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Comment Not torture, also laughter (Score 1) 111



The death penalty is public torture and it does not stop murder.

For some time now the death penalty has been the opposite of torture, with great lengths gone to to insure it is eater painless or instant.

I think we all want a "shadow" internet that includes all the features of the current one except that it would be off limits to monetization.


Comment Re:The main problem (Score 1) 75

If that's the cost of getting employees to stay late, it's a great investment.

Depends on why they're staying late.

During "crunch" times--usually a few months before shipping--a company I used to work for would bring in dinner. I know more than a few people who would hang out, let the company buy them dinner, and then go home shortly afterwards. These were usually the same people who would snag a half-dozen free sodas to take home on the way out (and, no, they weren't working from home).

I'd be more interested in things getting done. If people are staying late in order to get things done, that's great and I have no qualms about feeding them as a way of thanking them. But I've seen it turn into a "Hey, free food, let's stick around! Maybe we'll get a foosball game going after dinner. Look at us, we stayed at work 'til 11:00 playing ping-pong!"

Comment Re:Not a struggle (Score 1) 75

This. I mean, you should be able to invest that in the stock market and average at least $8 million per year, permanently, allowing enough extra money to compensate for inflation. That's enough for a team of at least 20 engineers plus renting space for them to work, equipment costs, health insurance, etc. So barring the website being insanely complex, you should literally be able to run it on that without even touching the principal, even without bringing in a penny of revenue. What the heck are these people doing with all that money?

Comment Re:US Capital Reinvestment Problem (Score 1) 75

True, though there are thresholds below which expansion makes no sense. Say I have a bookstore. I have ten employees and overlap them to keep the store open during reasonable business hours.

  • Adding five more employees is unlikely to provide any additional ROI unless I can claim to be the only 24-hour bookstore in the region, and only then if there's actually a group of people who wake up at three in the morning, think to themselves, "I need to read something to help me get to sleep", then put on their clothes, drive to a bookstore, buy a book, drive home, take off their clothes, curl up, and read the book.
  • Adding ten more employees would be enough to open up a second bookstore in a nearby town. Assuming there are enough customers to keep both businesses alive, then yes, given available capital, there's more work to be done.

In big businesses, the interesting thresholds tend to be even bigger and more dependent on things other than available capital. You have a lot of opportunities for bringing in a new person in various parts of the company as workload increases over time, of course, but the really interesting, rapid growth happens when the company decides that they want to go after a new market segment, which means they have to ramp up their staff fairly dramatically. That requires more than just capital; it requires big ideas and a reasonable probability of making enough money to make it worth the effort.

That's why even though Apple's U.S. profits alone could cover the cost of hiring on the order of 700,000 full-time software engineers, they have on the order of one percent of that number. So probably only about one or two percent of their revenue goes into staffing (ignoring C*O and VP bonuses). Even if you double or triple that number to cover the cost of renting or building office spaces, assuming you ignore the occasional massively over-budget project like the spaceship, total employee costs still probably fall down in the single-digit range percentage-wise. In other words, if they needed more people, they would easily be able to afford many more people, so bringing more money into the U.S. won't change their hiring at all. This tends to be true for all sufficiently large businesses. In other words, there's a threshold of capitalization beyond which adding more money won't result in more jobs.

The bottom line is that if you want to increase the number of available jobs, the best way is to raise taxes on big businesses and use that to offset a reduction in taxes on smaller businesses. Those smaller businesses still have room to grow, and every dollar that they pay in taxes is a dollar that they can't pay their employees; for bigger businesses, every dollar they pay in taxes is just a dollar that they can't pay their shareholders, which although certainly beneficial, does not create jobs.

Comment Re:The main problem (Score 4, Interesting) 75

Of course, a big part of the problem is that in the 1970s, California enacted a property tax scheme that is perfectly designed to limit homeowners' ability to move. By making property taxes be based solely on the purchase price instead of on the actual value of the home, people would pay dramatically more in property taxes every year if they sell one house and buy a second one even if they break even on the deal.

Prop 13 drastically skews the proportion of renters to owners by forcing people to rent out their old place so they can afford the rent on a new place instead of selling and buying. It also discourages new people from entering the market by making them pay the bulk of the cost of goods and services while folks who have been there for a few years pay proportionally less. The result is one of the most screwed up real estate markets anywhere in the world.

(BTW, Sunnyvale mobile home parks are only ~$1k per month and only maybe $50–75k to buy an old house and move it out of the way, plus the cost of whatever you move in. That extra $1,500 per month + $75k is the Google tax you pay for living five minutes closer to work.)

Another part of the problem is that the Bay Area lacks a proper region-wide planning commission with authority to regulate zoning across the various cities. So you have places like Menlo Park, where the only housing is private estates for the rich C*Os, with lots of businesses out near the shore where land is cheap (because it smells of rotting fish), and you have Gilroy and Morgan Hill that are almost entirely housing, with few businesses.

