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Comment How (Score 4, Insightful) 371

How is this possible. There are dozens of government programs, corporate program, and not profit programs all pushing "Women in Tech". Millions upon millions of dollars have been spent encouraging women to join the tech field. In a society the is getting ever less sexist. And for all this the participation rate is going down?

Maybe these groups should reevaluate what they are doing and try to understand why women aren't interested in joining the tech workforce. It's seems crying sexism at every opportunity is not an effective strategy.

Comment UBI is a fantasy (Score 1) 893

UBI is a solution that won't work, for a problem that doesn't exist.

This story that "all the jobs are going away" is false. Just take a quick look at the Employment Rate (not the Unemployment Rate) over at the BLS and you can see that a great percentage of the population is employed today (59.8%) than at any time before November of 1978. If UBI was the answer it would have come about in the previous decades when fewer people were employed, not today. And certainly not during the 2008 bubble when this whole UBI theory started gaining traction.

But even if it were the case that jobs are going away, UBI still wouldn't be the answer. The idea that you can just give cash handouts to the whole population is silly. The GDP per capita in the US is about $50k. If you going to give everyone enough income, about $12k according the Dept. Health, that means a tax rate of 24% of GDP to pay for bare minimum of UBI. And that is on top of the 27% that the government currently taxes, which already doesn't bring in enough income to balance the budget. To balance the budget you would need to bring the tax rate up to the expenditure rate which is currently 41% of GDP and add UBI's 24% on top of that. By the time it's all said and done the government would account for almost 2/3rds of the entire economy; for a minimum UBI. If you want a UBI that allows for a little more comfort, say $20k, then the government would now account for 4/5ths of the entire economy. Who the hell is going to invest in an economy like that?

Never mind what a disaster it would be for the labour force. We know that the utility of income is marginal. A $0.50 pay raise means a lot more to someone making $10/h than it does to someone making $50/h. People today work for $10/h because that is a huge step up from nothing. But if everyone is getting a $20k/year free handout who is going to work for $10/h? $10/h is only $20k/year, that's a paltry marginal increase for having to work an extra 40hrs a week. So in order to attract workers, pay will have to rise, which means price of good and services will rise, which means the UBI will have to rise. You think big business is shipping jobs to China and India now? Just wait until the price of labour in the new UBI economy stabilizes.

UBI is a classic example of something that sounds like a great idea in theory, but in practice would be an unmitigated disaster.

Comment Confirmation (Score 1) 149

What they are really saying is that learning machines are confirming politically incorrect beliefs. A lot of stereotypes are based on a kernel of truth, and given enough processing power and data that truth is coming to the forefront. When people were crunching the numbers is was easy to blame prejudice or some kind of *ism. But learning algorithms don't have that, they just learn patterns. What there researchers are doing has nothing to do with fostering equality, it's about avoiding embarrassing truths.

It reminds me of when polar explorers were shocked at the "sexual depravity "of penguins so they wrote their reports in Greek and kept the truth hidden. Sometimes society just isn't ready to handle the truth.

Comment Re:ELI5 (Score 1) 119

The D-Wave machines are essentially analogue computers that use quantum effects to perform one specific algorithm: simulated annealing. Simulated annealing is an optimization algorithm that can find good solutions to complex problems. There is a lot of debate about whether D-Wave should be called a quantum computer since it isn't Turing complete, it can only do one thing. The D-Wave machine is to quantum computing what Charles Babbage's difference engine is to modern computing. There is also the issue of whether or not the D-Wave is actually faster than contemporary classical computers.

Comment Re:Giant Douche or Turd Sandwich (Score 1) 867

The rule was implemented back in the primaries because the sub kept getting brigaded by BernieBros, and no amount of bitching was going to get the admins to do something about it. There is a separate subreddit linked on the sidebar for people who want to debate or ask questions.

The irony of course is that many of those same brigaders ended up joining /r/The_Donald after seeing what the DNC did Bernie. Then double your irony when /r/news tried to suppress the Orlando Shootings as soon the media reported that the attacker was Muslim, leading lots of people who don't even like Trump signing up to /r/The_Donald just see news that get suppressed elsewhere on reddit.

Comment Fake (Score 2) 867

Money man for what? People have been posting memes on reddit for years, long before this election. It doesn't cost any money to post a silly picture on the internet. This guy didn't / doesn't do jackshit. They call themselves "nimble America" but memes like nimble, centipede, coats, were established a year ago. He is just trying jump on the hype train. Expect to see some merchandise or or PAC get spun out of this.

