* Posts by G Mac

60 posts • joined 25 Aug 2011

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FCC death vote looms for the Golden Age of American TV

G Mac

Hmm, still no mention of a la carte channels

As somebody who has recently moved in the US I am looking for a TV service. The amazing thing is that I *still* cannot get fully a la carte channels, and from what I can see DSTAC does not address that - meaning I still get bundles of stuff I don't want. If Google can break that apart then I am all for it. Now folks may raise 'diversity of channels' concerns but if that is an aim then do it transparently with (for example) a specific tax versus a hidden tax via the bundle. And if a bundle turns out cheaper than a la carte then guess what I will take the bundle ;)

"Google’s proposal takes an end run around both private contracts (previously held to be sacred) and property rights (similarly so)."

Wow so much angst. Here is a newsflash - contracts get renegotiated all the time. And I don't see how property rights are violated - stuff gets licensed successfully everyday - is Andrew saying Google will steal content without paying for it? Can I get a reference to that outcome please.

BTW, private contracts and property rights were already crapified by the mortgage industry (see MERS - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortgage_Electronic_Registration_Systems). By creating a free for all database to avoid registering property transfers (you know, like had been done for centuries so that folks can find out who owns what) they so seriously screwed the private contracts that they required fraud to 'fix' them - AKA robosigning.

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Don't let banks fool you, the blockchain really does have other uses

G Mac

Re: Must try harder

Seems a bit thin and maybe misleading...

It looks like the documentation was hashed in the blockchain, not the funds itself which were sent via Swift - so technically the trade was documented by blockchain, but the trade was executed normally.

So having completed a number of electronically signed documents amongst multiple parties (aka a mortgage), I guess the key for this is that it was distributed.

But my understanding - correct me if wrong, is that verification of the blockchain must be done by some quorum of processors of which none have a majority (45%) of processing power. In this case, who did what to who? And how do you known given anonymity in the real world?

I am curious to see how this could work in a distributed manner - that is after all the selling point beyond what is in place now.

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Unlucky Luckey: Oculus developers invoke anti-douchebag clause, halt games for VR goggles

G Mac
FAIL

What an idiot

He should of got a SuperPAC setup and donated anonymously like everyone else that wants to buy a piece of the action:

https://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2012/01/31/nine-things-you-need-know-about-super-pacs/

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Video service Binge On 'broke the internet' but 99pc of users love it

G Mac
Facepalm

Explain the logic underlying that conclusion

"incentivising the network operator to invest in a better network"

Or, perversely, causing them to down sample further when the network gets saturated. Meaning people get less for the same price.

Just saying that that is another possible outcome, and the way network operators work, more likely. But maybe I am just being cynical.

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IBM open sources its blockchain code – the non-crazy part of Bitcoin

G Mac
Black Helicopters

Seems a bit thin on details - aka happy path only...

Hmm this seems to be fairly happy path, and it might be true, though I have questions/observations:

* My understanding of the blockchain processing is that it is computationally intensive, taking non-trivial compute power and a finite time (10 minutes for BTC at the moment??), so 'almost instantly' is subject to understanding. 10 minutes versus 3 days for a check to clear? Sure

* It is also my understanding that, at least for BTC (at the moment), around 6 'independent' (correct?) verifiers of the transactions in the next block is required (concensus mentioned in article), so although you have disintermediated the current payment system, you reintermediated those folks;

* The fear for verification is that if a common group of verifiers make up some high proportion of the total verifiers then it becomes a bit dodgy since they can verify spoofed transactions. From memory there was some concern in BTC land a couple of years ago when a 'mining' group got ~45% (correct?) of the pool, which they then voluntarily scaled back. What happens for these ledgers?

* It is also my understanding that as a 'reward' for verifying the block the verifiers are rewarded in BTC for the effort (hence 'mining'). Eventually that was to be replaced by a transaction fee that is associated with each transaction as payment for the verification effort.

Since this new system cannot create currency (aka forging), it either would need another token for payment (analogous to BTC) or the transaction fee is a cut of the invoice price. I am sure that there may be some folks out there that are willing to verify for free, but like most things that are free you may not have a great experience (with say turnaround time).

On the other hand if you do add a transaction fee, you could expect that the higher the fee the higher priority for verification. What does that fee look like? Do I pay 0.X% for 3 day turnaround, and X.0% for 'almost instantaneously'? Is there a market for transaction verifiers? If so how to I get that - remember they have to be 'independent'. I smell Wall Street.

* Is this a single global ledger, a global ledger per currency, combination thereof, or some arbitrarily created ones, say for a supplier?

* Who verifies the verifiers? Given currency ones is that is supranational? Government? Self-regulated (remembering self-regulation is to regulation what self-esteem is to esteem)?

If it is some ledger created for that supplier, who are the independent verifiers? Or is the supplier allowed to mark their own homework?

