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Comment Re:Another deflationary pressure on oil prices. (Score 1) 106

Like, for instance, in South Africa, where electricity delivery is very unreliable and most businesses have diesel generators as backups. This also goes for large portions of the continent where power delivery is very unreliable for a host of reasons. (this was aimed at the GP, in case anyone's wondering.)

Comment Re:WIRED has it right (Score 1) 1044

I'm feeling really sorry for Jim Butcher right now - the Dresden Files series is excellent and he deserved a nomination.

The "No Award" vote for some of those categories cannot be viewed as anything EXCEPT political, which is a shame. The fact that the Sad Puppies campaign nominated authors who felt that they had to withdraw because they were on the slate is a tragedy. That, more than anything else, indicates that the Sad Puppies nominated stories by authors that clearly didn't agree with them - to me this indicates that they were doing it on the strength of the story telling.

That these authors felt that had to decline a nomination, followed by the "No Award" votes shows how poisonous and factionalized the debate got (and that's no thanks to Vox Day, who deserves to have someone steal his internet connection if you ask me). It made a farce out of this years Hugos. My view is that Scalzi, in particular, was stupid - he should have let things go their natural course without trying to organize a "counter campaign". The counter campaign legitimized the campaign and further factionalized any conversation, which played into the hands of Vox Day.

Comment Re:WIRED has it right (Score 1) 1044

I would tend to disagree with you there about Heinlein. If you look at his Hugo wins (I'm leaving out Double Star because I haven't read it) he won for Starship Troopers, the Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Stranger in a Strange Land. All of these were social commentaries

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress had a society that had evolved under various pressures and then examined it from the inside (from the protagonist's perspective) and from the outside (the reaction of the Earth to the tour - like when he got arrested for bigamy).
In Starship Troopers, the Federation wasn't at war until after Rico joined up and the evolution of the start of the conflict was there to highlight the way the society worked.
And if I have to explain why Stranger in a Strange Land is about society...

Heinlein's brilliance was his ability to imagine the social pressures of somewhere like living on the moon in a prison complex, and extrapolate a believable society out of it. He challenged the norms of the time (and, frankly, the current norms). But all that said, he was a brilliant storyteller on top of all of that which is why he was nominated and won so many times.

Submission The Backbone of the Internet Could Detect Earthquakes, But No One's Using It->

citadrianne writes: “Right now the current system of cables on the seafloor is deaf, dumb, and blind,” said Rhett Butler, the director of the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology at the University of Hawaii. “Although they carry trillions of bits of information and basically run the global economy at this point, they don't know anything about the environment they're in. They don't measure anything at all and that seems crazy.”

According to Butler, AT&T and other telecom companies have paid lip service to the idea of integrating sensors into the cables, but he has watched proposal after proposal for smarter cables fall through for a variety of reasons.

“[The telecom companies] narrowly focus on making [the cables] as fast as possible, as reliable as possible. They don't really go beyond thinking about the narrow purpose,” he said. “Yet in a certain sense mankind has given the nod to lay cables across the open sea floor without any restrictions, so it seems to me to be a little reasonable [for the telecom companies to have] a little obligation on their part to help people out.”

Link to Original Source

Comment Re:ACA - More Affordable Healtcare (Score 1) 591

But this was always the case! And it drove much of the costs - anyone could go to the emergency room and be treated, but they were not guaranteed to pay so everyone else was already bearing the cost.

All the ACA does is make the cost explicit. Now everyone (mostly) has insurance of some form or other the cost is levelled across the whole country - and the cost of care has fallen slightly as a result.

Comment Re:FFS (Score 1) 412

And this is somebody that the world sees as a scientist?

Yeah, I mean, being awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine, being made a Fellow of the Royal Society and the National Academy of Sciences, as well as being awarded a Royal Medal and knighted for his contributions to the field of medicine doesn't make you a scientist at all. So some (poorly judged) comments meant to poke fun at himself (you DID know that he married a female colleage from his lab, right? She divorced her husband to marry him) should totally negate all that.

Comment Re:Less than 50% reduction in fraud, more liabilit (Score 1) 449

Yes, it's easy to manufacture and attach fake ATM fronts....

EMV means that card present fraud effectively disappears overnight. The liability shift is not to you, it's to merchants that do not accept Chip and PIN, or Banks that do not issue it. Your position is exactly the same as it was before the shift. The difference is that payment networks will no longer accept liability for insecure card-present payment methods which is not unreasonable.

Online/card-not-present transaction fraud is entirely different and EMV is not designed to deal with it, so it's no surprise it doesn't. For THAT all the networks are implementing payment token support which I expect to see become mainstream over the next couple of years. The tokens will be limited time use alphanumeric strings that have specific values - basically "ApplePay" is re-branded Visa Tokenization. Mastercard already have PayPass Online but that is a digital wallet and their newer solutions will abstract the path to the cardholder's account, Discover and AMEX are also implementing something similar, as are the regional switches in the States.

Comment Re: This doesn't sound... sound (Score 1) 328

The problem with this

The game plan for the Greexit would be to convert everything, both assets and liabilities, into Drachma. Euro bonds issued by the Greek government are controlled by Greek law. Or any debt issued under Greek law.

is that it was gamed out quite a bit during the first crises and the consensus is that it is not legal to unilaterally change the currency of the bonds. That means that Greece would have to get its creditors to agree to re-denominate them in Drachma which would effectively be writing them off.

Greece has a massive merchant marine (or at least Greek flagged merchant ships). Argentina, in a much less compromising situation, has had ships seized. This is not a situation the Greeks want to be in because it's a signifcant part of their economy.
Greece also runs a food deficit - it buys in a significant percentage of its total food production. They won't be able to afford it with the Drachma.
Lastly, Greece will not be able to pay their army and given that it was a military dictatorship until 1974 this is also making people nervous.

The pace of reforms can be debated, but the need for them will not be. Greece is something of a mess and needs to continue with sorting out the crazy tax-evasion problems that they have. If the govenment wanted to, it could use the resentment that is being directed outward to force through some increased taxation on their oligarchy.

That said, the European banks that lent recklessly to banks in Greece and the likes of Ireland, Italy and Spain will have to take the medicine sooner or later. Nothing else is going to work to get the debts to manageable levels. Germany is going to have to start spending too - I'm surprised that they haven't taken the opportunity for some larger infrastructure projects.

May all your PUSHes be POPped.