Latin may be an edge case.

Yes, you can do a lot of things with BitCoins. But form the posts that I see on Slashdot, these retailors are immediately converting the BitCoins to the local currency. That suggests to me that the BitCoin economy is a mile wide and an inch deep.

As for BitCoin, I am not rooting it to fail but I think it will. From a technically aspect, it has many virtues as a currency. However, anything that acts like money is money. In good times, many things can act like money but in bad times the amount of money can contract rapidly. Hence monetary policy. BitCoins lacks that flexibly. I personally feel there is going to be a crisis and the whole thing will collapse. Now, on the flip side, hard money types will tell you this inflexibility is a virtue.

about a month ago
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US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

alexander_686 Re:What about my rights? (172 comments)

I too would be interested in know if there are legitimate BitCoin banks out there. I suspect not for 2 ½ reasons.

First, I don't think anybody is audacious enough to do that. At the very least it implies one has a solid back office. It also implies that one has a government issued charter (with the regulation, fees, and oversight that goes with that). If a loan goes south, how do I collect? These are not unsolvable issues. I suspect that some of the ponzi sachems out there that promised a fat return or interest rates pretended to have some type of fractional reserve going.

Second, you can break banking down into 2 parts. One is the “cash handling” aspect. I have a negative opinion on BitCoin but this it does well. The second part, the fractional banking part, is to allocate capital by transmuting short term deposits into long term loans. I have a hard time imagining anybody needing a long term loan in BitCoins. Because the price is volatile, we would need to find a business that needed a big upfront loan in BitCoins for capital and was expecting to do business in BitCoins for the future.

Which takes me to my ½ reason. BitCoin users tend to be hard money types who hate loans. While I look aghast at the amount of leverage in the current system, I do think some lending (or to be more precise, some time aspect of investment) is necessary. I personally don't think BitCoin will be a real currency until we start seeing loans being made.

about 1 month ago
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US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

alexander_686 Re:Can we just recognize it as currency and be don (172 comments)

And when you are done with that, look up "hobby income" on the IRS website.After all we need to distinguish between the casual WoW player and the professional gold miner.

If you are a US citizen, and you have income as defined by the IRS, they have jurisdiction.

about 1 month ago
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US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

alexander_686 Re:Can we just recognize it as currency and be don (172 comments)

You need to strike the first two since they are both pegged currencies, Tuvalu to the Australian dollar and Barbados to the US dollar. That is, their value is derived from the underlying currencies.

And what makes a currency a currency is not how many people hold them or the might of the military. What really matters is I can live my daily life using that currency. Can I buy a loaf of bread or pay my rent? When I do any mental accounting, to I think in BitCoins, dollars, or cigarettes?

about 1 month ago
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US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

alexander_686 Re:Extra-double illegal because it's digital!!! (172 comments)

But we don't have to declare anything - it is already illegal. You can't trade in illegal goods. Period. If a good is illegal on one side of the trade, it does not matter what is on the other side. The government does not have to create a list of thing where it is. A criminal can’t say –"ha – but I used blue whales while trading cocaine – and blue whales are not on the probation list of tradable goods – ergo I can sell all the cocaine that I want".

about 1 month ago
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US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

alexander_686 Re:Can we just recognize it as currency and be don (172 comments)

How do we define what makes a currency?

Money is generally defined as
        Medium of exchange
        Store of value
        Unit of account
Anything that can be used as money is money. As such, money is flexible. If you think tulips, receipts (bank drafts, post-dated checks, warehouse receipts, tobacco , tulips, Dot Com stocks, cows, garbage pail kids, are money , it is. If you change your mind it does away. Currency tends to be "harder" – harder to create and destroy and tend to be tightly controled by a central bank. Read up on Money Supply and the difference between M0, M1, M2, etc. The further you go out the less something is like currency.

Does a currency need to be backed by some kind of country?

Technically no. Private currency has a long and rich history. However, since 1880 it has be on the decline. I can't think of any major currencies that are not backed by a government today.

Is there an expectation of stability of price?

Yes, but you don't always get what you want. Money (and thus currency) is supposed to be a low risk / low reward asset. Currency has low risk (see inflation) and has either 0% reward or more commonly a negative rate of return. (if not from inflation, then convince charges to hold and transfer funds. A advantage of BitCoin is that they will reduce the charges.) See countries with high inflation rates. Venezuela is my current favorite example. Argentina comes in a close second. FYI, the human brain from an organic aspect can handle inflation better than deflation.

Do you need an area of economic activity where the currency is ubiquitously accepted as a form of payment?

Mostly yes. It must be a unit exchange, barter, ability to pay taxes and loans, etc. If not it tends to gimp the money, leading to inefficiencies, eroding its value. For examples, you can look at some communist countries that have issued dual currency, one that is convertible into foreign currencies and one that is not. Food stamps that can only be used to buy food and the resulting black market in baby formula.

about 1 month ago
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US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

alexander_686 Marijuana dispensaries are different. (172 comments)

Fireworks businesses, gun businesses, casino owners are all legal business – mind you heavily regulated.

Marijuana is illegal under federal laws even if it legal under state. A bank dealing with a marijuana dispensary runs the risk of violating laws on money laundering, which can be very bad for banks. So banks simply won't deal with them.

A place to start: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money...

about 1 month ago
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US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

alexander_686 Re:Equality (172 comments)

We are not talking about regulating money per se, but about business regulating how business handle and use money.

