Gongol.com Archives: April 2023

Brian Gongol

April 17, 2023

News When Soviet leaders dropped dead

It's basically possible to convey to people who didn't live through it just how much the threat of nuclear war hung over the day-to-day "adult" world of the 1980s, at least as seen through the eyes of young people at the time. It was the one news story that never went away.

News "French discontent over its security relationship with the United States is nothing new."

University of Chicago professor Paul Poast notes that "French leaders have long hated being dependent on [the United States] for protection." Despite our longstanding friendship, France took the Confederacy's side in the Civil War, and didn't appreciate America's (poorly-considered) post-WWI plans. A history well worth bearing in mind as France makes questionable diplomatic moves with China today.

Weather and Disasters Opening locks to let floodwaters through the Twin Cities

This is a whole lot of water destined to flow past Dubuque, Davenport, and Keokuk in days and weeks to come.

Threats and Hazards Russia is drifting towards martial law

All of this -- death, destruction, oppression -- remains the active choice of the regime governing Russia. They could stop this at any time. The unspeakable harm they are doing to Ukraine is harming Russian people, too.

Science and Technology Look at the good nuclear power can do

France used to be well above the world average in its carbon-dioxide emissions. Now, it's down to the average, with a downward trend. It's no coincidence that France also has the highest share of nuclear power generation in the world.

Computers and the Internet An unsettling thought

If you're concerned that AI-generated materials are already getting good at passing for human-like construction, consider the warning of John Scott-Railton: "AI-based bots are as bad as they will ever be today. Right now. They can only get better." In lots of human-helping cases, that's going to be great news. But there are lots of human-harming cases for which the same will be true.

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