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Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister

hibiki_r Re:Radical Left allowed to run a country... (318 comments)

That article hits the nail in the head. For Europe, this is not about Greece: Their economy is small, and by itself, if they sank nothing would matter. It's what it says to Spain, a country with a general election coming pretty soon, and who has its own new, populist left wing party that runs against corruption and austerity.

The Eurozone can handle anything that happens to Greece. But if Spain decides to ignore the troika, beware.

2 days ago
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Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

hibiki_r Re:but its worth remembering (375 comments)

Let's be fair to George Lucas: Jar Jar only appeared in the movie so that he could be to blame for making Palpatine emperor. The only way he could have made it better is if Yoda had gone after Jar Jar and chopped him into pieces for voting for a Sith Lord.

2 days ago
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Senator Who Calls STEM Shortage a Hoax Appointed To Head Immigration

hibiki_r Re:Yeah! (512 comments)

Have you talked to those H1-Bs? Mist do not want to be in the US temporarily: They want to immigrate permanently, but the best way to permanent residency involves years being an H1-B temp worker.

Under the current immigration regime, removing H1-Bs is pretty much the same as closing down the border for tech people altogether. And if you find that a good idea, I am sure you'd also find it to be a good idea to do the same for doctors, right? If America needs more doctors, people just should pay a lot more for healthcare, until any doctor can expect half a million a year right after residency. I am sure that'd be the best thing for America, right?

5 days ago
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Senator Who Calls STEM Shortage a Hoax Appointed To Head Immigration

hibiki_r Re:No way! (512 comments)

No, what would happen is not that corporations make less money, but that you see actual offshoring grow again.

I am a former H1-B, now permanent resident, soon citizen. Do you really think I'd just not be as good a programmer here and I am back home? The difference is that here I can get paid like Americans do, and back home, I'd be making between half and a quarter of what I make here, probably for a similar corporation.

I had one of those vaunted H1-B transfers, when my first ever employer decided to move all R&D that was being done in the US to Brazil. Some jobs remained in the US, but none of those that a good programmer might want: They hired the cheapest, least experienced American programmers they could get away with for customizations and customer-specific bug fixes, on top of the now Brazilian codebases, and hired all the senior programmers in Brazil. A Brazilian working from Brazil is far cheaper than if he moves to the US and competes with Americans directly, buys in American shops, and pays American taxes.

So instead of getting foreign programmers to compete with Americans in a way that concentrates the talent here, you'd make programming a big growth industry pretty much everywhere else. It might be helpful for a few years, for the experienced American programmers, but like other forms of protectionism, the trend would be negative for programmers in the US.

5 days ago
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Bitcoin Volatility Puts Miners Under Pressure

hibiki_r Re:Bitcoin (290 comments)

Speculation, to a point, produces value, as having the prices that best reflect supply and demand is very valuable. We see a lot of that in treasuries: Isn't it incredibly useful to have the best possible guess of what interest rates will look like for the next 10 years? Currency speculation can be just as valuable.

We'd not want an economy that is based on speculation: There's such thing as spending too much on finance. But a world without any currency speculation is a pretty dire one. It's just very hard to imagine it though, as speculation happens naturally.

about two weeks ago
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How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

hibiki_r Re:Uninterested people aren't worth it (480 comments)

It's basic game theory: To be well informed is expensive. The actual utility that we get for voting, and voting for the 'right' guy, is minimal, because most people's votes do not matter, or come even close to mattering. So why spend a lot to get nothing?

Some people that really care about a few issues have little trouble getting informed about said issue cheaply. They just have to forget anything else.

Now, if you have 200 million dollars in net worth, and choosing A vs choosing B will make a sizable difference in said net worth, then not only is voting correctly important enough to be informed, but spending a bunch of money making sure other people vote the same way you do, whether it's best for their interest or not, seems like a very good idea.

So not being well informed at all is an extremely rational decision. It just happens that if everyone does it, equilibrium leads us to a pretty dismal state. To change this, we have to change incentives.

about two weeks ago
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How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

hibiki_r Re:Secret Ballot? (480 comments)

You don't need thugs, you can just purchase votes .Show me that you voted for my candidate, and I will give you $x. You could just hand muffins in exchange for a vote. If it happens in elections for class president, it will happen for elections that actually matter.

