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Comment: Re:This must be confusing to y'all (Score 1) 65

by ShanghaiBill (#47519239) Attached to: Microsoft FY2014 Q4 Earnings: Revenues Up, Profits Down Slightly

They're investing money in the idea that the stock is undervalued.

For every buyer who thinks the stock is undervalued, there is an equal and opposite seller who thinks it is overvalued. The current stock value is the market clearing price where supply equals demand.

Comment: Re:This must be confusing to y'all (Score 2) 65

by ShanghaiBill (#47516813) Attached to: Microsoft FY2014 Q4 Earnings: Revenues Up, Profits Down Slightly

If you are tracking a company's performance by its stock price it's kind of laughable

What do you suggest then? A Ouija board? The stock price is the consensus opinion of people investing real money. If you are so much smarter than the market, you should have made billions by now taking highly leveraged contrary positions. Please post a picture of your yacht.

unless you sacrifice your company for short term profits they really don't get excited. There is no long term outlook for companies any more

Sure. That is why companies that invested for the long term, like Amazon, Google, and even Microsoft in their early days, were unable to raise capital, and have all gone out of business.

Comment: Re:Brought to you by the same people (Score 3, Informative) 100

Surely you can point us to a double blind study to quantify lie detector effectiveness? They don't exist?

Yes they do. The Wikipedia page lists several. What they find is that polygraphs work better than chance, but below perfection. They certainly don't provide the level of "beyond a reasonable doubt" required in a criminal court, and they can be fooled by a someone trained to deceive them. But for most people, they work most of the time. That is good enough for their use as a first level screening device. You would be an idiot to blindly accept their results, but you would also be an idiot to ignore the results completely.

It is an effective prop. But only for the uninformed.

Wrong. It takes more than just being "informed". To trick a polygraph takes training. So how many moles hoping to infiltrate the FBI are going to respond to a Craigslist ad for "Polygraph Deception Training"? Guess who places those ads.

Comment: Re:It's all about the input (Score 1) 58

The place it really becomes a problem (and this would be worse for Chinese than Japanese because Chinese is 100% kanji) is when you have a kanji that has an extremely common pronunciation.

You are doing it wrong. If you type in pinyin for a common character, sure, you will get a hundred choices. But you should just ignore those choices, and keep typing. After you type the pinyin for a string of characters, there is usually only one valid interpretation. For instance, if you type "qing" you will get a hundred choices. But if you type "qinggeiwoyigepingguo" (meaning "Please give me an apple") you will get ONE choice, and it will be the correct one.

Comment: Re:I don't see the problem. (Score 2) 665

by ShanghaiBill (#47498243) Attached to: Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

True, until civilians are targed...

Just targeting civilians does not make it terrorism. The American fire bombing of Tokyo, and the British fire bombing of Dresden, targeted civilians on a massive scale, and neither is generally considered terrorism. On the other hand, the attack on the US Marine barracks in Beiruit is widely considered to be terrorism, although the target was military.

Wikipedia should strive for a neutral point of view, and should be using biased terms like "terrorist" only when quoting others, and never in their own voice.

Comment: Re:There's something touching about that comment (Score 2) 102

by ShanghaiBill (#47494781) Attached to: "Intelligent" Avatars Poised To Manage Airline Check-In

the solution of hiring more people will, of course, not be considered.

Nor should it be. The number of people that really care about a check-in terminal having a "human touch" is probably about 2%. The number willing to pay extra to have their ticket issued by a human is likely closer to 0%. Any airline hiring extra humans to deal with this will just lose business to their lower cost competitors.

Comment: Re:Local testing works? (Score 4, Insightful) 773

JAIL TIME for those that hire the undocumented.

Jailing non-violent people is idiotic. America already imprisons more people than any other country. The solution to illegal immigration is to deal with the fundamental causes. Mexico is no longer a net source of immigration (as many Mexicans return home as arrive). The biggest net sources are Central American countries experiencing extreme drug gang violence, such as Honduras and El Salvador. Ending the drug violence will allow these countries to stabilize and create local jobs for their people. And the best way to do that is broad legalization, which is already successfully happening in Colorado and Washington. Other states will hold referendums on legalization this November. We should be jailing a lot less people, not more.

Comment: Re:comments are now underway on just this issue (Score 4, Informative) 77

by ShanghaiBill (#47491421) Attached to: Drone Search and Rescue Operation Wins Fight Against FAA

It would also be a big help to send a copy of your comments to your congressional representative. This is especially true if your representative serves on the Aviation Committee that oversees the FAA. These are the members:

Frank A. LoBiondo, New Jersey, Chairman
Thomas E. Petri, Wisconsin
Howard Coble, North Carolina
John J. Duncan, Jr., Tennessee
Sam Graves, Missouri
Blake Farenthold, Texas
Larry Bucshon, Indiana
Patrick Meehan, Pennsylvania
Richard L. Hanna, New York
Daniel Webster, Florida
Jeff Denham, California
Reid J. Ribble, Wisconsin
Thomas Massie, Kentucky
Steve Daines, Montana
Roger Williams, Texas
Mark Meadows, North Carolina
Rodney Davis, Illinois, Vice Chair
Bill Shuster, Pennsylvania, (ex officio)

