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Comment Forgive me if I do not trust the sources. (Score 1) 273 273

Forgive me if I do not trust the sources in the linked comment, both of which come from a Homeopathy Journal; the very idea of a scientific journal dedicated to something that is about the exact opposite of science is hilarious. You might as well have referenced Jenny McCarthy as an authority on vaccines.

(As a side-note, I do find it very fascinating that a Homeopathy journal is publishing an article stating that one of the primary "mechanisms of action" of homeopathy, that dilution makes a drug (or... errr... anti-drug) into a strong remedy, does not, in fact, actually happen in practice.)

Comment Homeopathy has always been 100% bunk (Score 1) 273 273

Homeopathy has always been 100% bunk. Pure placebo effect. Nothing so prosaic as oil and water not mixing creating a useful result; it's simply pure, unadulterated, B.S.

Now, at the time it was developed, during what we call "pre-scientific medicine", there simply weren't any non-BS explanations available, so perhaps it was a forgivable error. But there's certainly no excuse for it now.

As a side-note, one of the first homeopathic "cures" was for malaria. At the time, there actually WAS, a well-known and useful cure for malaria, cinchona bark extract (a.k.a. Quinine.) However it tastes nasty and has side-effects, so people took the homeopathic remedy for it instead. Those people were untreated for the illness and many of them died from it where quinine would have saved them.

Homeopathy: Proudly killing patients since Day 1.

Comment Avogadro's Number... look it up (Score 1) 273 273

Look up how they do the "dilutions", the concentration of the original ingredients asymptotes. It does not go to zero. Fools (including critics) don't actually check what is in there, preferring to misapply equations.

Concentrations are usually expressed as percentages because we usually deal in numbers of molecules so large, there's no point in expressing quantities like that. (A single drop of water contains approx. 100 quintillion molecules.)

But, homeopathy dilutes substances SO MUCH, that using math and Avogadro's Number we can calculate that a vial of said "remedy" containing all the water on planet earth is more likely to have zero vs. a single molecule of the substance.

While technically this probability is expressed as an asymptote, for practical purposes it's zero.

Your argument might make sense before we understood things like solutions being actual combinations of substances and not some kind of magic that changes the properties of ordinary water. But we DO understand how things work, so your argument makes no sense at all.

Comment The "other side"? (Score 1) 273 273

"The instructor reports that she provides these readings as the students have already seen the other side in previous courses."

"The other side"? When one side is the best modern science has to offer, and the other "side" is unadulterated bull$hit, further study is not necessary, except to the extent that it would be helpful for students to be familiar with said BS so they can swiftly disabuse patients of the idea that any of it is actually going to work.

When, in a course of scientific study, one side discards the precepts of science entirely, you cannot have a two-party discussion; you'll simply be talking past each other. When said non-scientific side co-opts the language of science to come up with nonsensical word salad purporting to explain their theories, well, a students grade in the course better not be dependent on accepting the bizzaro-land explanations for any of it.

Comment One of those "Microsoft Support" calls was bizarre (Score 2) 215 215

I get those "Microsoft" support calls a couple times a month... I usually cuss them out and hang up the phone, like I imagine most computer-literate people do. (That job has gotta have a high turnover rate...)

Well, a few months ago, one called me, identified himself as being from "SpeedyPC" (points for not pretending to work for Microsoft, I guess...), and I did my usual string of expletives and slammed down the phone. The *bleep!*-er called back! I let it go to machine. He does it again. I let it go to machine. He does it a third time, and I pick up because I need the line open for business purposes. He begins to scold me for being rude to him! WTH? He knows he's a scammer, I know it, he knows I know it, so why on earth is he wasting his time letting me know how mean I was to him? He tries to argue with me about how he's going to "prove" my machine is infected or something...

Don't these people have call stats to meet like any other telemarketer? Why did he take time to call me back? How was that ever going to work?

Comment Huh? Fractional Reserve? Wha?? (Score 1) 364 364

I'm not sure what Fractional Reserve banking has to do with it... Yes, I'm sure that the banks lending the money use fractional-reserve lending, but I don't see what that has to do with anything. A margin loan works the same no matter what the source of the funds is.

And what do you mean "the rest of the margin disappears"? What "rest"? When the loan is called due to the drop, the stocks are force-sold, the principal is paid off, and yes, the investor loses his cash.

Comment Not much fallout for the US (Score 1) 364 364

The US stock market is by-and-large is held by retirement funds, pension funds, Really Rich People, banks, insurance companies, etc. When the stock market crashes, pensions can't be paid, banks fail, insurance companies collapse, etc., sending repercussions throughout the entire market.

