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Journal: success!

Journal by retchdog

after ages of playing it low-key, i've managed to take my first karma hit ever by punching my abrasive style to the maxxxx! awesome. i hate this fucking place. too bad you guys can't kick me out. :) :) :) :)

User Journal

Journal: Economics in Brief (Internet Flotsam)

Journal by lgw

Here's some internet flotsam attributed to a graduation speech by Thomas Sargent (without digging into whether this speech really happened: the content is interesting).

Economics is organized common sense. Here is a short list of valuable lessons that our beautiful subject teaches.

1. Many things that are desirable are not feasible.

2. Individuals and communities face trade-offs.

3. Other people have more information about their abilities, their efforts,
and their preferences than you do.

4. Everyone responds to incentives, including people you want to help. That
is why social safety nets don't always end up working as intended.

5. There are tradeoffs between equality and efficiency.

6. In an equilibrium of a game or an economy, people are satisfied with their
choices. That is why it is difficult for well meaning outsiders to change
things for better or worse.

7. In the future, you too will respond to incentives. That is why there are
some promises that you'd like to make but can't. No one will believe those
promises because they know that later it will not be in your interest to
deliver. The lesson here is this: before you make a promise, think about
whether you will want to keep it if and when your circumstances change.
This is how you earn a reputation.

8. Governments and voters respond to incentives too. That is why governments sometimes default on loans and other promises that they have made.

9. It is feasible for one generation to shift costs to subsequent ones. That is
what national government debts and the U.S. social security system do
(but not the social security system of Singapore).

10. When a government spends, its citizens eventually pay, either today or
tomorrow, either through explicit taxes or implicit ones like inflation.

11. Most people want other people to pay for public goods and government
transfers (especially transfers to themselves).

12. Because market prices aggregate traders' information, it is difficult to forecast stock prices and interest rates and exchange rates.

User Journal

Journal: overrated again. 1

Journal by sumdumass

Wow.. took a break from slashdot for a while and already the mass down mods are happening again. Its no wonder why almost every story has posts with people crying about how slashdot has turned to shit. I guess it is a sign of how desperate someone's position is when they have to downmod with overrated just to stop an opinion they disagree with from being seen.

What's that saying about reality is everything that remains when you close you eyes and stop choosing to believe in something? I guess the same is true with the downmods. Just because they attempt to hide the comment doesn't mean the statement stops being true, it only means it stops being seen as easily. I can imagine a group of idiots sitting around plotting and planning thier down mod adventures in a comic book esq setting with them laughing about how they will win the war of whatever they deemed important at the minute, by not letting others speak or letting their speech be seen/heard. Then they stop to pop their zits and return to the plotting while declaring that if they are the only ones heard, they would always win,.

Of course the reality is probably much simpler and less sinister. It is more likely someone got but hurt by a comment made and while sitting in their mom's basement reassessing the pathetic life they live, decide to take their anger and frustrations out by mass downmodding someone they disagree with. They might pause for a minute to wipe the tears from their eyes, but are set to teach someone a lesson about having opinions contrary to their own.

User Journal

Journal: good evening sodless godomites! 1

Journal by retchdog

maximizing the experiential entropy, in the limit of large N, characterizes the geom(1/2) distribution.

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User Journal

Journal: Geothermal vs Solar Power 1

Journal by lgw

Here are the basic numbers on aailable geothermal vs solar power (since this has come up in discussion more than once).

The surface area of the Earth is about 5.1 x 10^14 m^2. The cross sectional area is about 1.3 x 10^14 m^2 (one quarter of the surface area, of course).

Per this paper found as a cite on wikipedia, the total heat flow out from the Earth's interior is 4.42 x 10^13 W, or 0.0867 W/m^2. Of course, the available power is much less because it's only the subsurface-surface temperature difference that's available.

Total solar irradience is 1361 W/m^2 by NASA's latest estimate (so about 1.7 x 10^17 W across the entire cross section), or about 1000 W/m^2 on the surface at noon on a cloudless day. Averaged over the day-night cycle (surface area vs cross-section, so 250 W/m^2), and taking clouds into account that's about 180 W/m^2 (I can't find a solid source on that yet, but it looks close).

