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Comment It's hard to know til you have it (Score 1) 266

A lot of the stuff I've used it for are things I didn't plan on using it for, i.e. it's not until it's an option that you start to find some uses for it. Anyway, I'm not a very good 3d modeler but I've used my printer for:

- a custom laptop stand
- replacement knobs for washer, dryer, etc. (not sure why so many broke off, but kinda cool to print replacements)
- mods for my kids' toys (e.g. an equipment connector for Nerf guns)
- wall mount for a quadcopter so I could get it off my desk
- computer speaker mounts
- odds and ends for organization of household items - containers, dividers, custom holders of random stuff around the house
- a couple of small camp gadgets - simple hooks for flashlight, hanger attachments for stuff on a rope
- custom/replacement Lego parts (results are mixed so far)
- similar to knobs for washer & dryer, replacement parts for other things around the house like a part that broke in my window blinds

Comment Re:The people (Score 2) 479

Preface: creationism shouldn't be taught in schools except for in e.g. a World Religions or Comparative Religions class or something. It has no place in a science class.

That said I've been in a *lot* of science classes where, instead of sticking to science, the teacher almost gleefully makes the discussion about religion and tries to use science to disprove religion - I remember that as far back as my middle school days and all through high school - it was very, very frequent. Sometimes it was very overt; many times it was just interjecting needless, snarky anti-religion comments that implied that religion and science had to be at odds with each other (they don't) and that obviously only a moron would be religious to any degree. A little Googling reveals that this isn't all that uncommon (although, unfortunately, many of the accounts are often full of hysteria so it's hard to extract the facts, but the fact that there are so many of them is enough to suggest my experience isn't completely unheard of).

So I have to disagree with the idea that "nobody" is teaching that there is no God - I heard that all the time in what should have been science classes. I have no problem with a teacher being personally religious or atheistic or anything in between. I don't have a problem with them acknowledging their belief. But it's completely wrong for either of them to use a science class as a forum for advocating their position, and I've seen both happen so often that I honestly can't say whether either is more common than the other.

Also, maybe I'm just taking this out of context, but the bit about "Atheists probably value personal choice more than ANY other group of people" doesn't ring true to me at all. I see no reason why an atheist would inherently value personal choice regarding beliefs over any other group, and it's easy to find vitriolic, close-minded people all along the belief spectrum, and some of the staunchest defenders of choice I've come across are people who are themselves very religious.

Comment Re:Bad Solution (Score 1) 837

Eliminate all use based taxes and fund all government spending via wealth based taxation. Scaled revenue taxation is better than use or sales based taxation but revenue generation benefits our economy. Wealth accumulation on the other hand is of no benefit to the economy.

Yikes! Wealth-based taxation is *incredibly* unfair and creates all sorts of unintended consequences. What would be the justification for it anyway? Simply saying it's not beneficial to the economy is hardly sufficient as there are gazillions of other things that aren't a benefit to the economy either.

"Also, it seems extremely rare to have a road lead just to one business, so the 70-90% number is probably on the high side."

I earn six figures so not low income, still my employer still bills 100% of my time out at 5 times what I make. That means 80% of the revenue I generate goes to my employer. That means anytime I travel to and from work or for anything that benefits my career my employer should be paying 80% of the cost of any wear and tear on the roads. Additionally, since I spend nearly 50% of my waking hours (aka life) producing revenue for them 80% of all government infrastructure (roads, replacement drivers licenses, medical infrastructure, police, housing, "my" share of government agency costs, defense, etc) costs that come from my life should be paid by them.

It's no different if you make $20,000-30,000/yr like most folks. Your employer still generally will be taking 70-90% of the value you generate. Therefore 70-90% of "your" share of public infrastructure and services use cost belongs to them.

I mean no offense, but to me this is full of unrelated and illogical conclusions.

- Why should your business be taxed differently based on whether you choose to walk or drive to work, or how far away you live, etc.? It seems preposterous that any of these are the business's concern, and yet that is a direct consequence of what you are proposing.
- You seem to be overstating the value you provide to your company and/or understating all of the other things that go into running a business - their many other costs, the risks they are taking on that you get to avoid, etc. *If* your value to the company is as high as you say, then it is foolish for you to be working for them. Still, you're not being held hostage, so if the relationship really is as lopsided as you think, that's your problem and not theirs.
- Regardless of all of that, the rate at which they bill out your work is so far removed from the use of the roads it's crazy.
- The business pays property taxes; they are already paying a portion of the infrastructure costs relevant to them. Trying to say that the business is somehow on the hook for activities that *you* do doesn't make sense. Let me guess, the business should also pay for your food, clothing, and housing since you need food to stay alive to work for them, they won't let you come to work naked, and because you need a place where you can rest between shifts?

