* Posts by Ossi

132 posts • joined 23 Jan 2010

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Uber isn't limited by the taxi market: It's limited by the Electronic Thumb market

Ossi

Re: Economy

@Lysenko

"Mathematics? (2 + 2 = <some value>). It doesn't matter what I want or need (2 + 2) to evaluate to, it IS "4" whether I like it or not (and trust me, I have frequently wished I could bend arithmetic to be what I want it to be)."

You're obviously confused by words having more than one meaning:

Value (noun)

(1) Relative worth, merit or importance

(2) Magnitude; quantity; number represented by a figure, symbol, or the like

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Ossi

Re: Economy

@Lysenko

Let's talk common sense. Nothing has a value unless someone wants or needs it. This is not an idea unique to economics. What other determinant of value could you possibly have?

Economists don't attempt to magic up a value for something - they wait until there's a trade. The person buying then reveals, by how much they're willing to spend, how much they want or need something. Money is proxy measure for this - you'll pay more for things you want more. The value is determined by how much somebody wants or needs something - their 'psychology', if you want to use those terms. The value is measurable in the price.

If no one wanted or needed cancer research then its value would be zero. It turns out, as you've pointed out, that we do want and need it. Economists don't decide what the value of things are - people do.

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Ossi

Re: Economy

@ Yet Another etc. If a trade takes place, then value has been created. A seller will sell only at or above the cost of inputs. A buyer will only buy at or below the value she places on a good or service. Both buyer and seller benefit from a trade otherwise, in free market, they will decide not to carry out the trade. Common sense really, but I think you appreciated that in your post.

What, I hear you say, about all those taxi drivers losing out? Yes, they'll lose, but the gain to consumers will be greater. It's difficult to explain why without drawing graphs, but consider the ad absurdum situation of regulations saying that there can only be 10 taxis in a city. It might be easier then to imagine how the profits of the few are easily outweighed by the lost benefit of the many. The same argument holds with larger but restricted numbers of taxis. The maximum value is not realised until the total number of taxis is such that the very cheapest taxi meets the very meanest consumer, so to speak. All value has then been rung out of the system.

That's not to say that regulation is a bad thing or Uber is a good thing, just that the economics are on Uber's side. There are other extremely good reasons for regulating taxis.

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Ossi

Re: Economy

"But we've already established in previous discussion here that economics is not yet, and may never be, a science. Economists talk about wealth depending how it advances their arguments..."

They've got a single and very clear definition of wealth, and it's pretty much the same as everybody else's: the total value of a person's net assets.

"One might make the point, for example, that 'wealth' in the end comes down to how many megajoules one is able to command"

There were economies before there were megajoules. And if you think that's pedantic, consider this: Da Vinci might use the same amount of 'energy' producing a painting as Rolf Harris, but Da Vinci will produce a lot more value.

So let's talk about value. Everything an economy produces is ultimately satisfying human beings in some respect: someone (or some organisation) somewhere will only pay for something if they want or need it - money is a proxy for the amount of "satisfying" something does: you would be willing to pay more for something you really enjoy than something you rather enjoy. Thus, the value of something ultimately is related to how much "satisfaction" it creates. That's why Mr Da Vinci's work creates more value than Mr Harris's.

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Ossi

Re: Economy

"So you're nearly right. The economy is limited by the resources available to us on this planet. One day, no matter how careful we are here with our resources on earth, we'll have to go off and mine some asteroids, etc."

Not quite. The "size" of the economy (and Worstall, probably for didactic reasons, plays fast and loose with the term 'wealth' in this article) is its output, i.e. the value of goods and services produced in a year. This is found simply by multiplying the number of people by how much each person produces (and this, remember, is largely services these days). Thus, the limiting factors are the number of people, and how much value each person produces (known as productivity). Productivity has been increasing for at least 200 years. You don't need more resources to increase productivity necessarily - you need cleverer ways of doing things. We've been finding those for 200 years, and Uber's a clear example of this. Indeed, getting more out of less is the very definition of productivity.

Those resources you're worried about are not leaving the planet. They're still here. We're using up the energy, sure, but we already have replacements for that.

Take a look at the second graph on this page (http://wilcoxen.maxwell.insightworks.com/pages/804.html) which shows energy intensity (i.e. the amount of energy used per unit of GDP) in good 'ol gaz-guzzling 'merica as an example of how more output can be got from fewer resources.

That's not to say there won't eventually be a limit - there might be - but I confidently predict the limit will be our ingenuity, not natural resources. Or, to put it another way, the limiting resource will be humans.

This is not an anti-green message, just the way things are. There are other perfectly good arguments for looking after our planet and avoiding waste.

