* Posts by David Hicks

1243 posts • joined 22 Apr 2008

Bill Gates: Corporate tax is not a moral issue

David Hicks

Re: I don't buy it

"Saying that Google or Amazon has a morality is like saying an ants nests has morality. It makes no sense."

Are you trying to tell me there's nobody in google that has a decent overview of their finance and tax situation?

Why, they must have no idea of whether they're making any money or not, it's chaos! They won't last long that way!

(In other words BULLSHIT, of course the country level CFOs, accountants etc know what's going on and set the policies)

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David Hicks
Thumb Down

Re: Bill is right this time.

It's more like -

Company A pays 100% of the assessed tax on their profits in country A because they're based with country A.

Company B pays 2% to various accountants and 10% to country B, even though the profits were generated in country A.

Firstly this skews the market in favour of incumbent multinationals and away from competitive local business, and secondly it effectively puts the tax rates on individuals in country A up as the government is denied funds from business.

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David Hicks
FAIL

Re: I don't buy it

It's not a strawman if you then go on to confirm it by saying that companies are amoral entities.

Companies do not need to be amoral. Human beings work inside companies, not magical robots, and we absolutely can blame them for making amoral or immoral decisions.

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David Hicks
FAIL

Re: Yup he's right y'know...

Yes, obviously it's far, far better for everyone that the money to be spirited out of the UK entirely, than it is for them to pay taxes on their earning here!

And obviously they have a duty to go as far as legally possible to create profit. This is why nobody should ever get upset when sweatshops are used or when companies dump pollutants in rivers in less developed countries or any of that stuff, we can't expect the human beings in charge of these things to think about morality or ethics or any of that fucking hippie liberal bullshit, no, we need MORE MONEY DAMMIT and FUCK THE REST OF YOU.

Over here in the real world, corporations are made up of people, and people absolutely can be judged for being amoral, money-grubbing, irresponsible fuckwits.

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David Hicks
Facepalm

Yes, clearly, if they have to pay a reasonable tax rate then they'll leave the lucrative UK market permanently!

I often wonder if people think at all before they type.

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David Hicks
WTF?

Re: Bill Gates knows nothing about morality

War criminal, WTF??

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David Hicks
Stop

Re: But they are required

Nobody is saying that it's illegal (possible exception of the Google sales taking place exclusively in Ireland, which may be iffy).

But I'm saying its entirely disingenuous for the likes of Bill Gates and Eric Schmidt to say they're playing by the rules and paying a fair amount when the companies structure themselves and do all sorts of financial acrobatics specifically to avoid paying the amount they would usually be assessed.

Bill even says "This is not a morality thing, this is about the law,” he said. If nations set new tax levels “companies will be happy to comply", which is rubbish*. They use loopholes in international law to avoid paying tax in the places they do business.

So again - the solution absolutely is to change the law, but that doesn't change the fact that these statements are disingenuous.

(*hint, what's missing is "and we can't find a way to weasel out of it")

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David Hicks
FAIL

But they are required

The companies are just finding ways to transfer-price their way around it. It's not like the UK tax system was specifically set up with this in mind, it's one of multiple work-arounds.

I agree utterly that the law should be changed, but bleating about how it's not a required amount because that's the way the system was set up to work is more than a touch disingenuous.

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'Catastrophic failure' of 3D-printed gun in Oz Police test

David Hicks
Thumb Down

Re: A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

@despairing citizen

>> .... they'll just go down the pub and get six 9mm handguns that will cost less than the printer.

Which is why I don't want the laws changed to make it any *easier* or *cheaper* for them to do that, thanks.

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David Hicks
Stop

Re: A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

I'm not part of the ruling classes.

I don't want the plebians to be armed with guns because I've seen what they do in South London when given access to fireworks for a few weeks a year.

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World's richest hobo (Apple) has worked 'tax-free' in Ireland since '80s

David Hicks
Thumb Down

Re: Easy answer then

@TheBigYin

1. Everyone is proposing the law be changed, so you shut up.

2. Just because something is legal doesn't make it ethical.

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Microsoft and pals: Save the global economy by NOT ripping us off

David Hicks
WTF?

Errr, WTF?

How in the hell do they decide that getting properly licensed software has a better ROI than pirated software? I'm really not saying you ought to pirate it. I use FOSS pretty exclusively and am consequently properly licensed.

But, were I to rip off a copy of office (for instance) how would it benefit me to have paid MS?

Again, I think if you use Office you should pay for it, but I'm not seeing how the fact of payment directly benefits the one doing the paying.

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COLD FUSION is BACK with 'anomalous heat' claim

David Hicks
Stop

Interesting. I'd stumbled across the Celani character when reading about this stuff before.

However it's the same tune as it always is with LENR, ORBO, whatever revolutionary new energy paradigm you want to talk about - the real, scientific tests are just around the corner now, any day, we'll have some real results for you in just a few more weeks.

I don't doubt that some of the people involved here earnestly believe this stuff (I do have my doubts that Rossi does...) but I'm a long way from convinced they're on to anything.

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David Hicks
FAIL

Re: ...it is nonsense, and deserves absolute skepticism...

>> But science has gone ahead not thanks to the skeptics.

Remember, they laughed at Bozo the clown, too.

Actually, skepticism is a very important part of the scientific process. Blindly believing anything and everything is not useful.

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David Hicks
Stop

Re: Finance?

>> I would like to see a serious discussion about potential flaws in the setup rather than personal accusations and blanket dismissals.

There are not potential flaws in the setup.

There are big, gaping, procedural holes in the paper.

There's no point in experimental theories to explain what's going on if you can't show that there is anything going on in the first place.

The blanket dismissals are there because that's all you can do.

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David Hicks
Thumb Down

Re: Finance?

"Let me put it another way: would you rather put 5% of your assets in a portfolio of coal, gas, oil, wind and solar companies or would you rather put it into a dozen outfits that try different new approaches to energy generation"

I'd put it somewhere that didn't stink of a scam, which this does for the many reasons listed. Maybe somewhere that had realistic, scientific claims.

"from Rossi to Flibe, from TerraPower to TriAlpha in the hope that one hits the jackpot at some point? Sophisticated investors have backed much more idiotic ventures than these before."

Flibe and Terrapower have some serious science behind them and have not made claims about working units, factories etc etc. Trialpha have released less information but at the very least are not making claims that are dubious in terms of the physics involved, nor that OMG IT TOTALLY WORKS LOOK AT ME.

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David Hicks

Re: Has anyone actually read the paper?

>> There IS enough energy to rule out chemical processes, even if you allow for some pretty major measurements errors.

Except we don't know that because the measurements were so badly done. The energy output was not measured accurately. The reactor and reaction mass were not measured accurately. The energy input was not isolated or measured properly. The whole thing is so full of holes you could use it to drain your pasta.

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David Hicks
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Re: Finance?

"Until they have products in the market there's nothing to talk about anyway and it would just set off the competition."

Except apparently there are/have been customers already and the product *is* on the market. I refer you to the aforementioned "Factory powered by 1MW e-cat" and the fact that they are open for orders with a half-million US$ deposit.

"No other "perpetual motion machine" has received this degree of independent testing by the way, from Papp engines to magnetic motors so these are much easier to dismiss than this effort."

Except there hasn't really been any proper independent testing, and saying it's better than previous perpetual motion efforts is saying precisely nothing.

"These companies by the way also take many years to have anything to show for their work so the achievements to date are pretty solid."

Right, except for the claims from day 1 of having working, installed units, that have so far failed to be verified. Like all the other claims made about the device.

By sophisticated investors do you mean idiots?

Because actual sophisticated investors would check that there was something other than hot air involved, like there would be in prospecting or genuine biotech. Unless they were investing in Rossi's ability to self-publicise...

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David Hicks
Stop

Re: Sure..

"If you patent, for starters it lasts only 20 years, secondly you have to reveal the details - then others can extend the work possibly putting you out of business with their improvements."

