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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Excellent engineering: the ultimate wine bottle opener and pourer

This video is from 2011, but I've never seen it.

Via Geekpress.

Tuesday links

The McDonalds Monopoly Fraud: from 1995 to 2001, there was only one real winner - Uncle Jerry.

Tax day quotes, songs, links and adviceDave Barry on preparing your own taxes, how to file an online extension, and the 1967 cartoon version of The Beatles "Taxman".

Dissecting the Timeline of Paul Revere’s Ride.

Remember these excellent Easter cards from The Onion?

If the speed limit were really “enforced by radar” like the signs say, the strength of the necessary signal “would also destroy the offender, car, police officer, road, and all other traffic for miles around”.

Gallery: The 30 Happiest Animals In The World.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, including early bands of (later) rock stars, handheld jet engines, and the tax implications of the zombie apocalypse.

Tax day quotes, songs, links and advice, filing an extension, and the 1967 cartoon version of The Beatles "Taxman"

Via Reason: Happy (Tax Day Edition) (lyrics here):

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. 
~George Bernard Shaw

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.

I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.
~James Madison

The point to remember is that what the government gives it must first take away.
~John S. Coleman

Here's the 1967 cartoon version of The Beatles "Taxman" - words below (actual song starts at ~2:38):

Let me tell you how it will be:
There's one for you, nineteen for me,
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman. 

Should five percent appear too small,
Be thankful I don't take it all
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman. 

If you drive a car, I'll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat.
If you get too cold, I'll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet. 

Don't ask me what I want it for,
If you don't want to pay some more,
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman. 

Now my advice for you who die:
Declare the pennies on your eyes,
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman,
And you're working for no one but me. 
~The Beatles (George Harrison) ("The Taxman") 

Congress can raise taxes because it can persuade a sizable fraction of the populace that somebody else will pay.

To force a man to pay for the violation of his own liberty is indeed an addition of insult to injury.
~Benjamin Tucker

The difference between death and taxes is death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets.

We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
~Winston Churchill

Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery.
~Calvin Coolidge

It would be a hard government that should tax its people one-tenth part of their income.
~Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac

What at first was plunder assumed the softer name of revenue.
~Thomas Paine

What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin. 

To tax and to please, no more than to love and to be wise, is not given to men. 
~Edmund Burke 

Civil servants and priests, soldiers and ballet dancers, schoolmasters and police constables, Greek museums and Gothic steeples, civil list and services list - the common seed within which all these fabulous beings slumber in embryo is taxation. 
~Karl Marx 

Dave Barry on preparing your own taxes: Pray For an Asteroid.

How to Pay No Taxes - advice from Business Week from 2011: Eleven shelters, dodges, and rolls—all perfectly legal—used by America's wealthiest people.

Tax implications of the zombie apocalypse.

The first modern income tax was levied in Britain between 1799 and 1816 to fund the Napoleonic wars, but it did not become permanent until 1874. Similarly the United States adopted a like measure during the Civil War, but it was not institutionalized until the ratification of the 16th amendment to the Constitution in 1913.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Easter cards from The Onion

From The Onion, circa 2000, but no longer available there. If anyone has better pictures, or more, please leave the information in the comments.

They do still have this available:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday links

Handheld jet engines. Really.

Death and Taxes and Zombies: Tax implications of the zombie apocalypse.

Man Spends Four Years and Millions of Dollars Building an Epic Truck for His 4-Year-Old Daughter.

Gallery of extremely well-edited vintage/current overlapping pictures of Paris.

Irish Brewmaster Reviews Cheap Wines, Wine Expert Reviews Cheap Beers.

Before They Went Solo: Early Bands Of Bowie, Elton, Hendrix And Others (I was a huge fan of Long John Baldry (wiki) back when Elton John (then named Reg White) and Rod Stewart played/sang backup for him)

Medicinal Soft Drinks and Coca-Cola Fiends: The Toxic History of Soda Pop.

ICYMI, Thursday's links are here, including building a hydroelectric dam in your bathtub, the U.S. Army’s Camel Corps, and advice from c. 530 on how to use bacon.

Death and Taxes... and Zombies: Tax implications of the zombie apocalypse

Assuming that you survive the zombie apocalypse, here's something else to consider.

Adam Chodorow, a professor at Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, authored the paper "Death and Taxes...and Zombies". Here's the abstract: 

The U.S. stands on the precipice of a financial disaster, and Congress has done nothing but bicker. Of course, I refer to the coming day when the undead walk the earth, feasting on the living. A zombie apocalypse will create an urgent need for significant government revenues to protect the living, while at the same time rendering a large portion of the taxpaying public dead or undead. The government’s failure to anticipate or plan for this eventuality could cripple its ability to respond effectively, putting us all at risk. 

This article fills a glaring gap in the academic literature by examining how the estate and income tax laws apply to the undead. Beginning with the critical question of whether the undead should be considered dead for estate tax purposes, the article continues on to address income tax issues the undead are likely to face. In addition to zombies, the article also considers how estate and income tax laws should apply to vampires and ghosts. Given the difficulties identified herein of applying existing tax law to the undead, new legislation may be warranted. However, any new legislation is certain to raise its own set of problems. The point here is not to identify the appropriate approach. Rather, it is to goad Congress and the IRS into action before it is too late.

After laying out the differences between different zombie types — notably the difference between zombies under the power of others and self-motivating zombies — Chodorow examines the various tax implications of zombification. He goes through the various reasons why a zombie may or may not be considered the same person it was prior to death, noting that a person's transformation into a raving cannibal with no heartbeat might not be enough to consider them legally deceased:
...[I]t seems a stretch to conclude that those who transform seamlessly into zombies should be considered dead. They never lose heart or brain function, though they now function quite differently from before. While it might be tempting to declare them dead, significant line-drawing problems would arise as one tried to distinguish between zombies and those who have suffered some mental or physical breakdown. Put differently, were such zombies to be considered dead because they suffered a personality change, physical disability, or decreased brain function, the door would be open to declaring dead a wide range of people currently considered to be alive.
For instance, someone who suffers a stroke and loses the ability to speak, walks with a shuffle, and undergoes a significant personality change is clearly alive under any existing state standard. Similarly, someone with Alzheimer's or in a vegetative state, whose brain stem alone survives, is considered alive. It would be inconsistent to classify those people as alive, while at the same time classifying those infected by a zombie virus as dead. One difference may be that those afflicted by strokes would likely not develop an overpowering hunger for brains. However, developing a taste for brains cannot be the determinant of whether someone is dead or considered a zombie. The members of numerous aboriginal tribes and Hannibal Lecter practiced cannibalism and would not qualify as either dead or zombies.
He also tackles other tricky aspects of zombification: whether a person is still considered married if their spouse has become undead, the administrative problems of resurrecting dead social security numbers, and the difficulty many zombies would likely have in filling out income tax forms.

Read the whole thing.  Here's an example of a footnote:
Count Chocula has clearly made a killing on his cereal, and rumor has it that even the Count Who Counts is loaded. While harnessed to the greater good of teaching children to count, it turns out that the Count's OCD-like fascination with numbers turns out to be typical of vampires. See BARBER, supra note 76, at 49 (describing a tradition where people placed bags of grain near a suspected vampire's grave on the theory that the vampire would be compelled to count all the grains, thus occupying the vampire through the night and precluding other, less socially beneficial activities). Batman is also well off, owning a mansion, the bat cave, and all the great toys at his disposal. However, all evidence suggests that he is not a vampire, just some guy who likes to dress up in tights and pretend to be bat-like.
More here and here, via io9.

Irish Brewmaster Reviews Cheap Wines, Wine Expert Reviews Cheap Beers

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tax Day is Coming: Game of Thrones Edition

Maybe NSFW - one instance of the "F" word right at the end. To miss it, stop the video at 2:38. Via Reason - All Men Must Pay:

Trying to write off that red wedding this year? As tax day approaches April 15, 2014, nobody's more upset about paying their debts than those playing the Game of Thrones. One thing is for sure: All men must pay. For more on taxes, check out these articles at

Mario and Luigi face the reality of hitting bricks with their heads

For Super Mario fans:

via Neatorama.

Game of Goats, A Yelling Goats Version of the ‘Game of Thrones’ Theme Song

For Game of Thrones fans:

Previous related posts:

Game of Thrones Wine Map: The Wines of Westeros