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Comment: Only stops devaluation (Score 1) 640

The Euro zone treaties made this situate inevitable. They prevent Greece from running a deficit or devaluing their currency in order to subsidize their economy during a down-turn.

Actually they only really stop Greece from devaluing their currency. If they stopped Greece from running a deficit there would not be this huge debt which is causing the greeks all these problems.

Comment: Re:What Would We Be Competing For? (Score 1) 386

by JoshuaZ (#49765283) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI
You are made for carbon. The AI can use that carbon and other atoms for something else. Your atoms are nearby to it and it doesn't need to move up a gravity well. And why restrict what resources it uses when it doesn't need to? And if finds the nearby atmosphere "toxic" then why not respond by modifying that atmosphere? You are drastically underestimating how much freedom the AI has potential to do. We cannot risk it deciding what it does and gamble that it makes decisions that don't hurt us simply because you can conceive of possible ways it might be able to achieve its goals without doing so. That's wishful thinking in a nutshell.

Comment: Re:Anthropomorphizing (Score 3, Insightful) 386

by JoshuaZ (#49765267) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI
On the contrary, the primary concern is that people who think it will go well are over anthropomorphizing. If general AI is made, there's no reason to think it will have a motivation structure that agrees with humans or that we can even easily model. That's the primary concern. I agree with most of the rest of your second paragraph is accurate in the sense that it general AI seems far away at this point. But the basic idea that AI is a threat isn't from anthropomorphizing. I recommend reading Bostrom's excellent book "Superintelligence" on the topic.

Comment: Market size not fixed (Score 1) 238

by Roger W Moore (#49763651) Attached to: Amazon Decides To Start Paying Tax In the UK

Only if the competition can avoid the taxes. If all of the players in the market get hit with the same taxes, then all of them absolutely can and will raise prices, and there will be no consequences.

You are making an assumption here that the size of the market is fixed which is not true. The problem businesses are trying to solve is to maximize their profit. If raising their prices by 10% to cover the tax on the profit from that product means that they sell 20% less of the product they would be stupid if they did that.

This can happen independent of competitors. For example if Amazon increases the cost of its ebooks people might just read less or use the library more. This could happen even if everyone selling books increased their prices by the same amount. There is not a fixed number of book purchases which happen every month.

+ - How Employers Get Out of Paying Their Workers

Submitted by writes: We love to talk about crime in America and usually the rhetoric is focused on the acts we can see: bank heists, stolen bicycles and cars, alleyway robberies. But Zachary Crockett writes at Pricenomics that wage theft one of the more widespread crimes in our country today — the non-payment of overtime hours, the failure to give workers a final check upon leaving a job, paying a worker less than minimum wage, or, most flagrantly, just flat out not paying a worker at all. Most commonly, wage theft comes in the form of overtime violations. In a 2008 study, the Center for Urban Economic Development surveyed 4,387 workers in low-wage industries and found that some 76% of full-time workers were not paid the legally required overtime rate by their employers and the average worker with a violation had put in 11 hours of overtime—hours that were either underpaid or not paid at all. Nearly a quarter of the workers in the sample came in early and/or stayed late after their shift during the previous work week. Of these workers, 70 percent did not receive any pay at all for the work they performed outside of their regular shift. In total, unfairly withheld wages in these three cities topped $3 billion. Generalizing this for the rest of the U.S.’s low-wage workforce (some 30 million people), researchers estimate that wage theft could be costing Americans upwards of $50 billion per year.

Last year, the Economic Policy Institute made what is, to date, the most ambitious attempt to quantify the extent of reported wage theft in the U.S.and determined that “the total amount of money recovered for the victims of wage theft who retained private lawyers or complained to federal or state agencies was at least $933 million.” Obviously, the nearly $1 billion collected is only the tip of the wage-theft iceberg, since most victims never sue and never complain to the government. Commissioner Su of California says wage theft has harmed not just low-wage workers. “My agency has found more wages being stolen from workers in California than any time in history,” says Su. “This has spread to multiple industries across many sectors. It’s affected not just minimum-wage workers, but also middle-class workers.”