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Is Windows RT not invited to the Windows 10 upgrade party?

Ossi

Re: RT seems pointless now

Bugger - my comment was aimed at a reply (the 'total dog' comment), not the original comment. I have a cheap Windows tablet and it's perfectly usable, and very useful.

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Ossi

Re: RT seems pointless now

You've never tried one, obviously.

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Saudi govt pauses flogging dad-of-3 for Facebook posts – after docs intervene

Ossi

Let's examine your argument shall we? First of all, does the fact that a government is "democratic" mean that you have to agree with what it does? The answer, I think, is no. Popular support for that government is beside the point.

Can you take action against a government, no matter how democratic, that you disagree with? Yes you can. It's up to you, for example, who you decide to trade with. They have the same right with regards to your government.

Despite your assertions, I don't think people are calling for the overthrow of the Saudi government over this, they're just wondering why nations that claim to defend human rights don't do so in this case.

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'It's NOT FAIR!' yell RICH KIDS ... and that's a GOOD THING

Ossi

Not if you only claim that your conclusions apply to this group.

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Ossi

Re: Experimental design

What's the problem with changing 2? It's the interpretation of the results that matter - this demonstrates that the results coming from the rich kids of America are not generalisable in other situations. If you then want to discover if it's the poor or the non-market bit that is important, you need to do further investigation.

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BILL GATES DRINKS 'boiled and treated' POO. Ah, 'delicious'

Ossi

I'd be happy to buy him a coffee if he can't afford one.

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No Santa, no Irish boozers and no regrets: life in Qatar

Ossi

Re: That stadium...

Come come now.

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Feds finger Norks in Sony hack, Obama asks: HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE KOREA?

Ossi

Re: Unconvincing

What evidence, specifically, would you like?

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European Commish asks for rivals' moans about Booking.com

Ossi

What's wrong with middlemen? Why shouldn't they get paid for their services? As a number of people here point out, you could just contact the hotel directly, but people still choose to use them, so they must be providing a useful service.

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Ossi

The parity clause is not obviously anticompetitive. If hotels were able to charge less on their own site, they would always have an incentive to do so. Once word got round that this was happening booking.com (and all other comparison sites) would be finished, as people would looking for a hotel on the comparison site, and then go to the hotel site to book. Having no comparison sites is not good for competition or choice.

However, it would be better if there were competition amongst comparison sites. Hotels should be able to offer different deals to different comparison sites (which would likely simply reflect the different charges - they wouldn't have any other incentive to offer different prices). In other words, booking.com's proposed solution seems like a fair one.

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Deprivation Britain: 1930s all over again? Codswallop!

Ossi

Re: Spot on

Well if there was any sleight of hand there (and there wasn't) it would mean that the increase in income was understated as it would make the dollar number look larger in 1935. That wouldn't really serve the purposes of the writer.

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REVEALED: Titsup flight plan mainframe borks UK air traffic control

Ossi

Can I just say what a nicely written report that was - objective, informative and concise. The best report about this incident that I've read. Nice work.

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Ossi

Re: MP

"WTF? The Transport Secretary would prefer everything just carried on as normal during a major systems failure?"

I don't think he said that, did he? I think he'd prefer it that the system didn't go down in the first place. Wouldn't you? Sure, it's not the cleverest or calmest of responses, I'll grant you. But it's probably better not to over-react to an over-reaction.

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Web daddy Sir Tim Berners-Lee: Back off Putin, I'm no CIA stooge

Ossi

Re: And Putin is a

A statement being one-sided is not evidence it is wrong. I've found the statements about CIA torture from various UK news agencies particularly one-sided since the report was published. I find physicist' statements about gravity one-sided.

It's interesting how you easily dismiss 'lots of articles from various UK news agencies' when you they don't suit your narrative, whilst accepting the torture report completely readily. Dismissing or downplaying evidence that you dislike whilst accepting and exaggerating the importance of evidence that you do sounds a lot like bias to me.

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Ossi

Re: New layout

Yeah. People don't like change. That's how UKIP happens.

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Ossi

Re: And Putin is a

I balance probabilities - it's the best we can all do. As you seem to have some strong opinions, presumably you're gaining information from some propaganda and agenda-free source. On what basis have you decided that the sources I'm looking at are propaganda, whilst the sources you're looking at are not?

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Ossi

Re: And Putin is a

It's difficult to tell whether it's lunacy or calculation, but in this case I rather fancy it's calculation. Putin is aware of the paranoia of the Russian people (amply encouraged by his propaganda). He's seeking to exploit that.

