Gongol.com Archives: January 2007
Brian Gongol

January 19, 2007

The American Way An economic roadmap for the Democrats in Congress

Business and Finance Should governments force people to build more durable homes?
What about demolition bonds, so we can get rid of eyesores when their times have come?

Humor and Good News Beautiful old industrial designs

The American Way "The moral here is that it's best not to read the newspaper"
Is Hong Kong still the profoundly rich, free place it's been for so long, or is it a sickly dog that needs the aid of Red China? Depends on whom you ask.

News Unexpected: Graffiti in Iran
"[I]f a young person sprays a wall they probably think that this person is with the Americans"

Broadcasting The 50 greatest TV commercials of the 1980s
And the era's video-game consoles, too.

Agriculture Wheat rust hasn't gone away
It's still floating in the air (literally), spreading from Africa to the Arabian Peninsula. Why do we care? Because if food supplies fail, especially in unstable parts of the world (like the parts of Africa it's traipsing through now), it can result in violence and conflict. Not to mention human suffering. It was thought to threaten 10% of the world's wheat supply a year and a half ago.

Aviation News Save the nose art!
WWII nose art: You have to love it

Health Stem cells isolated in amniotic fluid
May provide a way to experiment with cells very similar to embryonic stem cells without the same ethical baggage. A good example of why laws shouldn't be written to depend upon the state of current technology; these things can change so fast, it's hard to see what unintended consequences could result. Also a good reason to avoid voting on a single issue. The issue may have just changed profoundly, but the elected officials will be the same for a while to come. Related: New York City may be one of the first places where the officials are getting smart about technology, finding ways to let people send digital photos to the police via mobile phone to help report crime. Much better than installing red-light cameras.

Humor and Good News "Man's inhumanity to lawyer"

News Where the homeless sleep in Los Angeles

Agriculture Freaky orange cauliflower could be solution to Vitamin A deficiency
A quarter-billion children are believed to suffer Vitamin A deficiencies. USDA researchers have found the gene they think can super-charge the production of beta-carotene (precursor of Vitamin A) in plants, which coincidentally turns some of them orange.

Threats and Hazards Journalist assassinated: He "insulted Turkish identity"

Water News On water quality and the food we eat

Graphics Graphic of the day: Pass the Baton

News Israel turns over $100 million to keep Palestinian Authority afloat
The areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority have a 20% unemployment rate and per-capita GDP of just $1,100 -- ranking them behind North Korea for average income. Until the area can get its economy in order, it's absolutely, positively guaranteed to be unstable -- especially since Israel's per-capita GDP is $25,000 a year. Persistent poverty and high unemployment rates (especially among young men) are absolute guarantors of instability. Whether the $100 million will be enough to keep the PA government from collapsing is far from assured.

Business and Finance "Accomplishment is overrated"
Diarizing (on a work computer) one's exhaustive efforts to avoid work is probably not the sign of an advanced mind. Related: How long state legislatures will be working in session this year.

Socialism Doesn't Work China blows up weather satellite with ballistic missile
Ye olde Strategic Defense Initiative comes back to life in a big way, as China conducts the first anti-satellite test since 1985. This is profoundly serious news since China's also given signs it plans to play dirty with cyber-warfare should push ever come to shove.

Health Big Bird and bird flu
Using public education as a means to public health: Teach kids early and often about good hygiene, and you might be able to stop the spread of infectious disease.

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