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Amazon's Luxembourg Tax Deals

aclarke At least Amazon has an office in Luxembourg (200 comments)

At least Amazon has a substantial office in Luxembourg, handling AWS. I'm sure they don't do a lot of sales there, but they at least have a presence there. According to http://ict.investinluxembourg.lu/ict/amazoncom there are about 500 Amazon employees in Luxembourg. I interviewed for a job there a few years ago but screwed up one of the interviews pretty badly and didn't get the job.

It's possible or even likely that Amazon had to open an office of a certain size in Luxembourg as part of the deal they worked with the government to obtain the tax incentives.

about a month and a half ago
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What Will It Take To Make Automated Vehicles Legal In the US?

aclarke Re:Would they approve this? (320 comments)

A similar thing happened around the time of the invention of the automobile. If you're not aware of the early "red flag laws", here's an interesting article about them. It took a couple decades before horseless carriages could legally be driven on the road without what we would now consider ridiculous hindrances.

about 2 months ago
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Creationism Conference at Michigan State University Stirs Unease

aclarke Re:Why at a place of learning? (1007 comments)

Agreed. From TFA:

University officials say they have no plans to interfere with the event. “Free speech is at the heart of academic freedom and is something we take very seriously,” said Kent Cassella, MSU’s associate vice president for communications, in a statement. “Any group, regardless of viewpoint, has the right to assemble in public areas of campus or petition for space to host an event so long as it does not engage in disorderly conduct or violate rules. While MSU is not a sponsor of the creation summit, MSU is a marketplace of free ideas.”

It's a very dangerous and slippery slope to stop allowing rented space on university campuses just because some people don't like the discussion. The moment it violates campus policy it gets pulled, but otherwise it's as good a spot as any for this sort of event. If you don't like it, don't go, or hold your own event in the conference room next door.

about 2 months ago
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Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

aclarke Re:Pay cash (907 comments)

I guess I'm lucky I live in Canada, where we have a bit more of a social safety net. It doesn't really help those without the mental capacity to stay in the net, but otherwise if you have kids, you at least get a bit from the government, and IF you can be smart with your money you can scrape by.

Of course, once you add in mental health issues, drug abuse, alcoholic ex-spouses and all the other problems that invade life, things can quickly look different. I have to go back to my first comment and state that I was generalizing. I've lived in enough places, including the US, to be able to say that many people who take car loans would have been better off without them. That was the basic point I was trying to make, and I'm sticking to that.

about 3 months ago
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Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

aclarke Re:Pay cash (907 comments)

There are many people with a low income who make good choices with their money who will do better than people with more income who make bad choices with their money.

about 3 months ago
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Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

aclarke Re:Pay cash (907 comments)

You are "clearly" a judgemental individual who cannot read more than one meaning into a post. I've been poor before, scraping pennies together to buy a meal, and certainly too poor to afford a car and just riding my bike everywhere in -40C weather. I said several times that I was generalizing, and that there are other situations where it makes sense to do things differently.

At this point, I, like many others, know people across the socioeconomic spectrum. I have "poor" friends who eke an additional 8-10 years out of a $3000 minivan they saved up and paid cash for and don't just rush out and buy a new car because this one's old and might break down some time. In the long run, their lifestyle and financial choices will set them far ahead of someone else who makes more money but has continual car payments.

There was a time soon after graduation when I couldn't find a loan company to loan me $2500 to buy a used car, but they'd lend me $25,000 to buy a new one. I was young and stupid and took the expensive choice instead of riding a moped or something until I'd saved the money. I felt flash in my fancy Subaru, and it took me places a moped wouldn't, but it set me back steeply for a few years and really was a mistake.

about 3 months ago
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Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

aclarke Pay cash (907 comments)

Why not just pay cash for the car? I'll generalize and say that if you're paying car loans, you're doing it wrong.

There are edge cases, but pretty much anyone who can afford to qualify for a $250/month car loan can afford to find $500 to buy some junker that will probably last 3 months. After 3 months they'll be ahead $250. Again i'm generalizing, but my point remains.

For most people, most of the time, sucking it up and buying a cheap old car for cash will be cheaper for them than buying a car they can't afford. I define affording a car by "have the cash to pay for it", rather than by the seemingly more common definition of "could get a loan for it".

about 3 months ago
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3 Short Walking Breaks Can Reverse Harm From 3 Hours of Sitting

aclarke I have one (176 comments)

My employer bought me one.

