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Comment My own experience (Score 2, Interesting) 92

Here's my experience.

When some of my friends were frequently talking about their twice-weekly poker game, I heard them several times and starting thinking about if I might like to play poker. I ended up playing poker with them, twice a week.

Later, was flying home from a business trip in Vegas and wanted something to read on the flight. I ended up with three poker books. Later I put them in my reading room (bathroom). I was always reading *something*, and that month I read about poker. While driving or whatever, I'd think about what I read - think about poker. I ended up writing a poker- playing bot, spending quite a bit of time analyzing poker as I created software that played poker.

I doubt I would have spent thousands of hours on poker had I never starting hearing about it from my friends. I wouldn't have written poker software if I had read model airplane books.

Whatever book I get, I spend several hours reading about it, and several more hours thinking about it. Whichever TV series I'm into, that's what's in my head.

As a teenager, I was into heavy metal music. I constantly had heavy metal themes pumped into my head, so a lot of my thoughts were around topics in the lyrics.
Later, I started listening to Christian music. I find that when I hear a song about forgiveness, I tend to think about forgiveness. When I'm thinking about forgiveness, I'm more likely to forgive. I'm also more likely to be grateful for the forgiveness I've received, if that's what I'm thinking about because that's what I'm hearing on my way to work.

From my experience, it seems obvious that whatever I'm exposed to a lot affects what I think about. What I think about a lot tends to affect what I do.

Does that mean that if I hear you say the words "eat cheese" I'm going to immediately run to go eat cheese? Of course not? But if people are constantly offering me different kinds of cheeses, talking about which cheese goes well with what, I just might try some cheese every so often.

If my mind is on violence several hours per day, sure whatever I think about a lot is going to tend effect what I'm more likely to do.

Comment Only a very short term risk. Accepting like Paypal (Score 1) 171

He's not pricing tickets in BTC, or holding BTC. He's accepting it as a payment METHOD just like Paypal or Visa; it's converted to dollars either shortly after he gets it, or before he even gets it, allowing the payment provider to take the risk of a drop in the hours it takes to convert it.

Comment I tried to justify it, I really did (Score 1) 114

A couple weeks ago when I bought another car I really tried to justify going electric. I guess I just wanted one because they're different. The reality is, even after significant government subsidies you end with a low-end economy car for the price of a mid-range gas car, after factoring in gas cost.

Maintenance costs are low until you pay $6,000 to replace the battery, which is guaranteed to get worn out. Gas cars have low maintenance for the first 60,000 - 100,000 miles too. Even a cheap Kia comes with a warranty that lasts for five years or 60,000 miles, and a 10-year 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Given the battery technology driven by smartphones, ten years from now electric cars might make sense. Right now, no matter how hard I tried to come up with reasons they make sense, they just don't.

Comment I shopped at a conceptually similar place recently (Score 1) 247

I bought some things recently using a similar idea. At a Dallas hospital the vending machines have been replaced by what roughly like standard refrigerated display cases you'd see holding drinks at any convenience store. Chips and such were in a similar-looking case, just not refrigerated.

The customer taps their card or phone to open the case, then takes whatever they want. It detects if you take an item and then put it back. Especially if you wanted more than one item, it was more convenient than a standard vending machine that requires you to choose item A11 by pressing buttons, then wait for wire to turn, hoping the bag of pretzels will drop as intended.

Because there were no visible sensors or other mechanisms, and it was new to me, it was slightly disconcerting the first time, but interesting and convenient.

Comment Re:Until?!?? (Score 1) 95

> We'd be able to intelligently plan and act against large threats, like a plague or a meteor. We can detect disasters - not just imminent ones but long term, plan our colonies around territories with risk.

New Orleans begs to differ. ;)

Obviously humans are a very important species at the moment, and probably a "special" species. Also, insects have completely permeated the planet for hundreds of millions of years, so "the rise of the insects" isn't a future event, but a prehistoric one.

Comment You mean Intel and AMD? Who use nothing patented? (Score 1) 166

> any company that chooses to implement it

This patent relates CPU design, for CPUs used in critical applications involving lots of floating point operations. So by "any company" you mean "AMD and Intel".

> It'll never reach any mass adoption.

Right, neither Intel nor AMD would EVER license any patents for use in their processors (eyeroll).

Comment That's why electric works well for supercars (Score 1) 114

The issues you raise are exactly why electric and supercar go well together. Even with taxpayers paying half the cost, buying a Nissan Leaf (at half price) doesn't make sense, they are too expensive for what you get. Range, refilling time, etc make electric cars not as practical for everyday use. People don't buy supercars based on price, looking for a good value. Supercars aren't supposed to be practical. Electric is a good fit for supercars.

Maybe in 20 years a lot of things will change and electric will make sense for ordinary daily drivers, but that hasn't happened yet.

Comment Porsche is doing it (very carefully) (Score 2) 114

Putting out an SUV could be major step toward throwing away the Ferrari brand, the brand image they've carefully built over seventy years.

Or it could be a way to go from selling 8,000 units per year to selling 80,000 or 800,000 while maintaining their brand identity. For the last several years Porsche has been very carefully expanding, continuing to sell cars to the same customers after they have kids, while maintaining their brand and their high gross profit on each vehicle. The Cayenne is an SUV, yet also a Porsche, with over 500HP available. They have a compact SUV, the Macan, with Porsche handling. It *can* be done successfully, but there are so many ways it can go wrong.

Comment Until?!?? (Score 1) 95

> Just wait until the insects get with the program and take over the world.

Number of people:
5,600,000,000
Number of insects:
10,000,000,000,000,000,000

There are roughly 20,000,000,000 times as many insects as people. People have only been on Earth a short time, 300,000 years. Insects have been flying for over a thousand times that - 400 MILLION years. We just figured out flying a hundred years ago. We're a nearly irrelevant blip in their world.

Comment Could have, but didn't because of you (Score 1) 275

> Apple has been sitting on yuuuuge piles of cash for many years. They could have given bonuses etc. to employees all that time.

They could have, and did - outside the US. Bringing the money into the US and paying bonuses to US employees would have been stupid, though, because the US is the only major country in the world that harshly penalized bringing money in. If Apple brought that money, which they've already paid taxes on, into the US, the US govt would take over a third of it, 35%. It would be stupid for Apple to give $35 billion to the US govt and $65 billion to US employees when they could instead give $100 billion to European employees.

Now that the penalty for bringing money to the US has been greatly reduced, Apple plans to bring in $250 billion, on which they will pay $38 billion additional tax. That will generate roughly another $250 billion in economic activity. (When Apple pays a construction company, the construction company pays construction workers and suppliers, who in turn buy things with the money, so the same money keeps getting spent and taxed over and over until it's all gone to either the government or another country. ) So something like $500 billion added to the economy, and maybe $100 billion of that will get sent to China or wherever buying Chinese goods. $400 billion will be spent and re-spent in the US until it's all absorbed by taxes.

To give you a sense of scale, the federal deficit is a bit over $400 billion. So just this one company, Apple, is bringing in enough money to cover the entire federal deficit for the year. This by using an understanding of basic arithmetic when making policy, rather than operating purely on jealousy.

Comment There are optimal tax rates, here's why it's obvio (Score 5, Informative) 275

Obviously, a zero percent income tax rate will result in zero income tax revenue. Just as obviously, a 100% tax rate (the government takes your ENTIRE paycheck) will result in roughly zero tax revenue - most people won't work a job if they don't get to take home a paycheck. Also companies wouldn't have any reason to.pay more than minimum wage - employees don't demand more because they don't get any of it anyway.

So we can see that tax rates too low result in little or no revenue, and we can see that tax rates too high result in little or no revenue. That's obvious even without understanding the basics of economics, without even knowing the difference between microeconomics and macroeconomics, for example.

If the current tax rate is 80%, that hurts revenue and reducing the tax rate to 70% will increase revenue. If it's at 2%, increasing the rate to 10% will increase revenue. So what we can see, without even reading Chapter 1 of Economics 101 is that anyone who says "increasing tax rates increases revenue" is an idiot, and anyone who says "decreasing tax rates increases revenue" is similarly clueless. There is an optimal rate, not near 100% and not near 0%, that maximizes revenue. Raising rates above the optimal rate hurts revenue, reducing them below the optimal rate reduces revenue.

Also, complex tax laws create "compliance costs". Small businesses file taxes about sixteen times per year - quarterly federal returns, quarterly sales tax returns, quarterly unemployment tax returns, annual business personal property tax returns, etc. There is a real cost to all that, even of the business only owes $1, that's a lot of tax paperwork. (I've filed returns for 12 cents before - the cost / time to fill them out was much greater than 12 cents, so the current situation is a significant net loss for the economy.)

Corporate tax rates follow the same reasoning. If you taxed them at 100%, nobody would invest their savings into starting or growing any companies, since they can't make money. The economy would come to a halt and there would be no revenue (and nearly 100% unemployment). On the other hand, with a 0% corporate tax, you have no revenue from corporate taxes, but higher savings and investment, much better returns from your 401k, lower unemployment, higher wages, etc. So again there is an optimum rate. Too high hurts revenue, and too low hurts revenue. Too high also hurts a lot of other things. Fortunately, corporate taxes have been around for many years, many different rates in many different countries, so economists and policy makers can see how each worked. Based on the data, most countries optimize their revenue by setting corporate tax rates at about half of what the US has had. A few countries have tried very high corporate tax rates. A corporate tax rate of nearly 100%, where the government takes all the profits, is called communism. The USSR tried that. China tried that for a while and reversed course before they ended up like the USSR.

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