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Comment: Re:china has smog, so its clearly chinas fault. (Score 3, Informative) 121

by jdschulteis (#46767259) Attached to: Pollution In China Could Be Driving Freak Weather In US

Americans constitute 5% of the worlds population, yet we consume 24% of its energy.

Please stop using this bogus comparison to imply that Americans use more than "their share" of the world's energy. The correct comparison is between inputs and outputs. The USA produces nearly 20% of the world's GDP. If your 24% is correct, we have room for improvements in energy efficiency, but we're not nearly the energy gluttons that you're suggesting. The low ratio of population to energy use is largely due to our high productivity.

+ - IRS Can Now Seize Your Tax Refund To Pay A Relative's Debt

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Just in time for the April 15 IRS filing deadline comes news from the Washington Post that hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who are expecting refunds are instead getting letters informing them that because of a debt they never knew about — often a debt incurred by their parents — the government has confiscated their check — sometimes on debts 20 or 30 years old. For example, when Mary Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them. Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family — it’s not sure who — in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter. “It was a shock,” says Grice, 58. “What incenses me is the way they went about this. They gave me no notice, they can’t prove that I received any overpayment, and they use intimidation tactics, threatening to report this to the credit bureaus.”

The Treasury Department has intercepted $1.9 billion in tax refunds already this year — $75 million of that on debts delinquent for more than 10 years, says Jeffrey Schramek, assistant commissioner of the department’s debt management service. The aggressive effort to collect old debts started three years ago — the result of a single sentence tucked into the farm bill lifting the 10-year statute of limitations on old debts to Uncle Sam. The Federal Trade Commission, on its Web site, advises Americans that “family members typically are not obligated to pay the debts of a deceased relative from their own assets.” But Social Security officials say that if children indirectly received assistance from public dollars paid to a parent, the children’s money can be taken, no matter how long ago any overpayment occurred. Many of the taxpayers whose refunds have been taken say they’ve been unable to contest the confiscations because of the cost, because Social Security cannot provide records detailing the original overpayment, and because the citizens, following advice from the IRS to keep financial documents for just three years, had long since trashed their own records. More than 1,200 appeals have been filed on the old cases but only about 10 percent of taxpayers have won those appeals. "The government took the money first and then they sent us the letter," says Brenda Samonds.." We could never get one sentence from them explaining why the money was taken.”"

Comment: Re:What if we overcorrect? LA comparison (Score 1) 333

Shesh, nope. First, what tax subsidies are you talking about? There is no way Coal is subsidized, nor is oil and gas.

Do a little research. Here's a starting point.

It's going to be cheaper to make electricity by natural gas for a LONG time, especially over solar.

That depends on how bad the fracking earthquakes get.

+ - Russia prepares to attack the petrodollar

Submitted by Snirt
Snirt (1908938) writes "The existence of "petrodollars" is one of the pillars of America's economic might because it creates a significant external demand for American currency, allowing the US to accumulate enormous debts without defaulting. If a Japanese buyer wants to buy a barrel of Saudi oil, he has to pay in dollars even if no American oil company ever touches the said barrel. Dollar has held a dominant position in global trading for such a long time that even Gazprom's natural gas contracts for Europe are priced and paid for in US dollars. Until recently, a significant part of EU-China trade had been priced in dollars. Lately, China has led the BRICS efforts to dislodge the dollar from its position as the main global currency, but the "sanctions war" between Washington and Moscow gave an impetus to the long-awaited scheme to launch the petroruble and switch all Russian energy exports away from the US currency."

+ - Would Amazon Dare To Make A Phone? Of Course->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "'So-and-so is about to release a smartphone' is one of the oldest tech rumors around, and most of the time nothing comes of it. But Stephen Lawson of the IDG News Service argues that if anyone non-phonemaker were going to dip their toes into that treacherous water, it'd be Amazon. The company hasn't been afraid to take on incumbents in the tablet and TV set-top box markets, and the financial rewards for breaking out of the content ecosystem imposed by other providers are too great to ignore."
Link to Original Source

+ - Microsoft Unveils Skynet UI

Submitted by Bob768
Bob768 (2670995) writes "Skynet is Here, Literally, Thanks to Microsoft. Skynet UI Turns Microsoft researchers have unveiled a new 3D scanning software called Skynet UI. No Skynet is not an artificial intelligence ready to take over the world, but it is a pretty clever way to turn a smartphone camera into a 3D scanner, without any additional hardware. The user interface uses a technology called 3D reconstruction to turn 2D images into 3D renderings.

+ - Study Shows American Policy Exclusively Reflects Desires of the Rich->

Submitted by CamelTrader
CamelTrader (311519) writes "A forthcoming paper by Princeton's Martin Gilens and Northwestern's Benjamin Page analyzes policy over the past 20+ years and conclude that policy makers respond exclusively to the needs of people in the 90th wealth percentile. A summary at the Washington Post by Larry Bartels:"
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Not a flamebait summary (Score 1) 236

by jdschulteis (#46731811) Attached to: GM Names Names, Suspends Two Engineers Over Ignition-Switch Safety

I have long held the belief that software can be life critical at times and software engineers should be held to the same professionalism as any other form of engineering.

It is a matter of fact, not belief, that software can be life critical. For the majority of software, though, cost and time-to-market considerations far outweigh coding to the highest professional standard. "Good enough" wins.

Comment: Re:Why not? (Score 1) 236

by jdschulteis (#46731755) Attached to: GM Names Names, Suspends Two Engineers Over Ignition-Switch Safety

In most places "Software Engineers" meet no accreditation requirements, have no requirement to belong to any society which regulates ethics, experience or training.

I've worked with real engineers, ethics was more important than their education.

There is no requirement to belong, but at least there is a society that promulgates ethics.

+ - Science Play and Research Kit Winners->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Science Play and Research Kit (SPARK) competition winners were announced today. The SPARK competition was a challenge to “reimagine the chemistry set for the 21st Century,” according to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Society for Science & the Public press release. Many people in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) careers today often recall being inspired by the chemistry sets of old that stimulated their curiosity, wonder, and interest in science. Sadly, many chemicals included in these old sets are now illegal and the newer sets, well, just don’t have the same kinds of thrilling experiments."
Link to Original Source

+ - Samsung Claims Breakthrough In Graphene Chip Design->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "Graphene, a carbon-based crystalline lattice that is extremely strong, lightweight, and an excellent conductor of electricity and heat, is coveted as a potential base for semiconductor chip design, and Samsung, working with the Sungkyungkwan University School of Advanced Materials Science and Engineering, has claimed a big jump towards that goal. With IBM also making progress in this realm, the days of silicon could actually be numbered."
Link to Original Source

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.