1905 posts • joined 12 Jul 2007
No wonder, $200 for a tab of that spec is an absolute snip.
Or is it just a down payment on the full price?
"The countries that are tax havens are not going to sign up."
Any company that makes significant money operates in at least 1 of the G-20, more likely in many of them or even all 20. If they agree between themselves on rules that don't allow profit transfers elsewhere unless they're taxed locally, it doesn't matter if tax havens don't sign up. The havens will just get squeezed out once the big countries change the rules.
For example, IP. Google develops this mostly in US, but has IP registered in Bermuda (count employed engineers in US and Bermuda). US can simply say: If your IP really is that valuable, when Google US transfers the IP to Google Bermuda, GB needs to pay GUS fair market value (which is then taxed in US). If GUS just transfers IP to GB at low cost, US can disallow IP-licensing payments made from GUS to GB as tax-deductible in the US on the grounds that G themselves gave that IP away free/cheap
Re: That's OK
I'm with Pierre on this one. Monsanto are a company whose practices I am extremely uncomfortable with, and using GMO techniques to create plants resistant only to your own pesticide/herbicide is evil because (a) it locks in farmers to Monsanto and (b) the end result is more poison on our food.
However GMO can also be equally used to develop pest-resistant strains that allow us to grow food with LESS poison on it, to grow food with more vitamins and nutrients etc. There is nothing inherently wrong with GMO techniques and nothing provably wrong with the methods or end results that is ONLY the result of GMO techniques. the problems are with specific applications.
Greenpeace idiots cannot see this because for them it's all black and white and blanket bans.... just like they want to ban all nuclear power because 1960s-designed nuclear power plants are unsafe
about to GIVE BIRTH
So "about to" is actually a few million years, right?
Have the contractions even started yet?
Re: Name change Please
That's probably a good idea.
Refreshing the specs is also absolutely necessary. As a small organisation they really have worked wonders within a limited budget and capability, however they got the first phones out the door in late 2013 based on what was already a bit dated spec. What they are still selling is the same design as they haven't had the capability to refresh the design yet, so right up until their new release in 2016 they will be selling a 2013 spec phone.
I guess that's par for the course when you have tens of employees rather than tens of thousands and sales volumes of thousands rather than millions... but in any case, every luck to them!
@Tim - Trickle-down economics
"There are various definitions of what “trickle down” economics actually means"
This is the first time I've ever heard the phrase "Trickle-down economics" used in this way*. This type of "technology" trickle-down definitely works, as many things that used to be rich people's playthings are now commonplace for 'normal' people. However this trickle-down worked equally as well in the industrial revolution where the levels of inequality between rich and poor were stratospheric, the 1920s (eg cars) where the levels of inequality between rich and poor were extremely high, as well as the 1960s (plane travel) where the levels of inequality were much lower. Currently inequality** levels are climbing back towards what they were in the 1920s, but that does not mean that more inequality now is better because it allows ventures such as Virgin Galactic.
With a flatter inequality curve (ie where you don't have the top 0.01% who are many thousands of times richer than the top 1%), there will be even more rich people who could spend $insane on a new technology. Clearly The Guardian is wrong to miss that having some inequality allows more development, but that does not mean that more inequality is always better.
So how much inequality is optimum for (a) continued development and growth and (b) generally higher standards for the masses? I appreciate the clarity you bring to some complex topics so I would be very interested in your take on this issue.
*Typically it is used in the other contexts you mention, ie it is beneficial to poorer people to allow the rich to get even richer because their spending will end up with the less rich - Not being an economist myself I cannot convincingly refute this however intuitively this sounds like bollocks.
**I'm talking about differences between average and median income in the developed world where such technologies are born and first used.
"I can't imagine how you could write Jobs as anything as a psychopath with a serious personality complex and possibly a messiah complex."
Having seen Bale in american Psycho and The Machinist, I would say he would have been ideal for the role
Re: Easy Solution
"make them party to any terrorist conspiracy conducted with the aid of their services."
