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Comment Re: Top down decision (Score 1) 250

Thanks, I've thought so too, but the Anonymous Coward claimed that stores would let him pay 3% less if he paid with cash.

I suspect that many business owners do not properly understand the costs associated with dealing in cash, and it is quite possible that some could give such a discount.

From a business point of view, offering such a discount could generate increased sales that might offset higher costs, so it isn't necessarily a bad move on the retailer's part even if it the discount is greater than the actual decrease in costs.

Comment Re: Top down decision (Score 1) 250

Can you give examples of specific stores that agree?

would they then at least take a check? 3% is probably enough, but I still think it is a pain to have to carry/deal with that kind of cash.

Generally, dealing with cash is NOT 3% less expensive than dealing in credit card payments for the merchant. There are issues of dealing in cash (some of it occasionally gets lost or stolen, someone needs to be paid for counting it and bringing it to the bank and properly entering it into the books, etc.) While it is PROBABLY cheaper for the merchant to take cash, dealing in cash is NOT free of expenses.

Comment Re:uhm... (Score 1) 284

one should perhaps consider that those reports are likely reflections of the underlying reality.

The fact that "consensus" claim cannot be valid has already been shown in this thread. A small minority within any community can always hijack a political conversation to create a perception of universal "consensus" through intimidation of skeptics and control of resources (thereby starving any voices of disagreement). The tone in which the AGW hypothesis is being defended suggests that critical voices are being stifled and their research is being excluded from the funding considerations. Fear and intimidation will get you consensus on just about any issue. The fact that a political organization is, once again, joining the chorus of politically-tainted claims puts in question the integrity of research. It does not mean that the facts claimed by the research are wrong. But it does mean that the research is not scientifically validated.

While the tone of the AGW hypothesis discussion in the political space does suggest the issues of potential fear and intimidation and the like, there is little evidence that the same holds true in the worldwide accademic research community. Despite a lot of searching for evidence of that type of "cherry picking" of funding or lines of inquiry, there is very little of it that I am aware of - and the claims of this type of biases are fairly weak upon further investigation. While it MIGHT be true that the evil overlords are suppressing the true and honest scientists while the lackey sheep scientists are putting their fingers on the scales in all their research, thus resusting in a paupacy of anti-AGW evidence and an overwhelming pile of pro-AGW evidence, a more likely reason for such a divide is that the AGW hypothesis is a more accurate model of the behaviour of the climate. Sometimes the reason all the results turn out in one way is because reality is in fact that one way (and by "sometimes" I mean "usually").

Similar to the idea that bacterium Helicobacter pylori is the primary cause of stomach ulcers, the initial idea was strongly questioned, but since the idea held up to a number of further studies, it was "quickly" accepted as the best model, and within 10 years from the initial idea, antibiotic therapy became the recommended standard treatment for ulcers. Even against the ecconomic and political pressures of estabilished interests, the science settled pretty quickly. I do not see a whole lot of difference in the global climate science community.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

What to do about public policy is clearly not settled, but the science questions have clearly moved beyond the "Is AGW the most accurate current model?" question and more towards the "What are the finer details of particular changes that can be made to the model and/or the imputs, and how do they effect the outcomes?"

Comment Re:uhm... (Score 1) 284

- I think that there are so many incentives and systems in place to combat those biases that it is possible to draw some fairly confident conclusions in most cases.

There are. But in some inquiries there more incentives for bias while in others there is more incentives against bias. And a purely political organization has more incentive for bias.

But all of the scientists who are actually making the reports have different incentives. Again, just because a bias might exist, does not mean that the results are invalid. Tossing out a report because it might be biased is not necessarily a bad idea, but if that report agrees with virtually every other report and study in broad terms, one should perhaps consider that those reports are likely reflections of the underlying reality.

Comment Re:If confirmed, does this make it realistic? (Score 1) 477

Yep, because we don't have any forces exerting mysterious action at a distance. Gravity, EM fields, etc. only operate through physical contact...

I'm not sure if you are being sarcastic here or not.

Most ways of thinking about quantum field theory (encompassing strong, weak, and EM forces) formalize the interactions between particles by the exchange of photons, gluons, and w/z bozons. The idea of "fields" ends up getting tied up in these exchange of the "field carriers", which travel between the particles experiencing the forces.

Thus, we don't have any "mysterious action at a distance".

OK, a quantum theory of gravity isn't really ready for prime time yet....

Comment Re:true but missing the point (Score 1) 540

Banjos. Banjos will fix that. Plus, millions of banjos will need to be made, creating thousands of jobs, and thousands more doing ongoing work in banjo support (strings wear out, etc).

Steve Martin had a bit back in the 1980s about issuing the unemployed bajos because it is hard to play a sad bajo tune, so everyone would be happy!

Comment Re:uhm... (Score 1) 284

Your example of a Catholic scholar and protestant dogma isn't very convincing in my mind, since the areas overlap so much - a Catholic scholar might have an interesting or useful point of view.

I am saying the opposite. I am agreeing with your point that political process is not at odds with fact finding. I am saying that it necessarily biases the announced results. Just as a Catholic scholar who would study Protestant dogma, would always need to find some point of disagreement (or stop being Catholic). The priority is to justify foregone conclusions. The facts may support them, but if they don't, then they need to "find different facts", so to speak. Which is why this:

Yes, it makes sense to take into account the motivation of people commissioning studies, but even if someone is biased, they can still come up with valid research.

doesn't hold up. The research may be accurate (in the sense that the reported observations were, in fact, observed), but you can't call it "valid" because it's impossible to tell which lines of inquiry were omitted or cut short in the investigation.

