* Posts by James Micallef

2006 posts • joined 12 Jul 2007

EU's zombie data-grab plan climbs out of coffin

James Micallef
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Nail, head

"Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld told El Reg that "this is emphatically NOT a new proposal," saying, "I really see no reason to basically restart the whole process on exactly the same basis. A bit like saying to Parliament, 'You voted, but you got it wrong. Just keep voting until we get the outcome we want'.""

This is exactly how lobbies get their legislation through in any country but most especially in Europe when they think no-one is watching.

Typical police-state behaviour to use a terrorist attack as an excuse to grab more data and powers that would have done absolutely nothing to prevent the attack in question.

To be fair, I do see that Passenger Name Recognition CAN have a limited scope of application. However it needs to be done properly:

- Passenger data stays with the airlines. They have it anyway, they're keeping it for at least a few weeks anyway. Police can't get access to any data, they can only submit a name.

- Police can only do a search for specific names, in conjunction with a select few departure and/or arrival points, and narrowly specified time windows. No fishing expeditions.

- Cut the 'serious crime' / 'terrorism' terminology which is crap and overly broad. Pretty much anything can be twisted to mean terrorism and/or serious crime. The baseline should be murder or attempted/planned murder. 'Real' terrorism will automatically be included. Anything less than that is not a serious enough crime to justify new powers and can be tackled the way it currently already is

- Judge's warrant is anyway necessary to be included with the request

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Trolls prevail because good men do nothing: boffins

James Micallef
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Re: Welll that's a stupid report...

@msknight - sorry for your situation, that must suck. I understand that there's nothing YOU can do if the police refuse to intervene. the point of this research is that unfortunately, it's unlikely that anyone else will intervene on your behalf.

However all it would take is for someone from the same public forum* to call out your stalker on their behaviour. Bullies are the same whether in real life or online - if someone strong stands up to them they back down pretty quick.

*I'm guessing public, as you can just blacklist private messages from specific and/or unknown senders

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Boffin: Use my bionic breakthrough for good, and not super cyborgs

James Micallef
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Re: Once

"no reason why the arm needs to remain attatched to the controller."

Indeed - and eventually, why just an arm? Do a whole body, Avatar* style

The film may have been a bit 'dances with smurfs' but even the biggest critics got to admit that teh concept of mind-controlling a whole other body is pretty cool

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Bloody TECH GIANTS... all they do is WASTE investors' MONEY

James Micallef
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Not sure if "all they do is waste investors' money" is an accurate characterisation for the tech giants.

For small start-ups is holds true that most will fail, and waste their investors' money, while the one-in-10 hit is the reason why investors / VCs still pour money into companies that are most likely doomed to fail. But in the case of for example Google, it's 1 company funding many projects, so while most projects will fail, the net cash position of the company will improve thanks to the 1 thing that IS a hit.

One other thing is that while an independent business can go bankrupt because it's product weren't what consumers liked/would pay for, they might still have had some interesting technology that might be wasted, or will at lest take some time to be 'recycled' and reused in a more profitable application. With a bigger company, any useful technology developed can be much more quickly applied to more profitable areas, whether the original application was profitable or not.

And that is exactly why Google etc sit on giant piles of cash.

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German music moguls slammed for 'wurst ever DMCA takedown spam'

James Micallef
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Joke

Re: die die die

"die die die"

the the the what?

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Love rats show sex while drunk will sober you up, say boffins

James Micallef
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Other effects??

Presumably since either Oxytocin OR alcohol are binding to the receptors in question, having Oxytocin AFTER you're already drunk won't sober you up as the title suggests. More like if you take it before, it will prevent you from getting drunk (I wonder what effets that could have on drunk-driving legislation!). Also, even though the alcohol can't bind to the receptors and make you feel drunk, it is still having it's usual other effects on the body (eg dehydration), the liver still needs to process it (so excessive quantities will still damage the liver) etc.

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James Micallef
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Facepalm

Re: Playing with oxytocin receptors?

