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Comment: Warning We're Nearing the Top (Score 2) 373

by SpecBear (#40225067) Attached to: Finding the Downside In San Francisco's Tech Boom

I moved to San Francisco in 1999, during the last tech boom.

In 2000, the anti-gentrification talk really picked up steam. "Dotcommers" were raising the cost of of living, driving people out of affordable neighborhoods. And yes, Oakland was a common destination for people and businesses who could no long afford San Francisco. Someone painted "DIE YUPPIE SCUM" on the sidewalk in my neighborhood. Fliers were posted decrying the whitening of the Mission district.

A friend asked if I thought there was a solution to the gentrification problem. I told him, "Wait a year."

It's a bubble, it'll pop eventually. When people start complaining about too much money coming into the city, you know something's gone awry.

Comment: Re:What about external hazards? (Score 2) 605

by SpecBear (#38979029) Attached to: TomTom Satnavs To Set Insurance Prices

My guess is that frequent sharp braking is strongly correlated with bad driving.

Perhaps you meant to guess that bad driving is strongly correlated with frequent sharp braking?

If one is true, then both are true. Correl(x,y) = Correl(y,x). Confusing this is a fairly common mistake people make when discussing correlations, and the cause of a lot of misunderstandings about statistics.

Comment: Re:VOTE! "WHO'S WRECKING AMERIKKKA?" (Score 1) 370

by SpecBear (#38173082) Attached to: Senator Wants 'Terrorist' Label On Blogs

The Bank of England was only vulnerable because it was trying to manipulate its currency. They were trying to prop up the pound at a higher value than what the free market thought it was worth. In a free market, attempting to keep the price of something at an artificially high level results in one of two outcomes: (1) you wind up owning all of that something, or (2) you run out of money and take a massive loss when the price of that something falls back to its free market value.

Normally this doesn't happen with currencies because market participants know that currencies are backed by governments. Very few people are willing to get into a pissing contest with a government bank. But Soros was able to bring enough firepower to the fight to force outcome (2).

What Soros did is actually exactly what we should expect, and even welcome, from a free market. The people of England weren't screwed by Soros, they were screwed by a government that tried to play games with their currency and lost.

Comment: Re:Kidney shortage (Score 1) 147

by SpecBear (#35427120) Attached to: Kidney Printer

While I understand the aversion to elderly organs, I think your perspective might change if you were actually in the market for replacement parts. Nobody wants organs from an old person, but some people out there may need them. If your liver is failing, the docs give you a month to live, and the only compatible liver available is from a 60-year-old who died of a heart attack, are you really going say no?

Comment: Re:Outside influences (Score 2) 292

by SpecBear (#35352934) Attached to: Facebook Linked To One In Five Divorces In US

A man is only as faithful as his options. - Chris Rock

I don't believe Rock is correct for all men, but it's certainly true for bucket number 3. Basically, the difference between buckets #2 and #3 is the amount of effort one is willing to put into cheating, and the level of plausible deniability one needs to rationalize it. Type 2s will make opportunities to cheat, while type 3s will just take advantage of opportunities that arise. Thus the Type 3s are only as faithful as their options. Which, in my book, isn't really being faithful.

Comment: Re:And this is news? (Score 2) 292

by SpecBear (#35352726) Attached to: Facebook Linked To One In Five Divorces In US

Do they really think they have to spell this stuff out to people? The only way relationships can get "dangerous" to your marriage is if you let them, whether online or not.

Yes, and no. Yes, in that there are a whole lot of people out there that who really believe that such things "just happen". No, in that the people who need to be told that there's a broad danger zone that you have to travel through before you cross the line into cheating are also the people who are least likely to listen.

You're absolutely correct in that relationships can only get dangerous if you let them. I've seen this far too many times. I tried to counsel a friend who was able to rationalize all kinds of behavior as long as he wasn't actually cheating. He walked right up to the line and when he took that last step, he claimed it "just happened".

Comment: Re:Actually (Score 1) 270

by SpecBear (#35080924) Attached to: Facebook Private Info Increasingly Used In Court

No, it's not that simple. Not unless you get everything right and there's nothing to contradict your fabricated version of events.

It works for real alibis because your status updates point to independent sources that can corroborate your story. The updates alone aren't any more useful than you just saying "I wasn't there, I was at this bar." Your fake alibi doesn't have any information that you couldn't fabricate on your own. If you can think up this scenario, then law enforcement can as well.

When you give your alibi, the police now have two conflicting versions of events. One of them has to be false, so they'll go looking for supporting evidence. Odds are there are people who are in your pictures who weren't at the bar when the crimes were being committed. If there's independent confirmation of their whereabouts, then the cops know your pictures are bogus. Just one example: if the bartender in your pictures wasn't working when you claim the pictures were taken, your alibi is toast.

Comment: Re:So what GS is saying is.... (Score 4, Insightful) 529

by SpecBear (#34912032) Attached to: Goldman Sachs Says No Facebook Shares For US Investors

This is what I find really worrisome. As a regulatory body, the SEC is kind of a joke. The bankers can and do get away with almost anything. For GS to exclude the US from the Facebook offering, this has to be a screwjob of such magnitude that even the SEC would have to act.

Comment: Re:And nothing of value was lost (Score 4, Insightful) 279

by SpecBear (#34740552) Attached to: Battle Escalates Between Airlines and Online Agents

Yeah, I hate American Airlines. The final straw for me was when I was checking baggage, and it took longer than getting a new car registration.

Then it struck me: I was waiting in line wishing that American Airlines could be as quick, competent, and customer friendly as my local DMV office.

I haven't flown with them since.

Comment: Re:Headline Is So Very Wrong (Score 1) 1193

by SpecBear (#33981378) Attached to: How Google Avoided Paying $60 Billion In Taxes

Even if you don't agree with teabaggers you should support their activities. We need a multi-party system now.

Are there any Tea Party candidates who aren't running as Republicans? This isn't rhetorical, I'm genuinely curious. As far as I'm aware, the Tea Party isn't an actual political party. It's just a marketing tool for a certain segment of the Republican Party. Supporting them only reaffirms the two-party system.

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.