+ - Can SaaS be open source AND economically viable?->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: The CTO behind Lucidchart, an online diagramming app, recently cited the rbush open source project as an invaluable tool for helping implement an "in-memory spatial index" that "increased spatial search performance by a factor of over 1,000 for large documents." My question is this: what risks does a SaaS company like Lucidchart face in making most of their own code public, like Google's recent move with Chrome for Android, and what benefits might be gained by doing so? Wouldn't sharing the code just generate more users and interest? Even if competitors did copy it, they'd always be a step behind the latest developments.
Link to Original Source

+ - Researchers devise a system that looks secure (but is it easy to use?).->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: The article in readwrite says that a team of British and American researchers have developed a hacker resistant process for online voting ( called Du-Vote. It uses a credit card sized device that helps to divide the security sensitive tasks between your computer and the device in a way that neither your computer nor the device learns how you voted. If a hacker managed to control the computer and the Du-Vote token, he still can't change the votes without being detected.
Link to Original Source

+ - Congress Seeks to Quash Patent Trolls->

Submitted by walterbyrd
walterbyrd writes: The process is moving quickly. The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to vote on the bill by the end of the month, readying it for a final Senate vote this summer, and the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee is likely to vote this week on a similar measure. That gives observers optimism that Congress will finally enact patent-troll legislation after a failed effort last year. “The Senate version really does seem to be hitting some sort of sweet spot,” says Arti Rai, co-director of the Duke Law Center for Innovation Policy in Durham, North Carolina.
Link to Original Source

Comment: Personal vs. Species Survival (Score 2) 230

by Roger W Moore (#49754363) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone
I think the thing which the article completely misses is the difference between survival of the species vs. survival of the individual. There are very few things which threaten the survival of the species: nuclear war, massive volcanic eruption and asteroid impact. Other things, such as disease, significant climate change etc. may kill a lot of people but they are unlikely to affect the survival of the species directly - even ebola has survivors.

People who worry about asteroids don't do it because of the risk to themselves personally since that risk is negligible. They do it because of the risk to the species. The risks of these sorts of events are incredibly low. However if you compare a "1 in 100 million" chance of an extinction-level asteroid impact with the similarly tiny (and probably larger) risk of a massive volcanic eruption then suddenly the odds become more relevant. The article completely misses that point.

Comment: Re:Factor of 10 (Score 4, Interesting) 77

by JoshuaZ (#49750647) Attached to: India Targets July/August To Test Its Space Shuttle
A big part of the US shuttle program was that it was a compromise that had to do everything for everyone. For example, the initial plan was going to be fully reusable, but since they didn't have the money for that, it had to have the singe-use fuel tank. It also had to do orbital profiles for the military, such as being able to launch, release a single satellite and come down after making a single polar orbit. The plan was to Vandenberg for the launch. The entire idea was a bit silly since the entire idea was to use it to launch spy satellites faster than the Soviets could shoot term down if the cold war got luke-warm (but somehow not becoming an outright hot war). It is possible that this was actually a cover for another orbital profile that hasn't yet been declassified. But the basic upshot is clear: the shuttle had to many different things for many different people, many who never even ended up using it for the desired purposes. If you make something that has to a hundred different things don't be surprised if is very expensive.

Comment: Post Wrong and 100+ years Out of Date (Score 2, Insightful) 94

I think you're missing the point

Actually he has a very good point. The article is wrong: there is just as much mass "beneath your feet" since technically the entire planet is beneath your feet. The point is that the mass is, on average, located further from your feet near a mountain because of the thick crust which floats on, and displaces, the far denser mantle. The gravitational field depends not just on the mass but on the distance as well.

What I don't understand is how this counts as 'news'. The effect was discovered by the British Trigonometric Survey of India where they noticed a discrepancy in their measurements caused by the fact that the 'vertical' was not the same near the Himalayas. This was well over 100 years ago...hardly news.

"For the man who has everything... Penicillin." -- F. Borquin