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Comment: Same old ... same old (Score 1) 839

by mordred99 (#48169445) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

The problems are simple but complex. We, as a country need to figure out what we want to do and what we need to tax. The issue becomes we have the hydra of tax code now which you find the least evil head and pay taxes there. People by nature hate to pay more than they have to (in taxes, for items, etc). We need to figure a strategy which answers these questions:
* Do we want to have a progressive/regressive tax?
* Do we want to tax wealth or income?
* Do we want to tax when people participate in the economy (i.e. sales tax)?
* Do we want to have a simplified or complex tax code?
* Do we care about effective tax schemes? (i.e. tax on prepared food "effectively" taxes the poor more as they eat at McDonald's more)
* Do we want to limit wealth accumulation (on the rich, on everyone) by taxing it?

Comment: Re:He lives in a state with no income or cap gains (Score 1) 839

by mordred99 (#48169339) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

He also pays millions in property taxes living Medina, as well as almost 10% sales tax on anything he spends, and some of the most oppressive fees I have ever seen on items. The state of Washington does not have issues with it's budget, so how it gets its income really is not relevant.

As for your pedantic listing of people's net worth, I can do that too:
OJ Simpson's net worth: $10 million
Hermann Cain's net worth: $54 million
White crack whore: $3

Creating facts out of thin air makes no difference.

Comment: Re:Three things you can tax, and consumption is ba (Score 1) 839

by mordred99 (#48169191) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

You are talking real estate property, not all property (or assets). If you are talking all assets, then you are opening a huge can of works because national registries will have to be created for all items sold so that people will register that diamond necklace, or 1000 gold coins they purchased, etc. Otherwise they will get out of real estate (or keep one token item) and then minimize their tax burden. Then they can claim the sold it and now you have IRS agents traveling all over trying to find these items that people are hiding.

Comment: Re:This looks like a nasty trick. (Score 1) 839

by mordred99 (#48169029) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Buying an item internationally does nothing to stop the taxation. If a ship is registered in the US, they are required to pay the tax on the purchase price. My state does this now when you purchase a car out of state, but register it in my state (I pay my state's sales tax). Yes they can register it internationally but the amount of income lost will be a pittance (in terms of %) to what can possibly be gained overall. This is the problem with the modern world, we can travel freely, and thus move money and assets internationally.

Comment: Re:Better Data Shouldn't Be That Hard (Score 1) 403

by mordred99 (#48091761) Attached to: Fuel Efficiency Numbers Overstate MPG More For Cars With Small Engines

You absolutely can trust the data being collected. The data is 100% accurate for that car and how it was driven. However taken out of context, the data does not give you anything. Just because your car does not give you a decimal place on your LCD screen, that is a programming choice of the UI, not what the car has stored in data. Every car with OBI II sensors can tell you to the Nth decimal place what gas has been used, and over how many miles.

However I agree that it will never happen unless legislated (or directed by the NHTSA or TSA or EPA) as not for legal purposes about the car and MPG, but just for the cost of storing that data, and the privacy concerns that come with it.

Comment: Re:Don't even think it (Score 1) 403

by mordred99 (#48091677) Attached to: Fuel Efficiency Numbers Overstate MPG More For Cars With Small Engines

There is also the problem with gear boxes. When you are in the top gear (or over drive) at 55 MPH, when you drive the speed limit at 70+ MPH you are 15 MPH into the top gear, thus increasing the revs just to drive the speed limit.

The funny thing is for the longest time we heard you never need more than a 4 speed automatic. Then the EPA changed the MPG ratings to include 65 MPH and now we got 6 speed automatics. Then they added 70 MPH to the test and now we started getting 7-9 speed automatics. Funny how that works.

Comment: This is because college is not a job training tool (Score 2) 389

by mordred99 (#48073701) Attached to: Is It Time To Throw Out the College Application System?

This is again why people are looking at this the wrong way because college is not a job training tool. Companies have just pushed colleges to do this because they want to get what people used to spend 3 years as an apprentice in a company learning directly day one. The point of college academics is to create .. wait for it .. more academics. People who will know how to think, do research, and contribute to society from an academic standpoint. Yes the first 4 years give you a basic world point of view, and help you with critical thinking, and some basic skills for a career path.

This is why (among many reasons) colleges in the US fail to setup people for the workplace. It is used as a baseline template of what someone needs to know to work in a job. It is like someone with the right degrees or certifications after their names being the only people who can apply for a jobs. I know more than many CISSPs that I have met but never felt compelled to plop down a grand to take a test. Does that mean I am not as good as those that have the discretionary (or their company has) funds to pay for that test? It is a benchmark for people but does not mean it has to be used.

College has a goal, a task, and a process for creating graduates. If you want to just learn skills, but not know how they work, or why they work, then go to a trade school. That is what trade schools were setup for originally, to give someone the skills that you learn in college without the theory.