So potentially that's a drug that will produce general happy feelings, increase physical desire AND allow lots of alcohol to be consumed without feeling drunk? The perfect party drug, which therefore will be immediately banned by some puritanical know-nothing know-it-all in government.

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Didn't the Left once want the WORKERS to get all the dosh?

James Micallef
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Re: However

"I suggets you trouble yourself to find out how the Monarchy is funded"

To be fair, if what another commenter explained above about 15% or revenue from Crown property is true, it still needs to be explained where the Crown property rights flow from? Crown estates / 'royal' property comes from the concept that the monarch, ruling by divine right, owned all the land except that which they graciously apportioned to their vassals.

In a republic, any 'Crown' property would be government property and 100% of the revenue from it would flow to the government*, and I doubt it would cost 15% of that to maintain a non-royal head of state. Of course it also needs to be factored in that having a queen is a revenue generator for Britain, as many tourists want to visit Buck Palace etc

*strictly, should be to 'the people' but we all know that for all the nice theories, in practice 'government' <> 'people'

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James Micallef
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Re: Free markets or competitive markets?

One thing not noted is: where is the money coming from? And the answer is, mostly, from paying fans. Football is NOT a 'market' in a traditional sense because fans are 'captive' to their team and would not be paying to buy, for example, a replica shirt of a rival team. Nor is any fan going to change their support to another team playing more attractive football at lower ticket prices. So prices for the fan are kept artificially high*.

At the same time, none of the additional money in the game has led to better quality of football, because the threat of relegation means that teams shovel more and more money at established players to get immediate results, and very little of that money actually flows into player development, grass-roots coaching, youth facilities etc. It's almost all going towards the first teams, where the same pretty average players just get paid more and more.

In the basic economics of things, I have no problem with Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi, Aguero etc getting paid a quarter million a week or more, these are the players who the fans are paying to see. What really raises questions is seeing talentless relegation-fodder cloggers or unproven 18-year-olds being paid 5-figure-a-week sums.

*I am aware that it is the fans themselves keeping prices artificially high by their unswerving loyalty to a single club

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HAWKING ALERT: Leave planet Earth, find a new home. Stupid humans

James Micallef
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Re: Flaw

"As soon as a planet with the potential of becoming a colony is discovered the governments of Earth will be packing spaceships full of soldiers and nukes to grab their piece of the pie"

This part at least is completely true

"leaving Earth demilitarised"

This part - I highly doubt

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James Micallef
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Re: many famous scientists ... start to pontificate outside

Not to mention that Genii (especially in Maths and Physics) tend to make their major discoveries when very young. It's a bit unfair to expect them to keep up a steady stream of revolutionary discoveries

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Australian ISPs agree to three-strikes-plus-court-order anti-piracy plan

James Micallef
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Re: To State The Obvious...

If anyone is paying $pittance for a VPN service ONLY to hide their tracks while torrenting, why not just pay $pittance for Netflix or similar? It's a bit more expensive but also more convenient AND some of that money goes towards artists creating teh content.

Of course there's plenty of other reasons to use a VPN...

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Prawn cocktail offers hot new way to make solar cells

James Micallef
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Re: 'Once we've improved their efficiency...'

Thing is, you don't even need to improve efficiency (and therefore power-per-square-m) that much if you're getting mega cost savings. There aren't any details on the article, but high-end efficiencies are currently around 30-35% in commercially available panels and 40%+ in new experimental ones.

If you can make a chitin solar panel with 5-10% efficiency but at a tenth of the cost, you're still ahead in power-per-unit-cost, which is far more important for large-scale applications than absolute efficiency

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£100 MILLION poured down drain on failed UK.gov IT projects - in just ONE YEAR

James Micallef
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Re: Better than expected

Total UK Governement spending is well over £700 billion. Total government IT spending must be at least £10-20 billion. So that's less than 1% of the total spending that is wasted.

