Gongol.com Archives: 2010 Weekly Archives
Brian Gongol



The American Way Why Americans should be happy that we probably won't ever have a lot of high-speed rail
Our population centers are widely spread-out, which makes it too expensive to even seriously consider connecting places like Chicago and Los Angeles with high-speed rail. And the process of installing it anywhere would be so unacceptably disruptive to the private property rights of so many people that it's just not going to happen, period. Specific installations? Maybe. But no national network. And that's OK, because we'll find plenty of other ways to save energy and travel more efficiently.

Science and Technology Bad rebar could doom a brand-new Vegas hotel
Las Vegas is notorious for blowing up its old hotels to make room for the new, but the Harmon Hotel may never open at all because the owner says it wasn't built the way it was supposed to.

Water News Tougher water-quality standards ahead for Iowa mines and quarries



Business and Finance Ireland's bailout: Does it mean democracy is on hold?
The country is in such fiscal trouble that it's going under IMF protection for a while. It's undoubtedly a serious psychological blow to a nation that has had less than 100 years as a free republic. The United States ought to take note.

Computers and the Internet Web Ghosts: The sites everyone used to visit but doesn't anymore
MySpace has been having trouble lately, but it's not the first one-hit-wonder of the Internet era. And it's definitely not going to be the last. We're looking at you, Facebook. And Twitter.

Humor and Good News A special, loving message from the TSA
(Video) The area previously known as the "bathing suit area" ought to be known henceforth as the "TSA area"

Humor and Good News A flamingo made of flamingoes
Sometimes nature has a pretty funny way of unfolding naturally. And speaking of how things unfold, The Onion has composed a very amusing alternative genesis of the Stars and Stripes.

Iowa Some idiot thought a high-speed chase on I-80 was a good idea
(Video) Not a bright idea

The United States of America Ways to celebrate Native American history month

Broadcasting Podcast: Do our smartphones make us too impatient?
Other podcasts from the show on November 14th include "Why does my radio studio smell like bacon?", "Really measuring quality of life", and "Cell phone contracts: Who needs 'em?". Tune in for the live show Sunday nights at 9:00 on WHO Radio.

Water News About a third of water systems are running deficits



Business and Finance Ireland's bailout: Does it mean democracy is on hold?
The country is in such fiscal trouble that it's going under IMF protection for a while. It's undoubtedly a serious psychological blow to a nation that has had less than 100 years as a free republic. The United States ought to take note.

Computers and the Internet Web Ghosts: The sites everyone used to visit but doesn't anymore
MySpace has been having trouble lately, but it's not the first one-hit-wonder of the Internet era. And it's definitely not going to be the last. We're looking at you, Facebook. And Twitter.

Humor and Good News A special, loving message from the TSA
(Video) The area previously known as the "bathing suit area" ought to be known henceforth as the "TSA area"

Humor and Good News A flamingo made of flamingoes
Sometimes nature has a pretty funny way of unfolding naturally. And speaking of how things unfold, The Onion has composed a very amusing alternative genesis of the Stars and Stripes.

Iowa Some idiot thought a high-speed chase on I-80 was a good idea
(Video) Not a bright idea

The United States of America Ways to celebrate Native American history month

Broadcasting Podcast: Do our smartphones make us too impatient?
Other podcasts from the show on November 14th include "Why does my radio studio smell like bacon?", "Really measuring quality of life", and "Cell phone contracts: Who needs 'em?". Tune in for the live show Sunday nights at 9:00 on WHO Radio.

Water News About a third of water systems are running deficits



Business and Finance Has the Federal Reserve decided that managing the international value of the dollar is one of its jobs, too?
The Fed's job should be keeping inflation stable and slow, and that's really about the only job it should have.

Science and Technology DARPA and NASA decide it's time for a 100-year business plan
Specifically, it's a plan to get humans into deep space exploration -- en route to other star systems. The 100-year business plan is a woefully under-used business technique. It's easy to forget about the long term (or even the medium term) when business is booming, but as the disastrous economic conditions of the last couple of years have really made it obvious that short-term thinking (and debt) have become a seriously toxic recipe. In a good sign, though, it looks like some companies are getting their acts together: Ford, for instance, is getting rid of debt as quickly as it can and in the process giving investors the impression that the company might actually stick around for the long term.

Iowa Update on the financial situation at West Glen
It's a West Des Moines development that went up mainly during the height of the property boom. Times appear to be pretty tough for other developers in the area.

Computers and the Internet High-speed video...played in slow motion
Someone recorded a pass through a train station from a high-speed train, and seeing it in slow motion looks a lot like a the "bullet time" sequence from The Matrix

Broadcasting Make it once, share it often
The BBC is going to let the rest of the world start using the iPlayer, a platform for distributing television and radio programs. It makes a lot of sense -- once the programs have been produced, the only real marginal cost is to the bandwidth required to send those programs around the world.

Broadcasting Podcasts from the Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - November 21, 2010
The entire show in four segments: "Why I want someone to write Thanksgiving carols", "That's not really pumpkin pie", "It's time to start paying for our infrastructure", and "No, really, Des Moines taxes are way too high".

Humor and Good News The brilliant "Pearls Before Swine" gets the animated treatment

Water News Happy Thanksgiving



Science and Technology Electric utilities could make good money off electric cars
Some all-electric models go on sale next month, and utilities could make a lot of money selling the power, but they also might need to increase their production capacity to handle the increasing demand.

Computers and the Internet Anti-privacy vandals attack homes of people who don't want to be on Google Street View
People in Germany are able to have their homes blurred out on Google Street View as a privacy measure. Apparently, some vandals think that shouldn't be their right and are taking vigilante action against them.

Computers and the Internet Then and now
15 years ago: Rental VHS tapes. Now: Streaming movies on demand to a wireless home network, into a game console and onto the television. Don't even try to consider what 2025 will look like unless you're ready to start really expanding some horizons.

The American Way What government should do to influence employment
The Saudi Arabian government is trying to encourage businesses there to employ more locals, rather than foreign workers. But at what stage is government policy like that counterproductive? An interesting editorial makes a fine comment, applicable practically everywhere: "The business of government, any government is to create the circumstances in which the economy can grow and expand, with the inevitable increase in employment opportunities".

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