Gongol.com Archives: 2013 Weekly Archives
Brian Gongol

Broadcasting Some far-out questions for your consideration
Why do we give free health care to the elderly instead of to children and young adults? Why don't we fire Congress for not balancing the budget? Why are Congressional districts ten times larger than in the early days of the nation, and why don't we go back? Why don't people get a tax credit for being good citizens? Why do we baffle ourselves with huge numbers instead of talking about budgets in per-person terms?

Broadcasting Al Jazeera buys Current TV

News What happens if Russia shuts down adoptions by American families?

Computers and the Internet Why are we so slow to get high-speed Internet access all over the country?

Agriculture Founding father of the anti-GMO movement recants
If we don't take some scientific steps to make our agriculture more effective, we aren't going to be able to feed the world

Broadcasting The value of a good brand name
How much is a good brand name worth? And why doesn't Congress do something about the economic war between the states?

Humor and Good News What "social-media experts" really are

Weather and Disasters A time-lapse of severe-weather warnings in 2012
(Video) There were at least two "Tornado Alleys" this past year

The United States of America A great visualization of the debt ceiling and the fiscal cliff
Newspaper cartoonist Tom Toles nails it. Jeff Koterba got it right, too.

The United States of America John F. Kennedy wasn't quite the speedy talker people think he was

Health What happens when faces are made artificially symmetrical
Making a person's face symmetrical (with the help of Photoshop) can make them look like a totally new person

Science and Technology Some great industrial designs from 2012

News What people mean by "spiritual, but not religious"

Business and Finance Why deflation hurts
As well as some thoughts on the importance of making America 2100 a better place than America today

Computers and the Internet Hulu CEO resigns
It's still owned by Fox, Disney, and NBC

News Why is Eric Schmidt going to North Korea?
Google's executive chairman says he's going on a "personal humanitarian mission", but there's also a lot of cheap labor available there.

Computers and the Internet Twitter may plan to go public in 2014
Going public is a curious choice for a firm that's making money. It -- somewhat obliquely -- telegraphs the moment when a company's owners think the prospects are at their peak.

Iowa A truce in the war between the cities
Iowa City, Coralville, and North Liberty may agree to stop trying to snipe one another's business. But what's really needed is a national prohibition on trying to steal other places' stuff.

Socialism Doesn't Work Chinese newspaper journalists sign letter against a propaganda official
The tension between China's controls on personal freedoms and their exploitation of some market forces simply cannot go on forever.

Business and Finance Some reasons to be positive about 2013
Not everything must be doom and gloom

Aviation News Return of the airship
A rigid-bodied airship for military and cargo use is ready for some test flights soon

Computers and the Internet Does Rosetta Stone really work as a language teacher?
A credible reviewer says yes, as long as you're curious enough to conduct some additional study of the details

The American Way Time for a national attitude adjustment
A USA Today poll suggests that there's a vast surplus of pessimism in America, particularly about economic issues. And while there is considerable reason for disappointment -- a President who won't acknowledge the imperative need to control spending among them -- the long-term engines of prosperity in America remain in place and can be brought to full throttle if we will let them. ■ Our primary obstacles seem to come back to dependency. Do we await another bailout or another "stimulus" package or another "economic-development" offer before getting to work? We shouldn't. Nor should we hope that the government will sensibly allocate things like "green" tax credits or job-creation funds. The Federal government has shown no reasonable capacity to even balance its own budget, much less to make sensible real-world, private-sector investments that pay off. ■ Over the intermediate and long terms, things will get better in America. Sustainably. Persistently. And they must, if we are to even pretend to fix some of our great structural problems -- the need to fund our vast entitlement complex, or the need to bring our infrastructure up to the kind of first-class standards we expect.

News Can Chavez remain Venezuela's president if he's too sick to take the oath of office?
It's hard to rule a country by remote

Science and Technology More self-piloted cars: Now one from Toyota
Google's been putting self-driving cars on the road for a short while, and now Toyota appears to be doing the same thing. Self-piloted cars should be a huge benefit to society when we get them -- saving energy (by driving more efficiently than people), saving lives (since they should be considerably safer than human-piloted vehicles), and saving lots of valuable time (allowing people to make use of the many hours we spend behind the wheel -- especially in America -- doing something other than developing road rage at the other drivers around us). This is a can't-wait-for-it technology.

The United States of America Party control by state, 2013
Many, many states are essentially under single-party control, which gives those parties the opportunity to show that they can actually govern effectively. And if they don't, the voters in those states should punish them severely at the ballot box.

Science and Technology The "fiscal cliff" bill was signed by autopen

Broadcasting Funny-man Hassel departs Des Moines television

Computers and the Internet The majority of Americans with cell phones now have smartphones
Nielsen says 56% of mobile-phone users were on smartphones by the third quarter.

Business and Finance Some unofficial new looks for old brands
It's funny what non-commissioned redesigns tell us: People really do care about their brands, and are disappointed when they feel like those brands aren't living up to the users' expectations.

Computers and the Internet A majority of adults around the world think people over-share online