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Comment: Re:I just don't care (Score 1) 232

by ttsai (#49308703) Attached to: FTC: Google Altered Search Results For Profit

That Google is able to employ such tactics with the implicit understanding that its customers will not abandon it for a competitor argues that it has coercive monopoly power

It's implying no such thing. The actions of a company can not be linked to coercive power without understand the needs or wants of the customer first. There is some benefit to both parties that Google's results are promoted to the top and many customers like getting consistent and understandable results. I.e. if I type "maps" into Google I would see it as a sign of a failing search algorithm to not promote Google Maps to the very top of the list. It is incredibly interesting that Bing will also list Google as the top result for maps, and only lists itself as number 4.

Coerciveness and lack of effective competition is orthogonal to both relative ability to competitors and benefit to consumers. Government entities including courts have sometimes made decisions based on the impact to consumers, but the coercive nature of a business and its ability to unilaterally impose its will on the market can still remain.

Comment: Re:I just don't care (Score 1) 232

by ttsai (#49305701) Attached to: FTC: Google Altered Search Results For Profit

That Google is able to employ such tactics with the implicit understanding that its customers will not abandon it for a competitor argues that it has coercive monopoly power.

Google customers will not abandon Google because Google is doing exactly what Google customers want: promoting Google things and things the customers have paid them to promote.

The issue is one of competition and customer choice. That the lack of competition might have arisen from a combination of Google's competence and a lack of competence on the part of their competitors is orthogonal. Lack of competition is inherently anti-consumer because market forces are not allowed to influence pricing. This is true even if Google follows their slogan and is completely devoid of evil.

Oh, you thought YOU were the customer when you did a search? When you send a check to Google for their data you can be a customer. Until then, you are a product. Your click-throughs are what the customers pay for.

I have never been under any illusion that I am a Google customer. In Google's eyes, I am cattle.

Comment: Re:I just don't care (Score 4, Insightful) 232

by ttsai (#49303063) Attached to: FTC: Google Altered Search Results For Profit

The issue isn't one of market share, although 75% is definitely at least dominant. We're talking about monopolies in the sense of Microsoft and Intel, neither of which is a government-granted monopoly. The key is whether Google has a coercive monopoly that is able to restrain competition and operate without fear of competition. Near 100% market share is not necessary. That Google is able to employ such tactics with the implicit understanding that its customers will not abandon it for a competitor argues that it has coercive monopoly power. Whether this situation arises due to Google's ability or its competitors' incompetency does not detract from the coercive nature of Google's market position.

Comment: Re:Why not fantasize about finding a winning ticke (Score 1) 480

by ttsai (#49035329) Attached to: The Mathematical Case For Buying a Powerball Ticket

I realize these comments are intended to be slightly humorous, but consider the annual inflation rate needed for that prediction to come true:

Optomist...

$9k in 40 years will be worth what, $500 bucks in today's money before taxes?

This would require an annual inflation rate of 7.5%! In the US, we haven't had monthly inflation that high since 1982!

Optomist...

$9,000 US dollars in 40 years will be about $5.00 US value. In fact a large Coffee at starbucks will cost $10,000

This would require an annual inflation rate of 20.6%! In the last 100 years in the US, the monthly inflation rate has only been in the 20% range for a few months and only after the immediate end of the two world wars.

Comment: Re:Pointing fingers at problems (Score 1) 493

by ttsai (#49021153) Attached to: Will Elementary School Teachers Take the Rap For Tech's Diversity Problem?

Upon reading the article, I had similar questions about the experimental methodology.

Why repeat the tests? Were these oral tests? If tests were repeated, did they account for time or fatigue-based effects? In elementary school (at least in the US), tests are going to be written, so such tests could easily have been sent to multiple graders without repeating the test.

Also, the tests must not have been objective (e.g., multiple choice, etc.) in order to present the possibility of subjective grading. I didn't get such tests during my schooling.

Finally, if the experimenters wanted to test their theory of gender bias, they should have taken the tests and swapped the names on a subset of tests to directly test the theory that the gender name was the critical factor. The could have easily tested their hypothesis but didn't.

Comment: FOIA DDOS? (Score 1) 136

by ttsai (#49020973) Attached to: DEA Hands MuckRock a $1.4 Million Estimate For Responsive Documents

Would it be possible to perpetrate what would effectively be a DDOS attack via the FOIA request mechanism? If the government were required to handle every single request without question, then could an anti-government group send a large number of requests that would waste human, machine, and dollar resources to an extent that was crippling? How should the good intent of the FOIA be balanced against potential misuse?

Comment: Re: Yay for "zero tolerance" (Score 1) 591

by ttsai (#48963011) Attached to: Texas Boy Suspended For "Threatening" Classmate With the One Ring

I love people who take pot shots and don't know what the fuck they're talking about. All school districts are taking tougher stances on punishment and more and more districts across the country are adopting zero tolerance policies.

Zero tolerance is an abomination. It teaches the exact opposite of what kids need to learn. Kids need to learn how to think, how to evaluate situations, and how to reason about the costs and benefits of available options. Zero tolerance is all about protecting schools against lawsuits and abandoning the hard job of teaching kids how to make decisions.

Comment: Re:Another blaming of the victims (Striesand Effec (Score 1) 512

by ttsai (#48769769) Attached to: Publications Divided On Self-Censorship After Terrorist Attack

A religion, or more broadly any religious or non-religious creed, that mandates capital punishment for blasphemy is problematic. Adherents of such a religion should be treated the same as any person who cries out death threats in response to perceived verbal offenses.

However, I wonder if this is more a matter of ethnicity rather than religion. Do the roughly half a million Muslim African-Americans hold the same views as those of Arab descent? How about the Muslims from India?

Comment: Re:To save you the click through trouble... (Score 1) 190

by ttsai (#48698037) Attached to: 6 Terabyte Hard Drive Round-Up: WD Red, WD Green and Seagate Enterprise 6TB

OK, I asked my friend who works as a reliability expert at one of the HDD manufacturers. The 2400 hours refers to the assumed duty cycle of the drive, and this assumption is used to obtain the estimated AFR of 1%. The corresponding MTBF would be around 250,000 hours. And, of course, MTBF is not the expected lifetime of the drive, since the number is based on qualification testing and field data for a population of drives where most of the drives have not yet failed.

So, to get back to the original point of this thread, as intuition would indicate, there is no drive sold that has an expected time to failure of 2400 hours. There may be some individual anecdotal stories of poor reliability, but the analysis of larger populations is a more accurate characterization of a specific HDD model.

Comment: Re:To save you the click through trouble... (Score 1) 190

by ttsai (#48693895) Attached to: 6 Terabyte Hard Drive Round-Up: WD Red, WD Green and Seagate Enterprise 6TB

I understand the relationship between MTBF and AFR. Of course, no one HDD will last 100 years, let alone on the average. However, think about it. How in the world would an HDD manufacturer come up with an expected 2400 lifetime? Qualification tests involve tests of 1000 drives for 1000 hours, from which a few drives will fail and the AFR and MTBF are derived. There is no way a 2400-lifetime squares with a 1% AFR. AFR numbers are clear. I'm not sure what "power-on hours" mean. It's obviously not MTBF. Is it max lifetime?

Comment: Re:To save you the click through trouble... (Score 1) 190

For the exact opposite, check out the Seagate Barracuda Data Sheet. Scroll down to where they're rated for 2,400 power-on hours. In other words, they're built to survive a whopping 3 months in a NAS.

If you're buying something to stick in your gaming computer, read the performance specs. If you actually care about the data you're writing, the reliability numbers are way more interesting.

Look at the AFR on the data sheet. It's less than 1%. So, obviously the MTBF is not 2400 hours. It's >875,000 hours. An MTBF of 2400 hours translates to an AFR of 97.4%, which is obviously not going to fare very well in a prototype lab, not to mention the marketplace.

Comment: Re:who cares how many children (Score 1) 275

by ttsai (#48687731) Attached to: AirAsia Flight Goes Missing Between Indonesia and Singapore

Why shouldn't the news to targeted to what is of greatest interest to the viewers of that particular newscast? Italians should be interested to know if any Italians were on board, and that interest doesn't necessarily indicate that Italian lives are of greater worth than non-Italian lives. If my friend or family member might have been on that flight, the importance of that piece of information trumps all other facets of the situation.

I find this type of sentiment to be fairly common, for example, when Europeans complain about the scarcity of soccer coverage on American TV news, with the implication that subjects of high global interest as gauged statistically should be of interest to all people.

Comment: Re:"Science denier" is sensationalism (Score 1) 719

by ttsai (#48638949) Attached to: Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

I see that my post got moderated as a troll. Seriously?! There are many intelligent individuals utilizing science and reasoning to support climate change, but there are also idiots who for some reason try to match some of the mudslinging of the anti crowd. Hotheads on either side of the issue are still hotheads and serve to discredit their respective viewpoints.

Comment: "Science denier" is sensationalism (Score 0) 719

by ttsai (#48637225) Attached to: Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

I personally think there is some human influence on climate change. However, the use of the term "science denier" is plain sensationalism, and it's ridiculous. "Science" does not equal climatology. To say that someone who rejects one set of scientific theories or results necessarily rejects all scientific ideas is pure propaganda. Worse yet, it's unnecessary and makes such speakers appear ignorant. It's best to keep the appearance of idiocy on the target of one's criticism.

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