You don't even need a big malicious organization to do the vote buying. It can be family members, coworkers, peer pressure. Being unable to prove you voted for someone after the fact is actually a feature. And it's precisely to keep that feature that electronic voting is a terrible idea, as any electronic system that keeps this secrecy is a system that can be easily tampered with.

about two weeks ago
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In Paris, Terrorists Kill 2 More, Take At Least 7 Hostages

hibiki_r Re:Besides the blantant bloodshed... (490 comments)

Slashdot will really be in trouble if Natalie Portman ever goes into politics.

about three weeks ago
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Researchers "Solve" Texas Hold'Em, Create Perfect Robotic Player

hibiki_r Re:Yes, but... (340 comments)

Whether it ruins the game or not is not relevant: It's just optimal strategy at the very end of a tournament. 2 players, and there are only two outcomes: The tournament only ends when one player runs out of chips.

So you are sitting there, with your cards. At any time, the other player can go all in. He can do that to start, or he can do that after you bet something. In either case, you either match, or fold. If you bet a small amount, then either it doesn't matter (if you call), or it does, negatively to you (as your fold makes you lose more money than if you folded in the first place). Since the chips are not deep, it's not like you can play more conservatively and hope to do better: The game won't last long enough to do that.

So you just remember what the mathematically correct play is, and do it all the time. If your opponent bluffs, you are happy, because you are not even paying attention to him. If he plays conservative, then great, because he is letting you win hands you should not, and he doesn't have the time to do that.

So yes, heads up tournament play might be exciting because of how much is on the line, but it's far simpler than the rest of the tournament was.

about three weeks ago
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Is Kitkat Killing Lollipop Uptake?

hibiki_r Re:Lollipop killed the Nexus 5 (437 comments)

Yep, there are apps out there that worked in a 5 with KitKat just fine, and are either unstable or do not work at all in Lollipop. I have about 5 apps that ceased to work after upgrade, and I got absolutely nothing of value out of it.

about three weeks ago
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Know Your Type: Five Mechanical Keyboards Compared

hibiki_r Re:Ergonomic and wireless? (190 comments)

Kinesis makes a mechanical ergo keyboard with Cherry Brown keys, but its design is really not for everyone. A friend of mine swears by it, but I find it unusable, unlike the MS Natural Keyboard. Every time I tried to use the thing I ended up with elbow pain, as it does not work well unless your wrists are parallel to each other. With that kind of design, if the keyboard width is too big or too small, you'll end up hurting more than with a regular, non ergo keyboard, because those at least are more tolerant to angling your arms as you see fit.

They have a split keyboard design too, which would be great... except it uses crappy keys.

about 1 month ago
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The Downside to Low Gas Prices

hibiki_r Re:Stupid, trucks cause the problem (554 comments)

Not that I am saying that austerity itself solves anything, but the real reason austerity did not crush the US when we had sequestration but hurts most of Europe is monetary policy, The ECB's laser focus on low average inflation makes the countries that are doing worse overall suffer in case of austerity, because it makes NGDP drop. All you have to do is look at the charts. Since the ECB did not do any QE, all you have to do is plot GDP and ECB rates. In the US, unconventional monetary policy kept going up when things started to look worse (if we skip the first year of the crisis or so, when the Fed was rather passive)

So it's not that austerity works, but that you can have austerity and work if you have a competent central bank. If you switched central bankers but kept the same government spending, The US is the one in double and triple dip recessions, while the EU would be doing better.

about 2 months ago
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How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

hibiki_r Re:So, does water cost more? (377 comments)

OK, if that's really how it works, why do American farmers plant so much agribusiness seed? Are they all wrong, and losing money? Because if there's one thing that a farmer will ask when you suggest a change to his growth protocol, is how is it going to make him more money.

Hybrid vigor is a thing, and the only way to maintain said vigor across generations is to grow inbred plants, and then cross them purposefully. This works without GMOs, and is easy to prove.

