Gongol.com Archives: December 2006
Brian Gongol

December 5, 2006

Graphics Talent

News New ethanol plant coming to Des Moines
The city wants to evict some existing firms in order to make room for the new plant. If the plant is really a profitable idea, it should be willing to buy out the existing landowners rather than force them out by using the strong-arm tactics of the state. Cities perpetually get this "economic development" thing all wrong.

Socialism Doesn't Work US Code includes regulations on the color of margarine
File it under "Reasons we need sunset provisions on every law, example #4,167,249." An idiotic regulation like this has no place in law: It's purely a case of rent-seeking behavior on the part of the butter industry.

Socialism Doesn't Work Do phishers take the weekend off?
An informal look at the data suggests they do; however, the data may be skewed by the fact that much of today's spam (including phishing attempts) is generated by computers that have been taken over by hostile programs like viruses. Many of these computers are in workplaces that obey normal business hours and thus spend more time "off" on weekends, which could be leading to the false conclusion that the phishers are taking time off, when it's only the computers they've hijacked that are taking time off.

Socialism Doesn't Work Congress sees virtual worlds like Second Life, licks tax-hungry chops
The more people go around conducting business and business-like transactions in the online world, the hungrier the taxing authorities get. Now they want to tax activities conducted in virtual realities like Second Life. While the attraction of spending time in a virtual-reality world is still a bit mysterious (at least to those of us who like sensory experiences like trolling through used-book stores), it's happening and since we're still wildly juvenile with the public finances, it's going to be a political issue.

Humor and Good News The world's greatest Christmas light display
(Video) It's from last year, but it's hilarious every time

The American Way Nature wants us dead
Three observations that are all tied together: (1) Nature is very good at trying to kill us; (2) we're good at fighting back when we have the resources; and (3) we have more resources when we trade than when we don't. Consider the case of the 14-year-old Haitian girl who just had a 16-pound tumor-like growth removed from her face. Nature wanted her dead, but doctors in the United States were able to remove the growth and save her life. But she wouldn't have had a chance if she'd been left to the medical and financial resources of Haiti. Bad government and a lack of trade have kept Haiti unreasonably poor for a long time; compare its state to that of Hong Kong, which is another small state -- but one that has a history of good government and lots of trade, and thus lots of wealth as a result. The fight for free markets and the rule of law is often an abstract one, but cases like that of Marlie Casseus help make it more concrete.

Humor and Good News Queen Elizabeth talks more like everyone else than ever before
Phonetic analysis concludes that the British monarch is losing her accent over time

Water News Chemicals stay in wastewater even after treatment