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Comment: Re:To be more precise, Amazon will collect on taxe (Score 1) 48

by swillden (#49762097) Attached to: Amazon Decides To Start Paying Tax In the UK

That assumes that the business can raise prices without consequence, which is an invalid assumption.

Only if the competition can avoid the taxes. If all of the players in the market get hit with the same taxes, then all of them absolutely can and will raise prices, and there will be no consequences.

Taxes are a percentage of profits, and are not deductible from revenue when calculating profits. So if Amazon raises their prices (and, assuming no change in consumer behavior, their revenue) by 10%, they also increase the amount of taxes they owe by 10%. So now they have to raise their prices again to cover the additional tax, lather rinse repeat.

This is a standard financial calculation, and a trivial one. The tax is 10%, so the increase is 10%, but there's 10% tax on that, so 1%, meaning the increase needs to be 11%, continue ad infinitum (literally). In other words, the new price needs to be 11.1111...% higher than the old one to keep profit margins unchanged. More generally, the increase needs to be the sum of the infinite series with terms r^n. This series is convergent if r < 1, and converges to 1/(1-r). So for a 25% tax, the company needs to increase prices by 1-1/(1-.25) = 33.333...% to keep profit margins unchanged after accounting for the new tax.

Of course, it doesn't quite happen like that. In practice, companies don't instantly raise prices. They do take the hit for a while, where it gets absorbed by the investors, not the customers. Then they allocate a portion of the losses to employees, in the form of reduced raises, or benefits. Then they raise prices. But eventually they get back to a steady state of roughly the same return on assets that they had before the tax hike.

Comment: Re:To be more precise, Amazon will collect on taxe (Score 1) 48

by swillden (#49762053) Attached to: Amazon Decides To Start Paying Tax In the UK

Specifically, all corporate taxes paid come from three categories of individuals: consumers, who pay higher prices for items to cover the taxes; employees, who make lower wages to cover the taxes; and shareholders, who earn lower returns (and note that the two former categories are often also shareholders, via their pension plans). Suppliers can also lose, but they're generally corporations as well, with their own employees and investors who actually eat the loss. In the long run, though, the investors don't lose because capital flows away from lower returns and towards higher ones. So companies must find ways to keep their returns up to somewhere near the mean rate of return.

Once you understand that no taxes are paid by corporations, ever, then you should also recognize that corporate taxes are not only ultimately paid by individuals, but the individuals almost never realize they're paying it. How many people know their prices would be lower, wages higher, or pension more secure, if it weren't for corporate taxes? And, therefore, how many voters have any interest in opposing corporate taxation? To politicians and voters, corporate taxes look almost like free money. Ratchet up the corporate taxes and no people get hurt, just those nasty corporations. (Actually, politicians sometimes get even more value out of threatening corporate taxes than enacting them, since it tends to encourage said corporations to buy off, er, donate to their re-election funds.)

I assert that while taxes are necessary, the electorate should see and understand exactly what they're paying, so they can evaluate the value they're receiving for the money they're paying. Hidden taxes are evil, and therefore corporate taxes are evil, and should be abolished, not raised.

Comment: Re:what is the harm? (Score 1) 228

by Maxo-Texas (#49760991) Attached to: California Votes To Ban Microbeads

You can't study microplastic beads directly because once they reach the environment, they quickly become indistinguishable from other microplastic pollution.


I'm not an expert in this area but it looks like enough serious people are investigating it that I'll back them when they say to stop.

--- (from the link).

I R.C. Thompson, et al. âLost at Sea: Where Is All the Plastic?â(TM), in: Science, 304 (May 2004).

II P.K. Roy, et al., âDegradable Polyethylene: Fantasy or Realityâ(TM), in: Environmental Science and Technology, 2011, pp. 4217â"4227.

III M.C. Goldstein et al., âIncreased oceanic microplastic debris enhances oviposition in an endemic pelagic insectâ(TM), in: Biology Letters published on line 9 May 2012; C.J. Moore, âSynthetic polymers in the marine environment: A rapidly increasing, long-term threatâ(TM), in: Environmental Research108 (2008), pp. 131-139.

IV L.S. Fendall, M.A. Sewell, âContributing to marine pollution by washing your face: microplastics in facial cleansersâ(TM), in: Marine Pollution Bulletin, 58 (8) (2009), pp. 1225-1228.

V W.J. Sutherland et al., âA horizontal scan of global conservation issues for 2010â(TM), in: Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 25, pp. 1-7.

VI Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panelâ"GEF (2012). Impacts of Marine Debris on Biodiversity: Current Status and Potential Solutions, Montreal, Technical Series No. 67.

VII Chr.M. Boerger et al., âPlastic ingestion by planktivorous fishes in the North Pacific Central Gyreâ(TM), in: Marine Pollution Bulletin 60 (2010), pp. 2275-2278.

VIII Y. Mato et al., âPlastic Resin Pellets as a Transport Medium of Toxic Chemicals in the Marine Environmentâ(TM), in: Environmental Science & Technology, 2001, 35(2), pp.318-324.

IX H. Takada, et al., âAccumulation of plastic-derived chemicals in tissues of seabirds ingesting marine plasticsâ(TM) in: Marine Pollution Bulletin69 (2013), pp 219-222.

X E.M. Foekema et al., âPlastic in North Sea fishâ(TM), in: Environmental Science & Technology, 47 (2013), pp. 8818-8824.

XI P. Farrel en K. Nelson, âTrophic level transfer of microplastic: Mytilus edulis (L.) to Carcinus maenas (L.)â(TM), in: Environmental Pollution 177 (2013), pp. 1-3.

XII D. Lithner et al., âEnvironmental and health hazard ranking and assessment of plastic polymers based on chemical compositionâ(TM), in: Science of the total environment 409 (2011), pp. 3309â"3324.

XIII STAP. Marine Debris as a Global Environmental Problem: Introducing a solutions based framework focused on plastic. In A STAP Information Document, p. 40. Washington, DC: Global Environment Facility, 2011.

XIV L. Van Cauwenberghe, âOccurrence of microplastics in mussels (Mytilus edulis) and lugworms (Arenicola marina) collected along the French-Belgian-Dutch coast, in: J. Mees, et al. (ed.), Book of abstracts - VLIZ Young Marine Scientists' Day. Brugge, Belgium, 24 February 2012. VLIZ Special Publication, 55.

XV Cole M., et al., âMicro-plastic ingestion by zooplanktonâ(TM), in: Environmental Science & Technology, 2013 47 (12), pp. 6646-6655.

XVI G. Liebezeit, F. Dubaish, âMicroplastics in Beaches of the East Frisian Islands Spiegeroog and Kacheloplateâ(TM), in: Bulletin environmental contamination and toxicology, 89 (2012), p. 213-127.


XVIII Leslie, H.A., Microplastic in Noordzee zwevend stof en cosmetica. Eindrapportage W-12/01, IVM Institute for Environmental Studies, Amsterdam, 2012.

XIXM.A. Browne et al., âAccumulations of microplastic on shorelines worldwide: sources and sinksâ(TM), in: Environmental Science &Technology 45 (2011), pp. 9175/9179; H.A. Leslie et al., âVerkennende studie naar lozing van microplastics door rwziâ(TM)sâ(TM) in: H2O 14/15 (juli 2012), pp. 45-47.

Comment: Actually (Score 1) 163

Well, actually the *chinese* backdoor is the one which is hardware embed into the chip that runs the LiteOS.
The 9KB you're looking at are the *russian* backdoor that they managed to sneak in without anybody noticing.
(The remain 1K was written by a coordinated effort of european spying agency... hey not everyone has the ressource of the big player, some need to pool together)

The US you ask? They are busy introducing a new law that will make eaves-dropping access mandatory on all IoT gizmos.

