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Comment Re: Lack of perspective (Score 1) 85

Where did you get these numbers? About 80% of stocks and mutual funds are held by the top 10% of the United States. The vast majority are not even close to "working class". Certainly people in the middle class may hold a very small amount of stock, but by and large, it is an irrelevant amount.

Given that 90% of all non-primary residence wealth is held by the top 10%, it's ridiculous to imagine much of the financial wealth (stocks and mutual funds specifically) would be held outside the top 10%. Of course, a significant amount of money ends up in trusts by these same wealthy families, and maybe those trusts are classified as retirement accounts in your metrics?

Comment Re: This doesn't surprise me at all (Score 1) 149

Well chess is giant in India, Europe, NA, and generally more popular in SA.

And at least in Japan, while Go is popular, in all my years living there I've only ever met shogi players (and the Chinese I have interacted with quite regularly don't play at all).

But oddly every Chinese person I know has played chess.

Without a doubt, both in absolute and computer professional relative terms, chess is more popular.

Really it's more likely brute force is easy to program compared to neural networks and in general, the advancement in chess was from position evaluation which is markedly easier than Go (because you can simulate chess to a deep enough level to see if a sacrifice of piece or position is worth it as long as you prune your tree even marginally intelligently). As a player, I find both games awesome (though I am terrible at Go), but I think it is pretty obvious position evaluation is easier in chess.

Comment Re:Yeah yeah **spoilers** (Score 1) 562

the film is already north of 1 billion and there are people who want to see it who haven't?

I went because it was star wars but JJ Abrams let me down, in all the ways I expected. This is the second movie where he has directed it incredibly poorly, just expecting the audience to relate to characters he spends no effort developing (except while beating you over the head with amateur characterization). But it was filled with great CGI and action scenes. He is turning into michael bay.

Lucas was right. with the prequels he tried to do something incredibly different than the original trilogy. It failed on many levels, but at least the entire plot wasn't predictable 30 minutes into the movie. worse, because so little time was spent developing characters and so much time dedicated to CGI, Abrams created a completely unbelievable ending battle, where a sith who in the beginning shows strength in the force unheard of in the previous 6 movies loses in a light saber duel to a complete novice simply because he says "let me teach you to use the force". completely unbelievable story telling, unless in the next movie we will actually see her use the force to destroy entire star systems after shaking Luke's hand.

Comment Re: Tax Inversion (Score 1) 456

your tax brackets already generally creep with inflation across the board (except the AMT traditionally, I'm not sure if that is completely fixed). If you will creep down income brackets already if inflation is high, why also allow a reduction in the amount declared. Do you want to go back to a time when tax brackets didn't shift at all (you know, when 50k of income put you in the top bracket vs paying almost 0 in federal income tax?)

anyways, I think complaints about double taxation are a lot of complaining. You pay the second line of taxes because you get limited liability through the corporation. If you don't want double taxation, take on the full liability of the company. Else realize it isn't in society's interest to give you a free get out of jail card. You have to pay for it somewhere.

Comment Re:Young Man Given Undue Credit; news at 11 (Score 3, Insightful) 90

or maybe he actually did the grunt work of digging through the data and running the numbers?

who knows, but lots of undergrads and even grad students get their first publication by basically doing really pedestrian grunt work for fully independent scientists. Even famous scientists usually start out that way. Why should it be any different for this kid?

Comment Re:Inheritance Tax (Score 1) 240

it does not, not without invoking very significant taxes. you can't just pass money tax free on at that level. an LLC cannot sell shares and say, buy an election, without paying tax. And the LLC cannot just hire a family member and give them teh money tax free. Nor can you set up the LLC with 0 assets, give it to your child when it is worthless, and then give it shares (those shares are then taxed as a gift). The only way to possibly avoid the taxes (and it only barely works in states with no income tax) is to have that LLC hire your child and give a very large income. You'll still be swept up in federal taxes of 40% but in a state with no income tax and the amounts at this level, you could conceivably save a fraction of your money from government.

An LLC just provides the flexibility to say, lobby congress directly without using a shady 501c (like many groups do now) though it will have to pay taxes on the shares it sells to do that. It can also give the shares away to charity (something he could have already done tax free using the same loophole that exists for both) that do work he believes in. He can also use it to set up a school like what his wife wants to do without having to go through numerous complex tax and legal issues.

This isn't software. These are the actual shares (supposedly, none of us actually know as it is a private LLC and the documents are not public) that he could have given to his daughter, or really anyone. Unlike what microsoft did, these shares he cannot now sell and use to say, buy a 200 foot yacht and somehow avoid taxes. All it really does is allow him full flexibility on use of the money in the future.

Comment Re:And it all comes down to greed (Score 1) 585

actually, anyone in a regular car generally pays for their fair share of road maintenance. It is all large trucks that do not, as road damage goes as the 4th power of axle weight but fuel consumption does not. So most light weight mid sized sedans pay way beyond what they should, while tractor trailers pay well under what they should.

