Gongol.com Archives: March 2010
Brian Gongol

March 15, 2010

Socialism Doesn't Work New York assemblyman wants to ban salt in restaurant cooking
You'd be welcome to add your own salt to the dish later, but the chef wouldn't. And he wants to ban it across the entire state of New York, with a $1000 fine for every infraction. This kind of absurdity comes from good intentions (he says he wants to cut down on high blood pressure) mixed with gross incompetence and a dash, if you will, of too much government power. Then again, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz takes credit for introducing the nation's first ban on using cell phones while driving, so his paternalistic notion of government has been put into law before. He also wants to add a state cover charge of $10 for everyone going to a strip club. Not everything that can cause harm should be banned.

Business and Finance Excellent tools for calculating how much of a nest egg you'll need to retire
The "retirement shortfall calculator" from AXA is especially eye-opening.

Computers and the Internet Broadband Internet access as a campaign issue
The Conservative Party in Britain wants to eliminate a tax on telephone lines that's being used to subsidize the rollout of broadband Internet access to rural areas of the country. The philosophical principle behind the policy is that broadband access should be provided through private investment rather than public subsidy may actually hurt the party's -- though the realpolitik of the matter is that the party has a lot of voters in rural areas, so the proposal might actually run contrary to the interests of many of the party's voters. The big story here is that broadband Internet access is on the verge of being regarded as a true public utility -- like water service, sewers, and electricity. That's a very big change from just a short decade or two ago.

Health Roald Dahl lost a daughter to measles
The children's author subsequently pled with parents to realize just how important vaccinations are. Particularly interesting now that the supposed link between vaccines and autism has been thoroughly smashed. Vaccinations are a modern miracle, and should be hailed for their saving power, not slandered by people relying on myths and fake "science".

Business and Finance Author says the market panic of the last few years was created by stupidity, not malice
And he's likely right. As has been said before (though it's not clear by whom): "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." It was wrong to panic in 2008, just as it remains wrong for traders and fiduciaries to take extraordinary pay for work that fails to produce extraordinary good for society.

Computers and the Internet Roger Ebert gets his voice back thanks to a computer
He lost his voice due to radical surgeries to stop the spread of cancer. Now, a company which combed the archives of his many television appearances for snippets of the many sounds and words which make up the English language has assembled a library of those recordings from which to generate a text-to-speech synthesizer in his native voice.

The United States of America Welcome to the Great Plains
For a little perspective on why overcrowding issues don't make a lot of sense to Midwesterners, consider this: The state of Rhode Island covers 1,045 square miles and has a population of over a million people. Cherry County, Nebraska, covers 5,961 square miles and has a population of 6,100. Cherry County, in fact, is also larger than Delaware (1,954 square miles), Connecticut (4,845 square miles), and Puerto Rico (3,425 square miles).

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