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The Game Theory of Life

fineghal Actual Algorithm (85 comments)

"We demonstrate that in the regime of weak selection, the standard equations of population genetics describing natural selection in the presence of sex become identical to those of a repeated game between genes played according to multiplicative weight updates (MWUA)..."

about 7 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Most Underappreciated Sci-Fi Writer?

fineghal Re:Daniel Suarez (1130 comments)

Daniel Suarez and his trilogy of Daemon, Freedom(TM), and Kill Decision.

Just wanted to point out that while Daemon and Freedom are part of the same series, Kill decision is a stand-alone novel.

more than 2 years ago

Political Science Prof Asks: Is Algebra Necessary?

fineghal Re:Short answer: yes. (1010 comments)

Re: Differentiation by the power rule. So I'm assuming he got the whole idea about change across? What were you using differentiation for in your other algebra classes? All I'm coming up with are perp/parr. lines and creating lines given a point and/or a slope etc. Just curious. :-)

about 2 years ago

Judge Orders Verizon Subscriber Identities Sealed

fineghal Re:Doesn't make a whole lot of sense (126 comments)

It's like you're trying to disprove basic arithmetic.

With graphs.


Before anything else, this was funny. :-)

I can make graphs as well to show anything I want. That graph means less than nothing. It doesn't mean you're using the correct/consistent formulas or that you're not including or excluding certain variables to obtain a result that backs your opinion, but NOT necessarily reality.

A valid point. But by the same token just because that graph doesn't show what you want/expect doesn't mean it's worthless either. Some things -- the monetary base, the exchange rate are directly measurable. There isn't really a lot of wiggle room with calculation - although I'll grant you the actual arithmetic operations of trade-weighting makes me glad we have computers. But in the simplest case of say the exchange rate of US Dollars to U.K. Pounds is again directly visible. Currently 1 British Pound is worth 1.57 US Dollars.

No matter how much you wave your hands or how many or how pretty your graphs...

Oi! Just because I talk with my hands doesn't mean I'm a complete idiot. I have it on good authority I am only 1/16th idiot. Nor have I employed the old "Blind 'em with powerpoint!" ploy. As a serious response however.

No matter how much you wave your hands or how many or how pretty your graphs are, it doesn't change one basic fact: If you print more money without adding any value either in goods or labor, the actual worth of a single unit of that currency is reduced. If you increase the number of slices in a single pie, those slices must become smaller. You must then have more slices to equal the same amount of pie you got in a single slice before.

This is true. If that money you've printed enters circulation. That is the crux of my argument. Yes the Fed has "printed" hundreds of billions of dollars. But that currency hasn't entered circulation. It's sitting in bank reserves either literally or digitally. Until it's actually put out in the world through loans or interest paid on deposits, it doesn't exist in the wider economy.

Bad analogy time -- let's say we have a guy named Larry. Larry just got a new credit card with a 10,000 dollar limit on it. He has access to (reserves) of 10,000 if he needs it. But until he actually spends it somewhere, it effectively doesn't exist for everybody else.

Bad analogy 2 with the same concept: You're the great explorer Zheng He. In your travels you find an island where the natives use a form of seashell as currency. Now on this island that seashell is fairly rare. By coincidence one of your men gathered up 20kg of the exact same sea shells last time you were ashore -- for his wife he said. So you've created or brought a whole bunch of new currency to the island. You've printed more money. Yet you would find the price of fish to be relatively unchanged from the day before, even though the money didn't exist on the island then. On the other hand, if you were to take those 20 kilos and dump them in the middle of the village, the value of each individual shell would drop just as you've described.

I'm not saying prices haven't changed or that the value of the dollar hasn't fallen over time, what I'm saying is that you shouldn't just blame QE. I was going to make you a nice shiny graph showing the fall in the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar since 1973 or maybe inflation but I'd rather go to bed at this point.

more than 2 years ago

Judge Orders Verizon Subscriber Identities Sealed

fineghal Re:Doesn't make a whole lot of sense (126 comments)

The Fed engaging in "quantitative easing" (printing/creating more money from thin air) has caused the value of the money to drop dramatically, thus requiring more money to purchase the same value in goods and services/labor. This effectively robs everyone holding that currency of the value of the goods or services/labor they exchanged for that money.

It's theft on a really grand scale with everyone holding US dollars as the victims.

Every time the Fed does another "quantitative easing", your salary/pay is effectively cut.


The argument that the value of money is dropping is just false. I even took the time to make a graph!

A graph illustrating my point.

The graph begins in January of 2000 and runs until the present. All of the measures are indexed to Jan. 2000 as well and graphed as a monthly average. The dark bars indicate recessions. For those of you who are unaware, using an index makes it easier to compare different things over time. So if the index for the exchange rate is 100 in 2000, and 110 in 2001 then the exchange rate has increased by 10 percent compared to the value in 2000. Essentially, just think of the index as a percentage.

So now to let us look at all the shiny lines. The bottom most black line is the exchange rate, which is the value of the US dollar compared to other currencies. If this index is higher then the US dollar has gotten stronger and can buy more stuff abroad. If the index is lower that means the US dollar buys less stuff abroad.

Next is the dashed "Personal Consumption Expenditure" line. This is essentially a measure of inflation. And before anyone complains - yes this version contains food and energy. The differences between the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the PCE are academic but they're pretty similar.

Next up is the red line M2. M2 is broadly speaking the amount of money in circulation. Savings accounts, Checking accounts, currency and a few other things are lumped in here.

And finally the green line which is the Monetary Base(MB). This line is what people are talking about when they say quantitative easing. The Fed began quantitative easing in November of 2008, right where you see the Monetary Base start to spike. Policy tweaks since then are also reflected.

If in fact the value of money is decreasing due to QE as you suggest then one would expect to see one or more of the following things: A decrease in the value of money might be reflected by a rise in inflation. Instead you see inflation actually falling slightly where the PCE and MB intersect. If the value of money were truly decreasing by some method other than inflation, then one would think that other individuals and countries would notice. Once they do notice the fall in the value of the dollar, you'd expect to see the exchange rate fall, since it has less worth than other currencies. Instead you see a slight increase in the value of the dollar, followed by a move back to an index of around 80 as has been the case since 2007.

In short, if what you say is true we would expect some response in the graph.Given that massive spike in MB I'd expect a large one. But none of those variables even hints at the reaction to QE that you suggest has occurred.

more than 2 years ago

13-Year-Old Uses Fibonacci Sequence For Solar Power Breakthrough

fineghal More data! (410 comments)

I'd love to see a comparison of cost between his version and fixed/mobile versions.
A quick google/wikipedia shows that movable "tracking" systems generate between 30-40% more power annually than an otherwise identical fixed set of panels. So is that 10% gain - which we have to take his word for since the term "study" is a little generous - worth it?
(King, D.L. and Boyson, W.E. and Kratochvil, J.A. (May 2002). "Analysis of factors influencing the annual energy production of photovoltaic systems".)

Also, how resistant is this to damage compared to more common designs?

more than 3 years ago

Advice On Teaching Linux To CS Freshmen?

fineghal Everything and Nothing (467 comments)

You've given us rather little in regards to guidance. Is this class part of a larger arc focusing on security? Programming?

about 4 years ago

Web-Based Private File Storage?

fineghal Re:Encryption (467 comments)

I can just so easily see drunkenly trying to enter a complicated password...

more than 4 years ago

High-Frequency Programmers Revolt Over Pay

fineghal Re:Simple solution. (1018 comments)

Sweet sweet incentive. That 2-3 weeks to eke out an extra 1% in efficiency is a lot more worthwhile when that 1% directly pads their paychecks!

more than 3 years ago

US Fears Loss of ICQ Honeypot

fineghal Re:National Security Act (319 comments)

Hugo Chavez? Why are you lurking on slashdot! You've got an oil company to run! And an electricity company, and... Thanks but I'd rather avoid such a precedent.

more than 4 years ago

Trojan Kill Switches In Military Technology

fineghal Idiots (392 comments)

