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Comment Re:Read Slashdot (Score 1) 479

It seems I'm somewhat agreeing with the other replies to your post here, with a "we had useful PhD's at my highly-specialized niche company". We build bespoke data management systems within the financial realm, and one of our best tool/product builders was a PhD (Physics, I think). He was of course "a bit goofy", but very easy to work with, willing to put in long hours and wear a suit if needed on-site. Sad to have lost him, frankly, but the new owners have a hard time seeing salaries that high...

Comment Re:Untested? (Score 1) 357

I can guarantee you, from years of overseas consulting, that this is not a US phenomenon.

Just this month, we found out at a non-US client recently that a new build of our server made it from Dev to Prod *untested* by the bank who was implementing it. A sub-beta-build, at that (spot/hot-fix). It treated a certain type of function call differently (almost unarguably better) than before, however we have to defend why the old version "worked"; while on the new server, this causes a "bug" due to a consultant's *cough cough sorry* poor coding.

I'm all for trashing on the US (though shooting fish in a barrel is generally not recognized as sportsmanlike), as I think it's only being intellectually honest to treat all downward-sloping-gradients equally; but please don't believe that we're exceptional in this regard.

Comment Re: Bullshit we won't notice (Score 1) 466

Most of the non-bottom-of-the-barrel airlines offer this, for United at least it's called economy plus.

I've flown US->Brazil 6 times in the last year. I've kept an eye open for business class at an affordable price each time, but the difference tends to be $1400 vs $6000 (sometimes 8). Economy plus is an extra ~$115 each way, and gets you 'up to' 5" extra legroom. As an added bonus, you generally get to board early, so the overhead bins will be nice and empty.

Still, I feel your pain. Try to shop around and see if you can find a similar-priced flight on an airline with this option. For me at least, the difference between having that metal bar from the top of the magazine rack (WHY do you need to put a damn metal bar in there! my knees protest verily!) and suffering for days, vs paying the extra $115 or so and getting room to shift my legs freely, is making flying tolerable again.

Best of luck.

Comment Re:Sounds like evil to me (Score 1) 325

One of my favorites was the time when, after getting through security in Zurich on a flight to the US (and mind you, having my ovomaltine crunchy cream (think nutella consistency), a gift for my wife, confiscated; because it's a "liquid"!), being able to buy cask-strength whisky and lighters *in the same shop*, dozens of feet from the gate to my plane.

...(also, yes spellcheck, whisky is the right spelling of that word, considering my heritage).

Comment Re:Risk vs. Reward? (Score 1) 249

...your first point may be valid (but really? *this* is what the laws spend time protecting?)... but your second point is handled already by the GP's HS math teacher reference. Or, your own post, which points out that in order to break the average speed >= speed limit rule, your speed must either always equal the speed limit, or have exceeded it at some point.

If you need an in-depth lesson (sans actual math), I recommend the first few lectures from .

Comment Re:Greed (Score 1) 292

Indeed, re-purposed weapons-grade material is a great source of enriched uranium. In general it's enriched *way* beyond what's needed to run a plant, so can in fact be diluted before being used.

The uranium market declined significantly through the 1980s and 1990s because of the end of the Cold War arms race as well as a cessation in construction of new nuclear plants. Disarmament of nuclear-weapons stockpiles added surplus weapons-grade uranium to the market, which led to a price drop as low as $7 a pound. Much of the fuel currently powering U.S. reactors, for instance, was originally intended for warheads atop Soviet ballistic missiles.

...the fun part is that, for a while, this led to mining/processing companies not actually supplying the amounts needed per year. As the flow of HEU from established stockpiles was slowing down, this led the market price to spike - I'm still kicking myself for not investing in uranium-linked financial instruments (for some silly reason they don't just let people buy uranium hexafluoride like many other commodities ;-) ) over the last few decades. Note that recently, due to less-than-expected new reactor building, and a ramp-up in mining/processing, the price has stabilized a bit, but for a while there was a small fortune to be made if you read the supply/demands right.

Comment Re:slow news day? (Score 1) 631

ask anyone who works in Manhattan.

Ding ding. I couldn't possibly drive to work. My VP used to, it cost him ~$350/mo for a parking space nearby our office. That's double my monthly train ticket.

I do also consume 5 cups/day of coffee (K-cups, not terribly cheap), with fresh milk. I don't bring my own batteries to work to power my computer. I flush probably 5 toilets/day without paying for the water. I'm typing this post on a computer I didn't pay for...

I'm not saying that taxing services/benefits/freebies/comps/whatever isn't legitimate, but I'd like to see a strict formal definition before deciding whether it's rational.

Comment Re:Avionics (Score 1) 369

Ding ding ding. Well, I can't conclude that the danger is effectively nil, but it's definitely not something they're very worried about.

I fly very often. Most of the times the reminder to turn off the devices will come just before takeoff, and basic compliance checks even for the devices which the attendants saw out and being used tend not to be done. Often you could ignore the request and not have it asked again, since they'll finish their run up the aisle, then prepare for takeoff.

A few times, I've fallen asleep before takeoff (a good special power for a consultant to have) with the bright red light on my noise-cancelling headphones (connected to my phone for music) beaming towards the aisle, and not been awoken by the crew to turn it off. At least twice, my computer has refused to properly standby/hibernate before takeoff, so effectively was still running the whole time in my backpack. As you mention, this was never checked, nor questioned.

