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Comment Re: EEs not needing to know basics of programming (Score 1) 663

Furthermore, non-CS majors (like mechanical and electrical engineers) don't have to understand the very basics of programming, they don't have much relevance to their field. For CS majors, start off with languages like C because their job is to understand the very very basics.

Perhaps I misunderstood what the basics of programming mean to you, or maybe times have changed in the 15 years since I got my BS in electrical engineering and became a HW engineer. In school, among other things, I was first taught how to make computers from scratch, then we learned some different computer architectures, then how to program them in assembly. At work, even though I do not get to design computers and program them in assembly, I do get to wire up ram, nvram, adc, dac, control lines to analog circuits, etc., pick their address in the programmers model, and then write c code to test that it's working right before handing it off to a team of embedded SW engineers. The programmers I'm working with are using c, so I will be using c as well. BTW, half of the programmers I work with have an EE degree too.

But I digress. As far as I could glean from your post, you're saying the basics of programming are knowing what is actually going on in the hardware. It used to be that HW engineers were EEs. Maybe something has changed in the curriculum since then, but in my job, you need to know how to bias an op-amp plus much other analog stuff, AND how to setup the programmers model of the HW the way the SW guys want it and much other digital stuff. Seems like EE is still the place where people like that are going to come from.

P.S. I know a few mechanical engineers who program traction control, active suspension, etc. Those guys need to know programming basics too.

Comment Re:It was for a seminar (Score 1) 460

From what you say it seems like you are not aware of the basic mechanism of money creation and think, like most do, that only governments make money. You need to understand that debt and money are fungible, and that all money in our system is created through debt. You need to understand that most money is created by private banks (not the central bank) through the practice of fractional reserve lending, leveraged investments, and other business practices that act to inflate the money supply without corresponding GDP growth. Obviously, banks like to lend as much money as possible at high interest rates, what may not be so clear is why a government would give banks this power? The governments of the world allow banks to have this power because it enables deficit spending by governments, whether for entitlements or for war, without the political fallout of raising taxes or direct inflation.

You will never see the regulation you seek for this reason. Neither big business nor the government is interested in reigning in their excesses. If they were, there would never be a Central Bank in the first place. Central Banks are there to make sure that when bankers get so greedy that they break a market, the government will bail them out. In return, the government gets to secretly tax people through inflation and deficit spend without political fallout.

Over the last 2 decades, at the behest of financial interests, our politicians quietly removed the last vestiges of protections instituted after the 1929 Crash. Over the same period, we have seen the most largest and most rapid increase in money supply in US history. Here are some of the most important deregulations. Please note that these measures pass with overwhelming support from both sides and during presidential terms from both parties.

Fractional Reserve requirements had been steadily lowered for years, until by 1995, there were was no reserve requirement on most money.

After 2 decades of intense lobbying by banks, in 1999, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley act revoked parts of the Glass-Steagal act, allowing investment banks to act as commercial banks thereby enabling the CDO/MBS disaster that happened only 8 years later.

In 2004 the regulations on brokerages limiting them to "only" 12x were lifted to up to 50x! For comparison, individuals are only allowed 4x leverage.

I am not sure about why you keep bringing up floating exchange rates, artificial pegs, trade deficits, Bretton Woods, etc. You are missing the forest for the trees. China did not do anything to us. We did it to ourselves by allowing our GDP to be offshored around the world so a bunch of rich dudes could get richer at the expense of everyone else. The US has spent the last 20 years falling in love with pure finance at the expense of all real-GDP-increasing activities. Everyone thought their tech stocks and houses were "appreciating" and making them rich, when it was only an instance of compartmentalized inflation that our government is now actively bleeding into the real economy to the tune of doubling the M0 Monetary Base in a month. Doubled. in. one. month.

If governments never printed a cent, inflation would still be caused by allowing banks to lend at fractional reserve. Without central banks, they can only go about 10-20 years before they get too greedy and blow up. With central banks, stupid and greedy banks are not allowed to fail on a large scale. The Fed bails them out, making temporary inflation permanent. Of course, governments do spend, so the problem is worse. Due to the mechanism used, more money than the last time is always be needed to fix the next problem. It is essentially a ponzi scheme that has taken nearly 100 years to get to the point where we are hitting the knee of the curve. This is the first breath of hyperinflation. The worst is still a few years away, but not many.

Comment Re:It was for a seminar (Score 1) 460

You can sell the gold back to the dealer you got it from. Gold dealers are not like Walmart. They are happy to buy back merchandise so they can sell to someone else. They make money on the spread.

By the way, you can't buy bullion gold from the mint anymore, they only sell to dealers now. You can still buy overpriced proofs if you want to waste money.

