Gongol.com Archives: January 2010
Brian Gongol

January 5, 2010

Science and Technology The Burj Not-Dubai-Anymore opens
The world's tallest freestanding building is now open for business, but no longer under the name "Burj Dubai." It was renamed the Burj Khalifa in honor of the ruler of neighboring Abu Dhabi, who has been bailing out Dubai as its economic bubble bursts. Meanwhile, the Chicago Spire is still just a hole in the ground and lacks a similarly cash-rich neighbor to help bail it out. The official height of the tower is 2,716 feet -- more than half a mile high -- and the grand opening involved fireworks up and down that massive height. Undoubtedly, other massive skyscrapers will be built -- but it's really hard to figure out why, since they usually just stand as monuments to excess just before a bust. Someday, the Burj Khalifa will outlive its usefulness and have to be dismantled. Just try pondering how that'll happen. We don't rarely even take reasonable steps like requiring demolition bonds to set aside funds for the dismantling of much smaller buildings here in the US. In a not-altogether-unrelated vein, Emirates Air has done some crazy things to deck out the absurdly oversized Airbus A380.

Science and Technology The Pentagon is looking for a high-efficiency flying car
Not only do they want a vehicle that can off-road and fly like a helicopter, they want it to get a full mission done on a single tank of gas.

Computers and the Internet An early review of Google's new Nexus phone
"[A]n Android clone of the iPhone" is now on the market. As predicted some time ago, the iPhone has attracted a lot of competitors, and that's outstanding news for consumers.

Broadcasting Walter Cronkite's voice is retired from CBS
Almost half a year after his death, Cronkite will no longer introduce Katie Couric's evening newscast

News Some questions that linger about the attempted Detroit airliner bombing
Like, why was Detroit targeted? Jokes about the condition of the city notwithstanding, it doesn't seem to be a likely kind of target. More important, though, is this question: Why are we still suffering communications failures within the intelligence community more than eight years after the 9/11 attacks? It ought to be devastatingly clear that the government is not capable of "protecting" the public as well as politicians might want us to believe. So the next time they demand greater power and control, the voters ought to ask what reason we have to be confident that we'll gain any greater security out of the exchange.

Business and Finance Waterford Crystal is now gone from Ireland forever

Business and Finance Ram truck line to be split off from Dodge
The spin doesn't make a lot of sense: The truck is known as the "Dodge Ram" -- two syllables, which is just right. Who calls it just a "Ram"? The benefits of the Ram truck line boosted the value of the Dodge brand, so why make the split? Should Nissan have split off a separate brand for the Z?

News What got resolved in Copenhagen?

Water News Highway sound barriers might also be serving as pollution barriers

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