Gongol.com Archives: September 2009
Brian Gongol

September 7, 2009

News World War II in color
Someday, we'll look back on the 1990s and wonder whether the world really happened in HD. Meanwhile, it's worth considering that the oldest surviving unaltered pages on the Internet are all from the 1990s. Which just wasn't that long ago.

Science and Technology The real meaning of getting "closure"
Some interesting observations about how the human brain tries to recognize patterns and fill in the blanks

Humor and Good News "The middle of a terrorist attack is not an appropriate time to catch up on your reading or paperwork"
And other dubious interpretations one could make of the government's anti-terrorism instructions. And on the subject of parody, someone needs to tell the editors of a couple of Bangladeshi newspapers that The Onion isn't really a news source.

Broadcasting How to replace our retiring workforce
Japan is using robots to do the work people can't in what appears to be ever-increasing volume. Using robots in place of supermodels may be a ridiculous concept, but robots and other forms of automation have plenty of useful roles to serve. The topic made it into a recent Brian Gongol Show podcast; listen to the MP3 file, subscribe to the podcast feed, or subscribe using iTunes

Science and Technology Scientists wonder whether climate change is even more unpredictable than previously thought
There's reason to worry that it could be more dramatic than previously thought, just as there's reason to believe that it might be entirely outside the realm of human control anyway. There's lots of valuable thought taking place about alternative approaches to climate change that don't necessarily involve throwing Western-style economies right out the window. Many of the proposals circulating today, like cap-and-trade, emphasize regulatory punishments. But incentives work better than punishments to get people to behave differently. That's why innovation prizes should be offered for energy-related progress. Very smart people often believe in their own powers of central planning. But they shouldn't; the world is more complicated than we think. After all, one of the most powerful computers being used to predict climate patterns is also one of the worst sources of pollution in Britain. Institutional plans can work. Centrally-planned economies can't.

Computers and the Internet How to download and save videos from YouTube
At least when they're in HD, it all comes back to entering a single code after visiting the page:
javascript:window.location.href = 'http://youtube.com/get_video?video_id=' + swfArgs['video_id'] + "&fmt=22" + "&l=" + swfArgs['l'] + "&sk=" + swfArgs['sk'] + '&t=' + swfArgs['t'];