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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

hierofalcon Re:Three things you can tax, and consumption is ba (832 comments)

Of all your bullet points, the only one that has any hint of truth is "The wealthy can call up government officials and get stuff done, the poor can't."

Everything else is - well - I just don't know what to call it. The poor don't benefit from transportation? Where do you think the things they buy come from? Very few poor have enough space to grow or raise their own food, just to state an obvious problem with that. The poor don't care if their house burns down? Wow. I just don't know what to say to that. The poor don't benefit from police? The rich hire their own private security. It is the non-rich that receive almost all the benefit from the police.

I care very much about right and wrong, thank you. Fair means that everyone has the same chance to do well. I do agree with you there. My proposal doesn't affect that at all either. All it does is guarantee that if you do the work and do well, you get to keep the fruits of your labor. Everybody does. Those just starting, and those who are well established. Believe me - those just starting will see far more benefit to that than somebody who has inherited billions. I don't expect to inherit much, if anything, from my parents. When I invest money that I have earned, and been taxed on, it would be really nice to not have another chunk of it confiscated. If I worked hard, went to college, didn't spend tons of money on wine, women, and song, then why should I have to continue to pay more taxes when money I have earned is put to work and makes more? Things like that are just as unfair as the entitlement social system you espouse.

I haven't talked about the government outlays much at all. I'm not saying that we should not help the poor. I'm not saying we should shred their safety nets and send them to poor houses. I am saying that governments at all levels are spending more than they are taking in and that needs to be balanced and at a much lower level. Whether social or military or other spending is reduced to make that possible is a completely separate discussion and doesn't impact how the government collects its revenue at all.

I also care very much about the future of the country, and firmly fear that the future is dire for my children with the rampant spending and entitlements that are being doled out. It is rapidly reaching the point where the percentage of people who vote and are beholden to the government will cross 50% (if not there already) and they'll be able to vote in people who will promise them more and more till we all go up in flames. The spending has to be reduced some way. This may not be the best way, but unless you can show me a better way to put the brakes to it with some of your favored tax plans, I'll stick with mine.

There isn't enough money scattered among all the rich of the world to cover the cost of the federal government for much of a year's operation - even if you take it all. There is no fairness to saying it is ok to confiscate one person's money over another person. That is simply wrong. The concept that the rich benefit more than the poor from government is wrong on its face. There may not be 100% equality, but it is far from being skewed to the extent you think it is.

5 days ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

hierofalcon Re:Three things you can tax, and consumption is ba (832 comments)

Yes, I have. The numbers are large, but only under the assumption that nothing changes - that life in government goes on as usual. Since my family is bigger than 4, it would be particularly bad for me. My point is that the only way to change usual is to actually go to something like this.

Everything being bandied about where the politicians can carve out exceptions for the favored or pick consumptive rates based on how it would affect them will fail. I firmly believe that at every level of government, the spending would be reduced and reduced quickly and dramatically. That may mean that park and museum entrance fees would go up. It might mean that we give less money away to allies. It might really mean that we stop being the world's policemen (at least on our dime). None of these things would be particularly bad in my opinion. There would definitely be costs for service where there weren't before, but I happen to approve of people who use services being the ones paying for them.

Reducing prices (via eliminating corporate and sales taxes) would also mean that you'd have more money to work with.

I do agree that the transition would be huge. But ultimately, it would work. If government didn't change, there'd be a revolution much the same as when we broke off from England. Whether that is coming anyway is anybody's guess.

5 days ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

hierofalcon Three things you can tax, and consumption is bad (832 comments)

You forgot a simple head tax. One head tax based on your place of residence (or split among localities if you have more than one residence over the tax period based on time spent at each). There'd be one of these for city, county, state, and federal paid once a year. Pay one each quarter so they aren't all due at once. No other taxes other than severance taxes and perhaps excise taxes. No vehicle license taxes, no boat taxes, no property taxes, no sales taxes. Nothing else. No corporate income taxes. They really don't matter anyway as far as the corporation is concerned. They're charged off in the price of the products sold or the company goes broke. Every company in the food chain marks the taxes of the lower company in the food chain up to achieve a desired profit margin so they're especially bad. Just make sure that the taxes they no longer have to pay are taken out of the pricing structure as the taxed round of goods are sold. Apply the head tax without any age limit and make parents responsible for their kids taxes till they get to voting age.

Adjust each rate once a year to cover the expected budget for next year and how you did the year before and in some cases to try to reduce the existing debt to saner levels over some predetermined time period. Takes care of eliminating a lot of law, a lot of law breakers, and a lot of law enforcers in one fell swoop. No more grey transactions. No more figuring out ways to hide money. No real good way to cheat (although there might have to be a way to track the homeless or people living in motels or hotels or RV or campsites while working - still easier than the shelves of IRS regulations we have now.) Apply it to everyone permanently in the country (legally or illegally). It's foreigner friendly since foreign tourists wouldn't have to pay sales taxes.

Everything else is just hand waving and hoping. Until everyone - and I mean everyone - is paying for the government and its services, so they will have some incentive to actually elect good people to office who won't run the (fill in the blank for the level of government) into the ground by spending more than they are taking in and will reign in their over use of government services, we're doomed.

The more social engineering that people try to do to this basic premise, the worse off we all as a whole get. If you don't believe it, just look at the US real time debt clock. The founding fathers had it right.

Is it tough on big families? Yes it is. Is it tough on the poor? Yes it is. But it is absolutely fair. And for the record - I feel neither poor nor rich, but I do have a big family, and I'd still support it.

5 days ago
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Despite Push From Tech Giants, AP CS Exam Counts Don't Budge Much In Most States

hierofalcon Is this really an important fact? (144 comments)

The Slashdot hated coal mining industry and oil industries (and a few other mineral concerns) contribute a lot to the budget. We do better than most due to that. A lot of kids take the IB route at one of the high schools in Casper (which also offers several AP courses). It's tough to do both IB diploma and AP. There aren't enough hours in the day for IB and much of anything else.

The small population does factor in greatly though. Only the larger cities (large being relative) have enough students to be able to provide a very wide range of AP and IB high school classes. A lot of kids make use of a BOCES program to take college courses during high school. The credits earned count in both high school and college. It's a good deal for some of the smaller towns and as long as you get a decent grade the cost is free to the student. Some of the advanced kids may not get to take an AP exam, but they may graduate high school with the equivalent college credits already under their belt due to that.

about two weeks ago
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Systemd Adding Its Own Console To Linux Systems

hierofalcon Why do people care so much? (771 comments)

Well, it's pretty simple. init had quirks - just like any other software. But they were well known.

I wouldn't care about the switch if everything worked in a systemd environment. Unfortunately, they haven't gotten all the possible software relationships figured out for what depends on what, and since it tries to start everything it can as fast as it thinks it can, system services don't start properly in some cases. It is hard to patch things so they work right since when the next systemd update comes out it rewrites the service policies, so if they didn't agree with your environment, you get to patch again. At times there have been enough changes under the hood that old patches don't work right. My approach was to move all the service start-ups to rc.local with appropriate sleeps or pings to attempt to ensure hardware a particular system relies on is running. Ugly and imperfect and probably prone to blow up in my face eventually, but my start up times are back down to a reliable 30 to 40 seconds instead of minutes - with the emphasis on reliable. Just reused the old init script numbering order to set up the service start order in rc.local and voila - it works. Can't tell you how many service network restarts systemd was trying on a couple of boxes before it finally could get started, but it was more than one. AARGH.

I'm sure in several years systemd will be as reliable as init was. Or they can add their own network stack and I/O handlers after they get the latest useless console functionality working and jettison the kernel. But the real gripe I have is they're worrying about things like the console before getting what they have working as rock solid as init was. Same gripe with Network Manager. It's great for a laptop with wireless or wired only. But the trunk and VLAN handling was an afterthought. It's gotten better, but that all should have been working BEFORE shipping the first test release to the users.

about two weeks ago
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New Computer Model Predicts Impact of Yellowstone Volcano Eruption

hierofalcon Re:If yellow stone blows (121 comments)

No, not the rapture. But it could create conditions that are described in passages of Revelation post-Rapture.

