Gongol.com Archives: April 2009
Brian Gongol

April 23, 2009

Agriculture $10 million for basic crop research
Monsanto has pledged $10 million towards a program to support scientists working on better varieties of crops like wheat and rice, in honor of Dr. Norman Borlaugh, who turned 95 last month and is still working, long after having saved at least a billion lives by introducing better crops and agricultural practices to Mexico, India, Pakistan, and parts of Africa. Borlaug's experiences overcoming cultural opposition to new technology highlights an extremely important point that probably goes overlooked more often than it's ever considered: For a culture to survive and thrive, it has to relentlessly pursue new science and new technology. Sometimes, that need arises because of natural threats: The Netherlands have to fight for most of their acres of land against a rising sea. Probably more often, though, is the threat that other cultures will use better technologies against them: The British had to fight for the very life of their culture against the relentless attacks of Nazi Germany. But in other ways, we rarely even know the full extent of what we have to fight off. Imagine what the world would look like today had the American Indians been in possession of relatively sophisticated weapons before the Europeans arrived. What would the world look like if American Indian faiths, for instance, were the norm in a prosperous and sophisticated North America, instead of Christianity? Science and technology matter, even to those who reject them (at their own peril) because their culture tells them to do so. For some people, it may be religiously essential to believe that the universe came about in literal accordance with the Genesis creation story. But believing in the literal truth of a myth, if it causes the believer to reject a rational understanding of how the world works, only guarantees that the believer and his or her comrades will be overwhelmed in the long run by those who understand science better. That doesn't mean technology will always be right; in fact, it may often be used wrongly. But it will almost always become dominant.

Humor and Good News Tommy Tutone himself just tried to sell (515) 867-5309 on eBay
For a minimum of $20,000. It didn't sell.

Broadcasting "How to be a good talk show guest"

Broadcasting Podcast: No one's reputation is safe online
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Broadcasting Podcast: Three mowers and nary a blade of grass to be cut
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Water News The paradox of flood preparedness

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