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About Prefect

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  1. Prefect

    The Next Huge Leap in Computing Power?

    Quantum computing is unlikely to change the landscape significantly outside of cryptography.   There is a common misconception that quantum computers can do exponentially many computations in parallel and do something useful with the results of all of them. This is not true, or at least misleading. One can indeed think of quantum computers as performing exponentially many computations in parallel. The problem is that it is impossible to extract the result of an individual computation (or a small subset of them) in a flexible way. Instead, there is only a single overall result of the computation which arises from what is essentially a linear combination of the result states. As a consequence, the really huge speedups in quantum computers are only seen in algorithms for problems that have a lot of algebraic structure - in particular, factoring integers and solving the discrete logarithm problem, which are the building blocks for all asymmetric cryptography that is in actual use today.   In other words, quantum computers are purely bad news: If they can be made to work, they will seriously damage asymmetric crypto, but they won't actually help us in solving tough problems such as the traveling salesperson problem or register allocation in a compiler any faster.   If you're interested in some serious reading on the topic, you might want to start with the blog of Scott Aaronson, or his lecture "Quantum Computing since Democritus".
  2.   I got some observation on this based only on one thing, I can write here, I am curious what you will say   I noticed few years ago and i am saying to people sometimes that 21 June (or about) should be really treated as a middle day of the summer not the beginning of the summer, same with 21 december (longest night day) should be treated as a middle day of the winter not the beginning of the winter   this is logical for me   I say this to more than 10 people matbe almost 20 (and give explanation that summer should be 1/4 of a year with longest days, winter with shortest) and guess what, NOBODY agreed with me - I do not encounter as to today not 1 person who will be agreeing with me here,    could i maybe test some people here?;/ would you agree or disagree?     While I see your point as far as the solar cycle is concerned, at least here (Western Europe) the climate really starts being summer-like in June/July, and we basically never get snow before January. So as far as the climate is concerned, the terminology makes sense.
  3. Prefect

    Economics engine

    You have my respect for trying to tackle such a complicated project. I have been idly thinking about something like this myself, from an edutainment-type angle.   As for citizen's behavior and the difficulty of pathfinding, might I suggest a little hack that would make things both more efficient and more realistic at the same time: Let citizens reevaluate their behavior only rarely. Let them use the same path to work, buy the same set of goods over a longer period of time, even when the roads change or the prices change. This can make your simulation more efficient, and it is actually how most people behave in the real world, so it will make things more realistic.
  4. It doesn't seem to me that there is a clear winning combination yet. I've been happily messing around with Django because I happen to like Python and it looks like a popular and well supported choice. On the client side, I tend to use mostly plain JavaScript, but that's because I really want to learn the bare basics of the DOM. So far, that has worked just fine for me. I guess that as long as you're happy storing your game state in a standard database it could be a starting point for you as well.
  5. Prefect

    How to verify as a valid client?

    All the things you mentioned are hurdles. They do slow developers of cheats down. But cheating remains possible, and in the meantime you were slowed down as well: your time could have been spent developing nice new features, or possibly cheat detection, which is arguably more important. So you have to ask yourself if you're really spending your time well.
  6. Prefect

    How to verify as a valid client?

    Your response to hplus is simply saying No without justification. Cryptography isn't some magic dust you can sprinkle on your game to make it have whatever property you like. Specifically, all cryptographic key material that is used by a "legitimate" client will also be known to a cheater, and do doesn't add more than a hurdle.
  7. FFT sounds like a good approach. Keep in mind that shifting the phase corresponds to multiplying all Fourier coefficients by the same complex number of absolute value 1 (i.e. rotating all the coefficients in the complex plane), so you need to correct for that.
  8. Prefect

    Which Country Should I Move To?

    Damnit, I just realized that this is derailing the whole thread. We should probably shut up. It's just too tempting
  9. Prefect

    Which Country Should I Move To?

