Gongol.com Archives: October 2006
Brian Gongol

October 12, 2006

Humor and Good News A chat with a Nigerian e-mail scammer
(Video) Says the humorist to the scammer: "You say I'm well respected in West Africa...but everyone here thinks I'm a..." At least three times funnier than anything David Letterman has said in the last five years.

The American Way A competitor to Wikipedia awaits
One of the biggest problems with Wikipedia is the anonymity of the authors and editors involved, and the Citizendium team has a beef with that. Meanwhile, Symantec is joining McAfee in dragging the fight over Windows Vista into the public sphere. In both cases, competition is driving (or, we can hope, will drive) the market to produce goods and services that are more responsive to the needs and demands of the consumer.

Graphics Barbed Wire Tattoo

Science and Technology Very elegant mathematical proofs

Science and Technology Another dispatch from the Flying-Car Future

News "We should just start the East Asian NATO talks now"
The North Korean nuclear standoff may be a very good reason to start working on new or renewed alliances in the Pacific Rim

Business and Finance Good times at McDonald's, Boeing, and Costco
Good news for several big firms helped move the DJIA to a record close today, just as the benchmark for the Bombay Stock Exchange hit a second-best close. At last, even the S&P 500 has gained some traction.

Humor and Good News A history of the bookplate
Easier to trust than most Wikipedia articles, since it's largely drawn from books that are no longer covered by copyright

Socialism Doesn't Work Rules on age discrimination mean an end to birthday cards
Employees at a British firm can't pass around birthday cards for co-workers anymore because the company is worried about age-discrimination suits. Another unintended consequence brought to you by interventionist government.

Health Coke to launch negative-calorie drink in February
Uses green-tea extracts to accelerate metabolism. Kinda like the unsuccessful Meth Cola.

Threats and Hazards Counterintuitive but probable: Airport security makes passengers unsafe
Professor suggests that when you have 300 unscreened people in line to go through security, a terrorist could kill just as many with a suitcase bomb on the ground as in the air. Not to mention the inevitable resulting disruptions.

Business and Finance "Could Google do whatever it is they're hoping to buy without paying $1.6 billion?"
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer points out that only four major players probably have enough money to do billion-dollar deals in the Internet-buyout world

News Iranian elections coming up in December
Final authority in the government there belongs to the Supreme Leader, a theocratic head of state

News What letters to the editor do and don't tell you
Study finds they're not exactly the "voice of the people," but rather the voice of the editors' biases. And they affect what politicians do and say.

News Russian government plans $9,300 bribes to get families to have more kids
South Korea has considered a similar cash-for-babies policy to reverse declining birthrates

Threats and Hazards Litany of contract killings in former USSR
The case of the Russian journalist murdered in what looks like a contract killing isn't all that unusual in the former Soviet Union today. Shootings and car bombings abound.

CommerceBucket The world isn't a meritocracy

Computers and the Internet Hormel loses EU court case to protect "Spam" as a trademark
The makers of Spam (the meat) wanted to trademark the word "spam" for use with unsolicited bulk e-mail. An EU court nixed that idea.

Water News Corps of Engineers plans two big pulses on the Missouri in 2007

Socialism Doesn't Work Wikipedia un-blacklisted in China?
Why rely on government disinformation campaigns when you can let people argue half-wittedly to no end behind veils of anonymity?

Humor and Good News Good design in obscure places
How a helpful illustration on the bottom of a pizza box represents work that's just a little bit better than the ordinary

Humor and Good News Final boarding call for "Terry Wrist" and "Al Kyda"
(Video) Apparently the Australians have a better sense of hilarity than anyone else (watch "E-Ticketing" [backup]...though the Trojan Horse stunt is really funny, too). The lunatics behind the video also have proposed recruiting for Al Qaeda Mormon-style.

Science and Technology Soviet moon cities
What a flashback to a future that never happened