7 Binary Options – Vantage FX

Looking for Android Developer / Co-Founder / CTO

I'm a sales and marketing professional and I have a great idea for a fashion social media platform. I am looking for a motivated high vantage point coder to be a CTO / co-founder in this venture. If you have an interest in fashion or want to build the next best social media platform you get extra brownie points!
Send me an email that explains why you are interested in the project and add a link to a web platform where you did a significant amount of the coding (include more than one if you want). Talk about the story behind the project, your role and what you contributed, and any difficulties you faced in the project.
You should include your answer to this hackerRank challenge in your application. If I select you for an interview, then be prepared to whiteboard several typical Android development questions, such as self-balancing binary search tree and graph theory questions, followed by a full Etsy client implementation in front of my eyes.
If things work out you will be paid in sweat equity, and maybe some options in the company with a 8 years vesting and 10 year cliff. Note, you will have to help me with my GoFundMe campaign to file for incorporation.
submitted by phileo99 to mAndroidDev [link] [comments]

Through the Wormhole Episode Scripts

Freeman: Do we control our destinies Or are we prisoners of fate? We may all be at the mercy of our biological programming. Our actions may not determine the future. And the future might reach back to change the past. Is freedom of choice just an illusion Or do we have free will? Space, time, life itself. The secrets of the cosmos lie through the wormhole. The ancient greeks believed everyone's path is set at birth. No matter what we do, there is no escaping the fate the gods have chosen for us. Freedom of choice is an illusion. Today, some scientists believe the greeks were right. Our courses really are predetermined, not by the will of celestial beings, but by the workings of our brains and the fundamental laws that govern time and space. Do we have free will? Or are we just puppets dangling from invisible strings? When I was in grade school, I got into trouble in class one day. Morgan! Freeman: I fled the classroom and ran full-tilt into a teacher, who then introduced me to my first drama teacher. Where you running off to, son? It was the beginning of my acting career. It might have happened differently. Or was it meant to happen? The answer may lie in the heavens. [ Thunder crashes ] Like many athletes, Dennis shaffer wants to know what makes his opponents tick. And as a research psychologist at Ohio state university, he's finding the answers. Dennis studies the hidden forces that control the way we move. I started studying how baseball outfielders catch fly balls, and from there, it was just the confluence of my love for visual perception and of sports, studying how people navigate in the environment. Freeman: Few of us are conscious of the underlying mechanisms that guide our behavior. Most of the processes that we use to catch and throw a baseball, we're unaware of. So, where I put my arm when I throw it, how exactly I get my glove to a certain spot to catch the ball, we're not aware of. And it's very important to get as many processes automatic as possible. That way, you have to spend less time actually with it in your consciousness, thinking about it, trying to remember what you're supposed to do, and that sort of thing. We like to think our conscious minds have the final say over our actions, but is the conscious mind really in charge? Does what you think you are doing match up to what you actually do? Whoa, whoa, whoa! Oh, geez! Dennis and his students have set up an experiment to find out. Today, they have rigged nine cameras to track the movements of a man, a woman, and a dog. Okay, you'll want to face it in a little bit more toward the field where they'll be running. Each will take turns chasing a frisbee. They all have different strategies to catch it. Jason plans to rely on speed. Once I catch the frisbee in my sight, then I slow my speed down accordingly or speed it up a little bit faster. Freeman: Jamie plans to run parallel to the frisbee. I tried to stay under the frisbee when I was running to catch it so I could be ahead when it started to come down. Freeman: Presumably, Merlin the dog does not have a conscious plan. Using the data from the cameras, Dennis plots the movements of the chasers and their target. He chooses a background point for reference, then maps how the flight path of the frisbee appeared to the chasers. A familiar pattern begins to emerge. So, what we're seeing now is the view of the frisbee from the perspective of the chaser, and what we see at each point in time from this perspective is that the frisbee is rising relative to the background scenery. And you can see it moves in relatively a straight line and at a constant speed until the pursuer gets close enough to catch it. Freeman: No matter what they believe they're doing, all three pursuers follow the same pattern. Dennis has seen this happen in trial after trial. What was most surprising about that is that dogs use the same strategy to catch frisbees that baseball outfielders use to catch fly balls, which shows that the basic, underlying mechanism that guides behavior is kind of a universal. It's not species specific. It's not target specific. So, with a baseball or a frisbee or something like that, it seems to be universal across these domains. Freeman: When you try to catch a flying object, you believe you're in charge. But beneath the level of consciousness, your body executes dozens of programs that control your actions. We think we consciously control our movements, but we do not. Shaffer: My findings show that we have no free will when we pursue targets. People think they're great at it, and they're awful at it, and the reason is because their conscious awareness doesn't lock up with the mechanisms that guide their behavior while they're intercepting flying objects. Freeman: Imagine if you had to consciously control all the muscles you need to move -- to take a step or draw a breath or to eat and digest a piece of food. Your brain is able to do all of this and more simultaneously, without it commanding your attention. But how many of the actions we think we consciously decide to take are actually automatic and predetermined? What if the belief that we have any control is just an illusion? Until recently, Berlin-based neuroscientist John-Dylan haynes would've rejected this idea. Then he began scanning people's brains, looking for the roots of free will. What he found made him question everything he took for granted about his life. Humans tend to be dualists, meaning that they think that the mind and the body are, to some degree, independent. What modern brain scanners show is that there seems to be a one-to-one correlation between what happens in our mind and what happens in our body. Freeman: Today, John is going to scan the brain of a man named Dennis while sets of three random letters flash on the screen. Dennis will respond to the letters by pressing a red button, either right or left. It's up to him. The scanner will show when he decides to press the button, and a computer will record exactly when the button gets pressed. The subject is doing the task. This is what they're seeing on the screen. So, they're seeing a sequence of letters, and at some point, they can freely decide to press either a left or right button, and then they have to tell us which letter was on the screen when they made up their mind. So, here, the subject is now seeing this letter stream. They haven't