It isn't really the right terms for the auction anyway. The company sending you mail should have to start its bidding at the cost of delivering the mail, which is what the postage covers, while your bidding should start at the price of not delivering the mail (e.g. sorting it into a recycling bin and sending it to the recycling plant), which is the alternative they should be considering. Since not delivering is going to be a lot cheaper than delivering, the target of unwanted mail should have an advantage.
Only first class mail gets forwarded after a change of address, but junk mail companies can and do check the change of address information and update their databases. The last time I moved, a whole bunch of my junk mail followed me. That includes organizations I used to belong to who keep sending me letters about the need to re-join.
No, the Post Office does not get $100 million per year in funding. It is legally required to provide certain services at no cost to the recipients, and Congress appropriates money to make up for the costs. In any case, that's a drop in the bucket compared to the total cost of running the Post Office, not a massive subsidy.
And then there are all the ways that the Post Office is required to subsidize other people. They're required to deliver mail to the whole country at a fixed cost, rather than charging different rates according to the actual cost of delivery or refusing to deliver to out-of-the-way places that aren't cost effective. They have to deliver mail for Congress for free, which many Congresspeople abuse. The Post Office is actually very efficient.
We have set the bar far too low for taking money from someone who has earned it and giving to someone who has done nothing except cry about how they need it.
Great. Let's start by taking businesses away from people who inherited them and give them to the employees. Or was that not what you had in mind?
You do realize that that cost is heavily subsidized by the government?
No, he doesn't realize that because it isn't true. USPS does not receive any tax subsidy. It is currently running an accounting deficit, but only because it's being required by law to pre-fund health and retirement benefits for the next 75 years in the span of a decade. If USPS wasn't being required to fund retirement for employees who haven't been born yet, it would be in fine financial shape.
But the problems with our health spending are not primarily in the public sector. Those other countries that have more efficient healthcare than we do have more of their healthcare run by the government, and there's a fairly strong correlation between cost effectiveness and government control. Within the US, the the government is generally more cost effective than the private sector. Within the government sector, the most efficient provider is the VA, which runs its own hospitals rather than just being a glorified insurance company. There's every reason to think that our healthcare system would be improved by turning more of it over to the government.
Don't neglect the cost of advertising, either. Paying for ads is a non-labor expense, and it can easily make or break a product..
In any case, complaining about marketing costs is often silly. An engineering team is basically a tool to convert money into new products. To stay in business, it has to be connected to another group that converts the new products back into money, which means some kind of marketing. You need both sides to pull their weight for the organization to thrive in the long term. As long as the marketing people are doing a good job of bringing in the money and aren't making promises the engineers can't keep, it shouldn't be a big deal to the engineers exactly how they do it.
It's actually a better comic than you might expect.
You say tomayto, I say tomahto. What else is money laundering but trying to keep your money out of the government's control?
The trick is that the shutter isn't doing the work; the flash is. It's possible to make very short flash pulses; I think you can make them even shorter than the 1/50,000 second mentioned in the article. As long as most of the light for the photograph comes from the brief but intense flash, the ability to freeze action depends on the flash speed rather than the shutter speed. You actually need to make sure the shutter speed is slow enough that the shutter is guaranteed to be all the way open when the flash triggers (X-sync speed or slower), or only the area behind the open part of the shutter will be exposed. Controlling things using the flash also guarantees that the multiple cameras used for 3D photography will all be taking their pictures at exactly the same instant.
Also note that the limitation you're talking about only applies to focal plane shutters (i.e. those right in front of the film or sensor). It's also possible to use a central shutter that's located right next to the iris of the lens. Central shutters open and close like the lens aperture, but block the lens completely when they're closed. Like the lens aperture, they block light to all parts of the focal plane more or less equally as they open and close, so they don't induce any of the motion effects that focal plane shutters do. Central shutters have their own problems- it's hard to make them work for very short shutter speeds, and they have limited efficiency when you use them that way because they're only completely open for part of the time- but they do eliminate focal plane shutter artifacts and allow you to flash sync at any available shutter speed.
You tell me another field that comes even close.
Easy: Economics. You have similar, if not greater, problems conducting controlled experiments, especially in macroeconomics, and there's even more money and politics involved. Economics winds up being closer to theology than it is to science, even though it's something that ought to be amenable to the scientific method.
If you find a journal that is reputable and like it, then "sign it".
Something similar is already formalized in academic publishing. When an author trusts an individual article, he'll cite it as a reference in his own articles. Articles that are important can be cited hundreds or thousands of times, while trivial ones may never be cited at all. If you take all the articles in a journal and see how many times they've been cited on average*, it gives you a good idea of consensus opinion of the quality of the journal. This is the basis of measures like the Impact Factor.
*You may wish to use some method of averaging other than taking the arithmetic mean, which can be skewed by a handful of highly cited papers.
The whole point of forking is that there's something you don't like about the project you're forking from. As long as that's a technical decision rather than a political one, supporting both old and new versions undermines that technical justification, since it sticks you with all the problems of both versions. Not to mention that it adds the complications of making swapping possible. It's a terrible, terrible idea.