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Comment: Re:The less-energy-for-poor-countries "solution" (Score 1) 385

I'm always amused the way that hurricane damage is reported in dollar damage, particularly in Florida. More people live on the coast now, so these places have more stuff to trash when a hurricane makes landfall. This is not happening any more frequently or with any more intensity than in the past, it just costs more to fix the more stuff. Miami-Dade county went from 500,000 to 2.5 million (approximately!) between 1950 and 2013. That's a 500% increase in population so anything less than a 500% increase in damage costs in the area would be surprising.

One of the things to note is that the developing economies have a huge opportunity to skip the crappy polluting coal plant step and jump directly to better solutions - it happened with mobile technology (many sub-saharan countries have extremely well developed mobile networks but no landlines, for instance) and internet (here in Romania I get 150 Mb/s download plus cable TV for about 15 euro per month, entirely uncapped - in Ireland it cost 70 euro per month for 50 Mb/s download which was capped). This happened because they missed the "crappy internet" stage of internet evolution that Ireland is still struggling out of.

Comment: Re:They've been pushing this angle for a while (Score 2) 362

by DarenN (#47020811) Attached to: Should Tesla Make Batteries Instead of Electric Cars?

Well, the trader has one point - the Tesla batteries are serious tech. With the advent of many things that could use them (airliners, other electric cars, trains, etc), and the fact that current batteries are frankly shit, if Tesla batteries are that much better then they would need to build a vault to hold the piles of money that they would get. However, he has a market for the cars and they are driving the battery tech, so it would be nuts at this point. If the car making business starts to dry up, then they have a second core competency that they can keep building around.

Comment: Re:A victim of Poe's Law. (Score 1) 726

I'm guessing you have never read any of Heinlein's papers - and if you read the book Starship Troopers I suggest you read it again. Along with all of his work not tagged as "Young Adult". You might not agree with him but he was writing stuff that was unthinkable at the time.

Military participation was not the the road. It was _one_ road. Other forms of service existed and anyone could start as it was a legal requirement. There was, in the book, no war when Rico joined. The key was danger in service, and the war started while he was still in service. His father was a successful business owner was adamantly against Rico joining the military.

Heinlein also discussed a female only government in other writings (his conclusion was something along the lines of "it can't be worse than the mostly males ones, and it might be better") and in Stranger in a Strange Land manages to break every single social taboo of the day. In the Moon is a Harsh Mistress he describes what stable poly relationships would look like and how living in a hostile environment with a scarcity of females enforced social order.

He also gave a KGB officer a lecture on why communism was bad while in Russia in 1960 when the U2 spyplane was shot down, translated by his wife (who had learned Russian from tapes over 2 years at home).

Basically, you got what you wanted to out of the book, but I would suggest that you didn't get the actual book.

Comment: Re:Tax Avoidance (Score 1) 292

by DarenN (#45151147) Attached to: Irish Government May Close Apple's Biggest Tax Loophole

Your smug assertion that I expect to live off other's taxes despite knowing nothing about me aside, let me respond.

You trimmed the first quote. I didn't say that Apple isn't paying you dividends, I said they're not paying it out of that cash pile (which they are not). Their EPS and their dividend is respectable enough without it so they don't need to.

Your basis is irrelevant to the general point I was making (and I still bet that things did look better at ~$700 per share)! The point I'm trying to make is that the size of that the cash pile is giving no value to shareholders. If Apple increased their dividend by 100% by bringing back some of their billions and paying taxes on them, how is that losing stockholder value? The truth is, no stockholder value is diluted and any stockholder who took a case would lose.

That money is not being used and cannot be used without taking the tax penalty. Expansion and investment in infrastructure comes out of the budget before taxes are assessed (and in many cases can be offset against the tax bill anyway), so it does not hinder either of these. You could argue that it's underpinning the share price but I strongly disagree - Apple's performace as a company is what affects the share price and Apple's amazing performance continues which i'm sure delights you as an Apple shareholder.

On to your point number 2. Whether you hate your government or not (and the state of political discourse in the US at the moment is deeply saddening), surely you must see that govenment investment in infrastructure and education is important? Personally, I pay all my taxes and while it doesn't delight me I make sure they are paid because I believe that the benefits are worth it. That goes double for every company - their employees were educated by the state, they travel on infrastructure built by the state and they are largely safer than they have ever been before from crime due to society agreeing to give the state powers to punish criminals. They can trade internationally within a structure that enables exactly this, and ship their goods, both manufactured and virtual, on infrastructure that largely comes from investment encouraged by or flat out made by their governments. They are standing on the shoulders of all those invested in this beforehand by contributing by way of taxes. Why shouldn't the companies that have benefited from this long-term investment contribute back when they are successful?

Comment: Re:Tax Avoidance (Score 1) 292

by DarenN (#45151077) Attached to: Irish Government May Close Apple's Biggest Tax Loophole

No, I'm not high. If they bring that money anywhere they have to pay taxes on it. This is not used for funding expansions - that comes out of another budget (and all gets written off as investment against revenue anyway). This is money sitting in a pile that they don't really have a use for right now in a tax haven.