Any private company that wasted less than 1% of their IT budget would call that an unqualified success

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Now Samsung's spying smart TVs insert ADS in YOUR OWN movies

James Micallef
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Re: more advertising

"it seems that every piece of technology or service is being developed as a new way to show adverts lately"

Very true, however I wonder how much of that is a function of 'evil capitalist marketeers' and how much of that is simply economic/market pressure caused by people being less and less willing to pay for stuff in the age of internet.

The number of users of 'free' services of Google, FB etc seem to indicate that a vast majority* of modern consumers are happy enough with getting services/products that are fully or partially subsidised by ads

*El Reg readers and especially commentards** are absolutely atypical in this regard

** lovingly, of course :)

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World's mega-rich tax dodge exposed: Meet the HSBC IT bloke at the heart of damning leak

James Micallef
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Re: Appropriate

" Demanding that Swiss authorities prosecute Swiss people and Swiss companies for things that are not illegal in Switzerland"

Well there actually have been repercussions in Switzerland, for example US treats banks as multinational entities and if their Swiss branches were found to have been hiding US-taxable assets from Uncle Sam, they slapped a few mega-fines (10 or 11-digit) on the bank. Banks who wish to operate globally can't very well claim that they don't know what their Swiss subsidiary is up to... and in fact while officially Swiss still have their banking secrecy, there are now various bilateral agreements that allow some data sharing with foreign tax authorities.

So this HSBC guy HAS been able to kick off some pretty major change,hats off

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James Micallef
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Re: Appropriate

@LucreLout - Stealing someone's life savings is a very bad crime and is certainly extremely traumatic for the victim. When it's perpetrated by people in a position of trust, it's even worse. Destroying someone's life is destroying someone's life, and just because pain,anguish and fear are mental rather than physical does not make them any less traumatic.

In the individual case, certainly rape and murder are far worse than simple robbery, which is why these crimes carry life sentences (or capital punishment) for a single offense. In the case of financial fraud however, perpetrators are stealing the life savings of thousands of people at a time, so the sentencing should to be equivalent to a murder sentence.

"Your definition of tax avoidance, evasion, and embezzlement are wildly inaccurate too."

Regarding this,I was responding to a post that was talking generally about serious financial crimes, NOT specifically the tax evasion mentioned in the article, hence my use of 'embezzle'. And what the clients of HSBC Switzerland were doing was evasion, not avoidance (ie illegal in their own home countries).

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James Micallef
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Re: Appropriate

"you could take the civilised view that having the state murder people doesn't set the best of examples to society."

I do take that view, I also take the view that embezzling billions can destroy lives as much as aggravated assault, rape and even murder. So fraudulent city types caught with their hands in the till should be getting life without parole in max-security, not 20 years in min-security reduced to 10 on appeal and out on parole after 3

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James Micallef
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Re: Appropriate

" has no record of [Falciani] ever escalating any concerns to his line management"

Well, HSBC management were the ones enabling the tax fraud, so what would he gain from escalating to them? Yes, it was not technically illegal in Switzerland but surely HSBC knew it was aiding it's clients to evade tax illegally in their home countries.

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ANOTHER US court smacks down EFF's NSA wiretap sueball – but won't say why

James Micallef
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Re: >In fairness to the judge

I believe that a local judge has to stick to federal law. If plaintiffs believe a law is unconstitutional, plaintiff has to take the case to the supreme court who might or might not accept the case.

I'm not sure local judges have the authority to judge on the constitutionality or otherwise of a law

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James Micallef
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Re: Bad day for democracy

"The unfortunate reality is that some things really do need to be kept secret"

I'm no expert on information security, but one of the things I DO know is that security through obscurity is bad practice. Of course the actual keys are kept private but the infrastructure is publically known.

Now apply the same principle to the state... they should be able to keep the HOW of technical details of what they do, but the WHAT is collected and what is done with it should be publics, auditable and accountable. Current US reality is that for example CIA have tortured and killed people, are known to have done it, are known to have destroyed the evidence, are known to have hacked the senate investigative commitee investigating them... and yet in the end all there is to show is a heavily redacted report.No convictions, no arrests, no firings, nada. The CIA (and NSA etc etc) are completely unaccountable,not just to the people but even to the president (executive), congress (legislative) and courts (judiciary) branches of state. And each of the 3 branches seem to be unwilling or unable to bring their watchdogs to heel.

