Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
What's the story with these ads on Slashdot? Check out our new blog post to find out. ×

Comment Re:Economics a "hard science"? (Score 1) 151

I'm not quite sure what you're referring to, Black-Scholes describes how to price futures contracts, and it does remarkably well at doing that. It's just based on the rate of interest, which should seem obvious.

Generally when it fails, it's because of a faulty assumption, same as assuming zero air resistance and zero friction at low speeds in physics, right. Usually it's good enough, many times it's not.

The difference is in economics we can actually mathematically prove the theorem when the initial assumptions are true. Air resistance and such is experimentally tested, not proven.

Comment Re:Better not look at the "social" sciences then.. (Score 1) 151

Hmmm. Not necessarily. You can apply economics to any situation where multiple, scarce resources must be allocated to autonomous consumers based on some criteria.

Suppose I have resources A and B. To accomplish task Y I'd need 2 A or 3 B; and to accomplish task Z I'd need 3 A and 5 B.

It doesn't matter if A/B is RAM/HDD or doctors/nurses. Economics says that, even though A is better at both tasks than B, it'll actually be cheapest to deploy B to task Y if and deploy A to task Z.

It's really no different than saying to get from point M to N, I'd need 10 Joules of energy based on some physics calculations.

Human economics happens to be the hardest because because there's no rational basis for our wants, they're completely arbitrary and can't be measured. I'm not sure if there's a name that makes a distinction between human wants and other wants, though.

Comment Re:Better not look at the "social" sciences then.. (Score 1) 151

Economics could only be considered a social science to the extent it deals with the interactions of trade between people, and the objective results of people with different subjective desires.

Economics can also be one of the hardest sciences there is, on par with kinematics: Economics invented game theory, and has many mathematical theorems, like the Law of Supply and Demand, the Law of Comparative Advantage, and the Black-Scholes model.

Comment Re:Business and Bitcoin? What could go wrong? (Score 1) 68

If I wanted to hold [$100,000] in Bitcoins, what is the recommended way? ... How do I prove that a virus in a flash add on a website doesn't break in and start reading local data looking for a bitcoin wallet?

Get a TREZOR hardware wallet. During setup be sure to write the seed down on the included paper and store it in a secure place (a safe or deposit box). For extra peace-of-mind, combine this with a multi-signature address.

Comment Re:No government role? (Score 3, Insightful) 144

Well, generally it's a good thing that we have an independent judiciary. It ensures that they don't get caught up in the mob's favorite punching bag of the moment.

The problem here is that a judiciary is only supposed to hear cases of controversy: That means there has to be two sides, and the case can't go on if there's no one to prosecute.

In other words, if what they are saying is true, this means the Turkish courts are effectively judge AND prosecutor.

Comment Re: Fascist bastards ... (Score 1) 184

However, anytime someone faces consequences for their speech, whether from the government or private parties, it interferes with their freedom of speech, primarily through self-censorship.

The term "consequences" is too vague to be useful in this context. Every action has consequences in some form or another. Your freedom is not impacted unless those consequences include a change in your legal status, e.g. loss of property, or restrictions on your (non-aggressive) behavior or movement. In particular, your freedom does not extend to how others choose to think of you (reputation) or voluntarily interact with you. The freedom of speech is not infringed simply because someone else does not choose to help you distribute your message. Neither is it infringed by your own choice to impose self-censorship. It would be infringed by a threat of involuntary fines or imprisonment based in any way on the content of your speech.

Comment Re:Should corporations be above national law? (Score 1) 723

Of course slaves have rights. They're just being violated. If slavery is legal, then they're also being violated by the police and the government. There should be nothing unusual about this notion that the government can violate one's rights, too.

If I have one person on an island, can that person be enslaved? Is there any way their rights can be violated at all? The answer is simply no.

Suppose we add more people to this island. It doesn't change anything, except now you have multiple people who want to claim the same scarce resources, and can thus violate each other's rights.

An enslaved person has rights, they never go away, they're just being violated by all the rest of society.

Comment Re:Should corporations be above national law? (Score 1) 723

So then murder is OK so long as I can successfully get away with it. Got it.

How about throwing someone into a jail cell? What about throwing someone in a jail cell because they said something objectionable?

Because what you're saying is, so long as no one opposes me, that's totally cool. Uh huh.

Who says what is legitimate? The "people", are you serious?

What about an island with one person? It's impossible for anyone's rights to be violated, there's nobody else to violate them!

What about an island with two people? Can one kill the other?

What about a totalitarian government ran by a tiny minority? They don't have "the People's will".

What about a court that strikes down (refuses to enforce) an overwhelmingly popular law in a democracy?

If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.

People tend not to question the laws of gravity, because when they do, they tend to end up mangled. The same thing happens for questioning the basic laws of economics. If you have no objective mechanism for deciding who is right to act on what, the outcome isn't generally very pleasant.

Comment Re:Should corporations be above national law? (Score 1) 723

Nothing about "natural right" implies that it enforces itself. Quite the contrary. If rights enforced themselves, they'd be called "laws", surely you're familiar with the law of gravitation.

A right defines what sort of moral or ethical claims you have on other people. If you have the right to free speech, then no one may (lawfully|ethically|morally) use violence against you for speaking. Different people have different ideas on how to protect these rights, of course, but you get the idea.

Comment Re:Should corporations be above national law? (Score 1) 723

The US Constitution says: Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech [emphasis mine]

The Constitution didn't create a "freedom of speech", it's protecting one that pre-exists.

Just because people (typically police, but any individual) have been known to abridge the freedom of speech doesn't make it any less of a natural right.

Comment Re:Should corporations be above national law? (Score 1) 723

The point is everyone has the freedom of speech.

The fact that Facebook is in a better position than individuals to resist state coercion to the contrary is besides the point.

People don't magically gain rights because they form together in a group. Employees of Facebook and police in Germany alike don't gain any ability to silence people or kill people, any more than you or I could.

Comment Re:it's just going to get shrugged off? (Score 1) 150

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land.

Anything that congress passes, that they don't have the authority to pass, is null and void: As if it never existed from the very start.

Any executive action that takes place under an unconstitutional statute is just as valid as an executive action that took place without the statute, i.e. not at all.

So yes, anything that is unconstitutional is necessarily illegal.

This is exactly how SCOTUS strikes down laws as unconstitutional: The laws stay on the books, but they're considered as useless as a law that tries to declare the earth flat: They're wholly unenforceable, because the court will refuse to uphold them.

As long as we're going to reinvent the wheel again, we might as well try making it round this time. - Mike Dennison