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Comment Re:Tulips... (Score 1) 326

Bitcoin doesn't have "real value" if it's abandoned. That's what I mean when say it's "a string of essentially random bits". If it's not excepted as something that can be exchanged for money, then a bitcoin becomes no different from a random chunk of data that anyone can generate whenever they want. It becomes a defunct currency, except that a physical note from a defunct currency might still have value as a collector's item. It becomes like owning 1 share of stock in a company that went out of business.

Comment Re:The Bitcoin challenge (Score 1) 326

If you want to make money, it is incumbent upon you to figure out what is a good investment and what is not, ignoring sayers.

Yes, and what I'm saying is that bitcoin is not, and never has been, a good investment. It has always been a gamble. It's been a gamble that paid off for a lot of people, but still a gamble. Calling it a "good investment" is like calling the roulette table a good investment because you happened to pay and win. It's a terrible place to invest your money, but it just happens to be paying out. For now.

Comment Re:Tulips... (Score 1) 326

Some cryptocurrency will always have value, just as tulips still sell for as much as $10.

I'm not so sure about that. When the mania fades, there's nothing to keep it from becoming totally worthless. I think it's entirely possible that, in 20 years, we'll be looking at it as a weird fad, like tulips or beanie babies. However, at least tulips are pretty flowers and beanie babies are stuffed animals, and some use can be made of them. The same can't really be said of a string of essentially random bits.

Now I think it's entirely possible that there will be some form of cryptocurrency in everyday use in 20 or 100 years. Even if so, I don't think we have any reason to think that cryptocurrency will be one that exists today, or even that it works the same way as current cryptocurrencies. I just also think it's entirely possible that some of the principles of cryptocurrencies (blockchains being used to verify transactions) could be used in various industries without an actual cryptocurrency.

Comment Re:The Bitcoin challenge (Score 1) 326

Here's the thing though: The naysayers were right.

I know that'll be hard for a lot of people to understand, because they're operating in hindsight. In hindsight, yes, you can say, "I should have bought into bitcoin with everything I had as soon as possible, and then sold out when bitcoin was at its peak." However, that doesn't mean they were wrong at the time to say, "You shouldn't bother with bitcoin. It's nonsense."

It's sort of like... Imagine you're playing blackjack, and you have 20. Some idiot tells you to hit. You don't. The next card that comes up is an ace, and then the dealer gets 21. Ok, in hindsight, the idiot was correct, in a way. If you knew everything, exactly what was going to happen, you would know that if you'd taken the ace you would have won. But at the time, knowing what it was possible to know, the correct choice is to stand. When you have a blackjack hand of 20, you stand.

Admittedly, it's not exactly like that. There's not really a statistical model that makes the outcome of bitcoin so easy to predict. You can calculate the likelihood of a blackjack hand coming up, but no one can really tell you the likelihood that bitcoin will still have significant value in 2 years. With bitcoin, the idiot who's telling you to hit on 20 is also part of the system. That idiot is buying into bitcoin himself, and as long as there are enough idiots buying in, it'll keep the bubble going.

Still, it's speculation. It's gambling. At any given moment in the past several years, bitcoin was a bad bet. Putting your money into something so stupid and volatile isn't safe. However, it's also true that, in gambling, sometimes unsafe bets pay off big. If you make a big bet on a long-shot and it pays off, you end up looking like a genius. But betting on long-shots generally doesn't pay off, and if you keep going double-or-nothing on long-shots, you might run up some big winnings, but you'll eventually end up with nothing.

Comment Re:Haters are so stupid (Score 1) 144

OK, so I misinterpreted your comment about putting the shine on a yacht as some kind of deranged gloating.

The Comcast-Netflix arrangement is part of the problem and I think we see it a bit differently. My understanding is that NF was paying L3 (iirc) for its connection to the Internet. If NF is paying a company that has proper peerage to Comcast then Comcast throttling NF's packets to Comcast's customers is extortion.

NF likely paid because the legal battle would have been more costly. Plus, net neutrality was supported at the level of the executive and, so, by the FCC.

As a single customer, my concern is that if I pay Comcast for a connection to the Internet, I do NOT want them to decide which packets can come to me faster and which not. I understand there are QoS needs, and I'm fine with traffic-shaping, as long as those traffic-shaping rules affect all similar traffic (including Comcast's own) equally.

But this is well-trod ground because Comcast, Time-Warner, and the like are slobbering all over themselves at the thought of zero-rating their own services, charging their subscribers for a "fast lane", and extorting their competitors for access. Additionally, the current situation means the FTC will have to bring about lawsuits to claims about discriminatory peerage even though in the current environment this is perfectly legal.

So, yeah label me a hater. I hate Pai's cronyist rollback of Net Neutrality and look hopefully to 2 things.

1. Federalism forcing the issue and states punishing willful violations of a no-longer legally mandated Net Neutrality

2. Political blowback because of the effects of Net Neutrality's rollback (among other things) which sweep the current executive out of office making the way to strengthen the protections that have so far made the Internet great.

To me, your interpretation of the rollback of Net Neutrality as an opportunity to happily (?) pay more for an Internet fastlane is just crazy town. Maybe I'm misreading you again, here, but from the above that really seems to be what you're saying.

Comment Re:I'm not doing this for free, and not a shill (Score 0) 144

SuperKendall sometimes you are such a stupid fucking asshole.

Comcast throttled Netflix and Netflix made the problem go away by paying an extortion fee.

Consumers dissatisfied with Comcast (or AT&T or Time-Warner or what-have-you) often have no choice of ISPs. I live in fucking downtown San Francisco and my ONLY choice of high-speed cable Internet is Comcast.

So kindly accept as truth when I say that you're a goddamn fucking shill for the telcos (even if you're unpaid), I mean you go so far as to ejaculate all over the screen that "my own gigabit internet service fee probably keeps a nice shine on some executives yacht."

Fucking moron.

Comment Re:Use to stop illegal voters (Score 1) 498

Yeah, some of the recent claims of voter fraud actually did come from analyzing voter records: They looked at all the records, and assumed that any two people with the same name and the same birthday (anywhere in the country) were probably the same person. Supposedly, that's where Trump got his claims that there were millions of fraudulent votes.

However, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see the problem. First, think about the "[birthday paradox](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birthday_problem)". If you take 23 people at random, there's a >50% chance that two of them will have the same birthday. Now, think about the fact that there are a lot of common names. How many people are there named "John Smith" in the US? More than 23. Put those two facts together, and there's already a >50% chance that there are two people named "John Smith" that share a birthday in the US.

Now, it's more complicated than that. On the one hand, they looked at people who shared the same birthday in the same year, so you'd need more than 23 people to have a >50% chance of two people sharing a birthday. On the other hand, there are a lot more than 23 people named "John Smith". (I googled it quickly and came up with the number 47,193 men named "John Smith" in the US).

And there are other factors, too, like the fact that certain names are in style in certain years. The year that Frozen came out, lots of people named their daughters "Elsa", for example. So people with the same name are often more likely to be born in certain years, increasing the likelihood they'll have the same exact birthday. Also, for example, if you're a woman named "Holly" or "Christine", there's an increased likelihood that you were born on Christmas, or at least in December.

This has all been worked out in a study, and they eventually found there wasn't any sign of fraud.

Businesses

PC Market Still Showing Few Signs of Life (axios.com) 217

An anonymous reader writes: It was another rough quarter for the global PC market, as fourth quarter unit sales dropped 2%, according to preliminary results from Gartner. In the U.S. things were even bleaker, with sales down 8%. HP was the only big name maker to post a sales increase in the U.S. and globally. It also passed Lenovo to grab the top spot globally and increased its lead in the U.S. over Dell. Apple saw Mac sales globally up 1.4%, but in the U.S. sales were down 1.6%. Dell gained less than 1% globally but fell more than 12% in the U.S. Lenovo sales dipped slightly globally, but its market share increased slightly, to 22% of the worldwide market.

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