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Comment: Re:"taxes are write-off expenses" (Score 2) 58

by Your.Master (#49194095) Attached to: Apple, Google, Bringing Low-Pay Support Employees In-House

You're thinking of income tax deductions. Value-added taxes aren't the same thing at all, and percentages don't enter into it.

If you have a value-added tax of, say, 10%, the total money collected by the government on the sale of a final good is 10% of the final good's value. And ultimately the person who pays that money is the end consumer.

How do you figure out what a final good is? In a value added tax, the answer is you charge the tax on *every* sale, but when it comes time to give the taxes to the government, you pay the difference between the tax you collected on your Widget, and the tax you paid on the various goods and services devoted to making that widget.

So company A sells a GrappleGrommet for $50 before tax (for the sake of argument, it was made from nothing of substance), to company B, who tools it up and resells it to the end user for $100 before tax as a Widget. GST is 10%.

Company A charges $55: $50 plus $5 GST. The $5 GST is handed to the government, and they keep the $50 that was the price before taxes. So in a sense, they didn't really pay any tax at all, Company B did.

Company B charges $110: $100 plus $10 GST. They only have to remit $5 GST to the government, because they deduct the $5 they already paid to company A. So having paid $55 to Company A, and $5 to the government, that's $60 out, and $110 in, for a net profit of $50. That's exactly the same amount as if there was no 10% tax in this scenario*, so in a sense they didn't really pay any tax at all, the customer did.

End-user pays $110, and they have a Widget representing $100 of value aside from taxes, which they consume and never sell. They were the one who truly "paid" the $10 GST, it just happened that all of it flowed through Company B to get there, and half of it also flowed through Company A.

The Government has received $10 total, which is, unsurprisingly, 10% of the final good's value.

There are other sales taxes on final sales that try to define the final sale by defining what is and is not a retailer and wholesaler etc., and maybe that's what you're used to. Value added taxes are actually a rather elegant solution in theory, but they can generate a lot of paperwork in order to match the taxes you paid to the taxes you collected.

Or you might be imagining that sales taxes go to non-final sales, which is really uncommon because that leads to multiple taxation and discourages specialization and componentization in businesses.

* I'm ignoring the fact that taxes can affect setting prices for the sake of exposition.

Comment: Re:Bad French, man (Score 1) 317

Wendy's and McDonald's still do it:


Tim Hortons used to.

Some older locations retain signage with the company's name including a possessive apostrophe, despite the fact that the official styling of the company's name has been Tim Hortons, without an apostrophe, for at least a decade.[16] The company had removed the apostrophe after signs using the apostrophe were interpreted by some to be breaking the language sign laws of the Province of Quebec in 1993. The removal of the apostrophe allowed the company to have one common sign image across Canada.

cite: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T...

Comment: Re:Alternate Bank of Canada Press Release (Score 1) 218

by Your.Master (#49185777) Attached to: <em>Star Trek</em> Fans Told To Stop "Spocking" Canadian $5 Bill

Can you explain what happens if a restaurant comes up with a bill, and a reasonable attempt to pay the bill in full is made with cash, which the restaurant refuses? By reasonable, I mean in appropriate denominations with no particular reason to suspect fraud and which pass reasonable anti-fraud validation (so sufficient defacement is unreasonable).

I really have a hard time believing the claim that you will be charged with theft in this scenario. Can you cite an example?

I'm not trained in law but surely you see this defies common sense.

Also, lots of people are citing US law, but this is a matter of Canadian law. Are you sure of your statements in a Canadian context, a US context, or both?

Comment: Re:Better definition of planet (Score 2) 190

by Your.Master (#49157267) Attached to: One Astronomer's Quest To Reinstate Pluto As a Planet

Sol and Luna aren't proper names, they are Latin names. They aren't improper names either, just not better. Their English names are the Sun and the Moon. There's a fine point of grammar in there about inserting the definite article "the" in there, much like in "the Earth" vs. "Earth" vs. "Terra" but never "the Terra".

The Latin names aren't all that obscure either. You might stump people you ambush on the street, but "solar" and "lunar" are well-known terms. I agree that satellite has come to mean man-made satellites in everyday parlance.

Comment: Re:Better definition of planet (Score 1) 190

by Your.Master (#49156329) Attached to: One Astronomer's Quest To Reinstate Pluto As a Planet

Scientific labels tend to be intentionally recognizably distinct from popular ones as lack of distinction is an invitation for ambiguity and confusion.

