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Comment: Re:Spin everywhere... (Score 1) 39

by drinkypoo (#49768605) Attached to: EU Drops Plans For Safer Pesticides After Pressure From US

The problem is that it's all so complicated that one cannot really understand the matter without spending years of work and research on it,

You can say that about absolutely anything, and have been able to say that ever since human knowledge became generally redistributable. But anybody can understand that nobody really knows whether these chemicals can be used safely, and that we have alternatives for them.

How anyone, who is not a subject matter expert, can make a decision in this is just beyond me.

They can err on the side of caution. It doesn't mean taking no risks, it means taking action to limit risk.,/p>

Comment: Re:Are they LEOs (Score 1) 64

Not just that, but many people stockpiled ammo when shortages were announced. Whether that was a bid to get people to stockpile ammo or just a handout to ammo manufacturers, either way there's a whole lot of ammunition out there as well as firearms. There's probably more ammo privately stockpiled now than at any time in history.

Comment: Re:Uber not worth $41 billion ... (Score 1) 53

by drinkypoo (#49768543) Attached to: Tech Bubble? What Tech Bubble?

Look at Coca Cola. They don't make anything that anybody else can't make.

Nonsense. I hardly even drink cola any more, but Pepsi still tastes like ass and Coca-Cola still tastes better. It's a complete falsehood to suggest that anyone else can do what Coca-Cola can do, because a lot of people have spent a lot of money trying and they've all failed so far. Coca-Cola doesn't have a good name just because they've had it for a long time, Pepsi is an old brand too. Coca-Cola has a good name because they make a product that people want to buy, and have been doing that for a long time. Even when they were busy dicking around with their recipes and alienating some customers they still managed to remain on top.

Uber, on the other hand, really can be replaced overnight, in whole or in part, in some cities or in all cities, in some countries or in all countries, etc. They do absolutely nothing that someone else couldn't do just as well, if not better.

So yeah, everyone else is being compared to Uber, you've got that right. And it's worth something, you've got that right, too. But comparing Uber to Coca-Cola is way off-base. I haven't consumed a cola that wasn't from a weird off-brand (Zevia, in this case) in literally years, but if I were going to get one in some mainstream establishment devoid of more potable choices like filtered water (you have to hand it to soda, they at least filter the water before using it, it's important for consistency) I would still lick the sweat off a dead dog's balls before I'd drink a Pepsi. I'd drink Tabasco. I'd drink mayo.

Comment: Re:Short version ... (Score 1) 64

Which basically means law enforcement is in the hands of a bunch of idiots who don't know or care the law.

The high-end cops, the chiefs and sergeants and whatnot, know the law well enough to know they're breaking it. The low-end beat cops know fuck-all about the law, this has been shown again and again. It's what happens when you only need a couple of years of community college and a pat on the ass to become a cop.

But make no mistake about it, these people aren't going to obey the law unless until they find themselves under threat of being in a cell themselves. And then they'll just pretend to obey the law.

And that's why every cop needs a camera on all the time, and they should never ever be taken at their word. If there's no video evidence of what they're saying, then they should be assumed to be lying. That'll motivate those dicks to get cameras that work, and to not turn them off. Nothing else will keep them in line, and even that still requires substantial citizen oversight.

Comment: Re:Are they LEOs (Score 1) 64

Given similar circumstances you or I would behave the same way,

We'll never know, because you or I would never have the opportunity to be in similar circumstances without being a shitbag in the first place. Only shitbags need apply to the upper echelons. People with a conscience will either kill themselves of be deposed before they reach those heights.

Comment: Re:Are they LEOs (Score 1) 64

Our country is "uninvadeable" because of geography, not people with small arms. You can bet if a large standing army were to decide to enter the US, a handful of people with 9mm pistols aren't going to stop it.

There's more guns than people in the USA, and the majority of them are not 9mm pistols.

Comment: All the time (Score 1) 448

by Sycraft-fu (#49767733) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

The US always pays its debts when they are due. I think perhaps the problem is you don't understand how US debt works, and why it is a bit special:

So the most important thing to understand is the US doesn't go and beg people to give it money, rather it auctions debt. People come and purchase the debt. You can do it yourself on their Treasury Direct site. The US sells debt instruments to interested buyers. They are bid on, and whoever bids the lowest interest rate wins. The upshot is the US sets the terms of the debt instruments sold. They have a variety, some are as short as 4 weeks, some as long as 30 years. When you buy something, the terms of repayment are stated up front: What it'll pay, and when. There is no provision to cash out early, and you don't get to dictate any terms, you just choose what note you want to buy (if they are available).

This is how public debt works in a lot of countries, but it isn't how things go when you are getting loans from the IMF.

The other important thing is that all US debt is denominated in US dollars. A US debt instrument specifies how many dollars it'll pay out and that number is NOT inflation adjusted, except in a few very special cases. Well the US government also controls the US mint, which makes US dollars. So the US government can literally print money, and inflate its way in to payments. There are negatives to that, of course, but it is perfectly doable. The US controls its fiscal and monetary policy regarding its debt. Since all its debts are in US dollars, and since US dollars are the world's reserve currency, the US cannot face a crisis where it can't pay, unless such a crisis is internally generated (via the debt limit).

Not the case with Greek debt, it is in Euros and Greece doesn't control the Euro.

Finally, there's the fact that the US has great credit. Doesn't matter if you disagree that it should, fact is it does. Investors are willing to loan the US money for extremely low interest rates because they see it as a very safe investment. 4 week T-Bills have been going for between 0%-0.015%. 30-year bonds have been going for 2.5%-3.75%. Investors bid the interest rates very low because they desire it as a safe investment.

Comment: Re:it's not "slow and calculated torture" (Score 1) 448

by swb (#49767507) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

Because US debt is denominated in US dollars, we could pay it off tomorrow with a spreadsheet entry at the Federal Reserve which created $16.39 trillion by fiat. There may even be some non-inflationary gimmick that could be employed to pay off existing debt via normal government revenue and only sell treasuries to the Fed who would never sell them.

And because the dollar is the dominant world reserve currency (around 65%), Congress could just vote to nullify a huge portion of that debt tomorrow. There's no short or even medium term replacement for dollars as a trading currency, so not only would it suck nations holding that debt the world would have to keep using the dollar or go broke.

The latter is the existential threat to the Chinese economy. With the stroke of a pen, the Chinese could see 1.2 trillion just wiped off their balance sheet.

When you control both the printing of your money and issue debt in the same money, anything is possible.

Comment: Need to understand it before it exists (Score 1) 329

by swb (#49767427) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI

I listened to a podcast (Econtalk, which is about as sober as podcasts get) that interviewed an AI "worrier" and he acknowledges that our current technology can't produce a superintelligence now. But he does make a couple of interesting points which I think make for reasonable discussion even if it isn't the "ZOMG, PANIC" kind of talk you imply.

One, discussing machine superintelligence before it actually develops is almost necessary because once it DOES exist it may be difficult to control. By definition, superintelligence will be smarter than we are and capable of manipulating at a level of complexity we can't grasp, making it hard to control.

And we've already created single-purpose "intelligences" similar to this, like the old "Internet worm" or some kinds of computer viruses that while they lack general purpose intelligence, have a self-replicating intelligence that can be difficult to contain. Imagine a smart hypervisor designed to manage a computing cluster but with the intelligence to replicate/migrate nodes across cloud computing infrastructure. Couple it with cyber defense technology, encryption, etc but given the single minded purpose of "don't shut down". It's not hard to see at a not-so-far-off level of intelligence that it could self-migrate across cloud platforms, resisting shutdown, possibly even able to hide in private cloud platforms all while being able to escape detection and control.

Which brings up the other point -- we don't know what machine superintelligence will look like. Part of the problem with understanding what superintelligence could be is that we don't know how far we are from creating one because as humans we try to imagine superintelligence in anthropomorphic terms using human epistemologies. It doesn't have to be the anthropomorphic HAL 9000, it could be a hypervisor manager, a securities trading system or some other single-purpose automation system that contains a feedback loop between a series of "dumb" systems coupled with a control plane. We may create it by accident and even if its not perfect, there are some realms where it wouldn't take long running amok to cause large problems, even if the outcome wasn't "judgement day".

Comment: Re:Still no 16:10 panel? (Score 1) 119

Is it a 20"? I need another one of those so that I'll have three matching monitors. I have a 25.5" IPS at 1920x1200 that I'm willing to let go of. It's very very old so it has ghosting f'reals, but otherwise it's awesome. My two 20" 1680x1050 displays are at different color temps, but I have an i1 Display LT so I can mitigate that problem.

Comment: Re:Funny, that spin... (Score 1) 329

by drinkypoo (#49766311) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI

To be fair, he funds the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, which is devoted to mitigating existential risk from AI, and is surely getting very detailed reports from them, making him a highly knowledgeable layperson at worst (a direct expert at best).

Just playing the devil's advocate here, funding the creationism museum doesn't make you an expert on god

Remember, UNIX spelled backwards is XINU. -- Mt.