You know what's absolutely hilarious about this? A kill switch requires a COMMAND to activate. OP probably believes in one world order and a secret cabal of jewish-mason-opus-dei members. 1) Activation requires communication with the kill switch. - A fair portion (missiles spring to mind) of military hardware is shielded from this kind of thing. Can't have a stray emp field junking your hardware in a combat zone can you? 2) Activation requires communication. Stop and think about that. This isn't some craptacular residential cable modem that's connected to the internet 24/7. You're trying to tell me that "they" can magically get line level access to the hardware? - Just like in regular computer security - if "they" have physical access to the machine, you're already screwed. 3) Activation requires communication. Let us suppose that there IS magical over-the-air access possible to some random device. Every single method EVER requires some type of input at the least. Do you really think that NO ONE is going to notice a radio or IR reciever being added to a chip or hardware? 4) Do you really, truly believe that this hardware is preconfigured from the manufacturer for the military? People Telco's (in the us at least) don't even do that! You're trying to tell me that any firm (military or otherwise) is going to tell their manufacturer "Hey, while you're at it, I want you to add this access code algorithm." 5) And finally: Obviously the military/anyone is NEVER going to compare their original designs with what was delivered from manufacturer.

more than 5 years ago

CT Scan "Reset Error" Gives 206 Patients Radiation Overdose

fineghal Re:Will errors ever go away? (383 comments)

Oh, and $DIETY? I know you vetoed playing dice, but what about poker saturday night? We can make it a party! Let me know. Turing Machine.

more than 5 years ago

iPhone Straining AT&T Network

fineghal That is the sound of one man clapping... (551 comments)

I believe I speak for everyone when I say "Boo f'ing hoo." Heaven forbid a cellular company look towards its longterm growth and not short-run returns.

more than 5 years ago

"Cash For Clunkers" Program Runs Out of Gas

fineghal Self-interest (594 comments)

The Gov't and people in general would get a LOT more sympathy on this if the requisite mpg weren't so low. I'm a really frugal person. I am at present driving a 1995 Buick. It (Of course!) doesn't meet those standards. In fact, going back through - NO Buick Lesabre - a standard 4 door sedan - is at or below the 18 mpg ceiling from 1985 onwards. I admit some of this is just me being bitter, but it certainly seems like a reward of excess to some degree. After all why buy a 4 door car for a family of four when you can buy an extended cab pickup? Sidenote: To the ***** who bought a hummer and can still make use of this "promotion" - I hate you.

more than 5 years ago

Copyright Infringement of Books

fineghal So there's this hot new book... (468 comments)

And it gets released first in Hardcover. For somewhere between 20-30 dollars. I like the author, I like the series, however I refuse - REFUSE to pay an extra 15 dollars for the hardback version of a book I will read at most a few times. Reference books of any kind I'll pay the premium, I'll use those puppies a great deal - the extra durability is needed. But newly released fiction? Please. Especially considering the vast majority of my pleasure reading is scifi/fantasy. Moby Dick? Hardback. The Road? Hardback. Ahab's Wife? Hardback. All of these are books of literary merit that I would love to pass on to my family/children. The most recent Twilight novel? Dresden Series numero 11? Not so much.

more than 5 years ago

An In-Depth Look At Game Piracy

fineghal O my dear Economics: (504 comments)

Whenever I see one of these articles I always wish for the ability to post images.

Or more accurately a supply/demand curve. (I'm going to use some slight inaccuracies to make a point)

If the price-point is ZERO then demand is essentially infinite.

Piracy is merely an example of this.
If the movie I want cost $5 I will buy it, and so will a couple of 100K people. If it cost $50 I won't. Same bloody thing. Just because something is pirated doesn't mean a sale is lost.

more than 6 years ago

The Rise of the (Financial) Machines

fineghal Re:The creation and transfer of funny money (403 comments)

I would also suggest William Jennings Bryan's so-called "Cross of Gold" speech.

"If they dare to come out in the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we shall fight them to the uttermost, having behind us the producing masses of the nation and the world. Having behind us the commercial interests and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold."

more than 6 years ago


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