Gongol.com Archives: May 2009
Brian Gongol

May 1, 2009

Business and Finance It's a slowdown, not a depression
The government reports that the US economy shrank at an annualized rate of 6.1% in the first quarter of this year, following a decrease in the preceding quarter of an annualized 6.3% rate. So, altogether, the total slowdown still only represents a 3% total decline (two quarters, each at an annualized rate of 6% or so). Perspective matters. It doesn't mean that people aren't hurting; many are. But it's not a depression and shouldn't be characterized as the economic calamity to end all economic calamities.

Humor and Good News People find strange things about which to get uptight
The cartoonist behind an absurdist representation of Rip Van Winkle in a hammock shares hate mail from a landscape architect who thinks the cartoon will confuse kids because it mis-represents how trees grow. The angered author seems not to be bothered by the whole "man falling asleep for 20 years" thing.

Weather and Disasters New storm-based warning systems are dramatically reducing weather-warned areas
The National Weather Service has shifted from a policy of county-by-county warnings for severe weather to a system that only warns particular areas likely to be hit by severe storms. The result, ideally, is a lot less crying "wolf" and a lot more value to the warnings themselves.

Science and Technology Can wind turbines be improved with ground-based wind deflectors?
Designers claim a 30% increase in energy output

Broadcasting Podcast: Beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic
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Broadcasting Podcast: 20% time for everybody
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Water News Tips for selecting a good solids-handling pump