Gongol.com Archives: July 2009
Brian Gongol

July 30, 2009

Business and Finance Is inequality the problem, or is it just a symptom?
There's long been discussion of income inequality as though it is a problem itself to be remedied. Instead, it's really more often a symptom of other problems -- like poor access to property rights or inadequate access to education. Good ideas and innovative thinking are what create economic growth in general and what make individuals wealthier in particular. Those who get neither practice or training in forming ideas nor the rights to benefit from those ideas will have a difficult time creating lots of income. Rather than addressing income inequality with redistributive economic and fiscal policies, a society generally makes itself better-off by addressing those root causes instead.

Science and Technology Onion spoof: "New iPhone only visible to most loyal of customers"
The hilarity is almost painful, especially because Apple fanaticism sometimes gives off a whiff of religious fervor. In reality, though, portable media devices still have a long way to go before they're ideal. For instance, most smart phones and MP3 players still need to be plugged into docking stations to work. As the excitement over streaming audio via phone into the automobile gains traction, what those players and phones really need are built-in FM transmitters, so that they can broadcast those streams directly to the car's stereo system. Sure, many systems are integrating Bluetooth and other services, but a simple FM transmitter would work in any car, not just new ones. Most of these players are also missing an extremely valuable feature: The ability to schedule downloads of particular audio streams and podcasts, and then to play them back at particular times. It would be quite nice to schedule the download of a particular podcast and to play it as a morning wake-up call...but it's hard to find a system to make that happen.

The American Way A little self-psychology that could save a lot of money
Before making a purchase, ask whether you'd prefer to be handed the good in question or the equivalent in cash. Some regular application of that kind of self-discipline could lead to a much better future, which as Ben Stein notes, is a matter of using one's present-day self to make life better for one's future self.

Humor and Good News Thousands of years of co-evolution among sheep, sheepdogs, and human shepherds...
(Video) And as a result, we get sheep blanketed in LEDs moving to form giant pictures

Computers and the Internet Adobe's Flash software contains a bug
That makes it advisable for people to avoid lots of Flash content on the Internet until it gets fixed, which will supposedly happen soon. It should also serve as a reminder to check regularly for program updates of all types, since not all of them appear and load automatically. It's also a reminder why people need to use limited-access accounts on their PCs.

Water News Stopping erosion with berm reinforcement

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