More Junkmail from Bob!

Monday, October 09, 2000
Important Stuff.

"Read My Email, No New Taxes."

Hillary Clinton said she was against House Bill 602P, which would levy a tax on each internet email transmitted. However, there is no such thing as House Bill 602P, and there's no bill under consideration to charge email taxes. Whoops!

To be fair, her opponent publicly opposed Bill 602P also. Maybe they should tax Al Gore since he invented the internet.,1283,39346,00.html

Grab a Billion is having a contest. If you can guess the correct 7 numbers between 1 and 77, you get a billion dollars. Not bad, a billion dollars. But what are the odds? One in a couple trillion. One entry per person, too. I guess they don't want a trillion computer-generated entries.

Where did get a billion dollars to give away? They didn't. They got an insurance policy instead. Berkshire Hathaway will pay the winner, if there is one. paid the proverbial undisclosed amount (millions) to Berkshire Hathaway. Here are the rules.

Before you spend the time it takes to enter, consider that you're about 1,000 times more likely to be struck by lightning this year than to win that contest. And you're also more likely to win the Nobel Prize for Medicine. Arvid Carlsson, Paul Greengard and Eric Kandel got that prize today for brain research. They've learned and discovered lots of neat things about the way I think. They get close to a million dollars, though, not a billion.

Protect the Children from Bill?

In June 2000, President Clinton decided that all federal web sites that collect information from children should comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. COPPA requires "verifiable parental consent" before getting things like email addresses from kids. The fine is a low, low $11,000 per violation.

After this law, several kid sites stopped offering email and chat service, and sites like Hotmail started requiring parents' credit card numbers before offering their free service to kids.

I know, I've done some whining and complaining about this before. But... take a look the White House web site "White House for Kids":

There's nothing wrong with it, in my opinion, but it is in clear violation of Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. If I have to follow the rules, why don't Bill and Al?

Photographic Diversity

The University of Idaho and the University of Wisconsin have gotten in trouble recently for doctoring publicity photos to add minority (black and Asian) people in place of majority (white and Martian) people, in order to make the universities look more anthropologically diverse. U of Idaho President Bob Hoover said something like, "Gee, it's only PhotoShop.",1284,39233,00.html

Tax Free Income

U.S. income tax is something that's just about unavoidable, right? If you make money, you pay taxes. (Or you break the law.)

Take a look at Cisco. Last year they made about $2,700,000,000 in PROFIT. That's a LOT of money -- enough even to pay for's contest. How much income tax did they pay? Zero.

How about Microsoft? They made more than $9 billion last year. Their federal income was also zero.

How do they get by with this? A BIG tax loophole concerning employee stock options. Maybe that's why these companies pay so much for political lobbyists. Here's how you too can make billions and pay no taxes.

Ultralight Cranes

Some people with ultralights are migrating south for the winter. They're headed from Wisconsin to Florida, leading a flock of 13 sandhill cranes. If it works and the cranes make it back to the same place in Wisconsin, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will try it again next year with some endangered whooping cranes. I think they want to send the whooping cranes to a different wintering site where they'll get along better. Here's the FWS news release.

Controlled Spending?

A while back the FAA decided to build a new control tower at Miami International Airport. Everybody thought that was a good idea, especially since American Airline's expansion would block the view of the old control tower.

Some air traffic controllers have complained about the design from the beginning, saying that some of the support columns block their view of ramps, runways and approach paths. Some said they'd refuse to work there because they couldn't do their job properly. They were emphatically ignored.

A few years and $18 million dollars later, the 320-foot control tower was built to withstand a category 5 hurricane. I don't think many planes fly in that weather, but I guess they want it around for the eye. The new tower was supposed to open last month, but the FAA said, "Hey, those columns are in the way. This isn't safe." Now they're tearing down the new control tower "cab" and fixing it. It's only another $6 million.

Maybe they can get the money from Cisco or Microsoft.

Pictures of Today!

Actually, these pictures are from last week. Here are the Maroon Bells with fresh snow.


This picture was taken a few minutes later from the air. Maroon Bells are on the right, Pyramid Peak is on the left. Maroon lake, where I was for the first picture, is in the lower right.


Good colors:


A creek:


These two Italian helicopters were doing FAA certification tests at the Leadville airport, elevation 9927 feet.


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