* Posts by G Mac

72 posts • joined 25 Aug 2011

Page:

15 'could it be aliens?' fast radio bursts observed in one night

G Mac
Joke

I am Appalled and Outraged!

After re-calibrating my units of measure system to the Reg's common sense and entirely practical system, q.v. https://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/page/reg-standards-converter.html, I find that this article uses a non-standard unit of measurement! Unacceptable!

I demand that The Register, if it is to maintain it's readers expected high standard of reporting, to immediately rectify the situation by using an approved Reg unit.

Given we have force (the Norris) and distance (possibly the Linguine is most relevant), I suggest The Register immediately gets to work to supply both the name of the Reg unit and it's conversion rate, particularly to this thing called a 'joule', on which I am unable find any information on the Reg's standard converter, making it, the joule, a meaningless unit.

Signed

Appalled A. Outraged

31
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World's largest private submarine in mystery sink accident

G Mac

Re: What's sixze got to do with it?

The Trieste was not a true submarine, it was a bathyscaphe:

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

Essentially a sphere for us humans (= best shape to withstand pressure) suspended below a large tank of gasoline (= less dense than water and incompressible). It got back to the surface by releasing it's iron shot ballast.

What I noted about the article's submarine was that it had portholes! I would of thought that was a major weak spot.

7
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Hey America! Your internet is going to be so much better this January

G Mac
WTF?

Farcical

So I can walk into an office that only has 'slow' 20Mbps fixed internet access and proclaim loudly that I will fire up my mobile hotspot for all because it has 'fast' internet access at 10Mbps.

I am starting to think 1984 and the Ministry of Truth has arrived, though 30 years late.

29
1

50th anniversary of the ATM opens debate about mobile payments

G Mac
Thumb Up

Re: merchant cannot discount payments made in cash

Ah that is interesting I missed that thanks.

Looking at the rules for Visa though it is not across the board:

* Applies only to credit cards, not debit or pre-paid cards;

* 10 states restrict the surcharge, including some big ones (CA, NY, FL, MA, TX). Since I have lived in NY and CA no wonder I missed this!

* Merchant can only surcharge up to the acceptance rate of the card up to 4%. The rate varies according to card present, type of business, signature required etc. At least for Visa it seems they want the highest rate applied across competing networks to be applied.

https://usa.visa.com/dam/VCOM/download/merchants/surcharging-faq-by-merchants.pdf

https://usa.visa.com/dam/VCOM/download/merchants/merchant-category-definitions-credit-card-cost-to-acquirers.pdf

https://usa.visa.com/dam/VCOM/download/merchants/surcharge-considerations-and-requirements.pdf

In the end the merchant still cannot discount cash transactions at a rate the merchant chooses. In addition, I would like the transaction fee for *all* transactions to be available.

Question for US folks not in a restricted state - does the surcharge get displayed BEFORE you OK the transaction?

0
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G Mac
Unhappy

Re: Extinct in ten years?

In the US it is a law (put through by the credit card industry via bribes to politicians) that a merchant cannot discount payments made in cash. So its cash only or everything is the same price no matter the payment method.

Apparently it was 'designed' to encourage use of credit cards. I will believe the hype of a cashless society when they remove that restriction so folks can choose the method of payment based on the transaction fee.

No doubt some will say there is a cost for maintaining a cash float by the merchant - fine by me if that cost gets passed through. Want I don't want is opaque fees that I cannot compare.

And you can bet your sweet bippy that when no choice is to be had (aka cashless) those fees will only go up.

9
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US Secretary of State: I will work with Russia on cyber security issues

G Mac
Trollface

Re: Wait, what? Maybe missing irony quotes around belligerent?

Oh that is easy to answer - it was polite warning. This is how I would defined them:

A belligerent warning is when you shoot down the foreign plane when it has intruded on your airspace for ~17 seconds and is so close to re-entering their own airspace that the wreckage lands on their own soil.

A polite warning is when you DON'T shoot down a foreign plane in your airspace, even though they have recently shot down one of your planes in your own airspace.

16
2
G Mac
WTF?

Wait, what? Maybe missing irony quotes around belligerent?

"...Russia's belligerent warning that it was prepared to treat US warplanes as potential targets following a recent attack on a Syrian regime aircraft".

Let me get this straight: the US shoots down a Syrian plane in Syrian airspace while claiming that it was protecting US and Allied troops stationed on Syrian sovereign soil without permission of the Syrian government or a UN mandate, and it is Russia that is being belligerent?

Where 'shot down' < 'belligerent warning' in strength of act?

And where US flies by tolerance and not by invitation of the sovereign state?

And this after the US bombed and killed around 100 Syrian troops in Deir ez-Zor?

Yup, gotta be missing the irony quotes.

24
4

Wow, someone managed to make money on Fitbit stock – oh, 'fraudulently'

G Mac

Re: Glad we're catching the top crooks

In this case, someone steals a Honda and gets prosecuted while folks are being home invaded, bound, pistol whipped and their life savings stolen, all in front of the kids, and the perps get a slap on the wrist.

This prosecution is an example of 'regulatory theater' where captured regulators and politicians take a victory lap and say 'look, something is being done' while far more corrosive crimes get a free pass because they are corporations.

Your comment pretty much reflects that the regulatory theater is working.

0
0
G Mac

Let me see if I get this right...

Item 1: A pump and dump scam where a bloke creates a fake account, pockets less than $4K and the bloke faces criminal charges.

Item 2: A very large TBTF bank called Wells Fargo creates millions of fake accounts, pockets some $MM and no one faces criminal charges.

Oh that's right, Wells Fargo paid a fine. Maybe the bloke should do that and avoid a possible perp walk.

23
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HTC seeks salvation with squeezy design

G Mac

My M7 is still going strong

The only problem is the USB port is a bit loose so I need to pay attention when connecting to recharge.

Other than that the battery life is still good, and it is in great nick.

Given I haven't had any reason to upgrade, and the later models have been a bit lackluster, if I can cope with the loose USB port I may skip the model(s) this year as well.

The *only* reason I have to upgrade is because the version of Android is falling behind. HTC tried for a while, and of course Verizon gets in there too, so I am still on Lollipop (5.0).

That is the major frustration, and going to a non-Google phone will have the same problem. I looked at the Pixel and wasn't impressed, at least at first blush.

1
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As Trump signs away Americans' digital privacy, it's time to bring out the BS detector

G Mac
Big Brother

The one way this will be stopped quick smart...

... is if the browsing history of say a Supreme Court nominee gets out into public view.

Just ask Robert Bork and the Video Privacy Protection Act for VHS rental history:

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

Of course if it only will happen to the great unwashed public then say sayonara to your data.

8
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Zeta Systems: NVMe over Fabrics speed is real... and here's why

G Mac

Can we get that even so please?

That is, the minimum/average/median/maximum request times?

0
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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.

5
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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.

0
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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/

11
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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.

4
1

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.

3
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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...

5
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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.

0
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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...

0
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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...

0
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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...

0
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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...

3
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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???

5
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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.

4
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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...

1
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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.

5
0

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.

8
1

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

G Mac
Trollface

Any irony in article given today's date?

Just sayin...

1
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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/.

0
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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).

3
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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.

1
1

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.

4
1

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.

14
0

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).

4
3

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)?

10
1

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.

26
3

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.

0
0
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.

0
5

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?

16
3

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?

1
0

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.

0
0
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.

4
0

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...

0
0

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.

0
0

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
0

Indian climate boffins: Himalayan glaciers are OK, thanks

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.

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