Gongol.com Archives: April 2009
Brian Gongol

April 27, 2009

Science and Technology The fastest human alive
Henry Ford personally drove a car at 91 mph over a frozen lake in 1904 to set the land speed record. That made him the fastest human alive a century ago. By comparison, today's intentionally-dinky "Smart Car" is rated with a top speed of 90 mph. In other words, even the tiniest, most underpowered car a person can buy today goes faster than any human had ever traveled at any time in human history up to and including 1903. That's a scary thought. Those who don't recognize the power of technology and progress should sit and think about that for a few minutes.

News Air Force One photo-op involves flying a 747 at low altitudes around Manhattan
And, unsurprisingly, thousands of people who saw the plane being chased by a fighter jet panicked and fled from their buildings. It's almost impossible to understand why nobody involved seems to have realized it might frighten New Yorkers to do something that looked like a re-enactment of the 9/11 attacks. Didn't anyone stop to think that a few minutes with Photoshop or Gimp could've delivered the same image without scaring the senses out of millions of people? Seriously: There are thousands of people who could've easily manipulated a photo to the White House's specifications. It certainly didn't help that agencies involved didn't talk to one another to make sure that people like, say, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, might have known in advance.

Science and Technology The best fractal generator tool on the Internet
Create a simple pattern, then run it through up to eight iterations. Perfect for explaining fractals and chaos theory to anyone who doesn't know it. Benoit Mandelbrot should be so proud.

Threats and Hazards Mandatory national service becomes state slavery in Eritrea
The BBC has produced a compelling and frightening documentary on the compulsory "national service" requirement being imposed in the African nation of Eritrea, where 5.6 million people live under the boot of a government that imposes mandatory "national service" requirements on virtually the entire adult population.

Humor and Good News Letting water take its natural course
A rather elegant sink design lets water travel down a coriolis-influenced pattern to the drain

Broadcasting Podcast: Laughed at for a Junior Frosty
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Broadcasting Podcast: Believing in technology, Kurosawa-style
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Water News Not the kind of front-page coverage the water industry wants

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