Stronger governments don't necessarily mean less corruption
A New York Times report on China hints at what really tends to happen when governments become all-mighty: People closely connected to the political elite become wealthy in ways that aren't accessible to the rest of the people. So, the next time someone says that the government should be given (or take) greater powers to intervene in the private-sector economy, ask whether that greater power could be used by the well-connected to line their pockets at the expense of the broader public. More often than not, it seems, that's what's likely to happen.
A collection of some pretty remarkable bridges
It's easy to overlook seeing bridges for what they really are: Very large and tangible collections of knowledge. The engineering skill required to design and build a bridge is the product of hundreds of years of trial and error and documentation. It's too easy to forget that human knowledge is accumulative -- that is, we gather more of it as we go along, and if we're wise, we document it so that the people who follow us can skip over the mistakes and go straight to the right answers. New questions will never be in short supply.