Comment Re:No actual money is involved (Score 1) 248

Not sure where you're going here with your primate in a cage example. There's no real reason why a primate could knowingly be in a situation where they'd like to gather data on their Xing habits over time, to estimate an upper bound for how many X's they may commit in light of a potential (and now (over)-estimated) punishment.

Let's turn this around. I like the idea of micro-transaction pay-per-read articles. I tend to read ~0-100/day. I'd like to know, roughly, what the most is I'd spend in a month *if I were paying honestly for value I received*. Note the "honestly" and "most" there.

If, in playing with these free buttons, I read an article I like, why do you seem to assume that I'd hit "0" (well you know what I mean) or "1" in that case? I THOUGHT THE ARTICLE WAS GOOD. Here's a fake $.03. Yes, I realize this didn't cost me anything, but now I have a record of one article I would have read, which (were I being honest that day) would have cost me $.03. If I didn't like the article? *Then* they get 0.

Not all information needs to meet 100% rigorous data-quality-real-world standards to be useful. With a month of this tool, I can determine whether I'd be ballparking $5 or $50 **in a world where this existed, and I was being honest with myself**. That's it. It doesn't tell *you* anything about me, and it doesn't necessarily tell the system designer anything about my "real world" payments. But it sure does tell me about me.

TL,DR: This is an easier way to estimate a ceiling amount for how much you may spend in such a system than recording your month's browsing in an excel workbook would have been.

Comment Re:Intact human brain? (Score 1) 167

The thing is, you didn't *mention* it, you made an unverified probabilistic claim. Directly.

Your use of the word "probably" implies that *the most likely cause of death among people in England 2700 years ago was anti-semite persecution*. Logically following from here, if that's the most likely cause of death (which would qualify your "probably"), then a fairly large percent of 2700-year-back Yorkshire population would have had to be Jewish.

That's news to me.

Perhaps, just perhaps, people were modding you a Troll not because they believe Jews weren't persecuted... but more for the fact that you're making blanket, untrue statements, then following these up with ad-hominem attacks for anyone who doesn't chime in in agreement or downmods your terrible math.

Comment Re:Here come the lawsuits... (Score 1) 820

When I was 8 years old, it would never even occur to me to swallow these magnets. It would be as self-defeating as swallowing my own LEGO pieces.

~1.37 million results, sadly - Google suggested this at the top of the list once I'd typed "Swallow le"

Lesson: people will always manage to do "stupid" things. And there are lots of people.

Comment Re:hey ronald... (Score 1) 627

Yep - same reason I couldn't drink black tea for 5 years - a cup of black tea was the beverage I had at my desk *as I was starting to feel a bit nauseous* from a norovirus my wife'd picked up a few days earlier. I never finished it, and ended up having to take the train home soon after. Around 4 years in, I could start making my tea/coffees at less than 30% milk-by-volume again. I still can't drink them black, even diluted with water to half-strength.

Comment Re:easy: (Score 1) 181

Caveat: I work in data/risk management software in the financial sector. Also, I'm feeling a bit under-the-weather today, so sorry if this is less than coherent or comes off rambly.

When the GP says "give", I think they're aware that there are conditions built into that giving - I'd have a hard time believing they think bank loans are essentially gifts. But from the sound of your response, it seems you're against even this conditional-lending definition of 'give'...

So, following your logic... loans should be given to startup companies by institutions who *aren't* concerned about making a profit from the deal? Just wondering... why would anyone *with* money lend it to me (for the business I hope to start some day) if they had nothing to gain? Where should I go for capital?

If someone's willing to let me use their money now, on the hopes (which they share with me) that in the future, my business will thrive and I'll be able to pay them back with a bit on the side - I'll be happy for the deal! But there's the thing - do we really only want investors in ideas that "sound good" to someone at the bank, and which some lender personally can get behind (how would I find such a person for *my* business)? Realistically, a bank shouldn't care about me, nor my business - an investment system where the lenders line-item your expenditures and approve purchase-by-purchase aligned with my stated business plan would be a nightmare - our current system allows for banks to ignore the nitty-gritty details of my operations, assessing their risk by evaluating the market as a whole, my industry within it, my corporation within my industry, any past books we may have, potential collateral, etc... then charging me a spread above their costs to *get* the money they want to lend me. Perhaps if the government would just start lending directly to the people (at no interest as you seem to want?) we could have a functional world without interest-gatherers (and no inflation, too)... but for all sorts of reasons I don't see that going anywhere.

If I take their money, only to realize later that I'm unable to pay them back... well, we have courts for that to try to get them back at least what they gave me, but generally they'll go for the amount *I agreed to give them back*, regardless of whether I have that in liquid assets. I'd really rather not lose my house over it, but again - were they not able to take my assets as remuneration, you can bet your ass they'd either be out of the game (and not lending to just about anyone), or raising rates to account for all the non-payback.

So, parent poster; If you've got enough in the bank to cover the economy out of goodwill - please get to work. I'll call you first when I need $200k for brewing equipment, farm implements, and a robotics lab, and a commercial kitchen (yeah, my dream company will be that awesome). Thankfully, from the sound of things, you seem to think it's best not to charge interest, so you'll have the best rates around and will get all the business.

No, I don't think most financial institutions are well run, accurately measure risk, properly analyze any of the points I mentioned previously (or realize that their simplified models leave out lots of important real-world information - but that's another hours-long rant). *But* I think it's very clear that without some incentives (eg: a spread on every loan, and some gov't protection from too many people defaulting at once (asset seizure laws + trustworthy insurance + etc...)), nobody with money would have any reason to lend - only to spend. Trickle-down doesn't work well enough to make that a place I'd like to live.

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