This is absolute bollocks. It's like saying the US postal service is party to the 'anthrax' envelopes, or that the US department of transportation or phone companies are party to any terrorist that drives on a US road / makes a phone call while planning an attack.
Infrastructure is by nature multi-use, it's not up to the infrastructure owners to police it. That's why we have police, FBI and all the other 3-letter organisations. It ALREADY is the case that police, FBI etc have the authority within given restraints i.e. judicially-issued warrants, that they can intercept phone calls and letters. It already is is the case that terrorists can encrypt their phone calls or their letters, but I don't see any intelligence agency wanting to open every single letter the US postal service delivers and copy the content 'just in case'.
With phone and internet from the spooks' side it's a case of "we have the technical ability to do this so we want to do this" rather than there being any current legal impediment for them.
Re: @ James Micallef -- Soon you will be able to connect your own PC to your smart meter
"You'd make a really bad Republican"
Thank @deity for that!
Re: Soon you will be able @James Micallef
@ledswinger - thanks for clarifying the meter reading cost, however 1 thing I don't understand... if UK residents are protesting that they will pick up the meter costs (or that the companies will pass it on to them by stealth anyway), surely ANY savings however small on reading the meters is a profit for them?
"passed into law by your democratically elected "representatives" "
That was my thought as well. All the suppliers are sharing the same grid, the old meters just worked with the grid and were never supplier-specific. To make them so is plain stupid
Re: Faraday cage
Is there any reason (beyond making it more difficult for users to tinker with them, and avoiding the typical Reg demographic of technically minded+pissed off at these things) why the meters can't have a communication module that can be remotely wired into the meter, so the meter can stay where it always was, and the module can be placed somewhere where it can pick up a good mobile/wifi signal?
Re: Soon you will be able to connect your own PC to your smart meter
The real cost issue - providers want smart meters because it saves them the cost of sending meter-readers round... sensibly, they prefer to use existing networks (mobile or wifi) rather than build their own, but they want to get a free ride off this existing infrastructure without building any safeguards, that is nuts. Is it really that difficult/expensive to have the equivalent of an RSA token (same as you would get in a bank dongle) in each meter to make sure that data sent is untampered-with?
Secondly, why insist that all meters be changed now, instead of replacing them gradually at their natural end-of-life. Yes, it will take 30-odd years, but what's the rush?
"HP Multi Jet FusionTM technology starts by laying down a thin layer of material in the working area. Next, the carriage containing an HP Thermal Inkjet array passes from left-to-right, printing chemical agents across the full working area. The layering and energy processes are combined in a continuous pass of the second carriage from top-to-bottom. The process continues, layer-by-layer, until a complete part is formed."
So, how is HP's 'new' technology different from any currently available 3D printer???
Re: Correlation does not prove causation.
"...hard to decide whether I prefer a hot planet (corals reefs up north) ..."
I'd love that but I would probably pass on the snorkeling with sharks that size around!!
Some of this stuff already exists in 'PC-land' (remote provisioning), 'tablet-land' (app stores with available apps based on user sign-on) and Blackberry (segregation of 'work' and 'public' parts of a single device). The theory of bringing all those together would work very nicely for both company-issued laptops and personal tablets used as BYOD. That would merge well with Microsoft's vision of a single OS for both mobile and desktop, as well as the convergence of tablet and notebook into 1 type of 'Surface' device. That also plays to MS strength as a corporate supplier while keeping a foot in the consumer space.
It remains to be seen whether the execution of this vision is "XP" or "Vista"
"a structural shortage of over 500,000 jobs caused by a lack of available talent"
If a company really NEEDS staff (any staff, not just IT), ie their business is suffering without this position being filled, they will pay what is necessary to fill that position. If there is an opening at a company that is unfilled for many months, probably that means that the current staff are coping well enough as they are.
