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Comment: Re:The fuzzy line between hobby and job (Score 1) 211

Only four times as many fees so they can base their whole living off of socialist government entitlements is a joke.

And it's an established fact that trucks cause orders of magnitude as much damage as cars. Not four times. Face it, you're just wrong.

Comment: Re:For all of you USA haters out there: (Score 1) 283

by Andy Dodd (#48933317) Attached to: Why ATM Bombs May Be Coming Soon To the United States

Actually the banks have been pushing for a transition to EMV, but merchants are resisting it right and left for various reasons.

Watch all the merchants change their tune in October when all of the banks institute a liability shift to the merchant for non-EMV transactions (magstripe).

Comment: Re:For all of you USA haters out there: (Score 1) 283

by Andy Dodd (#48933289) Attached to: Why ATM Bombs May Be Coming Soon To the United States

During a vacation in early September, my parents had to switch credit cards at a Walmart.

The terminal (correctly) recognized it was a contact-chip enabled card, and refused the mag-swipe.

But the terminal's contact-based reader was nonfunctional!

Don't forget the whole CurrentC clusterfuck. CurrentC is going to get a brutal kick in the nuts in October when the EMV liability shift occurs - the backers of CurrentC will be faced with 3 options:
1) Accept contactless EMV payments (Including Apple Pay and Google Wallet, but not limited to them. I'm not sure if it's possible to block Apple Pay/GWallet without blocking all contactless EMV - no one has done it so far.)
2) Accept the shift of liability for fraud from the CC company to them (very unlikely)
3) Stop accepting credit cards completely (not gonna happen)

Comment: Re:The fuzzy line between hobby and job (Score 1) 211

Math: Can you even understand it?

Truck axle weight limit: 20,000 lb per axle.

Prius axle weight: 1600 lb per axle

Road damage is proportional to (20,000 / 1,600) ^ 4, or 24,400:1.

So the truck should pay $8,000,000 per year if the prius pays $328. Obviously, the Prius is getting overcharged and the truck undercharged.

Comment: Re:Actually, it's part and parcel of absolute fasc (Score 4, Interesting) 99

by bhcompy (#48928997) Attached to: Snowden Documents: CSE Tracks Millions of Downloads Daily
I think you're overthinking it. Look at what the FBI does. They find some dumb disillusioned guy down on his luck, maybe an ex-con or something but nothing serious, and try to ram bomb making components down his throat until he acquiesces and follows the plan they give him to fill a truck full of fertilizer to blow up city hall. The guy makes the purchase and parks the fake bomb, and when he gets out of the truck he's arrested and sent to prison... not because he would have blown up a building, but because he was so stupid that he didn't know not to trust the guys trying to set him up by badgering the hell out of him until he gives in. Counter-terrorism task force adds a notch to their belt, the President has a talking point about another averted attack, and the poor schmuck who was effectively harmless already because of his stupidity gets to die in prison

Comment: Re:It is hard to know what to think (Score 1) 498

by dnavid (#48927271) Attached to: Apple Posts $18B Quarterly Profit, the Highest By Any Company, Ever

Apple arguably makes the best phones and when using Android phones you notice little things here and there that aren't quite a nice, but these are rather rare and mostly insignificant. It feels strange that Apple is making such a profit with a rather smallish that may be 12% of the market and no particularly eye-popping new products since the Steve Jobs era, just a series of well-engineered refinements. Then again, certain shoe and apparel companies do this and have done this for decades. Seems odd to see this in technology sector that historically has been very market-share, volume and dominance oriented. However historically, this was the method employed since the early days of Apple (premium pricing).

Well, first I think you're underestimating Apple's marketshare. If you measure Apple's marketshare relative to all smartphones everywhere on Earth, its marketshare could be that low. But Apple doesn't directly compete with most of those smartphones: it competes in the high-end smartphone market where it still has substantial marketshare. Supposedly, Apple shipped more phones in China last quarter than any other smartphone manufacturer, which means its marketshare is not insubstantial.

But I think more importantly, people - especially within the technology space - tend to look at Apple as a vanilla consumer tech company, when it is anything but. Asking why people are willing to pay so much for Apple when at best their products are marginally better is like asking why people pay so much for Air Jordans which are marginally better, or why people are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for dresses that have no practical benefit over a $79 dress from Target. It comes down to brand loyalty and brand consciousness.

People keep saying Apple was going to fail in China because their phones were twice as expensive as the competition; that if they didn't make a budget priced phone Apple would be irrelevant in China. What those people are completely clueless about is that much of the sales of Apple iPhones in China were *because* its the expensive phone, not *in spite of* the fact its the most expensive phone. Its the Cadillac of phones, the Ferrari of phones. But as expensive as an iPhone is, its a lot easier to buy than a Cadillac, and far more useful day to day.

People have been misunderstanding Apple's strategy for years now, and show no signs of learning their lesson. The correct way to look at Apple is not to compare them to Samsung or Microsoft or Dell. Rather, its to compare them to Michael Kors or Calvin Klein or Nike. Imagine if Nike was the *only* company making shoes with celebrity athletes endorsing the product, and *everyone else* was marketing budget sneakers. They would probably never sell as much shoes as the budget sneaker companies, but think of the stranglehold Nike would have on the high-end shoe market, on mindshare, and most importantly on profits. Now look at Apple, saying "we're stylish and pricey" and everyone else, for the most part, saying "we are just as good but a lot cheaper." In the traditional tech space, Apple would be doomed. But in the high-end shoe market, they would be King. Apple isn't winning because they are playing the game better, Apple is winning because they are playing a completely different game and no one else is even bothering to suit up and play them.

Comment: Re:Tax (Score 2, Informative) 498

by dnavid (#48927117) Attached to: Apple Posts $18B Quarterly Profit, the Highest By Any Company, Ever

Which is the amount they couldn't find a way to avoid. Their profits would be taxed at around 40% in the US, but they funnel them to Ireland (the famous "Double Irish") and pay 0% on them. What they do pay is made up of sales tax, employment taxes, and tax on things like property that they can't pretend does not exist in any taxable jurisdiction.

This is somewhat misleading. The US is special in that its the only country that actually taxes income that isn't even earned in the country. Most countries will tax someone on the income generated in the country, but not tax income generated outside the country. That includes both corporations and *people*. If you are a US citizen and you go outside the country and earn income, you're required to pay US income tax on that income, even though it was earned entirely outside the country. To repeat: that's something practically unique to the US.

The US does provide an exception: if that income was already taxed by another country, you're allowed to declare that because you already paid taxes on that money to someone else, you don't have to *also* pay taxes to the US. Again: that's not just for corporations like Apple, but also for individuals.

Apple is required to, and does pay US income taxes on net income it earns in the US: it cannot simply "funnel" the income to another country to dodge taxes, and everyone saying that simply is confused or mistaken. If that was possible every corporation would do it and no one would pay any taxes. What companies like Apple *can* do, however, is a) pay taxes on that income in another country, particularly one with a much lower tax rate and b) don't bring the money back to the US, where they would then have to pay US tax on it.

Is this "dodging taxes?" Yes. But not really *US* taxes. The countries with the biggest beef with Apple are really European countries for whom Apple doesn't pay taxes on income generated in those countries because that revenue is funneled into Ireland. But that money would *not* be "taxed at around 40% in the US" because if Apple didn't funnel that income to Ireland (where it has special sweetheart deals that Ireland gave to many companies, to the chagrin of many other EU countries), it would then be taxed in the individual countries it was earned, and the US would still not see a dime of it.

As to dodging taxes by not explicitly transferring that money earned overseas back to the US? It has yet to be explained why a company that earns money overseas has an obligation to transfer that money to the US explicitly for the sole purpose of paying US taxes on it, and for no other reason. That's simply illogical.

But as to the income Apple generates in the US by its business operations in the US: for the most part, it pays taxes on that income just like every other corporation.

Comment: Re:Let's get this straight (Score 1) 140

by dnavid (#48926809) Attached to: How One Small Company Blocked 15.1 Million Robocalls Last Year

The NSA has metadata (and most likely recordings) of most of the phone calls in the entire world. The FBI (and a bunch of other unnamed government agencies) can and do tap phones without court orders. Cell phones can be used to track individuals 24/7. And yet somehow between the FCC and all the phone companies no one can figure out who is making robocalls. Really?

