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Comment Re:I Used a Popular Online Tax Service... (Score 0) 237

This, a good tax accountant saves you more than doing it yourself because they know all the loopholes and deductions you can claim without being flagged for an audit.

Totally disagree. You will save far more by doing it yourself. The reason is that you will save little by finding a deduction here or there. You will save far more by actually understanding the tax law, and restructuring your financial life to take advantage of that knowledge. I make a very good income, but pay very little in tax. Most of my assets are sheltered in a living trust. I have set up several corporations, in Delaware, Nevada, California, and the Cayman Islands, and pass my income through whichever offers the most tax benefit for each type of income. Incorporation can be done on-line for a couple hundred bucks, and can save you thousands, so I am surprised so few people take advantage of that.

Comment Re:I Used a Popular Online Tax Service... (Score 5, Interesting) 237

I'm done with tax software. It's back to a human accountant.

Are you aware that most human accountants use ... tax software?

Her first consultation with us turned up a $3,400 deduction we had missed a couple of years back. That alone pays for a few years of returns and advice.

Most likely she found that deduction by running tax software. I use Turbo Tax, but I also keep up on tax law, and changes to the software, so that helps me find deductions a less informed person using the same software, would miss. Software is a tool, it can do more in the hands of a skilled user.

If you spend a day studying tax law and reading your software's manual, you will save more money than you earn at your job in a month. It is time well spent.

Comment Re:Accuracy (Score 0) 282

once your friendly insurance company gets ahold of it, it'll cost $650.

That makes no sense. The insurance companies have an interest in lower medical costs. If anyone opposes this, it will be the AMA, or other association of doctors. It was doctors that opposed, and tried to ban, home pregnancy tests, mail-in DNA tests, etc.

Comment Re:BUT SNOWDEN (Score 2) 162

The key part of the parent comment was:

--->Wake up, everyone: a lot of other countries are a lot worse and deserve your vitriol more.

Vitriol is wasted on countries where you do not live. Why should the Chinese government care about the opinion of a random American? Effort should be focused where it is most likely to make a difference.

Comment Re:Why make it that complicated? (Score 1) 191

*cause winning 100 million is worth my time, but splitting 100 million? bah

It doesn't have to be all or nothing. If the payoff for the obscure sequences goes above 1.0, then you could participate in a syndicate to purchase the tickets and divvy up the profits, thus spreading out both the risks and the rewards. This happened with the Irish Lottery in May 1992, when a syndicate bought up 80% of the tickets, and made about a 30% profit for the participants.

Comment Re:Why make it that complicated? (Score 2) 191

Each ticket has the same chance of winning

Depending on the lottery, this may or may not be true. Some lotteries let people pick the numbers, so sequences like "1 2 3 4 5 6" will be selected by many people and the pot will be split. The same applies for sequences that could represent a date, such as a birthday or anniversary. More "random" sequences will have a higher payout per ticket.

Comment Re:And Vise-Versa (Score 4, Informative) 161

The Yucatan isn't exactly a haven of extremophiles

There are extremophiles everywhere if you go deep enough. Endoliths (organisms that live inside rocks) have been found at depths of 3 km, and probably commonly live even deeper. Endoliths can endure temperatures of 120C (250F), and have also been found in the extreme cold and low humidity of the Dry Valleys of Antarctica. If anything can survive the journey to Europa, it is probably an Endolith.

Comment Re:What about Jesus's ? (Score 1) 243

It cites Roman documents written well after it supposedly happened and after the myth of Jesus became fairly popular.

Jesus's crucifixion was stated as a known fact by a Roman senator that would have had access to source documents. Is that absolute mathematical proof that Jesus existed? Of course not. But it is certainly strong evidence.

There is no evidence that his existence was fabricated.

This is a flat out lie. There is ample evidence that Jesus (and of course the Christian God) are modeled after various ancient mythologies.

Look, not one here is claiming that there is "strong evidence" that Jesus was divine. Just that he was an actual person. Mormonism was based on preexisting Christian beliefs. That doesn't mean that Joseph Smith wasn't a real person.

Comment Re:And Vise-Versa (Score 3, Informative) 161

Liquid water? Check!

Maybe not. Europa is believed to have an ice layer between 10 and 30 km thick. It is unlikely that an impact by a 3m rock would penetrate more than 100m or so. The impact would melt some water, but it would quickly refreeze. Europa's surface is pocked with craters millions of years old, so there does not appear to be a regular turnover of the ice that would carry any surviving life to the ocean below.

Comment Re:And Vise-Versa (Score 1) 161

A nice example of how panspermia might happen. It's a helluva leap between having life-bearing rocks blasted off of earth by a massive meteor collision, and quite another to suggest that the rest of the solar system could have been seeded.

It is a much, much, much, bigger leap to suggest that such impacts could lead to the transfer of life between star systems. Panspermia usually refers to the hypothesis that life spread throughout the universe, not just between planets surrounding one sun.

Comment Re:What about Jesus's ? (Score 4, Interesting) 243

The Wikipedia page talks plenty about how convinced scholars are (who have a vested interest in that answer) but doesn't actually cite any evidence

You need to improve your reading comprehension skills. The passage cites a reference to Roman documents that mention the crucifixion of Jesus. What are you expecting? A giant Iridium plated monument that says "Jesus Was Here"? Jesus had a tremendous influence on future generations, but very, very little on his own generation. So there is little contemporaneous evidence, just like there is little direct evidence that 99.99% of any other specific first century individuals existed. But Christianity began to take off when there were still people alive that would have had a memory of him, and there were plenty of opponents of what, at the time, was an extremist cult. Yet none of them denied that he had lived.

There is strong, but not conclusive, evidence that he was a real person. There is no evidence that his existence was fabricated. Many of his disciples were tortured and crucified, yet they refused to denounce him. Why would they do that, for something that (in your opinion) they had made up?

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