No, they don't. The only example I can think of for that is IUPAC organic chemical naming conventions, and that's because IUPAC naming conventions define an algorithm for naming an unbounded number of chemicals, even ones never mentioned before, unambiguously.

Here are some short, simple scientific words from the top of my head that are often used differently by the non-scientific community:

weight (very similar to planet, the public often conflates weight and mass which are separated in scientific contexts)
accuracy / precision
fruit (hence the infamous debates about tomatoes)

Yes this is what you get for "voting" rather than recognizing more work is needed to build consensus to get everyone save outliers onboard. 1/3 disagreeing isn't a consensus.

You've got it backwards. You're saying before you can solve the problem, the problem needs to be solved.

This sounds a bit lame as justifications go... lose efficiency? Since when are scientists in the business of conserving syllables?

Since always. Ever notice how variables names in physics formulas (and pure math formulas) are single-characters, even though that means we have to reach into multiple alphabets? That's punishable by death in most software contexts.

Comment: Re:"Born atheist" quite a leap (Score 1) 531

by Your.Master (#49145213) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion

I have to challenge you on that. Show it formally, or I will have to disregard your claim. I do not believe you can back up your claim.

I will say that atheism doesn't preclude a belief in the absence of gods, it only requires an absence of belief in god.

Let me illustrate the difference:

I don't believe my next door neighbour has a 4K TV in his bedroom. I also don't believe that my next door neighbour has a 4K TV in his bedroom. I neither know, nor care, whether my next door neighbour has a 4K TV in his bedroom. I have an absence of belief concerning the presence, or non-presence, of a 4K TV in my neighbour's bedroom. I think it's unlikely, but not so unlikely that I'd bet money on the subject.

I do affirmatively believe, however, that my neighbour has a bedroom, even though I've never seen it.

And I believe that my neighbour does not have 100 4K TVs in his bedroom. I affirmatively believe in the absence of 100 4K TVs in the bedroom of my neighbour, despite never having seen it and despite admitting that it is hypothetically possible. After all, I believe in the existence of more than 4K TVs whose locations I have never identified, and I believe in the existence of bedrooms sufficiently large to house 100 4K TVs if you pack them correctly, especially the smaller ones. But I do not believe that he has 100 4K TVs in his bedroom.

Comment: Re:"Born atheist" quite a leap (Score 1) 531

by Your.Master (#49139437) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion

(Atheism requires just as much faith as theism, since atheists still must "believe" in the unprovable.)


For example, it takes more faith to believe that there is a psychic duck flying through space deliberately diverting meteors from hitting the Earth so that Earth will have time to develop civilization, than it does to believe that there is no such duck, even though the lack of a psychic space duck is not disprovable because he could always have just used his psychic powers to erase the memory of anybody who tries to make an observation. A being of logic would not include the possibility of the psychic duck just because it had heard of the concept -- that would be biasing its decisions toward old ideas.

Your statement is common, but it's a variation on saying that something has a 50% chance of being broken: either it is broker, or it isn't. It's a facile analysis and it's unfair to both atheists and theists.

Regardless, everybody has to agree on definitions. Wikipedia says:

Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.[1][2] In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.[3][4][5] Most inclusively, atheism is the absence of belief that any deities exist.[4][5][6][7] Atheism is contrasted with theism,[8][9] which, in its most general form, is the belief that at least one deity exists.[9][10]

The "most inclusive" definition is not an aberration or a vandalism, and is the one used here.

On agnosticism:

Agnosticism is the view that the truth values of certain claims – especially metaphysical and religious claims such as whether or not God, the divine or the supernatural exist – are unknown and perhaps unknowable.

People aren't born believing that they can't possibly know whether or not God exists, that's a conclusion that rational people make.

As corollary, agnosticism is not incompatible with atheism and in the strictest sense isn't even incompatible with theism or the stricter senses of atheism (in that you can acknowledge a truth value as strictly unknowable without regarding it as a 50/50 even-money option, like the psychic duck).

Comment: Re:What he really said (Score 1) 676

by Your.Master (#49108945) Attached to: Bill Nye Disses "Regular" Software Writers' Science Knowledge

He didn't say average *people*, the context was explicitly about how good a grasp of science people had. Yes, scientists have an above-average grasp of science, and non-scientists therefore have, on average, a slightly below-average knowledge of science, because the sample is biased by the removal of scientists.

Human resources are human first, and resources second. -- J. Garbers