Gongol.com Archives: September 2006
Brian Gongol

September 28, 2006

The American Way Commercialism is nothing new -- it's in America's blood
Designer looks at an unabashedly commercial book from 1922 and finds it beautiful. That's because the US is a commercial nation through and through. And commercial culture is the secret weapon of Western civilization: As China becomes wealthier, they're discovering suppressed demand for beautiful things, like well-designed public works. But before long, the same people who want beautiful bridges will ask why they can't create beautiful things (like ideas) on their own without the government telling them what they can or cannot say. Ideas that seem harmless when expressed in architecture or art can lead people to make leaps that are much more dangerous to tyrants.

Science and Technology Thought-provoking article about ambient signals
Telling us where we are, or what we're doing, or where we're going by giving us subtle cues that don't fight the environment, but enhance it -- like audio signals that uniquely identify individual train stations, or color cues that tell website visitors where to go first. Also thought-provoking: The Elements of Style for Designers.

News Fixing one gun dealership cut flow of guns to crooks by 44%
Another block of evidence that one-size-fits-all rules aren't always the best solution -- sometimes fixing a problem requires addressing what's wrong with one individual, group, or firm at a time

News How to design a ligature
Making logos from letters

Humor and Good News Religious shows in Australia get skewered
Absolutely hilarious video

News A Venn diagram of the EU, NATO, and everyone who wants in

Socialism Doesn't Work Some parts of the world haven't made economic progress in 1,000 years
And calling that failure "criminal" is absolutely right. Such a failure isn't the fault of the poor themselves; humans are obviously brilliantly endowed with the capacity to come up with better ways of doing things. Such a failure must be clearly blamed upon the failure to establish a healthy legal and cultural framework for property in which free exchange can act on its own to lift people out of poverty.

Iowa EarthPark says it'll build in Pella
They're projecting a million visitors a year, and everyone in Iowa hopes they make it. But they also haven't come up with full funding for the project, and they've already demanded lots of taxpayer dollars for the project. It's worse than originally proposed: $25 million from the locals, plus $50 million from the Department of Energy and $20 million from the state. The remainder? Debt.

Socialism Doesn't Work Why Congress deserves a big fat "F"
Fewest days in session of any Congress in memory, and what they've done has been so tangled up in pork and special interests that they're not doing their jobs -- not to mention doing things antithetical to their jobs, like suspending habeas corpus for some criminals. What's the difference between a terrorist who tries to diminish rights by force and a politician who diminishes rights in the name of defending against the terrorists?

News Rice to Sudan: Choose either cooperation or confrontation
The Secretary of State calls for an immediate cease-fire in Darfur

Business and Finance Citgo loses gas contract with 7-Eleven
It's not directly due to Hugo Chavez and his propensity to fly off the handle against the US, but that sure didn't help

Humor and Good News "America's Next Top Model," or: "Dancing with the Infidels"

Computers and the Internet No surprise: Social-networking sites open doors to online crime
Because people tend to let their guard down on sites like MySpace, they're more likely to expose themselves to criminal breaches of their identities

Threats and Hazards Musharraf says Bin Laden isn't dead yet
Appears on "The Daily Show," too

Water News Despite population growth, Americans' water use is stable

Graphics Opponent