Rick Larsen, Washington, Ranking Member
Peter A. DeFazio, Oregon
Eddie Bernice Johnson, Texas
Michael E. Capuano, Massachusetts
Daniel Lipinski, Illinois
Steve Cohen, Tennessee
André Carson, Indiana
Richard M. Nolan, Minnesota
Dina Titus, Nevada
Sean Patrick Maloney, New York
Cheri Bustos, Illinois
Corrine Brown, Florida
Elizabeth H. Esty, Connecticut
Nick J. Rahall, II, West Virginia, (ex officio)

It will be much easier to stop these regulations, than it will be to repeal them later. The skies should belong to the people, not the government. The time to act is now.

Comment: Re:both? (Score 1) 77

by ShanghaiBill (#47491375) Attached to: Drone Search and Rescue Operation Wins Fight Against FAA

The FAA had made the current policies to prevent idiots who think they know everything who have more money than brains from getting a UAV and hurting people by dropping it on someones head, though their roof or flying it into another aircraft.

Nonsense. The current regulations don't do that. If they did, they would be based on drone weight, method of control, altitude, etc. rather than "commercial" vs "non-commercial". The polices appear to be designed solely to ensure that nobody creates any jobs for Americans, earns income to support their families, or offers useful services that other are willing to pay for.

Comment: Re:Why isn't the U.S. doing things like this? (Score 1) 156

by ShanghaiBill (#47490685) Attached to: Japan To Offer $20,000 Subsidy For Fuel-Cell Cars

... bring the manufacturing costs down enough to bring the price down enough that they are competitive

Per unit subsidies are the WRONG way to do this. Much better is for the government to subsidize R&D into better manufacturing techniques. Look at windmills. They were subsidized for years. Now they are mostly cost competitive, so the subsidies worked, right? WRONG! The modern cost effective windmills are completely different (and much bigger) than the windmills that were subsidized, and are mostly made by different companies. So the subsidies were mostly wasted backing the wrong horse, and making it harder for the eventual winners to emerge.

I'm not saying we should have permanent government incentives to consumers to buy electric vehicles

Yes you are, whether that is your intention or not. Subsidies lead to uncompetitive companies, sheltered from the market, with inferior products. Once the subsidies start, they soon become entitlements, with blocks of voters and buckets of campaign donations to sustain them.

Comment: Re:Why isn't the U.S. doing things like this? (Score 1) 156

by ShanghaiBill (#47490033) Attached to: Japan To Offer $20,000 Subsidy For Fuel-Cell Cars

I wished /. had a feature to filter out comments of people you have marked as an enemy ...

Just go to and add a negative score modifier to push your foes below your viewing threshold. But, according to my "friend/foe" page, you don't have me listed as an enemy, so you need to do that first.

Comment: Re:Why isn't the U.S. doing things like this? (Score 3, Insightful) 156

by ShanghaiBill (#47489677) Attached to: Japan To Offer $20,000 Subsidy For Fuel-Cell Cars

This is how you do it!

No, this is NOT how you do it. It makes sense for the government to promote and subsidize scientific research and technological development. But it does NOT make sense for governments to subsidize manufacturing. If something cannot be sold at a fair market price, then the answer is not taxpayer funded subsidies, but more R&D to develop something that actually makes sense. These subsidies usually get twisted in corporate welfare entitlements, and then can often be used to stifle progress rather then promoting it. Examples: Ethanol subsidies, and solar subsidies that have morphed into protective tariffs that raise the cost of alternative energy in order to protect inefficient producers with political connections.

Comment: Re:Trade is so BORING. (Score 2) 100

by ShanghaiBill (#47489243) Attached to: New Digital Currency Bases Value On Reputation

As bases for society go, trade is really not much more interesting than theological obligation as a way of running society.

Except that societies based on trade tend to be much nicer places to live.

Now we actually have the technological power for it, it would be nice to re-visit voluntary centralised management according to need

Societies based on "need" (Cuba, North Korea, etc.) tend to have very little technology. The problem is that the technology that can be used for "planning" can also be used for communication. Then people will realize how much better the rest of the world lives, and be able to communicate among themselves to organize protests and rebellions.

Comment: Re:Paper tracked barter (Score 2) 100

by ShanghaiBill (#47489151) Attached to: New Digital Currency Bases Value On Reputation

Isn't this in fact how the international money trade works?

No. If you want to buy Swiss Francs with Zimbabwe Dollars, you will need a lot of them. But the currency traders all more-or-less agree on the exchange rate. You aren't going to get a different exchange rate depending on what you want to ultimately buy with the Francs. These "Document Coins" are different. The coin issued by the nightclub can only be used to go to that nightclub. You can't use it to buy groceries (unless the grocer goes to the same nightclub, and is willing to spend time negotiating the value of the nightclub coin (unlikely)).

Truly simple systems... require infinite testing. -- Norman Augustine