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Comment Re:"carrying massive objects" with a dirigible (Score 1) 475

(b) how difficult it is going to be to ballast it with enough ice to get back again.

Not sure I get it, why is that going to be necessary?

Either you have to deal with that, an interesting technical challenge, or you have to dump hundreds of tonnes of expensive helium.

Couldn't you just compress the helium you already have contained? i.e. transfer some helium to a compression chamber, compress into storable containers of high pressure, high density helium, repeat process.

Comment Re:1.5 Trillion?! (Score 2, Insightful) 510

I agree with you that the availability of free songs shifts the supply curve, but that's not really my point.
From what I understand (I could be wrong), their argument is that everyone who downloaded the song for free would have paid the full price for it if it wasn't available free. If you were to draw that, you get a flat demand curve, where the demand is the same at a price of $0 as at a price significantly greater than that. Surely the demand for music isn't price-insensitive.

Comment Re:1.5 Trillion?! (Score 1) 510

For example, in our state, the civil conversion law allows for treble damages. Conversion being the civil equivalent of theft. If I "convert" $5000 of your cash, or a widget of yours worth $5000, should I just be required to pay you $5000? You can see the problems with that - it basically turns everyone into a merchant of all their possessions. If you won't voluntarily give or sell me something of yours that I want, I can force a sale just by taking it. So the law allows for treble damages, not just as pure out-of-pocket compensation, but as an additional deterrent.

Granted, but for the tort of conversion, as you said, there is the crime of theft... I'm not sure that we need much additional deterrence where there are criminal sanctions available.

Comment Re:1.5 Trillion?! (Score 3, Interesting) 510

It is a civil case and you should only be able to sue in a civil case for the following, money lost, time lost, litigation fees for having to take you to court. The purpose of civil cases are not to punish but to compensate.

I don't mean to nitpick, but in the U.S. civil court system at least, punitive damages are available under certain circumstances (and they are very often claimed, not as often awarded). But in this case, $750 doesn't necessarily even include punitive damages: because money lost includes "lost profits" (expectation damages in contracts, consequential damages in torts). If they can show, with preponderance of the evidence, that because you shared one song, 10 people who otherwise would have paid for it did not, you can be liable for those 10 lost sales.

One big flaw in their evidence is that (from what I understand) they argue that a song downloaded is a song that would otherwise have been purchased - which completely defies any basic principles of economics (price/demand curve).

I think we can all agree that $750/song or $1.5 trillion total sounds just absurd.

Comment Re:If you get paid into a foreign bank account... (Score 1) 349

I agree with you that there are mechanisms in place that are intended to avoid double-taxation. My point though is that, despite these mechanisms, in practice (at least in my experience) you still end up paying more than the greater individual tax rate, i.e. more than you would pay if you were just declaring everything in one or the other of the two countries.

Comment Re:If you get paid into a foreign bank account... (Score 2, Informative) 349

Speaking from experience, it's still a huge hassle. While I personally don't anyone who just ignores the law (although granted most of the people I know still work for U.S. companies) it makes your taxes so complicated that you pretty much can't file them without the help of a tax attorney.

Most importantly, you're still getting screwed because the country in which you reside (and work, presumably) still expects you to pay taxes, so in the end you're paying:

(local taxes) + (U.S. taxes) - (some exceptions meant to avoid double-taxation) = (still more than you would pay in either country if you were taxed only by that country)

When the other country you're living in is a European country with a very high tax rate (e.g. France, Sweden, etc.), you end up paying a lot more in taxes than you are getting in return benefits.

Comment Re:awful typo in article (Score 0) 197

Just think of what this technology could do in the hands of Ford!

BRILLIANT! All Ford has to do is reverse the polarity.
That is, take the Pinto, and reverse its system so that it stores the energy, instead of releasing it (from the gasoline tank), every time it breaks.
To put it in Slashdot terms:

1. Take Pinto
2. Reverse polarity
3. ?
4. Profit

(admittedly, the "?" should really be next to the "reverse polarity"...)

Btw, we need more car analogies.

Comment Re:Do not want. (Score 1) 155

Well, I'm fine with you leaving a country not to have to be subject to the rules of that country. But if you keep interfering with that country's business, e.g. by hacking computers in that country, there's a strong argument in favor of subjecting you to their rules.

Would it be reasonable for you to lob cars over the border into another country, and not expect that they try to stop you? In most countries, lobbing cars across the border is probably illegal, but even if your country doesn't stop you, I'm pretty sure the country you're pestering would do something about it.

Someone please fix my car analogy.

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