    Okay. Weve had this discussion before: you (and MMT) claim private savings demand government deficit. I asked you which government supplied the very real private savings in the squirrel economy. I dont remember if I ever got an answer. [/quote] I don't remember either. The point is that squirrels don't save in net financial assets. They only save in real assets, so the comparison is meaningless. The distinction between financial and real assets is an important one, and it's possible that I haven't made it as clearly back when we had this discussion the last time. I'm still learning new things from time to time I suppose that the kind of "sound vs. functional finance" conflicts are essentially pre-programmed. As long as there are no stable currencies, people avoid having too much savings in financial assets. If they have anything to save, they do so in real assets, from real estates to fine arts to precious metals. But as currencies become more stable, and it becomes more convenient, practical, and often more successful to save in financial assets [1], the effects described by MMT become more pronounced. So as the behaviour of the private sector changes, the government behaviour and institutional instincts that have been important in arriving at the stable currency start becoming detrimental to the well-being of society. The key, then, is to change this behaviour and instincts in a reasonable way, while still having safeguards to prevent the currency from becoming too unstable. Basically, the gut reflex of "living within your financial means" must be replaced by or transformed into a gut reflex of "living within your real means". Part of the problem is that we have great ways to vividly summarize the "financial means". [3] The "real means" are much more difficult to assess, much less summarize, so in a way we have to become more sophisticated in our understanding of the world to achieve this transformation. I think the unemployment rate, as well as data about factory etc. utilization can at least provide a good start, but that's clearly far from a complete solution. I would also mention that not all countries are equal in this respect, look e.g at countries in South America. Many people there have a significant part of their private savings in US$-denominated assets. So while MMT certainly applies in a very literal meaning to their respective fiat currencies and governments, the private savings in that currency are lower and therefore their impact on how the government should behave are lower. One can take the view that as far as the country's fiat currency is concerned, the US$ savings behave like real assets would behave. As a political voluntaryist, I would certainly like to think an advanced and well functioning monetary system is possible without a state. As for storing wealth and providing liquidity, I think these are problems that used to be reasonably solved by metal standards, but nowadays are non-issues anyway due to technological advancement. The challenge (faced by statists and non-statists alike) is creating a denominator of long term contracts that people can rely on to coordinate economic activity over time. What does paying 1000$ a month over fifty years MEAN? Winning the jackpot or selling yourself into slavery? And does that outcome depend on my success at the ballot box? A good money would minimize these uncertainties, and I contend that a fiat system does a fundamentally poor job of it.[/quote] I sympathize with you, really, I just think that your vision is fundamentally impossible because of the savings and debt dynamics that would be involved. As soon as your denominator is sufficiently successful, people will want to start saving in it. [2] But where do those savings ultimately come from? I can only see two possibilities, and both have problems. A) Either you create, out of nothing, assets that are not anybody else's liability (or you call them the system's liabilities). This is the route that BitCoin has taken, for example: BitCoins are simply created out of nothing, they are not anybody's liability. But this route poses obvious fairness and governance problems. Who gets to decide how many of these assets are created, and to whom are they given? As far as such things go, BitCoin is actually fairly clever: you get assets for maintaining the system. But many people object to the distorted early-adopter advantage of people who mined on an essentially empty network, getting huge payoffs for very little investment. B) You embrace the concept of debt and money as a contract. This means you do not create assets out of nothing, but instead every asset is somebody's liability. This is most likely how money began historically, with temples playing a book (or clay tablet) keeping role in the fertile crescent. The question is then: if people want to save a huge amount - and in a relatively wealthy democratic society, this happens if only for retirement purposes - then who holds the liabilities that should correspond to all those assets? Do banks do it? If so, how do you prevent the bank runs that were so common before the establishment of central banks? Do other private actors do it? How can you prevent them from getting into similar problems of illiquidity and insolvency? I would think of our modern government-controlled fiat systems as a mixture of B and (outside of the Eurozone) A. Most monetary assets are of the B-nature, such as deposits at a bank, which correspond to liabilities of the bank. However, the overall balance of net financial assets within the non-government sector is positive, because the government "creates" assets out of nothing - that is the A part. [4] The governance problem of part A is solved by having a democratically legitimized authority over the system (this is actually the main reason I am against central bank "independence" - it reduces democratic oversight, or gives an easy excuse not to exercise it). The instability problems of B are mitigated by a central bank that acts as lender of last resort and a regulatory authority, and of course by the simple fact that the private sector can have a positive net financial assets balance. Yes, those governance and oversight systems failed pretty hard in the last decade or so, there's no doubt about that. Regulatory capture is a real problem. But it worked remarkably well before (just compare the 19th century with its frequent crises to the second half of the 20th century), and at least there exists a democratic process by which improvement is possible. Alternative systems lack such a process, at least the proposals I have heard or thought about. So the system may suck, but it's still the best system possible (probably ). An ETF maximally diversified over your sphere of economic activity (global these days, unless you live in NK) seems like a much better suited instrument for such a role. [/quote] An interesting idea, but the truth of that statement is extremely difficult to evaluate. What if those apparently well-suited ETFs are only able to exist in an environment where there is a reasonably stable fiat currency to begin with? After all, those things have only existed for a short period of time. Another thought: if you actually implement this practically, it seems like you would end up with basically a gold standard system, just with gold replaced by whichever index you choose. As far as such alternatives go, I have to say that it does seem significantly more enlightened than most. [1] Commodities are surprisingly bad as an inflation hedge. Over the last two generations or so, putting your savings into gold has been a losing proposition! Of course, it depends a bit on where you draw the line: if you invested in gold just after the last gold price bubble burst, you've probably offset inflation, but compared to holding long term bonds it's definitely not great. If you invested at the height of the bubble, I believe you still haven't made your real value back. The picture is similarly bleak for other commodities. [2] If you haven't seen it yet, I think Paul Krugman's 1998 documentation of a baby-sitting coop provides a salient example. [3] Of course, MMT says that the "financial means" are an incorrect concept for a fiat currency issuer, because its financial means are infinite. We just invented this shared illusion that happens to correlate reasonably with the "real means" most of the time. The problems begin when this correlation starts to become worse or break down completely. [4] Yes, reserves and bonds are treated as liabilities of the (consolidated) government (in the US on the balance sheets of Fed and Treasury, respectively). However, since it can never become incapable of servicing these liabilities, the reserves and bonds might as well be created out of thin air when the government spends.
  10. Prefect

