Gongol.com Archives: June 2010
Brian Gongol

June 22, 2010

Science and Technology In praise of science
We need to do a better job of embracing science and the scientific method than we have popularly done. We need to do more thinking than ever before, not less. There are lots of different ways to popularize scientific thinking -- from "Mythbusters" on television to Britain's "I'm a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here!" But for our own sake, we should be embracing the use of as many of these as reasonably possible. We invest enormous resources in things like sports and politics -- we should work doubly hard to make science a part of our regular thinking as well. We live in a world that includes people who are openly hostile to scientific thinking, so popularization is essential.

Broadcasting The beauty of ingenuity
People living in Kenya have managed to put up a giant inflatable screen so they can watch the World Cup. Considering that the World Cup only arrives once every four years, it's entirely possible that in four years, most people -- even in remote places -- will watch most of the Cup via video streamed to their mobile phones.

Computers and the Internet Google Voice is now open to all
Google has released its telephone-management system to the public after a long period restricted to invitees only. What's most interesting about Google Voice is that it really seems to be a testing laboratory for Google's voice-to-text algorithms. A huge amount of the world's information is locked up in things like radio broadcasts, television shows, and other media that aren't yet being indexed for inclusion in the world's databases of knowledge -- including, but not limited to, Google's own archives. By releasing the Google Voice service to the world at large, the company gains access to a whole lot of audio material upon which to test its computers. (Anyone wishing to test Google Voice can use the number assigned to this website: 918-246-6465.)

Threats and Hazards Canada's top spy says they have real Manchurian Candidates
He reportedly thinks that cabinet ministers in two provinces are under the control of foreign governments. What's the best way to keep that from happening and to limit the damage that such "controls" could do? Simple: Limit the power of government, and push the necessary work of government down to the most local level possible. Government is frequently subject to both mission creep (doing more than it should) and the commandeering of authority. Resisting both urges is an outstanding way to preserve self-government.

News General McChrystal criticizes his civilian bosses

Broadcasting Podcast: Ideas aren't free -- even if government doesn't want to pay for them

Broadcasting Podcast: Helping a listener connect to an online game

Water News Astonishing human toll from flooding in China

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