Gongol.com Archives: August 2011
Brian Gongol


August 27, 2011

Computers and the Internet DC-area cell phone networks were overloaded after the earthquake
No big surprise, but that it's no big surprise is only a reflection of how obvious it should be to everyone that there's just not enough capacity.

Iowa Terrible story about a beating death in Waterloo
The story is still evolving, but it sounds as though an adolescent feud turned violent and resulted in the death of a teenager who was being taunted for being gay. Whether it rises to the legal status of a hate crime or not, it reflects the really awful extent of open homophobia, which really has to stop. We're a civilized nation, or at least we should be, and what consenting adults do behind closed doors is nobody else's business. Nor ought it be anyone else's concern how an individual is sexually oriented. We're all just people here, and most human beings are basically good and are just trying to live their lives -- so making anyone else's life worse just because of the way they're naturally wired to be attracted to others is really quite inhumane.

Threats and Hazards China's shameless cyber-warfare
Cyberwarfare is a tool of foreign policy that's a whole lot "softer" than building up a huge military arsenal, but that makes it no less potentially destructive. The right cyber-attack against the United States could be not only economically devastating, but also physically so. Much of our infrastructure is governed by computers, and much of that governance is conducted via the Internet. The United States is at grave risk, and we're no better off for ignoring the threat.

Business and Finance Pete Ricketts calls special tax credit for angel investors "a dumb law"
It's another of many economic-development incentives that mainly serve only to funnel resources from taxpayers to the well-connected

News Tolls on Illinois Tollway roads will almost double
The Illinois Tollways, despite all kinds of criticism, are probably so politically entrenched that they'll never become freeways

Computers and the Internet Will Facebook's new privacy features protect it from competition?
Pressure on Facebook from the new rival, Google Plus, appears to have forced the incumbent to take some steps toward better privacy protection. Over the long term, Facebook simply cannot hold its place as the market dominator in social networking, just as Google will not be able to hold indefinitely to its position as top dog in Internet search.

Business and Finance Environmentalism and economic development
A satirical paper suggests that rich nations combat global deforestation by covering half their lands with trees. The point being, of course, that it's easy to sit back and offer armchair solutions from the rich world that may appear to solve global environmental problems -- without recognizing that those solutions may have serious consequences for the economic well-being of the people affected.

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