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Comment: Re:A tax break isn't s subsidy (Score 1) 353

by swillden (#49811273) Attached to: How Elon Musk's Growing Empire is Fueled By Government Subsidies

Actually corporate taxes result in higher wages as they are a write off for the company and reducing the corporate tax to zero would mean less incentive to pay high wages as those wages can be profits instead.

This is a rather silly argument. Money out is money out, whether it's paid in taxes or in salaries, or in capital expenditures. Companies are always going to seek to minimize their expenses to the degree possible, and the fact that increasing an employee's salary by $1 comes at a marginal cost of only 80 cents doesn't make the company any more anxious to spend that 80 cents, and more than it makes the company want to spend more on raw materials, or real estate, or property taxes, or paper clips.

With lower wages and higher taxes on consumers the company is going to lose revenue as people won't have money to spend

There's no reason to expect wages to decline without corporate taxes. Most likely the new equilibrium point will be that wages will be slightly higher in the exact amount needed to cover the additional taxes paid by the employees.

But now the employee will know the tax they're paying.

remember that taxes on consumers is always paid by employers in one way or another.

You have that exactly backwards. Taxes are all ultimately paid by people, because only people actually produce or consume.

Of course on the plus side, we can all incorporate and reduce our tax burden.

Wouldn't work. Any money you take out of the corporation to live on, or any money the corporation spends on you (housing, vehicle, food, etc.) is personal income, and would be taxed as such. About the only thing you could achieve this way is to defer taxes on savings. But they'd still get taxed eventually.

Comment: Re:Not a discovery (Score 5, Interesting) 80

by swillden (#49809849) Attached to: Scientists Study Crime In Progress In a VR Simulated Environment

Burglars have been telling us this for decades. Nothing new has been learned simply by using a video game scenario. In this the psychologists are half a century behind law enforcement. But it probably makes for a good grant write up.

Similarly, there was no point in Galileo and Newton studying the way stuff falls because everyone has been watching stuff fall forever.

You don't seem to get science. Finding a way to systematically study a subject in a controlled environment is the first step to dramatically increasing knowledge in that subject, at a pace that non-systematic, anecdotal experience -- however broad and deep -- cannot touch. In the case of the psychology of crime this has been problematic for the reasons mentioned in the study. The discovery here is that simulation may offer mechanisms that enable previously impossible areas of study, not the lessons about how burglars search homes. It's no surprise that the findings of the initial tests didn't contradict law enforcement experience... in fact if they had contradicted that experience it would have been a bad thing, since odds are that the new methodology would have been at fault, not the old experience.

If they can manage to establish a solid research methodology, though, and outline clearly its strengths and weaknesses, then they can start using it to systematically explore the subject. Odds are that many initial findings will merely corroborate anecdotal evidence. That's fine, and contrary to common non-scientific wisdom, it does not mean that such confirmatory studies are a waste of time and money. It's worth effort to establish that what you believe to be true really is (or, more precisely, to increase your confidence that it really is; absolute "truth" isn't reachable). But it's also a near certainty that, given a good experimental methodology, researchers will quickly be able to learn things that traditional wisdom does not know.

But none of that can happen if the subject can't be effectively studied and, particularly in psychology, it's often the case that the real breakthrough is in devising a way to test and measure. After that, the rest is just grunt work.

Will this method really enable significantly better research into the psychology of crime? I don't know. But it seems promising, and noteworthy.

Comment: Re:A tax break isn't s subsidy (Score 1) 353

by swillden (#49809581) Attached to: How Elon Musk's Growing Empire is Fueled By Government Subsidies

I actually like the idea of abolishing corporate taxes to extend this benefit to all businesses

I like this as well, and for another reason that you didn't mention. I think government should be accountable to its people, including in the money it takes and spends on their behalf. This implies a need for transparency in taxation: People should know what taxes they're paying. The problem with corporate taxes is that although they are inevitably paid by the people -- in the form of higher prices to consumers, lower wages to employees and reduced return for investors -- washing them through the corporations effectively hides the taxes from the taxpayers. There's also a good argument (which I won't detail here) that corporate taxes are rather regressive, falling most heavily on the lower and lower middle classes.

Far and equitable taxation requires being open to taxpayers about what they're paying. Corporate taxes fail that test.

Comment: Re:Till they're not.... (Score 1) 175

Google is declaring that Google Photos lets you backup and store "unlimited, high-quality photos and videos, for free."

Thats until they're NOT.... Google has a VERY nasty habit of cranking up these spiffy services, running them for a while, getting everybody onboard with them, then turning them off.... Stay away!! STAY FAR AWAY!!


Google shut down a raft of lightly-used and virtually unused services when Larry Page took over as CEO. Google has never shut down a widely-used service (no, Reader wasn't widely-used), and also has a habit of providing plenty of notice and options for getting your data out of every service, especially those that are being shut down.

So what's the worst case? You get a nice service for a few years and then have to download your photos and move them elsewhere. On the other hand, if this really does end up doing to on-line photo storage and sharing what Gmail did for e-mail, it will go the way of Gmail -- become a core product that is not ever going away.

Comment: Re:Yes. (Score 1) 172

An author's copyrights can be assigned or transferred to a third party. This leaves the author with only the same rights as any member of the general public. (There are a few narrow exceptions, but nothing that would prevent the possibility of an author infringing on the copyright of a work he created)

It's also possible for a person who prepares a work to not be considered the author. This is the case for works made for hire.

And of course copyright isn't mandatory, though that just leads to works being in the public domain, so at least there's no danger of infringement there.

Comment: Re:Correct, but silly (Score 1) 172

However, bear in mind that copyright only applies to original material, not to pre-existing material. A review which includes a quote is copyrightable, but the new copyright for the review only covers the portion original to the reviewer; the material quoted is only covered by the copyright of the work the quotes are drawn from.

17 USC 103(b):

The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material.

Comment: Re:Yes more reliable (Score 4, Informative) 100

by swillden (#49807433) Attached to: Google Calendar Ends SMS Notifications

And SMS is the most reliable because it involves the voice signaling channel and telephone companies are more or less required to reliably deliver them.

Not with newer phones; Verizon's new model phones all deliver SMS via the data network.

But your smartphone calendar can notify you even when you don't have service. That's a level of reliability SMS can't touch.

Comment: Re:An anonymous reader writes... (Score 1) 175

"It's a bit creepy to see all the photos that Google still has on tap, including many that I've since deleted on my phone."

If you think that's creepy, wait until someone breaks into your account and begins blackmailing you; threatening to publish your photos of that long forgotten 'incident' which seemed like harmless fun at the time.

FWIW, Google Photos changes this behavior by default. I think there's a way to override it, but in general if you delete a photo in one place now, it gets deleted from all of them. There are some very prominent warnings trying to make people understand that. This doesn't apply if you've shared it, though; the shared copies still exist.

"When in doubt, print 'em out." -- Karl's Programming Proverb 0x7