made their decision yet. Now they've just made a decision, and now they have to tell us which letter was on the screen when they made up their mind. Freeman: The brain scans show that again and again, Dennis decided to push the right or left button about a second before he acted. But there's another pattern of brain activity here, unconscious activity that occurs even longer before he makes a conscious decision. So, what you can see here is brain images coming in. The decisions begin to arise here in prefrontal cortex and in this medial parietal region here, and then what happens is the information seems to stay there for a few seconds and then moves on to a supplementary motor area located here, and then from there goes into the motor cortex, where it directly controls our movements. So, we can see a whole cascade of processing steps. First, the unconscious activity in these areas here, and then the conscious activity in these other brain areas. Freeman: Dennis is supposed to be making a random decision, but it appears that up to 10 seconds before he decides to push a button, his subconscious mind has already made its choice. So, we think, "when I make my decision now, I'm free to choose one or the other alternative," but if my brain has already become active and started preparing my decision 10 seconds before, this suggests that this is an illusion, that we're making up our decision now. It's actually the brain activity leading up to this that has made the decision. Freeman: You can make decisions, but you can only choose what your unconscious already decided for you. So we control ourselves, but we can only control ourselves in one way. That's the way in which our brain was destined to behave. Freeman: John concedes that exceptional decisions, such as whether to get married or buy a house, aren't easily tested in brain scanners. Nonetheless, he believes the experiment leads to an inescapable conclusion. We are not in control. We have this impression we make a decision, that we're completely free to take different options, and what our experiments show is that this idea, this is an illusion. We're not free to make one or the other decision. We're already preprogrammed by our brain activity, and it's already clear what's gonna happen, to some degree. We're running around with an illusion. Freeman: Is free will nothing more than a fantasy? This neuroscientist believes there is more to us than automatic systems. And if we take things to the next level, we can find an escape route to freedom. an Indian man named Siddhartha Gautama had an idea. The idea is captured in the word anatta -- "not self. " It means that our brains and bodies are just a collection of physical parts, and the self is an illusion that emerges when all those parts work together. Siddhartha was later given another name -- Buddha, or "enlightened one" -- and his way of looking at things is strikingly familiar to modern neuroscientists. Mike gazzaniga has been called the father of cognitive neuroscience. After four decades of exploring the workings of the mind, Mike has concluded the inner you is the product of electrical impulses coursing through neural tissue. Nothing more, nothing less. It is the brain that is producing our mental life. There's no question about that. It's coming from this stuff. The relationship of the mental life to the stuff that produced it is interactive. A metaphor that helps thinking about it is the hardware/software distinction. The computer hardware is nothing. It just sits there unless there's software, and the software then makes the computer hardware work to produce function. And the argument that I think for the brain is similar -- that the mental and the physical layers are interacting in some way to produce these wonderful things of consciousness and cognition. Freeman: So, we're all just biological machines. The worst word in the English language is "just," right? Just machines. We're fabulous machines. Freeman: But can machines, biological or mechanical, control their fate? Mike believes so. We may be filled with automatic systems, but at a higher layer of brain function, we are capable of making free choices. To understand how, Mike says we need to look at ourselves the way physicists look at nature -- as a set of complex systems that emerge from the layers of systems beneath them. Knowing how one layer works won't necessarily help you understand another layer. The concept of emergence is how physical entities, such as water, at one level can't explain the next level of organization, which is how water at the sea forms into waves. That is a different sort of set of principles that are involved, and no way by understanding water are you gonna understand wave formation and execution. Freeman: And our multilayered brains are not isolated systems. In fact, our brains are like cars. Cars are machines filled with networks of precision parts, each with a specific function, but together forming one complete system. But cars are not meant to be stand-alone objects. [ Engine revs ] They are meant to share the road with other vehicles, just as our brains are designed to interact with other brains, and this, Mike feels, is the layer where free will exists -- the level of personal responsibility. If you were the only person in the world, there's no concept of personal responsibility. What's it mean? It doesn't mean anything. There's no one else to be personally responsible to. So it is developed out of the interactions that occur when there's more than one person. Freeman: Whenever we make a decision, our choice has a ripple effect on the people around us, and those people will punish us if we fail to follow the rules of society. We may not have many options, but we are responsible for our actions. Gazzaniga: Any network, the elements have to be held accountable for their actions or the whole thing doesn't work. Freeman: We follow sets of rules, but are free to make choices within those boundaries Or to completely ignore them. [ Horns honking ] Gazzaniga: Freedom means getting more information so we get smarter and smarter and wiser and wiser about all the things that are going on around us. That's how you can define freedom, but it's done through this very beautiful, mechanistic machine that accomplishes all these things. It's pretty cool. Freeman: But what happens when we go beyond one-to-one, personal interactions and out to the next layer, the layer of mass social behavior? A new kind of science is finding the societies we live in follow rules as predictable as those guiding the movements of the planets. This man is using them to see the future and to see whether we have any hope of changing it. Many christians say God gives us freedom to choose between good and evil. We are all responsible for our actions. But some denominations believe God sets our course from birth. How much freedom do we really have? Society puts limits on our free will. In fact, a new science contends that we can use equations to accurately predict what groups of people will do in the future. Are we all prisoners of fate? Sean gourley is a two-time New Zealand decathlon champion. He understands that mastering certain fundamentals leads to a desired outcome. Sean is also a physicist. After working in nanotechnology, he turned his keen mind to the troubled world around him. Why do we have disease and epidemics that spread across the globe? Why do we have financial market crashing? You know, why do we have conflict and insurgency that we can't seem to wrap our heads around? So, those, for me, were the really, really big questions, and I guess it was just coming at a point when there was enough data coming online that we could start to