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Comment Re:Human Action (Score 1) 354

You don't need to believe that most of the mistakes are malicious to believe that there are a lot of mistakes. The very idea that their model would be developed and presented as an Excel spreadsheet says to me that they don't have a reasonable mathematical model. Excel was intentionally designed to hide the complexities that are used in a way that inherently makes it difficult to validate. You should never trust ANY model that is implemented in Excel (or any other spreadsheet, as far as I know) until it has been validated extensively. Spreadsheets aren't designed like Mathematica or R or any decent programming language. They are designed to hide your mistakes. They call it "being user friendly". (Perhaps I'm being a touch too cynical, but I may also be cutting them too much slack.)

P.S.: I'd say the same thing about MSAccess, but I haven't as much as looked at it in the last two decades. The last time I used it became the last time when I proved that it was making a simple arithmetic error. I had thought it was one of the periodic code corruption problems that MSAccess was subject to, but it was much worse than that. Perhaps in the last couple of decades they've fixed the thing.

Comment Re:Similarity to Quantum Mechanics (Score 2) 354

Study the iterated prisoner's dilemma. That can easily be mapped onto parts of economics. Cut away the parts that don't work and you have a sound piece of economics.

Just because there are hard problems that can't be solved doesn't mean that no problems can be solved. Unfortunately, in the case of economics it seems to repeately mean that the most important problems can't be solved.

Of course, we don't really know what problems economics could solve if it tried, because politics always gets mixed up in things, and that usually tries to run things for the benefit of a small group of people who maintain power by lying to everyone else. So economic theories are tested not because there's any reason to believe they are good things, but because the benefit those who are selling them, and benefit those who currently hold power. Often the theories that are tried bear little resemblance to the theories that are claimed to be being tried.

Comment Re:If an investment strategy requires a... (Score 1) 354

But it *is* predictive, about certain things, even though not predictive about others. E.g., it can predict that people will continue to get rich off of get rich quick schemes that don't work.

I suppose you could consider economics to be a sort of blend between statistics and psychology, and it doesn't work where the psychology is fuzzy, and its predictions are statistical in nature.

Mind you, if you consider it this way it become immediately obvious that most of what's sold as economics is a pack of lies. And actual economics is more restricted in domain that this definition implies, so it's not clear that many pure-economic theories *can* work. You don't just buy bread, you buy bread for a reason which is as much, or more, physiological as psychological. But psychology may determine which brand of bread you that could be economics.

Comment Re:Academia is willing to protect total dicks (Score 3, Insightful) 342

It is often abused even without any sexual overtures.

Let me rephrase that.

The power of graduate advisors over graduate students is extremely often abused in ways that would be illegal in most other circumstances. E.g. demanding unpaid labor for over 40 hours/week.

That is would also be abused in other ways shouldn't surprise anyone.

Comment Re: Wrong industry? (Score 1) 112

No. But the guy who was maintaining the software originally wrote it in assembler, and then fixed bugs by doing binary patches. Not me, I never worked for the company, or met the guy who wrote the software. I understand the company was a shoe seller, but I don't even know whether it was a manufacturer or a vendor.

Yes, however, this was on an OLD computer. But the software was kept as a deck of punched cards, not panel switches. (It's not THAT old.)

Comment Re:Big Sister is watching (Score 3, Insightful) 765

List of bro terms (now deemed illegal by the SJW losers):

Code Monkeys - "Dean In Charge"

bro for it

I wish the dried up crones working in tech could get bent an loosen up a bit. This type of loser catering is about offending the majority to preserve the feelings of the minority / mentally disabled.

Comment Re: Wrong industry? (Score 2) 112

Actually, that's not always true. I've heard of companies that used software they only had in binary. I suppose you could turn that into assembler easily enough, though you might end up with some of your data being rendered as code.

(The case I heard of was back in the 1970's and the programmer who originally built the software fixed it with binary patches, so the code didn't mean anything...but it had been lost anyway by this point.

They used this software as a part of how they figured their profits, which they then reported to the IRS. At some point the IRS decided to audit them.... WHOOPS! And the guy who wrote the code was no longer working there.)

Comment Re:Academia is willing to protect total dicks (Score 5, Interesting) 342

Unfortunately, accusations of sexual harassment are often easy to create to punish politically incorrect beliefs or actions.

