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Comment: Capital Controls (Score 1) 358 358

Using Bitcoin to trade doesn't make any more sense than using Google or Apple stocks to trade

Actually it might make sense. The problem is that there are government capital controls on all the standard financial channels to get money out of the Greek banks. While BitCoin is terrible as a store of value it excels at being easy to transfer whether or not a government says that you can. If there is some mechanism to get your Greek bank balance converted into BitCoins then you can transfer these to a foreign exchange and convert them back to another currency - or even back into Euros but outside Greece.

Comment: Just remember who decides... (Score 1) 92 92

I think you maybe mean "Too much personal data to fail"... which is an incredibly disturbing thought.

Not really - remember that it is your government who decides which companies are too important to fail. So just make sure that you use websites that your politicians use and you should be fine!

Comment: Only one problem? (Score 1) 242 242

Hold the members of government in contempt and jail them for failing to follow a court order?

...and then the government will pass laws making such rulings illegal and limiting the powers of the courts. Then you end up with messy infighting between the courts and government which introduces considerable doubt into who has the authority to do what which will undermine both of them.

Comment: Government by the Courts (Score 1) 242 242

The Dutch government made promises and then tried to back out of them.

Much as I disapprove of politicians saying one thing and then doing another there are times when it is necessary e.g. if the situation changes or politicians learn the true cost/implication of the promised action. This is why, in a democracy, the people get to decide. If the government can make a good case to the people as to why it cannot fulfill its promise then they can vote it in again, if not they can give someone else a chance.

Given the number of, sometimes contradictory, promises which politicians make any system where a court can force the government to fulfill a particular promise risks ending up as being government by the courts. This is bad because then you have government by whoever can afford the most lawyers.

Comment: Re:Icons on Titles (Score 1) 127 127

Chrome (latest up-to-date version 43.0.X) on a Mac OS X 10.10.3. However it also occurs on Firefox 38.0.5 too (also on Mac). One issue may be your font size. If the icons are not obscuring the end of the title then try making your window narrower and notice how the icons slide gently over the top of the title text to obscure it!

Comment: Re:Radioactive Fallout (Score 1) 272 272

It depends on how spread out the fallout is. Spread over a hemisphere it is not a problem but if small meteorite fragments streak over a city leaving a contrail of highly radioactive fallout it may be a big problem for certain locations even if nothing significant makes it to the ground. It is also worth pointing out that the size of a nuclear device capable of shattering an asteroid worth worrying about will be extremely large and multiple such devices might be required.

Comment: One concern: fair and democratic (Score 1) 65 65

The way this body is formed is of no interest to the public outside of it.

Actually this is only true if it is formed through some recognizably fair and democratic process. For example if it is formed based on a hereditary concerns or an unfair and biased electoral process the public outside of the group will probably feel free to ignore it as not representing the people it claims to represent. While this may not apply here the way a governing body is formed does play a role in whether people outside it accord it any legitimacy and respect.

Comment: Website not in UK? (Score 2) 125 125

I don't think it matters what the laws in the UK are if the website that they are accusing of infringing their copyright is in the US where US laws apply. I think this is a case of a UK company using US law to stifle US free speech in the same way that US companies use it although to be fair it seems a far milder case than the ones you typically hear about. The easy fix would be to just remove the photograph of the front page of the paper. The article criticizing the Sunday Times would still be there for everyone to read - the photo is not really required.

Comment: Radioactive Californians (Score 2) 419 419

The level of radation in california is 8 disintegrations per cubic meter per second.

If correct then that rate is far, far lower than the level of radiation in Californians. The tiny amount of potassium-40 in the human body produces 4,400 disintegrations per second. Then there are other isotopes such as carbon-14 to consider so the actual rate of decays will be even higher. In fact if we assume the average Californian has a mass of 80 kg and a density roughly equal to that of water then the decay rate per cubic metre of Californians is just under 55,000 decays/second or 6,875 times your background rate just from potassium-40.

However you typically only get about about 10% of your annual radiation exposure in the US from the potassium-40, carbon-14 etc inside your body so I expect that your background radiation estimate is on the low side.

Comment: Re:Gap in Curriculum (Score 1) 179 179

Do you realize that there is more than one definition of 'subject'?

subject (noun) a person or thing that is being discussed, described, or dealt with.

I thought "creative geniuses" were expected to think laterally and not be confined to rigid, linear thinking? Not everything you learn at school has a special academic lesson devoted to it...which again is something a creative genius should know.

Comment: Re:Meritocracy (Score 1) 1032 1032

One you would remove the value of the degree,

The value of a degree is in what it lets you do not in how much it costs to get it. The skills you acquire are valuable both to the individual and to society.

two it would be discriminatory against those with learning disabilities.

I utterly fail to understand this point. Your statement is as logical as arguing that governments should not fund vaccination programs because some people are allergic to vaccines and can't have them. The reason degrees should be free is the same reason why school education should be free: society as a whole benefits from having highly skilled people available for employment or even who can create new employment.

There are many degrees that have absolutely no value in the modern world.

I would not go that far but I would agree that there are some degrees which are more valuable than others. However this is the great thing about making degrees free: governments can choose how many slots to fund for each program based on the need. The university then selects the best students for those funded slots. Too many english graduates then fund fewer spaces. Not enough teachers then increase the funding for education degrees etc.

This is far better than the current system where many students pick subjects for less sound reasons such as which subject they think is easiest.

Someone earning 21,000 a year only repays 66 a month. There is no reason someone who has taken a serious degree and gotten a job can not pay back that.

You are missing the point. Yes they can afford to pay the amount but the problem is that the loan comes with interest. Someone in a job like teaching gets a reasonable but certainly not high, salary. Given that the interest rates on the load is RPI+3%. On a 36kGBP loan that's just under 2k interest per year which is 166/month. So your person paying 66/month will never, ever pay off their loan. Essentially they will have a permanent extra 9% marginal tax rate throughout their life.

Compare this to those entering a high paid job in finance. They will have a 9% marginal tax rate for a few years until their loan is paid off and then it's over. This means that the loan not only discourages graduates from taking lower paid jobs but the interest means it acts as a regressive tax where those earning less pay more.

In the previous system we had higher rates of tax for high earners and this was used, in part, to fund the university system. Not only was this clearly fairer it did not dissuade people from important jobs with lower pay scales and it reduced the grumbling about tax of those earning a lot because they could see that they had benefited from taxes.

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.

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