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Comment: Big Government = rent seeking & crony capitali (Score 3, Interesting) 401

by HighOrbit (#46759491) Attached to: Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings
Well just another instance of Big Government and regulations equating to rent seeking & crony capitalism.
  1. - Create Condition - convoluted tax code
  2. - Fix condition you created with Government money- Federal paid assistance to file taxes
  3. - Claim you're helping the little guy
  4. - Profit!

Here is another example - Food Stamps (aka SNAP) and Agriculture policy. You might think food stamps exist to help the poor, but you'd be wrong. Food stamps are part of the AGRICULTURE spending bill, not the health and human services bill. The idea is to stimulate buying of "surplus" agricultural produce by subsidizing poor people who can't aford to buy it. But the dirty secret is that the agrculture policy of price supports both stimulates over-production for some crops and under-production for others while keeping prices high and making food LESS affordable for the poor. With food stamps the agribusinness interests can now sell the 'surplus' created by the price supports (government money) at artificially high prices to the poor (with government money), all the while with the political overhead cover of helping "family-farmers" and the "hungry children".

  1. - Create Condition - Pay yourself Government money to artifically inflate prices (agricultural subsidy)
  2. - Fix condition you created with Government money - Funnel yourself even more Government money by subsidizing purchase of your artificially high priced goods (food stamps)
  3. - Claim you're helping the little guy
  4. - Profit!

+ - Microsoft Announces Windows 8.1 Update

Submitted by SmartAboutThings
SmartAboutThings (1951032) writes "As expected, at the Build 2014 event currently taking place in the Moscone Center, San Francisco, Microsoft has announced the first update to Windows 8.1. Albeit the update has leaked before, it now has become official. It comes with improvements especially for mouse and keyboard users, such as the minimize button that now works inside modern Windows apps. Also, switching between Win 32 and modern apps is now also possible form a single place. The Start center comes with a the PC Settings tiles and the power button. Right mouse click features have also been added to the Start screen. Also, the Windows Store will be redesigned in the coming days. Windows 8.1 Update will be made available on April 8, ironically, when support for Windows XP is discontinued."

+ - Latest US export: fracking around with local democracy in Poland->

Submitted by rysiek
rysiek (1328591) writes "The village of urawlów in eastern Poland has fertile soil and beautiful landscapes. It is also positioned directly above Poland's largest aquifiers. Soon another element will pop-up — fracking rigs, courtesy of Chevron.

For the past two years a small but dedicated community of people have opposed and protested Chevron's planned shale gas exploitation in the area, on the grounds of the environmental effects, including possible aquifier contaminations and damage to local landscape. Of course, they also support Exxon Mobil executive Rex Tillerson's fight against fracking rigs in his own back yard (Google Translate).

Chevron responds with legal action, with the support of local authorities. The protesters, who are so far quite effective in blocking Chevron's local activities, demand transparency the right to decide their own fate."

Link to Original Source

+ - Researchers Find Problems With Rules of Bitcoin->

Submitted by holy_calamity
holy_calamity (872269) writes "Using game theory to analyze the rules of cryptocurrency Bitocin suggests some changes are needed to make the currency sustainable in the long term, reports MIT Technology Review. Studies from Princeton and Cornell found that current rules governing the mining of bitcoins and limiting the total number of bitcoins that can exist at 21 million leave room for cheats or encourage behavior that could destabilize the currency. Such changes could be difficult to implement, given the fact Bitcoin — by design — lacks any central authority."
Link to Original Source

+ - Bring On the Monsters: Tolkien's Translation of Beowulf to be Published

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Tolkien was often criticised by his academic colleagues for wasting time on fiction, even though that fiction has probably done more to popularise medieval literature than the work of 100 scholars. Now John Garth reports that HarperCollins plans to publish Tolkien's long-awaited 1926 translation of the oldest surviving Old English epic poem about Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, who kills the monster Grendel with his bare hands and Grendel's mother with a sword of a giant that he found in her lair. Verlyn Flieger, identifies Beowulf as representing one of the two poles of Tolkien's imagination: the darker half, in which we all face eventual defeat – a complete contrast to the sudden joyous upturn of hope that he also expresses so superbly. "In truth," writes Garth, "it is his ability to move between the two attitudes that really lends him emotional power as a writer." Tolkien pushed the monsters to the forefront arguing that they "represent the impermanence of human life, the mortal enemy that can strike at the heart of everything we hold dear, the force against which we need to muster all our strength – even if ultimately we may lose the fight." Without the monsters, the peculiarly northern courage of Beowulf and his men is meaningless. Tolkien, veteran of the Somme, knew that it was not. "It will be fascinating to see how [Tolkien] exercised his literary, historical and linguistic expertise on the poem," concludes Garth adding that Tolkien was the arch-revivalist of literary medievalism, who made it seem so relevant to the modern world. "I can't wait to see his version of the first English epic.""

