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Comment Re:Of course it protects the small investor (Score 1) 267

Ok. So someone invented this thing called a virtual shopping cart. Another company "tweaked" the code slightly and had a shopping cart themselves. This sounds familiar. So which is right? You can tweak it? You can't Tweak it? How much Tweaking is a new design?

Neither is right because "inventing" X, where X is just some existing Y but on a computer should not be patentable.

Comment Re:Amazon are crazy (Score 1) 297

The moment I have to pay sales tax on {stuff I get from Amazon} is the moment I stop being an Amazon customer - over 90% of my online purchases are with Amazon, and its not just the usual stuff that people buy online - I buy the sort of stuff that people would buy at walmart (soap, deodorant, batteries and other household goods at Amazon so I don't have to pay sales tax

So this is your confession that you are committing tax fraud? Or do you actually pay the associated "use" tax that your state charges and you are just playing word games.

Comment Re:This will end badly (Score 1) 231

They need access to GPS data, but this can probably accommodated with special hardware that does its best to ensure only GPS data is passed in.

What happens when someone hacks the GPS data that the car is receiving and tells it that the car is 20 feet right of where it really is? The car will of course automatically adjust course by moving 20 feet left into oncoming traffic.

Comment Re:Yep. And more... (Score 1) 171

Good luck taking down an armed military with your plinkers, if they actually WANT to get rid of you. Or they could, you know, keep doing the slow-boil that they've been doing for years. That seems to be working pretty well - as you already note yourself. Why fight them when you can just make them agree with you?

The question becomes whether the members of the US armed forces are actually willing to turn their weapons on their neighbors, coworkers or friends? It's one thing to be deployed to a different country in a distant land against a population that differs from you in ethnicity, beliefs, etc. The brainwashing needed there is fairly low level, of the patriotic sort. To view large groups of people from your own country, your own neighborhood, your own church as a mortal enemy that needs to die takes things to a whole different level.

Comment Re:Take-home exams? (Score 1) 264

I wonder why oral exams aren't more common in the United States. When I came to do graduate studies in Europe, they really forced me to shape up and learn my stuff. Not only do they make cheating impossible, but when you are judged on how fast you provide the answer, you also internalize it better.

Because giving hundreds of students oral exams would require effort on the part of the faculty and they believe that they have better things to do.

Comment Two Reasons Larger Chains Can't Surcharge (Score 3, Interesting) 732

Consumers in ten states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, Texas) won't be affected, since laws in those states forbid the practice (it seems that gasoline station owners here in Massachusetts got a different memo, though).

Visa/MC contracts still state that merchants have to have the same policy across their business. For larger chains that have a retail presence in these ten states, the prohibition on surcharging there means no surcharging anywhere else either.

From NBCNews:

Visa and MasterCard have rules that require retailers to handle credit cards the same way in all of their stores across the country. That means a chain with stores in any of the 10 states where a surcharge is banned would not be able to have a surcharge at any of its stores.

The settlement also states that merchants have to apply the same policy equally to their other cards that they accept, such as AMEX or Discover. Since AMEX still prohibits surcharging, if a merchant accepts AMEX they cannot surcharge for credit cards.

From NBCNews:

The National Retail Federation points out that under terms of the settlement, a merchant who adds a surcharge to purchases on a Visa or MasterCard would have to do the same with American Express cards. But AMEX prohibits surcharge fees. So a merchant who accepts American Express as well as Visa/MasterCard would not be able to surcharge any of those cards.

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