* Posts by Dave Handley

7 posts • joined 28 Jan 2008

Four illegal ways to sort out the Euro finance crisis

Dave Handley

@Andy Pellew

It is very simple really, and the author dealt with it in his article.

If we look at the 2 largest currency unions in the world (excluding the Euro).

The Dollar works because of federal intervention. The successful states are forced to send vast amounts of money, via the federal government, to the unsuccessful states. For example, despite New York having 3 of the largest 5 non-federal debts in the US (New York City, New York State and the Metropolitan Transport Authority are all in the top 5 borrowers list), New York still has a massive economy, so it is forced to send money to poor states in the Mid-West or South in order to flatten out the economy. This is no different to the South East of the UK massively subsidising the rest of the country.

The African French Franc works simply by being tied to a much larger economy (the Eurozone now, and the French Franc before that). For this to work though you need orders of magnitude difference.

The Euro has none of these mechanisms. To a certain extent it started working for the periphery economies simply because they were tied to a much bigger economy (franco-german centre). Unfortunately, as they got access to huge euro lending markets at very low interest rates, the economies became much bigger, without the substance behind them to support them. They are now no longer small compared to France or Germany (especially when you look at Portugal, Ireland, or even Spain, Italy. They could mirror the USD by Germany, France and the other northern economies flooding money south, but that won't wash politically. We are stuck with some pretty miserable other options. Even the writing off 50-70% of the debt of Greece option that the author talks about won't really help because Greece is in Primary Deficit - it cannot pay its way even if it defaults. The usual way countries deal with this is the combination of 3 things. Austerity, default and devaluation. The Eurozone is trying to force Greece to deal with it using only austerity. That is doomed to failure, and to be honest, even if we let them deal with it using default as well, it is probably too late. The only way to devalue though is to leave the Eurozone.

If I were a betting man I would say there is as much as a 50% chance that Greece falls out of the Eurozone. This is not dissimilar to the UK falling out of the ERM, and the funny thing is economically, that was really good for Britain!

'There's too much climate change denial on the BBC'

Dave Handley

@JC_ Fail

The evidence does not "overwhelmingly support AGW". There is reasonable evidence of a trend in global temperatures in the last 30-40 years. This evidence has been getting considerably less convincing over the last 10 years as observed temperatures have steadfastly refused to keep rising, and have been wildly different to the models.

As someone who writes statistical models for a living, I am decidedly unimpressed by the climate change modellers. Their models are unstable for minor perturbations in inputs that are very unknown. For example, take one of the climate model and tweak the constant they use for cloud formation a small amount and watch the five degree change in predicted mean temperature in 100 years time. There are plenty of other examples of this. In fact, when climate "evidence" of this form has been shown to real statisticians the results have been scary (read up on the discrediting of the hockey stick curve for a great example - essentially with the methods the researchers were using, any auto-correlated sequence of temperatures would have generated broadly the same shape of graph).

Finally, and most importantly, the question of anthropogenic or not is still undergoing considerable research. Even on such a pro-AGW source as the BBC you routinely see stories that proudly claim, "finally climate change is proven to be Anthropogenic". Then the same claim is made again on a new story 6 months later - clearly showing that the consensus is not that the proof is widely believed. For a little bit of balance and knowledge of the uncertainties in this space, look at something like the report mentioned here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11438570

Google polishes Chrome into netbook OS

Dave Handley

Actually development environment are important

I'm actually going to argue that the quality of development environments like the early Visual Basics, Borland environments (Delphi etc.) and then Visual Studio is a big reason that Windows maintains it's dominance. Users want easy to use and visually consistent apps. Windows has always tried to make it easy to create those; whereas Linux has struggled. For example, the fact that you have multiple types of scroll bars on Unix in general just doesn't help.

Regarding the quality of the development environments, Visual Studio is actually pretty good, although as a C++ programmer it isn't the best. For visual development, I have yet to find anything better than Visual Studio; but for general development Sun's Studio is far better. Tools like DTrace and Collector/Analyser in DBX are so far ahead of the competition. The biggest problem for developing C++ on Linux is that GDB sucks. Really badly. Anyone who has done any serious C++ programming on Linux will have discovered that GDB crashes regularly, has problems stepping into various types of functions (like certain constructors). Worst of all, gcc has an ABI bug that means that any debugger on Linux (including GDB and for example TotalView) will hang under certain circumstances in an unrecoverable state. Try using that on mission critical applications.

Going onto Google Chrome. It will fail in just the same way that Linux has failed on netbooks. People don't see netbooks as just being a way to get Internet and e-mail on the move. They see them as a small PC (check recent surveys on this). It's why people are buying more hard-drive based netbooks instead of SSD netbooks. I bought a netbook for my non-tech savvy girlfriend recently and her requirement was internet and MSOffice. I couldn't even persuade her to try OpenOffice (which I personally use on 2 out of my 4 windows boxes at home). Also she got MSOffice for $20 through Microsoft's home-use license arrangement.

RAF in plot against Fleet Air Arm again

Dave Handley

An interesting article - but flawed

Very interesting article - but so obviously written by an ex-Naval officer. It is interesting that he fails to mention the successes of an independent air force. After the first world war, many people wanted to close down the air arm completely (including the RN), but Trenchard fought to maintain the skills necessary to ramp up in event of a new war. Also, an Air Force run solely by the Army and Navy would almost certainly not have concentrated on home defence anywhere near as much. The Battle of Britain may well have turned another way for example. The RAF has most definitely made mistakes, and it has always been a mistake to skimp on carriers. Just don't kill the goose that laid the golden egg because of those mistakes.

Networked multipack cruise missiles in successful test

Dave Handley
Thumb Up

Tanks do 2 things

Assuming a rocket in a box will get rid of tanks misses some important points. Tanks both project power and protect the occupants. In Iraq the smaller APCs as well as tanks have been crucial for dealing with roadside bombs, both of these require huge logistics support though. The logistics for rocket in a box is likely to be quite a lot as well. Other than that, it looks like a shiny piece of kit.

PC Gamers get Bill of Rights

Dave Handley

None of these things are "Rights"

What has been listed here is one gamers idea of a nice to have wish list. It certainly isn't a bill of rights. A bill of rights gives people the right to life, or the right to a fair trial; not the right to cry when something doesn't live up to the hype.

To be honest, what gamers should be petitioning for is better work from the game reviewers. If people reviewing games took all the things in this list into account, and then gamers didn't buy ones that didn't meet the list, then you would effectively have implemented it. But no, when Half-Life 2 came out, everyone happily went out and bought it, despite knowing that Steam was highly intrusive and was going to cause untold problems.

It's a market, if you don't like the way people do things, don't buy goods off them. Simple as that. Most countries have a fitness for purpose clause within retail law, this covers the more serious items on this list, the rest are nice to haves, nothing more. Now stop crying.

Germany flicks off-switch on DAB

Dave Handley

Digital Sucks

My experience of digital TV has been that it sucks. I'm not surprised that other experiences of digital radio are similarly bad. Why do I think digital TV is awful? Well, of my last 3 abodes, 2 have been wholly and completely unable to receive any digital channels, and 1 has only been able to receive a handful of channels. If my last 3 houses were in Outer Mongolia I could understand that. But 2 of them have been inside zone 2 in London, and the other in a city.

In my last place I gave up and got Sky. Great reception, shame the hardware they provide is so flaky.


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