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

while in theory your idea is correct, the harsh reality is that in practice, the large investment firms increase their profits drastically because there are actually two markets. this isn't strictly legal, but it's there. the large firms have dedicated connections to the exchanges with guaranteed SLAs and lower latencies than any other regular participant in the market. this allows them to stuff the buy/sell queues and rapidly cancel orders before they go through. the purpose of this is to deduce other bidders' price points and gain an edge. there are a number of such hedge funds (and even a major bank whose name escapes me), for example, that have had perfect trading days for over a year. statistically impossible outcomes like this only come from gaming the system in the above mentioned manner. as usual, the regulators are asleep at the wheel and the markets become more volatile week to week with increasing flash-crashes exactly because of these schemes. more efficient markets these are not.

Comment Re:It's extremely good. (Score 1) 473

my take is that the biggest problems with the new release will be traceable back to hardware issues, compatibility or otherwise.

personal anecdote: dell inspiron mini 1012 that i just got over the summer. netbook and desktop editions work great with lucid, but the RC and the final release both botch up the sleep mode power management on the mini. the netbook goes to sleep and i can't wake it up without a hard reboot. i haven't tried sshing in or filing a bug report because i'm lazy. :P

Comment MRI scans for diagnostics (Score 1) 190

People wonder why the cost of health care is spiralling out of control. MRI scans are a very EXPENSIVE way to diagnose anything. I fear the additional cost (via increased demand) of scans will only put greater pressure on health care budgeting. I can already see greedy marketroids wringing their hands in anticipation of the forthcoming lucre.

Comment The problem ... (Score 3, Insightful) 483

... isn't that the mysterious bidders are "testing" the market to see if anyone is selling or buying at outrageous prices. the problem is that the bids being placed are not placed in good faith -- this is against the law in the USA.

the crazy, high-frequency bids are placed and then cancelled at high speed. they act as place holders waiting in line for the price to move in their favoured direction. however, since the vast majority of the time the bids are cancelled, they never execute. this results in the mirage of liquidity and the inevitable "Flash Crash" where sellers come in and all the buyers instantly disappear.

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