Gongol.com Archives: June 2007
Brian Gongol

June 4, 2007

Business and Finance Jordan Creek Town Center almost overnight becomes center of Central Iowa's retail economy
ISU research paper says the retail development is almost singularly responsible for just about every decline in sales anywhere else in the Des Moines area. This naturally raises a couple of questions. Why are people driving farther to spend their money? Is there something about the experience at Jordan Creek that's so much better that people are shifting their buying patterns just so that they can enjoy the shopping experience? On a larger level, if a new retail development simply encourages existing shoppers to shift their buying habits within a regional area (rather than encouraging vast numbers of new purchases to take place), then aren't major tax incentives for the construction of such developments just really big deadweight costs to local taxpayers? Related: Do airlines sometimes talk governments into huge airport expansions that aren't actually useful? It would appear so.

Computers and the Internet Tucson uses WiFi Internet access to save lives
By equipping city ambulances with cameras and hooking them up to a city-wide Internet connection, they're able to send photos of injuries and accident scenes to the emergency room before patients arrive. A truly novel and useful application of technology to make life better.

News Russia tests a multi-warhead ICBM

Threats and Hazards Why are anti-trade protesters so often violent?

Health Education works so rules don't have to
The CDC says that a huge number of Americans prohibit smoking in their own homes -- 72% today, up from 43% just 15 years ago. Government didn't have to step in to make the rules; we've simply learned more about the risks of smoking and have learned to make better decisions. That's why the World Health Organization's proposal to ban indoor smoking worldwide is unnecessary. A campaign for education would be much more useful -- and a lot less damaging to the WHO's credibility.

Broadcasting A good year for CBS and Fox
ABC and NBC had much lower ratings overall for the just-ended TV season. Fox is hoping that its fall lineup will keep up the momentum. They'll be relying heavily on reality shows to carry them until January, when "24" comes back. CBS is sticking with reliable shows like "CSI" and "Two and a Half Men" this coming fall, while NBC is just trying to find itself. ABC is really going to air a show based on the GEICO caveman.

The United States of America Illegal immigrants aren't just from Mexico
Or even just Latin America. 20,000 of them are from Ireland. Would some people think differently about immigration if they realized that?

Health Male-to-female birth ratios are shifting
Researchers are trying to figure out if it's because of environmental chemicals

Business and Finance Middle-aged Americans pay the most for government
"As a group, households aged 35 to 64 pay more in taxes than they receive in government spending, while households under age 35 and over age 64 receive more government spending than they pay in taxes"

Business and Finance Why gas prices are rising
America isn't building refineries (no new ones have been constructed here in 30 years), and that means the US has to import refined gasoline from other countries to meet demand. That, in turn, increases the US trade deficit.

News Are unemployment and idleness the biggest enemies in Iraq?

Computers and the Internet Microsoft anti-trust settlement worth $200 to most Iowa consumers
The attorneys who filed the suit say they deserve $75.5 million. Wow. That might just be enough to make consumers resent the attorneys even more than the company. Everyone who owns a stock-market index fund owns a tiny fraction of Microsoft.

Graphics Graphic of the day: Century Aim

Water News Remnants of tropical storm now flooding New York
On the other side of the world, flooding has destroyed 2,000 homes in China.

Humor and Good News Butterflies as a source of color inspiration

Science and Technology New technology reveals new problems
Hospitals are trying to figure out what to do about the abuse of cell-phone cameras inside their walls. That doesn't make the technology bad, it simply means we have to be attentive to what new methods may be used by people who were already inclined to do bad things in the first place. The kind of schmuck who would take nude photos of people in a nursing home probably wouldn't be a good person even without the technology that allows them to take sneaky photos. It just means they'd probably be doing bad things of another flavor.

Computers and the Internet Summit of the titans: Gates and Jobs sit down for a talk
Jobs confirms the reason why monopolies tend to smoke themselves out: "You know, we're really happy when our market share goes up a point and we love that and we work real hard at it, but Apple's fundamentally a software company and there's not a lot of us left and Microsoft's one of them." That's a clear example of how the larger a firm's share of a market, the smaller its relative incentive to grow any further.

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