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Comment: Re:Sanders amazes me (Score 1) 247

by ScentCone (#49604709) Attached to: Bernie Sanders, Presidential Candidate and H-1B Skeptic

it's a distraction by statistic

Nonsense. It's not a distraction, it's different topic than the ebb and flow of entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare (which are transfer welfare taxes). Income taxes are what pay for all discretionary spending (the military, federal agencies like the EPA, the FAA, the FCC and a jillion other activities). There's a good reason we look at all of those differently than we do the entitlement programs.

And ... capital gains? You do realize that a whole lot of middle class people also earn capital gains, right? Directly or indirectly, through things like mutual funds. Warren Buffet's secretary can put a pizza's worth of cash every month into some investments when she's young, and can and should be looking forward to earning some money from that. You know, just like him: taking money on which she's already paid taxes, and putting it entirely at risk in an investment that stimulates the economy and if and when it happens to pay off, paying more taxes on that activity.

If Warren Buffet loses money in an investment? He doesn't get to write that off against his income taxes - he just loses it, plain and simple. But he's smart, and usually makes good investments. If he's making money, the money he risked is being put to very good use in an active economy. That's the entire reason why we reward that risk taking with a lower tax rate - because we want more of that risk taking to happen.

All of which has nothing to do with transfer entitlement taxes.

Comment: Re:Pretty much no service providers catch things.. (Score 1) 204

They finally kicked me over to another department (tech guys I think) who found that a previous tenant, years earlier, had the emergency only (life-line) service. It had been "disconnected" in the system in every way as far as billing and such were concerned, but wasn't actually physically disconnected. The tech guys were finally able to fix it. (...) This is a case where you'd think their system would be able to detect that calls were being placed by a residence that had no service. Nope.

I don't know how it is in the US, but here in Norway you can dial our equivalent of 911 from any cell phone, connecting to any tower in range regardless if it has service or even a SIM card and I assume landlines work on the same principle. That the service was "disconnected" just means they don't have any obligation to keep it working, but they're not going to block any 911 call ever, I don't know if there's a law but the bad publicity would be a disaster. So this is probably by design and a feature, not a bug but customer service was probably not aware of this.

They might not even have access to the raw call log, since their user interface probably revolves around services and calls tied to a service. After all how often do you have a phone line with no service dialing 911 - because that's the only place you can reach - then calling customer service complaining that the call came through? This was a 0.01% corner case and I'm not surprised they thought it "impossible" and had to escalate to someone with real knowledge of the inner workings of the physical network.

Comment: Re:It's not really about the code... (Score 5, Informative) 37

I used to work at a large company that specialized in "e-trading". They paid a fee for access to second order quotes, which meant that they knew about not just the current price of a security, but the actual stream of bid and ask prices from individual investors. If you have access to the stream, you can just write code that slightly underbids and offers slightly overpriced shares, so you get to nickel and dime investors all day with sub-millisecond accuracy. It was basically software that stole money from everyone all day.

Comment: Re:Popular support (Score 2) 121

by hey! (#49604091) Attached to: NASA Gets Its Marching Orders: Look Up! Look Out!

I was eight years old when Neil Armstrong stepped off the LEM onto the Moon. It was an overcast day but the thing I remember vividly was how quiet the city was; aside from a few trucks in the distance and the wind blowing between the buildings there was simply nothing to be heard. The street was utterly deserted, more deserted than it would have been in the middle of the night. I'd gone out to find someone to play with, but gave it up for a bad job. I came in just in time to watch Armstrong step off the LEM. Cronkite couldn't make out what Armstrong said -- later it turned out Armstrong had bungled his line.

The only thing since then that has come close for shared amazement was 9/11.

The thing is there will never be another moment like that, not for manned space exploration. For those of us too young to remember WW2, the Apollo program was the biggest, most exciting thing that had happened in our lifetime. Older people had grown up with the Moon as the very symbol of something that was impossible to obtain. Every human being who'd ever lived and who wasn't blind had looked up in the sky and seen that big fat Moon hanging up there looking so close you could touch it.

Mars isn't like that. For most people it's just a name. More people have seen fake Mars in movies than have seen the real thing. So I'm guessing that few people will interrupt their lives to watch the first step on Mars. Maybe some of us will, but there won't be the same amazement, that sense of witnessing a once-in-a-species event.

Speaking of movies, one of the things that happened after 1970 is that production values on sci-fi movies went way, way up. Most people today have grown up watching representations of humans traveling to the stars; that's the new milestone for the human imagination. So I don't think there will ever be the kind of adulation for real astronauts that we had in the 60s. Actors are more photogenic than real astronauts and they don't spend their time doing tedious and inexplicable things.

But I don't think it's impossible to get people interested in space exploration; only that it's folly to put men up there and expect the public to automatically get excited. Henceforth space exploration is only going to matter to people who've been educated enough to find science interesting. That in itself is a worthwhile goal.

Comment: Re:Atmosphere study is in NASA's fucking 1958 char (Score 3, Interesting) 121

by MillionthMonkey (#49604035) Attached to: NASA Gets Its Marching Orders: Look Up! Look Out!

Every nation on earth has weather and climate scientists. WTF do we need NASA to study the weather?

First of all, weather is not climate.

Second, those scientists in other nations depend on the data collected by NASA, since no one else can do it as well.

Third, the idiot currently heading the committee that plans to eviscerate the NASA earth sciences program to the tune of $300 million per year sees no problem blowing hundreds of times as much money on Cold War fighter jets. One might ask,why do we need to spend $1.5 trillion dollars on F35 strike fighters that can't turn, can't climb, run hackable software, and explode when struck by lightning or running on warm fuel?

This is not about the money at all. They just don't want anyone looking into this, period.

Comment: Re:Sanders amazes me (Score 1, Informative) 247

by ScentCone (#49604033) Attached to: Bernie Sanders, Presidential Candidate and H-1B Skeptic

they never actually do pay the taxes they claim

Nonsense. Well-off people pay the vast majority of the income taxes in this country. Nearly half the people in the country pay no income taxes at all (though they still get to vote on what happens to the money collected from the other people who do).

The top 5% of earners pay almost 60% of the taxes. The top 25% of earners pay over 86% of the taxes. The bottom HALF of the country pays under 3% of those taxes. So how do you come up with "never actually do pay" - ? These numbers come from the IRS. The people who cash the checks you say aren't being written.

Comment: Re:THINK (Score 1) 247

by ScentCone (#49604017) Attached to: Bernie Sanders, Presidential Candidate and H-1B Skeptic

Gore won by the most conservative count

Gore LOST in every carefully examined recount conducted in exhaustive after-the-fact tests run by a panel of journalism outlets (including some that actively opposed Bush and worked to get Gore in office). Most importantly, Gore lost in studied recounts that followed the capricious guidelines he tried to get the Florida supreme court to enforce.

The supreme court made a corrupt ruling and appointed Bush the winner.

No, the Supreme Court stopped a corrupt recount process, aided by a partisan state court, from continuing under unreasonable and unfair conditions. They didn't "appoint" Bush the winner, they called out Gore's cherry-picking, standards-shifting strategy for being the craven election-grab it was trying to be.

Comment: Re:Did a paid shill write this summary? (Score 1, Interesting) 121

by hey! (#49603913) Attached to: NASA Gets Its Marching Orders: Look Up! Look Out!

I've been a Democrat since 1979. I'd vote for Bernie Sanders if he weren't an abrasive, self-righteous prig who'd inevitably do more damage to his allies than to his enemies. But despite that I'm almost 100% in agreement with the man. And I haven't seen any rampant Republican agenda here. More like rampant laziness, if there were such a thing.

If the editors spent a whole minute between the moment they opened the story and the moment they hit "post" I'd be flabbergasted.

Comment: Re:Did a paid shill write this summary? (Score 2) 121

by MillionthMonkey (#49603901) Attached to: NASA Gets Its Marching Orders: Look Up! Look Out!

And what about that space stuff? Remember the space stuff?

Why yes, we just saw a story about space stuff:

NASA hopes to send the first round-trip, manned spaceflight to Mars by the 2030s. If the mission succeeds, astronauts could spend several years potentially being bombarded with cosmic rays- high-energy particles launched across space by supernovae and other galactic explosions. Now, a study in mice suggests these particles could alter the shape of neurons, impairing astronauts' memories and other cognitive abilities. In the prefrontal cortex, a brain region associated with executive function, a range of high-level cognitive tasks such as reasoning, short-term memory, and problem-solving, neurons had 30% to 40% fewer branches, called dendrites, which receive electrical input from other cells.

It's pretty clear that Republicans are seeking to get people into space so they can expand their voter base.

Comment: Re:Bernie Sanders (any real shot at winning?) (Score 1) 247

by hey! (#49603861) Attached to: Bernie Sanders, Presidential Candidate and H-1B Skeptic

When hardline socialist parties gain power they tend to become more pragmatic. Such parties usually still consider themselves socialist and think of themselves as working toward eventual socialism.

The Socialist Party in France is a good illustration of this. Go back and look at the history of the Mitterrand presidency. In 1984 he abandoned nationalization of industry so that France would qualify for the European Monetary System. The subsequent collapse of the leftist coalition forced him to "cohabit" with Chirac's conservative RPR. Since then it'd be fair to characterize PS as a center-left party.

If Machiavelli were a hacker, he'd have worked for the CSSG. -- Phil Lapsley

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