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Soulskill from the and-what-about-monopoly-money dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Federal regulators are starting to make noise about Bitcoin, the digital currency that's gained in recognition and value over the past few years: the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is offering up 'guidance' for digital currency and those who use it as part of commerce. But the Bitcoin Foundation, which is devoted to standardizing and promoting the currency, doesn't like that idea; as Patric Murck, the organization's general counsel, wrote in a March 19 blog posting: 'If FinCEN would like to expand its statutory authority over "money transmitters" to include brand new categories such as "administrators" and "exchangers" of digital currency it must do so through proper rulemaking proceedings and not by fiat.' If Bitcoin continues to gain in value, it could spark a rise in virtual currencies—and force some very interesting discussions over regulation. But here's the question: would regulation actually be good for Bitcoin, if it made organizations and businesses more comfortable with using it as a currency?"
Bitcoin is the greatest real-world experiment in Austrian economics. For once we'll get to actually see if a "deflationary spiral" will actually occur when the rate of money creation slows, or if the Keyensians were just full of it.
Whether bitcoin actually succeeds or not, we'll at least get some really good data.
I don't know how you can possibly claim that taxes are not coercive. They are absolutely coercive. If you don't pay your taxes - the government will come for you. Even if you live on your own property, and never use any public services (which is most certainly possible), they will still make you pay. Taxes are not at all like paying for a dinner that you've already eaten, because they'll make you pay whether you've eaten or not.
I agree that people should pay for services that they use. But, taxes are a horribly inefficient way to do this.
Government is not civilization. Government is just a monopoly on force. I don't disagree that paying taxes pays for many things, including roads and national defense, but if you took government out of the equation, we'd still be living in a civilization. As long as humans act rationally, and cooperate with each other, we've got civilization.
Billosaur writes "With the recent announcement of Google's X-prize for a successful private landing of a robot on the Moon, someone has asked the Explainer at Slate.com if permission is required to land something on the Moon? Turns out that while there is no authority that regulates landing objects on another world, getting there does require the permission of the national government from where the launch takes place. This is in accordance with the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, signed by 91 nations, which regulates the uses of outer space by the nations of Earth. Specifically, Article VI enjoins: 'The activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty.' Start your paperwork!"J adds: The relevant quote from Destination Moon is "If we ask for permission, they'll find a way to block us. So we go now, as soon as we can!"
Zonk from the just-a-little-bit-of-money dept.
mpfife writes "Toms Hardware reports that declining microprocessor sales have pushed AMD deeply into the red. 'The company reported a net loss of $611 million on revenues of $1.233 billion, which is more than 20% below the guidance the company expected at the end of Q4 2006. The loss includes charges related to the ATI acquisition in the amount of $113 million, but is mainly a result of the increasing competition with Intel in the microprocessor market.'"
samzenpus from the atook-do-calculus-then-zug-zug-lana dept.
MCTFB writes, "According to CNN, human beings may have acquired a gene for developing bigger brains from Neanderthal man. Apparently, 70% of the world's population has a variant of a gene regulating brain size, with this variant being most common in people of European descent (where Neanderthal man lived alongside ancient humans), and least common in people of African descent (where Neanderthal man was non-existent). While modern day eugenicists might all too eagerly read into these findings to draw their own politically biased conclusions, people such as myself, who happen to be of northern European ancestry, may find it fascinating that somewhere in our lineage ancient humans and Neanderthals decided to make love and not war on the ancient plains of Eurasia."
kdawson from the just-gimme-a-pipe dept.
An anonymous reader writes, "Karl Bode of Broadband Reports takes aim at supposed telecom experts and think tankers who profess to love the 'free market,' but want to ban the country's un-wired towns and cities from offering broadband to their residents. If you didn't know, incumbent providers frequently determine towns and cities unprofitable to serve (fine), but then turn around and lobby for laws that make it illegal to serve themselves (not so fine). They then pay experts to profess their love for a free market and deregulation — unless that regulation helps their bottom line. A simple point: 'Strange how such rabid fans of a free-market wouldn't be interested in allowing market darwinism to play out.'"