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Comment Re:When we do it to you (Score 1) 382

Your argument rests on the assertion that possession of nuclear weapons would increase the hold of the Iranian regime on power within it's own country, and yet you fail to explain how could that be.

Nuclear weapons are hardly crowd control devices: you don't put down a rebelion by nuking the shit out of them. Even the most tightly controlled nuclear explosion would affect the whole country due to radioactive fallout.

In fact the only path I can see that would keep the current regime in power for longer due to them getting nuclear weapons is if the aquisition of nuclear weapons increased the pride of their people in the Technological and Military achievements of their country, hence supporting the regime. However, that being the case, the regime's hold on power would effectivelly be coming from the will of the majority of the Iranian people rather than from oppression.

Comment Re:Governments can't inflate the currency (Score 1) 430

Total gold already mined: 165.000 metric tons
Gold mined per-year: 2500 tons

(source: http://www.numbersleuth.org/worlds-gold/)

So no country could "produce a crap load of gold [...] controlling the value of gold [...] offering to supply gold cheap, or flooding the market with gold" since total mining in all countries in the world adds up to less than 2% of all the gold in the world.

Even the Spanish in the 16th centuy didn't manage to do so when they brought to Europe a "crap load of gold" from South America.

So your argument seems unsuported by facts.

As for bitcoins, their problem is and always has been that first movers had a huge advantage: in the beginning, anybody with a pocket calculator could produce a "crap load" of bitcoins, so many did so: now that bitcoins are near impossible to produce, those people are trying to find suckers to dump their "cheaply made" bitcoins on for hard cash.
Any monetary system that starts up with some having a major advantage and others being at a major disadvantage is inherently flawed.

Comment Re:Oystercard: transfer of costs to the passenger (Score 2) 140

1) They already have at least two persons per tube station entrance, one manning the ticket counter (since they don't have machines that sell Oyster cards, so people have to do it) and one manning the actual gates since there are often people with problems going in or coming out which need to be let through (or sent to the guy in the ticket counter to pay up).

Thus the fixed costs are already being paid.

2) Paper tickers are regularly sold through ticket machines in train stations. The cost is miniscule.

3) This is England, worse, it's London - it's the nation of the "screw the customer" company policy (I should know, I live here). People are used to being screwed.
Certainly I've seen TFL do things like opening the gates in turist intensive areas (while providing ZERO guidance) so that people go in without touching-in their Oyster cards, so that when they exit in the other side they get charged the maximum fare (£7.80).

I would say the GP is spot-on with his/her accusations.

Comment Re:I suspect it's more to do with (Score 2) 402

It doesn't help that when you're exceptionally good at something your understanding of it and all it's miriad complexities is such that the vast majority of people can't even grasp half of what you're talking about.

It's like a bird trying to explain flying to a fish, a being who doesn't even have the concept of air.

More in general, when you can spot more of the subtleties of things and find more of the patterns and links behind things (the why behind the why behind the why), it's far too easy to overwelm others, sometimes even about things that are supposed to be their specialities (it's also very easy to make a fool out of yourself by seeing connections that aren't there).

Comment Re:Super tired of these two banks. (Score 4, Insightful) 267

I find any ideological opposition to regulation curious.

Are you aware that the current crash came after a period of deregulation of the financial industry comparable only to what happened before 1923?

I recommend that you to read a book called "This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly" - you'll find not only that the current crisis is nothing new, but also that all the greatest banking crisis happened following phases of banking deregulation, just like this one. In fact the credit bubble that resulted in the current crisis started when the Glass-Steagal regulation was repealed.

Think of banking regulation like the economic equivalent of regulating an industry that deals in explosives - the side effects of a fireworks factory exploding right in the middle of a residential neighbourhood are so bad that the industry has severe restrictions about where and how they setup their business.

In your no-regulation world, how would you avoid that a fireworks factory is setup right next to your house (or maybe a nice nuclear waste treatment plant)?

Comment Re:How is this a representative sample? (Score 1) 171

I can only talk about IT startups, not startups in areas which have artifical high barriers to entry thanks to local regulations.

My experience as a serial emigrant and a Software Developer is that the set of skills for most things done in an IT company is the most portable there is. The barriers to entry to practice things like software development and graphics design are pretty much zero anywhere in the world and professional experience retains it's value across borders.

In such a domain, the only barriers one has to start one's company are related to one's own risk tolerance and things like the amount of savings one has and family support.

Comment Re:How is this a representative sample? (Score 1) 171

In practice there seem to be 2 kinds of immigrants:
- The desperate poor that emmigrate because that's the only chance they have
- The ones who could have a decent life in their own country but chose to emmigrate

I suspect the former are no more likelly to start a company than anybody else.

As for statistics, the article in the OP is the one quoting the statistic. Feel free to read it.

I'm just providing what seems a likelly explanation in view of that and in view of my personal experience.

Comment Re:How is this a representative sample? (Score 1) 171

you really sound like a jerk describing your "friend" as you do

Actually I think it's a shame. She's a sensitive person that ended up in a profession which, for all it's glamour, can be extremelly harsh and unforgiving.

As for non-IT startups in London, I wouldn't at all be surprised that "small investment firms and hedge funds, layers practices" have far more UK entrepreneurs: these are much more local-centric domains, in industries much more tightly coupled by webs of personal aquaintance and where knowing the right people from the get go makes a huge difference, so things like having gone to the right UK University and maintaining the right contacts makes a huge difference. A foreigner coming here from outside has much more difficulty breaking into those industries even with years of industry experience abroad - I know this for sure because I've actually worked in investment banking (and essentially had to prove myself all over again) and it's a very closed industry (and quite mediocre in the IT area).

