atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#5580: Taxing launches by the mile.

A little more clarity on California's dumb launch tax. See, they're going to tax 'em by distance traveled.

Easiest way to avoid paying that tax is to move your launch site out of Californa. The law itself looks convoluted and stupid. So they're saying that the airspace over California to a limit of 62 miles up is where taxable launch activity will occur, so any flight intended to reach orbit within that airspace is a taxable launch.

Making you pay by the mile--instead of per launch--means that you can't weasel out of paying the tax for an unsuccessful launch. Your rocket only gets a couple miles downrange before going sideways and blowing up? You still owe launch tax, bitch! You're only doing a suborbital flight for research purposes? Pay up.

Heck, they could extend this to model rocketry, too, for crying out loud.

Of course the California government is claiming that this will be a magic boon to the space industry, because of course when you start having to pay taxes on something it makes it easier for you to do whatever it is you're doing. Especially when the taxes are convoluted and require an advanced degree in physics to compute, thus necessitating that you hire a specialist to make sure the state gets its cumshaw so you don't pay some egregiously and arbitrarily high fine for your mistake.

As I said when I commented on this before, this is a good way to make sure no launches occur in California.

* * *

Last night I saw a dumb video on YouTube titled "What Humans Will Look Like in 1,000 Years". I clicked on it because I expected it to be wrong. The idea was that this is how humans would evolve in the coming centuries.

See, here's the thing: humans have not materially changed in the last millennium. We still look the same, we still have the same number of fingers and toes and eyes and ears. I don't expect us to evolve any in the next millennium.

Sure enough: they started out by talking about how much taller we are than people were in 1,000 AD. Well, guess what? We understand nutrition a lot more, and our civilization is a lot more advanced, than it was 1,000 years ago. The height difference is almost entirely due to modern medicine and the efficient distribution of inexpensive food, not because of any evolutionary change. Bring a baby from 1017 AD forward to now and give him to a couple of doting parents, and he'll grow as big as a kid sired now.

The rest of it was horseshit about how people living on Mars would have bigger pupils and grow taller, and how we might integrate technology into our bodies (like bionic eyes and stuff like that) and so on. We might do all that, but that's not evolution.

First, people living on Mars will grow taller due to environmental differences (lower gravity) and not because they're evolving. The "pupil" thing is just stupid; your pupil changes size in response to ambient light. (They may have meant that the iris of the eye would be bigger, but they didn't say that, and if you're prognosticating on the future anatomy of humans it's not too much to expect that you'd know the correct terms.)

Second, people making changes to their bodies using technology is emphatically not evolution. Okay, Bruce Jenner did not "evolve" into a woman just because he had his testicles hacked off and his dick turned inside out. If that were evolutionary, then the traits would be hereditary; but they're not. Bruce Jenner took himself out of the gene pool with that operation--but even if he hadn't, his male children would not suddenly turn female after age 50. Other body modifications that we make (tattoos, piercings) are similarly not heritable.

The archaeological record shows that humans have not materially changed in ten thousand years. There's no reason to expect that our bodies will change, except in response to environmental conditions, in a tenth of that time.

* * *

I ended up watching Princess Leia's Stolen Death Star Plans. It was worth a couple of laughs. But listening to the parody songs I am struck with how cruddy a couple of the songs from the original album were. Dang.

* * *

Well, you know how it is. Don't you?

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