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Comment: Re:tax by transaction (Score 1) 316

by Trepidity (#47745779) Attached to: For Microsoft, $93B Abroad Means Avoiding $30B Tax Hit

There's no consistent US/EU difference on that. Some states in the U.S. apply full sales tax to groceries (Alabama, Hawaii, Kansas, etc.), some apply a reduced tax (Georgia, Illinois, etc.), and some exempt groceries entirely (California, Texas, etc.). The same goes in the EU with VAT: some apply the full rate (Denmark), others apply a reduced rate (Belgium, France, etc.), and some exempt groceries entirely (UK, Malta).

Comment: Re:Waaah. (Score 1) 336

by Trepidity (#47735667) Attached to: New EU Rules Will Limit Vacuum Cleaners To 1600W

I do think kettles are getting more common in the U.S., but in the '90s they were almost unknown. Another factor imo is that microwaves have been ubiquitous in American kitchens for decades, and are commonly used to heat water, so there's already a common alternative to the stove. They're not a great option for boiling water, but they're a common way (in the U.S.) of making near-boiling water for brewing tea or making ramen.

Comment: missing the point (Score 3, Insightful) 610

by Trepidity (#47719801) Attached to: Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year

A large portion of that ad revenue is going to sites that don't really provide any kind of value, but are spammy SEO deals. The best part of an internet with no advertising revenue (or at least a lot less of it) would be precisely that all these content farms would not be able to replace that revenue, and would hopefully go away.

Comment: not true at all (Score 5, Insightful) 133

by Trepidity (#47705121) Attached to: FarmBot: an Open Source Automated Farming Machine

Businesses across the globe have been innovating for decades, while farming has been using techniques that have been handed down from centuries ago.

That's not true at all. Maybe in some hobby farms, but at a large scale (which is where most food actually comes from), farming in 2014 is nothing like farming in 1914. Modern agribusiness is highly automated, which is why the proportion of the U.S. population engaged in farm work has declined from about 30% to about 2%, while food production has increased.

Comment: Re:Well duh (Score 2) 457

by Trepidity (#47678879) Attached to: Web Trolls Winning As Incivility Increases

I used to think anonymity was part of the problem, but I haven't seen improvement when some forums have switched to real names, so I now no longer think that really helps. My local paper switched to Facebook as its commenting platform, with comments posted under real names, and the comment section is still as terrible as before.

Comment: Re:Uber is quite retarded (Score 3, Informative) 341

by Trepidity (#47676155) Attached to: Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

If you have personal auto insurance and you drive the vehicle commercially, the insurance will not pay out: driving commercially violates the terms of personal auto insurance, so you voided the policy. So you are uninsured.in that case, despite claiming to be insured. If you drive commercially, you need commercial auto insurance to actually have a policy that is valid.

Comment: Re:Uber is quite retarded (Score 2) 341

by Trepidity (#47675411) Attached to: Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

No, this is precisely about accountability. It's not a new problem either: London invented this solution in response to this problem ~350 years ago. In the 17th century, there were many hackney carriages driven by unscrupulous drivers, who had no assets you could go after to pay for damages they caused through their rash behavior.

Here are two solutions:

1. Enforce a skill floor on drivers, so the worst cannot drive at all.

2. Require the rest of the drivers to carry insurance, so that any damages they cause to a third party may be assured coverage.

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