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Comment: Empirical evidence suggests otherwise... (Score 1) 542

by Gage With Union (#32413692) Attached to: Study Claims Cellphones Implicated In Bee Loss
I live in New York City. We have a couple of cell-phones here, but there's a move to legalize bee-keeping, and already quite a few people keeping honeybee hives illegally on top of buildings.

Obviously this isn't conclusive, but I would assume that hives on the top of skyscrapers would be far more susceptible to cell-phone interference, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of evidence of this happening here.

Comment: An elegant, albeit never to be implemented (Score 1) 335

by Gage With Union (#30900828) Attached to: Universal, Pay Those EFFing Lawyers

...in this lifetime solution. Whatever legal services are brought to bear in pursuit of the case will be split in terms of work on the case. IndieA brings a lawyer. MegaCorp brings a team of 11 lawyers. At the beginning of the trial, the pool of lawyers is split and assigned to one side or the other. (you could draw lots or pick teams, since that's even more visually absurd) So IndieA now has 6 lawyers, and MegaCorp has 6 lawyers. In the case of ties, the extra always goes to the defendant. (dunno what happens at 1; that would strongly discourage lawsuits, but perhaps too much so? It would be very effective at protected people with no means for civil legal defense)

You are financially responsible for any lawyers you may bring, (not sure about this, but let's play it out?) but you do so with the knowledge that you may also be helping your opponent by hiring more laywers. This encourages simple solutions with a minimum of lawyers. It makes it more sporting, too; how good of a lawyer do you want to hire? A good lawyer should be able to argue either side, no?

Yes, this is a bit of an outlandish idea, but I'd love to hear improvements, revisions, etc. I understand full well that this may not be practical in certain ways--I dunno what you do for expert witnesses--so internets spares me, but kick the tires.

Comment: More practical? (Score 1) 376

by Gage With Union (#30834284) Attached to: Sitting Down Too Long Is Bad Even If You Exercise

Exercise isn't the only way to accomplish this; I'm considering getting a standing desk. I spend a lot of time sitting down programming and am often tired, and I've heard many positive stories from people who've made the switch.

Just because we do sit down quite a bit doesn't mean we were designed for it. Compare, for instance, the incidence rates of hemorrhoids in countries with sit vs. squat toilets...

Comment: Re:Ethical? (Score 1) 404

But doesn't the company have an ethical obligation to its shareholders to maximize profits, and doesn't that trump all potential human suffering?

Though what you suggest is deeply unethical, you can certainly find it in labor camps in totalitarian states where it's perfectly legal. Special bonus for businesses operating in circumstances like these: no risk of investigative journalism...

Comment: The myth of choice... (Score 2, Insightful) 454

by Gage With Union (#30741132) Attached to: Rudolph the Cadmium-Nosed Reindeer

This presumes that there is always an ethical alternative. I think that the lobbying actions of the petroleum industry against environmental initiatives are terrible. Who should I buy my gasoline from, then?

Are you prepared to research everything that you buy to determine whether the corporation that sells it is involved in hazardous business? (and if so, I can only presume that that is your job) I'd love to buy exclusively from reputable businesses with ethical practices, but it is entirely impossible, especially given that most products are sourced from many companies.

Sometimes, it's almost impossible to not deal with certain companies, whether we'd like to or not. I'd challenge you to eliminate all products in your house that have association with Archer-Daniels Midland, a company convicted of one of the most notorious cases of international price-fixing.

Markets are great for some things, but they require laws. Regulations exist to force companies to behave more ethically than the market requires of them. The most effective regulations incentivize ideas that the market is unwilling or unable to support but that may be important for long-term growth. Try abolishing the FDIC and then stating that customers will just have to find a bank that will always make good decisions...

Comment: Regulation is about reducing not eliminating risk (Score 1) 454

by Gage With Union (#30734014) Attached to: Rudolph the Cadmium-Nosed Reindeer
I generally agree with you in principle, particularly in regards to non-essential products, but I also think this cannot work in practice, and I have no desire to ever contemplate a privatized FDA. I think skepticism is warranted, but I also know that I cannot become an expert (or even suitably informed) in everything. I must trust someone, whether government or private sector, in establishing the credibility of a vendor. This is not a guarantee of immunity from harm, but an assurance that things will probably be okay, without which society could not function.

Our economy is dependent on trust. Despite the U.S. government's many failings, there are many things that I must trust it with, such as currency, police and fire, roads, building codes, etc. Is it my responsibility to be ever vigilant regarding the thousands of products at my grocery store, any one of which might be contaminated? To know which drugs have been recalled for safety concerns?

Modern life is full of trade-offs, and we eventually must delegate, or live like Ted Kaczynski (minus the bomb-making part), but this doesn't inherently make us complacent. I do not play with matches in my house content in the knowledge that there is a fire station close by. My apartment has a gas stove, which is, relatively speaking, pretty damn dangerous if used improperly. I am responsible for its improper use. On the other hand, if my house explodes due to a manufacturing defect in the stove, it's reasonable to expect consequences. The company could decide that the financial cost of paying off my relatives is below the cost that it would take to repair the defect. Regulation tries to reduce risks to the customer and prevent corporations from making logical yet thoroughly morally abhorrent decisions.

Comment: Re:Most professors guilty? (Score 1) 467

by Gage With Union (#30056632) Attached to: Attack of the PowerPoint-Wielding Professors
It's also worth considering that in most fields professors receive no training whatsoever as educators, and it's quite easy to get a PhD without any coursework on being an effective educator. Many of us come through fine, but there are some who, though skilled at learning from others, could definitely benefit from training.

Comment: Re:Wont increase taxes on middle class (Score 1) 1505

You're also assuming that I buy from that corporation. Though we may pay it when we buy from that corporation, we are not beholden to buy from that corporation. In fact, we can choose to buy from another, and that we have different effective tax rates between corporations is the cause of this situation. Because these loopholes create different effective rates, it gives the companies employing them an unfair financial advantage. There are many corporations that I never buy from; though I may indirectly benefit them, it is not a break-even proposition or a zero-sum game. If it is, all the other countries in the world that have a corporate income tax must be mad. We are mad simply in our inconsistency in applying the tax, not in its existence.

As an example, when a tax is placed on cigarettes, I benefit. I don't smoke, yet without this tax I am still required to subsidize the poor decisions made by smokers. My alternatives?

  • Wait for a society where people make well-informed decisions
  • Legislate towards that society by banning deleterious behavior
  • Have money spent on a public advertising campaign informing people of the risks of the product said company is selling

Even in a society with universal health care, I still end up paying for this company's customers. (unless we're to trot out the argument that they die earlier, thus saving me the taxpayer money; the real ones to watch for are those health nuts)

Taxing corporations spreads the tax burden around, and this is a good thing.

Comment: Re:two ways to solve the tax "scam" (Score 1) 1505

And this is how the Costa Rican menace starts... We'll take our ball elsewhere and play... ... Really? Costa Rica? Name a business from Costa Rica that was founded there. This is a bluff, plain and simple. Really, most corporations are completely unwilling to commit to the steps it would take to completely remove themselves from U.S. soil. Bill Gates is not moving to Ireland, and he's sure as hell not going to telecommute either. If you want to make your headquarters in Antigua, fine by me. But you have to really do it. None of this having a post-office box business. Your board of directors have to be citizens in that country. Your CEO must live there.

There is no royal road to geometry. -- Euclid

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