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Comment: Re:Fact-based solutions already exist (Score 1) 737

by Aragorn379 (#37599126) Attached to: Should Science Be King In Politics?

Perhaps someone from the States can explain something to me, seeing as I'm a Brit. So some law gets passed by both Congress and Senate, and the President then signs it into law, effectively creating a government body (I'm thinking the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but I'm sure there are plenty of other examples). This has been considered to be a Good Thing (TM), and then Congress then de-funds it, effectively shutting it down.

Why don't they just repeal the original law that created it in the first place?

In the US, it is much, much easier to prevent something from happening in politics than it is to get something to happen. The don't just repeal it because they don't have the votes, so the most effective way to attack it is to attack the funding for it. To pass almost anything, it requires a simple majority in the House, a 60% majority in the Senate (to pass the inevitable filibuster), and the president to sign it. The other alternative is 2/3 majority in House, 2/3 majority in Senate to override presendential veto. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was passed when Democrats controlled the House, Senate, and White House. Currently, the Democrats still control the Senate (with less than 60% majority) and the White House, but Republicans control the House. Republicans want to repeal the law, but Democrats want to keep it. If Republicans tried to repeal it, it would be blocked by the Democratic Senate and White House. If they try to defund it, that will still be blocked by the Democratic Senate and White House, but since that is tied into the federal government's budget which funds everything, eventually something has to give. It ends up becoming a giant game of chicken usually and at the last minute, a compromise that no one likes very much is approved.

Comment: Not a sweep (Score 2) 60

by Aragorn379 (#36713548) Attached to: In Robot Soccer, US Team RoMeLa Dominates Robocup 2011
Winning 2 divisions in 1 league out of 5 is NOT a sweep. A sweep would be winning all the leagues. 1 out of 5 isn't even close. Congratulations on the wins in the humanoid league.

For those that are curious, the other 4 leagues are simulation (focusing on team play and low barrier to entry), small size robot (hardware/software combined, wheeled robots), middle size robot (hardware/software combined, wheeled robots), and standard platform league (software only using real humanoid robots).

Comment: Re:Bad metric (Score 1) 234

by Aragorn379 (#28890591) Attached to: A.I. Developer Challenges Pro-Human Bias

Survival is a terrible metric of intelligence. By that standard, lions and tigers and bears are the most intelligent species on the planet.

Forget lions and tigers or even insects and bacteria. By this metric, the water in the ocean, the sun we orbit around, and the vast expanses of space are far more intelligent than anything that has ever lived or any system we have put in place.

Businesses

+ - Mortgage Securitization Software Author Mea Culpa->

Submitted by
TheSync
TheSync writes "New York Magazine has an article written by Michael Osinski, an author of early software to enable collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs). He even created a language for mortgage-backed bonds called BondTalk. He says "I never would have thought, in my most extreme paranoid fantasies, that my software, and the others like it, would have enabled Wall Street to decimate the investments of everyone in my family. ""
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Cloudy (Score 1) 443

by Aragorn379 (#25605233) Attached to: Space Litter To Hit Earth Tomorrow

Let's suppose that the piece of junk has an injury radius of 50m, or 8000 sq m. There's 510 million sq m of surface area on the earth, so the chance that it will fall within 50m of me is 8,000::510,000,000 or 1 in 63,750. You're roughly 10x as likely to die in a car accident in any give year. That actually is much closer to significant than I thought it might be before I did the calculation. We do take steps to alter our risks of vehicular death: we use seat belts,we drive cautiously etc. But we don't take further steps, like installing a racing seat with a five point harness. Arguably, then, further marginal reductions in our death risk are not that meaningful to us, and we would very likely do nothing to reduce a risk that is already 1/10 as great as the point of diminishing returns for car risk.

Actually, it is much closer to significant than you thought because you made an error in the calculation. There's 510 million sq km of surface area on the earth, so the chance that it will fall within 50m of me is 8,000::510,000,000,000,000 or 1 in 63,750,000,000. You're roughly 10,000,000x as likely to die in a car accident in any give year.

Your calculations further down seem to have done the calculation correctly

"Catch a wave and you're sitting on top of the world." - The Beach Boys

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