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Comment: Re:Maybe it's time... (Score 5, Insightful) 311

by gwolf (#48195505) Attached to: 3D-Printed Gun Earns Man Two Years In Japanese Prison

Banning firearms will not finish the problem, but will very likely decrease it.

I know that single-account experiences are not statistically important, but anyway, it's not the only time I have heard such an account — And all I know is what I (or my close ones) have lived.

My family in Argentina were robbed at home, at gunpoint. The robbers asked them to hand over (in this order) firearms, jewels and money.

If firearms are harder to come by, they will not be likely to be found in a regular person's home. Of course, the black market will still have them — But the black market will have higher prices for them. Fewer wrongdoers will be able to get their hands on weapons.

If you add to this programs such as one implemented in my city, where the local government asks you to (voluntarly) hand over any guns you have paying for them in more useful goods (such as a computer, or even cash), the amount of guns in the street decreases. That means, the amount of armed people decreases. And the price for individual guns (let alone "specialty" guns, which should just be banned outside of army use) goes up. Everybody wins.

Comment: Re:Maybe it's time... (Score 5, Interesting) 311

by gwolf (#48194567) Attached to: 3D-Printed Gun Earns Man Two Years In Japanese Prison

I cannot repeal laws in a country where I am not a citizen. But sadly, the USA blindness on this topic has impacted our lives.

I am Mexican. Believe whatever you want, but during my lifetime, I have not seen a single firearm besides those in control of the security force (and a very old rifle used for hunting, ~25 years ago, in quite a rural setting).

However, our territory is very vast and varied. And you have surely heard we do have violence problem. And you most likely heard about stupid "research" USA programs, such as "Fast and Furious", where guns were *knowingly to the USA authorities* smuggled out of the USA and into Mexico, to help "trace the paths"of the druglords.

Our druglords buy uncontrolled firearms (both "regular" and high-power) in the USA, and use them here. So, yes, I do have basis for complaining on the status quo.

Comment: To each their own... (Score 2) 353

by gwolf (#48162085) Attached to: Apple Announces iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, OS X Yosemite and More

When the netbook craze began (2008), I bought a 9" Acer Aspire One, for roughly US$400. That was my main laptop (and, during vacations, my main computer. Yes, I work at a university, so six weeks of vacations every year).

One year ago, I decided it was time to renew. I bought its sucessor, the 10" Acer Aspire One. For US$350. And it's my main computer outside of my office. I am really happy with it.

I have just bumped up its memory (2GB6GB). Besides that, I'm more than satisfied with what I got. I have recommended it to my family — Nowadays, my wife has one, and I have taken three more to her family (mother and two brothers). We are all quite happy with them (except for the sister that insisted on keeping Windows 8).

So, yes, US$400 for a good five year use... Is about US$80 per year. Quite acceptable!

Comment: Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 832

by gwolf (#48160821) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

The society needs solidarity. If I get more money than others, a fraction of my income should go to help set a minimum base from where the society as a whole can work. Many people are poor, not because they are lazy or disorganized, but because they started with insurmountable differences in regard to what we like to call the middle class. Having people below the poverty line is not good for the society — If I want crime not to raise, I should invest in not having them hate or envy me because of my better luck.

Of course, I can only do my bit of helping; I live as what in my country would be middle class, maybe even middle-upper. But the more you earn, the better you can endure a higher percentage of it going to help others. And, of course, the more that will end up being.

Comment: Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 832

by gwolf (#48160795) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Completely agree — and complementing my other comment on this thread, just a tiny bit above right now, the main reason why my country (Mexico) is stuck is that ~60% of the economy is informal — So no taxes are collected. and, of course, for the corresponding ~60% of the population living in that economy, there is no social services (health, retirement, etc) that the rest of us do have. Which are not great, granted, but they can be real life savers.

Comment: Most of the world pays both (Score 1) 832

by gwolf (#48160771) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Because they happen at very different moments in time, and have very different meanings. And, of course, because their impact in society are very different.

I live in Mexico. The poorest ~half of the country have to pay very little taxes, if anything. Income tax for workers on low wages is very low. And we have VAT exemption on many prime-need items (i.e. unprocessed food, medicines, books). Income tax raises slowly, then steeply; VAT is flat 16% for everything else.

I am far from rich, but pay a fair share of taxes. And of course, the more you earn, the more you complain about how much you have to pay.

Comment: Why mine? (Score 1) 130

by gwolf (#48064499) Attached to: Bill Gates: Bitcoin Is 'Better Than Currency'

OK, mining adds an incentive into solving the puzzle to get enough units of the currency available. BUT OTOH, why should most people invest in mining, particularly when it is not worth its cost anymore? A currency is acquired through labor (or selling stuff) and is exchanged for stuff (or paying for labor). People don't need to generate new bitcoin units, just to use them.

Comment: Re:I feel like we are living in an 'outbreak' movi (Score 2) 258

I live in Mexico City.

The initial fear and reaction was not because it was a known-deadly virus, but because it had not yet been established how contagious it would be, which vectors would it be dangerous on. The city was really weird, almost dead, for the first week of the outbreak — People feared overall to get out of their houses, there was a shortage of mouth-covers (that were later found to be basically useless). It took several weeks to get back to normal.

Of course, with AH1N1 people started saying how it was blown out of proportion. I know some people who were conclusively diagnosed with the virus, and basically had to endure a bad flu but nothing else. I know second-hand of people who did die because of it, but they were all basically immuno-depressed or had preexisting respiratory diseases in some way.

Ebola's growth vectors and mortality rates are known and studied. And yes, I'd expect stricter measures and care. But there is no point in comparing a known disease (maybe insufficiently studied, but 40-year-old anyway) and a new one.

Comment: One thing (Score 1) 942

by gwolf (#48035783) Attached to: David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

Most of America uses decimal.

Canada uses decimal. Mexico uses decimal. Central-American countries use... Well, a very strange mix, lets leave them aside for a bit ;-) But from Colombia until Chile and Argentina, every country uses decimal.

Maybe we should also get the USA to choose a proper country name, as all of us who live in the same continent will continue to insist we are Americans.

Comment: Argentina is far from chaos... (Score 1) 208

by gwolf (#48000251) Attached to: Drones Reveal Widespread Tax Evasion In Argentina

Believe me, they do have building codes, and strictly adhere to them.

My wife is an Argentinian. She is also an architect. We live in Mexico (which is also not as chaotic as some US-dwellers would think). And after four years living here, she still cannot believe how lacking our building codes are in several key aspects. Of course, they are veri strict regarding issues they never even think about (i.e. resistance against earthquakes or hurricanes, depending on the area of the country).

She lived in a smaller city, a province capital, ~330,000 inhabitants. Closed neighbourhoods are forbidden, and even though the market strongly pushes for them, not one has been built. In fact, the few that came close to it were forced open by the government. In larger/denser cities, the building height is perfectly respected, you can see a continuous line of buildings as they are exactly the same height. And the list could go on a lot.

You know that feeling when you're leaning back on a stool and it starts to tip over? Well, that's how I feel all the time. -- Steven Wright