+ - MH370 now confirmed as having gone down in the South Indian Ocean->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The British space company Inmarsat have performed some heavyweight and novel engineering, analysing the doppler shifts of their satellite communications signals, to provide a separate analysis of the small dataset of information from the doomed airliner. They announced today that they "have concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor, and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth.."

They go on to say that they did not detect any of the claimed altitude changes which are believed to have indicated human intervention along parts of the off-flightpath route. According to them, the aircraft turned off its planed route and flew steadily towards the south — in the direction of the nearest airfield. but it did not land there, and continued towards Antarctica.

The most likely explanation which is consistent with this news item is a sudden cockpit fire, as happened with a similar EgyptAir 777. Such a fire might allow pilots time to adjust course, but might drive them from the cockpit before any communication could take place, and might also cut power to automatic reporting services like TACAS. If the crew and passengers then succumbed to fumes or hypoxia as the fire burned through the aircraft skin, MH370 would just continue on the preset course.."

Link to Original Source

+ - NVIDIA Releases Working Open-Source Driver For Tegra-K1 3D Graphics->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Building on earlier open source patches is working hardware support for the Tegra-K1's GK20A graphics engine courtesy of NVIDIA. These new Linux kernel patches paired with a slightly-modified Mesa make the high-end ARM chip able to run shaders and render triangles so far, but it is not clear how far NVIDIA will take this open source driver for the Tegra-K1 chip when they already have a working high performance proprietary Linux driver."
Link to Original Source

+ - Homeland Security Exercise Targets "Free Americans Against Socialist Tyranny"->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Leaked Homeland Security documents obtained by Infowars reveal details of a joint DHS/FEMA national exercise set to take place this week, one of the components of which revolves around an effort to counter online dissent by a group called “Free Americans Against Socialist Tyranny,” which is disgruntled at the imposition of martial law after an earthquake in Alaska.

As we have exhaustively documented on numerous occasions, federal authorities and particularly the Department of Homeland Security have been involved in producing a deluge of literature which portrays liberty lovers and small government advocates as extremist radicals.

The document also mentions the threat posed by "disgruntled military and Department of Defense civilians," which ties into the talking point, repeatedly promoted by the DHS and other federal agencies, that returning veterans pose a major domestic terror threat.

The Capstone Exercise 2014 document makes it clear that a key part of the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA's preparation for the aftermath of major catastrophic incidents in the United States is centered around combating online dissent which will be sparked as a result of federal authorities and military assets instituting martial law, or what the document refers to as "Defense Support to Civil Authorities".

This is particularly chilling given reports that emerged in 2006 concerning a nationwide FEMA program under which Pastors and other religious representatives were trained to become secret police enforcers who teach their congregations to "obey the government" in preparation for a declaration of martial law, property and firearm seizures, and forced relocation."

Link to Original Source

+ - SPAM: E-Cig refills lead to Nicotine Poisonings

Submitted by HighOrbit
HighOrbit (631451) writes "New York Times has an article about the dangers of e-cig liquid refills. Nicotine is the active ingredient in many powerful pesticides. Now people are managing to poison themselves and their kids by mishandling their e-cig refills. Nicotine can be absorbed through the skin (years ago, my father claimed to have gotten addicted by just handling tobacco leaves when he labored on a tabacco farm). But now there are documented cases of the e-cig liquid sending people to the emergency room with health-threatening doses from simple spills."

+ - Apple Approves Crippled BitCoin Wallet->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Apple has finally approved a BitCoin wallet app for the iPhone and iPad, although it is crippled: Apple users will not be able to send BTC.

bitWallet, made by a company called Sollico, is now available in the Apple App Store. Given that both Coinbase, and Blockchain have had their apps pulled this listing is a landmark. Sollico submitted the wallet to Apple under the hope it be approved if sending capabilities were prohibited: “We assumed Apple’s objection is primarily sending bitcoins directly from the app, so we decided to submit the full-featured wallet app, but disable sending Bitcoins.”"

Link to Original Source

Comment: According to the latest study.... (Score 3, Insightful) 86

by HighOrbit (#46519823) Attached to: New Stanford Institute To Target Bad Science
This link is blatant right-wing propaganda, but funny as hell. Especially the one about fish.

But on a serious note, todays NY Times had an "according to the latest study" acticle about a study that claims that all that stuff we've been told for decades about dietary fat being unhealthly is untrue. Now since this contradicts several decades of observation, I tend to take "latest study" science with a grain of salt and give more credence to well verified (i.e. long term) science.

The problem with bad science is that it gets reproduced in the popular press (and popular imagination) even if it is later proven false. Case in point: the notorious vacination-autism fiasco. Another example is the "neutrino faster than light" results released a few years back in Italy. As Mark Twain said, "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes."

You can never fully discount the possibility that the guy releasing the results of the latest study is an attention-whore looking to drum up sensationalism to have his 15 minutes of fame. Scientiest are human and subject to the same vanities as everyone else.

Bottom line, never trust preliminary results.

Nothing is rich but the inexhaustible wealth of nature. She shows us only surfaces, but she is a million fathoms deep. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson