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Comment: Re:Citizen of Belgium here (Score 1) 514 514

Even if the money was printed and then given to the IMF, the moment the money was printed, the value it has came from devaluing all of the other money in circulation.

This is only true in an economy that's already working at 100% capacity. That hasn't been the case for a long time now. In the current situation of idling economy some actor getting more money will likely simply activate idle production capacity, which will actually increase the size of the market and the value of existing money.

Of course, the whole idea that supply exceeding demand can cause a crisis speaks for the absurdity of the entire economic system. It might be best to focus efforts on coming up with its replacement.

Comment: Re:Citizen of Belgium here (Score 1) 514 514

But if he keeps asking for more I'll get pissed and stop giving.

I guess this explains why we still have beggars, even in countries that struggle to get rid of all their excess food: making people's survival depend on your goodwill gives you a way to keep them in their place.

And that about sums up EU as well.

Comment: Re: Good for greece (Score 1) 514 514

The eurocrats are of course thugs, but limiting how much they'll shake down the rest of their subject citizens to subsidize Greece is not a great example of their thuggishness.

However, putting fiscal policy based on ideology and dreams of building a new gold standard over the wellbeing of people is. And will likely be the death of the entire EU at this rate.

Comment: Re:Drop the hammer on them. (Score 4, Insightful) 514 514

"Drop the hammer on them."

That's the easy part. The hard part is dealing with what happens after the hammer has been dropped.

Someone once said that the definition of a bad policy is one that leads to a place where you have nothing but bad options. I believe everyone (not just the Greeks) thought back in 2000 it woudl be good policy to bring Greece into the Eurozone. But now we've now reached the point where otherwise rational people are talking about "dropping the hammer", as if having an incipient failed state in Europe is a small price to pay for 600 euro in your pocket. The frustration is understandable, but the the satisfaction of dropping the hammer on Greece would be short-lived -- possibly on the order of weeks depending on the scale of financial disruption.

The unhappy truth is that bad policy choices fifteen years ago means all the options available today lead to long-lived, complicated, and expensive consequences.

Comment: Still misunderstands the Turing Test (Score 2) 30 30

A major feature of the Turing Test is that it is interactive: later lines of conversation are sent to the computer after earlier lines of conversation are known. A 'Turing Test' where someone is given a transcript and asked to decide who in the transcript is human or computer is a much weaker test. A more 'Turing Test' like test would be one where I give the computer/human a brief to draw a sketch in, say, an hour, and see the end result, then get to ask for a few more sketches. The kind of thing they are developing here is more like an algorithm to generate a single line of conversation given knowledge (pre algorithm design) of the previous lines in the conversation.

Even so, computer generated art is something which should be explored, and then the art will be in finding new clever ways to use the computer as an artistic medium.

Comment: Re:This is a GODDAMN DISASTER! (Score 1) 163 163

Sure, but having the bitcoin sitting in the bitcoin wallet doing nothing makes it kinda worthless, yah? The whole idea is to use it for commerce, at which point you are vulnerable to all sorts of scams and theft that you would normally be protected from.

Then there's liquidity. Most transactions are off-block-chain (as in one block-chain transaction per every ~400 or so off-block-chain transactions). They have to be, because putting a transaction on the block-chain takes too long. This means that you must inherently hold a balance, in bitcoin, with a third party, if you actually want to be able to use your bitcoin for general commerce. There are currently no protections whatsoever against that balance.

And then of course there's the volatility of the buying power of bitcoin itself. It's one of the most unstable and volatile currencies in existence.

That said it is better than nothing and certainly better vs certain emerging market currencies undergoing hyper-inflation.

But it isn't better than the dollar or any western currency and never will be.


Comment: Re:Shocked (Score 2) 163 163

This isn't correct. Banks can only lend out what they have. They can't manufacture leverage out of thin air. Leverage is a function of being lent money, not of lending out money.

The correct example is that the bank receives $1,000 in deposits from Alice and is allowed to lend out $900 of that. However, this means that the bank only has $100 cash on-hand so it cannot return Alice's $1,000, at least not immediately.

This does not mean that banks do not employ leverage, banks do borrow money, typically in the form of a preferred stock issuance. Just that they basically aren't allowed to in the example you gave. This is all laid out in bank financials. for example, for 2014 Wells Fargo had assets of $1.7 trillion and loans of $863 billion. The Deposit base is around $1.1 trillion.

So, $863 billion in loans on a deposit base of $1.1 trillion.

The mortgage crisis created a situation where loan losses exceeded the regulatory pad for many banks, and in several cases made them effectively insolvent. The Fed provided liquidity temporarily to give the banks time to become profitable again in order to be able to get back into compliance. Which most did. Most of those that did not, such as Washington Mutual, were either forced to be sold (at the beginning) or became desirable assets sold to other banks who were able to take over the deposit base without incurring losses to depositors. Most of the FDIC's losses (since recovered) occurred with smaller banks who had gone so deep into the red that they could not recover even with the extra few years the Fed gave them to become profitable again.

That's the reality. You don't have to like it, but people who deeply believe in bad information tend to wind up unhappy their entire lives when it turns out not to be true, over and over again. There's been a lot of that, too.


