Apple’s U.S. corporate tax for 2012 equals 1 of every $40 collected

…The New York Times reported that the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations is wrapping up an investigation into a number of technology companies that use specialized accounting practices to avoid U.S. taxes, which are higher than those levied in many foreign countries.

According to the sources, Apple had become the focus of the inquiry as its accountants have managed to allocate some 70 percent of taxable income overseas despite running a base of operations in the U.S. The tactics used are completely legal, though head of the investigations committee Senator Carl Levin said off-shoring income and intellectual property is hurting the U.S. budget and ultimately average Americans…

In its statement on Thursday, Apple said it was “one of the top corporate income taxpayers in the country, if not the largest…

For the past fiscal year, Apple said it paid “an enormous amount of taxes” to local, state and federal governments. “In fiscal 2012 we paid $6 billion in federal corporate income taxes, which is 1 out of every 40 dollars in corporate income taxes collected by the U.S. government,” according to the statement…

Apple is cooperating with Senator Levin’s investigation, “which is expected to yield recommendations to Congress” that may have an effect on future tax code discussions…when I am 275 years old.

The article is interesting to me as a weighty counter to childish geeks who treat Apple’s significance to the United States economy as if it still was two guys in a garage in California. They have no clue about the tax repatriation proposals already offered by Tim Cooke or the firm’s role in bettering working conditions abroad.

There is always some ivory tower biz major who whines about the suicide rate in some FoxConn factory town in China. A rate that is almost as high as [gasp] Cincinnati.

Yale study ties fructose to obesity

Fructose, a sweetener found on many food labels, may contribute to weight gain and obesity because it has minimal effect on brain regions that control appetite, a study by Yale University researchers found.

The research, published…in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is the first to compare the human brain’s response to both fructose and glucose, two types of simple sugars used separately and together to sweeten food.

Researchers have long suspected that increased consumption of food flavored with fructose, a substance sweeter to the taste than glucose, may contribute to the U.S. obesity epidemic. The latest study used brain imaging to measure activity after the sweeteners were consumed. It found that only glucose had the ability to reduce blood flow in areas of the brain that regulate appetite, stopping people from wanting to eat more…

The brain requires glucose as a fuel, Robert Sherwin said. When there isn’t enough in the body, it turns on cells to try to get a person to eat more. Once glucose levels rise, the brain turns those cells off. The study found that fructose doesn’t have the ability to operate that off switch, he said.

Jonathan Purnell, a professor of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland who wrote an accompanying editorial in the journal with colleague Damien Fair, said based on these results people should avoid processed and refined foods and drinks that contain fructose as well as glucose and eat more natural foods to reverse the trend in weight gain.

“It’s not that we are what we eat but what we eat influences what we become,” Purnell said…

Lots of folks talking about the study. It confirms common knowledge among folks who do at least minimal study of nutrition. Still – it’s appropriate to have a legit peer-reviewed source.

Welcome to the Republican Party of the Confederacy

The budget battles rocking the capital have exposed a deepening fault line within an already fractured Republican Party: the divide between the GOP’s solid Southern base and the rest of the country.

That regional split became evident when members of the House of Representatives cast votes last week on a budget deal designed to avoid massive tax hikes and spending cuts: Almost 90% of Southern Republicans voted against the “fiscal-cliff” compromise. At the same time, a majority of Republican representatives from outside the South supported the deal, which was approved in large part because of overwhelming Democratic support.

The GOP’s geographic schisms burst anew after House Speaker John A. Boehner canceled an expected vote on a $60-billion disaster relief package for victims of Superstorm Sandy.

Rep. Peter T. King accused his party of “cavalier disregard” toward New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a potential 2016 GOP presidential contender, lashed out at what he called the “toxic internal politics” of his party’s House majority, noting that Republicans had speedily approved support for storm relief in “Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, Alabama…”

The image projected by the battles in the House — the only part of the federal government controlled by Republicans — could influence public attitudes toward the GOP and its candidates heading into the 2014 midterm elections and the 2016 presidential contest.

In particular, the South’s preeminence could pose challenges to national GOP efforts to broaden the party’s appeal on social and cultural issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage…

Continue reading

The biggest star of 2013 could be Ison – the comet of the century

Comet McNaught above Chile in 2007

At the moment it is a faint object, visible only in sophisticated telescopes as a point of light moving slowly against the background stars. It doesn’t seem much – a frozen chunk of rock and ice – one of many moving in the depths of space. But this one is being tracked with eager anticipation by astronomers from around the world, and in a year everyone could know its name.

Comet Ison could draw millions out into the dark to witness what could be the brightest comet seen in many generations – brighter even than the full Moon.

It was found as a blur on an electronic image of the night sky taken through a telescope at the Kislovodsk Observatory in Russia as part of a project to survey the sky looking for comets and asteroids – chunks of rock and ice that litter space…

When the images were obtained Vitali Nevski loaded them into a computer program designed to detect asteroids and comets moving between images. He noticed a rather bright object with unusually slow movement, which he thought could only mean it was situated way beyond the orbit of Jupiter. But he couldn’t tell if the object was a comet, so Artyom Novichonok booked time on a larger telescope to take another look. Less than a day later the new images revealed that Nevski and Novichonok had discovered a comet, which was named Comet Ison. A database search showed it has been seen in images taken by other telescopes earlier that year and in late 2011. These observations allowed its orbit to be calculated, and when astronomers did that they let out a collective “wow.”

Comet Ison has taken millions of years to reach us travelling from the so-called Oort cloud – a reservoir of trillions and trillions of chunks of rock and ice, leftovers from the birth of the planets…Comet Ison is making its first, and perhaps only visit to us. Its life has been cold, frozen hard and unchanging, but it is moving closer to the Sun, and getting warmer…

By the end of summer it will become visible in small telescopes and binoculars. By October it will pass close to Mars and things will begin to stir. The surface will shift as the ice responds to the thermal shock, cracks will appear in the crust, tiny puffs of gas will rise from it as it is warmed. The comet’s tail is forming…

By late November it will be visible to the unaided eye just after dark in the same direction as the setting Sun. Its tail could stretch like a searchlight into the sky above the horizon. Then it will swing rapidly around the Sun, passing within two million miles of it, far closer than any planet ever does, to emerge visible in the evening sky heading northward towards the pole star. It could be an “unaided eye” object for months. When it is close in its approach to the Sun it could become intensely brilliant but at that stage it would be difficult and dangerous to see without special instrumentation as it would be only a degree from the sun.

BTW, Ison might not be the only comet in the sky next year. A comet, called 2014 L4 (PanSTARRS), was discovered last year and and should be visible in March and April. Could be an interesting year for sky sightings.

New weight loss gadget lets you eat, drink and pump it back out

Could be a nice tidy sideline for these guys

Who would have thought that the future of weight loss might lie in the hands of the inventor of the Segway? Dean Kamen, creator of the two-wheeled wonder, along with a team from Aspire Bariatrics, of Philadelphia, has applied for a patent for a pump that can suck food and drink straight out of the stomach.

Users are able to stuff their face before draining their stomach by connecting the pump to a valve surgically installed in their abdominal wall. The makers hope to use it to treat the morbidly obese, and to provide an alternative to a gastric bypass.

Initial setbacks – and here’s the really yucky part – have occurred because the pump struggles to break up large foods. One patient reported “clogging” and had to avoid eating cauliflower, broccoli, Chinese food, stir fry, snow peas, pretzels, chips and steak. No chips? It will never catch on.

Seems to me all you need is a wee device powered by rechargeable batteries that finely grinds everything trying to flow into the intake of the pump.

Also you should be entirely out of your mind.