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Comment: Re:Illegal (Score 2) 182

by bigmattana (#47762195) Attached to: Uber Has a Playbook For Sabotaging Lyft, Says Report

Uber and Lyft are both much cheaper than traditional "regulated" taxis, and this scheme only cost the other company and driver. So as a consumer, why do I care? For comparison, look at New York's taxi medallion system. All it has done is raise the entry price to astronomical levels, which leaves the consumer paying outrageous prices and the drivers making very little. You are being naive if you think laws that generate money for government and protect old guard businesses are not because politicians and companies "conspired".

No, I'll take the basic fraud laws on the book and if we need to enhance them as technology changes fine. What we don't need are the rules that protect the crony capitalist system that favors the big old guard businesses over start-ups. This is an extremely small problem compared to the side effects of most regulation, and one that is apparently already solving itself as new media is exposing bad behavior on Uber's part.

Comment: Re:God (Score 1) 794

by bigmattana (#46374035) Attached to: Whole Foods: America's Temple of Pseudoscience

You have never heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls have you? So far, earliest discovered manuscripts from old testament and new testament nearly identically match what we have today and these trend has stood for all manuscripts they continue to find. Granted, some of the earliest parts of the old testament were not recorded immediately happened and passed down orally and written by Moses according to the text itself, but as far as our stories matching what was originally written, all evidence found so far points to this being the case.

Comment: Re:theft-proof by design? (Score 3, Informative) 465

by bigmattana (#46367369) Attached to: MtGox Files For Bankruptcy Protection

It is impossible for a Bitcoin to be copied or duplicated, but not stolen. Yes, the blockchain keeps track of ownership of each fraction of a coin as it travels from address to address. So the transactions are public but the addresses are fairly close to anonymous unless someone like the NSA or your ISP recorded internet traffic to attach it to an IP address. (You can see which addresses hacked or stolen funds went to but it is harder to figure out who is tied to those addresses.) If someone gains access to your private key, the blockchain has no way of knowing they are not the rightful owner. This is why most people with large amounts in their wallets keep it on an offline machine only or print it out on a paper wallet so there is absolutely no way of someone hacking in and stealing their private key.

Now in the case of Mt. Gox, it is not clear if they were actually hacked or if they lost so much because of this "transaction malleability issue", which is basically like receipt fraud in which people would make withdrawals and claim they were not paid, so Gox would pay them again. This is more like Gox getting "conned", not "stolen". Either way, it is looking like it was an inside job. There is just no way they could slowly lose this much money of this long of time period and not notice it.

Comment: Bizarre Shadowy Paper-Based Payment System (Score 1) 240

by bigmattana (#46357019) Attached to: WV Senator Calls For Ban On All Unregulated Cryptocurrencies

How the media (and politicians) would perceive cash if it were invented today:
http://ledracapital.com/blog/2...

It is truly amazing how when new technology comes along that gives the government greater control in visibility into our private lives that so many people just go along with they idea that we couldn't function as a society if government didn't have these new-found powers. In this case it is it is the prevalence of electronic cash transfers and credit card payments that has made people forget the government still caught criminals before 1980 these existed, and even before the mid 20th century when checking accounts became prevalent. Now if you are using cash for more than than tiny purchases you must be a criminal, and the government must know ever detail of every financial transaction to fight terrorism for the children.

Comment: Re:Faith (Score 2) 330

The market currently says 1 bitcoin is roughly worth 1000x 1 dollar with a ~$10 billion market cap. I would hardly call that a yawn. This is without any exposure on the traditional exchanges, which is the typical method for the average investor to buy.

Once ETFs come out we will see what the broader market does, but it can only increase the money flowing into bitcoins. I doubt is it a coincidence that they took out the guy associated with the first bitcoin ETF that is trying to come to market. (Winklevoss twins' BITCN fund)

Comment: Re:Apple interview (Score 1) 122

Please give me a scenario where someone gets more back from their taxes than they pay in. I doubt if you can that does not involve someone who is paying very little and getting subsidized from fellow citizens. (A freeloader as you put it.) I could teach someone to read and write and in two years for about 5% of what we pay in government schools, and they would have a lot more respect and work ethic than some punk who has been in ghetto government babysitting for the last12 years.

While I do not doubt that many people get more from government and their tax dollars than they realize, I do not believe it is close to what they actually pay unless they truly are a freeloader.

Comment: Re:Apple interview (Score 1) 122

If a property tax increase impacts you but you do not mind, you are probably more on the wealthy end than you realize. People with average incomes struggle to get by, and expect government (including schools) to make the same sacrifices they are making.

While there are cases where schools really do need money, from my experience most of the special bond elections or associated property tax increases are for fluff not related to improved education. You have to wonder why the tax rate that was working before is not working now, especially in cases where property valuation increases are more than making up for inflation. And throw in the fact that most increases in schools budgets nationally have gone to administration, and you can see the real effect of property tax increases in most cases. http://www.aei-ideas.org/2013/03/chart-of-the-day-public-schools-bloated-with-bureaucracy/

Comment: Re:Apple interview (Score 1) 122

While your proposal sounds nice, X could be never be close to the median income. Those who make below the median income (or at least claim that they do) would always vote more goodies for themselves from those who make over the median income because they have absolutely no skin in the game. Taxes would continue to go beyond the optimal rate with nothing to keep it in check. You would end up killing the economy and stagnating as they have in Venezuela. If you bring it down to something like bottom 20th percentile, you still have enough people getting taxed to keep the bottom from pushing tax rates up ad infinitum but the families who are trying to make ends meet who make between 20%-50% would struggle, and this would also hurt the economy.

The best scenario (that will never happen) is to have X at somewhere close to the median but remove power from congress to directly set tax rates. Instead, it could only be changed every ~10 years by an independent group (much like the federal reserve does with monetary policy), and a change would require substantial proof of the effects of the tax rate on the economy and on revenue generated as a percent of GDP.

Comment: Re:Apple interview (Score 1) 122

Unless you live in a very small town with a small government, you will never get the benefit back that you pay into taxes, particularly property taxes. Or if you live in a city, you may be getting something close to the value to what you are paying if you live in a far below median value house (in which case someone else is subsidizing you). However, in that case most likely you are in a bad neighborhood and your kids would be better not going to school than being subjected to substandard government babysitting. And no amount of police (other big chunk of property taxes) will ever make up for risk you are taking on by living there. But move to a nice neighborhood, and you are essentially paying more to NOT ever see the police.

In the next 10 years I will probably pay over $100,000 in property taxes, and I will continue to pay this every 10 years adjusted for increased property values and other stupid pet projects voters in Austin choose to fund. If I have kids, I could send them to send them to a decent private K-12 for that and be done with it instead of pay this over and over the rest of my life. And for police, imagine if neighborhoods were able to hire armed private security with the same basic function as police. This could easily be done for less than $50/month per house, and they would always be a very short way away, instead of potentially an hour or more. Talk about enlightened self interested.

And by the way, gas tax should be used to (and predominately does) pay for all roads. In cases when it is not, local gas or mileage taxes should be adjusted accordingly. This is much more fair and self-sustaining than charging based on how much someone's house is worth.

Comment: Re:But ... (Score 1) 846

by bigmattana (#40790487) Attached to: The World's First 3D-Printed Gun

If correlation proved causality, your statistics might actually mean something. I could also easily say that gun control results in more murders because the cities in the US with the greatest gun control laws in general have the highest percent of murders. In reality, while this may possibly be a result of tighter gun control, it is also the case that gun control laws were enacted BECAUSE these cities had high murder rates. The fact that they did not work or made things work is only part of the story.

A better question would be if murders went down significantly in countries that banned guns after the ban. They did not, and in fact the opposite happened.
Since Canada passed strict gun control laws, their homicide rate has gone up while at the same time going down in the US:
Canada 1
Canada 2
In England, people injured by firearms has increased by 110% in the 10 years leading up to 2008. (Ban was enacted in 1997). In late 2009 The Telegraph reported that gun crime had doubled in the last 10 years, with an increase in both firearms offences and deaths.
UK Gun Statistics
Australia did not ban guns, but has seen mixed results with their efforts to reduce the amount of guns owned. Accidental gun deaths are up, gun suicides are down with other suicides are up by the same amount, and assault rates are up. Gun robberies increased for the first 5 years but are now back down to the levels they were before the gun buyback program.
Australia Statistics

So comparing gun deaths in the US to countries that already had much lower gun deaths before the ban guns is obviously an irreverent comparison for this debate. Violence in the US is a complex issue, and one that will not be solved by more gun control laws. As long as one group of people is always blaming others for the problem, we will never get a handle on how to change our culture to reduce the attractiveness of violence in the minds of our children. For that to happen, we need to co-operation of parents, government, the media, Hollywood, etc. Unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen, because in my mind the biggest problem is children growing up without fathers being raised by TV, movies, and "music" artists which promote violence. As long as the government pays people to have children and pays single mothers to stay single and poor, this is not going to change.

Comment: Re:what about slashdot? (Score 2) 595

by bigmattana (#39841675) Attached to: Not Just Apple, How Microsoft Sidestepped Billions In State Taxes

SydShamino, some good points, but wow, I must comment on these quotes:

We want to force them to comply with the will of the majority
I don't want to hear any complaining when the majority takes your rights away, if that is the kind of society you want to live in.

And frankly, most of the laws of society exists to force people who lack empathy and benevolence to comply under penalty of imprisonment.

While I completely agree with your point, I am guessing you vote for a party that likes to say "You cannot legislate morality". I am always baffled when liberals say this to social issues they do not care about, and then they try to legislate morality in every other part of their platform.

Comment: Re:Why so hung up on a race? (Score 1) 1005

by bigmattana (#39581641) Attached to: NBC Apologizes For Editing Zimmerman 911 Call

find a case of a black man doing this to a white kid *under equal circumstances*, where the black man was not arrested.

Here you go:

http://www.chicagonewsreport.com/2012/04/daniel-adkins-killer-claims-self.html

Hot off the presses even! It just happened, and it wasn't that hard to find. If you had searched for this you would have found this or many other cases just like it. The reason you don't hear about this or others like it is that other races down have their own racial extortionists like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton to rile up the ignorant within their race.

  It is very common that people don't get charged until some evidence is built against them. It is also common that people get stuck in jail when there is very little evidence against them when people of power are nervous about looking bad in case they are wrong. This happened to a friend of mine who was eventually released on house arrest but has waited over a year and they still won't let it go to trial, since they know they have no case against him but the news scared people in our city about the case by reporting completely made up information. To me, the former is a better situation than the latter. Since our country allows bounty hunters, there is statistically very little risk for anyone fleeing if they do decide to make an arrest.

The Force is what holds everything together. It has its dark side, and it has its light side. It's sort of like cosmic duct tape.

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