    Which Country Should I Move To?

    Liquidity comes in many forms. Just yesterday, I traded one beer in the one bar versus another beer in the next bar.[/quote] I like that example. Liquidity indeed Contracts can be denominated, at least in principle, in any denomination.[/quote] True. In practice though, that's rarely the case. In the developed world, contracts are basically always denominated in the country's currency. Where contracts cross boundaries, they are usually denominated in one of the participating currencies (or perhaps a basket). In developing countries, larger contracts are often denominated in foreign currencies like USD, Euro or CHF or whatever. So I don't know. You need some kind of fundamental goodwill towards others to have any kind of useful discussion, and you don't seem to be prepared to have that towards MMT. Of course MMT researchers are aware of the things you write (admittedly, things may be different for some of the "acolytes"). The point is that they consider them to be irrelevant for the claims they're making. So what if they don't always go to the full length of explaining all that, especially in an exposee intended for a normal audience? You can't always put the full disclaimer everywhere. Anyway, the point is that 'money' is a much more general thing than coins, bills, account balances, or gold bars for that matter. These are but particular means to some ends. I guess one could say that MMTers are like goldbugs, just with a different fixation.[/quote] It's kind of ironic that you didn't mention reserves or bonds. If there's one thing MMT really brought to the table in terms of "money things", it's the importance of understanding how reserves and the bond market work (this goes back to Mosler's paper in 1994). Other than that, I would say the next thing they repeat over and over again is the sectoral balances, which is not about "money things" at all. I have seen "money as a contract" emphasized by MMTers much more than by the people who write against MMT, so that's a weird criticism on your part.
  11. Prefect

    Which Country Should I Move To?

    Open your eyes. All relevant money systems in the world today exist as creations of the state, under the rules of the state. I agree with you that it is, in principle, possible for a money system to be created by somebody other than a state. Clearly, there are some examples of this in history, and it is attempted occasionally without too much success in the sense of achieved relevance (see e.g. Bitcoin). And that's the key point here. Those other money system remain too small to be of relevance. So if you want to pretend that money is not created by the state, a productive discussion with you is pretty much impossible. One could say that you have to accept the fact that the Emperor has no clothes. By the way: MMT is slowly but surely gaining traction among other economists. Here's an interesting paper by someone who basically agrees in all points, but just thinks the message should be toned down. (There is one minor point where he does disagree, which I believe to be a mistake in how he accounts for net financial assets. But I digress.)
  12. Prefect

    Which Country Should I Move To?

    There are some statements that clearly set MMT researchers apart from everybody else. In particular, you mention Keynesian cycles. Keynes himself was very adamant that the government should run surpluses in good times to offset the deficit from bad times. MMT contradicts this. There may be situation where Keynes' prescription applies, but in the vast majority of cases it does not according to MMT. (MMT does say that the government deficit should behave counter-cyclically, ideally via automatic spending and taxation adjustments; the distinction here is that this does not imply a balanced budget in the long run.) That said, I agree that calling MMT a revelation is perhaps an exaggeration. However, understanding the nature of money beyond the naive everyday view that we develop as children and most people never shed even as adults is quite an enlightenment, and many people go through this precisely because they learn about MMT. It's **unrealistic** because it relies on people being perfect[/quote] It's better not to mix up MMT as a descriptive theory with the policy prescriptions that are typically derived from the descriptive part. Saying that MMT as a descriptive theory is unrealistic doesn't make sense. It's either true or false (or perhaps true with some flaws, or false with some truths). it relies on the government never ever ever succumbing to the temptation to debase the currency rather than fully close the currency loop.[/quote] There is quite a lot that is wrong here. First of all: debasing the currency vs. "closing the currency loop" is a false dichotomy. Second, "debasement" is an inaccurate term for this discussion anyway - the days of the gold standard are over, and the days of coins that are denominated at material value have been over even longer. Third, the "currency loop" is broken in more places than just the government. Most importantly, it is broken when private actors save, and it is broken by bank money creation. This is not a uniquely MMT observation either. It is accepted by everyone who understands endogenous money. So even if the government wanted to, it simply cannot close the currency loop, because there is always the private sector. This last point is actually something that should appeal to libertarian types: a lot of the MMT prescriptions are basically that the government should act defensively vs. the actions of the private sector. That should be easy to embrace for a libertarian.
  13. Prefect

