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Comment: Re:YES the must be dicks (Score 1) 256

by Rich0 (#49498677) Attached to: FBI Accuses Researcher of Hacking Plane, Seizes Equipment

It's the other way around buddy. If he builds the tools to pen-test an aircraft system with his own money he is under NO obligation to share that information.

Sure, but that doesn't mean that he's free to use those tools in an operational aircraft.

He can of course mess with an aircraft with the permission of the owner on the ground. Legally he probably can't mess with any aircraft in the air, since that would be a violation of its type certificate (it was certified with one set of software, and he introducing another).

Comment: Re:misdemeanor?? (Score 1) 245

by Rich0 (#49498667) Attached to: Gyrocopter Pilot Appears In Court; Judge Bans Him From D.C.

You can't legally fly within 60nm of the center of DC without taking an online training course. If you want to fly to an airport right on the edge of the restricted area it is probably complicated, but for the most part you just need to stay outside of a certain distance and you're fine. If I were operating anywhere near that area i'd probably request flight following as well - then you're broadcasting a transponder code and talking to somebody who can tell you you're wandering towards trouble before they are scrambling jets.

Isn't that odd how during 9/11 NORAD went some two hours without scrambling a single jet, despite the normal response time measured in minutes they aim for and we have witnessed in every other instance of a flight going so far astray?

Every other instance before or after 9/11? A lot of attitudes changed after 9/11.

However, this wasn't a commercial flight. In general small aircraft can go from anywhere to anywhere and nobody takes notice. The exception is controlled interface and ADIZs, and the SFRA around DC is even more of an exception. Any aircraft that enters that airspace is subject to interception, or possibly even being shot down.

Comment: Re:Open Source implementation of Play Services (Score 1) 235

by Rich0 (#49498603) Attached to: Google Responds To EU Antitrust Claims In Android Blog Post

Google is moving more and more utilities to Play Services, which is not open source.
Play Services is not only about Google-related services, it is also about OAuth for instance.
Unknowing developers rely on Play Services, making their apps incompatible with pure-Android devices.

To solve this problem, an Open Source implementation of Google Play Services is being developed:
http://softwarerecs.stackexcha...

Google really needs to split Play Services.

I get that they want to make the framework updateable without a full OS update. I think that is a great idea. They should make an "Android Frameworks" app and release it as open source. Mandate that it be pre-installed on any device that passes their QA, and recommend that everybody else use it as well. Why wouldn't they - it is FOSS and just makes the device better.

Then limit Play Services to, well, Play Services. It might handle authentication to your Google Account, verify that paid apps are legit, and so on. If you remove it then you might not be able to use your Google account with the device, or use the Play Store, but otherwise Android works just fine. This can be proprietary.

Honestly, though, I'd actually like the Google Account stuff to be FOSS. I should be able to sign into my own server and have contacts/etc sync and backups and all that. It is great that you don't HAVE to use Google's services, but it would be better if you also had the option of rolling your own.

Comment: Re:Awkwardly enough... (Score 1) 245

by Rich0 (#49498219) Attached to: Gyrocopter Pilot Appears In Court; Judge Bans Him From D.C.

He failed to register the LSA. If everyone who did this were locked up for 3 years there would be a lot of harmless aviation enthusiasts in federal prison.

From my experience with regulators from several countries, they tend to not sweat the small stuff until it is obvious that you aren't paying attention to the big stuff. Then they go through everything with a fine-toothed comb and throw the book at you.

The guy flew into the DC SFRA. If the FAA doesn't ruin his life, then everybody and their uncle will be doing it, and then they don't really have a buffer zone in which to shoot down aircraft that are potentially threatening.

The fuel tank issue is a bit like citing somebody for worn wipers in a vehicular homicide investigation. They're just padding the charges.

Comment: Re:Typical Misdirection From White House (Score 1) 245

by Rich0 (#49498197) Attached to: Gyrocopter Pilot Appears In Court; Judge Bans Him From D.C.

Quite the contrary. He sent them a message a full hour in advance, saying that they should expect him.

The White House knew he was coming and expected him

You've got a lot of faith in Uncle Sam if you think the left hand (whomever reads info@barackobama.com) talks to the right hand (FAA, NORAD, USSS, and a few other agencies in the alphabet soup)

Heck, it's not even a Government address, it's BHO's campaign organization's address.

Agree. Can you imagine how much noise those addresses get?

