Gongol.com Archives: January 2011
Brian Gongol

January 13, 2011

Science and Technology If ever you get your kneecaps whacked by a mobster...
(Video) ...then Honda has the technology for you. Their U3-X "personal mobility prototype" is basically like a high-tech wheelchair that stabilizes itself on a single wheelbase.

Science and Technology Stopping H5N1 at the bird
Researchers say they've successfully completed a proof of concept that a chicken can be genetically engineered so that it can't pass H5N1 to other birds. It works, but it's hugely expensive. Don't expect it to stop the next round of bird flu, but do expect to see the technology replicated for use in other applications.

Aviation News Russia blames Polish pilots for plane crash that killed the Polish president
Aviation safety depends a lot upon "human factors" -- the people involved, and what influences their decisions. And the Russian investigators say that the pilots were worried about keeping the president happy, more than they were attentive to his safety. Maybe true, maybe not.

News If it looks like vote-buying...
...then it probably isn't an above-board move, even if it's technically legal. The campaign against an effort to recall Omaha's mayor from office is now in trouble because it apparently paid homeless people to attend a training seminar on getting out the vote -- though, probably not just by coincidence, there was also an opportunity to vote early at the same site. Legal or not, someone should have known better.

Business and Finance End the monopolies in professional sports?
Probably a good idea. There's no legitimate reason why the big leagues, which are businesses unto themselves, should have massive monopoly power to manipulate everything from the players to the communities in which they operate, just by fiat. We give Major League Baseball an exception, but why? The game is definitely strong enough to survive without protection. But the even more repugnant monopoly is the one used by the NCAA to keep college players in a strange limbo between paid professional sports and indentured servitude. The Cam Newton saga clearly illustrates that a market exists for players -- at least in sports like football -- so it's probably not doing anyone any good to pretend like that market doesn't exist.

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