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New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

alexander_686 Re:Not a problem... (242 comments)

We can debate if cities have higher crime or not. People in cities tend to live longer lives - at least in developed countries. So I am not sure what to make of your dirtier and dangerous point.

On innovation you are dead wrong. On almost every metric that I can think of - number of patents filed, research papers published, holders of advanced degrees, number of new business – on a per capita basis – cities do better than rural areas, and Big cities do better than medium sized cities.

As for having neighbors – you are correct - you can't blast death metal at 3 a.m. That is a point for rural areas.

8 hours ago
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New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

alexander_686 Re:Not a problem... (242 comments)

I think both of you are using the wrong metric.

I suspect that the population density in the Midwest is lower than the Northeast. More importantly, for most of the Midwest, population density has been falling for the past 100 years even though the population has been growing. If that makes you scratch your head, just realize that 80% of farm and small town children find farming and small town life to be boring and low pay. IIRC, population in South Dakota has been falling in all but 5 counties – the counties with big cities.

Which leads me to my 2 points.

First, the Midwest is not really that empty. The white man has already stolen all of the good land from the red man and has filled it up with farms. It might be sparsely populated, but the tractor has made it as productive as it can be. Adding more people won't help. Adding biotech and robots will. (And let's face it, a tractor that can drive itself is almost a robot even if there is a person in the cab.)

Second, the issue is not space. We don't want to cramp people into the empty Midwest, we want to cram them into cities. Thanks to networking effects city folk tend to be more productive. Cities also tend to be more efficient users of resources. Of course managing megacities in more complex, involving strong social structures (i.e. rule of law, not corruption), sophistication (i.e. education), and dedicated citizens (i.e. democracy).

9 hours ago
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FCC Chairman: Americans Shouldn't Subsidize Internet Service Under 10Mbps

alexander_686 Re: I never thought I'd say this... (281 comments)

Let me put a finer point on that. Whenever you subside a product you
        Take money away from the average person (Boo!)
        Give some fraction of the subsidy to the buyer (In this case, poor people. Yeah!)
        The rest goes to the buyer (In this case, A large monopoly that does not it. Boo!)

The way subsidizes are structured matters. I suspect that under this plan the monopoly will grab the majority of the benifit. In higher education, grants mainly benefit students – colleges tend not to jack tuition in these cases. Subsidize student loans however mainly benefit the college – they can jack up tuition and grab a larger fraction of the subsidy.

Not sure what the right answer here is, but this is one case where I as a free market person favors turning the last mile to homeowners over to the city. Or a co-op – that would be even better.

12 hours ago
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Airbnb To Start Collecting Hotel Tax On Rentals In San Francisco

alexander_686 Re:14%? What a f***ing ripoff (71 comments)

The fact that non-voters are paying the big is a big piece.

Another piece is that "tourist" or "convention" taxes go back into providing services that tourist or convention goers use. Somebody has to pay to clean up the "free" beaches. The argument goes that those hotels are bars would not exist if the convention center did not exist. Or at least that is the fig leaf that is used.

yesterday
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

alexander_686 Re:WTF? (924 comments)

I am not confusing correlation with causation. There are causal links.

For example, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all encourage literacy and abstract though. Without those you can't read the holy book.

It also can promote it indirectly. If you are running off of a lunar calendar, you are going to need astronomy, and if you have astronomy you are going to need math. If you are a proselytizing religion, with plans to run to a global empire, you are going to navigation and accounting – more math.

If you are a pretentious group that wants to conquer the world using the internet and explosive, you are going to need to know math and chemistry – another banned subject.

Or maybe I think radical nut jobs are smarter than I think they are.

yesterday
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

alexander_686 Re:WTF? (924 comments)

That is true if the person had only daughters and sons by a single, was widowed, an only child, did not have grandkids, and was an orphan. Parents, siblings, half-siblings, grandchildren, and wives all have a claim. When you have polygamy, with multiple wives and kids over decades, things get crazily complex. It makes the issues of America's "blended families" seem simple.

As a point of reference – though not exactly on point – try to figure out who the next king of Saudi Arabia is. IIRC there are 700 first cousins that are in line for the throne.

yesterday
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

alexander_686 Re:WTF? (924 comments)

It is a little unexpected.

Islam, but obviously not this particular splinter, has a long and glorious history of cultivating math and science. Specifically, they invented some aspects of linear algebra to solve inheritance issue – the Koran is very specific on how much the various wives and children get.

yesterday
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New Global Plan Would Crack Down On Corporate Tax Avoidance

alexander_686 Re:double non-taxation (317 comments)

You are way off on this.

First,

It takes advantage of weakness in Irish law that allows companies to not pay taxes on subsidiaries that are outside Ireland.

IIRC, the US, Ethopia, and Eritrea are the only countries that charge taxes on foreign subsidiaries, so it is not a weakness exculsive to Ireland. And if you think about it, it is rational not to tax the foreign subsidiary. If a profit is earned in country X, country X shoudl get the tax. If not you get the complex and ineffectual of the US.

Second, what you are talking about about abusive transfer payments, not about the "Double Irish", which this treaty is trying to fix. Ireland is not some great "loop hole", just low taxes. And by "Double Irish" I think you really mean the "Double Dutch", which requires a Irish and Dutch subsidary - they recognize income differently. This is, since they have different standards on when to declare income from whom they can structure income so it is never recognized by the tax authority. That is a true loop hole.

2 days ago
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Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Maker Mojang For $2.5 Billion

alexander_686 Re:Ads (326 comments)

Maybe when MSFT was young and desktops were new, but can you give me an example in the past 10 years? Past 20? Nook, Nokia, Skype? None of these have been a home run. MSFT has been growing been very slow over the past 10 years. IIRC, MSFT stock price has been growing slower than the S&P average. (It's late so I am not looking it up.)

3 days ago
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Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Maker Mojang For $2.5 Billion

alexander_686 Re:Ads (326 comments)

I think Minecraft has "legs" and will be around for a while. Longer than Farmville 2, less than Legos.

But I do think it says something about Microsoft. They are having a hard time growing organically, which is the curse of many large mature companies. These companies tend to expand by buyouts and mergers, which we are seeing here. Buyouts and mergers have a poor history of returns on investments.

I think Microsoft is trying for a single or double and not a home run. Maybe a 25% return over 5 years.

3 days ago
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Direct Sales OK Baked Into Nevada's $1.3 Billion Incentive Deal With Tesla

alexander_686 Re:Why is this legal in the U.S.? (149 comments)

I would like to know which country you are talking about. Two other points.

First, there is a very thin line on helping an industry and helping out a specific company. I can think of many examples where a countries industrial policy to help an industry ends up only helping a single company.

Second, take a look some of the big projects in your country. I bet we could find some accommodations, in particular with infrastructure. For example, Tesla needs a road so Nevada is going to build it but it is not like Tesla is going to have exclusive use of it. Roads, rail, water, sewer, etc. are all common. Stuff like this I can kind of approve of – it is a chicken and the egg problem.

As an aside, I tend to think industrial policy is self-defeating and a waste of taxpayer's money. In America, it tends to be states racing to the lowest level.

about a week ago
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Top EU Court: Libraries Can Digitize Books Without Publishers' Permission

alexander_686 Re:Fair Use (102 comments)

You might want to reread your link. Free public libraries came into being after copyright. Before then, the libraries where state (restricted to officials) or subscription (think Blockbuster). It is one of the great inventions of America, Ben Franklin, and Andrew Carnegie. They existed, but before this they were as rare as hen's teeth.

about a week ago
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China Targets 2022 For Space Station Completion

alexander_686 Re:It is called the trickle down effect (100 comments)

But less than you think because we are talking about strong probabblities.

IIRC S. Korea has 70%+ of the market share for LCD screens, while Japan comes in second. Together they control over 95% of the market. The glass is similar, the US has 70% market share, while Japan comes in second.

We know where most of the foundaries are. We can debate where the various CPU, memory, and other control chips come from. We know the CPUs can't come from China. With the other chips, China is low in the league tables.

Etc.

about a week ago
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China Targets 2022 For Space Station Completion

alexander_686 Re:It is called the trickle down effect (100 comments)

Lenovo, which oddly means in the US. But let us go a step further.
        The screen was made probabbly made in South Korea, but the glass for that screen in the US.
          The chips were probabbly made in a 1/2 dozen companies. Taiwan (is that part of China?), S. Korea, Japan, and the US are probabbly the biggest ones.
          The plastic probabbly came from the US even if it was molded someplace else.
          A good chunk of the design was also done in the US and other countries.

For all the examples given (except maybe the can food, which I sincerely doubt since China is a net importer of food) China does the low end assembly work. This is changing, but I still think you need to reexamine your point.

about a week ago
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China Targets 2022 For Space Station Completion

alexander_686 Re:It is called the trickle down effect (100 comments)

Define "builds everything we use". China builds (assembles) the iPhone, adding about $3 for a $600 phone. (I know that is retail, but still..)

about a week ago
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China Targets 2022 For Space Station Completion

alexander_686 Re:Gravity Predition Come True (100 comments)

If you pick apart the movie it takes place in the early 2020s.

One clue is the Chinese space station. Another clue is the Shuttle mission number, which would have been a valid number if the shuttles had kept on flying into 2020.

about a week ago
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European Commission Reopens Google Antitrust Investigation

alexander_686 Re:Because it sucks when you can't compete..... (95 comments)

I know of 2 cases where the EU alleged issues:
        Google Maps, where Google put it's own reviews in front of other, like Yelp
        In shopping results, where it put it's shopping search engine before others.

To your point, take a look at what you are saying. If Google ranks it's own services ahead of others, is it because they offer the best service? Google says yes, but then again their biased, so arguing that point is going to be futile.

A better question is if the are they optimizing their algorithms to make it look like their serveries are the best? A analogy might be Microsoft's Explorer. A big issue was not that Microsoft included Explorer in all their copies of Windows, but that Microsoft had optimized Windows so Explorer. i.e. Explorer could make special secret calls to the OS while other bowers could not. If they are that would be a big issue.

about two weeks ago
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European Commission Reopens Google Antitrust Investigation

alexander_686 Re:Because it sucks when you can't compete..... (95 comments)

Yes, there is evidence of this. But it may not be illegal.

Part of the reason is a network effect. As Google brings in more and more information, it gets better at sorting it and finding connections. In the above example, Google knew people were wanting to search on maps so it bought a map outfit and started pouring data in. As it gets better at integrating various sets of data, the better it gets, the more people visit it, the more money it makes, the more data it can buy, and the virtuous cycle goes forth.

Then there is bundling, where Google uses it dominate position to promote it own second rate offerings above better results, tamping down completion.

Then there is jealously and fear at having such a large and powerful corporation outside their realm.

about two weeks ago
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Alibaba's US IPO Could Top $20 Billion

alexander_686 Re:The end of TWO bubbles (97 comments)

I would not say that. Yes, China's growth rate has fallen from 10% to 7%, but that is still higher than the West's 2%.

And yes, China is horrible misallocating resources and I reckon that when the bubble busts it will take the wind out of Alibaba's sails. But that is a argument for slower growth, not a falling stock price. (It could, you just need to build out your argument.)

As for shorting this piggy, as somebody who lived though the Dot.com crash seeing people do this first hand, I will point out that the markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent. Take care.

about two weeks ago
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Tesla's Next Auto-Dealer Battleground State: Georgia

alexander_686 Re:Franchise laws = Racket laws (157 comments)

I would take the opposite view. GM had a large number of inflexible costs. Old underutilized factories that they could not close, redundant union employees that could not fire, and a huge number of small unprofitable dealerships. The state franchise laws were so strong that the only way to fire these unprofitable customers was to dealer bankruptcy.
GM and Toyota have roughly the same market share but GM had twice as many dealers. In the 60s GM had over 50% of the market share, so it made sense to have 7 brands, and thousands of dealerships. Plus Americans were more rural and spread out. By 2010 having that many dealerships was irrational, but state franchise law limited what GM could do.

It made sense for the individual dealership to hold on – why give away a valuable franchise for nothing? And GM did not have the money to buy them out – even a marginal franchise is worth a million. But the collective actions were an anchor around GM's neck.

You could see GM moving in the right direction in 2000-2010, transforming themselves from a huge slow moving dinosaur into something for the modern age, but they just could not move fast enough.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Microsoft to Buy Nokia's Devices Unit for $7.2 Billion

alexander_686 alexander_686 writes  |  1 year,15 days

alexander_686 (957440) writes "On the heels of CEO Steve Ballmer announcing his resignation, it looks like Microsoft is going to be buying Nokia’s handset unit. Nokia is currently a big cheerleader for the Window’s 8 phone. Stephen Elop was a Microsoft employee, then Nokia’s CEO, and is now stepping down. He will be the head of the handset division after the sale is finial. Elop is the current front runner to replace Ballmer when he steps down in a year."
Link to Original Source
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Microsoft may invest $1B-$3B in Dell buyout

alexander_686 alexander_686 writes  |  about a year and a half ago

alexander_686 (957440) writes "We have talked about Michele Dell In Buyout Talks With Private-Equity Firms

Now the Talk is that Microsoft may invest 1 to 3 billion. I personally doubt Microsoft is going for majority ownership but it would be a significant stake. Dell is worth around 22b to 25b. Speculation is that investors would put up 5 to 7b in equity, borrowing the rest. You can do the math to determine the ownership percentage. As a point of reference, Michele Dell’s stock is worth 3.6b

We know about Microsoft’s relationship with Nokia – both in terms of ownership, swap of key personal, and the Window’s phone. Is this a repeat?"

Link to Original Source
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AT&T- Verizon collude to offer poor service

alexander_686 alexander_686 writes  |  about a year and a half ago

alexander_686 writes "I recently found a very good about article How AT&T and Verizon Manipulate Your Smartphone by Susan Crawford. It’s the 2nd excerpt from her book “Captive Audience.”

The two kinds of Internet-access carriers, wired and wireless, have found they can operate without competing with each other. The cable industry and AT&T- Verizon have divided up the world much as Comcast and Time Warner did; only instead of, “You take Philadelphia, I’ll take Minneapolis,” it’s, “You take wired, I’ll take wireless.”

I am a free market type of guy. I do recognize the abuse that can come from natural monopolies that utilities tend to have, but I have never considered this type of collusion before."
Link to Original Source

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SEC investigates Netflix CEO Reed Hastings over Facebook Posting

alexander_686 alexander_686 writes  |  about 2 years ago

alexander_686 (957440) writes "SEC investigates Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on Facebook Posting

Hastings said in the filing the SEC is questioning his July 1 Facebook posting, seen by 200,000 followers, in which he said customers watched “over 1 billion hours” of videos on Netflix in June. He had previously posted on his company blog that members were viewing “nearly a billion hours per month.”

Rarely, outside of Carl Sagan, have I heard people saying that one billion not significant."

Link to Original Source
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Knight Trading Losses

alexander_686 alexander_686 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

alexander_686 writes "Apparently old code never dies – it comes back to haunt you.

From Bloomberg, "Knight Capital Group Inc. (KCG)’s $440 million trading loss stemmed from an old set of computer software that was inadvertently reactivated when a new program was installed, according to two people briefed on the matter.""

Link to Original Source
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Harvard and MIT to provided online classes

alexander_686 alexander_686 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

alexander_686 writes "Harvard and MIT are launching edX with 60 million dollars to offer “low fee” online classes. No word yet on classes offered or who will be teaching. No college credit but certificates will be offered.

The technology used will be open source. Other institutions will be invited at a later date.

I hope low cost means low cost. (Under $25) I have really enjoyed the Stanford University free online classes."

Link to Original Source
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The Nook: From Android to Windows?

alexander_686 alexander_686 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

alexander_686 writes "It looks like Microsoft is buying a large chunk of Barnes & Noble, specifically the Nook and it’s college businesses. While nobody has said anything specific, I think the writing is on the wall on what the next OS system for the next nook is going to be."
Link to Original Source

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