Gongol.com Archives: May 2010
Brian Gongol


May 10, 2010

Business and Finance The EconDirectory: Updated for May 2010
It's a bit overdue, but behold! Hundreds of websites dedicated to economics and business, at just the kind of time when interest in such things is rightfully at a high point.

Computers and the Internet Wikipedia founder gets into dispute over who can delete what from the site
Jimmy Wales deleted some disputed content without obtaining other users' consent. The content was apparently sexual in nature, but wasn't photographic, and the distinction apparently got some users defensive. The dispute speaks to two concurrent (and overlapping) problems: First, it's getting almost impossible to establish "democratic" rules of behavior online, especially when people have strong opinions that conflict with the rule of law. Second, we're already drifting into territory where it's impossible to tell what images are photographs and which are just photorealistic. When certain types of images are deemed to be illegal, are they illegal because they record illegal acts, or are the depictions themselves against the law by their very nature? Digital photorealism and even hyperrealism means it's possible to, for instance, create pornographic images without having any actual human subjects involved in the process. But who is to say, for instance, whether a depiction of a completely digital creation represents a 17-year-old or an 18-year old? If there were actual photographs in question, one might be illegal and the other not.

Weather and Disasters Iceland could have another major volcanic eruption soon

The American Way Micro-payments bring insurance to farmers in poor countries
We probably don't think about it much in wealthy countries, but crop insurance makes a huge difference to farmers' ability to smooth out their income across good and bad weather years, which makes a gigantic difference to their ability to make long-term plans

Computers and the Internet Bug in Twitter forced people to "follow" others
There's just too much time and energy being devoted to "social media". Twitter and other services can serve a useful purpose, but not if we're putting all our brains into transitory stuff that won't make any real difference to the world in 10 years.

Broadcasting The Betty White sketches from "Saturday Night Live"
Including some that went unaired

Weather and Disasters A very bad day to live around Tulsa
The National Weather Service says that in the Enid/Tulsa/Wichita region today, there's at least a 30% chance that a big tornado will drop within 25 miles of any given point, a similar probability of 50 mph wind gusts, and a 45% chance of penny-sized hail within the same proximity. Plus, there's a good chance of hail that's 2" in diameter. Yow.

Water News Farmers: Don't ignore the EPA

Recent radio podcasts