Gongol.com Archives: December 2012
Brian Gongol

December 17, 2012

Socialism Doesn't Work China adds some bricks to the Great Firewall
The Guardian reports that they are now using technology to cut off anyone who appears to be using a virtual private network (VPN), which is a system for sending encrypted data from one computer to another. VPNs are widely used in the corporate world to ensure security of communications -- and in places like China, they can be used to allow people to browse content without surveillance by the authorities. ■ If you're looking for exactly one reason -- just one -- why the American economy has a durable advantage over many others in the world, it is that we (generally) reject wholesale the notion that government has a right to control what we think. We undoubtedly have problems with painting the right boundaries around privacy and security concerns -- many people are and should be angry about reports of warrantless spying on our communications. But the level of outrage would be double if the government were to pre-emptively block our access to content. And that would be well-placed outrage. ■ Moreover, it's an economically strategic kind of outrage. Good ideas come from all sorts of places, not just a handful of sanitized reports in the business press. For an economy to grow powerfully and durably, it has to do as Warren Buffett says America has done: "[O]ur system unleashes people's potential...human potential is still untapped to a big degree." A system that tells people what they can and cannot think or read or discuss is one that isn't really unleashing human potential -- though it may, as China has done for a while now, take some advantage of natural human instincts to make life better for our families. But it still treats people like cattle...just harder-working cattle.

Science and Technology Crossing the brain-to-computer barrier
A 52-year-old woman who is paralyzed from the neck down can control a robotic arm with her thoughts, thanks to a brain-machine interface. This is very much just the beginning for these kinds of devices.

Humor and Good News Famous albums with more honesty

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