Traditionally a proprtion of this would be re-invested in the business (it's not because a) they don't need to and b) it's cheaper for them to borrow money using their cash pile as security than it is to use it for tax reasons), used to buy back stock, or distributed as dividends. Apple is paying dividends, but that cash pile is not actually doing anything.

The cash pile is making some large investors nervous because historically companies with big cash piles end up wasting them.

Comment: Re:Tax Avoidance (Score 2) 292

by DarenN (#45140763) Attached to: Irish Government May Close Apple's Biggest Tax Loophole

Except that's wrong.

The money is not in Ireland, or in the EU. It's in the carribean somewhere. The company has it's HQ in Ireland but is tax resident somewhere else, so it only pays tax on revenue it makes in Ireland. For the US it's an Irish company, and the money that never comes back to the US isn't taxed either so they are piling it up somewhere. But, like Google, they cannot actually use that - they're all holding out for the next tax amnesty.

That's the loophole being closed - it will no longer be possible to set up a company with its HQ in Ireland if it's not tax-resident there. It's about time, too.

Comment: Re:Tax Avoidance (Score 1) 292

by DarenN (#45140741) Attached to: Irish Government May Close Apple's Biggest Tax Loophole

Except that that value is NOT GOING TO STOCKHOLDERS.

Apple is not paying any of those billions in dividends because they cannot reciprocate them to the US without paying tax and don't want to. So it might as well be magic faerie dust for all the value it's giving shareholders. This is directly affecting shareholder value in a negative manner but the shareholders are making money on trading at the moment so they don't give a shit. If the shares flatten out for a couple of years Apple will be sued by the instituional shareholders for not paying dividents, exactly as happened to Microsoft.

Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 333

In Japan, for instance, the Shinkansen between almost anywhere is significantly faster than driving (the exception would be for short hops inside a single city, which is not what the shinkansen is really for), and is cheaper, faster and more comfortable than air travel. So that's one strike. I haven't been on high speed rail in any of the other locations you mention but unlike you, I'm not willing to spout off about how my experience on regional trains/metros means that High Speed rail in different locations will never work ever.

Comment: Re:Yes, but... (Score 1) 139

by DarenN (#44563041) Attached to: Royal Navy Deployed Laser Weapons During the Falklands War

The Islands don't belong to Argentina. There's no historical record supporting any interpretation that would have the Falklands part of Argentina, and I'm Irish (and hence would not generally be in favour of the British colonial holdings).

No-one lived there before, and British settlers have continuously inhabited the islands for two centuries. This is only an issue because the Argentinian Junta needed a PR coup to avoid collapse, and the British handed them a disaster, which sped up the collapse. It's a shame that the Argentinian people are being whipped up by their president over this non-issue, and for similar reasons that the Junta whipped them up - her government have made a mess out of the country and need a distraction.

Comment: Re:Seriously? (Score 1) 147

by DarenN (#44454999) Attached to: Queen's WWIII Speech Revealed

One of the most interesting things to come out of the current round of declassification is that the Soviets were absolutely terrified of the Americans. They saw the US as extremely aggressve and paranoid, as well as unpredictable and believed totally that domestic political pressures could lead as far as a nuclear first strike.

Comment: Re:Sorry if I sound dumb (Score 1) 1121

by DarenN (#43387009) Attached to: USPS Discriminates Against 'Atheist' Merchandise

Reply reformatted for readability. Sorry about that

atheism is not a religious position. It is an opinion about religion

I think you've just defined "religious position" in the second part of the quoted section. It is an opinion, perhaps even a position, on religion? But not a religious position? Not sure you've got your thinking cap on there.
If I were being more accurate above, then I should have written "The one you're thinking of is agnostic atheism". Or apathetic/pragmatic agnosticism, which is also wonderfully called Apatheism. I definitely overstepped in saying atheism can be described as a religion itself, but there are groups of atheists who are behaving very much like organised religions and as it is de-facto a religious position then the stretch doesn't look too far.

It also happens not to be a "belief" or "faith", it happens to stem from observation and by now has a solid scientific foundation.

Oh, my. From the point of view of the ~7billion theists it looks like faith. Not that that's going to hold much water if you're atheist, I admit!
Atheism has a very weak scientific foundation - in that it's the null hypothesis. And those who claim it is stronger than that are as self serving as that retard who "did calculations", presumably with a crayon up his nose, and gave an age for the earth from the Bible.

I direct you to Thomas H Huxley's words on agnosticism:

"Agnosticism, in fact, is not a creed, but a method, the essence of which lies in the rigorous application of a single principle...Positively the principle may be expressed: In matters of the intellect, follow your reason as far as it will take you, without regard to any other consideration. And negatively: In matters of the intellect do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable."

Some of the wisest words I've ever read.

Comment: Re:Sorry if I sound dumb (Score 1) 1121

by DarenN (#43386993) Attached to: USPS Discriminates Against 'Atheist' Merchandise

As I said in response to another comment
If I were being more accurate above, then I should have written "The one you're thinking of is agnostic atheism". Or apathetic/pragmatic agnosticism, which is also wonderfully called Apatheism. I definitely overstepped in saying atheism can be described as a religion itself, but there are groups of atheists who are behaving very much like organised religions and as it is de-facto a religious position then the stretch doesn't look too far.

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