It's worth reflecting on that. Those who are the most paranoid are those who are, ironically, most easily exploited. Critical thinking is good. Paranoia and overreaction are not.

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So this Saudi Prince calls and asks why he can't watch movies ...

Ossi

This would be the same royal family that bans cinemas? Say it with me now H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y!

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Government locked into £330m Oracle contract until 2016

Ossi

@ Andy The Hat

I'm not sure if you missed the point of the above comment or not...it wasn't a political comment.

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NORKS: We didn't hack Sony. Whoever did was RIGHTEOUS, though

Ossi

Response to satire

...is to make yourself ripe for satire.

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Yotaphone 2: The two-faced pocket-stroker with '100 hours' batt life

Ossi

Genuine Innovation

Andy very welcome it is too.

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MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'

Ossi

Re: Jump on the privacy bandwagon

I'm afraid Lewis Page has deliberately misled and really played to the commentard orchestra in this place. Look at his part:

"So there you have it. In the view of the ISC - and evidently, the view of the British spooks - US internet companies are under an obligation of some kind to monitor their users for evidence that they are about to commit acts of terrorism. At the moment, indeed, in the view of the British spook community, such firms are a "safe haven for terrorists".

The interpretation that the ISC and spy agencies are under an obligation to monitor their users is entirely Lewis Page's. The report report simply notes that they don't feel themselves under any obligation, and what the consequences could be (it even carefully notes that they're unintended)

Lewis then goes on to say:

"The British intelligence community also believes that the Prime Minister should "prioritise this issue"

Thus suggesting that "this issue" refers to the monitoring of users. In fact, in the report, it refers to warrants not being complied with by US companies.

Well done Lewis. The swivel-eyed commentards here will love you.

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Ossi

Not an MI6 report. Can you read?

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Nokia's N1 fondleslab's HIDDEN BRILLIANCE: The 'Z Launcher'

Ossi

I'll just call it the 'zed' launcher, if you don't mind.

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1632/why-do-the-british-pronounced-the-letter-z-zed

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NOKIA - Not FINNished yet! BEHOLD the somewhat DULL MYSTERY DEVICE!

Ossi

One Question

Why?

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Meet Windows 10's new UI for OneDrive – also known as File Explorer

Ossi

Is getting rid of apps all that clever?

I don't think so. Windows 8 has potential as a tablet OS. I like active tiles and when you learn the gestures it's quick and easy to navigate in touch mode. The irritation is that it has to jump to the non-touch friendly desktop for some applications and even OS functions. Sometimes, It's Microsoft's fault - changing the default browser, for example, disables the internet explorer app (Why???!!!!). It feels a bit half-baked (well when did Microsoft ever actually, you know, finish the job?).

I use Windows 8 on the desktop as well, and fixing that with Classic Shell makes a nice OS that can just stay in desktop mode all the time. It's too little Metro that's my problem, not too much desktop. It's not beyond the wit of man to have both!

If Microsoft were actually an intelligent company (I know...) then they would make a Windows 8 which could operate entirely in the desktop or entirely in 'Metro', with the ability to flip for hybrid devices. There really is logic in having two UIs on hybrids. But giving customers options and letting them choose is not something that ever seems to occur to Microsoft.

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BOING, BOING! Philae BOUNCED TWICE on Comet 67P

Ossi

Re: n+1, no?

The tweet says '3 landings'.

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TalkTalk's 'unbeatable signal strength' and 'fastest Wi-Fi tech' FIBS silenced by ad watchdog

Ossi

ASA...

=Toothless

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What? El Reg had a cheap dig at Putin?! SAY IT AIN'T SO

Ossi

Re: 77 upvotes

"If you actually check the record, The vast majority of plots foiled have been stings where the deluded "terrorists" were recruited and groomed by law enforcement, then arrested by same at the scene of the act of "terrorism". "

I'm very interested in this. Do you have any links to support this claim?

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Farewell Nokia: First ever 'Microsoft Lumia' set for Tuesday reveal

Ossi

Some believe that the Microsoft association was damaging the Nokia brand even before they dropped the name:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/terokuittinen/2014/01/23/just-how-much-brand-damage-is-microsoft-doing-to-nokia/

Microsoft seem to be oblivious to the fact that their brand is, well, hated.

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REVEALED: Apple fanbois are 'MENTALLY UNSTABLE' - iShop staff

Ossi

To be fair, we all moan about our jobs.

No pun intended.

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Million Mask March: Anonymous' London Guy Fawkes protest a damp squib

Ossi
Happy

Re: Anson ? Beatty surely

Well done. I love a good historical joke. Have an upvote.

