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Comment Not new. (Score 0) 56

I remember an incident mentioned by Zoologist Desmond Morris, in The Naked Ape . He goes through how difficult it was to get a dog through quarantine and get it into UK. Then about opening his regular mail one day and finding some dog brain slices sent from Africa! Some acquaintance/collaborator asking for a favor, "Please test the enclosed dog brain slices for ...". I think the book was published in 1970 or so.

Comment What word doc? Post it notes. (Score 3, Funny) 113

We had the most incompetent sys admin I had seen when our company was in infancy. Slacked off most of the time. So he convinced the receptionist to step and fix urgent things like printer queue issues and restarting print server etc. How? Below the large monthly planner she had on the front desk, was a whole bunch of post-it notes. Each note started with su password and then some commands. About 10 or 15 of them. Worst. Sysadmin. Ever.

Comment Strange Tamil language support in emacs! (Score 3, Informative) 131

A grad student named Bala Swaminathan in Washington University added one of the strangest extensions to EMACS. Support for Tamil language!. As you can see, those days there were no font support for non Romance language. Our goal was to help people post in Usenet using Tamil. So Bala Swaminathan came up with an ASCII glyph for each Tamil letter. So as you type the phonetic key sequence in an English keyboard, as soon as the Tamil phoneme is recognized, the ASCII glyph will be inserted into the display. If you are on a X terminal and set the font to 2 points, you can actually read Tamil in the EMACS editor! What you see on the screen is not what is saved in the document. It was one hell of a hack.

Found the original release and FAQ and documentation. I actually wrote an extension that will convert that document into a LaTeX document, with actual post script Tamil font support. You could print in Tamil from the Madurai encoded Tamil document. Fun times, 26 years ago!

Comment Re:Taxes = theft (Score 5, Informative) 579

Between 1980 and 2013, the share of the total income of the top 5% went up by a factor of 2, and the tax burden rose by roughly the same portion.

But 90% of the people in the top 5% are also getting a raw deal and are shafted. It is the top 0.5% that is reaping all the benefits of the growth. Their share of the income went up by a factor of 10, and their portion of taxes remained the same. That tax burden is borne by the people in the 99.5% to 90% bracket. Below 90% level they have neither the income, nor the tax burden.

Comment Frank, but ambulance chasers will rejoice! (Score 1) 160

Elon spoke frankly and with candor about the technology. Most other manufacturers don't do that. They hide behind bland statements and corporate spokesman. They have learnt it the hard way, being frank and open leads to law suits. So they hide behind these bland useless press releases. That makes them look cagey and shifting, and when something actually comes out, it is seen a lot more harshly it deserves. Let us see what happens in this crash.

Comment We have stop the race to the bottom. (Score 1) 564

"Profits made in Ireland" "profit due to sales in EU" are all really meaningless. Apple A sells something to Apple B. It can price it such that A makes 100% of the profit or vice versa or any percentage it chooses. We do not want governments to enact laws, regulation about these internal details. Enforcement will be difficult, and compliance will be too onerous to the companies.

What USA says is, "don't care who makes the profit where. Your total tax burden can not be below this threshold. Pay this much tax to any jurisdiction you choose, using whatever law/accounting practice you want. If all the taxes paid to all the foreign governments do not add up to this threshold, you owe the rest to US government".

This is a very logical, clean, simple effort to derail the race to the bottom. But industry spins it as "US government taxes world wide income! Onerous, We don't owe US government for profits made outside USA!" No USA does not really want to tax profits made abroad. USA just wants to make sure you don't play one country against another to reduce your tax burden. We just don't want you to game the system. Pay X% as tax to any government you choose.

Comment Re:We Americans should hit Apple with an European (Score 1) 212

What all these companies do is to shift profits. Apple USA sells the right to use Apple brandname and products to Apple UK. At what price? You can sell it at high price, and Apple UK will make a loss, Apple USA will make a profit, Apple pays tax in USA. Or it can sell it at some bargain basement price, make no profit in America, and make ALL its profit in UK. It is completely arbitrary and it is completely at the discretion of Apple.

USA does not want to mess with the internal of the company or how it prices and deals with different divisions internally. All USA is saying is, we will tax you on worldwide income. You declare profits anyway you want, anywhere you want, pay whatever taxes you want to pay to any government you want to pay. If by US law you would have paid X$ as taxes, you pay that much in tax. If all the taxes you have paid to all other governments does not add up to X$, you pay the rest to ?USA. This is completely logical, completely made with one goal. To stop companies from racing to the bottom. Companies shop around for governments to pay the least overall tax. What USA wants to do is to make sure that they can't race to the bottom.

You declare profit anywhere you want, pay any tax due to any government. But overall you can not reduce your tax burden below a certain threshold. That is the stand taken by the US government. It is entirely logical and necessary to prevent the race to the bottom. Only people fooled by the billionaire funded media and the paid shills of them believe USA is taxing too much and the corporations are victims.

Comment We Americans should hit Apple with an European tax (Score 1, Interesting) 212

What Ireland did to Europe is exactly what Europe is doing to America. We should cite this European ruling as a precedent and hit Apple with 2 billion dollars of dodged taxes.

The corporate tax has been shrinking in America and the burden has been foisted on individuals. It is time to reverse the decades old trend.

Comment Birth certificates are mostly joke in some places (Score 4, Interesting) 314

I am from India. My uncle suddenly lopped off 25 years from his age.

He was working as a village karnam a hereditary village official assisting land tax office and other official government work. A coupld of decades after the independence, the government decided to abolish the heridiatry position and regularize them all as "village officers". Part of the application process was filling documents for age and dates of birth. My dad told him government retiremnet age was 58 and he would be retired in 13 years or so. He did not want to suffer the loss of income. One of the official forms of documentation for date of birth was an affidavit fron the village karnam. So he issued himself an affidavit proclaiming him to be 20 years old!. Only adverse consequence was his traditional Hindu ceremonies he had to do as he turned 60 all had to be done in secret, lest the government becomes aware of his true age!

Was thinking all the birthers could have gone to Kenya. The could find a local dynamic_cast(village karnam) to issue birth certificates for any one for any date.

Comment I paid for WahtsApp (Score 5, Insightful) 94

It had a one year free use, and 1$ a year, 5$ for five year price back when it started. I am a paid user of WhatsApp. It has no right to share my phone number with facebook. I don't even have a face book page, I have taken steps to stay away from Linkedin and Facebook.

Hope a paid alternative to WhatsApp emerges.

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