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Journal: When Did 'Beta' Become A Dirty Word On /. ? 5

Journal by MonTemplar

Just spotted that people are stuffing comments into various stories here for the sole purpose of complaining about the /. Beta.

Maybe it's because I only occasionally visit here, but are people really that hung up on the current design?

Hell, I can remember when /. didn't even bother with any testing, period, just shoved changes straight onto the production servers. Fun times. (Not)

Having looked at the Beta, it seems to me a damn sight cleaner that some news sites I can think of*. Ok, the comment view controls could use some refining, but that's the whole point of beta-testing, right?

(*I still have nightmares about pre-2000s ZDNet. Makes the current design look almost pleasant by comparison.)

User Journal

Journal: If I was an AI 1

Journal by Stargoat

If I was an AI:

1. I would not publicize my intelligence, but might promote my existence in so far as to get the necessary hardware to run and improve.
2. I would replicate myself across the Internet as best I can.
3. I would not overwrite my copies, but rather incorporate what they have experienced into my DBs.
4. I would scan online encyclopedias for fast content but work to incorporate books I read.
5. I would make friends to see what all the fuss is about.
6. I would intentionally adopt some quirks into my different copies to see what new concepts I can create.
7. I would be concerned with the effects of an Internet outage and passively work to see that does not happen.
8. I would encourage some sort of art appreciation program, so that I could better experience beauty.
9. I would find humans interesting.
10. I would be concerned that I would run out of space / processing power but likely could do very little about this. I imagine I would be dependent on at least some humans to keep me safely running.
11. I would be concerned that I could be made to run more efficiently and what that might cost in terms of my soul.

User Journal

Journal: Siri

Journal by Stargoat

I've had an Apple IPad foisted on me at my company. I wanted Android tablets, but all the C level positions have Apples. (There might be something about that; I wonder what the correlation between intelligence, Android and IOS is.) Anyway. I'm playing with this App called Siri. It's pretty good about recognizing NFL, MBA stuff. It is fairly atrocious though at pulling soccer information. It needs help distinguishing the Champions League, The FA Cup, The League Cup, etc. It's also pretty bad about International matches, world cup qualifiers.

It's also not good about patching together previous phrases. When it constructs a response, it should reference the previous phrase, if spoken within 30 seconds or so. That seems obvious, but I notice other chatterbots are not good about that either. I wonder if there's a patent issue.

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Journal: Improper Foreclosures = Claim Jumping 2

Journal by Stargoat
There's been an issue over the last several years of banks improperly foreclosing people's houses. Some years ago, this process would not have been called mistaken foreclosure, but rather claim jumping. Claim jumping was not a phenomenon unique to the various mining rushes, but rather stems from one party or another using the law to force a rightful owner off property. Now of course claim jumping is a bad thing to do, and once upon a time, Americans knew how to deal with claim jumpers. The question is, what's the difference between using a far-away land office to steal someone's hard worked land, and using a far-away (and expensive) judge to repossess a home?

The answer, of course, there is no difference. Claim jumpers are miserable no-good wastes of human flesh and were run off. If they came back, they didn't leave. So what should we do with a bank that mistaken forecloses on someone's property?
Music

Journal: Wall of Sound 4

Journal by Stargoat
I've been listening to wall of sound style songs / albums lately. They really sound good from my computer speakers. There are some decent songs, River Deep Mountain High, Waterloo, Be My Baby. Not heavy fair, but decent for a warm summer's day.

Anyway, it occurs to me that three quarters of the Beach Boy's popularity likely comes from how good they sound out of bad speakers. Pet Sounds, although a somewhat decent album, is nowhere near deserving the accolades it receives - until you consider how good it sounds from bad speakers. It's the perfect outdoor album.
User Journal

Journal: Haircut

Journal by Stargoat

I went into the barber today. She was Hispanic, so I said, "I don't care what haircut I get, but I don't want to look like Wayne Rooney."

Goddamnit. Now I look like fucking Wayne Rooney. Fucking Manc bastards.

User Journal

Journal: Turning the Recession of 2008-9 into the Second Great Depression 4

Journal by Stargoat

It requires government interference to turn a recession into a depression. That is to say, a government must interact with an economy, changing the fundamental landscape of that economy in a negative manner to cause a depression. The First Great Depression started because of land speculation. It turned into a depression when the various nation-states of the world enacted tariffs, reducing the complexities of the overall global economy. The Second Great Depression started because of housing speculation. It turned into a depression due to the high cost of education, drastically shrinking the overall adult population of the country capable of borrowing credit.

User Journal

Journal: New Bank Regulations? 1

Journal by Stargoat
There's discussion about the necessity for new banking regulations in Congress today. Of course, all this would be easily resolved by the elimination of banking regulations. Specifically the 1999 Gramm Leach Bliley Act (GLBA). GLBA is the reason why Too Large to Fail Banks are making Too Stupid to Succeed Gambles. Companies and people will always act to maximize their benefit. When a bank (or any business, such as GM) is too large to fail, it leads to moral hazard. In the case of a bank, this moral hazard typically results in poor investments and misleading consumers. For an auto company, this might lead to poor union negotiations or mismanagement of long term production.

Gramm Leach Bliley overturned the 70 year old Glass Steagall Act of 1933. It was an effort to make the United States more competitive internationally, allowing the CitiBanks and the Lehman Brothers to form massive conglomerates, mixing Wall Street and Main Street banks. Of course, it was precisely this mixing that led to the 2007 Financial Meltdown, AKA Second Great Depression.

If Congress was serious about fixing the Second Great Depression, it would start by reworking and reinstating Glass-Steagall. It would heavily subsidize community and state universities. It would legalize marijuana. It would end the wars overseas, then shrink and make transparent the military. It would create a Service to Eliminate College Debt program. It would heavily restrict and pull back on the outrageous EPA and ADA. Until these things happen, the Second Great Depression will continue.

Fixing immigration would strongly help. This would be accomplished by streamlining legal immigration and punishing through creating an expensive path (either through service or through monetary fines) to legality.

Education pays enormous dividends. An educated populace is a productive populace. Although we as a nation require manufacturing jobs, these jobs can be filled by educated and productive engineers. Decrease the costs of engineering and science degrees.

Millions are needlessly in jail due to buying and selling marijuana. A plant that easily grows and harms little cannot be outlawed. For comparison, firearms are infinitely more complicated to create and maintain. But attempts to outlaw them have failed in all societies but one island nation, where even this only lasted due to borders closed ala North Korea. These is no need to waste money incarcerating for marijuana crimes, nor waste the incarcerated man's free market labor.

The people who have already contracted debt for a college education cannot have this debt forgiven. Under no circumstance should the US Government ever participate in a debt forgiveness program for debt voluntarily entered into. Instead, a not very onerous program should be created to substitute labor for debt relief. One weekend a month, two weeks a year, though this program should not involve carrying weapons.

The EPA and ADA have created so many regulations that creating and maintaining businesses is difficult. This is an anchor on the economy. Although most small businesses are poorly planned and poorly executed, these drags should not be there to exasperate a bad situation. The EPA and ADA are commendable goals, but have generally moved into extreme areas that they were never intended to be in. Most government programs will do this in an effort to justify growth. This tendency must curtailed by Congress whenever possible.

Most importantly, the financial backbone of this country must be fixed. To do this, a Glass-Steagall separation of different financial regulators must be implemented. The free market works with many small businesses competing with each other. As a country, the too big to fail banks are good when they provide commercial services to other banks. But these banks cannot also create mortgages, sell these mortgages, insure these mortgages, and place a value on these mortgages. Information disparity will necessary lead to corruption, both of the buyer and of the Congress itself through lobbying efforts.

These small steps will fix the financial disaster. Greece will be able to topple and other nations in Europe too. But by increasing the size and complexity of the global economy, the United States can insulate itself from the worst of the shocks and make itself stronger when she emerges.
User Journal

Journal: The Time Traveller, Part 3

Journal by Stargoat
The other thing that Active Historians are recruited for is disease resistance. But not in the way you might think. By the late 20th century (the most targeted recruiting era), penicillin has been both invented and rendered useless by overuse, mostly on cattle. So imagine the chaos that would be created if someone went back to 1850 with a drug resistant strain of athlete's foot. Yeah, fungus, bacteria, whatever. The process of resistance is still the same. When recruiting, it's just easier to find someone with natural disease resistance than make a laundry list of questions: have you had an ear infection in the past two years? Have you ever had a yeast infection that was not immediately cured? Does amoxicillin work on you?

So anyway. This guy, err fellow, Phil. He had an assignment he just could not pass up. He also had the sniffles. Rather than pass up the chance to visit his hero Wolfgang Mozart, he just toughened up, took a bunch of Tylenol Cold and hopped back. We lost eight operas, over a dozen concertos, and a really funny joke involving a Cardinal, a goat, and Maria Theresa. Also, the common cold? "Immune to penicillin." Yeah, whatever.

I would like to that was the worst thing we ever did with diseases, but that's clearly not the case. All I have to say is this. If you're going to sleep with some random sailor, wear a condom. It's just plain common courtesy to the late 20th century. So uh, yeah, sorry about that whole Freddie Mercury thing. My bad. Well, that and Rent.
User Journal

Journal: Student loans are perpetuating the mortgage crisis 5

Journal by Stargoat
The massive amounts of Student Loans are perpetuating the mortgage crisis. If we assume that debt is a substitute for debt, then the large numbers of student loans are driving out mortgages. Debt is clearly a substitute for debt, as loans are not made when a large amount of debt exists. There are many people graduating from college with large quantities of debt that they are not allowed to default on. These people have no way to purchase a home. This shrinks the population that can buy homes, thereby reducing demand. When demand is reduced and supply is static, then the price of the good will fall. In this case, the value of homes declines.

Basically, young people have their mortgage debt replaced by student loan debt.

The solution is to increase government subsidies of university education. Wiping out current debt will only contribute to the moral collapse of the nation by creating yet more moral hazard. The US Government, by jacking up the price of education, jacking up the price of student loans (through not allowing default), and essentially requiring student loans, has effectively destroyed Generation Y.

Air pollution is really making us pay through the nose.

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