Gongol.com Archives: March 2006
Brian Gongol

Health (2006.03.31)
Socialized Medicine Doesn't Save Money
Maine tried socializing some of its health-care system, and now taxpayer-borne expenses are going up

Humor and Good News (2006.03.31)
Good Suggestion: When Offered a Job, Don't Get Mouthy
Even if declining the offer. It's an e-mail world, you know.

Socialism Doesn't Work (2006.03.31)
Socialism Keeps Women Out of Top Jobs in Europe
Ultra-cushy benefits for mothers make it easy to decide not to re-enter the workforce...which makes employers highly skeptical that any potential female recruit will stick around. So they just don't offer women the good jobs to begin with. The law of unintended consequences strikes again!

The United States of America (2006.03.31)
The Absurd Quest to Regulate Political Speech

Computers and the Internet (2006.03.31)
Why Phishing Works
Excellent paper on how phishing fools lots of people, and how it's nonsensical to assume technology alone can solve the problem. Users have to know recognize phishing and be savvy enough not to make mistakes. The study is a little light (needed more subjects to be statistically valid), but the analysis is very good.

Health (2006.03.31)
PandemicFlu.gov: Federal Clearinghouse for All Things Bird Flu
Includes this happy warning: "Social disruption may be widespread. Plan for the possibility that usual services may be disrupted. These could include services provided by hospitals and other health care facilities, banks, stores, restaurants, government offices, and post offices." Now, if only they were to give an honest assessment of the probability that such a thing would happen. Americans understand odds. Is this more or less likely than an individual's chances of dying in a plane crash? The betting markets say there's a 40% chance of it reaching the US by July 1, a 70% chance of the same by December, and better than even odds that it'll become a global pandemic.

Business and Finance (2006.03.31)
China Becomes World's Largest Holder of Foreign Reserves
They're going to have to do something with all that currency at some point

Threats and Hazards (2006.03.31)
The Man Behind the Anti-Immigration Demagoguery

Weather and Disasters (2006.03.31)
Federal Estimate: $9.5 Billion to Build Complete Levee System for New Orleans
Is it worth spending $9.5 billion to protect a city that had just 500,000 people before Hurricane Katrina? That's a subsidy of $19,000 per resident, and a total cost of nearly the entire annual state budget of Iowa. It's a legitimate question to ask.

Agriculture (2006.03.31)
USDA Figures Out How to Make Ethanol from Peas
Not as efficient as producing it from corn, but it's a possibility for dealing with the pending ethanol shortage