Gongol.com Archives: January 2012
Brian Gongol

January 7, 2012

News Unrest continues in northwestern China
The giant Xinjiang region is home to a whole lot of oil and natural gas, so no matter what political cost is to be paid, China's central government will probably be keen to hold on to it. But there's been violence in the area between the government and some of the residents, who (depending upon whom is asked) are either terrorists or just people trying to flee the Chinese regime. Regardless, the situation challenges the Western stereotyping of China as one homogeneous unit. The country's borders are an artificial construct, and there's a great deal of ethnic and racial diversity within China. We'd be smart to start seeing China for what it is, rather than the cartoon we sometimes make of it. We'd also be very wise to realize that the borders of China today almost certainly won't be the borders of China in 50 years, or probably even 20 years.

Business and Finance VW decides to shut down employees' BlackBerry email outside working hours
Email will be delivered only starting a half-hour before and ending a half-hour after the scheduled workday. Classify this under "Interesting". Some people certainly don't want to be bothered outside working hours, and they shouldn't be. Others, though, enjoy strategizing their work hours and can use idle time in the grocery line or while waiting for a pot of water to boil to make that work time flow better.

News A new look for the Washington Post
They're making some adaptations to the print edition to make it easier to digest quickly. Meanwhile, the newspaper's ombudsman thinks they're "innovating too fast" with new digital products and experiments. That may be how it feels on the inside, but when he says that "innovations are just tossed against a wall to see what sticks", he's actually describing the kind of thing that too many companies (in media or otherwise) are afraid to do with the Internet -- and should. Good ideas, instead of being tested, experimented-with, and tweaked to fit, are lost forever in red tape and fear. One must play with technology until it breaks, then figure out what broke, fix it, and start again.

Science and Technology The fractal nature of ZIP Codes
Since they aren't grid-based, there's an organic element to how they're ordered. It's actually rather pretty to behold.

News Why picking a good baby name is important
Among other things, a "bad" name could keep your offspring from finding a good mate someday. This is why there's good reason to follow some basic rules when naming a child.

Humor and Good News An ambitious New Year to you

Humor and Good News 365 days of Toronto
Photographer takes a year-long pinhole exposure of the city. Pretty cool.

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