Gongol.com Archives: 2012 Weekly Archives
Brian Gongol

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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Business and Finance China's central bank cuts interest rates
As when it's done in the United States and elsewhere, the hope is that lower rates will encourage businesses to borrow and in turn use that borrowing to create more goods and services. Lower interest rates also punish people who prefer to save their money, so it encourages them to consume instead. Savers will now get 3.25% on their deposits, while a one-year loan will cost 6.31%. But don't bother commenting about it online behind the Great Firewall -- the government is proposing even tighter controls on the Internet.

Health Fetal genome sequencing is now possible
But are we ready for it, ethically and legally?

Business and Finance Spain is now the financial scapegoat of Europe

Agriculture So, it's a mite carrying a virus that's been killing off the bees
A huge problem for agriculture

Computers and the Internet Facebook is launching its own app store
Oh dear. Another way for old people to get confused.

Humor and Good News You're probably not hearing "O Fortuna" right

Humor and Good News A new take on some old Mister Rogers clips

The United States of America Cubs vs. Giants, 1912-style

News Did the NFL really do enough to treat players fairly?
Were players warned enough about the possibility of brain injuries?

Business and Finance California voters decide to put brakes on public-sector pensions

The United States of America Bill Clinton may have an ego, but he's also from the badly-depleted pro-business wing of the Democratic Party
The Democrats need a pro-business wing, and the Republican need a wing full of social moderates. Period. Without those groups, the parties just lapse into cartoonish editions of themselves.

Computers and the Internet Google buys QuickOffice
Any business that requires the pace of innovations that Internet services seem to require is a business that's too hard to evaluate reasonably as an investor

Computers and the Internet 6.5 million LinkedIn passwords stolen
That's why everyone should use different passwords across different websites -- because you don't want to lose all of your password security just because one site had a security lapse or breach.

News The market for talent doesn't always have to be national
Institutions of all stripes need to do a better job of developing their talent pools from within. National searches for people to do things like running school districts are just pushing salaries up and reducing reasonable accountability.