* How do you deal with cross currency transactions - that is, getting the cross rate? Is that set at transaction time or delivery (given it takes non-trivial amount of time to create/transport goods)? Do you trust that rate setter?

* What are the laws surrounding problems that occur (they always will - see the history of the credit card industry). What happens when returning goods? What happens in disputes?

With respect to the RFID, yes they use it for stock control now, but now it proposed to use it for financial transaction control. To stop the swap out of goods for cheaper knockoffs, is it embedded in the product itself? When I get a pallet of cement, do I scan each bag to make sure I got them all, or just the pallet, trusting the supplier (and deliverer!)?

Hmm a bit of a wall of text. But although this could be a miracle, just saying it will be so without explaining what it actually means in practice is a bit thin.

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Seagate floats out 10TB HDD filled with lifting gas

G Mac

Typo in cache size...

"We understand it spins at 5,900rpm, has a 256GB cache, a 216MB/sec transfer rate, and a 6Gbit/s SATA interface."

Specs say 256MB for the 8TB guy. You did get me to choke on my coffee with the thought of a 256GB cache though...

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So Quantitative Easing in the eurozone is working, then?

G Mac

Re: Inflation prediction please - update 3

Latest in:

"Euro-Area Spell of Sub-Zero Inflation Ends as Unemployment Falls"

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-10-30/euro-area-spell-of-sub-zero-inflation-ends-as-unemployment-falls

So SUCCESS!!!! From -0.1 to 0.0 - that must count as a major coup for the projection made by the article. Not.

What is annoying is that by making the pronouncement that all that is needed is QE and 'proving' it via this post's math, it has frozen policy in place. That is, it becomes a wait and see versus doing something Keynesian/stimulus (and the ECB doing more QE, which may be the new definition of insanity).

Of course we are talking about the EU, so providing stimulus via Euro-area action is a tall order to get agreement. But taking it off the table because of an ideological "QE works" without any evidence is not correct.

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G Mac

Re: Inflation prediction please - update 2

Latest in:

"Euro zone inflation turns negative in Sept"

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/30/us-global-forex-idUSKCN0RT2ZD20150930

Now Keynes is really pissed about that plank.

I have no doubt that those still pushing the wheelbarrow of this article (mathiness proof = inflation, even when no inflation turns up) will now say something like 'oh it would of been worse without QE'. Which is just moving the goalposts post ante. This whole article said inflation was going to be much greater...

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G Mac

Re: Inflation prediction please - update 1

Latest in:

"Eurozone Inflation Slows Unexpectedly in August"

http://www.wsj.com/articles/eurozone-inflation-falls-unexpectedly-in-august-1442396224

"As I've said around and about before now the biggest economic lesson from the recent Great Recession is that one of the fundamental planks of Keynesian fiscal theory has been sawn through."

By the way, Keynes just called and wants his plank back.

Maybe you should take a peek over the MMTers shoulders on why this happened...

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G Mac
Meh

Inflation prediction please - versus just the measures..

"That is, QE is working."

The entire exercise is to get inflation going a bit. What is the prediction when this will occur (vs. saying it is occurring because all the indirect measures say it will)?

It is much to ask for some predictive power here...

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ICANN CEO, internet community heads clash in accountability row

G Mac
FAIL

Hmm that is really a non-answer...

"There is no question about the binding nature of arbitration in the designator model, and ICANN has provided materials to support that position," the DNS overlord told us in a statement.

So the answer to the question is it is/could be/may be a NO to being binding? All you have to say is that it *IS* binding, end of story.

How to answer with a question about a question. I really hate that.

And of course it is a deflection on the member modal proposal...

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THIS is MASSIVE! Less-Masslessness neutrino boffins bag Physics Nobel

G Mac
Joke

Wait, a coffee cup sized detector?

Sure that isn't just a strong Brownian Motion generator and they are actually building an... Infinite Probability Drive???

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What is money? A rabid free marketeer puts his foot in lots of notes

G Mac

Re: Some quibbles...

You will find the writing of time recording debts to temple and the monarch. Please show the extensive records of private debt *not* to those.

As for bankruptcy, it is something that can be used only under pretty extreme measures, at least in the US. Multiple laws have gone into effect to restrict bankruptcy for student loans, credit cards and even personal. What is more, the law doesn't allow for expunging of debt by decree, which is what a Jubilee Year is. Please show me the law allowing debts being wiped by decree. Ah yes there is one for sovereigns, but that isn't private, is it?

"Do you have the faintest idea what that actually means? The 'resource constraint' in question is whether you've rounded up all the Jews yet and taken their money, or if there's still more to steal.

I find the term _modern_ monetary theory to be absolutely laughable. It's not modern at all, it's just a rehash of some very old antisemitic claptrap.

