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Comment Re:Just (Score 2) 181

Side note: the guy that installed our new furnace a couple years ago said he runs solar in his home with no battery pack, at night he just switches over to the utility power (actually I think it switches automatically).

Assuming that guy is doing the standard grid-tie configuration, it's not that the house "switches over" at night, so much as that all power generated by the solar array goes out to the local grid (and causes the electric meter to run backwards), and all power used by the house comes from the grid (causing the electric meter to run forward). The actual electric bill is therefore calculated by subtracting the amount generated from the amount used during each billing cycle.

Comment Re:Nerdgasm (Score 1) 239

For example, if you raise the taxes on xyz corporation, they will simply raise the prices of their products/services to keep their bottom line the same.

Sounds like you're assuming 100% inelastic demand. For life-saving pharmaceuticals and similar absolute necessities, you may be right (hence the steady rise in health care prices, perhaps), but for most things, companies are not free to simply raise prices whenever they want to, because if they did, fewer people would buy their product/service, and they would make less profit than they would if they kept prices down.

If staying in business was simply a matter of totaling up all costs (including taxes) and then setting prices to some level higher than that, no company would ever go out of business. In real life, the only companies lucky enough to operate that way are government contractors operating on cost-plus contracts.

Comment Re:Hmmmm (Score 1) 892

Well, this is what you get when you have a project run by rock star developers.

Now it would be better if people were more mature in their communications, but the bottom line is that (a) they're smarter than almost everyone else they know, (b) they know their work better than anyone else and care deeply about it, and (c) they get results. Under the circumstances have no reason to act like grown ups. They're not only rock stars, they're still churning out hits.

It's no wonder that they take the attitude "the world has to take me uncensored, and if anyone doesn't like that then it's their problem." It's a perfectly understandable attitude, but it's not an admirable one. Trying tact first won't necessarily make you more successful, especially if you're a rock star. But it won't make you less successful either; after all if tact fails the option of publicly humiliating someone by showing how much stupider they are than you is still open. What it will make you is a better person.

Comment Re:Safety (Score 1) 446

No, he's pointing out that people who want to kill other people for notoriety are going to do it, laws or not.

Like any other crime, there are a few people who will commit the crime regardless of any law, and there are of course many people who would never commit the crime, even if they were 100% guaranteed to get away with it. The law's deterrent effect is seen only in the third group of people: those who would commit the crime if they thought they could get away with it, but won't actually do it because of the risk of being caught and punished.

It sounds like you are arguing that the third group does not exist. If so, I think you are wrong about that.

Comment Re:weakly disguised hit-piece (Score 5, Interesting) 326

Well, she was outfoxed.

The PJB-100, the first disk-based MP3 player, was in my hands in 1999 - a full two years before the iPod. HP owned fundamental patents that could have taxed each unit that Apple sold - but seemed to be entirely unaware of that ownership.

Instead, they paid Apple to resell their own inventions. Brilliant!

So yeah, she just totally sucked.

Comment Re:Everyone Is Guilty, Only Enemies Will Be Indict (Score 3, Insightful) 108

If you are a leftist, beating the shit out of private companies is well and good. Remember: corporations are evil! Prosecuting them is only a good thing. Are you a corporate shill?

I am neither a leftist nor a corporate shill. I believe in beating the shit out of private companies that deserve to have the "shit beat out" of them. You need only look at the lengthy history of consumer protection in the United States to find instances where this was and is necessary. Take, for example, Debt Collection Practices. Please, please, please "beat the shit out" of unscrupulous collection agencies. Please "beat the shit" out of the companies that call my grandmother to deliver unsolicited advertisements about a "warranty extension" on her car. There are plenty of private companies that should have this done to them. The issue I take with China's implementation is 1) that it will never target a state owned business and 2) the guidelines are by no means clearly laid out and can be ambiguously interpreted. Who will interpret them? When will they interpret them? Why just in time and by the same state body that made them. Please tell me, how can I prove that my product's advertising does not "Cause detriment to national dignity"?

Comment Do Not Conflate This With Individual Free Speech (Score 2) 108

Communists don't believe in free speech?


It's not that binary. The United States has its own truth in advertising laws that, in my personal opinion, are beneficial at both the federal and state level. Slashdot readers are free to go the Libertarian route and claim the free market would alleviate these issues on its own or perhaps point out how downright pedantic it can be at times. But the truth of the matter is that, as a consumer, we only have so many hours in a day to decide which of the thousands of products we consume in a year we should spend our money on. So it does come down to federal guidelines for what is "Grade A" or "Organic" or "Green" when there is a label espousing these properties and there are consumers paying a premium for this notion. Without those guidelines those words will mean absolutely nothing and there will be no way to tell where your product was made, how much cadmium it has in it or whether it is the end result of spewing carbon into the atmosphere. Without similar laws, you wouldn't be able to trust the nutritional information at the grocery store. Is it free speech to claim that my potato chips cure cancer and lead to weight loss no matter how many of them you eat? People will know that I'm lying? Cigarettes used to sooth sore throats. Trans fats used to taste awesome.

Speech used by an individual to express ideas is free speech. Advertisements -- especially advertisements representing a very large organization -- are not. Corporations should not have the same rights individuals have and I feel that free speech is one of those clear cut distinctions. There is a long history of consumer protection everywhere in the world -- learn about your own country's struggles with it. It's not a simple issue and advertisement should not be regarded as free speech.

Comment Everyone Is Guilty, Only Enemies Will Be Indicted (Score 5, Insightful) 108

Here is the full text of the newly amended law. Here is the WIPO listing the deltas with the older 1994 version of the law (click expand notes). It appears that this is the first change in this law since 1994. Also the WIPO provides a PDF of their English version which seems to be slightly different. I also found a definition of the extent of what is regulated advertising by the PRC. Here's the WIPO's full list of defined restrictions:

1) Overt or covert use of national flag, anthem or emblem of People’s Republic of China or military flag, anthem or emblem;
2) Overt or covert use of the name or image of national public institute or staff of national public institute;
3) Use of words such as “national-level”, “the most” and “the best”, among others;
4) Causing detriment to national dignity or interests, or disclosing national secrets;
5) Interfering with social stability, or causing detriment to social and public interests;
6) Harming personal or property safety, or disclosing privacy;
7) Interfering with social public order, or going against good social norm;
8) Containing obscene, pornographic, gambling, superstitious, terrifying, or violent content;
9) Containing discrimination based on nationality, race, religion, or gender;
10) Affecting protection of environment, natural resources or cultural heritage;
11) Other situations prohibited by laws and regulations.

Merely sounds like another tool for the Party to deal with companies that are not state owned. Most companies will be found guilty of some section of this but they won't be prosecuted until they run afoul of the Party. In China (and increasingly in the US) everyone is guilty of something but only those that the state wants to be prosecuted will be prosecuted.

So looking at the story, we have a new law enacted a month ago and whose head is on the chopping block today? Xiaomi? Well from wikipedia:

Xiaomi Inc. is a privately owned Chinese electronics company headquartered in Beijing, China, that is the world's 4th[4] largest smartphone maker. Xiaomi designs, develops, and sells smartphones, mobile apps, and related consumer electronics.[5]

Aaaaaand there's your problem. Wake me up when a state owned company is prosecuted under these new laws. Xiaomi's true crime was probably doing better than Huawei.

Another megabytes the dust.