Gongol.com Archives: October 2006
Brian Gongol

October 18, 2006

Science and Technology How the government keeps track of time
The signal from the radio transmitter for the NIST clock in Colorado reaches most of the contiguous 48 states during the day

The United States of America Thomas Jefferson was a deist
That means he wasn't a Christian -- not in the conventional sense, at least. So when political groups claim to carry on a "Jeffersonian legacy" of "Christian principles," the reveal that they don't know anything about American history.

Humor and Good News MySpace sucks people in
"I fill out the About Me section, attempting -- as all people who fill out About Me sections do -- to make my life sound more interesting than it is."

Agriculture Ethanol demand means much less corn kept sitting around
Related: The nature of world food supplies

Threats and Hazards Five vital weaknesses if China and the US ever come to blows
Insightful analysis identifies US vulnerabilities to electronic and electrical-grid attacks, oil dependency, currency weakness, and diplomatic isolation as five serious weaknesses that the Chinese would likely try to exploit. Interesting that the energy angle was identified: China claims that the Three Gorges hydroelectric dam is now operating at full capacity. The era of big hydroelectric dams in the US seems to have passed.

Computers and the Internet Wikipedia competitor getting ready for launch

Socialism Doesn't Work Water is essential, but don't say it isn't tradeable
UN water advisor makes a fine case for the importance of safe water supplies, but she makes a ridiculous claim: "Water cannot be created or traded, only managed." Wrong. Water is traded all the time, just like any other commodity. Whether it's the trading of water rights between Nebraska and Kansas or the import and export of agricultural goods like ethanol that are heavy users of water, water trading takes place all the time. Moreover, fresh water can also be "created" -- either by recycling and reusing wastewater or by converting salt water to fresh water via desalinization (which uses a lot of energy, but has been used for generations). There's no doubt that freshwater resources are limited, but when technocrats start saying that water can't be traded and sold like any other resource, but "only managed," then they must be corrected. Disputes will break out over water, there's no doubt about it -- but anyone who isn't smart enough to realize that we're exporting water when we export foodstuffs, for instance, shouldn't be influencing public policy about water.

Iowa Culver and Nussle debate economic plans
Neither candidate for Iowa governor has made a compelling case for their visionary leadership -- Nussle harps too much on tax cuts and too little on long-term corrections to the state's budget mess, while Culver can't wait to give away more taxpayer money to whomever comes asking -- but Culver appears to be the more economically-detrimental candidate, with his wide-eyed $100 million plan to subsidize energy projects with state taxpayers' cash.

Business and Finance EPA program says traffic congestion costs America $63.1 billion a year
That's why people who are choosing where to live should give serious consideration to smaller metroplitan areas like Des Moines and Omaha, instead of thinking that places like Chicago and New York are where the action is.

Water News Buffalo's surprise snowstorm leaves many with flooded basements

Graphics Rainstorm Diner