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Comment Re:Yeah, Apple is so happy that Ireland didn't IRE (Score 2) 174

You explicitly penned away the right to do what you're doing here.

The EU maintains that Ireland gave Apple preferential tax treatment that was not available to others and thus amounts to a subsidy which Apple must now repay. We agreed not to give subsidies under EU treaty.

Ireland maintains that we put in place an attractive tax regime available to all to encourage FDI. This is allowed under EU treaty and law, and in fact is used by all EU nations.

So if the EU are right, we get roughly 13 billion in back taxes from Apple. If the EU are wrong (which I believe they are) then we don't. The reason that this is so heated is that it at the edges (Apple were the only company to take advantage of the rules at the start) and there is a worry that this is an overreach by the EU commission which affects the ability of the government to levy its own taxes, which the the countries making up the EU have agreed is up to the individual countries.

Comment Re:Couldnt even push a free samsung 7 on me. (Score 1) 49

Er, what?

S7 has an SD card slot and a headphone jack. The battery is not removable but it is a good sized battery that lasts well. The phone is also waterproof and sturdy, feels solid (if a little slippy) and performs very well. Perhaps you were thinking of the S6 (which had a diabolical battery and no SD card slot)?

Comment Re: it estimates will be worth 250 billion euros (Score 1) 68

Basic misreading of the summary there, old chap (or chapette). The market for Global Positioning services is estimated to be worth 250 billion euro a year by 2020, but this is not the cost of Galileo.

It was budgeted at 3.4 billion euro which turned out to be, er, optimistic - it looks now like it will be somewhere between 5.5 and 7 billion euro (including the running costs for 20 years in that brings it up to ~20 billion). On the flip side, approximately 7% of EU GDP is dependent on satellite navigation worth a total of 800 billion.

Comment Re:Yeah. Was:Definitely nah (Score 1) 497

That you think that the System.gc() call invokes the garbage collector is the kind of thing I hate about the garbage collector.
The System.gc() call does not call the garbage collector, it notifies the collector that there is garbage to be collected and the JVM still makes the scheduling decision. In practice it may lead to immediate garbage collection, but that is not necessarily the case.

Secondly, you CAN specify your own garbage collector or specify one-of-the-many that exist, but an explicit call to System.gc() usually forces the collector to check if all the objects still allocated are reachable so the process can be quite inefficient. If you're using Java, calls to System.gc() should be very rare.

Lastly (to clarify something i said above, and this is not the garbage collector's issue) the JVM heap size rises independently of the Java allocations so garbage collecting doesn't return heap to the system.

Comment Re:Yeah. Was:Definitely nah (Score 1) 497

But to answer your curiosity: why the fuck (sorry for the language but it is appropriated here) should I waste my time with mental masturbation and allocate and deallocate my objects manually?

Because the garbage collector is bad, and you can't specify when it should run so Java programs get all bloaty.

Comment Re:Translation (Score 1) 71

The EU treaty says "don't give favourable deals" and Ireland did just that: How are they going to argue the treaty doesn't apply?

Because it wasn't an Apple-specific "favourable deal". It was a straight interpretation of the Irish tax laws, the Irish rules for company registration ,and the interaction between the tax laws of other EU jurisdictions. It was available to any other company, and indeed many other companies took advantage of it.

There were two specific issues that were troublesome - one was Irish the other was not. Neither involved the corporate tax rate.
The Irish loophole was allowing the Irish registration of non-resident companies, and that loophole is now closed since Jan 2015 (and existing companies formed under this law are being phased out by 2020).
The other loophole involved taxable income, where the Irish government only taxed revenue generated within Ireland, but had a heavy tax on transfers to tax havens, and the Dutch government didn't have the transfer tax. So the profits were booked in Ireland by an Irish registered company headquartered in a tax haven, then transferred to the Dutch company (very low tax, inter-EU transfer) then transferred to the tax haven, which the Dutch didn't tax as heavily as the Irish. The Dutch never closed this loophole, and aren't under pressure to do so.

This is a straight play by the Commission to bring their "tax harmonization" agenda back to the table, but is unlikely to happen until the EU takes one step further and straight up require the richer states to part-fund the smaller states. This will not happen until a Federal Europe happens - which at the moment looks like it will be the day after never but who the hell knows?