Another way to get the market price is trade the gold or silver coin for something of comparable value, like a box of commercial ammo for a silver coin or a new scoped deer rifle or a no frills AR-15 with a few magazines for the gold coin. A used top of the line Lenovo would go for about 1 or 2 gold coins depending on year and condition.

Be careful. You are, at that point, using gold and silver AS money instead of your credit card, so you need to remember to pay any taxes owed. Luckily the face value on the coins is quite low. ;)

Comment Re:It was for a seminar (Score 1) 460

Ron Paul's precious Gold Standard would never work in an International Market.

The Gold Standard was good back in the 1800~1930s but it's old and out dated as hell. Welcome to the digital age.

What a bunch of nonsense. If gold is not considered a monetary metal, then why is it traded at forex prop desks at primary brokerages worldwide instead of at the commodities desk? If gold is so stupid, why did the Bank of China just announce in April that it doubled it's gold reserves to over 1000 tons of gold? On top of that, China just laughed your hero Tim Geithner out of the country for stating that the US had a strong dollar.

I suppose the Chinese Communist Party is a big Ron Paul supporter? Think about it. They must know something you don't.

We would still have a gold standard, except for the fact that gold standards are not compatible with debt based monetary creation and fractional reserve banking. It took only 17 years from the creation of the Fed to when the government was forced to move off a domestic gold standard. It took only 40 more years before we had to move off an international gold standard. Finally, 40 years after THAT, we are approaching the final chapter to this 100 year inflation.

Your "modern system" is just an institutionalized debauchment of the money supply by everyone in power. The government deficit spends, the banks make bad loans for the interest, the financial market makes commissions of trades, the insurance companies take premiums and invest the proceeds, the real estate industry makes CDO's. The politicians make the taxpayers backstop these crooks every time they go too far. These people all work hard at what they do, but what they make is only a bigger supply of money. It works great until it breaks. It only took 100 years to start breaking in the biggest and best economy the world ever saw to date.

Comment Linguistic manipulations do not equal solutions (Score 2, Interesting) 460

I-bonds are only a hedge against inflation to which the government will admit. Over the last 40 years, official measures of inflation have been massaged into disingenuous articulations that even a child could perceive.

Someone considering the use of "forever postage" as a viable store of wealth must not have much wealth to protect. Furthermore, I do not believe that there is anything that would prevent the post office from going out of business, slowing their delivery times, or for that matter decreeing that it takes more than one "forever stamp" per first class letter.

"inflation protected securities" and "forever postage" are both nice sounding names, but using these names to linguistically solve your problems is only going to lead you into trouble. Look deeper into how things work before trusting them.

Comment The ACLU is NOT abstaining, they are taking a side (Score 1) 460

The ACLU has taken the position that owning the means to self defense is a "collective right"; the same position as every state that institutes draconian gun laws. They also use the same glib and anachronistic interpretation of what "well regulated" means that is common to all groups opposed to citizens owning the means to self defense.

I am not arguing that they should have to protect every civil liberty, they can do what they want. I am saying that they have actively taken an anti-gun legal stance. They are not neutral. They have lent their public voice to the anti self defense side.

Who knows? Maybe they did it in order to retain a certain membership level since that is how they get money. In our current polarized political environment it is hard to step outside of one of the established camps without losing membership.

It does not matter. In 10 years, the state will probably confiscate all guns at the same time that 80% of former anti-gunners have changed their mind. Welcome to the American police state.

Comment Re:Consider the implications of what you wrote (Score 1) 236

Money is any universally accepted medium of exchange. In our system much of the things people use as money every day, such as credit card transactions or checking accounts are not considered money by you but are considered money by everyone else, including the Federal reserve, which you can easily verify by acquainting yourself with the m0-m3 money series available at their website.

My example works just fine even if you and Bob and Jack and Jill maintain full claim on the funds you've deposited.

No. Your IOU is not universally accepted. It is considered a non-negotiable liability. Bank IOUs are counted as assets on their balance sheet.

if private banks can create money, how can there ever be a run on a bank?

Because they created too much money. At that point, other banks stop honoring that bank's notes, they are no longer universally accepted. Recent history shows that the Fed and Treasury will act as the lender of last resort to bail them out.

Since you dodged my last question, I will repeat it: If only the Fed can create money, then why is M0, the monetary base, only 1.8 trillion when the M2 is 8.3 trillion and M3 is 14.5 trillion? The answer is that private banks create money too.

In our system, ALL money is created by debt. money and commercial debt are fungible. The very fact that a year ago, the M0 was only $800 billion and is now more than doubled to $1800 billion due to bailouts should be all the evidence that anyone needs to see that the federal government considers commercial bank obligations to be money. They are backstopping the banks.

