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Comment Re: Auction of bitcoin? (Score 1) 67

I would like to extend on this - The Justice Department does have rules around this. When stocks (Google, MSFT, etc.) are sized they are sold on a exchange that meets minimum liquidity and transparency. Liquidity should be obvious - you don't want to crush the market by dumping a big block all at once. Transparency because you don't want a inside cartel depressing prices.

Comment Re:Jet is like a middleman to the cheapest price. (Score 1) 98

"Sold by and shipped by" means that Amazon is the retailer, has purchased the inventory, and they bear the risk and cost of holding that inventory.

Third party sells have 2 options. They can list on Amazon and ship from their warehouse. The other option is that they can rent warehouse space from Amazon. Amazon will then ship the goods for them. The 3rd party has to stock the warehouse and bears the risk and cost of inventory.

Comment Re:Where did the money come from? (Score 3, Insightful) 160

Laws have to factor in both actions and intent. If one relied on only one or the other abuses could occur. I suspect that you are having issues with the nebulas nature of intent.

Most fraud and white collar rely more highly on this than other crimes. Partly this is because criminals are more inventive and imaginative then legislators. Partly this is because the western legal system is designed to ban actions, not proscribe actions. i.e., if a law says you can't do something than you can do it.

I share some of your unease on overreaching laws but I think intent has to a important factor.

Comment Re:Did the value exist at all if it disappeared? (Score 1) 215

Here is one article that should not be behind a pay wall. :

If I have time I will try to dig up more. I don't think we are that far off from each other. I think their tech is better than "early promising research" even if it is not up to production quality.

Comment Re:Did the value exist at all if it disappeared? (Score 1) 215

Yes, sort off.

From what I have been reading, it looks like they rolled out their processes too quickly and promised too much. A buggy beta release of the latest FPS will cause the wroth of fan boys. But that is o.k. because the fan boys knew they were downloading a buggy beta release. Medical testing is a different ball of wax.

That being said, we know the lab has been able to do some pretty nifty things in terms of amount of work that could be done with a drop of blood. So there has to be something there.

Comment Re:Universal currency adoption... (Score 2) 47

I highly divisible universal currency being tested by banks. Might not be a horrible idea. Remove the necessity for currency exchange markets. If you economy is tanking, the price of goods increase but based off of a universally monitored and controlled currency with a specific market value. I don't necessarily like the idea of the value of the currency fluctuating independently of a given nations inflation, but the idea still would have merit to investigate.

I personally think it is a horrible idea. On the plus side I don't know of any banks that are interested in doing something like that.

If you are confused, the banks are only testing the "ledger" ability of block chains, not the "currency" aspect. The idea is that a block chain would be associated with asset (stocks, bonds, gold, whatever) and this asset could be traded directly between institutions and people without a trusted intermediary (a.k.a. the middle man). One interesting application, which boarder on science fiction, is the self-owning driverless car.

Comment Re:Just a moment, darling... (Score 1) 76

And whose fault is it that they are not comfy or pretty enough? I mean I am sure your wife, like mine, knitted her own socks from fiber that she has harvested, processed, spun, dyed? (It always surprises me how expensive DIY socks costs. I would have thought and some yarn and needles would be sufficient. But one has to have multiple spinning wheels, combs, etc. Then there are the conventions which are as weird as the science fiction conventions that I go to. The list goes on.)

Comment Re:Biased != Racist (Score 1) 445

It could also be a question of cultural competence. Higher income people tend to have more education so they know how the educational system works. Thus they can position their kids to do well on the tests, as was suggested by the article.

A good example of this is jigsaw puzzles. Jigsaw puzzles were one of the first tests used to measure IQ. In response, middle class parents bought more jigsaw puzzles. Their kid’s IQ increased. So, does exposing children raise their IQ or does it just help in passing a test? If it is just the latter than there are issues that need to be addressed.

On a side note, the article made me chuckle a little. I went to a magnet school in Houston many years ago. Back then its criteria was explicitly racist. Houston was under a court order to integrate. All of the white rich kids went to private school leaving behind poor black kids, so there was nobody left to integrate. The magnet schools were created to lure white children into the system so some balance could be achieved.

Comment Re:Let them write it on paper (Score 5, Insightful) 508

I will disagree, and I would argue that computers should not be intruded into this classroom.

I tutor inner-city kids. Common issues are highly mobile families, poverty, English as a second language, and refuge status. They are academically behind their peers. Their parents are unsophisticated or put little emphasis on education. Throwing even modest obstacles can derail them.

I get why computers are important to education. However, this has to be a school wide initiative, not a classroom one.

Comment Re:Sycamore Partners is the real buyer (Score 2) 107

Those are the partners – that is the management of Sycamore. However, that is not who owns them.

Think of Sycamore as an investment advisor of a investment company, which is kind of like a mutual fund – it is the just the scale is very different. A few outsider investors (pension funds, the ultra-rich, etc.) buy shares in the investment company. The investment company than buys companies.

Sycamore is paid on the performance of the fund. They may or may not have a direct ownership in the investment company and thus may not have any direct ownership of Hot Topic.

Comment Re:What next? (Score 4, Insightful) 107

I think you are missing the point. They are not going to merge the two organizations. Hot Topic will remain Hot Topic, ThinkGeek will remain ThinkGeek. Both will carry their own lines – I expect some cross over but not much.

However, in one sense they are very much alike. They both market pop culture goods to a niche market. Their goods are partially based on fads so they have a short shelf life. Lots of custom stuff that you can't find in a more traditional retail shop like Amazon or Wal-Mart.

What they are going to combing is the back off stuff. Accounting and procurement are at the top of my list.

Comment Re:The IMF should be worried (Score 1) 294

All of the alternatives involve seignorage or equivalent. Mobile payments and Amazon gift cards imply giving the telecom or Amazon an interest-free loan between the date the credit is paid for and the date it is redeemed - which is pretty much exactly the same as seignorage, which gives the government an interest free "float" to fill the gap between cumulative tax collections and cumulative government spending.

You have the concept of seigniorage slightly wrong. It has nothing to do with government tax collection and spending. Just as every Amazon gift card is a interest free loan to Amazon, every physical dollar is a interest free loan to the federal government. This is seigniorage.

That being said, I don't think we should spend much time with seigniorage. While it might be worth billions to the federal government, compared to the trillions that the government spends and borrows each year it is small change and has a low impact.

Comment Re:Kinda stupid since (Score 1) 531

I think you are missing my point.

There is not proof, nor can there be, that there is a soul. I think that is common ground between us. What then? Does this invalidate religion and faith? Can another human or government invalidate my faith? Nor more than they could impose religion or faith on anyone. Religion and faith is a personal thing.

If faith (or lack of faith) cannot be imposed on me how can I deny that right to a AI mind that equivalent to my own. I will further point out that many moral decisions we make have a religious dimension. I am using religion in a the broad sense of the word. There are secular and atheist "religions" out there. I used to attend a Human Secularist Sunday service.

Comment Re:Kinda stupid since (Score 3, Interesting) 531

Who is to say that a AI does not have a soul? Do you have some type of test to prove it does not? Will not future AIs be our children will rights as a corneous human? Or will they be some lesser beasts, shackled like slaves by imposed restrictions? And where do we draw the line? If we can perfectly simulate a brain, would that have some type of different rights?

I personally think that this AI / religion thing is somewhat silly. At this point it is so farfetched at this stage of development.

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Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him. - Fyodor Dostoevski