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Hugh Neilson

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Hugh Neilson last won the day on February 26

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About Hugh Neilson

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    SETAC Gadfly
  • Birthday 01/15/1966

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    Chartered Professional Accountant/Tax Consultant

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  1. I have recognized some actors solely because the voice sounded familiar and it caused me to dig a little further, but I was more poking at the many other ways we suggest some secret IDs would be hard to maintain when the source material commonly suspends disbelief and allows that secret ID to be maintained. Back in his first appearance, R'as Al Ghul figured out Bats was Bruce Wayne because his company was the only one to which he could trace every tech item Bats would clearly need - "a hole I'll plug". How many people would it really take to outfit a cave complex with the tech and buildout in the BatCave? Two guys maintaining day jobs are going to be a long time on that basement reno project! When Man of Steel rebooted Supes post-Crisis, Lois noted that Clark was really buff, but the weights in his apartment were pretty similar to the ones she uses - he didn't realize since they're all about as heavy as paper clips to him. We can dig into what, realistically, "should" happen (on both sides - really, Clark could not determine appropriate weights for a buff human male? They DO mark how heavy the blasted things are, right?; WayneTech spends all that dough on Bruce's sideline activity and accounting, and the IRS, never picks up on the money leak?), or we can follow the lead of the source material. Like every other genre trope, if the GM makes it a losing proposition for players to follow it, players just won't follow it.
  2. Oh my couldn't his voice be analyzed to trace him back to his secret ID 😰
  3. Wonder Man did not keep a secret ID. They did not get Al Capone because he could not explain where the money came from. They got him because he did not report the income. Practically, most secret IDs can be easily blown if the GM works at it. Like most things genre, we have to maintain a reasonable suspension of disbelief or they stop working. "Parker/Kent, that's the last time I call you with a hot story to find you off your cell - you're fired." "Mr. Wayne/Stark, we're charging you for tax evasion for all these unexplained expenses in your corporation for tech not used in generating your business income." Those independently wealthy people get followed around by papparrazzi and dug through by investigative journalists.
  4. I believe you have to have some de minimis number of posts before getting out of "moderator", but moderation is pretty quick. It's largely a spam protector, I believe. At the bottom right of your post, I see a heart. If I hover over it, it goes colour and provides reaction options. If you can't see it, I suspect reactions are unavailable until that minimum post count is achieved.
  5. Actually, what the OP said was (emphasis added): This could indicate that Gestures and Incantations are required in the game in question. However, it can just as easily be read to say that the OP assumes every spell requires Gestures and Incantations. The first step is clarifying whether this is the OP's assumption or a hard-coded requirement of the specific game in question. But that is not how interrupting a spell looks in Fantasy Hero. It is how interrupting a spell might look if a specific Fantasy Hero game requires those specific limitations. The point that not every Fantasy Hero game may require those specific limitations is an important one. This may, or may not, be the way to interrupt a spell in any given Fantasy Hero Game, but it is not guaranteed to be effective under every game constructed using the Fantasy Hero System. In a game where spellcasting is a mental process that always requires Concentration, holding an action to be triggered by unusual gestures or incantations is utterly useless when the spellcaster need only concentrate, not speak or gesture, to cast his spell. In the Harry Potterverse, for example, Disarming wands would be a much more effective tactic, despite the requirement a wand be pointed (arguably Gestures, but including that in OAF would be equally valid) and the typical, but not universal, requirement of a single spoken word or two. In that game (based on the source material), the far more effective approach was to disarm the wand before its holder had an action to cast a spell, not wait for him to cast.
  6. At the core, EC can simply be replaced by purchasing the powers normally with "Unified Power" added as a -1/4 limitation. If you are inclined to invest more effort, I'd consider whether they all need to be the same AP (not required for unified power) and whether some powers not worth adding to the 5e EC might appropriately also be Unified.
  7. The real problems are deeply rooted and hard to solve. We want something that can be done quickly and make us feel better, so we can get back to day to day life. Lasting value would be OK too, but it's an optional extra, pretty far down the priority list. Sadly, that can describe a lot of issues today.
  8. Too true. The lack of recognition that this is not binary - "you are dead" or "you are back to normal" - makes for bad risk assessment. And that ignores that a full recovery still likely follows several weeks of no income and maybe a huge medical bill.
  9. If, as a store owner, you REALLY want to stimulate mask wearing, try this: "5%* discount for any shopper or shopping group) wearing a mask throughout their shopping trip in our store" * Pick your percentage. More cynically (or realistically - businesses are already suffering)? Raise your prices the same amount so those without masks are paying a premium.
  10. If the entire healthcare cost structure is exorbitant, why is it only the researcher who develops the drug called upon to lower its prices? If everyone is overcharging, they should all be held to account. Not having seen the books, I'm not qualified to comment on who, if anyone, is overcharging. How many blind alleys have to be paid for (with zero sales) in order to develop a successful product? Their first quarter results indicate $50 million in clinical trials and ramping up to manufacture the drug. And I don't recall Gilead justifying the price compared to reduced costs elsewhere (feel free to cite - I did not look that hard). I recall ScottishFox pointing it out. If a product reduced my vehicle operating costs by $1,000 a year, I would be pretty happy to invest $200 a year in that product. I get 80% of the benefit. To the question of government funding, governments could certainly incorporate conditions on government grants - private sector money would expect a return. Governments could also choose to invest in publicly-owned research ventures rather than issuing grants and partnering with private sector researchers at all. Where is their monopoly if the generic manufacturers can produce the same thing with no royalty payments? That's a pretty significant giveaway by Gilead - the generic producers get to sell the product without contributing a dime to cover its development and testing costs. But it's easier to point at The Evil Corporation* than to evaluate the facts objectively. * because we know all corporations are evil, right?
  11. So, not in the U.S. since Trump said the pandemic is over? If the drug company would not take a significant hit by lowering their price to generate no profit, then the cost to the system generated by their profit must be equally insignificant. And again, I do not see why it would be only the drug company's shareholders who should take the hit. I keep remembering that really early post-Crisis Flash comic when Wally West could hit the speed of sound. He carried a donor heart across the country. And he required payment. Everyone else in the chain was getting paid. He needed extra calories for his heightened metabolism, and his expensive high-durability boots wear out fast and need to be replaced pretty frequently. Why should he be the only guy involved who does not get paid for his contributions? That's a seriously interesting point and an angle I had not even considered. Now, since it is the hospital or the insurance company saving all that money, maybe THEY should subsidize the extra cost to the patient and make it a win-win. Again, my simple question is why it would be appropriate to single out the drug company as the "bad guy" when no one else in the chain is sacrificing their bottom line either.
  12. A lot of questions. Canada ditched estate tax almost 50 years back, but taxes all gains on assets in the year of death - essentially, the property is "sold" to the estate at fair value, and taxes become due at that point. Some nuances and exceptions, of course, and a lot of estate/tax planning. Some provinces have "probate fees" which are a % of the estate, so really an estate tax (and the Courts told one province it was a tax, and had to follow the legislative procedures for a tax, some years back). Similar issues arise. What if the assets are illiquid (well, at least you can opt in to 10 years to pay - with interest)? What about assets that are hard to value? More work for appraisers and business valuators. What if you are deemed to dispose of a house for its value of $750,000, then your heirs sell it for $750k and pay $50k of realty commissions and legal bills? Well, there's a gain on your final tax return and they have a loss. That's without the underlying value changing. Really, tax is pretty simple. We just want a system that is fair and simple. Sadly, each one pulls in the opposite direction. Fair is seldom easy, and simple tends to be unfair.
  13. Well, if we handle it based on his approach, it will eventually disappear from humanity, anyway. Probably not the way humanity would prefer, though.
  14. The fact that you said nothing about anyone else who is making their living/earning a profit in the treatment of the illness is my point. Why should the drug company work for free, while everyone else gets paid? What is special about the drug company that it should be singled out as the sole link in the development, production and distribution chain which should not be paid for its efforts. We can debate what a fair return on its investment is, but of course we can debate whether anyone along the chain is being fairly compensated for their skills, efforts, time, etc. It is a fallacy to talk about "the drug company" getting paid. The company does not need money. It does not buy a house, raise its kids, put food on the table, save for retirement or take exotic vacations. It is a legal fiction. The people who earn that money are the shareholders of the drug company. Typically, for a public company at least, this would include a lot of pension funds, retirement savings plans and fixed-income seniors living their retirement years on their savings. The profits earned by the drug company go to those shareholders, in the form of dividends and/or increased share prices, not to some black box "corporation" entity. Salaried employees who get paid whether the drug is a huge success (big profit for the drug company and, by extension, its owners), delivers a modest return (for the company and its owners) or tanks and results in significant losses (again, for the company and its owners). Risk also has to be compensated. If those employees took on some risk by taking less salary and more stock options or profit-sharing incentives (which I think are pretty common in the biotech/pharmacare sector), then asking the drug company to take a discount is asking them to take a discount. Without digging through the economics behind Canadian versus US sales, I can't speak to whether the costs in Canada are lower, higher or identical. However, the differences between Canadian and US health care seem most driven by the private versus public health care models. Those are less a question of whether everyone along the chain gets paid and more a question of who pays them. Taken at a very high level, whether medical costs are appropriately allocated based on who had the misfortune to become ill (which, if you chose not to socially distance, wear masks, etc. may be quite appropriate in that you chose to place yourself at higher risk) or are more appropriately borne by society as a whole through government-funded health care financed by taxes (which, given the nature of a pandemic means everyone is at risk, may be quite appropriate as well). Now, if we want the drug companies to do their work (whether for specific illnesses or in general), perhaps the question should be whether the pharmacare industry is appropriately in the private sector, or should be taken over by government, but given the worldwide nature of pharamcare, that would be a huge undertaking to get international consensus. I guess drugs developed in Country X could be sold to other nations at a profit and delivered within one's own borders at cost, but then the costs would depend on where the treatment was developed, and whether we have reciprocal medical pricing treaties with that nation (if they also have public, rather than private, pharmacare). That's not a Coronavirus-specific issue, but the costs of medical treatment aren't unique to coronavirus either. "Lucky you, you have caught the Pandemic of the Month and qualify for 15% off on treatment" versus "sorry, your illness is less common and we still charge full rates - you should have come down with COVID-19 instead of colon cancer"? I think we are straying to the "politics" thread, if not a thread specific to appropriate funding of health care.
  15. That sounds like the cost if you can produce it without contributing to the costs of creating the drug itself. If those costs will never be recoverable, why would any business incur them? So how much more than that $70 million was spent by Gilead in development and testing this "promising" drug (still not certain it is effective, I note), costs not shared by generic producers who pay no royalties. Do you think the doctors and nurses treating COVID-19 patients now should all be working for free as well? It is a pandemic, after all! It's all too easy to suggest that other people should donate their time, efforts and money. As has been noted on these Boards, we in North America are quite affluent compared to the rest of the world. What if we each donated the cost of our computers and one years' Internet access to help cover these medical costs?
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