The Dutch Try a Kilometer Tax

The Dutch have done something innovative. They're replacing the sales and ownership taxes on cars with a tax based on the amount people...

The Dutch have done something innovative. They're replacing the sales and ownership taxes on cars with a tax based on the amount people drive."Each vehicle will be equipped with a GPS device that tracks how many kilometres are driven and when and where. This data will be then be sent to a collection agency that will send out the bill," the transport ministry said in a statement....Dutch motorists driving a standard family saloon will be charged 3 euro cents per kilometre (seven US cents per mile) in 2012. That would increase to 6.7 cents (16 US cents per mile) in 2018, according to the proposed law.Here's some quick math to translate. As recently as 2005, the average American had a commute of 33 miles. That's about 53 kilometers. That would translate to a daily tax of 1.53 Euros, or $2.28. That adds up quickly. If this kind of tax were instituted in America, the average commuter would be paying an extra $11 each week. That's more than $500 each year.This kind of plan has been proposed here, too. It's been talked about in Oregon and considered by Secretary LaHood. The nice thing about a mileage (or kilometer) tax is that it internalizes the some of the external costs of driving thereby encouraging people to drive less. It also links the money we use for infrastructure upkeep with the actual use of our roads and highways.But a mileage tax, unlike a gas tax, doesn't encourage people to drive cleaner cars. It adds a cost to driving based on the distance, not the carbon. A Tesla and a Hummer are taxed the same. The smarter plan-especially given the cost and privacy concerns associated with all of those GPS devices-might be to raise the gas tax or design a new one that's a little more innovative than the current flat gas tax.Whether that's politically possible, of course, is another question. At any rate, it will be interesting to see how this plan goes over in the Netherlands.

Some beauty pageants, like the Miss America competition, have done away with the swimsuit portions of the competitions, thus dipping their toes in the 21st century. Other aspects of beauty pageants remain stuck in the 1950s, and we're not even talking about the whole "judging women mostly on their looks" thing. One beauty pageant winner was disqualified for being a mom, as if you can't be beautiful after you've had a kid. Now she's trying to get the Miss World competition to update their rules.

Veronika Didusenko won the Miss Ukraine pageant in 2018. After four days, she was disqualified because pageant officials found out she was a mom to 5-year-old son Alex, and had been married. Didusenko said she had been aware of Miss World's rule barring mother from competing, but was encouraged to compete anyways by pageant organizers.

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One mystery in our universe is a step closer to being solved. NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched last year to help scientists understand the sun. Now, it has returned its first findings. Four papers were published in the journal Nature detailing the findings of Parker's first two flybys. It's one small step for a solar probe, one giant leap for mankind.

It is astounding that we've advanced to the point where we've managed to build a probe capable of flying within 15 million miles from the surface of the sun, but here we are. Parker can withstand temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and travels at 430,000 miles per hour. It's the fastest human-made vehicle, and no other human-made object has been so close to the sun.

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via Sportstreambest / Flickr

Since the mid '90s the phrase "God Forgives, Brothers Don't" has been part of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point's football team's lexicon.

Over the past few years, the team has taken the field flying a black skull-and-crossbones flag with an acronym for the phrase, "GFBD" on the skull's upper lip. Supporters of the team also use it on social media as #GFBD.

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