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The Almighty Buck

Google, Apple and Microsoft Squirm As Global Tax Schemes Scrutinized 312

An anonymous reader writes: Google, Apple and Microsoft chiefs were hauled in front of an Australian Senate Committee on Wednesday and forced to answer questions about their tax dodging structures. "Under questioning from Greens Senator Christine Milne, [Google's Maile Carnegie] revealed none of the revenue derived from Google's lucrative advertising business is taxed in Australia, rather it is booked in Singapore where the corporate tax rate is set at 17 per cent, as opposed to Australia's 30 per cent. ... However in the strongest defense yet of the company's complex tax structure, Ms Carnegie attempted to highlight the hypocrisy of criticising global technology companies for using the same approach that Australian mining firms, like Rio Tinto, use when deriving profits from China. 'These are international tax arrangements and what Google is doing in Australia is very very similar to what Australian companies are doing outside of Australia. I am not sitting here today trying to defend whether those practices are right or wrong, they are simply the way the global tax system is currently working and we are trying to operate within that.' Ms. Carnegie said it was up to the government to create a different system, which the company would then abide by."

Comment Re:Uh... (Score 1) 78

The current financial system requires anybody who wants to exchange funds to go through a mutually trusted third party (a bank, a credit card company, a wire transfer service) who will then take a percentage of the transaction off the top. If you can cut that middleman out of the system you will save everybody a ton of money.

Comment Re:Big data, spying? (Score 1) 118

Your username is on your profile page, as is your real name if you've chosen to disclose it (but not the Steam account name used to log in). I'm not sure what happens if you link your Facebook account to your Steam profile because oh god who would do that, but the option is there.

Comment Re:This is proof? Really? (Score 1) 282

Exceeding the debt limit does not mean default. It means that all further spending immediately gets reduced to the level of tax revenue; implying a 30% drop in spending.

It is up to the treasury to prioritize where the cash on hand goes.

They say they have neither the technical ability (the software can't handle the use case) nor the legal authority to prioritize payments (a de facto line item veto). They might just be lying to us, but if you believe they are capable of that, you also believe they totally would default just to prove a point.

Besides, if the government is going to pay you in a couple weeks, we swear, that would be a debt. It has just been shifted away from the people who want to lend us money voluntarily.

Comment Re:This is proof? Really? (Score 3, Interesting) 282

But printing money was one of the possible outcomes of hitting the debt ceiling. Both the Fed and the Secretary of the Treasury have the legal authority to declare that they are covering the deficit by creating money rather than borrowing it, and they may well have done so. It wouldn't have been great monetary policy, but there is a reasonable argument that it's better than default.


Man Put On "No-Fly List" While In Air To NYC 300

An unnamed man flying from Nigeria to New York City found out he was added to a no-fly list somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean, when the plane stopped to refuel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Officials won't say what he did or why he was added to the list after he had already boarded a flight. He was not immediately charged with a crime and Customs and Border Protection will only say that he is a "potential person of interest." From the article: "The man, a citizen of Gambia, was not on the no-fly list when he boarded the aircraft in Dakar, Senegal, said a US official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly."

Police Called Over 11-Year-Old's Science Project 687

garg0yle writes "Police in San Diego were called to investigate an 11-year-old's science project, consisting of 'a motion detector made out of an empty Gatorade bottle and some electronics,' after the vice-principal came to the conclusion that it was a bomb. Charges aren't being laid against the youth, but it's being recommended that he and his family 'get counseling.' Apparently, the student violated school policies — I'm assuming these are policies against having any kind of independent thought?"
Data Storage

Forensics Tool Finds Headerless Encrypted Files 374

gurps_npc writes "Forensics Innovations claims to have for sale a product that detects headerless encrypted files, such as TrueCrypt Dynamic files. It does not decrypt the file, just tells you that it is in fact an encrypted file. It works by detecting hidden patterns that don't exist in a random file. It does not mention steganography, but if their claim is true, it seems that it should be capable of detecting stenographic information as well."

Comment Re:I have an old PC, you insensitive clod (Score 1) 120

If it's the latter then that's a good example of what I was suggesting, but I think it's more likely the former. Effectively, had these people been given the choice of say, NWN or this they'd almost certainly have gone with NWN. His sales are likely based on people who are not much in to gaming accidently stumbling across his site, not realising there is anything better out there or previous customers who found his products in this manner etc.

I think you're entirely wrong in this characterization of Spidweb's audience. They've been around a long time and has cultivated a devoted following that actually wants tile- and turn-based RPGs. I'd be very surprised if they didn't make up the majority of Geneforge 4's paying customers. I doubt he gets very many first-time buyers on any particular title. Perhaps he'll provide these numbers in the followup he mentioned in the blog.

That audience includes me, by the way. I lost interest in Baldur's Gate 2 very early, and have never played Neverwinter Nights, but I have bought half a dozen Spiderweb games going back many years.

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