Even if you think the share of someone who earns six figures vs someone who earns $20,000yr should be equal based on millage (I don't, dollars represent goods and services and $1 buys roughly 100000x less of them than $100,000 and therefore requires about 1/100000th the public infrastructure to generate).

The most fair would be for each person to bear their portion of the cost that they create. Since that isn't practical, a rough approximation is the next best thing. How much of the maintenance costs do they cause? As a rough approximation, it's proportional to the amount they use the resource (the road, in this case).

The fact that one person, for whatever reason, has accumulated more dollars is not directly relevant at all. It's just like when you go to the grocery store to buy a loaf of bread - the price is based on the cost of ingredients, the preparation costs, shipping, wages for workers, some portion of the store's overhead, some portion for profits. Nowhere in that equation is how much money you make, how hard you work, etc.

How much public roadway infrastructure do you think is used by people commuting to work for someone else? Ever been in a city at rush hour?

I have no idea what point you're trying to make here, sorry.

Comment Re:Bad Solution (Score 1) 837

Interesting. Is there a practical way to address this, though? i.e. talking about roads specifically, I just wonder if the complexity of figuring out each business's fair share of road costs would spiral out of control. Also, it seems extremely rare to have a road lead just to one business, so the 70-90% number is probably on the high side.

More generally, taxing infrastructure on revenue seems filled with its own set of problems. In the US at least, business expenses are tax deductible for a reason, so if you taxed on gross revenue it'd be an unusual (and arguably unfair) precedent. If you taxed on profits then you contribute to the existing problem of punishing businesses that maximize efficiency.

The business also pays a ton of other taxes - property taxes, payroll taxes, medicare/medicaid. If you add the numbers up, it's unlikely that the business is somehow mooching off of the poor travelers on that road in any way.

Comment Re:This is backward! (Score 1) 837

I kinda see your point, but wear and tear on the roads is probably more a function of amount of traffic on the roads (so to map it back to an individual car you'd need to base the tax on distance traveled).

To get more fine-grained maybe you could charge by axle weight or something along those lines but that's a refinement they could add later if needed.

Comment Use-based taxes FTW (Score 1) 837

Assuming there is some transparency to ensure accuracy of the calculations and there is some oversight to ensure the bulk of the money really does go to paying for roads, this seems like a great idea. As a taxpayer, anytime I can see a pretty direct link between my taxes and the taxes being used for something sensical, that's a good thing.

Ideally they'd eventually roll this out to everyone regardless of car type but /also/ leave in place some portion of the gas tax so there's some ongoing incentive towards efficient or alternate fuel vehicles.

Comment A poorly made point, but still a point (Score 1, Insightful) 618

I hate ads, I use an ad blocker, but I'm posting because so far all of the comments have chastised sites for using ads, without providing an alternative.

The summary has some truth when it says, "for all their sins, ads fuel much of the Web". It costs real money to host a website, it costs real money to run a website, it costs real money to produce the content for a website.

So my question to all of those infuriated by those content producers who would "dare" to try to protect their ads is this: what viable alternative do you suggest? Ads work because (a) they generate revenue to cover all of those costs and (b) they don't require any sort of opt-in, and (c) apart from a few places where they are overdone, they generally don't get in the way of the content you're seeking.

(a) is what helps the bulk of websites you frequent stay afloat, (b) is important because the websites don't have to spend considerable resources trying to get you to enter into some sort of financial arrangement with them, and (c) provides a bit of a standard so that a marketplace of ad buyers and sellers can exist.

So again, if we were to get rid of ads, what would we replace them with? Paywalled sites don't get much love on /. so if that's your answer, I'd love to hear how you'd make them tolerable and how you'd get people to sign up.

I hate ads, and I use an ad blocker, but I do so knowing full well I'm being somewhat of a hypocrite and that I'm also relying on the vast majority of people /not/ using an ad blocker, because if a lot more people starting using them then the economics for most websites would fall apart. I don't like ads, but I have to admit that in many ways they seem like the least bad option. It's seems that many people who scream about their "right" to not have ads are being disingenuous or ignorant or both.

Comment Re:A gem from the discussion (Score 1) 324

Good point. Yet another example is in-flight wifi like Gogo - not only do those guys rely heavily on caching, they'll even do things like recompress jpegs on the fly to be smaller. I'll sidestep the debate around whether that is good or bad, but another consequence of HTTPS-only web is that stuff like that has the potential to get even slower.

Comment Re:A gem from the discussion (Score 3, Informative) 324

I do worry about the downsides of this in terms of how it'll cause higher load on servers because of higher traffic. That said, all major CDNs support HTTPS on the edges and non-HTTPS between the origin and the CDN, so they'll be fine. Where this will probably hurt more is with forward proxies at universities and businesses and transparent intermediate caches at ISPs.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A guinea pig is not from Guinea but a rodent from South America.