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Marissa Mayer's Reinvention of Yahoo! Stumbles

lgw Re:But...but...but...she has a VAGINA!! (219 comments)

The value of Google passed the value of Russia (remember, these are just the publically traded companies - in the US that about half our economy, dunno for Russia). Russia has almost nothing going for it beyond oil, and the Saudis are using oil prices to fuck Iran sideways right now. The current governmental structure of both Russia and Iran are likely to collapse (Putin is pretty savvy - he may emerge as El Presidente for Life without the pretense of democracy he has now, but chaos one way or another). The ruble is almost certain to collapse, so no one's buying ruble-valued anything, (especially debt) and the risk of public companies in Russia getting either nationalized or simply destroyed by unrest is real.

11 hours ago
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Schneier Explains How To Protect Yourself From Sony-Style Attacks (You Can't)

lgw Re:Sure... (318 comments)

I predict that tomorrow, there will be weather! Yeah, that's not what people mean by predicting the weather. Sure: the 24-hour weather forecast is better than random guessing, but it's still not much better than looking at the sky, and a barometer. And the 5-day forecast? Accuracy isn't in it.

yesterday
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FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

lgw Re:Ethics? (534 comments)

You make and play the kind of game you like, and we'll make an play the kind of games we like, OK? There's room on Steam for lots of games.

get a liberal arts degree

I'd prefer a job instead, but hey: to each his own!

yesterday
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Schneier Explains How To Protect Yourself From Sony-Style Attacks (You Can't)

lgw Re:Sure... (318 comments)

Well, let me know when we actually get to the weather-predicting stage. I look forward to that. But I think we'll get fusion first, and maybe spelling and calendar reform.

or we can act on the best information we have right now with a degree of tentativity reasonable for any such endeavor

Oh ho! A moderate. Are you sure you're on the right site? Surely you meant to say "global warming is a hoax!" or "repent your sins of carbon emission, no economic sacrifice is too great!"

yesterday
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Schneier Explains How To Protect Yourself From Sony-Style Attacks (You Can't)

lgw Re: Sure... (318 comments)

Look, CO2 is like a blanket on the bed. Making it thicker makes you warmer. You wish to deny this?

I'm sorry, your answer must be in the form of a car analogy.

yesterday
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Schneier Explains How To Protect Yourself From Sony-Style Attacks (You Can't)

lgw Re:Sure... (318 comments)

With respect, the phlogiston theory worked apart from the oxidation of iron. Noticing this shortcoming was one of the things that led to the discovery of oxygen.

Exactly. And aether made a lot of sense. And Freud had to start somewhere. None of that was bad science, that's just what early science looks like. We've just since the late 90s had the technology to seriously contemplate climate modeling, and only really in the past 5-8 years has the vast parallelism needed to do it well been available from more than a couple of research computers.

Again, just as it's a mistake to call it "pseudoscience", it's a mistake to believe than any of these early models in the first generation of a new science are particularly worthwhile. Certainly Climate Science is a field that needs more funding and research for decades to come. But just as certainly, it's not a fucking unfallible font of religious truth, and people who act as if it is are as annoying as the SJWs.

yesterday
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Schneier Explains How To Protect Yourself From Sony-Style Attacks (You Can't)

lgw Re:Sure... (318 comments)

Look at the historical data.

It should jump out at you that the past 10k years of relative climate stability is an anomaly, and that rapid (on geological scales) swings in temperature and CO2 are the norm. That whole system is not well understood, though I believe solar variation is the leading hypothesis right now. On a scale beyond a century, there's just no reason to expect climate stability in the first place.

On a decade by decade scale, there's no evidence of warming in the 17 years of reliable satellite temperature data. The null hypothesis - that average temperatures aren't changing - has actually been the best predictor of climate data since the late 90s, odd as that may sound.

The simple fact is: the atmosphere and oceans are chaotic systems, with a variety of positive and negative feedback loops, quite difficult to model, and you can't talk about climate change in a scientific way without doing so. There are no obvious conclusions to draw, as the system we live in is simply too complex for hand-wavy, back-of-the-envelope calculations to be interesting. We may simply lack the technology today to do this science properly. That's not a reason to stop - we built the LHC, proof we can do some fucking impressive technological advancement to achieve a scientific goal. But it is a reason to avoid arrogance.

Climate science is at the phlogiston / aether / Freud stage right now. That's fine, every science must start that way, and the scientific method works given time. But for goodness sake the lay believers are very much like a religion right now, complete with a list of sins and a Hell to roast in, and that's taking it too far!

yesterday
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Schneier Explains How To Protect Yourself From Sony-Style Attacks (You Can't)

lgw Re:Sure... (318 comments)

It's easy to be self-righteous. I used to see it all the time from member of the Christian religion- most of whom weren't really that familiar with scripture. It's no more appealing seeing the same attitude from members of the new Global Warming religion, most of whom aren't really that familiar with the science.

Climate models may one day mature to something beyond the basket of hypotheses they are now, but none of them have yet been successful in predicting climate data, except where the null hypothesis also predicted that data. The science doesn't justify your arrogance. I wouldn't call it "pseudoscientific", but it's far from certain as well, and the actual predictive models (as opposed to hand-wavey claims) aren't yet well supported by actual data.

yesterday
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The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

lgw Re:Welcome. (366 comments)

Natalie Portman, naked and covered in old jokes!

yesterday
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FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

lgw Re:Ethics? (534 comments)

Your focused on a very narrow kind of gaming, and frankly nobody gives a fuck about that sort of political statement except SJWs. Ultimately I think that's the root of the gamergame fight:

SJW: Politics! Identity! Identity politics!
GG: Fuck off, we don't care about that stuff
SJW: See! Oppression! Misogyny! Identity politics!
GG: No, seriously, fuck off! We just play games for the game mechanics, the presentation doesn't really matter.*
SJW: Now we see the violence inherent in the system!