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James Micallef
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Re: The people...

@menatoad... Sir Humphrey does spring readily to mind in these circumstances

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James Micallef
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Re: The people...

@dan1980: "What you need is a system that allows governments to get on with the job but has provisions to allow the people to interject"

This is exactly the Swiss system. A pretty small number of voters' signatures are enough to get an issue put to a national referendum. Every 3 or 4 months there are a whole bunch of referendums, some local/cantonal, some national/federal. Sort of like US ballot initiatives except at national level. I'm not sure of exact details but i think an initiative needs majority of both population and individual cantons. If an initiative passes, the government is obliged to legislate accordingly* within a given timeframe of a couple of years I think.

Typically any radical proposal will bring out the big guns of advertising with all sorts of scaremongering and straw men to scare people to vote for the 'desired' result, so very often the result (Yes-No) desired by government and/or big business (basically, who can pay most for the adverts) is achieved. However occasionally the people's view vs the government is in a majority.

HOWEVER I have no idea if there are any national security exemptions, and if so, who is allowed to trigger them and how. So, maybe still imperfect but a little less imperfect system.

One last note, this sort of frequent large-scale voting probably could have been paralysing for a big country until recently, but with modern encryption / trusted certificate technology it might be feasible to have these things organised en masse at a fraction of the cost.

*I'm not sure what safeguards there are if government refuses to do so, I guess ideally there should be some

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Back seat drivers fear lead-footed autonomous cars, say boffins

James Micallef
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Re: cough

Erm... 'productive' does not necessarily mean "productive to your employer", you could use the time for your own projects. For self-employed people, that's definitely productive time won.

And if an employee who suddenly has more time on their hands out of office hours decides to use that time for work-related tasks, that's their loss/folly

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Keyless vehicle theft suspects cuffed after key Met Police, er, 'lockdown'

James Micallef
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Re: Microdots ?

First guess, too costly.

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Netflix to Cuba: Care to spend half your wages to see Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights?

James Micallef
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All over the world?

"connecting them with stories they will love from all over the world"

Hmmm... Netflix is a great service, however their "International Films" section seem to be limited to British-American joint ventures or British productions. An admittedly cursory scroll through revealed exactly 1 truly 'foreign' film, "Amelie".

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Swedish National Font marches to the sound of whalesong

James Micallef
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Re: Words on flags ...

"London 2012 logo"

BEST

LOGO

EVER

(of Lisa Simpson giving a b-j)

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Basic minimum income is a BRILLIANT idea. Small problem: it doesn't work as planned

James Micallef
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Re: Does high top tax matter?

"It's long struck me as irrational to want to earn more and more once you've got more than enough"

Beyond a certain threshold of 'comfortable living', the motivation is supplied by ego, the simple desire to be the best. On one hand, this can be looked at as mere greed, however the other side of the coin is that we have to thank perfectionists and extremists for delivering some awesome technology to humanity. After all, the same mindset that says $1mln income a year is quite enough might lead to the same reasoning as 64K RAM should be quite enough for anyone.

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James Micallef
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Re: Inheritance conumdrum

"If money is just another proxy for power, how come the prime minister passing on his job to his daughter feels so much more wrong than the prime minister bequeathing his fortune in the same way?"

Interesting point. I guess from the PoV of majority of people they sort of expect that it's only right and fitting that whatever tiny savings they have saved and scrimped be passed on to their offspring when they shuffle off this mortal coil, and that's quite different for the 0.1% with 7 and 8-figure ++ inheritences. But what to do? Automatically dividing a deceased's inheritance across a country is effectively a 100% inheritance tax rate, and the only result of punitive inheritance rates is that rich people will find ways not to pay it (set up more and more of their assets in trusts, or gifting it to offspring before death etc), while the middle class will have to pay full whack.

