Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Ebooks vs. Tree-Books


Print media is steadily giving way to digital media.  Print newspapers and magazines have especially felt the brunt of the shift.  Ebooks are also fast replacing print copies.  From nothing in 2007 to 20% of all books sold in 2011, projected to reach 50% in a few years, the benefits of ebooks are apparent.

Ebooks are green, saving trees along with the costs and energy it takes to produce, store, and distribute print books.   Self-published ebooks foster individual entrepreneurship.  Ebooks reduce the cost of books by two-thirds or more in many cases, thereby increasing readership.  Ebooks  ease back pain and related medical expenses since several thousand books can be stored on a lightweight reader.  Ebooks can be interactive, combining text, audio, and video.

Read an ebook, save a tree.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

12 Questions for 2012

1.  Now that U.S. troops have withdrawn from Iraq, do those who supported the war, with its huge cost in blood and treasure, feel the effort was sufficiently warranted and successful to invest their retirement accounts and other savings in Iraq?  Are they concerned about ethnic cleansing of Christians?  Do they still believe in nation building in the Middle East?

2.  Why does anyone think we can teach democracy to other countries when our democracy includes voter fraud, the politics of personal destruction, negative (dishonest) ads, corrupt funding, cash for favors, and so on?

3.  Americans have to earn a living to support themselves and also pay taxes to support the government.  Why is working in the government called “public service (giving back to the country)” while working for oneself is private or selfish.

4.  Why are firms and individuals punished for fraudulent accounting and insider trading when Members of Congress and government accounting agencies are not?

5.  Why does anyone take seriously 10-year projections of revenues, expenditures, and deficits when economists cannot accurately predict next week’s unemployment claims, last month’s BLS employment report, revised GDP, and so forth?

6.  Why is it a crime for individuals to lie to Congress when it is not a crime for Members of Congress to lie to Americans?

7.  Why do two unrepresentative states–Iowa and New Hampshire–continue to play such an important role in selecting presidential nominees?

8.  How does issuing more debt, whether in the U.S. or Europe, solve the long-run debt problem?

9.  What happened to the sanctity of the Social Security Trust Fund to pay retirement and disability benefits?  Is a holiday on the Medicare payroll tax the next government assault on elderly beneficiaries of medical care?

10.  How can the U.S. compete with China given the poor performance of our K-12 public schools, especially those serving minority students in inner cities?

11.  Major Hassan (allegedly) killed 13 and wounded 29 American soldiers in an attack in Fort Hood on November 5, 2009.  Will he ever be tried?  Or will the trial be postponed until after the election, and then he declared unfit for trial so that those who passed him up the ranks need never tell why?

12.  Who are America’s real allies?  Saudi Arabia?  Turkey?