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Comment Re:Scratch a Liberal, find an Autocrat. (Score 1) 486

People don't go home because they "feel guilty" and "heard someone's argument". You give the idiots behind the megaphones too much credit.

Right-wing nutters outside abortion clinics have as much persuasive power in reasoning as a urine-soaked bum with Hep-C standing outside a Tiffany's jewelry store spewing about aliens implanting microchips beneath our skins.

No one is going to buy a $25,000 diamond ring when they have to cross a urine-soaked Hep-C bum, and it's not his "reasoning powers" that turned such customers away. You're delusional if you think everyone who doesn't shop at the store now believes aliens implant chips beneath our skin. Sane, normal people, like to stay away from the crazies.

I'm sure right-wing nutters would call it a DoS attack if 6'5" tall black men with black panther t-shirts stood by the entrances of all churches with megaphones blaring about white oppression. The church pews would empty out except for the die-hard churchgoers, and by your reasoning, it would be because they all 'agree' about white oppression, rather than just want to stay away from crazies.

Comment Re:Apparently Obama knows not Grigsby & Cohen (Score 3, Informative) 763

The H1-B issue is somewhat moot because that visa transitions into a permanent residence and citizenship over the years. I've been reading Slashdot since 1998 and reading about those "evil H1-B workers" since the beginning -- guess what? Those very same H1-B workers from 1998 are now all citizens. So, at some point, the argument devolves into, "yeah those brown citizens are stealing our jobs!" Which, honestly, is a horrible racist argument.

Criticism over L-1 visas (does not lead to citizenship) or outsourcing is more valid, because that is money exiting the country. However, we, the U.S., have balanced trade with India (equal money flows out to India as money flows in from India). The largest trade imbalance is what we have with China (for a variety of reasons, mostly due to the China suppressing the value of the Yuan/Renminbi). For that reason, our economists and think tanks prefer industry and trade to move to India from China, because it will greatly reduce the American trade deficit.

Comment Re:Not just useless, but actually toxic. (Score 1) 452

Higher latency translates into higher spreads. People quickly forget that stocks used to have 25 cent spreads, and now mostly only have 1 cent spreads. Say Microsoft on Nasdaq is the "primary" (leading indicator) of the true stock price. Microsoft in Chicago Stock Exchange is effectively a copy. When MSFT on Nasdaq goes up, for whatever reason, the folks with active offers on CSX will lose money unless they can cancel. If the latency is too high and those with sell limit orders on CSX are guaranteed to lose money in this scenario, they'll quote at a larger spread to "make up the difference". Think of it like sales tax, the company "pays" it, but it's really passed on to you.

Why is there a spread at all? Why are there bids at $18.01 and offers at $18.02? Why not just have "one price" for a stock, and everyone buys and sells at this agreed upon price? For the same reason options charge a premium. You're not going to be able to buy cheaply a 1-year call option of Microsoft with a strike price a couple cents out of the money. Such an option is expensive because Microsoft could easily be worth more by a couple cents in a year's time. Similarly, a put option is also expensive, because Microsoft could easily be worth less by a couple cents in a year's time. Both are true. Similarly, with "high latency" exchanges, the stock could either move up or down. You might be thinking "but wait a minute, what's the chance the stock actually moves up or down in 120 microseconds?" But you're forgetting about conditional-probabilities. If no one executes the lingering bid or ask limit order, whether the stock moved or not is immaterial. The only scenarios that matter are those that are subsequent to the bid or ask limit order being executed. The thing is, limit orders are rarely executed until there is information that the stock is about to move. When a stock is about to move up, buyers whack the ask limit orders. When the stock is about to move down, sellers whack the bid limit orders. So the probability of the stock moving, _conditional_ on getting your limit order filled, is quite high. Liquidity providers need to quickly realize a stock is about to move up and cancel their ask limit orders before losing money. If high latency or regulations prevent them from cancelling their ask limit orders effectively, they'll no longer place them 1 cent away from the bid. They'll go back to the early '90s of bid-ask spreads that closer to 25 cents.

Comment Re:Not just useless, but actually toxic. (Score 5, Insightful) 452

Liquidity isn't just about there being _someone_ willing to buy or sell; it's about the spread. Do you want to go back to 25 cent spreads from the early '90s? Most spreads today are 1 cent. If you're happy paying 25 cent spreads to get rid of automated traders, I'd say that's a bit like chewing off your arm to swat a fly. Most automated traders make anyways from 0.1 cents to 0.5 cents per share. Comparatively, retailers like E*Trade charge customers $9.99 for trades that average around 400 shares, which is 2.5 cents per share. Mutual funds like Fidelity often charge 1 to 2% management fees on investment, which is 30 to 60 cents per share on a $30 stock.

Trying to bend the rules of the market to wipe out a segment that makes 0.1 to 0.5 cents per share is silly when there's zero effort concerning E*Trade making 2.5 cents per share, or Fidelity making 30 to 60 cents per share. Professional services like Lime (a high-end version of E*Trade) charge 0.1 cents per share. No one is angry that E*Trade charges 2.5 cents per share while Lime charges 0.1 cents per share? Oh, that's right, because it's "only $9.99 !!"

That's the irony of all of this. The average person writes of $9.99 to E*Trade but the media tries to get them concerned about "costs" that are effectively 1/20th of that. I put quotes around "costs" because the spreads have come down from 25 cents per share in the early '90s to 1 cent nowadays. So the average person benefited 24 cents on the spread, and is angry that liquidity providers make 0.1 cents per share? Where was the anger in the early '90s when specialists (a cartel of liquidity providers) were raking it in, making 10+ cents per share? Where is the anger now at Fidelity _losing_ our money in 401ks _and_ charging management fees of 30 to 60 cents per share, annually?

The biggest to benefit from automated traders going away are the Larry Ellisons and other market manipulators who want to buy up companies without "moving the price up." It's all misdirection, trying to convince you and me that we're being hurt. It's the "death tax" all over again. The average person was never affected by estate tax, yet the media convinced us we should be against it, just so some rich jackasses can save money. The same deal is happening now. Rich folks want to buy out the public companies you and I are invested in, cheaply, and stealthily. They don't like automated traders sniffing their actions with pattern matching heuristics and raising the prices (benefiting long-term owners like us).

Comment Re:clearly not: prices are chaotic, fractal, etc. (Score 1) 452

Not to mention it makes takeover bids cheap. Why punish shareholders of a company and benefit a billionaire like Larry Ellison in his appetite to buy companies?

The ability of the market to move up when it sniffs billionaires trying to buy up the stock cheaply is critical to giving the mom & pop (shareholders) the value they deserve.

All the brouhaha over automated trading is silly when considering a simple, fundamental question -- do you think the price of the stock is wrong? If you think it's too low, buy it, if you think it's too high, short it. If you think the price of the stock is perfectly fine, then why on earth is anyone complaining?

Comment Re:Report itself as a normal PC? (Score 1) 227

There are laws that say you must adhere to the Terms of Service of the content provider. If the content provider lists as one of those Terms of Service "you must be over 21 to watch" -- guess what, you're lying and committing a crime if you claim to be 21 when you're really 19. Is there a law prohibiting you from casual lying? No. You can lie to your girlfriend where you were last night, no problem. You can lie to your friends how old you are, no problem. But if you lie on a Terms of Service agreement, you're breaching a contract.

Similarly, you're free to spoof your User-Agent when the website's terms of service don't prohibit any user-agent. However, if the ToS _specifically_ says you are not authorized to access the content from browser XYZ, _and_ you spoof your User-Agent so they don't know you're using browser XYZ, _then_ you're breaking two laws, accessing unauthorized content, and using spoofing to do so.

Spoofing by itself isn't a crime. Spoofing to violate the Terms of Service is (in addition to the crime of violating the Terms of Service).

Comment Re:Report itself as a normal PC? (Score 1) 227

There's no law against spoofing the UserAgent for fun. The DMCA is a law, however, against spoofing for the _purpose_ of circumventing a security protection.

So, you can choose to have Firefox/Internet Explorer/whatever as your UserAgent for fun, or to make a site work that accidentally didn't work on your browser. But if the site _specifies_ that you are not allowed to access using browser XYZ, _and_ has a technological measure to block browser XYZ, _and_ you spoof to trick it into thinking you're not using browser XYZ, _then_ you're gaining unauthorized access and breaking the current laws. That doesn't mean you'll be caught, since it's difficult to detect UserAgent spoofing, but the current laws are so asinine that your actions would be criminal.

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Mathematics is the only science where one never knows what one is talking about nor whether what is said is true. -- Russell