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Comment Re:What purpose does HFT serve? (Score 5, Informative) 321

Please teach me what purpose HFT serves to our economy.

This question has been beaten to death every time a HFT related article is posted. But people still ask, so I will try to answer. High Frequency Traders (HFTs) are not investors, they are market makers. They find a willing buyer and a willing seller, arrange the transaction, and execute the trade. They make a profit on the spread between the buy price and the sell price. The problem is that once they locate the buyer and seller, they need to buy the stock from the seller first, then turn around and sell it to the buyer, but the buyer may have cancelled they transaction, or they may have already bought the stock from someone else, in which case the HFT is stuck with the stock and may have to sell it to someone else at a loss. If transactions are granulated to one second intervals, instead of say, millisecond intervals, then the risk of this happening is a thousand times higher , and the HFTs will insist on higher spreads, resulting in lower liquidity and higher transaction costs for both buyer and seller.

Since the introduction of high frequency trading, transaction costs have fallen considerably, saving plenty of people a lot of money. The only losers are the old market makers that used to have lucrative sweetheart deals with the exchanges. Many of those old market makers are now bankrupt. Good riddance.

Comment Re:It not logical Captain (Score 4, Insightful) 466

All this will do is piss off more people and turn them off to flying unless absolutely necessary.

I doubt if most people will notice. When making flying decisions, most passengers care about three things:
1. cost of the tickets
2. fares
3. ticket prices
Discount airlines that have cut amenities to reduce costs, have thrived.
Speaking for myself, I have a family to support, and renting a comfortable seat for a few hours is not a priority.
If a thinner seat allows the airline to cut $20 off the price, that is fine with me.

Comment Re:Tax everywhere (Score 3, Interesting) 292

I don't understand why countries like Ireland or Bermuda or wherever don't all just charge a small tax of some kind (like say 5%) that keeps the companies coming there, but gets them tons of money.

Because that would quickly turn into a race to the bottom. If Ireland charged 5%, then Bermuda would charge 4%, so Ireland would lower theirs to 3% .... The only Nash Equilibrium is zero.

What does Bermuda get out of having Apple "based" in Bermuda if they don't get any tax revenue?

They get corporate registration fees, and jobs for a few lawyers and administrators. That is better than nothing.

Comment Re:cost not the big problem (Score 1) 67

get batteries improved by an order of magnitude will be the tipping point

Good luck with that. Take a look at the periodic table. The only elements lighter than lithium are helium and hydrogen. Helium is nonreactive, and hydrogen is a gas with storage problems that have never been resolved, despite decades of effort. Computer nerds are used to Moore's Law, but exponential improvement doesn't often happen with other technologies.

Comment Re:Eight WHOLE Million!?! (Score 4, Insightful) 67

Somewhere down near the bottom you find things like "research", not because they aren't important, but because it just doesn't cost as much as the mandatory things like "pay the employees".

"Research" and "pay the employees" are not different things. In fact, most money budgeted to research is used to pay employees that are researchers.

Comment Re:Data (Score 1) 204

I don't agree. The inane tweets about everyday life are exactly the sort of thing future historians will want to read.

Which makes it just like garbage. One of the most useful finds for an archeologist is an ancient garbage dump. Looking at what people toss out can reveal far more about how they actually lived than their writings or art.

Comment Re:What could go wrong? (Score 3, Interesting) 182

I keep asking myself how they will prevent them from shooting the wrong person

Wrong question. The right question is whether they would be more or less likely to shoot the wrong person than a human soldier would. Many atrocities, such as My Lai and No Gun Ri were committed by soldiers angry over the deaths or maiming of comrades and fearful for their own safety. Since robots don't have emotions, they would not have committed those massacres.

Comment Re:Ring = Long Building (Score 1) 257

Unless you are on the first floor and can walk across a courtyard a ring is really a long building looped so the ends connect.

With a linear building of length L, the max distance between two offices is L. For a circular building, it is L/2.

It seems very inefficient to me. A simple cube would very likely be far better than this design.

Most people don't like working in offices that receive no natural light.

Comment Re:More evidence of similarity (Score 1) 57

In 1995 my physics teacher told me we'd never have direct evidence of extrasolar worlds.

This is a confirmation of the first of Clarke's Three Laws. They are:
1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

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