The WHO Radio Wise Guys
Brian Gongol

The WHO Radio Wise Guys airs on WHO Radio in Des Moines, Iowa on 1040 AM or streaming online at The show airs from 1 to 2 pm Central Time on Saturday afternoons. A podcast of show highlights is also available. Leave comments and questions on the Wise Guys Facebook page or e-mail them to

The higher the price of oil, the faster someone will find an alternative. One of the best steps we could take towards better fuel efficiency is to reignite public interest in streamlined designs. It's just a matter of taste: We simply have to start appreciating the beauty in that kind of design. The Streamline Era was allowed to pass far before its time should have been up. After all, we appreciate now how streamlining is building a better swimsuit, so why can't we appreciate that same kind of approach with our cars? What works on a swimsuit isn't necessarily what will work on a car -- that's not the point. The point is that competitive swimmers have adopted a new style of suit because doing so -- no matter what they think of how it looks -- has made them more competitive in the water. We similarly need to decided that our tastes in how cars look needs to adjust to accommodate getting higher efficiency. That may or may not lead to widespread acceptance of such seeming oddities as three-wheeled cars, but will it really be all that hard to appreciate the beauty of streamline design again?

As an aside, you might be interested in seeing how NASA developed similar technology for the racing boat Stars and Stripes more than a decade ago.

With higher gas prices have come rising sales of two-wheeled vehicles like motorcycles and scooters. It's happening from the East Coast to the Desert Southwest. It's part of a worldwide surge in sales. But -- unless the people buying these vehicles realize that they have to take a lot of new safety precautions that they're not used to, we're going to see lots of needless new motorcyclist deaths and injuries.

It's suddenly legal for Cubans to own microwave ovens. Believe it or not, that might be the first step towards overturning Communism in the island nation. We rarely recognize just how much then-new technology helped bring about the end of the Soviet Union.

E-mail question of the week:
I wanted to see if I could get your opinion on search engine meta tags. I run a small online business down here in Milo, Iowa and currently do all of the web site development on my own. Recently I have heard a big buzz that Google has almost entirely stopped reading meta tags, and some of the other search engines are starting to do the same. Is this true or just another internet myth? If it is true are search engines going to something else or are they being driven by strictly content now?


Good question. Meta tags, for those who might not be into designing websites, are just the keywords that appear on your page, summarized in a small part of the code that creates a page. The meta tags are invisible to people visiting the page, but the search engines can find them and read them. For instance, uses the meta tags "WHO Radio, Iowa, radio, Des Moines".

The problem with meta tags is that crooks learned really quickly that they could lie about their meta tags, putting up tags that had nothing to do with what their sites were all about. So they'd put up tags like ours, but on a site selling something like pirated DVDs. As a result, the search engines are paying less and less attention to meta tags and more to the actual content. That's a good thing for us as Internet users, anyway. Better computing power and better search algorithms have essentially rendered the meta tag obsolete, so the bottom line is that you should probably continue to add them to your sites, but don't bother with adding more than five or ten at the most. More than that is just a waste of time.

Another e-mail question comes to us, asking about how to send out an e-mail to a list of 200 people using Yahoo Mail. The answer: Don't. If you're going to send out an e-mail to a list of friends and it's longer than about five people, make sure you're using the blind carbon-copy method so that you help protect your friends from spam. If you're sending something out to more than about 25 people, you really need to switch to a dedicated list-hosting service. FOr our e-mail newsletter, we use a dedicated list-server program through our corporate office. For his class reunion, Brian used both PairList and Yahoo Groups. Whatever you do, make sure that the people on your list have the power to opt-out of the list any time. Otherwise, you're just spamming them.

And, before we go, what's the future of personalized medicine? Brian makes this prediction: It will be completely routine for us to have personal copies of our genomes within ten years.

Keywords in this show: