Gongol.com Archives: August 2014

Brian Gongol

August 18, 2014

The United States of America From El Salvador to Nebraska
Once one hears the narratives that cause people to try to enter the United States (legally or not), it's hard not to have sympathy for the immigrants. Many are facing life-or-death choices if they don't get here.

Computers and the Internet Chinese hackers have stolen 4.5 million American health-care records
Why? Good question...and that's the problem. What's the motive, exactly? Also important: They're successfully attacking databases using phishing emails. People can't assume that their antivirus programs provide comprehensive protection. We require good technology hygiene habits, too.

The United States of America Valuable thoughts on the nature of civilian oversight of police departments and agencies
You can certainly get worked up like John Oliver [video with strong language], but it's more important that we start fixing the systems that keep us from checking our own behavior and that of our guardians of the public safety. If we don't start with critical, capable, and meaningful civilian oversight, we're really not going to end up where we belong. Any system that tends towards intimidation and other strong-arm tactics (even and especially when no laws are being broken) is one that needs to call the adults back in for supervision.

News Water as a weapon of war
The Mosul Dam appears to be back under Kurdish control

Threats and Hazards Bring back the old twitchy eye
British Prime Minister David Cameron promises that the UK won't return to war in Iraq. But the threat we face there isn't to be taken lightly, and shouldn't be reassured by having any options removed from the table. Unpredictability is a huge strategic advantage in warfare, and a reputation for trigger-happiness (whether justified or not) doesn't hurt when you're up against a murderous band of opponents.

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.
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