actually take the techniques from experimental physics and apply them to understanding the world around us. Freeman: Physicists describe nature using the language of mathematics. Human behavior may seem to live outside of this realm, but Sean says it, too, can be reduced to mathematical predictability. Gourley: So, you know, when you're out running hurdles, you're obeying a set of physics equations. It's very predictable. If you measure the force at which you drive across the hurdle, you'll be able to predict the time that you finish the race in. And so on the track, there's newtonian physics. When we work into the world of insurgency or financial market crashes, it's the world of nonlinear physics. It's chaos, and it's a different type of physics, but it's a physics nonetheless. Freeman: Up close, the behavior of birds seems chaotic. But when we stand back, we see patterns at work. The same applies to groups of people. Gourley: So, when you look at people moving in the crowd, they've got a few basic equations they want to optimize. Now, they're not necessarily consciously aware of these equations. It's things like they want to get from "a" to "b" as quick as possible or they want to do it in a way that avoids obstacles, so they tend to follow people in front of them and let the person in front sort of act as a buffer. So, we start to see these channels form of people kind of almost forming little trains as they move through the environment, and these trains last for maybe a few seconds or maybe a few minutes and then they break apart again. So, when you put the variables of reaction, speed, and kind of a goal in mind and you put a large group of people together, you can kind of start to model this with three or four variables. And with those three or four variables, all of a sudden that swarm of people ceases to become random and starts to become predictable. Freeman: The way Sean sees it, simple social rules give rise to global patterns. If you can understand the patterns, seemingly chaotic events become predictable, and you can find ways to change the patterns. [ Glass shatters ] [ Crowd shouting ] Wars have plagued humanity for the whole of human history, but what if we could see them coming? What if we could predict a flash point and take steps to stop it from happening? Sean and his colleagues at the data analytics company quid collect all available information about conflicts around the globe, then they look for patterns that emerge from the seeming chaos. They gained a reputation in the defense community tracking the growth of the insurgency in Iraq. Gourley: So, you've got the collective actions of literally tens of thousands of different individuals and, also, on the U. S. side, as well, coming together to create a statistical signature that none of them are aware of. Freeman: Sean has found a strict mathematical relationship between the number of attacks and their size. Gourley: It's a very, very clean, straight line. Out of all the different things that it could be, it chose this. [ Indistinct shouting ] Freeman: And the same patterns of violence show up in armed conflicts around the world, from Iraq to Colombia to Afghanistan to Indonesia. Gourley: We can actually start to very accurately predict the likely size of an attack for any given time period within the conflict. It's almost as if somebody came and placed every dot, but, of course, no one's placing every dot. This is people that are out there to try and kill each other. Freeman: But once you see this pattern, when you know what the future will bring, can you change it? Gourley: If we want a different kind of future, we want to engineer the conflict to end up in a different direction, we, as humans, need to make decisions. We need to target different groups. We need to think, is it normal to attack big groups or small groups? Should I take things out of the top level or should I take things out of the bottom level? We've found patterns that show how the world is. What we really want to get to is patterns that show how the world will be, based on the decisions we make. Freeman: The more data we have, the better we can control our fate. But will we ever have enough data? Over the course of human history, empire after empire has discovered that altering the course of world affairs is not easy. It may be that, as the ancient greeks suspected, we can change small things about our lives, but ultimately we are all in the grip of an unavoidable fate. I think when you've got free will, it's not an eitheor. It's a "yes, but," and you have free will, like I had free will at the running track to move the hurdles up or down. I can choose what hurdle I want to go over, but I can't choose to turn off gravity. And when I go into a war, I can choose, on some level, my actions within, you know, Iraq, but I can't change the mathematical signature that underlies the way I'm likely to die. And I think that's a really difficult thing for us, as humans, to wrap our heads around, because on the one hand I can choose and on the other hand I have no choice. Freeman: No matter how wild we might be at heart, individual actions can rarely change the course of human history. The power of free will depends on what layer of existence you examine -- society or the individual. There are layers in the natural world, too. The motions of galaxies, stars, and planets follow strict laws of cause and effect, with no room for free will. But down at the subatomic layer of existence, is the universe also wild at heart? Isaac Newton saw the universe as a giant clock, beautifully intricate but utterly predictable. With enough information, you could know everything that will happen until the end of time. In the 20th century, as we dug down into the subatomic world, the predictability of Newton's universe fell apart. In the quantum world, nothing is determined until you look at it. [ Rapid ticking ] [ Rhythmic ticking ] But what if there's an even deeper layer on a scale far smaller than the quantum world, a layer just as predictable as the universe Newton imagined but following laws we don't yet understand? Dutch physicist Gerard 't hooft suspects it might be true. Gerard won the nobel prize for his part in developing the standard model of particle physics, our best description of the quantum universe. If physics is like a game of chess, Gerard is a grand master. But if you don't know the game, chess pieces seem to move in completely unpredictable ways, and the same can be said of quantum objects. Quantum physics suggests it's impossible to ever know the precise location of a particle and the movement of a particle at the same time. This effect is called quantum uncertainty. A particle can be here or there or there but not in between, or a particle is here or it isn't here. That's fine, but there is another aspect to quantum mechanics which is very strange, and that is that you can have what you call interference. So, particles can be in a position like this or in a position like this or here, and then they also say the particle can be in all these positions at the same time. It is in an undecided position. Freeman: As strange as this sounds, quantum uncertainty has been tested and proven again and again. Quantum mechanics is a superb theory, but it's not good enough to my taste, and that's because it somehow defies ordinary logic. Freeman: To find logic in the quantum world, Gerard is probing the mathematical fundamentals of quantum theory. Working at a level few can comprehend, he has come to believe that despite the seeming unpredictability of quantum particles, the whole of existence follows a strict, unbending set of rules, and the universe really does control our fate. I like to view the universe as a computing instrument, as a gigantic computer, a computer not different from your laptop or from any other computer except its size and its speed. The universe calculates extremely fast and with extremely, gigantically big memory, unlike any man-made object. Freeman: Computers here on earth operate using a binary code of zeroes and ones, so where do we find the zeroes and ones of the universe? It's a matter of scale. With normal vision, most of us can spot a penny on the ground. But for Gerard to spot a miniature coin on the sidewalk of this miniature street is nearly impossible. And Gerard towers above something exponentially smaller than this miniature coin, a scale trillions upon trillions of times tinier than the width of an atom. This is the planck scale, the basic level of measurement of the universe. It's here at the very bottom layer of existence that Gerard believes we will find the basic bits of information at the heart of creation -- what he calls beables and changeables, binary particles that can only give yes or no answers, not maybes. This layer exists far beneath the quantum layers we see today. 