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Comment: It is a fine for quitting XP (Score 1) 33

by alexander_686 (#48469703) Attached to: Was Microsoft Forced To Pay $136M In Back Taxes In China?

The issue is not "Irish Tax Shelters". Even without these Microsoft would still be losing money. You are closer on point on the IP theft. This is not so much as a tax, rather it is a fine for Microsoft dropping support for XP, the widely used but rarely paid for OS. Remember, taxes and the laws are not applied in a "neutral" fashion.

Comment: Re: SO (Score 2) 377

by alexander_686 (#48376943) Attached to: How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

How are you getting to that conclusion? The title of the study is "A Meta-Analysis of the Impacts of Genetically Modified Crops" The author's results are

"On average, GM technology adoption has reduced chemical pesticide use by 37%, increased crop yields by 22%, and increased farmer profits by 68%. Yield gains and pesticide reductions are larger for insect-resistant crops than for herbicide-tolerant crops. Yield and profit gains are higher in developing countries than in developed countries."

Comment: Re:I'm sure it will suck (Score 1) 242

by alexander_686 (#48365853) Attached to: HBO Developing Asimov's Foundation Series As TV Show

I knew. I was being flippant back - kind off.

I don't think Doctor Who is the model. While it spans ages, there is always the Doctor. While different actors play the Doctor, and each actor brings out a different aspect of the Doctor, it is always the Doctor. Done straight from the book, Hari Seldon and maybe some robots carry though all of the stories but they are never the center like the Doctor is. So if they are going to do the Foundation they are not going to do it straight from the books - some reworking must happen to handle the scope.

My serious though on this was to copy the model from Roots.

As for Black Adder, be careful with season 1 - it rough. The 2nd and 3rd season are much better - I would start with one of those.

Comment: Re:Legalities (Score 2) 301

by alexander_686 (#48364439) Attached to: Police Body Cam Privacy Exploitation

It seems like there should be a signed release required.

I would disagree. Charged suspects and corrupt officials would never sign the release even if it might be in the public interest. I would agree with you that it should not be automatic but there should be some mechanism to release the video even if those videoed oppose it.

Comment: Re:I'm sure it will suck (Score 1) 242

by alexander_686 (#48363981) Attached to: HBO Developing Asimov's Foundation Series As TV Show

Your comment confuses me a little - what are you talking about? Yes, Doctor Who spans vast amounts of time but he has got a time traveling machine so that is o.k. Maybe you are talking about his companions? However, the Doctor has been a constant character thought the years.

On a more serious note, I was thinking of Black Adder as a better example.

Comment: Re:I'm sure it will suck (Score 4, Insightful) 242

by alexander_686 (#48362465) Attached to: HBO Developing Asimov's Foundation Series As TV Show

It's not the translation of action that I am concerned about. It can be done. Books and movies have different strengths, and "action" is not the strong suit of books. HBO has done a good job. Personally, I think of Jackson's Lord of the Rings / Hobbit movies, where Jackson either extended or invented from scratch action scenes.

I am more concerned about scope. Each chapter in the Foundation saga is a vignette, a thin slice of time, separated by vast amounts of time. For each seasons they would almost have to fire the entire cast, strike all of the sets, etc. It would have the same problem as anthology shows like the Twilight Zone or Tales from the Crypt. There is a low correlation between a winning episode and a losing episode. Hit upon a great story line or a new great actor and you need to junk it for the next episode. The Twilight Zone was consistently good, but Tales from the Crypt was all over the place.

Comment: Re:bike? (Score 1) 51

by alexander_686 (#48360601) Attached to: 333 Km/h Rocket-Powered Bicycle Sets New Speed Record

...though at least they do have pedals and you can power a crappy bike with human power.

This one too has pedals and looks like can move it along with human power. So by your definition, it is more like a "Eco-Electric" than a motorcycle. Can't wait for these things. I can lane split on the highways and still park in front of my downtown office without paying for parking.

Comment: Re:nice stats (Score 1) 334

by alexander_686 (#48342059) Attached to: Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

Here is your study:

FYI, I was using "scheduling" in a very broad sense. You allude to that in your post. 10 or 20 years ago when researching a big ticket purchase, one might hit 2 to 4 big box retailors. Now I can do that comparison online and see if the local store has it in stock. The number of big block stores are falling.

But there are also the subtle things. Less driving to grandma's house to get the latest gossip, that can be done by Facebook. People used to drive to the mall to hang out. Facebook. Now the malls are going empty. People used to wait in lines for the latest blockbuster movie only to be turned away because it sold out. Now they can buy their ticket in advance or, if they wait a few months, watch it at home. etc.

Comment: Re:nice stats (Score 1) 334

by alexander_686 (#48341057) Attached to: Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

The taxes from fossil fuels could be earmarked for renewable energy subsidies, making them cheaper directly.

I am leerier about that – and I say that as somebody who supports a carbon tax.

Taxes are distortive, so try to keep them as few and as simple as you can. Governments do need a revenue stream and you want to counter the negative externalities of carbon fuel, but one should still stick to good taxation principles.

So I ask, why subsidize renewable energy sources? The ethanol fuel subsidy has been a disaster both from a finical and green viewpoint. What is the fair split between wind and solar? That being asked, I would argue neither is going help until we upgrade our power grid. And why not subsidize home insulation or mass transit? Trying to figure out what to subsidize and how much is a very hard and tricky question. Taking with one hand and giving with another is a very tricky balancing act. Government should not pick winners or losers. Which is why I suggested in a different thread that one should drop income taxes by the amount a carbon tax would raise. On a side note, I would support more money going into government sponsored basic R&D into renewable energy.

However, economically speaking, a tax on a product is the same as a subsidy to a competitor. So if you don't like the results, don't try to come up with an elaborate subsidy scheme for green energy – just raise the carbon tax.

Comment: Re:nice stats (Score 1) 334

by alexander_686 (#48340387) Attached to: Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

You seem to be striking quite wide of my mark.

First, the point that I was trying to make is that the type of car – in and by itself - does not necessarily change the amount of gas being consumed. People could buy a big car but make fewer trips, resulting in lower gas consumption. With more efficient cars, longer commutes are possible for the same amount of gas, so less efficient ex burbs flourish.

We should have a tax on fossil fuels which would make green energy cheaper...

How do you figure? How does higher gas make my solar panels more efficient? Maybe relativity cheaper, but going green will cost money. Personally, I think it is worth the cost but let's not pretend that it is going to be free.

Isn't strange that car retailers didn't demand to sell Teslas themselves, but instead aim at preventing Teslas from being sold? What is at play here?

No, nothing strange and it has nothing to do with being green. A large corporation is muscling its way into a business dominated by local family business. The family business don't like competition so they are fighting back. It is like asking what Apple has against Microsoft and why doesn't Apple well Window computers in their stores? (Personally, I am rooting for Tesla)

Comment: Re:Let's have a $7/gallon fuel tax (Score 1, Insightful) 334

by alexander_686 (#48340191) Attached to: Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

Not inaccessibly. I lean towards libertarianism and believe in global warming.

The answer is to cut the tax rate and impose a carbon tax. If structured correctly, the average individual wouldn't pay higher taxes. Unless, that is, they decided that they should start conserving energy.

As in certain cults it is possible to kill a process if you know its true name. -- Ken Thompson and Dennis M. Ritchie