Gongol.com Archives: November 2009
Brian Gongol

November 16, 2009

Socialism Doesn't Work Pandering of the worst sort: Buying the votes of senior citizens
The President wants to send $250 to everyone on Social Security. It's supposedly a "stimulus" package. But it's really just shameless pandering and vote-buying. And it's going to cost $14 billion in money that the (very, very broke) Federal government doesn't have. And it comes at a time when the government is sitting on a growing liability for the Federal Housing Administration, which is just shy of being insolvent while it guarantees about a fifth of all single-family mortgages in this country. And a time when many taxpayers are still furious (with good reason) that General Motors is a $50 billion albatross around the neck of the Federal taxpayer, too.

Agriculture Should a large portion of Kansas be turned into a national park?
That's what the Kansas City Star thinks. And the editorial board says a million-acre national park could be bought for less than a billion dollars. Strange things are happening all over the country, so it's not impossible to imagine taking a big piece of the prairie and turning it into a preserve -- not when the city of Pontiac, Michigan, just sold the Silverdome for $583,000.

Computers and the Internet Netbooks aren't "dead". Designers just need to learn flexibility.
A columnist suggests that netbooks -- the stripped-down miniature laptops that gained a lot of traction over this past year or two -- are destined to fail in the marketplace, since their screens are "so small that they didn't work well with many applications and Web sites." But the problem here isn't the netbook's fault -- it's the fault of people who design websites to require far more screen space than they really need. As more people browse the Internet via mobile devices than ever before, smart designers should be accommodating small screens, and thinking about how best to deliver content flexibly across different media. There's no reason a site should be useful only to someone under the terms of "Best viewed with [some browser] at [some resolution] on [some kind of connection]." That's 1996 thinking.

Science and Technology A review of nuclear safety in America

Broadcasting Witness the passing of another institution
The company that bought the ABC radio networks and inexplicably blew up the network's name back in April has now ensured that the network is destined to fail. The company pulled programming from its satellite feeds to lots of radio stations all over the US, ensuring that nobody inside the business will ever really trust the company again. What a sad decision.

Broadcasting Podcast: Fun with fonts

Broadcasting Podcast: Tips for computer backups

Water News Water towers as community landmarks