Gongol.com Archives: 2011 Weekly Archives
Brian Gongol

Threats and Hazards How the recent budget battle was mere cartoon tomfoolery
That is, when compared to the real budget mess that's not being seriously addressed. The long-term structural problems with the US government budget are not being addressed, and a point of crisis is approaching fast.

Aviation News Why the ultra-low flyover at Kinnick Stadium last year?
The audience loved it when the jets only cleared the scoreboard by 58'. But superiors weren't as happy. The lead pilot claims he was distracted by other things.

News Catholics will soon have to mind their language in a whole new way
The church hierarchy has issued new guidelines taking effect later this year that change a whole lot of the ordinary language used in Mass -- and a lot of it could be said to be "King Jamesed-up". In other words, it's intended to be more flowery and poetic and less similar to ordinary speech.

Humor and Good News Rickrolling the Oregon legislature
A coordinated prank got a bunch of Oregon state legislators to say the words to "Never Gonna Give You Up" on the floor during debates, and someone stitched them all together. Hilarious.

Science and Technology An old language is about to die out because the only remaining speakers don't talk to each other
While on one hand it's helpful for the world that homogenization of language is turning English into a de facto lingua franca, it's too bad that many languages are dying off without being thoroughly documented. It's no big deal that nobody speaks Sumerian in casual conversation anymore, but it's sure difficult for historians to go back and figure out what all the old writing was about.

Aviation News Don't believe everything you see
People are forwarding around photos of a "prototype" fighter jet they're calling the F/A-37. But it's not a real plane, and the "pilot" inside isn't really a pilot. They're promotional photos from a Hollywood film.

Science and Technology Abandoned old places of the modern age
The archaeology of the Industrial Age is pretty bizarre without the people inside it

News Zsa Zsa Gabor wants another baby
And the story wasn't even in The Onion. It's for real.

Iowa The Concord Coalition brings its message to Iowa
The state has a huge influence on the Presidential selection process, and if we don't hold the candidates accountable for being sensible on budget issues, that's a test we're failing to conduct for the rest of the country. We blew it in 2008 when Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama won -- neither of whom showed a shred of seriousness about fixing the Federal budget.

Business and Finance Why, oh why, do people still think gold is the "gold standard"?
It's a pretty-looking metal with little or no practical use. It's mined out of the ground in unpredictable volumes and then hoarded by people who think the apocalypse is near. But here's the dirty little secret they don't seem to realize: If the economy were somehow to collapse and currencies' values to be destroyed overnight, who in that post-apocalyptic scenario is going to know how to tell real gold from the fake stuff? It's not as though anybody (in any serious numbers) can tell the difference between real gold and fool's gold, which in turn renders the real stuff less valuable. Instead of hoarding gold, people who think the world's in dire distress should invest a similar amount of money (and time) in learning skills that they could use for barter. Today's gold fever is just another stupid fad driven by hype.

Iowa Redistricting sails through Iowa Legislature
And the governor plans to sign it. It's actually pretty remarkable how smoothly the entire process worked. Now, if only we could expand the number of members of Congress tenfold, then we wouldn't have such dramatic redistricting events to worry about in the first place.

Business and Finance Google is still making good profits, but people are starting to see the end to the bubble
Not a lot of publicly-traded companies manage to survive the kind of breakneck expansion through which Google has passed over the last few years, and as a giant company now, it has a huge target all over its back. The Google boom will end sooner than most people realize.

Health An artificial pancreas is underway
It's being tested in small groups in Britain. Tremendous news -- if it works -- for diabetics.

Humor and Good News The best news contest of the year
The Washington Post invites people to create dioramas using Peeps, and many of them focus on the news. Hilarious.

Computers and the Internet Crooks use programs distributed in the Android market to steal data from Skype accounts

Broadcasting An excellent episode of "Modern Family"
(Video) ABC has really hit the mark with a genuinely funny sit-com that manages to find most of its humor gently. Good for them.