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Health Advisor: Ebola Still Spreading, Worst Outbreak We've Ever Seen

lgw Re:The one consistant thing I've seen. (208 comments)

Wait, what? Oh, wait, do you actually believe in cold fusion? Now I'm just confused ...

3 hours ago
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Windows 10 To Feature Native Support For MKV and FLAC

lgw Re:Well they dropped Media Center pretty much (250 comments)

VLCs UI constantly pisses me off - I just can't use it. Fortunately Media Player Classic is there, with the UI I like and no EULAs or DRM.

13 hours ago
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Windows 10 To Feature Native Support For MKV and FLAC

lgw Re:Rather late (250 comments)

Every player should hold all my music, otherwise what's the point? But It's only a matter of time before a micro-SD card that can hold everything in FLAC is cheap, at which point it's a non-issue.

13 hours ago
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Australia Elaborates On a New Drift Model To Find MH370

lgw Re:beyond the realm of plausibility (135 comments)

So you're say that methods matter and the ends don't automatically justify the means? What's your opinion on Obama's amnesty declaration vs the Constitution?

13 hours ago
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Windows 10 To Feature Native Support For MKV and FLAC

lgw Re:Rather late (250 comments)

/thread

13 hours ago
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Health Advisor: Ebola Still Spreading, Worst Outbreak We've Ever Seen

lgw Re:The one consistant thing I've seen. (208 comments)

I'm sure you're right. Government can print infinite money with no negative consequences down the line. The only reason everyone isn't a millionaire already is the greed of evil bankers. Why didn't anyone realize this before in all of history?

I mean, it's clear as day: you just spend more money that you make, and life is therefore better. I can see no flaw in this plan.

yesterday
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Health Advisor: Ebola Still Spreading, Worst Outbreak We've Ever Seen

lgw Re:The one consistant thing I've seen. (208 comments)

Also, the economy can't recover because the same problem that keeps dragging it down still remains: people don't get paid enough to create enough demand to buy up everything the workforce can produce. As long as this situation persists, the only way to keep the economy even somewhat functional is to pump demand by flooding the market with cheap credit, with all the problems and risks that causes.

Every single economic recession in history looked like that. But we're already well on the upswing. Certainly everywhere around me (in the Seattle area) is hiring, from the minimum wages jobs to the construction sites to the tech companies.

The usual cycle starts up when people start buying durable consumer goods again: you put off buying that replacement car or washing machine or whatever when the future looks bleak, preferring to limp along with a somewhat-broken one. That demand broke out of the doldrums in early 2012, went back down for a year, and now has taken off like crazy. That's usually the spark that ignites recovery (or, questions of causation aside, it's reliably the sector that comes back first in a recovery).

As long as this situation persists, the only way to keep the economy even somewhat functional is to pump demand by flooding the market with cheap credit

There's just no evidence that actually works. Many nations have been trying that for decades without success. Once demand is booming, interest rates have proven a good tool to limit growth and pop bubbles, but the reverse doesn't seem to be true. Supply of money can curtail demand, but it can't create demand. When people are scared stability is all-important. Even when things are bad, people will adjust eventually and start spending again, and companies will adjust and start hiring again, if only the government doesn't keep changing the landscape.

yesterday
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Australia Elaborates On a New Drift Model To Find MH370

lgw Re:beyond the realm of plausibility (135 comments)

no, dumbledork. There's not that much tape production.

Citation fucking provided

"This is voice, not metadata." "In the initial deployment, collection systems are recording "every single" conversation nationwide."

yesterday
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Sony To Offer Partial Refunds For PS Vita

lgw Re:Personal social media accounts (58 comments)

It still astonishes me that people do personal stuff in the internet using their real name. I still can't get my head around that.

It's not like anyone's successfully hiding their identity from the NSA these days, sure, but from a casual search of your name by your boss? I don't even show up, except for my LinkedIn account.

yesterday
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Sony To Offer Partial Refunds For PS Vita

lgw Re:Personal social media accounts (58 comments)

Which category does the twitter account of a retired person go in?
Which category does the twitter account of an unemployed person go in?

