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Comment Re:Poster does not understand Algebra (Score 1) 357

The fact that someone owns wealth and has not consumed it requires that at some point, someone decided not to consume it, i.e. deferred their consumption.

This is a tautology, it's true by definition.

Also, that you believe the normal state is for people to start out life with different amounts of wealth (as if it's endowed by some random action), rather than as the result of choices and work people have done says a lot about your prior beliefs.

Comment Re:You can't generalize. (Score 1) 289

It does *sound* a bit sociopathic, doesn't it? But sociopathy is a pathological disregard for the rights of others. While deception is often used to violate someone's rights, but it can *also* be used to protect someone's rights.

For example if I knew an employee was embezzling money, I don't have to tell him I know. I can deceive him into thinking I'm not on to him until I gather enough proof or discover who his accomplices are. This is deceptive, but not a violation of his rights.

Comment You can't generalize. (Score 2) 289

Anyone who works on unauthorized personal projects should certainly expect to be subject to firing. But as a supervisor I would make the decision to fire based on what is best for my employer. That depends on a lot of things.

I don't believe in automatic zero tolerance responses. The question for me is whether the company better off booting this guy or disciplining him. Note this intrinsically unfair. Alice is a whiz who gets all of her work done on time and to top quality standards. Bob is a mediocre performer who is easily replaced. So Alice gets a strong talking to and Bob gets the heave-ho, which is unfair to Bob because Alice did exactly the same thing.

But there's a kind of meta-fairness to it. Stray off the straight and narrow and you subject yourself to arbitrary, self-interested reactions.

Now as to Alice, I would (a) remind her that anything she creates on company time belongs to the company (even if we're doing open source -- we get to choose whether the thing is distributed) and (b) that any revenue she derives from it rightly belongs to the company. But again there's no general rule other than maximize the interests of the company. I'll probably insist she shut down the project immediately and turn everything over to the company, but not necessarily. I might choose to turn a blind eye. Or maybe even turn a blind eye until Alice delivers on her big project, then fire her and sue her for the side project revenues if I thought we didn't need her any longer. If loyalty is a two-way street, so is betrayal.

Sure, you may rationalize working on a side project as somehow justified by the fact your employer doesn't pay you what you're really worth, but the grown-up response to that is to find a better job; if you can't, by definition in a market economy you are getting paid at least what you're worth. If you decide to proceed by duplicity, you can't expect kindness or understanding unless you can compel it.

Comment Re:60Ghz (Score 1) 130

I agree it sounds impractical. So I looked at the patent -- which not being a radio engineer it's perfectly safe for me to do (n.b. -- it's always dangerous to look at what might be bullshit patents in your field because you open yourself up to increased damages for using common sense). But I was a ham radio operator when I was a kid so I do know the lingo.

There are a number of problems with broadcasting power, starting with the fact that it's inefficient to saturate ambient space with enough radiation to be usefully harvested. But that's not what they're proposing. 802.11 ad operates in the extreme microwave range -- about 5cm wavelength aka the "V" band. This band is also unregulated so you can try weird things in it. What they propose is to use an array of antennas to create a steerable beam -- like a phased array radar. This would confine the power to a specific plane so that you wouldn't have to saturate all of ambient space with power. The beam steering would be done "dynamically", which I take to mean it would figure out how to maximize signal strength with some kind of stochastic algorithm. So it might not work if you are unicycling around the room.

And because the wavelength is so short an antenna array would be relatively compact.

Even so, it doesn't sound that practical. It's bound to be limited to line of sight, for example: the V band does not penetrate walls or the human body at all, in contrast with the S band that conventional wifi operates on. I can certainly imagine applications for it, but making it practical for charging your phone is apt to be very expensive. You'd have surround yourself with V band antenna arrays.

By the way, reading this patent reminds me of why I hate reading patents. They're infuriatingly vague in order to make the claims as broad as possible, and yet are cluttered with inanely obvious details ("the radio receiver can include active and passive components") and irrelevancies (the device may include a touch screen). I think the purpose may be that someone trying to figure out whether the vague language applies to a cell phone will think, "I don't know WTF this is claiming, but look this phone *does* have a touch screen." It just shows how broken our patent system is.

Comment Re: It's pretty simple (Score 1) 271

So believing what Hamilton, Jefferson and Madison put in writing during the ratification debates about what the phrase meant is arguing the writers on the Constitution were unable to properly express themselves??? You obviously didn't bother to read the quotes from them in the link.

I'm not twisting anything. The real puzzle is why some people have created this myth that it somehow includes everything. Standard legal construction (for hundreds of years) is to read phrases as adding meaning to the text, not being superfluous. If it can cover any kind of spending, then there would have been no point in adding it to the Constitution. Only if it expresses a limitation on what kind of spending is allowed does it convey a meaning.

Comment Re:Poster does not understand Algebra (Score 1) 357

For a consumption tax, you don't have to track people's purchases. Instead, you track people's sales and the tax is collected by the seller.

In terms of privacy, this is much better, as you pretty much already know that Widget Corp. is a seller of Widgets and the government doesn't need to collect exactly _who_ they sold widgets to, just how much they sold them all for.

In terms of tracking, 90% of the States currently already track sales. It's how they collect State-level sales taxes. Piggybacking on an existing system is much cheaper/easier than running a completely different system, which is why most States currently piggy-back on the federal system for their income taxes.

In terms of black markets, even income made on the black market (currently untaxed due to the income tax system) gets taxed when used to consume things.

As for cheating, it's relatively simple to catch businesses cheating and they already have the structure and the . For the most part, individuals can't cheat because they're the buyers, not the sellers. You may get some used-market under the table cheating, but you can either call that a recycling incentive, or else create monetary incentives to catch it, i.e. a reward (no penalties) to any buyer who turns in a seller who sold them something without charging the tax.

Comment Re:Poster does not understand Algebra (Score 1) 357

It's funny how you respond to a post almost entirely about interest representing the compensation for the choice to defer consumption with no mention whatsoever of that point.

Just repeating your mistaken economic views over and over again while deriding the views of actual economists isn't very convincing. Try addressing the actual argument next time.

Comment Re:Ah yes, Facebook (Score 1) 107

[S]imple confirmation bias will ensure that you disproportionately trust things you already believe. And there's nothing you can do about it. Our brains are just wired to work that way.

I don't disagree with the general tenor of your argument, but to this I must object. There's plenty we can do about it: it starts with honestly questioning ourselves as to whether we are letting our biases colour our understanding, and it proceeds by the applying the evidence in attempts to rebut those presumptions ordered thinking demands. Even if few people are motivated to do it, dispassionate fact-checking is possible. While here is no guarantee the conclusions will always be correct (Type I and II errors suck!), we can adopt correct methodologies, which, it is hoped, will draw correct conclusions more often than not and which, most importantly, allow for subsequent correction in light of the evidence (as methodologies built upon poor presumptions may not).

Comment So What (Score 0) 83

These standards are just media propaganda. Upgrade because we iterated the standard!

This happens every time. A company says hey, we are improving service, then irrelevant new organizations like Yahoo! publish articles saying it is not really an upgrade, hoping the user will click the link so they don't go bankrupt.

Comment What can you expect? (Score 1) 2

The silicon valley mentality, with its toxic culture, has contaminated most of the industry. Now it's all about "I got mine Jack" or hustling to find the next project that is likely to either go IPO or get bought out. It's funny how they criticize everyone else for being special entitled snowflakes while they're acting like special entitled snowflakes - no self awareness.

I'd say "oh, the humanity" but that's not what humans used to aspire to be. The "good old days" weren't because they were better, but the people were.

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