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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 Reason.com.

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

Thursday links

13 Epic Animal Migrations That Prove Just How Cool Mother Nature Is.

UPS Trucks Don't Turn Left, Saving Them 10 Million Gallons of Gas/Year.

The Logistics and Economics of Trying to Cut Your Electric Bill By Building a Hydroelectric Dam in Your Bathtub.

The U.S. Army’s Camel Corps.

Advice from c. 530: How To Use Bacon.

Portraits of Everyday Foods Sliced in Half.

ICYMI, Tuesday's links are here, and include a cube built out of one-way mirrors, vintage accordion groupies, and the best states for surviving the zombie apocalypse.

Advice from c. 530: How To Use Bacon

So, are the old ways always the best
"At this point I will explain how bacon may be eaten to the best effect... if it has been simply roasted in the same way as a joint of meat, the fat drains into the fire and the bacon becomes dry, and whoever eats it is harmed and not benefited; it also produces bad humors and causes indigestion. But if bacon that has been boiled and cooled is eaten, it is more beneficial... As for raw bacon which, so I hear, the Franks have a habit of eating... they are healthier than other people because of this food. Let me give a good example so that what I am writing may be believed: thick bacon, placed for a long time on all wounds, be they external or internal or caused by a blow, both cleanses any putrefaction and aids healing. Look at what power there is in raw bacon, and see how the Franks heal what doctors try to cure with drugs or with potions."
Anthimus, On the Observance of Foods (c. 511-534)


How to Stop Bleeding, 1664:
“To Stench a Bleeding Wound: Lay hogs Dung, hot from the Hog, to the Bleeding Wound.” 
Samuel Strangehopes, A Book of Knowledge in Three Parts (166[4])
Advice from 1380: How to Tell if Someone Is or Is Not Dead, with bonus Monty Python.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

UPS Trucks Don't Turn Left, Saving Them 10 Million Gallons of Gas/Year

Interesting article from Priceonomics: I've excerpted at lot of it below - go there for the whole thing.

In 2004, UPS announced a new policy for its drivers: the right way to get to any destination was to avoid left-hand turns. 

When better tracking systems emerged in 2001, the package delivery service took a closer look at how trucks performed when delivering packages. As a logistics company with some 96,000 trucks and several hundred aircraft, much of UPS's business can be distilled to a series of optimization problems around reducing the amount of fuel used, saving time, and using space more efficiently. 

UPS engineers found that left-hand turns were a major drag on efficiency. Turning against traffic resulted in long waits in left-hand turn lanes that wasted time and fuel, and it also led to a disproportionate number of accidents. By mapping out routes that involved "a series of right-hand loops," UPS improved profits and safety while touting their catchy, environmentally friendly policy. As of 2012, the right turn rule combined with other improvements -- for the wow factor, UPS doesn't separate them out -- saved around 10 million gallons of gas and reduced emissions by the equivalent of taking 5,300 cars of the road for a year.

If you don't believe it, well, that's why Mythbusters exists. The program sent a truck out to deliver packages following a normal route and a left turn hating UPS route. They found the UPS approach saved gas but took a bit longer:


Mythbusters likely failed to save time on the route by following the rule even more stringently than UPS. While the no left turn rule has an appealingly simple and algorithmic quality to it, you will see UPS drivers take left turns on occasion, especially in residential neighborhoods without much incoming traffic. Asked how often UPS drivers turn right, a driver told ABC:
"A guesstimate, I would probably say 90%. I mean we really, really hate left turns at UPS."
Since UPS uses software to map out routes, it can send drivers on right turn heavy routes while making exceptions when a left turn is easier and faster. As an amicable senior VP of the company said in an interview about the rule, "That's why I love the engineers, they just love to continue to figure out how to make it better."

via Presurfer.

Tuesday links

Irish bomber accidentally blows himself up because he forgot about Daylight Saving Time.

Beer Map/Infographic - Beer on Twitter: Finding Drinking Patterns in Tweet Data.

Chicks Dig Accordions! Vintage Squeezebox Groupies.

Analysis: The Best and Worst States for Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse.

This is What Happens When You Build a Cube Out of One Way Mirrors.

8 Hours of Plane Departures from LAX in one photo.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include a six-foot earthworm, lots of Game of Thrones stuff, and an electric prostate warmer.

Beer Map/Infographic - Beer on Twitter: Finding Drinking Patterns in Tweet Data

From LiveScience: Tweets sent between June 2012 and May 2013 were searched for keywords pertaining to beer. Geotagging allowed the tweets to be located on a map, called a “cyberscape.”

      Maps show beer preferences across America.
     
Source:LiveScience

Tired of losing Nerf wars to superior weapons? Check out the Nerf Nuke

For your next Nerf battle:



This was ThinkGeek's April Fools' Day joke this year, and unfortunately is not actually available.  Yet.