Gongol.com Archives: November 2006
Brian Gongol

November 7, 2006

Graphics Release Date

Water News No more fluoride in Juneau?

Iowa Instead of getting more Iowans into higher ed, Regents diddle with admissions rules
Instead of taking the urgently-needed steps to figure out ways to get more Iowans into and through higher education, the state's Board of Regents is instead looking at a plan to twiddle with the entrance rules so that the old rule (graduate in the top 50% of your class and you're guaranteed to get in) is replaced with a more complicated admissions index score. While the state's department of economic development is out congratulating itself on giving away taxpayers' money to subsidize private firms, we're moving fewer students through the state's public universities than in 1988 (with a particularly bad performance by males). A state or a nation that loses focus on the value of science and technical education, especially in the advanced stages, is asking for economic trouble.

The United States of America About a third of the country will use electronic voting machines
And platitudes like one election officials line that "They should have confidence in the system" don't do anything to help. Confidence isn't created by telling people to have confidence. It's created by developing transparent, redundant systems that ensure that any attempt at election fraud would require a massive conspiracy. It's a matter of cartel behavior: The more people involved, the less likely the cartel will hold -- whether that cartel is trying to artificially hold up oil prices or get away with cheating the electorate. Either way, a physical paper trail of ballots created on-site is the only acceptable means of ensuring confidence in elections. The very simple solution of using optical scanning systems at the polling place to count ballots and relay the results to election headquarters is a very sensible means of creating a paper trail and delivering quick results at the same time. Why that's so hard for election officials to understand is a mystery.

Threats and Hazards Disrupted terrorist plot targeted Heathrow
Anyone who doesn't take the terrorists' obsession with attacking Heathrow airport does so foolishly; the evidence has been abundant since at least February 2002 that they want to attack Europe's biggest airport. It's a natural target, since it's one of the world's busiest and a real lynchpin in the international travel universe. For those looking to simultaneously strike a symbolic blow against Britain and a consequential one against economic trade, Heathrow would be a likely prize.