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Comment: Re:Grudgingly reluctantly... (Score 1, Informative) 383

by WhiplashII (#46758661) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

I would believe what you said if two facts were not true:

1) The majority of taxes are used to take money from one class of people, and give it to another.

2) We live in a democracy where more than half the people are "takers" rather than "givers"

I wouldn't be upset if "givers" voted to make transfer payments. That wouldn't be theft.

I wouldn't be upset if "takers" voted to not have transfer payments. That wouldn't be theft either.

But when takers gang up and vote to steal money from a smaller group under threat of violence, that is simply government condoned theft.

The government doesn't invest in the future. They merely pay their friends rents.


Comment: Re:So if they (GM/whomever) wanted to buy the comp (Score 1) 151

by WhiplashII (#46687691) Attached to: Tesla: A Carmaker Or Grid-Storage Company?

Your inability to buy Microsoft has nothing to do with Microsoft's stock price being "too high." And if you could convince a) Microsoft, and b) a bank (or the markets) that you could run Microsoft better than the current management the money would not be a significant hurdle.

Comment: Re:So if they (GM/whomever) wanted to buy the comp (Score 1) 151

by WhiplashII (#46687495) Attached to: Tesla: A Carmaker Or Grid-Storage Company?

What's hilarious is that no one has seen the obvious: no company's "stock price is too high ... to just buy it"

Company A: valued at $X
Company B: valued at $Y

Company A+B: valued at $X+$Y

No one has to have the cash on hand to do a merger (the traditional form of "purchase"). If you wanted to actually make a "purchase", all you would have to do is involve a bank.

Of course, Elon Musk has absolutely no reason to sell his company to a bunch of people that wouldn't know how to run it!

Comment: Re:Bailouts for them, crumbs for us (Score 2) 246

Inflation transfers wealth from lenders to borrowers.

No, that's kind of my point - wealth is destroyed by contracts and savings destruction, but borrowers are not actually helped that much. In the contracts case, the supplier company goes out of business and both parties lose value. In the savers case, the saver loses all savings but the borrowers can't capitalize on the gains because the prices of everything that they care about goes up.

The people that do the best are those that are borrowers on a large asset. Their loan is devalued, so they don't have to pay as much back, true. But even then, the asset (typically a house) loses value because interest rates soar, making it difficult for future buyers to pay you for the asset.

Inflation is just generally bad for everyone. It is a global economy destroyer. Try to think of a single case where there was hyperinflation, but not economic destruction... hyperinflation is always bad, even for the guys that are supposed to be helped by it.

Comment: Re:Bailouts for them, crumbs for us (Score 1) 246

Except that even this best case scenario isn't true...

Think about this: What sets prices? The fact that there is (for example) only 1 hamburger per person created in the US per day. Currently, everyone has $1, and needs 1 hamburger. So the price is $1/hamburger. There is this rich guy, who has $1T, but he still only east 2 hamburgers.

OK, so now every has $1M. The rich guy is still fine, and he still buys his 2 hamburgers. But how many hamburgers can everyone else buy? Hm... there's still only one hamburger per person. So each normal person can still only buy one hamburger! So what is the price of a hamburger? $1M per hamburger!

OK, so you then say "well, there must be a huge incentive now to create more hamburgers, since people will pay $1M/hamburger." But here's the thing, at the end of the day, no one wants $1M, they want an extra hamburger. So since the number of "hamburger equivalents" you will pay per hamburger has not changed, there is not extra incentive. So nothing has changed, except that we just had massive inflation.

Poor people do not compete with rich people for goods, in general. Poor people compete with poor people for goods. Giving all the poor people $1M does not make them any better off, and it doesn't make the rich any worse off, it only destroys those that were on the cusp of breaking out of poverty.

Comment: Re:Concentrations (Score -1) 216

by WhiplashII (#45671333) Attached to: Newly Discovered Greenhouse Gas Is 7,000 Times More Powerful Than CO2

Um, just a minute - let's insert some math here:

0.18 trillion = 180 billion equivalent units
400 million *7000 = 2800 billion equivalent units

So, if the article summary is correct over 90% of any anthro warming is not due to CO2, proving the skeptics correct.

I strongly doubt that the article is correct.

Comment: Re:Well it is far, far away (Score 1) 110

by WhiplashII (#45288327) Attached to: Kepler-78b: The Earth-Like Planet That Shouldn't Exist

Or, possibly this is an alien factory planet...

