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Comment: Re:Bitstamp hack..... (Score 2) 114

by Kiuas (#48753175) Attached to: Hackers Steal $5M In Bitcoin During Bitstamp Exchange Attack

Gold is market money, it has intrinsic value first of all, before it is even money

The idea that anything has "intrinsic value" is so badly flawed I don't know why this myth persist. Gold and other metals have practical uses, which gives it some additional value yes, but assuming that gold will retain its value, or in fact have any value whatsoever, under all conditions is false.

USD used to be a meaningful reserve currency before 1971

I don't know exactly what your definition of 'meaningful' is, but approximately 60 % of the world's currency reserves are still in USD, with the Euro being the only one coming even close. I'd call that rather meaningful. So yes, the dominance of the dollar has shifted a bit (which mind you, is not an altogether negative thing either), but dollar is still the go-to reserve currency of the world.

Comment: Re:So get protection (Score 5, Insightful) 92

by Kiuas (#48735049) Attached to: Finnish Bank OP Under Persistent DDoS Attack

They're not cheap, but they work, and banks tend to be able to afford it.

Well, 2 things here: The Finnish banks are rather tiny compared to large international banks and national banks in larger countries. There are only 5,4 million people in the entire country. Secondly, this is the first time to my knowledge that a DDoS attack has done anything to any bank here. All the banks use 2-step verification process, so even in a hypothetical worst case scenario in which somehow attackers would manage to get their hands into some login info, that would not compromise the funds of the customers. Not that that would be possible with a plain DDoS attack.

In the end it comes down to the cost-benefit ratio: sure i'd be nice to have protection from DDoSing, but unless this starts to become so commonplace as to actually start costing them significant amounts of money/customers, I doubt it will happen.

Comment: Re:No matter how much lipstick you put on it... (Score 1) 127

by Kiuas (#48711863) Attached to: Bitcoin Gets Its First TV Ads

Think of deflation as a sale. For example, 1% yearly deflation is equivalent to a 1% off sale starting a year from now. Would you wait for one?

That's a terrible analogy. If deflation is happening, it occurs whether one waits for it or not. It s not an "either or" choice. Under a system of 1 % deflation, everyone's money would be worth 1 % more in a year's time. Now, for a singular consumer your money being worth more is of course a positive thing, but think about what it does for the system overall: repeat this for five years and supposing that wages are not increased or decreased the value of money will have increased i,01^5 = 5,1 %.. But this doesn't occur in a vacuum: the price of anything - even money - is determined on the market by supply and demand. So for deflation to occur either the supply of money is going down or demand is going up.

So when economists say deflation is bad they say so because deflation signals that the economy needs more money than is currently available in it - and if something's not done to mitigate this, it will lead to businesses suffering which in turn leads to unemployment rates rising up which in turn makes things even for people overall.

Economy is a system of production and distribution. If people are demanding less, they should put less pressure on economy, not destroy it.

But deflation is a sign of the opposite: people are demanding more money than is available to them which is what is causing its price to go up.

Comment: Re:Russia has been turning into a fascist state (Score 4, Insightful) 878

by Kiuas (#46507473) Attached to: Russian State TV Anchor: Russia Could Turn US To "Radioactive Ash"

The fascist-like regime wants to expand and dominate. It is that simple. The fascizoids can never be stopped by appeasement. The appeasement did not work before WWII and will not work now. The only argument they understand is raw power. For them, politeness and tolerance are signs of weakness and met with derision. Maybe, I hope, one day the Russian people will kick the fascists out of power but for the forseeable future this is wishful thinking.

Agreed. Putin is basically doing "blitzkrieg" on the world political stage and currently has the ball. He's constantly been referring to "the situation in Ukraine" and "the situation in Crimea" as being something that justifies the actions of "pro-russian militias" (note: the Kremlin denies that they have any direct control over the troops occupying Crimea, officially they're supposed to be militias regradles of the fact that they're using equipment thus far only seen in service with the Russian special forces). Putin's playing the victim card to the west, and the nationalistic chest-beating "for the motherland" -card to his own citizens - all the while giving a strong signal to people like me living next to his country (in my case Finland) that any Russian promises regarding the respect for international law and sovereignty are better used as toilet paper.

West should better wake up and start doing something.


If raw power is the only thing that can stop the bad guys, raw power we must accumulate.

The west does not need to accumulate power. The west (that is the US/NATO) already controls the largest military force in the history of mankind. We have power, we need the will to use it. If we let this slip Russia will keep chiseling ex-USSR nations piece by piece using the same lame "we're just protecting out citizens" -excuse as the west re-enacts the 30s and tries to appease a man who clearly doesn't give a shit about talk. The west can "condemn" the actions as many times and as "harshly" as we want, but until a line is drawn and it is made clear to Russia that the crossing of this line will lead to military action, Putin will keep controlling the ball.

Comment: Re:"probably" much higher? (Score 2) 196

by Kiuas (#46149753) Attached to: EU Commission: Corruption Across EU Costs €120 Billion

$1,000. When I got home, I read a medical journal article about my knee problem. They said that x-rays aren't necessary. I wonder how much the private insurance industry loses to fraud. I'd like a calculation made by somebody who isn't a lobbyist for the private insurance industry.

No, what you'd actually like, is a system of health care in which the price of the simplest medical procedures is not gigantically inflated by profit margins. There is no way an xray costs a thousand dollars.

I work on the in the health care system of Finland, and even though I don't know about xray pricing here, I can tell you that if the figures I've seen from the States are anywhere close to correct, patient transfers via ambulance for example are anywhere from 4-8 times cheaper here than they are in the States. The main reason for that is that even though private for-profit companies are used here as well to supplement the capacity during rush-hour, the bulk of the transfers is handled by the hospital district themselves and done with no profit-margin attached. In addition, the private operators are chosen based on their prices, so anyone trying to charge something extraordinary will not get a contract.

So I'm not saying that competition is bad, or that private contractors are bad. What I'm saying is that the current insurance-based 'free market' model is the prime reason the US is spending more money on health care per capita despite being probably the only OECD country with millions of people without access to it,

Comment: Re:hypocrisy (Score 1) 415

by Kiuas (#45772669) Attached to: Alan Turing Pardoned

We are better than those assholes living 50 years ago.' Well you aren't. Sure you would not castrate someone today for being a homo, but you would surely say that pedophiles need to be castrated.

Except that I wouldn't. I don't believe it's right for anyone to castrate anyone against their will, criminal or not.

Human nature does not change. It cracks me up when every generation thinks they are better more tolerant than those racist thugs who polluted society 20 - 30 years in the past.

Who said we need to change human nature? Human nature may not change, but societies certainly do. A few hundred years back we were still burning women as witches. Human nature did not change but we got rid of that. A hundred years ago we didn't burn witches anymore but it was illegal in most of western democracies for women to vote. Again human nature did not change but society did.

Yes, people are tribal by nature and are easily lured into harshly opposing whatever it is their tribe deems wrong. But the mistake of your argument is assuming that we need to change human nature to change our morals. We don't. Only an ignorant person would be able to claim that societies nowadays are not more tolerant and open than they were hundreds of years ago - or even half a century ago as this story proves. Progress has been made, and is being made; a hundred years from now, being gay (or bisexual or transgendered) will hopefully be seen just as normal as interracial couples or being a woman who votes nowadays

Those racist thugs that you hate so much are yourselves.

No, they're not. Don't get me wrong, I dislike a great many groups. I could even go so far as to say I hate some fundamentalist religious groups. But the difference between me and the racist is very clear: I do not advocate for the use of force in to silence/punish the people and groups I dislike, no matter how much I may not like them.

This is why I am more tolerant than those people.

Comment: Re:Lets get out all of the bitching before it star (Score 1) 174

by Kiuas (#45633315) Attached to: How a Bitcoin Transaction Actually Works

Blah blah blah ponzi scheme
Wank wank not real money
warghaghgahgahl... money laundering

Have I missed any?

Yes, you have missed the point that with the possible exception of money-laundering all of those are in fact valid points that have yet to been answered by the pro-bitcoin people. You also confused inflation with deflation.

Bitcoin is most certainly not a real currency at this point. It's a commodity that a very limited set of mostly online services accept as a form of payment. And it is by design such that it tends to to increase in value over time, which means hyper-deflation not hyper-inflation as you claimed. This makes it almost useless as a currency (hyper-deflation is even worse for a currency than hyper inflation) but at the same time, very lucrative as an investment, especially for those who got onboard while it was possible to mine millions with regular desktop CPUs/GPUs. The early adopters are certainly at a very distinctive advantage. While this does not directly mean that BC is intended to be a malicious Ponzi scheme, it does share quite a lot of features with those schemes.

As for money laundering, that's something that I don't see as such a large issue, as BC is not really anonymous. That is, the exchanges of cash into BC and vice versa are traceable, so any large scale money laundering can be spotted.

As for everything else, to this day I still haven't heard a good reason to use BC as anything else than a speculative investment target. I see zero benefits in using it for purchases. If I want anonymity, I'll be better off sticking with cash. At least with that, in addition to being truly anonymous compared to the pseudo-anonymity of BC wherein anybody can see who paid what to whom (a feature, not a bug), I also know that the money I give to my friend will be valued roughly the same (or a tad less) in a few months time and that my currency is secured even if my bank goes down - 2 features I see as essential for any real currency, and 2 features sorely missing from Bitcoin in its current state.

Comment: Re:Bitcoin hype over? (Score 2) 305

by Kiuas (#45571035) Attached to: Bitcoin Thefts Surge, DDoS Hackers Take Millions

People have to **USE** Bitcoin or Bitcoin dies...until you can directly exchange Bitcoin to currency this will just be an elaborate hoax.

The ease of exchange is not nearly the only problem with BC. Let me list a few others:

1. Deflation. Because there's a set cap on the total amount of Bitcoins that can ever exist (made worse by the fact that it is possible for coins to disappear permanently, limiting the supply even more), the currency is by nature deflationary (this does not however mean that it cannot go down in value but I'll get to that later). Deflation is of course good for those who use BC for investment/speculative purposes, but very bad for anyone wanting to actually use it for trade. For the consumer, having currency that looks like it will be worth more next week than now does not really encourage spending in any way. Pricing is difficult as hell because of the deflation since you have to keep adjusting prices down because of the deflation (and people have to convert the amounts to standard currencies anway, because saying something is worth "0,02 bitcoins", doesn't really tell you anything unless you go and check how much the current rate is)

2. Useability: let's be honest: what's the one thing people use BC for at the moment in addition to speculating? Paying for suspicious goods or services online. And I know there are other things you can get with bitcoins as well, but the main reasons people exchange their regular currencies for bitcoins is because even though BC is not anonymous (unlike some people think), it's the closest/most used equivalent we currently have for cash in the online world, making it the currency of choice for those who want to order something which they do not want to get caught buying (not just drugs btw, gambling is also a big thing with BC).

Now, these two factors are entwined: currencies only have value because people expect that they will be accepted (ie. retain their value) later on. In the case of bitcoin, the reason the value has shot up as fast as it has, and what makes it so lucrative at the moment for speculators, is the 'quasi-anonymous' nature of it - and services such as silkroad. That is to say, in a completely hypothetical scenario wherein drugs would become legal to buy and sell online using 'old fashioned' currencies the price of the BC would likely plummet fast. Now, while such a scenario seems rather unlikely, it's just meant to show how dependent BC currently is on such sites/services. For reference, this is what happened to the exchange rates of bitcoin when silkroad was closed. Which gets us to the third point:

3. Volatility. Right now BC has been fairly steadily increasing in value, as people have become more interested in it, but there is no guarantee that this situation will continue. In fact, looking at the rather massive increase in value and comparing it to a classic model of a bubble (got the links from a recent BC story and its comments here on /. but unfortunately I no longer remember the original poster) one cannot help but to wonder how long it will keep rising before it eventually comes down. How hard and how fast it will come down is another question, and I'm not saying it will necessarily crash and burn over night but there is no reason to assume the rise will continue indefinitely. If the early adopters start dumping their coins, if more popular BC based sites are shut down by the officials, or if someone develops a new, more anonymous/easier to use 'online cash' type of currency or a number of other things happens BC will lose its value quickly.

You're right, people need to use bitcoin or it dies, but the essential question is: would you be confident in having large sums of money in a form which makes it very hard to predict how much it will be worth in a couple of months, and with which you can buy hardly anything outside certain online products and services, and even in those the only benefit you'll get from using bitcoins compared to regular currencies is that it makes it harder (but not impossible) to trace the purchase to you. Even if stores started accepting BC at large tomorrow, I'd still prefer to do my shopping in Euros because it would be easier, and even though regular currencies are by no means stable either all the time, I have more faith in government backed currencies maintaining their value in the long run than in Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is not a total hoax, because it does have its uses. Nevertheless, looking at the way it is build and its current state, it's closer to a pyramid scheme than an actual working currency model.

Comment: Re:Ok this just in (Score 1) 137

by Kiuas (#45416373) Attached to: Facebook Patented Making NSA Data Handoffs Easier

Satan? Seriously?

You equate the one character from the Bibble that had the balls to stand up against the divine tyranny to this Mark Zuckerberg? That's offensive to Satan.

In all seriousness, as an atheist I don't much care about the feelings of imaginary beings, but looking at the bibble as a story and comparing the characters, there is 1 divine "big brother", who watches everything you do and one guy who tells you to oppose such foolishness.

To quote great speech by Al Pacino ('John Milton'), whose in fact Satan (in the movie), in The Devil's Advocate

John Milton: Let me give you a little inside information about God. God likes to watch. He's a prankster. Think about it. He gives man instincts. He gives you this extraordinary gift, and then what does He do, I swear for His own amusement, his own private, cosmic gag reel, He sets the rules in opposition. It's the goof of all time. Look but don't touch. Touch, but don't taste. Taste, don't swallow. Ahaha. And while you're jumpin' from one foot to the next, what is he doing? He's laughin' His sick, fuckin' ass off! He's a tight-ass! He's a SADIST! He's an absentee landlord! Worship that? NEVER!

Kevin Lomax: "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven", is that it?

John Milton: Why not? I'm here on the ground with my nose in it since the whole thing began. I've nurtured every sensation man's been inspired to have. I cared about what he wanted and I never judged him. Why? Because I never rejected him. In spite of all his imperfections, I'm a fan of man! I'm a humanist. Maybe the last humanist."

Just sayin: you should reconsider things if you think satan's the bad guy in the """good""" book.

Comment: Re:Ahh, predicting the future... (Score 3, Interesting) 129

by Kiuas (#45380777) Attached to: Construction Firm Balfour Beatty Considers Drone Workers

the entire basis of capitalism, trading labor for capital

Uhm, that'd be wrong. The basis of capitalism is the ownership of the means of production.

Yes, it also implies that since everyone owns their own bodies, they're free to trade the labor provided by their body - be it mental pr physical - to capital, but that is not what the ideology is founded upon.

You're entirely correct in that western societies are fast approaching a point wherein the need for low skill (ie. uneducated) labor will be zero. This means that we societies at large need to figure out how to best handle the masses of people who don't want to or cannot be educated and thus cannot employ themselves in a future where there is no need for manual labor. Personally I think that a person's ability to live and enjoy a decent standard of living should never be dependent on how much they are able to work.

However, it is important to realize that even if we agree to this, it does not mean the end of capitalism. Even if we an use machines to do work faster and better, those machines need to be built. And even though we will most likely end up at a point wherein we use machines to build those machines we will still need raw materials to do so. Even if we figure out a way to build a machine, which will produce anything we can think of, that machine will still be limited by 2 factors:

1) the resources available and
2) the energy needed to run the machine

Now, theoretically we can even eliminate the 1st one of these. But supposing we manage to build a functioning replicator, unless we figure out a way to get unlimited energy to the replicators it will still be constrained in how much stuff it can produce. As long as this is the case, meaning; as long as there exists any sort of material and/or energy-production scarcity, some form of capitalism will exist. Why? For the simple reason that if we need to utilize some finite resource to produce stuff, somebody will need to provide those resources.

Using the example of star trek, supposing we have the capability to replicate anything, I want to replicate myself an entire starship. If we have unlimited resources this will be no problem, because we can simply replicate entire starships or even fleets of starships to anyone who wants them. But if we have limited resources, producing a starship for me will mean that we can't produce a starship - or anything else using the same amount of resources - for anyone else.

That is to say as long as we don't have infinite amounts of energy and materials, we cannot simply give anyone anything they desire. So if both me and Bob want a straship, but we can only manufacture 1 of them, what basis do we use to decide which one of us gets it? There needs to be some way to determine how the finite resources are to be allocated unless you're just advocating for a model of society in which anyone can ask for anything and someone randomly chooses which items get produced (and for whom). This doesn't necessarily mean we'll always have a money based economy - simply that as long as there is any type of scarcity there will also be supply and demand, and the demand has to be quantified in some way. I can say I need a starship more than Bob does and therefore I should be the one who gets it, but need is an entirely subjective concept and is of no use unless I tell, why I need it. I can say I need the starship to explore the galaxy and seek out new materials and life, and Bob can say he needs it because he really likes piloting a starship. Both are valid reasons for wanting a ship, but if we only have the resources to fulfill either my wish or Bob's, whoever controls the starship-factory will have to decide who he'll listen.

This is where the true basis of capitalism lies: the ownership of the means of production. Whoever controls the manufacturing, controls the supply. If Bob owns the replicator, he can simply build a ship for himself no matter how good arguments I might present to him for why I should be the one to get it and vice versa. The ship has value for both of us, but the value needs to be quantified if any sort of rational decisions are to be made about who gets it. This is why we have a tool of trade, money, which allows me to say "I need the ship more than Bob and therefore I am willing to pay more money (ie. resources) for it." Even if we abolish monetary-economy, some mechanism of valuation of the needs of individuals will exist as long as we don't have infinite production capabilities.

I would argue the only thing one CAN do without having massive revolts is to simply pay the masses not to work, just as we pay farmers not to grow, because like it or not we are quickly reaching a point where the tech has made us humans obsolete.

Yes, to an extent. But note that if you're going to argue that we pay them, that implies using a currency, which in turn implies an economy based on some level in capitalism, because it requires that the goods and services on the market have a value measurable in some type of currency. So to sum it up: we're in agreement that not everyone can or will do work in the future, but you're mistaken if you think this instantly means the end of capitalism - it merely means that we will have to transform the way our societies at large implement capitalism,

Comment: Re:Let's hope no one needs... (Score 4, Informative) 91

by Kiuas (#44027389) Attached to: Archaeologists Discover Lost City In Cambodian Jungle

I'm not sure how higher standard of living is connected with adequate food, shelter, and education for the majority of the population. I'm sure with a base line, the rest will follow but you have missed the entire point.

I'm not the guy you were responding to, but I'm gonna give my 2 cents on the matter. I think you kind of missed his point. In your original post you said:

But expecting government to provide something is really harsh on someone trying to provide for themselves. That is how a country becomes wealthy- when the population provides for themselves and the government only keeps the social economic environment that makes it possible to do so.

Implying that the government being involved in these things (ie. welfare). As someone who lives in a welfare state (Finland) and currently works for the public healthcare sector, let me give my thoughts on why I think you're both wrong and right. I know you didn't originally talk about healthcare, but I'm going to be using that as an example because that's what I'm most familiar with and I think health is no different from the other basic necessities (food, shelter, housing) that you mentioned.

So the facts of the current situation are these: The US is spending the most tax dollars per citizens on healthcare and is ranked 33rd in life expectancy[1][2]. Of the countries that are ahead of US, pretty much all have at least some from of socialized healthcare[3]. Even the countries with insurance-systems like Switzerland and Germany have a model where insurance is used like in the States, but it is mandated and regulated to keep the prices in line and the companies are not allowed to reject sick people. Point being: the US is pretty much the only industrialized country in the world where high amounts of people with no insurance (and therefore pretty much no healthcare) still exist, largerly because of the pricing. This is why it is so expensive: since the law still denies ERs from letting people die even if they're uninsured, the hospitals perform the necessary operations which are priced with (often insane) profit margins because traditionally the insurance companies would pay them, and if/when the uninsured individual cannot pay the bill it is footed by the taxpayers.

