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Comment: Re:Tax Tires (Score 1) 806

by penandpaper (#49739267) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

The real problem I see with this approach is that it adds to the economic benefit of using worn out tires for as long as possible, which is definitely not in the public's best interest.

Yeah. I agree. You do not want people driving on unsafe tires and any tax on tires would incentive people driving on them for as long as possible. On the flip side, you could also try to incentivize proper tire use by giving tax credits for proper maintenance and use (tire rotations, keeping air pressure at optimal levels, etc).

Maybe just one more thing the police look for when they pull people over? Inadequate tire tread is the new broken tail light.

Comment: Re:Tax Tires (Score 1) 806

by penandpaper (#49739163) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

I like this idea, but on a 100k mile tire at $0.015/mile (the rate proposed in Oregon) that would be $1500 for a new set of tires (or $375 per tire if you have four tires and each tire gets charged at a fourth the rate). Given that a cheap new tire costs around $50, that would be a significant (perceived) price hike for new tires.

Agreed. It is an idea that has problems and I haven't given much thought into solving them.

But I think you would have to handle the taxes as a separate transaction from the tire. Consider something like a loan from the state. You pay back the taxes owed over an established time (no interest). Once paid, you are done.

You could try to incentive proper tire use by having little tire tax deductions to try and offset the large cost. e.g. Rotate your tires every 10k miles, gain $100 credit that goes toward the total taxed amount. Or ensuring that every month your tires are properly inflated you gain $10 (tire pressure can effect mpg too!), or some amount worth the effort (that doesn't make the system ineffective).

As far as the black markets, tax dodging, etc. Maybe something like car registration, proof you are paying/have paid. One more paper to drive with. Did you pay your taxes to drive on this road?

I am not sure. If someone has some ideas I would like to hear.

Comment: Re:Tax Tires (Score 1) 806

by penandpaper (#49739019) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

Do I have to pay another round of taxes on the replacement tire even though it didn't make it to EOL? Is the State partly responsible because I paid tax on the tires with the expectation that they would spend the money on improving the roadways?

I would guess you could pay a smaller tax if the tier did not reach EOL. I am not sure how that would be enforced so maybe it isn't practical (maybe give a cause for a tire replacement, submitting the old tire as proof, that could lower the one time tax).

I think the second question is a good one because this tax (and the one in TFA is about ensuring the infrastructure is maintained with a stable revenue stream). If the state is not able to maintain the roads with an adequate revenue source, obviously there are other issues going on with that government.

Comment: Tax Tires (Score 3, Interesting) 806

by penandpaper (#49736627) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

My state legislators actually asked this question and got me thinking about a one time tax on tires. It has the benefits of the gas tax (anonymous, based on usage) but the added benefit that you can approximate the weight that a tire will carry on the road.

During a purchase you could either pay all taxes up front and be done with it or set up a monthly billing cycle so that poor can still make ends meet without dreading lost tread. Once taxes have been paid you are done and do not have to pay that tax until your next tire purchase. If a tire is expected to last 100k miles it, it is estimated to carry X weight for Y length of time (miles driven) meaning Z dollars in maintenance. Tax = Z - any other road infrastructure income/subsidies (gas tax still in effect could subsidized the tire tax making it cheaper).

This could also help spur better usage of tires (keeping them properly inflated [increasing MPG], rotating tires, etc). I am not sure how to handle used tires. Also, this doesn't help if you have to travel on dirt roads or poor roads that wear on tires more than pristine new black top.

Just a random thought, I haven't gave it much thought after initially discussing it with legislators.

+ - Google Offers Cheap Cloud Computing For Low-Priority Tasks->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh writes: Much of the history of computing products and services involves getting people desperate for better performance and faster results to pay a premium to get what they want. But Google has a new beta service that's going in the other direction — offering cheap cloud computing services for customers who don't mind waiting. Jobs like data analytics, genomics, and simulation and modeling can require lots of computational power, but they can run periodically, can be interrupted, and can even keep going if one or more nodes they're using goes offline.
Link to Original Source

+ - Choosing an IDE That's Right for You->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes: Today’s software development often requires working with multiple tools in a variety of languages. The complexity can give even the most skilled developer a nasty headache, which is why many try to rely on Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) to accomplish most of the work; in addition to source-code editors and automation, some even feature intelligent code completion. With so much choice out there, it’s hard to settle on an IDE, so Dice interviewed several developers, who collectively offered up a list of useful questions to ask when evaluating a particular IDE for use. But do developers even need an IDE at all? When you go to smaller, newer developer shops, you’re seeing a lot more standalone editors and command-line tools; depending on what you do, you might just need a good editor, and to master the command-line tools for the languages you use.
Link to Original Source

+ - Former KGB Spy in high role in NY State Critical Infrastructure->

Submitted by schklerg
schklerg writes: The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), which is responsible for New York State’s electric grid, recently learned that their “Director of Software Development" was a former KGB spy. The organization only discovered this when 60 minutes interviewed him on his life as a Cold War spy. Apparently the background checks were not as thorough as they’d like. They have stated that there are “no instances of our systems or security having been affected in any way”. Should a former enemy state spy have a key role in your country’s critical infrastructure?
Link to Original Source

+ - U.S. Navy develops swarms of mini Cicada drones to spy on enemies->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. Navy has unveiled its latest Cicada drone – a smaller model of the smart glider which military scientists have been developing for almost ten years. The tiny autonomous machine was presented last week at the Department of Defense’s Lab Day. The newest iteration of the Cicada, a yellow angular unit with two semi-circular wings, is the smallest and most low-cost yet and is able to fit in the palm of a hand. Cicadas or Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft, developed by the Naval Research Laboratory, are designed to be disposable and to work together emulating the insects’ swarm flight patterns. The lightweight gliders are packed with sensors to monitor and feedback data on the weather, temperature, humidity and air pressure. They also offer the option to house microphones or vibration sensors to spy on enemy communications and to detect chemical weapons.
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Your attitude is sexist (Score 1) 602

by penandpaper (#49700653) Attached to: A Plan On How To Stop Sexism In Science

Had you bothered to read the article you would have found out that there is copious evidence of sexism in science.

I RTFA and I did not see "copious evidence" of sexism. It seemed like the author was grasping at straws to prove a preconceived notion. Seriously, the examples given boarder creepy/inappropriate but to extrapolate "copious evidence of sexism in science" or in the authors words "institutionalized sexism" is an exaggeration.

The professor who leaned in just a little too-close-for-comfort, not to everyone, but to one girl in particular. The student invited to an academic event one evening, only to find out that her lecturer viewed it as a date. And the one professor who always looked me (and the other young men) right in the eye when we spoke, but whose gaze always drifted downwards, towards their chests, when he spoke with the young women.

The professor who’d talk to a student professionally and politely, then stare at her rear end while she walked away. ...

The graded assignments that would have flirty little comments and smiley faces, only for the female students.

Gossipy conversations—about other people in the department, obviously—that would mysteriously fall silent whenever certain women walked by (but never the men).

And the way word choice would change ever-so-subtly—like how remarks were “ejaculated” instead of “uttered”—in the presence of certain people.

This is your evidence?. That doesn't sound like "institutionalized sexism". It sounds like a guy acting like a guy that may be inappropriate in a professional environment. Here is a clue, sexism, racism, agism, etc are illegal if someone makes sexual advances, ask for favors, etc; it is already illegal and there is legal action the woman can take to protect herself. The article links to some studies, but what is also frustrating about this topic, you can find studies to back up claims on both sides.

If you think the gender imbalance is the entirety of the evidence for sexism then you are likely part of the problem.

Or maybe the gender imbalance is due to other factors of a complex system. Maybe, what is described as "institutionalized sexism" isn't institutionalized. because in the authors own words:

Most authority figures in my field aren’t sexist, aren’t sexually harassing anybody, and treat everyone based on their own merits as people.

How can it be institutionalized sexism if "most authority figures aren't sexist"? The real issue the author is pushing is:

if we want to really change the culture of our field

"Who alone has reason to *lie himself out* of actuality? He who *suffers* from it." -- Friedrich Nietzsche