'T hooft: So, I believe that is the scale where everything actually happens, where everything becomes deterministic. Freeman: Gerard's calculations indicate that at the planck scale, the universe is not a game of chess, where pieces move in strange ways and jump across vast terrain. The universe is a game of checkers, a binary world where one frame can only affect an adjoining frame. 'T hooft: Think of a checkerboard with billions and billions of squares, and now you look at a checkerboard from a great distance. You can no longer follow in detail what happens. It looks to you as if chaos takes over, as if things are undetermined. So, I believe that's the origin of quantum mechanics. We can no longer predict things with infinite precision because you're not under control at all of what happens in all extreme details, as we would like it. Freeman: At its deepest level, the universe may be an enormous checkerboard, and everything happening in it is a product of its moves. But at the layer of reality we perceive, these basic patterns can't be seen. Although our actions are ultimately determined by the universe, it feels like we have free will. But one physicist feels the fuzziness of quantum mechanics allows for genuine free will. He says cause and effect may not be what we think they are, because the future can reach back in time and affect the present. The hindu concept of karma maintains every act, good or bad, no matter how insignificant, will eventually return to the doer with equal impact. Karma is the moral law of cause and effect. What if this works in reverse? What if the things we will do in the future affect what happened in the past? This physicist has a new way of looking at quantum mechanics, a way that shows free will is written into the fundamental structure of the universe. Ken wharton is a Professor at San Jose state university in California. Since he was a little boy, he has been fascinated by the idea that fundamental laws of nature can explain nearly everything in our day-to-day existence. When I was a kid, my parents took home movies, and we watched them on actual film, and the thing about actual film is after you play it, you have to rewind the film. And you could leave the projector running while you did this, and we often did, and we laughed at how funny everything looked running backward. But my father was a physicist, and he would tell me -- I distinctly remember -- "Ken, everything you're seeing here "still obeys the same laws of physics, running either direction. " And I've always tried to grapple with this question of how something that can look so different might still obey the same laws of physics. Freeman: Can the laws of physics also predict the choices that people make? Are there fundamental rules that, when everything is set in motion from a given starting position, lead us inevitably to one and only one possible outcome? Einstein thought so. His theory of relativity tells us we live in something called a block universe, in which all of space and all of time are laid out like a roll of film, where the past, present, and future all exist at once. This, Ken says, means the future can affect the past, just as the past affects the future. The future is not just some series of random events. There are correlations between the present and the future that we can predict. That's what science does. And in the course of making these predictions, it's more natural to think of the universe as being one continuous structure rather than being a bunch of frames cut up and spread all over the floor. Freeman: Ken believes that all events -- even quantum events -- have a definite starting point and a definite ending point, but there is uncertainty in what happens in between. The way to make sense of this is retrocausality, the idea that it is our future choice that causes that uncertainty. Freeman: Retrocausality means the future affects the past. The beginning and ending of events are fixed in time, but Ken argues quantum physics creates flexibility in the middle, and that flexibility offers us the chance to control our fate. In the newtonian clockwork universe, the initial state and the laws determine everything there is. There's no freedom, given the initial state. In a time-symmetric universe, it's not obvious that that's true, because if something is dependent not only on the initial state, but equally on the final state, now those intermediate events aren't predetermined in the sense they're not determined by the initial state. They might eventually be determined, but there's more wiggle room for free will. Freeman: In other words, the end points of our fates may be fixed, but we don't know how precisely we will reach them. Wharton: I don't know what I'm gonna decide in one minute, and yet that decision will be made. It will be determined. So, there is a perfect example of something that I don't know and is not possibly not determined just by the past, but nevertheless will eventually be determined. Freeman: As we sail into the future, do we really have the freedom to set our own course? This man thinks the fate of humanity hangs on how you, me, and everyone else answers this question, because if we give up on free will, humanity could be doomed. The debate over just how much or how little freedom we have to choose our fate has raged for thousands of years. It may go on for millennia to come. No matter who is actually right, it certainly feels like we have free will, doesn't it? What if believing we have a choice is necessary for the survival of the human race? In 1994, a young man named Jonathan schooler picked up a book by nobel prize-winning scientist Francis crick. In it, crick wrote, "you are, in fact, "no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. " Jonathan schooler eventually became a neuroscientist. Today he's a star Professor at the university of California, Santa Barbara, but he's still troubled by crick's book. I was really taken with Francis crick's "the astonishing hypothesis" for several reasons. First off, he said in absolute terms that science had conclusively ruled out the existence of free will, and I just wasn't really persuaded that that degree of certainty was merited. Freeman: Crick's beliefs have only become more popular over time, so a few years ago, Jonathan began running experiments to see how this message of strict determinism affects people's behavior. In today's experiment, a series of students will have their morality tested, but only after they are exposed to messages about the nature of fate and free will. At the end of the experiment, they will fill out a short survey and then be paid with a dollar coin taken from this jar. Some of the students read statements designed to induce a feeling that they are pawns of biology and fate. Other students read statements that bolster their belief in free will. Then all of the participants are given a cognitive test, but before they can finish, Jonathan pretends to be called away. Oh, dear, I'm late. I'm gonna need you to grade the test yourself. I'll give you the key, and then score yourself $1. 00 for every one that you got correct, okay? Will the messages the students saw earlier affect their behavior? Most students only get a question or two correct. Some pay themselves accordingly. But other students take more than their share. Schooler: Those people who were told there's no such thing as free will consistently took more coins than those who were not given that information. In other words, telling people there's no such thing as free will to some degree undermines their capacity to act in a moral manner. Freeman: Jonathan suspects believing you are just a pawn in a cosmic chess game gives people an excuse for bad behavior. "Don't blame me. I don't have free will. " Schooler: Another possibility is it kind of pulls the rug out from underneath them, that they have this experience of will normally, but when you tell them they have no such thing as free will, they just don't have the oomph to be able to prevent themselves from resisting the temptation of avoiding cheating. Freeman: Like all thinking people, Jonathan has his own views on free will. He accepts that we are shaped by genetics, society, and the deep workings of the universe, but he also sees a place for conscious choice. From my vantage, free will is a lot like sailing. When you sail, you're buffeted around by the currents, by the weather, by the wind. Nevertheless, you're able to set a tack, and even though you can't control where you are at any given moment necessarily, if you set your tack right, you can end up largely where you want to go. Freeman: This is what Jonathan believes, but neither he nor anyone else can prove it. Schooler: Although we've learned a great deal about the nature of human consciousness, about the nature of reality, about physics and so on, given what we don't know, I think we need to be very cautious about ruling out the existence of something that's so fundamental as free will. And keeping that option open, allowing people to be free to believe in free will, seems to be a really good idea, because free will -- at least the belief in free will -- seems to be of great value to people. Whether or not the universe controls our fate, humans will always be compelled to ask, why is this happening? We will always work for change, because even if our courses are predetermined, we don't know them and probably never will. For us, every day is a new chance for discovery, a new opportunity to take control of our destiny Illusion or not.
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[Table] Reddit, IAMA statistician that's been dealing with credit for 12 years, I noticed that a lot of people have misconceptions about credit and credit score. AMA

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Date: 2012-07-18
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Link to my post
Questions Answers
Why is the formula for calculating credit scores so secret? Considering the profound effects that number has on your life, people should at least know how it works. There are multiple reasons.
First the creators and banks are worried that you will game the system if you know the formula.
Next the more cynical answer is that the credit scoring industry generates hundreds of millions of dollars per year in revenue. By keeping them proprietary, the creators can keep charging and claiming that their score is the best.
Every man has his price and some people would be willing to pay a lot of money for such knowledge. How much of a bribe would it take to get detailed information about your scoring models? I haven't created in a decade. Even then it would be hundreds of lines of code.
It seems to me like there are two camps: those who don't understand credit/credit scores at all and dig holes for themselves they can't get out of, and those who obsess about their credit score when it probably doesn't matter. The former is probably pretty self-explanatory. About the second: am I wrong in thinking that your score probably doesn't matter much unless you're trying to get a car loan or a mortgage? Following up on that: Are there things people should consider doing that they're currently too scared to do because it might hurt their score, like opening up new credit cards for points/rewards and then closing them as soon as they can cash in their rewards? That activity would hurt your score, but if you don't need a high score and you act responsibly about those cards, that's basically free money. Right? What are some other tips/tricks? I think your score doesn't matter much if it is above 700 or generally considered good depending on the model and scale. For everyone else it has ramifications from auto insurance rates to just get by in life. There are many best practices to building credit that people don't do that they should. #1 is getting a no annual fee credit card. These things are free and they build credit. In many cases, they will even pay you to use them (cash back or miles). I suggest having 3-5 credit cards. Apply for them over 2-4 years. Never carry a balance. Never buy what you can't afford. If you do just this, your credit score will be in the good category in 2-3 years.
How do you model the "winner's curse" problem where you know you're competing with other credit suppliers, and you only win business when you've offered better terms than your rivals saw fit to? Adverse selection and positive selection are very real parts of the business. Many issuers will test the same product with different pricing to measure the effects rates and fees.
Along the same lines, if there was some hit on someone's credit that you knew didn't affect the payment probability but that did affect the customer's ability to get credit elsewhere, would you use it to charge him a higher rate? Ten year ago when I was at an issuer, we wouldn't do this. Few banks are predatory when it comes to pricing. Credit scores account for most of the risk and you would have to prove that the data is non-discriminating to regulators for the rest. It's just not worth it.
Do you prefer customers who generate lots of late fees but ultimately pay over ones who pay promptly? Fees generate lots of revenues. This question is a matter of strategy for the bank. Amex for example wants people who pay on time with no risk. Other banks may serve the middle market that take the fees into account when going after the market. You usually pick one or the other.
Do you pay any attention to people who try to game the cards, like when I only use my Chase Freedom card for whatever's in the 5% categories this quarter, or when people used to buy dollar coins from the Mint? For most issuers, this is a known cost of business. Some customers simply cost banks money either in the form of default or usage pattern.
What do you feel is the primary misconception about credit scores that you'd like to clear up? The biggest misconception is that there is only one credit score. I see this one all over the Internet and Reddit.
Each consumer has dozens of credit scores. You will never be able to see them all since many are not sold to consumers. This is further exacerbated by the fact that there are three bureaus which means that each score has three variants.
It is up to the bank to decide which credit score they want to use based on the price and how well the score predicts risk. Banks often don't want to talk about which score they use because it is a key determine of their losses and therefore a very competitive piece of information.
FICO tries to position themselves as the only score that matters. But it is really up to the banks. With that said, FICO is the most common score in mortgages cause Freddie and Fannie required a common risk score. FICO was the defacto score due to circumstances 20 years ago. But in every other industry, it is totally up to the bank to decided which score is best for them. Vantage is the next largest competitor. Here are their adoption numbers as validation: Link to vantagescore.com
What are the most common misconceptions about the credit industry? I think the second most common is that pulling your own credit score will hurt your score. The first was answered above.
There are two types of credit inquiries (aka credit pulls). A soft inquiry is what happens when you check your own credit. This is also what happens when you are pre-screened without your knowledge. These types of inquiries do not hurt your credit score.
The second type of credit inquiry is a hard inquiry. These are credit checks when you apply for credit.
Because both are called inquiries, many consumers believe that any inquiry will hurt their score. This is simply not true.
I'm 18 about to turn 19 and I live in my parents, next month I start school (local community college/ freshman) I have a part time job and average about 150-250$ a week. The only payments I have are my iphone which is 90/month and my insurance which is 100/month. What advice would you give to me regarding building a maintaining a GOOD credit score? Find a student credit card (they have lower requirements). Use it for gas or groceries. Never carry a balance. Never use more than 30% of the credit limit. In a year, your score will be higher. Get one more card (more cards will open up), keep the old one open. Follow the same process. Stop at 3 or 4 cards. In 3 years, your score will be in the 700s, you won't have paid a penny in interest.
Can you recommend any student credit cards? I think most of the big issuers have decent products. Check out Capital One Journey. In full disclosure we have a business relationship with them but they seem to be doing the right things in my eye.
I have a guy that I work with who had his mother open up credit for him when he was very very young, like prepubesent, or so he says. He finally came to age where is figured out how money works and ended up getting credit cards with 10K plus limits. He ended up raping his credit and joined the Air Force because of that. Is doing that sort of thing, getting credit as a kid, feasable? Or was he just lieing? Also, when I got my first credit card years ago, I pulled my FICO and it was like 700. That was extremely misleading to me. They should start credit in the middle, like 500/450, and go up and down from there... Also, I had perfect credit for 3 years, and bought a new car with 0.9% financing and they said they fought tooth and nail for me to get it. Should I hug them? Or did they lie? Twenty years ago it was all about score. Today most of the issuers use score and a host of custom data points and models. For example they might give you an adjustment if you have a mortgage in a declining real estate market. Scores matter but they are just a part of the decisioning process for any sophisticated credit card company. Generally credit starts at 600 for people with no history. It goes up or down based on what you do from there.
I'm a Credit Karma user and I love your service...it's helped me maintain a pretty high credit score over the past couple of years and given me a better understanding of how things like credit card utilization work. So here's a question for you...my credit is in the high 700's (775). Is there any real benefit to me to have a score much higher than that? If I'm say, shopping for a mortgage will the rate I'm offered differ significantly if my credit score is 800 instead of 775? Only bragging rights. Otherwise there is no real benefit.
What's the best way to check my credit score? The best way to check your credit report is AnnualCreditReport.com. Self promoting here but I think the best way to check your credit score is CreditKarma.com.
Just checked my score on creditkarma and I'm at 788. What I found odd was my credit card utilization score. I have $30,000 in limits. $90 in debts (actually paid that off today). Utilization of 0% and a grade of C. Why such the low grade? Simply because I have high limits and don't ever carry a balance? The grade we create by correlation. The rounding brings you to zero utilization which correlates with lower credit scores. If your score is 788, you have nothing to worry about. We have been wanting to address this corner case for a while.
When should you check your credit score? I know it's free once a year, but when is the best time to pull it? I've never checked me credit score, and I know it's not very good but I'm curious to see how bad it actually is. My fear is that if I pull it now, I might need it again sometime before that year is up. Should I wait until I know I need it, or is ok to check it now out of curiosity? If you check your report once per quarter, you should be fine. Check out CreditKarma if you are interested in check your score for free. (Shameless Plug)
Do people really give you their birthday and SSN that easily? When we first launched, no. But today we have been around for 5 years and have over 7 million users. That helps us get over the credibility hump.
Is it actually free or are you going to slam me with hidden fees when I don't expect it? Best answered by others.
I'm 23 years old, make 35K a year, and have never been able to open up a line of credit; I've been denied by USAA, Chase, even Target. Is secured credit my only option? Any suggestions as to where I would have a good chance at opening up an unsecured line of credit? If you have no serious derogs you might try Capital One. They cater to people with limited credit. If you credit is very bad due to delinquencies or charge off then yes secured is your best option.
Please note there is a difference between no credit and bad credit.
I have no credit whatsoever, would I still have a shot with Capital One? No credit yes. Bad credit maybe. It is important to note that there are differences between the two.
A request for your Website's Credit Simulator: Simulate the result of closing a card that is not the oldest, letting the user input the card's age and the amount of credit that will be removed. We have a number of simulator initiatives. They can be painful. Please bear with us.
A specific question related to the above: A year ago I obtained a new card with a very small ($1,000, compared to up to $35,000 on my other cards, the oldest from the mid-1990s) line without thinking about how this would affect the average age of my cards. Should I close the card, which I don't need, even if this means that my available credit would decrease slightly? As for closing your account, don't do it if there is no annual fee. Low limits don't hurt your score but short histories do. Just cut up the card and check on it once per quarter.
