Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re:The reason why the laws are for sale. (Score 1) 399

by GPS Pilot (#46770953) Attached to: Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

What you are saying is that Political Action Committies with large budgets should have exactly the same amount of influence as PACs with small budgets. You have robbed Jane of her power to strengthen FooPAC by making a $15 donation to FooPAC, because it will have the same amount of influence regardless of whether Jane donates.

What also follows from this is that if the Build-a-KKK-Statue-on-the-Washington-Mall PAC raises $40, and in the outraged backlash, the We-Mustn't-Build-a-KKK-Statue-on-the-Washington-Mall PAC raises $53 million, Congress must give an equal amount of attention to both of those organizations.

Sorry, seems like you haven't thought this through.

Comment: Re:The reason why the laws are for sale. (Score 1) 399

by GPS Pilot (#46767043) Attached to: Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

How would you implement your proposal?

Suppose Jane feels three time as strongly about issue foo as Joe does, and therefore she donates $15 to FooPAC and Joe only donates $5. Are you suggesting that FooPAC should be forced to refund $10 to Jane? Then no one would be free to act on their ethos more strongly than the weakest actor.

Comment: Re:Automating away bureaucracy... (Score 1) 399

by GPS Pilot (#46766873) Attached to: Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

Your anecdotal situation doesn't change the fact that there's a long-term trend in which basic commodities consume an ever-smaller fraction of average family income.

Your personal milk consumption habits don't change the fact that milk is a basic commodity.

Do you have a recurring habit of allowing your desire to be argumentative sap people's productivity, or of valuing anecdotes over bulk statistics?

Comment: Re:Benefits of third-party sites (Score 1) 399

by GPS Pilot (#46764099) Attached to: Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

Colorado had a perfectly simple online form, and then one year they rebuilt it to require Silverlight 2.0, of all things! Now, Silverlight 1.0 was the last version that supported PowerPC; that meant my not-that-long-in-the-tooth PowerMac G5, perfectly serviceable for all other web sites, was dead in the water.

I sent them a nasty nastygram, and the next year Silverlight was gone.

Comment: Benefits of third-party sites (Score 1) 399

by GPS Pilot (#46760741) Attached to: Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

Taxact.com, like Turbotax, provides an online "interview" that guides you through the process, makes complying with the law much easier, and finds deductions that you might otherwise overlook. I am glad that a third party is providing that service. And I'm glad that multiple third parties are doing this, and making continuous improvements because they are competing with each other on the basis of ease-of-use and correctness-of-calculations.

If the IRS had a monopoly on providing this service, and developed it in-house, you can bet it would be as user-friendly as waiting in line at the DMV. I'm not so naive as to claim that the third-party efforts are bug-free, but they're better than the IRS would do, because what motivation would a faceless IRS bureaucrat have to fix bugs in the software?

There's also a motivation to be secure: Third-party sites can be sued if your private data leaks out, but the IRS cannot be sued.

Comment: Quantifying the damage done by the tax code (Score 1) 399

by GPS Pilot (#46760607) Attached to: Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

I once read that the amount of resources expended to simply comply with the IRS is equal to the gross state product of Iowa.

Think about it -- the entire output of a fairly prosperous state, wiped out by the overly-complex tax code!

(And that was about 20 years ago, when the tax code was less complex than it is now.)

Sure, tax simplification would be disruptive to Intuit (and also to firms that act less like vampires, like H&R Block). But no more disruptive than any other awesome efficiency-boosting development, like the invention of the LED.

Comment: Automating away bureaucracy... (Score 1) 399

by GPS Pilot (#46760387) Attached to: Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

Think about this: thanks to incomes growing faster than the rate of inflation, basic commodities, like a gallon of milk, consume a significantly smaller fraction of a family's income than they did a generation ago. And that effect is orders-of-magnitude larger for technological commodities, like a gigaflop of computing power.

Government services, too, ought to be costing a smaller fraction of a family's income. (Especially because government uses technology to provide its services. Most government workers sit in front of a computer all day.) But government services are about the only thing that is bucking the trend, and consuming a larger fraction of a family's income!

Comment: The reason why the laws are for sale. (Score 1) 399

by GPS Pilot (#46760327) Attached to: Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

The laws can be for sale, only to the extent that the lawmakers are selling!

Every special interest should be free to lobby. The real trick is electing representatives who understand that catering to a special interest is, by definition, detrimental to the general interest. (If something is in the general interest, it's by definition not a special interest.)

Australia

CSIRO Scientists' Aquaculture Holy Grail: Fish-Free Prawn Food 115

Posted by timothy
from the sweet-sweet-prawn dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A team of CSIRO scientists has discovered the holy grail of aquaculture by developing the world's first fish-free prawn food: Novaq. According to the article there is intense global interest in Novaq because it solves one of the farmed prawn industry's biggest problems — its reliance on wild fisheries as a core ingredient in prawn food. The Novaq formula is a closely guarded secret, but it is known that the product is based on microscopic marine organisms. Not only will the new feed introduce greater sustainability into a growth industry but prawns fed on the new diet grow 40% faster and are healthier and more robust."

Comment: Much ado about a non-problem (Score 1) 577

by GPS Pilot (#46727477) Attached to: Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

we have many millions of people with NO useful skills. They are also mostly untrainable, or they wouldn't have ended up skillless in the first place. In the past, our economy had a place for these people. The future is likely to be different.

Fact: There are more unskilled humans employed today than at any other time in history.

Why? Because, as you pointed out, everyone has benefited from productivity improvements; those improvements increase the demand for all types of labor, even unskilled labor.

Fortunately, the vast majority of jobs do not require coding ability. So, while it may be true that you can't teach 'X' to code, there's really no need to teach 'X' to code.

Going the speed of light is bad for your age.

Working...