The Register notes today that Facebook is doing its job… returning maximum value to shareholders.
Facebook has reportedly swerved a huge corporation tax bill by paying its Ireland-based parent company – Facebook Holdings Limited – €1.75bn in “admin costs” for its intellectual property.
According to the Financial Times (£), Facebook recently reported a pre-tax loss of €626,000 after it paid out those expenses.
There’s some activity involving shell entities in the Cayman Islands as well. Facebook for it’s part, noted that it was supposed to, well, return value to its shareholders.
Facebook defended its actions by saying it “complies with all relevant corporate regulations including those related to filing company reports and taxation.”
Google, Amazon and Facebook have been among the big US outfits to come under fire from the UK Parliament, whose politicos have attacked the multinationals for creatively avoiding corporation tax bills.
Facebook as some 380 or so people in Ireland, which means that it supports 1500-2000 jobs (with the people that support the employees in society) and probably that number of households. The people that work for Facebook likely make enough money that they heavily contribute to the tax base. While it’s likely that some corporate taxes would go to support jobs in Ireland otherwise, it’s not the job of the company to support the society. It’s the job of the company to return value to the owners and employ people in a manner that does that. I’m not one of those types that thinks that a company is a person, it’s an entity that efficiently moves money. Government is one that very inefficiently moves it.
So don’t put me in the category of thinking we need reform in this area… just in case you were wondering.
Dan Gailey, a 30-year-old tech entrepreneur who was recently working at Four Barrel, said he didn’t identify as a “techie” – and thinks it’s actually a pretty rude term.
“If you use the word ‘techie,’ we know you’re not in tech,” said the Mission District resident. “A lot of negative terms like that – yuppie, hipster – are outsider terms. We don’t call each other techies – at all, ever.”
The preferred terms, he said, are “hackers,” “makers” or “coders.”
I get called six rude things before 8AM most days, and “techie” would be FAR down the list. What is it about people who don’t like to be labeled with a generic when something more high-falutin would do?
San Francisco State linguistics lecturer Jenny Lederer said the word “techie” may have started to pick up a set of inferences, which can make a benign, neutral word sound negative – so “techie,” like how it’s used in the song, may now conjure up ideas of gentrification and entitlement more than, for example, the terms “software engineer” or “tech worker” do.
Adding further insult, Lederer said: “The ‘ie’ suffix can sound belittling, like ‘groupie’ or ‘yuppie.’ The ‘er’ suffix in English is agentive, as in ‘hacker,’ thus sounds stronger.”
I sincerely hope that no new NFL team decided to name itself the Techies, or they’ll be fighting to keep the name fifty years from now when it’s moved into the realm of totally offensive language that people don’t like.
For the record, you can call me a techie if you want. I’m sure, like I said, you could call me worse without ginning up your imagination all that much. I suppose I could sit in a coffee shop somewhere and complain about all the things you call me, but instead I’ll get to work early in the morning like I usually do, work my butt off like I usually do, and keep up the effort to outpace all the people around me. Since that’s what successful people who don’t care about labels likely do to avoid being hurt by dumb terms.
Oh, and get off my lawn.
I’m seeing more and more articles that discuss a socio-economic shift underway that takes us back to highly stratified societies. And it’s sad, but very appropriate for this season, where one of my still-favorite stories can come out from under the “Christian themed story” rock it gets pushed under to be told once again…
Ever wonder why Bob Crachett had to work those hours, for someone like Scrooge – unable to take his resume across the town to another employer?
Or why Oliver gets beaten over “please, may I have another?”
Or, what the entire point of “Great Expectations” actually was?
London was a brutal place at the peak of its rule over the civilized and uncivilized world. Apparently, San Francisco & NY are next.
From Weekly Standard “Silicon Chasm”
Tyler Cowen in Average Is Over … advises the construction of Rio de Janeiro-style shantytowns for the 85 percent of Americans whose livelihoods will be swept away by the New Knowledge Economy he touts—although no shantytowns, please, in Cowen’s own neighborhood in upscale Fairfax County, Virginia! …Two years ago the Occupy movement of progressives raised a battle cry against the “1 percent,” who were supposed to be striped-pants, Republican-voting tycoons lifted from the Monopoly board. What they didn’t know was that the 1 percent actually wear rubber shower sandals, ride bicycles—$20,000 bicycles—and vote Democratic and green, green, green.
And now from Daily Beast “The Revolt Against Urban Gentry“
Couched in progressive rhetoric, the gentry urbanists embrace an essentially neo-feudalist view that society is divided between “the creative class” and the rest of us……This new demography—essentially a marriage of rich, young singles and the poor—has created an urban electorate increasingly one-dimensional, and less middle class, not only in economic status, but also, perhaps more importantly, in attitude
Meanwhile – points to San Francisco for creativity (would we expect anything less?)
Protesters at an anti-gentrification rally this year in the Mission district, home to the city’s oldest building, took baseball bats to piñatas shaped like Google Inc’s private buses.
Several labor and neighborhood groups planned rallies outside the headquarters of Twitter Inc on Thursday, when the micro-messaging social media company is expected to raise $2 billion in an initial public offering.
The unfortunate thing about nerd gentrification is that it’s pretty unlikely to result in an increase of taste and creativity – just more wealthy folks who don’t know what to do with their money paying a lot of dough for a lot of interesting stuff that falls in the “er, what?” category.
