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Comment Re:Sycamore Partners is the real buyer (Score 2) 107

Those are the partners – that is the management of Sycamore. However, that is not who owns them.

Think of Sycamore as an investment advisor of a investment company, which is kind of like a mutual fund – it is the just the scale is very different. A few outsider investors (pension funds, the ultra-rich, etc.) buy shares in the investment company. The investment company than buys companies.

Sycamore is paid on the performance of the fund. They may or may not have a direct ownership in the investment company and thus may not have any direct ownership of Hot Topic.

Comment Re:What next? (Score 4, Insightful) 107

I think you are missing the point. They are not going to merge the two organizations. Hot Topic will remain Hot Topic, ThinkGeek will remain ThinkGeek. Both will carry their own lines – I expect some cross over but not much.

However, in one sense they are very much alike. They both market pop culture goods to a niche market. Their goods are partially based on fads so they have a short shelf life. Lots of custom stuff that you can't find in a more traditional retail shop like Amazon or Wal-Mart.

What they are going to combing is the back off stuff. Accounting and procurement are at the top of my list.

Comment Re:The IMF should be worried (Score 1) 294

All of the alternatives involve seignorage or equivalent. Mobile payments and Amazon gift cards imply giving the telecom or Amazon an interest-free loan between the date the credit is paid for and the date it is redeemed - which is pretty much exactly the same as seignorage, which gives the government an interest free "float" to fill the gap between cumulative tax collections and cumulative government spending.

You have the concept of seigniorage slightly wrong. It has nothing to do with government tax collection and spending. Just as every Amazon gift card is a interest free loan to Amazon, every physical dollar is a interest free loan to the federal government. This is seigniorage.

That being said, I don't think we should spend much time with seigniorage. While it might be worth billions to the federal government, compared to the trillions that the government spends and borrows each year it is small change and has a low impact.

Comment Re:Kinda stupid since (Score 1) 531

I think you are missing my point.

There is not proof, nor can there be, that there is a soul. I think that is common ground between us. What then? Does this invalidate religion and faith? Can another human or government invalidate my faith? Nor more than they could impose religion or faith on anyone. Religion and faith is a personal thing.

If faith (or lack of faith) cannot be imposed on me how can I deny that right to a AI mind that equivalent to my own. I will further point out that many moral decisions we make have a religious dimension. I am using religion in a the broad sense of the word. There are secular and atheist "religions" out there. I used to attend a Human Secularist Sunday service.

Comment Re:Kinda stupid since (Score 3, Interesting) 531

Who is to say that a AI does not have a soul? Do you have some type of test to prove it does not? Will not future AIs be our children will rights as a corneous human? Or will they be some lesser beasts, shackled like slaves by imposed restrictions? And where do we draw the line? If we can perfectly simulate a brain, would that have some type of different rights?

I personally think that this AI / religion thing is somewhat silly. At this point it is so farfetched at this stage of development.

Comment Re:Is that really a lot? (Score 1) 280

Is there a fixed amount of labor to go around? No.

Do they make our economy more dynamic and flexible? Yes. Is this more than every? Yes.

Which is more of an argument for a overhaul of our immigration policy rather than immigration policing, but still, we should welcome immigrants.

Comment Re:TFA is a mess. (Score 3, Informative) 271

To extend, we are not just comparing "apples to oranges", we are dealing with a pretty "revenue" is a pretty worthless statistic when trying to determine leadership abilities.

Example: GM is one of the largest car manufactures by revenue. It is run by a woman. Unfortunately while GM has huge revenue that does not mean it is very well run. Which is not exactly Mary Barra's fault – she inherited a mess.

A big problem in trying to determine if "female" leadership is any good is that there are so few data points spread across such a diverse universe of CEO positions. You are not going to generate any good hard statistical data this way.

Comment Re:track record (Score 1) 293

Let's see,

Boeing's wings (another very expensive part) are made in Japan. Fasteners are made in Europe. IIRC from it's Air Force bid for tankers, it's only 50% US.

The Airbus's engines (one of the most expensive parts) and flight controls are made in the US. Once Airbus's US factor is up and running it's plans will be 55% US.

Next question - is a Toyota car that is designed and built (including the power plant) in the US a US car or a Japanese car? In this age of international companies answering questions like these are hard and kind of pointless.