Comment: Standards (Score 1) 77

by DrYak (#49758031) Attached to: New Chrome Extension Uses Sound To Share URLs Between Devices

So, you're saying the problem is that there are currently too many messaging apps, and no agreed upon standard? And the solution to that problem is to create yet another messaging app?

Well technically there is one agreed upon standard: XMPP/Jabber.

But beside Google (who - although helped pushing it forward back then - would rather like that you forgot they support it) and Facebook (who was more or less forced to slap a gateway as an after though to their proprietary system and would like to discontinue it and force you to install their app) no other big major player use it.

Still, it's very popular among lots of small-scale services (which are usually federated among them), and also popular in the corporate world (Cisco, as a random example, provides solution for communication inside a company, that under the hood uses jabber)

But for current big players in the consumer fields (WhatsApp, Skype), there's no such standards.
(And WhatsApp is very active at trying to shut un authorized users out)

Comment: Re:what is the harm? (Score 2) 228

by Maxo-Texas (#49758027) Attached to: California Votes To Ban Microbeads

Microbead contamination and harm Although their small size makes them difficult to detect, microbeads have been found in inland and coastal aquatic habitats 4,5 and in fish 6 . Experiments have demonstrated harm in fish 9,10 from plastics that are the same type, size and shape as common microbeads. Microbeads pass through water treatment facilities, are released into natural wat erways and become microplastic debris. Microplastic is ubiquitous in aquatic habitats , including bays 11,12 , estuaries and shorelines 13,14 , coral reefs 15 , the deep - sea 15 , freshwater lakes 16 , rivers 5 and Arctic Sea ice 17 . Microplastics persist in aquatic and terrestrial habitats for decades where they accumulate hazardous chemicals. Microplastic has been reported in hundreds of species globally, including marine mammals, turtles, seabirds, fish and invertebrates 18 . Microplastics cause physical and chemical ha rm to animals 9,19 . Physically, micro plastic can cause cellular necrosis, inflammation and lacerations in the digestive tract 20 . Chemically, microplastic is associated with a complex mixture of chemicals, many of which are priority pollutants under the US E PA Clean Water Act for being persistent , bioacummulative and/or toxic 21 . C hemicals associated with this âcocktailâ(TM) can accumulate in animals that eat them 9,10,19,22 - 27 and cause liver toxicity and disrupt the endocrine system 9,10 .

Comment: Re:Are you saying that criminals don't exist? (Score 2) 150

by lars_stefan_axelsson (#49757901) Attached to: 'Prisonized' Neighborhoods Make Recidivism More Likely

From the Swedish police it would seem:

I see. I take it you don't read Swedish? His own sources doesn't actually say what he claims they say. (Even the vaunted police report he cites doesn't actually say what he says it does.) Yes, we have a growing problem with gang based crime in Sweden (we have a whopping 4000 gang members out of a nine million population, which is 4000 more than only 20-30 years ago). Yes, there are parts of cities in Sweden where police/fire/ambulance etc. have been met with stone throwing. Yes, we have a worrying increase in the number of gang related shootings.

However. All this has to be understood from a backdrop of approximately zero such problems in the past. Hence of course, relatively speaking, we take this very seriously, and we're appalled. As we should be. However, with that said, our crime indicators are still among the lowest in the world, even though gang shootings make the headlines almost every day (it feels like) it's still only a handful per year and our murder rate hasn't even ticked up as a result. Still steady at just over one per 100k/year, which is as close to zero as you're going to get. (Notably it's not any different from mono-ethnical Finland and Norway).

Most notably however, active police work in these areas inevitably reduces the level of overt crime in these areas once they've been in the papers long enough to affect resource allocation. We routinely clean up these areas (by locking up the handful of people who are the real problem) and things are normalised. Until the next time. While we of course are deeply concerned by this pattern, to say that "police have given up" and that there are "no go" zones anywhere in Sweden is taking the current situation much, much too far.

