Solar storms could blackout 75% of the US for weeks or even months
This probably deserves a whole lot more attention than it's received
Every Frontier Airlines aircraft has a unique tail
Every plane in the fleet is named and has a unique animal identity. Why don't more airlines do this? It hardly costs a fortune to pick a name for an aircraft and to stencil it on the side -- they don't all have to get unique tail markings -- but by identifying a particular plane and giving it a name other than just its official FAA registration number, the airlines can help to humanize an otherwise not-particularly-humane reputation. That Frontier's particular choice gives rise to a whole range of funny spinoffs (like a Simon-style game featuring penguins) is an added bonus. People still record and reminisce about Pan Am "Clipper" names, and it's been gone from the skies since 1991. Branding matters, in no small part because it can help build pride in a company's service in a way that serial numbers don't.
YouTube fends off a $1 billion lawsuit, but how long will it last?
A judge has ruled that YouTube, a division of Google, has worked hard enough to keep copyright-protected material off its servers that it isn't liable for a suit from Viacom. The entire YouTube empire cost Google $1.65 billion in 2006, so losing a billion-dollar lawsuit would have been costly in relative as well as absolute terms. Google claims to be close to pulling in an operating profit on the service, though an operating profit today does not make the entire venture profitable -- all of the past expenses add up to red ink to be made up, and the future costs could be huge if other lawsuits succeed, or if bandwidth and server-space demands continue to expand like a fat man's waistline at the Iowa State Fair. The bottom line is that YouTube is a big gamble for Google -- and interesting one that pays off well for consumers, to be sure, but definitely a gamble.
An all-four-lane Highway 20 might yet happen
The highway is four lanes now from Dubuque in Iowa's east to Fort Dodge in the middle, but it has a long way to go to expand to a full four lanes all the way to Sioux City. But the expansion could be very, very good for the long-term growth of northern Iowa's economy. There are lots of very nice communities in that part of the state, but they are so far away from four-lane highway access that they tend to get economically isolated.
Recap of the Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - July 11, 2010