To make more energy available, they take all of a solar system's rocky mass and put it into an orbit skimming close to the central star. That way the metals can be easily separated out, and worked. Since heat engines become more efficient at higher temperatures (especially when you have to radiate waste heat to space), much more energy is available for engineering processes.

This planet isn't "a complete mystery" - it is final, clinching proof of extraterrestrial intelligent life!

Or not...

Comment: Re:Wait, what? (Score 1) 134

by WhiplashII (#42577405) Attached to: Why Do Entrepreneurs Innovate Better Than Managers?

and the vast majority are complete and utter failures.

I would add to this, though - they may have failed, but they likely learned something that will permanently increase their value to society. And, because of that, permanently increase their income.

I strongly recommend that all college students try to start a business. Yes, you will likely fail - but you will be exposed to thing that will change your perspective forever.

Comment: Re:Retire at 20 (Score 4, Insightful) 358

by WhiplashII (#41899631) Attached to: Should a Teenage Entrepreneur Sell Out To Facebook?

Actually, I pretty much disagree entirely with that analysis...

The question is not "sell low" or "sell high" - you do not know the future, so that fact that it went up is not available to you before the decision. The question is are you getting enough that your risk is significantly decreased.

For example, if your company is generating free cash flows of $2M, you will usually get a valuation of $10M. That is the market rate for a startup that's breaking out. (It can change based on other factors, of course, but that is the starting point.) As a public company, that $2M is worth about $30M. You might look at that difference and claim "unfairness", but it is the price difference between concentrated risk and unconcentrated risk. To put it simply, if that wasn't the price difference in risk then most deals would not be made - either the startup would refuse to sell or the large company would refuse to buy.

Honestly, if this is your first company you are going to think that any price isn't fair. And when you don't accept the price, you'll be horrified when the company loses its value a little later. And then next time, you'll understand the price difference and you'll sell.

But the important thing is to keep building companies - I've started quite a few, and there is no job like it!

Comment: Re:Retire at 20 (Score 5, Insightful) 358

by WhiplashII (#41896247) Attached to: Should a Teenage Entrepreneur Sell Out To Facebook?

If he started a company in his teens, I doubt he wants to relax the rest of his life...

He should sell. The reason small companies sell to large companies is to decrease concentration of risk for their owners. He, as an owner of a small company, needs to deconcentrate his risk. He will have another company he wants to work on - he probably already has some ideas. It is far easier to do that after selling your first company, and far harder to do that after missing the only opportunity to sell.

The simple fact is a cash out event gives you great options for your future work. If you don't sell, there is a high risk that the company will fail before you can personally cash out - this is true of all start-ups.

Comment: Re:Solar powered jet engine (Score 1) 590

That's no problem at all using unobtainium, of course!

Actually, my math is off by a factor of 10 - I didn't convert kg to N correctly. The corrected result is:

FlyingMass = OtherStuff + 0.525 * FlyingMass

So your aircraft has to be half solar cells, roughly speaking. And, yes, the solar cell area is a bit on the large size...

Comment: Re:Solar powered jet engine (Score 4, Informative) 590

To inject some math into the discussion:

ThrustToKeepFlying = FlyingMass / LiftToDragRatio
PowerToKeepFlying = ThrustToKeepFlying * Velocity = Velocity * FlyingMass / LiftToDragRatio

Typically LiftToDragRatio is about 20 or so. Airplanes don't really make sense unless they are faster than other vehicles, so Velocity needs to be 100-300 m/s. (Typically, jets fly just under Mach 1, where they have the least drag/greatest power)

FlyingMass = AircraftMass + PayloadMass + EngineMass + PowersourceMass

Since we are using unobtainium to build our aircraft, it doesn't weigh anything. And we'll just say that we can fly arbitrarily large airplanes for a single passenger, so PayloadMass is essentially zero as well.

The best solar cells are about 300W/kg (, and the best electric engines are about 6 kW/kg. So

FlyingMass = OtherStuff + PowerToKeepFlying / 300 + PowerToKeepFlying / 6000 = OtherStuff + 0.0035 * PowerToKeepFlying

FlyingMass = OtherStuff + 0.0035 * ( 300 * FlyingMass / 20 )

FlyingMass = OtherStuff + 0.0525 * FlyingMass

OtherStuff = 0.9475 * FlyingMass

So this says that as long as your airplane and payload are under about 95% of the engine / power source mass, it is at least possible. Structures that light are not really an issue - the real issue is only flying during the day and in good weather. (And, of course, it would cost an arm and a leg!)

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain