Gongol.com Archives: 2012 Weekly Archives
Brian Gongol



Health Take two minutes for a self-exam today
Take a minute or two and conduct some basic self-screenings for cancer. Early detection saves lives. There's lots of misinformation about cancer that finds its way around the Internet, largely because we've been trained to wait expectantly for some sort of magic-bullet solution to cancer. But cancer risks can be significantly reduced through a balanced diet, exercise, and early detection and treatment. Meanwhile, science is making great progress towards improving genetic detection, which holds great promise for some types of cancer. Instead of forwarding hoax-ridden e-mails about "cancer cures" and false threats, people should instead remind their friends and family to assess their health once a month.


Aviation News Why you shouldn't recline your airline seat

Health Humans aren't the only primates to suffer midlife crises
Chimps and orangutans feel it, too

Iowa Complicated land swap in downtown Des Moines might fix problems for YMCA, Polk County, and private sector



Threats and Hazards Sleepwalking into a surveillance society
A Senate bill under consideration would basically give Big Brother (in the form of 22 different Federal agencies) the right to look at your e-mail, Twitter direct messages, and Google Docs without a warrant. Outrageous.

Weather and Disasters Winter climate outlook

The United States of America Thanksgiving, American Indian style: Buffalo stew recipe

Business and Finance Why the Big Ten now has 14
It's all about bringing in television revenues

Business and Finance How much are you allowed to save for retirement in 2013?
The IRS has released the income and contribution limitations for tax-advantaged savings plans for next year. Isn't it a little odd how tax policy discourages savings beyond an arbitrary maximum?



Weather and Disasters Fog causes 100-car wreck on Thanksgiving in Texas
Crashes like these just reinforce the case for bringing self-piloted cars to the market as soon as possible. People are prone to over-estimate their own capacities to drive safely under bad conditions, like fog. We need machines to override our overconfidence.

Computers and the Internet Number of Windows 8 applications grows past 20,000
They're not all available everywhere, but many are, and the vast majority are free

Agriculture Milk prices could get rocky around January 1st
On a related note, Iowa farmers brought in half a billion dollars in payments for corn and soybean crop losses to this summer's drought

Broadcasting The best way to stay in business is to look for ways to put yourself out of business
Incentives fall on the side of innovation. In other words, there is a great deal of money to be made from disrupting the status quo. So if a company intends to stay in business for the long term, it needs to anticipate that disruptive innovations will come along, and that it's better to be the innovator than the victim of that innovation.

Iowa A lake of fire in north-central Iowa
Eagle Lake is completely dry due to drought, so it's expected that a grass fire there will keep the lakebed (which is a peat bog) smoldering for weeks.

Business and Finance Hostess bankruptcy judge says he has "serious questions as to the logic behind the decision" for the unions to go on strike
Most of the brands will end up being sold to other companies, but that doesn't mean the jobs will transfer there

Science and Technology Researchers discover that an island doesn't exist
It's shown up on maps for a long time, but Sandy Island in the Coral Sea apparently doesn't exist at all

Computers and the Internet A mostly predictable list of popular technology gifts for 2012
Microsoft Surface, Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad Mini, and the Samsung Galaxy S-III. Nothing really revelatory.

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Broadcasting Today at 1:00 Central: The WHO Radio Wise Guys return to the air
The show is streamed live on WHORadio.com. Send questions via text message to 515-989-1040.

The United States of America America, land of the free, becomes the land of the one-party state
A New York Times report holds that 37 states will have a single party in power, controlling the governor's office as well as both legislative chambers. A University of Minnesota professor says, "If you wondered what Washington would look like under single-party rule, the states are a laboratory for that now." One can hope that this might mark the peak of mindless partisanship -- in which people affiliate with one party or another based solely on hot-button issues -- and might give way to an era of performance-based voting, in which voters take a serious look at the actual performance of their elected officials and vote accordingly. It is certain that the only way any of the many "third parties" out there would ever work their way into prominence is by taking advantage of these completely un-balanced times, getting themselves elected as the "alternative" party on a local basis in places where a single party has absolute control (like the Democrats do in Chicago and greater Illinois, for instance), and then using that performance-based record to get themselves elected more broadly. But they have to prove themselves in a practical way, not in an ideological way -- and that's what the "third party" adherents seem not to realize.