Capitalism Inaction

Good article from the NYT about the aversion to money displayed by the team at Craigslist.

UBS analyst Ben Schachter wanted to know how Craigslist plans to maximize revenue. It doesn’t, Mr. Buckmaster replied (perhaps wondering how Mr. Schachter could possibly not already know this). “That definitely is not part of the equation,” he said, according to MediaPost. “It’s not part of the goal.”

I’d love to have a business like this, though I wonder if I could resist the wheelbarrows full of money. Perhaps once I’d made the first few barrow-fulls it would be easier.


According to this Treehugger article a church in Levenshulme, England, is using old baptismal water to wash cars as an alternative to throwing it away. This has the handy side-effect of rendering your car immune to vampire attack.

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I wonder if someone in NATO was having a little joke. Russia is developing a new fighter aircraft, known as the Mikoyan 1.44 Project. Its alternate name is the MiG-MFI, short for the Mikoyan-Gurevich (the designers) Mnogofounksionalni Frontovoi Istrebitel (Multifunctional Frontline Fighter).

NATO assigns a codename to Soviet and now Russian aircraft, so the MiG-29 is known as the ‘Fulcrum’. The codename for the 1.44 is ‘Flatpack’. In the UK MFI is a furniture retailer. Not all of its furniture comes ready-assembled. In fact, some is sold to the customer in its component parts, boxed together for assembly at home.

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Human Stop-Motion

I’ve seen this sort of thing before, but this is done to quite a high standard. Look out for the getting dressed bit, the trail in the grass, and the walking through the fence bit.

Perhaps I should have a new tag for ‘people with too much time on their hands’.

Fuel Tax

The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, has come out with a pre-Budget report. I’ve lost track of the details of how budgets work now, but basically he announces some things now, then does a bigger announcement in April (that’s the one that usually contains tax changes).

One of the things he’s announced is a rise of 1.25 pence per litre on petrol. This is the first increase in 3 years, partly because of the general rise in oil prices, but also due to a civilized revolt by car owners. As this is about the largest ‘green’ tax in the country, that means that green taxes overall have dropped compared to 2003. That, it seems clear, is a bad thing. All taxes act as a punishment, whatever their other virtues, and currently we get much more of our revenue by punishing work, savings or even spending than we do by punishing things we actually want to punish.

Personally I’d like to remove all taxes from driving except for those on fuel. Too much of the cost of using cars is hidden by the large fixed cost of owning them, so a trip that might actually cost £100 including its share of those costs appears to only cost £25 of petrol. If the costs were placed on individual acts of consumption it would prompt people to think more carefully about every trip, without necessarily costing drivers as a whole any more than the current system.

Another in the long list of things I’ll sort out when someone makes me Emperor.

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