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Comment Real debt (Score 1) 583

I'm afraid you're at least somewhat wrong. Gov't bonds are solid investments that have a low, but reliable return.

If you're worried about preserving your wealth, but still need a return to fund your pension payouts, gov't bonds are a "safe" bet in many countries around the world. That's the type of debt Social Security, state and local gov't, pension funds own. The debt is real, the interest payments are real and they have to issue new bonds every year.

A government bond is a bond issued by a national government, generally promising to pay a certain amount (the face value) on a certain date, as well as periodic interest payments. Bonds are debt investments whereby an investor loans a certain amount of money, for a certain amount of time, with a certain interest rate, to a company or country.

Comment US debt (Score 5, Informative) 583

Have you seen the actual numbers? Who owns the US national debt?

- China 8%

US gov't and pension funds 46,1%:

- The Federal reserve 11,3%
- Social Security fund 19%
- US households 6,6%
- State & local gov't 3,5%
- State, local pensions funds 2,2%
- Private pension funds 3,5%

Comment Easier to extend? (Score 1) 76

Is it possibly easier to add custom hardware to the Raspberrry Pi? I mean they're both Linux boxes, but one of them is designed to be extended.

You could add an FM transceiver for remote operations without communicating over LAN/WAN?

Comment Leave and Lose Big! (Score 1) 209

when a country tries to extort money from a company that company should threaten to cease operations within that country so call their bluff.

There's always someone with this silly logic on Slashdot! The world doesn't revolve around the company in question, it's the other way around!

Each time Microsoft or Google have been involved in some sort of legal issue in Europe - some guy like you pops up to tell them to "just" leave Europe. The problem is that Europe represents more than 50% of the profits for companies like Microsoft! Who loses then? That would be Skype, because there will always be the competition.

I imagine Skype does even better in Europe than in the US, due to the fact that there are more people in general (700 million) - and because people call across national borders and not state lines. Never mind the millions of immigrants from Africa to Asia.

Comment Competition Laws (Score 2) 318

the fact that Apple forces all apps to be purchased through their own app store just as well be seen as anti-competitive?

No, not according to the more pro-active EU competition/monopoly laws or similar US laws. Apple's market share is too small to fall under "monopoly" in any or all European countries, where the distribution is quite varied from nation to nation. Scandinavia is not at all representative of the European handset market as a whole, my dear neighbor.

Furthermore the fact that a product only supports its manufacturer's services is not a violation of any doctrine here or there. The cases involving Microsoft has confused the general public, it's not illegal to only provide your own service/software/accessories. It's when that affects the general market to such a degree that it become detrimental to competition in general. US laws treats and views this differently than the EU does.

In the EU a monopoly is by its very definition seen as detrimental to consumers and must be acted upon. Until Apple constitutes a monopoly or is the dominant force it's not realistic to imagine any action by the US or EU. Apple's great influence does not constitute market power. At the moment Google's Android has the clear majority of consumers in their hand, or rather vice versa.

If the EU force Apple to have a browser ballot on iOS, I do believe Steve Jobs will be turning ever so violently in his grave

What? The man who forced Microsoft to settle [the lawsuit Apple brought against them] in return for buying Apple shares, making Office for Mac and bringing Internet Explorer to Mac OS!

No, I'm sorry, Safari is just a "pet project", Apple needed it to for their O/S to stay valid - and avoid Microsoft's grip. The very reason Microsoft was forced to open up by the EU was because their own browser skewed and hindered the market from developing. WebKit is an open source project, as Google and now even Opera proves. Apple doesn't have any greater advantage than say Google Chrome on Mac OS X. What possible arguments do you have?

Comment Measure and model (Score 1) 74

I imagine it wouldn't take an insane amount of work to calculate the missing piece(s) of a scanned skull if they have other models to build on and software with math skills. There's a certain symmetry to all human skulls and only slight variations on the features' length and width etc. If you get hit by a bus, I imagine even a crushed skull or face would only require a lot of measurements of bone fragments and general size of the skull.

Comment Power and Influence (Score 2) 228

Any beef with each other? Did you miss anything? Yes, absolutely! :)

There's certainly the external threat from Iran, and the Shi'a population in many of the countries are less than happy with their Sunni rulers. Did I mention Iran? They're quite protective of Shi'as; be it during the recent uprising in Bahrain or the current war in Yemen [on Saudi Arabia's border]. There's always the threat of homegrown terrorists who wish to establish a theocratic state (Sunni). Saudi Arabia has been battling its own extremists for years now. Iraq already attacked Kuwait once and wanted to move on Saudi Arabia. Today Iraq is mostly a threat because of instability.

However you seem to have missed the real point of the GCC's plan; to come together and create a confederation for economic and social development. They're not banding together because of threats - they're planning ahead. How long will the oil last? What do they live off afterwards? They have to develop their economies, industries, educate and train the population and be less reliant on foreign workers [from Asia and the West].

As for India and Pakistan, that's not their problem as those are Asian countries. Israel is obviously not loved by the GCC countries.

Comment Pulling Together (Score 2) 228

It would be nice to think that a regional water shortage would pull these countries together to solve a mutual problem.

Oh, you mean like the GCC? :) Now, it's a long way from finished, but it's what you asked for.

The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, also known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a political and economic union of the Arab states bordering the Persian Gulf and located on or near the Arabian Peninsula, namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. Jordan and Morocco have been invited to join the council.

On 6 March 2012, the six members of the GCC announced that the Gulf Cooperation Council would be evolving from a regional bloc to a confederation, in possible response to Arab democratic unrest and increased Iranian influence in the region.

Comment Rendering My Youth (Score 1) 704

I remember using POV-Ray as a young boy, I believe it came with a magazine, and I found the rendering process absolutely fascinating!

I don't think my friends quite understood my interest, then again my father and brother had already introduced me to CP/M, DOS, Windows, Pascal, BASIC and so on by this time. The family computer was even upgraded to a 286! It would take hours to render any new drawing, but it was wonderful!

Comment Check The Software (Score 1) 161

Audits. Norway already has a department that checks measuring devices such as weights, [gas] pumps etc. Maybe they check cash registers as well. There are classes of devices that have to be certified periodically (a number of years) by law.

I believe they check the software at the gas pumps, because obviously the numbers have to match with the output they claim was sold and delivered to the customer. I believe it would be a small matter to run checksums on cash register software.

In fact I believe they might as well require them to be online [and constantly report checksums]. There isn't a shop location in Norway that doesn't already have some digital connection to the debit card payment system run by the Norwegian banks' [shared] exchange. Most Norwegians hardly touch cash any longer, it's mostly debit cards and has been for the last decades.

Comment Charter of Fundamental Rights (Score 1) 61

I beg to differ in general and in this specific case. In this case Austria claims the Data Retention Directive is in conflict with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union which sets out the whole range of civil, political, economic and social rights of European citizens and all persons resident in the EU (including the European Convention on Human Rights). At what point has the Charter or the [non-EU] ECHR ever been changed?

I find that many European citizens that are hostile towards the EU in general make spurious claims regardless of the context and frequently lack objectivity when considering proposed laws and treaties. You may oppose the EU in principle, which is fair, but you cannot deny the progress and benefits it has brought. The recent Nobel Peace Prize rightly recognizes the EU's effect on our continent. A perfectly timed reminder for Europe of what they stand to lose regardless of its imperfections.

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