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Month: October 2005

Econ Quiz #2

by David Veksler David Veksler No Comments

BISMARCK, North Dakota (AP) — To sell things over eBay, Mark Nichols may be required to take instruction in rapid-fire speaking, breathing control and reading hand gestures, even though the transactions are done by computer keyboard and mouse.

To get a North Dakota auctioneer’s license, applicants must pay a $35 fee, obtain a $5,000 surety bond and undergo training at one of eight approved auction schools, where the curriculum includes talking really fast.

Quiz question: this legislation is about (a): public safety (b): raising revenue, or (c): creating barriers to entry to legislate online competitors out of business

The Internet will “fall apart?”

by David Veksler David Veksler No Comments

If you’ve been following the net news, you know that the thug regimes of the UN are trying to seize control of the Internet’s DNS. The latest threat is that the net will “fall apart” within months if the U.S. does not turn over control. What does this mean?

Hidden behind the claims of “multilateralism” and “sharing of best practices” is a thinly veiled threat that if states are not given the power to censor the Internet multilaterally, governments wishing to censor the internet will split off their DNS networks to censor content unilaterally to establish isolated networks.

What’s mostly ignored in the news stories is that ICANN has been successfully managing DNS system without almost any interference from the U.S. Almost, but not quite none – the DOJ has delayed the issuance of some root domains, namely the .XXX porn domain.

The real question we should be asking is – why does the Internet need to be under the control of any regime – unilaterally or multilaterally? If a private organization has done a good job so far (and they have), why not officially hand over the DNS system to them?

Need an MP3 Player

by David Veksler David Veksler 2 Comments

I am looking for an MP3 player. I would love to get the iPod nano, but much of my collection is in WMA format, which Apple doesn’t do. I want something small and sleek to bike with but with at least 2GB of space.


Oh, and I have some photos up from this weekend -my family came to visit for my birthday.

Yahoo Chat closes to minors

by David Veksler David Veksler No Comments

New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is at it again — this time, forcing Yahoo Chat to close their chat rooms (used by millions of people) to anyone under 18, and give a few hundred thousand in extort.. err, “donations” to placate a few interest groups.

Time for an economics quiz. The likely outcome of closing the chat rooms will be (a) : millions of teens will immediately abandon Internet chat (b): millions of teens will start lying about their age, and give child molesters an “I didn’t know” excuse, (c) millions of teens will switch to seedier and unmonitored chat room sites, where the identity or age of the participants cannot be tracked, or (d): (b) and (c )will make the internet a more dangerous place, creating new opportunities for Eliot Spitzer & Co to get in on the action.

I doubt any drastic consequences will come of this. The real story here is how politicians use regulations and wealth transfers to gain favor with interest groups and voters without any concern for the actual effect on the public they are supposed to be “protecting.”

More on New York state’s resident fascist.

Free Love

by David Veksler David Veksler 1 Comment

Love Field, that is. For the DWF residents:

Have you seen the “Set Love Free” ads? After decades of lawsuits and legislative battles, the city of Ft. Worth and Southwestern Airlines are running PR campaigns over a decades old measure isolating the DFW airport from competition.


I wrote a letter about it:

Please support the Right to Fly Act (HR 2646) introduced in the House by
Congressmen Jeb Hensarling and Sam Johnson and the American Right to Fly
Act (S. 1424) introduced in the Senate by Senator John Ensign.

It’s time to bring 26 years of protectionist policy to an end. Airlines
have a right to fly to and from any airport they choose, free from
restrictions imposed by short-sighted protectionists who are afraid to
compete in a free and open market. If DFW Airport is afraid of losing
airlines, they should lower their costs, not try to legislate other, more
efficient, airports out of business.

Even if the absurd argument that a free Love Field would hurt DFW business
were true, it would only mean that Love Field is better able to serve
customers than their competition. As a frequent flier, I support lower
costs (and thus cheaper tickets) and reject the destructive mercantilist
mentality that views the success of one business is a threat to others.

FEMA wasted $100 million on ice

by David Veksler David Veksler No Comments

The New York Times reports that FEMA wasted over $100 million of ice that was intended to help to hurricane victims.
One frustrated truck driver had to drive 2,000 pounds of ice around for 4,100 miles, being redirected half a dozen times, and waiting up to a week (with the engine running) for FEMA to make up their mind. 59% of the purchased ice was never used, and much of it ended up thousands of miles from the affected areas because not enough storage space had been arranged. A homeland security report stated that the problem was that there is “no automated way to coordinate quantities of commodities with the people available to accept and distribute them.” But not to worry, because “there are programs in the works that will help us better track commodities.”

Hmm, an automated way to coordinate quantities of commodities with the people available to distribute and consume them. I think I’ve read about something like that.