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Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

WhiplashII Re:Grudgingly reluctantly... (385 comments)

I would believe what you said if two facts were not true:

1) The majority of taxes are used to take money from one class of people, and give it to another.

2) We live in a democracy where more than half the people are "takers" rather than "givers"

I wouldn't be upset if "givers" voted to make transfer payments. That wouldn't be theft.

I wouldn't be upset if "takers" voted to not have transfer payments. That wouldn't be theft either.

But when takers gang up and vote to steal money from a smaller group under threat of violence, that is simply government condoned theft.

The government doesn't invest in the future. They merely pay their friends rents.


4 days ago

Tesla: A Carmaker Or Grid-Storage Company?

WhiplashII Re:So if they (GM/whomever) wanted to buy the comp (151 comments)

Your inability to buy Microsoft has nothing to do with Microsoft's stock price being "too high." And if you could convince a) Microsoft, and b) a bank (or the markets) that you could run Microsoft better than the current management the money would not be a significant hurdle.

about two weeks ago

Tesla: A Carmaker Or Grid-Storage Company?

WhiplashII Re:So if they (GM/whomever) wanted to buy the comp (151 comments)

What's hilarious is that no one has seen the obvious: no company's "stock price is too high ... to just buy it"

Company A: valued at $X
Company B: valued at $Y

Company A+B: valued at $X+$Y

No one has to have the cash on hand to do a merger (the traditional form of "purchase"). If you wanted to actually make a "purchase", all you would have to do is involve a bank.

Of course, Elon Musk has absolutely no reason to sell his company to a bunch of people that wouldn't know how to run it!

about two weeks ago

Adaptation From Flash Boys Offers Inside Look at High-Frequency Trading

WhiplashII Re:Bailouts for them, crumbs for us (246 comments)

Inflation transfers wealth from lenders to borrowers.

No, that's kind of my point - wealth is destroyed by contracts and savings destruction, but borrowers are not actually helped that much. In the contracts case, the supplier company goes out of business and both parties lose value. In the savers case, the saver loses all savings but the borrowers can't capitalize on the gains because the prices of everything that they care about goes up.

The people that do the best are those that are borrowers on a large asset. Their loan is devalued, so they don't have to pay as much back, true. But even then, the asset (typically a house) loses value because interest rates soar, making it difficult for future buyers to pay you for the asset.

Inflation is just generally bad for everyone. It is a global economy destroyer. Try to think of a single case where there was hyperinflation, but not economic destruction... hyperinflation is always bad, even for the guys that are supposed to be helped by it.

about three weeks ago

Adaptation From Flash Boys Offers Inside Look at High-Frequency Trading

WhiplashII Re:Bailouts for them, crumbs for us (246 comments)

Except that even this best case scenario isn't true...

Think about this: What sets prices? The fact that there is (for example) only 1 hamburger per person created in the US per day. Currently, everyone has $1, and needs 1 hamburger. So the price is $1/hamburger. There is this rich guy, who has $1T, but he still only east 2 hamburgers.

OK, so now every has $1M. The rich guy is still fine, and he still buys his 2 hamburgers. But how many hamburgers can everyone else buy? Hm... there's still only one hamburger per person. So each normal person can still only buy one hamburger! So what is the price of a hamburger? $1M per hamburger!

OK, so you then say "well, there must be a huge incentive now to create more hamburgers, since people will pay $1M/hamburger." But here's the thing, at the end of the day, no one wants $1M, they want an extra hamburger. So since the number of "hamburger equivalents" you will pay per hamburger has not changed, there is not extra incentive. So nothing has changed, except that we just had massive inflation.

Poor people do not compete with rich people for goods, in general. Poor people compete with poor people for goods. Giving all the poor people $1M does not make them any better off, and it doesn't make the rich any worse off, it only destroys those that were on the cusp of breaking out of poverty.

about three weeks ago

How Good Are Charter Schools For the Public School System?

WhiplashII Re:Test scores (715 comments)

This message brought to you by the teacher's union - torturing kids to achieve better member pay since 1960!

about 3 months ago

Newly Discovered Greenhouse Gas Is 7,000 Times More Powerful Than CO2

WhiplashII Re:Concentrations (216 comments)

Um, just a minute - let's insert some math here:

0.18 trillion = 180 billion equivalent units
400 million *7000 = 2800 billion equivalent units

So, if the article summary is correct over 90% of any anthro warming is not due to CO2, proving the skeptics correct.

I strongly doubt that the article is correct.

about 4 months ago

Kepler-78b: The Earth-Like Planet That Shouldn't Exist

WhiplashII Re:Well it is far, far away (110 comments)

Or, possibly this is an alien factory planet...

To make more energy available, they take all of a solar system's rocky mass and put it into an orbit skimming close to the central star. That way the metals can be easily separated out, and worked. Since heat engines become more efficient at higher temperatures (especially when you have to radiate waste heat to space), much more energy is available for engineering processes.

This planet isn't "a complete mystery" - it is final, clinching proof of extraterrestrial intelligent life!

Or not...

about 6 months ago

Disney's Titling Problem With Its Star Wars Movies

WhiplashII Re:I recently embraced the New Imperialism (279 comments)

They destroyed the planetary mineral extractor! All aboard were killed! Hundreds of thousands of civilian contractors perished in the explosion!

These terrorists must be STOPPED!

about 9 months ago

Why Do Entrepreneurs Innovate Better Than Managers?

WhiplashII Re:Wait, what? (134 comments)

and the vast majority are complete and utter failures.

I would add to this, though - they may have failed, but they likely learned something that will permanently increase their value to society. And, because of that, permanently increase their income.

I strongly recommend that all college students try to start a business. Yes, you will likely fail - but you will be exposed to thing that will change your perspective forever.

about a year ago

Taking Sense Away: Confessions of a Former TSA Screener

WhiplashII Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (354 comments)

No, that doesn't address the issue. That report only shows "firearm deaths" - we are looking at crime, which is a larger set than "firearm deaths".

about a year ago

Should a Teenage Entrepreneur Sell Out To Facebook?

WhiplashII Re:Retire at 20 (358 comments)

Actually, I pretty much disagree entirely with that analysis...

The question is not "sell low" or "sell high" - you do not know the future, so that fact that it went up is not available to you before the decision. The question is are you getting enough that your risk is significantly decreased.

For example, if your company is generating free cash flows of $2M, you will usually get a valuation of $10M. That is the market rate for a startup that's breaking out. (It can change based on other factors, of course, but that is the starting point.) As a public company, that $2M is worth about $30M. You might look at that difference and claim "unfairness", but it is the price difference between concentrated risk and unconcentrated risk. To put it simply, if that wasn't the price difference in risk then most deals would not be made - either the startup would refuse to sell or the large company would refuse to buy.

Honestly, if this is your first company you are going to think that any price isn't fair. And when you don't accept the price, you'll be horrified when the company loses its value a little later. And then next time, you'll understand the price difference and you'll sell.

But the important thing is to keep building companies - I've started quite a few, and there is no job like it!

about a year and a half ago

Should a Teenage Entrepreneur Sell Out To Facebook?

WhiplashII Re:Retire at 20 (358 comments)

If he started a company in his teens, I doubt he wants to relax the rest of his life...

He should sell. The reason small companies sell to large companies is to decrease concentration of risk for their owners. He, as an owner of a small company, needs to deconcentrate his risk. He will have another company he wants to work on - he probably already has some ideas. It is far easier to do that after selling your first company, and far harder to do that after missing the only opportunity to sell.

The simple fact is a cash out event gives you great options for your future work. If you don't sell, there is a high risk that the company will fail before you can personally cash out - this is true of all start-ups.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: What Stands In the Way of a Truly Solar-Powered Airliner?

WhiplashII Re:Solar powered jet engine (590 comments)

That's no problem at all using unobtainium, of course!

Actually, my math is off by a factor of 10 - I didn't convert kg to N correctly. The corrected result is:

FlyingMass = OtherStuff + 0.525 * FlyingMass

So your aircraft has to be half solar cells, roughly speaking. And, yes, the solar cell area is a bit on the large size...

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: What Stands In the Way of a Truly Solar-Powered Airliner?

WhiplashII Re:Solar powered jet engine (590 comments)

To inject some math into the discussion:

ThrustToKeepFlying = FlyingMass / LiftToDragRatio
PowerToKeepFlying = ThrustToKeepFlying * Velocity = Velocity * FlyingMass / LiftToDragRatio

Typically LiftToDragRatio is about 20 or so. Airplanes don't really make sense unless they are faster than other vehicles, so Velocity needs to be 100-300 m/s. (Typically, jets fly just under Mach 1, where they have the least drag/greatest power)

FlyingMass = AircraftMass + PayloadMass + EngineMass + PowersourceMass

Since we are using unobtainium to build our aircraft, it doesn't weigh anything. And we'll just say that we can fly arbitrarily large airplanes for a single passenger, so PayloadMass is essentially zero as well.

