Gongol.com Archives: July 2010
Brian Gongol


July 26, 2010

Science and Technology Sniffer device lets the profoundly paralyzed write
It's designed to let those who can't even control their blinking still get a message out by responding to letter choices with a sniff, because the soft palate at the roof of the mouth somehow seems to remain under voluntary control, even in the paralyzed. It's quite remarkable, really, considering that it takes a minute to select a single character -- yet that's far better than no communication at all. Consider how freeing that technology must feel, particularly when some people still complain that text messaging is too slow and cumbersome.

Threats and Hazards White House budget review expects Federal spending to keep getting worse through 2011

Science and Technology Learning more about liquid soil
Seismologists and engineers are looking at data gathered by pressure sensors in California during the Baja California earthquake on April 4th to determine the early-warning signs of liquefaction, which occurs when sandy soils filled with water turn into gravy during an earthquake.

News Cuba and Venezuela are in "a new kind of relationship"
(Article in Spanish) The two countries are trying to forge a political and economic alliance and claim to be cooperating on 139 projects of different sorts. It's more important than ever that the United States pay close attention to Latin America. What's happening in our own hemisphere is of massive relevance to our well-being. We have enough problems around the world to deal with -- like a bellicose North Korean government. Let's not make the situation worse by ignoring our own home turf.

Health Why people need to quit panicking over thimerosal
It's the vaccine preservative that some people blame for causing autism in children. But here's the thing: It's not even contained in most vaccines anyway. Children need to be vaccinated against a whole host of diseases which we as humans have been profoundly successful at defeating. No unfounded panic over an ingredient not even found in most of those vaccines should be allowed to overwhelm the evidence that vaccines are good for kids. It takes only a cursory understanding of the massive increases in life expectancy in the United States since the introduction of many vaccines to see just why a public-health victory like immunization is one of our greatest modern achievements.

Humor and Good News It's not vandalism if you only add a papier-mache shark

Water News Dam fails in northeastern Iowa

@briangongol on Twitter