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Comment Re:This is a distraction from the real issue. (Score 1) 225

Nobody with half an ounce of common sense is claiming you shouldn't care about both.

The point is that the "health risks" investigation carries the risk that scanners will be authoritatively determined to carry zero risk by an esteemed medical investigation body (chaired by the college roommate's dog's babysitter who is John Pistole's cousin, but don't let that bother you), and thus the entire case against scanners will be shot down in the press when there is still a real-but-difficult-to-quantify objection against the things on privacy grounds.

That is the problem.

Comment Re:Question (Score 4, Insightful) 780

Is he breaking the law?


“For Eric Schmidt to say that he is ‘proud’ of his company’s approach to paying tax is arrogant, out of touch and an insult to his customers here in the UK,” she said.

Maybe, but that's a subjective judgment. Tax law is not subjective. There is a very good reason for that.

Google should recognise its obligations to countries like the UK from which it derives such huge benefits, and pay proper corporation tax on the profits it makes from economic activity here. It should be ashamed, not proud, to do anything less. ”

It pays proper corporation tax. Proper corporation tax is what is legally required. If you don't like the amount of tax Google is paying, close the fucking tax loopholes that allow it to get away with less.

As a private citizen who does not have the financial means to do a double Irish, blind trust, or whatever-the-hell-else legal mechanisms I could use to legally optimize my taxes, does it gall me that Google is paying such low taxes? Of course it does. I find the whole system loathsome and unfair. Do I want to see the laws allowing them to do this changed? Absolutely.

Do I want to see them subjected to arbitrarily made up rules that are contrary to what the written law says? Fuck no. If someone does not understand why this would be a bad idea, it's not really worth arguing.

Comment Re:doesn't this rely rather strongly on the novelt (Score 4, Interesting) 217

But think about it this way - a big part of the reason for sharing such information and making it commonly accessible is to enable the automation of pattern-finding.

This is tough to do with patient records scattered through fifty thousand different hospital databases. With those 130,000 cases online, you're going to start seeing commonalities in various reactions to treatments, statistics, etc. which in turn will make it much easier for researchers to begin understanding what combinations of cures/treatments may or may not work - leaving the "weird" ones that don't fit into any patterns to the Jimmy Lins.

Comment Re:Not A Huge Difference (Score 1) 331

(If you're an employee, tell your employer that, in order to optimize your respective tax bills, you'd like to work as a consultant.) Pay yourself a reasonable salary through the local subsidiary, and then funnel the remaining profits back to yourself as dividends through the tax haven company. This is all legal on paper as long as you dutifully declare everything properly.

Actually, I live in Switzerland (and have worked all over Europe in the past decade and a half).

This is very common. You set up an LLC/GmbH/SARL/whatever in a place that has advantageous tax rates. You pay the tax that you legally owe on time worked in the country where your job is, you set up your offices and residence elsewhere as needed, deduct the maximum legally allowable for business expenses, etc. etc. etc.

It's usually pretty cleanly defined. Tax authorities may not like it, but they are as obliged to follow the law as you or I (I once took a massive deduction because I commuted to work by car, and simply added up the distance with the rates published on their own website. They did not like it, but I was able to point them to _their own rules_, and that was that...)

Comment Re:I'm loath to ask: (Score 1) 202

However, this implies that you wouldn't be able to receive _any_ stimuli.

I don't think it's too far-fetched to assume that, if we're soon to be able to reliably "read" brain signals from people who're so totally trapped, we'll also soon see true direct machine-to-mind communication. I.e. being able to inject stimuli directly into the parts of the mind that process basic awareness -- the holy grail of virtual reality.

That, of course, means that, as Scott Adams said, "the holodeck will be humanity's last invention".

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