Only if you license the patent to them, and you can charge them lots of money for that.

He has previously made claims to already have working units. 20 years protection could net him billions, even if he just sold out to one of the already-big players. If it worked.

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David Hicks
FAIL

Re: Disgrace of the sort of comments

The only reason the claims have not been properly tested is because the inventor won't allow it. Yet he keeps hyping his invention and making unverified claims. This sets off all sorts of alarm bells.

If there was any science published we would let it do the talking. There isn't.

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David Hicks

Re: Finance?

Ooops, two of those reasons are the same!

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David Hicks
FAIL

Re: Finance?

We've gone from pretty much nothing in early 2011 to an independent report in mid-2013 and several competing companies (some of which by the way have already reported and successfully demoed their stuff):

Defkalion claim to be selling technology licenses. After their deal to produce stuff for Rossi fell through. Either they've totally ripped off his stuff, in which case why is there not a huge lawsuit (I mean, no one else is smart enough to come up with this stuff right, it's revolutionary!) , or it's a scam.

The Brillouin Energy stuff seems to be based on misunderstanding of another obscure part of physics.

Anyone that actually successfully demo'd this stuff would be headline news, everywhere. It would be a massive. The big energy boys would be trying to buy them out for billions.

They aren't though, and nobody's presented anything remotely like a verified results. Hell, Orbo had demos.

that's pretty rapid progress in my book.

It's been years. There's still been nothing but hot air, despite all sorts of unverified claims like that there was a 1MW unit running a factory somewhere.

Maybe the most aggressive projections did not come through but do they ever? I'm not willing to wait until 2050 for some super expensive laser fusion or Tokakaks so I AM getting my hopes up and anyway he hasn't harmed anyone in the process or cost me a cent in taxes so I don't understand the hate.

Because he seems to be exhibiting all the hallmarks of a total charlatan.

Because he's seems to be exhibiting all the hallmarks of a total charlatan.

Because he's pulled these shenanigans before.

Because without people shouting this utter bullshit down at every turn we would no doubt see lots of uneducated people investing in this stuff and losing their money to the unscrupulous.

Because it's blatantly just the latest in a long line of ludicrous perpetual motion machines.

Enough reasons?

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David Hicks
Stop

Finance?

"He's financed this research himself without a penny of government money, unlike NIF, ITER and other multi-billion dollar outfits that are still decades away from anything meaningful."

They're decades away and costing a lot of money because they're working within the bounds of reality, something that Rossi is not constrained by.

"I'd also be more skeptical if nobody else was claiming success but there's also Defkalion and Brillouin, both of which are going to demo and share results in August so it's an exciting race to watch."

Yes, the results we need are always just around the corner, just a couple more months, any time now!

You've been suckered. Did you invest in orbo?

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Soylent Corporation prepares to DEFEAT FOOD

David Hicks
Alien

Re: But...

"some people prefer to be a slaves to their bodies and try to fulfill every whim of their bodies, because if makes them "feel" good."

Yeah, because enjoying what you eat is slavish, weak and decadent. LOL.

others see their bodies as a biological machinery with its purpose to sustain their sapience. food is just a fuel

These are robots, not people.

if we weren't different from each other, humans would have become extinct a long time ago

There's different and there's alien.

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David Hicks
Unhappy

Re: But...

For some reason there seem to be a section of engineer/geek culture who aspire to spend as little time, effort or money on food as is possible. They'd happily live off this sludge if it was cheap and they didn't ever have to think about eating again. It's bizarrely aspirational for them.

Personally I aspire to having tastier food, having a great variety, I enjoy spending time cooking for/with friends and generally think food is great. Some folks OTOH seem to be proud of the fact they've eaten the same thing for lunch every day for several years.

Deeply odd.

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EU boffins in plan for 'more nutritious' horsemeat ice cream

David Hicks

Re: Using as much of the slaughtered animal as possible,

People might still be happy enough if the Findus lasagne was labelled as horse, the taboo may well fail pretty fast.

