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Comment You can a) get out of Detroit and b) run for city (Score 1) 320

Cities and states screw things up too, of course.
If your city, day Chicago, gets completely infested with dirty politicians for years and they royally score things up, or start tapping your phone, you can get the hell out of Chicago.

You can also directly affect local politics in a way you can't affect Washington so easily. It's much easier to keep on eye on the guy down the street than some guy thousands of miles away in Washington. I even considered running for an office in my county, and I probably would have won. There's no way I'll ever win the presidency. I can damn sure win a seat on the school board, though. Since I can be on the school board, but I can't run the department of education, local control is inherently more democratic.

Comment it is exposed (Score 1) 320

> A good system of governance should transparently expose, prevent, stop, and/or negate criminality.

We're talking about it. It's exposed. We have no fear of talking about. The politicians in Washington are worried that we're talking about it.

Is there any other system that exposes problems to the extent that the US system does? It's damn sure not perfect, obviously. This crap does get exposed and published on the front page, though.

Another important consideration after exposure is ACCEPTANCE (or lack thereof). In many countries, rampant bribery is exposed. Everyone knows about it, and everyone participates. It's accepted as normal. The US wasn't that way. When our leaders were busted, their career was over. Then there was Marion Berry, Ray Nagen, etc. They got caught and then re-elected. That, I think, is a big problem. Exposing this stuff is half of it. The other half is for the electorate to not put up with it.

The other day Obama said he would veto a bill declaring that the president must _obey_the_law. Putting aside minor arguments, his official position is more or less that he doesn't have to follow the law, that he's above the law. Is this nation to be ruled by properly passed laws, or ruled by a personality? Are we going to put up with this?

Comment Re:drawing straws between finalists works (Score 1) 152

You end up with a lot less "publicity driven voting driven by funding from biased sources" when no amount of money can buy win. So long as people contribute $X, enough to get your message out, the person with ten times as much money has little or no advantage - both names go into the hat. Campaign finance has extremely diminishing returns. If, in a given race, it takes $1 million in publicity to get 20% of the voters, two million will get you to 25%. Three million will get 27%. Ten million will get 35%. A hundred million will get 45%. One major reason for the ridiculous amount of money spent in elections is that candidates are chasing that last half of a percent. If you say that a 1% lead doesn't matter, that means 20% of the money doesn't matter.

* numbers are not accurate, but illustrate a point that is correct.

> Even so, to me it looks as if the system that you have proposed will act so as to maintain and increase the concentration of wealth and power among those that already have it, and squeeze out those on the edges of power.

In fact, it has not, precisely because "those on the edges of power" have an equal chance of getting elected - if they are truly on the edge.

Comment yay, couple months without bluescreen. Hotswap CPU (Score 0) 199

Wow, that's great. Windows ran a few months without a blue screen of death. Meanwhile over here where we use reliable operating systems, a contractor hotswapped a CPU in one of my machines. It kept running fine. That machine has had two replacements of the boot drive in the last few years. No reboots needed for those either.

Comment besides digital or analog, for safety, use physics (Score 4, Insightful) 245

Analog vs. digital, fully connected vs less connected - all can fail in similar ways. If it's really critical, like nuclear power plant critical, use simple, basic physics. The simpler the better.

You need to protect against excessive pressure rupturing a tank. Do you use a digital pressure sensor or an analog one? Use either, but how also add a blowout disc made of metal 1/4th as thick as the rest of the tank. An analog sensor may fail. A digital sensor may fail. A piece of thin, weak material is guaranteed to rupture when the pressure gets to high.

Monitoring temperature in a life safety application? Pick analog or digital sensors, ei ther one, but you better have something simple like the vials used in fire sprinklers, or a wax piece that melts, something simple as hell based on physics. Ethanol WILL boil and wax WILL melt before it gets to be 300 F. That's guaranteed, everytime.

New nuclear reactor designs do that. If the core gets to hot, something melts and it falls into a big pool of water. Gravity is going to keep working when all of the sophisticated electronics doesn't work because "you're not holding it right".

Comment Motorola was losing $1B/year. Good for Google (Score 1) 281

Motorola Mobility was losing a billion dollars a year before Google came in. To claim Google screwed the company up is ridiculous.