State governments have a long, long history of bank regulation and oversight. This has faded as most banks have switched to a federal charter instead of a state charter. But they still have considerable oversight. What is maximum interest that can be charged, what methods of collections can occur when a person is overdue on their loans, etc. While most Liberations would oppose usurer laws, most would favor regulations on how contract law should be enforced.

about 1 month ago
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US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

alexander_686 Re:What about my rights? (172 comments)

Well, there you go.

I will point to this Slashdot article: http://politics.slashdot.org/s...

Read the rules closely and you can figure out it bans opening a BitCoin bank in NY. Basically, if you take deposits it needs to 100% back by BitCoins, so no fractional reserve banking.

http://www.bloombergview.com/a...

Note, I think BitCoins are an interesting experiment in currency but would make loosely money. BitCoin, with a fixed number of coins, is a hard currency. Using a hard currency makes fractional reserve banking hard to do, which makes banking hard to do, which impairs its ability to be money.

about 1 month ago
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SLS Project Coming Up $400 Million Short

alexander_686 Re:SLS and comparing to spacex (132 comments)

Yes, the SSL will start at 70t and move forward to (maybe) 155t.

But no, 10 13 ton lauches of the Falcon 9 does probabbly does not get you the same thing as a single lauch of 130t. Assemble is a issue. Some things are better built and have less wastage in large intergated units on the ground than assempbled in space.

We should compare apples to apples, not oranges. Which leads me to my biggest gripe about NASA (and by extension, the American government) – their plans are so murky and ill defined. Each stage of the program was like a rung on a ladder – leading to the eventual goal. How does the ISS fit into going to Mars? How does the SLS? How come we are always punting this thing down the road by 20 years. It is almost a program in search of a mission. Please don't take this as an attack on basic science and research – just how NASA does it.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Microsoft to Buy Nokia's Devices Unit for $7.2 Billion

alexander_686 alexander_686 writes  |  about a year ago

alexander_686 (957440) writes "On the heels of CEO Steve Ballmer announcing his resignation, it looks like Microsoft is going to be buying Nokia’s handset unit. Nokia is currently a big cheerleader for the Window’s 8 phone. Stephen Elop was a Microsoft employee, then Nokia’s CEO, and is now stepping down. He will be the head of the handset division after the sale is finial. Elop is the current front runner to replace Ballmer when he steps down in a year."
Link to Original Source
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Microsoft may invest $1B-$3B in Dell buyout

alexander_686 alexander_686 writes  |  about a year and a half ago

alexander_686 (957440) writes "We have talked about Michele Dell In Buyout Talks With Private-Equity Firms

Now the Talk is that Microsoft may invest 1 to 3 billion. I personally doubt Microsoft is going for majority ownership but it would be a significant stake. Dell is worth around 22b to 25b. Speculation is that investors would put up 5 to 7b in equity, borrowing the rest. You can do the math to determine the ownership percentage. As a point of reference, Michele Dell’s stock is worth 3.6b

We know about Microsoft’s relationship with Nokia – both in terms of ownership, swap of key personal, and the Window’s phone. Is this a repeat?"

Link to Original Source
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AT&T- Verizon collude to offer poor service

alexander_686 alexander_686 writes  |  about a year and a half ago

alexander_686 writes "I recently found a very good about article How AT&T and Verizon Manipulate Your Smartphone by Susan Crawford. It’s the 2nd excerpt from her book “Captive Audience.”

The two kinds of Internet-access carriers, wired and wireless, have found they can operate without competing with each other. The cable industry and AT&T- Verizon have divided up the world much as Comcast and Time Warner did; only instead of, “You take Philadelphia, I’ll take Minneapolis,” it’s, “You take wired, I’ll take wireless.”

I am a free market type of guy. I do recognize the abuse that can come from natural monopolies that utilities tend to have, but I have never considered this type of collusion before."
Link to Original Source

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SEC investigates Netflix CEO Reed Hastings over Facebook Posting

alexander_686 alexander_686 writes  |  about a year and a half ago

alexander_686 (957440) writes "SEC investigates Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on Facebook Posting

Hastings said in the filing the SEC is questioning his July 1 Facebook posting, seen by 200,000 followers, in which he said customers watched “over 1 billion hours” of videos on Netflix in June. He had previously posted on his company blog that members were viewing “nearly a billion hours per month.”

Rarely, outside of Carl Sagan, have I heard people saying that one billion not significant."

Link to Original Source
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Knight Trading Losses

alexander_686 alexander_686 writes  |  about 2 years ago

alexander_686 writes "Apparently old code never dies – it comes back to haunt you.

From Bloomberg, "Knight Capital Group Inc. (KCG)’s $440 million trading loss stemmed from an old set of computer software that was inadvertently reactivated when a new program was installed, according to two people briefed on the matter.""

Link to Original Source
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Harvard and MIT to provided online classes

alexander_686 alexander_686 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

alexander_686 writes "Harvard and MIT are launching edX with 60 million dollars to offer “low fee” online classes. No word yet on classes offered or who will be teaching. No college credit but certificates will be offered.

The technology used will be open source. Other institutions will be invited at a later date.

I hope low cost means low cost. (Under $25) I have really enjoyed the Stanford University free online classes."

Link to Original Source
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The Nook: From Android to Windows?

alexander_686 alexander_686 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

alexander_686 writes "It looks like Microsoft is buying a large chunk of Barnes & Noble, specifically the Nook and it’s college businesses. While nobody has said anything specific, I think the writing is on the wall on what the next OS system for the next nook is going to be."
Link to Original Source

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