Friday, November 23, 2012

U.S. Post Office Tries to Get With It...

The U.S. Post Office (USPS) loses billions of dollars each year, and each year Congress agrees to allow taxpayers to cover that shortfall.  The tale behind how the USPS manages to “stay in business” is one of the great stories of dysfunctional government.  And now that paragon of inefficiency has decided to take advantage of an opportunity to leverage its vast, union-crippled, calamitously-managed assets: they're going to work with national retailers to let them provide same-day package delivery.

If the USPS were an ordinary business, unencumbered by union work rule problems and with competent management struggling to make a profit...then I might have some faith in a positive outcome.  Given the pathetic reality of the USPS, the only faith that I have is that they will bungle this opportunity in a spectacular fashion.  They will find a way to lose even more money, and we the taxpayers will bail them out once again.  Meanwhile, they will succeed in making it more difficult for some competent private sector organization to enter the business.

Unions: 1
Taxpayers: 0


Beautiful Free Icons...

Adam Whitcroft has open-sourced a collection of beautiful minimalist icons, scalable and suitable for web design.  There's an interesting backstory about why he made it free.  Basically, it boils down to this: he built the collection to see it used, not to make money.

Can You Decrypt This Message?

If so, the folks in the British intelligence agency GCHQ would like to hear from you – because so far, this recently found WWII pigeon-carried message has completely stumped them.

Even as recently as WWII it was common for secret messages to be sent via trained pigeons.  The message was rolled up tightly and put inside a small covered vial attached to the pigeon's leg...

Close Call?

This is kind of scary – some scientists think that a billion ton comet may have missed hitting the earth by just a few hundred kilometers, in 1883.  If it had hit the earth, that would have been called an “extinction event”.  Yikes!