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Comment Re:Typical studio assholes! (Score 1) 139

If you're going to invest your time and money in a creative endeavor, don't base it on someone else's property. That puts you completely at their mercy. Just like Zynga is completely at the mercy of Facebook, you are completely at the mercy of CBS/Paramount if you make Star Trek fiction. They own the creative works, they get to decide what should be granted a reasonable license, not you and me. If they want to be asses about it, they can.

Fanfics are fine since they represent a minimal investment of your time and resources. But if you're going to put enough effort and money into it to make a feature film, you really should be creating your own sci-fi universe. Or before you start production, you can negotiate with CBS/Paramount for a license to use their universe. Intellectual property law is completely made-up, so it isn't grounded by real-world physical limits and economics. That means it doesn't fall under the "easier to beg forgiveness than it is to get permission" rule.

Comment Re: What complete nonsense (Score 2) 287

$15/hr * 40 hr/wk * 50 wk/yr (2 weeks vacation) = $30,000/yr. Most people would consider that a living wage. Federal poverty level for a family of 4 is just $24,250/yr.

So the $15/hr target is too high. If you target the poverty level for a family of 4 (assuming it's a single income family), the target is $12.12/hr. Poverty level for a single person is $11,770/yr, which translates into $5.89/hr, which is actually below the current minimum wage of $7.25/hr. So the current minimum wage is in the right ballpark of a compromise between singles and single-income families.

Yes this assumes full employment throughout the year. The minimum wage has to be tied to productivity because wages are tied to productivity. If you try to set the minimum wage based on poverty levels for people not being productive the full year, you end up eliminating jobs of people who are fully employed and productive the full year. Inability to find full employment is an employment problem (number of jobs available), not a wage problem (how much you're paid for a job).

IMHO the problem isn't the minimum wage, it's the capital gains tax is way too high for lower income people. People always complain the 15% capital gains tax is too low without really researching who actually pays a 15% income tax. The tax rate is graduated meaning just because you're in the 25% tax bracket doesn't mean you pay a 15% income tax. The threshold where you actually pay a 15% income tax (single, standard deduction) is about $58,500. The threshold where the average American pays 15% income tax (after credits, exemptions, and itemized deductions) is closer to $90,000 (you can figure this out from the IRS tax stats). So it makes little sense for people making less than this to invest their money when it's going to be taxed more than if they just spent it and increased their income via raises (e.g. raising the minimum wage) rather than investments/savings.

The economy rewards you with income for two things - generating productivity (working), and deciding where productivity is needed (managing/investing). The current flat 15% capital gains tax effectively discourages lower income people from participating in the latter. It needs to be graduated like income tax so lower income people have more incentive to save and invest. (The rationale for the capital gains tax rate being lower than income tax rate at higher incomes is the same. It encourages rich people to invest their money thus re-injecting it into the economy, instead of wasting it on gold toilet seats. Same logic applies to lower income people, except some of them "waste" their money on big screen TVs, iPhones, car leases, etc.)

Comment Re:What complete nonsense (Score 1) 287

That's a good point: the banks in Europe did appear to need some help with their reserves. But at some point, the object was no longer to save the banks from collapse, but to improve their reserves so that they could start lending money to businesses and individuals again, thus kickstarting the economy. But proponents in favour of helicopter money argue that the effect of such QE on the economy is slow and limited, and that giving cash in the hands of people directly is a far more effective way to aid the economy.

Comment Re:How large?!? (Score 1) 287

Living on Mars is certainly not impossible, we have the technology. We just need to deal with risk, accidents and deaths, health issues, the incredible expense of getting a colony set up, and the idea of going without iPhones, health care, toilet paper and any form of luxury so we can pay for the ongoing resupply missions. So sure, it's a little impractical at the moment. But not impossible.

