TomTom GPS “Lifetime” Maps – Hah!

More bastards!  Several years ago, before Google Maps, I bought a TomTom GPS unit with “lifetime maps”, thinking that I would get free map updates for ever.  Or at the very least, for the life of the TomTom company.  Not so, I found out today.

From the TomTom websitetomtom.com/lifetime (which redirects to TomTom site in the UK)

What does “lifetime” mean?

Lifetime is the useful life of the device, which means the period of time that TomTom continues to support your device with software updates, services, content or accessories. A device will have reached the end of its life when none of these are available any more.

TomTom has an offer for the dozens of models affected: 20% off two of their newer models, bringing the prices down to $250 – $350.  Double Hah!

Current tax policies discriminate against human workers in favour of robots

“…..This all stems from the fact that tax policies are designed to tax labour rather than capital.”

Bill Gates suggested taxing robots. That would encourage companies to shift their investment in automation to jurisdictions that don’t tax robots. This article provides more nuanced (if less far-reaching) proposals to tinker with the tax code.

My modest suggestion: enable companies to deduct 150% of their actual wage expense from their income for tax purposes. (Or 125% or 200%… t.b.d.). This would result in increased employment. The reduction in corporate tax receipts would be (mostly?) offset by increased individual tax payments and increased consumption tax payments

theconversation.com/why-we-should-start-taxing-the-robots-that-are-taking-human-jobs-91295

Ontario government ponders ban on single-use plastics

No hard news or proposals here – just “pondering”.  But it’s the first pondering from the Ontario PCs that does not strike me as ridiculous.

This is the PC government’s discussion paper on Reducing Litter and Waste in Our Communities: Discussion Paper I couldn’t find any proposed bans on single-use plastics in it.  Regarding plastics in general the government is proposing more standardization for recycling, greater front-end involvement by manufacturers/packagers, and more Federal government leadership (which is unusual, coming from this particular bunch of PCs.)

Ontario government ponders ban on single-use plastics

Source: Ontario government ponders ban on single-use plastics | CBC News

Unbreaking America (Jennifer Lawrence)

I was pleasantly surprised by the analysis, conclusions and recommendations in this (not-so-short) video.  The premise is that the politicians in Washington aren’t responsive to the preferences of the voters – they’re responsive to the people that get them elected – big donors, big corporations and the two major political party machines.  It’s depressing.  And it takes a long time to make some of the points.  But I think it’s worth watching.

Why I changed my mind about nuclear power | Michael Shellenberger

This anthropologist (by training) Michael Shellengerger makes the point that nuclear power generators are less carbon-intensive to construct than are massive solar or wind farms. It takes consume less steel and concrete to build them.  His other big point is the environmental impact that massive wind and solar farms have: degradation of the landscape, birds killed in wind turbines, rare species threatened. Nukes have a much smaller geographic footprint (when they’re operating correctly, I guess he means.)

He claims that as solar and wind generation increase as a percentage of the total they will cause require an increasing amount electricity from natural gas generation in order to quickly ramp up when the sun and wind die down.  That explains to him why some fossil fuel companies are promoting wind and solar “solutions”.

He explains (too briefly) how the waste from the reactors is much lower in volume than the millions of solar panels that will have to be recycled.

The comments on YouTube are pretty negative – “nothing new here”, but it was news to me.

 

Urban Design: Local promotions – West Side Action

Staggering school breaks could be a big boon to the Canadian hospitality industry, as blogger Eric Darwin points out.

 

 

In France, the school March break weeks vary around the country so there isn’t one giant peak. The actual week off rotates by region, so everyone gets a crack at prime time. Schools offer trips to other regions for skiing or art galleries or just touristing. Instead of day camp in the community centre, take the kids to the Louvre. This probably generates national pride and knowledge. Our media coverage of March break is schizophrenic … its either a “suffer with the kids underfoot” survival-type story, or exhortation to spend big and go to where its warm. We fail to develop national pride at our peril.

With all students in Ontario off school at the same time the demand peaks and businesses have to turn away potential customers.  Once the mass break is over the businesses have vacant capacity.  That goes for hotels, airlines, museums, restaurants, theaters, ski hills, etc.

He gives examples of promotional tie-ins between local retailers and local hospitality destinations.

Source: Urban Design (xv) Local promotions – West Side Action