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The New 501(c)(3) and the Future of Open Source In the US

larkost They are not a charity (228 comments)

My read of this is that they applied as a charity, but the IRS's definition of a charity requires that you be serving a distinct, disadvantaged group of people. A quick look at the software that Yorba produces (http://yorba.org), does not lead me to believe that their software would particularly benefit any specific disadvantaged groups more than other people.

So by the rules that the IRS is working on, it does appear that they do not qualify as a charity. And to be honest, this is a correct definition, they are not running a charity. Now there is a valid question about whether there should be a method for them to run a non-profit without being taxes, but they are not a charity.

about a month ago
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Surface Pro 3 Has 12" Screen, Intel Inside

larkost Re:Resolution (316 comments)

If you are wiling to go refub, then Apple has just the thing for you, last year's 13inch MacBookAir starting at $779, or this year's starting at $20 more:

http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac/macbook_air/13

about 2 months ago
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SEC Chair On HFT: 'The Markets Are Not Rigged'

larkost Re:Fucking Casuals. (303 comments)

The “within a few seconds of each other” shows that you have not really paid attention here. The problem is that if you are trying to place a single composite order on multiple markets. Unless you time your partial orders to arrive at their respective markets within 10 milliseconds or so, you will find that someone has magicallly swooped in to the markets that got your orders 20 miliseconds later than the others and bought what you were trying to buy and is now offering them for marginally more.

The way that they are doing this is by watching for your orders and predicting that you will go to other markets as well, and then having faster network routes than you can have to all of the markets. While this might not be illegal, it is copletely unfair. And more imporantly this means that people are making money from the markets (sucking money out) without providing anything like a benifit to the market as a whole.

about 3 months ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

larkost Re:Are you kidding (818 comments)

1) There is the nearly-stated assertion that teen pregnecy is on the rise. That is completly wrong, and tenn pregency in the US has been dropping for more than 20 years: http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-health-topics/images/teenbirthsgraph2011.png

I don’t know of anywhere where teen pregnency has been glorified. So since you are wrong on the basic fact I am going to have to call your second assertion there false as well.

2) “Pro-Life is not about the life of hte baby”. You are correct that a fertilized cell is alive and the DNA is human, but the same can be said about the while blood cells in the vial of blood that gets drawn for testing. So that can’t possibly be the test to meet. The real argument here is at what point from fetalized cell to birth does that become worthy of the protections of being a “person”. And there is no clear test for that. The "ends a beating heart” type slogans sound great, but don’t have much actual content in them.

about 3 months ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

larkost Re:Are you kidding (818 comments)

Thank you for being clear about your belifs and views. I happen to disagree with you about a feterilized egg being deserving of the protections of a full person, but this is a clear disagreement rather than the messy one that most abortion debates fall into because both sides can’t recognize the true differences of opinion.

But I do have one quibble: it is not ‘life’ that is at debate here, it is personhood. After all, a tomato has ‘life’ but we don’t usually call the creation or eating of a BLT ‘murder’.

about 3 months ago
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Wozniak To Apple: Consider Building an Android Phone

larkost Re:Yes, quite the cautionary tale indeed. (249 comments)

While your statement about Windows never shipping on a Mac is technically true, the "PC Compatibility Cards for Power Macintosh" cards came really close. They were basically most of a PC on a PCI card using a Pentium processor, so you could have a Windows machine running inside your PowerMac:

http://www.mug.jhmi.edu/mirrors/infoalley/0496/25/pc.html

They came with DOS installed, so you had to instal your own copy of Windows.

about 6 months ago
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Water Plume Detected At Dwarf Planet Ceres

larkost Re:water in sci-fi plots (66 comments)

You are absolutely correct about the water plots in sic-fi being entertaining, but not realistic. Visitors to our solar system would be far more likely either grab icy asteroids from the asteroid belt (lots of them, and they are not at the bottom of a gravity well), or collect hydrogen and oxygen from any one of many sources and make your own. Sucking water off even an undefended planet is unlikely to make sense form an energy perspective.