Note that the most expensive healthcare system after the US is Norway's single payer model but even that is a whopping 34,6 % cheaper than the US model and the country with the highest life expectancy (Japan) has a socialized model that is 63,1 % cheaper![1]. Japan's average life expectancy is 83 compared to 79 of the States. This means, that the Japanese are using 63 % less money and still getting 5 % better performance from their system. These figures leave no room for interpretation: the US model is clearly more expensive, and at the same time less effective in increasing maintaining/increasing national health (note that I'm not talking about wealthy individuals, I'm very much aware that if you happen to be rich you can get excellent care in the States but that is not my point) than pretty much any other system used by any industrialized country, yet American politicians and the insurance lobby does their best to keep the current system in place.

But expecting government to provide something is really harsh on someone trying to provide for themselves.

You're right, but this is true only in cases where the thing being provided - whether it be healthcare, housing or education - is treated as a privilege instead of as a basic right. The US constitution makes no mention of any of these things as far as I'm aware (although I admit to not having read the thing in its entirety) even though you could easily argue that all of them are necessary for "the pursuit of happiness" that's so often used as the core of the american idealism.

If you treat stuff like education and health as a commodity to be sold for profit, of course it's going to be unfair for the ones paying for it themselves to see others being funded by the government while you're working hard for your share. But if you have a system which guarantees everyone the right to these things and puts that before making profit, you're much more likely to get a functional system. This is why the US is currently losing to fellow OECD members on these matters (ie. standard of living). You're still the richest country, but your populace is in general is doing a lot worse than in many other "poorer" countries exactly because of these extremely market-driven policies and the rather irrational fear of government intervention.

For comparison, the Finnish constitution says the following about the matters of education and healthcare[4]:

Section 16 - Educational rights
Everyone has the right to basic education free of charge. Provisions on the duty to receive education are laid down
by an Act.
The public authorities shall, as provided in more detail by an Act, guarantee for everyone equal opportunity to
receive other educational services in accordance with their ability and special needs, as well as the opportunity to
develop themselves without being prevented by economic hardship.
The freedom of science, the arts and higher education is guaranteed.

- -

Section 19 - The right to social security
Those who cannot obtain the means necessary for a life of dignity have the right to receive indispensable
subsistence and care.
Everyone shall be guaranteed by an Act the right to basic subsistence in the event of unemployment, illness, and
disability and during old age as well as at the birth of a child or the loss of a provider.
The public authorities shall guarantee for everyone, as provided in more detail by an Act, adequate social, health and
medical services and promote the health of the population. Moreover, the public authorities shall support families
and others responsible for providing for children so that they have the ability to ensure the wellbeing and personal
development of the children.
The public authorities shall promote the right of everyone to housing and the opportunity to arrange their own.

So to summarize: I think the facts are not on your side in this matter but it of course all depends on whether you think that the government's job is to prioritize the wealth of the nation or the happiness and wellbeing of the entire populace.



[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy



Comment: Re:A question to the community (Score 1) 300

by Kiuas (#43869461) Attached to: Could Bitcoin Go Legit?

the economic rationale is logically sound (more so than standard economic mantras such as "a little inflation is good")

There is a very simple reason why a "little bit of inflation" (usually anywhere from 0 to 2 percent a year) is preferable to a deflationary currency: if people know for a fact that in some given timeframe the value of the money they have is going to go up, instead of using it to buy things that they don't absolutely need they're going to wait for when they can get more things with that same a amount of money, which in turn is generally not too god for the economy. Out of hand deflation is just as bad (if not worse) as out of hand inflation.

Now, combine that with the fact that the bitcoin system heavily favors early adopters and you can start to see why some people are skeptical about bitcoin. We know that a large chunk of all the bitcoins thusfar mined have never yet been moved (I don't remember the numbers right now but as far as I know this much can be verified by examining the keychain data). This means that there are people out there sitting on "piles" of bitcoins waiting for the value of the currency to creep up as the mining gets more and more difficult and rewards for mining get halved every 4 years. If these people decide that they want to cash in some or all of their winnings and start exhanging those bitcoins for money at large volumes, it has the potential to crash the course of bitcoin in a major way.

Note that I'm not saying it will happen, or even that if it happens it will completely destroy bitcoins, I'm merely pointing out that because of the way the system is built the danger of a large scale dump and a crash is ever present and a huge threat to the stability of the currency.

Is it a scam? I don't know. It's an interesting experiment and has some potential but scam or not it could still be a bubble waiting to burst. Only time will tell.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten