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Comment: No disincentive for failure? (Score 1) 548

by Dannon (#38004278) Attached to: End Bonuses For Bankers

The problem with the bonus system, Taleb explains, is that it provides an incentive to take risks: 'The asymmetric nature of the bonus (an incentive for success without a corresponding disincentive for failure) causes hidden risks to accumulate in the financial system and become a catalyst for disaster.

There's always a disincentive for failure. It's called losing your job, and having your business fail. But, wait, that's right, by creating the bailout, government got rid of the disincentive for failure, so now you tell me they have to get rid of the incentive for success as well. Idiots.

Let the government stick to punishing real crimes, like fraud and assault, and let failure be its own punishment.

Quit messing with my incentive for success, I'm trying to feed my family here. The bank I work for is already under a pay freeze, I count my lucky stars that I escaped the layoffs, I don't need any more "helpful ideas" from people who hate the industry I work for.

Comment: Just ask Ben Franklin what we have... (Score 1) 1277

by Dannon (#35429836) Attached to: Utah To Teach USA is a Republic, Not a Democracy

After the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked, "Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?"

Franklin responded, "A republic, if you can keep it."

There's a good article here that goes into the real difference. It's not about which party is in charge.

The word "republic" comes from the Latin res publica — which means simply "the public thing(s)," or more simply "the law(s)." "Democracy," on the other hand, is derived from the Greek words demos and kratein, which translates to "the people to rule." Democracy, therefore, has always been synonymous with majority rule.

So, what do you want to put your trust in? A law, or a crowd?

Comment: A thing can't be its own cause (Score 2) 1328

by Dannon (#33461374) Attached to: Hawking Picks Physics Over God For Big Bang

Lee Strobel (former atheist and crime beat journalist) has several great books that take a serious, rational look at whether the evidence stacks up for or against Christianity. I just recently finished The Case for Faith, and he looks at Hawking's arguments. He's got a good methodology: He takes the skeptic's view, and interviews top theologians, philosophers, and scientists. Here's just a few good pieces out of the chapter on miracles and science:

Craig chuckled. "Of course, something coming from nothing doesn't make sense! Lee, you've been quoting the famous skeptic David Hume quite a bit in our interview. Well, even he said: 'But allow me to tell you that I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause.'
"Atheists recognize this. For example, one of contemporary philosophy's most prominent atheists, Kai Nielsen, once said: 'Suppose you suddenly hear a loud bang... and you ask me, 'What made that bang?' and I reply, 'Nothing, it just happened.' You would not accept that.
"And he's absolutely correct. Yet think about it: if there must be a cause for a little bang, then doesn't it also make sense that there would be a cause for a big bang?"

"First, whatever begins to exist has a cause. Second, the universe began to exist. And, third, therefore, the universe has a cause."

"Atheists themselves used to be very comfortable in maintaining that the universe is eternal and uncaused," he replied. "The problem is that they can no longer hold that position because of modern evidence that the universe started with the Big Bang. So they can't legitimately object when I make the same claim about God-- he is eternal and he is uncaused."

So, it seems to me that atheists are stuck trying to explain away "turtles all the way down" this time. In a nutshell: Thanks to Hawking, we can see gravity either in the old-school attraction-between-masses way, or in the curvature-of-spacetime way. Either way, gravity is built in to the universe. It does not compute that a part of the universe could be its own cause.

Comment: Re:Cheers for PETA (Score 2, Interesting) 820

by Dannon (#30278408) Attached to: Scientists Create Artificial Meat

There's another interesting thought. As the story said:
The big question is how could you guarantee you were eating artificial flesh rather than flesh from an animal that had been slaughtered.

Let's twist it around the other way. Some folks might have a religious or dietary concern over this "fake meat". I mean, look at the big stink and controversy over genetically selected or modified strains of grain. Not to mention, does "fake meat" fit into kosher rules?

How do I know that I'm getting "natural" meat? Even today with grain products and organic fruits and veggies, the FDA is a bit fuzzy on letting manufacturers label their products as "all natural".

IBM

IBM Takes a (Feline) Step Toward Thinking Machines 428

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the give-it-nip-or-it-launches-the-missiles dept.
bth writes "A computer with the power of a human brain is not yet near. But this week researchers from IBM Corp. are reporting that they've simulated a cat's cerebral cortex, the thinking part of the brain, using a massive supercomputer. The computer has 147,456 processors (most modern PCs have just one or two processors) and 144 terabytes of main memory — 100,000 times as much as your computer has."

Comment: Political elitists (Score 2, Insightful) 334

by Dannon (#29627003) Attached to: Legal Code In a Version Control System?

Several senators felt that the actual legal code would be too cryptic and complicated to be useful.

Translation: The voters who elected us are not only too stupid to make their own personal financial and healthcare decisions independent of government, but they are also too stupid to understand the laws that we are enlightened enough to impose on them.

They need to get over themselves. A friend of mine from Romania became a new American citizen this year. I showed him a "pocket" copy of the Constitution I have, and we started talking about it. He said that the greatest thing about it is its simplicity. Anyone with a decent vocabulary can read the Constitution and understand its plain language, even if English is their second language, even though it's now more than 200 years old.

It was a law written to be understood by the people. When the law is no longer simple enough to be understood by those who live under it, it becomes a weapon of tyranny.

And these politicians want to tell us that we are too stupid to understand how our own government works. They tell us this because if we believe it, they have power over us.

Biotech

Scientists Map Neanderthal Genome 229

Posted by timothy
from the first-draft-means-they-can-still-send-it-back dept.
goran72 writes "In a development which could reveal the links between modern humans and their prehistoric cousins, scientists said they have mapped a first draft of the Neanderthal genome. Researchers used DNA fragments extracted from three Croatian fossils to map out more than 60 percent of the entire Neanderthal genome by sequencing three billion bases of DNA."

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.

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