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The researchers deserve some of the blame as well. In physics, at least, and certainly in some other fields, there is a strong tradition of posting preprints to the arXiv or other similar free archives. The journals, including all the top journals, accommodate this---they have no choice.

You mention chemistry. I don't know anything about chemistry journals, but given the precedent set by other fields, I feel that chemists don't have a good excuse for locking their research up behind paywalls.

Some chemistry journals do not allow you to publish if you place a copy on a preprint server like arxiv. The key to this battle will be funding agencies.

Well... you could still make the copy available after the article was published.

If you don't mind breaking your contract with the publisher.

What can they do against it?

Sue you for damages.

There's a positive externality that arises from price-sensitive shopping. It promotes competition, which leads to lower prices for everyone.

If everyone behaved like you, requiring a 40% discount before moving away from Amazon, then Amazon would just set its prices 1/.6 = 66% higher than the other stores. Fortunately, not everyone is like you, so Amazon's prices are often competitive.

To some degree, I suppose this is like buying index funds versus buying individual stocks. I only buy index funds. But the reason I can get away with it is that there are at least a few people out there searching for value. I can't compete with them. But I can price-compare online, or at gas stations, etc. I see shopping for low prices as part of my duty as a capitalist. :)

> There's a positive externality that arises from price-sensitive shopping.

The term "price sensitive" is a bit misleading. A better term would be "value sensitive". Your duty as a free market participant (I prefer that term because "free market" is not necessarily the same as "capitalism") is to get the best value you can for your money. But that is value to you, and will be different for different people. Also, that value has to include the cost of the time and effort you spend searching for value, which is also different for different people.

There's a positive one from convenience-sensitive shopping too.

> then Amazon would just set its prices 1/.6 = 66% higher than the other stores.

And such would be the price of convenience.

I shop at Publix and pay the higher prices over Kroger because Publix is 5 minutes away from my house whereas Kroger is 10. I don't do major grocery shopping as I'm single. I'm happy Publix exists and if everybody were so price sensitive they'd drive to Kroger instead, Publix would go out of business or lower the quality of their services so they can compete price-wise with Kroger.

Having multiple store options available diversifies not just the market for goods, but also the market for shopping experiences. Price-sensitive shopping, if everyone did it, would absolutely lower prices for everyone, but ultimately would reduce options. I would hate to live in that world.

I bet that Kroger has a better, more convenient experience than it would if Publix wasn't there, simply because Publix is an option. Kroger does have self-checkout lanes and nice decor, just not as nice as Publix's.

It isn't just driving in the rain that's a problem; puddles after the rain are, too. From an article 2/6/2016:

> Some objects are hard to figure out, though. Heavy rain, for instance, confuses the cars. Google postponed The Bee’s first planned test ride because heavy rain had left puddles in the road, and the cars aren’t sure how to react when the car ahead splashes water into the air. If confused, the cars are programmed to just pull over and stop.


Whoa, there's a huge fact in here. A Googler is clearly quoted at the bottom:

> “The day I’m very excited about is the day where we are just as safe as human drivers,” he said.

That's a distinct recognition that Google is aware their cars currently are not.

In 2014, the US imported 9 million barrels of petroleum per day, and exported 4 million barrels per day. Net imports accounted for 27% of US petroleum consumption. [1]

While that is from 2014, this table suggests that imports didn't change significantly, up or down, in 2015 through November [2].

[1] http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=727&t=6 [2] https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=pet&s=m...

However, there likely is a tradeoff between taste and nutrition. Nutritious compounds can often have a bitter taste, while sugar is often said to be unhealthy.

I enjoyed your phrase "often said to be unhealthy."

I'm glad the nutrition field is willing to admit errors and update guidance. I'm a little disappointed with the high frequency.

I did 30 seconds of research, and found out dietitian and nutritionist are not synonyms. Dietitians seem to use nutrition to achieve specific medical or performance outcomes. In that context, it makes sense to have lots of changes as the bleeding edge advances.

Here's a typical breakdown, from 2010: "Out of that gross revenue, the publisher pays about $3.25 to print, store and ship the book, including unsold copies returned to the publisher by booksellers."

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/01/business/media/01ebooks.ht... (and the graphic: http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2010/03/01/business/01eboo... )


Currencies do often seem to have long-term trends. Trading on them works well until it doesn't. Since currencies move slowly, brokers can allow you to borrow much more than your capital to leverage it. It really is gambling, though, since it is zero-sum. At least with your money in stocks, you can hope for a long-term upward trend to balance out short-term fluctuations.

Typical news stories:

1. Amateur currency traders in Japan, making a fortune until they don't.

> Most of these accounts involve margin trading, in which investors place a cash deposit with a brokerage that allows them to borrow up to 20 or even 100 times their holdings for trading.


2. A similar story in Europe, when the Swiss dropped their currency peg

> Europe has no caps in place, in contrast to other jurisdictions, such as the US, Hong Kong and Singapore. Clients deposit money with trading venues and use this as collateral to borrow a much larger amount and magnify their trading positions. In London it is usually 100-200 times the amount deposited into a retail account, but can be upwards of 500 times.



