Just one more step on the gradual transformation of traffic laws from deterrent to revenue source.
If the states really wanted to collect all that sales tax, all they would have to do is enforce current law (requiring residents to pay the tax themselves) and increase the penalties for evasion. Random audits would reveal massive infraction - supposedly less than 1% of taxpayers in states requiring it report any internet or other purchases where the vendor did not charge tax. But they won't do this, they're too scared of the backlash from voters. In short, they want somebody else to do the dirty work for them.
lfp98 writes "According to David Wasserman's vote tracker, Gov Romney's share of the certified popular vote, which continues to trickle in, has now dipped to 47.4934%, which of course rounds down to 47%, or exactly the percentage of voters Romney had claimed would never even consider voting for him because they are too dependent on government handouts."
Link to Original Source
Link to Original Source
I don't see how their system makes anything more affordable, and it's outrageously inefficient. When I'm writing a grant or a research article, I might easily look at 20 or 30 articles in a single day. So, that's $120-$180 if I just look at them temporarily or up to $330 if I want to keep them permanently. So I could spend thousands per month just on access to references. Plus, I'll be spending an inordinate amount of time and mental energy on constant decisions of whether to rent, buy or pass up every article I encounter. Usually, I don't know whether an article will be relevant to the specific question I'm trying to answer until I actually look at its data. This system really will be a major impediment to scientific progress, if investigators are regularly ignoring articles that might contain a critical piece of information, just because they wouldn't risk the $6 - not a huge risk of course, but multiply it by hundreds of articles and it adds up quickly. The people particularly hard-hit would be those who for example have just lost their funding, and so have to write grants more or less nonstop but at the same time have no grant support to pay for article access. The best solution in principle is the author-pays model (with allowances for those who truly can't afford to pay). At least with that system you eliminate the infrastructure needed to charge users and maintain the security of paywalls, which is a big part of the expense of electronic publishing. The problem with author-pays is that currently it's just too expensive, a few to several thousand dollars per article, and that has to be brought down. Perhaps with better software and better-informed authors, you wouldn't need all the layout techs and copy editors that put articles into a standard journal format - the authors could do that themselves - at least for low-impact journals that seem to present the biggest problem.
Right, so, absolute worst-case scenario, an electric run on pure coal power will match a fairly fuel-efficient ICE car. But coal plants are rather rapidly being abandoned in favor of natural gas, with half the carbon emissions, or solar and wind with almost none. Plus, a quite substantial fraction of electric car owners become motivated to install their own solar panels to power it. As far as carbon emissions in manufacture, making an ICE compact creates about 12,000 lbs CO2, or about a year's worth of driving, so even doubling it can't make a difference of more than 10%, assuming a 10-year lifespan. And who discards any car after 100,000 km (60,000 mi)? With proper care, even today's lithium batteries should last at least 100,000 miles, and if they go bad, they can be replaced - the other components, like the motor and electronics, ought to last much longer. But the real advantage is energy independence. Every year we send $200 billion to Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and the like, and eventually it ends up added to our national debt. Keeping that money in the US would be as stimulatory as a $200 billion tax cut,
I'd agree, actual fraud is still pretty rare despite all the pressures, if only because the consequences of getting caught are so unspeakable. The more common problem is that in an age of scarcity, everything has become more politicized, with personal connections and salesmanship becoming much more important than they once were. Everyone is more obsessed with claiming the maximum possible credit for their contributions to a project, simply because they have no choice, and that has taken a toll on the traditional collegiality of scientists.
Sounds like a lot of lame excuses for cheap tasteless food. Why is it that, whenever I take my own sandwich onboard, it tastes just fine?
No amount of tinkering and obfuscation is going to fix an obsolete business model, which is what Target et al. now have. Just when the need for low-margin big-box stores is evaporating, they are proliferating everywhere: Wal-mart, Target, Costco, Best Buy, I've probably got twenty of them within 10 miles of my house, and 90% of the time, I choose none of the above. No "sales associate" can possibly compete with the detailed customer reviews you find at amazon and elsewhere online. And in the end, no physical store can possibly be as efficient as an amazon warehouse. Display shelves and all the infrastructure that they require are enormously expensive, and have been rendered entirely unnecessary. In the end, Target et al. simply can't match online prices and still make a profit. There will always be some holdouts who like going to physical stores and being coddled and complimented by salespersons, but they will be paying dearly for that socializing.
The batteries, probably ~half the cost, are also from China. They say then intend to eventually make them in Ohio.
Unfortunate, perhaps, that's it's happening in Russia, but this is precisely what is needed to get the move to electric vehicles into gear: a massive high-risk investment in mass production of lithium batteries. The raw materials for lithium batteries are not rare or expensive; the high cost is due to the sophistication of the manufacturing process. But with sufficient investment in high-volume output, those costs can be brought down, just as with other high-tech commodities like hard drives or memory sticks. American battery makers like A123 and EnerDel have been unwilling or unable to make those investments on a sufficient scale and remain low-volume, high-cost producers. Try to buy a large-format, vehicle-grade lithium cell, and you'll find several companies willing to sell them, all Chinese. The sad truth is that batteries may have to be imported in order to compete with gasoline in cost per vehicle-mile, but that's still better than importing all that oil.
Rename DHS the Department of Defense, and rename the current Defense Department the Foreign Legion.
ImageQuant was a c. 1986 scientific Windows 3.1 program for quantitative analysis of 2D images. It displayed 16-bit images in either grayscale or false color. Draw a box around any object and it could integrate the intensity within, subtracting the average background of the perimeter. You could draw a long box of any width and it would display the integrated intensities as a line graph, then you could graphically mark off each peak and it would integrate the intensities, with multiple choices for setting the baseline. Select any area of the graph, and it would expand to fill the window. It could also rotate the image. Not sure of the exact size, but it fit on a single floppy.
The publishing industry is an easy target but those who have attempted to create a better model are now finding that it costs real money to publish a journal. When Open Access publishing first emerged at the turn of the millenium, it was estimated that it would cost perhaps $1000 to peer-review, format and archive an average article, and then make it freely available online, theoretically in perpetuity. Since computer servers are dirt-cheap, there are no printing presses, postage or paywalls to pay for, and most peer reviewers are volunteers, it certainly seemed to make sense, and scientists were mostly enthusiastic about the prospect. But it turned out to be more costly than expected. The Public Library of Science (PLoS) journals were launched with much fanfare on such an open-access model in 2003. But now their charges are approaching $3000 per article, and instead of it coming out of University overhead (via library subscriptions) it is coming straight out of the grants of individual scientists. Where all that money goes I can't say, but the journals claim that it still doesn't cover their full editorial and technical costs. It's great that taxpayers can freely access online the work they paid for, but for scientists the old days of print journal subscriptions suddenly don't look so bad.
The fantasy that we would have legions of superlative teachers and hordes of high-achieving students, if only the schools were run like entrepreneurial businesses free to hire and fire at will, has been disproven again and again in districts across the country. The truth is that traditional teaching methods, having evolved over centuries, are pretty effective at teaching students, if the the students are motivated to learn. Wholesale tinkering with those methods usually doesn't bring improvement and creates as many new problems as it solves. Sure, there are a few truly charismatic teachers that can motivate the unmotivated and teach the unteachable, but there are no structural "reforms" that will make all teachers or most teachers equally effective. The best thing anyone can do for education at this point is to stop the demonization of teachers, which is making an already tough profession even less attractive to any talented person who can possibly do anything else with their lives. As for Gates, if he wants to do something of lasting value, he should spend his billions on green tech and conservation projects, and stay out of politics, which is what the "education reform" movement is all about.
If flat panel vs. CRT computer monitors are any indication, the flat panel TVs will fail far sooner, possibly wiping out the effect of less waste per TV.