Gongol.com Archives: February 2020

Brian Gongol

February 4, 2020

Iowa People are confusing a predictable app failure with a conspiracy

The delay in getting results from the Iowa Caucuses is the fault of a technology disruption, pure and simple. Matt Tait puts it extremely well: "It is not sufficient to *be* secure, it must be *seen* to be secure, and robust against even false conspiracies". Digital security may seem like an esoteric matter of bits and bytes, but it's ultimately a matter of institutional trust and human expectation-setting. Those are very real flesh-and-blood things. In the meantime, though, a message from Iowa to the nation: Anything else you'd like us to beta-test for you? Quite seriously, that's part of the problem: Test users find bugs much faster than developers can anticipate them.

News We overreact to little things and underreact to big things

Perspective is hard to learn

Iowa Iowa isn't a small state: It's almost dead-center in the rankings

Iowa is the #31 state by population. "Small"? By comparison with California or Texas or New York, sure, but we're actually nearly the median overall. There aren't even ten states with 10 million people.

The American Way A philosophy in a sentence

Make money, have fun, clean up after yourself, and mind your business.

News A timely book recommendation

"Why Flip a Coin?" is a great exploration of the science of decision-making -- which includes a very useful section on why there is absolutely no method of counting a vote that will satisfy everybody's sense of "fairness". It is literally impossible.

Science and Technology Predicting vertebrate lifespans from DNA

Bowhead whales are thought to have natural lifespans of nearly 270 years. What kind of thoughts go through the mind of a bowhead whale around, say, age 230? One has to imagine they're at least somewhat sentient, right?

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