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Comment Re:Fiat Currency (Score 1) 87

What I'd be curious about is whether it's somehow technically illegal to use foreign currency for transactions in the United States. I can pretty easily see a business in DC or NYC accepting Euros as payment if they have a lot of European customers.

Accepting foreign currencies is no problem. Paying out in foreign currencies or exchanging one for the other is where AFAIK things get sticky. I don't know how it is nowadays when most transactions are electronic... But stores along the Canadian border (here in Washington State) used to happily accept Canadian money (at a premium above the current exchange rate). What they wouldn't do is return your change in Canadian or exchange one for the other - that makes you a currency exchange, which requires a license.
 
Hmm... Looking at it that way, the two rulings may not be not as inconsistent as it seems on the face of it. In the Miami ruling, the defendant was conducting business solely in US Dollars, which is quite legal. (So long as he converted his books into dollars at tax time and paid his taxes in dollars.) In the Manhattan case, the defendant was, via Bitcoin, intentionally exchanging one currency for another - which is not legal without the appropriate license.

Comment Re:Fiat Currency (Score 1) 87

( We could envisage a scenario in which, absent such a decree/requirement, you and I could agree some complex scheme to defraud the Federal Government of tax revenue. I could sell you a car for "ten bananas" and when asked for taxes by the government, could give them a couple of pieces of fruit to cover the tax. )

You could, if you were ignorant of tax law. In reality, this "loophole" has long since been closed - you can conduct your transactions in any currency or in barter if you want, but you're required to convert that into US dollars to calculate your taxes and then pay your taxes in US dollars. (An additional requirement is to "show your work" - that is, to define the value of your currency and demonstrate your conversion method is valid.) So long as you don't try and pull a stupid stunt like claiming a "banana" is worth $0.15 when selling a new luxury car with 200 miles on it, the IRS does not care how you keep your books.

Comment After a three year break... (Score -1) 88

"Among the advances: astronauts can remain on the station up to 30 days".

Which leaves them (after a three year break in manned flight), what... forty years behind everyone else? Not that that will stop those who want China to give them stiffies and stroke material by re-igniting a Space Race.

China has just enough of a space program to let them claim (internally and externally) to be a Real Country with a Real Space Program, and not a yuan's worth more. Despite their many pronouncements about things they may do in some misty future, there's no evidence they intend to ever have anything more.

Comment Re:Tractors (Score 1) 400

With 60%+ of the workforce working in farming, the Industrial Revolution was predicted to cause massive unemployment that the society could never recover from.

While "never recover from" turned out to be wildly pessimistic - you're wildly clueless. There was indeed widespread unemployment and massive social disruption. Communism and anarchism (so wildly prevalent in the late 18th century) didn't spring out of nowhere. Nor were the masses of poor and the workhouses of Dickens' novels creations of whole cloth. It took better than a century for the bolus to work it's way through the system. (The US was lucky and missed the worst of it because we were still in the Manifest Destiny stage and expanding into the West.)

The microchip revolution has already taken away many jobs... and over the next couple of decades, it's poised to take many more.

Comment Re:The Free State Welcomes Edward Snowden (Score 1) 387

The movement is strong gaining new movers every week and unlike other movements has only grown larger over the years.

But despite being around for over a decade - you're only talking points are how actively you're growing and how you're the number one place in the world for BitCoins (whatever that means).

Get back to us when you've got something more than slogans, hot air, and bullshit.

Comment Re:Might want to watch this (Score 1) 266

While it's true that liquid oxygen and kerosene make an explosive mixture, they still need something to start the big kaboom.

If the LOX froze the kerosene, then that "something" could be almost anything short of "exploded just for the sheer hell of it". That's a very touchy and sensitive combination.

Comment Re:the more guns you have, the more likely you are (Score 1) 212

So if other methods aren't as lethal as a firearm, wouldn't you want to maintain access to firearms to a) provide a means for suicidal people from maiming themselves severely and permanently, b) allow them to ease their suffering in as humane a fashion as possible?

If people are going to try to kill themselves for real, they're just going to do it. Reducing the margin of error and making it easier seems like the more civilized way to do this, don't you think?

Comment Re:Is using a dead womans voice... (Score 1) 145

Nah, it'd result in some pretty crappy rip-offs.

Have you seen the show Dark Matter? It tries really hard to be Firefly-esque - identical (if shallower) archetyped characters (bravado gunman, gifted girlchild, etc.) , all with a similar gist. At least in the first couple episodes, that's as far as I got due to the insufferable dialog and acting.

And without the characters - the acting, the motion, etc. - it'd not be the same. And which is harder, impersonating someone, or playing a unique character? I'm fairly certain the latter, due to how many impersonators there are...

Now, if you had a fan-made Firefly continuum? If production quality was good, I can definitely see that being potentially viable due to the love that fans put into their stuff....

Submission + - Philae Found! Rosetta Spies Dead Comet Lander (seeker.com)

astroengine writes: With only a month before its mission ends, the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission swooped low over Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko to see the stranded Philae lander jammed in a crack. After months of searching for the lander, which made its dramatic touchdown on Nov. 14, 2014, mission scientists had a good idea as to the region the robot was in, but this is the first photographic proof of the lander, on its side, stuck in the craggy location called Abydos. "This wonderful news means that we now have the missing 'ground-truth' information needed to put Philae's three days of science into proper context, now that we know where that ground actually is!" said Rosetta project scientist Matt Taylor in a statement.

Submission + - Google kills the modular Ara phone

nickovs writes: The New York Times is reporting that Google has pulled the plug on Project Ara, the modular mobile phone that would allow users to replace and upgrade phone parts. Although Google discussed the Ara platform at their developer conference only a few months ago the article reports:

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is dropping plans to create a customizable, or modular, smartphone with interchangeable parts, two people briefed on the matter said Thursday.

It would appear that this change is a result of the restructuring of the Google monolith into the Alphabet group of companies:

Last year, the company moved to a holding company structure, separating the profitable advertising business from the money-losing “moonshots.” By forcing those projects to report losses publicly, the thinking was that it would help to rein in never-ending investment.

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