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Comment: Re:Good (Score 1) 1266 1266

That bears repeating with regards to Germany's debts: What happened after WWI was the winning countries said "You have to pay us back for all the costs of the war." Never mind any of the other problems, something like that was totally unsustainable. Germany was being made to pay the (often inflated) costs incurred by other countries in the war. That was devastating economically. Forgiving that is really a no brainer as it should not have happened int eh first place.

Also let's not forget the other part of the post war issues: Germany got occupied and told what was what (same with Japan). It isn't like this was a negotiation where they said "Can you forgive some of our debt?" and the allies said "Oh ok." No, they surrendered, unconditionally, and the country was occupied and split. On the East side it was straight out annexed and made part of the USSR, and on the West side there was heavy allied military presence and participation in running the country.

I mean I guess if Greece wants the same, they want someone else to come in and take over their country and dictate how things are going to be for years, or decades, then ok. However seems a little silly to say you want the kind of financial consideration that happened in wartime, but none of the rest of what came with it.

Comment: Plenty of differences (Score 5, Informative) 1266 1266

A big one is just that the US controls both its currency and its monetary policy (meaning taxing and spending). That manes that it can take the steps it feels necessary to deal with loan repayments, such as increased inflation and/or a weaker currency. It doesn't have to convince other countries of it, it runs the currency.

An even bigger one at this point is that the dollar is the world's reserve currency. Things are settled in dollars on the international stage, meaning that the US can't have a current account crisis. It makes the dollars, things are paid for in dollars, so it can make more dollars to pay for things. It is unique in that situation. While it could change, that is how it stands.

In fact, that is part of the reason the US is able to borrow so much, and in some ways needs to. People and nations want to put their money in what they see as a safe reserve, and the dollar is one they seek. To make that possible, the US has to issue debt instruments. They have to be able to buy US dollars.

Yet another difference is that the US has high tax compliance. Most people in the US pay their taxes. There are those that cheat or outright evade, but they are the minority. That, combined with a generally quite low tax burden (compared to most first world nations the US has very low taxes), means that raising taxes in the US is a very valid strategy. People won't be happy, but they'll pay. Greece has real issues with tax avoidance which makes tax increases problematic.

Still another difference is in what the economy produces. Despite what you may have heard on whiny online sites, the US makes a lot of stuff. It is the #2 producer of durable goods after China, and only slightly. It builds lots of things that others in the world want. A good example would be microprocessors. Both Intel and AMD are US companies, and Intel fabs most of their newest CPUs in the US. The chips that run most computers in the world come from the US. Makes the economic situation rather different than a place that relies heavily on tourism.

Finally there's the issue of who owns the debt. Most of the US's debt, about 65%, is owned by the US itself. Of that a large part is intragovernmental holdings, and then debt held by the federal reserve. Of the nations that do hold US foreign debt the two largest, Japan and China, do so for strategic reasons to keep their currency cheap compared to the dollar and thus have a strategic interest in keeping that debt. Greece on the other hand, owes most of its debt to other countries.

It is far to simplistic to look and say "Oh this is all the same!" Public debt is actually a pretty complex issue.

Comment: That was the funniest part to me (Score 1) 145 145

The claim that Sweden would hand him over to the US. Were I to worry about anyone in the EU doing that, it would be the UK. The US and UK have a relationship literally called the "special relationship." They back each other on diplomatic and intelligence matters in a way rarely seen among other nations. So they would be the one I would peg to hand him over all quiet like, if anyone.

Comment: Sorry but no (Score 1) 145 145

The UK courts heard the matter, all the way to the top, and decided that it was a valid request. Your opinion on that doesn't particularly matter, only the opinion of their courts. That is how it works in any case of a nation which has an extradition treaty with another nation: The courts of the nation being asked to extradite decide if said request is allowable per the treaty. What that requires varies treaty by treaty.

In the EU, the extradition treaties are pretty strong. Countries don't have a lot of choice to say no. If a fellow EU member asks and the paperwork is all in order, you more or less have to comply. That is precisely what the British courts found in this case. They reviewed it, found it valid, he appealed, they found it valid and so on.

