Gongol.com Archives: November 2009
Brian Gongol


November 30, 2009

Science and Technology An "urban forest" for Chongqing
A Beijing-based architectural firm is proposing a 70-story building for Chongqing (the megacity almost nobody in America knows about), with organically-shaped (that is, irregular but smooth) floors, some of which would be open to the air and some of which will include plants and trees. The floors would be anchored to a central column, much like Marina City in Chicago, but the form is intended to look like a mountain in the middle of the city. It's interesting to see how today's movement is towards "organic" forms in the middle of urban mechanization -- a far cry from what happened in the Modernist era, when the whole idea was to develop skyscrapers and buildings with orthogonal lines and lots of concrete.

Computers and the Internet A checklist for computer passwords
Nobody ever expects to be suddenly incapacitated, but it can happen. And if you're not recording the passwords you use routinely so that your loved ones can have access to them in an emergency, then you're creating a lot of potential hardship for them if the unthinkable occurs.

Socialism Doesn't Work Boston public radio is aiming to compete with commercial news and talk radio stations
Why should public radio be subsidized if it's going to compete with stations from the private sector? Isn't the point of public broadcasting to provide what the market "won't support"?

News What makes the situation in Afghanistan a no-win game

News The Washington Post closes its domestic news bureaus
It used to have bureaus in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin, Denver, and Miami. Now there are none. Which means its coverage from those cities will come from sources that everyone else is using. Which means the news carried by the Post will become even more commoditized than before. Which is exactly what a newspaper shouldn't be doing if it's trying to compete in the Internet age. A newspaper would be better off with nobody in the home office and every reporter and editor scattered to the four winds than to be centralized and surviving on the "life support" of wire services. Specialization and unique content, not commoditization, are what will keep newspapers afloat as institutions.

Water News Pesticides in the water remain level with 10 years ago

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