Is there any harm to having too many cards or too much available credit? I have a few cards with $1-2k limits that I'll never use again, but I haven't closed them because they're older than my current cash back cards. Rarely. If you have 20+ cards, it might be too many. But here is a chart you might find interesting. Link to www.creditkarma.com
Could you guys add to that infographic the population ratio between each of the five sectors to give a general idea of how how many people succeed in getting those higher scores? We have this image on our site. Link to ne.edgecastcdn.net
Thanks, is that chart derived from the same sample as the other one or is it a different group? Same criteria different time periods.
If you have a negative hit on your credit score by a collector how hard is it to remove it? The issue here isn't paying the fee but the detrimental effect on your credit score. If the collections inquiry is factual, it is fairly difficult to remove. Many people don't know that you can negotiate with the collections company. Google "pay for deletion" agreement. In that approach, the collections company agrees to remove the inquiry in exchange for you paying the debt. You can use it as leverage but it is not standard so get it in writing before you pay.
Thank you so damn much for this! My pleasure. Credit and Street Fighter are two of the things I'm good at.
How likely are they to agree to this? Sometimes I wonder if the goal of the credit agency is to collect money or to actually mess with people. Credit agencies don't collect money. They just report. Collections companies are different.
Collections companies buy you debt for pennies on the dollar. They want to collect something but they don't expect all of it. As a matter of fact the only expect a percent of their percent so just negotiate with them. They will gladly take something over nothing.
What is a perfect credit score and is it possible to hit it? My dad has had a credit card since they came out, more or less, and has never missed a payment. It depends on the model and the range. It is very difficult to have a perfect FICO score (850). In fact, I don't recall ever seeing one.
With Vantage it is much easier, I have seen many (maybe ~5% of users) have perfect Vantage scores (990).
Does having a credit card and not using it ever negatively impact your credit rating? No, the only risk you run is the issuer closing your account. I suggest charging a tank of gas once per month to avoid the pitfall.
I'm more interested in how you got in your line of work. How did you get to work for a credit card industry as a statistician? I had a math and econ degree. I was good with numbers and just ended up at a credit card company by happenstance. There is no formal training needed. Analysts are always in high demand. Learn SQL and SAS if you want a leg up on everyone.
How much experience did you have with statistical analysis, SAS, and SQL before you got your first job in the field? SAS - None SQL - None Stat - I have several grad level econometrics and stats classed but no real world experience.
I'm signed up with you and creditsesame. Right now your estimates differ by over 100 points. How do your methods differ, and what do you think of your competition? They use a different bureau so that is going to be a factor. Next they use a different model which will be another factor. More than anything the score matters. For example, my TransRisk score is 781 but my Vantage score is 990. Keep in mind both are the same credit bureau but this is a key illustration of why range and context matters.
We see our competitors as validation of the model. May the best product win.
I'm recently engaged and have a 700+ credit score. My fiancée made some bad decisions in her younger years and has a really bad score. She had debt collectors in the past and has been declined for a credit card and pretty much only uses cash now. She's debt free now an plans on staying that way. Any future pitflalls I should be aware of and what can I do to help rebuild her score? Have her get a secure credit card. Its like a pre-paid but it will start to build her credit. In 3-4 years her credit could be fine and it won't cost you anything to rebuild with the exception of the opportunity cost of the deposit.
What's your advice for somebody without a credit history? For examples, in case I move to the US for professional reasons (and have good credit back "home"). Just start like someone new to credit. Link to www.reddit.com
What probability distribution do credit scores have? They are logarithmic. It becomes increasingly more difficult to get from 750 to 800 than 550 to 600.
Scores are for consumer benefits. The models we build give us a probability. I suspect the industry transformed that probability into a score as no to offend but in the end, the banks translate the scores back in to a default risk. Very silly if you think about it.
Why get a credit card? I am an adult male in my mid thirties and have never had one. I have taken out three loans in my life and paid them off successfully. I have never been in real trouble with landlords or utilities. For the most part, my driving record should be clean as well. Do I still need a credit card, or can I continue to get by without one? Credit cards are virtually free and they are the backbone to your credit. Sure you can get by without credit but that is a more difficult path IMHO.
I'm interested in becoming a statistician. I was wondering if you could tell me how your got started? What was your degree? Is the pay respectable for the amount of education required? Where do statisticians get hired? How is the job security/prospects? I love math and statistics! Answers are peppered throughout the AMA. The career is great if you like data and understand data well.
Is it ever to late to start building credit with a card? No, credit scores can not take the age of a consumer into account as it would be discriminatory. As such, it is never too late or too early to build credit.
How many hard inquiries can you have on your record before it becomes detrimental? I currently only have 1 card opened, and 3 inquiries that have been there for less than 1 year. Credit Score is above 700. It varies by model and your current score. Most things in the credit score world aren't linear. I know that is a shitty answer but we performs lots of transformations and adjustments based on the user. My generalized answer is avoid more than 2 inquiries in any 6 month period unless you are shopping for a home or auto.
It's my understanding that if you have several 'hard' inquires of the same type (mortgage or auto for example) in a limited timeframe(14 days?) that they all count as the 'same' hard inquiry. Is that correct? That is correct. All will show on your report but for the score it will only count as one. The timeframe is dependent on the model.
What is your educational background and certifications. Are you an actuary? I have a degree in economics and mathematics. Mostly you need to know econometric or statistics. I started my career in a credit card risk modeling group and just learned most of the industry specific skills on the job.
What statistical tests and procedures do you use the most often? Expect lots of logistical regression. You will be looking at predictors of default (0,1)
In addition, CHAID and Clustering can often be used.
Many times, Excel and pivot tables are great precursors to modeling data.
