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Comment: Re:Unfortunately, this is women's perception (Score 1) 221

by Carewolf (#49762881) Attached to: Study: Science Still Seen As a Male Profession

As long as female culture remains the culture of fear

What is 'female culture?'
  Serious question.

Culture specifically targeting women and primarily consumed by women, such as women's magazines and a long range of TV show. I think you know a few if you think about it.

They ironically tend to be way more sexist (against women even) than mainstream culture.

Comment: Re:Misleading headline (Score 1) 143

by IamTheRealMike (#49762811) Attached to: Amazon Decides To Start Paying Tax In the UK

Actually, I think this move has got nothing do with the UK specifically. It's to do with the EU VAT changes that make Luxembourg no longer advantageous to sell from. Those changes came at grievous cost to small businesses but the EU doesn't seem to care.

Anyway. This whole thing is bad news. The UK is currently trying to throw the idea of tax law in the bin by passing stuff like the "General Anti Avoidance Rule", which literally says anything the government doesn't like is illegal (retroactively), i.e. it's not a law at all, but rather a return to the time of kings. The "diverted profits tax" amounts to the same thing - if the government sees something it wants, it'll take it, and there's nothing resembling normal legal processes to stop them e.g. no requirement to specify exactly what they will take and when.

In effect the UK is enacting an equivalent of America's civil asset forfeiture schemes, but for business rather than individuals, and with the justification of balancing budgets rather than the war on drugs. But they amount to the same thing - the law says they can seize money whenever they like, without needing any meaningful justification. And if you don't like it you can appeal to the same people who took the money in the first place.

It took decades of civil asset forfeiture abuse before it became bad enough to trigger real investigations/reforms in America, and the damage inflicted on civil society has been huge. When the laws were passed in the 1980's it's safe to say that the authors didn't really think through what would happen over the long term, even though the outcome was rather predictable.

I think what the Tories are doing will be the same - if these new taxes aren't struck down by the courts then in the long run they will inflict lasting and serious damage. It'll be hard to see at first because the new powers will only be used against very high profile and controversial cases, and then as governments constantly find they're out of cash, they'll go on tax raids ever more frequently with ever more dubious justifications as to why it's OK. And the impact will be that some businesses leave, others simply don't establish bases in the UK at all, and some businesses that would have been good are just never created in the first place.

Comment: Re:just what we all love (Score 1) 143

by IamTheRealMike (#49762787) Attached to: Amazon Decides To Start Paying Tax In the UK

But if you think about it, at the moment transnational businesses have an unfair tax advantage over national ones

Yes, they do. It's called free trade and is generally seen as very desirable, as it reduces paperwork and leads to countries competing to be better places to do business than their neighbours. That's why countries are always trying to sign free trade deals with each other - freer trade means more trade, and in the long run that leads to people being better off.

The problem the UK has is entirely and completely that it has become uncompetitive as a place to do business within in the EU. It's being outcompeted by places like Ireland and Luxembourg - hardly third world backwaters. The UK could regain all those businesses that set up shop in other countries and reap the benefits of the jobs and the income taxes those jobs create, but is unwilling to do so. The Irish people, in contrast, clearly signalled even during the depths of their (bank induced) economic crisis that low corporation taxes were popular and not to be meddled with. They're committed to being one of the best places to set up shop in the EU.

So where do things go from here? Amazon is moving and is now establishing local subsidiaries in places like the UK because the EU has rolled back key parts of the single market via the online VAT changes. If you're incredibly short sighted this might look superficially like a win, because it's eliminated the competitive advantages some EU member states had. If you look a bit closer you discover that to get Luxembourg's assent to this required effectively paying them for the lost tax income over a period of many years, so there's no net savings for a long time, it's pure smoke and mirrors. Worst of all, whilst Amazon can afford the miniature army of lawyers and accountants needed to handle the VAT fiasco, smaller companies generally can't. That was the whole point of the EU in the first place - to eliminate that sort of red tape. So everyone in Europe will suffer in the coming years from lack of services that would otherwise have existed, but don't, because the companies that could have provided them decided not to enter your local market due to compliance costs.

The most insidious effect of all this crap is that it will gravely worsen the problem that the EU tech industry is far behind Silicon Valley. Politicians love to bitch and moan about how dominated Europe is by American internet companies. One big reason is that if you start a company in America you immediately have access to a huge and linguistically unified single market. You can base yourself in California or Seattle and sell to the whole of the USA. Fixing the language issue is hard, but lots of people speak good English these days so it's going away of its own accord. Fixing the single market should have been a lot easier ..... and they were making progress, except that the moment some politicians felt they were missing out on tax revenue they rolled it all back. Perversely it's now easier for a European company to sell things online to the USA than it is to sell online to Europe!

Comment: Re:just what we all love (Score 2) 143

by IamTheRealMike (#49762749) Attached to: Amazon Decides To Start Paying Tax In the UK

Uhhhh - yes, there is something immoral about tax avoidance. Virtually all of the schemes used to avoid taxes were lobbied for by corporations

Bullshit.

The "loophole" that Amazon has been using is nothing more than the EU single market, in all its glory, exactly as it was intended to be used. The single market was created specifically so companies could set up a headquarters in the EU once, and then sell to the entire trade region without having to register or pay taxes in every single country. This wasn't some clever loophole or corporate scheme, it was constructed, very deliberately and specifically, by politicians that wanted to bring Europe together to avoid another re-run of the World Wars.

When the EU and its predecessors were being set up, governments were all super keen to establish this sort of single market because they saw it as a way to allow their own home-grown champion companies to expand, by selling to people elsewhere on the continent. Paying tax in a single country is fundamental to having a single market, otherwise the paperwork involved with understanding and filling out dozens of tax returns in langauges you don't speak would just be overwhelming. At the time, presumably those politicians didn't care that this meant one day there would be non home-grown companies selling to their people - creating big new companies takes decades and sure enough this "scandal" has only appeared long after the EU was set up and a new generation of companies started moving in.

Regardless, the idea that these companies are grubby scheming tax evaders is pure, unadulterated propaganda. They're doing exactly what they were intended to do - set up a single HQ and sell to everyone from it. The idea that what was once desirable is now immoral is being pushed by the UK media and government to try and distract people from the core fact that there are going to be way, way more cuts and they will be way deeper than anything that's happened up until now. That's not Amazon's fault - the amounts involved are trivial. The fault rests solely on the British people and their leaders.

Comment: Re:This is how organized religion dies (Score 1) 445

by Kjella (#49761595) Attached to: Ireland Votes Yes To Same-Sex Marriage

The scripture from earlier confirms to those of us who trust in the promise of God's kingdom --and who see dozens of bible promises already fulfilled-

Pardon me, I might be one of those godless heathens but I suffered through quite a few years of Christian teachings - what exactly has the Bible promised us apart from forgiveness from our sins and heavenly bliss in the afterlife? The old testament was as I remember it mostly punishments. Punishment for eating the apple, building Babel's tower, Sodom and Gomorrah and of course the flood to wipe out everything. We're all sinners from the original sin and if we don't repent it's hell.

The new testament was pretty much all allegories on how we should live, there were a few "one-off" miracles while Jesus lived but all those who saw him raise the dead, turn water to wine or walk on water has been dead for 2000 years. So there's good and evil in the world, but that's pretty indistinguishable from good and bad people with free will without God or Satan pulling anyone's strings.

So I'm curious, what is it you feel God has promised? And what do see that makes you feel he's delivered? Because I can't find a lick of difference, the devout believers get injured, sick and die like the rest of us and terrible sins go by without being struck down from the heavens. It's of course possible that all of this gets tallied up and justice is served in the afterlife, but here and now in this life I can't find any sign of God. Maybe I should ask this in the opposite direction, if you were to envision a world without God what exactly would be different?

Science

Study: Science Still Seen As a Male Profession 221

Posted by Soulskill
from the need-an-opposite-for-bill-nye-the-science-guy dept.
sciencehabit sends news of a study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology which found that science is still perceived as a predominantly male profession across the world. The results were broken out by country, and while the overall trend stayed consistent throughout (PDF), there were variations in perception. For explicit bias: "Countries where this association was strongest included South Africa and Japan. The United States ranked in the middle, with a score similar to Austria, Mexico, and Brazil. Portugal, Spain, and Canada were among the countries where the explicit bias was weakest." For implicit bias: "Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, and Sweden were among the countries with the highest implicit bias scores. The United States again came in at the middle of the pack, scoring similarly to Singapore. Portugal, Spain, and Mexico had among the lowest implicit bias scores, though the respondents still associated science more with men than with women."

Comment: Re:No comparison (Score 1) 77

by Kjella (#49760745) Attached to: Death In the Browser Tab

Look, I understand what you're trying to say. If they're trying to hide their atrocities we should expose them, if they're using them as propaganda and to terrorize we should suppress them. But as a guideline that would be very confusing and hard to live by since it assumes you know the details of every conflict and who wants what, assuming they're all in agreement which they're probably not. Not to mention the answer is probably (d) all of the above, some are inspired to fight against the atrocities, some are frightened by them and some are cheering them on.

