Gongol.com Archives: March 2010
Brian Gongol

March 29, 2010

Iowa Fighting back against "No policy without a crisis"
Iowa state representative Rick Olson has introduced an amendment to a state budget bill to express his frustration with the proliferation of pointless laws. His amendment would make it a misdemeanor "if any accident involving the emergency landing of an airplane, hot air balloon, glider, helicopter, or flying De Lorean on a jogging trail, beach, or other recreational or public area causes the death of a pedestrian who was listening to a portable media player at the time of the accident". It's a tongue-in-cheek reference to an incident earlier this month in which a jogger was killed by a plane making an emergency landing. Olson should be applauded for highlighting the pointlessness of making lots of laws in pursuit of the illusion of making the public safer, when in fact many high-profile incidents are the result of freak accidents and circumstances which merit no legislation.

Threats and Hazards Militia members busted for plotting to kill police
It highlights the ongoing concern that domestic groups (including radicalized Christians) can be a greater threat to the American public than foreign terrorists

Health Identity theft through medical records is on the rise
And it will only get worse when the government manages to digitize everyone's health records. All of the ballyhoo about how much more efficient things will be once those records are digitized needs to be balanced with a consideration of the new risks we're introducing.

Computers and the Internet Should law enforcement be trolling Facebook?
A columnist for the Economist points out that there's a pretty serious shortage of policy in place to determine what law-enforcement authorities should be able to do to gather information from semi-public sources like Facebook. It seems obvious that people stupid enough to flaunt their illegalities online (like posting photos with stolen goods and discussing gang activities) ought to be considered fair game -- but at what point are the authorities to be stopped from conducting sting operations against teenagers' keg parties by creating false Facebook profiles -- or issuing tickets to people who use location tracking on Twitter and clearly travel from point "A" to point "B" faster than the posted speed limit might allow? The law needs to catch up with the technology, and soon.

Computers and the Internet Can't remember the name of a song?
Sing 10 seconds of it to Midomi and the website will try to guess what you're trying to vocalize. Humming apparently works, too. (In a quick test, it correctly identified an awful humming of "Don't Stop Believin'" on the first try.)

Water News Put down the bottled water and get ready to pay more at the tap

Broadcasting Podcast: Give away most of your content, then charge for the special stuff

Broadcasting Podcast: Helping a victim of a Facebook crime

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