So, total solar power flow is about 4000 times as large as total geothermal flow. I'm not quite sure how to estimate the (ideal) available power as a percentage of the total geothermal power flow, but if we use a WAG of 50%, then the available power from solar is also about 4000 times per square meter more than geothermal - significantly more if we average solar power only across populated latitudes.

User Journal

Journal: wtf 2

Journal by retchdog

here i am, modding up trolls; aspiring gadflys; inarticulate racists; and even the occasional goatse link... and i'm still getting an average of 15 mod points a week!

User Journal

Journal: Meta-Topic: Slashot Comment Posting

Journal by Bing Tsher E

I always post my comments with 'no karma bonus' checked off. Even though I can post at default of +2 I do not do so often. This is because posting at +1 gives a safety margin. You can say more controversial and challenging things in a +1 comment and not have it modded down. But it gets saved in the permanent archive. When I do have something of note to add to the discussion, it gets marked up to +2 or higher fairly quickly anyway.

User Journal

Journal: World Peace is Easy

Journal by phantomfive

World peace is an unusually simple problem: it's entirely a marketing problem. We don't even have to get people to buy anything, all we have to do is get them to want it. The marketing is the whole problem. Once everyone wants it, then the problem is solved because no one will fight anymore. It really is that easy.

In talking to people, I have observed three broad 'market segments' that need to be addressed, three types of people. Maybe there are more, but this is what I have found so far:

1) Those who think that humans are violent by nature, and thus war is inevitable. These are believers in the 'killer ape' theory or perhaps they've just seen too much violence in their lives. Fortunately men are not violent by nature, the 'killer ape' theory is discredited, and in any case we are capable of choosing our destinies.

2) The second group are those who would stop fighting, but the 'other guys' won't stop. These are most Americans. They didn't want to attack Afghanistan originally, but the Afghanis struck first, so what choice was there? These people happily would support peace if they saw it as a viable possibility. Fortunately, peace is viable because it is the most profitable solution, we just need to help the world see that. The more people start supporting peace, the more this group will become convinced that peace is possible.

3) The third group is the most difficult group, because they actually have something to gain from war. In this category was Slobodan Milosevic, who wanted to consolidate power in his country, or warriors on the edge of the Sahara who want to take others' land for their own cattle. Some people fight because it is exciting, they like the thrill. These people need to see that there is a better way, and that their children will want to live in peace, and sometimes compromise is worth it. Anyone who has loved has learned the value of compromise. These people can too.

Try to talk to everyone you can about world peace, because word of mouth is the best type of marketing.

User Journal

Journal: once again 2

Journal by sumdumass

It happened once again. After this round of mass downmodding, I haven't been able to post from this account for about 2 weeks. The email complaint that the posting denial page gives is useless. Well, that is unless an editor is behind the mass down modding. That wouldn't surprise me because much seeing how the down mods are coming in at something like 10 and 15 at a time. I know some mod points are awarded at 10 instead of five and editors have unlimited points. I guess it's either a pissed off editor abusing their power because he or she cannot win an argument on the facts or a tightly knitted group of idiots who think quieting anything apposing their viewpoints is somehow winning an argument.

Oh well, it's ok, I can still post from my other accounts and have done so since the down modding. It's sort of interesting that almost identical posts under other accounts are either modded up or untouched by moderation. This and the fact that the downmods all come within a day or so each time locks the entire mass modding just to quiet an apposing viewpoint theory. I remember when slashdot was about conversations not who can yell the loudest or stop someone else from being heard. And my points weren't all that controversial either, things like there is no reason why someone cannot separate science from religion and practice both within their respective natures without being stupid or ignorant, that evolution as in speciation is still just a theory and not an observed fact even though the evidence points to it being likely, and the last one was that just because it's written in the bible doesn't mean it's mandated to certain religions to do. Oh, and I forgot about the conversation with the guy who wasn't aware that Microsoft was a separate incorporated company from Microsoft's licensing division which is incorporated and operated in an entirely different state altogether. Of course with that last one, once the guy discovered that they were two separate companies being run as separate companies, he agreed with my original assertions that it would be difficult if not impossible for Washington to apply a tax on the MS licensing operations.

User Journal

Journal: Trolls with mod points. 5

Journal by sumdumass

I find it funny that I'm constantly being group modded by trolls who seem to think that ruining someone's karma is a legitimate way to counter an argument they do not agree with. This is probably the tenth time since late '09 that I have received an attack on messages I have posted. This time, in less then 24 hours, I went from having no comments moderated at all on my comment page to comments posted over a week ago with no mods at all and comments posted a few days ago being modded down for reasons obviously counter to the mod claim.

