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Comment: Re:Bullshit Stats. (Score 3, Interesting) 291

by bluefoxlucid (#48427203) Attached to: As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

I want pay equality with people who are better negotiators than me and get $10k more because they can argue the hiring manager into it.

There are many theories here, including job role, hours worked, and negotiation skill. It seems to me if I thought I could get 85% of the candidates I actually wanted by offering $73k as a start and negotiating, I would do that, unless I needed a higher outcome (95% etc.); but if I knew women were more likely to accept a low bid, I'd take more statistics. If I discovered I could land 85% of women applicants for the given job by offering $65k and negotiating, and 85% of the men by offering $78k and negotiating, I might offer men $78k and women $65k. It would meet my hiring goals.

Women are inherently poorer negotiators, which is why every society on earth is male-dominated. The dynamics differ after that point: in India and Saudi, a woman can be killed or brutalized or ostracized for getting snippy; while in America, men are terrified of strong-willed women, and so a woman can easily improve her place in society by training herself to be a stronger negotiator with techniques as simple as being fair, but firm. To Americans, a woman who is not easily intimidated is actively intimidating.

Even when you account for the effects of negotiated salaries, the only societal conclusions you can draw are that the problem lies elsewhere. If you want women to get equal pay for equal work, you should make sure women average equal negotiating skill. Even then, you may find that women are less concerned with money: if a woman is a powerful negotiator, but is exactly as satisfied with a $70k salary as a man is with a $75k salary, the woman will narrow the gap only that much. This is definitively not a problem: the woman is getting what she wants, and would only whine because someone else has *more*; the benchmark of "what other people have that I only care about because they have it" is not an admirable one, and any person who would be equally satisfied with the next person having less rather than themselves having more should be swiftly ignored.

Comment: Re:So close, so far (Score 2, Interesting) 345

by bluefoxlucid (#48426517) Attached to: "Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

I don't know. It sounds hilarious to me. I don't understand how anyone can take the book seriously.

In fact, this is a valuable learning tool for your child. It's a great introduction to satire, context, and critical thinking. Barbie is a complete and total twatwaddle bimbo; she's an idiot, probably a rich idiot (we never hear about that), who apparently gets to do whatever the fuck she wants. Obviously, if you took a rich valley girl and got the idea in her head to be a computer engineer, THIS IS WHAT WOULD ACTUALLY HAPPEN.

In context, it's not Barbie being women; it's Barbie being Barbie, and this is a valuable lesson for your child. The fact that Barbie has so many roles--Barbie as a mother, Barbie on vacation, Barbie as a computer engineer, Barbie as an astronaut, Barbie as a black chick, Barbie on ice, Baker Babe Barbie--allows us to readily frame Barbie as both a character and a representation of fantastic ideals not directly tied to reality. It also arms us with the valuable tool of meaningful assessment: sometimes you meet a woman who has the vast intellect of a Barbie doll, and that's a thing you can use to effectively delineate her from other women.

Comment: Re:neat tricks (Score 1) 52

You too?

I can't offload--at least not that I'm aware of--but I can simulate anything and everything in my head. I've hit physics problems that I didn't understand purely by moving objects I'd assembled in my head and getting unexpected results; an hour of experimentation--in my head--allowed me to figure out what was going on in the system. I use the same facilities to model economics and human societal behavior on a large scale, which is why I have so much trust in markets, but why I also firmly challenge what markets will and will *not* do; the invisible hand isn't magic. (As a general rule, the powerful abuse the weak; most market-solvable problems make it advantageous to be abused, e.g. businesses draining the poor dry for a permanent welfare stipend will absolutely supply the poor with housing and food, as those are the first two things the poor will buy, and thus the best way to take their money.)

I've read Joshua Foer's stuff. It was entertaining. Kenneth L. Higbee's book, "Your Memory: How it Works and How to Improve It," is also enlightening.

As for why these things aren't popular:

"The cognitive boost, although provisional, may eventually lead to clinical cognitive training tools to support mental function in vulnerable groups, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity (ADHD) children, or adults starting to suffer from dementia,” says Dr Daniel Bor, one of the study's co-authors.

Ethical Calvanism. Drugs are bad, unless you need drugs. Similarly, this therapy that makes people intelligent... should be reserved for the retarded, so they can be normal. You don't need it, and giving it to you gives you an unfair advantage over the retarded.

In truth, the retarded are just punted back a few dozen meters. Provided they're educable in the most basic sense, they can be trained to be normal; and, once normal, they can use the training to become hyper-intelligent. Any normal person can use the same training to become hyper-intelligent, and so is on even ground with the retarded. The argument works better for drugs: people don't want ADHD drugs or nootropics in the hands of normal people, because they make autistic people normal and normal people hyper-intelligent (they don't, really, but that's the theory).

I've been trying to assemble the lot of this into an education plan to fix the school systems, but it's difficult. America has two problems: first, we don't like to step backwards, and instead want to abandon anything old--the Soroban, old mathematics techniques, the teaching of Latin and Greek, old memory techniques, all the things which found the skillful use of the mind are abandoned in favor of computers, calculators, and modern education curriculum. Second, John Dewey's progressive education programs have destroyed our favor for memory, and it is considered a terrible thing to memorize. Both of these poor beliefs must be broken before we can move forward.

You should learn to introspect. Write down how your mind works when you offload. It's difficult, and your first tries will be inane and useless rambling; keep them, and write more. Do it two or three times a week. Fill a 192-page ruled A5 journal with writings about your mind. Review them as you go. In the end, review them in full and take new notes for a structured discussion. Believe me, we would like to know how you do this; even if you can't give meaningful direct instruction, a relatable description provides the path just as it does with the teaching of meditation (dafuq does 'relax your mind" and "don't think or attempt to not think" mean?).

Comment: Re:simulate it? (Score 3, Interesting) 52

LSD will induce it. I don't recommend this. Psilocybin will do it as well; I also don't recommend this, but it may be safer than LSD. Some research suggests LSD is safer. Both are poisons. My understanding of LSD is it allows far too much neuroplasticity: traumatic experiences when on LSD can reform the brain such that a later trigger may cause a drug state, which can be disastrous (i.e. high while driving, decide you're a bird and leap out a window, etc.). There is dispute over this being an actual possibility.

Comment: Re:The biggest news was left out (Score 4, Interesting) 52

Intelligence is largely similar between all humans: we don't have actual boundaries. The normal intellectual boundary is artificial; even physical limits are artificial.

One of the most famous examples of the human artificial boundary phenomena is running. For the longest time, a four-minute mile was considered physiologically impossible. When the record was broken, it was swiftly broken again by another bloke a month later. Within a few years, everyone was running four-minute miles. It's now a standard, and the record is much lower than four minutes.

What held humans back from breaking the four-minute mile was not believing they could run a mile that fast. By not believing in the possibility, they trained themselves to assess those last precious seconds as the best they could do; they would push themselves, find difficulty, and assume this was as good as it gets. They wouldn't push themselves further because the exertion was interpreted as some sort of dangerous violation of what is possible, safe, or sane: it's hard because it can't be done, so the pain and exhaustion mean it's time to stop here.

In modern times, Olympic records are broken every year; mental mathematics are continuously improved; and humans at the World Memory Competition continuously break previous records for memorizing lots of shit in little time. Typists type faster, bicyclists bicycle faster, and IQ tests follow a sliding scale such that Einstein was kind of dumb and we've repeatedly revamped the Culture Fair and changed the baselines for the Wechsler. People are of the mind that anything that can be done can be done slightly better, and continue to progress by degrees over their predecessors.

What makes this progress possible--and what impedes it--is the form of practice taken. Time spent practicing has little to no impact on skill; it is the mode of practice that matters most. K. Anders Ericsson published a theory of Deliberate Practice: that a person practices in a goal-oriented manner with a focus on technique, folding in constant, continuous feedback to improve upon his deficiencies. In short: a person who simply tries repeatedly to memorize a deck of 52 cards will make small gains; while a person who reviews and notices himself confusing or slowing on specific cards will target those cards, correct the issue, and make rapid gains both small and large.

All of this brings us to a head about intelligence, and about the permanence of training.

Intelligence is a matter of creativity: a person must be able to apply knowledge to solve problems, rather than repeat back rote facts. Creativity is, in turn, a matter of knowledge: invention and inventory are the same; you invent by reassembling the inventory of your mind into new forms, dividing a problem into recognizable components and adjusting solutions to similar components so as to produce a solution. Knowledge is, of course, a matter of memory: you cannot know what you do not remember.

Memory is improved by technique. The primary considerations are meaningfulness: information is best memorized when it is organized (grouped) and attached to well-understood ideas. Images are immediately well-understood, and so visualization is used to convert complex thoughts into meaningful representations of known topics (i.e. a running duck--both "running" and "duck" are meaningful--can be visualized). Attaching sounds, smells, and actions makes a more vivid, accessible, memorable image; and complex techniques and systems such as linking, story forming, and mind palaces further aid in recall by providing indexing or association.

