1295 posts • joined Thursday 12th July 2007 09:21 GMT
Re: Still pursuing his agenda
"The extremists on the other side who know its MMCC co2 theory and we all gonna fry get to make policy no matter how many of their claims are disproved as bull."
If that were really true, then what we would already have in place would be a simple carbon tax that adds the externalities of CO2 production back to the cost. Instead, what we really have is a mish-mash of cap-and-trade and subsidies that hardly have any effect on CO2 emissions and whose real effect is to line the pockets of wind-farm owners.
If policy were really made by MMCC wonks, then last summer the EU would have gone through with reducing the cap on it's cap-and-trade program, and would have forced through it's plan to have all airlines operating in EU airspace to offset their CO2 generation, a plan that got shot down in flames.
The people who really get to make policy are big business and their proteges. No serious legislation against climate change will EVER be implemented if it is negatively affecting the bottom line of big business, and every attempt to legislate against climate change is hijacked by these interests and twisted around into yet another way thy can make more money.
Re: Out of pure curiosity...
I wonder what it would take to revoke that 'trusted' status for the US?
Maybe if the EU ever discover that they are completely abusing that trust by spying on every single bit that passes their frontiers, they will revoke the trusted status, will they not?
Re: Waste of time and effort
"As soon as the global economy starts picking up (and it will - it always has) "
As any investment opportunity will tell you - past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Worldwide economic growth correlates fantastically well with energy use. Even taking all the caveats about correlation vs causation its pretty clear that as energy prices rise, economic growth will diminish. In short, it's extremely improbable that already-developed nations will ever experience real growth (ie excluding inflation) of more than 2-3%, and growing economies will have their growth rates start to drop as well (since in most cases the high growth rate was due to a low starting baseline as much as the absolute growth)
In other words, when your fund manager shows you a shiny graph of how the world economy will develop in the next 30-40 years based on the last 30-40 years, feel free to laugh
" the register is not intended for public viewing."
Apparently one of the points up for discussion is that it might be, just as much company information is publicly available from current Companies House and/or FSA registers.
The point is though, it only needs one country to not sign up, and then the trail of beneficial owners will end at an ultimate beneficial owner company registered in a country that does not provide this information. So the immediate benefit will be limited and multinationals will still be able to hide away important details.
I guess that maybe 20-30 years down the line, countries that don't disclose this information would become pariah states much as tax havens are slowly becoming, bt it will take a while.
In the meantime, this is a GREAT step in the right direction.
To be explained loudly in the same musical fashion as "Monorail"
Re: Any rope is the problem
"Q. What happens, once lift 1 and 2 have reached their destination, take on new occupants, and they want to travel in conflicting directions?
The answer needs to bear in mind that you're not building a vertical train set."
Well, actually the answer IS to build a vertical train set. Have 1 shaft of elevators that only go up, 1 shaft only down, and rooms in the ceiling and basement where cabins are moved from one shaft to the other.
2m is probably a stretch too far, but 1.5? sure! I remember my cat eyeing the top of my wardrobe from the desktop and thinking "kitty, you're being over-ambitious there". But he gathered himself up and... bounce... there he was. Not straight to the top, but getting his front paws on was enough to get him started and he was on top in a jiffy. One of his favourite places, that wardrobe-top :)
To the original commentard... got to start somewhere, so yeah, 20% of own height is fairly unimpressive (so is 5km/h by the way) BUT it's only a start. Consider it the equivalent of a small kitten who can hardly walk yet. We'll have jumping robot cats in no time :)
Re: Damaged HMRC's reputation?
@squander 2 - spot on for the original post, but complaining of downvotes is poor form. So, someone disagrees with you, big f***ing deal
Since the basis of the Supreme court ruling against human DNA patenting is that human DNA is naturally occurring, it follows that patents on animal / plant DNA would be invalidated by the same reasoning.
However due to the cDNA part of the ruling it's quite possible that some/many Monsanto patents would still be valid if they are modifying the DNA, not just cut/paste from one organism to another
Re: Only fixed one little bit.
"if they are taking a but of something that's not patentable, and sticking it into something else that's not patentable. How is the result patentable?"
As I understand the judgement, the RESULT is not patentable. However if they have a novel TECHNIQUE for doing it, then the technique is patentable. If someone cam get the same result with a different technique they don't need to license the technique patent.
Re: Banks are rewarded for failure
" the socialists think that the banks are capitalist but the opposite is true."
It's actually a hybrid system. Profits are privatised, losses are nationalised
with respect to the question "where does milk come from?"...
aren't Saudi children breastfed??
Theory vs Practice
The general outline of proposals actually make sense. But then it all depends on how the final wording is written and how it is interpreted. For example:
"where hacks are carried out with the intent to cause serious harm, involve circumventing security measures and where no attempt is made to notify website owners or other vulnerable parties about a security breach."
If the administrator password is left blank and an unauthorised person logs in, is that "circumventing security measures"? If bits of websites are left open to anyone who can guess a URL and type it in, is that "circumventing security measures"? If someone accidentally stumbles upon a page that should be closed and notifies the website owner, is that considered a defense given that more likely than not, the website owner will ignore the security hole? Or even worse, will the website owner attack and accuse the submitter of being a hacker even though they're just trying to help? (as has happened in quite a few reported cases)
Also, as many other commenters have mentioned, it's up to the website owners and their technology vendors/partners to make sure that sites that are supposed to be secure really are secure. If I jump over or cut through a huge f***-off fence to get into someone's private property, it's a bit more difficult to plead innocent to trespass than if I just wandered into an open lot.
" Investigators are still scratching their heads about how the $200,000-a-year staffer managed to access information on PRISM:"
Maybe because, far from the 'limited access' story that is being peddled to the public, in fact PRISM data was available to anyone in the NSA or partners who wanted a poke around in the data?
Re: Second point
Re: There's a name for this
@Tim re consumption taxation
The good thing about your / The Economist's proposal is that all types of income are liable to the same tax. Main problem with it is that poor people need to spend all they earn just to survive, so will not save anything and be taxable on everything. So the very least, the tax needs to have bands like current income tax bands where the first £Xk of spending is tax free, next £Xk at 20%, rest at 30% etc.
On a more 'macro-economic' level, if taxing income discourages people from economic activity, taxing spending discourages people from spending. It's to be seen of course but I suspect that this would crimp the economy more (at least short-term while people get used to it)
"The second point is this bizarre idea that the tax an organisation pays to the Treasury is the measure of good that it does the country"
I'm not sure where this fits into the argument at all. Are you arguing that since Google provides such a huge benefit to a country then Google should not be taxed? That's a very bizarre way to look at things. If all the shopkeepers in Britain combined together in one shell company, do they not contribute a greater benefit to the country than Google? (and therefore should they also be exempt from tax?) But it's OK to tax them individually?
Re: "Companies don't pay taxes, people do"
"It's some combination of the shareholders and the workers that bear the actual burden of it. How that is apportioned between the two ...."
How that is apportioned between the two is already heavily skewed in favour of shareholders and against the workers. If the company uses some excess cash to increase salaries or give bonuses, that will be taxed at the highest rate the workers already pay, typically around 35-40% in most European countries and up to 50% and more for high earners.
Dividends on the other hand are typically taxed at around 15%. Even if dividends aren't paid out, a company's cash pile contributes to it's share price, so shareholders can cash out, paying capital gains tax which is also typically around 15%.
That's not even mentioning that shareholders do not take kindly to using 'their' cash pile to increase workers' salaries, except for the mega-salaries + bonuses + golden-parachutes/rewards-for-failure for the top execs (although thankfully this is changing)
So yes, sure, go ahead with scrapping company tax and an amnesty for repatriating funds, but to do that fairly you first need to
a) tax all income at the same level. Earned income, bonuses, dividends, capital gains, inheritance etc etc all go into one 'Income' pot that is taxed at the same level.
b) benefits provided to an individual by a company are accounted as income and taxed as such
Re: It has yet to be proven...
a) is it really THAT difficult to have software supporting 2 or 3 versions of Android?
b) even if my software only work on 1 of the most popular android version (which each have approx 30% of the android install base each), 30% of all android phones is still more than 90% of all iOS phones and that gap is getting bigger.
I would think that as a developer, the biggest draw of developing for iOS over android is that iOS users are more willing to pay for their apps
Re: Who's got the purse strings?
"Who's got the purse strings?"
Unfortunately that's not how debt works in real life. If I owe the bank a $10k loan that I took out to buy a car, then if I default they'll send round the bailiffs to take the car back. If my company owes the bank $10million that I can't pay now, the bank is usually better off deferring the loan so I can pay it later rather than forcing me to bankruptcy and never seeing anything of the loan again.
China is in the same position with respect to US. If China calls in the debt all at once and the US can't pay, the US will either default or super-inflate the dollar, and either way China loses out. It's a much better bet for China to use US debt to buy US assets (or indeed anywhere in the world)
Re: Carefully worded non-denial.