If you write me an IOU (ie a note) because you owe me money, It is redeemable at only one place: the "bank of you". If you give me a note written from a bank (cashiers check), that note is redeemable at any bank for Federal Reserve Notes. If there is a banking crisis, the FDIC will honor a cashier's check from a failed bank. So there is a big difference between you promising me money, and a bank promising me money.

Yes, the Fed is backstopping the rest of the banking system, which demonstrates that it is not the only entity creating money. Other banks create money that the Fed will honor as they see fit.

Comment Your example is incorrect. (Score 1) 236

You have not done the example right. Depositors have full claim on their deposits, even though the bank has lent out most of the money. The bank handles this by creating an IOU entry in its books for the amount loaned. These IOUs are known as Commercial Bank Money and are honored by the Fed and other banks.

Since the Fed won't honor IOUs that I make, I think it is clear that there is a difference between me and a chartered bank.

If only the Fed can create money, then why is M0, the monetary base, only 1.8 trillion when the M2 is 8.3 trillion and M3 is 14.5 trillion? The fed is not the only one creating money.

Comment No, I am not mistaken. (Score 1) 236

Banks are only allowed (by federal law) to lend out a portion of their deposits. (Hence the term fractional reserve.)

No. Banks are supposed to keep a fraction of deposits on hand, hence the term fractional reserve.

If I deposit $100 into my bank, how much can they lend out?

account 1 lend 90 and hold back 10
account 2 lend 81 and hold back 9
account 3 lend 72 and hold back 7
etc..
this infinite sum terminates at 900 loaned, 100 on reserve. 30-40 iterations gets most of the value. Since banks earn interest on every dollar loaned, they have every incentive to do this. To make you feel more comfortable, you can imagine a scenario where there are two banks each lending back and forth to create the chain, although it is not necessary. It might make it easier for you to digest if you consider that banks are not lending THEIR money, they are lending DEPOSITORS money, so each of these accounts may be owned by a different person. Exactly who's money do you think that banks loan out?

Private banks do create money whenever they create loans. If the loan is retired or defaulted, the money is destroyed, otherwise it stays in the system.

Comment Sorry, but you have not been told the truth (Score 1) 236

We did not go to a fiat system to stabilize the money supply, we went to this system because it benefits banks, financiers, and spendthrift governments. Sure, if correctly managed, fiat money could be destroyed as easily as created, but that has never been the case. Just look around. Do you see a stable money supply?

Banks benefit because, under our system, all money is created by debt so money and debt are fungible. Using fractional reserve banking, banks can lend over 9 dollars for every 1 that is deposited. In other words, they collect interest on money that they created at the time they loaned the money. You cannot do this because you do not have a banking charter.

Financiers benefit because most of this money enters the financial markets where it can be traded around for commissions and to enter into "undertakings of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is".

Spendthrift government benefit because instead of having to print money visibly through the treasury, they can sell treasury bonds into accounts at the Fed to create the money. Politically, this does not look like inflation to the uneducated public, who is happy to take all the freebies.

Throughout history, the favored way to tax has been inflation because it is easier to accomplish, harder to detect, and because there is a delay between when the inflation is perpetrated and when it shows up in higher prices. In the end, however, all such schemes meet their doom due to exponential growth meeting human timescales. In our case, we made it just shy of 100 years before the wheels came off.

Comment You assume there was a relationship (Score 1) 623

between cutting jobs and changing market cap.

Market cap is determined by the STOCK MARKET. 1980-1985 marked the commencement of a 20 year bull market, the longest bull market in history.

In bull markets stocks trend up, in bears they trend down. The underlying business of the company has much less to do with stock performance than market sentiment. Company performance and stock price are not tightly coupled. As long a company does not totally F up in a bull market, and they are in a hot sector, the stock will go up.

That being said, Since GE was a bigtime defense contractor and 80-85 marked the beginning of Reagan era defense spending, GE was going to do well. That era also saw some very rapid monetary expansion and GE Capital got a healthy piece of this business too.

Anyway, I think the waters are pretty muddy on a causal relationship between cutting divisions and workforce, and subsequent stock market performance.

Comment "Overproduction" did not cause great depression. (Score 4, Insightful) 387

It was caused by a shortage of money. The Fed tightened, causing a deflationary collapse. Without a certain critical mass of money, the economy will not function. The speculative excesses of the 20's were caused by a loose monetary policy that was then whipsawed to an overly tight policy. Ironically, the entity responsible for these actions, the Fed, was supposedly created to "smooth over" business cycles, not exacerbate them.
Microsoft

Submission + - Being Hunted By a Microsoft Recruiter (mywhidbey.com)

workohol writes: Anyone with a resume online has probably been contacted by a Microsoft recruiter. The headhunters that Microsoft employs could best be described as ... persistent. A friend recently had his first encounter with one. This recruiter deployed some interesting tactics, making a terribly funny blunder while trying to convince him to join the team.

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