What's true for inheritance taxes is true of all other taxes... as long as their are loopholes, the rich who can afford the lawyers will legally avoid taxation, and the poor don't have much to tax* so the middle classes will continue to pay a disproportionate amount of their incomes in taxes.

*except what they generously contribute as excise on booze and fags

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James Micallef
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Re: @JS001 The devil is in the details

"tax luxury, not labour not essentials"

thus completely flipping current system on it's head. Currently tax is highest on labour (income tax) and spending (VAT which is regressive). Basically, working poor and middle-class pay tax at these rates. Tax is currently lower on businesses*, Capital gains, and dividends (and inheritance?), which is paid mostly by richer people.

But really if you have a cradle to grave handout wage, you can't afford that without taxing labour.

Separate point, it occurs to me that if it is really 'cradle to grave' then parents will be given handouts for their children... not a good idea to incentivise indiscriminate breeding, I think

* except US basket case, I guess

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ALIENS are surely AMONG US: Average star has TWO potentially Earth-like worlds

James Micallef
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Re: It's a long way to the chemist, etc...

"there could be loads of little green men out there, all whizzing about in their flying saucers..."

It's perfectly possible that any hypothetical advanced alien civilisation is beyond the stage where they produce any significant radio emissions because of increased efficiency, better shielding, possibly living underground and/or inside enclosed structures, and also because being paranoid they don't broadcast their presence to other, potentially harmful, aliens. So maybe there's a couple of centuries time window in which transmitted signals can be received by intelligent life somewhere else. Given the insignificance of a couple of centuries compared to a billions-of-years-old galaxy (let alone universe), it's unsurprising that such signals haven't been detected.

Given that transmitting/receiving radio signals is MUCH easier than space travel it would be inconceivable that alien ships suddenly turn up on our doorstep without us ever having picked up any signals. Of course there are plenty of other possibilities of undetected alien life out there:

1. Since the power of signal that is detectable diminishes by distance according to the inverse square law, there is a distance threshold beyond which our puny transmissions become indistinguishable from background noise (and same for signals coming our way)

2. Although the statistical possibility of humans being the first ever* intelligent species in the universe is remote, there is still that possibility that all the other worlds are still at dino-stage of evolution

3. We associate intelligence with technology but tech has as much to do with our opposable thumbs as with our brains. Dolphins are pretty clever but you won't catch them messing around with iPads (insert Douglas Adams quote here)

4. Super-advanced aliens are using comms tech so advanced that even though their signals (and space stations / ships) are all around us but we can't detect them (dark matter? :P)

*of course concepts like 'first ever' become tricky when combined with travel over interstellar distances

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UK boffins DOUBLE distance of fiber data: London to New York WITHOUT a repeater

James Micallef
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Pint

Three cheers for boffins!!

>>

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Get internet access to those POOR country bumpkins, says UK.gov

James Micallef
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Re: Farmers and Bumpkins, paaah

"Farmers and bumpkins" isn't exactly the same thing though. "Farmers" in the sense of the people working on the farm are the poor ones doing the hard work.

"Farmers" in the sense of the people who own the farm (ie with respect to the below quote)

"such as the Rural Payments Agency's scheme for farmers to access Common Agricultural Policy payments "

Are the same rich landowners as ever whose townhouse in Chelsea, manor in Surrey and French cottage are partly paid for from the bumpkins' taxes that are used to feed the Common Agricultural Policy. The CAP is an abomination that should have been gutted a decade ago.

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Obama's budget packs HUGE tax breaks for poor widdle tech giants

James Micallef
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Re: They did bring it back at the 5.25% rate

"they figured if they waited long enough they'd get another tax holiday."