Comment Re:What complete nonsense (Score 1) 287

It's actually not a bad idea if you want a little inflation, and there are cases where you'd want it. This is Friedman's "helicopter money", where a central bank increases the money supply by giving every person a bit of cash, instead of the usual quantitive easing where they buy government securities. The idea behind this method is that it turns out that money generated through QE doesn't make its way into the real economy all that quickly, where it is expected that a one-off payment to citizens will (even if they decide to save or invest most of it). It was actually briefly considered in Europe, but naturally the banks oppose it since it means the helicopter will not be flying over their lawn anymore,and thus Draghi (president of the ECB and former Goldman Sachs exec) is never going to allow it.

Of course it wouldn't be a million but perhaps $1000 or a $300 Tricky Dick Fun Bill.

Comment Re: What complete nonsense (Score 3, Insightful) 287

You can't realistically adjust minimum wage for productivity. Productivity measures the output of a system vs. its operational cost. The productivity of a person isn't simply the productivity of that system divided by the nr. of employees in it. Else they'd have to pay the one janitor left in Amazon's fully automatic warehouse a couple of million a year, probably.

Comment Crowdfunding is investing (Score 1) 62

Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter try to make it seem like you're pre-paying for a final product, but you're not. You're investing in a business concept - basically you're a venture capitalist. If it works, you'll get your product. if it doesn't, you'll get nothing.

Crowdfunding is actually worse than venture capitalism. With the latter, you the investor get part ownership of the company, so if it becomes successful (e.g. Oculus VR, Pebble) you share in that success. With crowdfunding, all you get is a shiny trinket. If you even get it at all. All the risk, none of the rewards.

Comment Re:already exceeding expectations (Score 1) 1446

People advocating hypotheticals based on popular vote are arguing on the basis that fairness (majority wins) should override methodology (Electoral College). The problem with arguing Clinton should've won the election based on fairness is you're artificially limiting the election to just two candidates. Clinton and Trump only got 93.97% of the vote. Your "fair" projection disenfranchises 6.03% of the voters

So in the interest of fairness, say you include as many of those 6% as you can. If you add up the votes for the liberal candidates (Clinton, Stein, Sanders, Riva), you get 49.22%. If you add up the votes for the conservative candidates (Trump, Johnson, McMullin, Castle) you get 49.89%. So in all fairness, based on the popular vote the correct winner of this election should be a conservative candidate.

Also, California's last Republican Senator was John Seymour. (Appointed to replace Pete Wilson, who ran for and won the governorship in the first election I was allowed to vote in. The Republicans had made it a priority to get him elected as governor because the 1990 census was being conducted and the governor could veto the gerrymandering Democrats had done to the state's districts.) And the problems you cite (weak economy, broke government floated on large companies) pre-date Schwarzenegger. Gov. Davis was recalled due to California's poor economy following the dot-com bubble bursting, and the huge budget deficit. Schwarzenegger didn't cause these problems as you claim - he was elected because of these problems. Finally, the governor doesn't control the budget. The legislature does. All the governor can do is sign or veto whatever the legislature passes. And the last time California had Republicans controlling even one branch of the state legislature was the '95-96 state assembly.

So it was Democrats who are responsible for every California problem you cite.

Comment Re:Thanks to (Score 0) 72

Well, I am saying that YOUR [561790's] post "is a complete waste of everyone's time". Not even a nod to substance or relevance. Can't even say there is a discussion to regard as pointless and closed.

If you had nothing to say, why didn't you just say nothing?

Comment Re:Let them eat Tweets! (Score 1) 1446

I think I largely agree with you, but I can't tell if HornWumpus is making his point badly or just trolling. I would say that the communists certainly could invade and conquer Taiwan if they wanted to, but there would be a real cost and they would have to evaluate the benefits, including the effects on "domestic politics" in their peculiarly anti-partisan one-party system.

They could even imagine making a profit out of the invasion, but that obviously depends on not destroying too much infrastructure and a belief that the majority of the people on Taiwan would accept the new situation. An expensive insurgency could absorb all of the potential profits for as long as it lasts. On that aspect, they are obviously much more capable than we are of assessing the popular sentiment of their fellow Chinese.

