States will be able to force more people to pay sales tax when they make online purchases under a Supreme Court decision Thursday that will leave shoppers with lighter wallets but is a big financial win for states.
The Supreme Court's opinion Thursday overruled a pair of decades-old decisions that states said cost them billions of dollars in lost revenue annually. The decisions made it more difficult for states to collect sales tax on certain online purchases.
The cases the court overturned said that if a business was shipping a customer's purchase to a state where the business didn't have a physical presence such as a warehouse or office, the business didn't have to collect sales tax for the state. Customers were generally responsible for paying the sales tax to the state themselves if they weren't charged it, but most didn't realize they owed it and few paid.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that the previous decisions were flawed. “Each year the physical presence rule becomes further removed from economic reality and results in significant revenue losses to the States,” he wrote in an opinion joined by four other justices. Kennedy wrote that the rule “limited states' ability to seek long-term prosperity and has prevented market participants from competing on an ev...
This year marks exactly two centuries since the publication of Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelley. Even before the invention of the electric light bulb, the author produced a remarkable work of speculative fiction that would foreshadow many ethical questions to be raised by technologies yet to come.
Today the rapid growth of artificial intelligence (AI) raises fundamental questions: “What is intelligence, identity, or consciousness? What makes humans humans?”
What is being called artificial general intelligence, machines that would imitate the way humans think, continues to evade scientists. Yet humans remain fascinated by the idea of robots that would look, move, and respond like humans, similar to those recently depicted on popular sci-fi TV series such as “West world” and “Humans”.
Just how people think is still far too complex to be understood, let alone reproduced, says David Eagleman, a Stanford University neuroscientist. “We are just in a situation where there are no good theories explaining what consciousness actually is and how you could ever build a machine to get there.”
But that doesn’t mean crucial ethical issues involving AI aren’t at hand. The coming use of autonomous vehicles, for example, poses thorny ethical questions. Human drivers sometimes must ma...
Grade inflation—the gradual increase in average GPAs (grade-point averages) over the past few decades—is often considered a product of a consumer era in higher education, in which students are treated like customers to be pleased. But another, related force—a policy often buried deep in course catalogs called "grade forgiveness"— is helping raise GPAs.
Grade forgiveness allows students to retake a course in which they received a low grade, and the most recent grade or the highest grade is the only one that counts in calculating a student’s overall GPA.
The use of this little-known practice has accelerated in recent years, as colleges continue to do their utmost to keep students in school (and paying tuition) and improve their graduation rates. When this practice first started decades ago, it was usually limited to freshmen, to give them a second chance to take a class in their first year if they struggled in their transition to college-level courses. But now most colleges, save for many selective campuses, allow all undergraduates, and even graduate students, to get their low grades forgiven.
College officials tend to emphasize that the goal of grade forgiveness is less about the grade itself and more about encouraging students to retake courses critical to their degree program and graduation wit...
Financial regulators in Britain have imposed a rather unusual rule on the bosses of big banks. Starting next year, any guaranteed bonus of top executives could be delayed 10 years if their banks are under investigation for wrongdoing. The main purpose of this “clawback” rule is to hold bankers accountable for harmful risk-taking and to restore public trust in financial institution. Yet officials also hope for a much larger benefit: more long term decision-making not only by banks but by all corporations, to build a stronger economy for future generations.
“Short-termism” or the desire for quick profits, has worsened in publicly traded companies, says the Bank of England’s top economist. Andrew Haldane. He quotes a giant of classical economics, Alfred Marshall, in describing this financial impatience as acting like “Children who pick the plums out of their pudding to eat them at once” rather than putting them aside to be eaten last.
The average time for holding a stock in both the United States and Britain, he notes, has dropped from seven years to seven months in recent decades. Transient investors, who demand high quarterly profits from companies, can hinder a firm’s efforts to invest in long-term research or to build up customer loyalty. This has been dubbed “quarterly capitalism”
Section I Use of English
Read the following text. Choose the best word (s) for each numbered blank and mark A, B, C or D on the ANSWER SHEET. (10 points)
Today we live in a world where GPS systems, digital maps, and other navigation apps are available on our smart phone___1___ of us just walk straight into the woods without a phone. But phones__2__on batteries, and batteries can die faster than we realize.__3__you get lost without a phone or a compass, and you __4__get lost without a phone or a compass, and you __4__can`t find north, a few tricks to help you navigate__5__to civilization, one of which is to follow the land.
When you find yourself well__6__ a trail, but not in a completely __7__area, you have to answer two questions: Which __8__is downhill, in this particular area? And where is the nearest water source? Humans overwhelmingly live in valleys, and on supplies of fresh water.__9__, if you head downhill, and follow any H2O you find, you should __10__see signs of people.
If you`ve explored the area before, keep an eye out for familiar sights-you may be __11__how quickly identifying a distinctive rock or tree can restore your bearings.
Another__12__:Climb high and look for signs of human habitation.__13__,even in dense forest, you should able to __14__gaps in the tree line due...
Section ⅠUse of English
Read the following text. Choose the best word(s) for each numbered blank and mark A, B, C or D on the ANSWER SHEET. (10 points)
Today we live in a world where GPS systems, digital maps, and other navigation apps are available on our smart phones. 1 of us just walk straight into the woods without a phone. But phones 2 on batteries, and batteries can die faster than we realize. 3 you get lost without a phone or a compass, and you 4 can’t find north, a few tricks to help you navigate 5 to civilization, one of which is to follow the land...
When you find yourself well 6 a trail, but not in a completely 7 area, you have to answer two questions: Which 8 is downhill, in this particular area? And where is the nearest water source? Humans overwhelmingly live in valleys, and on supplies of fresh water. 9 , if you head downhill, and follow any H2O you find, you should 10 see signs of people.
If you’ve explored the area before, keep an eye out for familiar sights—you may be 11 how quickly identifying a distinctive rock or tree can restore your bearings.
Another 12 : Climb high and look for signs of human habitation. 13 , even in dense forest, you should be able to 14 gaps in the tree line due to roads, train tracks, and other paths people carve 15 the woods. Head tow...