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Comment Re:Sales TAX? VAT???? (Score 1) 913

Here's a shocker: whether you tax income or consumption, you're taking the same amount of money out of the economy. The only difference is who you're taking it from. So you should do whichever one is easier and that has the degree of progressivity or regressivity that you want (if you're concerned with that at all). And keep in mind that taxes are made to be spent, so what comes out of the economy as taxes goes right back in again and ends up as somebody's income (maybe even yours!). Society is no poorer, it's just that someone different holds the loot.

Comment Re:Missing option: (Score 3, Insightful) 913

The average total effective tax rate (federal income, payroll, state and local taxes property sales etc.) for billionaires is around 31%. Are you telling me you get taxed more than Bill Gates?

But OK, I'll indulge. Let's abolish taxes. No more army. No more navy. No more state or local police. Or justice system. Now try holding onto all your hard-earned cash. Do you prefer paying 30% of your income to your federal, state and local governments or to a private security firm that may or may not just take your money and run (then you'll have to hire another firm to go track them down!).

See? The social contract isn't such a bad deal after all.

Comment Re:Business focus, not consumer focus... (Score 1) 913

Total taxes paid (federal, state and local including payroll, sales, property, etc.) for bottom quintile: 18.7% of income.

18.7% of income is not no taxes.

The average for the highest incomes is around 31% of income. That includes the top 1% of earners.


Submission + - SPAM: Giant rubber snakes to capture wave power?

Roland Piquepaille writes: "UK researchers have developed a prototype of a future giant rubber tube which could catch energy from sea waves. The device, dubbed Anaconda, uses 'long sea waves to excite bulge waves which travel along the wall of a submersed rubber tube. These are then converted into flows of water passing through a turbine to generate electricity.' So far, the experiments have been done with tubes with diameters of 0.25 and 0.5 meters. But if the experiments are successful, future full-scale Anaconda devices would be 200 meters long and 7 meters in diameter, and deployed in water depths of between 40 and 100 meters. An Anaconda would deliver an output power of 1MW (enough to power 2,000 houses). These devices would be deployed in groups of 20 or even more providing cheap electricity without harming our environment. But read more for additional details and pictures showing how the Anaconda works and how these systems could be used in farms of 20 or more."

Submission + - Apple Gobbles Up 50 Million Samsung NAND Chips (

MojoKid writes: "Samsung has started spreading the word to its customers that NAND flash memory chips are going to be harder to come by for a little while as Samsung diverts much of its available supply to Apple. When Apple places an order for 50 million 8Gb NAND chips, it shouldn't be a surprise that Apple gets to cut the line and is offered a spot at the front of the queue. What does Apple need with 50 million NAND chips? Two words: iPhone 3G."
The Internet

Even Before Memex, a Plan For a Networked World 119

phlurg writes "The New York Times presents an amazing article on 'the Mundaneum,' a sort of proto-WWW conceived of by Paul Otlet in 1934. 'In 1934, Otlet sketched out plans for a global network of computers (or "electric telescopes," as he called them) that would allow people to search and browse through millions of interlinked documents, images, audio and video files. He described how people would use the devices to send messages to one another, share files and even congregate in online social networks. He called the whole thing a "réseau," which might be translated as "network" — or arguably, "web."' A fascinating read." (You may be reminded of Vannevar Bush's "Memex," which shares some of the same ideas.)

Submission + - SPAM: Groovy Recipes

stoolpigeon writes: "The Groovy language is relatively new on the scene. I confess that I had not even heard of it until early this year when I came across a Developer Works article about unit testing with Groovy, written in 2004. So I am a little late to the party, but the article did intrigue me and the new addition to the Pragmatic series, "Groovy Recipes" came along at just the right time for me to jump on board. This book is a no-nonsense, solid introduction to groovy. It is specifically written with the experienced Java programmer in mind, but I found it useful even though my Java experience is primarily as a hobbyist. Davis brings his extensive experience with Groovy and Java to the table and has written an excellent primer and reference that is fully worthy of the Pragmatic label.

This book is not a "How to Program" using Groovy as the language. Davis assumes knowledge of programming, and more specifically Java on the part of the reader. This means that there are no tedious filler chapters at the beginning explaining how a computer needs programs to do things, or what variables are. Even the introduction is rather brief as Davis immediately moves into describing what Groovy is and how it works with code samples. If you have fallen into the habit of pushing right past the first 2 or 3 chapters of any programming book you pick up, this will be a refreshing change of pace. As I mentioned, I am not a Java expert by any means. I still found it easy to follow the clear writing in this book that was teamed with good examples.

The format for the examples and explanation is that each section is numbered and named. Following the heading of that number and name, the recipe code is given. This is followed by the explanation and discussion of issues related to the code. The section names are not clever or cute to be entertaining, they clearly state what is in the section and thereby make the table of contents useful.

The format of the book is extremely versatile. Like many other cook-book format books I've read recently, this one is broken down into many small sections that provide code for various situations and uses. For the person already using Groovy, there may be no real need to read this through from beginning to end. It is very easy, between the table of contents and the index to jump right to any desired example of functionality or syntax. The physical layout of the book makes finding things easy also as this is not a huge book. Flipping through it to find something I'd read earlier was very easy for me.

That said, while it is not necessary to read from start to finish, doing so is very easy. This cannot be said of all books that follow the recipe format. Many have no connection or very rough flow between the sections and jump all over the place. "Groovy Recipes" flows very nicely and moves the reader on a very natural progression from syntax and operators, on to useful topics and common functionality. The book begins with how to install Groovy and ends discussing such topics as Grails, a Groovy web framework, and working with web services using Groovy.

The only trouble I ever had following the book was due to a somewhat humorous feature of the Groovy language. Reading Groovy feels a lot like reading pseudocode to me. It is so succinct and natural that it just flows. I'd read a recipe, and move onto the explanation and feel like I had just jumped backwards. I'd been reading the code and it felt like I was just reading instructions, it was so self-explanatory. I don't think of this so much as a problem with the text as it is an endorsement of the language. I've always been a bit of a fan of RAD languages. Groovy brings many RAD type capabilities to Java and the JVM. This book has made me quite excited about the possibilities of Groovy and working with it has been quite a bit of fun.

For the Java developer looking to use Groovy as a complement to their work, or as a scripting language for things like testing code, this book could be just enough to get them up to speed and running without having to wade through a lot of unnecessary extras. For anyone who wants to use Groovy in any capacity, I predict this would be one of those books that they would want to keep close, and find they grab first. It has that all important lack of junk clogging up access to all the good information.

Davis is eminently qualified as a Groovy expert. Often times when something newer is gaining in popularity there are a lot of people who will churn out books of greatly varying quality in an attempt to cash in on the momentum. Davis has already written multiple solid Java oriented books and is the editor in chief at and is a sought after speaker as a programmer. Guillame LaForge, Groovy project manager, states in the preface that even he found a few tips here that he did not know. This book really stands out in an extremely positive way and could be one of the best programming books I've read in quite a while."

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"It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so." -- Artemus Ward aka Charles Farrar Brown