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Comment Re:Trump versus Clinton (Score 1) 500

He donates to his own foundation to get tax breaks

Actually, you are wrong here. There isn't any evidence that he has donated to his foundation for many years. After all, if you don't pay any tax, there is no tax break to be had from donations!

Sort of. What I read with this, is that for several corporate personal appearances, he directed that his appearance fee be donated to his foundation. He did this with (I think) Comedy Central for a $400,000 fee. By the tax code, a directed donation under these circumstances is a donation by *him*, not by Comedy Central. The problem for Trump there, is that for a case like that, while he doesn't owe income tax for that directed donation (assuming the Trump Foundation keeps its tax-exempt status, which is looking less likely), he does owe payroll tax for it, which is about 12%.

So there is tax to be paid, but not income tax. This is part of how Hillary Clinton can (somewhat correctly, speculatively) accuse Trump of not paying any federal income tax for years, and Trump can (honestly) reply that he has paid lots of taxes over the years. She says "federal income tax" and he says "tax", and they aren't talking about the same thing. That's on purpose by both of them.

Comment Re:You keep saying that word... (Score 1) 954

If they're receiving "free" money or services from the government, then they most certainly ARE taking money from those that are actually working hard and paying into the system

This is a serious question, and a big part of that "protestant work ethic" thing the parent poster complained about. I get a real sense of satisfaction by working to provide for my family. That comes with a certain feeling that other people should have to work like that too, to provide for themselves and their families.


I'd love to live in your hypothetical world where the majority of people can just loaf around because they don't have to really work, yet our economy still won't collapse into the shitter

We really are rapidly moving to the point where 5% of the earth's population can provide *all* the needed goods and services for the world. What happens to the other 95% of people?

180 years ago, in the United States, 90% of the population was involved in food production. Now less than 5% is - I think it's closer to 3%, but I'm not sure of the exact number. The transition was a massive dislocation for all those ex-farmers and ranchers. But they (or their kids, if they couldn't handle the transition) became the workers in American factories, fuelling the industrial revolution in this country. The factory jobs are on the way out, replaced by automation. Most of those people moved to service industry jobs (or, again, their kids), and now those service industry jobs are on the way out.

Where do the people that had those jobs go?

Where do people that only have a high school education go? Not everyone is good college material, so Sanders' solution of free college for all really doesn't fix that. What do we, as a society, do with people that we can't really find a productive use for? My father-in-law says "The world needs ditch diggers" (sarcastically) but really, a back hoe is way better at that than a guy with a shovel.

So do we let them starve? Do we feed, house, and clothe them in some basic way? How? What kind of education do we give their kids, if 90+% of them will grow up just to sit around doing nothing? You want to educate them, because one of them might win the genetic lottery and grow up to make an amazing advancement in physics that will finally get us off this stinking planet in a reasonable way. :)

What do you do with unneeded people?

Comment Re:20 cores DOES matter (Score 1) 167

Since the inception of HT, is there a reason CPU design hasn't advanced to the point of executing 4 threads per core rather then the 2 it always has been?

Workload and system balance, mostly.

If you look back several years (2008? earlier?) you'll see some Sun Sparc designs, and some IBM POWER designs, that supported 4 or 8 threads per core. They worked well for very specific workloads and applications.

The Sun Sparc designs with 8 threads per core were mostly tailored for "simple" highly-scalable web servers, where a thread is blocking on I/O most of its time, and a web server could spawn many many threads to support many simultaneous connections. Worked very well for that purpose.

IBM did stuff like that with their POWER architecture for terminal servers and financial transaction processing, where, again, the thread spends most of its time blocking on I/O.

You don't get that so much for Intel x86/x64 systems, because, on the desktop side, frankly, most users don't use 4 cores well, and the few that do aren't doing I/O-blocking tasks, they are doing CPU-bound tasks, video encoding, stuff that hits the SIMD units hard. HT doesn't benefit nearly as well for CPU-bound tasks, and that market is small enough not to be worth the extra architecture/development time. For x64 servers, there is a bit more of a market there, but Intel would much rather serve that market with their high-end Xeon 4-socket systems. 10 cores per CPU, 4 CPUs, you get 40 cores and 80 threads. Oh, and you pay about $4,000 per CPU that way. That also gets you ridiculous amounts of RAM, and better networking support too. Usually you want both of those on your 80-thread server system, anyway.

So I suppose the answer is, basically, it has, but only where it's worthwhile.


Comment Re: Not a chance (Score 1) 631

The problem in the sig
          1^2=1; (-1)^2=1; 1^2=(-1)^2; 1=-1; 1=0.
is really at the step
          1^2=(-1)^2; 1=-1

Because that is wrong. The step pretends to be sqrt() on both sides, but that's not what it is, because sqrt() really has 2 answers. sqrt(1) is either +1 or -1, simultaneously. To get the step as shown, what is really happening is abs(sqrt()).

Which obviously yields invalid results. You can't do abs() on both sides of an equal sign and expect to keep a valid equation.

But I agree with you, it looks like it should end "2=0", if you allow the wrong sqrt() step.

Comment Re:By Country (Score 1) 199

But maybe the real root of the problem is, why does the US truly need to 'project force' in a unilateral sense?

Because the 1800's taught us that wars on our own soil are bad. See, for example, the British burning Washington D.C. during the War of 1812 (which actually lasted 1812-14). The reason it is called the WHITE House was a not-so-subtle "Screw You!" to the British when we rebuilt it after they burned it to the ground.

The 1900's taught us that wars "over there" are much better. The US was the major economic and miltary superpower from 1945 to 1990 because our infrastructure wasn't destroyed by a continent-wide war 1939-1945.

A slightly different question is "Do we need to meddle in other people's affairs?" but, as a species, humans aren't good at not poking the bee hive.

Comment Re:Sigh (Score 2) 341

If there is evidence that a legislator is guilty of insider trading, or any other crime, they should be tried by their peers in congress, not by the justice dept.

The problem here is that doesn't work in practice. For evidence supporting this statement, I give you every internal police investigation into officer wrong-doing ever. If you haven't found it yourself before, how about this article written by an Air Force colonel whose son was shot in the head by police while hand-cuffed in custody. The officers were cleared of wrong-doing by an internal investigation. I don't expect an unbiased viewpoint from this man, but the stats he found don't make "tried by their peers" sound like anything resembling a workable solution.

People and groups put in charge of writing laws, with a history of making laws that benefit themselves and hold themselves to a lower standard than the rest of the population, need more oversight, not less.

Try again.

Comment Re:Are they "small government" republicans ? he he (Score 1) 393

Extreme right: Cut spending to equal revenue.
Extreme left: Raise revenue to equal spending.
Center: Continue to give everyone whatever they want, and borrow money from China to pay for it.


I thought the Extreme Right plan was cut revenue to destroy government, the Extreme Left plan was raise revenue while raising spending more, and the Center just looks left and right with a bewildered expression while muttering "Don't you people have any brains???"

Most Extreme Right seem to want government services without paying for them, and/or want a system that is only good for the rich and lucky. I'm middle class with manageable debt, good job and health insurance, and no real medical problems. That counts as "lucky" in America.

Most Extreme Left seem to want the government to take most of the roles of family, and some of the roles of community (while usually not admitting that community used to equal church).

150 years ago it wasn't that unusual for 3 generations of a family to live in one house. That covered retirement for the old, child care for the young, and consolidated housing expenses that made life possible. We don't do that so much any more, and we are still trying to figure out how to make our new system work.

I admire the problem, but I don't have a good solution that scales to 300 million people.

Comment Re:If anyone actually cared... (Score 2) 710

I have a Maytag dryer that I bought in 2002. Bought the washing machine with it, like most people who buy appliances when setting up a new house.

That dryer developed a nasty high-pitched squeal - metal on metal rubbing that didn't used to do that. Spend some time looking around on google, and this model has a known problem with this. It's a front-load dryer, and the drum sits on two rollers. The right-side roller is directly under a vent and gets condensed water dripping on it. So the metal wheel inside the roller rusts, wears away, and the dryer starts squealing.

You can buy a replacement roller kit on Amazon for about $7. It takes 1-2 hours to take the dryer apart (door, front panel, drum access plates, drum) to get access to the drum roller on the back inside wall of the dryer, change the roller, and put it all back together again. There are videos on Youtube giving step-by-step directions for doing this.

I've done this twice now. The first time was a pain to do, the second was just annoying in a "What? Again?" kind of way. I assume I'll do it a third time in another year or two.

It's worth doing for $7 DIY.

No way I'd pay someone $100-$200 to fix it for me. The attitude is "The dryer's not worth that much!"

As you say, the labor costs kill the repair market.

But if you can use a screw driver and a pair of plyers, it's amazing how much stuff that is designed to fail with "planned obsolescence" you can fix and keep working.

I'm told you have the same issues with cars, but frankly there I'm willing to pay someone to do the maintenance for me. I think I'm mostly worried about an expensive "learning experience" that leaves me without a vehicle at an inconvenient time. But I've got friends that would never pay someone to do an oil change on their car. They can do it themselves easier and cheaper, plus they like working on cars.

It's personal comfort level as much as anything else.

Comment Re:If people would fight their tickets... (Score 1) 286

I've gotten several speeding tickets in the last 20 years. Only contested one of them, just paid the rest. I *was* speeding, after all.

The one I went to court for? 53 in a 45 mph zone. When I looked down at my speedometer, after seeing the police cruiser, my speedometer read 50. I probably coasted a few mph slower between seeing the cop car, cursing quietly, and looking down, so that's fine.

But the cop wrote up the ticket for an intersection that doesn't exist, a block over and up where the two roads don't actually cross. I'm anal enough, I wanted the ticket corrected before I paid it. So I go in to court, and the officer can't find the certification for his speedometer calibration within the previous 6-month period, required by Florida law at the time for moving-mode radar guns - he was driving past me in the opposite direction. So I sat quietly, didn't say a word, and the judge dismissed the ticket before they ever talked to me.

And I got rewarded for being picky about details. :) Doesn't hapopen very often, but I take my victories where I can.

Comment Re:sigh (Score 1) 627

And you "save" not tax with a 401(k), you just get to defer some. The Roth is the only one that lets you "avoid" tax.

You don't avoid taxes with either of them. Not exactly. You make a guess about your current tax rates versus your future tax rates, and act based on the guess.

For a traditional IRA, or a 401(k), you contribute pre-tax dollars (salary that doesn't count towards income tax). This is generally assumed to be contributed at a time in your life when you are in a higher income tax bracket, and you are contributing dollars that would be taxed at a higher rate, 28%, maybe, and instead will pay tax on it when you withdraw it. The assumption is that, in your retirement, your "income" is lower, therefore your tax rate is lower, maybe only 20%, so you avoid paying 8% income tax by paying the tax later rather than sooner.

A Roth IRA is for people in one of two situations. They have maxed out their traditional IRA contributions (IRS only allows about $15,000/year), and/or they don't have a job-associated 401(k) or 403(b). Basically, a 403(b) is a 401(k) but your employer is a charity. For the Roth IRA, you pay taxes on contributions now, and when you take the money out in retirement, it is tax free because taxes were already paid on contributions. If your tax rate now is lower than you think your tax rate will be in retirement, this is a good option for you.

It's all about minimizing taxes based on expectations of current and future marginal tax rates.

Comment Re:Peak During the Day? (Score 1) 504

My point is only that excess residential solar has little value, since it's generated when it's least needed. [Because if it was needed, houses wouldn't be generating extra.]

That's not usually how these kinds of rooftop solar systems are designed. Or, at least, its not the only way they can be designed.

The other way - that causes the grip operator the most trouble - is to spec the rooftop solar system so that it generates, over a year's time frame, the amount of kWh that the house uses. That makes you "net-0" for grid usage. That means that during the day, when you are getting power from the rooftop solar, you are almost *always* generating more than you use. And at night, when you are generating none, you get power from the grid. But over the course of a year, the power you draw from the grid and the power you supply to the grid approximately equal.

Your power bill should be zero, right? Well, not really. Because you're using the grid as a big redundant battery for overnight and cloudy days. And you should pay for that.

This is the situation that most clearly shows the need to separate the grid charges into "plant maintenance" and "electricity production". Plant maintenance covers the cost of the electrical lines, transformers, sub-stations, some reasonable percentage of the cost of the generating system (the coal plant or whatever), and labor for maintenance, plus reasonable overhead. Electricity production covers the cost of the fuel/coal/gas/whatever, the "rest" of the cost for the generating system, maintenance, and again reasonable overhead.

Honest grid operators (contradiction? I hope not) and honest rooftop solar advocates (err...) should both be pushing for this.

Sounds fair, huh? Right, it'll never work.

Comment Re:It followed a few of the plot lines, but ... (Score 1) 726

The crime rate has plummeted in recent decades, you know.

Not the only factor, I know, but...

There's a really interesting 10-15 year lag from the removal of leaded gas from American society, and the drop in the crime rate. It's almost like exposure to lead in early childhood causes developmental problems in the brain related to anger management and impulse control in adults. Maybe there's even some medical studies on the effects of lead in people...

Didn't the Romans have societal problems when they introduced lead-lined aqueducts?

Causation, correlation, and coincidence. Whatever, it's a fun little statistic (not to be confused with useful data).

Comment Re:Cheap Hydrogen (Score 1) 55

Yeah, this is basically how I interpretted it. Where the hydrogen comes from is outside scope of the sales pitch. I don't care about a portable battery replacement though.

I have a house with "common asphalt shingles" like most home owners in the US. When that house needs to be re-roofed, I'd like to get a set of solar panels, if I can convince myself at the time that it is cost-effective. That will probably be in 10-15 years, as the house was built in the mid-1990s. A large part of the cost of consumer rooftop solar panels is the installation, not the panels. Double the number of panels, installation cost doesn't change that much, use the extra energy to split water into hydrogen, store the hydrogen and use it at night to power the house when the sun doesn't shine. Keep the electric utility connection (and, reasonably, pay some kind of "connection fee" even if I don't use any electricity, probably even if I net provide power instead of consume it) and I have self-sufficient home electrical power for a one-time payment. I can probably tax deduct the interest if I pay for it with a home improvement loan, too.

Now, is it really economically feasible to do that? The rooftop solar panels and DC-AC converters, yeah, they tend to have an okay ROI now, less than 15 years for a system that should last 25-30 years.

Add in a water electrolysis system, hydrogen storage, and a hydrogen fuel cell? Okay, that's harder to make the numbers work out right. I'm still hopeful for 10 years from now, though.

It's hard to convince myself this won't become standard in the southern US in 20 years, if the engineering can get worked out.

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