Gongol.com Archives: October 2013
Brian Gongol

October 20, 2013

Business and Finance Progress towards ending poverty
The Brookings Institution reports that the number of people living in extreme poverty has been cut in half worldwide since 1990. That's exceptional progress, with more to be made. They think it may be possible to get to a point where almost nobody is left in extreme poverty by 2030, which would be a remarkable win for humanity. The tools that encourage the growth that unlock human potential and take us towards having a truly global middle class aren't going to come from command-style economies, and never have.

Health Maybe we sleep so our brains can take out the chemical trash
Proteins that build up inside the brain and that can form harmful plaques may be flushed during sleep, allowing the brain to remain healthy

Science and Technology It's hard to find a more optimistic futurist than Google's Ray Kurzweil
Google's director of engineering, who just spoke in Omaha, thinks we're close to a future with 150-year-old people and nanobots floating through our bloodstreams, cleaning out our arteries. It will be interesting to see whether his big-picture visions have an influence on Google, which for all its successes is still utterly dependent upon advertising dollars (they're 92% of all Google revenues). They have the people and equipment necessary to make some bold innovations in important areas that could be highly profitable. But unlike Microsoft, which is so integral to commerce that it has a big cushion against change, Google is driven by speculation about what could make money someday -- not by an engine of profits that more or less guarantees income, even if they make a few errors. It's a tough place for such a significant company.

Threats and Hazards What kind of brokenness causes people to take a flesh-eating drug?
A synthetic drug meant to be a lot like morphine is pretty well likely to kill its users within two years by eating their flesh. It's virtually unfathomable that (a) anyone would produce it or (b) anyone would take it. Something is profoundly broken in the minds of both sets of people. To think that they're of the same species that made it to the moon.

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