* Posts by Jim84

268 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Mar 2012


BT in tests to beam down 5G coverage from the stratosphere


Blimps vs fixed wing

Blimps that fly by varying their buoyancy might turn out to be a better bet for communications or ISR than unmanned fixed wing aircraft:



Indian official reveals 'plan' to build a national mobile OS


The Inidan government could slowly bring in a ban on android apps that use google play services, so that apps would work on AOSP (Android Open Source Project) and invest some money in improving open source android. This would get rid of the network effect where app developers only develop for Google Play Services because that is where the users are. But this is also a pretty extreme measure to take, and I don't know what unintended consequences it would have?

Miniature nuclear reactors could be the answer to sustainable datacenter growth


Re: What about the operational costs?

If you had next generation molten salt reactors with strong inherent negative temperature coefficients (if the reactor heats up for some reason the rate of reaction slows) you wouldn't need a team of PhD's watching the reactor and holding its reactivity down with control rods. in fact Moltex energy has a 40MW electric output design with "No moving parts". They still move the fuel rods around, but there are no pumps.

Amazon, Games Workshop announce Warhammer 40k film deal


How long before Fighting Fantasy or Lone Wolf are pkced up by Amazon/Apple?

Mozilla drags Microsoft, Google, Apple for obliterating any form of browser choice


The real problem is that there are only 2 mobile OSes.

No one will use any OS other than iOS and Android because they cannot get all the apps they want on them, and the apps available don't stay up to date. And without larger userbases developers have no incentive to port and maintain apps.

This is what killed Windows Mobile and Blackberry OS.

If bureaucrats try to legislate about what Apple and Google can do with their OSes, I suspect the companies will always run rings around the legislators.

Is there any realistic way to provide incentives to app developers on alternative OSes such as AOSP without large userbases? Maybe a government could make payments to a developer when a popular app ported to AOSP is installed and then used for a certain number of minutes across a certain time period? And could a government fund a bug bounty program to keep them up to date?

This probably wouldn't dethrone iOS and Android, but might provide a space in which innovation in websites and programs that are delivered through a browser can thrive without Apple and Google throttling any competive threats before they become popular.

Halo Infinite ups the nostalgia factor for fans of the originals, but it's not without limits



If they've got a semi open world it would have been interesting to see them nick the Nemesis system out of Shasow of Mordor:


It would be cool to have Elites that beat you level up and become base comanders. But then you'd need to stick some story device into the game whereby master chief can come back to life.

Even better would be if the UNMC soliders also leveled up and remembered you and each other.

Senators urge US trade watchdog to look into whether Tesla may just be over-egging its Autopilot, FSD pudding


Re: I am kind of surprised...

Yes, most cities (in the US at least) struggle to maintain the roads in their masses of car dependent suburbia, as these places don't generate enough tax/property tax to cover the medium term cost of maintaining basic metal roads after the original private suburban developer has left laughing all the way to the bank "We'll build the roads, sewers, pipes, you (the municipality) just have to maintain it...".

The Epic vs Apple trial is wrapping up, but the battle has just begun


Re: "Apple’s ironclad control of the iOS platform"

I think governments could prehaps legislate so that phone makers (including Apple) have to provide an easy "few click" options for the phone user to swtich to other operating systems (such as AOSP or Fire OS, or easily switch to an "unsecure/admin" mode where they can download what they want outside of the official app store.

Wyoming powers ahead with Bill Gates-backed sodium-cooled nuclear generation plant


Re: Proper Generation IV reactor design

"a molten salt heat bank is not lightning fast load following since it will still be used to generate steam for a turbine.. unless they use flash steam...which no other power station to my knowledge ever has.

It will ramp up and down as fast as a coal burner, maybe even a CCGT, but not as fast as hydro.

A well manged PWR is almost as fast."

The speed of the heat bank is not the reason they are building it. They are building the heat bank so that the reactor can vary it's output without being turned off or run at a lower power level that makes no use of the expensive built assets, raising the overall cost of electricity generated.


Re: Go for it

It's a Sodium cooled fast reactor, with a solar salt energy storage system borrowed from the concentrated solar energy sector. Moltex Energy are also planning to use a solar salt energy storage system to vary the output of their proposed molten salt reactor.

Starlink's latent China crisis could spark a whole new world of warcraft


Starlink vs Blimp net

While everyone seems to be looking at Musk's shinny keys, a dark horse may be approaching:


tl;dr - Companies like Softbank, Google, and Facebook have been trying to build an ISP using flying wing drones for over a decade, but unsucessfully as they have durability problems. Blimps that fly via changes in bouyancy and don't need propellers could be a solution. By being closer to the end users Blimps could allow mobile internet on people's mobile phones rather than requiring a small satellite dish.

Just let this sink in: Capita wins 12-year £1bn contract to provide training services to the Royal Navy and Marines


Top down vs Bottom up

Why give a £1 billion contract to one company for the entire navy's training in a top down way (well because Captia has mates in the government who will get cushy jobs at Captia after being MPs).

You would be off better giving each navy member a credit which they can spend at the training company of their own choice, but are then forced to pass standardised tests. That would allow actual competition and innovation in the delivery of training to navy members. There are plenty of Universities and companies around that are quite good at training and use quite modern IT to do so.

Adios California, Oracle the latest tech firm to leave California for the wide open (low tax) Lone Star State


Re: It is not about home prices...

Yes it is. If it costs your employees X amount more to live where your head office is without living in a tent then you have to pay them the extra or else they won't work for you.

The companies and employees are not the bad guys here, it is the local landlords who vote for politicians who won't allow more housing development so that they can extract economic rents.

Megabucks in funding, 28 years of research, and Boston Dynamics is to be 'sold to Hyundai' for 1/40th of an Arm


Fuel cell quiet UAV

You'd be better off having a quieter (fuel cell) UAV carrying a couple of precision missiles that soliders can laser designate onto a target (an annoying infantryman in a "defilade" position behind a wall or rock). This would give the infantry their own precision squad level airforce. The US military tired to get a counter defilade smart gun into the hands of its infantry with the XM-25 smart grenade launcher, but this turned out to be to much extra weight to carry. Really this drone would be a "flying backpack" for mini missiles that the soliders would never have to carry, you'd just have several or dozens or hundreds of such drones flying over an operations area.

There are drones that do this currently, but both the drones and missles cost far to much. Hellfire missiles cost 100k each, and even the man carried Javelin anti tank missles (now used to hit dug in Taliban in Afghanistan) cost 50k each. Maybe with new manufacturing and off the shelf parts missle costs could get down to $150 each (or whatever price level would make their use sustainable).

To get around the problem of the UAV noise alerting the enemy to the presence of the soliders, maybe fly a lot more (cheap) UAVs over a large area of countryside.

Android without Google – and yes it has apps: The Reg talks to founder about the /e/ smartphone


If Huawei joined that would be a real threat to Google who would then find some way to break this system (probably frequent changes to google play services that a small outfit or even a large one like Huawei cannot afford to replicate and maintain profitability).

The Google guy saying he supports this project is basically trying to look nice because he doesn't actually feel threatened by it.

H2? Oh! New water-splitting technique pushes progress of green hydrogen


Re: Storing hydrogen is an absolute pain

Yes pumping radioactive salt around pipes is not a great idea, as they will always leak, and when they do you have an even more difficult cleanup problem than with a sodium cooled reactor.

However there are two proposed ways around this problem. Thorcon and Terrestrial Energy both propose to use a pool type reactor in a can that is replaced every seven years (this is possible with a molten salt cooled reactor vessel as they are unpressurized and are not housed in a steam explosion resistant steel and conrete containment dome.

