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Comment Re:The intent of Copyright (Score 1) 206

Perpetual licenses seems a very bad idea in the first place. I see no reason why they shouldn't have to be renegotiated yearly, by law

If it becomes standard practice for a motion picture's producer to own its copyright, then studios could make it a standard practice to require producers to defer royalties for a year and further require producers to forfeit royalties earned during the previous year if the producer declines to renew the license. Otherwise, if a producer can take the royalties and run, studios would be unwilling to give producers hundreds of millions of dollars to make motion pictures.

Comment Re:dark patterns huh? (Score 1) 119

Is it any wonder that UX designers are getting a horrible reputation among some segments of the tech-savvy crowd?

The main reason for this is that people who self-describe as UX experts, as opposed to HCI experts, tend to be the ones that favour form over function and ignore the last 40 or so years of research into how to design useable interfaces. Most of them wouldn't know Fitts' Law if it dragged them to the corner of the screen and made them infinitely long.

Comment Re:The last thing anyone wants is their day in cou (Score 1) 86

Last time I was put under collection by a local newspaper, I went Willy Wonka on them.

"You REFUSED no less than four requests to cancel! You STOLE $20 off my credit card after repeated contacts to Support to cancel! You CEASED sending the paper after failure to bill the NEXT issue, and now you demand payment for services not rendered! You will remove the debt collection from my credit history, and you GET NOTHING! GOOD DAY, SIR!"

The performance was not your average court performance, but we weren't in court and they folded. I guess they realized I could legitimately get them into *real* court (not small claims) on damage to my credit history, and that I would *win* in less than six seconds, and that the court would have a four-page report regarding their conduct published as an opinion, and probably order them to pay me thousands of dollars in punitive damages for being bastards. It's ridiculous, but that happens when you engage in professional misconduct.

That was, however, several orders of magnitude less complex than any court case I've seen--probably because no sane lawyer would let their client take something like that to court. Jack Thompson might.

Comment Re:As a C programmer (Score 1) 306

It's a tradeoff. Blowing away the i-cache is a good way of killing performance, but so is having a load of function calls that do almost no work. If you had to do a virtual method call for comparing two unsigned integers and a different virtual function call for comparing two signed integers when inserting them into a set then you'd have a lot more overhead. In a typical std::set implementation, the compare operations are inlined and so the costs are very low.

The real problem with C++ is that the programmer has to make the decision about whether to use static or dynamic dispatch up front and the syntax for both is very different, so you can't trivially switch between them when it makes sense to do so.

Comment Re:Why encourage them? (Score 1) 169

What happens when Apple just moves operations to Canada or Ireland, leaving the 13,000 employees in Cupertino out a collective $2 billion flowing into the U.S. from global sales? Do you still demand they pay taxes in America, somehow, on their Irish HQ?

Apple has hundreds of billions of dollars sitting in a bank account. It can spend $100,000 to move an employee's family from the United States to Ireland, and drop $1.3 billion. The whole workforce, up and gone. Ireland would probably outright waive taxes on Apple Inc for a decade, since $2 billion of global income would be flowing straight into the hands of 13,000 workers residing in Ireland, spent right into their economy, fully taxable and job-creating.

Cupertino would turn into Detroit overnight. Ireland would take note of America losing $2 billion of economic resources and the amazing impact on their economy and extend the tax waiver for all eternity, with a historical account of how this got put into effect stapled to every copy of the document and handed out as mandatory reading to every official who got voted into office until the end of time.

Comment Re:Read again - reality is fixed for transfer (Score 5, Informative) 169

In 2014, corporations paid income tax accounting for under 10% of all taxes and 20% of all income taxes (Excluding OASDI). If you include OASDI payroll and wage taxes, corporations paid 23% of all taxes and 38% of all income+OASDI taxes.

Sales taxes, payroll taxes, and wages are paid by the consumer. These through some manner increase the cost of products directly. Income taxes skim the top: a business barely-getting-by doesn't pay income taxes. That is to say: If I pay $250,000 to employee wages, have $50,000 of other expenses, and have $310,000 of revenue, I pay income taxes on $10,000; if my operations grow 10x in size, I have $3,100,000 and pay taxes on $100,000. If I'm paying 10% on payroll, I've suddenly got to pay taxes on $250,000--and $25,000 of taxes! To compensate, I'll need more revenue; and to make more of whatever I'm supplying, I'll need more employee work time, meaning more wages, and more taxes on those wages. Basically, it means my prices have to go up by $15,000 for me to break even.

That doesn't mean a 40% business income tax is desirable. Business income taxes were $274 billion in 2013, SOMEHOW. Taxable business income was $2,090 billion, and wages were $7,633 billion. Wages would have about $1,700 billion of standard deductions, and total is $12,427 billion, so businesses would have under $1,100 billion in deductions in total.

Because it's so little, I typically ignore it as an accounting smudge. Business tax reform patently doesn't matter, and I am more interested in knocking down payroll taxes to produce the effect of lowering wages without lowering the amount of money that people actually take home. Sales taxes (and any form of VAT) also need to go away.

Comment Re:If a cigarette doesn't "smoke", is it harmful? (Score 3, Interesting) 302

Counterpoint. This is only the largest study; there are a lot of less-interesting studies that try to reproduce a lot of studies which, as you pointed out, do exist and do show a lot of good data that second-hand smoke causes health issues. My problem is with this:

the vast preponderance of evidence points one way, and it's not the way you say it does.

There *is* a vast preponderance of evidence pointing one way, in the same way that there's a vast preponderance of evidence that video games make kids into murderers or that homosexuality can be cured by therapy akin to torture. There's also a significant failure rate in reproducing those same studies; a full examination of the evidence shows only weak statistical linkage, if any.

I actually rewrote that claim multiple times before posting. It would be incorrect to say that second-hand cigarette smoke has been shown *not* to cause any health effects, in spite of the rather large and statistically-sound study released recently; it has *not* *reliably* been shown to cause any health effects. There is no overwhelming body of evidence; there is a lot of difficult analysis that's hard to control for, and a lot of outcomes that don't reproduce well. The level of certainty is about even with chance.

There is also a lot of evidence that high-carbohydrate diets (above 40% of calories) cause arterial build-up, and high-fat diets do not. The original consensus is based on flawed statistics, and current studies don't yet reconcile a concrete position.

There is also emerging literature suggesting AHA-recommended levels of sodium cause heart attacks. Below 1350mg/day will likely cause your heart to stop (too much potassium will do this, too); while high levels of sodium (up to 6,000mg/day) have no detrimental effect after about 3 days. Your kidneys release hormones to restore homeostatic balance and pump all that sodium out of your blood, but it takes a few days and you have high blood pressure until then. Keeping people on diets long-term is hard, and flaky; modern research looks at high-sodium-intake societies and compares heart attack rates with low-sodium-intake societies, which has its own problems.

The thing is we have cancer groups, the USDA, CDC, and AHA ignoring new literature and doubling-down on old literature. We also have economists contradicting the BLS on things like minimum wage. Every large organization takes a position and uses evidence to back it up; the whole of evidence necessarily outpaces them, because shifting your position as a large entity requires a much stronger degree of certainty than doing it as a small entity.

Comment Re:The intent of Copyright (Score 2) 206

Ownership by the individual or individuals credited as the film's producer or producers and an exclusive license to a corporation for the life of the copyright would have exactly the same practical effect as a corporate owner. Or if you plan to abolish "work made for hire" entirely, even if the person doing the hiring is an individual, who would own copyright in a motion picture with a cast and crew of hundreds?

Comment Re:Always question a study... (Score 2) 302

If not, then it sounds like the solution is to regulate the industry to only permit safe(r) products, along with studies so that safe(r) is based on the best known facts at any given time.

There are good and bad forms of regulation; it's not a matter of more or less. Regulation goes out of date, either becoming inadequate or hindering beneficial actions.

Comment Re:If a cigarette doesn't "smoke", is it harmful? (Score 1) 302

The problems with smoking in public are that the smoke is irritating (dangerous to athsmatics and other compromised respiratory systems; unpleasant-smelling), that it does property damage (it leaves a tar on things it contacts, and puts a lingering smell in the air eventually), and that it's a fire hazard.

Second-hand cigarette smoke has not reliably been shown to increase cancer risk or cause respiratory damage to healthy individuals even when those individuals are children raised in smoker households. For those unfamiliar with statistics: if you do 10 studies on the link between reading and cancer, likely 1-2 will show a link between reading and cancer; because this link is non-repeatable, it is most likely that reading doesn't cause (and is not otherwise correlated with) cancer. Many, many studies have been done on second-hand smoke and cancer risk, and the few which have shown an association have proven non-repeatable, and so the likelihood of an association is similarly low. (Note that the likelihood of a link between reading and cancer is non-zero.)

With e-cigarettes, we can more-readily examine the risks directly. Cigarettes have smoke particles and hundreds of chemicals to deal with, meaning loads of complex interactions making any scientific prediction of overall effect about as useful as just making a bunch of shit up. E-cigarette vapors contain a small handful of compounds, providing a great deal less interaction and less variance from predicted results. Even a cursory toxicology analysis would determine that second-hand e-cigarette vapor provides extremely-fractional exposure to toxins (that is: the chemicals each start having an impact at hundreds or thousands of times the dose you'd receive), and so any toxicological effect would require an interaction that magnifies the effect not two or three times, but by hundreds or thousands of time. That sort of interaction would be similar to sniffing a glass of vodka and then licking an ambien tablet and *immediately* dying from the combined sedative.

So the vapors are probably not harmful, in the same way the vapors coming off an open can of coca-cola are probably not harmful.

Comment Re:Always question a study... (Score 5, Informative) 302

There are good points all around this discussion, and a lack of organization. Let's try to clear this up a bit.

Different e-cigarette juices contain different carriers. Some specifically exclude chemicals which produce formaldehyde or, particularly, acetaldehyde, largely because acetaldehyde is known to cause popcorn lung in chronic, high exposure. Most high-quality formulations list their contents in full; and the content of lower-quality formulations is often known, but not readily-listed. High-quality formulations often don't contain chemicals producing acetaldehyde, and use propylene glycol as a carrier; lower-quality formulations also often omit those compounds, but frequently do not.

Different e-cigarettes have different temperatures and control mechanisms as well. They may prevent overheating, or they may reach high temperatures, or they may be designed for brief activation intervals with no temperature controls. Fast-reaction circuits necessarily draw high current, and will overheat without temperature management; thus cheap, fast-reaction circuits intended for brief activation will most often overheat and cause reactions, converting benign substances such as propylene glycol into dangerous substances such as formaldehyde.

Finally, gaseous vapors produce visual distortion when diluted. If you suck in 2cc of suspended smoke or vaporized PPG and then blow it out into the air, it will expand to a liter or more and demonstrate itself as a gray cloud. The real measures are temperature and mass of substance; the substance changes its standard volume at pressure and becomes diluted when diffusing through atmosphere, and so these are poor measurements.

Thus it is wholly-possible to engineer a substantially-safe e-cigarette, if examining specific concerns of e-cigarettes (conversion of chemicals to dangerous chemicals; high-temperature vapor irritating the throat and lungs; basic chemical content). This requires engineering of the compound itself and the delivery device.

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