The insurance industry is fairly heavily regulated (in the US). They can only charge different rates based on specific factors. This means that your entirely imaginary (and therefore entirely unconvincing) scenario will remain entirely imaginary (and unconvincing).

Personally, I would prefer if car insurers could price discriminate more based on data. I think this would lower rates for me personally, both in the short term because I try to cultivate safe driving habits, and in the long term because it would create an incentive for everybody to try to drive more safely.


> This means that your entirely imaginary (and therefore entirely unconvincing) scenario will remain entirely imaginary (and unconvincing).

Well, that very much depends on how you look at it. It might be imaginary in so far as regulation in the US possibly prevents those consequences, which is great. One might also see it as evidence that collection of personal data has risks--and that regulation might be one way to deal with those risks, at least in some cases. After all, this kind of regulation is in effect a prohibition on collecting certain kinds of personal data, even if the collection in itself is permissible, as companies won't collect data when they can't use it for anything anyway.

> Personally, I would prefer if car insurers could price discriminate more based on data. I think this would lower rates for me personally, both in the short term because I try to cultivate safe driving habits, and in the long term because it would create an incentive for everybody to try to drive more safely.

Are you sure that it would? Remember that for the insurer, it doesn't matter whether they calculate your risk (and thus your premium) correctly, what matters for them is that they aren't worse at calculating risks than the competition (i.e., the competition can't outcompete them on price or cause them to be left with a non-representative sample of their risk model), and that on average, their criteria match reality (i.e., they don't take on risks that are actually larger than they can pay for). Even if you in fact do drive more safely than the average driver (as in: at the end of your live, you will have had fewer/less severe accidents), it might happen that their predictive models group you in a different category, because characteristics of your driving behaviour that they use to categorize you are correlated with high-risk drivers. If insurers don't know how to (economically) measure why your driving behaviour is safe, it doesn't matter whether it actually is.

Also, the incentive can actually be a problem, exactly because risk models employed by ensurers tend to not be an exact representation of reality. If you have an incentive structure that does not align with reality, the incentive can end up promoting harmful behaviour. For example, one obvious proxy for safe driving habits could be lack of sudden decelaration. It's easy to measure, and generally, if you pay attention to traffic and drive with foresight, you usually will not need to brake suddenly as much as a reckless driver. So, it's probably true that both, incentivising people to not brake suddenly would have as one consequence people driving with more foresight, which should reduce accidents, and also that people who don't brake suddenly generally are a lower risk for the ensurer than those who do. However, this proxy can not distinguish whether you brake suddenly because you didn't pay attention--or because someone else didn't pay attention and surprised you. In the latter case, though, the thing to do to avoid an accident might be to brake as hard as you can. But that will be seen by your insurance as risky driving behaviour (which it most of the time is) that comes with a higher premium, so you have created an incentive for the driver to let an avoidable accident happen. Note that the driver in question won't think about this for an hour before deciding what to do, it's a gut reaction that might well be influenced by having internalized "braking hard costs money".

And also: What if you actually are a really good driver but you enjoy braking hard? What if you brake hard just for the fun of it, in situations where it's completely harmless. Is it fair if you have to pay higher premiums for that? Such incentives that work via proxy measurements of the actual risks tend to force adherence to a standard of behaviour. I find the idea frightening that insurance companies might get to dictate "safe behaviour", where the specific behaviour is not actually necessary for safety, it just happens to be easily distinguishable from risky behaviour, so behaving differently costs you money, simply because it's difficult to figure out that your behaviour is not actually risky.


This quote, from a Nature news article, suggests otherwise:

> Biologists have long been able to edit genomes with molecular tools. About ten years ago, they became excited by enzymes called zinc finger nucleases that promised to do this accurately and efficiently. But zinc fingers, which cost US$5,000 or more to order, were not widely adopted because they are difficult to engineer and expensive, says James Haber, a molecular biologist at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. CRISPR works differently: it relies on an enzyme called Cas9 that uses a guide RNA molecule to home in on its target DNA, then edits the DNA to disrupt genes or insert desired sequences. Researchers often need to order only the RNA fragment; the other components can be bought off the shelf. Total cost: as little as $30. “That effectively democratized the technology so that everyone is using it,” says Haber. “It’s a huge revolution.” [1]

[1] http://www.nature.com/news/crispr-the-disruptor-1.17673


I think he's saying that Yelp is bad because he should not have been trusted. The whole point of the exercise was for his girlfriend to write a review for her father's business. But it seems nearly impossible to stop people who are determined to write fake reviews. Yelp obviously isn't perfect, but what's the alternative?


>I think he's saying that Yelp is bad because he should not have been trusted.

Based on what? Magical intuition that the account belongs to the boyfriend of the business owner?


"what's the alternative?"

Live a post-online-review existence. That's where I'm at. The future is here just unevenly distributed.

Take all the arguments people have against IQ as a measure of a person's meaning or value, turn them around and apply them to the number of online stars a company has purchased, err, uh, obtained via reviews from real customers LOL as if anyone believes that's really how it works. Or if you work for a big corporation you likely have extensive experience with people freaking out about utterly meaningless metrics... like number of online stars.

Sucks to be an online review company, but if the providers hate the implied, rumored, or actual extortion racket, and the users find the data to be useless, when they go away, nothing of value will be lost.



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