The only alternative is that the perceived business benefit of filling the vacancy is not greater* than the pay required to fill the vacancy. As others have mentioned above, markets do not lie, and if there really were a large demand of IT skills, IT wages would be rising... but they're not
*In some countries such as Italy, it could be that there IS currently a perceived greater benefit, but because of labour laws making it difficult/impossible to fire people, the post isn't filled unless business perception is that this benefit will be long-lasting over many years.
Re: The Register should write about what it knows, this article is a FAIL.
"The GW issue isn't global warming as such, but the RATE of warming being tweaked by anthropogenic sources to the point where it's happening far faster than ecosystems can respond in a stable manner. This kind of thing is generally bad news."
Mr Brown, that is as perfect a summary of the situation as any I've ever heard. Have an upvote!
Re: About that self-professed rational liberalism
"Maybe, but the question's still there. If workers are paid peanuts, how will they (who are also customers) be able to afford your goods?"
Because your goods are now cheaper to buy, because your production cost has gone down.
Whoever it was that posted further above that corporations are sending jobs to China to lower wages and pocketing the difference are wrong. The vast majority of 'the difference' is going to lower product costs, and in that sense, it is being 'pocketed' by consumers (i.e. employees). Some corporations (the successful ones) ARE more profitable, but also quite a few of them have gone bust.
It might be the case that median wages in 'the west' are stagnating, but that median wage can now buy you a lot more stuff. Of course it's all more nuanced than that, for example services in 'the west' are still expensive
Re: Not as simple as that indeed....
"Have you seen the great stinking pollution lakes created in China..."
Which is exactly why we need a real 'polluter pays' tax. The producers (whether in China or elsewhere) need to pay to either clean up their act, or pay a tax so government can clean it up for them*. The producers pass the cost on to the consumers, who at that point will be paying for the pollution caused by the creation of their gizmos and widgets.
Good luck getting that implemented globally though.
*I'm under no doubt that government can easily bollox this up, but the very idea is that if capitalism is really working, it's cheaper for a private company to clean up than for the government to clean up after them, hence the necessity of high pollution fines.
Re: What a waste of money
It's not unusual for big Hollywood films to have 10-15 minutes of credits even with a running time of a bit over 90 minutes, so crew list being 15% of film running time is not unusual. It's pretty standard practice in the film industry to list EVERYONE who did ANYTHING even if it's just the work experience tea-boy or apprentice lavatory cleaner
The problem with that is that companies will just sit on their cash pile and use it to lobby for changes in the law or for 'one-time' amnesties* that allow them to extricate cash with lesser penalties. They will sell this to governments under the guise of "it will provide a big immediate boost to the economy". Politicians will fall for it because although it is bad for the country long-term, that short-term boost can secure their re-election.
On the other hand I completely agree that all personal income be taxed at the same rate whether it is earned income, inheritance, dividend income, capital gains or whatever. Currently the working poor pay close to 0% because their wages are in the exempt bracket. Middle-class wage earners get taxed anything from 25% to 40% depending on country. Upper-middle class (specialised professionals such as doctors and engineers) can sometimes pay over 50% if they make 6-figure incomes as salary. Ultra-rich people whose income mostly consists of capital gains and dividends pay about 15% tax because these income types have lower tax rates.
* which end up being offered at regular intervals
Re: Blame governments for not achieving impossible perfection... not those who exploit that fact?
"If the problem is that the government itself is operating in bad faith because it's in bed with big business... ... the power of the latter is one of the major corrupting influences on democracy."
That, in a nutshell, is the problem. In modern democracy, individuals and parties need A LOT of money to even have a chance of being elected to power. They need A LOT of influence and friends in the media who can get their message out, publicise them etc. Big business is THE major contributor to individuals and parties, and it is absolutely impossible in our current version of democracy for ANYONE to get into power who is not beholden to some interest or other.
These laws that businesses say "well, we're only abiding by the law aren't we??" are often crafted according to the desires of those very same businesses via policy groups, think-thanks and lobbyists who are directly in their pay. Parliamentarians who get to vote on the implementation of 1000+ page laws* often don't have a clue as to what's in the fine detail or what the implications are of one very subtle word choice as opposed to another.