This is a bit like explaining to the IRS that it shouldn't have been a problem that you filed your taxes late, because you told the postal delivery agent that you were running a few days behind when he was dropping off a package.

Comment: Re:misdemeanor?? (Score 1) 245

by Rich0 (#49498181) Attached to: Gyrocopter Pilot Appears In Court; Judge Bans Him From D.C.

Pilot here. Even though this guy clearly did it intentionally, accidentally violating an airspace in a small plane without sophisticated navigation equipment is easier than you would think. Someone does it every once in a while. Don't get me wrong, it's still a big deal, but not a felony. I wouldn't ever fly near the D.C. area out of fear of doing exactly that. The airspace up there is pretty complicated.

You can't legally fly within 60nm of the center of DC without taking an online training course. If you want to fly to an airport right on the edge of the restricted area it is probably complicated, but for the most part you just need to stay outside of a certain distance and you're fine. If I were operating anywhere near that area i'd probably request flight following as well - then you're broadcasting a transponder code and talking to somebody who can tell you you're wandering towards trouble before they are scrambling jets.

Obviously flying IFR is the simplest solution. ATC tells you where to go and you follow the route and you're fine.

But, if you're just buzzing around sightseeing over the white house, then sure, you're going to be in a lot of trouble. They actually have lasers to illuminate aircraft to try to warn them off, so that shooting them down isn't their only recourse.

+ - If Earth never had life, continents would be smaller-> 1

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "It may seem counterintuitive, but life on Earth, even with all the messy erosion it creates, keeps continents growing. Presenting here this week at the annual meeting of the European Geosciences Union, researchers say it's the erosion itself that makes the difference in continental size. Plant life, for example, can root its way through rock, breaking rocks into sediment. The sediments, like milk-dunked cookies, carry liquid water in their pores, which allows more water to be recycled back into Earth’s mantle. If not enough water is present in the mantle about 100 to 200 km deep to keep things flowing, continental production decreases. The authors built a planetary evolution model to show how these processes relate and found that if continental weathering and erosion rates decreased, at first the continents would remain large. But over time, if life never evolved on Earth, not enough water would make its way to the mantle to help produce more continental crust, and whatever continents there were would then shrink. Now, continents cover 40% of the planet. Without life, that coverage would shrink to 30%. In a more extreme case, if life never existed, the continents might only cover 10% of Earth."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:In other words (Score 1) 312

by Rich0 (#49484815) Attached to: Google, Apple and Microsoft Squirm As Global Tax Schemes Scrutinized

Companies work within existing tax laws, and they have nothing to be ashamed by abiding by current tax laws. If the government offers you a tax break for buying a new home, of course you are going to take the tax break - even if you think the tax break is total bullshit.

That sounds a bit like walking past somebody lying dying on the street, pointing out that there is no law that obligates you to help them, and then saying that there is nothing to be ashamed of when you refuse to do so.

If the government actually sets up a tax break to incentivize something, there is nothing dishonest from doing so. The problem with corporate tax avoidance is that it usually involves structuring one type of transaction as if it were a completely different type of transaction to claim a tax break that was never anticipated. That is why you find companies doing nonsense like buying municipal sewer systems in Europe and leasing them back to the government for free in perpetuity.

Comment: Re:It is unclear... (Score 1) 293

by Rich0 (#49484135) Attached to: Denver TSA Screeners Manipulated System In Order To Grope Men's Genitals

Or because as long as people are OK with that bit of intrusiveness every time they travel, they'll be more accepting of other restrictions on their freedom as well.

I think the other theory is more plausible. I don't think there is some massive conspiracy to increase government intrusion for its own sake, such that there are deliberate attempts to desensitize people to it. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of intrusion all the same, but the motive tends to be more directly tied to somebody with a stake. They don't want to monitor what you download just to do it - they want to monitor it because they get bribes from Hollywood and Hollywood wants to stop movie downloading, etc.

Whenever something bad happens there is ALWAYS a blame game. Actions that were perfectly reasonable get questioned if they were somehow tied to the chain of events. If somebody blows up a bus full of kids while it is stopped at a traffic light, some idiot is going to propose that school buses should have flashing lights and be able to drive through red lights to reduce the opportunity to attack them with RPGs.

