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Comment Re:Dicey from start to finish (Score 2) 176

>Another big misconception about credit scores is that a "perfect" score is best. A credit score isn't how likely you are to pay back a debt,

A credit score, like the FICO, is literally the inverse band-percentage of the chances you will default on a debt. That's it's entire point.

There is huge incentive in the financial industry to get away from FICO and the CRA's stranglehold on consumer data, but the problem is, they have an accurate model that predicts reliably consumer behavior. The FICO bands do a very good job of predicting the default rates for various consumer debts. If there was something better it would be immediately invested in and would crowd out FICO in a matter of days. Lenders *hate* having to rely on multiple third-parties to rate risk, but thats where they are and they have no alternative.

There are very few, if any, lenders who actively want clients with a lower credit score. There are a few subprime credit card lenders, but for the most part, everyone using traditional credit reports wants prime customers. The risk difference between a person with a ~500 FICO and a ~800 FICO is the difference between making hand over fist money versus scraping by.

You are deeply wrong about interest. Interest charges for credit card companies is not where the money is. The money is actually in two things: 1) consumer fees, i.e. late fees and 2) processing fees from merchants.

The highest and most profitable credit cards to run in the industry have a low or no annual fee, lowish interest rates (in the 10% range), and high-credit limits. These are for high-income people who put large volume through the cards and pay them off monthly.

Consider a person who puts $2k a week through a credit card, and pays the balance monthly:

Net Spend: $8,000
Finance(Interest): 0.00
Interchange Fees Paid by Merchants: $200 (at 2.5%, which is probably lower than what is average).
Balance at end of period: $0.00

This means the credit card company made in the ballpark of $200 for lending me $8000 for a period averaging about 30 days.

Imagine a person with a low-credit score carrying a balance of $1000 on a high-interest card:

Balance: $1,000
Interest (monthly) at 24%: $20/month
Minimum Payment at 4% balance, plus interest: $60
Balance at end of period: $960

So for this person making payments of $60/month roughly, the credit card company is making $20/month, plus the original interchange on $1000, which is $25.

Now, given all that, consider this: a person with a Sub-600 FICO score will have a 25% chance of defaulting on an obligation. After default, recovery rates range greatly, but typically are in the 20-30% range. A person with a >750 FICO score will have a 0.4% chance of defaulting on an obligation.

All of this is to say: you are wrong about credit scores and what are perfect. FICO accurately measures the default risk, and banks use credit scores to accurately price risk. The default risk of low-score consumers is so high that companies that target low-score individuals rarely are financially viable, even with high-fees and very low credit limits. Meanwhile, financial products tailored to high-score individuals reliably produce good financial results.

Comment Re:Yeah, but... (Score 1) 267

You are assuming a degree in computer science and computer engineering are the same thing, though it is not necessarily your fault. . Some Comp Sci programs in the US do not require students to write a single line of code. The thinking is that Comp Sci is about a higher level view of the concepts and principles of computing. There is a disconnect between what Academia and Industry think a Comp Sci degree is. Until that gets sorted out, there will continue to be problems such as the one you have encountered.

Comment Re:Cue the outrage! (Score 2) 517

> The conclusion of nearly all studies on the matter is that HRT+therapy+surgery as applicable leads to better health outcomes than not. If you're going to argue otherwise, I would politely request you to supply some pretty convincing citations.

I think this is partially misleading, because yes, I've seen the same data which suggests it is still better "than not", as you say, but the outcomes are still not median, not by a long-shot.

This topic is really fraught.

Regardless of the causes, I think it's not hard to argue that persons in the middle of transgender treatment are probably unfit for military service in most cases. The Chelsea Manning case is a good example. I don't think anyone actually things that Pfc. Manning had a traitors hearts, but a combination of self-admitted gender dysphoria, depression, and isolation led her to do things that were very harmful to the United States. This is probably an unnecessary risk.

Comment Re:Cue the outrage! (Score 5, Informative) 517

This is such a fraught topic, and it's really easy to get screeched at from "both" sides of the equation.

The NYU research you are linking to has really serious implications, namely, that with the addition or hormones during the right stage of development a persons gender identity could be manipulated. This is similar to "conditions" that are treatable by basic medical care during pregnancy - i.e. the discovery that folic acid during pregnancy was important in preventing serious birth defects revolutionized the treatment of those birth defects. Likewise, if there is a simple hormone therapy or even supplement that triggered hormonal releases at the correct development step, children developing with with gender identities that are mismatched from their genital configuration could be reduced ala neural tube defects and folic acid.

Of course the concept of "curing" or "treating" a condition suggests that it is a disorder, and that is itself a politically charged decision.

Good luck. It's not easy telling medical and scientific truth on this topic.

(This topic is further complicated because there are clearly societal problems in US Culture which serve to isolate and trans persons, and those situations increase depression, suicidal impulses, and underlying mental traumas that are often co-indicated in trans people).

Comment Like Android? (Score 1) 88

My Nexus6 wont connect to wifi in China if the phone is connected .... why? because Google considers a network to be seriously broken if you can't access Google's servers .... so Google thinks your expensive roaming connection is the only valid connection you have

You can get around this by doing the counter intuitive going into flight mode and then tuirning on wifi

While it's arguable that the connection IS broken it's still useful (wechat works for example) even if you're stuck with bing

Comment Every phone number ... (Score 2) 270

When I visit other countries, including the US, I often buy a SIM card, get a temporary phone number, now some orange dingbat in the US tells me I was supposed to have remembered all those phone numbers I've had over the past 5 years.

Oh, and I design VOIP hardware and software .... do you want ALL those numbers too? I can't remember them, is it a big form? lots of room

Don't you guys have an NSA or something to keep track of all this stuff for us

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