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Comment Re:Bernie Madoff (Score 1) 161

That one was my initial thinking. Since then I have heard all kinds of stories about how he craved consistency. My thinking is that your theory is how it started but that his obsession with consistency is what made him different than the many traders who bite the bullet and send out statements that say, "You lost money this time around."

Comment So far my GPS kicksass sprinkled with common sense (Score 1) 435

The vast majority of the time my GPS will give me an identical or better route than I planned. Once in a blue moon it suggests an identically named city that is about a 20 hour drive away. Once in a while I doubt the strange routing it will suggest but out of curiosity I will follow its suggestions and it is mostly correct. The key is to have a GPS program that shows you the overall routing instead of just the next turn. This way you can see if it is driving you back and fourth across a river, or taking you for a loop mid trip.

Comment Brief summary of the ruling (Score 4, Informative) 211

The court has already decided many of the claims against SCO including copyrights and ownership. The claim in this order was about tortious interference: Did IBM, by hardening Linux and porting code over to Linux, maliciously interfere with SCO's customers and business relationships?

Like many of SCO claims, the tortious interference were ambiguous and ever changing and lacked any detail. The number of parties that SCO alleged that IBM had caused interference changed by the month despite IBM asking repeatedly (and the court ordering SCO to respond repeatedly) to name the parties and the detail the interference. It was as low as 3 and as high as 150 with 150 being a number that SCO only claimed because one IBM email mentioned that it had 150 new customers on Linux.

Similarily to other claims, SCO brought almost no evidence to the case despite years of discovery. In fact it was often contradicted by indisputable evidence that IBM brought. For example, SCO claims that IBM damaged SCO's Unix by communicating to their third parties like their investor, Baystar, that IBM was supporting Linux and that the third parties should abandon Unix. Almost all customers third parties swore to the court that they never had communications with IBM on the topic. The only party that acknowledged it had any discussions with IBM was Hewlett-Packard and they testified that the discussion did not change their relationship with SCO so there was no damage.

The theory that SCO offered as motivation was that IBM wanted to damage SCO by hardening Linux and porting Unix code. Former SCO employees testified against SCO in that they did not believe damaging SCO was ever the motivation for supporting Linux. Their analysis was that IBM was competing against the likes of Sun and Microsoft by offering a cheaper Unix-like OS on cheaper Intel hardware that was nearly as good or better than Unix.

There are still a few claims left but at this point the pattern keeps repeating: SCO loses on summary judgements because they never had a case.

Comment Re:Bernie Madoff (Score 4, Insightful) 161

To understand the why can improve detection and prevention. A different ponzi scheme from the same time frame, Stanford, smells more like old fashioned greed. I have talked with Enron people and they told me that there was this insane culture of WIN. Apparently a huge amount of time was spent doing sporty things that were competitive. They both were driven to compete at all levels, but also hired and promoted people who were driven to win. So while greed and broken moral compasses were at work there, they were pushed to take risks so that they could be winners. Risks as in things with prison as a penalty, not just financial risks.

So detecting and preventing Madoff, Stanford, and Enron from both the perspective of regulators and investors it is good to understand the stories behind these goons.

This is why I love science articles like the above. They both help shape my world view and can confirm/refute some observations that I have made.

For instance an interesting one that I have seen is when people have regular access to insider information and make many successful trades, they tend to delude themselves into thinking that they are great traders. Then when the inside information supply dries up they often continue to trade with the same apparent reckless abandon that was previously supported by ill-gotten information. The consequences are pretty straightforward.

Comment Re:Let's get real (Score 1) 246

You've got it basically backwards.

Making a nuclear weapon is basically about doing some math, and having the materials of enough purity. Making a thermonuclear weapons takes a whole lot more work, and a whole lot more effort and time. And then you end up with something the size of a building, which is only good for vaporizing the island that the building is sitting on.

Then, after spending an ungodly amount of money and supercomputing time, can you then shrink your warhead down to something that is what in the US arsenal is referred to as "modern".

Yes, you're right, the first fission detonation was in 1945. But in 1965 the US Air Force's main ICBM was the Titan II missile, which was optionally used to launch a Gemini capsule with two people in it into orbit, because the US nuclear missile force still required something that could put 8200 pounds into a 10,000 km suborbital trajectory. The Titan-II was still in use as an operational ICBM until Ronald Reagan retired it in 1981, and used a W53 warhead / Mark-6 reentry vehicle weighing in just under that.

The smaller warheads available to the US Military which enabled the idea of MIRV was brought about by a few different things: massive increases in computing power, the idea that big-dick multi-megaton bombs just didn't do as much destruction as a few smaller, more reliable warheads, guided by new inertial guidance systems that didn't exist in the early days of nuclear missiles.

But it still took untold billions for the US to finally arrive at the W88 warhead which "probably" weighs less than 800 pounds, and still carrying a yield estimated at 475kt.

Comment Bernie Madoff (Score 4, Interesting) 161

From what I read Bernie Madoff had a compulsion for consistency. When he played golf (and he was pretty good) he would apparently turn in an 80 every time. So I suspect that the vagaries of the market just went against his grain. This then begs the question. Did he run a Ponzi scheme because he was a crook, or did he pretty much have the wrong compulsion for the wrong industry.

I am pretty sure that I see this in other areas. For instance I was at an industrial company some years ago where an IT guy cut himself on the inside of a computer to the point where it may or may not have needed stitches. The company people freaked out. They were hinting that they would even bribe him not to report it. This got my curiosity going thinking that this injury would cause their worker's compensation rates to go up, or that it would spawn some kind of outsized investigation, but then a secratary said something like, "No, Dougie is obsessed with the fact that it has been 400 days accident free." I asked if that were true and she said it wasn't and that now for any minor injury he would hand out a week's vacation to not report it. So there was a huge sign that said 400 days accident free and everyone knew it was a lie except for Dougie's superiors.

So like most things in life I suspect that most people lie somewhere on a spectrum ranging from, "I couldn't give a shit about cheating, to, look at me the most consistent winner in the universe."

So while Madoff might have been scared that a bad report would result in fewer sales and higher redemptions, it was probably a situation where he would feel that he had somehow personally failed if he were to have to say that this year was 11% instead of 12%.

Comment Re:More nation-wrecking idiocy (Score 1) 594

And if the full cost of taking a train was included in what you pay at the fare box, the trains would run empty.

Yes, roads and highways are expensive. So are $300M/mile light rail lines that aren't even sold to the public as mass transit anymore, but rather as value enhancement for property owners. You see, they're turning yet another negative about rail transit into a positive - once the tracks are set, they can't be moved to meet demand like a bus can.

Comment How about no more cars stay on "their" side... (Score 1) 594

How about we eliminate the whole idea of staying on one side for each direction. Just let cars spread out and pass on the left or right. Everyone would slow way way way down

. We could paint people's windshields so that only a small patch remained. That would slow people down. We could just put limiters on people's cars to keep them below 10mph.

We could ration fuel so that few people are able to drive.

We could make cars out of foam so it didn't really matter what they hit.

Or we could actually set minimum safety standards for cars on the road and make sure that there are no roadblocks to self driving cars which looks like the most promising safety technology to have ever hit the market.

Then when SDCs are actually a reasonably available thing, we could begin phasing out manually driven cars if it is shown that they are where they danger lay.

Comment Don't want people running AdBlocker? (Score 3, Insightful) 654

Then don't make the advertising on your site intrusive, and abusive.

Ads have been on the Internet for 15 years now, we're willing to accept some advertising. But if you go overboard, we'll find ways to make it go the fuck away. The rise of ad blockers can be correlated with the rise of in-your-face pop-over infuriating advertising. I know the bills have to be paid, but stop throwing it up in my face covering the content.

You've got nobody to blame but yourself. Think of ad blocker software as the DVR 30 second skip button of the Internet. It exists purely as a reaction to content providers going over the line a few too many times.

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