However, as the inventor of the cell phone and a major market leader in earlier years with billions in R&D investment, Motorola had something Google wanted.
Google bought MM for about $7.5B net of cash and accrued losses, then sold the parts they didn't want for about $6B. Bottom line, they paid $1.5B for a patent portfolio with a book value of $5.5B. That's a $4B gain for Google, by flipping a company that was headed toward bankruptcy. Why did Google flip it so quickly? Remember Moto was losing a billion dollars a year. By moving quickly, Google limited the time they were paying Moto's operating expenses.
After ssubtracting the continued operating expenses, Google walks with a bottom line gain of $2 billion.

How did YOU make $2 billion in two years? Yeah, me neither.

Comment less than half from search. $33 billion smarter u (Score 1) 281

Less than half of Google's revenue is from search. Youtube is a big part and Hulu. They make money alot of ways - the AOL home page, CBS pay-per-view, many ways. They in fact have dozens of highly successful products and services. See

In all, they are about thirty three billion dollars smarter than me or you. You're pretty good at saying stuff that _sounds_ smart, so clearly you have some real intelligence. The one thing where I see you consistently make yourself sound and act stupid, even though you're not stupid, is your absurd ego where you think you're so much smarter than Eric Schmidt, Mark Zuckerberg, and everyone else who has proven they know what the heck they're doing. Your writing makes it clear that you've got some brains, but your brains are completely wasted when you refuse to learn from others' success.

Comment IRC 2057 ended in 2004 (Score 1) 300

The million dollar exemption in IRC 2057 was last effective for tax year 2003.
This is why we don't start our posts with "Wrong ..." - feet taste bad.

If you research it, and research stuff from the past ten years, you can of course find some ways to pass some assets before death and pay other taxes instead of the estate tax. Certain types of property are exempt. I posted the simple version because there are hundreds of pages of applicable law and regulations and this is Slashdot, not CPAnet. In some cases, some portion may be exempt, so if you had a business worth $500K and of that $200K was exempt, you'd have $300K taxable. You'd need $135K in cash or insurance to pay the tax without selling or liquidating the business.

Comment I hear you. Actual options we have are find bad or (Score 1) 152

I can relate to what you're saying. However, if by "the ruling class" you mean people in leadership positions - people who have built a successful business, people who have successfully organized large events like the Olympics, etc., you end up attacking anyone who has proven they can do a good job on big things - precisely the people we need to have leading.

Another option takes more work, but gets better results:
Identify the bad leaders, the morally corrupt and the incompetent. That would include Bush II, Obama, Ray Nagen, etc. Get rid of the bad ones and find good leaders. Good leaders might include Colin Powell and Robert Gates.

Third, along with identifying and eliminating bad leaders, we need structural changes. Other countries have better election systems we should consider, where you have to build a broad coalition to get elected. We need to look at ways to move away from the "American Idol" style popularity contest. There's some truth to calling Obama "President Kardashian" - many of his voters had no idea why they were voting for him, zero knowledge of the issues. We need to try to fix that.

Comment drawing straws between finalists works (Score 1) 152

In one organization, unless someone wins 2/3rds of the vote, they draw straws from among the finalists. It works quite well, achieving what campaign finance reform is intended to achieve, without the free speech issues involved such as potentially making it illegal for a blogger to speak their opinion.

It makes a lot of dog-eat-dog campaigning unnecessary because the candidates aren't fighting tooth and nail for that extra 0.1% of the vote - just put up a pretty good candidate, who can get at least 20%-35% of the vote to get their name in the hat. Primaries, and therefore pandering to the extremes, aren't critical when someone can get elected without being chosen by either major party.

On the other hand, if JFK came back to life he'd win 2/3rds and win, as he should.

Comment he brought it, just heard wrong. Hope FOR change (Score 1, Insightful) 152

He wasn't lying, we all just heard him wrong. He made us hope for change. I'm sure hoping for a change right now. Right now I'm just hoping for a GOOD president next time, liberal or conservative hardly matters. Either Kennedy or Reagan would be a thousand times better than our last few presidents.

Comment that's what the insurance is for - to pay the tax (Score 0) 300

The whole point of the insurance is so that the taxes WILL be paid.

Suppose a dude has a business. It's worth $1 million. Maybe it's a well-run McDonald's., or a family farm. When the dude dies, his estate is taxed $450,000. Without insurance, his wife and kids have to sell the McDonald's in order to pay the tax. That sucks, so what the guy does is spend $20,000 / year to buy $500,000 in life insurance. When he croaks, the wife and kids use that insurance money to pay the taxes. That way, the taxes are paid and they don't have to sell the business.

It's better for the government too, because whose knows if the business will actually sell for a million now that the guy leading it is dead.

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