Moltex Energy has possible an even simpler solution of putting the fuel salt (a Chloride salt) in vented steel pins*, controlling corrosion by having a lump of zirconium metal in the bottom (to make the salt strongly reducing), thenhaving these pins cooled by a flouride salt in a pool type reactor. This gets rid of the need for an online chemical processing plant as the fission products just remain in the fuel pins which are removed from the reactor every few years like standard uranium oxide ceramic fuel pins in today's pressurized water reactors.

*Today's standard uranium oxide fuel pins have to be removed somewhat prematurely due to the build up of Xenon gas (a fission product) in them that prevents the reactor from sustaining a chain reaction, another problem is that that gas in the tubes builds up to about 60 atmospheres (I think). The Dounreay fast sodium reactor experiment in Scotland tried to deal with these issues by having a uranium metal alloy sitting in vented fuel pins (the uranium sat in liquid sodium inside a steel fuel pin). You wouldn't want to try this in water cooled reactor as sodium and water react violently, but in a sodium cooled reactor it isn't a problem.However as radioactive fission products of Cesium, Iodine, and Strontium are produced, the metals (which are gases at reactor temperatures) vented out into the sodium coolant outside, making it highly radioactive. In Moltex's design the Iodine is still reduced to a non volatile Sodium Iodide salt that stays in the fuel pin, but the Cesium and Strontium are converted into Cesium Chloride and Strontium Chloride non volatile salts that also remain in the fuel pins (precipitating Zirconium metal ZrCl + Cs > CsCl + Zr).



Re: Storing hydrogen is an absolute pain

John Bucknell (former SpaceX engineer) is proposing to use the 700 degree heat output by future molten salt nuclear reactors along with helium turbo inductor pumps (originally proposed for nuclear rockets) to produce 1000 degree heat and methanol cheaper per MWhr equivalent of today's petrol:


IBM: Our AI correctly predicts onset of Alzheimer’s 71% of the time, better than standard clinical tests


Leucadia Therapeutics are pursuing the hypothesis that ossification of the cribiform plate with aging is a cause of Alzheimers:


Finding people at risk of Alzheimer’s and treating them with Leuicadias solution and then seeing how many go on to develop full Alzhiemers May work better than trying it on already mentally stuffed individuals who may be too far gone.

Transport for London data pilot: We want to keep tabs on dockless bikes and e-bikes


Re: I think all transport needs looking at.

You're in a small tank, they are on a bike.


GPS for every hire bike and more docks solves the dumped bike problem

With GPS on every bike and many more bike docks you could just fine the people who dump these bikes where they please.

Fining the company just creates what is known in economics as a "tradegy of the commons", the benefit of being lazy and not returning the bike/scooter to a dock accues to the user, but the cost of the fine is born by the company, and is passed on to all users via higher fees.

Many more bike/scooter docks would also reduce the incentive to dump bikes as one would usually be handy. TfL could even tax ebike hire companies a small amount per bike trip to pay for expanded bike dock infastructure. The hire bike companies would probably do this themselves, but get tangled up in negotiating with councils on where to put the things, and might try to lock rival companies bikes out.

It seems like this is where TfL is going, so good on them!

It doesn't solve the problem of a lack of proper bike lanes in London, which is more down to Thatcher splitting the Greater London Council back in the 80s (although having a single London Mayor is starting to reverse and solve this problem slowly):


Gamers are replacing Bing Maps objects in Microsoft Flight Simulator with rips from Google Earth


Re: Not just lower quality but appalingly out of date

I think MS should also have added the ability to map and photograph your own house and neighbourhood and add them to "Bing maps MSFS", maybe with a user rating system and even cash rewards? I don't know how hard this is to do with standard smartphone cameras or even prosumer cameras and drones?

Wind and quite a bit of fog shroud Boris Johnson's energy vision for the UK


Re: Or

Yeah but over 50% of transport energy use is not in personal cars, it is in trucks, aeroplanes, and shipping. For all of which there are no good non liquid fuel solutions at present (according to John Bucknell in the youtube video at least).