But on the defense side: anyone with enough technology/experience to be able to cross interstellar space with the idea of fetching something (as opposed to colonization, where a desperate enough group could wing it) would have enough technology to wipe us off the face of the planet so quickly that we would have no chance. But the human race being obliterated by orbital bombardment does not make for entertaining cinema.

about 6 months ago
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Google's Plan To Kill the Corporate Network

larkost Re:how would it work in the real world? (308 comments)

You have this a little wrong. The cost of the computers is trivial in comparison to other things. What you are seeing is that the bean counters are focusing on reducing one specific cost (computer hardware) without taking other costs into consideration (employe productivity). Undoutably this is a case of “penny wise, pound foolish”, and is probably because no-one can write up the other costs into a spreadsheet, so the one number that is easy to define wins.

This is what is wrong with the “if you can measure it, you can mange it” mantra that business schools have been drumming into MBAs for a generation now.

about 8 months ago
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Healthcare.gov Official Resigns, Website Still a Disaster

larkost Re:As an outsider. (559 comments)

How is the ACA/Obamacare price controlls? There are lots of bits to the law, but the two main parts of the law fall into three parts:

1) Setting up marketplaces with clearly defined levels of service (so all of the comparable plans have to meet minimum specs). This takes away much of the complexity that has meant that average people can better judge what they are getting (so adding clarity, which the theory of capitolism takes as an assumption).

2) Sets up a penalty for not having health care insurance. This is effctivly a requirement that everyone have health insurance.

3) Requiring that all plans (on the marketplaces or not) cover certain things (e.g.: pregnancy, or mental health) and bars health insurance providers from discriminating based on pre-existing conditions or certain other attributes (e.g: being a woman).

Nowhere here is there any price controls, rather it sets up a much more fair marketplace (i.e.: one more true to capitalist theory) than the deceptive an exclusionary one we have now.

And your “9% additional tax” number seems to come out of nowhere. Since you mention Texas, you are going to have to explain how having 1-in-3 Texans with NO insurance coverage (so effectively NO access to real healthcare) is anything like a good situation. Is it going to cost money to correct that? Yes absolutely, but how much more work is that going to allow people to do once they are not sick? Every company I have ever worked for has beat the drum that a helathy workforce is in the interest of the bottom line. Are you saying that Texas can’t figure that out?

about 9 months ago
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A Math Test That's Rotten To the Common Core

larkost Re:Common Core isn't all that bad (663 comments)

Question #1 is not really asking for an opinion. It is asking that you evaluate the suggestions to see which is the best option. Given your sample story it is clear that the b) option is the correct one since it best summarizes the story. If your kid missed that question, then he/she is indeed missing the ability to evaluate the story. So the test seems to have done a good job corrctly evaluating your child.

Question #2 is indeed asking your child to come up with reasonable extensions on the story. They are expecting that your child not mearly comprehend the individual facts presented in the story, but have enough insight into what is going on to be able to extend it. Again if your child is incabable of doing this then the test has again correctly described the limits of your child’s abilites.

Both of these questions are exactly the sort of questions that should be on tests. They go beyond the wrote learning model, and test for true understanding, and even better: the second tests information sysnthisis. You should be celebrating a test that has accurately found a weakness in your child’s abilities, and working with your child to better develop these skills.

about 9 months ago
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How BlackBerry Blew It

larkost Re:"We believed we knew better what customers need (278 comments)

BYOD may well be the number one headace for the CIO, but the "new shiny" that the CEO just bought and is demanding that the IT group support is why ActiveSync was such a great stroke: the CTO cound not say "that simply won't work". He/She tried explaining how much work it would be to validate and get working, but because it could not be a simple story it did not pass muster.

about 10 months ago
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German Data Protection Expert Warns Against Using iPhone5S Fingerprint Function

larkost Re:Usable Fingerprint data? (303 comments)

Except thre was no GPS logging ever. What they actually found was iOS caching observed WiFi and Cell tower locations that had been near where you were in order to more quickly locate you when an applicaiton you ran requested that information. Your actual location was never recorded, but since much of the data was timestamped with when it was last verified some rough guesses on where you had been on what days was possible from the information.

So there never was "GPS logging" and the best accuracy you could have gotten from the data was that someone had probably been within 5-10 miles of a location within 3-4 days of a specific time.

about 10 months ago
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Chinese Developer To Build Ocean-Water Thermal Energy System

larkost Re:Developers Developers Developers! (93 comments)

I have not read Tom Clancy's latest novels (the NetForce ones that he co-wrote turned me off), but all of my memories of his best characters have them going thorugh lots of training, with many of them being selected for "elite" units based on their performance in training exercises. He even shows those same characters continuing to practice their trade (e.g.: in Ranbow Force the show lots of time on the shooting ranges).

There is even a quote somewhere in one of the books (maybe Rainbow Force again) that goes something like "the way to make an elite unit is to tell the people they are an elite unit and give them the time and training to become one".

I see the Tom Clancy books that I have read to be the antithesis to most Anime, as well as most "young adult" fiction (e.g.: Harry Potter), as well as any SuperHero story.

about a year ago
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How Intellectual Property Reinforces Inequality

larkost Re:Article doesn't understand the point of patents (272 comments)

The vast majority of the basic research into disesases is done in univesity labs, funded by government grants. Only when the results hint at commercial viability do businesses (often the reasearchers by leaving the university) then take over and commercialize the work. I am not saying that there is not a lot of effort still left to do, but in many cases the patents are mostly comming out of the early work, and are then blocking people from doing the commercialization work.

While the drug companies might spend a lot of money to do the final commercialization work, the vast majority of the development cost (lots and lots of dead ends) is born by the government. I am not arguing that that is not how it should be (that is how science gets done), but rather saying that it is silly to think that without patent protections that new things would not be discoverd.

The case at hand the company was trying to use teh cour system to prevent anyone from creating tests that looked for naturally occuring genes. They were not just blocking people from using the test method they developed, but from using any conceviable method of teting for those specific genes.

1 year,15 days
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NSA Recruitment Drive Goes Horribly Wrong

larkost Re:ONE THING I agree with Chomsky on (530 comments)

Those are not terrorists, they are murderors. I know that this has gotten very confusing with all of the attention, but the basic definition of a terrorist is someone who uses terror in order to attempt to change other's behavior to accive a goal. For example the bombings in Boston were not terrorism: the bombers seemingly were just trying to cause mayhem, they did not have any goal in mind beyond the simple act of killing people. Of course we don't have the full story there, but at a minimum they were highly ineffective as terrorists, and tragicly effective as max-mudererors.

An clear example of terrorism would be what the IRA did durring the "troubles" in Northern Ireland. They were attempting to make it so un-worth governing there that the English would withdraw. I would argue that they failed, and that people with the same goals but more peaceful methods suceeded in their place. I am not actually aware of any terrorism campain that has ever had the desired effect.

In your example people our to kill a selection of people are commiting genocide, not terrorism. Rather if they were out to make it so difficult on the same group of people that that group of people would leave, then they could possibly be terrorists. Just the act of bombing does not a terrorist make.

1 year,23 days
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Obamacare Employer Mandate Delayed Until After Congressional Elections

larkost Re:This'll take awhile for people to accept (600 comments)

Even taking everything you said as factually and thematically true. Are you saying that is worse than having the decision made by someone whose boss's main concern is a finantial stake in the decision (insurance companies)? Are you really sure that is the argument you want to make?

Given the choice between the same person employed by a company who would have to give up profits to see me healthy, and that same person as a govenment burocrat who's elected boss has to justify the policies to the electorate, I will take the govenment burocrat every time. It is simply a better moral situation with better accountability.

1 year,27 days
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Obamacare Employer Mandate Delayed Until After Congressional Elections

larkost Re:pay the fine (600 comments)

If you think you could get anything close to the quality of healthcare your employer is getting you on $13K a year then you have not looked at the indivedual market at all (normal, most people don't). Even mid-sized employers (your level) get substantial discounts (20% range) for bringing a number of people together (pooling the risk).

One of the big components of the Affordable Care Act is to force the insurance markets to treat the individual market more like a large pooled group, and thus reduce costs significantly. Still not nearly to the level that large corporations have, but significanly better than now. But the very provisisions that make that happen (elimination of pre-exisint conditions asa criteria, forbidding differnt permiums for men vs. women, etc) also create the necessity of putting in the requirement that eveyone have insurance, since otherwise they would be stuck with only those with massive costs without the low-cost people to even out the pool.

The ironic thing is that Mitt Romney actually did speak about a real solution for a couple of speaches, before the backlash from other Republicans killed off that idea, and it was his infamous "I like to fire people" speach. His wording was unfortunate giving his history with Bane Capital (and the many layoffs that company was responsibel for), but his meaning was much like what you are arguing.

But the reason for the total silencing of this idea was that in order to make it workable you have to take the Afordable Care Act as a starting point and keep going: you have to have the individual mandate to even out the risk pool (so healthy people paying for sick people), the elimination of pre-existing condition limitations, most or all of the variable pricing depending on health, and then eliminate all employer involvement in health insurance.

The difficulty is once you are there, then you are there, then it becomes obvious that market forces do not do any good in the healthcare industry (at least not on the health insurance side), and a "single payer" health system suddenly becomes the best option. And that is not a though that most Republicans are comfortable with.

1 year,27 days
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PlayStation 4 Will Be Running Modified FreeBSD

larkost Re:Will Sony Release Any Source Code? (457 comments)

Whether or not Sony gives back patches really won't have any significant impact on their sales. The vast majorty of people who would buy a PS4 will never hear about it, and would not care if they would.

I expect that they will not upstream the things people would probably care about most (graphics drivers), becuase they will be propritary and co-developed with vendors. However my guess is that they will contribute a steady stream of small incremental improvements that no one will ever hear about. These are the normal by-product of smart people working on a system.

The reason they will contribte these bits back is pure self-interest: the next time they upgrade they hopefully don't have to re-apply the patch they created. They are not giving the crown jewels away, the things that make Sony its money, but rather the things that Sony as a business does not care about. This is how FreeBSD works. It is not as "pure" as the ideas behind the GPL, but it does work a lot better for the corprorate/capitalistic point of view. And that is how we structure our society, for better or worse.

about a year ago
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Web of Tax Shelters Saved Apple Billions, Inquiry Finds

larkost Re:Taxes (716 comments)

I see you argument for "simple", but where do you see this as an argument for "flat"? Those with more money have both more ability to pay, and are getting more of out of the society that taxes make possible (think police force as a simple example).

But you are missing the wider point here: this conversation is about foreign-based income. The disagreement here is whether companies (and by exentension individuals) should be subject to US taxation on income earned abroad.

I would argue that they get the benifits of the US, then they should pay for them, just like regular individuals. I am open to arguments to what degree, but not open to ones that argue they should not be taxed.

about a year ago
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Web of Tax Shelters Saved Apple Billions, Inquiry Finds

larkost Re:Did they break any laws? (716 comments)

You are missing a very important bit about US taxes in this case, one that invalidates your whole concept and semi-anticdote: as the laws work you only pay the higher of the two systems in total. A couple of examples to illustrate: if you would owe $50 in the other country, and $60 in the US, then you would pay $50 to that other country, and only $10 (the difference) to the US. If you reverse the numbers and the forign tax was higher then all of the money would go to the foreign government, and the US would get none.

There are odd cases where that tax codes in the seperate countries tax totally different ways, so making a hypothetical case where one country has only a value-add tax vs. the US's focus on proffits, in that case it could wind up that you would pay the full brunt of both taxes, but that is not anything like the "$110 for every $100 in profit" that you talked about.

I have personal experience with this, since my wife sold her apartment in Budapest, and we had to pay the difference in the taxes. We got caught a little, because a couple of exemptions that would have applied here did not apply because it was foreign (and thus not under those specific real-estate rules, but rather generic capital gains), but that was minor.

But the bigger concept here is that these multinationals rely on the services that the US provides both explictly and implictly. For example they are backed and defended by the US Military and State Department. Without the latter's constant negotiations (backed by the formers Big Stick) there is little chance that China would be do any inteletual property enforcement of "Western"-owned ideas at all. A somewhat stark example, but when you look into it further you will find more and more.

These companies are the biggest benifiters of the services that those taxes provide. It only makes sense that they pay for them.

about a year ago

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