Every year we send busloads of teens to visit Nazi concentration camps, not because we have some morbid fascination with death camps and genocide but because at some point you have to learn how cruel human beings can be to each other. But that is quickly fading out of living memory, it's 70 years since the war ended so those who really remember the war is in their 80s and 90s by now. Very soon it'll be "museum" knowledge that you read about in a book and look at an exhibit and it's going to be filed away as ancient history. But it's not, because there's still shit like that going on but we're not sure if we want to see it or not.

I'll admit that watching cruelty will make you die a little inside. You will want to punch something or maybe cry a bit, but at the end of the day I want the truth about the world not the PG-rated version. Which is of course not to say you should lose perspective, with 7 billion people it'll seem like anything you focus on happens a lot even if it deals with 0.01% of the population or less. And I'm here in the safety of my living room looking at a screen, I'm not the one in a war zone getting shot at. I'm not the one hoping nobody will bomb the market I go to. I'm not the soldier who needs to pull the trigger risking that innocents die if I do or die if I don't. I still got it easy.

Comment: Re:What? (Score 2) 87

by Kjella (#49760451) Attached to: Oculus Founder Hit With Lawsuit

Not really. I believe there is a clean hands doctrine that says if your inaction has amplified the harm then you might not get relief for that. For example if you live in the downstairs apartment and notice water is leaking from the upstairs apartment but don't do anything to stop it or limit the damage because you'd rather get the insurance money you can get cut short. It's a lot trickier with an IP issue, is it a lump transfer or an ongoing violation but I think it has most the characteristics of the former where you take a half-finished product and hand it to someone else to finish. In that case there's no harm in delaying apart from the statute of limitations.

Let's say I'm in an accident with you, but it seems at first to not be a big deal and I don't sue for damages. However it turns out it won't heal properly and I lose a lot of money and decide to sue anyway. Am I too late? No, those costs aren't caused by the delay, they'd come no matter what and it won't count against me. Of course I'm not in the US, there you find the nearest ambulance chaser and sue for $millions, unless it was a hobo that hurt you.

News

Ireland Votes Yes To Same-Sex Marriage 445

Posted by Soulskill
from the have-it-your-way dept.
BarbaraHudson writes: Reuters is reporting that the citizens of Ireland voted overwhelmingly to legalize same-sex marriages. While it's also legal in 19 other countries, Ireland was the first to decide this by putting the question to the citizens. "This has really touched a nerve in Ireland," Equality Minister Aodhan O'Riordain said at the main count center in Dublin. "It's a very strong message to every LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) young person in Ireland and every LGBT young person in the world." Observers say the loss of moral authority of the Catholic church after a series of sex scandals was a strong contributing factor, with priests limiting their appeals to the people sitting in their pews. In contrast, the "Yes" side dominated social media.

Comment: Re:Overblown (Score 4, Insightful) 335

And yet it's an obvious case for cheap political rhetoric, "What do you mean that's never going to happen? You're sitting there making plans for it right now!" I don't think you should underestimate the explosive power of contingency plans. For example in a supply chain you might have a contingency plan in case your business partners, vendor or distribution network turn shit but nobody's going to like that you have a plan to stab them in the back. And there's always those who willingly or unintentionally confuse planning in case of failure with planning for failure.

TL;DR: Some things you should just keep your mouth shut about, even if makes sense.

+ - Researchers devise a system that looks secure (but is it easy to use?).->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: The article in readwrite says that a team of British and American researchers have developed a hacker resistant process for online voting (http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/~mdr/research/papers/pdf/15-Du-Vote.pdf) called Du-Vote. It uses a credit card sized device that helps to divide the security sensitive tasks between your computer and the device in a way that neither your computer nor the device learns how you voted. If a hacker managed to control the computer and the Du-Vote token, he still can't change the votes without being detected.
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Funny but true (Score 1) 167

by Kjella (#49756547) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?

Well, we sure didn't get into it to write boring business applications except a few in the dotcom years who quickly moved on when it went bust. As I remember it though, there were many who just wanted to play games and only a few who wanted work with code and I don't think pushing them to play more would have brought them over. Of course you needed the opportunity, but there are a lot of games that are mod-friendly if you're so inclined. I'd sure encourage and test if tweaking a game peeks their interest, but if it doesn't I wouldn't try with more game time.

+ - Congress Seeks to Quash Patent Trolls->

Submitted by walterbyrd
walterbyrd writes: The process is moving quickly. The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to vote on the bill by the end of the month, readying it for a final Senate vote this summer, and the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee is likely to vote this week on a similar measure. That gives observers optimism that Congress will finally enact patent-troll legislation after a failed effort last year. “The Senate version really does seem to be hitting some sort of sweet spot,” says Arti Rai, co-director of the Duke Law Center for Innovation Policy in Durham, North Carolina.
Link to Original Source

Elegance and truth are inversely related. -- Becker's Razor

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