Comment Re:working to offset expansion of the money supply (Score 1) 404

Creditors cannot cash in their debt because that's not how debt works. The debtor pays whenever the agreement states that it's to be paid, and not before. You don't get to call in debts whenever you feel like it. (I don't know where people get this silly idea, have they never borrowed money?)

While this is technically true, there is a secondary market for bonds, and if people start dumping bonds on the secondary market it puts upward pressure on the rates that investors will demand for bonds during the next bond issue.
A lot of institutional investors dumped bonds in places like Ireland in 2008-2010, forcing bond rates to ~8% (not that we sold bonds at that rate) which was the reason we were pushed over the edge into bailout (upon which the IMF and the EU hit us for ~6% on those loans while refusing either buy, or to let us buy, the discounted bonds on the secondary market with those funds). Some US funds made billions on this by buying Irish bonds for 40-60 cents on the euro, and getting the whole whack back.

Comment Re:Politicians always lie (Score 3, Interesting) 259

Thing is, that figure was still not correct, the £350M was shown to be wrong, the actual number is £180M, which is just over half the figure used by the Exit campaign. And people still went for it because it was "truthy", so it played well to their own preconceptions. Similar to the rhetoric about Eurocrats, when the reality is that the EU has less bureaucrats employed in total than the UK has bureaucrats working in Birmingham, their second largest city.

I think one item that made it very clear that people were voting with their feelings rather than weighing positives and negatives, was Cornwall realizing, after the vote, that they get a lot of EU support, and trying to put pressure on London to match this. Whether or not it will happen, who knows, but after the vote probably wasn't the time to bring it up.

I've said before that I believe that much of the negative feeling towards the EU is from governments all over Europe using the EU as a handy scapegoat, and claiming that any unpopular decision was a result of the EU. This has been going on for 40 years in the case of the UK, which was bound to have an impact. It also doesn't help that people find it difficult to distinguish the EU from the ECHR (a separate organization) and EU related immigration from external immigration (in the UK, the largest number of immigrants are from India, for instance). This is a great example of what the article is saying because it shows that the narrative has been prioritized over the reality, and it's really difficult to dispute a narrative now because it's dispersed, rather than having a small number of sources.

Comment Re: Don't Panic (Score 1) 535

Smaller. Beureaucracy.....

There are 55,000 eurocrats working for the commission (source). There are 60,000 in Birmingham alone (according to the same link) and for the UK as a whole there were 405,573 in 2015 according to the UK's own statistics.

The UK joined the EU as an economic basket case in 1973, and its trajectory since has been largely upward. This simple fact was lost in the debate. In every way, the UK is more prosperous now than it was then. Obviously, this is an aggregate and some areas have faced particular hardships, the older mining areas in particular but that was nothing to do with Brussels and everything to do with internal politics. The NHS funding issues are nothing to do with migrants and everything to do with the current government attempting to cut back. The migrant integration issues have almost nothing to do with EU migrants, and nearly all the problems occur because of immigration from former imperial holdings like Pakistan and (to a lesser extent) India. The European Court of Human Rights (a particular bugbear of the Daily Mail) is not related to the EU, it predated the EU and the UK is still subject to it.

The leave arguments were trivially debunkable but very emotive, and the remain arguments were basically putting a sheet over their head and saying "woooooo, scary". It really doesn't help that the UK government (and they're not alone in this) spent the last 40 years justifying every single unpopular decision by claiming that the EU made them do it. They are reaping what they sowed, and we can only hope that 1973 isn't their destination.

Comment Re:wrong understanding of Heinlein (Score 1) 180

Most people seem to think of "Starship Troopers" when they think of Heinlein, or the incest focused subplot of Farnham's Freehold but he was a seriously prolific writer and it seems that his real schtick was challenging assumptions about society and government - in 1960 he wrote an essay with the sentiment that "Maybe we should let women rule the world - they can't do worse than men have, and might do better".

He explored collectivism in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" along with polygamy, he explored militarism in Starship Troopers. He saw a world where Africa reigned supreme after a nuclear war ruined the first and second worlds in Farnham's Freehold. He tried to envisage a world where a "prophet" broke all the accepted rules of society in A Stranger in a Strange land. Those are just the highlights. Heinlein, whether you agree with anything he wrote or not, is a writer that everyone should read in my opinion.

He was also decent chap, as his treatment of Philip K Dick in the latter years of his life shows.

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