Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:A Corollary for Code (Score 1) 210

by Zordak (#49380219) Attached to: Why You Should Choose Boring Technology

I've found that programmers often get themselves in trouble by trying to be "clever", which often makes for horribly unintuitive or unnecessarily complex systems.

Unless you're Mel, in which case you make awesomely unintuitive and necessarily complex systems to save one or two clock cycles in the inner loop, and become a legend.

Comment: Re:I'm all for abolishing the IRS (Score 1) 318

by Zordak (#49380091) Attached to: Sign Up At Before Crooks Do It For You

You're mixing income tax with consumption tax. If you want to tax income, tax income. But if we're taxing consumption, then those who consume more pay more than those who consume less, and those who consume least because they have the least to spend pay the least in taxes because of the baseline exemption. The upper middle class guy who's busting his butt to pay off his student loans, and who saves as much as he can, is not going to pay a disproportionate amount in taxes. (Or are we going to tax his student loan payments as consumption, even though he paid consumption tax while living on those loans? What about deposits in a savings account, or stock purchases? If we're going to do that, we may as well just call it an income tax, because that's what it is.)

If he pays off his student loans and still chooses to live modestly, he continues to pay a low tax rate. If he instead decides to start living large, then he'll start paying more in taxes. Either way, he essentially chooses his tax bracket, because he chooses every day what to buy, and how much to spend on it. This is especially true if we're giving him a front-loaded exemption on expected costs for rent and groceries. In other words, we're not taxing him for living, eating, and having shelter, and we're not taxing him for working and earning money. We're taxing whatever life style he chooses above and beyond the baseline. This tax is progressive in that people who choose to live modestly or who cannot afford to live extravagantly pay very little in taxes. Those who are able and choose to live extravagantly pay much more in taxes. Yes, you could have a billionaire who pays no taxes because he chooses to live in an efficiency and drive an '86 Yugo. That's only a problem if you believe that the government owns all income, and is naturally entitled to its "fair share," because class warfare or whatever. I prefer the tax theory of take from people the very least necessary for government to function. And I suspect there would be very few billionaires living tax free under this system, because it has an actual lifestyle cost to them. The only cost now for billionaires to live tax-free is they pay their accountants and lawyers $900/hour to get creative with shell entities.

Comment: Re:I'm all for abolishing the IRS (Score 1) 318

by Zordak (#49377197) Attached to: Sign Up At Before Crooks Do It For You

1. You misunderstood me. I was saying you could come up with a really long list of exceptions to consumption tax without being more complicated than our current labyrinthine tax code.

2. I'm not arguing in favor of progressive taxes. Again, I was just pointing out that there is plenty of room for a consumption tax to get really complicated without being more complicated than the mess we have now.

And no, if you want to make a consumption tax regressive, you don't have to make it complicated. You can exempt the first $X of purchases, where $X is some "living wage" line according to some politician's favored theory. You now have a progressive tax. Perhaps not progressive enough to wage effective class warfare, which means the Democrats will hate it. But the good news is, Republicans will hate that it doesn't have enough loopholes for their monied cronies to avoid paying any taxes at all. So maybe I'm in favor of it after all. I'm in favor of almost anything that those clowns in Washington are all unified in hating. And since everybody would be helping to carry the load of the government they ask for, the big winners in this system are the upper middle class, who are currently getting screwed from both ends of the income spectrum.

Comment: Re:I'm all for abolishing the IRS (Score 1) 318

by Zordak (#49375103) Attached to: Sign Up At Before Crooks Do It For You

I dislike the IRS as much as anyone, but I think taxing income is a lot simpler to make progressive than trying to categorize all the different kinds of products available would be.

Have you seen our tax code? When I took Federal Income Taxation in law school, I had to get a copy of the tax code, and it was about six inches thick. (I don't remember, or care, if or how much it was annotated.) That's a mighty long list of exceptions to consumption tax.

But consumption taxes will never take on, because the tax code is really about control. If I grant tax favors for certain preferred behaviors, I can exercise a phenomenal amount of control over what you do. If I'm a power-grubbing statist anywhere on the purple spectrum, that's much better than merely influencing what you buy.

Comment: Re:Same can happen at a cloud provider... (Score 1) 262

by Zordak (#49341535) Attached to: RadioShack Puts Customer Data Up For Sale In Bankruptcy Auction
It's not quite that simple. When B purchases the data, the contract between you and A doesn't just disappear. B purchases the data subject to the contract. Since there is no provision in the contract that it's not transferable (at least not on RS's end), that's a normal and acceptable thing to do with a contract. That's not a guarantee that they won't do the most nefarious thing with it that they can get away with, but simply putting up a torrent of it probably won't fly. In fact, that's exactly what the NY AG is talking about here. RS received the data under an agreement. They can't breach that agreement just because they're going bankrupt.

Comment: Re:How fucking tasteless (Score 2) 341

by Zordak (#49333215) Attached to: Feds Attempt To Censor Parts of a New Book About the Hydrogen Bomb

That their culture was steeped in something does not mean that every individual is obsessed with it. American culture is obsessed with a bunch of people named Kardashian, but all I know about them is that there are several of them, and I think one of them is named Kim or something.

And racist or not, yes, Japanese culture was obsessed with killing and torture. It had been for a very, very long time.

Comment: Re:How fucking tasteless (Score 5, Insightful) 341

by Zordak (#49332235) Attached to: Feds Attempt To Censor Parts of a New Book About the Hydrogen Bomb

Many feel the Japanese would have surrendered anyhow.

I call BS. Before the atomic bombs, Japan's strategy was to basically arm every citizen and make the invasion of the mainland such a bloody, costly quagmire for the Allies that they would negotiate favorable peace terms. Even the Wikipedia article on Surrender of Japan has a deeper understanding of the issue than whatever you're making up. Even after Hiroshima, the Supreme Council voted against surrender. They thought that maybe the U.S. only had one bomb, or that it lacked the will power to use it again. After Nagasaki (and the Soviet invasion), the Supreme Council still didn't want to surrender, so they tortured a captured U.S. P-51 pilot, and he told them that the U.S. had at least 100 atomic bombs (he was lying). But the cabinet still split on whether to surrender. It took the emperor basically begging the cabinet, for the sake of the millions who were about to be slaughtered, to persuade them to vote in favor of surrender.

Modern navel-gazing revisionist historians really don't appreciate how truly warlike and blood-soaked the entire Japanese culture was before 1945. They were obsessed with killing and torture. The Japanese surrender and subsequent disarmament fundamentally transformed the entire nation.

Comment: Re: Prototype (Score 1) 126

by Zordak (#49325325) Attached to: Boeing Patents <em>Star Wars</em> Style Force Field Technology
No, they aren't. (See part II, perpetual motion machines lack utility.) So you are partly wrong and partly right. You absolutely do not need a working prototype to get a patent. Many, many patents are issued without a prototype. But there is a specific basis for rejecting perpetual motion machines. (And yes, I am an actual, honest-to-goodness patent attorney, so I am not just making stuff up. I have filed many applications without a working prototype, and have turned away inventors when they have brought me what amounted to perpetual motion machines.)

Comment: Re:do you really want the uninformed voting (Score 5, Interesting) 1089

by Zordak (#49296269) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US

So do you really want the uninformed/non interested making a vote.

The unspoken assumption behind this proposal is that yes, Obama does want the uninterested and uninformed to vote, because he assumes they will trend Democrat. Some of the Democrats' greatest strongholds are high-density urban centers where both education and income levels are low. So Obama extrapolates that out and decides that means that mandatory voting will be a big windfall for Democrats, and give them a one-party lock on government.

I suspect that the reality wouldn't be as rosy for them as they're hoping. I could see it being a boon for third parties, as people who have no interest in the two major parties are compelled to find a candidate they don't hate.

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen