Gongol.com Archives: June 2012
Brian Gongol

June 3, 2012

Computers and the Internet Judgment matters more than knowledge
We were told a lot in the 1990s that the "new economy" brought about by the Internet would be the "knowledge economy", in which "knowledge workers" would be paid highly for, well, knowing things. But that's turned out to be a bit off the mark. What we really live in is the era of the judgment economy. Knowledge and information are abundant, and they're not particularly hard to obtain. If one wants to earn a PhD, one can even do that through online classes. But no amount of knowledge will adequately substitute for the judgment to know better than to send sexually-explicit emails from a work account, as the now-former superintendent of the Des Moines Public Schools did. That's just awful judgment. Work accounts at a school district are a part of the public record. Everyone makes mistakes, but it takes a person with really, really bad judgment to be in a management position like a superintendency and not realize that certain conversations are best had anywhere but on a school-district server.

News There is, without a doubt, such a thing as too much instant gratification
That said, it seems likely that the Zimbardo hypothesis that video games and porn are creating a nation of males who are addicted to high-intensity arousal and action and who can't otherwise control themselves or focus on the big picture. It's quite likely that they're describing a specific, finite segment of the male population -- just to make up a number for it, let's say 15% -- who then make it look like there's a total epidemic happening. But plenty of males of all ages can still find self-discipline and set aside time to think and mature. Blaming video games and porn for some others' inability to do so isn't really a fair way to characterize what happens in a population the size of America's.

The United States of America How the economy will determine the outcome of the Presidential election
Presidents take too much credit for the economy when it's doing well and too much of the blame when it's going badly. But the Obama Administration has been doing everything possible to take credit for whatever turnaround has been happening while doing lots of things to make growth difficult, so the punishment may be justified.

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