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Comment: Purpose of the fines (Score 1) 759

If the fines purpose is to be a deterent, then the fine must be sufficient to result in a deterent effect.

If the fine is meant to compensate the public for the harm caused, then the fine should be adequate to cover the cost of the harm relative to frequency of individuals being caught.

If the fine is meant to cover the costs of enforcement, then the distribution of the fine makes sense to have it be on ability to pay.

Comment: Re: Why not in the US? (Score 2) 82

by LetterRip (#49112387) Attached to: Apple To Invest $2B Building Green Data Centers In Ireland and Denmark

You've confused statutory with effective rate.

The US has one of the lowest effective rates (how much the corporation actually pays after deductions, etc.), but one of the highest statutory rates (the worst theoretical possible rate that a corporation would pay if it had zero deductions and enormous profits).

Comment: My theory (Score 0) 82

by LetterRip (#49112339) Attached to: Apple To Invest $2B Building Green Data Centers In Ireland and Denmark

My theory is that these are inducements to keep the 'double irish' and 'dutch sandwich' tax dodges available. It seems highly unlikely that Ireland and Netherlands, the two countries that have Allowed apple to avoid hundreds of billions in taxes, and which have suggested that they might change these tax practices, have suddenly become recipients of major investments.


Comment: Re:Gates (Score 1) 839

by LetterRip (#48165613) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Consumption taxes are relatively easy to evade.

Also the benefit from public tax expenditures isn't proportional to consumption, it is proportional to net worth.

Bill Gates benefits enormously from public education and public funding of universities. He benefits enormously from international trade negotiations and the military keeping international trade relations stable.

Comment: R is not an emerging star (Score 1) 143

R has been around for a long time and has long been a standard.

Pythons sklearn is indeed an 'emerging star'.

Personally I use both.

Also have a look at some of the many stand alone tools vowpal wabbit (blazingly fast for regression learning, scales to ridiculous amounts of data) is superb, as is sofia-ml (for clustering, again scales quite well)

I tie them all together in python, since there are python bindings for R, and you can use pythons 'Subprocess' module to pipe commands and data for commandline tools that don't have python bindings.

There are other useful tools as well - I use Weka for some of my initial visualization and when I'm feeling lazy and want a quick result.

Comment: Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (Score 5, Insightful) 190

by LetterRip (#47347407) Attached to: Eric Schmidt and Entourage Pay a Call On Cuba

The ban has nothing to do with 'Cold War tensions' it is because Cuban immigrants to Florida hate Castro for the property that he nationalized - and pissing off those voters risk losing Florida in federal elections (and thus losing the Presidential election). Thus draconian prohibitions related to Cuba stay in place.

Comment: Re:No, they're replacing. (Score 3, Informative) 341

by LetterRip (#47336533) Attached to: If Immigration Reform Is Dead, So Is Raising the H-1B Cap

"There is not a fixed number of jobs in an economy."

There is demand elasticity for labor, but it is not related to availability of labor it is related to demand for goods and services, not availability of labor. The demand for labor is essentially fixed or decreasing without some sort of driver for demand. Immigration can be a source of demand, but it isn't necessarily a source of demand. Since most immigrants send much of their income to their home country they tend to be a net reduction in demand.

The reason unemployment is correlated to immigration is that countries relax immigration requirements when there is a shortage of labor.

Decaffeinated coffee? Just Say No.