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Comment Re: Guardian?! (Score 2) 259

The dependency tree for full passporting is simple: being a member of the EU. This was known before the vote, in fact several banks had to deposit in front of a parliamentary commission on the possible effects of Brexit. It was dismissed by the Brexit camp as being part of "project fear".

Switzerland, for example, doesn't have the ability to fully passport its financial services to the EU, it has 120-something bilateral agreements for some services. Those agreements have to be renegotiated every time there is a change happening in the market. So in practice, Swiss banks passport their services through their operations in London, which is no longer going to be an option once the UK leaves.

The absolute best case for the UK, will mean that they have to apply all EU regulations without having a say in their writing, any veto right, any negotiation right, while having to pay the full fees without any discount. One of the regulations that the UK isn't currently applying, through it's special snowflake status, is the limit on the bonus of financial services employees.

And that still won't allow full passporting, as the individual financial regulators in the EU will need to sanction the service passporting under the "equivalent regulation" provision. Full passporting means you just need to tell your own financial regulator that you are going to passport your services across the entire EU. I can totally see that set of concessions as satisfying both the Brexit voters and the financial services industry in the UK.

Comment Re: Guardian?! (Score 1) 259

The banks won't fully leave, however they are going to either relocate a massive part of their UK operations to the continent or fire a massive part of their UK workforce. The UK population is roughly 65 million people, the EU population without the UK is roughly 440 million people. You don't need as many people in the "UK outside EU" operations to manage less than 13% of the "UK inside EU" potential clientele.

With the UK as a EU member, banks could "passport" their UK banking license to the rest of Europe. Once the UK is out, the "passport" option is no longer on the table so they will legally have to either apply for a banking license inside the EU, which means setting up full operations on mainland Europe (data centers, accounting, fund management, funds, ... the whole lot basically), or pull out of the EU financial markets altogether. Getting a banking license isn't something achieved in a couple of weeks and it tends to cost a lot of money, so the banks probably waited until the vote results came in and are now scrambling to get their license between the invocation of Article 50 and the 2 years deadline. It seems that some of the international banks did their homework, had a DRP for Brexit and already started executing that plan on June 24th.

Comment Re:Control (Score 1) 693

Bzzzt, wrong on both counts. Let me address them separately

EU committee members are appointed by the EU parliament.

The government of each member country proposes one member for the European Commission (usually someone who can no longer be elected in his own country either due to term limits or scandals). The European Council, which is made of the head of states for all EU member states, proposes one of the 28 to act as the president of the European Commission then the European Parliament gets to vote on his nomination. Once he is elected, the other 27 are appointed as commissioners and the European Parliament gets to vote once more to accept or reject the entire European Commission.

The European Commission sort of wields the ultimate power in the EU... the European Parliament can vote against its proposals, but the European Commission can either just send it back to vote until the European Parliament caves in or make it ride an unrelated package in a sub-committee to make it pass unnoticed.

The EU parliament is not elected, directly or indirectly, by the people of the UK.

Hmm, pop quiz time... what did Britons vote for in 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014? How did UKIP get seats in the European Parliament?

How the European Parliament election is organised in the UK The last European Parliament election in the UK

Comment Re:Thats really cheap (Score 1) 298

You mean "just like nuclear energy was in Germany, with costs of at least 20 billion Euros still coming just for shutting down the plants, and unknown costs for long term storage of the waste.

No, I meant exactly what I wrote... how is an added 22.2% "Renewable energy surcharge" on all electricity used by residential consumers, used to ensure a minimal price for the renewable energy producers, not a subsidy? The total of the eco-related surcharges and taxes is roughly one third of the final price.

The consumer price of electricity in Germany is split as follows:

  • Cost of power (supply and profit margin): 21.3%
  • Grid charges: 24.6%
  • Renewable energy surcharge: 22.2%
  • VAT: 16%
  • Ecological tax: 7.2%
  • Concession levy: 5.8%
  • Surcharge for combined heat and power plants: 1.5%
  • Levy for grid use of large users: 1.3%
  • Levy for offshore liabilities: 0.1%

Comment Re:Thats really cheap (Score 3, Informative) 298

The consumer pays through higher taxation. Nuclear is heavily subsidised in France isn't it. In fact the sector is almost wholly owned by the government.

