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Comment Re:Evil, powerful men have enemies. (Score 1, Informative) 242

female circumcision

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is not an Islamic custom. It is an African custom. In the areas where it occurs, it is practiced by both muslims and non-muslims, and was widely practiced before the Islamic era. Most muslims live in Asia, not Africa, and do not practice FGM. The practice is not mentioned in either the Bible or the Koran, nearly all Islamic scholars agree that there is nothing "Islamic" about it, and it is illegal in most Islamic countries.

Comment Re:China and Russia continue to modernize.... (Score 1) 214

the US is in no position to demand anything from China.

We don't have to "demand", we can negotiate instead. Arms reductions benefit everyone. By building up our arsenals were are behaving like we are in a prisoner's dilemma. But the prisoner's dilemma should only apply when the prisoners are separated, and cannot negotiate an agreement to their mutual benefit. We are under no such constraints.

We are using China's buildup to justify our own buildup, and they are then using our buildup to justify theirs. That benefits no one outsite the MICs (which both countries have).

Comment Re:whatcouldpossiblygowrong? (Score 1) 141

Cool as hell, but I'm curious as to, well... why?

Why not? Human knowledge is expanded by trying new stuff.

And has anyone thought this through?

Yes. Worrying about this experiment causing grey goo is about as silly as worrying that someone tinkering with their motorcycle might accidentally cause it to escape and survive in the wild.

On the other hand, I could be wrong.

Comment Re:Evil, powerful men have enemies. (Score 5, Insightful) 242

By attacking America on 9/11, Al Qaeda hoped to lure America into a foolish overreaction that would alienate the West from the Islamic world, weaken America's will, and help spread Al Qaeda's message of extremism and violence. Few people helped them achieve these goals more than Dick Cheney did. So why would they want to kill him?

Comment Re: Of course... (Score 5, Insightful) 419

I think we'd (the Linux community) be a lot farther ahead if they got together and implemented a single solution that solved all the known requirements.

Except that people don't agree on what the requirements are. Your requirements are not the same as mine. Even people that share requirements may not agree on what is the best solution. Your proposal will likely lead to this.

Comment Re:What purpose does HFT serve? (Score 1) 321

Except that a neutral third party (the exchange) could connect the willing buyer and willing seller who both are willing to perform the transaction at higher prices, and split the difference.

This is exactly how the system currently works. But the key point you are missing is that the HFTers are the exchange. The exchange is operated by the members, which are the HFTers.

Comment Re:What purpose does HFT serve? (Score 1) 321

Where would that trade go if there were no HFTers? I bet it would go to another brokerage that was buying/selling, or to a market maker, which would move the price. What makes the HFTs necessary, other than their overwhelming presence in the trading volume by virtue of being there?

If HFT was outlawed, old fashioned cigar smoking brokers would presumably come back, and they would charge fat fees, just like they used to. But the world would continue to turn. I am not saying that HFTers are necessary, just that they are beneficial.

Comment Re:Because it can be harmful (Score 1) 321

HFT is innocuous when it works. When it goes haywire, it can have very real consequences. Have you already forgotten the "flash crash"?

The "flash crash" was NOT caused by HFT. It was caused by "programmed trading" which existed long before HFT, and, in fact, existed long before computers.

Comment Re:What purpose does HFT serve? (Score 0) 321

The are solving problems then they themselves are creating.

No. They are solving problems inherent in markets. By increasing transaction speed, they are reducing risk, resulting in lower transaction costs.

I guess on the plus side we have some advancement of FPGA technology and real-time systems... Somehow this still seems like a net waste.

Before HFT, spread were wide, and brokers owned big yachts. Today the old brokers are bankrupt, and instead most of the money goes to the investor, and some money goes into system research and salaries for the researchers. This is a big improvement. Most of the people wishing for the "good ole days" of the trading pits, are not old enough to actually remember them.

Comment Re:What purpose does HFT serve? (Score 2, Informative) 321

Umm, bullshit. The exchange is supposed to match up buyers and sellers. That's what exchanges are FOR.

The exchanges are made up of their members. The members are brokerages that execute trades on behalf of their clients. You, as an individual, cannot log into the NYSE computer and execute your trade anymore than you could have walked into the pit during the old paper-based days. So why can't you trade with a "member" instead of a HFTer? Because the members are the HFTers. For all practical purposes, the HFTers are the exchange.

Comment Re:What purpose does HFT serve? (Score 2, Informative) 321

And in exchange for this liquidity, we get flash crashes

The flash crash was not caused by HFT. In fact, the SEC investigation determined that most active HFTers were trading against the decline, thus making the crash less severe. One of the SEC recommendations was to find a way to keep more HFTers active during big swings because they help to keep the markets stable.

Comment Re:Easy solution for all their technical problems. (Score 2, Informative) 321

I'm ok with paying a little for the service of buying a stock.

You can! There are plenty of brokers out there that would be happy to charge you extra. Or you could just flush your surplus money down the toilet for the same end effect.

What can't you do if you don't have quarter-cent microsecond trades?

Let's turn the question around: What do you hope to gain by passing yet more laws that prohibit consenting adults from engaging in transactions that you think should be banned because you don't understand them?

Comment Re:No Value from this (Score 1) 321

these are purely middle men that do nothing more than raise the prices of the commodity they're working with

Actually, they are middle men that lower the price of the commodity. You should look at the history of transaction costs before and after the adoption of HFT. The have fallen dramatically. If they didn't offer better prices, why would anyone trade with them?

the system could, and should, do without them. They server no benefit to the actual users who are using the system as it was intended and globally designed

You have a weird mental model of how stock markets work. They have always relied on middle men to execute the trades. The only difference today, is that the HFTers are far more efficient.

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