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Comment: Re:"We must not throw the baby out with the bathwa (Score 1) 51

by TapeCutter (#49382097) Attached to: EU Commission Divided Over Nation-Specific Content Blocking
Downloading is legal in most places, if you think about for a bit the internet simply wouldn't work if it was illegal. The catch is that most torrent clients upload by default, not a problem here in Oz because nobody has ever been sued for "illegal downloading". The MAFIAA have said they will start the US system threatening letters here but they haven't because they know it would be seen by Aussie courts as extortion, which is a 'real' crime. The current communications minister has basically said that if they want legislative help with piracy then they will need to get rid of regional locking and stop price gouging Aussies on content.

The thing about uploading in Oz is that the copyright holder can only sue for REAL damages, the imagined "lost sales" does not come into the equation. If the real damages do not exceed $100 there's nothing the Aussie MAFIAA can do but cry.

Comment: Re:A Corollary for Code (Score 1) 210

by Zordak (#49380219) Attached to: Why You Should Choose Boring Technology

I've found that programmers often get themselves in trouble by trying to be "clever", which often makes for horribly unintuitive or unnecessarily complex systems.

Unless you're Mel, in which case you make awesomely unintuitive and necessarily complex systems to save one or two clock cycles in the inner loop, and become a legend.

Comment: Re:I'm all for abolishing the IRS (Score 1) 318

by Zordak (#49380091) Attached to: Sign Up At irs.gov Before Crooks Do It For You

You're mixing income tax with consumption tax. If you want to tax income, tax income. But if we're taxing consumption, then those who consume more pay more than those who consume less, and those who consume least because they have the least to spend pay the least in taxes because of the baseline exemption. The upper middle class guy who's busting his butt to pay off his student loans, and who saves as much as he can, is not going to pay a disproportionate amount in taxes. (Or are we going to tax his student loan payments as consumption, even though he paid consumption tax while living on those loans? What about deposits in a savings account, or stock purchases? If we're going to do that, we may as well just call it an income tax, because that's what it is.)

If he pays off his student loans and still chooses to live modestly, he continues to pay a low tax rate. If he instead decides to start living large, then he'll start paying more in taxes. Either way, he essentially chooses his tax bracket, because he chooses every day what to buy, and how much to spend on it. This is especially true if we're giving him a front-loaded exemption on expected costs for rent and groceries. In other words, we're not taxing him for living, eating, and having shelter, and we're not taxing him for working and earning money. We're taxing whatever life style he chooses above and beyond the baseline. This tax is progressive in that people who choose to live modestly or who cannot afford to live extravagantly pay very little in taxes. Those who are able and choose to live extravagantly pay much more in taxes. Yes, you could have a billionaire who pays no taxes because he chooses to live in an efficiency and drive an '86 Yugo. That's only a problem if you believe that the government owns all income, and is naturally entitled to its "fair share," because class warfare or whatever. I prefer the tax theory of take from people the very least necessary for government to function. And I suspect there would be very few billionaires living tax free under this system, because it has an actual lifestyle cost to them. The only cost now for billionaires to live tax-free is they pay their accountants and lawyers $900/hour to get creative with shell entities.

Comment: Re:I'm all for abolishing the IRS (Score 1) 318

by Zordak (#49377197) Attached to: Sign Up At irs.gov Before Crooks Do It For You

1. You misunderstood me. I was saying you could come up with a really long list of exceptions to consumption tax without being more complicated than our current labyrinthine tax code.

2. I'm not arguing in favor of progressive taxes. Again, I was just pointing out that there is plenty of room for a consumption tax to get really complicated without being more complicated than the mess we have now.

And no, if you want to make a consumption tax regressive, you don't have to make it complicated. You can exempt the first $X of purchases, where $X is some "living wage" line according to some politician's favored theory. You now have a progressive tax. Perhaps not progressive enough to wage effective class warfare, which means the Democrats will hate it. But the good news is, Republicans will hate that it doesn't have enough loopholes for their monied cronies to avoid paying any taxes at all. So maybe I'm in favor of it after all. I'm in favor of almost anything that those clowns in Washington are all unified in hating. And since everybody would be helping to carry the load of the government they ask for, the big winners in this system are the upper middle class, who are currently getting screwed from both ends of the income spectrum.

Comment: Re:I'm all for abolishing the IRS (Score 1) 318

by Zordak (#49375103) Attached to: Sign Up At irs.gov Before Crooks Do It For You

I dislike the IRS as much as anyone, but I think taxing income is a lot simpler to make progressive than trying to categorize all the different kinds of products available would be.

Have you seen our tax code? When I took Federal Income Taxation in law school, I had to get a copy of the tax code, and it was about six inches thick. (I don't remember, or care, if or how much it was annotated.) That's a mighty long list of exceptions to consumption tax.

But consumption taxes will never take on, because the tax code is really about control. If I grant tax favors for certain preferred behaviors, I can exercise a phenomenal amount of control over what you do. If I'm a power-grubbing statist anywhere on the purple spectrum, that's much better than merely influencing what you buy.

Comment: One non-political report. (Score 4, Informative) 423

by TapeCutter (#49367995) Attached to: Experts: Aim of 2 Degrees Climate Goal Insufficient
All IPCC group reports are finalised via political negotiation except for one group. WG1 is the scientific group, all the others refer back to the WG1 report for factual information, the other groups argue about how to present those facts in their own working group(WG). In 25yrs of incredibly intense scrutiny, nobody has ever found a factual error in the final versions of a WG1 report. That really is a very robust outcome and a credit to the scientists involved.

Only nations that donate to the IPCC budget get a vote on the other reports, last I checked there were ~135 nations who together represent pretty much every political view in the rainbow, it takes a long time for them to agree. The IPCC budget is $5-6M/yr, nobody who actually works on the reports is paid a dime by the IPCC, all of the scientists involved DONATE their time. Their financial accounts are on their web site. Try finding the accounts for an anti-science no-think-tank such Senator Inhofe's barking dog - the heartland institute.

Comment: Re:Same can happen at a cloud provider... (Score 1) 262

by Zordak (#49341535) Attached to: RadioShack Puts Customer Data Up For Sale In Bankruptcy Auction
It's not quite that simple. When B purchases the data, the contract between you and A doesn't just disappear. B purchases the data subject to the contract. Since there is no provision in the contract that it's not transferable (at least not on RS's end), that's a normal and acceptable thing to do with a contract. That's not a guarantee that they won't do the most nefarious thing with it that they can get away with, but simply putting up a torrent of it probably won't fly. In fact, that's exactly what the NY AG is talking about here. RS received the data under an agreement. They can't breach that agreement just because they're going bankrupt.

Comment: Re:Economics (Score 3, Informative) 148

by Shakrai (#49340141) Attached to: First Nuclear Power Plant Planned In Jordan

You can push for the design output, but only at the expense of maintenance, and there's a glowing lump in the Ukraine that demonstrates what happens then.

Chernobyl had nothing whatsoever to do with maintenance. It happened as the direct consequence of an ill conceived experiment, which deliberately bypassed safety protocols, with the added bonus that the experiment was moved at the last minute from the day-shift to the less experienced night-shift crew.

An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"