The fuss really is about not knowing what you're eating, and about the fact that unregulated and untraced meat could get into the food chain so easily. It's an issue of trust in rather than of some sort of bizarre hippophagophobia.

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Attention large Linux workloads

David Hicks
Meh

This appears to be Big Blue saying "don't run your linux stuff on commodity hardware, buy our mainframes and run linux there", rather than anything about proprietary operating systems.

Mainframes are an amazing piece of kit and I have no doubt they can outperform a whole heap of x86 stuff, but you really could buy a whole heap and then some for the cost of System Z couldn't you?

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Rogue Nokia splinter cell drops its Jolla phone A-BOMB

David Hicks

@AC

The samsung chromebook is the number one laptop/notebook at amazon.com and number 3 at amazon.co.uk

It's not exactly the exmplar of failure you seem to think.

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David Cameron asks UK biz to pay their low, low taxes

David Hicks
Happy

>> the gamekeeper asking the poacher how to stop people stealing his salmon

If you're really lucky he might tell you how to stop *other* people stealing your salmon...

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'Untidy' Shoreditch just CONFUSES American techies - Olympic hub team

David Hicks
Stop

Re: "There is no reason why this area shouldn't be the home of a new boom..

Conversely, there are lots of people with specialist skills in the rest of the country, who don't want to live in London because it stinks and it's hopelessly crowded.

I'm not even being snarky. Try living somewhere else for a couple of years then going back.

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Streaming music works for us, say US and UK indie labels

David Hicks
Stop

Not really

Set up playlist, hit "download to phone" and wait a bit. Now you have your spotify playlist stored locally.

There are things to dislike about it, they don't have everything (their selection of British Goth bands from the 1990s is quite lacking... :), you don't own the stuff you've downloaded and it can disappear if they fall out with the artist. Plus clearly you lose access if you stop paying them.

But I still quite like it.

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I know identity of Bitcoin's SECRET mastermind, says Ted Nelson

David Hicks
FAIL

Re: Nope

"Both had around the same strengths and weaknesses, just to a different value. Give and take, usually means we do not get a perfect result, just move the "weakness" of the system around."

LOL.

'Fiat' money does not have the weakness that a bunch of internet crazies hold the lions share (~80%) of the currency in long-term dormant accounts, nor does it have a built in distribution limit. BTC has a lot of weaknesses and will never make a useful currency.

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Climate scientists agree: Humans cause global warming

David Hicks
Facepalm

Seriously, seriously, you don't think the discipline of climate science might, just *might*, take the sun into account?

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'I think you DO do evil, using smoke and mirrors to avoid tax'

David Hicks

Re: There is no "spirit" of a law..

What a load of rubbish, 'course there is, the spirit in which the law was made and intended. The exact letter often has unintended consequences,

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David Hicks
Stop

Harassing Google is all well and good...

And complex international structures do strike me as a rather unethical way to get out of paying your fair share.

BUT - if it's going to change then the politicians need to figure out how they're going to change the law to prevent the various practices that brought us here. There's only so far you can get by haranguing people to obey the spirit as well as the letter of the law.

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Feds stamp on cash pipeline to Mt Gox, Bitcoin's Wall Street

David Hicks
Stop

Re: Warnings from History: Wikileaks... Cyprus....

"The US Government doesnt control all currencies."

Silly rabbit, if the US government stamps it out others may well follow, particularly if the aforementioned US government decides to throw its considerable weight around.

That said, I'd rather bitcoins were allowed to fail on their own merits rather than be stamped out, because the libertarian squeals of big-government persecution will echo round the net for years, annoying the crap (further) out of me.

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Android device? Ooohhhh, you mean a Samsung phone

David Hicks
Stop

Re: Nokia

"Of course, I'm sure they'd just say that Nokia would be able to do better. And ignore the fact that no-one else seems to be managing it. After all, HTC seem to have some very nice phones, some look nicer to me than the Samsungs, but it doesn't seem to be doing them any good."

Nokia *would* have been able to do it better. People obviously like android (or don't hate it), and nokia had a european brand presence like nothing else, they had a huge reputation for quality and decent prices. They could have been more than just another Samsung competitor, they could have been where Samsung is, at least in Europe.

Now, you can't blame the fact that they're not entirely on Elop and his platform decisions because they seemed to have had massive, systemic problems before he turned up. He just kinda sealed the deal.

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Windows 8 'sales' barely half as good as Microsoft claims

David Hicks
Stop

Re: @David Hicks - What IS surprising...

@AC

DO we really want to start this here? The gnome folks did not make it easy for anyone to stay with V2, dropping all support and making it very hard to put both versions in the same box. They also continue to drop features and ignore or be outright rude towards user feedback.

Yes, one wonderful thing about linux is that you have DE choice. Which is why I didn't say linux, I said gnome...

(Yes, I use XFCE...)

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David Hicks
Thumb Down

Re: Good observation

Anecdata is not evidence....

My non-techy father hates it, possibly more than he hated vista. Of course to him it's the computer that's evil rather than the interface, so the Vista laptop was horrible, the Win 7 all-in one was perfectly pleasant and "this stupid new machine doesn't seem to do anything properly". I must admit it took me ages to do anything on it either, and I had to resort to poking around in the program files directories to try to figure out what was installed on the damn thing. I had a better time with Unity and that's saying something.

I have a techie friend who's been evaluating it under the MSDN license too. His got stuck in an update loop. Update, fail, reboot, revert, update, fail...

So there you go, two or three counterpoints to "it works well for me".

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David Hicks
Meh

Re: What IS surprising...

@JDX - you have to admit it's a bit of a climbdown.

"Here's our big new thing! It changes everything! It's awesome!"

"We don't want or like these changes..."

"Oh, well... ok"

I suppose it's better than the Gnome story, in which the third line would be "F*** you, ignorant scum"

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UK.gov blows a fuse at smart meter stall, sets new 2020 deadline

David Hicks
Meh

I'm pretty sure most studies of smart-metre households have discovered that it doesn't work great - everyone takes an interest for a week or two, then gets bored and slips back to doing exactly what they did before.

Great waste of money this whole thing.

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Over ONE-THIRD of PCs will have SSDs in 2017 - analyst

David Hicks
Linux

Re: SSDs, I believe, have now overtaken memory as the single most cost-effective upgrade

"It depends on how much the OS is using the hard drive."

Don't forget the applications. Firefox (for instance) still seems horribly disk-bound.

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How did something so small and pink cause so much trouble?

David Hicks
FAIL

Re: Tyranny

Hehe. I wrote to my MP about ID cards, stating very much what you just put there "It's not so much the card I object to, it's the huge database behind the scenes and its massive privacy implications, not to mention all the people you propose giving access to".

Three months later I got a letter back saying "We understand your objections, but this scheme is not just an identity card! There's this huge unified database thingy behind it too! And it'll be accessible to all these public servants!"

All of which made it abundantly clear that no, you did not understand my objections or even read them. Muppets.

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Ten ancestors of the netbook

David Hicks
Thumb Up

"I bet it wasnt as bad as the appalling distro (Linpus) the Acer aspire one ssd version came with.

I recall hitting the `update` button in options and the thing rebooting first to a command prompt, then just hanging on boot, never to work again."

Wowsers. OK maybe not *that* bad but -

Xandros on my eee 901 refused to update itself after the first time due to there being no space, which was because the debs from previous updates were still there and it didn't know how to clear them (epic facepalm). Also there was no easy way to alter the desktop/menu content and by the time the 901 came out they had removed the 'advanced' (kde) desktop mode. It also killed ipods. A friend attached his to charge it, and some or other media player started up, maybe amarok, scanned the device and then overwrote all the indexes in an incompatible format, resulting in an ipod that claimed at the same time that it was full and had nothing on it!

I ditched Xandros ASAP. It was a pretty good hackintosh for a while, then became a really good little debian machine, and it still is vaguely useful though I have now replaced nearly all the parts.

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Debian 7 debuts

David Hicks
Trollface

Re: Problem is tho

apt-get install wine

wine steam.exe

Oh wait, they have steam for linux now? Huh...