Comment Re:Is Donald Trump racist (Re:Stick a fork in....) (Score 3, Interesting) 612

Just to clarify your post. CNN didn't make the claim that he was talking about racial profiling. They quoted him, with quotation marks, saying the words "racial profiling" even though he never said those words. This isn't something they misinterpreted, took out of context, or spun. This is a quote that CNN fabricated out of whole cloth. And the rest of the media jumped on and started quoting using CNN as a source, even though many of them had their own reporters at the event and could have, should have, fact checked with their own people and discovered was false.

Comment Re: Market failure (Score 2) 428

It's pretty simple. There are people all over the city willing to pay for Uber rides and if they all pay the same amount then the Uber drivers will be distributed equally. However after the terrorist attack the people near the site of the bombing were willing to pay a higher than average price. As a result the Uber drivers will have an incentive to to service those people close to the attack. This results in more Uber service being directed towards the site of the attack.

Now look at the alternative.

A taxi driver gets paid the same amount no matter what the conditions are. There is no incentive for a taxi driver to prefer a ride near the attack over one some place else. In fact given the reported possibility that there may be more bombs in the area, a rational taxi driver would prefer to take on a fare away from the site of the attack for the sake of personal safety. The result is less taxi service available at the site of the attack.

Price fixing is a nice simple idea, but it's almost never the solution.

Comment FSF (Score 2) 537

What about GNU, Linux, and the FSF? Does providing millions of people with free (in beer and speech) software not count for anything?

Or how about the EFF defending people's rights online. Helping educate people about the importance of encryption and stopping big business from tracking your every move.

Has wikipedia not become a central source of free information the world over? Has wikileaks not provided a safehaven for whistleblowers the world over?

Techies have done a lot for the world in the last 10 years.

Comment A happy medium (Score 1) 220

I'm fine with this. The idea of freedom of speech is about allowing people say what they think, even if it is unpopular. However, there is no mandate that people have to listen to you. Creating tools to help people filter out speech they aren't interested in hearing in such a way that it only affects the listener is a great idea. If some people want live in their own little bubble /safe-space let them, it doesn't hurt anyone else. This is a much better solution than other sites (cough twitter cough) use that would remove the post altogether. A mechanism we've seen abused again and again to stifle speech that is unpopular.

Comment And what if they find there is no problem? (Score 3, Insightful) 321

The central problem with projects like this is the result is already determined. They've already decided that movies are horribly sexist before the first line of code was written. Think about it. What if, after detailed analysis, it was determined that there is no problem, that women and men are treated roughly equal? What happens then? It can't happen, it wouldn't be acceptable. The funding would dry up, and they would be shutdown. It would be like the NRA releasing a study saying guns are bad. And good luck getting funding in the future, if you can't produce results that affirm what we "know to be true" then clearly you are a terrible researcher.

Comment Re:Peter Thiel didn't bankrupt Gawker (Score 4, Informative) 242

Bankruptcy is an absurd punishment over a celebrity sex tape. But that isn't what bankrupted them.

Gawker got taken to court to have the film taken down, and lost. But decided to keep spreading the film anyway, and wrote an article bragging that they were going to ignore the ruling. Giving a big middle finger to the judicial system. That is what did them in. The court would have let them off much easier if they hadn't been complete assholes. It didn't help that AJ Daulerio "joked" that he would have given the green light to publish child porn.

Finally the punishment wasn't to bankrupt them. Hogan only sought $100 million in damages, it was the court that felt he was owed more.

Comment Sham (Score 1) 1052

The whole thing is a sham. The people behind this want UBI so they are rigging up a system to "prove" that it work.

This "experiment" is useless because it's only testing the easy part of the UBI, handing out money, while completely ignoring the hard part: collecting. What will happen to people if we give them free money? Their lives will improve obviously! This isn't in question. In fact it isn't even new. If they really wanted to know the answer to that question they could just research people who have won cash for life lotto prizes, those have been around for a long time and would be a much more cost effective way to study giving out free money.

If they want to test UBI they need to test the part that will actually be difficult: paying for it. Anyone who has seriously looked into UBI recognises that it's an insanely expensive proposal. The much bandied about "efficiencies" and replacing existing services won't even come close. To make UBI work there would have to be a massive tax increase, and that is the part that is the hard sell. Jacking up everyone's taxes so that people can choose to sit at home and do nothing all day.

This "experiment" has nothing to do with testing UBI. It's about putting the name UBI on an experiment that can't possibly fail so they can hold it up as proof that UBI works.

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