Gongol.com Archives: January 2007
Brian Gongol

January 22, 2007

Graphics Graphic of the day: Matrix Algebra

The United States of America California property values screwing up housing prices in the Rockies
California has become a huge exporter of people -- and they're taking out-of-whack home equities with them, plus crime

Business and Finance The psychology of tightwaddery
About a quarter of us are tightwads, who don't particularly enjoy parting with our greenbacks. And it's probably best if we get together with other tightwads, lest the money cause marital friction.

Threats and Hazards Extraordinarily chilling essay forecasts a nuclear strike against Israel

Health The Food Pyramid: Confusing the crap out of Americans since 1992
Why did we ever abandon the old "4-4-3-2" rule (representing, respectively, the number of servings of fruits/vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein one was supposed to get each day)? It was simple enough for 3rd-graders to understand, which is all you can really hope for when it comes to teaching people how to manage their diets (unless they're specifically under dietary restrictions because of something like diabetes). The Food Pyramid is too complicated for anyone to tell you off the top of his or her head how their "MyPyramid plan stacks up. Among other huge problems, the Food Pyramid uses different units (cups vs. ounces vs. calories vs. teaspoons) for different classes of foods. Too complicated for instant recall, which is what people should be able to offer.

The United States of America Is Sen. Hagel going to run or not?
With the Presidential race getting really crowded -- really fast -- there's talk that Chuck Hagel, who is probably the most free-market potential Presidential candidate, will make a decision soon. Perhaps he could announce on Milton Friedman Day.

Health President wants to subsidize some health plans by taxing others
Doesn't something sound a little paradoxical about that? What's scarier is that there's some enthusiasm bubbling for universal health-care plans, which are just not a good idea.

Business and Finance Sarbanes-Oxley may be chipping away at New York's financial prominence

Iowa Four arrests (at last) for UNI arson
The fires caused $10.2 million in damage, so it would be nice to see someone be punished.

The United States of America And then there were 18 (candidates)
Adding Senator Clinton and Governor Richardson to the list of declared Presidential candidates, we're up to 18 serious campaigns. Unfortunately, among the ten Republicans and eight Democrats in the running, only four have had "adult" jobs in the private sector. That's a bad sign -- the field is composed almost exclusively of lawyers and career (that is, life-long) politicians. It seems to cloud the overall sense of judgement on things like free trade and Medicare reform, issues on which only a handful of them perform even passably.

News Russia objects to US missile-defense system in Europe
The US is working with the Czech Republic and Poland on a plan for a missile-defense system, ostensibly over (rational) concerns about Iran and North Korea -- but Russia's military calls it a threat to their homeland.

Computers and the Internet One person made Mac icons and the cards for Solitaire

Iowa Iowa Army Guard unit gets tour extended -- but no one told them
The 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry was told it would have to stay in Iraq an additional 125 days beyond the deployment that it had expected would end this spring. The kicker is that the announcement was made to the media before it was made to the troops. This certainly won't be the only case in which the "surge" plan causes serious disruptions, and it's patently unfair to treat soldiers this way.

Health We don't just need new cancer-fighting tools, we need to use the ones we have
A huge number of women aren't getting basic tests that can catch things like cervical cancer in early, treatable stages. That's just as bad as not having the treatments available in the first place.

Broadcasting Why cue cards ought to be scrapped
How one of the keynote speakers at Macworld blew up any chance of being heard because of the way he delivered his story

Water News Ice dam in Sioux City creates water shortage in KC

The American Way Carnival of the Capitalists: January 22, 2007
Some of the best: Why everyone should know how to write, why it's a bad idea to try to artificially create "consumer communities", and some worthwhile questions for advertisers. Economists are sorely under-represented among this self-selected group.

Feedback link