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Comment: Re:In other words (Score 1) 312

by TheLink (#49440729) Attached to: Google, Apple and Microsoft Squirm As Global Tax Schemes Scrutinized

Must be nice being a multinational corporation, getting to chose how much taxes you pay and where you pay them...

On a related note:
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazi...

Seriously, in my opinion if an entity can declare in the USA (for example) earnings and other stuff as its own, borrow money using it as collateral, and decide how that $$$$ or stuff is used, then that entity actually owns the stuff and should pay the relevant taxes.

So many corporations are saying to shareholders and everyone else that the huge profits are theirs and yet turn to the tax dept and say no they didn't make any profit - the profits belong to some company in Ireland or wherever else. In my opinion that's fraudulent from an ethical point of view.

Say you tried to do the same thing - declare some $$$$$$ income in official public announcements/filings to everyone, borrow money using that income, order "unrelated people (who somehow have similar names as yours)" to use that income to buy stuff. Do you think you'd get away with telling the Tax Dept that the income isn't yours and you don't have to pay taxes on it?

Maybe this would cause some companies to fully move out from the USA to other countries. But at least they would no longer benefit from what the USA provides without paying their fair share.

Comment: Re:wildfires? (Score 2) 304

by bmajik (#49430525) Attached to: Obama Says Climate Change Is Harming Americans' Health

So I agree entirely with your sentiment, except I chuckled when you wrote that you live in Seattle.

What's funny about that is Seattle is also full of rich dumb people that make dumb decisions.

If you've done the Seattle underground history tour, you know that Seattle basically sunk into the sound long ago. The whole city history is replete with stories of stupid people that fought nature and lost.

Recently, the highway 99 project comes to mind :)

Comment: Re:Don't worry actors (Score 2) 360

by TheLink (#49384759) Attached to: Why More 'Star Wars' Actors Don't Become Stars
Uh the pixar lamps have more emotion than the actors in the phantom menace.

That movie was so bad - it seemed to me like most of the actors were just reading their lines for the first time, and then George Lucas goes "CUT! OK that's good, let's go make more dresses for Amidala".

It's like someone doing a presentation for the first time and reading what's written on it line by line vs someone doing it for the 100th time and going "fuck the slide, now let me tell you a story". It takes a while for actors to figure out who their character should be and how the character would and should act.

And that sort of thing results in Han Solo's famous in-character "I know" to Leia's "I love you" instead of the boring forgettable "I love you, too" that was apparently in the script.

That's why you hire actors - for their input - they'll tell you that their character shouldn't do X and should and would do Y instead. They might not always be right, but the good ones often are since they're focusing on that one character whereas you as the director are doing a lot of other things. The original writer might write a lot of stuff that works in a book, but doesn't work in a movie.

Someone earlier said acting was lying. But it's a higher form of lying where you are true to the character. Just like the Joker hospital explosion scene when not all the explosions went off as planned, and Heath Ledger improvised and turned the fault into a cool feature.

A nonactor like me could "tell the same lies" but not be believable as that character at all.

Comment: Re:Wasn't there a study that proved this was good? (Score 1) 326

by c6gunner (#49352011) Attached to: RSA Conference Bans "Booth Babes"

I can't remember where I saw it, but someone did a study comparing booth babes to trained senior citizens and the senior citizens did MUCH better job, resulting in greater sales and great callbacks.

That's no surprising. While I enjoy looking at the booth babes, I tend to avoid them whenever possible since I know that they'll just subject me to obviously artificial flirtation while attempting to repeat marketing gibberish which they don't actually understand. I'd much rather speak to a sweaty bearded guy in a tracksuit who can actually explain the product and tell me how it can help my business.

Comment: Re:Not faultless (Score 1) 536

Nope. All the fault is comcast. They lied. Plain and simple.

Um, no, they were mistaken.

If you have to go on the assumption that everybody is always lying to you all the time and double and triple check everything then you will get zero things done in your lifetime.

If you have to go through life assuming that anyone who makes a mistake is a liar, you're going to end up a cynical bastard who never gets anything accomplished, yes. If, on the other hand, you always keep in mind that people are fallible, you're much more likely to end up with good results.

