Gongol.com Archives: November 2008
Brian Gongol

November 11, 2008

The American Way EconDirectory update for November 2008
A directory of 322 sites discussing economics and related issues, along with traffic rankings for 161 of them

Threats and Hazards While we weren't looking, Medvedev ordered missiles to the Polish border
Under no circumstances should anyone underestimate the impact of falling oil prices on Russia's economy. When the economy slips, politicians tend to take other bold-looking actions to maintain their popularity. It's a universal phenomenon. Related: Mexico's police are in a precarious position right now. And, to the north, eco-terrorists are attacking Canadian natural gas pipelines.

News Instant global communication changes how companies release news
Since there's no longer any gap between the moment a rumor is initiated and the moment it can appear on the Internet for all the world to see, the notion of "news cycles" with tightly-controlled public relations is badly outdated. That doesn't mean everyone and every company needs to be immediately transparent about everything, but it does suggest that the less they say, the more their stories will be told by people running on rumor and conjecture. Even the Office of the President-Elect is running an official website to manage the spread of public information and even accept applications for appointments to government jobs. After all, when anyone can make a video about a VP, it's not like we're living in the era of Walter Cronkite anymore.

Broadcasting Talk radio isn't irrelevant, but...
An essay in the Boston Globe, which surely would bristle if newspapers were called "irrelevant," suggests that talk radio is less important now than at any time since the 1976 Presidential election. That's not entirely true. What is true is that too many talk shows fall into the trap of recycling old opinions rather than finding new ideas, but what is false is to assume that those opinions are irrelevant. If they were irrelevant, then Democrats wouldn't care about reinstating the Fairness Doctrine. But that's what some on the left want to do, and it may very well come back to surprise them with some unintended consequences if they're successful. The relevance of media programming is a worldwide phenomenon, anyway: Britain is involved in a broad debate about the quality of its radio and television programming, too.

Computers and the Internet Massive drive-by download computer attack is underway
Malicious software is being loaded onto people's computers when they visit sites hosted by vulnerable servers. It's the work of some JavaScript code that redirects the visitor to malicous sites that exploit recently-patched security vulnerabilities in a lot of ordinary software.

Science and Technology If we treated math like we treat varsity sports
An entrepreneur has launched a site called Indian Math Online, based on the premise that if Indian students are learning math effectively, then American students might benefit from learning via the same techniques. Maybe if Americans were a little less math-phobic, we wouldn't have investment firms promising to make millionaire-thousandaires.

Business and Finance Fannie Mae loses every penny it made during the housing boom

Water News Fluoride defeats are unfortunate news