Comment: While I wouldn't mind (Score 1) 496

by mordred99 (#46662677) Attached to: Will Cameras Replace Sideview Mirrors On Cars In 2018?

There are two things I see as issues.

1) For us old timers who have been driving a while, we are trained to turn left and right to see when we need to make changes and see other cars. Now taking your eyes off the road ahead of you to look down at a screen will take some getting used to.

2) For anyone who lives in foul weather climates and already has a backup camera knows they gum up when there is snow, sleet, rain on the road. Every backup camera has issues with this and I have to clean them off every time I get into the car as an added task when driving. Adding more cameras will just add to the task.

Comment: How will this be implemented (Score 2) 518

by mordred99 (#46629683) Attached to: Department of Transportation Makes Rear View Cameras Mandatory

Here is the problem from an implementation stand point (which I think others have the "should this be done" covered in previous posts). Right now most vehicles have two radio systems in it. One is the "el cheapo" and the "whole enchilada" which usually costs a grand more with a screen and everything else. What is going to happen is that now cars are going to come mandatory with the screen and thus the "choice" for a cheaper car will be taken away from the drivers, thus making the car another 1000 dollars because they have to implement this with a crappy business model.

I don't know at the end of the day if everyone will implement in this style, but now days there is a race to the bottom for cars in terms of price and options so that they can hit a price point. When government mandates came about the last time (in the 1996-1998 era), requiring anti-lock brakes, traction control, and dual air bags, cars got expensive (like 2-3k more expensive) immediately. I foresee the same thing happening here.

Comment: Main reasons I see between my son and I (Score 2) 635

by mordred99 (#46006543) Attached to: U.S. Teenagers Are Driving Much Less: 4 Theories About Why

I have a teenager and I can answer these questions from his perspective vs. when I was in high school 20 years ago.

1) Home entertainment is so much better. He can play his x-box, talk to friends on live, play on the internet. All of this is in lieu of personal contact or face-to-face conversation. When I was a kid, if I wanted to play with someone, I had to do it at their house. The only way to get there was driving or riding a bike.

2) Cell phones allow for faster communication. Relationships which were either face to face or on the phone when I was a kid. Now you can have face to face, Skype, video chat, etc. on your cell phone along with texting and other forms of media on your hand held which makes it much easier for them to maintain a relationship with much less effort.

3) Effort. When I wanted to do something, I had to leave the house or host people at my place. This was effort and sometimes was taxing. Most kids now days see the effort in hosting people at your house or going to someone else's house as a waste due to the reasons #1 and #2 being the way to get your human interaction.

4) Legal issues. Shit I used to do when I was a kid is now illegal. I am not talking drugs or anything like that, I mean like meeting up with friends at a jr. high and playing some ball, or 100 other things I used to do. We live in an extremely litigious society and as such things that were simple when I was a kid, you cannot do anything and kids are trained from a young age to rely on mommy and daddy to do things for them as they are the only ones who can take a risk.

5) Cost. While this is somewhat true, I don't think it is that much different than when I was a kid. While gas costs 3 times more, they also make double the amount of money at work due to minimum wage increases. Insurance is the same (dollar for dollar) as when I was driving and when my son is driving. Cars cost the same (a good $3k car is still there for people to get for kids). It all depends on the quantity of money and how much you make your kid responsible for their costs.

At the end of the day, there are many other things, but I remark #1 and #2 as the biggest differences between generations. If I didn't see a friend, I didn't talk to them. Now there is a dozen way to talk to a friend, and never leave the couch. Thus driving was the only way for me to see them.

Comment: Re:Efficient? (Score 1) 176

Yes they would if A) they were totally educated on the issue. B) those non-incandescent lights didn't cost an arm and a leg just to buy one or two. C) people's experiences with the first generation of those bulbs were positive (ie. no warming up for a minute before the light got up to proper lumens)

This is the same issue today with Americans and Diesel engines vs. traditional gasoline engines.

Comment: Nope .. (Score 3, Insightful) 453

by mordred99 (#45595403) Attached to: The Desktop Is Dead, Long Live the Desktop!

I don't know where and why this keeps coming up, but at the end of the day, the death of the PC won't happen for a while, for many reasons:

1) Creation vs. Consumption
        I hear this bullshit a lot as the main driver for the death of the PC. This is a particularly specious argument. The whole creation vs. consumption aspect comes from creating content. While I can type on a tablet or other device, it is not as good (no matter the method) as a keyboard. I can type this entire post in 20 minutes on a keyboard but would take hours (and having fun with spell check, etc.) on some tablet device.

2) Ownership of content
        This a huge one. With a desktop I can own what I own, and it is mine. With any always connected, remotely managed device I never can control what they manage. Cloud apps just scare the hell out of me as you don't own anything. You buy a song on ITunes, it is yours until Apple says it is not. You buy a movie from Amazon, it is your until the movie studio sues Amazon and they get a take down notice. This is why if I buy something, it is a physical device. You can not take my Blu-Ray copy of Skyfall without a warrant and coming to my house.

