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Comment Framing? (Score 5, Insightful) 315

This is possibly the most deliberately confusing way to try to explain our chances of war to anyone. Twenty minutes to midnight means a 0% chance? Why are we restricting a scale designed to have 720 minutes to just 20? This is just designed to scare people (for whatever reason) into thinking war is more probable than it really is. I have no problem with the panel, just the manner in which they displayed their results.

Submission + - Is There Statistical Evidence of Election Fraud? (reddit.com) 1

Haffner writes: Commenters over on reddit seem to believe that there exists a statistical anomaly in voting records for Romney. They've shown that for large precincts, Romney's cumulative vote distribution increases linearly over time — a statistical anomaly — and that this happens many times. Is this good evidence?

Submission + - What Ultra-Portable Laptops Are Best? (engadget.com)

Haffner writes: I'm in the market for buying a second computer that I can carry around everywhere. I currently have a laptop that I use for gaming, statistical processing, and graphics work, but at 18.4" and 10+ lbs, it is difficult to carry when traveling, and is too large for many workspaces. I'm interested in purchasing a second laptop exclusively for browsing and word processing that I can easily carry around with me, but I'm not sure what to get. I've looked at "ultrabooks" including the new Acer S5, and while these are appealing, I'm wondering if their $800+ prices are justified. Would anyone recommend these over a much cheaper, bulkier laptop? The only mandatory specifications I have are an SSD and at least 6 hours of battery life.

Comment Re:Small time (Score 1) 111

Part of it is that when you inflate an asset class domestically, there will be a reaction abroad. Let's say the real asset value of a house in the US is $X, and an equivalent property elsewhere is $Y. If in the US $X house is overpriced to, say aX where a>1, we would expect to see an equivalent investment abroad rise to bY, where there is a function f(a) = b (as there won't be a perfect correlation). HOWEVER, the net result is that one could hedge out most of the location/currency risk and be left purely investing on the value of the home. So, abroad people start buying houses at bY, which appears to be the rational price. Then, when everyone finds out that in the US the real value of the home is $X, prices fall, and pull down houses abroad to $Y. TLDR: housing abroad is affected because housing getting more expensive in the US makes housing more attractive elsewhere, and investors will try to arbitrage that.

Comment Re:PGP, GPG, etc. (Score 1) 71

Because the encryption technology currently available to the average user is pretty much useless if the NSA or other government agency takes an interest in your e-mail..

THIS is misleading. Maximum strength PGP encryption is virtually uncrackable, first of all. Second, the laws concerning cracking encrypted files are different from the authority necessary to get emails without a court order. I fault the courts here - make the court order process easier, but never, ever let anything be done without the approval of the justice system.

Comment Re:Removes more than it adds (Score 4, Insightful) 202

As a University of Chicago student, something that I think many people won't take into consideration here is how the library is geared toward the student body. The majority of students use the library as a place to work, rather than a place to get books. And honestly, as someone who does a fair amount of (economic) research, I don't even go to the library until I know what book I'm going to get (I have access to the online library catalog). I think most students view the new library as a cool new place to do work, rather than another place to find books at.

Submission + - Galleon Billionaire Convicted of Insider Trading (washingtonpost.com)

Haffner writes: "Hedge fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam was convicted on all 14 counts of fraud and conspiracy Wednesday in the biggest insider trading case in a generation.

The verdict was an historic victory for the Justice Department, which used tactics once reserved for investigations of mobsters, drug dealers and the like to expose financial professionals and corporate insiders trafficking in such business confidences as details about pending mergers."
No news on sentencing yet, but this looks like the conclusion to a massive insider trading case.

Comment Re:Nothing new to see here (Score 1) 373

I remember reading an interview with a Prison Break executive who said "So and so died in the 2nd season but we found a way to plausibly bring her back." Although I don't watch that show, if I did something like that would be a deal breaker for my continued viewership. I hate, hate HATE cheap plot toys to keep characters around.

On the other hand, sometimes a show like Fringe comes up with a clever way of retaining a character, e.g. flashbacks or alternate reality where a character is still alive.

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