Gongol.com Archives: August 2010
Brian Gongol

August 30, 2010

The United States of America Buzzwords are hurting the legitimate public debate about important issues
Says Charlie Brooker: "It's possible to be a patriot without being a bigot, just as it's possible to be a weather forecaster without being a stripper, but if a weather forecaster took her clothes off halfway through a forecast, its fair to say the striptease element of her performance would greatly overshadow any meteorological merit. Still, a lot of people erroneously believe that saying 'I'm a patriot' automatically absolves them from any and all charges of bigotry." Similar problems happen on the left, of course, where the perpetual refrain of "it's for the children" is usually just a cover for telling people what to do and then taxing them for it.

News Should the Caribbean try to arrange its own unified government?
(Article in Spanish) The many small islands of the region don't have a lot of individual power or sway -- and they're subject to lots of powerful external forces in the world marketplace and in hemispheric politics -- like power struggles between the US and Venezuela. But could the well-led islands unify with the poorly-governed ones and lift the weak up to a higher standard without dragging down the strong?

Agriculture Soybeans are being killed by "sudden death" all over Iowa
It's come basically out of nowhere, and there's not a lot that farmers can do to control it. It's one more example of the unpredictability of food production that means we need to do a better job of storage as an insurance policy against inevitable future disasters.

Weather and Disasters Engineers try to design a San Francisco Bay Bridge to survive any major earthquake
The many steps forward in technologies like bridge design have undoubtedly made life much better for the people who use them, even if the average commuter has no idea whether he or she is traveling a good bridge or a weak one.

The United States of America The most powerful Republican in America is the governor of Mississippi
That wouldn't seem likely were it not a world in which Haley Barbour is in charge of the Republican Governors Association, which has a huge war chest, and the ability to spend it on things like state-level elections, where a lot of the real governing in America gets done

Water News New Orleans keeps creeping towards comprehensive flood protection

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