Synesthetes make concepts meaningful by attaching other concepts. Sound forms its own imagery, or numbers have their own smells. The mimicry of this is a core technique in memory improvement: speed card participants attach playing cards to images, emotions, smells, sounds, textures, and whatever else they can; while numeric memory is aided by a PAO system, converting numbers into people, actions, and objects. As long as the system is in use, numbers are associated to images, and numeric memory is drastically improved.

The 12-point IQ boost would be as permanent as the effect. If the effect remains in some form--if the sensations are lost, but the internal memory of sensation is associated with the things being examined--memory will be improved. If memory is improved, working memory can more efficiently process things, reducing confusion and improving the accessibility of complex tasks. All that is required is a permanent association between the things being synesthized: a person looking at the number 27 might no longer taste lemon, but he may be immediately reminded of the taste of lemon as an idea, which will more strongly stick in the mind. When you ask him numbers, he will remember tastes and smells--themselves not having been experienced, but having been remembered when he first examined the numbers, which is just as good--and will remember the associations that bring those together.

So it's quite possible.

Comment: Re:Wait what? (Score 3, Interesting) 123

Yes. He's a criminal and an asshole, but the government is responding with criminal assholery.

The man runs what amounts to organized crime as a conspiracy supporting international copyright infringement in violation of domestic laws and trade agreements in force in many countries. He runs this from New Zealand. We have legal processes providing for the extradition and seizing of assets of an international criminal through agreements with the country within which the criminal resides in.

In this case, it seems the US government wants to dismiss all those legal processes and just throw a huge tantrum. We can't get him extradited? Well guess what? He's not liable to us. He doesn't belong in court; he's not a fugitive because he was never in the US after being charged, has no reason to be in the US, and isn't a US citizen. He's not legally required to show up in US court until the country he's a citizen of claims so; if he's a German citizen in NZ, and NZ extradites him, Germany can throw a huge hissy fit.

This whole thing is woven with conflicting legal implications (NZ may be legally allowed or even obligated to extradite him) and potential diplomatic incidents. The US government is trying to violate all the rules.

Comment: Re:Real investments come with guidance (Score 1) 462

by bluefoxlucid (#48425677) Attached to: Elite: Dangerous Dumps Offline Single-Player

Actually, the price of a stock is affected by its dividend. A dividend stock holds value because of its dividend, which means it's harder to get for cheap; likewise, it increases in value after the dividend announcement, and decreases in value after the ex-date, rolling the dividend into the spot price and then discounting it off. This is purely because of investor perception: investors perceive the value of a dividend-bearing stock going up and down as usual, but also perceive that they'll get 15 cents per share, and thus perceive that they're buying the stock minus that 15 cents per share after the ex-date.

This is actually a point of contention when we describe the market as a zero-sum game: the money for the dividend comes out of the company's profits--out of their bank accounts; but many people mistakenly argue that the market is *not* a zero-sum game because it produces dividends from the ether.

I do invest both for dividends (income investing) and for growth (swing trading); income investing is often a matter of accepting monetary losses as long as stable yields are viable. For example, I like SCHD (ETF): it may swing by a few points, and it will probably drop with the market; but it will also put out reasonable dividends, as it's selected from good-fundamentals companies which will more often continue to produce real profits, and so I can rely on the yield to not vanish completely or run down to 0.01%. I can build an investment strategy from that, looking to retain my share count by avoiding the risk of swing trading--that is, not trying to sell high and buy low by technical analysis and other market prediction--but I'll have to accept the risk of lost value, as I'll simply hold when I feel the market's volatility is threatening the share price.

As long as I hold the ETF, the fund managers get to scrape a small fee off the top. They don't want me to sell out.

Comment: Re:Real investments come with guidance (Score 1) 462

by bluefoxlucid (#48425595) Attached to: Elite: Dangerous Dumps Offline Single-Player

Yes, and the stock dropped because of a perception that EA would be worth less as a company. EA didn't have any less money; just people went, "Ohhh, EA's customers are pissed. That should translate to less money!" It was a fantastic buy event, where a lot of people sold the shit out of that stock, so you buy the stock and wait for a week or four and it comes back up.

Notably, selling EA's stock didn't actually cost EA anything. It looked ugly on paper, and probably pissed off the shareholders; but it didn't really suck money out of the company. It's not like EA pays you when you stand on the floor of the NYSE screaming "SELL SELL SELL!!"

Comment: Re:"Just pay extra..." (Score 1) 462

by bluefoxlucid (#48410477) Attached to: Elite: Dangerous Dumps Offline Single-Player

If they are milking it that early, what the hell is going to happen in-game when they want to form the economies?

I'm going to Kickstart some games just so I can repeatedly put #2 or #3 on the list: "No micropurchases". I'll turn "micropurchase-free" into a selling point. DLC will be like... expansion packs, entire new campaigns or some shit. Not like "oh we give you a new weapon and skin suit in the original game".

Comment: Re:Real investments come with guidance (Score 4, Insightful) 462

by bluefoxlucid (#48410371) Attached to: Elite: Dangerous Dumps Offline Single-Player

You picked literally the worst analogy possible. I'll give you two important facts.

First, investment funds don't actually support the things you buy. A company's stock isn't directly tied to the company, and buying into it doesn't put money into the hands of the company. The big Harvard divesting projects to sell out of oil companies is more likely to make the oil companies huge profit in temporary corporate buybacks and stock reissues than anything.

Second, stocks work by buying off other people and selling to other people. What you call "growing your money in the market" amounts to "sucking cash out of stupid people's retirement funds". The stock market is a partial information game, like poker or blackjack. Some players have access to more information--one or three cards in an opponent's hand, the top card on the deck, and so on--and others have just the minimum. In the stock market, information amounts to understanding of the game itself: high-information players (investment bankers) know how to read technical charts, react to news, and overall predict the market; they also often buy into level 2 quotes, and know which purchase orders in which clearing houses are likely to relate to bankers rather than retailers (i.e. they know when other big firms are making a move).

Overall, 401(k) holders are there to funnel in money; day traders are picking at scraps (and paying loan fees for it); and big banks are leaning over everyone's shoulders and making enormous gains by outplaying everyone. If you make any money in the market, you do it by robbing someone stupider than you.

Enjoy your ethical investment.

Comment: Re:tldr (Score 1) 242

by bluefoxlucid (#48410291) Attached to: Big Talk About Small Samples

Of the four pairs of examples offered to show readers what to avoid and how to correct it, a staggering three out of the four are mistaken diagnoses. "At dawn the crowing of a rooster could be heard" is correctly identified as a passive clause, but the other three are all errors:

"There were a great number of dead leaves lying on the ground" has no sign of the passive in it anywhere.

A great number of dead leaves laid upon the ground.

"It was not long before she was very sorry that she had said what she had" also contains nothing that is even reminiscent of the passive construction.

She was very sorry for what she had said before long.

Before long, she was very sorry for what she had said.

"The reason that he left college was that his health became impaired" is presumably fingered as passive because of "impaired," but that's a mistake. It's an adjective here. "Become" doesn't allow a following passive clause.

He left college because his health had become impaired.

This armchair blogger seems to have large quarrel with small things, and supports this quarrel by deciding that certain respected texts on the topic of grammar are less valid than other respected texts. He even takes a position of arguing that Strunk and White are wrong by pointing to literature, rather than grammar textbooks; I suppose we could cite Edgar Allen Poe as an example of actual, real-life grammar, and claim that English is incorrect unless it is in iambic pentameter.

I encourage you to read The Archmage, a high fantasy series in which commas are sprinkled as a seasoning and the syntax is horrific to track. Well-written enough, good story, good author with terrible syntax. This is a person who needs to learn from Strunk about the serial comma and the semicolon; although your patron would claim the writing is an example of how commas strewn erratically throughout the text obviously shows that such usage is correct.

Comment: Re:Seconded. (Score 2) 350

by bluefoxlucid (#48403645) Attached to: Debunking a Viral Internet Post About Breastfeeding Racism

Your reasoning doesn't hold. The sample size has to be so small as to make the size of random chance distribution bigger than the size of the total possible distribution (i.e. 50% +/-50%, 70% +/- 70%) before you can't draw any conclusion whatsoever. If this weren't true, then even huge samples of millions of data points wouldn't provide enough information to draw any conclusion whatsoever.

There are two general areas in a statistical measurement: the area which shows a likely correlation, and the area which shows a correlation is unlikely. Small samples expand the area of a likely correlation, which is, interestingly, the area that doesn't tell you anything: there may be a difference of 1%, and a sample which provides a margin of error of 1.5% doesn't tell you if these things are the same or different. Large samples do largely suggest that the two things are the same--that the difference is *insignificant*.

In this case, the area that represents "insignificant" is larger than the area that represents "significant". What you learn is that the effect is almost certainly smaller than a certain size, same as when you have incredibly large samples.

Parkinson's Law: Work expands to fill the time alloted it.