Gongol.com Archives: August 2007
Brian Gongol


August 20, 2007

Graphics Graphic of the day: Keyword Search

Broadcasting Notes from today's fill-in show on WHO Radio
Including fishing for pirhanas, voting on the new ISU uniforms, and advice for college freshmen

Socialism Doesn't Work Chavez wants to amend constitution so he can remain president for life

Agriculture A million Vietnamese could go hungry
Flooding has blown a hole in the rice harvest. Vietnam is the thirteenth-largest country in the world.

News Senegal tosses Irish college student in jail for dropping trou

Aviation News All 165 passengers and crew escape burning China Airlines 737
Also in aviation news, 2,000 protesters are showing up to make a mess at Heathrow

Business and Finance A sanguine voice on personal debt

Business and Finance Is the "kaizen" process incompatible with American business?
The "continuous improvement" approach may not be directly to blame, but the way it's turned the executive suite at Fidelity Investments into a revolving door suggests that "continuous improvement" is being used as a blanket for "perpetual disruption." As Benoit Mandelbrot points out in his book, "The (Mis) Behavior of Markets," improvement is rarely smooth or continuous -- it's usually sudden and jerky. Some research supported by the National Science Foundation suggests that kaizen doesn't work reliably in American factories, either.

Water News Boiling orders lifted in three Iowa towns

Health Doctors may have cracked lymphoma
They think that they've found a way to shut down a protein that protects the tumor

Business and Finance American Airlines sues Google over sales of keyword searches

The United States of America Army vice-chief says the army is too small, but he doesn't want a draft

Health Today is self-examination day
Women should conduct a monthly breast self-exam and men should conduct a monthly testicular self-exam

News Ben Stein's advice to college freshmen
He ought to know; he's taught at three different colleges

Health Chemistry and computers can create "emergency drugs"
A computer scientist at the University of British Columbia says that if a new pathogen (like a new strain of TB or bird flu) breaks out, we probably won't have time to put drugs through the normal trials to fix them. So instead, he proposes using computer analysis to figure out which proteins are involved in the bug, and then using another type of analysis to identify existing medications that are chemically similar to ones that work on similar bugs to shorten the development cycle.

News Pirhana cousin caught in Michigan lake
You wouldn't normally expect South American fish in Lake St. Clair, but people dump their unwanted pets into lakes. That's not a good idea.

Weather and Disasters Storm damage in Mason City looks like a tornado, but probably wasn't
Some awful flooding is making a mess in the La Crosse region.

Health With Tommy Thompson out of the race, will anyone else pledge to fund a cancer cure?
Tommy Thompson had pledged a national campaign to end breast cancer by 2015, but since he's dropped out of the Presidential race, it's unclear whether anyone else will take up a similar pledge. A lot could happen by 2015 (for instance, it might be the time of peak oil), so it's a little strange that no one else is making such a plan a forefront issue. Unfortunately, the economic platforms of the 2008 Presidential candidates are still very disappointing overall.

Aviation News Heathrow may be a hassle, but it shouldn't be an environmentalist target

News Someone took a missile launcher to a gun buyback
Orlando police were offering a shoes-for-guns program, and one guy brought in a missile launcher that he said he found in a shed he was tearing down. Who just leaves a missile launcher sitting around? And why didn't the guy call the police when he found it in the first place? Someone else brought in enough explosives that if it hadn't been for the amnesty rule in place, he would've gotten a 5-year mandatory prison sentence.

Science and Technology "Frozen smoke" could revolutionize insulation and bombproofing
It's a material called Aerogel, and it's made by extracting water from a silica gel and then replacing the water with a gas. It was originally invented in 1931, but it's only recently that anyone's figured out how to make it work. And it works so well that it can handle temperatures in the thousands of degrees and handle direct exposure to explosions. It's 99% gas, but the remaining 1% solid is enough to make it profoundly useful. In all its various incarnations, it's offered at less than an inch thick, but is good for insulating up to 725F. Super-strong materials could make a huge difference in making small cars safer, which could save fuel.

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