Then again, I'm self-employed.

about 3 months ago
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Helsinki Aims To Obviate Private Cars

aclarke Re:Am I responding to a troll? (276 comments)

Are you really that dense? This is why I long ago foe'd you. I may live in the country, but did it not occur to you that I might actually sometimes leave my front lawn?

Your other comment about Santa Fe is equally specious. Can you really not figure out what people are saying, or do you take a perverse and misguided joy in pretending to misunderstand everything you read?

I know plenty of athiests around here and they fit in as well as anyone else. I'm not going to defend whatever communities you've experienced, but maybe you've just been "run out of several small communities" for being intolerant, obtuse, and pretentious.

about 4 months ago
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Helsinki Aims To Obviate Private Cars

aclarke Am I responding to a troll? (276 comments)

Wow, so much spewed opinion you seem to think is fact.

First, air in cities is generally worse than outside cities. You'll be able to find counter-examples, say outside a rural factory, but generally, no matter where you go in the world, city air is worse than rural air.

You're right that we are mostly a social species. However, this means different things to different people. Maybe you are more social than most. Personally, I have a family I enjoy seeing, and other than that I'm quite happy interacting with just a few other people every week. I neither want nor need more. The difference between the two of us seems to be that I'm willing to let you lead your lifestyle whereas you're unwilling to let me lead mine.

You're right that cities are easier on the environment on a per capita basis. Of course, there are also plenty of ways that people could be more distributed in a more environmentally advantageous fashion. If you have any interest in the subject and a certain level of intelligence it wouldn't be hard for you to come up with some ideas. Travelling around in other first world countries in Europe would also give you plenty of other viewpoints.

Additionally, while it's true that cities do in some ways subsidize rural areas, where do you think your food comes from? Other cities? Around here, stickers reminding us that "farmers feed cities" are quite common. Thank you for reminding me that there are people out there like you who need reminding. Finally, it's very rare for roads/phoneline/internet/etc to lead "nowhere". They lead somewhere, just apparently to areas you don't think are necessary.

Since you're the one painting "small town America" with one wide brush that includes racists, idiots, homophobes and chain store hellscapes, I'll throw that one back to you and state you're the one with the perception problems. The world outside your city is much bigger, and more important, than you seem to make it out to be. There are plenty racists, idiots, homophobes and chain stores in urban environments, and plenty of intelligent, tolerant, and educated people working in small business in small towns and rural communities all across your country.

For the record, I've spent close to a decade living in the US. I've lived in some of the world's largest cities, and worked in and travelled to many more. I feel very fortunate and privileged to now live on a farm in the country. Overall, my quality of life here is better than anywhere else I've lived.

about 4 months ago
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Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

aclarke Re:yeah yeah (368 comments)

Too many of us have had too many of these types of conversations. There's a Biblical parable that starts with "like a dog returns to its vomit".

Here my conversations of this sort generally revolve around Bell Canada. They hate their customers, lie to them, sell them insecure hardware, overcharge them, rope them into contracts, yet people I know won't switch to DSL providers with local tech support, cheaper prices, and no contracts. I can't really understand it either.

about 4 months ago
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Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

aclarke Re:What about Oregon and Washington? (368 comments)

Note that they don't say "we may record this call", they generally state that "this call may be recorded". That sounds to me as much like permission as it does notification.

about 4 months ago
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Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

aclarke Re:What about Oregon and Washington? (368 comments)

I wouldn't even say you need to go that far. "This call may be recorded..." sounds like permission to me. Thanks! I think I WILL record it.

To answer the original poster, I recently switched our home phone to VOIP using voip.ms. I use the iOS app Groundwire to make and receive calls using my mobile phone as one of my methods for using my old land line number. Groundwire has easy one-button recording, with optional beeping to remind the other party that the call is being recorded.

about 4 months ago
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Comcast Confessions

aclarke Similar experience with Rogers yesterday (234 comments)

I needed to find out when a wireless contract ends. Of course they don't seem to show this anywhere on the customer service web portal or on the bill. So, I tried their live chat system. The chat basically went something like this:

Me: I'd like to know when this contract ends.
Rogers: Why would you like to know that?
Me: I'm not interested in going through a dog and pony retentions script rigamarole to qualify why I want to know the answer to the question. When you answer my question, I'll answer yours.
Rogers: I'm sorry, I can't tell you without you giving me a reason why you want to know.
Me (annoyed, so I typed the first thing that entered my head): I'm moving to Albania.
Rogers: I can't give you your contract expiration date. You need to call xxx or go into a store.

Why do these companies hate their customers so much? I had to qualify why I wanted to know in order to even get an answer that she wasn't allowed to answer me? WTF?

about 5 months ago
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Suddenly Visible: Illicit Drugs As Part of Silicon Valley Culture

aclarke Pinched nerves (511 comments)

I'm pretty good at ignoring pain, but when I had a pinched nerve in my neck, I was lying on the ground, writhing in pain, practically screaming. It was terrible. Three days later I was in surgery. I'm not sure that level of pain deserves breaking out the Spinal Tap Scale, but it's the worst pain I've experienced in my life.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Future-Proof Jobs?

aclarke That's just understood (509 comments)

If I got a 3% (or really > 1%) discount using cash, I'd probably use it. As it is, I usually don't get that discount so I use my credit card, where I DO get the discount.

In cases where I'm buying from a person I know well, or a business i paritcularly want to support, I'll often pay cash to help them out a little extra. If I'm buying from BigCorp, I'd rather give myself 1% than give them 2%.

I would imagine that most of us understand this concept, that the money used to pay for rewards are coming from the fees that the credit card companies charge vendors.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

aclarke Small enough, track workouts without phone present (427 comments)

I'm considering replacing my iPhone 4 with something bigger, as my eyes are getting worse. If I get a larger phone, I'm not going to want to take it with me as much when I'm running or skiing. Give me something that can still track my workouts without my phone being present, and isn't stupid large and I might consider it. It also needs to be reasonably inexpensive, durable, waterproof, and have battery life long enough that it won't always be out of batteries when I go to wear it.

about 6 months ago
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Land Rover Demos "Transparent Hood"

aclarke Re:invisible hood is "beyond criticism" (172 comments)

Do you actually drive off-road? This addresses a real issue, which is how to safely straddle obstacles in the road to protect your undercarraige. You may only see Land Rovers driven by "soccer moms", but they are one of the few companies producing vehicles that can genuinely be driven off-road.

I'm a curmudgeon driving an '80s Land Rover completely devoid of computers, but I have a large and increasing amount of respect for the capabilities of new Land Rovers.

about 8 months ago
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Land Rover Demos "Transparent Hood"

aclarke Rocks (172 comments)

The other advantage is where you place an obstacle under your vehicle. If there's a large sharp rock, you want to drive over it such that it doesn't rip open your differential, for example. Now, all modern Land Rovers have independent suspension, but you still want to be straddling obstacles in the safest way possible.

about 8 months ago
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3D Printing: Have You Taken the Plunge Yet? Planning To?

aclarke Parts are too small (251 comments)

Anything I can think of wanting to spend the time designing and printing is too big to fit in hobbyist printers. I thought about printing a replacement dash for my '80s Land Rover. Clearly even breaking that into pieces it was going to be too big for most printers. Then I looked at the cost of having it made, and decided I'd rather just go to a metal shop and have them bend something up for me out of stainless steel or aluminium.

Then I just puit my crappy old dash back in.

about 9 months ago

Submissions

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Canadian computer security professional arrested

aclarke aclarke writes  |  more than 4 years ago

aclarke writes "CBC News reports that Byron Sonne, a Toronto-based computer security specialist, has been charged with explosives and weapons offences in what police are calling a G20-related arrest.

According to The Star, Internet strategist and CBC contributor Jesse Hirsh said he met Sonne once in May when both men attended a Surveillance Club meeting, a monthly gathering of professors, artists and activists "interested in the democratic regulation of surveillance technology and practice," according to its website.

Hirsh also said Sonne told a May meeting of activists and professors that he planned to monitor police chatter about the G-20 summit and post it on Twitter. He also said he would buy items online to attract police attention.

"He was trying to essentially provoke a response," Hirsh said. Hirsh said Sonne wanted the public to know "the extent to which the $1 billion plus security bill was being spent here." Sonne appeared in court June 23, although a publication ban has been placed on that appearance."
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aclarke aclarke writes  |  about 8 years ago

aclarke (307017) writes "From CNET: CNET editor James Kim, his wife Kati, and his two daughters, Penelope and Sabine, are missing. We're hoping and praying for their safe return, and we'd like your help. If you have any information about the Kims' whereabouts, please call the San Francisco police at 415-558-5508 during business hours and at 415-553-1071 after hours. You can also contact the Portland Police Bureau's Missing Persons Unit at 503-823-0446. For more information, including photos of James and his family, please read the story."

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