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Comment Stansilaw Lem wrote about this kind of thing ... (Score 1) 241

... in 'Tales of Pirx the Pilot' about forty years ago.

If I remember correctly, at some point the simulation of a famous departed scientist has to point out to the protagonist, that he can't really come up with any new idea since he's only a collection of the data and knowledge of the person.

Comment Re:"but the full paper is paywalled" (Score 1) 156

Please mod parent up. Gauss law div B = 0 is perfectly healthy despite this inane babbling of monopoles in the write-up of this research.

Yes, its field looks from the outside like a monopole, but it's a quasi particle not an actual naked monopole, the latter would be the equivalent of a magnetic charge particle.

Despite having been hunting this Snark for decades there is no indication that there is such a thing in nature.

Comment Re:"but the full paper is paywalled" (Score 1) 156

"The people" who complain are often academics outside the research community and not affiliated with an institution that can afford the horrendous subscription cost.

You may have notice the journals charge about $20 a pop for individual subscriptions of articles.

Why do you think they'll do that if there wasn't some demand for it?

Comment Re:We've seen this before (Score -1) 388


And BTW, for nuance to die, doesn't it have to live first? I don't recall a single time in history where nuance was all the rage.

Slow Down Cowboy!

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Reply to: We've seen this before


President Barack Obama

Barack H. Obama is the 44th President of the United States.

His story is the American story â" values from the heartland, a middle-class upbringing in a strong family, hard work and education as the means of getting ahead, and the conviction that a life so blessed should be lived in service to others.

With a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas, President Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. He was raised with help from his grandfather, who served in Patton's army, and his grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle management at a bank.

After working his way through college with the help of scholarships and student loans, President Obama moved to Chicago, where he worked with a group of churches to help rebuild communities devastated by the closure of local steel plants.

He went on to attend law school, where he became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. Upon graduation, he returned to Chicago to help lead a voter registration drive, teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago, and remain active in his community.

President Obama's years of public service are based around his unwavering belief in the ability to unite people around a politics of purpose. In the Illinois State Senate, he passed the first major ethics reform in 25 years, cut taxes for working families, and expanded health care for children and their parents. As a United States Senator, he reached across the aisle to pass groundbreaking lobbying reform, lock up the world's most dangerous weapons, and bring transparency to government by putting federal spending online.

He was elected the 44th President of the United States on November 4, 2008, and sworn in on January 20, 2009. He and his wife, Michelle, are the proud parents of two daughters, Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11.

Learn more about President Obama's spouse, First Lady Michelle Obama.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 388

I think you're limiting your "People who say X" groups a little too thinly. The Guardian is a liberal newspaper that makes a point of being liberal in its pick of agendas rather than in being partisan in its use of facts. As a result, the Guardian will say (ourside of opinion pieces) "Here's another package of stuff about what the NSA is doing that we got from Snowden" rather than "HERO SNOWDEN UNMASKS TEH EVIL NSA!!"

As for the Post, it's crippled by the US media obsession with believing that objectivity = reporting both sides equally ("Views on shape of the world differ" as the old joke goes.) It cannot make any claims about Snowden's heroism or even play up the degree to which Snowden has risked his future livelihood because there are people opposed to what he's done.

That doesn't mean, however, that there aren't large numbers of people running around saying he's a hero.

On a seperate note, I notice this is the 500,000th article about Snowden on Slashdot's front page posted in the last hour alone: is it time that we put up a Kickstarter to create a file for 3D printers to produce our own Snowdens? We could use bitcoins to fund the entire thing..

Comment Re:Great, another Ouya (Score 1) 76

This "iPod" is a pocketable player for MP3s you say? What a clever and original idea! *slyly references Nomad in the title*

You're kinda missing the wood for the trees here. There were plenty of Android tablets before the Kindle Fire. I believe there were even a few liquid paper eBook readers before the regular Kindle. And even if we ignore the fact that Amazon actually made popular versions of what were obscure geek toys, in truth there's no reason why Amazon has to be "original", it just has to be successful.

All of which said, I don't believe the story for a couple of reasons:

1. Amazon wouldn't limit it to being a games console.
2. Amazon wouldn't charge $300 for it either. If a rumor about a new Apple iWidget makes the rounds, and the rumored price is $500, chances are it'll be $600. If a rumor about a new Amazon KindleWidget makes the rounds, and the rumored price is $300, chances are it'll be $200.

Comment Re:Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen (Score 5, Insightful) 448

Why Paypal?

