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Comment: Re:Over 18 (Score 1) 618

by tlambert (#46777399) Attached to: IRS Can Now Seize Your Tax Refund To Pay a Relative's Debt

Nothing you say says that Mr Saverin has gotten away from his US tax liability. Only by renouncing citizenship can one end the tax liability, and even that continues for some years (10 I think) after the renouncement.

He did renounce it. And he renounced it before the IPO. So his liability is for what he owed before he renounced it, which is ... not the $1.1B.

Comment: I think there's a more important question... (Score 1) 221

How many homeless volunteers took off with the camera and sold it to buy booze?

I think there's a more important question... how many mountain lions, gazelles, and other animals took off with the Harmless Radio Collars(tm) that Marlon Perkins had Jim Fowler attach to them while filming Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom"?

Comment: Re:City within a Building (Score 4, Interesting) 97

by tlambert (#46765347) Attached to: Google Looked Into Space Elevator, Hoverboards, and Teleportation

Once thing they should look at is a city within a single mega-structure.

Why should they build an Arcology, when there are already two in progress:

Masdar City in Abu Dhabi:

Arcosanti North of Phoenix Arizona:

Comment: Re:The real deal (Score 1) 336

by tlambert (#46764179) Attached to: San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

If those San Francisco residents who are "entrenched" had to pay for their taxes like new residents do, they would be paying 1.25% per year property taxes on the current value rather than the basis of when they bought the property.

That's a great reason to do what rental property owners do, and own a company that owns the property, instead of owning it themselves. Then if they ever want to sell it, they can sell if for a heck of a lot more money by selling the company, rather than selling the property, so the taxes don't go up any more than if you'd bought under prop 13 and never sold.

That's the McDonald's model (McDonald's happily admits to being a real estate company that happens to sell burgers and rents out properties their franchisees). It's also the same model that the Kaiser Family Trust uses.

Comment: Re:Simple problem, simple solution (Score 1) 336

by tlambert (#46764157) Attached to: San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

The only way to fix the Bay Area housing crisis is to build more fucking housing.

One of the things that isn't talked about is the amount of empty office and residential apartments in the Bay Area. It's actually worth more money to price them out of the range that people are willing to pay, and then take the "market rent you are not getting", and use it as a tax write-off. It's a common practice in China (Google "ghost cities"), and it's becoming more common in the Bay Area.

If you want to take a little trip on 101 between SF and SJ, it's easy to see a lot of empty buildings, and it's easy to see some of the mega-complexes that are going in in Redwood City and elsewhere, which are probably going to remain mostly empty as a tax write-off to balance out other income.

Comment: Re:BS (Score 1) 336

by tlambert (#46764067) Attached to: San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

They Bay Area is one of the few economically active places in the USA, that's why housing is expensive there.

If you want cheap housing, go to an economically dying area, like Detroit; or a place with no regulations such that chemicals leak into your house or explode in your face, like Texas.

Surely San Bruno would be more to one's liking...

Stated like someone who has never lived under an airport noise footprint. There's a reason that you see all the boarded up houses right under the flight path in all the movies... no one actually wants to live there.

Comment: Re:Changing IMEI is NOT illegal (Score 2) 109

by tlambert (#46754705) Attached to: Inside the Stolen Smartphone Black Market In London

Under a 2002 law it was made illegal to change the IMEI unless you're the manufacturer.

It's a Chuck Schumer bill that he introduces every couple of years, it gets thrown to the Judiciary committee, and then it dies in committee. Like clockwork. Here's the text of the current bill, which is presently dying in the Judiciary committee right now:

The people who care about this are the people who traffic in stolen phones, and the people who want to buy a handset and use the same SIM in a different GSM phone, or who want to change the MEID on a new phone so that they don't have to re-up their Verizon contract once they are paying month-to-month for their CDMA phone. And the phone companies, that want you to have to re-up your contract to get a new phone. It's the same reason there's about zero incentive to update the OS in Android phones, since if they never update the OS, in order to get the new +0.0.1 version number bump, you have to get a new phone, and the manufacturer gets to sell another phone, and the phone company gets to lock you into a new 2 year contract every 18 months when the new shiny object becomes available.

Since it's a PITA to get a phone unlocked for international roaming, since it has to be listed by ID with the cell network in the country you are traveling to, and it can take many weeks to get them to actually unlock the thing, and do the registration, most times it's just easier to clone the IMEI to your old phone, and then either destroy the old phone, or do an IMEI swap. This is a common "repair/refurbish" technique, and you'll notice that it's allowed under the Schumer bill.

You might also see both NASDAQ OMX Group and TeleCommunication Systems Inc. campaign contributions, and you'll notice contributions from Facebook in 2012, the year the bill was introduced, when Facebook was going big into the mobile market.

Little bit of vested interest there.

Comment: Re:Not getting funded. (Score 1) 155

by tlambert (#46754531) Attached to: Will This Flying Car Get Crowdfunded?

Flying cars are technically possible.

Flying cars however are not desirable for everyday drivers: they have a hard enough time managing 2 dimensions, we don't need them to occupy a third. So unless they're fully automatic in flight mode (with manual control disabled), flying cars can only be flown by trained pilot.

Rename them "manned drones" and outsource the piloting to third world countries. Problem solved, since the FAA is OK with drones in U.S. airspace.

Comment: Re:Over 18 (Score 1) 618

by tlambert (#46754397) Attached to: IRS Can Now Seize Your Tax Refund To Pay a Relative's Debt

The only way for U.S. citizens to avoid this would be to go through a process to renounce their U.S. citizenship, which is not practical or desirable for most people.

Except for Eduardo Luiz Saverin, the Facebook co-founder who was basically paid by California and the federal government about $1.1B to move to Singapore. For him, it's was a pretty desirable and practical decision, given that the bite for short term capitol gains is treated as ordinary income by California for taxation purposes.

Who would have thought someone with a degree in economics from Harvard knew how to do money math? Uh... everybody? Hello?

Comment: Re:It's time we own up to this one (Score 1) 149

by Bruce Perens (#46730395) Attached to: NSA Allegedly Exploited Heartbleed
I think we need to take a serious look at the "many eyes" theory because of this. Apparently, there were no eyes on the part of parties that did not wish to exploit the bug for close to two years. And wasn't there just a professional audit by Red Hat that caught another bug, but not this one?

nohup rm -fr /&