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Comment: Start The Loop! (Score 1) 241

by idlewire (#34697234) Attached to: Living Earth Simulator Aims To Simulate Everything
Understanding -> New Predictions -> Changed Behavior -> Failed Predictions

To take an easy example, they mention the economy and financial markets. If we achieve greater understanding and greater predictive power, we will alter our behavior in the markets, thus leading to a different outcome. This goes for any area in which it is our behavior creating the data that we are using to gain understanding, where that understanding will also impact our behavior.

Comment: Re:Unfair advantage (Score 1) 250

I keep hearing that "anyone" can do this. Please point me to where I can sign up to collocate my server with the market computers

You don't have to! You see Goldman Sachs is itself a publicly traded company. What that means is that you can own a piece of it at any time you want. If you think Goldman is going to rule the world via its HFT trading, just grab some shares now, and reap the benefits of their profits via share value.

Comment: Re:Havent they learned.... (Score 1) 377

by idlewire (#33941280) Attached to: UN May Ban Blotting Out the Sun
I beg to differ. There is value in being able to predict what the future will bring. If we do not take an action, then more likely than not, tomorrow will be like today (or a linear extrapolation of things so far). Part of what makes a system complex is the level of unpredictability built into the system -- non-linear or chaotic response to changes. By choosing not to engage in an action, we are not implying that we know the outcome of that action. But we are more likely to know the outcome of inaction, and if that outcome is "good enough", we will try to avoid the risk of "meddling".

Comment: Re:Depends what you want... (Score 1) 445

by idlewire (#33919438) Attached to: How to Heartlessly Arbitrage Used Books With a PDA

This guy is simply a new version of a ticket scalper. [...] contributing absolutely nothing to the economy. He's scum.

Extremely harsh words, and nonsense to boot! Ticket scalping exists because of an artificial ceiling placed on the price of the ticket. Instead you have to "pay" by either being quick (first to get the ticket) or with your time (waiting on line forever). But price is the main determinant of the distribution of goods in our economy, and if you try to mess with that, you create inefficiencies that others can profit from.

This man is doing a fair amount of work, by traveling to these stores, going through the books, bringing them home, listing them on Amazon, shipping them, etc. Contributing nothing? Does he pay sales tax on the purchase? Does he report his sales as income? We could argue that the value he adds (and why he should profit) is that he brings something which is only locally available to a global marketplace.

Much of our economy is based on this practice. Have you ever heard of paying for something in one market only to sell it in another? When national lines are crossed, we call it "importing".

Comment: Re:So many people miss the point (Score 1) 299

Read any advanced how-to-day-trade text and you'll see most of it is about psychology, because understanding what other investers are doing allows you to predict how their actions will affect the price of stocks.

With over 70% of US equity trading being done by algorithms, I doubt that day-trading is any longer about "psychology". It's amazing the stories we tell ourselves to explain the movement of stock prices, and we like to imagine the forces of human emotion and reaction are at play, but I think it's important to realize that that's mostly a fiction. Trying to "understand other investors", where those investors are envisioned to be someone like yourself, is not likely to be helpful at all.

Comment: Re:holding hands with the box (Score 1) 391

by idlewire (#33861766) Attached to: Microsoft Unveils Windows Phone 7 Lineup
Well they sound like obnoxious d-heads! Just tell them that their Gamerscore is inversely proportional to how much of a life they have! Personally, what I like about the Gamerscore has nothing to do with that. I think it's a brilliant way to make individual games more "meaningful" by tying them all into a "meta"-game that transcends any one game. It's also a way to have more fun in a game world in which you have exhausted the story-line and other goals: it gives you further goals to accomplish and rewards them. Granted a lot of achievements are of the asinine time-wasting variety.

Comment: Re:missing some features (Score 2, Informative) 391

by idlewire (#33861046) Attached to: Microsoft Unveils Windows Phone 7 Lineup
According to one of TFA: "Copy and paste functionality will be available as an update in early 2011." (Apparently this functionality is also missing in the Slashdot reply box! Who knew!) In any case, it is ridiculous that the phones will not have this functionality right from the start.

Comment: holding hands with the box (Score 1) 391

by idlewire (#33860984) Attached to: Microsoft Unveils Windows Phone 7 Lineup
I'm not really all that much "into" phones -- I use them for occasional note-taking, voice recording, and of course texting and talking. I don't care about Facebook or Twitter integration. The one thing I do care about with the new phones here is the Xbox Live integration. As a gamer who has been bitten by the "Achievement Points" bug (which I totally defend and feel no shame over, but that's another post), I look forward to playing portable games that can affect my Gamerscore, or that integrate in some way with the major console titles. This is the deal-maker for me. I'm not sure it will be for others (Games For Windows Live doesn't seem all that popular).

Comment: Who wants it? (Score 1) 96

by idlewire (#33845108) Attached to: Smart Phones Could Know Their Users By How They Walk
Sherlock Holmes is/was/is a master of many things, including mimicking the gait of another, so this won't impact his activities. Listen does anyone really want this? Some days my back is hurting, some days my legs are hurting, I'm pretty sure I don't walk the same every day. I like to make calls sitting down. I like to borrow my girlfriend's phone to make a call sometimes. I don't really make calls while skipping down the street, but I would like the option to do so. The downsides and frustrations of this technology would seem to overwhelm any benefits. And it won't stop Sherlock! Pschaw!

Comment: Alternative (Score 2, Informative) 300

by idlewire (#33818122) Attached to: Top Reason for Facebook Unfriending Is Too Many Useless Posts
You don't actually have to un-friend someone to stop getting their updates. Just click the X on your news feed by their status update and then "Hide" them. I've had to do this several times and it actually was due to the repetitive nature of their updates. But I'd still like to be able to keep in touch with them, should the spirit ever move me. Besides I only have 3 friends, if I went the un-friending route, it would just be me and my mother.

Comment: Re:Robotic pencil sharpener, robotic can opener, e (Score 1) 241

by idlewire (#33792766) Attached to: 15-Year-Old Boy Fitted With Robotic Heart

Years ago, I put an extra question on all our screening tests for job applicants in computer jobs (networking, IT, etc). It was "How does a light bulb work?" The number of people who left the answer blank, answered "I don't know" or answered incorrectly was staggering. Not surprisingly, the people who knew enough to be considered for the computer job also generally knew how a light bulb worked and tended to answer the question in detail with something close to glee.

They constituted a vanishingly small percent of the applicants.

Here's how (most) lightbulbs work: I interact with a switch and it turns on. I interact with a switch and it turns off. Seriously, that is all I need to know. Interface/implementation anyone? You work in IT and expect a user of a lightbulb to know about anything more than its interface? If you are screening out job applicants with a question the knowledge of which is completely useless for that job and life in general, then I'd say you're doing your job wrong.

In any formula, constants (especially those obtained from handbooks) are to be treated as variables.

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