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Amazon's Ambitious Bets Pile Up, and Its Losses Swell

hendrips Re:Bullshit (168 comments)

Probably not, actually - this loss is from their global operations, not just their U.S. business. Usually, multinational companies seek to minimize taxes by realizing profit in jurisdictions with low tax rates and costs in jurisdictions with high tax rates, but they usually do not actually under-report profits. CEOs and CFOs don't like jail very much, and tax fraud is one area of the law in the U.S. that's enforced nearly as zealously against the rich and famous as against normal people.

5 days ago
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Amazon Is Testing a $10-Per-Month Ebook Service

hendrips Re:Why? (87 comments)

I can't speak for you, but in my case it's because the selection in my local library system sucks. They continually overspend building fancy new buildings with statues and whatnot, but can't seem to find any money for a wide variety of books to put in them. And let's not even mention the selection of audiobooks.

about two weeks ago
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People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

hendrips Re:No real surprise (710 comments)

When summer starts here in the South, my electric bill goes from ~$50 per month to ~$150 per month. And I already live in a new, relatively small, well insulated house surrounded by lots of shade trees. There's only so much you can do when it's 100 degrees outside.

about two weeks ago
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People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

hendrips Re:It doesn't matter (710 comments)

I've been thinking recently that someone ought to write a book called "The Selfish Bastard's Guide to Saving the Environment." In the abstract, conservation just isn't something I care about - but I do care about saving money, resources, and effort. In practice, I find myself mostly doing what environmentalists want me to, even though I don't care about their cause. After all, the cost of an item is a (rough) proxy for the amount resources going into its production and maintenance.

I didn't decide to own a smallish, well insulated but bland looking house because I wanted to make Al Gore happy, but because I really liked not spending $100,000 extra on a "nicer," bigger, more resource intensive house in the same neighborhood. I didn't decide to use LED light bulbs to save the whales, I did it because I'm lazy and I hate climbing on a ladder to change the lights every 3-6 months.

about two weeks ago
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Hacking a Tesla Model S Could Net $10,000 Prize

hendrips Re:Something missing from the summary (77 comments)

He was talking about an M1 Abrams tank. I have an exceptionally hard time believing that a Tesla is going to do better than a military tank when it comes to running into metal poles.

It helps to figure out if a poster is being facetious before you whip out a self-righteous reply.

about three weeks ago
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Mathematicians Solve the Topological Mystery Behind the "Brazuca" Soccer Ball

hendrips Is it too much to ask... (144 comments)

In an article about a breakthrough in molecular topology, I'm currently seeing, while browsing at 2,

-7 comments about the relative merits of the soccer balls that inspired this discovery,
-6 comments condemning sports fans in general and soccer ball buyers in particular,
-4 comments whining about the fact that the U.S. doesn't have the same regional dialect as the commenter,
-1 terrible almost-pun,
-1 comment that is completely incoherent and incomprehensible,
-1 complaint about religion,

and a grand total of 1 comment about molecular topology. Is is too much to ask that we could have some comments from posters who are interested in, you know, math and science? Here I was getting ready to dredge up all that symmetry and topology that got drilled in to me in grad school. Oh well.

about three weeks ago
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DHS Mistakenly Releases 840 Pages of Critical Infrastructure Documents

hendrips Re:Does anyone get the impression.. (50 comments)

No, I don't. I get the impression that these documents were freely available, unclassified, public information. Or was DHS really trying to keep the location of that big-ass power substation down the street from me a secret?

about three weeks ago
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IeSF Wants International Game Tournaments Segregated By Sex [Updated]

hendrips Re:the real reason? (221 comments)

If you read up on the IeSF, it becomes much more clear what is going on.

-The IeSF is a South Korean organization; it is not Finnish. Ok, technically, it has a number of "member nations," but it is dominated by South Koreans. This tournament in Finland was a local qualifier for a larger international tournament. The local (Finnish) tournament organizers protested against the male-only rule, but couldn't convince the IeSF to relent until the media backlash started.

-The people who run the the IeSF aren't young male hormonal gamers. They are, by and large, middle-aged male executives at media and marketing companies. Their ultimate goal is to become the equivalent of the International Olympic Committee of e-sports, so that their companies can commercialize e-sports in the same way the Olympics were commercialized. However, they haven't been all that successful yet - they don't control any big-name tournaments in any of the games that I follow.

-As I mentioned already, the guys making the rules are older Koreans. I'll quote an interesting anecdote I saw on Ars Technica's comments:

Koreans can be remarkably thoughtlessly sexist (and racist, etc) without thinking about the broader implications. This is highly visible every time you park a car in a modern shopping center - there are reserved spots for women. The parking lanes (marked in pink) are wider and closer to the entrances. These aren't parking spots for expectant mothers or women with small children. These are parking spots for all women, with forethought that they're doing women a favor because they can't park cars as well as men. Westerners see this kind of thing and are instantly offended by the blatant sexism. A Korean will be confused as to why you don't see that women are obviously better off this way.

about a month ago
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California Legalizes Bitcoin

hendrips Re:not generally enforced either (162 comments)

How has it not been enforced? That quote is about limitations on individual state governments, as it comes from Article I, section 10. It says absolutely nothing about the Federal government, which is perfectly entitled to make paper dollars into legal tender.

about 1 month ago
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California Legalizes Bitcoin

hendrips Re:Company scrip returns... (162 comments)

Actually, many companies do issue shares of stock. It's common at many companies to match 401(k) contributions with company stock. If I put in 5% of my salary to my 401(k), and the company matches it with stock, then the company is effectively paying 4.762% of my salary in directly issued stock. Then there's all sorts of other wacky stock-based compensation programs like ESPPs, non-qualified options, restricted stock grants, etc.

And there are some companies that still issue actual shares instead of incentive options, even to executives. I may be wrong, but I have heard that it's fairly common in the utility industry to do restricted stock grants instead of options, because options encourage a level of risk taking that utilities can't handle.

about 1 month ago
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Larry Page: Healthcare Data Mining Could Save 100,000 Lives a Year

hendrips Re:Hey Larry ... (186 comments)

I was not aware that my privacy concerns about Street View or any other Google projects had "melted away." If anything, my concerns have only intensified.

about a month ago
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Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

hendrips Re: Remind my why they are being sued (484 comments)

As a non-UK citizen, all I ever hear about anyone watching in the UK is Hollyoaks, Eastenders, Doctor Who, Top Gear, Midsomer Murders, and Sherlock. I'll grant you Doctor Who is pretty good, but the rest just seems to be roughly the same mix of shows the U.S. has.

Of course, if this is just a problem with my perceptions, I'd be happy to have someone from the UK correct me.

about a month ago
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Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

hendrips Re:One disturbing bit: (484 comments)

He almost certainly means that from a strictly legal standpoint, rather than as a general statement. It's somewhat common for the Supreme Court to put a disclaimer in an opinion stating that the opinion was so narrowly focused that it shouldn't be used as a precedent in other seemingly analogous cases. Presumably, this comment is more of a command to the lower courts, rather than a prediction of the future.

So, if Company X wants to start a business that is similar to, but not exactly the same as, Aereo's business, any legal challenge against Company X would still have to be upheld on its own merit. Challengers couldn't cite this Aereo decision as legally relevant.

Now, whether this ruling will have chilling effects, other than its legal precedent, is a different question.

about a month ago
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The Bursting Social Media Advertising Bubble

hendrips Re:Slashdot should get some editors (254 comments)

Secular as in "generational" or "over long periods of time." It's a perfectly valid use of that word, if a bit uncommon. In fact, that meaning of secular is much, much older than the (non)religious meaning you're thinking of.

about a month ago
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The Bursting Social Media Advertising Bubble

hendrips Re:What do you think "secular" means? (254 comments)

In English, it means "from age to age" or "generational." This meaning is actually older than the meaning you're probably thinking of.

It ultimately comes from the Etruscan word saeculum, via Latin. In Etruscan & Latin, it meant the amount of time needed for a complete renewal of the human population, and if I'm remembering correctly, it was eventually standardized at 110 years.

I believe that all Romance languages use some variant on seculo as their word for century.

about a month ago
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Steve Wozniak Endorses Lessig's Mayday Super PAC

hendrips Re:Major source of corruption is Tax Code not PACs (209 comments)

It's a common misconception to think so, but a flat income tax would either 1) not tax dividends and capital gains at all, or 2) would not tax business income at the corporate level. If both were taxed, then the tax rate on corporate income would be doubled (actually not quite doubled, it would be 2*tax_rate - tax_rate^2) when all other sources of income were taxed only once.

In fact, that's basically what happens now in the U.S.; we tax business income at 35% but capital gains and dividends have a very low tax rate (15% iirc) with many exemptions - you don't have to pay if you buy through an IRA, if you make less than ~$70,000 per year, if you run a retirement fund, etc.

about a month ago
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Washington Redskins Stripped of Trademarks

hendrips Re:Not so fast ... (646 comments)

You may be thinking of Florida State University. They have a well developed relationship with the Seminole tribe. I believe that members of the tribe actually perform at FSU football and baseball games, and the university gives some money to the tribe and its charities as a goodwill gesture. I don't remember other details off the top of my head.

about a month and a half ago
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NADA Is Terrified of Tesla

hendrips Re:Speculation... (455 comments)

Indeed, I moderately dislike Tesla generally and Elon Musk specifically, and I'm neutral on both electric cars and luxury cars. Nevertheless, I'm cheering myself hoarse for Tesla in this fight. I'd cheer equally for just about anyone who would make a similar effort to reduce the amount of sliminess involved in car purchases.

about a month and a half ago

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