Comment: Re:Ever hear of "sociology"? (Score 1) 274

by TheLink (#49285099) Attached to: Speaking a Second Language May Change How You See the World

How about this: http://www.businessinsider.com...

I don't really know how good the research actually is, given its claim that nobody could see blue till modern times. I'm pretty sure the Israelites knew and saw blue quite a long time ago: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

But that article is also about how language may change how you see the world ;).

Comment: Re:Missionaries (Score 1) 119

Well, I personally take the view that any society that forcibly sterilized 50% of its residents doesn't deserve to continue as a society.

I also don't think Malthus was correct.

Someone insinuated that I'd be ok with Jewish concentration camps if that resulted in a society that survived.

That's a hard question to answer. On one hand, what was done to the Jews was clearly immoral. On the other hand, a society that goes extinct isn't around to argue that it was a moral society. Heinlein noted that survival is somewhat of a precursor to moral behavior.

What we'd like to hope is that the choice between survival and violence against others is a false choice - that there is always a way to both survive and not harm others.

But that may not be the case for all societies in all situations.

It may be that the Native Americans came to the conclusion that you did -- that anything beyond a certain population was unsustainable given the technology level and resources they had available to them.

That may have been an eminently moral choice.

It also means that what they thought doesn't matter today - because there weren't enough of them to defend themselves against an invading society with different ideas.

Comment: Re:Missionaries (Score 2) 119

Another question to wrestle with:

Why didn't the colonization and empire building go the other direction?

Why weren't the native Americans launching ocean going vessels towards Europe? Why, when the Europeans arrived, were the NAs unable to repel them?

Why were there so many top-notch German scientists and engineers in that society in the 1930s and 1940s? Why, given its amazing technological advantages, did Nazi Germany still ultimately lose the war?

If you want a really uncomfortable question: why was South Africa apparently a much nicer place -- for everyone -- under European management with the distasteful Apartheid policy? Why has that society _regressed_ since kicking out the colonial invaders?

There are books on these topics that take varying points of view.

My point is very simple: pining for primitive cultures is romantically appealing but intellectually dishonest. And holding our ancestors to the standards of today is also silly - we can only hold them to the standards of their day --- unless you mean to imply that there has been no human progress.

It is precisely the fact that the Western world has shown dramatic human progress - even at the cost of slowing its own rate of expansion and conquest - that we can be confident that Western Civilization has something to offer the world.

Comment: Re:Missionaries (Score 1) 119

I don't believe that inside Nazi Germany nor in Stalinist Russia, there was the problem of a foreign empire clashing with an indigenous culture.

It seems the best American analogue to the experiences of those regimes was what was done to Japanese Americans in WW2 - which while awful, thankfully, doesn't hold a candle to what was done to the German Jews or the Soviet victims of Stalinism.

The history of the world is filled with violent tribal conflict, usually over the right to settle and tax a given piece of land.

The Jews and Nazis weren't fighting for control over Bavaria.

The Europeans did not set out with the goal of exterminating the native Americans. The NAs had their land taken from them by force, which is how it has always worked on this planet.

There are two general possibilities for how to proceed from here

1) convince people that taking land from other people is immoral

2) find additional land that is both unsettled and desirable

#1 is worth working on, and can show some real improvements, but will ultimately not be enough.

#2 is also worth working on, and why I am a space nutter, and why I am interested in how seasteading plays out.

A mix of #1 and #2 may help humanity not kill each other completely. We've gone almost 70 years with the ability to wipe ourselves out and we haven't done so yet. That's an encouraging indicator.

Comment: Re:Missionaries (Score 5, Interesting) 119

Small Part Native American here. Grandpa and mom are buried on the Res.

Not that my heritage should matter, but some people can't hear the message until they've decided what bucket to put the messenger in....

How is the way of life and/or world view of the Native Americans worth saving?

Same question for impoverished rural Africans?

We are having this conversation only because an objectively superior culture with an objectively superior propensity for technical development has built this amazing medium for our use.

My ancestors were excellent hunters, excellent farmers, and excellent stewards of natural resources. There are many things to admire and respect about what they did.

Ultimately, however, I'm glad I don't live in a house made of animal skin; I'm glad I have modern medicine; I'm glad my other ancestors - my white European ones - have shot themselves into space, and have opened a way for my children to someday get off this rock.

In many ways, Humans of all colors and shapes are still participating in the tribal violence that shaped native Americans and still shapes many Africans.

Some tribes are better run than others, with better results to show for it. Adapt or die.

Comment: Re:As far as I'm considered, this article ends wit (Score 1) 85

by bmajik (#49205297) Attached to: Inside Minerva, a Silicon Valley Bid To Start an Elite College Online

I don't think the distinction you're making is as bright of a line as many people wish it were.

When you think of "for profit" college, do you think of the motivations? The governance? The educational results?

I look at "normal" colleges and I see many examples of
- bad motivations: if you don't think "normal" colleges aren't motivated by the wrong things, look at how much money gets pumped into athletics programs. look at how much money goes to administrative stafff. look at how much money goes to building lavish student unions, extra rec facilities, and all kinds of other things that aren't really related to the "stated" mission of the university. instead, they're related to attracting student enrollment with candy; attracting not the top of the intellectual pyramid, but the broad base, with bread and circuses...

- bad governance. University administration and leadership live like royalty in some places. In my humble state the university chancellor is apparently forcing campus cops to be his personal chauffer. The higher ed system in this state badly misdirects state funds, over and over, and is never held accountable.

  - bad outcomes: plenty of people coming out of "normal" universities with toy degrees that are unemployable, and worse, really have no insight or understanding into anything worthwhile... and yet are saddled with plenty of debt.

Private universities are a response to current realities: many low-risk jobs require a paper degree, but no actual skills. Many traditional universities are needlessly stupid and expensive if all you want is that paper. And there is plenty of free money to go around, irrespective of merit.

I agree that for-profit diploma mills are probably a net negative. My point is that "normal" universities, in broad strokes, may not be any better.

Government

Come and Take It, Texas Gun Enthusiasts (Video) 367

Posted by timothy
from the a-lower-receiver-can-be-an-entire-gun-under-the-law dept.
In Texas, guns are a common sight:gun-racks are visible in the back of many pick-ups, and pistols, cannons, and rifles are part of the state's iconography. Out-of-sight guns are common, too: The state has had legal (though highly regulated) concealed carry for handguns since 1995, though -- contrary to some people's guess, and with some exceptions -- open carry of handguns is not generally legal. One thing that's definitely not a common sight, though, is a group of people manufacturing guns just outside the south gates of the Texas capitol building. But that's just what you would have encountered a few weeks ago, when an organization called CATI (Come and Take It) Texas set up a tent that served as a tech demo as much as an act of social provocation. CATI had on hand one of the same Ghost Gunner CNC mills that FedEx now balks at shipping, and spent hours showing all comers how a "gun" (in the eyes of regulators, at least) can be quickly shaped from a piece of aluminum the ATF classifies as just a piece of aluminum. They came prepared to operate off-grid, and CATI Texas president Murdoch Pizgatti showed for my camera that the Ghost Gunner works just fine operating from a few big batteries -- no mains power required. (They ran the mill at a slower speed, though, to conserve juice.)

Comment: Re:Child Gender (Score 2) 199

I can answer your question: yes, they do. You don't have to look for illegal content, you can:

1. Look for "fantasy stories" published by "child lovers". You'll find plenty that involve female adults with male or female children, indicating a - for lack of a better term - demand for that market.
2. Google "woman charged for creating child porn". You'll find at least a few cases of women who molested young children (preteens) and distributed the resulting material.

You can also look up cases like Karla Homolka, an infamous Canadian woman who was charged and sentenced for helping her husband rape and murder several young girls, including her own sister.

The depravity of the human mind is certainly not limited to the male sex.

Comment: Re:Christopher Alexander (Score 2) 81

by bmajik (#49116567) Attached to: Ancient and Modern People Followed Same Mathematical Rule To Build Cities

The last quarter or so of the patterns deal with interior space, but i think you might find it problematic to just apply them in isolation.

The patterns are meant to be applied in order, from largest effect with least detail, to smallest effect and highest detail.

So, for instance, if you take room that doesn't have "light on two sides"

http://www.patternlanguage.com...

there may not be much you can do, interior design wise, to save the room, without first trying some of the suggestions he has for how to deal with the lack of windows...

The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. -- James Baldwin

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