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Comment Borrowing = good. Getting paid = bad. (Score 2) 768

Colleges encourage students to take out massive loans, that are not discharged in bankruptcy, to pay for their education. As if by magic tuition increases rapidly.

While at the same time the NCAA won't allow college athletes to be paid any of the billions in revenue they create for their schools. The money would be bad for them.

Clearly colleges are fine with a student in debt, but not one getting paid. Sad.

Comment Re:Say what? (Score 1) 633

If there is no US debt, implying no need for Treasury bonds, that means there's nothing as clearly stable as Treasury bonds for people to invest in?

The way you "fixed" the quote is patently untrue. IBM one month commercial paper is much more stable than a Treasury bond (note the term bond means maturity greater than 10 years).

Sure IBM has minutely more credit risk, but the interest rate risk (duration) of the Treasury bond far exceeds the IBM paper. Thus, the Treasury bond is a much more unstable (risky) security.

You could then say, well a Treasury is more stable than any security of the same maturity. I would also say that is effectively untrue. A Treasury bond has no default risk, but only because we assume the Fed would print money to enable the Treasury to make the interest payments. But if the Fed does that we get high inflation which is the very definition of economic instability. So buying a Treasury can only be said to be stable with respect to securities in the denominated in the same currency .

A much safer option would be to buy corporate bonds denominated in many currencies, e.g. buy a Toyota bond in yen, an Rio Tinto one in British pounds and maybe Aussie dollars, a Vale in Brazilian reals, etc. This way you would have marginally more credit risk, but you've diversified away not only the risk the dollar will lose its value, but also risk of a single country's economic growth slowing, thereby lowering total risk.

Lastly, you could say that there are not enough of these corporate bonds. Well that may be because government issues crowd out the market. Companies may borrow more and grow if the US government wasn't demanding $1 trillion per year in funds.

In sum, the underlying article, and analysis, are unimaginative at best.

Comment It's About Representative Democracy (Score 1) 1799

The protesters have been clear that the main goal of the movement is taking back, and protecting, our representative democracy. They have stated that to do so we need publicly financed elections. This means striking down the 'Citizens United' decision which allows entities to contribute unlimited amounts of money to campaigns. I fully support this goal.

I would only add that (1) we need preferential voting, and (2) we need paper trails on votes and clear auditing procedures - the electronic voting machines are way to easy to crack.

Comment Re:Cap Gains vs. Income (Score 2) 2115

The reason why both the corporation and the stock owners are taxed is because they are separate entities. This structure affords stockholders limited liability - stockholders aren't liable for company debts. If you give up limited liability (partnership or sole proprietorship) then you are no different than the firm and you only get taxed once.

So complaining about double-taxation is disingenuous, considering you choose the corporate form for limited liability.

Lastly, quoting a corporate tax rate is misleading when many large firms (through tax credits and grants) actually receive money from the federal government, see corporate welfare and the quote from wikipedia below. Of course this doesn't even count the billions to financial companies through bailouts and the fed's zero interest rate policy.

"In March 2011, The New York Times reported that despite earning $14.2 billion in worldwide profits, including more than $5 billion from U.S. operations, General Electric did not owe taxes in 2010. General Electric had a tax benefit of $3.2 billion."

Comment Interesting Deal (Score 1) 136

A summary of the agreement is in the 10-Q here under '8. Microsoft Agreement': http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1045810/000101287000004766/0001012870-00-004766-0001.txt

If I understand correctly, it seems nvidia was concerned it wouldn't be able to deliver the chips that microsoft wanted in a timely manner. So microsoft paid $200 million up front, for anticipated chip purchases, with only the possibility of getting $100 million back if they decided to cancel (the rest would be converted into preferred stock). This would give nvidia $200 million to use to develop the chip, and they would only have to pay back $100 million if they couldn't. In exchange for the $200 million up front microsoft got the right of first and last refusal with respect to any offer for 30% or more of nvidia.


Submission + - PBS Web Sites and Databases Hacked (securityweek.com)

wiredmikey writes: Late Sunday night, hackers gained access to several areas of PBS Web servers and were able publish a fake news story on a PBS news blog. The group also published PBS internal user login information that they wer able to siphon out of PBS databases. The fake story was about rapper Tupac Shakur, who died in 1996 after being shot in Las Vegas, being been found alive and well in a small resort in New Zealand.

PBS News Blog Hacked by LulzSec group going by the name of “LulzSec” claimed responsibility for the hack, saying the attack was a protest against a PBS FRONTLINE broadcast last week about WikiLeaks.


Submission + - The R Inferno is new and improved (burns-stat.com)

pburns writes: ""The R Inferno" is a map for you if you are using R and think you are in hell. It has recently been updated to make your trip through hell more efficient and enjoyable. Next door to the Inferno are some hints about how to get far enough into R to experience the pain."

Submission + - Sony Encourages Linux on their Phones (neowin.net) 1

neokushan writes: "It's no secret that Sony has been in the news a lot lately. From the PSN downtime, with the identity theft issue that comes with it, to the numerous court cases launched to try and quell the PS3 hacking Scene.

It may come as a surprise to many, then, that Sony's mobile smartphone division has taken an almost polar-opposite approach — they're actively encouraging developers to create, modify and install customised Linux kernels into their latest lineup of phones, including the Xperia Play, the device that was once known as "The Playstation Phone"."


Submission + - Students Invent Revolutionary Solar Sterilizer (inhabitat.com) 1

greenerd writes: "Engineering students at Rice University have solved a huge health concern in developing countries by creating a device that uses the sun to sterilize medical instruments. This invention could help prevent the spread of infection and illness in clinics around the world without access to proper sterilization tools."

Submission + - PSN won't be restored this week (geekword.net) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Bad news continue to come for the Playstation users. Sony has announced via its official PlayStation blog that the PlayStation Network services which went down in late April , won’t be restored this week as promised earlier. Based on the statement given by Patrick Seybold, the head PR representative of Sony Playstation, the gaming giants require time to do more testing as they seek to come to terms with the extent of the attack: We were unaware of the extent of the attack on Sony Online Entertainment servers, and we are taking this opportunity to conduct further testing of the incredibly complex system.

Comment Re:Math? (Score 1) 323

Define a function:

f(x) = 1, x > 0, and 0 else.

there is an 'if' in there but its too obvious so its usually not written. Note, 'for all' does this too (and the 'for all' notation is everywhere in analysis). Define a new function, domain is the real line:

f(x) = 1, for all x belonging to the rationals, and 0 else.

As to 'next', for integer n, the next is n+1. Pretty common (see mathematical induction).

As to the concept of 'next' for irrational and rational numbers: 'next' doesn't exist.

Comment Re:It's a Makework Workshop! (Score 1) 77

The USPS had an operating loss of 8 billion in 2010. This has nothing to do with pensions. The USPS operates at a loss and borrows from the Treasury (taxpayer) to fund its operations.

If you think the USPS is fine then I suppose you would support privatizing it and cutting it off from the Treasury? If the USPS is so solid let it go to the capital markets for funds.

Comment Re:It's a Makework Workshop! (Score 1) 77

The USPS is borrowing money at below market rates from the US Treasury. Because of our deficits (less tax income than expenses) the US Treasury gets the money to lend to the USPS from issuing Treasury debt.

So the US debt is larger because of the USPS and this statement of yours "Whether or not the USPS exists has absolutely no effect on the national debt." is completely wrong.

Lastly, cool it with the name-calling.

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