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Black-eyed Pies reel from BeagleBoard's $45 Linux micro blow

David Hicks
Meh

Re: I'll see your ARM core and raise you a SATA port. ;-)

"Is a HD in a USB caddy that slow?"

If it's USB 2.0, yes it is.USB 3.0 can be a lot better. But yes, even spinning rust on USB 2 is badly limited.

If they had USB 3 then that would be just awesome, you can get some USB 3.0 sticks now that are coming up to 1/2 SSD speed, and that's awesome.

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David Hicks
Linux

Re: I'll see your ARM core and raise you a SATA port. ;-)

Excellent, that looks like a step in the right direction - IO has been a major bottleneck in these devices for a while, and having SATA available is a huge step forward at that price point. The only small ARM/SATA boards I've seen before came in around the $200 mark. Granted they had quad-core marvell chips in them, but still... looks like a great board.

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Bitcoins: A GIANT BUBBLE? Maybe, but currency could still be worthwhile

David Hicks
Stop

Re: Worthwhile for Whom?

1. A Bitcoin payment is irreversible after approx. 1 hour, a bank transfer can be reversed several days after the time of payment;

This is a positive for the consumer. If a vendor doesn't fulfill the contract, the money can be recovered. Bitcoin as a payment method is a scammers paradise where unscrupulous vendors can shaft the consumer. We have chargeback and other consumer protections for a reason.

2. A typical wire transfer costs ~£20-£30 to complete, with many current accounts costing £6 a month at the bank. Paypal takes a 10% cut from transactions from merchants, and VISA providers can charge as much as 5%, with a greater charge if the payment is reversed. One can send several thousand dollars worth of Bitcoin around the world for a cost of ten cents.

One would then have to pay a fee to get it back out of the bitcoin system, and be taking a huge gamble as to what it was worth when it got the other side anyway. I pay no account fees here or in Australia and was able to complete transfers of multiple thousands of pounds between Australia and the UK for about 15 quid, at a relatively stable, market exchange rate.

3. Because the payments are irreversible after one hour, certain high-risk businesses, such as delivery of high-cost international products (http://www.howtoacceptbitcoin.com/2013/01/eliminate-fraud-from-internet-payments.html) or otherwise accepting custom from international customers (http://www.howtoacceptbitcoin.com/2012/10/low-risk-international-payments-for.html) can accept Bitcoin to attempt to reduce the risk of chargeback fraud.

Because of the relatively high risk of small vendors ripping you off or disappearing, consumers should stay the hell away from bitcoin vendors, particularly those in a foreign country, because of the high risk of fraud and lack of protection when you get ripped off..

With its current volatility, it is not useful to fix a product to a Bitcoin price. However, as a means of transferring dollars, sterling and other traditional currencies, it provides a robust solution to current problems merchants face.

While completely shafting the consumer. No consumer should ever use BTC as a payment method for the reasons given.

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David Hicks
Stop

Re: If you don't know who the sucker is...

Deflation in a currency only acts as a disadvantage if it is sudden and unexpected.

No, it's just a terrible idea all around. The Bitcoin wiki glosses over a lot of things and tries to handwave away the problems of a deflationary economy as simply an issue of making sure the currency is divisible. Lack of divisible supply is not the only problem with deflation, there are many, not least of which is that people get richer by sitting on cash rather than investing it, and cash becomes an end in itself rather than a means.

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David Hicks
Stop

Jesus, talk about blind faith!

"Bitcoin itself has no single central point of failure: the weakness you're describing is in a central point of failure in the layer between Bitcoin and conventional currencies.

As a merchant, I could accept Bitcoin to a Bitcoin wallet without fear that it would be hacked."

So you're quite happy that the bitcoin protocol will never show a weakness in the face of gathering value?

Look at TLS - despite some of the best minds in the business being turned towards it, problems and leaks are still found, year after year. You're willing to bet your prosperity on the idea that the same will never happen on BTC, which has had nothing like the scrutiny?

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