The Chinese stock market is held largely by individuals (and highly leveraged). They are totally taking it in the shorts right now; the only systemic effect will be a reduction in consumption by said individuals, but the Chinese economy as a whole is still not particularly driven by these individuals, which are mostly in China's older middle class. (The poor have nothing, the rich own companies directly, the young middle class weren't spending these funds yet)

Unlike, say, the US housing collapse, there's not much risk to the banks that are extending margin. As long as they aren't afraid to make the Margin Call promptly, they'll be able to recover nearly 100% of the principal without a problem. (Of course the investor will be left with a big, fat, nothing, at best...)

Comment The more things change... (Score 1) 364 364

... The more they stay the same.

I had a former co-worker who, when my company switched over from a defined-benefit to a cash-balance pension actually selected the cash-balance (he had enough tenure to have a choice.) He then immediately retired so he could invest it in an IRA account.

I remember when the .com crash started he was in my office talking to my officemate about how the 'Q's (a reference to the NASDAQ composite... which is a measure designed to capture frothiness; it ain't built like the Dow or S&P) just had to come back up after falling (this is after they had only fallen 10-20%). I remember thinking at the time: They don't have to do 'nuthin. (Fifteen years later, it still isn't back at that level.)

When a stock market triples over the span of not-very-long, for no reason connected to projected growth, revenue, or profit, it should not come as a surprise that things are going to come back down. And they still have a ways to go.

In China's case it doesn't help that the government was actively preaching investing in the stock market... (just like our government pushed home ownership so hard.) Perhaps governments should take this as a lesson that pushing particular asset classes doesn't end well for anybody if you can actually get people to believe you.

Comment Then you need to fix your hiring practices. (Score 1) 154 154

I would not expect a standard CS curriculum to have a class on the TCP/IP stack. A networking class, maybe, but more theoretical than on IP implementation details.

If you need somebody that knows the ins and outs of IP, then I suggest your organization look for such things during the hiring process, instead of going through the incredibly expensive process of hiring somebody only to let them go months later.

It sounds like you are a bunch of morons there that have managed to (consistently!) confuse CS and IT.

Comment Why Not Java? (Score 2) 128 128

Why not Java? They have to pick some language, and Java has a wide array of IDE's, many of which will run just great on whatever ancient Windows boxen a school can scrape up, an extensive textbook infrastructure, a decent number of people that know it, and the ability to implement (in a straightforward manner) most of the concepts you need to teach in a high-school CS class. It has it's quirks, but I'd prefer it to C++.

Yes, a full CS curriculum uses several languages in order to teach different concepts, but that's just not possible within the confines of a couple High School courses.

When I did AP CS in the early 90's, it was Pascal all the way... it had a very easy to learn syntax, but didn't have enough modern language features (like OOP) that the folks in my college's CS program that had passed the AP test were really hurt when their follow-on classes assumed they both knew C++ already and that they had some familiarity with OOP. (I didn't pass the AP CS test due to my brain being fried from a brutal AP US History test that morning.)

Comment Did Musk pass basic math? (Score 1) 154 154

In theory, there is nothing whatsoever wrong with the idea of a hyperloop. Pneumatic-powered transportation has been in the prototype stage for a very long time (a century or so, IIRC.)

But a line like this between SF and LA? The finances required for such construction are daunting enough with "simple" high-speed rail line. Constructing hundreds of miles of something far more finicky and complex? I suppose if one wanted to construct such a line across the great plains (not exactly a high-demand market) that could work. But a not-flat region of CA? His estimated construction costs are for raw trackage, and do not include the extensive system of bridges and tunnels that would be absolutely required, not to mention the expensive right-of-ways. And for what? Yes, there is a lot of air traffic between LA and SF, but not so much the construction of this boondoggle makes any sense whatsoever.

Comment KlearGear? Not a place you want to buy from (Score 1) 133 133

KlearGear is a terrible, horrible, no-good bunch of a$$holes. They used to have a clause in their customer agreement "allowing" them to bill customers $3,500 if they left a bad review. They billed some customers that wrote a nastygram on ripoffreport. When the customers (understandably) ignored the bogus bill (the bogus clause didn't even exist when the customers made their purchase), it was sent to collections and dutifully reported on the customer's credit report.

When the customers sued, KlearGear ignored the lawsuit, had a default judgement entered, and then tried to have the judgement vacated because the parent company is French and they argue they didn't receive proper service. (This is quite bogus because they most certainly have a substantial US presence, and can be served here.)

% APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming; ...and is best for educational purposes. -- A. Perlis