Gongol.com Archives: December 2010
Brian Gongol

December 2, 2010

Computers and the Internet EU to investigate Google under antitrust rules
Competitor websites charge that Google is artificially deflating their search rankings, which in turn causes them to lose business and lose money -- especially if Google ranks its own offerings for the same services higher than the competition. Given that the Google search algorithm is partially patented and partially a trade secret, it will be fascinating to watch how much the company is forced to reveal in the process of the EU investigation. As Microsoft found out a few years ago, EU antitrust cases can get really expensive. It's one more exhibit to enter into evidence that Google should be investing its excess profits from its core search engine and advertising business into fields away from consumer Internet technology. The bonanza profits Google is making today from those core businesses won't last forever, and consumers are fickle -- we'll leave any site en masse tomorrow if something new and just a little bit shinier comes along. Just ask MySpace, Geocities, and CompuServe.

Aviation News Qantas thinks they got bum engines from Rolls-Royce
And those engines were placed on the airline's Airbus A380 super-jumbo jets. Part of the problem with building something like the A380 -- bigger than any previous passenger jet -- is that the novel application usually requires some novel technologies, and because they're novel, they haven't always been field-tested in the real world under real-world stresses. That's why every new version of the Windows operating system requires batches of updates; as much as the program can be tested by its creators, it's still going to encounter new and unforeseen circumstances in actual use.

Health Smiling babies get adults to do evolutionarily-advantageous things
Researchers also think that babies start to learn on their very first day in the world, and can remember sounds heard before birth

The United States of America Warnings of a gap between civilians and the military
The outgoing chair of the House Armed Services Committee thinks there's a growing gap between individuals and families with military ties and those without. Given that we live in an era of armed conflict that appears to be more or less indefinite in duration, and that technology is making strange, science-fiction-like fantasies into reality (many of which can be and are weaponized), it's really quite important that the American voting public be well-attuned to the military condition.

Science and Technology Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?
A project is being built to conduct heat from commuter trains and their passengers via a geothermal-style system into a Paris housing project

Broadcasting Listen on-demand to the "Brian Gongol Show" on WHO Radio from November 28, 2010
Four segments (in MP3 format) available for downloading: "Who knew there were anti-privacy vandals in the world?", "Can the power companies handle the electric car?", NASA's 100-year business plan for space", and "A windy day to put up Christmas lights".

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