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Comment: Re:This is a GODDAMN DISASTER! (Score 1) 161 161

Sure, but having the bitcoin sitting in the bitcoin wallet doing nothing makes it kinda worthless, yah? The whole idea is to use it for commerce, at which point you are vulnerable to all sorts of scams and theft that you would normally be protected from.

Then there's liquidity. Most transactions are off-block-chain (as in one block-chain transaction per every ~400 or so off-block-chain transactions). They have to be, because putting a transaction on the block-chain takes too long. This means that you must inherently hold a balance, in bitcoin, with a third party, if you actually want to be able to use your bitcoin for general commerce. There are currently no protections whatsoever against that balance.

And then of course there's the volatility of the buying power of bitcoin itself. It's one of the most unstable and volatile currencies in existence.

That said it is better than nothing and certainly better vs certain emerging market currencies undergoing hyper-inflation.

But it isn't better than the dollar or any western currency and never will be.

-Matt

Comment: Re:Shocked (Score 2) 161 161

This isn't correct. Banks can only lend out what they have. They can't manufacture leverage out of thin air. Leverage is a function of being lent money, not of lending out money.

The correct example is that the bank receives $1,000 in deposits from Alice and is allowed to lend out $900 of that. However, this means that the bank only has $100 cash on-hand so it cannot return Alice's $1,000, at least not immediately.

This does not mean that banks do not employ leverage, banks do borrow money, typically in the form of a preferred stock issuance. Just that they basically aren't allowed to in the example you gave. This is all laid out in bank financials. for example, for 2014 Wells Fargo had assets of $1.7 trillion and loans of $863 billion. The Deposit base is around $1.1 trillion.

So, $863 billion in loans on a deposit base of $1.1 trillion.

The mortgage crisis created a situation where loan losses exceeded the regulatory pad for many banks, and in several cases made them effectively insolvent. The Fed provided liquidity temporarily to give the banks time to become profitable again in order to be able to get back into compliance. Which most did. Most of those that did not, such as Washington Mutual, were either forced to be sold (at the beginning) or became desirable assets sold to other banks who were able to take over the deposit base without incurring losses to depositors. Most of the FDIC's losses (since recovered) occurred with smaller banks who had gone so deep into the red that they could not recover even with the extra few years the Fed gave them to become profitable again.

That's the reality. You don't have to like it, but people who deeply believe in bad information tend to wind up unhappy their entire lives when it turns out not to be true, over and over again. There's been a lot of that, too.

-Matt

Comment: Re:The Golden Path (Score 1) 210 210

Frank Herbert's son later teamed up with a sci-fi author and published some books which wrap up the story and also explain some of the events that happened before the Dune books take place. Supposedly from his father's notes. Not everyone considers these books canon. The catastrophe, however, is revealed but at this point it mostly seemed the first book had some parallells with the Middle East.

The reason that many don't consider it canon is that it directly contradicts not just small events in the originals but the entire premise. In Dune, the Butlerian Jihad was an ideological struggle against people who were willing to delegate their thinking to machines without considering the long-term social consequences (hmm, still seems pretty relevant) and ended up being controlled by oligarchs who controlled the machines. The outcome was an overreaction against machines, banning even simple calculating engines. In the cash-in novels, it was recharacterised as a war against a two-dimensional and completely unbelievable machine intelligence.

The final revelation in the sequels was then that this machine intelligence had survived and had been building an empire in secret all of the time that humanity had been building their own and eventually decided that it wanted to destroy all of the humans (why? Because that's what evil robot overlords do! Obviously). These books could have been written by the Bene Gesserit sister that Leto just managed to restrain himself from killing in God Emperor, for her stupidity. He explained that humanity had moved past the point where machines could be a threat (remember: they were never a physical threat, the threat was always stagnation and decay as humans delegated more and more to machines until there was no point in continuing to live).

The point of the scattering in Leto's Golden Path was that humanity would spread out so that nothing could be an existential threat (the old Empire had more or less stopped expanding and didn't have exponential growth to protect it). Part of the point of Chapterhouse was that the conflict that was going on, in spite of engulfing more worlds than the Empire in the time of Dune, was a tiny sideshow - nothing that happened would affect humanity and the descendants of humanity as a whole. The big hint about the changes that were happening out of the empire was the extent to which the Honoured Matres and Futars had diverged from what was considered human. The implication was that they were the ones that had diverged the least and were no longer able to compete with far more predatory creatures that had evolved from humans.

Comment: Re:First Book Is Still Solid (Score 1) 210 210

What do you think they introduced that made sense? The House series ended up having to do a load of hard resets that just didn't make sense (the no-ship technology appearing a few thousand years early? Well, just brush it under the rug - we all know that technologies are developed in a vacuum and so if you cover up an invention that has all of its prerequisites it won't be reinvented for a long time). The only redeeming feature of the House books was that they weren't as bad as the Butlerian Jihad series.

Comment: Re:Lawrence (Score 1) 210 210

A much milder Christian version was some Puritans who banned Christmas

Minor clarification, but Puritans didn't ban Christmas, they banned the non-religious parties and traditions rooted in Saturnalia that had become associated with Christmas. Puritan Christmas involved spending most of the day in Church. They certainly tried to ban fun at Christmas (and at most other times), but not the Christian festival.

Comment: Re:Modularity (Score 1) 79 79

38MB sounds only a bit larger than just ICU (31MB on my machine), so Qt isn't adding much there. ICU is used by most GUI frameworks (Microsoft has their own version, but OS X ships it as part of the standard install) and includes things like fast unicode collation (locale-aware sorting is hard!) and fast unicode regular expressions. Most apps that need to work in places that aren't just the English(ish)-speaking parts of North America need most of that functionality.

Comment: Re: i switched back from chrome to safari (Score 1) 307 307

WebKit != Safari

This is true, but it's also completely irrelevant. Safari uses WebKit, including WebCore and JavaScriptCore. All of the Safari features that are not part of WebCore and JavaScriptCore are entirely user-facing and irrelevant to web developers. If you look at what's actually included in the WebKit nightly builds, you'll see that it's a build of Safari.

Comment: Re:Virtulize it (Score 1) 66 66

Comment: Re:i switched back from chrome to safari (Score 3, Interesting) 307 307

I also use Safari, though I'm still pissed off with them for combining the URL bar and search box (which means that I keep typing one-word search terms and having it try to resolve them as domains, which then go in my history and so become the subject of autocomplete. The only way to avoid it is to get into the habit of hitting space at the end of a search, which is no saving on hitting tab at the start to jump to the search box). Chrome doesn't properly integrate with the keychain. I use Firefox on Android (self destructing cookies makes it the first browser I've used with a sane cookie management policy), but overall the UI for Safari does exactly what I want from a browser: stay out of the way.

TFS is nonsense though. Developers don't know what's going to be in the next version of Safari? Why don't they download the nightly build and see?

Comment: Re:Today's computer science corriculum is practica (Score 1) 153 153

Meh. When I was an undergrad, you really needed to understand netmasks if you wanted to set up a network for multiplayer games. Now, it's much easier (although Windows makes it stupidly hard to create an ad-hoc WiFi network. No idea how people think it's ready for the desktop), and you can do a lot without caring. I can't remember the last time I needed to know about them.

We have a equal opportunity Calculus class -- it's fully integrated.

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