Comment Re:track record (Score 3, Interesting) 293

747 is the only american made option, so be it

Airbus, oddly enough, would be another "American" option - maybe even more American than Boeing.

When the US was looking at replacing it current generation of aerial refueling aircraft, Airbus' bid was more American based on "value". Both companies subcontract much of the work and not all of the subcontractor are in America or Europe. (I don't think the Mobile Alabama can produce the 380, but you never know what type of modifications they would make to win the contract.)

If we Americans want to be the "best" and on the cutting edge we can rest on our laurels and hid behind "Buy American". Let the Europeans come and I will be happy – as long as we can bid on their president's plan. (or prime misters, or whatever)

Comment Re: This doesn't sound... sound (Score 1) 328

You are half right but that is not the plan.

The game plan for the Greexit would be to convert everything, both assets and liabilities, into Drachma. Euro bonds issued by the Greek government are controlled by Greek law. Or any debt issued under Greek law. There will be some messy cases.

As you say, after a Greek exit from the Euro their currency would be worthless which is kind of the point. They get to pay their debts with worthless currency. The local currency becomes worthless making their exports (such as tourism in a oddly back end way) more competitive.

And yes, they would lose the benefits of being part of the EU. Personally I think the long hard road of austerity is the better choice but I do acknowledge that there is a second road out there.

The last time Greek flirted with an exit everybody who could kept their money out of Greece. I heard about some interesting cash sweep transactions to minimize any money that had to stay overnight in Greece. i.e. keeping money in safer German banks, figuring out on a daily bases what was being paid to and from local suppliers, and then moving only just that amount of money over.

Comment Re: This doesn't sound... sound (Score 1) 328

The people aren't willing to sacrifice to pay back the debt.

What if the question was not about "wanting to pay back their debt" but about their ability to pay back their debt. IIRC their debt stands at 170% of GDP plus they are paying 10% on their bonds. IIRC, Germany actually has a slight negative interest rate. We can debate how bad things have to be before they can't pay back their debt. However if they are not there they are getting pretty close.

If Greece were a person or a company they would file bankruptcy. Assets would be sold, reforms would be made, and liabilities would be cut. Life goes on.

Should countries borrow more than they can afford? No. Should bankers lend to countries that can't back. There is enough blame to be spread around to both parties and so both parties should suffer. Expect that Greece can't declare bankruptcy so they have back themselves into a corner.

Comment Re: This doesn't sound... sound (Score 1) 328

That consideration is a factor, but governments tend to be long lasting entities, so they could certainly eventually pay off the debt, if they shrunk or even deferred payments for awhile. Something is usually better than nothing for a vendor, as long as the cost of administering the debt is less than what they bring in.

I think you missed my point here.
        Greece could default, and replace the old bonds with new bonds at 80% of par. I lose 20% of my value.
        Greece could cut the interest payments from 10% to 5%. I lose 20% of my value.
        Greece could push out the repayment schedule from 10 years to 15. I lose 20% of my value.

Any way I cut it, I as an investor lose 20%. Psychologically it may be less damaging to my repayment is pushed back by 10 years but the immediate economic damage is the same.

So why is shrinking better than deferment? I think that there are differences but I would like to hear your viewpoint.

Unfortunately, financial solvency doesn't provide for retirement for people directly, although for any realistic social insurance program, you need to have long term financial stability and capacity. That means that even though austerity may actually work, there is clearly not the will to see it through.

We might have the same opinion here, but I will point out that any unfunded pension is a liability. What moral argument can you make that private pension plans that invested in Geek bonds should take a hit while the public plans don't? And I think you can make that argument – but it does make the point that public pensions need to be in the mix of future obligations that need to be cut.

It may be a good idea for Greece to default and deal with it, but that will end their ability to get anything like good loans in the near future. And I don't think the extra money from no longer paying on the debt will fix the quality of life problems that the people in Greece have right now.

I will slightly disagree with you here. I personally think Greece's big problems are structural. Too much bureaucracy, inefficient collecting of taxes, etc. Reforming these items would not cost the government anything, but there would be a painful period of adjustment for the common man. However, the end result would be a stronger, more efficient, rational economy.

However, I would tend to agree with you that a clean bankruptcy is better than a messy partial default. Expect that there is no real mechanism to Greece to default. If I understand correctly, it would be easier for Greece to exit the EU, convert to the Drachma, and devalue the currency.

A commune is where people join together to share their lack of wealth. -- R. Stallman