Gongol.com Archives: March 2008
Brian Gongol

March 17, 2008

Broadcasting WHO Radio show notes - Brian Gongol filling in for Steve Deace - March 17, 2008

Water News How green is Ireland to be?

Business and Finance Crude oil prices drop $3 a barrel
But what's a $3 drop anymore? It's twice the price of just a year ago. And anyone who thinks it won't be at $200 a barrel in a few years is missing the point. So what are we going to do about it? History will not easily forgive President Bush for dropping the ball on this matter: In the immediate wake of 9/11, most Americans would have done anything they were asked if it had been shaped in national-security terms. But it wasn't. And one of those rare moments of colossal lost opportunity, we're just as ignorant about energy policy now as we were on 9/10/2001.

Aviation News Would you fly a Mitsubishi?
The Japanese industrial conglomerate is planning to build a mid-range airliner, the size of which is heavily used in places like Des Moines, and have it in the air by 2012. China's already trying to build its own airliners, and Japan doesn't want to lose ground to its powerful neighbor. Toyota's even thinking of getting in with a $100 million investment. The planes wouldn't really compete with Boeing's bigger airliners, but they would belong to the regional jet category, which has grown considerably over time. On a related note, the FAA is in the process of hiring 1,400 to 1,800 new air-traffic controllers each year for the next nine years. 12,300 are expected to retire over the same period of time, and the FAA is trying to add 1,600 new controllers on top of the replacements. Air-traffic control is hardly the only business going through this kind of skill crunch.

Computers and the Internet Legitimate websites attacked through Javascript
A good reminder for people to keep their computers on limited-access accounts and to keep Javascript privileges to a minimum. NoScript does this rather reliably for Firefox, as long as the training period can be tolerated.

Iowa CitiMortgage will lay off about 200 employees in Des Moines

The American Way Ten teams are officially in the running for the Lunar X-Prize
The plan includes a $20 million prize for the first team to make it to the Moon using private money if they can do it before 2013. It sounds challenging, especially because NASA hasn't even figured out how it's going to get into space once they retire the Space Shuttle in 2010, but inducement prizes work. Meanwhile, things are rancorous over at NASA over the government's plans to get back to the Moon. Important? Why, yes -- particularly since China and India are trying to get there soon, too.

Science and Technology Bugging moves to a whole new level
DARPA is funding projects to create insect-robot hybrids that could be used to perform spy functions. No, really. They're talking about using the evolutionary capacities of insects to skip all of the technological work necessary to create microscopic flying machines. Instead, they'll just wire the bugs with, well, bugs, and send them off to do surveillance for us. On one hand, it sure sounds like a good way for us to track our adversaries...but on the other hand, it's profoundly creepy. Espionage has become surveillance.

Weather and Disasters What if the Atlanta tornado had been a lot bigger?
The tornado that hit Atlanta this past weekend was rated an F2, which is in the middle range for strength. If it had been a lot stronger when it hit the Georgia Dome, the death toll could have been shocking.

Humor and Good News Irish bishops moved St. Patrick's Day to the 15th this year
Because Easter lands so early, all saints' days are pre-empted by Holy Week. So rather than cancel the holiday altogether, which would be blasphemy, they just moved it back a few days.

Business and Finance Being married to Paul McCartney is worth $34,000 a day
At least, that's how the settlement between McCartney and Heather Mills works out. It's about $50 million for their brief (four-year) marriage.

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