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Comment Re:Will they be crediting the losses as well? (Score 1) 203

They will likely require reporting of capital gains or loss. Either way the IRS requires it to be reported and as far as I can tell reporting capital loss isn't optional. There's no lower limit, like with hobby income or such, so if you lost 10 cents net on trading BC you have to pony up for the CPA to supplement your filing for that year to report your capital loss. And yes, given the general trend of BC there will be more losses than gains reported, and the IRS will end up refunding more than it collects. I don't think it's overly concerned with this though - like any part of the federal government it's an anal-retentive law and regulations enforcer.

Comment Re:I wouldn't work there. (Score 1) 388

Working for any big organization if you get in the wrong unit, with the wrong set of managers you job is hell. If you get in the right spot, your job may be great, until that manager moves to a different unit.

Yeah, we find another job and then tender our resignation, we don't go leap off a 12 story building. Worst case we quit and then find another job; if we haven't saved up to do so we suck it up and jump through the hoops until we can leave. To go leap off a building because you didn't get a transfer is IMO a strong indicator of serious mental illness - which is likely why the person got put on an improvement program. The main problem isn't so much recognizing there's something wrong with this individual but rather there's no reasonable path from listening to someone crazy rant to getting a 5150 (or in this case WA's equivalent to the CA 5150).

Comment Re:Sounds fine (Score 1) 93

Russia needs to work on its economy and lower unemployment, increase wages and improving the quality of life of all their citizens. Space activities, admirable as they are, should be lower in priority

Keep in mind many of those missions are paid for by the U.S. and Europe to supply the ISS. Russia gets to tag along (space cred) and maintain its space industry which wouldn't exist otherwise; Russia is a middle-income country with about 10% the GDP of the U.S. or the EU, or about half that of Germany or the U.K. and as you point out it's would be a ludicrous waste of resources for such a small economy in need of growth to first-world tier to launch that many missions.

Comment Re:interesting though stupid comment (Score 1) 784

They shouldn't, but someone should have the power to exercise the "for no reason or any reason" bit.

This would violate constitutional requirements of equality before the law. If the law applies to me it applies to you, too. It's not someone's judgement call that it should be applied to me but not you.

Comment Re:Collusion (Score 2) 784

I like "the war on diginity" because it better encompasses the kafka-esque nature of the unthinking and unyielding bureaucracy that produces this sort of result.

Yes, but it's probably better than the alternative - a thinking, opinionated bureaucracy. That's just one step shy of fascism, because once it can make decisions individuals will be empowered, and they will soon structure around the exercise of power. A bureaucracy permitted to think is prone to fascism and corruption.

Comment Re:very understandable (Score 3, Informative) 784

I think you got it backwards; it's the right wing which associates what it considers vague wu-wu diagnoses of mental illness a way for a potentially tyrannical government to deny them rights. Like the right to bear arms. It's generally liberals and lefties who want to limit such rights, and if they can't get enough traction to limit them for everyone they'll settle for what they might consider a dangerous subset. The former is clearly a more theoretical concern as we don't have a tyrannical government (in fact it's pretty damn benign, obsessed with rule of law, not dictatorial), while I think the latter is a bit naive. Clearly once made law to be enforced it will include some number of people not originally envisioned. And I think this is more what we're seeing here, so I don't think we can really blame the right wing on this one.

Comment Re:Umm, what? (Score 1, Flamebait) 784

What sort of insane logic is at work here?

The U.S. is a country ruled by law, and the federal government is an anal-retentive regulatory machine. There is probably a rule somewhere that says entry is to be denied for the mentally ill, and that depression is a mental illness. It's not up to whoever stamps passports at entry to decide or make personal judgements - if the rules say the person can't enter, then they can't enter. This is no different than any other rules applied - be it corporate accounting, environmental protection, labor laws, etc; it doesn't matter how ridiculous it may seem on the ground, the rules will be enforced.

This is exactly why it's the only government in the world I'd trust to obey the law. It's also exactly why it's incapable of even building modest insurance retail site for less than half a billion dollars - because its regulatory system isn't compatible with the need of reality.

Once something is made law it's no longer in the domain of common sense and judgement. Laws are binary; either you're in compliance or you're not.

Comment Re:thats silly (Score 1) 215

For a lot of low-bandwidth work with I/O controllers (like I2C buses, SPI peripherals running at low clock, etc) - get a BitScope. I have a network attached one and it's very convenient and inexpensive. They have a way of doing plugins, so it should be possible for instance to do a plugin to decode captures of I2C. The nice thing is it sits right on a desktop display, next to the ICE/JTAG debugger so you can easily monitor signals in parallel with watching board console output (for instance).

Comment Re:thats silly (Score 5, Insightful) 215

Obviously, anyone designing electronics and building prototypes needs a scope. How else would you know what the ground plane looks like? Clean or noisy? Even a cheap 20-40MHz scope will show dirty signals as "fussy", and will allow identification of beat patters and cyclic issues... I suspect the OP doesn't actually do any board design, because if he did he'd be using his scopes and spending big bucks on really good ones.

Comment Re:National Interest? (Score 1) 382

Even during its worst, CA had only a $25bn deficit. While this sounds enormous relative to the size of the state budget, note that CA provides $53bn more in federal taxes annually than it receives. And that's just the net difference! The federal government is enormously expensive for what it does! A web site for, what, $400M? And that was on the cheap! It's more than FaceBook spent in total for the first six years of its existence. The federal government is the only government in the world I'd trust to obey laws (or punish people when they break it), follow regulations to the letter, and enforce them. But what makes it so anal-retentive about those things is exactly what makes it unsuited to actually produce anything. The things it's cost-effective on it gets done by handing money to states to go do it (like it has Caltrans manage maintenance of the CA portion of the interstate system by handing it cash; Caltrans actually works very well for a government organization).

Comment Re:How hard can that possibly be? (Score 1) 663

Consequently, it's impossible to have an opinion on this test without knowing who it's aimed at, what their curriculum looks like, and what percentage is expected to be able to answer it. What would be the point of a test that has no difficult section that pushes the limits and only a few percent are expected to be able to answer correctly? It's also not clear how the grading is done, for instance if a wrong answer yields -1/2 point to discourage guessing (whereas "don't know" is the neutral answer); on a 4-way this means a random guess has negative expectation, whereas being certain of the wrong answer isn't too detrimental (but still not reflected as something positive, since it isn't). Tests with difficult questions and grading which penalizes guessing will quickly teach students not to jump to conclusions, to evaluate the certainty of knowledge (hmm, how do I know this? is it true?), and other good habits. Hence, the tests themselves are part of the training.

Comment Re:How hard can that possibly be? (Score 1) 663

Question 1: You see 5 pennies, the total in the cup is 6, so the missing part is 1 (penny). How hard can that possibly be?

It's a good test if students are taught to separate quantities from units (kinds). You'd be amazed how many can't do that, even college-educated adults, and who will fail such an elementary question. They won't see past the confusing and incompatible units. It's probably not suited for 5 or 6 year olds though, unless the purpose is to identify the exceptionally gifted.

Comment Re:Problem? (Score 2) 170

Spying on foreign countries is feasible when there is an immediate threat.

Observing is essential to identify threats in the first place. Naively sitting and assuming that without an express threat sent to you in a pretty envelope, wrapped with a blue ribbon, all is good a fine means you'll quickly become a footnote in history. That's the sort of juvenile, childish assumption that just doesn't work in reality on any level.

Observing is essential to deescalate conflict early and maintain good relations.

Lack of response to a potential conflict means the other party may assume in return there really is no conflict and make the situation worse - until you finally wake up to a far worse problem than if you had paid close attention all along.

Observing and paying close attention is just as important with friendly nations as hostile ones.

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