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Comment: Re:The Best Investment (Score 1) 43

by DerekLyons (#49545973) Attached to: Hubble Turns 25

Cassini having plutonium fuel was about as close as I can recall, but even that was a blip by comparison to the LHC.

The Cassini flyby was before Facebook and Twitter. Seriously, the rise of clickbait journalism has made it very difficult to discriminate between genuine public concern and the meme-of-the-moment.

Comment: You just don't get it. (Score 1) 305

by DerekLyons (#49536763) Attached to: Futures Trader Arrested For Causing 2010 'Flash Crash'

I owned stocks that crashed. They recovered again way before I had time to do anything about it.

Good for you! That means you, or funds you own, didn't have a "sell if it drops by so much" or "drops below" order.

But you aren't everyone.

The people who it significantly affected were speculators.

And ordinary people who were invested in those stocks or market indexes, no matter how hard you handwave or blow smoke.

. Yes you could have been invested in one of those companies, but if you have a diverse stock portfolio, what are the chances that all the companies you invested in were the losers in this incident?

More moronic drivel. The claim was "nobody got hurt but speculators", not "nobody lost everything but speculators".

If you only invested in companies that lost a lot of money in this flash crash, you are essentially a speculator (by virtue of only investing in companies that speculate).

Are you really that spectacularly ignorant? The market average went down, which means that market index funds went down - something plenty of people who aren't speculators are invested in. On top of that, several major companies (like Procter & Gamble and General Electric, hardly something that would be invested in "only if you're a speculator") lost significant value.

Unlike other market/housing/banking crashes that really did affect lots of ordinary people, this one really didn't. I don't know a single person (ordinary or otherwise) who lost or gained anything (at least not anything they can recognize).

I hate to be the one to break it you - but you aren't the center of the universe, and the set "people you know" is hardly a significant sample.

But you are a clueless drooling moron.

Comment: Re:They should be doing the opposite (Score 0) 298

Creation is usually influenced or built off earlier creations.

[[Citation Needed]]

Seriously, I'm not buying it. Despite the massive increase in copyright terms over the last few decades - there's been no noticeable drop in the rate of creation of artistic works (books, movies, music, whatever).

Comment: Re:A sane supreme court decision? (Score 0) 399

You see, it is often the case here that roads are built for speeds much higher than the actual posted limit. Parameters like lane width, grade, shoulder presence & width, presence/absence of median, etc. all contribute to an intuitive psychological understanding of what an appropriate (and safe) speed is.


Comment: Re:Education is a red herring (Score 1) 288

by DerekLyons (#49521437) Attached to: Robot Workers' Real Draw: Reducing Dependence on Human Workers

I would back date the origin to something closer to the late 19th century as urbanization and cities grew. You had increasing agricultural efficiency allowing more people to live away from the land and more and larger business organizations that required "white collar" jobs to manage the organization -- clerks, accountants, record-keepers, etc.

White collar isn't necessarily middle class - Bob Cratchit was a white collar worker after all. The conflation of the two (with the massive growth of university graduates, white collar jobs, and rising salaries) is largely a post WWII phenomenon.

That was short lived, but a great example of how PCs in many ways decimated a field as a single accountant could now do the work of many. I think they said that long-term it didn't hurt that much because as the ease of which you could create sophisticated models in PC applications became understood, the same number of accountants were now doing vastly more complex accounting jobs.

My favorite example is my wife's job (as it happens, she is an accountant)... Thirty years ago, at about a quarter of it's current size, they had a full time accountant, two bookkeepers, and a filing clerk. Today they have a mostly full time accountant (who also doubles as IT and HR) - and the phone girl who does data entry and filing. The difference is today they have a POS.

Accounting really hasn't changed much in that time, especially for medium and small businesses. It's only the big boys that really go in for heavy duty modeling, for smaller businesses there's just not that much need.

Comment: So? (Score 2) 48

by DerekLyons (#49520127) Attached to: The Logistics of an eSports Tournament

So, the "biggest eSports" tournament isn't even as big or logistically complicated as a lightly attended baseball game here in my mid-sized market town?

Color me unimpressed.

Seriously, as far as "big" events goes, the "World Of Tanks Grand Finals" doesn't even make the needle twitch off the zero peg. And not even the "on a computer" aspect is very interesting here in 2015.

Comment: Re:Genius! (Score 4, Insightful) 332

by DerekLyons (#49520005) Attached to: Update: No Personhood for Chimps Yet

If millions of people die because of inadequate testing then that's the fault of the people who tested the drug. There are plenty of humans who would volunteer for tests with full knowledge and understanding of the risks.

On your planet maybe. But here on Earth we don't allow human testing in the early phases of drug development. And even if they did allow human testing, the volunteers can't possibly have full knowledge and understanding of the risks - because at that stage of the game, that knowledge doesn't exist. That's why we test on animals in the first place.

