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Comment Re:These are useless as transport (Score 2, Insightful) 494

I call BS.
Perhaps you're an elite cyclist, or someone is editing Wikipedia to make you look silly, but averaging anything like 500W for an hour (much less indefinitely) would make you the worlds best distance cyclist.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_performance

Lance Armstrong near his peak was reputed to be capable of ~520W for 20min.
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/24/weekinreview/24kola.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print

Ok... so your gym exercise bike is a flattering, but I agree that 250W is within the range of most regular cyclists, although most won't push that hard.

Image

PhD Candidate Talks About the Physics of Space Battles 361

darthvader100 writes "Gizmodo has run an article with some predictions on what future space battles will be like. The author brings up several theories on propulsion (and orbits), weapons (explosives, kinetic and laser), and design. Sounds like the ideal shape for spaceships will be spherical, like the one in the Hitchhiker's Guide movie."

Comment Re:Conspiracy Theories (Score 1) 127

Yes, because there are not vast multi-billion dollar drug distribution rings.
You are correct, the MOB doesn't exist and all of the CIAs black-ops have come to light.
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Eve and computerized economies (including the real one) can only work when authority is distributed, and rules can be enforced.
The idea that one person could actually control a Dreadnaught, battleship, or anything much larger than a dingy is ludicrous. The idea that a single password would be used to control access is equally silly although convenient in a game environment.
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Yes we hare complicated beings with many levels of trust and methods of control and enforcement. This really only breaks down (either through bureaucratic decay, or through embezzlement and looting when a small number of people can gain control over assets that are larger than their ability to reimburse for, or where normal enforcement methods are intentionally circumvented for "efficiency".
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Our financial system became very efficient and allocating home loans recently. Risk and return were reduced to simple numerical models (made obscure and believable by geeks at the behest of their masters) and the people allocating the loans, measuring risk, and making money redistributing complex instruments didn't care that the "efficiency" failed to measure the buyers-recipients getting paid. It was efficient at "making money" for a variety of nonpunishable corporations that were "TooBigToFail". Even for the buyers-recipients it was OtherPeoplesMoney, and their personal wealth was increased by increasing returns on that pension/insurance company even if it would blow up after they were gone.
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It didn't need to be that way. Old laws (Glass Steagal) had to be repealed, regulators had to be neutered (SEC FINRA etc), rating agencies had to be co-opted, Prosecutor/Govenenors had to be ruined in prostitution scandals, and the FedReserve needed to look on it's work (smoothing the economic cycle by growing ever larger bubbles) with great satisfaction. None of the individuals could take responsibility for their decisions (eg the appraiser responsible for evaluating $1B in housing value) due to the sheer size, and corporations existed to prevent prosecution of individuals. Everyone had "deniability".
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And yet... it lasted for 80years, which is right about the correct time for a maximum size human Ponzi. Read up on fractional reserve lending, and explain how with the issuance of only debt based money, you do not have a potential crisis when the exponentially growing total future-money owed becomes larger than the present-money available.
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractional-reserve_banking
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You have a Nash equilibrium where so long as everyone agrees there will be more debt-based money in the future then they will be able to be paid, but once a significant group of people decide to take what they can (first out the door), then there is less debt, less money, and the future debts can only be repaid (if at all) in inflated dollars which are worth less than was lent. It's a very simple and convenient fiction that the world bases its monetary system on, and it is very productive and useful, until it fails and a small group of people make off with the majority of the wealth. The redistribution of that wealth will be ugly and not very productive.

Comment Re:Double billing also happens in Europe (Score 1) 272

The joke's on you then, because when you let the call go to voicemail you'll be charged for it anyway.

Q. How am I charged for Voicemail calls while roaming internationally? A. Voicemail calls are charged as follows: When your device is on:

* Calls that you do not answer that are routed to the AT&T voicemail system will be charged as an international roaming incoming call to your device.

* In addition, the foreign carrier's routing of that call to the AT&T voicemail system may generate an outgoing call charge from your device's location to the U.S.

* These charges apply even if the caller disconnects from the voicemail system without leaving a message.

http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/international/roaming/faq.jsp

Comment Re:1588v2 aka Precision Time Protocol Version 2 (Score 1) 624

No. The point is that they inserted them selves between a buyer and a seller to collect the difference rather than letting the buyer and seller capture the marginal benefit of market exchange.

