Today’s Links: September 26, 2011


SIMON JOHNSON – “Who Will Eclipse the U.S.?”
“According to Voltaire, the Roman Empire fell ‘because all things fall’. It is hard to argue with this as a general statement about decline: nothing lasts forever. But it is also not very useful. In thinking, for example, about American predominance in the world today, it would be nice to know when it will decline, and whether the United States can do anything to postpone the inevitable.”

NOAM COHEN – “Dealing With an Identity Hijacked on the Online Highway
“Despite his prominent position as a Republican candidate for president, Rick Santorum has lost control of his online identity. And for all the snickering online about it, his predicament stands as a chilling example of what it means to be at the mercy of the Google algorithm.”

MEGAN MCARDLE – “Solyndra Was Just a Bad Bet From the Beginning
“Solyndra didn’t invent the photovoltaic cell; they had a solar panel technology that didn’t use silicon and was (by the company’s account, anyway) supposed to be easier to install on the roofs of big box stores.  However, this design was tricky and very expensive to manufacture, apparently: my reading indicates that Solyndra was able to make a product for $6 that sold for $2-3 (before the market collapsed, anyway).  I take it that the idea was that Solyndra would somehow ease this disparity by getting up to scale, but the product was apparently extremely difficult to manufacture, and they never got their assembly line working properly.”


TECHNOLOGY – U.S. Net Neutrality Rules Finalized, In Effect November 20
“Get ready, America—net neutrality finally comes to the Internet on November 20, 2011. That’s the plan, at least. The FCC has just filed its final “open Internet” rules (PDF) with the Federal Register, which will publish them tomorrow and make them official. The rules go into effect on November 20, nearly a year after they were passed over Republican opposition on a 3-2 vote.”

BUDGET – On Spending, Congress Can’t Agree on Easy Stuff
“Congress is once again allowing shutdown politics to bring the federal government to the brink of closing. For the second time in nine months, lawmakers are bickering and posturing over spending plans. The difference this time is that everyone agrees on the massive barrel of money to keep the government running for another seven weeks.”