While Facebook etc are publically saying "we're just obeying the law, if you don't like it change the law", in private they are spending lots of money on lobbying to make sure the laws do not change in ways that disfavour them.
*Laws really need to be as short as possible, have as few exceptions as possible, and be written in English that is clearly understandable by a 12-year old
"The laws being exploited are global ones"
There is no such thing as a global law. There are laws of individual countries that are dependent on treaties between countries, and/or that countries apply to international dealings. However each and any of these laws can be changed unilaterally by the country concerned*. The UK can simply declare, for example, that for the purpose of tax payable to the UK, payments made for IP transfers are not to be included as costs for the calculation of taxable profits.
Pretty much all countries SHOULD decide between themselves that for the purpose of tax payable, fines paid are not to be included as costs for the calculation of taxable profits.
*In the case of laws connected with international treaties, this probably would lead to repercussions/retaliations of other countries changing their own laws in response.
"What you are suggesting is VAT."
No, VAT is a tax on spending.
As a private individual I am taxed income tax on my income and VAT on my spending.
Businesses already get to pay VAT on their spending (though some of it is recoverable).
"...for large corporations it could be only 2% if they rely on bulk sales at tiny margins."
Correct, with a tax on income, companies could only survive if their margin was higher than the tax rate, but of course a tax on income would be more like 3-5% rather than the current 25-30% tax on profit.
Also, because corporations are taxed on profit they have incentives to increase *accounted* expenses to reduce their tax bill. I'm pretty sure that a big multinational that nominally has a 2% margin has some *accounted* expenses such as depreciation, cost of IP etc that are overstated for accounting purposes.
Businesses are taxed on profit rather than income because governments want to promote businesses and startups, and frequently businesses can run for some years at a loss even when making money. Taxing profits rather than income helps small businesses to grow, the thing is that big multinationals abuse of these rules in ways that smaller businesses cannot.
A possible solution: Instead of a high corporate tax (25% or 30%) on profit, have a low (5%?) corporate tax based on income. Then allow startups a 3 to 5 year window of breathing space, starting with 0% tax their first year and gradually ramping up to the full rate at the end of the 'breathing space' window. This has the advantage of being very clear (companies will always know their current tax liability and be able to accurately estimate future ones - business likes predictability). It is also much easier to calculate, because you don't need to mess around with complex accounting rules of what expenses are allowed to be deductible, and it's also easy to see what income is really being generated in which country.
I expect that companies might try to dodge this by re-incorporating a new company every few years so safeguards need to be built in against this.
Re: As one of my friends used to joke
If I remember correctly, Spielbergy's sparse use of the monster shark in Jaws was also related to technical difficulties / lack of believability with the fake shark. In both cases it's probably a combination of filming accident and editing design that the minimum screentime of the monster worked so effectvely.
I just wish that some more modern directors would actually learn these lessons from the past!!
Re: As one of my friends used to joke
One of the best (scariest) thing about the original Alien was that for most of the film you only ever got very quick glances at small bits of it, so you never really know exactly what you're dealing with. You just know that there is something horrible and dangerous lurking somewhere and that it's going to kill you... actually not just kill you but bite you and feed on you, which triggers some very very deep-rooted, instinctive, primal fear. You just don't know when or where, but you sure know it's coming and it's coming for YOU.
It's a LOT scarier to give the viewer some glimpses and allow their imagination to fill in the blanks, because when the mood is set right, each viewer's imagination will 'fill in the blanks' with something that's particularly scary for THEM, and in any case much more scary than anything you can depict on film. That's the same trick Spielberg pulled in the original Jaws, most of the film you just see nothing at all, or just a fin, but that relentless, menacing 'duh dum' in the background is enough.
Once you're actually putting your movie monsters front and centre, more often than not t^hey are a lot less scary, and sometimes even funny as in 'how bad is that man-in-a-rubber-costume' funny, and that just ruins the spooky build-up.
