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Comment Re:Lock her up already (Score 1) 77

Tax write-off. He knows the shares are worthless, so might as well realize the loss and use it to offset gains elsewhere.

That makes no sense. Effective tax management means finding ways to report every possible loss, not creating actual losses just so you can report them. Creating $100 in actual losses to offset $100 in gains elsewhere lowers your tax liability by somewhere between $15 and $40, depending, which means you're actually throwing away $60-$85 in the process. Better to keep the gain and pay the tax.

There may be reasons to want to realize the loss *now*, rather than in the future, but that could have been done by selling the shares for more money -- assuming buyers could be found. Perhaps Murdoch believes that no one would be willing to buy his shares for more money? That seems unlikely. Hell, I'll give him $2. I have no reason to believe that the shares are worth that much, but the odds that they are are probably higher than the odds that I'm going to win the lottery and I have bought a lottery ticket a time or two.

Something else is going on here. Perhaps Murdoch has a personal friendship with Holmes, or some other non-financial motivation. But it makes no sense to artificially inflate your real losses in order reduce your tax liability, because the reduction in tax liability will always be less than the losses.

Comment Re:Then why just 8 countries? (Score 2) 142

Let's assume this is a real threat And obviously it is doable, you could open up an ipod, rip out the guts, and put other stuff in its place. Why just 8 countries then? If its a real threat, its a global threat. Its not all that hard for someone to fly to another country first and then travel from an allowed airport. If this is a real threat, it should be from all airports. Otherwise its just games.

I flew from San Jose, CA to Salt Lake City, UT on Friday last week. I was "randomly" selected for slightly-enhanced screening, even though I was going through the TSA Pre-checked line -- and so were the two people before and after me. In this case the screening enhancement was to apply a bomb sniffer to all of my electronic devices, after they'd been xrayed. So, based on what I saw, at that airport on that day, the TSA had turned the random selection probability way up (perhaps 100% -- all five of the people I saw go through were "selected") and implemented a specific check for bombs in electronic devices.

So it appears to me that the TSA may actually have responded across all US airports, though not with more screening, not a device ban.

Comment Re: Uh, why? (Score 1) 195

If you think Vista was bad you're not old enough to remember NT 4.0.

I remember the sound system crashing on my Vista laptop, sending a horrible, unstoppable screeching through the speakers. Basically it was an audio snow crash. Yet everything else worked normally; I was able to save my work and shut the system down. And I remember thinking, "that was horrible, but so much less horrible than it could have been."

Comment Re:Good grief (Score 1) 260

>The thesis of this "scientific paper" is basically like a couple of tokers sitting around in their parents' basement saying "DUUUUDE... what if the money in our savings account DOUBLED EVERY YEAR?!???

Again this is not a critique of the paper, it is a critique of tokers sitting around in their parent's basement. There is no substance in your criticism to address, it really is just an expression of your feelings toward the paper's author. Aside from the fact that you're just name-calling, the numerical basis you've used for comparison is just wrong.

Now it so happens I have you at a disadvantage: I've actually read the paper. It's closer the tokers sitting around saying, "How can we achieve a 7% annual compound interest rate sustained over ten years with our portfolio," which is roughly what doubling your money in ten years takes. The authors are talking about what it would take to half carbon emissions which would be a 6.6% reduction each year, and they discuss methods for reducing them, which they break down into near term no-brainer, near-term difficult, and long term speculative. As is usual the further out you go the less concrete and certain you can be. This is normal in economic projections that go twenty or more years out.

Now you may disagree with the specific means proposed, some of which are quite drastic (e.g. attempting to recover external costs through inheritance taxes). But there is nothing inherently irrational about starting with a goal -- zero carbon emissions by 2050 -- then asking what it would take to achieve that. Nor is there anything inherently ridiculous with coming up with the answer that it'll take a mix of things, some of which looking twenty or more years into the future we can't predict yet.

Comment Re: Uhm... (Score 1) 509

Do you believe that H1-B workers are the best talent?

I don't believe that the United States has a monopoly on talent. There are talented people all over the world, indeed the vast majority of highly-talented people are born outside of the US, because the vast majority of people are born outside the US. Whatever the immigration mechanism, it's in the United States' best interest to draw the most talented people from the whole world to work and live here.

Comment Re:Percentage doesn't matter (Score 1) 145

Oh, I think the percentage bit is significant. It shouldn't be news that they've acknowledged reality; but it's remarkable that their responses is so meaningless.

It makes me wonder whether this is just marketing BS or whether they're really that incoherent about strategy.

Many proprietary software companies have prospered in an era of open source acceptance -- even when very good free software alternatives for their products exists (Microsoft, Oracle). But although we don't tend to think of them that way, they tend to be value-priced. You get a lot of (not necessarily great) software engineering for your $199 Windows license fee.

But the play this game you need scale to amortize development costs over many users. If you have more of a niche product competing against a solid open source competitor is going to be really, really hard. As in SAS charges almost $9000 for a single seat license, and that's good for only a year; thereafter you'll have to fork over thousands of dollars every year. That kind of cash pays for a lot of R training.

Comment Re:Beyond idiotic (Score 1) 260

Well, there's good reason to hope on the carbon emissions front.

The global trend toward replacing coal with natural gas will have a massive impact on human CO2 footprint. And this isn't the result of the strangling hand of regulation either: gas plants are simply more economically efficient and easy to run. It also coincidentally generates less than half the CO2 per kwH that coal does.

This trend alone makes hitting world CO2 goals a lot more feasible. A better electricity grid will allow more diverse energy sources as well. It's really quite feasible to increase electricity production while reducing CO2 emissions.

Comment Re:It Doesn't Work That Way (Score 1) 260

Well, your point is well taken: Moore's law is an empirical observation, not the result of a plan.

However it doesn't follow in the least that doubling clean energy requires a doubling of investments. That's because clean energy is actually benefits more form economies of scale than fossil fuels. To double your output of electricity from coal, you may get better at building coal power plants, and you may enjoy some economies of scale as people invest in infrastructure to transport coal, but you still have to pay for twice as much coal. Renewables use slack resources that are simply being thrown away now: sunshine, wind, water flow etc. Of course there are physical limits to renewables, but we're nowhere near them yet.

Comment Closing Gitmo required no congressional approval (Score 1) 509

Obama still didn't do it. true, he should never have promised to do it, but the Guantanamo Bay detention facility was not created by congress, and therefore did not require congressional approval to close.

ObamaCare, by contrast, is a law passed by congress (albeit without a single Republican vote) and signed into law by the President. Repealing it will also require congressional approval.

The two promises are quite different as they relate to the constitutional scope of presidential authority.

Earth

'Moore's Law' For Carbon Would Defeat Global Warming (technologyreview.com) 260

An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: A streamlined set of goals for reducing carbon emissions could simplify the way nations approach the quest to reduce human impact on the planet. A group of European researchers have a refreshingly straightforward solution that they call a carbon law -- or, as the Guardian has coined it, a "Moore's law for carbon." The overarching goal is simple: globally, we must halve carbon dioxide emissions every decade. That's essentially it. The rule would ideally be applied "to all sectors and countries at all scales," and would encourage "bold action in the short term." Dramatic changes would naturally have to occur as a result -- from quick wins like carbon taxes and energy efficiency regulations, to longer-term policies like phasing out combustion-engine cars and carbon-neutral building regulations. If policy makers followed the carbon law, adoption of renewables would continue its current pace of doubling energy production every 5.5 years, and carbon dioxide sequestration technologies would need to ramp up in order for the the planet to reach net-zero emissions by the middle of the century, say the researchers. Along the way, coal use would end as soon as 2030 and oil use by 2040. There are, clearly, issues with the idea, not least being the prospect of convincing every nation to commit to such a vision. The very simplicity that makes the idea compelling can also be used as a point of criticism: Can such a basic rule ever hope to define practical ideas as to how to change the world's energy production and consumption? The study has been published in the journal Science.

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