The last four digits of your credit card are printed on pretty much every receipt, shown on every order confirmation page, every "My account saved credit cards" screen, and are usually shown in addition to an expiration date. That's information that's never been considered confidential - quite the opposite indeed. It's pretty much public information.

GoDaddy was insane to consider it valid authentication information. You might just as well treat someone's name as their password.

Comment Re:Suicide (Score 1) 142

I guess it depends on whose rules you're following. On a legal level, no, it's not misbehaving.

On the other hand, when you (or rather the company you've taken over) declares that, henceforth, Solaris shall be thought of as an open source operating system, and promotes the fact it's open source, and nearly a decade later you're finding legal loopholes the company you took over left in place, that you're using in order to sue people who treat it as one, then you're not exactly playing the rules you (or Sun) declared you were playing by.

Comment Re:Tin foil hat time (Score 1) 330

as their assets and paychecks are denominated in DOLLARS as opposed to HOLDINGS

Our paychecks generally rise with or close to Inflation. Our assets comprise of holdings, like houses, cars, etc, and debts, which are denominated in dollars. We benefit when our debts reduce in value.

Very, very, few people have significant numbers of actual dollars just lying around, uninvested. So you're about 100% wrong.

Comment Re:Tin foil hat time (Score 1) 330

The lenders aren't going to withdraw, and there's this little concept called "interest" you appear to be ignoring that serves multiple functions, including handling defaults and encouraging investment.

But in any case, anyone who proposes a particular currency's purpose is to get away from fractional reserve banking doesn't know what FRB is or why it exists. In particular, it serves the opposite function of what you think. Because the alternative to FRB is not 100% backed loans, it's near 0%.

FRB exists because of accounting. If I create a loan for you of $100, I have an agreement that means you'll pay me $100 plus interest, and you have access to $100 that you didn't have before. If I'm a bank, there might even be no money changing hands initially.

That agreement that I hold is worth something. That is to say, I can sell it to someone. Usually it's worth something along the lines of $(1-RISK) * (100 + interest payments). So by loaning you $100, I'm not out $100, in fact, I may be worth more than I was before I made you the loan, even though you haven't paid it yet.

You can fight this and say it's not fair, and it's double counting, and all kinds of things, but it's true, objectively true. You made a loan agreement with me, and people are willing to buy that agreement, so the agreement is worth more to me than the cash was, so my net worth immediately increased, rather than decreased, when I lended you cash. There's no getting around that. No system of accounting, economics, or mathematics, will prevent that loan document from being worth money.

The only problem is that sometimes there are bank runs, so we force banks, whose main business is making loans, to have a lot of cash on hand to cover for the fact that most of their value is tied up in IOUs from their debtors. That's called a reserve. And it's a fraction of the reserve needed.

We can, if you like, force the "fraction" to be 100%, but that's not going to work. Banks will be unable to lend to anyone at anything other than absurdly high interest rates, so instead we'll go to less regulated sources of loans like the bond market. I'll close my bank and instead buy a $100 bond from you that pays interest, and maybe I'll sell that bond to someone else. And if that looks exactly like the situation we just had, well, that's because it is, except that there's no reserve any more.

I guess you could also outlaw bonds. And then I guess loans altogether. And then money ;-)

Comment Re:Doesn't scratch any itches (Score 1) 330

Cheaper because you don't have to pay money transfer fees

Cobblers. This keeps coming up and it's completely untrue. To transfer money from one person to another, the money needs to be in a currency that both parties accept. Typically (as in, always) this is whatever currency taxes are paid in, food is bought with, a bank accepts for mortgage costs and/or a landlord accepts for rent payment, utilities accept for service payments, and transportation infrastructure providers (be they energy, vehicle, or whole shebang) accepts for products and services rendered. It is also the currency wages are paid in.

As there is no country in the world as yet where Bitcoins are paid out or accepted by all or even most of these entities, the sending entity MUST convert your cash into Bitcoins to initiate a transfer, and the receiving entity MUST convert the Bitcoins back into cash at the end of the transfer. Both transactions result in a fee. The fee is lower than that charged for some transactions, but higher than charged for other types of transactions, when compared to a straight single currency cash transfer. (And don't even get me started on the uncertainty involved where you have no way of knowing whether youi'll even be able to convert the received # Bitcoins into the same number of $ORIGINAL_CURRENCY as sent.)

The same points can be made about transaction times and other supposed advantages of Real currency->Bitcoin->Real currency type transfers.

For real people, in the real world, engaged in legitimate transactions, Bitcoins are a terrible way to conduct business.

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