Comment: Re:What about the first VR rape? (Score 1) 135 135

Let's not get carried away here. You can always remove the head gear or turn-off the device. Although I can see some complaining anyway.

And because you can always remove the head gear or turn-off the device, of course actual rape victim simulators will spring up, just like zombie attack simulators have. We know they will, because they alrady do, even in text adventure form. Players will claim it's just a game rendered harmless by the player being in control, and could even have therapeutic use, while naysayers will claim it's effective propaganda for rape culture precisely because it renders rape "harmless", and both will be entirely right.

So yes, people will complain, and those complaints can't be just summarily dismissed. There are issues at stake here which are extremely relevant to the dawning Information Age: are progandists blameless for the results of their propaganda just because their propaganda has artistic or entertainment value? To what extent are people responsible for their internalized cultural values, or for being unaware of them? At what point does making other's suffering your entertainment make you a villain?

Comment: Re: Outage.. (Score 1) 352 352

figuring out what went wrong is precisely your job

No, it isn't. My job is to produce the most value for the company within my assigned competencies.

In theory, companies care only about profits. In practice, corporations are made of living humans, are thus living things themselves, and as such care mostly about homeostasis. Profit only enters the picture as food, and like humans whose imaginations they live in, corporations too tend to ignore long-term consequences for immediate gratification, especially since the law gives their parasitic load - the shareholders - control over their actions.

So, as far as the company was concerned, you were carrying - and sticking to - dangerous ideas that could had resulted in changes to corporate culture - to homeostasis. You "tasted" wrong, so you were rejected. I wonder if the whole corporate world could be described in the terms of biology more accurate than in the terms of economics, and perhaps improved through its methods?

Comment: Re:Outage.. (Score 1) 352 352

Anyway, your proud boast may one day discover that people do the funniest things.


1. Create a domain.
2. Have that domain host a single page saying "Nothing can take down this page."
3. Have that page and DNS server hosted in a datacenter in an enemy country.
4. Sit back and watch.

Weaponized hubris - what could possibly go wrong?

Comment: Re:Why can't this be the law everywhere? (Score 1) 248 248

Because they distract people's time and effort from actually working on worker's rights, and always derail conversations about rights for all workers into how everyone else should unionize.

Actually working how? You can have all the conversations you want about what you'd like, but how are you going to get it without joining forces - which is the definition of a labour union?

Of course union reps would say that, it creates more jobs for union reps. But it's bullshit.

As I see it, it's the pro-corporate bullshitters who want to disband labour unions, precisely to put employees into even weaker position compared to employers. The whole anti-union meme is part of that attack on the working poor, a classic divide and conquer tactic. It preys on people's self-importance by making them think everyone will get what they deserve in such a situation (and of course they deserve more than Joe Average). But for the life of me I can't figure out why anyone would think such a situation would make worker in general better off, nor have you offered any concrete reasons.

Comment: Re:Competent Authorities (Score 1) 143 143

Snort, sure it does, as long as "the powerful" are those that Assange has an axe to grind on. Why doesn't Assange have any dirt on Russia? China? France? No other countries in the entire world merit a little of the light he claims to be bringing to society?

And this is what it all comes down to. You're trying to turn attention from documents published by Assange to Assange himself (or to Russia, China or France). It's not going to work. Even if you manage to smash the mirror, it's still your image it showed, and you need to either live with it or change.

Or, I suppose, you could continue coming up with reasons why the mirror is immoral to distract from your image and keep your delusions. But that's unlikely to end well for you. Ignoring reality for self-adoring fantasy rarely does.

Comment: Re:The reason is more simple (Score 1) 579 579

My point is that you may be paying $200 a month, but that isn't what the leasing company is receiving.

And with a regular car, the leasing company is allowed leave the externalities - such as climate change and health effects of exhaust - of their business to be paid collectively. Nothing is currently priced accordingly to its real cost, because "real cost" is impossible to measure.

That leaves two bad options: do nothing and let the markets decide based on incorrect information, or try to manipulate prices to what the government thinks (?) are the "real" ones. It doesn't help that almost everyone has a personal stake in both economy and environment, and is thus tempted to scew the results, but at least the latter option provides a possibility that various interests's concerns can be adressed.

Because this is the real problem with free-market capitalism: it assumes economic decisions are purely local, when in reality their consequences stretch to infinity. It's a necessary assumption, since otherwise every decision becomes intractable, but also means there absolutely needs to be some sort of overall coordinator correcting the relative prices of various options - for example via tax credits - to reflect distant costs, since otherwise we get a sub-optimal - possibly to the point of utter destruction - solution.

Comment: The no unitaskers "rule" isn't a rule (Score 2) 126 126

Alton Brown is King Geek Chef and has a rule about unitaskers, single-purpose devices: don't buy them.

While I'm as big a fan of Alton as anyone around here, I'll decide for myself what tools to buy thanks. There is nothing wrong with buying a unitasking device provided it meets a couple of conditions. 1) You actually will use it a meaningful amount and 2) It saves time or results in a better product. There is a lot to be said for having the right tool for the job. Sometimes specialty tools exist for very good reasons.

Klein bottle for rent -- inquire within.