Comment Re:Not the right tool (Score 4, Interesting) 144

really depends on use case. Our spreadsheets (finance, derivatives) can get damn big, but there are 3 reasons they persist: ease of modification, speed of the interface, and easy integration with powerful analytics libraries we use.

Now I have functioned in a python based environment before, and that had some huge benefits (especially when working on tick level data, or data that was just a pain to manage in VBA until I got output down to a reasonably visualizable size) , and I regularly push for trade level data and details to be put off into a SQL database as it is pretty easy to write flexible queries to get what I want out. But visualizing data, interacting with historic data (user forms for display), generally integrating with many other financial libraries (bloomberg and reuters for realtime, internal quant libraries for complex calculations), and having a fast interface out of the box is amazing.

I've been at places that have tried to replace excel as the interaction layer. The problem is, for all its problems, most coders cannot hack together, on their own, a better GUI that is as performant or easily interacted with. Sometimes it isn't the data analysis layer (which if at all possible, we like to farm off somewhere else for perofrmance), but everything else that makes the spreadsheet far superior. And of course, I can modify and adapt someone else's work far faster than anyone using code. On a regular basis I can build up a complete tool in excel 10-20x faster than any coder can write me something outside of it. And most of the time a 95% correct answer in 1 hour is far more useful than a 100% correct answer in 3 days.

Now saying that, once the office ribbon started, that was the beginning of the end. Slowly the interface is getting too clunky to waste my time with when it was the simplest things I required. Now I try to do a lot of my work in a proper coding language and write out files I can parse quickly in vba and display in excel.

Comment Re:TNSTAAFL (Score 2) 272

then you don't advertise unlimited without a clear explanation of those reasonable limits.

In every other country I have been in, that is what they do. Buffets set a time limit on the table (usually 90 minutes or so, else people actually come in there and can sit all day).

When I get a cell phone plan, they say unlimited data usage but if your data usage goes over X in any rolling window (was 3 days on my last one) your speed will be throttled from whatever the network can handle to Y. Once that period of high use rolls out of the window, you are restored.

Only in the US do they advertise unlimited, promise you a certain speed as long as the network isn't congested, and then refuse to admit they are actually throttling you or tell you under what auspices they have throttled you. It's a real pain in the ass actually that they are allowed to have unwritten rules that you are supposed to just acquiesce to and that are not stated explicitly in your contract.

Comment Re:Eventually - but the lies do real damage meanwh (Score 1) 444

it was a perfect storm. The original paper had only one author come out against the MMR, and originally, before he probably realized how much money he could make becoming a vaccine denier, he only came out against the triple vaccine and suggested reverting to individual ones until further study was done. Then of course he realized a fool and his money can be easily parted, and he became a real issue. Had he not walked down that path, and stuck to only saying the triple may be problematic and moving back to the individuals was fine, he wouldn't have been quite as ostracized.

Considering how troubled the MMR triple roll out was (see problems with the vaccine in Japan for example, a strain issue) it compounded an already worrisome issue. And of course, Measles had been mostly removed from the population as the inidividual vaccine had been around quite a while, and a generation of parents hadn't experienced it, so when the triple hit in the early 90s, it was a "new" vaccine for a disease people hadn't experienced in decades.

A lot contributed to the fear mongering, and now lots of bad information exacerbates the problem.

Comment Re:The real problem is... (Score 1) 190

actually in many countries it is that black and white, what you mean to say is "in the US where companies want the ability to mail you a credit card without doing any verification, it doesn't work".

in most countries I have lived besides the US, it takes 2-3 weeks, and 2-3 forms of separate, verified information for me to get a credit card (or open a bank account). Now that isn't representative of a majority of countries in the world, but I can at least talk about 3 other first world countries that have active banking systems and credit markets without nearly as many holes for identity theft.

Actually, the last time I did it, it required my passport, work visa, proof of home address via a public utility bill, and a letter of employment from my employer which needed to validate my address, work status, and name for a bank account. The credit card could be done remotely, but I had to mail copies of this all in, and get the copies certified for some documents (namely, ID documents).

Sure, it's a bit of a pain in the ass. But then again, no country ever had its economy grind to a halt because it took a week to get a personal credit card.

Comment Re:Same in the UK (Score 1) 190

if you get to know the inside of collection agencies, you'll see why. Ebay sends bulk data on delinquent accounts to a collector, that collector then is paid purely as a percent of the money he collects for you. Ebay has 0 costs involved in this beyond sending data to the collections company. It's also why you may keep getting called for the same delinquent account.

But, beyond sending it to a collector, they aren't going to spend the time and money of their employees' to get that money. It's too expensive in effort and paperwork, if not just salaries. Collection agencies make their money by specializing and pooling together delinquent accounts from tons of companies (hospitals, doctors offices, ebay, etc, etc) and applying the same high pressure tactics that can be scripted to get as many to pay something as possible.

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