Nuclear is indeed subsidized in France, just like renewable energy is in Germany through artificially high costs for residential consumers (added tax). The German city where I lived for 10 years until last month has 99.99% of its energy supply (and the supply of its county) coming from dams that have been operating for decades and had been paid through a mix of city taxes and citizen investments. Yet, we were also paying the extra tax to encourage the switch to renewable energy, which was then used to put solar panels and windmills that didn't even register as a blip in the energy mix of the city. Probably because the now privatized operator wasn't using those to supply the city, but selling the energy somewhere else. In France, I'm getting my electricity through a local supplier using biomass... I'm paying less than half of German prices at peak time, but slightly more than half of German prices off peak time.

For taxation, it depends in which tax bracket you are... for a single person:

German tax rates:

  • 0% up to 7 664
  • 15% 7 665- 52 153
  • 42% 52 154 - 250 000
  • 45% 250 001 and over

French tax rates:

  • 0% up to 9 701
  • 14% Between 9 701 - 26 791
  • 30% Between 26 792 - 71 826
  • 41% Between 71 827 - 152 108
  • 45% Above 151 108

Germany taxes are lower if you earn between 26 791 and 52 153 a year, it is unfortunate for most of my ex neighborhood that they were mostly in the bracket where Germany is more expensive, below 26791 a year. Most of my new neighborhood is in the same bracket and pay less taxes. In my tax bracket, there is a less than 1% difference in the effective tax rate (in favor of Germany) but that is still below what I save through utilities, services, price of real estate and interest rates on the house credit. It's also a theoretical saving as I am paying my income tax in Luxembourg where my effective tax rate is a whole 11% lower than what it would theoretically be in Germany (theoretically, because my gross salary would also be lower in Germany).

Another big difference in taxation between the two country is property taxes, I'm paying roughly the same amount of property taxes in France as I was paying in Germany. My property in France is way bigger than the one I had in Germany. In France, the property tax includes things like garbage disposal, water treatment and TV tax. Garbage disposal and water treatment have been privatized in Germany, so you have to pay extra money on top of the property tax. As I lived in the suburbs of the city in Germany, I wasn't actually getting any of the services I was supposed to receive through my property taxes (library, maintained roads, ...).

I was paying a pet tax in Germany, which doesn't exist in France, and gets very expensive if you have more than 1 dog. I'm getting far better network connectivity options in France even tho I moved to the middle of the sticks and I lived in the suburbs of a decent sized city in Germany. Road tax in Germany is to be paid every year, it is a once-off in France when you register the vehicle. As a trade-off, in France, I would have to pay to use toll roads (highways I use maybe once or twice a year). The car road-worthiness check in France is half the price of the same check in Germany.

All in all, France is a cheaper option for me.

Comment Re:Renewable energy can work. (Score 2) 298

Price fixing. When a law says "shall not charge more than xx/unit", the suppliers turn to the customers and say "we'd love to charge you less, but the law states we have got to charge you xx/unit".

Switching from the historical local supplier (actually RWE using the name of the old city-run supplier) to a 100% renewable start-up saved me a bit of money in the first year as there was a special offer to switch. Then it was just 10% cheaper than the old supplier. I have now just moved to France, using locally generated renewable, and my monthly electricity bill has already been halved.

On the other hand, Germany handled the solar panel (both PV and hot water) subsidies better than France... France gives you a tax credit if, and only if, the panels are installed by certified suppliers. Said suppliers then bumped their prices up by the amount of the tax credit.

Comment Re:Death of peronal responsibility (Score 1) 381

As long as you have fat, no!

Then why did I lose muscle mass while exercising more than usual and still having ample fat reserves? It is commonly happening during the cut phase of the bulk/cut cycle. You will lose muscle mass at a calorie deficit even if you keep lifting 5 days a week, you will predominantly lose fat but also lose muscle mass. You will also be see your lifts go down during the cut phase (either the top weight or the amount of set/reps, sometimes both). The sad reality of the cut phase is that you can only minimize the amount of muscle mass you will lose, by watching your macros (protein heavy!) and lifting heavy. The only time when you won't lose muscle mass on a cut is during maybe the first months of serious lifting, because you have so little muscle mass to start with at that point.