That's the "employer discovered the Twitter account the employee thought was anonymous" bucket!

yesterday
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Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Considering US Presidential Run

lgw Re:Can Iowa handle a circus that large? (415 comments)

So the top 1% can afford to have a political voice individually, without forming corporations, while the rest of us need some way to pool the money of thousands in order to accomplish that. Explain again how restricting corporate speech hurts that 1%? Would you have the government regulate the political speech of newspapers and cable news channels?

yesterday
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Australia Elaborates On a New Drift Model To Find MH370

lgw Re:beyond the realm of plausibility (135 comments)

strangely conspiracy theorists are the first ones to jump on and believe such things (along with the "acres of datacentres listening to every call" junk)

Hey, welcome back to civilization, how did your 2 years without the internet go? While you were away, you missed some news (it was everywhere): turns out the US government was actually recording every voice call in a datacenter somewhere, and a lot more too! I know; crazy, huh? The truth was actually more extreme than the conspiracy theorists feared.

yesterday
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UK Announces Hybrid Work/Study Undergraduate Program To Fill Digital Gap

lgw Re:Another way to get cheap labour (103 comments)

A CS degree shouldn't be thought of as providing the graduate with knowledge about how to use the latest toolsets. It should provide them with the answer to "why" rather than necessarily the "how".

Almost everything that's been useful from my college studies, 20 years back, came from about 3 courses: the first year in-major courses (which taught recursion, functional programming, and pointers), and the data structures and algorithms course.

There was a lot of crap that seemed interesting at the time, but was from other specialties (and no classes even offered related to my specialty). Those basics: recursion, functional programming, pointers, data structures and algorithms are quite important long term, and won't age out, but that's just a few classes.

Beyond that: people need jobs more than they need to keep professors busy, and practical skills with tool that will get you hired upon graduation need to be a priority, The future won't hold any unskilled labor - that will be all taken over by automation before much longer - and that means far more people will need to prepare for highly skilled jobs.

yesterday
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Health Advisor: Ebola Still Spreading, Worst Outbreak We've Ever Seen

lgw Re:The one consistant thing I've seen. (208 comments)

The only mechanism they have for that is one they've long abandoned: raising the "fractional" in "fractional reserve currency" above 0. And they weren't aggressive about that during the Carter years, no reason to assume they'd do it here. A return to 5-10 years of 10-15% inflation is possible - heck it may even be the goal of the Fed (we'll certainly never pay down the current debt without something like that).

yesterday
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Health Advisor: Ebola Still Spreading, Worst Outbreak We've Ever Seen

lgw Re:The one consistant thing I've seen. (208 comments)

The Fed created a couple trillion in new money to feed to the government for spending. That might have been enough to cause a currency collapse except for 2 things: other currencies were mostly worse, and the Fed paid banks billions (I'll wait while you recover from the surprise) to store a couple trillion in reserves with the Fed - so the net money in circulation didn't actually change much.

But as the economy recovers, the banks will likely withdraw that money from the Fed and invest it more profitably, putting those trillions into circulation that the Fed minted over the past decade or so. What happens then is anyone's guess - no nation has ever done this trick before, and there's no way to know what will happen to the currency.

No one should be cocky about this. It's nothing but intellectual arrogance to claim you know how this will play out over the coming decade.

yesterday
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Voting Machines Malfunction: 5,000 Votes Not Counted In Kansas County

lgw Re:open-source voting machines. (119 comments)

Paper ballots are pretty damn open-source.

Just because a voting machine is supposedly running open-source software doesn't preclude tampering - hardware or software.

Feels like I've said this 100 times now:

Electronic voting: bad.
Computer-assisted voting: good.

Sure, fine, have a touch-screen and pretty pictures and good usability in general, all of that is great. Then have the voting machine print a paper ballot, which is then cast normally. You can check the paper, or just use the paper yourself, if you don't trust the computer, or if it breaks, or has been hacked. And since almost all ballots will be printed cleanly, there will be little room for 2000-style "dimpled chad" and "interpreting the voter's intentions".

yesterday
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LinkedIn Study: US Attracting Fewer Educated, Highly Skilled Migrants

lgw Re:Well of course (323 comments)

While I appreciate your greed and approve, if you're a software developer, or have some other highly skilled job as most /.ers do, it's not like you're at risk here. The jobs that have been scarce here because of outsourcing are in general low-skill jobs, from manufacturing to call centers, that are swiftly being replaced by robots anyhow.

yesterday
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Jackie Chan Discs Help Boost Solar Panel Efficiency

lgw Re:BLUE ray (179 comments)

Replacing your roof with solar panels will always be an overhead cost!

yesterday
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Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Considering US Presidential Run

lgw Re:Can Iowa handle a circus that large? (415 comments)

While I agree with you about " a GOP w/o the religion", do you have the first clue what the Citizen's United case was actually about? It was about a group of people who pooled their money to show a film critical of Hillary. The ruling was that you do not lose your freedom of political speech simply because you form a partnership or corporation to manage the funds needed for that speech. There have since been many similar ruling that a closely held corporation is no different from a partnership in not restricting the protected rights of the owners.

Political speech in America has always involved money (and always involved anonymous speech). From the time when people in the British colonies were angry at King George to today, you can't spread your political message beyond the reach of your voice without money. Anonymous pamphleteering was a big deal early on, and you needed to buy a printing press to make that work. Buying a newspaper company in order to ensure your spin was heard was all the rage in the heyday of newspapers, much like starting your own cable news network was in the late 20th century.

Assuming you want someone other than the very rich to have a political voice, you can't restrict buying ads. Most of us can't afford to buy an entire newspaper company or cable network, even if we pool our resources, but we might be able to buy a political ad. And if that's not freedom of political speech, I don't know what is.

2 days ago

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Journals

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Economics in Brief (Internet Flotsam)

lgw lgw writes  |  about 7 months ago

Here's some internet flotsam attributed to a graduation speech by Thomas Sargent (without digging into whether this speech really happened: the content is interesting).

Economics is organized common sense. Here is a short list of valuable lessons that our beautiful subject teaches.

1. Many things that are desirable are not feasible.

2. Individuals and communities face trade-offs.

3. Other people have more information about their abilities, their efforts,
and their preferences than you do.

4. Everyone responds to incentives, including people you want to help. That
is why social safety nets don't always end up working as intended.

5. There are tradeoffs between equality and efficiency.

6. In an equilibrium of a game or an economy, people are satisfied with their
choices. That is why it is difficult for well meaning outsiders to change
things for better or worse.

7. In the future, you too will respond to incentives. That is why there are
some promises that you'd like to make but can't. No one will believe those
promises because they know that later it will not be in your interest to
deliver. The lesson here is this: before you make a promise, think about
whether you will want to keep it if and when your circumstances change.
This is how you earn a reputation.

8. Governments and voters respond to incentives too. That is why governments sometimes default on loans and other promises that they have made.

9. It is feasible for one generation to shift costs to subsequent ones. That is
what national government debts and the U.S. social security system do
(but not the social security system of Singapore).

10. When a government spends, its citizens eventually pay, either today or
tomorrow, either through explicit taxes or implicit ones like inflation.

11. Most people want other people to pay for public goods and government
transfers (especially transfers to themselves).

12. Because market prices aggregate traders' information, it is difficult to forecast stock prices and interest rates and exchange rates.

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Geothermal vs Solar Power

lgw lgw writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Here are the basic numbers on aailable geothermal vs solar power (since this has come up in discussion more than once).

The surface area of the Earth is about 5.1 x 10^14 m^2. The cross sectional area is about 1.3 x 10^14 m^2 (one quarter of the surface area, of course).

Per this paper found as a cite on wikipedia, the total heat flow out from the Earth's interior is 4.42 x 10^13 W, or 0.0867 W/m^2. Of course, the available power is much less because it's only the subsurface-surface temperature difference that's available.

Total solar irradience is 1361 W/m^2 by NASA's latest estimate (so about 1.7 x 10^17 W across the entire cross section), or about 1000 W/m^2 on the surface at noon on a cloudless day. Averaged over the day-night cycle (surface area vs cross-section, so 250 W/m^2), and taking clouds into account that's about 180 W/m^2 (I can't find a solid source on that yet, but it looks close).

So, total solar power flow is about 4000 times as large as total geothermal flow. I'm not quite sure how to estimate the (ideal) available power as a percentage of the total geothermal power flow, but if we use a WAG of 50%, then the available power from solar is also about 4000 times per square meter more than geothermal - significantly more if we average solar power only across populated latitudes.

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Global Warming Link

lgw lgw writes  |  more than 5 years ago

This is the best summary of the great global warming fraud I've yet seen, and published in the most unlikely of places.

To be told, as I have been, by Mr. Gore, again and again, that carbon dioxide is a grave threat to humankind is not just annoying, by the way, although it is that! To re-tool our economies in an effort to suppress carbon dioxide and its imaginary effect on climate, when other, graver problems exist is, simply put, wrong. Particulate pollution, such as that causing the Asian brown cloud, is a real problem. Two billion people on Earth living without electricity, in darkened huts and hovels polluted by charcoal smoke, is a real problem.

Although I feel Harold Ambler makes some good points, he misses what I've always felt was the most important. Given that the climate will change (as it always has), do we want it to be warmer, or colder? As glaciers covering Europe (the norm for the ice age we've been in for the past 100M years) seems to me far worse than rising sea levels, I've never understood why we'd want to fight warming in the first place.

I think the whole global warming fraud started by ignoring all of the available evidence and blindly asserting that the climate is naturally stable, so therefore if man did something to break that stability we'd be creating an otherwise-avoidable catastrophe. What BS. The only thing historically unprecedented is the inexplicable stability of the climate for the past 10K years. Change is unavoidable, with or without the actions of man.

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Some quotes I like

lgw lgw writes  |  more than 8 years ago

"Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged." - Abraham Lincoln

"Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help out that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, 'he that is not with me is against me.'" - George Orwell

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