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Comment: Re:Radical Left allowed to run a country... (Score 3, Interesting) 299

by hibiki_r (#48917163) Attached to: Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister

That article hits the nail in the head. For Europe, this is not about Greece: Their economy is small, and by itself, if they sank nothing would matter. It's what it says to Spain, a country with a general election coming pretty soon, and who has its own new, populist left wing party that runs against corruption and austerity.

The Eurozone can handle anything that happens to Greece. But if Spain decides to ignore the troika, beware.

Comment: Re:Yeah! (Score 1) 512

by hibiki_r (#48883573) Attached to: Senator Who Calls STEM Shortage a Hoax Appointed To Head Immigration

Have you talked to those H1-Bs? Mist do not want to be in the US temporarily: They want to immigrate permanently, but the best way to permanent residency involves years being an H1-B temp worker.

Under the current immigration regime, removing H1-Bs is pretty much the same as closing down the border for tech people altogether. And if you find that a good idea, I am sure you'd also find it to be a good idea to do the same for doctors, right? If America needs more doctors, people just should pay a lot more for healthcare, until any doctor can expect half a million a year right after residency. I am sure that'd be the best thing for America, right?

Comment: Re:No way! (Score 1) 512

by hibiki_r (#48883483) Attached to: Senator Who Calls STEM Shortage a Hoax Appointed To Head Immigration

No, what would happen is not that corporations make less money, but that you see actual offshoring grow again.

I am a former H1-B, now permanent resident, soon citizen. Do you really think I'd just not be as good a programmer here and I am back home? The difference is that here I can get paid like Americans do, and back home, I'd be making between half and a quarter of what I make here, probably for a similar corporation.

I had one of those vaunted H1-B transfers, when my first ever employer decided to move all R&D that was being done in the US to Brazil. Some jobs remained in the US, but none of those that a good programmer might want: They hired the cheapest, least experienced American programmers they could get away with for customizations and customer-specific bug fixes, on top of the now Brazilian codebases, and hired all the senior programmers in Brazil. A Brazilian working from Brazil is far cheaper than if he moves to the US and competes with Americans directly, buys in American shops, and pays American taxes.

So instead of getting foreign programmers to compete with Americans in a way that concentrates the talent here, you'd make programming a big growth industry pretty much everywhere else. It might be helpful for a few years, for the experienced American programmers, but like other forms of protectionism, the trend would be negative for programmers in the US.

Comment: Re:Bitcoin (Score 2) 290

by hibiki_r (#48823357) Attached to: Bitcoin Volatility Puts Miners Under Pressure

Speculation, to a point, produces value, as having the prices that best reflect supply and demand is very valuable. We see a lot of that in treasuries: Isn't it incredibly useful to have the best possible guess of what interest rates will look like for the next 10 years? Currency speculation can be just as valuable.

We'd not want an economy that is based on speculation: There's such thing as spending too much on finance. But a world without any currency speculation is a pretty dire one. It's just very hard to imagine it though, as speculation happens naturally.

Comment: Re:Uninterested people aren't worth it (Score 1) 480

by hibiki_r (#48795505) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

It's basic game theory: To be well informed is expensive. The actual utility that we get for voting, and voting for the 'right' guy, is minimal, because most people's votes do not matter, or come even close to mattering. So why spend a lot to get nothing?

Some people that really care about a few issues have little trouble getting informed about said issue cheaply. They just have to forget anything else.

Now, if you have 200 million dollars in net worth, and choosing A vs choosing B will make a sizable difference in said net worth, then not only is voting correctly important enough to be informed, but spending a bunch of money making sure other people vote the same way you do, whether it's best for their interest or not, seems like a very good idea.

So not being well informed at all is an extremely rational decision. It just happens that if everyone does it, equilibrium leads us to a pretty dismal state. To change this, we have to change incentives.

Comment: Re:Secret Ballot? (Score 2) 480

by hibiki_r (#48795409) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

You don't need thugs, you can just purchase votes .Show me that you voted for my candidate, and I will give you $x. You could just hand muffins in exchange for a vote. If it happens in elections for class president, it will happen for elections that actually matter.

You don't even need a big malicious organization to do the vote buying. It can be family members, coworkers, peer pressure. Being unable to prove you voted for someone after the fact is actually a feature. And it's precisely to keep that feature that electronic voting is a terrible idea, as any electronic system that keeps this secrecy is a system that can be easily tampered with.

Comment: Re:Yes, but... (Score 1) 340

by hibiki_r (#48771875) Attached to: Researchers "Solve" Texas Hold'Em, Create Perfect Robotic Player

Whether it ruins the game or not is not relevant: It's just optimal strategy at the very end of a tournament. 2 players, and there are only two outcomes: The tournament only ends when one player runs out of chips.

So you are sitting there, with your cards. At any time, the other player can go all in. He can do that to start, or he can do that after you bet something. In either case, you either match, or fold. If you bet a small amount, then either it doesn't matter (if you call), or it does, negatively to you (as your fold makes you lose more money than if you folded in the first place). Since the chips are not deep, it's not like you can play more conservatively and hope to do better: The game won't last long enough to do that.

So you just remember what the mathematically correct play is, and do it all the time. If your opponent bluffs, you are happy, because you are not even paying attention to him. If he plays conservative, then great, because he is letting you win hands you should not, and he doesn't have the time to do that.

So yes, heads up tournament play might be exciting because of how much is on the line, but it's far simpler than the rest of the tournament was.

Comment: Re:Ergonomic and wireless? (Score 1) 190

by hibiki_r (#48685329) Attached to: Know Your Type: Five Mechanical Keyboards Compared

Kinesis makes a mechanical ergo keyboard with Cherry Brown keys, but its design is really not for everyone. A friend of mine swears by it, but I find it unusable, unlike the MS Natural Keyboard. Every time I tried to use the thing I ended up with elbow pain, as it does not work well unless your wrists are parallel to each other. With that kind of design, if the keyboard width is too big or too small, you'll end up hurting more than with a regular, non ergo keyboard, because those at least are more tolerant to angling your arms as you see fit.

They have a split keyboard design too, which would be great... except it uses crappy keys.

Comment: Re:Stupid, trucks cause the problem (Score 1) 554

by hibiki_r (#48395137) Attached to: The Downside to Low Gas Prices

Not that I am saying that austerity itself solves anything, but the real reason austerity did not crush the US when we had sequestration but hurts most of Europe is monetary policy, The ECB's laser focus on low average inflation makes the countries that are doing worse overall suffer in case of austerity, because it makes NGDP drop. All you have to do is look at the charts. Since the ECB did not do any QE, all you have to do is plot GDP and ECB rates. In the US, unconventional monetary policy kept going up when things started to look worse (if we skip the first year of the crisis or so, when the Fed was rather passive)

So it's not that austerity works, but that you can have austerity and work if you have a competent central bank. If you switched central bankers but kept the same government spending, The US is the one in double and triple dip recessions, while the EU would be doing better.

Comment: Re:So, does water cost more? (Score 4, Insightful) 377

by hibiki_r (#48375177) Attached to: How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

OK, if that's really how it works, why do American farmers plant so much agribusiness seed? Are they all wrong, and losing money? Because if there's one thing that a farmer will ask when you suggest a change to his growth protocol, is how is it going to make him more money.

Hybrid vigor is a thing, and the only way to maintain said vigor across generations is to grow inbred plants, and then cross them purposefully. This works without GMOs, and is easy to prove.

Again, for your option to be true, hundreds of thousands of farmers in the US are making terrible choices, season after season. 95% of soybeans planted in America come from agribusiness: The seeds people had just can't compete in yield. How do you explain farmer's behavior?

Comment: Re:Alternative? (Score 3, Insightful) 377

by hibiki_r (#48374879) Attached to: How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

No, it's really about a binary label of GMO/No GMO being pretty deceitful, and pretty expensive for what you get, especially for very processed foods.

The argument of wanting information would make a lot more sense if the labeling was actually detailed, as it's not like there is only a single strain of GMO corn in the market: We are well in the hundreds over the years, just with corn and soybeans. Surely a variety of GMO that has been out there for 10 years is different than one that is new for this season, right?

When you make the label binary, then what you are really telling the consumer is that all that matters is whether there are GMOs in there or not, and that only makes any sense for people that just think that GMOs are bad in principle.

There's also the costs involved. It's not as if most companies out there buy their grain from a single farmer, so accurate labeling puts quite a bit of expense into the entire supply chain.

You'd be better off just labeling certified organic. Then you at least only put the onus on those that really want a certification, instead of on everyone. Not that it increases food safety anyway: You'd be surprised by how toxic many treatments that are certified organic can be,

Comment: Hybrids (Score 1, Troll) 377

by hibiki_r (#48374645) Attached to: How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

Sure, hybrid corn gets weaker by the generation, but it's also far higher yielding.

American farmers buy it because they make more money buying seeds every year than they would saving seeds. Thinking that farmers from Ghana will not be able to make a rational decision between buying industrial seed every year or saving whatever strain they have already from year to year is a not so subtle form of racism.

"Say yur prayers, yuh flea-pickin' varmint!" -- Yosemite Sam