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Comment: Re:US dollar (Score 2) 192

by stymy (#46478129) Attached to: Recent news events re: Bitcoin ...
Value is a function of supply and demand. A classic question in economics is why water is cheap, when it is essential to life, and diamonds are expensive, even though they just look pretty (of course, that doesn't hold totally nowadays, but the question is centuries old). The standard answer is that while people want both water and diamonds, there's a lot of water, but not a lot of diamonds. These basic forces also govern the prices of most things.

Well, US dollars have an incredibly high demand. The first part comes from how a couple TRILLION dollars are needed a year to pay taxes. The government won't take anything else for taxes, and will punish you if you don't pay what you owe, so that's a massive source of demand. The other is that US dollars are legal tender, and while that doesn't matter as much anymore, for a very long time most payments were made in cash, and if you received a service by law you could pay in USD and the merchants couldn't refuse it. That's still true but secondary, however the financial system is designed for it (in the USA of course) in large part because of that. So USD have intrinsic value because people NEED them to pay taxes, whereas bitcoins aren't needed for anything, and can't compare with a couple trillion dollars' worth of guaranteed demand.

Comment: Re:Comparison from a real climate modeler (Score 2) 560

by stymy (#46296325) Attached to: How Well Do Our Climate Models Match Our Observations?
The error bars on some of those graphs are so monstrously large it would be almost impossible for the real data to fall outside that range (in the first one, the margin of error for the forecast grows to a range of almost 0 degrees to 1). Anything with that much error has no real predictive value whatsoever.

Comment: Re:Why sell mining rigs? (Score 1) 250

by stymy (#46178675) Attached to: The Bitcoin Death Star: KnC Plans 10 Megawatt Data Center In Sweden
Bitcoin prices are very volatile. It's a death knell for a business if your revenue can drop by 50% or more in the space of a few weeks. You'd need to keep a ton of cash on hand just in case. While you might make more money in the long run mining bitcoins rather than selling rigs, it's very hard to run a real business that way. Selling the rigs is the lower-risk, lower-reward option.

Comment: Re:some facts (Score 1) 934

by stymy (#45892273) Attached to: Federal Judge Rules Chicago's Ban On Licensed Gun Dealers Unconstitutional
Considering most murders are committed with handguns, just the overall rate of gun ownership is pretty meaningless. I don't know about Iceland, but here in Canada, there are tons of rifles and shotguns, but very few pistols and revolvers. I expect European countries with a high rate of gun ownership will be similar.

Comment: Re:Teach to the test (Score 1) 263

by stymy (#45593183) Attached to: New Education Performance Data Published: Asia Dominates
It's not just like that in Asia. When I came to Canada from Argentina, I had just finished grade 3, and I was given a bunch of tests to see what my level was. In particular, I was tested at a Grade 9 level in Math, and I wasn't privately tutored or anything like that.

Of course, my parents could afford to send me to a good private school, where I worked very hard. Argentina as a whole did rather poorly on this test because those whose parents don't have money go to schools with no budget for anything and teachers that are on strike half the time.

That said, I never had any homework, and the school didn't filter incoming students with tests or whatever, anyone who could pay could get in. However, the work was rather hard. For example, in grade 3, one was expected to write 3-5 pages by hand for a 1-hour test. In Canada, I only started to see that kind of crunch in grade 10.

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