There are plenty of animals that don't suffer the same was a chimps to, such as mice, that can be used for a lot of the tests.

Where they can be, they already are. Primates are among the expensive and difficult lab animals to maintain, and thus are only used where no other reasonable alternative exists. (Or, again, the world you describe is a very different one from Earth.)

Comment: Re:Education is a red herring (Score 1) 288

by DerekLyons (#49519921) Attached to: Robot Workers' Real Draw: Reducing Dependence on Human Workers

I'm increasingly of the opinion that the notion of a broad middle class is a kind of historical accident caused by the confluence of growth in technology, wide and cheap resource availability and high labor demand. We may be nearing the end of the middle class as we've known it and mostly like it, and returning to a more historical pattern of broad poverty and narrow wealth.

I've been saying that for a decade now - the middle class as we know it today essentially didn't exist within living memory. (That's changing as the Greatest Generation dies off, but my point stands.) It's a product of the post-WWII explosion in technology and consumer demand. But it's the set of conditions that most living Westerners grew up in, and thus they take it for granted that it's theirs by right.

Where they seem to get nervous is over the fact that the jobs increasingly eliminated by automation are jobs that previously required a lot of education and were high wage, white collar jobs. And they're not being replaced by new jobs of the same type, they're being replaced by low-wage jobs that require hard to automate manual skills -- when they're being replaced at all.

That's the big change that's happened right under our noses over the last thirty odd years, and that almost all experts and so close to all of the masses as to make no difference completely missed... not automation (robots, etc... what's usually thought of as automation), but the microprocessor revolution. High skill jobs, formerly requiring college trained professionals (engineers and accountants for example), have vanished at a frightening rate.

Comment: Re:Whatsisname is...mistaken (Score 1) 288

by DerekLyons (#49519779) Attached to: Robot Workers' Real Draw: Reducing Dependence on Human Workers

In the past, machines replaced "manual labor." Today, machines are replacing "white collared labor." Getting more education won't help you anymore.

It's even worse than that - machines are replacing skilled white collar labor, professionals with degrees like engineers and accountants. Not only will more education not help you anymore, neither necessarily will experience.

Comment: Re:Loose procedures (Score 3, Insightful) 81

It sounds to me like not only the police is wrong by applying for too many uses of the device (of course they do - it's their job to gather as much information about potential criminals as possible), also the courts appear to be wrong by not doing much evaluation of the requests. Now having to handle nine requests a day is a huge number as well (that's before accounting for holidays and weekends), yet no excuse for not following proper procedures.

What's interesting is that you make an assertion... and then act as though that assertion was a fact.

From the face of it, the courts should be more strict. Take more time to properly evaluate each one

One of the things you've failed to account for, there are probably hundreds of judges in a city of a half million - thus it's quite possible to be strict and evaluate each one and still come up with this number. It's a distributed parallel system - what sound like scary huge numbers arise quite easily from a relatively modest number of actors, especially considering the length of time involved.

But the ill-educated (or deeply biased, or prejudiced towards panic*) won't stop and think about these things. Thinking Is Hard.

And, to those moderating, yes - I know the actual number is 4,300. I'm just so damn tired of the level of ignorance so prevalent on Slashdot.

* Actually there's considerable overlap in these categories.

Comment: Re:energy needed (Score 1) 167

by DerekLyons (#49511475) Attached to: ISS Could Be Fitted With Lasers To Shoot Down Space Junk

Once momentum of the object has slowed below orbital speed, it should fall towards earth and burn up in the atmosphere.

Slowing it below orbital speed just makes the whole problem 100x harder due to the vastly increased amount of time you need to hold the laser steady on target. All you actually need to do is get the periapsis down to around 200-300km, and atmospheric drag will do the rest.

Tracking should not be that hard as radar aimed weapons have been around for many years.

Tracking isn't the problem - aiming the laser at, and holding it steady on, the target is the problem.

Comment: Alright then.. (Score 0) 191

by DerekLyons (#49511261) Attached to: Assange Talk Spurs UK Judges To Boycott Legal Conference

notice how they aren't publishing leaks of any kind of quality for the last several years.

They helped Snowden get out of the US and then from Hong Kong to Russia, and then helped him to stay there with his girlfriend. That was only June 2013, so clearly they have been doing some very useful work in the "last several years".

Nice try, but sorry, no. The grandparent discussed "quality material", not aiding fugitives. Taking a quick glance at Wikipedia, it looks like they stopped releasing anything of note around 2013.

Wikileaks can only leak what people give to them. You can't really blame them for not releasing more stuff, since it's not like they write it themselves.

Which raises the question, why aren't people giving them stuff anymore? Certainly part of it is tinfoil hat paranoia (justified or no) - but I suspect a large part of it is Assange's hijacking Wikileaks to serve as a platform for his ego and fallout from the internal political battles back in 2010 or so.

Harrison's Postulate: For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.