Gongol.com Archives: April 2009
Brian Gongol

April 10, 2009

Water News More flooding on the way for Fargo

Socialism Doesn't Work The most overused quote of the moment: "If your neighbor's house is on fire..."
It's been used almost relentlessly to justify the somebody-do-something panic that has characterized the government's response to the economic recession. But the problem is that metaphors are inherently unfair to the full scope of a complex economic situation. While the "neighbor's house on fire" argument has been used to drive everything from stimulus spending to the TARP program to trillions in new Federal debt, there's an equally valid contrary metaphorical argument that's been heard very little: "Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease." If our "patient," the economy, is unhealthy, then the most important step is to get the diagnosis right. Just like a reasonable doctor wouldn't take an infirm patient and hit the patient immediately with everything from topical antibiotics to blood transfusions to retroviral medications and organ transplants -- certainly not before figuring out the true scope of the problem and establishing a reasonable level of certainty about the root cause -- so should we expect reasonable policymakers to understand that it's not a good idea to throw everything but the kitchen sink at an economic situation they don't really understand. The only thing we really know for certain is that the "solutions" already being enacted involve trillions of dollars in debt, all of which will have to be paid back someday with interest. And it represents, in all probability, the single greatest transfer of wealth from the young (and even the unborn) to the present ever conducted. (For a very funny take on the whole situation, John Williams at WGN has a hilarious parody of the bailouts.)

The American Way Paul Allen thinks the entire country needs to take Google's "20% Time"
Frankly, that would not only satisfy Theodore Roosevelt's admonition ("If you are rich and are worth your salt, you will teach your sons that though they may have leisure, it is not to be spent in idleness"), it also coincides nicely with the need for more innovation and inducement prizes. Innovation and new ideas are the only reliable paths to greater wealth.

Computers and the Internet Business executives surveyed think Google is becoming less innovative
Probably the best thing Google has going for it right now is that it's a distant second in the search-engine market in China. That means it has to push the boundaries as hard as it can in order to capture whatever it can of the world's largest Internet audience. Of course, there are still reasonable ethical concerns to be had about Google's submission to the anti-liberty laws of the Chinese government.

Humor and Good News Learn Russian with the floating head of Vladimir Putin

Computers and the Internet Parents are now getting their kids prenatal Twitter accounts
That might be going a bit far. But if you're about to become a parent, it might be a good idea to reserve your child's name as an Internet domain name. For a few bucks a year, you could be saving something of tremendous future value. Think of it like a savings bond for your child's online identity.

Graphics Graphic of the day: Fleeting

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