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Comment Re:How to make your very own Mars. (Score 2) 161

If you can crack it apart, then you can just bury the graphite in the empty coal mines and oil wells, if there's no better use for it.

But this is so energy intensive that's it's not likely to happen anytime soon.

As for a limnic eruption, that just gets CO2 out of solution from water. It doesn't get it off the planet. Earth's gravity is too strong for that.

Comment Re:Might not be the best way forward (Score 1) 60

That $140,000 is per instance of copyright infringement.

Assuming that you're talking about the $150,000 maximum on statutory damages for copyright infringement, no, you're wrong.

Statutory damages are calculated per work, not per infringement. The number of infringements might perhaps have some bearing on the amount of damages which is just, between the minimum and maximum. But there is only one award, no matter how many separate infringements of that work there are, at least in the same case.

The relevant statute is 17 USC 504(c)(1).

Comment Re:For the non USA people (Score 1) 239

Well, the pressing need to leave 1885 immediately was caused by the threat of Buford Tannen killing one of them. But since he was arrested and in custody before the train was stolen, there was time to abort the train stealing plan and to come up with something else. And there's no other time pressure: after all, they've got a time machine. There is the usual problem of being in the past and perhaps changing something, but the effects on the future of putting together a small steam engine for the DeLorean are probably less than that of stealing the whole train.

Comment Re:For the non USA people (Score 2) 239

No, only the time circuits and the flux capacitor needed over a GW of electricity in order to function. The car's actual engine was an ordinary internal combustion engine that output a little less than 100 KW.

(Come to think of it, stealing a steam train seems unnecessarily complicated and history-altering. Surely it would've been easier for Doc Brown to put together an electrically heated steam engine to get the DeLorean moving. Oh well, sensible ideas rarely make for exciting movies.)

Comment Re:Wrong left-wing extreme (Score 0) 683

Why the fuck anybody would have a problem with companies providing middle-class workers with traffic-reducing, environmentally friendly transport to work us utterly beyond me.

Well, the particular method they're using involves breaking the law in a way that deprives local government of revenues and where they seem to be getting away with it, even though ordinary people never would.

Plus, what's wrong with providing better public transportation, which reduces even more traffic and is more environmentally friendly? (Buses are really not that great compared with electrified rail) Let Google help finance improvements and expansions of the subway system. It'll benefit their workers too, but not just their workers, which I think is part of the issue.

Comment Re:Drift? (Score 1) 683

Well, my understanding is that there's a fairly steep ticket for vehicles that park or stand in bus stops. The number I saw was something like $250. In that case, given that there's plenty of evidence that the bus drivers broke the law, the city should pursue that money which they're apparently just leaving on the table. $250 per stop per bus per day for however long these buses have been in service could be quite a lot! And why should the bus companies be allowed to get away with breaking the law just because they did so a lot and if left alone would continue doing so in the future? That doesn't make much sense.

And if they decided to use private stops in a legal manner, well, that's fine. In fact, that's what they should've been doing from the start. And if the local government needs private bus related revenue, it can always tax private bus stops.

Of course, the best solution would be for the companies to not use private buses, and to instead contribute toward improved public mass transit. There are five BART lines that could be extended to cover the South Bay from both sides, probably with a big junction at San Jose. Muni Metro could be expanded to cover more of San Francisco, with attention paid to transfers to and from BART, and the VTA light rail can be dramatically expanded, also with an eye toward BART transfers.

And a better, simplified, unified ticketing system would help too -- assuming they don't all just get merged into one big new transit authority, which might be a sensible idea.

Plus this gets even more cars off the road than private buses do, has the advantage of being fairer, since everyone can ride, and would provide local jobs for constructing and maintaining the system. It'll cost more, but a lot of the companies for whom the bus services are being run have loads of cash and would benefit from it; they can afford to contribute a fair amount and to support the increased government spending and taxes for the rest.

Comment Re:good ruck, chuck! (Score 1) 59

Hardness is definitely one of the multiplicative factors in the tax.

Not really. If that were the case, then the tax would differ between two jobs of differing hardness but equal pay. But it doesn't. Likewise, if we double or halve the amount of work done at a job, and thus the hardness of the job, but don't change the amount of pay, the taxes remain constant while the hardness varies.

What you're really identifying is that if someone's work hours are doubled or halved, this typically comes hand in hand with a doubling or halving of their pay, which is the actual factor that affects their taxes.

The IRS doesn't care if you pour asphalt or sit at your desk.

Comment Re:good ruck, chuck! (Score 1) 59

No, they're widespread opinions. Laws usually come about because people think they're good ideas; why would legislators work to enact laws that everyone except for me was opposed to?

People who inherit wealth didn't work for it, and didn't earn it. Some heirs might be in a desperate way, and it isn't bad to help them get on their feet. Others might inherit items of significant sentimental value but which aren't fabulously valuable and that's not so bad either.

But there is no gain to society for a select few to become particularly wealthy in an undeserving manner, such as by inheritance. In fact, it's dangerous, because wealth tends to provide power, and now you've got people who have no rightful claim to great wealth also possessing great power and likely using it for ill. Certainly that's the usual way things go, and we should adopt rules for the usual case, and not for rare exceptions.

And it's not odd to see wealthy people perfectly in favor of estate taxes. Here's something from Andrew Carnegie's book:

The growing disposition to tax more and more heavily large estates left at death is a cheering indication of the growth of a salutary change in public opinion. ... Of all forms of taxation this seems the wisest. Men who continue hoarding great sums all their lives, the proper use of which for public ends would work good to the community from which it chiefly came, should be made to feel that the community, in the form of the State, cannot thus be deprived of its proper share. By taxing estates heavily at death the State marks its condemnation of the selfish millionaire's unworthy life.

As for progressive income taxes, ability to pay is the best way to go. It works. People are okay with it.

An absolute flat tax is pointless unless the amount you need to raise is very very low: taxing everyone, say, $100/year will result in some people easily being able to afford it, others barely able to afford it, and quite a few simply unable to afford it. Saying that it's fair that each person should pay the same quantity doesn't help them get it in order to pay it. You will wind up with a lot of people not paying their taxes, requiring either piling unjust punishment on top of their existing poverty, probably at the expense of the state, thus requiring even more taxes to proceed, or a de facto progressive taxation system in which people who are unable to pay are allowed to slide.

A proportional flat tax similarly fails. Below a certain amount of income, people simply cannot afford to pay, even if the tax were merely 1%. Unable to get blood from a stone, you must again either punish poor people for being poor, which is the sort of thing that justifies having your head cut off by an angry mob with a guillotine, or you wind up adopting a progressive taxation scheme and merely being a hypocrite who is saddled with a stupid tax system.

Some flat tax proposals suggest including various measures to avoid this, e.g. only kicking in above a certain level of income. This means that they're not actually flat taxes, they're progressive taxes which have two brackets, and are thus simply poorly designed. An ideal progressive tax, OTOH, would probably just be a mathematical function, with the tax rates varying smoothly as income varied, but for the sake of simplicity, we tend to have a number of brackets.

As a closing word of advice, you may do well to google things quickly on your own, rather than demanding answers to cover for your own ignorance or as a crappy rhetorical device.

Comment Re:I'm torn... (Score 1) 211

I think that digital cable is now capable of sending individual streams to subscribers' sets. I never really used on demand / pay per view features, but I don't think it's like the old days where there were a half a dozen channels all airing the same movie at slightly different times.

And more importantly, it would mean that cable companies no longer had to pay for and carry some channels they don't care about in order to carry the OTA channels that they do want.

Congress may very well step in, but the threat of Aereo remains the cable companies, rather than Aereo itself.

Comment Re:good ruck, chuck! (Score 1) 59

the harder I work, the more money they want

No, that's not true. An income tax taxes you based on how much you made; whether you worked hard or not in order to make it isn't a factor. In fact, a lot of jobs at which people work very hard are not paid well at all, and therefore tend to incur lower taxes.

then tax me again when I ... give it to my children as inheritance when I die

Passing down property to heirs can be socially dangerous. It's not such a big deal when you leave some modest bank accounts or some furniture or something, but it's not good to have people inherit vast estates merely due to the accident of their birth.

Besides which, you're missing the main point of progressive taxation, which is that if a certain amount of taxes need to be raised, it's more fair for people to contribute what they can afford such that they feel the same amount of burden, rather than for the burden to be mathematically uniform but to have widely disparate effects in reality.

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