Hacker Newsnew | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit | JoshTriplett's comments login

I thoroughly enjoyed Dune. It had an interesting story, set in an even more interesting world.

However, it's also the kind of book that should never have had a sequel; other books in the series not only don't measure up, but actively undermine what made the original interesting. It's possible that other good stories could have been written in that universe, but they weren't. I highly recommend reading only the original.

I also think it undermines the ending, which is probably one of the best endings I've ever read, which ties everything together rapidly so you have to re-read the past few paragraphs again. I remember thinking "woah".

The start of the book is maybe a bit slow but it does pick up pace rapidly after a point. The best advice I got was to just push on, I'll understand why later. I don't regret it.

If you want to reinterpret a float as an integer or vice versa, you can do that easily enough with Rust's unsafe functions:

    fn approx_invsqrt(r : f32) -> f32
        let y : f32 = unsafe {
            let i : i32 = std::mem::transmute(r);
            std::mem::transmute(0x5f375a86 - (i>>1))
        return y*(1.5-(0.5*r*y*y));

    fn main()
        println!("approx_invsqrt(2.0) = {}", approx_invsqrt(2.0));

    approx_invsqrt(2.0) = 0.70693

> "The internet" has it's own culture, and the people running reddit right now (one of the places where this culture is the strongest, imo), seem to have no idea how to interface with it.

Some portions of the Internet have culture in much the same way that food you forget at the back of your fridge grows culture. And they should be treated much the same way.

Cable companies are very interesting local phenomena, since they're covered by a fascinating array of taxes and fees not applicable to the average business. Those taxes apply to both the business and the consumer.

A uniform sales tax seems more palatable (as an alternative to an income tax, not in addition to one); however, this is not a uniform tax, it's a targeted tax on streaming services and other Internet services.

Spend less, and then you need less taxes to cover those expenses. Create an environment where businesses will want to start and to grow, rather than creating taxes that will specifically make new businesses go out of their way to avoid the the area. This kind of tax makes Chicago drastically less appealing to start a business in, and it's sufficiently bad to make it worth considering a move for any company that isn't inherently local. And "companies that aren't inherently local" are exactly what this tax targets.

(Note in particular that for any business without a local nexus in the state, this exceeds the taxing authority of a city or state, as it would be regulating inter-state commerce.)

> for any business without a local nexus in the state, this exceeds the taxing authority of a city or state, as it would be regulating inter-state commerce.

IANAL, but I don't think that's true. The locality can tax its citizens pretty much however it wants. Without a local nexus Chicago may have a hard time forcing Netflix to collect the tax on their behalf. But that's an implementation detail. Chicago citizens would still technically be on the hook.

It'd be interesting to see that tested in court. I know there have been cases that struck down regulations on inter-state commerce, in particular when there's no nexus in the state. It doesn't suffice to claim you're taxing citizens rather than transactions; courts do look at intent and net effect when evaluating a law.

A tax on the internet connection itself would sadly be within the taxing authority of a state; however, a tax on an Internet service provided outside the state would be in effect a tax on "imports" across state lines (or country lines in the case of international services), and only the federal government can levy those.

It's quite well established that if you don't pay sales tax at the time of sale (e.g. via mail order/on-line) you are required to submit a use tax voluntarily by self-reporting.

Of course pretty much no one does this. There are exceptions such as some states aggressively going after taxes on the sales of cars you buy across the state line/etc - but in general it's wink wink nudge nudge.

If you're in a state with sales tax, and have ordered from an out of state retailer you are breaking the law if you don't pay use tax on that item.


Cars are a special case, not just because of their size and thus ease of detection, but because you're required to obtain a license to operate it in the state, and the state can set arbitrary conditions on such licensure.

More generally, however, under what constitutional authority are you suggesting that states could levy a sales tax on inter-state (rather than intra-state) commerce? That is a power specifically reserved to the federal government, and not granted to the states.

There have been federal bills proposed that would authorize states to collect such taxes, and if such a bill passed, that would delegate the necessary taxing authority. To the best of my knowledge, no such bill has passed into law. Why do you think such a bill would be necessary if states can do this already?

In any case, one more reason to be in a state with no sales tax. I certainly wouldn't want to fight that particular legal battle myself.

States and localities can tax their residents pretty much however they please. The fight over the "Amazon tax" has always been about whether Amazon was required to collect the tax or whether people were supposed to mail a check to the state on their own. There has never been any serious doubt over whether states and cities can levy the tax in the first place, just over whether they can force out-of-state companies to collect it for them. The bill you're thinking of is probably the Marketplace Fairness Act, which was about letting states force retailers with sales over $1 million to do the work of actually collecting the tax.

I'm not sure of the particular constitutional authority but the debate seems to be mostly around whether Internet realtors can be forced to collect taxes as opposed to whether they're owed. However, I'm not aware of cases around states collecting use taxes from residents. Indeed, states also levy income taxes on residents even if they earn the income out-of-state.

I'm not so sure about that. When Amazon challenged New York State over sales tax it wasn't over whether NYS could charge a "use" tax for goods purchased online, it was over whether customers had to submit the tax themselves or whether Amazon was obligated to withhold it.

I haven't seen a court case against any individual or business over "use tax", but I'm skeptical that rebranding an inter-state sales tax as a use tax suddenly makes it Constitutionally acceptable, given that it taxes the same thing. Nonetheless, neither of us are lawyers, and that question probably won't be settled unless someone actually takes it to a sufficiently high court.

I believe that's correct. Since Quill the Supreme Court has consistently refused to take cases that involved forcing retailers to collect sales tax for sales that didn't involve shipments to states in which they had a physical presence. However, I'm not aware of legal prohibitions about states collecting use taxes for cross-border sales.

> I work out of 1871, a Chicago incubator, and I'm surrounded by several hundred companies that are all going to have to implement this tax in their software if they want to sell locally.

Making it even less likely that a new company would want to start there.

> We're going to kill this thing.

Thank you. This kind of thing needs a rapid response wherever it crops up, lest it spread elsewhere. "This was tried elsewhere and quickly repealed" is an argument that makes it far easier to vote down such measures elsewhere.

Netflix tends to have some degree of physical presence in many places due to their DVD-by-mail service. That's one good argument for splitting that into a separate legal entity.

Only if you live in specific countries in Europe.

The amended section of the report asks to extend that provision to cover the entire EU.

Even the parties that voted for the change (because protecting artists can't be a bad thing, right?) aren't sure any more after artists (incl. architects who are the most obvious beneficiaries of such legislation) complained.

And it only covers buildings that aren't out of copyright (ie. if it's personal copyright, the original artist not yet dead for 70 years, for corporate copyright 95 years IIRC).

> The amended section of the report asks to extend that provision to cover the entire EU.

The entire EU is still "only certain countries in Europe."

I thought the Met also vigorously defended the copyright on its building (in the US) as well?


That seems like a crazy level of protection in those countries if it really can apply to any random building in a city.

I suspect there are a substantial number of people whose primary interface to "what's new on the Internet" is to check Facebook. Sure, there are better tools, but it's hard to argue with the "everything in one place" approach.

> that he was a Reagan voter and a Perot supporter

In the context of the other items in the same list, that comes across as "Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking" http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ArsonMurderAndJay... ; it doesn't fit. Even "jaywalking" is too strong here, since even that is not comparable to "held political opinions differing from those of the person writing the article".


Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact