Gongol.com Archives: December 2011
Brian Gongol

December 19, 2011

Business and Finance A Saudi prince is buying up a big block of Twitter stock
While it's a smart move to take the money from the country's oil wealth and invest it in something other than more oil production, this particular effort at diversification is a bad idea in two ways. First, the choice of Twitter as an investment isn't a great one -- it's a technology stock that's gotten exciting because it's popular, and thus like all fads it will eventually become yesterday's news (just like MySpace, Second Life, and AOL). There's no telling when that will happen. But the other reason why it's a bad move is more existential: It's not actually an investment in anything that will enrich or employ the people of Saudi Arabia. Does anyone actually think the country is suddenly going to have 20 million people with full-time jobs on Twitter? Countries that are fortunate enough to have a special endowment of natural resources (like the oil beneath Saudi Arabia) need to reinvest the lucky profits into other, more sustainable sources of wealth. Norway, for instance, has a half-trillion-dollar investment fund that's being used to squirrel away the country's excess profits from oil. But there's a big gap between the economic development needs of Norway and those of Saudi Arabia. Twitter isn't going to keep Saudi Arabia's economy afloat when the oil runs out. It looks more like a vanity investment -- much like the type that's been swallowing lots of the investment money in Abu Dhabi.

The American Way Vaclav Havel is dead
He led the peaceful and bloodless revolution against Communism in Czechoslovakia

Threats and Hazards Hackers threaten to make attempts on the Iowa caucuses
They should put their efforts to productive use, rather than trying to tear down the political process. The caucuses are a little anachronistic, to be sure -- but they involve citizens showing up to express their thoughts on politics in a neighborhood environment, just like the classic town hall meeting. The kinds of people who think they can get what they want by trying to tear down established processes like the caucuses are the types of people who think they can get rich by throwing chairs through other people's windows. It's worth noting the contrast between these kinds of thoughtless destroyers and the constructive individuals who fought Communism, like Vaclav Havel.

Business and Finance AT&T gives up on takeover of T-Mobile

Humor and Good News Beavis and Butthead comment on Katy Perry's "Firework"
(Video) It's good to have Mike Judge's humor back

Computers and the Internet BT sues Google
The British telephone company says Google is stealing its patents

Water News High corn prices make it hard to put land aside to protect drinking water

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