Gongol.com Archives: July 2010
Brian Gongol

July 19, 2010

News One of the intangible costs of living in oversized cities
An EMT in New York City was killed recently in a shooting outside a nightclub. He had been involved in a situation about six months prior in which he failed to give aid to a dying pregnant woman at a restaurant, in an apparent case of "not my problem". Living around as many people as one inevitably must in a place like New York makes it enormously difficult to see other individuals as people, rather than as obstacles and objects. Thus we have problems like the diffusion of responsibility that become almost routine in large cities. It's difficult to account for matters like the relative dehumanization of ordinary life that might take place in large cities, but surely it counts for something when choosing where to live.

Business and Finance FedEx accuses UPS of seeking a "Brown Bailout" from Congress
Language proposed for FAA regulations would place FedEx under regulations that give unions an easier shot at organizing workers. FedEx would like not to have to live under those rules, but UPS (which due to the differences in how they were established is already governed by the union-friendly rules) would obviously like to do whatever it can to impose new burdens (like unionization) on its rival.

Weather and Disasters Tornado sirens for non-tornadoes
Civil Defense sirens don't get a lot of exercise for nuclear-fallout drills anymore, so in the Upper Midwest, they're mainly used for tornadoes. But in the Des Moines area, they're now being activated for 70-mph winds, since those can cause the same kind of damage as tornadoes. They're pretty sure it won't become a "boy who cried wolf" problem, because historically those kinds of winds have occurred only about once a year. Of course, Murphy's Law being what it is, the sirens have been activated twice already for non-tornadic wind storms in this, the inaugural year for the program.

Computers and the Internet In the year 10,000...
Though it doesn't quite have the ring of the classic Conan O'Brien comedy sketch, it turns out that the Year 10,000 poses a serious problem for some computer systems, in much the way that Y2K did -- those computers and programs aren't designed for five-digit years. And though it sounds like the kind of problem that won't matter for something like 7,990 years, there's actually a set of practical matters that requires 10,000-year planning -- one of which is the storage of nuclear waste. Interesting.

News Worse than any college-entrance exam
Plastic surgery is becoming a tool for college admissions in India

Humor and Good News Is this a homeowner's policy claim or an auto claim?

Health Vaginal gel provides huge benefits in preventing HIV
The development is excellent news for women who aren't in a position to demand either monogamy or safe sex from their partners

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