I guess we just have a completely different world view. This idea that someone "would always need to find some point of disagreement (or stop being Catholic)" just does not match my experience - there are a whole bunch of scholars who I have seen who are fully capable of this type of study. You do not have to be a beliver of X to say "People who believe in X hold this dogma Y to be valid". Even if you believe that X and Y are complete horseshit, or alternatively if you also hold X and Y to be direct from the mouth of God, it is not impossible that you can truthfully and accurately speak about the dogma in question.

It seems to me that you have claimed that it is imposible to call anything "valid" - because it is always impossible to tell which lines of inquiry were omitted or cut short in anybody's investigation. Which seems to be inconsistent with a whole bunch of stuff that we certainly seem to have accomplished in terms of our understanding of the world. While I agree that there are challenges in evaluating "truth" when of course there are some incentives and biases that do not always pull towards that goal - I think that there are so many incentives and systems in place to combat those biases that it is possible to draw some fairly confident conclusions in most cases.

Comment Re:Shipping documents (Score 1) 260

Since it happened a few years before you were there - perhaps the people relating the story to you misundrstood some of the details and it isn't as crazy as it seems. Or maybe it is.

Perhaps it had to do with "discovery" - if the messages were not turned over to the other side before the trail, durring the "discovery" phase, they might not have been admissible at the time of trial, while the one that had been printed out would have been turned over. Then the quesiton would have been why they all were not turned over earlier.

Comment Re:Fishing Expedition (Score 2) 124

It is not that simple. The IRS request is not a subpoena, it is an an administrative demand for information. They are not (yet) investigating a crime, but ensuring tax compliance. Your rights during a tax audit are not the same as your rights in criminal court. I hope Coinbase can stop this disclosure, but I am not optimistic. If the IRS prevails, then we should expect most bitcoin transactions to move offshore.

Perhaps, but the IRS has pretty long arms. Over the past few years they have been enforcing pretty heavy reporting requirements on financial instutions all over the world who deal with "USA Persons". They have been able to force foreign institutions to follow their rules by exterting pressure on the USA business dealings that those institutions might have. This can be a pretty powerful incentive. Many institutions deal with this by refusing to do business with any "USA Person", which can make it a royal pain in the ass to open a bank account if you happen to live somewhere other than the USA. Becoming a non-citizen is not very easy, and can be fairly expensive - http://www.theglobeandmail.com...

Here is a bit of info from the Canadian Bankers Association:
http://www.cba.ca/fatca-and-th...
"The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is legislation passed in the United States in 2010. FATCA is intended to detect "U.S. persons" who are evading U.S. tax using financial accounts held outside of the United States. Under FATCA, non-U.S. financial institutions are required to report relevant information to the U.S. tax authorities, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), about financial accounts held by identified U.S. persons. If a non-U.S. financial institution does not comply with FATCA, the IRS can impose a 30 per cent withholding tax on U.S. source payments paid to the financial institution or its clients."

Comment Re:uhm... (Score 1) 284

Steeped in politics, perhaps. Doesn't mean that they are wrong though. They are also pro-vaccine.

So? I didn't say they were wrong. I said they were not a scientific institution. So their understanding of the science, on average, is the same as they of laymen. And their priorities on which scientific opinions to shine the spotlight are guided by politics before science. Sometimes the two coincide. Sometimes they are of you sync. Let's just say that they are as credible on scientific issues as a Catholic scholar would be on protestant dogma (of any one particular denomination). Even if they are knowledgeable on the subject, they would still have a viewpoint which is influenced by goals other than fact finding.

But not neccessarily at odds with fact finding. The political processes benifits from finding facts - from a cynical point of view it is good to know what the facts are so you can decide what to lie about I suppose. There are a whole lot of examples of political bodies actually commissioning studies to actually find something out. Yes, it makes sense to take into account the motivation of people commissioning studies, but even if someone is biased, they can still come up with valid research.

Your example of a Catholic scholar and protestant dogma isn't very convincing in my mind, since the areas overlap so much - a Catholic scholar might have an interesting or useful point of view. Or are you saying that someone who is Catholic could not be a scholar of protestant dogma? Or that a Catholic scholar of protestant dogma would necessarily be much less "good" than an atheist scholar of protestant dogma?

Comment Re:Around the same time as the paperless bathroom (Score 1) 260

Sooner or later, I think we ought to have bidets

"This is That" comedy news:

Estevan, Saskatchewan is a small prairie town filled with hard working people who appreciate their neighbours and take pride in their community. Yet beneath the surface of this idyllic town lies conflict; and that conflict centres on Tom Babcock and his decision to start selling bidets in his plumbing shop.

"People around here are scared of these bidets because they don't understand them." - Tom Babcock, Babcock Plumbing

"Some folks don't like change, but I don't care, Estevan now has bidets and people should get used to it," says Babcock.

In this documentary we find out more about how a piece of plumbing designed for washing the buttocks can cause so much turmoil in a community.

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thisis...

Comment Re:Shipping documents (Score 2) 260

You shred documents? What do you do in case of legal trouble. A scanned image might be not considered proper for the legal process, as you can manipulate it.

And you can manipulate a paper document too.

Legal proceedings generally do work on a balance of evidence. Show up in a civil suit with a bunch of printouts of email messages discussing the terms of the contract and you will be believed over the someone who brings nothing. Show up with something that contradicts other evidence provided for someone else, and eventually your lawyer or their lawyer will be able to build up enough evidence inplicating someone purjuring themselvs.

There are hundreds of years of legal cases based on oral contracts and other such hard-to-authenticate things. While paper document in some instances might be "better" than electronic ones, that does not mean that electronic ones would be completely useles.

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