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Comment Re:I've met a lot of (Score 1) 104

And it's crap, all of my immediate neighbours (yes UK sp.) constantly ask me (I'm networks BTW) to fix their computers.

Common complaints following the "Upgrade" : Stuff doesn't work, computer so slow it's unusable, how do I delete/uninstall all this crap that I don't want or use?

A: You can't.

What a crock!

I lost interest after XP.

Comment Re:Public Access requirement (Score 2) 191

While there a good reasons to be wary of paying to publish where there is an incentive to publish lousy articles because the publisher wants the money, the current system is abusive and is tantamount to theft. I worked part time in a lab for 3 years. I was not paid - and yes I asked for money but they said they could not afford to pay me. However I did get a paper out of it! Yay! Except that even though it was my research, my labor, my stressing out over repeating the experiments many times to convince my PI that my results were legitimate, if I want a legal copy of the paper, I have to pay for it. Just because I was an undergraduate does not mean that I lacked basic civil rights or the right to property. So at the very least the people who busted their asses should be able to get a free copy of the paper and that should be a legal property right.

Then I went to graduate school and of course I was able to get access to journal articles. Later on after grad school I was working and lost access. But I was still interested in some research ideas. And eventually I talked to some people and that led to me going back to do research at a university. But in that interim I had no legal way of getting papers. I paid for them. Some cost around $25 to $30 each. Some cost $80! - the medical ones. But I used that to do research to help humanity for which I was paid very little and I had to pay money for the right to do the groundwork for that research. That is complete crap! At the very least I should get my money back which adds up to a few hundred dollars.

As to university libraries - even elite institutions are finding it ever harder to afford the costs of for profit journals that force secrecy in their contracts. So one college literally often pays 4 or 5 times what another pays for exactly the same subscription in the same country. The price of journal subscriptions has been rising ahead of inflation for decades and the higher the impact factor the worse the problem. And because copyright grants a monopoly, the publishing industry has been able to collect extreme amounts of economic rent. Normally the answer would be to regulate natural monopolies such as what happens in the power industry. It's quite obvious to me that this is what needs to happen in academic publishing.

We also need a way for people who are outside of academic institutions to gain access to journal articles. I am not saying that for profit drug companies should not have to pay. But if I am a tax payer and paying for the research then it is not alright for me to have to pay twice. And realistically at $25 - $50 per article that means that it's just impossible to read or merely peruse 10 or 20 articles a month. And often I might need to look at referenced articles in the footnotes of another article and so I might need to look briefly at another 100 articles in a month. I and indeed 99% of people do not have $50,000 a year to spend on that. And often someone might want to help the economy out with a start up idea. I did ask around if there was a way to buy in to a university's subscription or to get similar mass access by paying a realistic annual fee of say $500 and was told such a concept did not exist.

If someone has a rare disease and wishes to peruse the literature, they typically cannot. And often sick people are quite poor anyway. What if someone serves on a local school board or is a member of municipal government and want to affect improvements in public policy. This happened to me when I was trying to assist my town in making some important fiscal decisions. There was no legal mechanism to obtain the 50 papers I wanted without paying out of pocket. And my position was unpaid. The sheer cost of paying a la carte makes reading the literature prohibitive. You might say that you could go to a university. The problem is that in recent years it has become almost impossible to do so without a valid university ID. And just getting there and finding a place to park is complicated if you are not affiliated with the institution.

In short, individuals who are not using the research for a for profit organization need a legal mechanism to access peer reviewed research. The current system is immoral.

Comment Re:The 0.01% (Score 4, Insightful) 218

Comparing the salaries of people in completely different classes of society is not very useful.

Your argument is very worrying not only because it is tautological but because we can never stop ever increasing income inequality if people 'accept it'. The ratio of CEO pay to average worker pay is about 350. In 1965 it was 20. The committee that decides executive compensation is stacked so that people serve on each others compensation committees guaranteeing extravagant salaries. They also prevent a more meritocratic search going out to the general population. It also is one of the reasons why average pay has fallen or stagnated for most people in the US - money spent on executives means less cash for the workers.

And you might also want to think about pay in terms of productivity. Since 1973 it has gone up by about 100% in the US. And yet wages for many people have fallen in real terms. Median household income should be double what it is and perhaps more given that the number of working adults per household has increased as women have gone to work full time.

In terms of finding 'good people'. I have personally met outstanding people who not only are smart and well educated but have excellent communications and people skills. They made good money - mid six figures. I am certain they could have done a better job than Marissa Mayer running Yahoo and they would have agreed to do it for a mere $1 million. Yet they are never seriously considered because of the tight knit and self referential world of executives.

What's so sad is that this is a bum deal for shareholders - even if you are capitalist and don't have any compassion on people getting poorer you should at least be bothered by the fact that awful CEOs like Marissa Mayer and Steve Ballmer get to destroy value at a company and get paid 8 figures to do so. Imagine that instead of hiring Steve Ballmer, Microsoft would have merely hired an average MIT PhD engineering graduate in their 30s or 40s with some business and management experience. Think about how much better off Microsoft would have been in 2013 when Ballmer did finally leave.

Comment Re:New Apple products (Score 1) 43

Only the models "Margherita" having toppings tomato sauce, olive oil, basil and buffalo mozzarella and "Marinara" with tomato sauce, olive oil, oregano and garlic

Nononononono, initially sell the Margherita with mozzarella olive oil and basil, then when demand dies down a bit, sell a Margherita extra (rebrand as Margherita plus), where the mozzarella is substituted for buffalo mozzarella.

Comment Re: Tax Inversion (Score 3, Interesting) 456

I agree that capital gains should be inflation adjusted. So if you buy $100,000 of stock and sell it for $300,000 and in inflation adjusted terms it's only worth $250,000 then you should only pay capital gains on $150,000. But you should pay the full income tax even if you held the stock for 3 years. And you should pay Social Security and Medicare. And I don't care about the whole notion of double taxation because there we have a 35% rate in name only - they only pay 12.6% of worldwide income and Amazon, Google and Apple get away with murder. For example:

An investigation by the U.S. Senate showed Apple had paid just 2 percent tax on income of $74 billion over 2010-2012, largely by exploiting an unusual loophole in Ireland's tax code. In 2011 Google paid a rate of 11.9 percent, while Yahoo paid 11.6 percent and Microsoft paid 18.9 percent. Xerox paid 7.3 percent of its income in taxes, while Amazon paid only 3.5 percent.

In 1952, corporate taxes accounted for 5.9 percent of GDP, a figure that has fallen to 1.6 percent today. We need to have them start paying 5.9 percent again because if they don't pay it, then we will and we certainly don't have the cash.

Comment Bigger picture of opposing whaling per se (Score 0) 214

Please correct me if I am wrong but whale populations in the world have been recovering. And multiple species are less than a decade away from not being endangered any more. So the opposition to whaling is from people who don't want to kill whales per se. I am not arguing for premature killing of whales that leads to extinction and I know that has been as issue in the past. But that problem for most areas is going away. And it really only remains a big problem in Oceania. But if you eat meat and your culture eats whales why not eat them? I know that many people here don't eat meat and that is increasing in the Bay Area but consider that not everyone lives in that cultural bubble.

And using whale products for other purposes such as for their skins and oil is much better for the environment than making synthetic products from crude oil. Generally animal products produce fewer allergies and have fewer carcinogens than synthetic materials.

So isn't all the griping here just a matter of people who never want sustainable whaling to resume. But they don't have that right. If they don't want to eat whales or use their skins - that's fine - but they don't have the right to ram down their viewpoints down everyone else's throats, particularly other countries. It reminds me of abortion - if you don't like it, then don't have one but leave other people alone.

Comment Extraterritorial jurisdiction gone amuck (Score 2) 728

This is what happens when extraterritoriality expands unchecked. If you are not a citizen of Germany, you did not consent to be governed by the German government. Their laws should not apply to you. If they want to rule you they should give you citizenship along with all the rights of a German citizen and have you consent to that arrangement.

Of course the USA is no different. In 2009, Gary Kaplan, the boss of London-based gambling company BetOnSports, fell foul of a US law that bans Americans from placing bets online even on websites outside the US. He was jailed for four years. In 2006, three British former NatWest bankers were extradited to the US to face fraud charges, in a case that frieked out the British business community. At the time, the bankers said their crimes had taken place in the UK and the victim was a UK bank hence they wanted to be tried in Britain.

Of course to some degree you need jurisdiction preventing piracy at sea and so international treaties are needed in this case that allow countries to consent to having their citizens tried in another country.

Here, perhaps Facebook could block content using IP addresses, but in the case of the EU 'Right to be forgotten', the European Commission wants Google's search results censored throughout the world. That is absurd! And claiming that "It doesn't matter that we, because of historical reasons, have a stricter interpretation of freedom of speech than the United States does" is a legitimate legal argument for limiting free speech means that for all practical purposes the first amendment is gutted. China could ban the Wikipedia page on Taiwan and the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and subsequent mass killings by the Chinese army. Christian sites could be banned by Islamic regimes. Anything to do with psychology or science that offends any regime would be censored. We would be back in the dark ages.

I think there is another point. Some rights are inalienable - meaning they are incapable of being alienated and surrendered. Free speech is one of those rights. The fact that the EU fails to recognize this fact, does not change it. Indeed this concept was hinted at during shortly after founding of the UN when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was unanimously agreed. The preamble states:

Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world.

Comment Re:All bullshit (Score 1) 265

I completely disagree with the premise that early-age sex is either psychologically or physically healthy behavior.

1. We are all descended from hunter gatherers who had sex as teenagers and then bore children. You imply that the entire genesis of the human race was psychologically and physically unhealthy. We evolved that way, it is the way we are designed. Of course it's healthy.

2. If you look at data looking at the ease of child birth and the health of semen, if is obvious that people biologically should be having children from their mid to late teens to early twenties. Pregnancies are easy in a 18 year old body. By age 30, they are a lot harder. Semen is of a much better quality at age 18 than at age 30.

3. Teens desire sex because nature evolved that way. They are supposed to have sex. They are not supposed to be practicing abstinence. Doing so is psychologically unhealthy!

When I read statements like the one from I quoted from I really think humanity is f@@@ed. No amount of science, logic, data or common sense can help us - saying that teens should not have sex is unscientific, puritanical crap.

Comment Re:Good news, and all... (Score 1) 363

IMHO this impacts digital recording of people. Imagine someone is arrested and while that happens if the police decide to beat the the arrestee up. Or imagine if they commit another crime like stealing their stuff, or planting evidence, or admitting that they are going to lie to a judge to secure a conviction. This happened recently and the arrestee was prosecuted for illegally recording someone without their permission. Well how are you going to get permission from the police while they secretly beat you up in a can or a police station?

We need to have a broad exception for recording without permission when either a law is being broken, a government official is engaging in corruption, a law enforcement officer or judge is abusing their authority or activity that undermines the justice system, a government agent is engaging in extra judicial activity such as 'rendition', when a private company is violating its employees rights, or when a person needs to collect information to protect themselves against someone trying to defraud them.

I also think that this story reflects the fact that a significant minority of people out there get way more outraged by cruelty to animals that cruelty to humans. I find this attitude quite sickening.

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