BTW: Please notice that although I think imigrants are more likelly to startup new companies, I don't think that they are more likelly to success than non-imigrants. They are more likelly to try, IMHO, but that's it.

Comment Re:How is this a representative sample? (Score 3, Insightful) 171

I think a little quote from the GP explains a lot:

who take any available job and try to work their way up, but opportunities never appear.

You see, the thing about emigrants is that they are not satisfied by staying within the system they know, going for the steady plod up and hopeing that luck will land them with a big opportunity. The passive way never works unless you're born in the right family with the right connections.

Immigrants go out there and make their own way: they seek or maketheir own opportunities. After all, this is the kind of people that is willing to leave their own country, their family, friends and all that they know to go to a far away place where even things like unwriten social norms are different - starting your own company is a far easier endeavour.

The reason I know this is because I'm one of them and, not so long ago, after 3 countries and 7 years as a freelancer in IT I started my own Startup. I look around in the startup incubator where I'm based (Google Campus in London) and most people in there doing the same as me are foreigners too - in light of what it says in this NYTimes article, the abundance of foreigners now makes sense to me.

(PS: the GP's posture kinda reminds me of a friend of my who is an actrice - a profession with high unemployment - whose acting career goes nowhere preciselly because she keeps waiting for acting gigs rather than being out there promoting herself and looking hard for new opportunities)

Comment Re:Not necessiarly (Score 1) 448

Well, the good news with the whole economic depression and breakdown of the consumer society in Developed nations is that Science and Engineering might very well regains the status they lost against things like Finance and Law.

We might very well be at the brink of a new age when people turn to Science to discover the new sources of progress and Engineering to build the structures and machines that let us do things and go places we could never do or go to before.

We could do with some near-future Utopian Sci-Fi to help us along!

Comment Re:At least all of the jurors... (Score 3, Interesting) 175

Actually DNA technology as currently used to investigate crimes is not accurate.

DNA fingerprinting as used is only based on a few genetic markers, not full DNA sequencing. Sometimes as few as 8 or 12 markers are used. This means each combination of markers is the same for thousands of people.

Typically, this is not a problem for the situation when DNA is obtained from a crime scene and in parallel obtained from a suspect and then compared (the likellyhood of a false positive is something like 1 in 8 million).

It is however a problem when DNA is obtained from the crime scene and then a database of DNA samples (which, remember, does not contain a full DNA code, just the values for the markers) is searched for matches - because if the database is big enough, matches will be found for certain (after all, thousands of people have that exact same set of markers) and of late the government has been growing those databases as fast as possible.

So yeah, DNA fingerprinting has to be looked at with some skepticism and it did made sense for the defense to struck you out.

Comment Re:Hopefully (Score 2, Interesting) 796

That makes sense, after all Atheism is being against religion while Agnosticism is having no religion.

Being activelly against an entire social movement does require a certain level of tunnel vision to paint all individuals in that group as sharing a set of bad personal characteristics which really are only shown by a subset of loud individuals in that group.

Frankly attacking a whole group for the actions of a minority of individuals is counter-productive. The silent majority is often disgusted by the actions of those self-proclaimed representantives of the group and would rather distance themselves from them.

Comment Re:Not really (Score 4, Interesting) 796

Actually the recent push for creationism seems to have come almost entirelly from born-again type sects mostly in the US and some developing countries with mainly christian populations.

As far as I'm aware there is no push for creationism in Europe, not from Catholics, Protestants or Orthodox Christians. Some imported Christian sects (the kind that do public rituals of faith healing and banishing of bad spirits) do preach creationism, but those are a tiny minority, concentrated on the uneducated and downtrodden).

In that sense, especially in Western Europe, education has created a generation (actually, two generations by now) of critical thinkers, where even those who do have religious beliefs are not prone to blindly believe what the men of the cloth tell them.

My impression in Europe of crossing paths with people that are believers is that Religion has become far more a personal thing, a belief born from the inside rather than a set of ritualised social events.

Comment Re:Hopefully (Score 4, Insightful) 796

Religion can and often is used as means of control of the (unwashed) masses: it's like a police in the brain and is far more effective than the police on the street.

Probably this is why America's founding father explicitly sought to separate the state ( and politics ) from religion.

Unfortunately, in this day and age when the US Constitution is completely disregarded, religion is once again a tool in the toolbox of politics.

Comment Re: [Apple is] totally establishing new markets th (Score 1) 300

Not all innovation is technical in nature. New ways to bring technology to people are also a domain for innovation.

If you want to build a better mousetrap, you don't focus solely on the mechanism that springs the trap - you also need to consider how to best get the mice to come to the trap.

The kind of innovation as Apple has been doing of late is making technology accessible and fashionable. Merging technology with fashion and making it very easy for non-technical people to use is something that nobody else in the Tech industry is doing well and why Apple is so successfull at the moment.

In that sense your post displays the same kind of limited horizons mindset that underpins the current stagnation of traditional tech companies like Microsoft - that of worrying far more about the mechanics of the device rather than how it's used.

As someone with a highly technical background (cut my teeth on the old Slackware Linux on floppies, can design embedded circuits and then code for them) I myself often have the particular kind of engineering blindness we can have when it comes to technology. However, mingling with people from far, far different backgrounds has made me realize that it is a form of short-sightness.

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