Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment Science isn't a game (Score 3, Interesting) 246

Science isn't supposed to be fun. It's a method and its rigorous. The problem isn't that the fun is being taken or of science. The problem is the the "I Fucking Love Science" crowd has popularized science among people who do not understand science. Science is treated like a religion, and the philosophy of science and especially its skepticism is missing in the discussion, covered instead by "omg isn't this science looking thing cool". Pseudoscience abounds. Looks at nutrition science. You can't even tell anymore what is actual science and what is total nonsense based on anecdote... because the methods are almost the same.

Comment Re: A problem with spending unearned money? (Score 2) 75

Orgs that don't have to worry where next year's operating income will come from will never be as motivated to hit timelines as orgs that have to build and sell things in order to continue to exist. Nonprofits with endowments or steady donation commitments, government funded science or other orgs, and government agencies all fall into this category.

Comment Re: Eh? (Score 2) 155

Great theory. But in practice what parent said is correct: uber drivers have about 100x better service than taxi drivers. By the way, many taxi drivers are independent contractors and pay the taxi company for use of the car and medallion. The difference is decades of monopoly has slowly turned normal human behavior where the customer might actually matter into a game of purely maxing profit per mile, considering the chance of picking up a fare for the taxi's return trip, as if they are uship drivers moving cargo.

Comment Re: Wow (Score 1) 327

you have no idea if it was the right call. all we know is that we risked taxpayer dollars. there is zero information about whether the outcome is better than the alternative history where these green energy loans/grants were never given. there are too many variables at play and it is nowhere near as simple as "did solar technology evolve faster than it would have otherwise?". this is why central planning ends up failing: it's the questions you aren't asking (e.g., did a genius in 2008 not receive seed money to develop her entirely new alternative energy idea because investments were flowing into the solar/wind/algae govt gravy train?).

Comment Re: Wow (Score 1) 327

you are correct, but you took the analogy in a direction that is not analogous to this situation. the analogy in this situation is that investing $100m in one company that has a 20% chance of failing is less risky than investing $500m in five companies that each have a 20% chance of failing. the chance of failure is the same (assuming independence, which is actually quite questionable here) but the risk is much higher.

Comment Re: Wow (Score 1) 327

Bud, you are just talking out of your ass. Diversification does not apply here. Investing in 5 shitty stocks that each have a 1 in 5 chance of bombing is exactly the same is putting the same total amount of money in a single stock that has a 1 in 5 chance of bombing. The point of diversification is to make sure you don't lose everything if you happen to hit that 1 in 5 chance.

This has no applicability to the scenario we are discussing. There is no total amount that we are attempting to invest. Grants/loans were determined on a per-application basis, and they could decide to award one company or a hundred companies, up to a maximum total appropriated amount. In the scenario we are discussing, you are arguing that there is less risk investing $500 million in 5 companies than there is investing $100 million in 1 company. That does not make any sense.

I thank you for wasting my time.

Comment Re: Wow (Score 3, Insightful) 327

Yes government subsides sure did accelerate ethanol production capabilities, didn't they? And that boondoggle may have slowed the development of alternatives. Like solar.

It's central economic planning, period. Why are we debating this ignorance?

Comment Re: Wow (Score 1) 327

Do you understand risk? At all? If you play Russian roulette with 5 out of 6 chambers full, and if you love you get $100... And then it turns out you actually hit the empty chamber and end up making money, does that mean it was a good idea for you to play? Does the fact that it worked out change the correctness of the decision at all? And by I don't accept your premise that it worked out, but rather than fight that battle I have decided to explain that it doesn't matter if it worked out.

Comment Re:Surge Pricing - Why The Hate? (Score 1) 250

I can't speak to your experience, and I take you for your word. There aren't many cases where I can book a taxi an hour in advance, and I don't really consider that a very good service offering. Maybe the market will evolve where you get a discount if you plan that far in advance.

All I know is that before Uber, here in Austin, TX we would alter our behavior based on taxi issues. We knew, for example, that being out after 1:30am meant you weren't going to get home until 3:30am, because the demand for taxis as the bars close is enormous, and taxis would not take me where I live because it meant it was their last fare of the night. I literally would have taxis stop, ask where I'm going, and tell me forget it. Time and time again. So we simply would tell our friends goodbye around 1am and leave early to get a taxi. It was fine and we were used to it. It actually didn't bother us that much. But that's kind of how it is with market distortions; the world doesn't end and frankly you're not often even aware of how it could be better, but as soon as it is better, you don't want to go back.

We now arrive and leave whenever we want, unless we decide we don't want to pay the surge pricing. And that's pretty much the point: the surge pricing allows self-selection based on value of the transportation to the individual, rather than a lottery or, worse, a company-controlled decision.

Comment Re: buh, bye (Score 1) 495

saying the extreme of anything is bad is arbitrary thinking. the extreme right is just as likely to be "correct" as the dead center middle. and in the real world, most moderates are generally people who form their opinions based on social pressures rather than thought, resulting in an internally inconsistent ideology. the explosion of "no labels", "moderate", "center", "not a democrat nor republican", "independent", and even "libertarian" is the result of people attempting to disassociate themselves from damaged brands (republican and democrat, conservative and liberal). the brands are damaged each election cycle, and the move to no labels is purely to avoid association with them.

people are as different as they have always been. 100 years ago they were just as unlikely to fit into two political buckets. the difference now and the reason for the rapid rise in "independents" is simply brand related.

The opossum is a very sophisticated animal. It doesn't even get up until 5 or 6 PM.