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Comment Re:Students are income tax exempt, too (Score 1) 157

In the US, low income citizens pay negative tax. We call it Earned Income Tax Credit. If you live alone and make no money (and therefore pay no income taxes), you get back a few hundred at tax return time. If you have kids, you get several thousand.

Also, the first ten thousand or so of income is non-taxable. Combined with the Earned Income Tax Credit, families with children usually don't pay taxes on the first twenty to thirty thousand dollars of income. 45 percent of the US pays no federal income tax.

Comment Re:iframe (Score 1) 25

Since video can't actually be binary embedded into HTML, all websites that present video are simply markup constructs that tell the browser to go get a video. Whether the browser uses the iframe, video, or object tag is what's irrelevant. The question here is how far copyright law goes in limiting other's use of presenting content. Unfortunately, this is destined to come down to intent and to become a gray area that will be expensive to litigate.

Comment Sensitive enough to pick up heartbeat (Score 4, Interesting) 25

Yes, some are quite sensitive. I did some experiments with an iPhone 5S, wanting to detect respiration. Was surprised that it also clearly picked up heartbeat. It works best with the phone laying on your stomach while laying on your back. It takes some filtering to get a clear signal, but iOS (and I presume Android) has the necessary signal processing APIs to clean it up.

Please don't try this while asleep and unmonitored, and certainly not with a Samsung!

Comment Re:Modern kids are retarded (literally) (Score 0) 403

I feel wrong disagreeing with you, but...

I just watched James Randi's documentary this past weekend and I recall a story about how he put together a press packet for a fake channeler that called himself "Carlos". This was 35 years ago, and he was on a lot of major news programs and in a lot of publications. Not one of the staffers of any of these shows/publications checked his references - as they were all fake. The public bought every word he said. Fake news is a very old phenomenon and every generation has fallen for it.

Comment Re:yes they should (Score 1) 1081

Did the founding fathers want that?

Yes, they specifically said they wanted that. Below is an excerpt from Origins of the Electoral College

A third idea was to have the president elected by a direct popular vote. Direct election was rejected not because the Framers of the Constitution doubted public intelligence but rather because they feared that without sufficient information about candidates from outside their State, people would naturally vote for a "favorite son" from their own State or region. At worst, no president would emerge with a popular majority sufficient to govern the whole country. At best, the choice of president would always be decided by the largest, most populous States with little regard for the smaller ones.

Comment Re: yes they should (Score 1) 1081

I read the summary. They used the popular vote result of this and previous elections to come to the conclusion that future election could be made better by changing the rules. That's a flawed analysis, because the rule change they propose will make the election an entirely different contest and the data they used to arrive at their conclusions will no longer be applicable. In other words, the popular vote results from an electoral college election won't be predictive of the popular vote results for a future popular vote election. Since the data referenced doesn't apply to the future they propose, without other data or theories, any conclusions are purely pulled out of their ass.

Comment Re:yes they should (Score 1) 1081

Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson disagreed with you and wrote in detail why. You need some serious weight behind your assertion or it's just whining.

BTW, the president is different because the power of a single senator or representative has external checks and balances in the form of how they get elected and how the houses interact with each other. The executive branch has no such structure (on purpose), so the checks and balances were built into the election process itself.

Comment Re:yes they should (Score 1) 1081

I live in New York. No presidential candidate has spent any meaningful time here in my lifetime. If we switched to a popular vote, the tune wouldn't change. My house is 450 miles from New York City and 350 miles from Cleveland. There is essentially no one here. It wouldn't make economic sense to campaign here or to propose policies to appease us.

With a popular vote, New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago would get more attention; Ohio would get less. It would be different, but not better. Candidates that have policies that appease voters in high-density population centers would be able to visit more of their constituents given the same time and budget. Policies like gun control and welfare would be easier to get votes out for, while pro-farming positions would become a political death sentence.

Comment Re:yes they should (Score 2) 1081

I live in New York, so I'm well aware of how the system affect voters in non-swing states. However, I'm confident that switching to a popular vote won't make the situation any better. A pure popular vote would favor a candidate with "take from the few and give to the many" policies - in other words, Democrats.

The argument you are making is a classic Politician's Fallacy - there is a problem, so something must be done; thing is something, so this must be done.

Comment Re:yes they should (Score 2) 1081

Famous quote: "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb arguing over what's for dinner". Our country was founded on a constitution guaranteeing certain freedoms and well-considered series of checks and balances designed to preserve those freedoms. Direct democracy was considered to be a risk to the freedoms of minorities and a potential pathway to future tyranny. The electoral college was one of many rules put in place to preserve those rights. The important lesson here is that the rights enshrined in the first ten amendments of the constitution are considered much more of the foundation of this country than the purity of our democracy.

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