I got a credit card when I was 18 with the intention of building up a good credit score so that when I actually needed it, I'd have no issue getting a loan or car or anything of the such. I'm currently 22. Sadly, last Christmas I went out and stupidly purchased more than I could afford. It was the first time I've ever done this. Since then, the balance has been riding on almost maxed, but never over, and never late payments (As I don't have much in terms of money, I can't exactly pay more than minimum each month. I understand this is stupid and I won't pay it off for a long time, but I don't intend on continuing this situation past more than a month from now. But I'm curious how this is affecting my credit, having a balance on it for the last 6 months and not paying it off completely. Is it negatively affecting me since it hasn't been paid off, or is it fine since I haven't went over my balance + I've made the minimum payment? Duration is less a factor as more credit scores are snap shots rather than time series. Try to get it under control ASAP. As long as you don't miss payments the impact should be minimal.
Why can't a creditor estimate the amount of credit to be offered if provided with a credit score? Most credit limits are based on DTI (debt to income) and score. Without the income and the other debts, limits are a shot in the dark. Keep in mind income is not on your credit report.
Still doesn't make sense. I will get a credit limit anyway. How do they decide? If I apply for a credit card and don't like the conditions and the limits and close it immediately, why is my score still affected... Why can't I shop around like in a real market economy? Shopping is fine for home loans and autos. But credit cards generally have rates displayed ahead of time.
When you apply for too many products in a short period of time (specifically credit cards) you are a higher risk person. Think about it this way: "We have a guy that is applying for everything under the sun. We should be very careful with him" that's how the scores work and the statistics back it up.
A friend of mine has been considering bk, chapter 7. If he goes through with it and is smart afterwards, how long could it be before he establishes reputable credit? Usually take 4-7 years. It depends on the product. Cap One may grant a secure card or small line instantly. But Fannie and Freddie won't back a mortgage for several years.
Thanks so much for this IAMA! I just had a quick question. I'm 21 and have never had a credit card nor a loan. I have a lot of money saved up in my bank account so I know I can pay off pretty much any type of card, I just never have gotten around to getting one. What type of credit card do you think would be best for me, and how do you think I can build up a good credit score in as little time as possible? Get a no annual fee card. Capital One really serves this category so look there. Your bank might have a good product as well especially if you have large deposits.
Sounds great to me! also, lets say I wanted to get into the field. I'm currently studying accounting and economics at university. How much of a demand is there for this field, and is the pay good? Yes and Yes. The US is moving to a service industry and these are prime examples.
I rec'd a settlement offer for a loan I had on a car. I was told to do it by some, not to do it by others. If I pay them the total settlement, what will that look like on my credit? To rebuild credit, get a secure credit card. They will re-establish a history for you. Approval is almost assured since it is secured.
Very interesting information. I never checked my FICO score (& didn't know other scores even existed) yet & I'm curious what it might be. Can you at least say the lowest & highest possible values? Does it run 0--1000 or some other range? Does it have gimmicks like getting 200 points for simply existing/signing your name like on the SATs? It depends on the score as they have different ranges. The most common range is 350-850 which is the FICO range but others exist. As such you need to look at your relative score in the range rather than the absolute value.
I'm about to enter college, so is it a good idea to get a credit card and make all purchases on it to build credit? And if I made my payments on time, will that guarantee a good score? Provided I spend conservatively... I focused mostly on econometric in college. Data modelers have always in demand even through the recession.
Also, tell me more about your statistical background. Is it applied or mathematical statistics? As for credit cards and building credit, I have a post somewhere. Maybe I'll edit the post to include the tip.
How much do federal student loans affect one's credit score? It is just like any other loan. The impact depends on the breadth of your credit history. If it is your only loan then it makes up a a majority of your credit. Conversely, if you have 10 open accounts, the impact is greatly diminished.
I have 2 cards that are closed but am still paying them off. And 3 open cards that gave balances as well. My question is, is it better fir me to pay off the closed accounts first? Or the open accounts? I'm gonna do the snowball effect ($500 to one card, and slightly above min on the others). TIA. From a credit score optimizing perspective, it is probably best pay down the open account first since it create "open to buy" or said another way it lowers your credit card utilization. The closed loans don't have available limit so it doesn't help your score. Obviously the other main consideration is the APR on the respective cards.
So I have a secured credit card now because I kept getting declined when applying for credit cards. Does it hurt your credit score by keeping on trying to get a credit card and getting declined? Yes. Don't apply for cards more than once per 6 months. Ideally once per year. You want to apply for cards in your credit range.
I was wondering, I know any bad mark disappears after 7 years, but if I've made s late payment or two, how long does that negatively affect my score? The entire 7 years? The effects generally diminish over time, it is not binary. I suggest get the account current and making sure you pay on time going forward. The impact to you score should be gone in 1-2 years depending on your score and other accounts statuses.
What software do you build your models with? R? R, SPSS, and SAS are probably the most common stats software. The credit card industry tends to use SAS so if you can build a competence in that you will be like the Java developer in Silicon Valley.
Cancelling a credit card: bad for your credit or not? Not missing payments, good history, just wanna cancel and have one less card in your life type of thing. (Assuming you have others) Usually bad. Credit is all about the predictors. If you have a card and it stays open for a long time, it suggests to other lenders that you are very responsible.
So I suggest, cutting up the card. Keep it open and check that no one uses it online every quarter.
I am a statistics undergrad, particularly interested in econometrics, which is seemingly tangentially related to what do you. What advice could you give to a young statistician on what to focus on, what are the new things that will be more relevant in the years to come? "Big Data" is all the rage in Silicon Valley. That means good data miners are going to be in high demand. Learn SQL, SAS, and a scripting language if you want job security with lots of upside.
I missed your open house today. When will you have another event? It was fun. Probably too much fun. I am sure there will be other launch parties in our future.
Wait, always pay it off in full? I was always told to leave a balance on it so that they know you're able to handle that. Have I been lied to? You have.
Last updated: 2012-07-20 12:09 UTC | Next update: 2012-07-20 13:09 UTC
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