about 1 month ago
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Wyoming Is First State To Reject Science Standards Over Climate Change

hierofalcon Re:Don't recognize those diplomas (661 comments)

SAT, ACT, IB, and AP exams already provide that function for universities.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Practical Alternatives To Systemd?

hierofalcon rc.local (533 comments)

Disable all services possible so systemd doesn't try to do anything with them. In my case, that means basically everything, including the graphical desktop. In rc.local, add in your own service start calls in the approved order from an old Fedora or CentOS version. Generally, even if you use the service blah start command which does the same calls to systemd core functions that the whole systemd launch should be doing on its own, rather than coding the commands directly, I've found that systemd functions start much better from rc.local than whatever zombified magic it tries to do based on its own dependency tree.

Maybe it doesn't matter so much if you're able to use network manager, or are not starting any outside facing services. If you have a complicated network and are still using the network service because NM hasn't been completed yet, then it is really easy to get into loops as it tries to start things that depend on network when it isn't really there yet.

Yes, these are dependency bugs that should be fixed. If I had time, I'd file some bug reports. But most of my bug reports languish till the Fedora release expires and they can expunge them with won't fix, and pessimist that I am, I assume this will be particularly true with the mess that is systemd. Really, they should just be able to enable all available services on their own and see if the system boots. It shouldn't take any of our time writing bug reports at all. Sure they might have to repeat the tests with each different mail server, web server, and the like, but the fix should be about the same for each.

Just doing the ordering basically myself using old standard Linux order for the services that I need to run gets my boots to be reliable and drops the boot times down by minutes (as most things expire after 5 minutes if there is no network otherwise).

about 5 months ago
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The First Open Ranking of the World Wide Web Is Available

hierofalcon Re:Nothing there... (53 comments)

Works in firefox, doesn't work in chrome. YMMV

about 8 months ago
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Creationism In Texas Public Schools

hierofalcon Re:Biology workbook (770 comments)

The Bible records ~6,000 years of history from Adam on. The Bible does not declare that the Earth is ~6,000 years old.

about 9 months ago
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Hackers Gain "Full Control" of Critical SCADA Systems

hierofalcon Re: Why the hell (195 comments)

Supervisory control and data acquisition.

The air-gapped computer isn't "plugged with epoxy" The data acquisition part can come from many sources, but usually an internal network on the side being monitored - either the normal private network you think of today via copper or fiber with private IP space, or another telemetry data link (cell phone, radio and repeaters or the like used as the transport mechanism). In some cases it directly feeds into cards on the back plane of the computer doing the SCADA operation but this isn't seen as often anymore.

Regardless, the number of computers that are truly air-gapped from the real world is growing smaller by the day because corporate doesn't want that. The whole "just in time" philosophy also applies to SCADA systems. The want their production figures, product on hand, supply levels, maintenance reports and all fed back to the corporate mainframes ASAP so they can do a better job of pricing and hedging and increase the profit margin by .001%.

There are also fewer small operators. Too many companies have been bought out by the big boys who have experts, but not enough experts to be everywhere at once. So SCADA is used to bring the data to the experts so they can maximize the production of every place.

While they wouldn't hire every expert available as that would decrease their profit, they would hire more if they could. But the reality is that there are a lot of experts who are retiring and there aren't enough new graduates in the required fields to make up for the drop. So the analysis gets centralized or outsourced or both. The same SCADA plant that used to present the data to local experts years ago, may now be sending the data around the world to where the experts (and cheaper experts at that) now live.

It's going to be nasty when it all comes crashing down.

about 9 months ago
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Bill Nye To Debate Creationist Museum Founder Ken Ham

hierofalcon Re:Bad call (611 comments)

I suspect that there will be many who have been disillusioned by religion who end up in heaven, and many strict adherents of organized religion who will be wondering what happened when Christ makes His next appearance in the clouds.

I'm sorry you had a bad experience. I have certainly had some good and some bad experiences myself over the many years, but I have chosen to stick with a body of believers for support and friendship and try to work wherever I can to make our particular local spot better - that's all I can really affect. There is strength in numbers, both for prayer and emotional support. I'd ask you pray about whether God wishes you to seek out a group and if so which one. He'll lead you to one that is right for you.