Doesn't matter if you don't like it, that is how the justice process works there. This was not a case that was handled in some shady back channel matter, it went through the court system properly and the rulings fell against him. That's all there is to it.

Comment: Sweden's case won't really matter (Score 4, Informative) 145 145

The UK now has a case against him, and a very strong one. He fled bail, and that is a crime. That crime is still ongoing since he's still fleeing said bail. So they can arrest and charge him for that. Doesn't matter if the original matter is log dropped, he is still on the hook for this.

That's the thing with court dates, bail, and all that jazz: Even if the case against you was going to be dismissed, if you skip bail you are now guilty of another crime. You have agreed to appear in court and a failure to do so is against the law.

The UK had no beef in this originally, they were just acting on an EU arrest warrant. Sweden said "We want this guy," the UK looked at the warrant and said "looks valid per the treaty" and thus arrested him. They had no interest or ability to decide on the validity of the charges, only if the request required them to act per treaty. It did so he was arrested, and then released on bail.

He challenged the extradition all the way up to the high UK court, but the courts found it was a valid request that the UK had to honour. Nothing to do with his guilt, just that the request was a valid one and they were bound by treaty to hand him over. Had he gone to Sweden then, that would have been the end of the UK's involvement. His bail would be returned and the UK would have no further interest in what happened.

However he fled rather than handing himself over. So at that point, he became a fugitive in the UK. They now have a case against him. It is totally separate from the original case, it is simply a case of skipping bail.

Likely they'll want to act on it too, since he's been flaunting it in their face for years.

Comment: It would give them control of monetary policy (Score 1, Insightful) 359 359

Part of the issue in the Eurozone is that countries have control of fiscal policy, as in how money is spent and taxes collected, but not monetary policy, as in how much money is supplied and to where.

While monetary policy doesn't let you magic your way out of any situation (see Zimbawbe for an example) it can be useful. Have a currency that is weak or strong isn't inherently good and bad, but rather useful in different ways. So one country might wish to have a weaker currency, another a stronger one. Also it can allow for things such as higher inflation, which can be a problem, but can also be useful in some situations.

It wouldn't solve Greece's problem, to be sure, but there are ways it could potentially help.

Comment: Also the Euro is stable and widely accepted (Score 3, Insightful) 359 359

Trying to push bitcoin only shows that the author has a poor understanding and an agenda. While you could, potentially, argue bitcoin in cases where a country's currency has collapsed, or is unable to be used to buy things from other countries. Bitcoin is highly volatile, a very poor store of wealth, but it is something you can spend and transfer, in some places at least, and at present it has value.

Well, that isn't an issue with the Euro. It is an extremely important and widely used currency, second only to the US Dollar. All Eurozone countries use it (by definition) which is quite a few major economies. As such it is also widely sought after in international currency exchanges. Euros are very easy to spend on the international scale. Many places will take them directly, and any bank will convert them.

Also the Euro is pretty stable. When you look at it compared to other major currencies like the Dollar, Pound, and the Yen it compares very well. All fluctuate, of course, but not very quickly. So it is a good store of value, you don't have to worry about losing your money. Works long term too, as many nations with good credit will sell debt instruments in Euros.

So there is nothing bitcoin solves here, because bitcoin is a currency and currency isn't the problem in Greece. This isn't Zimbawbe where the currency was worth nothing.

The only way it could "help" is to move money out in the event of capital controls on Greek banks. But of course:

1) You have to get the money out of the bank first, which a capital control can slow down.
2) The only way it facilitates that would be being less traceable. As I said, Euros are taken everywhere, you can convert them to Dollars or anything else.
3) Most importantly that wouldn't help the situation at all, it'd make it work. Might help an individual save money, but it would only worsen the situation.

