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Comment: Taxes and Win-Win. (Score 1) 170

by alexander_686 (#47966797) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences?

And one more point – Most places in the US pay for training because it is easier and more beneficial if the business can take the tax deduction. Employees might not be able to do so. Thinks like this get complicated fast so talk to somebody who knows taxes. In that sense it is a little like medical insurance – tax law favors this the corporation to pay for it. And I do see good training as a good benfit.

Comment: Re:Your employer (Score 2) 170

by alexander_686 (#47965023) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences?

And this tells you what you really should be doing – updating your resume and start looking for a new job.

You face a dilemma that can't be easily solved.

You want to work with cutting edge technology AND work in informal environment (i.e., no clock punching). This points to small companies, which means your environment may not be stable and things may be run on a shoestring.

Or you can work at a stable company that can afford to train (and thus retain) its staff. Which implies clock punching.

There are exceptions out there – but you need to look for them. Reading between the lines of your post I suspect you would be happier in a larger, stable, clock punching company, which is why I suggested the job hunt.

If not, then you are going to need to start laying the ground work for your company to pay for your conference next year. Influence them that it is a win-win situation, spend money now and get a happier, more productive employee. Part of the long term development of team talent. Get as many members of your team on board. Etc. I know as an introverted nerd that this can be a hard thing to do but it is what you would have to do to stay in the company that you are at. Of course, I am assuming that company is "right sizing" - shrinking to a profitable level – and not doing straight down the drain. If it is going down the drain – well – back the job hunt.

Comment: Re:Not a problem... (Score 1) 324

by alexander_686 (#47940237) Attached to: New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

We can debate if cities have higher crime or not. People in cities tend to live longer lives - at least in developed countries. So I am not sure what to make of your dirtier and dangerous point.

On innovation you are dead wrong. On almost every metric that I can think of - number of patents filed, research papers published, holders of advanced degrees, number of new business – on a per capita basis – cities do better than rural areas, and Big cities do better than medium sized cities.

As for having neighbors – you are correct - you can't blast death metal at 3 a.m. That is a point for rural areas.

Comment: Re:Not a problem... (Score 1) 324

by alexander_686 (#47939561) Attached to: New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

I think both of you are using the wrong metric.

I suspect that the population density in the Midwest is lower than the Northeast. More importantly, for most of the Midwest, population density has been falling for the past 100 years even though the population has been growing. If that makes you scratch your head, just realize that 80% of farm and small town children find farming and small town life to be boring and low pay. IIRC, population in South Dakota has been falling in all but 5 counties – the counties with big cities.

Which leads me to my 2 points.

First, the Midwest is not really that empty. The white man has already stolen all of the good land from the red man and has filled it up with farms. It might be sparsely populated, but the tractor has made it as productive as it can be. Adding more people won't help. Adding biotech and robots will. (And let's face it, a tractor that can drive itself is almost a robot even if there is a person in the cab.)

Second, the issue is not space. We don't want to cramp people into the empty Midwest, we want to cram them into cities. Thanks to networking effects city folk tend to be more productive. Cities also tend to be more efficient users of resources. Of course managing megacities in more complex, involving strong social structures (i.e. rule of law, not corruption), sophistication (i.e. education), and dedicated citizens (i.e. democracy).

Comment: Re: I never thought I'd say this... (Score 2) 326

Let me put a finer point on that. Whenever you subside a product you
        Take money away from the average person (Boo!)
        Give some fraction of the subsidy to the buyer (In this case, poor people. Yeah!)
        The rest goes to the buyer (In this case, A large monopoly that does not it. Boo!)

The way subsidizes are structured matters. I suspect that under this plan the monopoly will grab the majority of the benifit. In higher education, grants mainly benefit students – colleges tend not to jack tuition in these cases. Subsidize student loans however mainly benefit the college – they can jack up tuition and grab a larger fraction of the subsidy.

Not sure what the right answer here is, but this is one case where I as a free market person favors turning the last mile to homeowners over to the city. Or a co-op – that would be even better.

Comment: Re:14%? What a f***ing ripoff (Score 1) 71

by alexander_686 (#47933781) Attached to: Airbnb To Start Collecting Hotel Tax On Rentals In San Francisco

The fact that non-voters are paying the big is a big piece.

Another piece is that "tourist" or "convention" taxes go back into providing services that tourist or convention goers use. Somebody has to pay to clean up the "free" beaches. The argument goes that those hotels are bars would not exist if the convention center did not exist. Or at least that is the fig leaf that is used.

Comment: Re:WTF? (Score 1) 952

by alexander_686 (#47931249) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

I am not confusing correlation with causation. There are causal links.

For example, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all encourage literacy and abstract though. Without those you can't read the holy book.

It also can promote it indirectly. If you are running off of a lunar calendar, you are going to need astronomy, and if you have astronomy you are going to need math. If you are a proselytizing religion, with plans to run to a global empire, you are going to navigation and accounting – more math.

If you are a pretentious group that wants to conquer the world using the internet and explosive, you are going to need to know math and chemistry – another banned subject.

Or maybe I think radical nut jobs are smarter than I think they are.

Comment: Re:WTF? (Score 1) 952

by alexander_686 (#47929155) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

That is true if the person had only daughters and sons by a single, was widowed, an only child, did not have grandkids, and was an orphan. Parents, siblings, half-siblings, grandchildren, and wives all have a claim. When you have polygamy, with multiple wives and kids over decades, things get crazily complex. It makes the issues of America's "blended families" seem simple.

As a point of reference – though not exactly on point – try to figure out who the next king of Saudi Arabia is. IIRC there are 700 first cousins that are in line for the throne.

Comment: Re:WTF? (Score 2) 952

by alexander_686 (#47927769) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

It is a little unexpected.

Islam, but obviously not this particular splinter, has a long and glorious history of cultivating math and science. Specifically, they invented some aspects of linear algebra to solve inheritance issue – the Koran is very specific on how much the various wives and children get.

Comment: Re:double non-taxation (Score 4, Insightful) 323

by alexander_686 (#47920359) Attached to: New Global Plan Would Crack Down On Corporate Tax Avoidance

You are way off on this.

First,

It takes advantage of weakness in Irish law that allows companies to not pay taxes on subsidiaries that are outside Ireland.

IIRC, the US, Ethopia, and Eritrea are the only countries that charge taxes on foreign subsidiaries, so it is not a weakness exculsive to Ireland. And if you think about it, it is rational not to tax the foreign subsidiary. If a profit is earned in country X, country X shoudl get the tax. If not you get the complex and ineffectual of the US.

Second, what you are talking about about abusive transfer payments, not about the "Double Irish", which this treaty is trying to fix. Ireland is not some great "loop hole", just low taxes. And by "Double Irish" I think you really mean the "Double Dutch", which requires a Irish and Dutch subsidary - they recognize income differently. This is, since they have different standards on when to declare income from whom they can structure income so it is never recognized by the tax authority. That is a true loop hole.

Comment: Re:Ads (Score 1) 330

by alexander_686 (#47914731) Attached to: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Maker Mojang For $2.5 Billion

Maybe when MSFT was young and desktops were new, but can you give me an example in the past 10 years? Past 20? Nook, Nokia, Skype? None of these have been a home run. MSFT has been growing been very slow over the past 10 years. IIRC, MSFT stock price has been growing slower than the S&P average. (It's late so I am not looking it up.)

Comment: Re:Ads (Score 4, Insightful) 330

by alexander_686 (#47909437) Attached to: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Maker Mojang For $2.5 Billion

I think Minecraft has "legs" and will be around for a while. Longer than Farmville 2, less than Legos.

But I do think it says something about Microsoft. They are having a hard time growing organically, which is the curse of many large mature companies. These companies tend to expand by buyouts and mergers, which we are seeing here. Buyouts and mergers have a poor history of returns on investments.

I think Microsoft is trying for a single or double and not a home run. Maybe a 25% return over 5 years.

Comment: Re:Why is this legal in the U.S.? (Score 1) 149

I would like to know which country you are talking about. Two other points.

First, there is a very thin line on helping an industry and helping out a specific company. I can think of many examples where a countries industrial policy to help an industry ends up only helping a single company.

Second, take a look some of the big projects in your country. I bet we could find some accommodations, in particular with infrastructure. For example, Tesla needs a road so Nevada is going to build it but it is not like Tesla is going to have exclusive use of it. Roads, rail, water, sewer, etc. are all common. Stuff like this I can kind of approve of – it is a chicken and the egg problem.

As an aside, I tend to think industrial policy is self-defeating and a waste of taxpayer's money. In America, it tends to be states racing to the lowest level.

Comment: Re:Fair Use (Score 1) 102

You might want to reread your link. Free public libraries came into being after copyright. Before then, the libraries where state (restricted to officials) or subscription (think Blockbuster). It is one of the great inventions of America, Ben Franklin, and Andrew Carnegie. They existed, but before this they were as rare as hen's teeth.

Comment: Re:It is called the trickle down effect (Score 1) 100

by alexander_686 (#47882049) Attached to: China Targets 2022 For Space Station Completion

But less than you think because we are talking about strong probabblities.

IIRC S. Korea has 70%+ of the market share for LCD screens, while Japan comes in second. Together they control over 95% of the market. The glass is similar, the US has 70% market share, while Japan comes in second.

We know where most of the foundaries are. We can debate where the various CPU, memory, and other control chips come from. We know the CPUs can't come from China. With the other chips, China is low in the league tables.

Etc.

Although the moon is smaller than the earth, it is farther away.

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