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Comment: Re:Okay... (Score 1) 193

by hey! (#49769947) Attached to: D.C. Police Detonate Man's 'Suspicious' Pressure Cooker

Pressure cookers have actually made a comeback among foodies. The difference from grandma's pressure cooking style is that times for anything but pot roast are *extremely* short. For example if you're cooking broccoli it's done after two minutes at pressure. Grandma would have kept the broccoli in the pressure cooker for five minutes and removed it as a pale gelatinous goo.

A pressure cooker is a good acquisition when you're setting up a kitchen because even though you might use it only a couple of times a month, if you don't lock down the lid what you have is just a nice, heavy pot. Slow cooked is still the way to go for chili, but if you don't have eight hours you can get passable results in well under an hour with a pressure cooker.

Comment: Re:All the time (Score 1) 569

That's not really true. Rotating debt isn't the same as a giant monolithic debt. Paying a debt and then adding a new debt is still paying off a debt, even if you're borrowing from the same person.

But I understand what you're getting at and I definitely agree that we have (and should have) different expectations for debt when it comes to countries than when it comes to corporations, say. Debt isn't the same sort of liability for a country--I really hate it when politicians say that we should run countries 'more like companies'. It just speaks to how little they understand about countries (and probably companies).

Comment: All the time (Score 3, Insightful) 569

by Sycraft-fu (#49767733) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

The US always pays its debts when they are due. I think perhaps the problem is you don't understand how US debt works, and why it is a bit special:

So the most important thing to understand is the US doesn't go and beg people to give it money, rather it auctions debt. People come and purchase the debt. You can do it yourself on their Treasury Direct site. The US sells debt instruments to interested buyers. They are bid on, and whoever bids the lowest interest rate wins. The upshot is the US sets the terms of the debt instruments sold. They have a variety, some are as short as 4 weeks, some as long as 30 years. When you buy something, the terms of repayment are stated up front: What it'll pay, and when. There is no provision to cash out early, and you don't get to dictate any terms, you just choose what note you want to buy (if they are available).

This is how public debt works in a lot of countries, but it isn't how things go when you are getting loans from the IMF.

The other important thing is that all US debt is denominated in US dollars. A US debt instrument specifies how many dollars it'll pay out and that number is NOT inflation adjusted, except in a few very special cases. Well the US government also controls the US mint, which makes US dollars. So the US government can literally print money, and inflate its way in to payments. There are negatives to that, of course, but it is perfectly doable. The US controls its fiscal and monetary policy regarding its debt. Since all its debts are in US dollars, and since US dollars are the world's reserve currency, the US cannot face a crisis where it can't pay, unless such a crisis is internally generated (via the debt limit).

Not the case with Greek debt, it is in Euros and Greece doesn't control the Euro.

Finally, there's the fact that the US has great credit. Doesn't matter if you disagree that it should, fact is it does. Investors are willing to loan the US money for extremely low interest rates because they see it as a very safe investment. 4 week T-Bills have been going for between 0%-0.015%. 30-year bonds have been going for 2.5%-3.75%. Investors bid the interest rates very low because they desire it as a safe investment.

Comment: Re:Funny, that spin... (Score 3, Insightful) 352

by hey! (#49765025) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI

Spin, sure, but it's a waay bigger minority than I expected. I'd even say even shockingly large.

The genius of Asimov's three laws is that he started by laying out rules that on the face of it rule out the old "robot run amok" stories. He then would write, if not a "run amok" story, one where the implications aren't what you'd expect. I think the implications of an AI that surpasses natural human intelligence are beyond human intelligence to predict, even if we attempt to build strict rules into that AI.

One thing I do believe is that such a development would fundamentally alter human society, provided that the AI was comparably versatile to human intelligence. It's no big deal if an AI is smarter than people at chess; if it's smarter than people at everyday things, plus engineering, business, art and literature, then people will have to reassess the value of human life. Or maybe ask the AI what would give their lives meaning.

Comment: Re:Truth be told... (Score 4, Interesting) 134

by hey! (#49764209) Attached to: Al-Qaeda's Job Application Form Revealed

Dear moderators: "Troll" is not a synonym for "I disagree with this".

That said, I disagree with this.

We've known since the investigation of 9/11 that suicide bombers are not necessarily dead-enders except in the literal sense. Economic powerlessness might play a role in the political phenomenon of extremist violence, but it is not a necessary element of the profile of a professional extremist. These people often come from privileged backgrounds and display average to above average job aptitude.

Mohammed Atta's life story makes interesting reading. He was born to privileged parents; at the insistence of his emotionally distant father he wasn't allowed to socialize with other kids his age, and had a lifelong difficulty with relating to his peers. At university he did OK but below the high expectations of his parents. He went to graduate school in urban planning where his thesis was on how impersonal modern high rise buildings ruined the historic old neighborhoods of the Muslim world.