Your last sentence was spot on. Peace!

about 10 months ago
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Bill Nye To Debate Creationist Museum Founder Ken Ham

hierofalcon Re:Waste of Time (611 comments)

If you read the Bible, the Old Testament and Gospels are full of historical reports of events where a different than normally expected outcome occurred because of the existence of God. Either God, or angels at the direction of God intervened in particular situations and altered the outcomes of wars, exacted judgment on those who chose to worship idols (either the Israeli or foreign people), raised people from the dead, healed people, broke people out of prison, warned people to leave certain places because of impending doom,.... the list is extremely long. The events are recorded by those who were present.

The problem is, none of these events are repeatable - so you choose to dismiss them all without a thought. While they may not meet a scientific standard that all slashdotter's are so fond of, the repeated interventions, taken as a whole, do point to an existing God.

So the next argument is that the whole Bible is just made up. Yet I can point to miracles and healing going on today. They are also not repeatable, but if you dismiss them because of that, you are being willfully ignorant of evidence that does point to the God described in the Bible.

Our church runs a food pantry. The cold storage is locked. We purchased a fixed number of hams to give out last year over the holidays. With no more purchases, and locked cold storage, we gave out by count a greater number of hams than were purchased. When the locked fridge was checked the next morning after having no hams in it when the distribution day was done, there were more hams inside. Not repeatable, and you'll decry that someone is just playing games, and I can't change that, but it did happen.

My wife was seen by doctors and was referred to a specialist to pick which of two problems the doctor thought she had. The problem was visible, degenerative, and neither was something there was a treatment for - they would just manage it differently depending on what the specialist said. Before going to the specialist, we went up and a lay person prayed for her. She came back immediately fine and has been fine for several years since. Again - not repeatable so you won't like it, but it did happen, just as the Bible promised.

God doesn't do everything we ask. Sometimes He does things that are good that we don't ask Him for. But we do observe outcomes that are not possible outside of a God working in the universe. Today. In the present.

The two I mentioned happened to people I personally know. I suspect that miracles and healings are happening in churches all over the world from time to time. The thing is, most Christians figure everybody has the Bible and if they refuse to believe what it says, why stick our necks out and get beat up verbally or in words for our own experiences. Or maybe we've tried a few times and decided what's the point.

For the record, I'm a literal Bible sort of guy. I just read it a bit more carefully than most and read the seven day description as a restoration to a habitable state after Lucifer's downfall rather than the original creation that is recorded in Gen 1:1. It works better with all the commands to replenish the earth, the different Hebrew words used for create and make, and many other things. It also handles the Greek New Testament social order references where an old social order is said to be overthrown and another new one put into being relating to Adam and Eve in the Gospels.. The reference to the social order in 2 Pet 3 perishing also makes sense if you believe in a pre-Adamite world ruled by Lucifer as the social order didn't cease in Noah's flood.

That leaves room for the possibility of evolution going on between Gen 1:1 and the time of the judgment of Lucifer - God just started over in all or part of the world after that judgment and that is what is described in the remainder of Gen. 1 after the "toho va bohu" moment in Gen. 1:2. The restoration could have been quick - affecting only one planet. Whether evolution occurred or not, or whether it was just God having fun trying new beasties is really not relevant to the Bible or the belief system of Christians. The creation story is a very, very small token piece of the Bible. While it is useful to understand, it won't affect your salvation one way or another.

about 10 months ago
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New Study Shows One-Third of Americans Don't Believe In Evolution

hierofalcon Re:And this is somehow supposed to be a surprise? (1010 comments)

Unfortunately, the new pope isn't the gatekeeper. I seem to remember something from Matthew about "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

about 10 months ago
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Bitcoin Exchange Value Halves After Chinese Ban

hierofalcon Big ticket items (475 comments)

Glad I didn't just sell a car for bitcoins

about 10 months ago
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EU Plastic Bag Debate Highlights a Wider Global Problem

hierofalcon Re:But what about my trash (470 comments)

Its all a conspiracy / major government lobbying effort by the plastic garbage trash can liner people and the cloth bag manufacturers to increase their sales.

I personally hate most of the plastic liner bags my wife buys. They tend to rip much more easily than the plastic shopping bags and they frequently don't have the handy handles to tie them up with. I try to reuse the plastic bags from grocery shopping whenever I can. Anytime you can do double duty with one product its a win in my book.

about a year ago
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Should the US Copy Switzerland and Consider a 'Maximum Wage' Ratio?

hierofalcon Re:Ludicrous Douche (1216 comments)

I hate to break it to you, but payments in stock really don't work either.

Most such payments are structured so that they get their stock options based on some performance measure. The problem is that the performance measure is continually tweaked so eventually they get their options. They either select different thresholds due to "economic" problems or adjust the mix of companies they compare themselves to so they look better. Unless you force the companies named officers to hold the stock they are paid in for a long time, there is a built in failure mode as they can just sell their stock. And, whether we like it or not, disallowing people to spend their paycheck as they see fit and when they want to - even if it is obscenely large - is just wrong.

I'd much prefer them to get paid only in dollars - no benefits of any sort that every employee in the company isn't also entitled to, no stock options, nothing except pure hard cash. Then apply the ratios. Let the employees see just how bad it is.

If you really want to change things, then start buying company stock directly and vote the proxies you get. Don't invest in mutual funds. Almost all of company proxies have approval options for the stock incentive plans and pay of named executives now. If there is a problem with how a particular company is run, vote against the plans, the pay, and any director who seems to be a problem. Until enough individual investors start picking their own stocks again, it is an uphill battle, but there are votes you can make as a stock investor that are sometimes enough to get noticed and get things changed at companies.

about a year ago
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I typically visit a doctor (for medical reasons) ...

hierofalcon Lots of types of doctors (415 comments)

Yearly trip to the dentist - or so. Yearly trip to the eye doctor - or so. Even without being sick, 1 or 2 would seem reasonable. And of course, there's always the vet.

1 year,6 days
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Why Are Some Hell-Bent On Teaching Intelligent Design?

hierofalcon Re:God of the Gaps (1293 comments)

I'm sorry that you have had bad experiences with religions. For what it is worth, I have seen good pastors and less good pastors in my lifetime in mostly smaller towns but no bad pastors. Even the pastors I didn't feel were doing a very good job though were not getting rich in their job and I wouldn't trade places with them.

The ones I have known would an did go to the hospital at any hour of the day or night to meet with someone in their congregation (or for those who volunteered as a chaplain for the police or fire departments for anyone the officials called them about - car crashes, deaths, et cetera). They would help people move or clean up after problems (whether illness or flood or plumbing or whatever) for no additional compensation.

Their families frequently saw as little of them as those families of CEOs do today - leading to all the same stresses with nobody to turn to. For every "huckster" you have seen, there are a couple of orders of magnitude greater just serving and pressing on. You just rarely hear about them.

The thing is, I go to church for fellowship and to hear what God is speaking to His people about today. I wouldn't have to do that to hear what He is telling me today, but it is good to hear what He is speaking to the body today as well. I would miss that if I just tuned out all religion because of a few bad apples that are out there. There is a place He wants you to be - I am certain of this. Listen closely to your "conscience" tonight, peruse the yellow pages, and try again. If you go looking for a perfect man - be it pastor, priest, or other - you will always be disappointed because they are just as human as you or I. But most, I suspect, are actually better than politicians at least! If you go seeking to get closer to God and bring His presence with you, you will have a better experience.

The Bible is all the things you mentioned. The only change I would make to what you said is that the big sin rules between the New and Old Testaments were really only reduced by keeping the sabbath day holy because Jesus was disgusted with what the religious leaders were expecting of their people while rejecting Him (The problems you complain about today aren't new). All the other laws - if you read His sermon on the mount - now have teeth behind them in the New Testament -- You have heard it said ..., but I say unto you ... where what Jesus said was a higher standard than the Old Testament.

It is tough to carry on without a support system. It isn't impossible, but it is difficult. A good church can be a good support system. It isn't as good as the Holy Spirit, but it is good. Try to find one that works for you. Make sure it is based on the Bible. Good luck.

about a year ago

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