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Comment: Uber is a Pump-n-Dump scheme (Score 5, Insightful) 299

by McGruber (#48410905) Attached to: Uber Threatens To Do 'Opposition Research' On Journalists

Uber is a Pump and Dump (on the Chumps) stock scheme.

Last week, Uber put out a press release that said they were valued at $30 billion. Several media outlets published articles with that $30 billion number; here's an example: According to various sources, Uber is about to go for another financing round with the intention to raise an additional $2 billion

In a new round of funding, Uber is likely to raise another $2 billion in addition to the $1.6 billion it has raised to date. The new round will value the San Francisco-based ride-sharing service at a whopping $30 billion, up from its $18.2 billion valuation from the last round of funding.

Think about that $30 billion "valuation" for a moment, and compare it to the valuations of other transportation companies. Norfolk Southern railroad has a market cap of just over $35 billion, while Delta Airlines has a market cap of just over $36 billion.

Uber is a mobile app. Does anyone here think that app is really worth 85% of a railroad that *owns* 21,500 route miles of fiber optic right-of-way (with railroad tracks on top) in 22 eastern states? Does anyone really think a ride sharing app is really worth 84% of an airline that operates 5,400 flights daily over an international network that includes 333 destinations in 64 countries on six continents... and has its own mobile apps?

Comment: Re:Web 2.0 (Score 1) 226

by McGruber (#48405691) Attached to: Coding Bootcamps Presented As "College Alternative"

- Plenty of wacky revenue-free, shaky business model companies generating huge VC investments and crazy valuations

During the dotcom bubble, because I was reading each today. That site did an amazing job of documenting the stupid business models in vogue back then.

Is there a site today that is documenting the current bubble? My guess is if there is, it's either a reddit forum or a twitter feed.

+ - Apple cannot fire Woz because he is still reporting to Steve Jobs->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "Last week, Steve Wozniak ( spoke at an "Internet Summit" in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina.

During his remarks, Woz said that reports of him him "hating Apple" have been taken out of context: "I am an employee of Apple still. I want to be the only person who has been on the paycheck every single day since day one of the company. I don't think they can fire me."

Woz also explained that company paperwork says that he is stil reporting to Steve Jobs. "I said, 'oh, well, at least I can't get fired,'" he said. That's good because, earlier in the month, Woz responded to a hardware bug report ( regarding the original Apple-I.

There was no word on if Apple has tried to confisciate his red stapler."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Home Depot's Apology Email to Customers (Score 1) 99

by McGruber (#48335355) Attached to: Home Depot Says Hackers Grabbed 53 Million Email Addresses
Home Depot sent this email out to its customers:

Dear Valued Customer,

The Home Depot has discovered that a file containing your email address may have been taken during the payment card breach we announced in September. The file contained email addresses, but it did not contain passwords, payment card information, or other sensitive personal information. We apologize for this incident and for the inconvenience and frustration this may cause you.

In all likelihood this event will not impact you, but we recommend that you be on the alert for phony emails requesting personal or sensitive information. If you have any questions or would like additional information on how to protect yourself from email scams, please visit our website or call 1-800-HOMEDEPOT.

Again, we apologize for the frustration and inconvenience this incident may have caused. Thank you for your continued support.


The Home Depot

I was struck by how the letter did not say anything about what HD has done to ensure that something like this will not happen again to them.

+ - Ken Ham's Ark torpedoed with charges of religious discrimination->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "Back on February 4, "Science Guy" Bill Nye debated Creationist Kenneth Alfred "Ken" Ham ( That high-profile debate helped boost support for Ham's $73 Million "Ark Encounter" project, allowing Ham to announce on February 25 that a municipal bond offering had raised enough money to begin construction. Nye said he was “heartbroken and sickened for the Commonwealth of Kentucky” after learning that the project would move forward. Nye said the ark would eventually draw more attention to the beliefs of Ham’s ministry, which preaches that the Bible’s creation story is a true account, and as a result, “voters and taxpayers in Kentucky will eventually see that this is not in their best interest.” (

In July, the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority unanimously approved $18.25 million worth of tax incentives to keep the ark park afloat. The funds are from a state program that allows eligible tourism attractions a rebate of as much as 25 percent of the investment in the project. ( Since then, the Ark Park's employment application has became public:

Nestled among the requirements for all job applicants were three troubling obligatory documents: “Salvation testimony,” “Creation belief statement,” and a “Confirmation of your agreement with the AiG statement of faith.” (AiG is Answers in Genesis, Ham’s ministry and Ark Encounter’s parent company.)

That caused the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet to halt its issuance of tax incentives for the ark park. Bob Stewart, secretary of the cabinet, wrote to Ham that “the Commonwealth does not provide incentives to any company that discriminates on the basis of religion and we will not make any exception for Ark Encounter, LLC.” Before funding could proceed, Stewart explained, “the Commonwealth must have the express written assurance from Ark Encounter, LLC that it will not discriminate in any way on the basis of religion in hiring.” (

The ark park has not yet sunk. It is "still pending before the authority" and a date has not yet been set for the meeting where final approval will be considered."

Link to Original Source

+ - Steve Ballmer gets Billion-Dollar Tax Write-Off for being Basketball Baron->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "According to a report published by The Financial Times (, ex-Microsoft CEO Billionaire Steve Ballmer will be able to write about a Billion dollars of his Basketball Team's purchase price off from the taxable income he makes over the next 15 years:

"Under an exception in US law, buyers of sports franchises can use an accounting treatment known as goodwill against their other taxable income. This feature is commonly used by tax specialists to structure deals for sports teams. Goodwill is the difference between the purchase price of an asset and the actual cash and other fixed assets belonging to the team."

NBC Los Angeles has a non-paywalled summary here:"
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Awesome (Score 2) 283

by McGruber (#48112847) Attached to: Tesla Announces Dual Motors, 'Autopilot' For the Model S

I save more than $10k a year even with those payments. How would that make me financially irresponsible?

If you are a US worker making $80k, you can put $17,500 a year into your 401K and another $5,500 into a Roth IRA..... so your saving $10k/year is less than 1/2 the money you could be putting into your retirement accounts for the year.

If you are over age 50, you could be putting in $23,500 (401K) and $6,500 (Roth IRA)..... so your saving $10k/year would be only a third of what you could be saving, in your retirement account alone.

+ - No Charges filed after SWAT team throws grenade into Baby Bou Bou's crib.-> 1

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "Another new low for police state America: a grand jury in Habersham County, Georgia has declined to indict any of the officers involved in a botched SWAT team drug raid that permanently disfigured 19-month-old Bounkham “Baby Bou Bou” Phonesavanh (

When the SWAT team raided Baby Bou Bou's parents home at 3 a.m. on May 28, they lobbed a flash-bang grenade into the house. That grenade landed in the crib where little Bou Bou was sleeping. It exploded, tearing open the boy’s face, severing his nose and severely burning his face and chest ( The SWAT team searched inside the house, but failed to find either guns or drugs. Wanis Thonetheva, who didn’t even live at the house, was arrested later that day without incident and charged only with possession of methamphetamine.

The Habersham County, Georgia Government refuses to pay Baby Bou Bou's medical bills, which now total more than $800,000 ("

Link to Original Source

+ - US Transportation Dept. considering license plate readers for "traffic safety"->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "The John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, a unique federal agency that is part of the US Department of Transportation (, is conducting market research on using automated license plate readers (ALPRs) as a potential countermeasure to improve traffic safety.

According to USDOT Solicitation Notice DTRT5714SS00007 that is posted on FedBizOpps (

The Notice says "While ALPRs are deployed for a variety of purposes (i.e., homeland security, locating and recovering stolen vehicles, etc.), the purpose of this study is to focus on the use of ALPRs for traffic safety purposes. Within traffic safety, the emphasis will be on license offenses, including revoked, suspended, or restricted licenses; however, the study should reveal whether ALPRs are being used for any other type of traffic safety function (e.g., speed enforcement).""

Link to Original Source

+ - USPTO says fraud by patent examiners will be met with 'disciplinary action'->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "After Slashdot reported "Every Day Is Goof-Off-At-Work Day At the US Patent and Trademark Office" (, US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) Deputy Director Michelle K. Lee left a morale-boosting voicemail to all USPTO employees. She told them "All of your efforts are critical to creating new jobs and growing businesses" and affirmed her support for a telework program she said made the agency a “sought-after place to work.”

Six weeks later --and umpteen media reports about patent examiners lying about their hours ( Deputy Director Lee has done an about face. In an email sent to thousands of employees, Lee wrote “Simply put fraudulent time and attendance recording is unacceptable and must be met with appropriate disciplinary action." Her message then cited a number of steps the USPTO is taking to address the an internal USPTO investigation that determined patent examiners repeatedly lied about their hours and received bonuses for work they didn’t do. (

Deputy Director Lee is the USPTO's defactor leader because the USPTO lacks a permanent director."

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There is no opinion so absurd that some philosopher will not express it. -- Marcus Tullius Cicero, "Ad familiares"