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Comment Re:Raise your hand if... (Score 1) 366

Mistake in phrasing on my part. My comment should have opened with "I would imagine that most places that take plastic only advertise it when you walk in."

But you're mistaken about any establishment being forced to take cash to settle a debt. From the US Treasury website:

There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise. For example, a bus line may prohibit payment of fares in pennies or dollar bills. In addition, movie theaters, convenience stores and gas stations may refuse to accept large denomination currency (usually notes above $20) as a matter of policy.

Based on this, a merchant is free to require plastic only. Your offer to pay cash may be rebuffed, but your debt is still open unless and until you find a means to pay the merchant in the merchant's preferred fashion. Failure to do so opens you up to legal action.

Comment Re:As long as it's just apostrophes... (Score 1) 158

Acronyms are abbreviations made of the initial letters of other words and pronounced as separate words themselves. Examples: NASA, FUBAR, SNAFU.

Initialisms are abbreviations made of the initial letters of other words but pronounced by speaking each letter in turn. Examples: UN, US, UK, NSA.

"SKU" is sometimes treated as either. It can be pronounced "S-K-U" or similar to the word "skew."

Anyway, whether you add an apostrophe before the 's' in a plural form depends on the style guide you choose to follow. Oxford says not to use it (except in the case of a single letter or digit), as does the Chicago Manual of Style. However, the NYTimes guide says it must be used.

Comment Re:Raise your hand if... (Score 1) 366

I would imagine that most places that take cash only advertise it when you walk in. You know going in that you need plastic. If there's no notification, then there's a reason to argue.

Most restaurants, though, are understanding about a temporary inability to pay, and will let you come back later to pay, especially if you can leave some information behind like a driver's license number or some form of collateral. They could also allow you to call someone to bring payment and let you settle things with that person later.

But going into a store, you're generally paying for the merchandise before you leave. No payment, no merchandise. It works that way in the US, Europe, and Australia.

Comment Re:Only viable if all planes land themselves (Score 2) 340

You did it alone, which makes it far more difficult. A real 747 has, depending on the age, one or two other people to help handle all of the operations on landing. The pilot who has the controls is responsible for only the basic controls and monitoring airspeed and sink rate. The other pilot (or the computer) handles everything else.

Still, as a pilot, I'm really not keen on this idea. One of the benefits of the straight runway method is an extremely predictable location of all aircraft. You know where traffic is supposed to be based on factors other than what you hear over the radio or see on the TCAS or radar. The variability that the circular runway introduces is useful in concept, but while GPS also removes the rigidity of defined flight paths, it does so away from the congested airport airspace.

Comment Re:Raise your hand if... (Score 1) 366

No one is obligated to accept cash. Most apartments refuse cash payments because they don't want to deal with having thousands of dollars in cash on-hand at predictable times. Major airlines don't accept cash for purchases during flights. Several restaurants in New York are cashless, and the trend has been expanding slowly to other locations. Some stay cashless, some allow cash later.

A place not accepting cash doesn't mean that you can just walk out with the merchandise, though. Your perception that you've created a debt by attempting to purchase something is off. There's no debt because the transaction hasn't been completed, and there's no contract, verbal or written, setting up payment at a later time. What you're talking about is theft, and the police can arrest you for that. The judge will find you guilty of theft. The only thing you can do is leave your coffee behind and walk out to find a place that does accept cash.

Comment Re:A point here? (Score 1) 366

Cash does not have an inherent value. If it did, money markets wouldn't exist because all cash would have an inherent value, and that would not change. Even gold and silver don't have an inherent value. If I'm starving and I have something to trade for food and you're the only person around, I'm not going to trade for your silver or gold if I need food. At that time, food has a value to me, while precious metals do not.

Valuing something in a given currency a learned skill. When aboriginal tribes were forcibly assimilated into Australian society, one of the most difficult things for many of them to learn was how money worked. I read a while back about one person who walked into a grocery store soon after being brought into the city, picked up a couple of things from a shelf, and walked out, not understanding why people were shouting at and chasing him.

Similarly, what if I plopped down a coin made of palladium. Could you spot its inherent value if the language on the coin wasn't familiar to you? Would you place its value higher or lower than silver if you didn't know it was made of palladium?

Your coworkers were probably just amazed to see some silver coins only because they're not used to seeing them. If you took them into most stores, you wouldn't be able to spend them, even if they were US silver coins because people wouldn't be familiar with them. Hopefully, they wouldn't call the cops on you like some do for $2 bills, but they might refuse the transaction to avoid the risk of falling for a scam.

Comment Re: Exchange in precious metals (Score 1) 366

All it took was one signature on an old-fashioned piece of paper and private possession of gold currency became illegal, too. Sure, you could probably deal in shavings carefully measured on a scale, but that takes a much longer time to do, is subject to manipulation, and raises the risks of collecting the metals such that most places wouldn't do it.

Comment Re:clearly the truckers are right (Score 1) 331

What the intent was is actually completely irrelevant in any law. The courts do not decide on intent.

That's not always the case. Where the law has a clear and obvious meaning, legislative intent does not enter into the discussion. However, when there is ambiguity, courts may turn to legislative intent to get an idea of what the law should mean. In Johnson v. United States, 529 U.S. 694, 723 (2000), the majority (six justices) opinion and one of two concurring opinions held that because a plain reading of the law resulted in an absurdity, the intent of Congress in passing the law must be examined. Thomas concurred in the result but disagreed with the need to use legislative intent, and Scalia disagreed with using legislative intent and with the Court's choice of definitions.

This has become less common in the last few decades, as discussed in this William and Mary Law Review article but it's still around at various levels. In general, the more conservative the judge or justice, the less likely they are to rely on legislative intent, while more liberal judges and justices are more likely to rely on it. However, use of it has decreased across the spectrum.

Comment Re:Know how else users can get faster load times? (Score 1) 83

If sites are using a CDN rather than hosting the Javascript libraries and generic CSS themselves, there is a good chance that it is in your cache already.

Depending on the source used, it may also have a more recent version of the JS library than might be otherwise used, as some of the CDNs that maintain the libraries automatically update to the latest compatible version.

Comment Re:Give the consumers a refund on what they paid (Score 1) 48

If looking at the content of messages sent by someone outside of your servers is illegal, then all automated mail filtering at the server level is illegal. The scammers certainly don't consent to you looking at their spam/phishing/malware to see if it should be sent off to another folder or even outright deleted.

There's nothing illegal about what Google is doing with Gmail. You can argue that there are ethical or moral reasons against it, but to argue legalities, especially without citing the criminal law it's allegedly breaking, is to undermine a critical part of modern information security.

Comment Re:Lawyers get rich... (Score 1) 48

Consumers are going to get, at best, a notice at the top of their Gmail login with information about the settlement and a reiteration of what almost all of them already knew: Google looks for keywords and alters its advertising accordingly. They're not going to get a payout, or even a coupon or discount code good for purchase of Google products.

The lawsuit was someone looking for a payout, and the settlement is Google trying to get out of it as cheaply as possible. As torkus said, the lawyers are the winners here. For everyone else, life just goes on.

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