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Comment Re:Same tired argument from government bureaucrats (Score 2) 296

Homeland security, the world's most massive and expensive military, drones creating terrorists in other lands, off the books and off the charts spending on spying (foreign and domestic). Cut all that (save the *defence* force the USA actually needs) and you could easily balance the budget.

Comment Re:Wasnt there supposed to be some law passed... (Score 1) 471

This is what the OP was discussing, and it's not included (best check you're right before calling others morans on the internet):

http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MD820/lightning-to-micro-usb-adapter

The power adapter is a power adapter with a USB socket (which fits one end of the USB cable supplied), but that doesn't help you if you are someplace else without your special iphone charging cable and wish to plug in your iphone to charge, because the iphone itself will not accept a USB connection without an adapter (which is NOT included in the original package).

There's no technical reason they had to use a 'lightning' socket, it's simply a play to grab more cash from users upgrading peripherals, and from peripheral manufacturing license agreements. They could easily have used micro usb instead, or even better gone for wireless charging too. So they have ignored the spirit of EU agreement and pissed off a lot of their users by creating yet another locked down adapter. The sort of thing they could get off with when there were no competing devices, but now that Android is pretty much caught up, this sort of thing undermines confidence in Apple.

Comment A more apposite question (Score 1) 780

How many people reading this intentionally pay more tax than they are strictly required to?

A more apposite question would be how many people reading this have set up offshore shell companies solely for the purpose of avoiding tax, or have the resources to do so? Comparing a company like Google to an individual is absurd sophistry on the level of taxation.

The problem here is not whether companies should volunteer to pay more taxes, but the fact that global corporations have found ways to avoid the jurisdiction of any one country (or indeed, of any country at all), and are able to funnel their revenue through complicated structures in various countries which mean they pay virtually no taxes. This is similar to hollywood accounting, borderline fraudulent, and bears no relation to the tax affairs of most individual taxpayers.

That they would avoid all tax was not part of the bargain made with countries who let companies incorporate and set up business in their country, with all the protections and privileges that a limited company implies. This is a relatively recent phenomenon, and you can expect countries to find new ways of taxing companies if they insist on trying to evade corporation tax. For example countries could impose a tax on all transactions, a tax on all revenue (before profit/loss calculations), a tax on advertising, etc. This might not suit companies like Google, and they'd probably find it worse than corporation tax, but when companies like Google boast about avoiding paying any tax at all, that's what they should expect in response.

Tax is the price we pay for civilisation, and companies should not be able to escape paying their due to the country that hosts them.

Comment Re:Bitcoins built-in failure (Score 1) 600

Cash, when compared to bitcoins is:1. anonymous 2. non-traceable3. not easily insured against theft/fire/loss 4. savings in cash are not guaranteed by law

I was comparing digital cash (i.e. money held at a bank as figures in their computers), with Bitcoin - digital cash has none of the problems you note above. Are you seriously trying to compare paper cash with Bitcoin, if so why? The real comparison is between digital currency and BTC, as those are the equivalents, and Bitcoin is competing with digital cash, not paper cash. Unfortunately Bitcoin has thrown out the advantages of digital cash in a misguided (IMHO) attempt to emulate paper cash, and ended up with many of the same problems as paper cash, as opposed to cash in bank accounts which is easily traceable, not anonymous, protected by law, etc, etc.

Transactions are only traceable if the *other* person chooses to let them be, and chooses not to lie, that's not an acceptable level of security for me when dealing with any significant sums. Simply refusing to deal with anonymous buyers/sellers would work in some sort of crypto-anarchists paradise, in the real world I don't want to use a currency which even allows anonymous transactions - it'll end up with the same abuse and problems as say email, which relies on trusting the sender.

Re adoption of the currency, I made the separate point that it is not mandated by law as legal tender - this is an important point and is not the same as simply not having wide adoption.

The fact that you can identify several companies who were hit with fraud isn't a condemnation of the currency, but a problem with a nacent industry. The same arguement can be made for storing ANYTHING of worth with a third party.

I agree to some extent on this point - this isn't a damning criticism on its own, it does mean I wouldn't trust any of the BTC exchanges though, and leads me to distrust the entire industry which has grown up around BTC, which is mostly populated by amateurs and kooks. I remember the bitcoinia post on Hacker News, announcing his intention to set up an exchange on a cheap VM, and several people warning him he would be hacked without serious controls - amateurs setting up financial systems has very much the same consequences as non-cryptographers attempting cryptography.

Comment Re:Bitcoins built-in failure (Score 1) 600

Here's some more entries for your disadvantages column:

The disadvantages of Bitcoin:

    * It's anonymous and therefore it is hard to trust
    * Transactions are not traceable to real world identities and therefore it is hard to trust, and impossible to trace theft properly
    * Transactions and organisations are not regulated as banks are, and therefore it is hard to trust
    * It is not backed by the assets and credibility of a nation, and therefore it is hard to trust
    * It is impossible to insure properly against theft and loss, because there are not traceable transactions and anonymous transactions are allowed
    * It is subject to massive speculation, hoarding and other manipulation, and therefore the value fluctuates wildly
    * It's controlled by a cartel of core developers, and the rules could be changed at any time (in this sense it is a fiat currency!)
    * Savings are not guaranteed by law as they are in national currencies
    * Acceptance of the currency is not mandated by law, so it can be hard to spend, though it is not hard to convert (but this will lose some value)
    * Many of the organisations helping to store/exchange bitcoins are amateurs and have been subject to massive theft and fraud (Mt.Gox, bitfloor, Bitomat, MyBitcoin, Bitcoinia, Bitcoin Savings and Trust) - needless to say, the perpetrators of these thefts have not been caught or charged.

Re your advantages column, national currencies can also be transmitted globally within seconds, and are of course secured against theft and loss by guarantee.

Comment Re:Quick find all the people that care (Score 1) 600

but instead of a central government controlling everything it's done with voluntary contracts at the individual level.

Who enforces those contracts? Individuals can't, or the worth of a contract is simply directly proportional to the physical violence or other form of coercion that individual is willing to wield in order to enforce it. Society (i.e. social contracts between individuals or groups) requires the threat of violence and coercion in order to exist, as otherwise freeloading becomes the optimal strategy. Many individuals will not share power willingly, or allow personal freedom to others, you don't seem to account for those refusniks.

If you or I believe that's a viable political structure is a different conversation.

Actually no, the essence of this question (Is anarchy equal to chaos, or is it something else?) lies exactly at the nexus you have tried to sidestep - is 'political anarchy' viable, and if not, what defines the difference between anarchy and simple chaos? Without answering that question, and thus defining who holds the power, you can't really say what anarchism means, and whether it is worth considering as a political philosophy.

PS I love your term political anarchy, with it's implication that we can achieve political anarchy, as you narrowly define it, without all other kinds of anarchy following in its wake. Your political anarchy seems to depend on entirely rational humans acting in their own long-term self-interest.

Comment Re:How cool is it though... (Score 1) 601

Desktop Linux should learn from Android. What Android got right:

You missed out: heavily promoted by one of the largest companies in the world over a period of years, and including an app/media store where it is possible to make money (from adverts and from sales), and, most importantly of all - bundled for free with stuff which consumers want to buy (cheap smartphones).

I don't think Android's success has much to do with the software, which has been pretty rough at the edges for most of its existence and is only now getting some level of polish and sophistication.

Comment Re:no (Score 4, Insightful) 637

I seriously doubt that Aristotle could have comprehended calculus or designed a Mars rover.

I seriously doubt Democritus or Archimedes would agree with you.

The article is bunk though. First there's no proof that intellect has declined, only speculation. Then there's the silly idea that there are no selective pressures today. There are, but they are working in different areas, and death as an outcome doesn't really matter to evolution unless it is very early, all that matters is reproduction.

As a counterpoint to his specious argument about Ancient Greece being the pinnacle of human evolution, we could look at all the foolish endeavours, demagogy, rotten politics, incessant warfare, slavery, genocide and ignorance which prevailed at the time, and feel that we have collectively come a long way.

Comment Re:Oh no (Score 1) 421

I'd say it should be under 50%, and completely agree that government in the US (and most countries) is far too large. But I'd disagree about where to cut with most republicans. I think the military budget should be slashed, the DHS dismantled, the public health system properly reformed to be single payer for drugs and services (and thus vastly cheaper), and the political system reformed to outlaw lobbying and corporate support for politicians above very small amounts (to bring them down to the level of individuals). I'd also close tax loopholes for taxing the rich, so that a the tax burden was distributed more evenly. Those measures would reduce your tax burden immensely. This is a hard problem, but so far *no* US politician has the guts to try to address it - there are too many vested interests.

Re healthcare, it's perfectly fine to have private healthcare *for those who want it*, but the gov. is going to end up paying for lots of people in a civilised country, and you should be aware that it would be cheaper for everyone if that was done via a public system rather than the bizarre and inefficient system involving insurance companies that you have in the US at present - I'd abolish Obamacare, and replace it with true public hospitals - like the police service, this is something better and cheaper done by the state to provide baseline care. Those who can afford it can then pay for more advanced care themselves.

I wouldn't get too hung up on how many people pay tax or not though, frankly that's a smokescreen of hate to avoid letting you think about the hard problems - the truth on taxation is this:

EVERYONE, no matter how poor, pays some tax - sales tax, excise tax, fuel taxes, alcohol and tobacco taxes, etc
The vast majority of tax take is always going to be flat taxation and income tax on the middle classes, because that's where all the easy money is
The rich will always find ways to avoid most of income tax (curious that you don't find this a problem?), and thus avoid their share of the burden
The poor will never be able to contribute very much, so your best bet is trying to lift them out of poverty, not tax them more

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