Exactly so. I've seen countless repatriation schemes come and go in many many different countries. In all cases it is presented as a 'last chance', 'one-off' etc. In all cases, it happens regularly every 20-30 years

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James Micallef
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Re: "the late and little lamented Leona Helmsley"

"bring U.S. practice closer in line with most other countries, that don't try to tax companies' global income"

That right there is a start, but a mentioned in the article there are currently too many loopholes and big multinationals end up paying no tax at all. Rich countries need to take a stand* and tighten up their rules, and they can start by acknowledging that relaxing the rules in the first place did not give them any benefit so they might as well close the loopholes.

*Why rich countries? Because they are the countries with rich consumers and are markets that big multinationals cannot afford to abandon.

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LOOK OUT - it's a GOOBER! Google's über-Uber robo apptaxi ploy

James Micallef
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No conflict of interest at all. Uber's business model is based on passing all the costs of capital, vehicle maintenance, insurance etc on to it's drivers to be able to provide service at a lower cost to the customer. If they can run a fleet of Google autocars (as close to 24-hours a day as is possible) at a lower cost than it takes to pay it's current human drivers, they will do so.

And Google would be more than happy to provide Uber with cost-priced or even subsidised autocars just to get a fleet of them on the road and accepted in the public's consciousness, which will pave the way for mass sales.

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Does Big Tech hire white boys ahead of more skilled black people and/or women?

James Micallef
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Re: Non-white-male?

I think the term you're looking for is "male of colour"

No, I meant someone who is not a white male, ie could be female, or non-caucasian, or both. Hence "non-white-male" rather than "non-white male"

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James Micallef
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Re: There's the market and then there's psychology...

"purely rational "market" rules may not apply fully, especially if there is no so big differences at the skills levels"

This is an extremely important point. At the very top end of super-coders and whizz-kid nerds, there's going to be a more public track record of success that the likes of Apple, Google etc are actively looking out for and will snap up. And obviously unqualified candidates can be weeded out. However for the vast majority of jobs in IT (and, I would guess, every other area), one competent person is more or less equivalent to another, and even a comprehensive CV and extensive interview often will not be enough to meaningfully distinguish between 2 candidates. I believe that it's at these instances with very fine margins where unconscious bias might determine what candidate is selected.

In this case since the candidates are functionally equivalent for a company, the company incurs no penalty for (consciously or unconsciously) hiring a white male over a non-white-male.

If the bias occurs systematically, one would expect that salaries for non-white-males would be lower and some equal-opportunity or affirmative-action company could take advantage, but then again is a 5% salary difference on, say, 10% of your employees* where your wage bill is 30-40% of your expenses (so, 1.5-2%) REALLY going to make that much difference in whether a company will sink or swim?

So bottom line, just because an overwhelmingly or exclusively non-white-male IT company is not a significantly more profitable option compared to a typically-staffed one, that does not mean that bias does not exist. Rather, is is much more likely that there is very little, and mostly unconscious bias, which is not specifically linked to the tech industry.

*Exactly because of the point Tim mentions that white males are the majority of the candidate pool anyway, one would expect that a decision between white male and non-white-male is only happening for a small percentage of available jobs.

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James Micallef
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Devil

"the same industry that illegally held down wages with no poaching agreements"

Yes, they are equal-opportunity employers in that they screw all their employees equally

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Powering the Internet of Stuff – by sucking electricity from TREES

James Micallef
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Re: IoS?

@Mr Blowhard - Actually you can note very easily the difference between "Internet of Useful Things" and the "Internet of Shit":

The "Internet of Useful Things" is NOT really an internet, more like a domain-specific Intranet that has no reason to be connected to the rest of the Internet.

The "Internet of Shit" is connected to the rest of the Internet even when there is no need for it (beyond data-slurping, snooping and ad-generation)

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Bill Gates – I WISH I was like Zuck and spoke Chinese. Yep, I drink poo

James Micallef
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Re: French - Anything but easy.

Have to agree that Italian is beautiful on the ear. It's also by far the easiest language that I know - The pronunciation is completely standard with no weird phonetics, and the grammatical rules are both extremely regular (very few exceptions) and 'light', with no funny constructs like cases.

But then again every language is easy to a native speaker

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James Micallef
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Re: French - Anything but easy.

Hebrew and Arabic require learning a whole new alphabet, at least with French he's already got a head start with a (mostly) known alphabet.

Yes, French IS very difficult to fully master but not that difficult to pick up a basic knowledge

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James Micallef
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Terminator

Re: The Biggest Risk

Directive 4 - CLASSIFIED

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Will fondleslab's fickle finger of fate help Windows 10?

James Micallef
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Re: I think I'm getting old :(

Yeah,the old ways are always the best...

...and Confucius was already saying that 2500 years ago...

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Facebook is MORE IMPORTANT to humanity than PORTUGAL

James Micallef
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Re: Self Importance?

<Homer>Mmmmmmm, Bacalhau</Homer>

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EU copyright law: Is the Pirate Party's MEP in FAVOUR of it?

James Micallef
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Re: Double edged sword

"Digital can span the globe, but there are problems; pricing globally when there is so much market value difference locally is not easy."

One of the biggest issues right here: what you mean by "not easy" is that $megacorp$ are willing to sell a product to richer people for $10 because they can afford it, but they ALSO want to sell the exact same thing to poorer people for $1, just because that's an extra marginal sale with close-to-zero cost. Of course they also want to prohibit the poorer people from selling to the richer people to protect both markets, ie have their cake and eat it too, and then enforce it by abominations such as DVD regions and DRM.

It actually IS very easy, if you want to sell to a global market, set a global price.

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SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS that 2014 was record HOTTEST year? NO

James Micallef
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Re: Does it matter?

@caldini

If i could upvote you ten times I would, this is the most sensible approach to take.

- Pollution generally and particulate pollution specifically is a huge health hazard (Beijing smog, anyone?), burning less coal/oil is a good thing, whatever the global temperature

- Energy in oil/coal is a billion years' worth of stored sunlight that we are one course to burn through in less than a millenium, and once it's gone it's gone. the least we can do is use it a bit more efficiently.

- The world is a beautiful place because of the wonderful variety and abundance of nature.Conserving it is a good thing. Humans + plants/animals for human consumption are already by far the dominant biomass on the planet, let's keep some variety for the sake of beauty and wonder instead of drab uniformity.

To all of that, I would add, it's a good thing to have relatively local sources of energy that are under your own control and have a long-term sustainable output. It is a BAD idea for the western world to be sending billions of $€£ to countries where that money is simply propping up backwards misogynist fundamentalist autocratic regimes, who are then using a portion of that money to export their outdated ideologies back to the rest of the world, including the resultant threats and violence.

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James Micallef
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Re: Economists only measure money

"They don't count work or production in the home. Thus housekeeping, home improvement, gardens, or solar panels for home consumption don't show up in the GDP statistics"

Only partly true. Actual work does not show up in the stats, but home improvements, solar panels etc that you buy will show up. Even f you are doing only DIY, the raw materials that you buy will show up in the stats. I expect the trend as tech gets more complex is less and less people can DIY and more and more improvements will show up in the stats

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James Micallef
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Re: warmists or sceptics

" the warmists want to take away your money and your standard of living (for your own good, they would say)"

Straw man, much?

There's a significant difference between believing in man-made climate change vs not believing it, versus believing something should be done about it (and if so,what should be done) or not.

Yes unfortunately there are radical greenpeace-hippie-types who want us back in the middle ages. However there are also many other policy options to inefficiently subsidised windfarms. Not to mention that wanting to burn less and less oil imported from terrorist-supporting autocratic dictatorships is good policy irrespective of whether global temperatures are rising or not.

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BMW: ADMEN have asked us for YOUR connected car DATA

James Micallef
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So from now on, besides the obligatory research, test drives, service guarantees etc I'll have one more question to ask any vendor when I'm buying a car - will you explicitly include in writing as part of any purchase contract that you will never pass my data on to any third party, AND that I can have access to that data on request.

No deal, no sale

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