"Secret law is not law, it's unchecked executive power"
Not only, but the companies providing the data are obliged to keep mum. Most probably Google, Microsoft etc spokespeople are being obliged by their legal departments to lie about NSA access because they could be in legal hot water if they told the truth.
Re: Well he would say that, wouldn't he?
" provides a detailed rebuttal of claims that intelligence agencies have a backdoor into firms such as..."
"Backdoor" implies that the NSA has hidden access, but it's not really a back door is it? It's a front door, probably complete with red carpet and (monkey?) butler serving champagne goblets
The way to defeat terrorism isn't to treat everyone as a suspect and throw due process out of the window when you THINK you might have nabbed a terrorist. The best way to destroy a terrorist's credibility is to expose how ridiculous his* ideas are in an open, public courtroom.
Yes, if you dismantle that whole apparatus, there is a slim chance that some nutter might blow something up, and even a miniscule chance that I'll be one of the victims. But given that it's more likely that I get struck by lightning than get killed by a terrorist, I prefer to take my chances and keep my data untapped, thanks very much.
This type of trawling for masses of data also makes it more difficult rather than easier to find bad guys. FFS they had all the knowledge about 9/11, they just couldn't put the pieces together properly. So when they are looking for a needle in a haystack, what they're doing is adding more hay to the pile. Way to go!
*or hers I guess, although it's almost always a 'him'
"The US agencies can spy on all of us.
And GCHQ can spy on all of the Americans."
And, of course, data sharing agreements between the 2 and hey presto, the spooks have exactly what they want without any oversight. Reminds me of the sort of ACTA shenanigans - negotiate a "free trade" agreement behind closed doors. put into it all the unpalatable clauses that would never get through a democratic parliament and get it ratified by the executive, then pretend that your national laws are superseded by the treaty.
Re: Let me see again what the risks are
@Vladimir - Cheery Fellow!
"WHY would you want to take an Olympic Torch on a spacewalk?"
Because you can? because it's cool? just on a whim? If people only did things out of necessity, the world would indded be a thoroughly boring and depressing place.
Also re "We're going to assume it won't be lit at the time" - why not? The only issue is lack of oxygen so bring your own oxygen. Oxy-Acetylne torches are used for underwater welding, so it's not some amazingly new technology required. Small modification to the torch and bingo, you^'re done.
Re: Bill is right this time.
@sisk - "If nations are so concerned about big multinationals using legal loopholes to pay lower tax rates then those nations need to close those loopholes, end of story"
You're right of course, there's just 1 more detail to consider. Legislators who introduce legislation to remove loopholes and catch more of corporate profit in the tax net will see their campaign funding dwindle as the multinationals redirect their campaign contribitions / *cough* bribes *cough* towards those legislators who will vote for the tax loopholes that they desire, and against tax reforms that will negatively affect their bottom lines.
Of course not all legislators are thusly influenced, not all companies give campaign contributions based only on that etc etc... but the net effect in the long run is the current mess
Re: No Good Can Come From This
@Don Jefe - re maintenance - most people already don't perform any maintenance whatsoever on their vehicles, they take them in for regular service. Don't see why it can't be the same with this, just maybe with closer servicing intervals for increased safety.
Re: I don't see the point
Sports license applies to the model currently in development, the new 20-year+ VTOL will likely need a different license. Maybe not anyone can land them on tehir lawn, but it would probably be licensed to land anywhere that a helicopter currently can. And I'm sure the rich folks who can affod it will probably be able to sneak in some space for a helipad on their ranch
Re: I say fraud
@Aldous re price. Good points, however keep in mind that they're stating that they're selling them at basically cost price, so that $325 is simply the bill of materials for the phone. Considering that breakdowns of, for example, iPhone costing $400-500 show that the BOM total out at a bit over $200, I think $325 cost price is not unrealistic.
Re: Shouldn't that be...
@Christian Berger - I'm pretty sure a watermark can be made invisible enough that the legitimate user won't even notice it's there while the pirate can be correctly identified, so hats off to these guys
Not a wink??
"snaps an image when the user opens and then closes one eye"
Is this a Web 2.0 wink? There was me thinking that winking is closing and then opening one eye
Re: What did you fry the eggs in?
My experience is that even expensive pans with hi-tech coatings don't last more than 2-3 years of regular use (or at least, the pan is still fine but the coating no longer non-stick). However by your calculations even with a 3-year lifespan instead of 15, it would be 5c a day, so still a bargain.