It's a real problem, and I don't see any easy solution. There is a strong cultural tradition that says that women are supposed to protest against pursuit, even when that's what they really want, and there's no easy way to tell.

Clearly the only safe procedure is to immediately desist upon request, but there's also a strong cultural tradition that says this is "unmanly". Whoops!

We seem to be groping towards a tradition where honesty is demanded on both sides, but getting there is causing a lot of people a lot of problems. For a minor example of the kind of problem from a few decades ago "Should a man hold a door open for a woman?". For awhile you would receive abuse no matter HOW you answered that. (From different groups, but still abuse.) For that matter just last week I heard a woman saying (as a compliment) to a man that it had been years since the last time a man held a door open for her. She still saw that the the proper polite behavior.

Now note that the question of holding a door open never had the degree of seriousness attached to it that "inappropriate advances" had. OTOH, under the old standard the professor would be forbidden to approach the female student no matter how provocative she was. So (as reported) he was following neither the old standard nor the developing standard.

In this case the only answer I see is "life logs". If either was wearing a life log, then the situation would not be in doubt, and in *THAT* case I think that there should be the ability to remove tenure. But there should also be a right of appeal, though to who? The administration or the faculty? Whichever of those two groups wasn't running the prior proceedings would be my first cut at an answer, but one might also consider whether the students should have a say in this.

Comment Re:Your laws ignore my rights (Score 1) 388

No, the political process is the problem. This is a systemic problem, not the problem of a few corrupt politicians. The design of the system ensures that only the corrupt can be successful at the highest levels. So this breaks down into three problems:
1) How long should this be endured before it's worthwhile engaging in the risk of changing the system. (Perhaps it will get better on it's own. There have been periods when this has happened before.)
2) What should it be replaced with.
3) What is the most efficient (i.e. least traumatic && most effective && least likely to go hideously wrong) way to get from here to there.

These problems are made worse because corruption in government is becoming endemic world wide. The reason is clear. Easy communications easily intercepted give excessive power to a centralized group of people. What to do about it is much less clear. Public key systems should solve the problem, but how do you get those with whom you wish to communicate to encrypt their communications to you? How to you keep the implementing software and hardware from being penetrated? Etc. But if all communications were encrypted with a public key system, then the concentration of power would be considerably less. So then we come to the secondary basis of power, fast transmission of orders from the central site to remote sites, and messages in return. This one I don't think CAN be solved, and I also don't think it SHOULD be solved. Then we come to the third factor facilitating centralization of power, and that's rapid transportation. Again something that shouldn't be prevented.

The upshot is there needs to be a drastic redesign of the system causing limitations in the benefit of centralized power. One possibility is requiring all representatives of a population to live in the area being represented and to regularly (twice a week, two 5.5 hour sessions uninterrupted) hold open office hours. Appointments are forbidden. I don't like that approach. I'd rather replace elections by a draft lottery, where the representative are drafter. (I'd allow them to decline the ballot on payment of a hefty fine. Say $20,000 indexed by inflation.) Qualification would be similar to the current requirements for voting. I.e., you have to register, you need to be adult, and you need to be able to read and write. (I *would* require English, as some common language would appear to be necessary.) As I see it this selection method has three benefits:
1) You don't get the office by being power hungry or a demagogue.
2) You can't be bribed ahead of time.
3) You get a good representative sample of the population.
There's a fourth virtue which is indirect, but is
4) There's no incentive to create centralizations of power. (You can't "run for re-election", so it's of no benefit to do so for most representatives.)
I would hope that there would be strictly enforced laws against bribing representatives while they were in office, including against promises of benefits that they would get after leaving office, but that's an "implementation detail".

Comment Re:Survey bias (Score 1) 140

Sorry, but there are slow growing cancers as well as aggressive ones. Just because your doctor decides not to treat your prostate cancer doesn't mean that it's not cancer, it just means that it's not an aggressive one, and you'll likely die of something else before it causes problems. (Well, and treating it is, itself, likely to cause problems.)

So the cancer not being an aggressive cancer wouldn't mean it wasn't a cancer. Benign tumors are different, and inherently limited (until, of course, they mutate). Most people have several benign tumors and just don't know it.

The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.