I’m not entirely sure what the answer is – but it is disheartening when we’ve gone from a society where inherited wealth thinks it’s better than everyone else to a society where the Ivy League educated and tech entrepreneurs think they’re better than everyone else.
Okay, I had to post this one. Here’s Matier and Ross on the latest fun around the California high-speed rail. You might recall that California is flying in the face of reason to build a high-speed rail, though there was a recent setback when a judge held up funding to get things moving. Now that everything’s on hold, what’s a city to do?
Critics have complained that California’s high-speed rail project is shaping up to be the bullet train to nowhere. Now that a judge has thrown the project’s future into doubt, San Francisco is left to wonder whether it will be stuck with a $400 million train station connected to nothing.
With or without a high-speed-rail line, officials have said the underground station is going to be built at the new, $2 billion Transbay Terminal at First and Mission streets. All the money is in place, and the station is due to be finished in 2017.
So let’s review. We’re constructing a train station for a high-speed-rail line that may never be built. The backup plan is to use the station for the local trains, only that may not happen, either.
The possible end result: an empty – but paid-for – train station under a very expensive bus terminal and shopping center.
Well, hey, that’s great. That’s like the stimulus funds, but with even less results that people can use.
This is why certain people aren’t fond of government. A government is designed to build infrastructure for the common good, like roads and sidewalks. When it extends to producing monuments to stupidity, then some of us get a little antsy. And people then call us crazy…
Let’s file this under: Not a shocker, would be a shocker if they didn’t.
Among the vulnerabilities listed by the NSA that can be exploited are ‘viewing sexually explicit material online’ and ‘using sexually explicit persuasive language when communicating with inexperienced young girls’.
The NSA document, dated October 3, 2012, repeatedly refers to the power of charges of hypocrisy to undermine such a messenger, the The Huffington Post reported.
The document says: ‘A previous SIGINT [signals intelligence, the interception of communications] assessment report on radicalization indicated that radicalizers appear to be particularly vulnerable in the area of authority when their private and public behaviors are not consistent.’
Let’s review… you spy on people to find out information on them to gain an advantage. Does the person run a regular routine? He can be neutralized easier due to predictability. Does the person have an affection for certain foods? It’s a way to distract or draw him in. Does the person have a clean outside and a somewhat peculiar inside? Yea, that could be used to discredit the person at a vulnerable time.
The article notes that all of the people referenced in the document are believed to be outside the US. Which is the charter of the NSA. So I don’t get why this one is news.
I was recently asked about someone doing a deep background check on me. I said that any organization is free to rattle any of the skeletons in my closet. I can’t say I’m perfect, far from. But I do know that my actions have consequences. I don’t expect that the NSA or the FBI is checking into what I do, either.
We’ll unfortunately see what other “bombshell” revelations come out. This information represents a huge loss to our espionage abilities. I hope the results don’t prove fatal, though I fear in some cases they already have.
Just in case you were wondering, people can always create bigger panic over numbers if they just keep looking at them.
“We find greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and fossil fuel extraction and processing (i.e., oil and/or natural gas) are likely a factor of two or greater than cited in existing studies,” reports a paper describing the findings, “Anthropogenic emissions of methane in the United States”, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).
Apparently 1.5 to 1.7 times greater than thought…
The differences between the paper’s findings and the previous assessments appear to be due to the different ways that the estimates were determined. EDGAR and the EPA used what the Harvard Gazette describes as a “bottoms up” approach, in which the total amount of methane is calculated by extrapolating from “the amount of methane typically released per cow or per unit of coal or natural gas sold, for example.”
The new study took a “top down” approach, actually measuring methane in the atmosphere, then using meteorological data and statistical analysis to trace it back to its source.
So apparently measuring cows just doesn’t scale.
This also affects other methane production, such as natural gas. In general, the authors encourage us to “do the Hitchhiker’s” and Don’t Panic. Of course, everyone will find a reason to panic. And of course… the results really won’t change, because this is actual, not theoretical. Actual can be measured or not measured, it’s still actual.
Please don’t shoot any cows.
SpaceX is planning to launch a satellite today from Cape Caneveral, becoming the first commercial launch in the US is four years. This also means that SpaceX will become the third of three competitors that are delivering commercial payload delivery to space.
SES hopes SpaceX brings the launches back to Cape Canaveral, Fla., beginning Monday with the liftoff of a Falcon 9 rocket with the SES 8 broadcasting satellite.
Before knowing the outcome of Monday’s launch, SES has already inked deals for three more missions with SpaceX, including one option for a launch on the company’s Falcon Heavy mega-rocket.
Once at the top of the world’s handful of launch service companies, U.S. rockets have been hamstrung by rising costs but have stayed busy with a manifest of missions for the U.S. military, NASA and the National Reconnaissance Office, the federal government’s spy satellite agency.
We have in the US some of the best facilities for launching and recovering rockets, and yet we’ve been out of the equation for anything commercial for what seems like forever. SpaceX believes it can get payloads into orbit for a little over $50M, which is about half of the lowest competitor. I think it’s a boon that costs are driving down, though we’ll have to see how the reliability of the system supports the cost structure.
I’m excited to see space delivery go commercial. I do wonder how well some of the debris avoidance and other issues in space will become exacerbated by multiple competitors trying to cut costs. Still, though. This is great for our ability to utilize the “real-estate” available to us.
Updated: Scrubbed due to technical problems. They’re aiming for Thanksgiving.