@John H Woods
"I mean coming in from a 2.5km run and eating 3 slices of toast and honey - vastly more calories than I have theoretically burned. If my metabolism worked like yours apparently does, I'd be gaining several kg per month."
My guess is that regular 2.5km runs increase your overall metabolic rate, so even if after the run you eat more calories than you burn on the run itself, you burn more calories even when not running and that keeps everything in equilibrium.
Of course individual metabolic rates are very specific, but in general higher muscle mass requires more calories,so if you're building muscle even slightly by going running, that will help burn more calories long-term not just during the run itself.
Re: Always more questions
"True, so BMI is not a good indicator of 'obesity' if you're a boxer, rugby player or a lumberjack, or very tall or very short. However, for the majority of the 'ordinary' population it is a reasonable and easy measure to take."
which means it's OK as a 'rough and ready' calculation for large populations, but not OK if, for example, health insurance is using BMI as a parameter in calculating premiums.
Re: Moving the goals?
"Yes, that's why it is height^2."
As mentioned by other posters, humans are 3-dimensional, so using square is not correct. As also mentioned above by other posters, humans are more 'cylindrical' than 'spherical' so maybe using the cube of the height isn't very correct either.
"BMI is a decent measure of a population's tubbiness, which is what it was intended as."
Except that actually, it isn't, because it takes into account only mass, without distinction of whether that mass is fat or muscle. This is made worse because muscle is denser than fat.
Given the 2 issues above and given that fat tends to accumulate round the waist while muscle gain is more evenly distributed, a better measure of 'fatness' would be
BMI is an abomination. Any analysis based on it is automatically null and void. Any policy based on it is automatically rubbish.
Re: never forget though @Asylum Sam
"Sure, you can steal the market by selling a one-off...but then you starve yourself out of the market because once you sell it, you never hear from the customer again."
There's a couple things going on here... firstly, if you make something that lasts 20 years instead of 2 years, it's 10 times as good, but if you sell it at 10 times the price, consumers will always go for buying the cheaper one that lasts 2 years. One reason is inflation - buying at the 'same price' in 2 years is cheaper in real money than paying it all upfront. The second reason is that humans are wired for short-termism, it takes a conscious choice going against the 'wiring' to go for the more expensive option even if you know for sure it will be cheaper in the long-term. Thirdly, and probably most importantly, is an issue of trust. A consumer does not know NOW that your goods will last 10 times as long as the competition's, and will be unlikely to take your word for it. Even if some consumers DO start taking your word for it and buy your stuff, no doubt your competitors making inferior stuff will flood the airwaves/intertubes with FUD ads and showing how their stuff is as good as yours.
And then there is also the "Sam Vimes theory of economic injustice" to cope with, which is that many consumers will not have the immediate cash in hand to pay 10X or even 5X more for a product that lasts 10 times longer or more, so they are 'forced' to buy the cheaper inferior version, because they need one now and the inferior version is the only one they can afford
Re: never forget though
"...or won't go with a new light fixture..."
The 2 standard sizes of screw-in bulbs have been the same as long as I've ever been aware, and I doubt will change any time soon.
Re: RE: AC alternative to petrol
"Do you mean the use of corn or vegetable oil in older diesels in the UK? All perfectly legal as long as you declared your usage and paid the relevant tax. People did get charged with tax evasion for not paying tax on their oil..."
The point is that if vegetable oil is not taxed when used to fry chips in, why should the exact same product be taxed if you choose to run your car on it? I'm sure that there's a 'legally correct' answer somewhere, but again, the point is that there is no sensible rationale for such a law.
"And the reason that your Ducati which weighs about 1/5 of the Fiat can only get half the MPG."
Completely correct... however I have never met a biker who cared about MPG :)
"Anyone Fancy a Twin Air lump in a bike frame ??"
Short Answer - No
Long answer: well, it's a 0.9l unit that outputs 105HP. Comparing same cc, for example Ducati 899 Panigale (898cc) is 148HP. Also, with bikes it's nice to have a smooth-ish power curve, while with a turbo you get a bit of a laggy low-end. I'm not sure what size the Fiat engine is either, could be bulky with turbo added, or maybe not?
