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Comment: Re: stupid germans (Score 2) 418

by MidnightBrewer (#48394749) Attached to: Japanese Maglev Train Hits 500kph

Youre over-generalizing. Japan has a very diverse climate, from subtropical in the south to New-England like winters in the north. Also, the Japanese Shinkansen stops for typhoons, but not wind or rain. For snow you're talking about delays, not stops. Just as long as it takes to clear thr tracks. There's a difference. And while parts of the Great Plains have extreme weather, they also have excellent weather systems already as a result. I don't think there's real need to blame the weather for not developing to system. And it's not always necessary to go at top speed to be fast enough.

(I happen to have lived in Oklahoma for ten years and Japan for twelve).

Comment: citation, please? (Score 5, Informative) 250

by kraut (#48329409) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Minimizing Oil and Gas Dependency In a Central European City?

Most of leaders, at least in Germany and Hungary, are in bed with the Russians and likely won't do anything about fuel security.

Don't know much about Hungary (*), but if you really think that Merkel is "in bed with the Russians" you have bigger problems than worrying about your fuel security.

Anyway, oil dependence is essentially transport based; more specifically, private car use. So cut or reduce your dependence on that. You live in a multi-storey building of which you control only part - some kind of apartment block - so probably a fairly densely populated area. That makes it simple: If you currently drive a car to work, stop doing that. If you're really lazy, you could get a motorbike or scooter, drastically reducing your dependence; if you're not that lazy start cycling. With a bit of practice, a 20-30K commute on a bike is really not hard, and you'll save money on gym fees. That's oil dependance sorted.

Natural gas is trickier if you don't own the building (or at least apartment). If you can, you should probably install solar panels on the roof - not for your own use, as such, but to take advantage of the feed-in tariffs. And then buy an electric convection heater so you can heat your apartment if the gas gets cut off. And maybe buy a good sleeping bag or extra duvet. That won't save you from a catastrophic meltdown - you'd need a wood burning stove, a cabin in the woods, and a seriously unhealthy dose of paranoia(**) for that, but it will make short outages of gas a lot more comfortable.

(*) Feel free to sing this comment to the tune of Sam Cooke's "Wonderful World" :)
(**) You seem to already have 1 of those three.

Comment: Re: Yay :D (Score 1) 313

by MidnightBrewer (#48192611) Attached to: If You're Connected, Apple Collects Your Data

Thank you. It's true, although we don't like to brag.

The information sent is anonymous, using an ephemeral session ID, which resets every 15 minutes. The data is sent over HTTPS, meaning it can't be intercepted. No personal data. The only purpose of all this is to improve search suggestions. Nothing to see here.

Comment: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Score 2) 410

by rossz (#47980983) Attached to: It's Banned Books Week; I recommend ...

People were trying to get it banned from the schools because "it is racist". Which suggests they either did not read the book, or failed to understand the entire point of the story.

Spoiler alert (and you should be ashamed of yourself if you had not read the book).

The story is basically about how Huck started as one who "knew" that blacks were inferior and their proper place was in slavery, and anyone who denied this was going to hell. After going through many an adventure with the runaway slave Jim, he came to realize that Jim was one of the finest men he ever knew, and if accepting him as an equal meant he was going to hell, then "fine, I'm going to hell."

It should be required reading in our schools.

Comment: Re:anarchists cookbook? (Score 1, Interesting) 410

by rossz (#47980941) Attached to: It's Banned Books Week; I recommend ...

A few years ago I was helping a friend do some xmas shopping. She saw a kids chemistry set that was "kid safe" and said, "oh, that's perfect!" I put a quick stop to that, "your husband has a degree in chemistry, and in the army his job was to blow shit up, and he still likes to blow shit up. How long do you think it would take for him to upgrade that chemistry set?"

She got her daughter a telescope, instead.

Comment: Re:Not the only strategy (Score 1) 324

by larkost (#47922389) Attached to: New Global Plan Would Crack Down On Corporate Tax Avoidance

The problem is that it is really easy to move "profit" from one place to another. A common ploy is to have one part of a company that is in a low-tax area to charge other parts of the company "licensing fees". In some cases this "licensing fee" means that the other parts of the company now make no profits.

If you try to tax revenues rather than profits, then you wind up really hurting (true) low-margin companies, and wind up under-charging (relatively) high-margin ones.

The best proposal I have seen yet is to tax companies on a percentage of the global profits based on the percentage of revenue earned in that tax district. However this would be really difficult to enforce in a reasonable way because 1) How do you audit all of the books in all of the countries to make sure they are not just hiding things? 2) It is still difficult to define profits, especially when you have multiple countries laws to deal with. 3) There is a major possible loophole in just moving all of the profits from one company to another using the same "licensing fee" trick, and having the licensing company have a presence only in a tax haven country.

Comment: Re: Mecial Cannabis companies (Score 3, Informative) 275

by rossz (#47877681) Attached to: California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

Did you fail comprehension? He clearly stated they sold the item at the advertised price. Loss leaders are perfectly legal (at least here in California), but you have to actually have to have a reasonable amount of the product on hand. So if a single person buys out all the stock, the business could get in trouble for not having the product on hand, which could be seen as bait-and-switch. When there is an extremely limited supply, it must be clearly stated in the advertisement. A loss leader is meant to attract customers in the hopes that they will buy additional items and make up for the loss and possibly gain a new regular customer. Also, it is perfectly legal to set a limit on sale items.

The key elements in human thinking are not numbers but labels of fuzzy sets. -- L. Zadeh