    Which Country Should I Move To?

    I know what you mean. It's easy to get carried away. But I try ;) (Does calling me a 'nut' make you feel better? Or where does this come from?)
  14. Prefect

    Which Country Should I Move To?

    It would be great if the world worked that way. Maybe I'm just around the wrong kind of people, but my impression is that many people do not judge an argument solely on the facts presented, at least not when they see or hear it for the first time. There is a "social proof-based" defensive shield that is instinctively put up, and only after you've passed that will they start to really think things through. Actually, I believe most people (including myself) are like that for many topics. The deficit comment is also something Krugman would say, and he is not an MMTer. So such a statement is not a sufficient differentiation factor, and so I went into more detail.[/quote] You have a point there. Still, it can help to start with a more widely accepted point and then add to that. But you're right, it's important to discuss the difference between typical post-Keynesians like Krugman, who say that there should not be a deficit over the business cycle (i.e. deficits in a downturn should be balanced by surpluses during good times), and the MMT researchers, who have a very convincing argument that increasing government debts (in absolute numbers) are necessary in the long run for a typical country (the only exception being countries like Norway with their massive oil exports). You don't help by giving off the vibe of a crazy person (though I admit it often does feel like the inmates are running the asylum).[/quote] I don't see that I am giving off such a vibe. Are you sure you're not projecting? [/quote] I certainly don't think you're a crazy person, and probably I should have worded things differently. What I'm really trying to say is this: try to see things from the perspective of someone who is utterly convinced that sound finance and a return to the gold standard is the way to go. Someone whose entire social circle believes the Robinson Crusoe & Friday story for where money comes from, thinks that deposits create loans, and so on. All those things are wrong, but for someone who has made them part of their identity, they are hard to give up. To someone like that, the notions of MMT must sound as crazy as the claim that the earth moves around the sun sounded to normal people a few centuries ago. So if you really want to convince the more open-minded among that group of people, you need to tread carefully and diplomatically. Don't tone down the message itself - it's important that people get exposed to it fully - but be careful in how you present it so as not to drive people away needlessly.
  15. Prefect

    Which Country Should I Move To?

    Nothing like a bit of racism :/[/quote] How is that racist? He is explicitly not over-generalizing - note the "some of our German friends". And besides, he is fundamentally correct. It has been a common theme in the German media for quite some time that Germany should just buy Greek islands and other assets. It's not just populism either: there has been a report by a German think tank on how a Greek privatisation should be overseen, with the obvious expectations that Germans would buy a large share of the assets which would be sold undoubtedly below value - as always happens in privatisation. If you are a sociopath - as many high-level managers and politicians are - then this is a very natural thing to want to do from the German perspective. Thanks to net exports, the top 0.1% of Germans hold a lot of financial claims on firms or states in the rest of the EU either directly or indirectly. That is why they do not want to let the Greek and other governments go into bankruptcy: when someone goes into bankruptcy, it is always the creditors who take a loss. (Note how quickly Papandreou was forced to withdraw the idea of a referendum on the austerity measures.) It makes sense to try to convert those financial claims/assets into something more tangible. The majority of Germans unfortunately do not understand this. To them, the narrative is "we are paying the Greeks to be lazy". They never even get a glimpse of the fact that what is really happening here is class warfare of the German capitalist elite (or at least a significant subgroup) against the rest of the Eurozone, including against German workers. In fact, the class warfare against German workers is the main tool by which they got into their current position of power in the first place. (In case you haven't heard about it yet, wages in Germany have been stagnant for the last ten years, which created a huge discrepancy between Germany and the rest of the zone. This is what made the German net exports possible, which in turn caused the current account surplus, which led to the accumulation of large financial claims on the rest of the world.) P.S.: I'm German.
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