Comment: It's mostly click-baitng, with a bit of stupid (Score 1) 302 302

A lot of it is just the run of the mill stupid site trying to drive up traffic with controversial headlines. Worked too, Slashdot linked to them. However part of it is just the guy being a derp and thinking that because the UI wasn't completely polished off it wasn't ready to go. Had he looked in to it, he'd realize that kind of polish is nearly always the things that comes last, right before release, for a variety of reasons.

Comment: Ummmmmm (Score 1) 81 81

If your funding is so bad that you can't afford anything newer than a P3 and a 17" CRT, I have to wonder just how good the research is that you do. Or maybe that you just don't understand how technology has changed.

I encountered the latter in my undergrad days. I was a psych major for a time, and as is tradition they force students to participate in experiments to get free subjects. So one of them was on Internet addiction. This was in the early 2000s, while broadband was not common it was not rare either and the university was of course on a dedicated link. All the questions were around "How long are you connected to the Internet?" and "How often do you log in?" and such things.

I tried to explain to the researcher such questions weren't meaningful to me, my computer was on all the time and I could just use it like any other program. They didn't understand, and figured I didn't understand and kept repeating the question. I tried to explain and demonstrate with their office computer. That failed though, because the thing was so slow it took the better part of a minute to launch IE, which they thought was dialing in to the Internet. For them it wasn't a seamless experience, they only used the Internet when they needed/wanted to since it was so slow. I could not communicate to them that for an ever increasing number of us, it wasn't like that, it was just a part of using a computer.

I've encountered things like this a number of additional times with psychology/sociology/behavioral researchers. Their grasp of computer technology is so poor that their studies are extremely flawed because they don't understand the tools they are using.

That aside, maybe this works, who knows without a link to the paper, but it seems like a more effective use of computers and dieting are the widespread calorie tracker apps. When people actually track what they take in, they often can do a much better job at preventing it from getting excessive.

Comment: Also lower power for performance (Score 1) 138 138

Intel's chips have been real good in terms of performance/watt these days. AMD has had real problems in that regard. Their high end chips are massive power sinks. Now in some uses, maybe that isn't important, but in a small system, it matters. You are going to have to jump though hoops to make sure you thermal system fits, is sufficient, and isn't loud anyhow, trying to put a ton more power in there isn't a winning idea.

Thus when you have the 4790k on the one hand, which is rated at 88 watts TDP, and the AMD AMD FX-9590 at 220 watts on the other hand, the choice is pretty clear. Even if performance were equal (it's not) the power savings is a clear win for a small unit.

At the moment a combination of older lithography technology and core design has AMD CPUs running pretty high power, so not the thing for SFF devices. Perhaps that will change with their next generation, we'll see.

Comment: Ya pretty much (Score 1) 177 177

You can argue for or against various licensing, insurance, bonding, etc requirements but what it comes down to is they need to be consistent. If a given type of work has that requirements, then everyone needs to be held to it, or it needs to be removed. You can't have it where some people have to jump through the hoops, but others don't.

A more extreme example would be pharmacists. To be a pharmacists requires a great deal of training and certification, in the US at least. That is how it is: You wanna dispense prescription medication you have to have the right degree, and experience and certification. Well, we can't very well have that but then also allow someone to be a "medicine sharing service" that just has random uncertified people who dispense medications. I suppose you could argue drug dealers are that and, what do you know, the government will put them in jail.

So if you think the licensing requirements for taxi services are silly, fair enough, let's work on getting rid of them. But Uber and the like shouldn't get a pass whereas traditional taxi services have to comply. Either is is a requirement or it isn't. It should have to do with the type of work you do, not the name of the company you work for/with.

Comment: So long as you are ok with the other half (Score 1) 242 242

That the government, to avoid that, can use force to reduce the numbers. Specifically forcing industry and citizens to produce less CO2. Things like checks to see how much you drive and prison if you go over, forced shutdown of industry, etc.

If you aren't ok with that, then you can't very well say the government should be arrested. After all, they themselves don't produce all the CO2, society at large does. They can't magic it away, meaning the only thing they can do is force citizens to comply.

They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.

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