rohan singh

software engineer. bicyclist & rock climber. craft beer addict.

Jon Stewart Just Went Down a Few Points

Jon Stewart just went down a couple points in my book when I saw this clip:

What he says in that clip is that, at their core, science and religion are very similar because he thinks they both require you to take things on faith. Jon says religion asks you to believe in a supernatural being that you can’t see, and that you should just believe he is there. Similarly, Jon thinks science asks you to believe that the universe is composed largely of a type of matter that you can’t see, and you should just believe it’s there.

The difference, of course, is that dark matter can actually be measured even though you can’t see it. For example, you might not be able to see the bottom of a deep well, but you can measure it by dropping a rock down there. In the same way, dark matter can be measured through its gravitational influence on other matter.

I’ve always thought of Jon as a very smart guy and continue to think that, but this was kind of painful to watch. Looks like some other people agree as well.

Rethinking the Gas Tax

Here’s my idea for the day: a variable gas tax based on local density and transit availability. This could help the state raise revenue and encourage people to park their cars where possible. But at the same time, it would make sure those who absolutely need to drive aren’t put in an impossible position.

For an example, consider Seattle. Most of the city has medium-to-high density and transit is widely available. Residents can get to work and school using the bus, light rail, or bicycles. Walkable neighborhoods mean that you can stroll to your destination as well. If we can reduce the number of cars on the street while encouraging healthier, more sustainable lifestyles and helping the city build better neighborhoods, it makes sense for gas to cost as much as $5 per gallon.

A counterexample would be a town like Ellensburg, WA. Though it is technically a college town, density is low and mass transit is virtually nonexistent. This is a place you really couldn’t survive without a car. This is a place where you wouldn’t raise gas taxes, but also a place that would benefit from the increased gas tax revenues elsewhere.

An additional feature would be to only apply this variable gas tax to individual consumers at that point of sale. It would not apply to small businesses or freight, so the price of food or other goods would not be affected.

Just an idea I thought up on the ride home so there could be some major hole I’m missing. But I think it’s important to consider alternative tax structures that could help everyone.



As it turns out, you should always make sure somebody isn’t the room before you start talking about them behind their back. Me talking about Chris on DC++:

[23:56] <rdude> alright, guess my connection settings are just messed up. when i try to connect to teleproxy, i’m just getting DCB

[00:00] <rdude> ha, mini-fridges FTW. just convinced my housemate that we need to keep our second mini-fridge around just in case the kitchen fridge and the first mini-fridge both fill up with beer.

[00:05] <CCC1> …he didn’t convince me, he is just being a bitch

[00:07] <CCC1> and he needs to get ride of his old desk, which is also in our garage not being used…rdude

[01:00] <rdude> oh fuck

[01:00] <rdude> i didn’t realize you’re on here


Goodbye Couch

About three years ago, I was living in a condo in the Sand Point area of Seattle. We were planning on throwing a little party, but somebody pointed out that I didn’t really have any furniture. Before that party, Alex Miller and I went onto craigslist and found a few couches. We rented ourselves a U-Haul and went around town picking them up and dropping them off.

That was three years ago. Since then these couches, and particularly the one above, have served as resting places for many a weary traveler. Times have changed. Since Chris and I just got a really nice new place, I am going to have let these couches go.

I thought I’d just let everyone know, in case you want to take a moment to reflect or leave a memory for the couch. It will be greatly missed, though I’m sure it will go on to many bigger and better things.

PS: Free couch in front of 4736 20th Ave NE if you want it.