Gongol.com Archives: December 2006
Brian Gongol

December 7, 2006

Graphics Surf Taiwan

News America is now a full-time "Candid Camera" episode

Computers and the Internet More "critical" security updates on way from Microsoft

Aviation News Weather really messes with Space Shuttle launch
The US is in a weird position right now: The backbone of its space program is a 25-year-old launch vehicle that still carries a high risk of killing its occupants. While spaceflight is naturally an activity for bold people, commercial tourist space travel is planned for just two or three years from right now, thanks to the Ansari X-Prize. NASA has actually been pretty good about offering challenge prizes, formally known as inducement prizes, but the Shuttles are due for retirement in 2010, which leaves a very short window of opportunity to establish a replacement. It's really probably just not enough to only go to space three times a year. Human spaceflight has to be either so dramatic it's positively galvanizing (like the Apollo flights) or so routine it's utterly second-nature (like intercontinental air travel today); the murky middle we're currently occupying just doesn't cut it. Perhaps the whole of US human space exploration ought to be put out for private bids -- based strictly on pay-for-performance, of course.

Science and Technology Black hole observed swallowing a star
The whole event took place 4 billion years ago, if the estimates are correct, and it wasn't a swift consumption -- more like a couple of years in the making.

The United States of America Pearl Harbor Day is a good time to think of active-duty troops
Some of their needs (like Silly String) may be unconventional, but the adaptability and ingenuity that many Americans in war zones have displayed is a definite force multiplier. Care packages are always a good idea, too.

Business and Finance "Live by the dole, die by the dole"

Water News Sacramento more vulnerable to flooding than New Orleans