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Comment Re:Good? More like "Good Luck" (Score 1) 260

Do you believe a single person punished in that incident was actually a powerful decision-maker?

Punishing the people who give the orders is important. But it is often even more important to punish the people that follow the orders as well. There are a lot more order followers than order givers, and every one of them should have an incentive to refuse to obey, or even better, report the illegal activities. There should be accountability at every level, and no one should be able to get away with the Nuremberg defense of "I was only following orders."

Comment Re:Good? More like "Good Luck" (Score 5, Insightful) 260

China is not immune to politics. Being aligned with the wrong person at the wrong time, you can end up being made a high profile example.

Exactly. This is the whole point of the legislation. Now they can use "pollution" as an excuse to purge political enemies, while claiming to be "tough" on the environment.

Excessively harsh penalties tend to be counter-productive because they are almost never carried out, thus resulting in a culture of impunity. A $5 fine for littering would be far more effective.

Comment Re:Ruin the US wheat crop, get a prize! (Score 1) 271

Countless acres: One site in Oregon

Out of the 200 million acres of wheat planted in North America, it was so conveniently only found exactly where the anti-GMO activists looked for it, but subsequently no where else. If I was a conspiracy theorist, I would say that the anti-GMO activists found it so easily, because they planted it.

Comment Re:Star Chamber much? (Score 2) 172

And by the way who the FUCK is overseeing the chain of evidence?

RTFA. The NSA data was not used as evidence in court. The NSA data was used to identify suspicious behavior, and establish probable cause, but all the evidence used to convict was collected by normal law enforcement. A chain of custody is not required for all evidence. It is only required for evidence used in court.

Comment Re:Uhm Yeah (Score 2) 163

They will get blown out of the first court. Thats the norm.

Federal judges have lifetime appointments, and little inventive to rule against what they actually believe to be right. Since Google HQ is in California, the first court is likely to be in the 9th district, which has a reputation for smacking down government overreach. Google may ultimately lose, but it isn't a certainty.

Comment Re:Sometimes I think *de*regulation is the answer (Score 1) 152

frontrunning

Frontrunning is illegal, regardless of whether it involves HFT. An obvious solution is to make it illegal for a single company to be both a broker (trading on behalf of their customers) and a trader (making money on their own trades).

tiny statistical arbitrage between similar stocks

No, arbitrage increases liquidity, decreases volatility, makes the market more efficient and stock prices more fair, and is a Good Thing.

Comment Re:Sometimes I think *de*regulation is the answer (Score 1) 152

In fact, the crash would have been less severe if HFTers had better models which would have allowed them to stay active during the crash.

This is pure speculation, not a fact.

It is enough of a fact to be accepted by the SEC. One of the recommendations of the 2010 investigation was to find a way to keep HFTers active during periods of volatility. Perhaps even requiring them to actively trade in order to keep markets liquid.

Comment Re:Sometimes I think *de*regulation is the answer (Score 2) 152

People keep saying that HFT needs to be regulated to avoid crazy spikes and crashes due to algorithms with stupid positive feedback loops.

There is no evidence that HFT causes spikes and crashes. Actual evidence says the opposite: by increasing liquidity, HFT reduces volatility. HFT was initially blamed for the "flash crash" in 2010, but when the investigation was complete, it was found that most HFTers had pulled out of the market during the crash, and HFT played no role in causing or exacerbating the crash. In fact, the crash would have been less severe if HFTers had better models which would have allowed them to stay active during the crash.

Comment Re:Good (Score 1) 476

Tax them! These speculative transactions do not add value to the economy.

HFT is not speculation. It is the exact opposite. HFTers are market makers, not speculators. This tax will result in higher spreads between buy and sell prices, and will be passed onto you in the form of higher transaction costs whenever you buy or sell a stock. It isn't clear to me what people that want to constrain HFT are trying to accomplish. Reduce volatility? The balance of evidence is that HFT results in less volatility. Encourage long term investing? Average hold time of stocks is actually correlated with lower overall economic growth. Stop people from doing something that sounds scary to people that don't understand it? Maybe.

Comment Re:Would anyone care if it crashed? (Score 0) 128

Fill the plane with Engineers, Computer Scientists, Scientists, Technicians, and the other people who actually make the world work, and you might have something.

Unlikely. People that are good at implementing solutions are not always the same people that are good at envisioning them. My experience is that techies are the worst people to have at a brainstorming session. When an idea is floated, instead of expanding on it, they start nitpicking the technical details. Example: The people on the plane came up with some interesting and provocative ideas, and nearly every comment here is "This won't work because ...."

Comment Re:Cute. Too bad it won't scale up... (Score 2) 113

to be a significant power sources without either destroying foodcrops or natural ecologicies

Plenty of cropland is already used for biofuel. If we can do so more efficiently, then more area will be available for food and/or nature.

or get more than about 5% efficiency - less than a solar panel.

Comparing biofuels to solar panels in area efficiency is silly. Solar panels cost hundreds of dollars per sq meter. Cropland does not. The important metric is not watts/area but watts/dollar. Also biofuels are liquid and can be used as transportation fuel in affordable vehicles. Solar electricity cannot.

Keeps everyone hopeful, despite the complete silliness.

TFA is completely devoid of any technical information, so I don't think you don't have enough information to determine if her invention is silly or not.

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