Again, for your option to be true, hundreds of thousands of farmers in the US are making terrible choices, season after season. 95% of soybeans planted in America come from agribusiness: The seeds people had just can't compete in yield. How do you explain farmer's behavior?

about 3 months ago
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How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

hibiki_r Re:Alternative? (377 comments)

No, it's really about a binary label of GMO/No GMO being pretty deceitful, and pretty expensive for what you get, especially for very processed foods.

The argument of wanting information would make a lot more sense if the labeling was actually detailed, as it's not like there is only a single strain of GMO corn in the market: We are well in the hundreds over the years, just with corn and soybeans. Surely a variety of GMO that has been out there for 10 years is different than one that is new for this season, right?

When you make the label binary, then what you are really telling the consumer is that all that matters is whether there are GMOs in there or not, and that only makes any sense for people that just think that GMOs are bad in principle.

There's also the costs involved. It's not as if most companies out there buy their grain from a single farmer, so accurate labeling puts quite a bit of expense into the entire supply chain.

You'd be better off just labeling certified organic. Then you at least only put the onus on those that really want a certification, instead of on everyone. Not that it increases food safety anyway: You'd be surprised by how toxic many treatments that are certified organic can be,

about 3 months ago
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How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

hibiki_r Hybrids (377 comments)

Sure, hybrid corn gets weaker by the generation, but it's also far higher yielding.

American farmers buy it because they make more money buying seeds every year than they would saving seeds. Thinking that farmers from Ghana will not be able to make a rational decision between buying industrial seed every year or saving whatever strain they have already from year to year is a not so subtle form of racism.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Stand on Daylight Saving Time?

hibiki_r Re:I'm surrounded by morons (613 comments)

Most people's ideas of summer hours have little to do with the hours being shifted within the day, but either with hour extensions (like a zoo, which gets a lot less visitors in the winter anyway), or with office workers out early for the weekend (at my old job, good luck finding someone at the office after 2 pm on friday between the 4th of july and labor day)

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Stand on Daylight Saving Time?

hibiki_r Re:I'm surrounded by morons (613 comments)

Now that we go back to 'regular time', instead of DST, I have to drive home in the dark, and instead I have light at 6 am in the morning, which I do not want at all.

If we never had DST around here, In the summer we'd have dawn at 5 am in the morning, or something similarly obnoxious, and sunset would happen way earlier than I want. Compare that to the Spanish solution: Spain despite being more or less aligned with England, instead of using GMT, uses CET, or the same timezone that is used in Poland. So Spaniards get dark morning sometimes (that they don't care about anyway), and instead it's never dark before 5:30 or so, and in the summer, sunset is somewhere near 10 PM, which patches pretty well with a world where people wake up and head to work, which starts at some point between 8 and 9. So in American terns, they are in DST in the winter, and double DST in the summer.

about 3 months ago
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Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

hibiki_r Re:Not actually a new stance (669 comments)

Maybe we live in different Americas? Here in Missouri, if it says Baptist at the door, you can expect young earth creationism. And the worst part is, that's not even the worst of what they'll teach you. A friend of mine was OK with the YEC bullshit, but she ended up leaving her church, and really, her family, when she figured out the kinds of things that were being taught to her daughters.

about 2 months ago
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Developers, IT Still Racking Up (Mostly) High Salaries

hibiki_r Re: How many really make $140k ? (198 comments)

It's precisely because of that fact that you see some silicon valley companies open up show in middle america, when they can get the senior people for the $120-$130 range

about 3 months ago
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HBO To Offer Online Streaming Without TV Subscription

hibiki_r Re:Bad news for ESPN (139 comments)

My point was that HBO has A LOT more high quality original programming than AMC, that lately has a lot more misses than hits. They have good, expensive content, but not enough to warrant subscriptions IMO. And when they have good content, they have trouble paying for it. Look at all the cuts they had to do to Mad Men's run length, and the issues they had with actors and pay. That's the reason they cannot 'move up' to being a premier, pay by itself channel.

In any given season, there are at least 3 new HBO shows worth watching. AMC, not so much.

about 3 months ago

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