Gongol.com Archives: December 2006
Brian Gongol

December 20, 2006

Graphics Peace to All

Broadcasting 10 more years of Larry King
Maybe. But they won't replace him when he retires, according to a CNN honcho.

Aviation News Baby goes into airport X-ray machine

Agriculture Move over, wheat beer: Sorghum beer has arrived
Anheuser-Busch introduces new beer for people on wheat-free and gluten-free diets, brewed from sorghum, under the name "Redbridge". Figuring out how to make better use of sorghum may go a long way towards improving the water shortage in central and western Nebraska, among other places, since it's a plant with very low water demand.

Threats and Hazards How terrorists are killing electrical workers to keep Iraq unstable
It's hard for most businesses to make a profit if the power's out, and if terrorists kill all of the workers sent out to fix the power lines, no one will want to fix the power lines anymore.

Computers and the Internet Firefox released
Just a cluster of security-related updates, most of them "critical." Same for Firefox Updates at Mozilla.com. A new version of Opera has also been released, with a new phishing-protection scheme built-in. It's smart to have at least two different up-to-date browsers loaded onto one's computer, so there's always a backup in case of a big security breach in one of them.

Weather and Disasters Blizzard closes most of DIA
Assuredly screwing up travel through United Airlines, just as lots of people are going home for Christmas

Business and Finance If you don't expect taxes to rise substantially in the future, you haven't read this
Government obligations for public-employee pension plans and retiree health care are huge and considerably under-funded. Given the large number of people who are employed by government at all levels, that makes for a compounding problem and one with a big built-in, well-organized special interest group to chase it.

Iowa Ethanol demand pushes Iowa farmland prices up by 10%
More demand for ethanol means more demand for corn, and that means more demand for the inputs to corn, which include good soil. The average price per acre is $3,204, a new record high. Seven counties top an average of $4,000 per acre.

Socialism Doesn't Work Irish small businesses get 11 days to raise minimum wages by 8.5%
A terrible example of short-sightedness by politicians who think they can legislate resources into existence. They can't. Minimum-wage jobs are important for marginal workers -- especially the young and unskilled, as well as those who take on second jobs in order to provide better for their families. For all the great economic decisions Ireland has made over the last 20 years, this is profoundly bad.

Science and Technology Human brains still evolving

Broadcasting The unforgettable intro to "3-2-1 Contact"
(Video) The show was surely responsible for sparking an interest in science in at least a few of the 80's generation. 'Twas a great high-energy opening sequence. The Cold War certainly forced the US to waste a ton of resources trying (rightly) to hold off the Communist threat, but on the upside, it sure forced a lot of policymakers to at least think about how to get kids interested in math and science.

Water News Combustible gases ignite, killing two wastewater plant workers