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Comment: Re:As compared to what..? (Score 1) 631

by coldsalmon (#46358531) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Do You Still Trust Bitcoin?

How much trust did you have in our financial system circa 2008, right after the financial meltdown?

Quite a bit, since prices for goods and services didn't change at all. I said to myself, "Oh well, the Fed will take care of it with monetary policy." And they did. There was a real estate crash, but there was no currency crisis.

Comment: Re:What is the advantage of a Bitcoin bank? (Score 1) 232

by coldsalmon (#46348893) Attached to: Mt. Gox Shuts Down: Collapse Should Come As No Surprise

A Bitcoin bank could theoretically make a lot of money by manipulating the market. The bank could sell all of the money it borrowed from its depositors (deposits are loans to the bank), crash the market, then buy back the devalued Bitcoins at a lower price and return them to its depositors. In an unregulated, inefficient, and ignorant market like Bitcoin, a big player using other people's money could do a lot of things to enrich itself. Oh wait, were you asking about the advantage of USING a Bitcoin bank rather than BEING a Bitcoin bank? Can't help you there.

Comment: Re:Bitcoin is akin to early American banks (Score 3, Informative) 232

by coldsalmon (#46348805) Attached to: Mt. Gox Shuts Down: Collapse Should Come As No Surprise

Of course, even that system was constricted by the gold standard, and governments ran out of money for bailouts during the depression. To really achieve mainstream adoption, Bitcoin will have to stop being deflationary, and allow a central authority to control the money supply in the event of a crisis. Bitcoin is great fun as a teaching tool, because it shows exactly why all of the institutions surrounding modern currencies have developed. Those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it, to the great amusement of everyone else.

Comment: Re:misleading (Score 4, Informative) 317

by coldsalmon (#46323477) Attached to: Exxon Mobile CEO Sues To Stop Fracking Near His Texas Ranch

Here is a copy of the complaint: http://online.wsj.com/public/r...
It is a municipal zoning issue, which mentions fracking in passing in paragraph 6.04. As far as I can tell, the main objection is to the height of the water tower and the fact that it does not comply with zoning ordinances.

Comment: Re:It's a metaphor for the modern self. (Score 1) 101

by coldsalmon (#46280043) Attached to: Are You a Competent Cyborg?

In pertinent part: "...taking responsibility for the social relations of science and technology means refusing an anti-science metaphysics, a demonology of technology, and so means embracing the skilful task of reconstructing the boundaries of daily life, in partial connection with others, in communication with all of our parts. It is not just that science and technology are possible means of great human satisfaction, as well as a matrix of complex dominations. Cyborg imagery can suggest a way out of the maze of dualisms in which we have explained our bodies and our tools to ourselves."

Comment: It's a metaphor for the modern self. (Score 2) 101

by coldsalmon (#46279945) Attached to: Are You a Competent Cyborg?

Many people have made the point that we are already cyborgs; the main prototypical example that comes to mind is Donna Haraway's Cyborg Manifesto. She argues interestingly that "By the late twentieth century, our time, a mythic time, we are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism; in short, we are cyborgs." All the casual Marxism makes for fun reading too. She is making a metaphorical comparison, as is Mr. Martin in TFA, but it's a useful and interesting metaphor. No, I do not have electronics built into my body, but I also could not survive without technology. Thus, when I answer the question "Who am I," it is reasonable to extend the boundaries of my "self" beyond my physical body to encompass the technology that I rely upon to sustain my existence. It's also reasonable to include the data that I maintain and publish as part of my self-concept, and the technology that makes that possible.

Comment: Low light + no electronics (Score 1) 478

by coldsalmon (#46277255) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Anti-Camera Device For Use In a Small Bus?

Assuming appropriate sensor technology exists, you could detect and confiscate all electronics. I don't know how you would distinguish between the limo's electronics and a camera in someone's pocket, though. I doubt you could make a party limo without any electromagnetic fields in the back. I suppose you could scan people before they get in the limo, but that's pretty invasive -- a little too much like airport security. Plus, neither of these techniques would do anything against non-electronic film cameras. I'm sure there are even plastic cameras that would get past a metal detector. Having very low-light conditions inside the limo would probably fix that problem though, since a non-digital camera is not going to have night vision mode. So, assuming it's feasible, try this:

1) Scan everyone for electronics before they get in, and confiscate every electronic camera found.
2) Make sure there is too little light inside the limo for an analog camera to function.

Comment: Re:Altruism is like the universe... (Score 1) 176

by coldsalmon (#46276341) Attached to: Book Review: Survival of the Nicest

Kin selection explains a narrow subset of altruistic behaviors. There are a host of other altruistic behaviors that it does not explain, and people regularly behave contrary to its predictions. I'm good friends with people who come from far-away countries, and I've done more for them than for my own cousins. I'm sure the same is true for you. I vote in ways that benefit people who have only the most basic genetic material in common with me, at the expense of my close relatives. There are countless other examples, some of which are mentioned in the review. Kin selection is good science, but it doesn't explain everything about human altruism.

Comment: Altruism is like the universe... (Score 1) 176

by coldsalmon (#46270235) Attached to: Book Review: Survival of the Nicest

...just because scientists can't explain it, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. We have been struggling to explain and model altruistic behaviors for centuries, and our failure has caused many to claim that altruism does not exist. However, this obviously clashes with the reality that we observe every day. This dissonance is shown most vividly in the tragic story of George R. Price. "Survival of the Nicest" seems like a refreshing attempt to explain what we can observe, instead of giving up and declaring that we are all deluded because our observations do not conform to our models.

When someone says "I want a programming language in which I need only say what I wish done," give him a lollipop.

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