Gongol.com Archives: December 2005
Brian Gongol

Computers and the Internet (2005.12.06)
Wikipedia: A Tragedy of the Commons Failure, With Vandalism to Boot
If no one actually "owns" (or identifies authorship of) the information, then no one has responsibility for it

Socialism Doesn't Work (2005.12.06)
Government Spending Millions Planning to Track Vehicle Travel
No, no, no. Tracking and surveillance of private vehicles is an abomination, even if it's intended to make a move toward user fees. A simple odometer tax is vastly better. Related: Canada's government wants to control the gas pedal.

Business and Finance (2005.12.06)
How Google Runs Itself
Some good ideas (offer perks that help your employees focus on what needs to be done) -- some lousy (make everyone share cubicle space).

Computers and the Internet (2005.12.06)
If You're Dumb Enough to Want a "Scholorship," You're Too Dumb to Get One
Spammers misspell the word 'scholarship'
Attention world: If everyone stopped responding to spam, they wouldn't send it anymore

The American Way (2005.12.06)
Smoking Bans: Good When Initiated By the Private Sector
Hotel chains now banning smoking anywhere in their buildings, which is an excellent sign that market signals (like the preference for non-smoking rooms) work. It's when governments step in and introduce their own bans that these market signals get distorted. Let the private sector decide. If smokers want to threaten boycotts, let them -- and let non-smokers vote with their pocketbooks.

Broadcasting (2005.12.06)
Terrestrial Radio Plans to Fight Back Against Satellite Radio
New "HD Radio" initiative promises high-quality digital signals all over the place

Socialism Doesn't Work (2005.12.06)
UK Government, Like US, Fails Fiscal Prudence Test

Business and Finance (2005.12.06)
Unions Down to 8% of Private-Sector Workforce
Unions are not bad in and of themselves (Solidarity, for instance, was the labor union that brought down Polish Communism). But the perpetual risk is that union leadership will over-estimate the value of short-term gains (like excessive pay increases or lavish pension programs) and under-estimate the long-term damage those gains might do to the company. The airlines, steelmakers, and automakers are all collapsing (or have collapsed) under the weight of union-negotiated benefits. Union leaders have to realize their relationship with their companies has to be mutualistic, not parasitic.

News (2005.12.06)
California Homebuilder Wants to Put Up 20,000 Homes in New Orleans
If it's financed with private cash, then good for them. But with projects of such a size, there's always a significant chance it's just a ploy to get rich through government subsidies.

Threats and Dangers (2005.12.06)
US Consulate Leadership Didn't Take Security Seriously Enough in Jeddah
Terrorist attack last December took less than 5 seconds to initiate. Every organization responds strongly to the temperament of its leadership.

Socialism Doesn't Work (2005.12.06)
Chavez Bloc Wins Every Seat in Venezuela's National Assembly
Opposition parties boycotted the election because voting machines contained a corruption that could have allowed officials to track every vote back to the person who placed it. The opposition needs leadership and organization in order to fight back, and the US needs to realize just how important Latin America is to its future.

Aviation News (2005.12.06)
More Than 100 People Killed in Tehran Plane Crash
Old C-130 (which Iran got before the Islamic Revolution) crashed into a high-rise apartment. Iran's propaganda agency didn't have much to say.

Threats and Dangers (2005.12.06)
9/11 Panel Says US Government Failing Worse than Jeff Spicoli
One of the worst grades is in passenger pre-screening on airlines