If Ebay allowed a third party to secretly bid and resell to capture the difference between a sellers reserve price, and the top buyers maximum bid, do you think that would be fair? It's called front running and it's illegal, unless you've been given regulatory dispensation, which the SLPs have been. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Front_running

Maybe that's why wild senator firebrand Schumer informed the SEC that if they didn't stop it 'flashing', there would be a law to make the current method and practice more explicitly illegal. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=ajcRCWFi5MLs

Interesting... what are the Supplemental Liquidity Providers, except for privileged powerful wealthy day-traders? Why do they deserve a 1% cut of every trade on every fast moving stock? This is in addition to the commission that you pay. Why are monopoly interests PAID 0.15 to 0.25 cents for every trade by the exchange for stocks above $1? This preserves the illusion of liquidity, but note that its less than the 0.35 cents actual DMM (designated market makers) get for taking real risk. Why are they given preferential sub second looks at others prices, and paid to trade in smaller blocks at lower latency than anyone else? Couldn't all bids and asks just be available to everyone for 1 outrageously full second so that the field was level? Why do the big firms trade in "Dark Pools" for exactly this reason? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_pools

The volume of SLP trading has grown significantly in just the last few months to the point where Goldman is responsible for some 20-30% of all trades on the NYSE (not in a single name... all trades) and almost are done for themselves (principal) rather than for others (agency). http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/7.13.09.jpg You don't think this moves markets? Do you think they're trading leveraged?

"In any event, positive-feedback trading is likely to increase volatility substantially. If one wants to design regulatory interventions that will decrease volatility, one must think about measures that will discourage positive-feedback trading rather than negative-feedback trading. Positive-feedback trading is substantially discouraged when traders using that strategy suffer massive losses, which is what one observed after the crash. Everyone who had been pursuing positive-feedback strategies bought more and more as the market went higher and higher, thinking that their portfolio insurance would enable them to get out. They were wrong. It's clear that the crash reduced volatility by reducing the attractiveness of positive-feedback trading." Larry Summers Previous Treasury Sec in 1988

This kind of liquidity doesn't improve markets. The next exchange closing event will be measured in seconds rather than hours or minutes. Thanks :^)

Comment There should be a hat tip to ZeroHedge (Score 1) 1

Much of this information, including NYSE's correction of their program trading reports and apology appear to be due to Tyler Durden's work (nice nick BTW :^):
http://zerohedge.blogspot.com/

The apparent criminality he regularly reports, and lack of enforcement by SEC, OCC, and others is pretty dramatic. This just appears to be the latest and most tech oriented.

The claims that local pre-transaction exchange trading messages are unencrypted seems bizarre, but I suppose stranger things happen.

Security

Submission + - Traffic sniffing on the NYSE drives trades/profit? (ritholtz.com) 1

joeblo writes: "There are recent rumors that Goldman Sachs may have been front running everyone in the market to the tune of $100M/day.

"That Goldman Sachs may just possibly have used security access codes and built a system to acquire trading information PRIOR to transaction commit time points at NYSE."

It is well known that GS has comprised as much as 30% of all NYSE daily traffic over the last several months and more than 50% of high speed program trading.

As a "liquidity provider" they have also been give extraordinary access to the NYSE exchange and their network. High speed quantitative trading is also well known, but in recent months various technical trading parties say that the market has been acting very strange with long held correlations falling apart. That along with the arrest of a (until recently) GS employee for allegedly stealing their code has led to some wild speculation.

"The bank [Goldman Sachs] has raised the possibility that there is a danger that somebody who knew how to use this program could use it to manipulate markets in unfair ways," [Asst. U.S. Attorney] Facciponti said, according to a recording of the hearing made public yesterday. "The copy in Germany is still out there, and we at this time do not know who else has access to it." Bloomberg

Which raises the question why it's unfair, if someone other than GS uses the code to manipulate markets?

Do any of the quant nerds reading Slashdot have comments on the possibility of this? Even if the less wild allegations prove true, it seems difficult to have true market pricing when a single participant controls such a large fraction of trades, and almost all crucial trades near 'the bell'."

Comment Re:Elsevier seems particularly prone to being "gam (Score 2, Interesting) 219

As a published scientific author-
Elsevier sucks!

They have bought important 'name' journals and charge for everything (including your pre-prints) that they possibly can. Many reputable departments are boycotting their publications now.

They even bought me a nice dinner once in Tokyo. I guess that was a sign they were making too much money and had no idea how to spend it.

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