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Comment: Re:Disengenous (Score 2) 257

by Jodka (#47571535) Attached to: Amazon's eBook Math

You're not the 'efficient seller' if you lose money at it.

Though inefficiencies reduce profitability, the inference that negative profitability implies inefficiency is invalid.

Let's unpack your own reasoning here: An inefficient business will be unprofitable. Amazon is unprofitable. Therefore, Amazon is inefficient. If A, then B. B, therefore A. The category of error you have made is termed "affirming the consequent", colloquially known as Modus Morons.

Profit is, to quote WP, "the difference between the purchase and the component costs of delivered goods and/or services and any operating or other expenses." Therefore negative profitability could result from either inordinately low pricing or inordinately high expenses, or both.

Comment: same thing again (Score 2) 257

by Jodka (#47571025) Attached to: Amazon's eBook Math

Amazon's pricing argument is one instance of the same general phenomenon that gross expenditures, under some conditions, increase in response to price decreases. The effect has different names in different contexts:

With taxation, people sometimes refer to the Laffer Curve, which for levels of taxation to the right of the peak of the curve, reducing tax rates increases tax revenues.

For technology, Jevons Paradox explains why, as the efficiency of home appliances increases, so does energy consumption.

My grandfather, an economist, had an amusing story about a toll bridge authority attempting to taper down revenues as the bond which funded the bridge was paid off. They lowered the toll price to reduce revenues and revenues shot up as customers responded to the lower toll price by crossing the bridge more frequently. So they lowered the toll price again and revenues shot up further. As I recall the story goes that it worked the third time.


Comment: Re:Disengenous (Score 2, Insightful) 257

by Jodka (#47570869) Attached to: Amazon's eBook Math

...using size and supply chain efficiency to force smaller guys out of business is not a good thing in the long run.

Why is it bad for efficient suppliers to replace inefficient suppliers? And why bad in the long run but not the short run?

If efficient suppliers replaced inefficient suppliers, but then in the long run inefficient suppliers returned to dominate the market, than that would be a good outcome in your view.

Can you explain your reasoning?

Comment: Amazon is OK (Score 3, Interesting) 257

by Jodka (#47570645) Attached to: Amazon's eBook Math

Even if Amazon's argument is flawed, their attempt to persuade by using reason and presenting facts is nonetheless admirable. As opposed to the feces hurling which accompanies most public disputes these days.

It builds a solid foundation for a researched and reasoned response in opposition. As opposed to picking up the monkey dung and throwing back.


Comment: True (Score 4, Interesting) 156

by Jodka (#47570535) Attached to: The Problems With Drug Testing

So my mother has a Ph.D in experimental psychology and knows a thing or two about how to design experiments, how to avoid systematic bias, how to distinguish that from random error, and in the admittedly non-objective opinion of her son, is quite sharp about identifying sources of those in methodologies. After raising three children she tries to restart her career. At first the only work she could find was a lowly temp job entering survey responses from a drug trial into a database. Turns out that the forms completed by the doctors and patients surveyed left answers to many questions blank. So how is she instructed by those managing the data entry to handle those cases? She is told to systematically select particular answers to particular questions. And which answers? The answers consistent with the drug being effective and harmless.

Now you do not have to be a Ph.D. to spot a problem with that. Hell, my German Shepherd could probably do that. But maybe as a scientist herself the violation of scientific integrity stung too strongly and my mother insistently raised complaints within the company. And how far did those go to correct the "mistaken" guidelines for data entry? Absolutely nowhere.


Comment: Re:Brilliant... (Score 1) 409

by Jodka (#47558951) Attached to: A 24-Year-Old Scammed Apple 42 Times In 16 Different States

from your Puffington Host link:

"The participants were first asked about their wealth, schooling, social background, religious persuasions and attitudes to money in an attempt to establish their perceived social class."

Interesting experiment. The methodology is broken.

Because of the possibility that dishonest people will lie about their own income and social status the conclusion that wealthy people are more dishonest is unfounded. According to the description of the experimental methods, subjects categorized as "wealthy" in the study would have included both the genuinely wealthy and the non-wealthy liars. That is, the study misidentifies poor liars as wealthy liars. And with some degree of idiocy; The experimenters simultaneously identify a group as dishonest and believe their self reports of income, without recognizing the contradiction in that reasoning.

Then, also, more intelligent subjects would seem more likely both to be wealthy and to recognize that lying and cheating within the artificial context of a human psychology experiment causes no real harm and is part of the game. Human subject guidelines would mandate that these experiments be performed with informed consent of the subjects, so no doubt the smarter ones understood this was not real life. Snookering others in games vs real life is a similar distinction to killing others in video games vs real life. Just because you murder others in virtual online environments does not make you more prone to do that in real life. So does lying in games contrived by psychologists make you more prone to lie in real life?

Comment: 1,000+ a questionable figure (Score 3, Informative) 834

by Jodka (#47558145) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

Over at the Wall Street Journal Bret Stephens questions the claim that as many as 1,023 Palestinian lives have been lost in the conflict. The column is paywalled but can be accessed for free via the WSJ Opinion Facebook Page.

Consider the media obsession with the body count. According to a daily tally in the New York Times, NYT -6.42% as of July 27 the war in Gaza had claimed 1,023 Palestinian lives as against 46 Israelis. How does the Times keep such an accurate count of Palestinian deaths? A footnote discloses "Palestinian death tallies are provided by the Palestinian Health Ministry and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs."

OK. So who runs the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza? Hamas does. As for the U.N., it gets its data mainly from two Palestinian agitprop NGOs, one of which, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, offers the remarkably precise statistic that, as of July 27, exactly 82% of deaths in Gaza have been civilians. Curiously, during the 2008-09 Gaza war, the center also reported an 82% civilian casualty rate.

When minutely exact statistics are provided in chaotic circumstances, it suggests the statistics are garbage. When a news organization relies—without clarification—on data provided by a bureaucratic organ of a terrorist organization, there's something wrong there, too.

egrep patterns are full regular expressions; it uses a fast deterministic algorithm that sometimes needs exponential space. -- unix manuals