So insisting that everyone use electric trains/cars to commute does not solve or really dent the transportation contribution to CO2 emissions unfortunately.


Re: Or

The real way to decarbonise the transport sector, use heat from a molten salt reactor boosted to 1000 degrees to produce methanol from sea water cheaper than most gasoline. Former SpaceX engineer John Bucknell explains how:


It probably won't happen in the West, but there are plenty of energy poor asian nations that will be interested in this.

Whoa-o BlackBerry, bam-ba-lam: QWERTY phone had a child. 5G thing's newly styled


The sliders never had decent keyboards

The Priv and all other sliders suffered from having keyboards with very shallow keypresses, they were a forerunner of the hated butterfly keys on the mac laptops in some ways.

I don't know how you could solve this problem without having either a gap at the bottom of the phone, to allow enough key movement, or an annoyingly big "lip" at the bottom of the keyboard. Maybe there is some obvious way to do this that my brain can't figure out. A lip that folds down when the screen is slid up?

One potential advantage - if you could slide the screen down to reveal a selfie camera (as well as up to reveal a keyboard) 100% of the front of the phone could be screen.

Even then, I don't know if there is much of a market for physical keyboards. If you want productivity on the go you'd be much better taking a bag and a ultrabook laptop or 2in1. Phones with keyboards fall between the two stools of "light entertainment device" and "productivity device/laptop".

The Surface Duo isn't such an outlandish idea, but Microsoft has to convince punters the form factor is worth having


Blackberry Passport 2.0

I bought a Blackberry passport for on the go productivity. I quickly realised that if you want lightweight on the go productivity, just buy an ultrabook instead.

OnePlus Nord is surprisingly fixable compared to earlier stablemates, but common repairs require disassembly


Back to the old Nokia days

I really wish some mid range brand like Nokia would produce a smartphone with a replaceable glass or metal back, separate replaceable metal sides, and an easily replaceable screen. Like a modern version of those plastic cases their candybar phones used to have.

It can't be that difficult to do can it?

Microsoft runs a data centre on hydrogen for 48 whole hours, reckons it could kick hydrocarbon habit by 2030


Re: Hydrogen is a solution and its own worst enemy

The best way to store hydrogen is the traditional way - attached to carbon.

How to make methanol cheaper than the energy equivalent amount of gasoline from seawater and the CO2 disolved in it using molten salt nuclear heat:


Rental electric scooters to clutter UK street scenes after Department of Transport gives year-long trial the thumbs-up


Lifestyle change

These e scooters, like bikes, are a lifestyle change as you are exposed to any inclement weather. But not everyone is fit enough for a bike, so they could be a welcome addition.

Still the UK government could do some good by actually giving the mayor of London the power to override certain councils (Chelsea and Kensington) that continually block the building of any bike lanes. Forget the rows about e scooters, there is no reason that London could not be like Amsterdam other than local politics.

If they built more bike racks near stations, as well as bike lanes, that would reduce traffic.

The issue of people leaving scooters everywhere is that there is no penalty for it at the moment, I suspect because a few companies are burning through VC cash giving consumers subsidies in order to try and achieve "scale" and market dominance like Uber has supposedly done (we are yet to see if this lasts). Maybe a small fine on leaving these things lying around could fairly quickly sort this behaviour out (rather than outright bans, surely cheered on by black cab taxi drivers and other vested interests).

Personally I'm in favour of bikes and more bike lanes for trips of under 1km, but Personal Rapid Transit pods hanging off thin rails in the air to get people out of cars for medium to long trips around the city (buses and trains take to long due to continually stopping, it shouldn't take me ~1 hour to get from Putney to Covent garden). Slow transit due to congestion in cars or continual stops on buses and trains limits the economic benefits of living close to others in a city.

Hoverbikes, Hyperloops and sub-orbital hijinks: Yes, the '3rd, 4th and 5th Dimensions of Travel' are coming soon


SkyTran’s maglev PRT seems close

SkyTran are promoting a system of maglev pods.


They are promoting them as a solution to intra city transport, but they are probably more useful as a replacement for intercity trains, as their “track” is much lighter are therefore cheaper than rails or roadway (all those bridges). They also have more utility than a train as each two person pod can travel direct to the destination without stopping everywhere like a bus or train, or missing out on serving all the towns and villages along the route like an express train. The cheaper track allows more of a network getting things away from the negatives of “transport corridors” (getting the train then having to get further transport to your final destination).

The big technological hold up till now has been the need for at least automated car self driving at level 3 (driving on highways in any weather conditions) at a reasonable price (no 70k sensor array). You can control a couple of dozen trains via a centralised computer and communications network, but probably not 1000s of vehicles. Level 3 self driving should become a solved challenge soon (I’m skeptical about car AI ever getting to level 5 and driving on suburban streets where it has to make judgements about what people will do next).

Flying taxis? That'll be AFTER you've launched light sabres and anti-gravity skateboards


Re: Flying taxis = wrong solution to right problem

With hanging pods inclines and declines can be very steep, even vertical, as the arm can rotate.

This means that elevated stations with elevators aren't needed in low intesity areas, lowering the cost of the system. Have a read of:



Flying taxis = wrong solution to right problem

Congestion in cities is caused because the road network is largely 2D, with crossroads, and it is incredibly expensive to put roads in the air or underground in tunnels.

Podcars hanging from steel beams are effectively running on "roads" that are cheap to put in the air. So they can avoid 2D congestion due to crossroads like flying taxis, but without the noise associated with moving 2 metric tonnes of air down per second to keep the flying taxi/helicopter airborne.

A GRT/PRT system could allow nearly the point to point mobility and privacy of cars, along with the lack of congestion of flying taxis. Yes trains or buses with dedicated buslanes have less congestion, but in a journey of greater than five stops the time spent stopping at every station becomes significant.

One big impediment to Personal Rapid Transit systems so far has been the lack of an autopilot that allows the PRT pods to travel quickly, however with this tech being developed for cars, the time of PRT might be about to arrive. Probably around some newly built airport in the developing world (note Heathrows podcars are neither fast nor hanging (still require mini roads)).


Whoa! Google to power Amazon's internet. Wait, oh, not that Amazon. The other one. The rainforest



I read an article about the Taliban forcing the national phone operator there to turn off cellphone towers before the election to limit the information available to people.

This could possibly be a solution to internet denial by the taliban.

Of course a better solution would be to legalise drugs in the West to cut off the billion dollars plus of funding they get from heroin each year (yes if you legalise drugs in the west price will go down and quality will go up and more people will die, but you'll have more police resources to spend on other areas and less arseholes like the Taliban and FARC sustaining inusrgencies off drug profits).

Labour: Free British broadband for country if we win general election


Re: @steelpillow and ImAlrightJack

What killed private railways as profitable enterprises was the advent of the diesel truck and better roads.

In the early days the government had to force railways to take paying customers as they wanted to focus on freight. The government nationalized the railways to keep some form of commuter service going.

Incidentally it wasn't railways that killed canals. Canals were used alongside railways up until the diesel truck. Railways have stuck around because they are the only (partial) solution to moving loads of people around in congested cities.

Boffins blow hot and cold over li-ion battery that can cut leccy car recharging to '10 mins'


Using hydrogen from reformed methanol in fuel cells now possible

It is always worth noting that late last year in China a possibly very important fuel cell breakthrough was made. By adding iron oxide nanoparticles to fuel cell membranes, the poisoning effect of carbon monoxide was removed:


Electric cars can't cut UK carbon emissions while only the wealthy can afford to own one


I think it is about time The Register interviewed Kirk Sorenson about molten salt reactors.


Just produce methanol from seawater cheaper than petrol using molten salt advanced modular nuclear reactors, burn than methanol in petrol engines (modifing an ICE to handle methanol cost about 100 USD).


Or in highly polluted cities crack that methanol into hydrogen and CO2 onboard the vehicle and run the hydrogen through a PEM fuel cell. Carbon Monoxide produced from the hydrocarbon would poison the platinum catalyst in the fuel cell stack, but last year scientists in China figured out that adding iron oxide nanoparticles to the catalyst prevented this damage:


Switchzilla rolls out Wi-Fi 6 kit: New access points, switch for a standard that hasn't officially arrived


Active scanning of DFS channels?

I think current routers scan the DFS channels between the 2.4 and 5Ghz channels when turned on and if they detect a radar signal in them then won’t rescan them until the router is switched off and on again (apparently due to a lack of a second radio and enough cou processing power).


FYI: Get ready for face scans on leaving the US because 1.2% of visitors overstayed their visas


Stop and search

Presumably once the database and facial recognition are running a bit more smoothly this will be rolled out as an app for police who can quickly check on “random” stop and searchs if someone is a visa overstayer.

Or in an even more Orwellian move they could plug the system into some random CCTV traffic cameras within the US to fish these people out of the crowd.

Up until now AI has not been able to identify people within cars, but this is being worked on:


We fought through the crowds to try Oculus's new VR goggles so you don't have to bother (and frankly, you shouldn't)


Stereoscopic Vs Pseudo Holographic

Are today’s stereoscopic LCD and OLED displays even up to the task? You’re still looking at a “pop up book” stereoscopic 3D. If you have a lightfieks display these a pseudo holographic image can be created, removing a source of eye strain.

Will there ever be wireless feathering to a PC that is fast enough for high end VR?

Bill Gates declined offer to serve as Donald Trump's science advisor


Thiel gives $1 million per year to the SENS Research Foundation

“What if he were to ask Peter Thiel (who totally isn't “harvesting the blood of the young” but is keenly interested in anti-aging research)?”

Peter Thiel donated $1 million to Trump’s election campaign, but seems to have had f all influence on Trump for his million dollars.

The above quote is having a bit of a dig at Thiel implying that he is interested in anti aging research only for selfish reasons, and in fact may be impinging on the health of the young to further his own health. But an action can be in a persons self interest as well as that of the public.

The point that Thiel and others make is that most health care spending is on people over 65, and if we could keep these people healthy and youthful it could lower health care costs and raise economic productivity a great deal.

It’s very difficult to get the public and politicians to think about anti aging medicine as humans have psychological coping mechanisms that prevent them paying attention to seemingly inevitable and awful things like aging. This is sometimes called the “Pro Aging Trance” and usually results in people’s minds coming up with quick and often contradictory objections to quickly change the subject. Examples of these contradictory objections are “what about overpopulation?” and “anti aging would only be for the rich”.

Jammy dodgers: Boffin warns of auto autos congesting cities to avoid parking fees


Re: Congestion is about work not transport

Cable cars - have the problem that the wheels are clamped around the cable, making track switching difficult or impossible.

If instead you create a micro monorail and drive the hanging gondolas along on wheels from what is basically an ultra thin road... then you have reached the concept of PRT - personal rapid transit.

Two things held back PRT in the past. 1. You’ve go to build a decent network to make it worthwhile to use. 2. Olden time 1970s designs relied on every pod/gondola in the city being controlled by a central computer that knew exactly where they all were at all times. If the central computer or communications network went down then an entire city would grind to a halt. Self driving car tech solves this problem. The first one requires political will, but might get a toehold in somewhere like Israel which is always looking to stick it to the oil exporting neighbours.

For more about PRT have a look at Dan Verhoeven’s excellent blog: www.openprtspecs.blogspot.com

Huge ice blades on Jupiter’s Europa will make it a right pain in the ASCII to land on


Duke Nukem

Not if you send in a small tactical nuke to the landing zone first.

Do Optane's prospects look DIMM? Chip chap has questions for Intel


Video Games

Layman question here, but will this have any medium term effect on video games say by allowing cars in GTA not to disappear once they are offscreen? Or by finally allowing the use of large numbers of voxels?

Tesla undecimates its workforce but Elon insists everything's absolutely fine



Build a pebble bed or molten salt small modular reactor with an output temperature of 600 celcius or greater, use that to make ammonia from seawater and air, burn that ammonia in internal combustion engines, job pretty much done.

Unfortunately billions per year are spent on renewable subsidies or grid priority, while governments won't fund much nuclear research (except for China's government).


Re: sustainable, clean energy

""It does until it goes wrong and you send a massive radioactive cloud over half the planet"

Won't happen with Small Nuclear Reactors which can be designed to fail safe with no backup power."

In addition, if the Small Modular Reactor is a molten salt reactor, the spent nuclear fuel could be cheaply reprocessed, resulting in no long term waste. Unlike with today's PUREX reprocessing, you can just keep cycling the transuranics (basically plutonium) through reactors until it is all fissioned.

Why governments will spend billions on renewable subsidies but won't fund this research is beyond me?

High-Optane thrills for 3D XPoint wanna-haves: Intel fattens gaming SSDs


Future latency

What latency will Optane be able to get down to in the medium term?

Apple turns hat around, sits backwards on chair, pitches iPad to schools


Apple ignoring feedback

Schools claimed students found the iPads too difficult to type on so... Apple does nothing to improve those crappy plastic keyboards for the iPads.

You could make a better iPad keyboard by having two hinges on it to hold the iPad and having the bottom of the keboard slide out backwards between them for mobility.

If Apple are worried about these improvements cannibalising sales of the MacBook Air and Pro, go dobe the path that Dell is taking with it’s XPS line and remove the bezels to get a bigger screen in a smaller device. The 13” models could become 15” models and the 15” models could become 17” models with the same form factor.

Europe plans special tax for Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon


Re: Not the whole problem

A Land Value Tax (NOT property value tax) could resolve all these problems:


Amazon and Google are just network effect monopolists much like landlords are location oligopolists. They are just adding insult to injury by massaging their profits away to zero tax countries.

A tax on inputs such as labour avoids this profit manipulation, a tax on land doesn't carry the dead weight loss of a tax on labor because landlords cannot respond by reducing the supply of land.

Google can try and avoid using land in the UK, but the suppliers of goods and services that google uses in the UK, as well as customers of their online service (advertisers and consumers) do have to use land.

"Most taxes do not just depress economic activity; they also displace it—for example to offshore financial centres. The faster that tax collectors crack down on loopholes, the more clever accountants find new ones.

Land-value taxes, on the other hand, lack these perverse effects. They cannot reduce the supply of land, or distort decisionmaking. Instead they may even stimulate economic activity, by penalising those who hoard land and keep it idle (a big plus in desolate post-industrial cities where much land is vacant). The tax drives the land price down by the capitalised value of the future levies—theoretically even to zero—until someone finds a use for the land. Collection is cheap. Unlike profit, you cannot massage land away or move it to Luxembourg. If you do not pay, it can be seized and sold. Though nobody likes extra taxes, new land-value levies could be matched by cuts in other taxes, especially those paid by poor people."

Squeezing more out of slippery big tech may even take tax reforms


Re: If you tax land

"If you tax land

Food costs will skyrocket, which is rather a bad thing for poor people who spend a relatively higher percentage of their income on food."

Where on earth did you get this notion from?

The idea promoted by The Economist and others is to tax land *value*. Farmland is inherently low value, as almost no one wants to live there.

I think you might have got the idea that a land value tax is a flat rate tax per square kilometer of land, regardless of value. This isn't actually the case with Henry George's proposal.

In fact, land value taxes have the unique advantage of being one of the only taxes that doesn't distort economic activity. As landlords cannot reduce the supply of land in response to a tax (there is no deadweight loss).