Clue for you: there is no magic money tree, the Jews aren't stealing the fruit, and so gassing them won't actually help everyone else pig out on the fruit instead."

Do you actually know what MMT is? Please provide a link where you got the above idea...

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G Mac

Some quibbles...

So lets start at the top.

With respect to your pig debt analogy, there is no anthropological evidence in pre-history that that is how a village operated. If you owed 5 chickens for my pig, I know you are good for it, along with everyone else in the village. Debts did not have to be maintained.

Certainly there was barter between groups, using whatever means of equivalency for exchange, like gold, amber, etc. etc. But debt didn't really come into this since the groups were not formally linked (you have to see a group again/regularly to pay/receive debt service).

As for Graeber, note that this really starts round the agricultural revolution, particularly in the fertile crescent. It wasn't so much private debt being recorded, but debt to the temple and/or monarch. There is also the concept of the Jubilee Year, mentioned in Biblical regulations, which has been argued about by modern economists since it is anathema to modern capitalism. A Jubilee was (apart from other actions) the wiping out of debt owed. Since it was owed to the temple/monarch it was not a problem to do so, and was seen to rebalance the economy.

Next, it's nice that you now see MMT as valid, but you failed to mention a crucial aspect of the MMTers view that the government can spend freely. So instead of your statement here:

"It can, and should, just make as much as it needs and then go spend it on whatever it wants."

It is in fact:

"It can, and should, just make as much as it needs and then go spend it on whatever it *needs as long as whatever it spends it on is not resource constrained*."

MMTers are very aware of inflation, and know that the government cannot simply spend cash on things that are resource constrained. I am sure this has been pointed out to you before, but you should get a refresher from the MMTers.

Also, taxation is the way of making a fiat currency worthwhile for folks to desire. It doesn't have to 'pay' for anything (within constraints of a fiat currency that the government issues, free floating exchange rate and debts issued by the government are denominated in that currency). As such, taxation can be used to smooth high growth/low growth cycles by increasing/decreasing taxes.

Finally, the examples of the Weimar Germany (and Zimbabwe for a similar reason) is spurious. Germany had reparation debts denominated in foreign currency, along with losing the Saarland to France as a commodity (and cash) resource. Keynes recognised this and called it for what it was - a disaster in the making. For Zimbabwe, it was Mugabe's land 'reforms' that effectively wiped out a resource.

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Bubble? LMAO - YOLO! Wall St gets new instant messaging service

G Mac
WTF?

Wait, ironic?

"One ironic side-effect, if people do move away from the Bloomberg terminals, is that the company would not be able to hire as many reporters and in turn would reduce the speed and quality of financial news and information provided to traders."

And one ironic side-effect of that ironic side-effect would be less monolithic reporting with possibly more diversity in opinions, instead of the chance of the echo chamber effect.

Or, lets put this another way. The Register should amalgamate with other tech news reporting sites because the resulting company will be able to hire more reporters and in turn would increase the speed and quality of IT information provided...

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Prof Hawking cracks riddle of black holes – which may be portals to other universes

G Mac
FAIL

Re: Cite

Cripes Google is your friend.

't Hooft had the idea a while ago, and Leonard Susskind pondered the paradox for quite a while. He had a book called 'The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics'.

It is an entertaining read.

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Hey, folks. Meet the economics 'genius' behind Jeremy Corbyn

G Mac

Re: Bonds

The key element of that in Tim's argument is:

"It's also, going back to our technical discussion, making M0 to spend: and as that MV=PQ again tells us, making M0 to spend *can* be highly inflationary."

I highlighted the 'can' - yes it can, but it doesn't automatically follow, as MMTers have pointed out to Tim, and, from memory, he acknowledges, but won't accept for the simple economic reasoning of 'I don't trust the government'.

(Which strikes me as a bit weird given how comfortable Tim must be with the number of nuclear weapons in the hands of the government.)

Be that as it may, it doesn't have to be inflationary - as long as the government isn't competing for *real* resources - commodities, people, etc, then inflation doesn't have to follow. Again, MMTers know this because they follow how money works in real-life, not just a theory on how it should work in a perfect world.

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SpaceX's blast shock delays world's MOST POWERFUL ROCKET

G Mac
Trollface

Any irony in article given today's date?

Just sayin...

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Hey, Sand Hill Exchange. Shouting 'blockchain!' won't stop the Feds

G Mac

Re: "Can somebody explain why this is a real-world problem for normal people?"

Which why folks rely on 'experts', in much the same way you go to mechanics, doctors, accountants etc. In this case, they go to appraisers.

Of course, that relies on appraisers being something called 'honest', which doesn't generally appear when economists speak (because they also don't know how to pronounce 'fraud').

For example, a petition by 11,000 appraisers (collected from 2000-2007) was being collected and finally submitted during this 'mysterious' bubble period. See this in 2001:

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/02/realestate/appraisers-and-the-pressure-to-inflate-valuations.html

Essentially, honest appraisers were being pressured by lenders (not buyers) to inflate prices. If they didn't, they were black listed - you can see an example here:

http://www.seattlepi.com/business/article/Real-estate-appraiser-sues-WaMu-1261946.php

Of course, lenders/banks denied this. Any attempt to stop it was stymied. Any attempt by a US state (I think it was Virginia - one of those around there) to institute their controls on predatory lending was overruled (Bush, after being lobbied by banks etc.) and so the bubble went on.

This was not rocket science to stop. But the gravy train was paying off big time for loan officers and the C-suiters. When the Greenspan (Chairman of the Federal Reserve), a big believer that there is no such thing as 'fraud' failed to do enforcement (aka, regulation), being of the Chicago School of economics where fraud is sorted out by the market, things turned out as expect.

Of course, Greenspan after the GFC was 'shocked, shocked, that there is gambling in this establishment', but by then it was all over bar the shouting. See here http://business.time.com/2008/10/23/alan_greenspan_changes_his_min/.

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G Mac

Be careful what you wish for...

Prior to the GFC, financial companies were asking for more leeway with shorting on equities - or more to the point, that the SEC give them free reign of the requirement to not 'cover' the short within 3 days. Of course, there were oodles of failure to do this but the toothless SEC wasn't holding anybody accountable. So the banks wanted it more officially relaxed and ignored.

Note that the requirement to cover the short makes sense in the fact that infinite selling of something you don't have and won't deliver is a great way to push a price to zero, so having the requirement to cover the short should not be onerous, at least for the 'honest' shorters.

Amusingly, when the shit hit the fan *during* the GFC those same financial companies begged the SEC to ban shorting of their stocks for the crisis (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/20/business/20sec.html).

It seems that sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander. And one would of expected that price discovery, made so laudable in this article, during the crisis would of been exactly what was wanted. Oh, wait... the same rules don't apply for Wall Street/The City as for the rest of us.

Maybe that should be mentioned in the article. But of course it won't be because it's point was regulation was the problem, while in fact not enforcing it for all players (including Main Street) is more an issue. The *last* thing financial firms want is price discovery. Which is never mentioned by economists (in much the same way that the F for fraud word is never mentioned - it is gospel that it cannot happen).

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NEVER MIND the B*LLOCKS Osbo peddles, deficits don't really matter

G Mac

Don't like paying off debt? Don't issue it!

Just keystroke into the accounts, like when the banks were bailed out.

Of course I happen to know that that MMT stance makes folks mighty uncomfortable - but that is ideology, not economics.

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So why the hell do we bail banks out?

G Mac

So many wrong ideas to make it sound we can do nothing

Wow. Rolling out the Loanable Funds Theory, eh? A real Upton Sinclair effort there.

This has been shown by the various money measures to be be complete ass backwards. Banks make loans, and if they don't have enough reserves they borrow, first from other banks (ah, the Libor), then from the Central Bank. They make money of the spread from the loan to what they borrow.

Next, when a bank is illiquid, "Bagehot's Dictum" is supposed to apply - lend freely against good collateral at penalty interest rates. What was done for the GFC was the only the first part.

Next, apart from a few minor lackeys, no high ranking officials and their ilk have won an orange jumpsuit have paid the price for the GFC, even though scandals of Libor rigging, FX rigging, mortgage fraud, asset mismanagement, etc. have had billions (that is with a B) been paid in fines. Immaculate crimes.

Compare with with the S&L crisis from the late 1980's where over a 1000 folks got prison time (try Charles Keating for a start).

So no, none of this has to be. You can handle illiquid banks, but make sure the incentives kick (like charging high interest) to dissuade bad behaviour.

Then, for crimes, actually send folks to prison. Versus say Eric Holder saying that following up crimes at large banks may have an economic impact. Um, no, again ass backwards.

But articles like this make it sound like we are main street is impotent. It is not, but we have to hold politicians feet to the fire to get this rolling.

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Sir Terry remembered: Dickens' fire, Tolkien's imagination, and the wit of Wodehouse

G Mac

Summary for Me

You made me happy.

You made the people I made read your books happy.

I am sad now.

I will reread all your books and I will be happy again.

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FCC will vote to cut off 41 million broadband users this Thursday*

G Mac

Re: horse and cart

Unless you expected to be somewhere in 120 miles away in say a few hours. Of course that was solved by something like the Pony Express (where is that business now anyway? For those without access to petrol?).

Of course this is classic:

"In its submission to the FCC's comment period, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) said that people simply didn't need 25Mbps, complaining about the "hypothetical use cases" that would explain why that speed would be useful and noting that they "dramatically exaggerate the amount of bandwidth needed by the typical broadband user."

Yes, but your members (Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner and RCN - latter of which I have) is advertising faster speeds than competitor (*limited time only) every damn @&!(ing night, so obviously speed is not important (insert sarcasm icon).

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NSA gunning for Google, wants cop-spotting dropped from Waze app

G Mac

Re: strange...

Bias.

If it was situational awareness there would be more publicised arrests for the white-collar use of prostitutes and Bolivian marching powder, particularly the Wall Street types. I live in NYC and don't see any.

Guys, any visibility of that in The City (of London)?

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

G Mac
WTF?

Hmm 3/10 as far as a dissembling comment

@the spectacularly refined chap

I have no idea what you are talking about.

Saudi Arabia as an absolute monarchy supported by the theocratic tenets of Wahhabism, of which ISIS/AQ is a firm believer (and who was/is supported by the Saudi royals and citizens).

The Royal Family & Wahhabism supports the other (check the history!), such that criticism of the Royals get punished under Wahhabism, while Wahhabism itself gets a free hand in the country.

Patrick Cockburn has excellent article on this (and other books and articles):

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/15/saudi-complicity-in-the-rise-of-isis/

I can only suspect that you are a water carrier for the Saudi government. The fact that you don't call it a dictatorship (vs. absolute monarchy!) and then conflate the original article with being undemocratic is pure gold.

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Why has the Russian economy plunged SO SUDDENLY into the toilet?

G Mac

Re: A rewrite of history - I wonder why?

Not sure who is missing the point here. The companies could default or suspend payments. That affects the payback to the western banks et al - that has the ripple effect.

As for further foreign financing, absolutely that is an issue, and one Putin will desperately try to remedy. But losses on existing bonds was my point, which you missed.

As for clear breaks between governments and oligarchs, well the GFC proved the west also has a bunch that get bailed out too.

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G Mac

A rewrite of history - I wonder why?

Interesting that the economy is being blamed on Putin, when he inherited it from Yeltsin.

Most likely that is because by doing so Mr Worstel takes the blame off the economic folks that he probably aligns with, aka the 'Harvard Boys', those bastions of free market economy that sold the Russian state assets at fire sale prices to the oligarchs that Putin has in some measure curbed (but not of course some of his own cronies). Just look up these terms:

harvard boys russia

for example, http://www.thenation.com/article/harvard-boys-do-russia

It's also interesting that the 'efficient market hypothesis' was wheeled out, you know the one that said that the GFC couldn't happen. Quite frankly, it was my understanding that that was declared DOA at that time. Zombie economics FTW I guess.

What is *really* interesting with the article is what it did not say, and I think most folks would be more interested in than a neo-classical economic rant that carefully leaves out history.

To wit: Most of the debt is private - the government does't have much. So what *are* the knock on effects of $900B in debt if it cannot be repaid over time, say pension funds, hedge funds, banks and of course western governments? OTH, what if they declare 'force majeure' due to the sanctions (even more interesting!) and suspend payments until that is unwedged. If I owe you $100 bucks, that is my problem. If I owe you $900B, that is *your* problem.

But then this was more of a rant than an objective view of the situation. Which is fine, as long as you recognise that.

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Bernie Madoff's coders jailed for role in $65bn ponzi scheme fiasco

G Mac

Well that a jolly easy question to answer

"Judges will have to explain how small-time crooks in front of them were worse than the defendants in this case," attorney Matthew Schwartz said, according to Reuters.

The answer is that although these guys deserve to go down, given the complete absence of any high ranking bankster feeling the 'long arm of the law' for say, the Libor scandal (aka fraud), FX scandal (aka fraud), mortgage scandal (aka fraud), money laundering (aka treason/RICO violation to Iran/drug cartels) and various other activities (aka crimes), throwing these guys to the wolves seems churlish with respect to all the other (elite) guys that should be wearing orange jump suits.

Next question please, Matthew Schwartz?

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Uber? Worth $40 BEEELLION? Hey, actually, hold on ...

G Mac

I still don't see $40B

"Does that make Uber worth $40 billion? All a bit speculative really but it is at least conceivable that it does."

I still don't see the secret sauce as unique. Let's say that Google tech is up to snuff, *and* that technology improves beyond that:

* No urban restriction - tech is up to snuff right to handle suburb, exburb and even rural... or we discounting that?

* Uber booking app? Why wouldn't you just hookup CraigsList (insert similar bulletin board style handling) and bypass the middle man? You don't need to rate the driver since there isn't one - only the state of the vehicle;

* Why would it have to be a company owning the car bots? If making cash is so great, why wouldn't a private person invest in a vehicle that goes out and works for them? And they look after maintenance etc. And using supply/demand how wouldn't this push down the pricing to low 'optimal' level?

So again, what is the basis for the "conceivable" $40B valuation in the car bot world? Quite frankly, what is the basis for the "conceivable" $40B valuation with the secret sauce for Uber in the *non*-car bot world?

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Which country has 2nd largest social welfare system in the world?

G Mac

Re: Some gaps

Please direct me to the statistics supporting these claims.

Note that size of the household actually *increased* post GFC due to folks a) being unable to support mortgages, and b) young folk cannot afford even the reduced prices given wage and wage security conditions. There is a low level moan from the MBA/NRA (National Realtors Association - not the other!) about the fact that household creation is stalled (at least for this period). Irony given their refusal to countenance the word 'fraud' in the lead up to the GFC (except by buyers! A joke in itself).

Also, what pensions are you referring to? Those run by corporations/municipalities that have been seen to be rather vulnerable to being wacked in BK? On the 401(k)s that folks cannot get to until 55+, unless they need it for emergency/housing, in which case it gets wacked in the long term? Also, can you show how pensions and HC insurance are treated elsewhere? And how does a pension factor in when you are still in the working period?

Inflation has always been argued about, especially the hedonic pricing (and the productivity gains there were not passed to workers...). Still, references please.

So, given the above, you have an unsubstantiated claim of 25% increase per capita. Again, references please.

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G Mac

Some gaps

A few items:

* "The major difference between the two ideas is that wages – generally at least if not in the past few years – rise faster than inflation."

Can you please cite stats? The stats I have seen is median income flatlined for 30 years:

http://www.advisorperspectives.com/dshort/updates/Household-Income-Distribution.php

* Your Better-life index. Has that been updated for the cuts to SNAP (maybe TANF too?) for 2014?

* You make the mistake of using wage income for comparing progressive tax rates. The biggest loophole in the US is the carried interest income. One could also comment about long term capital gains as also being regressive given the majority of folks don't have investments (they can get too readily - think 401(k) here).

* You mention the health care system is already insane here, so not much more to comment there. With Obamacare/Romneycare legislating health care profits to view citizens as 'consumers' the outcome will never be good. And when folks need private insurance most (big bills) then need to worry about rescission for minor errors/delaying tactics.

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Third patch brings more admin Shellshock for the battered and Bashed

G Mac

Review time - don't be complacent just because of limited shell functionality

I have been following this story pretty much since the start. Not much impact on me (well timed vacation?) but our system administrators and engineers (for review and regression of production systems) have been roped in.

With the news that there are other undisclosed remote execution bugs out there there are going to be a *lot* of blackhat (and hopefully whitehat) folks carefully reviewing ALL shell code...

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Every billionaire needs a PANZER TANK, right? STOP THERE, Paul Allen

G Mac

Re: Picking the nit...

I maybe nitpicking here but if you are going to break out the T-34/76 and T-34/85 variants as separate counts then it should also be done for the Sherman 75mm/76mm/17pdr variants for equivalents.

Also with respect to the 8-1 T34 vs. Tiger battle, the Sherman wasn't much better - I have heard 5-1 on various programs and that wasn't on the Steppes.

I take my hat off to those crews in either the T-34 or Sherman - it is one thing to go into battle in something like a Tiger, and another to go in with a 20% chance of not being destroyed.

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Samsung: We've slashed programming time with 3-bit vertical NAND

G Mac

AnandTech reviews

AnandTech had a review a while ago. From the review, it was pretty impressive all the way round:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/8216/samsung-ssd-850-pro-128gb-256gb-1tb-review-enter-the-3d-era

http://www.anandtech.com/show/8239/update-on-samsung-850-pro-endurance-vnand-die-size

They go into the technology pretty deeply.

3
0

LG unfurls flexible SEE-THROUGH 18-inch display

G Mac

Update for the Roman Sketch?

Wise: 'Have you got the scrolls?’

Morecambe: ‘No, I always walk like this.’

2
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Indian climate boffins: Himalayan glaciers are NOT MELTING

G Mac

Re: Using area as a measurement???

Huh? I wasn't saying the glacier was 100 metres deep, I was saying there is a difference when using volume.

So what you are saying is that 10,000 km2 of glacial edge that has gone.

Or maybe not - since you linked the Wikipedia reference:

"Glaciologists consider that trends in mass balance for glaciers are more fundamental than the advance or retreat of the termini of individual glaciers. In the years since 1960, there has been a striking decline in the overall volume of glaciers worldwide. This decline is correlated with global warming.[6] As a glacier thins, due to the loss of mass it will slow down and crevassing will decrease."

So maybe volume would of been useful to mention.

2
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G Mac
WTF?

Using area as a measurement???

Notwithstanding any argument about the merits of either study, I find the measurement of loss to be very strange.

"248 glaciers exhibited a retreat, and 18 an advance. The scientists estimate a net loss of glacier area of about 10,000 km2 – that's a 0.2 per cent decrease (+/- 2.5pc), and an average retreat of 2.1 metres annually."

That is an measurement of area, which although might be useful is not the same as a measurement of volume. An area that size 1 metre deep is quite different from a measurement of 100 meters deep. Its the volume after all that is supposed to be getting dumped into the oceans...

And yes I do understand about albedo which is why I said area might be a useful measurement, but not sufficient.

Maybe there is a correction...?

2
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SQL giant Oracle plans NoSQL standards body – top Reg sources

G Mac

Keep your friends close...

... etc

1
0

IT'S ALIVE! China's Jade Rabbit rover RETURNS from the DEAD

G Mac
Trollface

Wait, no Monty Python reference?

After yesterday's Parrot Sketch reference, you didn't take this prime chance for a Holy Grail reference:

"I'm not dead yet!"

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

4
0

Optical filters head to Germany for Solar Orbiter build

G Mac

Re: Using Iron vapour to read the magentic state *optically*

Unless you are arse technica and label them as a clear patent troll since they 'don't produce anything themselves'.

2
0

Campaign to kick NSA man from crypto standards group fails

G Mac

Re: Better to have him where you can see him

I note the strawman being used in the IRTF chair's argument - saying that removing him would be a loss for the group.

What is being suggested is to remove him as a *co-chair* - just make him a regular member, therefore no loss.

The strawman then continue's: "Co-chairs do not wield more power over the content of the ongoing work than other research group participants."

Ok, so fine, if it doesn't have more power over content then remove him as a co-chair and make him a 'regular' research group participant. I suspect there are unmentioned power's for a co-chair - what are those and how do they impact the group with regard to the concerns being voiced?

8
0

Gov report: Actually, evil City traders DIDN'T cause the banking crash

G Mac
Thumb Down

Article hands out a whole lot of banking/corporate kool-aid

This article is rubbish. It tries to make a case that the HBOS failure was the 'old fashioned' way - that it 'unlucky'. It makes the insinuation that it was unlucky because if it was really the market, then all banks should of failed equally (and of course others did - using the same technique below). So by giving the impression it was unlucky it removes further examination of the rampant fraud by management.

The only thing traditional thing about this failure was that it used the 'traditional' model of looting a bank by the management. As described by William K. Black ("The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry"), this is the simple recipe with four ingredients:

1. grow like crazy (HBOS - check)

2. by making really, really crappy loans but at a premium yield (yield just means 'interest rate') (HBOS - check)

3. while employing extreme leverage, and (HBOS - check)

4. while setting aside only the most trivial reserves or allowances for the inevitable losses this kind of behavior produces. (HBOS - check)

HBOS had a lot of other fraudulent lending going on (commercial, partnering with companies, buying out construction/builders et al), but the mortgage push was key. It also had a shed load of bad behaviour (Quayside, Farepak). But making poor loans (a feature, not a bug) with poor controls (feature, not bug) by poor risk management (elevated from sales - feature, not bug) while buying back shares (£2b - juicing shares for payouts - feature, not bug) and handing out massive bonus pools (nice bribe - feature, not bug) was all designed to allow management et al to loot.

And don't even mention that management believed they were right - Upton Sinclair nailed that one ("It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!").

So the article finishes with:

"That just brings us to the great truth at the heart of the subject of economics. There are no solutions; there are only trade-offs. You can have a robust banking system where it's difficult to get a loan, or you can have easy money and a banking system that periodically goes titsup."

This is straw man choice. Here are some others:

* Don't place folks that run a bank on the Regulator's board (Crosby and FSA);

* Don't expect 'light-touch' regulation to catch fraud or bad behaviour (it should be renamed 'light-fingered' regulation);

* Put the frauds in jail. Prosecute and put them away according to how much they embezzled. It might be 'hard', but so is life;

* Pay bonuses so they vest over a long term (5-10 years). When they whine, point out regular folks contribute to something similar called a 'pension' which they use when they actually retire;

* Pay 30% of fines prosecuting fraud and bad behaviour to any whistleblowers that brought it to light. The US IRS does this. Management cannot bribe everyone, and sooner or later a low-level assistant that does the grunt work for the fraud is going to catch on. Don't whine that this is unfair - the low-level folks are the first to be thrown under the bus when the fraud is discovered.

So five suggestions in 5 minutes. There are more. Maybe there are no 'solutions', but you can certainly corral the problems. But then if you are drinking the corporate kool-aid on government, regulation and the 'markets', you won't see these, or any others.

4
0

Agile development may be taught in Australian High Schools

G Mac
Happy

Re: Vague Goals

Wait, that wouldn't have been George at NSWIT?

0
0

Curiosity gives Martian rock its first scrub down

G Mac
Joke

Wire brush and...

What, no Dettol involved?

1
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Google, Apple, eBay shouldn't pay taxes - people should pay taxes

G Mac
Alert

It is nice for the corprorations...

The US fought a war over the concept of 'Taxation without Representation' (Adam Smith accepted that in Wealth of Nations).

Now, with your article, you have 'Representation without Taxation' - so to complete the picture, you must also bar corporations from *any* lobbying or access to law makers - even if they deem such access worthwhile (after all, the taxed electorate didn't get a chance at it).

So either pay full freight for access (access they get now by the way), or stay out. I would gladly allow them to pay no taxes and have them barred from lobbying.

However, they do need to be stung with the exogenous costs they try to avoid now (think pollution), so that the public gets a choice (now) over whether to accept the cost - not later when the corporation has 'disappeared' or 'bankrupt' and the cleanup needs to be done. Taxation is often applied here because this is swept under the rug.

Finally, the concept that lowering productivity lowers wages doesn't seem to have a corollary - that is, higher productivity has not led to higher wages, so you forget that argument as given.

1
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Americans stand against UN internet-tax plan

G Mac

Re: Indoctrinated

“Rubbish also, your employer also pays, and often more than the employee.”

You are obviously not self-employed, or haven’t had COBRA run out. And check your US tax codes – an old law allows companies to use tax-free dollars to pay for insurance, while if you pay personally it is taxable. One reason it is a mess.

Australian here, living in the US.

As one of my ex-co-workers discovered when his COBRA ran out, then got reinsured, realizing the whole pay-for-services thing skews things:

“I never knew how expensive health care was until I had insurance”

2
0
G Mac
Thumb Down

Re: Indoctrinated

Let’s go through *your* comments one by one:

“As a percentage of salary I pay no more for the best health insurance here in the states than you do for NI.”

Possibly, but note that if you pay personal Vs. via your company, you will pay a higher rates – madness of tax codes.

Next, you may not, but somebody does – the US spends 16% of its GDP on health care, Vs. 8% by countries with higher life expectancy. And you might get better care, but a large number for a highly developed country don’t.

“No hospital is allowed to discharge patients - no matter their financial condition - if doing so would endanger their life.”

And yet, they do:

http://www.californiahealthline.org/features/2010/moving-homeless-patient-discharge-from-the-streets.aspx

Now, *you* may not regard the homeless as “patients” and therefore skate on your statement, but others know better.

“No major population area is without a hospital designated as caring for the indigent.”

And yet the Catholic Church in the US is considering not treating non-Catholics because they have to allow their (non-religious) employees birth control choices. And that is just that issue - don't pretend it doesn't occur for the poor.

“Under the recent health care legislation, no insurance company is allowed to terminate coverage because of previous health history or refuse it because of pre-existing conditions.”

Unless a minor pre-existing condition was not disclosed, in which case insurance coverage is terminated, even if the condition does not relate to the current health issue.

And yes, they cannot refuse to grant you insurance for a pre-existing condition – you just have to be able to afford the cost of such. Good luck with that, because:

“Harvard researchers say 62% of all personal bankruptcies in the U.S. in 2007 were caused by health problems—and 78% of those filers had insurance”

See http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/jun2009/db2009064_666715.htm

Why folks believe that there is no problem because they themselves don’t have a problem is beyond me. They certainly like it when other folks put their lives on their line when they are in danger.

"Apart from that your comment was................ well, rubbish really."

Yes, yes your comment was.

31
2

Diablo III

G Mac

Re: DRM infestation for casual muppets

"I think he meant "no consequences" because the choices you make really do not matter. There are just a couple choices per key, and not hundreds of combos like there were in D2."

I think you are conflating consequences with choices - they are not the same. I am also not sure how you come to the conclusion there are few choices - each skill can have 6 runes, unlocking as you get to 60. The combinations are pretty plentiful - check this for Barbarian @ 30:

http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/930659-/62632005

Of course, there may be only a couple of 'good' choices per skill, but same can be said of the D2 tree. Whether or not you believe they matter, they do to me - I skip some skills and skill/rune combos (@ 21 so far), so they are not all the same. YMMV.

And I am having fun trying stuff I would never in D2 because I know I can try it out and not regret it 5 levels later. And there *were* some poor choices and combos in D2 - hence builds for serious folks converged.

Again, "no consequences" to me means "you must be punished if you choose poorly, grasshopper".

The comparison to the upcoming WoW changes are amusing. For any serious player there were only one (maybe two) valid builds (with a few left over points sprinkled here and there) per spec, and sometimes class. The only real difference was PvE or PvP play. Woe betide any casual player that deviated from those if they were in a random Heroic - they would usually be picked apart pretty quickly. So in the end, for all the choice you had, it was a false choice where realistically there was little. Folks believe however that having 10 choices, where 8 of them suck, is better than just two non-suck choices. Maybe its some sort of gaming version of laissez faire, where the last thing you need to take into account is fun.

The need for servers sucks big time though. No argument there.

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