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Comment: Re:The ominous humm.... (Score 1) 809

by SkimTony (#48877785) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret

Charging for things I don't want? I'd pay extra to shut off any extra noises my car might make. Then again, I'd pay a lot extra to disable all the extra noises that everyone else's cars make. An engineering project: Can I get the equivalent of a TV-B-Gone, so I can turn off the obnoxious extra noises that the cars around me make?

Comment: Re:Should be compared to CPI (Score 2) 619

by SkimTony (#47275847) Attached to: 2 US Senators Propose 12-Cent Gas Tax Increase

There is one reason to compare it to the cost of gasoline, which is predicated on an inverse relationship between the cost of fuel and the amount people are willing to spend on it. While there are many quibbles and outright logical flaws in the reasoning behind the gas tax, this one seems relatively sound:
    1) Gas tax is a certain percentage of cost of fuel, collected as fuel is purchased. Fuel use approximately correlates with wear and tear on roads.
    2) Price of gas increases dramatically (roughly 4x) with no corresponding increase in taxes (since it's a fixed rate, not a fixed percentage). This causes a short term decline in usage, reducing (slightly) wear and tear on roads. but then...
    3) Drivers acquire more efficient vehicles to offset the price of fuel. These vehicles aren't any smaller or lighter, so they cause the same wear and tear on the roads, but they deliver less fuel-tax revenue to pay for that road use.

I do appreciate the inflation method for calculating fuel taxes, though. I had a conversation with some friends recently about the comparative pointlessness of a five cent deposit on a can of soda or beer now, versus in the mid 1980's, when if you returned ten cans you could use the deposit money to buy a full can of soda.

Comment: Re:Hard to find good developers in Denver (Score 1) 491

by SkimTony (#46349709) Attached to: Do We Really Have a Shortage of STEM Workers?

You're also missing the (or at least a) point. If that car saves you $10k/yr., then it's only worth it to you if you keep it into the third year. Likewise, employees are only worth the money if the company is willing to invest some time in them. However, in the current market, companies don't want to pay enough to retain employees long enough for them to be worth the investment, so they lose out. Unfortunately, the Market chose price over quality a long time ago.

Comment: Social Benefit Programs? (Score 1) 597

by SkimTony (#46248199) Attached to: Financing College With a Tax On All Graduates

One of the issues that I have seen cited as a problem with the high cost of education is the inability of graduates to take lower paying but socially beneficial jobs. For example, an attorney becoming a public defender vs. going to work for a big firm, or someone deciding to start a business or work for herself rather than take a corporate grind job, because she can't just live cheaply until the business makes it, having lots of debt with a deadline attached.

          It sounds like this scheme has the same flaw, it just moves the issue from the person to the group, tragedy of the commons style. People who do take advantage of things and take lower paying jobs pay less into the system. This is a potential social benefit (more creativity and innovation, fewer corporate drones, better public defenders, better health care availability in underserved markets, etc.), but there's still that bill to be paid. What happens when the clock runs out on your "college tax" before you hit your stride professionally? What happens when that's even a significant fraction of students?

Comment: Re:P1 = Jet Li, Gary Kasparov, David Beckham Visa (Score 1) 114

by SkimTony (#45674677) Attached to: StarCraft II Gamer Receives US Pro-Athlete Visa

Risk doesn't need to be TBI from e.g. American Football; there are plenty of non-contact sports. Tennis, track and field, etc. all have a higher risk of injury (muscle strain, etc.) than normal daily activities like walking to the mailbox. I'm not saying I subscribe to Alioth's definition, but the "risk" aspect is certainly there for sports that require exertion.

Comment: Re:This is why I am unimpressed with BitCoin (Score 1) 203

by SkimTony (#45006601) Attached to: Sinkhole Sucks Brains From Wasteful Bitcoin Mining Botnet

In what way are they obsolete? Yes, the custom ASICs can mine bitcoins much faster and more cheaply than general purpose CPUs, but if you're not paying for the resources to use them, that's irrelevant.
Suppose I have a mine where I can pull $10,000,000 worth of gold out of the ground every year, and that operation costs me $9,999,000 to run (this would be crazy for real gold mining operations, but seems about right for BitCoin mining, and is by design). I make $1,000. By comparison, you can steal $100 worth of gold jewelry per month, and have no chance of being caught.
In this situation, despite the fact that my operation generates far more currency, you come out ahead $1,200 vs. $1,000). ASICs obsolete paying for traditional CPUs to do the math, but if you steal the resources, you will still make a much larger profit.

"Someone's been mean to you! Tell me who it is, so I can punch him tastefully." -- Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse