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Comment Re:loyalty is a two-way street (Score 0) 765

Flip the question around: Is it ok to lay people off without paying severance? (Or by playing games like low-ball job "offers" that force you to quit and lose severance.)

Considering the games that HR departments play, costing workers millions of dollars in compensation, quitting without notice is trivial by comparison.

Comment Re:WTF? (Score 1) 760

From where I stand, paying 6-7% on everything I buy constitutes "paying taxes". So I'm not sure where you get the idea that the poor don't pay taxes.

The power to define the tax rules is vested in Congress, so government can put whatever conditions it wants on benefits to the poor, AND it can put whatever conditions it wants on tax deductions. It could even put the SAME conditions on benefits and tax deductions. It's all a question of what congress is willing to enact. Fortunately for all of the folks who think a drug-testing requirement for tax deductions is government overreach, a majority in Congress feels the same way.

Comment Re: WTF? (Score 1) 760

Equality of opportunity cannot exist without redistributing wealth. Equality of opportunity is basically a meritocracy - people advance according to their own skills and ability. But it has already been demonstrated that Meritocracy inevitably devolves into oligarchy -- people rise to power, wealth and/or fame based on their merits, but unless you redistribute that wealth, power, or fame, their children have a disruptive advantage. This is plainly seen in the way we talk about the Kennedys the Bushes and the Clintons as "dynasties". Do you think the more recent generations of Kennedys and Bushes would have attained office and name recognition without the power built up by their parents and grandparents? And once attaining power, people use that power to reduce equality of opportunity. In court, the person who can afford the best lawyer (or the most lawyers) is much more likely to win, regardless of the merits. Rich donors get personal appointments with government officials, Joe Blow gets a glimpse of Donald or Hillary at a political rally.

These advantages extend to the corporate world as well. The reason Comcast and AT&T are able to succeed despite their crappy service and high cost structure is because they've used their wealth and power to establish a regulatory climate where opportunity is NOT equal in the ISP market.

Comment Re:WTF? (Score 2) 760

Deductions aren't gifts... correct. They are money you never owed...incorrect. They are adjustments the government allows you to make to your taxable income based on certain qualifying conditions. One reason the tax code is so complicated is that many deductions have really arcane formulas for the qualifying conditions.

So the bottom line is that the government can apply any condition it wants for eligibility for a deduction, just as it can apply any condition it wants to be eligible for benefit. There is nothing unfair about it. The rules for the deductions have to be approved by congress. If they want a deduction to only apply to rat-catchers in cities with 50,000 population, that can be a rule.. . . Or a "clean living" requirement for certain deductions that says you only get them if you haven't been convicted of a felony and can pass a drug test.

Rather than make this a class war, a smart way to do it would just be to say you don't qualify for any itemized deductions regardless of income level if you don't pass the "clean living" standard. You can still take the standard deduction for yourself and dependents, and maybe the child tax credit, but that would be it.

Comment Re:If not now... (Score 1) 1023

Yeah, if nothing else, the automation of McDonald's may serve to properly change the focus from "foreign workers are stealing our jobs" to "robots are taking our jobs". The historic arguments that new jobs will come along may not be relevant. Yes some new jobs like robot tech will be created, but either the job will be so simple that another robot can do it, or it will be so complex that entry level workers and long-term unskilled workers won't be able to perform the work. The key difference now is that the robots are reaching the point where they can permanently displace many or even most forms of unskilled labor and there is a large portion of the unskilled labor class that simply don't have the learning capacity to progress out of that trap.

A basic income law would be one answer - it would allow unskilled labor to survive while retraining full time or just to survive in the face of inability to learn new skills. But if you look at the historic antipathy in the U.S. to any kind of a taxpayer-funded handout even with stringent eligibility requirements, you can see that a basic income is going to be a loooonng, 20-30 year debate with the laissez-faire capitalists and IP rent-seekers screaming "illegal taking" every step of the way.

And then there's the question of how to fund such a program. A tax, or elimination of depreciation, on robots and other autonomous capital equipment might help, but probably wouldn't cover. It would also probably spark a move toward leasing robots.

Eventually, we'll reach a point where the social costs of a large "unproductive" and "unemployable" class will force some really hard decisions. I think that very long-term, either the US socio-economic system will be forced into democratic socialism with state ownership of sufficient property and industry to fund basic income or pseudo-productive employment, or there will be a violent revolution to outlaw AI in all forms, as in the Butlerian Jihad back-story of "Dune". (And yes, all you surveilling governments out there, this is how you use "jihad" in a sentence without being a terrorist.)

Comment Re:KATAMARI DAMACY 2017 MODEL (Score 1) 203

Katamari Damacy...Sounds like prior art to me...call the lawyers!

And if not Katamari, I'm pretty sure Tom & Jerry cartoons portrayed the concept of plastering pedestrians to the hood of your car decades ago.

On a more practical note, how does the coating distinguish between pedestrians and road dirt? Or is there a hidden "razor blade" cost here that you have to refresh the coating every month or so? Additional accident liability if you didn't wash your car and the pedestrian failed to stick?

Comment Re: Burn those algebras ladies (Score 1) 908

A similar situation exists for other "practical" math. People need to be able to understand compound interest if they want to avoid getting ripped off in daily life, but the formulas for compound interest involve exponentiation. So you have to wade through a lot of algebra 2 just to get to that. On the other hand, compound interest could be useful tool to demonstrate these concepts in a way that show practical use.

Another item that concerned me is the idea that coders don't need advanced math classes. Apart from financial calculations, anyone doing 3d graphics is likely to need matrix math and trigonometry. Either that or we have to treat them like electricians vs. EEs where the EEs know the formulas and define industrial standards and building codes and the electricians mainly do their jobs by following the standards.

Comment Re:You should be anyways (Score 1) 303

You're also conflating "ownership of the code" with "enforcement of terms of service" and "standardization of licensing" for contributed code. Basically all they're saying is if you contribute code it will be licensed to the community under the MIT license. If you use that code you're required to abide by the MIT license - except that they're giving you an exception if your use of the code is somewhere near the border of "fair use". In that case, you can just attribute the code in the comments rather than the full acknowledgement normally required in the documentation.

Comment Re:Unenforceable and stupid (Score 1) 303

Hate crimes are thoughts put into action. It's no different from first degree murder vs. manslaughter. To convict for First degree murder you need to prove intent and planning which are both "thought crimes" the way you define it. The only difference is that a hate crime is an interpretation of motive and intent.

Comment Re:Still completely contradictory (Score 1) 263

Except that she's not WITHDRAWING her consent, she's claiming that her consent was only given for the duration of the relationship. Basically what the court said (in line with her arguments) is that he has the burden of proof in showing that her consent to keep nude photos of her was intended to continue after the end of their relationship.

My guess is that pre-nups are going to become increasingly popular in Germany.

Comment Re:Thats a ruling to keep the lawyers happy... (Score 0) 263

And I can't wait until this ruling intersects with copyright law. There have always been model consent forms in the commercial side of the "intimate" photo industry, but I sure hope the German government is ready for the influx of paparazzi and other cases where an image is taken of a public figure without that person's explicit consent.

Comment Re:There are US DHS at London Gatwick?? (Score 2) 704

They had applied for "authorization" in advance, which isn't the same as a visa.

My guess is that this is related to the changes to the Visa Waiver program where people with dual citizenship no longer qualify to use a Visa Waiver. I don't understand why that can't be explained though.

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