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Comment: Re:Actually... (Score 1) 639

by CaptainZapp (#37349492) Attached to: Amazon Folds In California Sales Tax Deal
Since we're at Actually

Sales tax is the most regressive form of taxation in the United States. If sales tax is 30%

All European states charge VAT (value added tax) on goods and services. This ranges from 8% - 25% depending on the country. This, however, is always in combination with an income tax and often a tax on their assets, which is usually progressive.

While I don't dispute your point that the poor pay a higher proportion when it comes to VAT the system is mostly balanced fairly due to the other taxes levied on a progressive scale.

It's obviously not "fair" to tax each person the same dollar amount. Why do people think it's "fair" to tax each person the same percentage?

That's why progressive taxation is the norm (there are a couple flat rate countries). This overall balances the system into the direction of fairness and - I would argue - is accepted by most European citizens. If you earn more, you pay proportionally more (there's still more left at the end of the day).

Then again most people seem to understand that infrastructure, education, health care and the overall maintenance of a civilized society comes at a price. It's also odd that Scandinavian countries, which have traditionally a rather high tax burden, are considered some of the most livable in the world.

Comment: Re:But why? (Score 1) 251

by CaptainZapp (#36669380) Attached to: News Corp. Subsidiary Under Fire For Hacking Dead Girl's Voicemail

Spoofed callerid to the voicemail number, if people don't have a PIN set for voicemail, you can access voicemail without any further barrier.

If you have no pin at all set, sure, but then you don't need to spoof caller id in the first place. Case in point: I don't need a pin if I call from my own country. I do, however, need my pin when I check my voice mail from abroad, even though my caller id is transmitted internationally.

The reason is probably that the id can be certified as genuine as long I'm calling on the provider's own network, but not if the call is routed by another provider or internationally.

Any phone company that trusts caller id submitted by a third party network is grossly negligent to begin with.

Comment: Re:Outsourcing? (Score 2) 242

by CaptainZapp (#36608794) Attached to: The Dark Side of Making <em>L.A. Noire</em>

You can do it for generic software/website/enterprise system which is brain dead boiler plate coding for some huge bank that they can milk for maintenance contracts.

Actually it usually doesn't work at all, except for very, very standardized processes (i.e. credit card processing). I have never seen a successful software implementation, where the software was created by off shoring. It's just impossible to create specs, which are so specific that there's absolutely no ambiguity. In addition: domain knowledge is basically non-existent in offshore coding sweat shops.

Example needed? Our awesome time reporting system. I just know what one line of the spec said:

Must be able to enter hours

That's exactly what you can do. Unfortunately you're not able to enter minutes or even fractions of an hour.

I totally agree with you. I just wanted to point out that it's actually worse.

Comment: Re:Yes, safety standards. (Score 4, Informative) 347

by CaptainZapp (#35960456) Attached to: China's High-Speed Trains Coming Off the Rails
Actually France' TGV also has an exceptional track record regarding safety :

TGV Accidents

Germany's ICE, however, had a bad accident with 101 fatalities (details here ), which was caused by a series of issues, but most notably by a faulty wheel design.

Nevertheless, high speed rail on a global scale has an exceptional safety record.

Comment: Re:Not so bad to have different systems. (Score 1) 2288

by CaptainZapp (#35890244) Attached to: Why Does the US Cling To Imperial Measurements?

A single example: When we build bridges and buildings in the US the steel and measurements are produced in US Imperial units, even the steel shapes are specific to the US market because the measurements are in imperial. Producers of steel beams and components in foreign countries have steel mills that are calibrated to metric sizing and are unable to produce US steel shapes without a major retrofit to the mill.

Yeah, seems to have worked like a charm on the Mississippi River bridge: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-35W_Mississippi_River_bridge

Comment: Re:privacy by default (opt-in sharing) (Score 1) 96

by CaptainZapp (#35865636) Attached to: Sophos Slams Facebook Security In Open Letter

I end up having less and less stuff on my profile.

Well, here's what's on my Facebook profile: first name, surname, date of birth. Alas, I wonder until today why I gave a true DOB.

What REALLY annoys me more and more about the site is the cutesy passive aggressivness. For example :

You log in after some time and get some : Hello, your account is not secure. Enter cell phone # to secure it. Now hold on a second: My private information is not secure unless I provide you with more private information? Yeah, sure!

Finally in, you're greated by a blinking banner of the sort 10 of your friends live in $CITY. Click here if you live in $CITY

I use Facebook a few times a year. But if they push up the bullshitometer any further I'll definitely (pseudo-) delete my account.

Assholes!

Comment: Re:Bribery fines are funny (Score 1) 263

by CaptainZapp (#35557110) Attached to: IBM Charged With Bribing Korean, Chinese Officials

Seriously, doesn't it seem like the US SEC just wanted in on the deal? I'm against bribery because living in a culture of bribery is miserable. If China wants to have a system of bribes necessary to get anything done, let them do so. I don't want the SEC to import that culture over here!

So you consider stealing OK?

Bribing officials is nothing else then stealing from the public coffers and thus the population.

In addition it has the nasty tendency to rot away the core of a society.

Comment: Re:It shouldn't of happened so they are in court (Score 3, Insightful) 187

by CaptainZapp (#35527190) Attached to: Airbus Faces Charges Over 2009 Rio-Paris Crash
Yeah, the plane that Captain Sullenberger landed on the Hudson without any engines didn't have a glass..

Er, wait!

That was an airbus 320, er, nervermind.

But the GP's icing on the cake is the introductory statement:

This is the result of a computer controlled fly-by-wire airplane having a cascade failure.

Er; right. Theories abound and nobody has any hard facts, except, aparently, the GP dude.

Sounds like a Boeing shill to me.

Comment: No, it wouldn't (Score 1) 661

by CaptainZapp (#33583936) Attached to: Steve Jobs Tries To Sneak Shurikens On a Plane

Do you think that argument would be accepted by the border guards anywhere (except maybe Netherlands ;-)?

I guess you where kidding, but for everybody else here goes: As opposed to popular believe (especially in the States) controled substances are not legal in the Netherlands. From trusty Wikipedia:

Cannabis remains a controlled substance in the Netherlands and both possession and production for personal use are still misdemeanors, punishable by fine. Coffee shops are also technically illegal according to the statutes but, as has been said, are flourishing nonetheless. However, a policy of non-enforcement has led to a situation where reliance upon non-enforcement has become common, and because of this the courts have ruled against the government when individual cases were prosecuted.

So no, you can't bring you stash on a private plane to Holland.

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