Thursday, 27 April, 2006
Really Random Notes
Cleaning out the In box:
- This week is TV-Turnoff Week, sponsored by TV-Turnoff Network. I like what TV-Turnoff is trying to do. I don't have anything against TV in principle, just the programming in general. And that people let the TV take over their lives. For example, this morning I told a friend that it's TV-Turnoff Week. He said, in all seriousness, "But I have to watch Survivor tonight." A large part of maturity is knowing which battles to fight. I just let that one go.
- Royal Caribbean Cruises the other day took delivery of the Freedom of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship. Capable of carrying over 3,600 passengers. The list of features is impressive, and the Flash tour on that site is very nicely done. I wonder, though, how good the service can be with that many people aboard. It's almost triple the number of guests on any other cruise I've been on.
- I sometimes think that politicians don't recognize irony. Senators actually are calling FEMA a "symbol of bumbling bureaucracy." One other senator said that FEMA had "lost the confidence of the American people." Many are calling for FEMA to be disbanded because it's beyond repair. It may very well be that FEMA has lost all credibility. But Congress lost that and its effectiveness decades ago and continues to exist. It's so like Congress to suggest replacing a big, bumbling, ineffective bureaucracy like FEMA with something that will likely be larger and even less responsive. Make way for the National Prepardness and Response Authority. Don't hold your breath waiting for significant change, though.
- Congress also is holding hearings on the price of oil and both parties are scrambling to show that it's the other party's fault that gas is so expensive and, had their policies been implemented, we wouldn't be in this situation. It's painfully obvious to anybody who thinks about these things, that neither party's short term policies have much of anything to do with the current price of gasoline. Approving drilling in ANWR in 2001 wouldn't have made any impact to today. Even if a new refinery had been permitted in 2003, it's unlikely that we'd see anything from it now. The high price of gasoline is due to a combination of world demand for oil, uneasiness about the reliability of supply, limited refinery capacity, and pure speculation. Congress can't do anything to significantly change what we're paying for gas. Temporarily repealing the gasoline tax is a very bad idea that will have a small short-term positive effect for consumers and a huge long-term negative effect on the national budget. The rest of the proposed legislation is just another pathetic attempt by Congress to show the American people that it's "doing something" about the problem du jour.
- I thought the cyber squatting craze was over 10 years ago. It turns out that only the first wave--grabbing common names--was over. Cyber squatting became much more popular a couple of years ago when registering a domain name became very inexpensive and parking or minimal hosting became cheap. With Google Adsense and similar pay-per-click advertising methods, it's pretty easy to make any domain pay its $13.00 per year registration and a share of the hosting fees. I could probably make a business out of making up names and selling them to people who want to register them for purposes of cyber squatting. I had registered CoolNewThing.com years ago, but didn't do anything with it. It's gone to a cyber squatter now, as have many other names that I could have (and perhaps should have) registered and kept.