*There are actual academic studies to back this up. E.g., gamers pick an avatar/character based on in-game performance, not on any sense of identification with the character.

Heck, I remember the days of Quake 2, back when that was gaming, when everyone used the female character because her hit box was a bit smaller than the male. 0 fucks were given about gender identity in that choice.

yesterday
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FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

lgw Re:Ethics? (534 comments)

As one of the few conservatives left on /., I can only agree fully with what the above smelly hippie has to say.

Back when Jack Thompson was the Anti-gaming Asshole in Chief, the Penny Arcade guys had a brilliant idea about that, and the Childs Play charity was born. We need a similar idea here. I had hoped that fine young capitalists might be that, but they really don't seem to have their act together, much as I like their intentions. Anyone else have a clever idea for a grand gesture?

2 days ago
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Marissa Mayer's Reinvention of Yahoo! Stumbles

lgw Re:Core business? (219 comments)

Hotmail is a legacy now, but Outlook.com is actually pretty good. It reminds me a lot of gmail before gmail went to shit. Nice clean web UI, like gmail used to have, too. It surprised me with how it doesn't suck - give it a try the next time you need a throw-away: I ended up moving there for my real email (because fuck Google).

2 days ago
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Marissa Mayer's Reinvention of Yahoo! Stumbles

lgw Re:But...but...but...she has a VAGINA!! (219 comments)

Unless the man in question is Putin or Chuck Norris there's little he could do for Yahoo!.

Yahoo may pass the total value of the Russian stock market soon, if trends continue. Only Chuck can save Yahoo now.

2 days ago
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To Fight Currency Mismatches, Steam Adding Region Locking to PC Games

lgw Re:Why Steam? Why? (158 comments)

Sometimes I wonder why companies, especially companies selling digital goods, don't just set the price in one particular currency then let it somewhat auto-fluctuate in the other currencies according to the market. Wouldn't that be simpler for them?

Sorry, that's illegal in many countries with fucked currencies.

Most seller of luxury goods in Russia aren't selling at all. The ruble is toilet paper now, and you can't legally sell in dollars (though there's a very long tradition of doing so anyhow). You'll get 2x as many rubles for a dollar on the street as the official exchange rate, as people with limited access to the international market are paying a premium to GTFO. The only other choice Steam has is to stop selling to Russia at all.

Google's market cap is higher that then Russian stock market right now.

Politically speaking, Russia's currency lost value because they invaded a nearby nation and they are under sanctions.

Not at all. Not eve a little. I doubt sanctions have ever accomplished anything. This is entirely OPEC: Saudi Arabia is destroying Iran. Iran can't survive at these oil prices, and the Saudi rulers want the current Iranian leadership gone. It's not quite so simple as an extension of the Shia-Sunni conflict, but that's the heart of it. Had this happened 5 years ago, it's likely ISIS wouldn't have happened, but sadly they can survive now without Iranian funding.

2 days ago
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What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

lgw Re:Oblig ... (215 comments)

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then you realize you're just a clown

-- Bozo

3 days ago
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What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

lgw Re:Amazon (215 comments)

. I hear Amazon basically data mines business partners who sell on their site to undercut prices on everything except for certain narrowly agreed products.

To be fair, most sellers on Amazon Markets do the same, and price their stuff just under or at Amazon's price, and Amazon seems OK with that. Wasn't there a bug in the past where the software that people use to undercut Amazon had a big and was pricing stuff at 1 cent, and Amazon stepped in to help out with that?

They're definitely playing the long game. But it's not a good move for their partners.

So far it's worked very well for their customers, and has for many years. It's starting to seem pretty far-fetch that this is some elaborate scheme to do anything except lower prices to keep customers buying.

3 days ago
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What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

lgw Re:They couldn't wreck the movement from the outsi (215 comments)

How do you know that MS is not abetting the systemd bandwagon? What a perfect leadup to the Extend and Extinguish steps.

That would be a work of genius, and frankly I don't think MS is that smart any more. Still, if it turns out Pottering has been on the MS payroll all along, I might actually die laughing.

3 days ago
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Virtual Reality Experiment Wants To Put White People In Black Bodies

lgw Re:Tired of this shit (447 comments)

The stereotypes are wrong and harmful, on both sides of the fence. Racism ends when we stop judging people by race - full stop.

3 days ago
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11 Trillion Gallons of Water Needed To End California Drought

lgw Re: 11 Trillion Gallons of Water Needed to Water R (322 comments)

one acre is about 4000 m^2, a foot is about 0.3 m, so about 1200 m^3
You have 264 gallons per cubic meter, lets say 250 since the acre-foot estimate is about as accurate as Russian maps along the Ukrainian border anyway.
That gives us about 1200/4 * 1000 = 300000 gallons.

An acre is a rectangle bounded by a furlong and a chain (things you learn from rock music videos), or 22 * 220 square yards, so an acre-foot is 43560 cubit feet ~= 325850 gallons.

3 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 9 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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