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Russia to ban iCloud.. to PROTECT iPhone fiddlers' pics 'n' sh*t

Ossi

I agree, but sadly I don't think it's his citizens' secrets that Putin's worried about. In fact, I think he'd rather like to know them himself.

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The Great Smartphone Massacre: Android bloodbath gathers pace

Ossi

Re: Dear Sony.

I love that you can't spell 'qwerty'!

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Russians hear Tim Cook is gay, pull dead Steve Jobs' enormous erection

Ossi

If your implication is that Russia can get past this, I hope you're right. Nothing in their past history, sadly, suggests that they will.

I lived in Russia. They have an exceptional fondness for the 'strong' leader. They love it when their country feels 'strong'. They associate periods without a 'strong' leader with periods of chaos and weakness. My own take on this is that the actions of the 'strong' leader are the cause of the chaos by stunting the development of anything more stable. You can't have the rule of law, for example, when the leader can't afford to have impartial judges around.

The behaviour of the Russian political system has basically been the behaviour of an addict - they get by, but they never find the strength to go through cold turkey to a better life.

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Ossi

Russia is increasingly descending into that combination of scary and ridiculously comical that all authoritarian states eventually become.

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France KICKS UK into THIRD PLACE for public Wi-Fi hotspots

Ossi

Re: Who cares?

Actually, it would take him 72 seconds.

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Piketty-Poketty-Poo: Some people are JUST ITCHING to up tax to capital ...

Ossi
Facepalm

Re: Bias?

That's right. All economists are part of the conspiracy. Physicists do the same thing with gravity.

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Ossi

Re: Maybe he read it, but hard to believe he understood it

That's a misunderstanding. The fourth drug store will only enter the market if it's the most profitable thing that the entrepreneur can do with her time and capital. Otherwise, she'll just take those somewhere else. The point is not that everyone gets ground down to the edge of starvation, as you put it, but that capital and skills move to where they're most useful - without infinite resources, that doesn't imply low returns.

It's an interesting take from someone who finds the current system ideologically unpalatable, by the way. The usual criticism is that the owners of capital get too much. Your criticism seems to be that they get too little.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook: My well-known gayness is 'a gift from GOD'

Ossi

Re: Welcome to the 1950's

I understand the sentiment behind this and many other posts here, but the fact is that it *is* news. I agree that it's got nothing to do with his abilities to run a business, and whatever he does behind closed doors is his business. But many people don't agree, and it's still seen as abnormal behaviour. Imagine a scenario where Tim Cook walks into a theatre with his arm around his wife. Then imagine he walks into a theatre with his arm around his boyfriend. Which one gets flashed around the world?

He has to come out publicly so that he can go into that theatre with his partner. It's newsworthy because it's still so rare in more 'macho' walks of life like sport and CEOs. It's also not an easy thing to do, but it serves as an inspiration to others.

If hearing this story isn't interesting for you, fine. But it will continue to be interesting to the press until there are so many Tim Cooks that it's irrelevant. This Tim Cook has added one more to the list. He should be applauded for it.

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Ossi

Re: Good for him!

You don't have to read, much less comment on, the story.

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Watch out, Samsung and Apple: Xiaomi's No 3 in smartphones now

Ossi

I have a Samsung phone, but I can't find any particular reason why I'd chose a Samsung over anything else next time round. That's Samsung's problem in a nutshell.

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ARM heads: Our cores still have legs ... as shares tumble amid 'peak smartphone' fears

Ossi

Re: The More moments

Much fun as the righteous anger here is, it's all based on a misunderstanding. The value of a business is determined by its profits - not its past profits, but its *future* profits. Therefore, the value of a company is always based on the market's estimate of what future profits will be. When news comes along that changes those expectations (which are largely informed by the company's own estimates of its future profits) the value of the company changes. Where's the evil?

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Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’

Ossi

Re: It contains a "data sphere"?

A meaningless number. If I borrow a £1 million and then put £1 million then put it in the bank, gross debt has gone from £0 to £1 million. Net debt, however, is still zero.

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Adobe axes R&D lab in China, insiders blame mandarins and pirates

Ossi

Re: Watch this space

Actually, mercantalism ended because everyone realised that it doesn't work. It was founded on the belief that trade was a zero-sum game: in order for me to win, someone else has to lose because there's a fixed amount of trade to go round. A little thought experiment will tell you that this is nonsense. If one country grabbing more of world trade makes it richer then one city grabbing all that (fixed amount of) trade should make that city very rich. Then one street in the city grabs all that trade and because fabulously rich. Then one house in that street etc.

It's not a zero-sum game. 2 people trading makes both of them better off - that's why we do it. Mercantalism is not a stage in a country's development. It's always a bad idea.

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