The best solar cells are about 300W/kg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_panels_on_spacecraft), and the best electric engines are about 6 kW/kg. So

FlyingMass = OtherStuff + PowerToKeepFlying / 300 + PowerToKeepFlying / 6000 = OtherStuff + 0.0035 * PowerToKeepFlying

FlyingMass = OtherStuff + 0.0035 * ( 300 * FlyingMass / 20 )

FlyingMass = OtherStuff + 0.0525 * FlyingMass

OtherStuff = 0.9475 * FlyingMass

So this says that as long as your airplane and payload are under about 95% of the engine / power source mass, it is at least possible. Structures that light are not really an issue - the real issue is only flying during the day and in good weather. (And, of course, it would cost an arm and a leg!)

about a year and a half ago

IDT and Intel Join Forces For Wireless Charging

WhiplashII Re:Efficiency (87 comments)

A physical connection is not required, nor necessarily helpful. Wires have resistance, after all. With an arbitrarily large transmission array wireless losses can get arbitrarily small - as an example, a visible laser (just a very focused and high frequency electromagnetic wave) transmits virtually all of the energy to the target.

about a year and a half ago

White House Finalizes 54.5 MPG Fuel Efficiency Standard

WhiplashII Re:CAFE Kills (1184 comments)

This simply isn't true. Do the math - there are two things that can kill you here, momentum change and energy change. To make it simpler, let's use the elephant and flea car, which are, of course, perfectly elastic:

setup: Elephant and flea car approach each other, both going 50 meters/second.
aftermath: Elephant car continues at the same velocity and direction. Flea car now has doubled velocity and reversed direction.
Velocity change for elephant car: approximately 0 meters/second
Velocity change for flea car: 150 meters/second - hitting a brick wall would be far better, at only 50 m/s
Energy change of elephant car: approximately 0 J
Energy change of flea car: approximately 22,500 * mass J

size matters!

about a year and a half ago

Microthrusters For Small Satellites

WhiplashII Re:I'm in a nitpicking mood. (75 comments)

Not really - ion propulsion trades "energy squared" for "propellant flow rate". So the large fuel tank (100 kg, say) has been replaced with a much smaller one, around 1 kg, for the same thrust. Here's the trade details:

1. Trading a 350 Isp Hydrazine thruster for a 35,000 Isp ion drive - it uses 1/100th the propellant for the same total impulse (thrust*time)
2. The thrust decreases dramatically typically - but for small satellite station-keeping that doesn't matter
3. The power requirement/N thrust gets ridiculous - from about 3.5KW/N to 350KW/N

about a year and a half ago

Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing), Gun Control, and Patent Law

WhiplashII Re:Already happening (380 comments)

Actually, that is incorrect. You can certainly sue someone that creates an item for their own personal use that infringes your patent. It is just unlikely to work, so most people don't. But suing for the value of a "lost sale" is well established - and since patents allow 10 times damages in the case of willful infringement, it may even be economical.

about a year and a half ago

How a 3-Year-Old Can Open a Gun Safe

WhiplashII Re:gun safe? (646 comments)

Um, those statistics are idiotic. Perhaps people that are about to commit suicide go out and buy a gun? Perhaps people that live in high murder rate areas buy and carry more guns?

And of course, the #1 - gang members are the majority of gun murders, both giving and receiving. And, of course, they carry guns.

Uncontrolled statistics do not convey useful information.

about a year and a half ago



Global warming

WhiplashII WhiplashII writes  |  more than 6 years ago

WhiplashII (542766) writes "According to a leading environmentalist, walking to the shops 'damages planet more than going by car'. Walking 3 miles (and the food burned to do it) releases 3.6 kg of CO2, driving only releases 0.9 kg. Other surprises: Diesel trains outpollute cars, someone who installs a "green" lightbulb undoes a year's worth of energy-saving by buying two bags of imported vegatables, and killing all our cows would do more to prevent global warming than ending all air travel."
Link to Original Source


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