A UV-torch shone on some *ahem* "rustled" sheep might show you more glowing patches than you might be willing to see
However if you're mugged and the mugger takes your car keys, he won't know where your car is parked.
Re: What colour was tasty again?
Re: Makes no sense
I agree that your £ will get you more in impoverished countries, and there are other things to consider, such as, are you still using electricity / gas heating, are you still living in your nice big home etc etc....
BUT it is already a big first step in raising awareness, and really whether you are living for £5 a week or £10 or £15 a week it is still going to make a huge difference to what the normal western standard of living is.
Lester, good luck and good job!
Re: More iPads equals
Since iPads and Macs run on different OSes and do not directly share any Applications, I wonder why Cook thinks that iPad owners will be enticed to get Macs
Re: You don't
"Err...I'm in favour of a tax on the gross"
Apologies, I misread your previous comment
Re: You don't
I used "IP" because in the case for exampe of Starbucks they sell trademark rights to their franchisees, in the case of Google they sell rights to patent licenses AND trademarks. There wasn't any specific reference to the third bit of "IP", copyright, but I think it's also perfectly possible for a UK-based movie studio, band or publisher to transfer their copyrights to the Caribbean and thereby not pay tax in the UK, so I think the argument is valid over all 3 branches of IP.
Re: Who let the data out?
"A connected fridge, microwave or light bulb? Gimmicks that suck fools in"
Actually, light bulbs suck the dark in :)
"fleeing justice from the Swiss "
Switzerland != Sweden
I would have thought that criminal suspects might have been disbarred from running, but hey, this is convict-land, it's probably a bonus :)
"The market needs to see some evidence that the future looks bright because that candle is flickering"
$9.5bln profit on $42bln sales?? Close to 30% margin??
That's not a flickering candle, that's a towering inferno
Re: Company Obligations
@Number 6 - agree completely.
However with regard to this part: "may cause said multinationals to choose to do business elsewhere", I think this is fearmongering introduced by business and their shills.
If Starbucks were to stop operating in the UK, do you think it's more likely that every Starbucks customer will stop drinking coffee and the resulting billions would just disappear from the UK economy, or that other coffee shops will open to take over their custom?
If Google stopped selling their adverts in the UK, do you think it's more likely that companies would stop buying adverts online, or would they find another provider?
The UK economy depends on the people of the UK, not on whichever multinationals operate there.
Re: You don't
As Big Yin and JDX say, taxing revenue (rather than profit) will not work. What could do the trick is introduce some level of reasonableness to allowed costs that are used to send profit overseas.
For example, if the global price for coffee is approximately $ per tonne, Starbucks UK would not be allowed to buy it at 5X$ or 2X$ per tonne from their Swiss branch, as they currently do. A small markup is OK, a deliberate exporting of profits isn't allowed. Or in the case of IP and branding (both Google and Starbucks), you aren't allowed to buy/license your IP/branding from the Bahamas unless you can prove that either it was developed in the Bahamas, or that your Bahamas subsidiary paid a fair value for it to the location where it was developed.
In opposition to those who shout 'over-regulation' I can answer, well, the self-regulation isn't really working, so if you won't self-regulate properly you'll have to be regulated externally. (See banks and where their self-regulation led to).
At least, that's what makes sense / seems fair. The reality is that adding such a layer of complexity would be a bigger burden on smaller companies and big companies would find a way around it.
Re: You takes your chances..........
"the offer to settle out of court is on a "no admission of liability" basis. I find that immoral"
Agree with this, one of the great things of western court systems is that things are public. Gagging orders on settlements pervert this
@Jason Bloomberg - I get the analysis, and in this particular case this makes sense especially as compensation awarded was about 1/4 of the settlement.
But on a more general case, this leaves complainants too much at the mercy of a court's whim - say I declined 50k compensation, the court can rule in my favour and award me 51k (in which case I don't have to pay any fees), or else can award me 49k (in which case I need to pay all my legal fees plus some of the defendants', leaving me majorly out of pocket). The way the law is designed, it encourages complainants to accept any small settlement because going to court is too much of a gamble.
In this specific case, one has to wonder how come a quarter of a million dollars worth of legal counsel did not warn the woman of the likelihood of this happening. Or perhaps they warned her and she went ahead anyway against their advice?
Re: There's a bigger problem than Google
There's no problem with having EU profits and expenses consolidated. The problem is having all the expenses brought into the EU and all the profits going to the Caribbean