That much is factual; as to why he became an extremist while countless others like him did not, we can only speculate. I imagine that once he decided modernity was the source of his personal dissatisfactions Al Qaeda would be attractive to him. Al Qaeda training provided structure which made interacting with his new "peers" easier than ever before. And martyrdom promised relief from the dissatisfactions of a life spent conscious of his own mediocrity. Altogether he was a miserable and twisted man -- but not economically miserable.

Comment: Most guys here are missing the point. (Score 1) 288

by hey! (#49763589) Attached to: Study: Science Still Seen As a Male Profession

And that point is encapsulated in a single adverb: still. "Still" is what makes this news; it wouldn't have been news twenty or thirty years ago.

I am old enough to remember when genital equipment was considered employment destiny. When my wife went to oceanography graduate school the sysadmins of the school minicomputers were all female. The all-male faculty called them -- I kid you not -- "Data Dollies". Data dolly was considered a good job for a technically inclined woman because it paid well for an entry level job, involved computers, and was an easy job to hand off when you quit to marry the professor you'd snagged. Plus they'd have a hard time getting work in industry. Clearly that was a transitional moment because there were a substantial minority of women graduate students in the program, but *no* female professors, much less senior administrators.

But given the strong cohort of women in that class, it is surprising the thirty years later there is still a lingering perception in this country that science isn't for women. But maybe it shouldn't be surprising. Change doesn't happen instantaneously, nor does it necessarily ever become complete. When I was in college the notion that women had to become full time homemakers was still predominant -- not among students, but of people over thirty or so, practically everyone in positions of hiring and authority. That attitude seems weird and foreign to a young person today; I expect it's hard for a young person to grasp how pervasive and indeed how genuinely oppressive that belief was. It's a bit like the difference between the way I experience watching Mad Men and the way my kids do. I actually *recognize* that world where smoking was everywhere, big shots drank during office hours, and "womanizing" was a word people actually used without irony. It was fading fast, but still there. To my kids it's like an alien civilization in Doctor Who. So yes, the news that many Americans see science as a profession that somehow belongs to men is a bit like discovering a Silurian in the closet.

The women of my generation fought hard to establish a beachhead in male dominated professions, and if they're sometimes a bit snippy about it, well they earned the right. It wasn't easy to be an oddball among your peers and freak to your parents, teachers and and people in authority generally. And this was at a time when there was no such thing as geek chic to offset the disadvantages being an oddball. Being a geek was bad, period.

Now that cadre of pioneering women is at or approaching the apex of their careers. They're still a minority in their age cohort, but they left a wide open hole in their wake for the next generation. It's taken awhile for that hole to fill up because when opportunities open for a group they go for more high-profile professions (47% of medical students are women, as are 48% of law students). But in another generation I am sure the view that science belongs to one sex or another will be a truly fringe belief.

Comment: Re:Guiness just examined the footage? (Score 1) 74

by Chelloveck (#49763553) Attached to: The Hoverboard Flies Closer To Reality

I find it a bit strange Guiness Records only examined the footage before granting the record.

Wait, seriously? The Guinness endorsement was the only thing giving this a shred of credibility in my mind. If they really only saw the video then shame on them. They've been suckered.

Wish I knew for sure. This bit from the CBC site is the only thing I've seen which suggests that all the Guinness Book people saw was a video:

"Duru had been working on a prototype for about five years and last August filmed himself flying his new machine over the lake, which is about 130 kilometres north of Montreal, before contacting Guinness.

"Guinness verified the footage and announced the record on its website Friday."

Comment: Re:Whistleblower (Score 1) 383

"Accidentally" isn't certain here. If I was part of something that was wrong and I wanted it to be known, I would very well "accidentally" leak it too.

Except I don't see how that applies in this case. Stay or leave -- it's not the bank's call. But if politicians are putting leaving the EU on the table, even as an empty gesture, then naturally the bank has to start thinking about contingency plans. That's just common sense, even if you think the very idea of leaving the EU is mad.

It's also common sense to keep that on the DL to prevent misguided overreaction to what is after all still a hypothetical scenario. The Bank of England a central bank and so people must be constantly scrutinizing it hoping to glean inside information on future monetary policy. That's to say nothing of having to deal with the conspiracy theory nutters.

Comment: Re:Thai music is heptatonic (Score 1) 67

by rwa2 (#49759233) Attached to: Favorite musical scale, by number of pitch classes?

ha, yeah, I suppose I /still/ have no idea :P

What I meant is while western music scales mathematically divide the octave into 8 intervals (12 including the black keys), Thai instruments divide their "octave" into 7, which is part of the reason why Thai and other asian music sounds... exotic to westerners.

Here's someone who knows what he's talking about...
https://books.google.com/books...

Also a herpetonic scale sounds cool because imagine a bunch of shiny lizards playing in an orchestra

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