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Comment: At least Amazon has an office in Luxembourg (Score 1) 200

by aclarke (#48334065) Attached to: Amazon's Luxembourg Tax Deals
At least Amazon has a substantial office in Luxembourg, handling AWS. I'm sure they don't do a lot of sales there, but they at least have a presence there. According to http://ict.investinluxembourg.lu/ict/amazoncom there are about 500 Amazon employees in Luxembourg. I interviewed for a job there a few years ago but screwed up one of the interviews pretty badly and didn't get the job.

It's possible or even likely that Amazon had to open an office of a certain size in Luxembourg as part of the deal they worked with the government to obtain the tax incentives.

Comment: Re:Would they approve this? (Score 1) 320

by aclarke (#48243181) Attached to: What Will It Take To Make Automated Vehicles Legal In the US?
A similar thing happened around the time of the invention of the automobile. If you're not aware of the early "red flag laws", here's an interesting article about them. It took a couple decades before horseless carriages could legally be driven on the road without what we would now consider ridiculous hindrances.

Comment: Re:Why at a place of learning? (Score 5, Insightful) 1007

by aclarke (#48242937) Attached to: Creationism Conference at Michigan State University Stirs Unease
Agreed. From TFA:

University officials say they have no plans to interfere with the event. “Free speech is at the heart of academic freedom and is something we take very seriously,” said Kent Cassella, MSU’s associate vice president for communications, in a statement. “Any group, regardless of viewpoint, has the right to assemble in public areas of campus or petition for space to host an event so long as it does not engage in disorderly conduct or violate rules. While MSU is not a sponsor of the creation summit, MSU is a marketplace of free ideas.”

It's a very dangerous and slippery slope to stop allowing rented space on university campuses just because some people don't like the discussion. The moment it violates campus policy it gets pulled, but otherwise it's as good a spot as any for this sort of event. If you don't like it, don't go, or hold your own event in the conference room next door.

Comment: Re:Pay cash (Score 1) 907

by aclarke (#48001087) Attached to: Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running
I guess I'm lucky I live in Canada, where we have a bit more of a social safety net. It doesn't really help those without the mental capacity to stay in the net, but otherwise if you have kids, you at least get a bit from the government, and IF you can be smart with your money you can scrape by.

Of course, once you add in mental health issues, drug abuse, alcoholic ex-spouses and all the other problems that invade life, things can quickly look different. I have to go back to my first comment and state that I was generalizing. I've lived in enough places, including the US, to be able to say that many people who take car loans would have been better off without them. That was the basic point I was trying to make, and I'm sticking to that.

Comment: Re:Pay cash (Score 1) 907

by aclarke (#47998891) Attached to: Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running
You are "clearly" a judgemental individual who cannot read more than one meaning into a post. I've been poor before, scraping pennies together to buy a meal, and certainly too poor to afford a car and just riding my bike everywhere in -40C weather. I said several times that I was generalizing, and that there are other situations where it makes sense to do things differently.

At this point, I, like many others, know people across the socioeconomic spectrum. I have "poor" friends who eke an additional 8-10 years out of a $3000 minivan they saved up and paid cash for and don't just rush out and buy a new car because this one's old and might break down some time. In the long run, their lifestyle and financial choices will set them far ahead of someone else who makes more money but has continual car payments.

There was a time soon after graduation when I couldn't find a loan company to loan me $2500 to buy a used car, but they'd lend me $25,000 to buy a new one. I was young and stupid and took the expensive choice instead of riding a moped or something until I'd saved the money. I felt flash in my fancy Subaru, and it took me places a moped wouldn't, but it set me back steeply for a few years and really was a mistake.

Comment: Pay cash (Score 3, Interesting) 907

by aclarke (#47995601) Attached to: Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running
Why not just pay cash for the car? I'll generalize and say that if you're paying car loans, you're doing it wrong.

There are edge cases, but pretty much anyone who can afford to qualify for a $250/month car loan can afford to find $500 to buy some junker that will probably last 3 months. After 3 months they'll be ahead $250. Again i'm generalizing, but my point remains.

For most people, most of the time, sucking it up and buying a cheap old car for cash will be cheaper for them than buying a car they can't afford. I define affording a car by "have the cash to pay for it", rather than by the seemingly more common definition of "could get a loan for it".

Comment: Re:Am I responding to a troll? (Score 1) 276

by aclarke (#47715505) Attached to: Helsinki Aims To Obviate Private Cars
Are you really that dense? This is why I long ago foe'd you. I may live in the country, but did it not occur to you that I might actually sometimes leave my front lawn?

Your other comment about Santa Fe is equally specious. Can you really not figure out what people are saying, or do you take a perverse and misguided joy in pretending to misunderstand everything you read?

