Print Story I'll put a jihad on you, too
By TheophileEscargot (Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 03:38:47 PM EST) Reading, Consumerism, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "Confessions of a Mullah Warrior". Consumerism. Web.

What I'm Reading
Confessions of a Mullah Warrior by Masood Farivar. Autobiography of a man who grew up in a moderately well-off family in Afghanistan, fled to Pakistan with his family after the Soviet invasion, returned to fight in the Mujahideen, then emigrated to America and became a journalist.

It's an interesting story: not a lot of people have had those experiences, and he tells it well. It's quite enlightening on the experiences of some Afghans

However, the title hints at things that aren't really there. He wasn't a member of the Taliban, and had relatively little contact with them. At this stage of the war most of the fighters were native Afghans who seem to have regarded the religiously extreme foreign fighters with some bemusement. Also there's nothing that's shocking or secret enough to be much of a confession.

Overall though, quite interesting and informative, though not mind-blowing.

Finally upgraded my phone from the classic G1 (the first ever Android phone) to a Samsung Galaxy SIII. I tend to keep my phones for ages, so I now get about three months of "Oh, what a cool phone", nine months of nobody noticing my phone, then about about four years of "Haha that old phone is old haha".

Pretty happy with it so far. It's huge but quite thin so still fits OK in a pocket. Has a nice 1,280x720 OLED screen which is fantastically sharp. Runs all the apps I've tried very fast, though that will change if it holds out for years. Not sure it will, it feels a little bit flimsy: I've ordered a case and but that might make it too bulky.

Battery life isn't too bad for a smartphone, used up about 2/3 of it in a day's heavy use, or 1/3 on light use. I bought a double-sized battery and deep case for my last phone: they exist for this, but I've ordered an external battery pack instead as I think it would make it a bit too huge.

Thinking about using it as an ebook reader on the train, apparently Kobo is mildly less evil than Kindle as it uses an open, portable format. It's a comfortable experience, hoping the battery will permit it: white-on-black text is theoretically less power-hungry on an OLED.

Economics. China: Bad-debt nightmare, In revolt, High-speed trading pioneer thinks thinks should slow down. Homeless youths use social networks.

Random. The dreaded Happy Squirrel card enters Tarot via the Simpsons.

Articles. Myths of Avalon: no ancient Celtic feminist paradise. Short novels better.

Sci/Tech. Character and cognition in how children succeed. The War on General Purpose Computing (old talk now transcribed). Ancient human diets varied. Unused Soviet Mars rover. The missed opportunity of the closure of UKNova.

Politics. Tories need to pass Danny Boyle test. Sympathy for George W. Bush. Slavoj Žižek: The politics of Batman. Which US presidential candidate should you vote for? I got Jill Stein (Green) Gary Johnson (Libertarian) , Barack Obama, Mitt Romney.

Random. Atheism+ kerfuffle. Being a children's-party princess, via. Video. Dark Knight meets Avengers.

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I'll put a jihad on you, too | 13 comments (13 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Galaxy S3 by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #1 Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 03:59:50 PM EST
I really like mine, though it does have some funny quirks. The back button isn't a very good bit of design. Still, prefer it to my iPhone (which I had for two years), it's mainly the screen I think

This is a VERY good case and an absolute bargain

I'm on my third but only because I keep losing them. Black ones are out of stock, but the brown is actually quite classy.

It's political correctness gone mad!

Nice catch on HS trading... by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #2 Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 05:25:53 PM EST
I find it bizarre that so many people outside of the industry feel compelled to defend sub-1 second trading.
(I understand that people I know employed in the industry have an interest in the status quo.)

now that i'm in the industry by garlic (4.00 / 1) #7 Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 01:40:58 PM EST
i'm trying to figure out what the justification is. I'm also not completely sure of the harm of the speed -- automated trading can screw things up pretty quickly if it's making trades every second instead of every milisecond.

[ Parent ]
That's the problem I had with it. by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #10 Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 06:26:11 AM EST

I mean: As best I understand it, increasing the interval to one second won't do anything to curb the kind of chaotic feedback effects that cause the problem.

If someone presented an argument that showed 1 second would be enough to damp out enough of the pathological cases to be worthwhile, that's one thing. But from what I know of feedback and non-linear systems, I can't immediately see why it would. I guess it could be an argument for turning a (pseudo-)continuous system into a rigorously discrete one, so that a millisecond-grade blip doesn't cause a runaway instability as the fraction of systems that caught it react to it -- and might work to that extent -- but that's not an argument in favour of specific time periods so much as a DSP-type discretization one. I'd have to see the maths but, if that's the case, my gut feeling would be that that might prevent many little disasters at the cost of storing up potential for a massive Black Swan catastrophe as much larger numbers of systems reacted to less frequent aberrations aligned with the sample bins.

Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
But that's a different question... by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #11 Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 04:30:54 PM EST
my question was much more simple and pointed - what is the actual benefit of millisecond transactions?

My preferred interval is much longer - but I reckon step one is a political battle to get the principle acknowledged that more speed doesn't inherently bring benefits. 

[ Parent ]
The benefit is by dmg (4.00 / 1) #12 Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 05:01:58 PM EST
It keeps banking IT types (and more importantly their managers) employed.

Seriously. Its the only reason for it. Of course at the level of individual banks, there is money to be made from a good hft platform implementation. But in terms of liquidity, price discovery, it really doesn't add much, and a case can be made that it increases systemic risk (flash crashes etc).

Without external regulation it will continue. If one player does it, they all have to.
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.

[ Parent ]
Interesting video on how insane it is by dmg (2.00 / 0) #13 Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 05:30:42 PM EST
Can be found here. Basically they are using hardware (fpga) implementations of optimised tcp/ip stacks to gain microsecond advantages. All very fascinating and clever if you ignore the wider implications for the global financial system.
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
Ice Cream Sandwich is pissing me off. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #3 Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 11:05:09 PM EST
I hope there are some patches coming soon.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

your phone gets patches? by dev trash (4.00 / 1) #9 Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 09:26:12 PM EST
Must be nice.

[ Parent ]
HFT by Herring (4.00 / 1) #4 Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 11:51:39 AM EST
Not sure it's a problem in and of itself. From what I understand, it's looking mostly for arbitrage opportunities on derivatives. The problem as misinformed me sees it is that the trading in derivatives completely dwarfs the trading in "real stuff".

Putting people with money to invest in touch with companies that need that money and can use it to make stuff, I can see that as an economic good - a necessity even. But from what I read, that accounts for well under 10% of the actual trading in shares. In simplistic terms, there is a massive "fake economy" balanced precariously on top of a tiny real economy.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky

I'm not widely read in feminist anthropology by lm (4.00 / 1) #5 Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 09:51:31 AM EST
But, from what I've gleaned the few times that I've talked to my mother about it, the claim that most feminists would make is not really addressed by Sperring's article. They would claim that a matriarchal society centered around goddess worship existed in prehistoric times and, while in some cases this may have lasted up into the early Christian era, there were many other patriarchal societies (e.g. the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons, etc.) that invaded Celtic areas and stamped out the remnants of more egalitarian society. But, to be fair, it's quite likely that Sperring is dealing with a different type of conjectures about the way that society developed. My mother and the crowd she runs with are speaking of societies that they think prospered tens of thousands of years ago while Sperring is debunking myths dated to the advent of Christianity in Celtic areas which is a far more recent epoch.

. . .

I have a friend or two involved in the Atheism+ brouhaha. As an outsider it looks bizarre to me. I guess now I know how my non-Christian friends feel when I argue theology with other Christians.

. . .

The test for finding which presidential candidate one sides with is strange in some places. For example, the question about ending the war in Afghanistan had one answer of ``Yes, and only approve future wars through Congress.''  That makes no sense, the US Congress explicitly approved the invasion of Afghanistan through an authorization of use of military force.

I also think something must be wrong with the test because I can't imagine myself really being a backer of the Green Party Candidate platform.

And, also, I think the test leaves off the most important questions with regards to making up one's mind about presidential candidates. There were no questions about how laws should be enforced and the scope of presidential powers unless you count the question about terrorists being granted basic human rights. Most of the questions were what I consider important questions to ask of candidates for the legislature that have little to do with the president's job excepting his ability to use the bully pulpit to cajole Congress.

. . .

On the new Android, have you installed a power saver app yet? My battery life basically doubled once I installed Battery Saver. Well, actually it stayed the same but I started using it far more, e.g. using apps like MapMyRun that are energy hogs.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
I was surprised by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 01:11:21 PM EST
That the site gave me a huge preference for Obama over Romney: I thought they'd be about the same.

I haven't installed a power saving app since there's an option built in to the top menu. I am using Firefox, was surprised how bad the built-in browser is.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Obama v. Romney by lm (4.00 / 1) #8 Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 01:59:38 PM EST
There are fewer differences between candidate Romney circa 2008 and candidate Obama circa 2008 than there are between candidate Romney 2012 and candidate Obama 2012. For example, on the health care issue in 2008, Obama and Romney were both putting out something like Romney's Massachusetts plan save for individual mandate portion. But come 2012, Romney wants to repeal Obamacare in its entirety including provisions that he previouslyi supported such as insurance portability, coverage of pre-existing medical conditions, and the like. There are a number of issues like that where the two were far closer in the past than they are now.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I'll put a jihad on you, too | 13 comments (13 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback