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Comment: Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 818

by Khashishi (#48163699) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Never is too strong a word. Taxation does of course reduce people's buying power, but the numbers can be tweaked so that people can still buy houses and stuff while still funding government. There can be a progressive scheme if necessary, but the nature of wealth tax makes it already pretty progressive.

Comment: Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 818

by Khashishi (#48160273) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

I want to know where you got this idea that taxes on consumption tend to be progressive. It's almost certainly regressive, unless you exempt the right mix of basic goods.
What counts as "consumption"? A poor person spends most eir money on rent, food, possibly car, and possibly cigarettes and booze.
A rich person invests a bunch, buys several million dollar houses, hires maids and gardeners to clean these houses, buys some cars, new electronics, and probably eats out a lot and goes to high-end concerts and travels the world.
A rich person spends a far higher percentage on capital goods and on employing people and only a small percentage on consumables. Also, you can't really tax consumption while traveling. The best you can do is tax the transportation, and tax rich tourists who come _here_

Comment: Re:Let me get this right (Score 5, Insightful) 818

by Khashishi (#48159931) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Taxing consumption is stupid. It encourages people to save and hoard till the day they die, which defeats the purpose of money. The rich are the most capable of doing this, which big trust funds and investments. Also, the idea of a progressive consumption tax is mind-boggling. How can a sales tax be progressive? Right now, sales taxes are collected on point of sale, which is a flat (actually regressive) tax. Do you have to fill out everything you buy on some IRS form?

A better idea is to tax wealth. That will encourage people to spend, and drive the economy forward.

Comment: Re:I'm not holding my breath (Score 2) 561

by Khashishi (#48154219) Attached to: Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project

And we had a proof of concept for tokamaks in the 50s.

There are several aspects of this announcement which cause me to disregard it. First of all, there doesn't seem to be any journal article describing the work. I'm of the impression that science journalists are mostly full of shit and one must go to the primary sources to get any semblance of reality. Where are the technical documents?

The idea of a magnetic mirror is not new. For a state-of-the-art mirror system, take a look at the Gas Dynamic Trap. You see that it's mostly science and not hype. There's plenty of actual journal articles and technical documents. (With Lockheed, we are supposed to just take their word for it, based on their layman explanations to journalists?) Note that scientists working on GDT are much more modest about what is realistically attainable using this technology. A fusion reactor based on GDT technology would be 1km long [AA Ivanov and VV Prikhodko. PPCF 55 (2013) 063001], and so people look at it more as a neutron source for fusion material research than a viable reactor concept.

Lockheed spokespeople were making the claim that they could develop more quickly than tokamaks due to the small size of the system. Well, you know, first generation tokamaks were also pretty small. We have a good understanding of how reactor parameters will scale with size, and that's why ITER is so large. (The original plan for ITER was even larger, in order to guarantee ignition (fusion gain=infinity), but we have scaled back our ambitions to achieve a fusion gain of 10.)

Reference the NULL within NULL, it is the gateway to all wizardry.