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Comment: Re:Banksters (Score 1) 512

by swillden (#49768003) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

Remember, it's the shareholders that pay these fines. And no one in the bank corporation is held accountable.

What an odd thing to say. Of course the owners of the bank take the hit when fines are levied. Who else would? And it's up to the owners of the bank to decide how to hold their employees accountable.

Comment: Re:Missing the key point (Score 1) 346

by swillden (#49767895) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI

Very well put. I came here to make this post, but now I don't have to.

One quibble, though:

nobody has any hardware that there is any reason to believe is within several orders of magnitude of being able to run one, etc.

We also have no reason to believe that we don't have hardware completely capable of running one, and haven't for quite some time. Until we have some idea how intelligence works and how to construct an AI, we really can't have any idea whether or not our hardware is sufficient.

Comment: Re:You can replace Windows... But not the battery. (Score 1) 120

One can buy a far better desktop machine and a UPS for that money. And it would be user-serviceable and upgradeable.

A bit harder to transport to a client's office, though.

These machines are obviously aimed at a particular niche that full desktop workstations can't cater for.

Comment: Re:I guess that if a Mathematician... (Score 1) 158

by iluvcapra (#49764515) Attached to: <em>A Beautiful Mind</em> Mathematician John F. Nash Jr. Dies

Yes, it's technically correct, though I get tired of hearing this brought up all the time, as if it's some sort of weird conspiracy theory to make it sound like there's a "Nobel Prize" when there isn't one.

There is the matter that Nobel, nor his family, even those alive today, had any intention of giving an award to economists. The award is given in the memory of Alfred Nobel, which is nice, but taken to the extreme and you get David Miscavage giving Tom Cruise the "Albert Einstein Humanitarian Anti-Psychology Award." It's a shameless appropriation of the name Nobel simply to promote the award.

Alfred Nobel created his foundation as a humanitarian enterprise, mainly to atone for his invention of dynamite. He wanted to promote brotherhood between nations and the pursuit of knowledge. The Swedish National Bank created the Economics award because they wanted to promote economic science.

Comment: Nash just got the Abel price! (Score 5, Informative) 158

Just 5 days ago, John F. Nash and Louis Nirenberg got the Abel price in a ceremony in Oslo:

With a diploma handed over by the Norwegian King Harald and a NOK 6M prize this is the closest thing math has to a Nobel prize.

Unlike the Fields Medal there is no age limit, so just like the Nobel prizes it tends to be given out at a later date, for work that has proven itself to be really outstanding.


Comment: Re:Yes to Brexit (Score 1) 379

I think the challenge with the current system and shared Euro currency isn't that a nation loses control of its own policies on things like taxation and trade, its that whether those policies actually work is significantly influenced by the equivalent policies set by other nations that share the currency. As we've seen in recent years, if some nations screw up their own economies due to poor management, corruption, or for any other reason, it does have a serious knock-on effect across the whole currency group.

So, although a shared currency doesn't in itself imply shared tax and spending policies, I suspect that more centralised government (and therefore necessarily less autonomy and sovereignty for each member state) will follow in practice. To a degree, it already has, with the nations that struggled worst after the crash effectively being forced into unpopular austerity policies by foreign influences in return for bail-out money or even having their entire governments replaced by technocrats for a while.

Comment: Re:Yes to Brexit (Score 1) 379

The mostly-unspoken underlying question here is whether the people of Europe actually want to bound together in that way. Some people do see a United States of Europe in the future. Generally speaking, the people of the UK don't, or at least don't want to give up our own national identity to become part of such an umbrella organisation, any more than Canada wants to be the 51st state just because some Canadians speak the same language as most people in the US and they share a border and some broadly similar political views.

Comment: Re:Yes to Brexit (Score 1) 379

[Free movement] just needs to be worked out, not abandoned.

In principle, I agree with you.

However, "working it out" when you're starting with the level of disparity between countries like the UK and Germany on the one hand and the "new Europe" nations on the other is a generational problem that will take many years to solve. It's not something that can be finished in a matter of months with a quick treaty or two.

In the meantime, if you immediately establish tight integration as something like joining the EU does, you have artificially increased the pressure on both the weaker and the stronger nations. Consider that Greece -- which was already an EU member and part of the Eurozone -- is still in serious economic trouble today, coming up to seven years after the big crash. There are still serious political frictions there over dealings with Europe, and there are still serious political frictions in nations like Germany, where they have been picking up the tab for all that time.

One possible alternative is to provide humanitarian and economic aid to less fortunate nations without such close formal ties. For example, the UK has a government department responsible for international development. It has thousands of staff, and now sends over £10B per year in aid funding, mostly to nations across Africa, Asia and the Middle East. This makes the UK the #2 provider of official development aid (after the US) in absolute terms, and the #5 provider (after Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg, and Denmark) relative to gross national income.

So again, if the UK were no longer part of the EU, this doesn't necessarily mean the UK would no longer support the economic development of the "new Europe" states. A cynic might also point out that unlike the EU, there are also actual accounts showing where the money for UK overseas aid is really going and robust mechanisms for reporting and shutting down fraudulent claimants.

For the near future, this kind of arrangement might be more beneficial to the nations receiving the aid and impose a lower risk on the nations giving it, without the mechanics of shared currencies and the like clouding the issue. So again, looking at the big picture, I don't see much of an argument for the UK becoming more tightly integrated with the EU and in particular joining the Eurozone given the current economic disparity among member states.

Comment: Re: This isn't a question (Score 1) 553

by AK Marc (#49762843) Attached to: Ireland Votes Yes To Same-Sex Marriage
There are no negative consequences to breaking a contract, outside the contract. If I call up and cancel my mortgage contract, there are set penalties, written into the contract, same with phone service, for those under contract. But the State doesn't punish you for entering into a contract lightly. For your scenario to work, the State would have to be involved in every contract, and punishing people that enter/break lightly.

That would result in the system we have now, with state sanctioned marriages, and controls on them.

"The Amiga is the only personal computer where you can run a multitasking operating system and get realtime performance, out of the box." -- Peter da Silva