In any case, bikes achieve high power from small(ish) engines by revving a lot higher, that in turn places more stress on components that need to be more carefully engineered / have better quality materials than car engines that redline at 6 or 7k.... which is probably why the Ducati costs almost £13k, more than quite a few small cars
"Fragile large sheets could be a huge problem if it doesn't bend with the rest of the iPhone 6 Plus properly."
Didn't you hear? The iPhone 6 doesn't bend!
Re: On the other hand ...
One more... top business execs, lawyers etc might need an encrypted phone to protect trade secrets, client confidentiality etc. There's many more legal reasons than illegal reasons to have an encrypted phone
Re: It's clear to all
@tom dial - yes you are right, the US AG and others are, in their public statements, referring to legal intercepts backed by judicial oversight.
However over the last few years it has become clear that some law enforcement agencies are intercepting / analysing data even without judicial oversight, and that judicial oversight is not as transparent or effective as it should be.
Hence the public (a) not believing the AG etc and (b) turning to encryption even for 'mundan' personal communication
Re: It's not the character
Some of the storylines have been weak, (clockwork robots again? And is THAT the best you could up with having as magnificent a character as Robin Hood to work with?), but the 'thing under the bed' and 'mind-sucking aliens' episodes were great.
Peter Capaldi is so far proving to be an excellent Doctor. I far prefer the doctor to be an old irascible git, rather than a 20-something hipster. He's spent a thousand years fighting other aliens, travelled teh length and breadth and (time) height and depth of the Universe, he's seen it all and done it all. He's bound to be a bit impatient with everyone else. And yet he retains that love of adventure and a certain twinkle in the eye.
Of course there is still plenty of time before a final judgement. Both Tennant and Smith took a while to grow on me, and they were both definitely "The Doctor" in the end
Re: James Micallef A joke, or some form of Israeli PR right? @h4rm0ny
"The present state is that Israel is willing to talk peace and discuss the two state solution"
Actions speak louder than words. If Israel was ever serious about peace it would never have built settlements in land that it knew it would have to give back as part of any peace agreement. Israel SAYS it's willing to have a 2-state solution, but only if it's allowed to annex parts of West Bank that it wants, and 'is willing' to give Palestine unwanted parts of it's territory in return. Wow, what generosity.
If Israel is serious about peace it would have frozen settlements a long time ago. Instead, in the last 10 years it has accelerated them.
Re Hamas greenhouses etc, yes you are right, Hamas are scum who do not want peace, I wasn't arguing anything different. My point is that Hamas have power only in Gaza, very limited influence elsewhere. Israel has all the power in the region, nothing can change unless they take the lead.
Re: Jamal Micaleff A joke, or some form of Israeli PR right?
a) I didn't say that there was no Hamas in the West Bank. I said that any threats to Israel from the West Bank can be dealt with without installing settlements there, and in any case, such threats are threats to some of Israel's population, NOT existential threats to the state of Israel.
b) Calling people 'funny' names by twisting their real names is teh behaviour of an immature 8-year old boy. Just sayin'
Re: Nor did the IRA.
@Tom13 - By no stretch of the imagination is Hamas an existential threat to Israel. Just like IRA with Britain, they can kill some civilians and cause some havoc. But Hamas has negligible military force compared to IDF, close to zero international political clout compared to Israel who has the US bent around her little finger.
Just because Hamas want Israel to be completely destroyed does not mean that it is in any way possible for them to do it.
Re: A joke, or some form of Israeli PR right? @h4rm0ny
"You should read a little history of the area in question... "
Thing is, no knowledge of history is any help at all to resolve the situation without acknowledging the present. And the present situation is this - Israel has de facto complete control over all Palestinian territories. It chose to exit Gaza because it was more trouble than it was worth, has a pretty successful blockade going there, and every few years flattens everything and anything that got through the blockade anyway. In the West Bank, it builds settlements with complete impunity, it controls water supply, it controls roads and transport, imports are also severely restricted, and there is a giant wall separating Israel + their settlements from "Palestinian" lands. The threat level that Israel faces is, for all practical purposes, zero. There might be a slight threat to some of it's citizens, but that is something that can never be eradicated, as people of New York, London, Madrid etc etc know very well. But there is NO existential threat to Israel, there hasn't been for many many many years, and there will not be for the foreseeable future.
