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Comment Re:Tax avoidance vs. Tax evasion (Score 1) 579

We would never expect an individual to not take a tax deduction or child credit etc. because they have "courage".

People need those things just to live and keep a roof over their heads. Paying the tax you really owe as a company is not equivalent to rejecting desperately needed child support.

I have no problem with Apple doing legal tax avoidance

I do. Just because something is legal, it doesn't mean it's ok. When governments don't have the cash they need, they have to cut back on essential services that we all use and people can die as a result.

If they're doing something illegal, that's another issue

This may well be the case with Apple and Ireland.

But let's not slam a corporation that is legally following tax law. Instead, let's slam legislators and encourage legislation to close tax loopholes and simplify the tax code.

Well, yes, governments are to blame for the loopholes, but companies use their might to push for those loopholes to exist. Very often they write the legislation that government enacts.. Also, companies do not just use their influence when it comes to legislation, they also use their power to "capture" relevant agencies. We've had this in the UK with our revenue collection agency, HMRC. There seems to be a revolving door between them and the very companies they are "struggling" to collect tax from. The previous head of HMRC let Vodaphone and Goldman Sachs off paying billions in tax and lied to the Commons Select Committee. He also protected HSBC from fraud charges in Switzerland and then went to work for them.

Perhaps we could have some kind of tax star rating, a bit like Michelin Stars. Smaller companies that can't use complicated tax avoidance would be proud to display their 5 star tax rating and it may give them an advantage over 1-Star major corporations. Imagine two adjacent coffee shops and only one has a 5-star rating. It may have enough of an effect that tax avoiders start losing money as a result.

Comment Re:Really (Score 1) 569

"So I'm afraid I must repeat (and I take no pleasure in saying this, believe me) your only three options this election are Trump, Clinton, or throwing your vote away."

If you vote for someone you believe in, your vote is never thrown away. They may not win, but people will see how much support they get, and that can lead to more support next time. You are right though, that FPTP is a poor system. It's particularly poor when it comes to electing presidents because (as far as I understand it), it is not possible for two candidates to combine their votes in any way, unlike parties which can combine their votes and form a coalition. The upshot of this is that people like Bernie Sanders won't risk standing as an independent for risk of splitting the left wing vote. You could have a system where candidates can pledge to transfer their votes to another candidate in the event they fail to secure enough votes themselves. It could bring an end to the endless oscillation between Republican and Democrat presidents.

Comment Re:We need this (Score 1) 244

Any battery developed by Dyson will no doubt be massively overpriced like their other products. Even if he were able to double the energy density of batteries, it seems likely you would be able to buy several of the conventional batteries for the same price.

Besides which, it looks like there is already quite a breakthrough happening right now. http://news.mit.edu/2016/lithi...

Comment Re:Microsoft's underestimating their legacy base (Score 1) 405

" Microsoft is really dismissing how much legacy code is out there"

I had any illusions that they cared about that sort of thing shattered when they dumped Visual Basic. It was huge in industry and millions (perhaps hundreds of millions) of lines of code, representing untold millions of dollars, suddenly became legacy code. (VB.NET was/is a completely different language)

Comment Re:Did it occur to them that no one wants them? (Score 1) 86

I doubt AR glasses will make you vomit since you will still be able to see most of the real world. However, Hololens has a crappy field of view which they do not seem interested in addressing. The demos they have shown have all been "fake" composites of what you would ideally see if the FOV was huge and if Hololens was also able to show objects darker than the background (which it isn't).

I don't think they seriously intend Hololens as a consumer product. I think it is all just marketing hype for windows 10.

Comment Re:CROOKED hillary will be busted by Donald J. Tru (Score 1) 477

The Stay campaign seems far worse when it comes to scaremongering. Every day they are saying billions will be wiped of this or that, but in actual fact they really have no clue at all. There are plenty of intelligent arguments going both ways, but we have heard precisely zero of them from either campaign. Instead its just been unsubstantiated scaremongering. On top of this, the people who want to leave are being marginalized as racists, even though in the past, many of the leading left-wing politicians wanted to leave the EU, claiming it to be capitalistic and undemocratic.

Comment Re:Getting to a technological level is hard. (Score 1) 559

7) For the industrial revolution plenty of freely available energy had to be lying around near the surface - ie coal. You can't melt iron with wood fires.

And we only had coal because when trees first appeared, there happened to be nothing around that could digest them, so they just piled up, got buried and eventually became coal. However, it's not a complete show stopper since you can make charcoal from wood which does burn hot enough for melting iron.

Comment Re:Those countries... (Score 1) 1116

Mainly you can tell they are not socialist by the fact they are (a) permissive, and (b) happy - neither the sign of socialism at work (as well know all too well from countless historical examples, socialism and totalitarianism go hand in hand).

I think you may be confusing socialism with communism. Communism and totalitarianism have often gone hand in hand, not socialism and totalitarianism. I've noticed in political debates in the US that the term "Socialism" is often used in such a negative way that it seems that they really mean Communism. It's quite bizarre.

The American dream is the idea that anyone with humble beginnings can rise up and become a success, perhaps a billionaire or president etc. There is however a name for this phenomenon. It's called social mobility and is quite measurable. The US has an absolutely terrible social mobility. Ironically, if you want the "American Dream" you will need to move to a more socialist country like Denmark, or perhaps more conveniently, right next door to Canada.

Comment Re:two steps backward. (Score 3, Insightful) 42

Boston Dynamics is lightyears ahead of this little robot

From what I've read, Boston Dynamics may have been misrepresenting the success of their robots via editing. A bit like someone filming themselves throwing a basketball over their shoulder and then uploading the 1 successful attempt out of 200 attempts. A soon as their bipedal robot was put to a live test at the Darpa competition, it seemed to be falling all over the place even on flat ground. This is sure to have rung alarm bells at google.

This article springs to mind. http://www.popularmechanics.co...

We really need to see long unedited videos of any new robots in action to have any confidence in their reliability.

Comment Switzerland Has Something Similar (Score 1) 490

They probably don't use computers for it, but the Swiss public can overturn new legislation by instigating a referendum. I believe it requires something in the region of 50 thousand signatures to kick off a referendum. This is a good compromise between purely representative democracy (which is often not very representative at all) and absolute direct democracy . Let the government do its job making dull but necessary new laws etc, but if they get out of line with some new law etc, we should have a constitutional and effective way of striking it down that doesn't involve mass protest and teargas.

In Britain, referendums are rarely granted by the government and in a number of cases they have promised them and then actually backtracked. They don't like handing power over to the public. Can you imagine how wonderful it would be for the public to simply overrule the government over something like TPP?

The question is, how do we get there?

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