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Comment Re: Ownership and Appreciation (Score 3, Informative) 142

Construction equipment is rented out all the time. For many construction firms it does not make economic sense to own a full complement of heavy construction equipment.
  • https://www.sunbeltrentals.com/equipment/subcat/766/dozers-and-crawler-loaders/
  • http://www.hertzequip.com/herc/rental-equipment-industrial-equipment/earthmoving-equipment+dozers
  • http://www.unitedrentals.com/en/catalog/dozer-70-hp

Comment Re:So - the fact that others are doing it makes it (Score 2, Insightful) 312

In the United States, your assertion that "working stiffs" are burdened with most of the taxes is not supported by the facts. If you look at total taxes paid (local, state, and Federal) as a percentage of income, the bottom 40% are taxed at about 20% and the top 20% are taxed at about 30% (Washington Post). So the rich are paying taxes at a higher rate then the "working stiffs."

If you look at it from the "income to the Federal government" perspective, as of tax year 2011, the top 5% paid 57% of the collected income tax and the bottom 50% paid 12% of the collected income tax.

Based on those two facts, I assert that the "working stiffs" are not taxed at a higher rate then the rich. Also, at the Federal level, the rich pay far more in taxes. Where the "working stiffs" lose out (and the Washington Post article shows this) is at the local and state level.

Comment Re: The failure of rules. (Score 4, Informative) 538

I think you have misinterpreted the rules a bit. Campaigning and party activity are prohibited with government resources.

The President and Cabinet sending emails on implementing political goals are permitted activities. Sending emails about ?NC platform discussions are not permitted.

When I went through ethics training with the GC, it was very clear what was and was not permissible. From the GC point of view, the default was use goverment email and save every email.

I can see the desire, particularly at the executive level, not to leave a record because policy formulation can be a messy activity. However, I'm not sure that is the motivation in this case. First, there is no control over the retention of the other end and, second, a lot discussion happens on the classified side.

Comment Tried and gave up (Score 1) 248

I tried doing the smarthome bit about 15 years ago and it was flaky. While the technology has improved, the cost/benefit just is not there. Also, the concept never had a high WAF. How long does it take the energy savings from a nest (or similar) thermometer to recoup the investment? Will the technology/service last that long? I don't have a smart thermometer, so I'm curious.

Comment Re:Fraudulent herbal supplements? (Score 4, Informative) 412

I was curious about point #1, so I looked up what the FDA has to say about regulating supplements:

Manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements and dietary ingredients are prohibited from marketing products that are adulterated or misbranded. That means that these firms are responsible for evaluating the safety and labeling of their products before marketing to ensure that they meet all the requirements of DSHEA and FDA regulations. FDA is responsible for taking action against any adulterated or misbranded dietary supplement product after it reaches the market.

Source: http://www.fda.gov/Food/DietarySupplements/.

It would appear to me that this is not just a New York State Law issue, but also a violation of Federal laws.

Comment Re:Open Source Tax Preparation Software (Score 1) 450

It really is sad that the complexity of the tax code has gotten to the point that a computer program is the only practical way to file an error-free return for many people. The expenditure in time required to learn the tax code is not an effective use of time.

The really unfortunate part is that I don't see the tax code getting simpler even if companies like Intuit stop lobbying against it. The tax code is used to redistribute wealth (e.g. the Earned Income Tax Credit costs ~$56B) and encourage certain types of behavior (homeownership, subsidies to energy companies). Congress likes to use the IRS as a de facto welfare agency.

Comment Re:And remember folks (Score 1) 68

And that is why you don't use their router on your network.

From what I understand (I'm not a Comcast customer), Comcast is opening up the router they provide to offer wifi access to other Comcast customers. If you have your own router, this does not happen.

I do not understand why anyone would pay to rent a cable modem/router from the cable company--it makes no financial sense (ok if you are only at that location for ~10 months or less the rental is cheaper). The only reason you have to have their cable modem/router is if you get phone service from them, though getting phone service from the cable company is just crazy (in my humble opinion).

If you have to use a cable company provided modem/router, buy your own router and put your network behind your router.

Comment Re:Open work environment is not a cure-all (Score 1) 420

Not a panopticon. The workers have private offices (with actual doors) and the boss is in a open area. A panopticon is designed such that a central point can monitor without the individuals knowing if they are being monitored at any given moment.

I toured the Eastern State Penitentiary and found the panopticon concept interesting from an efficiency point of view but creepy and dehumanizing.

Comment Open work environment is not a cure-all (Score 2) 420

Having worked in both an "open" environment and a "closed" work environment, I would have have to say that I prefer the closed environment. However, most of the work that I do involves focusing on a "task." In my case I define "task" as doing research, writing, analyzing, formulating options. When I need to interact, I go to the person I want to talk to our grab a group to discuss in an open area. I can see the value of an "open" environment in a watch center environment or where the quick dissemination of shared information is important. When I need to focus, the open environment was horrible because there was not barrier to interruption. I think most open environments are setup backwards: The boss has a private area and the workers have privacy. I think a better model has the boss in an open area with the workers in private areas. That allows for a smooth flow information to the boss and the workers can concentrate on the assigned task.

Machines have less problems. I'd like to be a machine. -- Andy Warhol