Gongol.com Archives: September 2010
Brian Gongol

September 2, 2010

Agriculture Why we have to give refuge to agricultural pests
New seeds and new insecticides are so good at obliterating pests that the government requires farmers to set aside "refuge" acreage without those technologies, so that the pests have somewhere to go instead of sticking around and becoming superbugs. On the surface, it seems to make some sense -- the MRSA "superbug" has been a huge problem in the medical sector, brought about by the misapplication of antibiotics. But it's a hassle for farmers to have to set aside the refuge fields. Moreover, we haven't addressed MRSA in hospitals by setting aside "refuge" rooms where it's OK for infections to run rampant.

Humor and Good News If nobody ever again uses the word "edgy" to describe a logo, it will be too soon
But Drake University's use of "D+" to convey the advantages they confer to their students isn't even "edgy" -- it's just disappointing. There are more clever things they can do to enhance their branding position than rehash a cliche. Besides, F Minus is a lot funnier.

Iowa UNI marching band will introduce "peppy" version of the Iowa Corn Song as a victory march
The rendition definitely is jaunty -- but they'd better not use it to replace the traditional fight song, or there's going to be a problem.

Computers and the Internet Google releases version 6 of Chrome browser
It's been two years since they first released the browser, and there's no question that it has improved in several regards -- not the least of which is its stability. It's still not perfect, but Google does employ a clever trick: They pay a meaningful amount of money to people who identify bugs in the software, which incentivizes people to turn over the problems to Google so they can be fixed, rather than letting them sit until they're exploited by crooks. Chrome isn't perfect, but neither are any of the other browsers. And because it's free, smart computer users ought to download it and get familiar with it, since occasionally it's deemed unsafe to use one particular browser or another due to those crooks exploiting vulnerabilities. On a related note, Google is now offering automated inbox prioritization for people who use Gmail, which predicts how interested a user might be in the incoming messages based upon that same user's past actions. Potentially quite handy -- but it also reveals just how valuable information about our e-mail use can be. Whomever controls your inbox also controls a vast amount of information about you.

News Another explosion on an offshore oil-drilling platform near Louisiana

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