I know plenty of athiests around here and they fit in as well as anyone else. I'm not going to defend whatever communities you've experienced, but maybe you've just been "run out of several small communities" for being intolerant, obtuse, and pretentious.

Comment: Am I responding to a troll? (Score 4, Interesting) 276

by aclarke (#47715041) Attached to: Helsinki Aims To Obviate Private Cars
Wow, so much spewed opinion you seem to think is fact.

First, air in cities is generally worse than outside cities. You'll be able to find counter-examples, say outside a rural factory, but generally, no matter where you go in the world, city air is worse than rural air.

You're right that we are mostly a social species. However, this means different things to different people. Maybe you are more social than most. Personally, I have a family I enjoy seeing, and other than that I'm quite happy interacting with just a few other people every week. I neither want nor need more. The difference between the two of us seems to be that I'm willing to let you lead your lifestyle whereas you're unwilling to let me lead mine.

You're right that cities are easier on the environment on a per capita basis. Of course, there are also plenty of ways that people could be more distributed in a more environmentally advantageous fashion. If you have any interest in the subject and a certain level of intelligence it wouldn't be hard for you to come up with some ideas. Travelling around in other first world countries in Europe would also give you plenty of other viewpoints.

Additionally, while it's true that cities do in some ways subsidize rural areas, where do you think your food comes from? Other cities? Around here, stickers reminding us that "farmers feed cities" are quite common. Thank you for reminding me that there are people out there like you who need reminding. Finally, it's very rare for roads/phoneline/internet/etc to lead "nowhere". They lead somewhere, just apparently to areas you don't think are necessary.

Since you're the one painting "small town America" with one wide brush that includes racists, idiots, homophobes and chain store hellscapes, I'll throw that one back to you and state you're the one with the perception problems. The world outside your city is much bigger, and more important, than you seem to make it out to be. There are plenty racists, idiots, homophobes and chain stores in urban environments, and plenty of intelligent, tolerant, and educated people working in small business in small towns and rural communities all across your country.

For the record, I've spent close to a decade living in the US. I've lived in some of the world's largest cities, and worked in and travelled to many more. I feel very fortunate and privileged to now live on a farm in the country. Overall, my quality of life here is better than anywhere else I've lived.

Comment: Re:yeah yeah (Score 1) 368

by aclarke (#47655351) Attached to: Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording
Too many of us have had too many of these types of conversations. There's a Biblical parable that starts with "like a dog returns to its vomit".

Here my conversations of this sort generally revolve around Bell Canada. They hate their customers, lie to them, sell them insecure hardware, overcharge them, rope them into contracts, yet people I know won't switch to DSL providers with local tech support, cheaper prices, and no contracts. I can't really understand it either.

Comment: Re:What about Oregon and Washington? (Score 3, Informative) 368

by aclarke (#47655153) Attached to: Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording
I wouldn't even say you need to go that far. "This call may be recorded..." sounds like permission to me. Thanks! I think I WILL record it.

To answer the original poster, I recently switched our home phone to VOIP using voip.ms. I use the iOS app Groundwire to make and receive calls using my mobile phone as one of my methods for using my old land line number. Groundwire has easy one-button recording, with optional beeping to remind the other party that the call is being recorded.

Comment: Similar experience with Rogers yesterday (Score 1) 234

by aclarke (#47568529) Attached to: Comcast Confessions
I needed to find out when a wireless contract ends. Of course they don't seem to show this anywhere on the customer service web portal or on the bill. So, I tried their live chat system. The chat basically went something like this:

Me: I'd like to know when this contract ends.
Rogers: Why would you like to know that?
Me: I'm not interested in going through a dog and pony retentions script rigamarole to qualify why I want to know the answer to the question. When you answer my question, I'll answer yours.
Rogers: I'm sorry, I can't tell you without you giving me a reason why you want to know.
Me (annoyed, so I typed the first thing that entered my head): I'm moving to Albania.
Rogers: I can't give you your contract expiration date. You need to call xxx or go into a store.

Why do these companies hate their customers so much? I had to qualify why I wanted to know in order to even get an answer that she wasn't allowed to answer me? WTF?

Comment: Pinched nerves (Score 1) 511

by aclarke (#47551501) Attached to: Suddenly Visible: Illicit Drugs As Part of Silicon Valley Culture
I'm pretty good at ignoring pain, but when I had a pinched nerve in my neck, I was lying on the ground, writhing in pain, practically screaming. It was terrible. Three days later I was in surgery. I'm not sure that level of pain deserves breaking out the Spinal Tap Scale, but it's the worst pain I've experienced in my life.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro..." -- Hunter S. Thompson

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