That does not make any sense. Muscles need energy, not steroids, that are just hormones that stimulate muscle growths.

Intake of anabolic steroids and strength-training induce an increase in muscle size by both hypertrophy and the formation of new muscle fibers.

Why are AAS so overused in the body-building scene? They allow you to increase the amount of muscle mass above what your body would normally carry/sustain at a given exercise level. It basically lets you go above what is commonly called "your genetic maximum" which is really the maximum muscle mass your body will sustain by itself at a certain muscle use level. When you plateau in all your lifts, usually after a couple of years of "serious" lifting, you are faced with a choice. Switch to maintenance at that muscle mass or turn to steroids to keep increasing your muscle mass because your body won't carry more left to its own devices.

You basically need to starve 2 weeks or more without any body fat left until the body does that.

Two weeks without body fat left means you're dead or on life support. Anything below 2% to 5% is going to seriously mess up your body.

Comment Re:Death of peronal responsibility (Score 1) 381

The body is not attacking its muscles as long as it has fat to burn. However with lack of protein intake the muscle cells that die and "get eaten" are not replaced (simplified speaking), due to lack of proteins.

However people doing a diet often are tired and "exercise" less, so the body is scaling down the muscles, too. With scaled down amount of muscles the base energy consumption of the body goes down, countering the diet effect.

Actually it does once you get above a certain level of deficit... and "surviving" on 600 calories a day is way above that level of deficit. The body will even get rid of muscle without a deficit, if you simply don't use them enough. Muscle is expensive to gain and maintain, which is why people tend to go through bulk/cut phases with progressive muscle overload to maximize gains. The cut phase requires special care in the diet to minimize muscle loss and will reduce your PR in pretty much all the lifts. If you start using your muscle less, you will lose muscle mass.

Put another way, as I said in a previous thread last month... my BMI is borderline obese, with only 20% fat (checked through measurements and fat calipers). I lift 3 times a week, I run 3 times a week, I try to eat a balanced diet. Even at 0% fat with my current lean body mass, I'd be in the overweight BMI range. However that amount of lean body isn't something I'd be able to maintain for long without the extra amount fat I carry and the extra calories intake, except if I took steroids or similar. I'd need to properly check the proportions after my accidental weight loss, but a quick check with impedence (wildly inaccurate, I know, but my calipers are in a box I didn't open yet) tells me I gained a few % lean body mass and lost quite a few percent fat. In practice, if my back of the napkin calculations are correct: I lost around 1kg of lean body mass for every 2kg of fat I lost, rounded up with water loss. That was while being physically active up to 16 hours a day shifting boxes and furniture, and eating around 1000 calories (protein heavy, with carbs top-ups when feeling low on energy).

Comment Re:Death of peronal responsibility (Score 1) 381

When somebody eats 300-600 calories per day and still gains weight, there is something else going on.


My fucking body burns somewhere around 1500 calories at fucking rest last time I checked!

Do you know what happens when you eat 300 to 600 calories per day? Hint, you don't gain weight. Show me a person who consistently gains weight at that level of calorie intake, under controlled conditions. The study of that one guy could possibly revolutionize physics and biology. At that calorie intake level, the body will start reclaiming unused material (muscle and fat) for energy. Heck, one reasonable sandwich (ham, an egg, salad, tomato, pickles, no cheese or sauce) is already >80% of that daily calorie target.

I accidentally dropped 14 lbs in the last 10 days as I was too busy relocating to eat correctly... I actually ate junk food during those 10 days, but probably just around 1000 calories per day in one setting.

Comment Re:Here's a scary thought (Score 1) 369

It depends what you want to replenish... normally nitrogen is the oil-derived fertilizer component. It can be however be obtained through pretty much anything, in a less direct cycle. Pretty much everything organic that decomposes will produce ammonia while being broken down. Bacteria in the soil will then process the ammonia to nitrogen. The process is slower than with chemical nitrogen, which is presented as a compound that is directly available to the plants. Alternatively, you can also plant legumes or a cover crop of clover in the area as they will scrub nitrogen from the atmosphere and fix it in the soil. It is also a slower process than the chemical based fertilizer.

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