So a "pinch" of salt isn't the appropriate measure here. You need a metric ton. As I say to american friends and family when the inevitable "is it safe?"-question comes; "You being american, your level of street smarts serves you everywhere and anywhere in Sweden. If you behaved like you would in the safest areas of the US, you'd be pretty much OK in the very worst areas here." It's a bit like if Cal Ripken was dropped into a little league game asking the coach who he would have to look out for on the opposing team. The only sensible answer of course being. "No one... But please go easy on them, yeah?"

So, calling any area in Sweden a "police no-go zone" is hyperbole to the level of untruth.

Comment: Re: Meh... (Score 4, Insightful) 228

by Rei (#49757847) Attached to: California Votes To Ban Microbeads

The problem is, sewage treatment systems have a lot of trouble (at present, let's just simply say "can't") filtering them out. They go into the sewage, they will go into the sea.

Setting up filters for particles as small as 1 micron for all sewage going out into the ocean is obviously going to be a massive expensive. Who wants to pay for that so that people can keep sticking bits of plastic in cosmetics?

Seriously, whose bright idea was it to make bits of plastic, bite-size for plankton, looking like fish eggs, whose very design intent is to wash out into the ocean? And no, while they're not harmful to us, they absolutely will be to plankton - if not immediately (how healthy do you think you'd be if you wolfed down an entire meal-sized chunk of plastic?), then with time. Plastics act as chelators for heavy metals and a number of organic poisons, to such a degree that they might even be economical to mine. There's simply no way that this isn't going to have an impact.

And it's so stupid when one can just use soluble crystals (salts, sugars, etc) instead of plastic.

Comment: Re:Affirmative Action (Score 1) 528

by Maxo-Texas (#49756439) Attached to: Harvard Hit With Racial Bias Complaint

Wow.. 4 insightful to 0,Troll after folks stopped paying attention and it had 15 replies.


Here's what the original said:

Yea, well you were not kept as slaves, killed for learning to read, beaten with inch and a quarter thick poles (often to death). Your families were not sold separately to different owners and broken up. You were not systematically excluded from education, jobs, housing, medical care for generations and eveb lynched for generations (as recently as the 1990s for several of those). The police don't selectively stop you, shoot you, arrest you while letting other races go without an arrest record.

So affirmative not really so much about helping or hurting you or your minority group. It's about trying to correct evils of the past and make things fair enough again that we don't have violent civil unrest, mass rioting and destruction of property.

If you have 2% of the population and 2% representation at harvard, you don't need help from harvard.
She was like chocolate when she drank... semi-sweet at first and then increasingly bitter.

It's truth, not trolling.

Comment: Re:Pot, meet kettle (Score 1) 222

by swillden (#49756299) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

Global warming is a sloooooooooooooooooow process

Not necessarily. Greenland ice core records show that in the past the planet has seen temperature shifts of up to 7 C in as little as 30 years. 7 C is huge. It's like transporting Moscow to Rome. Of course, we have no idea what caused such rapid changes in the past. It wasn't CO2 levels, or particulates.

Comment: Re:Math (Score 1) 222

by swillden (#49756245) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

i would not be surprised if humans died off within a couple centuries after that.

I would. If one or more isolated populations managed to survive more than a couple of generations after the event, I think it's highly likely that they'd continue to survive indefinitely. The worst of the changes would be past, and they'd clearly have learned how to survive in the new environment, else they'd have died sooner.

Human intelligence makes us highly adaptable, as evidenced by the extraordinary diversity of environments in which we live, and lived even before the advent of modern technology. Humans who lack the necessary knowledge of how to survive in a particular environment are at severe risk of death any place on the planet, but if they manage to survive for even a year or two, odds are that they'll have learned enough to be able to extend that time almost indefinitely.

To the systems programmer, users and applications serve only to provide a test load.