So, whatever the end solution to the question is, Israel is the ONLY actor in the region that can do anything towards that solution.
And Israel has, by it's actions over the past few years, repeatedly shown that it's preferred solution is NOT a 2-state solution with Israelis and Palestinians living in peace*, nor is it a 1-state solution with Palestinians as full and equal citizens. It is a 'Greater Israel' where Palestinians are second-class Apartheided citizens, or else 'exported' to neighbouring Arab countries. This spying on innocent Palestinians is just a tiny part of an ongoing process.
*Otherwise why the continued expansion of settlements in the West Bank? Why even start building settlements in the first place, when a simple military presence + wall on the original border would have sufficed for security?
Re: A joke, or some form of Israeli PR right?
My downvote isn't because of "student politicians of the sixth-form common room", it's because the article clearly states the protested sigint is in "occupied Palestinian territories" AKA West Bank (who never voted Hamas into power), not the Gaza strip (who did).
Gaza has not been "occupied" for many years now
Re: Apple pay...
Depends what you're comparing to - Credit cards charge around 3%*, but as others have mentioned, there are advantages to the user such as fraud insurance. Banks currently charge a lot less for debit card transactions, but I don't know if that's comparable to 0.15% (anyone know??).
Cash transactions also have a cost - business expense to handle cash with banks, and added security requirements. Again, I'm not sure about the extent of that, but if I recall correctly I read somewhere that cash handling costs for businesses heavily exceed debit card transaction costs.
The real question here is, are banks also charging something over and above the 0.15% that Apple takes? Or is Apple paying them for access to their systems from it's 0.15% cut?
* Technically the charge is to the vendor, but when all vendors are accepting credit cards for such a long period of time it's clear that this is factored into the rice of all goods and services that CAN be paid for by credit card even when they are not. And others such as 'cheap' airlines explicitly pass that charge on to consumers, so I'm only looking at the amount charged.
Re: environmental cost
"a long way from matching the exponential increase in demand."
I think you're making up the "exponential increase in demand". Firstly, world population is not increasing exponentially, growth is actually slowing down as countries get richer. Rich countries already have stable or even declining populations, and as the developing world develops, they will also slow their growth. UN estimates over 50-odd years is that world population will eventually cap at around the 12 billion mark, and if eventually some time in the future the whole world is stable and at least as comfortable quality of life as current 'west'*, population might even start to decline.
Second, individual consumption is also not increasing exponentially. Instead of using more stuff, we do more but use stuff more efficiently so individual use does not increase. There have been past cases where consumption increases exponentially but only for short periods of time, you can't extrapolate continued exponential increase from just a small period of it.
* We can all dream, can't we?
Re: environmental cost
Thanks for the follow-up. I tend to agree that 'peak oil' doesn't really matter so much in energy terms, the only thing is that it starts getting wasteful when you need the equivalent energy of 7-8 barrels of oil to extract the equivalent of 10 barrels. Of course, it's still a net gain but still seems wasteful. Not to mention the CO2 release.
In the end if/when oil/hydrocarbons become more expensive, we'll shift to photovoltaics / nuclear / some future technology.
"So we'll use more expensive energy then, won't we?"
Exactly! The last 50-odd years, energy has been dirt cheap anyway, that's why we waste so much of it even while we use loads of it to improve quality of life worldwide. More expensive energy will just mean a bit of a slowdown in global economy (not a bad thing, maybe we can invest more in 'real' stuff and less in financial gimmicks,leading to less boom-bust cycles) but allow developing countries to increase quality of life without continuing to trash the environment.
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