What's actually going on is that phone companies love robocalls because they make money on them and the FCC doesn't give a damn and/or is too "pro-business" to do anything for consumers.

Just stop lying and pretending that this is a hard problem. It's bad enough that this crap goes on in the first place. Pretending that nothing can be done is adding insult to injury. STFU and admit that it happens on purpose and nothing will change because you like the status quo. Stop lying to us!

Who said its hard to figure out who is making robocalls? Its not difficult to figure that out. The problem is that it is not illegal to make robocalls. The concern is that some robocalls violate the law by calling people that are registered on do not call lists and do not have a valid legal reason for calling, and other robocalls are perfectly legal but the recipient doesn't want to answer them anyway. Services like nomorobo and others are intended for people who want to control the kinds of telemarketing and other robocalls they receive.

I use nomorobo myself, and given that its a free service I don't have to maintain myself, I think it works very well. It doesn't catch and block everything, but it blocks a surprising number of them and every one it blocks is a call I don't have to answer or alternatively listen to ring the phone over and over until voicemail picks it up. It doesn't block all robocalls, but its not supposed to. When my drugstore calls to tell me my prescriptions are ready for pickup, that's a robocall but not one I want blocked. If the service just blocks the worst offenders, that's still plenty valuable just as anti-spam filters don't have to block 100% of all email spam to still be worthwhile.

Comment: Re:A quote (Score 1) 404

by Bob9113 (#48925997) Attached to: Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

I'm sure that he would allow Americans to do bad things to each other as well. I will bet you, however, that he's against TERROR and TERRORISM.

So you're saying that Rumsfeld would oppose the most common use of our terror laws, which is DEA enforcement of victimless, consensual, domestic marijuana crimes?

Comment: No. (Score 5, Insightful) 224

by eldavojohn (#48923389) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

To be fair to Zuckerberg and Facebook, the company must obey the law of any country in which it operates.

No. He came out in support of a universal maxim and then went back to his board who showed him X dollars of income they get by operating in Turkey. Just like the revenue lost when Google left mainland China. Instead of sacrificing that revenue to some other social network in Turkey run by cowards, he became a coward himself in the name of money. It is an affront to the deaths and memory of the Charlie Hebdo editors. His refusal could have worked as leverage for social change in Turkey but now it will not.

So no, your statement isn't fair to Zuckerberg and his company and the platinum backscratcher he gets to keep with "TURKEY" inscribed on it. Fuck that greedy bastard and his petty meaningless lip service.

Comment: Re:WTF (Score 5, Informative) 231

by dnavid (#48920387) Attached to: Gamma-ray Bursts May Explain Fermi's Paradox

From TFS:

They further estimate that GRBs prevent complex life like that on Earth in 90% of the galaxies.

So, life possible on 10% of the galaxies means that those are none at all? What about our own one? This smells of clickbait.

The Fermi paradox basically states that if life on Earth is the typical result of similar conditions, the probability is far higher that there are older, more advanced civilizations, and eventually on timescales far smaller than the universe has existed we should eventually have bumped into one of them as they spread throughout the galaxy, even the universe.

The paper suggests two effects of gamma ray bursts that alter that calculation. First, a given location was more likely to be exposed to a gamma ray burst at earlier times in the universe, when the population of large hot stars was higher and overall density of the universe was higher. Therefore, its possible that even though the universe is 14 billion years old during a significant percentage of that time the universe was too dense and the frequency of gamma ray bursts too high to allow a sufficiently high technological civilization to arise. That's why there aren't any really old civilizations, or alternatively why there are so few that they tend to be very far away statistically. Second, even after the universe had expanded enough to make gamma ray bursts less likely to completely sterilize all planets everywhere its still the case that most parts of most galaxies are still too dense to avoid getting hit by them.

So its possible the reason why we have not yet seen a very old highly advanced civilization is that the actual probability of one being old enough, and close enough, for us to have bumped into (or rather for them to have bumped into us) is a lot lower than we might assume, even if the conditions to initiate life are pretty common. Nearly all of them have been wiped out before they could advance to the point of being able to colonize on an interstellar level and avoid being driven to extinction by gamma ray bursts.

Nothing succeeds like the appearance of success. -- Christopher Lascl

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