Gongol.com Archives: October 2008
Brian Gongol

October 7, 2008

The United States of America The Presidential debates need a Marshalite
There's little more tiresome than listening to the debate moderators have to nanny the Presidential candidates over and over about staying within the time limits they agreed upon. What we really need is for the Commission on Presidential Debates to install a simple two-sided Marshalite clock on each candidate's podium. None of the stupid red-light, green-light stuff they've used in the past. Let everyone see how much time is left, and just how long each candidate has gone over. (The Marshalite, by the way, was a rotary traffic signal -- a circular stoplight, if you will -- that indicated via an arrow what stage of the signal the motorist was in. It should be updated using LEDs to make the signal lengths variable during different traffic patterns and marketed today.)

Socialism Doesn't Work Skype becomes the latest company called out for collusion with Chinese censors
The Chinese government knows it has to allow the Internet in -- without it, a country might as well shut off its phone service and turn out the lights. The Internet is essential to the conduct of modern business. But the government there still wants to control and censor what its people talk about -- even in private conversation -- so they monitor what people say on Skype. A Canadian group says it's found a public list of the words the Chinese government is trying to block, and a list of user records. Something is going to have to give in China: This conflict between individual liberty and government control cannot be sustained in the long term. Related: An old Solidarity poster using Gary Cooper's image from "High Noon" -- carrying a ballot instead of a gun -- should make the same point. Communism is destined for the dustbin of history.

Water News A new 88-acre lake for Omaha?

Science and Technology No matter what else happens, we still don't have to re-invent the wheel
Lots of people seem to have concluded that a volatile stock market is the same as a visit by the horsemen of the apocalypse. But in reality, human progress is measured by what we know and what skills we retain -- not by whether shares in McDonald's went for a higher price today than yesterday. The burning of the library at Alexandria was a real global crisis. As long as we don't forget what we know, the future will still have plenty of opportunity to be better than today.

Computers and the Internet eBay dumps 10% of its employees