As for being obviously counter to the modded claim, Here is a post modded redundant when it is explicitly addressing the person I replied to about his misunderstanding of the post I mentioned. Could someone please explain how replying to someone about their inaccurate understanding of a post is redundant? And it isn't like I fifteen other people corrected him either, it was a dialog specifically between me and another person who admitted to mistaking my post for saying something else.

Anyways, this has typically happened only after I comment to someone who is commenting on some sort of religion or evolution post who has it wrong in some way. Is it really that important to people who do not like religion or people who have placed evolution as their religion the they need to take steps like this in order to suppress opposition to their wrongful opinions? I mean it's not like I'm saying Creation is correct or anything, I'm generally pointing out that they are doing the same things they blame the religions of doing when they make absolute statements about Evolution being an undisputed fact instead of composed scientific theory or when they have some sort of incorrect interpretation of the bible or whatever. I find it's typically easy to trip them up when I ask if anything could come along and make evolution different as in for our understanding of speciation or common descendant thoughts. When they say no, then it's obvious they are not following science because science allows for that regardless of how improbable it might be. For instance, the posts I believe that started this round of mass down-modding stems from some idiot who reposted a bunch of nonsense from a few websites about a few bibles verses they found and then took everything out of context in order to create some demonesque image of God. There are plenty of verses in the bible which one can legitimately question the compassion or loving nature of a god, but to take something completely out of context in order to make your point is a little intellectually lazy as well as dishonest.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised about the down-modding. When dealing with idiots who want to cite a few verses and ignore the context before and after it (whether they are for or against the bible) and draw completely one sided conclusions that do not remotely fit the story context, we aren't really dealing with articulate or intelligent people. It really does seem that the less intelligent the person is, the more dirty and underhanded shenanigans you should expect from them and like minded people. Maybe slashdot should have a system for their mods where someone could complain about the mass modding or a script that checks mods made to a single account within a certain time frame and then flag the comments for further review. It wouldn't need to be anyone special reviewing it either, just make sure they come up for metta moderation.


Journal: Religion is falsifiable

Journal by phantomfive


Religions are falsifiable (science is the un-falsifiable thing: it is a tool, not a proposition. How do you falsify a hammer? How do you falsify science?). Any decent religious system has ideas of the type, if you do X, then Y will happen. Let's investigate a bit, and see what some religions say:

Buddhism: if you follow the eight-fold path, your suffering will end. Extremely testable. If you follow the eight-fold path, and you are still suffering, then man, they led you astray.

Tantric yoga: do these exercises and meditations and eventually you will have a kundalini rising (enlightenment). So if you do them, and you don't have a kundalini rising, then you know tantra is worthless (either that or your teacher sucks).

The Bible: Those who believe shall be able to do miracles, such as drink poison and not get hurt, or heal the sick (Mark 16:17). So if you follow Christ and you can't do those things, then......yeah, you've just falsified it.

Daoism: 99% of the battle of daoism is figuring out what you are supposed to do. That is an ancient Chinese way of teaching.....but, if you ever do figure out what it is you're supposed to do, then you will be able to tap into the mysterious power of the Dao. If you figure out what you are supposed to do, and do it, and still can't tap into that power, then you've just falsified Daoism.

Mormonism: fast and pray oft, grow in humility, and you will be filled with joy and consolation. I really like Mormonism because it is even more scientific: it says all over the place things like, "if you have faith, God will give you anything that is good." It gives examples of people who became good enough that God gave them anything they asked for, and it says that you can do it too. It even directly gives an example of how to test these claims, and verify/falsify them. I like it because the more clear the promises, the more easily it is falsifiable.

See? If all you are saying is that some being out there exists who affects life on earth in some undetectable way, then yeah, it's pretty pointless. But any preacher who preaches that doesn't know his religion.

Also see:



User Journal

Journal: FSF/EFF 1

Journal by retchdog

I predict that within four years, the US federal government will make a serious attempt to nationalize and/or directly destroy/reorganize the Free Software Foundation and/or EFF.

Wherever you go...There you are. - Buckaroo Banzai