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Comment Re:Gotta understand the decision-making process (Score 1) 316

Politicians write these rules - they are legislators. Here is a a history of the tax inversion.

"About 51 U.S. companies have reincorporated in low-tax countries since 1982, including 20 since 2012. A lot of drug companies are doing it, and low-tax Ireland is a popular corporate home. They’re doing it despite a 2004 law that legislators had promised would end the practice, despite rule-tightening by the Obama administration to limit it, and despite two decades of efforts by the Internal Revenue Service to rein it in.

A change of address doesn’t necessarily mean a real move. Companies are free to keep their top executives in the U.S., and most of them do.

Most importantly, perhaps, companies that invert overseas can take advantage of the generous U.S. system of interest deductions for payments to their own affiliates abroad — benefits that are only available with a foreign parent company."

Comment Re:And we still can't import prescription drugs (Score 1) 316

This is pretty bold (not really the right word) of Pfizer to move overseas, considering that they, along with the rest of big Pharma are the ones who lobbied to make it illegal for Americans to import cheaper prescription drugs.

I think the word you're looking for is 'chutzpah'.

Politicians will feign helplessness (look at the issues they're able to reach consensus on, and those they're not). If a bill to change it ever came up, poison pills would be attached to it. A few academics will claim this sort of thing is an inexorable force of nature, and the farce will continue.

Comment Gotta understand the decision-making process (Score 4, Insightful) 316

Gotta understand the decision-making process for politicians:

1) These companies are big donors.

2) 90% percent of the population has no idea about this, and fewer care.

3) Politicians get cash for looking the other way, and it has no impact on their electability.

I started following these kinds of shenanigans prior to the financial crisis. The blame is on the politicians - not for being self interested, but for actually undermining the society for cash and favors from big donors. The vast majority of the voting public doesn't understand this kind of inside baseball. And the incumbency rate hasn't really changed much as a result of these issues. So the boiling of the frog (this society) will continue until we become Brazil or we snap out of the torpor.

"A society cannot be both ignorant and free." -- Lady Gaga

Comment Nothing new (Score 4, Insightful) 100

I remember back in the 90s, when Loral sold US missile and space technology to the Chinese, after spending six to seven figures on key political figures and receiving waivers.

Donors want favors, politicians want money, it's a symbiotic relationship (politicians shake down donors, donors view it as an investment/protection money) which has become more and more overt over the years. It undermines the rule of law of course, and leads to corruption, but as long as politicians keep getting re-elected and donors keep getting what they want, the system will continue.

Comment Only 5 percent of the universe is visible to us (Score 1) 269

What other as yet unguessed effects go into making life, a consciousness, a mind? I'm not talking magic, I'm talking about science and the description of the physical reality.

We're talking about modeling what we see as the physical structure of the brain. I suspect the actual cloning of a consciousness is quite some distance away, after we're able to fully explain just what is consciousness and the mind. Heck, just describing what makes something alive is beyond us right now. A potato is most surely alive, but without a mind as far as we can tell. We can quite closely describe the structure of the potato but not so much why it's "alive".

We are capable of seeing about 5% of the universe, the rest is dark matter and energy. I suspect there's plenty more going on with the brain and mind as well.

Comment Control the primaries, control the outcome (Score 1) 370

In one form of dictatorship, the dictators select the candidates who will stand for election. This is the system in Iran. The people dutifully vote for one or the other candidate.

Here, if one can control who can reach the general election, you stand a decent chance of profiting from whoever wins the election.

Lessig talked about this in his notable TED talk which discussed the very issue of a very few, very wealthy people controlling the primary system, leading to election of the candidates they favor.

The problem is, when you undermine the electoral system, you undermine the rule of law.

Comment The Economist on TPP and patents (Score 5, Interesting) 399

The Economist is a very pro-business magazine. Here's what they said about patents and the TPP:

"The cost of the innovation that never takes place because of the flawed patent system is incalculable. Patent protection is spreading, through deals such as the planned Trans-Pacific Partnership, which promises to cover one-third of world trade. The aim should be to fix the system, not make it more pervasive."

-- The Economist, "Time to fix patents", 8 August 2015

Comment Did Carly get paid? (Score 1) 328

To the top executives, that's really the only question. They will happily load a company up with debt, execute massive stock buybacks to boost the share price, and to hell with the future and everyone else, I got mine.

So, did Carly get paid? If she did, it's perfectly understandable.

What's troubling is, if she didn't get paid, then she got owned, and getting owned so strategically like this is not a quality one would want in a national leader. Lack of strategic vision is very problematic. Merely being self-confident enough to be able to lead a large organization is insufficient for the presidency.

Comment FYI: List of Win10/Telemetry updates (Score 2) 288

Just an FYI, as this is a Windows update thread which is trying to avoid Win10 nagware + telemetry. These are the updates I've identified so far. Feel free to add/update the list:

KB 2952664
Compatibility update for upgrading Windows 7

KB 2976978
Compatibility update for Windows 8.1 and Windows 8

KB 3022345
Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry

KB 3035583
Update installs Get Windows 10 app in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 SP1

KB 3068708
Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry

KB 3075249
Update that adds telemetry points to consent.exe in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7

KB 3080149
Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry

Comment Re:I liked the cartoon that read: (Score 4, Interesting) 662

From what I can see there is nothing special about him or what he did, he is just some cheeky kid who used a very naive way of getting attention and it got out of hand. All this talk of discrimination etc. seems like a beat-up and the poor kid will pay the price in the long run for all the manipulating adults have done to politically capitalise on his prank.

I didn't get the impression that the boy is cheeky or that this was a prank.

It just seems like he's a precocious kid interested in how things work and he wanted to show one of his teachers. Unfortunately, teachers' detectors are up for school violence (remember the child who was penalized for chewing his Pop Tart in the shape of a gun?) and the rise of radical Islam (Islamic gunmen attack the "Draw The Prophet" 40 minutes away in Garland Texas) resulted in this situation.

It's a tricky situation. However, calling the cops seems slightly absurd. They didn't think it was a bomb by the fact they didn't evacuate the premises and bring a bomb robot to blow it up. If the authorities find a credible threat, they bring in a bomb robot and blow up whatever the threat is. That didn't happen.

As far as taking things apart and putting them back together, Henry Ford did that sort of thing. This might have been simpler, but the boy correctly put it together in a different way.

Comment 33,000 automobile deaths per year in US (Score 1) 451

Source from CDC (as of 2011).

Source from IIHS (as of 2013).

This will save lives. Even with excellent drivers behind the wheel.

Maryland just abolished the parallel parking requirement, because of the growing moron population. Automated safety systems can come none too soon.

"Trust me. I know what I'm doing." -- Sledge Hammer