It seems like a 100% certainty that at some point in time terrorists will attack another US airliner. Security can make that very difficult, and maybe it will happen in 10 years, or maybe it will happen in 50 years, but sooner or later somebody will figure out a way to do it. At that point, everybody is going to be pointing fingers at anybody who voted no when the bill came up that would have instituted some control that would have prevented that particular incident. Never mind that there are countless areas where you could tighten security and if you tightened them all we'd be flying naked on planes with our baggage in separate planes after having all gone through full body cavity searches.

Comment: Re:Lower taxes (Score 1) 312

by Rich0 (#49482841) Attached to: Google, Apple and Microsoft Squirm As Global Tax Schemes Scrutinized

You can call it "to the bottom" if you think you somehow benefit from high taxes. (I don't, because I work and pay taxes instead of sitting at home collecting a benefit check.)

Consider yourself lucky then. Many are born without the ability to work a single productive day in their life. Are you suggesting that they should be euthanized?

Comment: Re:Lower taxes (Score 1) 312

by Rich0 (#49482819) Attached to: Google, Apple and Microsoft Squirm As Global Tax Schemes Scrutinized

Let food-buyers pay for USDA inspections and medicine-buyers pay for FDA.

Yeah, that makes sense. If the poor can't afford taxes, just let them not eat.

The problem with these kinds of schemes is that they tend to be incredibly regressive. You can't have socialism without fairly high tax rates on the parts of the economy that actually produce wealth.

Comment: Re:The "spirit" of the law... (Score 1) 312

by Rich0 (#49482813) Attached to: Google, Apple and Microsoft Squirm As Global Tax Schemes Scrutinized

As Ms. Carnegie points out, if you want stuff taxed in your jurisdiction, change the law so that happens - dont wave the "spirit" of the law around as if it has any meaning other than a method of blackmail.

I think it would be far wiser to take the opposite approach.

The most effective form of enforcement is self-enforcement. You want to give companies incentive to just stick with boring accounting and to stop using schemes designed for tax avoidance. The best way to do that is not to create lots of well-defined rules to ban particular practices, because that means that companies can simply use different practices with relatively little risk. What you want to do is create a lot of uncertainty around whether a particular practice is legal or not. This means that companies are going to err on the side of caution, and minimize their use of tax avoidance schemes.

Any businessperson will tell you that the worst thing for a company is uncertainty in regulation. That means that in areas where you want business to grow, you want simple laws that get rid of the risk and allow companies to invest. On the other hand, in areas of the economy like derivatives and tax avoidance schemes that don't really create true value for the average citizen, you want there to be a LOT of uncertainty in risk. Make those CEOs find it impossible to sleep at night for fear that the FBI will kick down their doors while they're sleeping. Give them a reason to have their finances audited twice to make sure there isn't any activity that anybody might construe as a tax dodge. When somebody makes a minor mistake make their shareholders lose their retirement accounts. Then you'll see a return to simple accounting practices.

Comment: Re:So - the fact that others are doing it makes it (Score 1) 312

by Rich0 (#49482763) Attached to: Google, Apple and Microsoft Squirm As Global Tax Schemes Scrutinized

In an ideal world, the electorate can deal with the immoral government, and the government can deal with the immoral company by making their actions illegal (if indeed it's the will of the people to crack down on immoral activity).

I'm not arguing that they should be punished for being immoral, but long term, they probably *should* expect the law to stop treating them so favourably.

Agree, but governments should really do these kinds of tax law fixes in a way that creates tremendous expenses for companies that have been gaming the system.

Otherwise they'll just keep finding another loophole.

It might even make sense to make tax code changes ex post facto for some period of time. That would create tremendous risks for anybody taking advantage of loopholes, and thus companies would just be boring and use traditional accounting.

Comment: Re:So - the fact that others are doing it makes it (Score 1) 312

by Rich0 (#49482745) Attached to: Google, Apple and Microsoft Squirm As Global Tax Schemes Scrutinized

Any taxes paid by corporations are directly and immediately passed on to their customers anyway so what the hell is the difference?

You could argue the same thing of any tax. Sales taxes raise costs of living, which means workers won't live in the area unless employers pay more, which means their costs go up, which means prices go up, which raises the cost of living. Income taxes get passed on to employers (since they have to pay more so that people are still willing to work for them), that gets passed on to customers, and so on.

And yet, taxes still work and have worked for centuries. There might be a loop, but as long as people can keep a reasonable return on their work, they'll work. It isn't like the taxes add up to 150%.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson

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