IMO, what we really need is to have some government entity that slowly converts business-use land in the South Bay to residential use and says "No" whenever big companies say that they want to expand their presence in the South Bay, encouraging them to build satellite offices farther south instead. And offer tax incentives to locate new businesses outside the SF/Peninsula/South Bay area. Adding more businesses farther south would increase the reverse commute traffic and reduce the primary commute proportionally, and opening up more farmland to development would go a long way towards reducing the cost of housing as well.

Unfortunately, that's unlikely to happen unless there's a single management agency that has some authority across all the different administrative districts. Right now, each city wants to get its share of the tax revenue from new businesses, and they mostly don't care about the clustering problems that result from it. Nobody is taking a bird's eye view of the problem, or if they are, they don't have the authority to do anything about it.

Comment App is not gone (Score 1) 112

u are hand waving a bunch of dumb shit like "app opens a port and then the app is gone

There's the exact problem though. Why do you THINK the app is gone?

If the app has permission to open a port that means it had permission to have a long-running service sitting on that port.

Why else would it open the port if it were not going to do just that?

Most non-technical users rarely if ever delete apps...

I mean, I agree that android phones are utter shit

They aren't at all, they work really well.. it's just that they ALSO bring the same security risk as any PC to a group of users who by and large have no technical ability to understand, or deal with the risk they are taking on. Sp it propagates the decades of horrible security flaws the PC world has enjoyed, like bank account being compromised, or identities stolen.

It bullshit to claim that is OK, that it's not really a problem when it is a massive problem that affects the people who can least afford to deal with it.

Comment Read Original Quote (Score 1) 112

What is the difference between an open port on an Android device and the dozens that are open on your personal computer? Nothing.

That is absolutely correct, and we all know that personal computers are rife with security flaws.

Part of that is because services are sitting at a number of different open ports, every service that is doing so increases the chances of a successful attack vector being present on your system,

So now we bring forward this same, known to be failed and dangerous, security model to the phone? Remember the original comment was talking about how open ports "are not dangerous" - with the implication that nothing is necessarily behind those open ports. But just like the PC we all know today, if something opened those ports that almost certainly means there is a service sitting there, listening, possibly vulnerable...

Or would you like to ignore decades of failed PC security?

Comment Re:The main problem (Score 4, Informative) 75


Venture capital poured in, and its valuation surged from $US12m in early 2014 to $US525m by mid-2015. Beepi moved out of its cramped office and into a glassie building where the chief executive zipped around on his own Segway. Staffers enjoyed quinoa salad and turkey meatball lunches and dinners when they often stayed late, and unwound with ping-pong or Nerf guns.

Comment Re:Inherent contradictions within leftist ideals. (Score 1) 303

Greece, as best I understand it, is screwed up because the government paid for it without actually having the revenue to pay for it. That makes them far more like the modern borrow-and-spend Republicans than the tax-and-spend progressives. When, over a five-year period, a country's tax revenue increases by 31% and government spending increases by 87%, you're going to have a serious increase in your national debt. The United states solves this by devaluing its currency. Unfortunately, the Greeks are part of the Eurozone, and thus are limited in how much currency they can print each year, which means they can't just print more money to avoid becoming crippled by their national debt.

Of course, to make matters worse, their national debt is so huge relative to their GDP that it probably wouldn't help even if they could print money. Even in relatively good times, Greece was borrowing over 8% of their GDP every year. That's simply unsustainable. As a result, while U.S. states have debts that are on the order of a third to half their GDP, Greece has debt that is on the order of double their GDP. Imagine if the state of California took on a third of the national debt by itself, and you're in the ballpark. Nobody in the U.S. government—even the most socialist progressives who advocate a base income—are crazy enough to borrow that kind of money, I don't think.

But a bigger problem is not the amount of spending, but rather the types of spending that the Greek government has done. Instead of building infrastructure that would actually benefit them financially (e.g. factories), they spent frivolously on things like a giant sports venue for the 2004 Olympics that didn't cover its costs and that they couldn't afford to actually maintain afterwards. Their social security system is or was broken, with such fascinating flaws as paying out pensions to single female children of dead retirees. The state airline was a giant money pit for many years. And their military spending at the start of the crisis bordered on insanity (sound Republican enough for you?) at something like 7% of their GDP—proportionally more than the U.S. spent while fighting two wars.

No, the Greek government is a prime example of what happens when Reagan-Republican-style borrow-and-spend budgets get out of control and are not tempered by true fiscal conservatives insisting on balanced budgets and rainy day funds and so on. It is the polar opposite of progressive ways of handling budgeting (which, if they got out of control, would result in a tax rate that's so high that the people themselves would demand cuts in spending).

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