3) Ownership of information
        The next thing is who owns your data. Have you read many of the EULA for software? Try turbo tax. You would think that your data is yours. Nope. Well I can control how the software works and how it calls home for information my data is stored locally. It never sends that information out. Now use the online (cloud) app from them, they store your information for you. Let me see my tax information is probably one of three things I never want anyone to see (for identity thief protection). This is stored somewhere where you trust them to keep it safe. This is why a desktop (or laptop) is best for this as it is stored local and you have control.

4) Form Factor
        Yes at the end of the day, you can consume any form of media on any form factor. I can watch netflix on my tablet or my phone, but is that the most enjoyable experience? Hell no, it is just the most convenient. If I am going to watch a netflix show I would rather watch it in all its glory on my 52" TV with dolby digital sound system. However when I am sitting at an airport, yes I have to watch it on my portable devices since pulling a 52" TV through an airport w/ associated 7.1 system would just be unfeasible.

5) Gaming
        While some stupid little game like candy crush or angry birds work on those form factors, you cannot tell me that a high FPS FPS (heh .. frame per second, first person shooter) will never work on your dinky 4.3" Iphone screen. Yeah games can be made for those form factors, but at the end of the day, are those the games which are going to be what you want to spend 60 dollars on and want to spend hours playing on a larger screen. Nope, that is a console or a desktop.

Comment: Re:Bank fees (Score 1) 1103

Simple, it costs the bank money to do these transactions. The issue is that the banks used to just eat the costs and pay less on the back end in terms of interest to the banks customers. However, what has happened (same with the airline industry) is that people notice that banking is a comodity. Whoever provides the best XYZ combination wins my business. I don't care if it is BOA, Key, Fifth Third, etc. Whoever provides the best serivces, rates, and fees package wins my business. As such, people are not loyal to one certain bank, and can easily change banks. So banks have to compete with the best "services" and people are in general stupid. If they get a 0.5% better interest rate over at this bank .. then hell lets open up an account over there. However the hidden fees and what not wipe out that 0.5% quickly and you really got screwed on that deal. As I said, same thing for the airline industry. Seats for $199, but extra fees for e-ticket passes, peanuts, drinks, and luggage that puts the cost of the ticket at $259. They are creating a competitive market pricing strategy through asterisks, offuscation, and disclaimers.

Comment: Simple Rant (Score 2) 376

by mordred99 (#43884145) Attached to: Too Many Smart People Chasing Too Many Dumb Ideas?

The simple answer to all of this is choice, and the consequences of choice. I consider myself one of the "best and brightest" and why don't I go out and do what author is describing? Simple, myself subscribed to the philosophy that I needed to make a decent living (aka, I made a choice to live comfortably). I then chose to have a child with a woman who eventually split with me. I chose to get full custody of my son. Based on those choices, I was then told by society (a judge) that I had to live in central Indiana, and not in Washington, if I was to have my son live with me. Now Tell me how I can sit here with all those choices, and tell me how my life is going to work out.

I cannot work on the coasts, I cannot travel, I have to be home every night at 5-6pm, I want to live comfortably, I have to work in central Indiana. Tell me what a highly intelligent person is to do if they want to "change the world" or "help the underprivileged". Straw men such as the original author stated only work when things can work out for the person doing the work's favor.

Lets go with another example. Smart person wants to do a company which helps people. Great. They need money. They go out and they have to get into bed with VC or some angel will give them money for costs. This is great until said money giver now wants a return or worse yet, profit. So they have to find a way to make money. Giving things away does not make money (as poor, disadvantaged don't have a lot of excess cash to pay for things). So that means, companies who have altruistic intentions, must create a marketable application/device/item/widget and then sell that, make money, pay back the original shareholders, pay expenses/taxes, invest in R/D, and then finally with what ever is left, give money away for the original altruistic intentions were to begin with.

I cannot stamp my feet in the street and say "I want millions of dollars to create a company to help poor people, with no chance of paying back the original investors." The only way I can see that is if you hit the lottery.

Comment: Re:Time to Retrain People to Ignore the "Work Ethi (Score 1) 808

by mordred99 (#43747719) Attached to: Rice Professor Predicts Humans Out of Work In 30 Years

Yes and no. While in the entire star fleet example you state the entitlement ethic, I wonder about other worlds that dont have people who want to work for the betterment of mankind. Not all people are naturally curious, nor do people naturally want to spend their entire life to help/entertain/etc. other people. The issue becomes no matter what kind of society you live in you will have some sort of trade. Do you think all those bottles of Romulan Ale that those star fleet officers came because someone could walk down to a store and get them without paying for them? No they had to offer services to get them. As such, you will naturally have the "haves" and "have nots". No matter what society you create in your mind, you will have people who will not contribute due to the one immutable law of humanity, people will do the least amount they can to get the most they can get by with.

A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention, with the possible exceptions of handguns and Tequilla. -- Mitch Ratcliffe