Having said that, they might be able to invade relatively inexpensively by merely filling the next batch of cargo ships with soldiers rather than cargo. If they land and successfully seize the ports in a surprise attack, then they could quickly ferry a few million soldiers over and have quite substantial beachheads. I'm not even sure if the relative air forces would matter if the communists pulled a surprise with clouds of cheap drones...

There is a really important time-related factor, too. There was a known date for Hong Kong and they just had to wait. Taiwan has no schedule and they do NOT want to wait forever. They may well see #PresidentTweety's apprenticeship as the golden opportunity they've been waiting for.

Comment My experience (Score 2) 25

Signed up for it at the end of their promo a week and half back (100+ channels, gen 4 Apple TV and 3 months service for $105, I added on HBO at $5/mo).

The browser version is unusable. Crashes, glitches (shows freeze or stop playing), gets stuck in low res mode, often can't connect to the stream or gets 5 seconds and stops. I wasn't really planning to use it with the computer so not that big a deal for me. The main drawback is I have no way to stream it to my projector since they haven't added Roku support yet.

The Android version mostly works. I've been using my tablet as a mini portable TV when I'm doing stuff around the house, which was really the point of getting the service. I still have an unlimited phone data plan, and am able to use it + hotspot to use the service on my tablet when I'm traveling. Transition from hotspot to regular WiFi is seamless. A few annoyances I've found.
  • Occasionally logs you out. This was happening every 30-60 minutes when I first started the service, but it's only happened once in the last few days so they seem to be getting it under control.
  • Yes they have ABC, NBC, and Fox (CBS wants you to pay for their channel to get OTA shows). But only in certain metro areas. And if you move outside of that metro area, the channels stop working. The Android app needs location permission or it refuses to run. I haven't yet traveled to another supported metro area, so dunno if this is just checks for supported locations, or if it's tied to your home address metro area.
  • Limited to 2 streams. Not an issue for me, but this will be a deal-breaker for some.
  • Most streaming channels don't list DirecTV Now as a service. So even though I can watch the Discovery Channel with DirecTV Now, I can't watch their Roku channel since there's no way for me to activate it. Hopefully this is just due to the services being slow to add DirecTV Now as an enabling subscription service. It does work for HBO, and someone else has said it works for ESPN.
  • Swiping up/down on the guide often advances the show listings forward an hour.
  • The favorites selection is right next to the channel names. It's easy to accidentally favorite/unfavorite a channel while scrolling through the list, or when selecting a channel to watch.
  • Favorites list is slow to sync between devices.
  • Only has a single favorites list. I was expecting multiple favorites like with their satellite tuners.
  • Guide defaults to all channels every time you open it.
  • Starts muted when you first start the Android app. This threw me off for a bit as I tried to troubleshoot it. IMHO it should remember the audio state the last time the app was run. (Just checked and looks like the update they released today adds an option to let you set it to on/off on launch.)
  • Easy to change from partial screen (with a list of recent channels you've watched underneath) to full screen. But impossible to switch from full screen to partial screen.
  • No configuration options for closed captioning. Text is probably the right size for a phone, but too small for my tablet (2560x1600 screen).
  • After living with the Roku for a year, it's really horrifying how much of the show times are taken up by commercials.

I'm gonna keep it for now. HBO alone is normally $15/mo, so it's like I'm getting the other 100+ channels for $25/mo. (The 100 channel promo ended Jan 10. It's now priced at $65/mo. $35/mo now gets you just 60 channels.) Yeah they're having a lot of problems, but it seems to me to be teething problems. And my cable company's basic TV plan was nearly double the price for far fewer channels. Here are comparison of DirecTV vs Sling vs Vue channel lineups and features

Comment Re:already exceeding expectations (Score 1) 1446

I think you are feeding a troll. I used to wonder if they were sincerely stupid, proudly ignorant, or paid to fake it, in which case they should be congratulated for cashing in on their lack of social skills. These days I just wish Slashdot were making some progress towards making them less visible. ANY other use of my time and attention is better.

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A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems. -- P. Erdos