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

[Brian Gongol] And at 12:25 on News Radio WHO. Welcome back. I'm Brian Gongol. Here along with Chris Jackson, our substitute Wise Guy, since Dan Adams is out with, out with something today. And I just didn't want to get it, so I...

[Chris Jackson] Out with the "It's too cold to leave the house". That's what he's out with.

[Brian Gongol] Well, he probably did come down with a little of that. But, you know, a couple of weeks ago, it was really cold out. It was even colder than this, and he and I went out and did that experiment with blowing the bubbles.

[Chris Jackson] Oh, yeah.

[Brian Gongol] Eh, blow some bubbles in the three degree weather outside. And that video is up on And invite you to take a look at that if you want to see two grown men playing with frozen bubbles. [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] I know it seems goofy, but you know, you have to amuse yourself with the weather the way it's been lately. You have to do something to try to out and reach.

[Chris Jackson] Yeah, frozen bubbles is one way to go.

[Brian Gongol] Well, you know, it's funny to see these things you play with as a child, turning into tools of destruction, as an adult. [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] I mean because they shatter...

[Chris Jackson] Yeah, right.

[Brian Gongol] and break, and you know, go all over the place. It's really cool stuff, so. And actually, YouTube is actually very similar, or has a relationship to, some of the stuff that's done on this Amazon Mechanical Turk...

[Chris Jackson] OK.

[Brian Gongol] that I was telling you about. Now the reason it's called the Mechanical Turk is this. Back before we actually had real robots...

[Chris Jackson] Hmm-hmm.

[Brian Gongol] Some people created things that looked like robots, to try to fake other people out because they wanted to, you know, get fame and fortune. It's just kind of what people do. They'll seek, you know...

[Chris Jackson] A guy in a cardboard box...

[Brian Gongol] Exactly. Well, in a sense, yes. If you look at the story of the Mechanical Turk, it was an experiment, of sorts, that, I'm trying to explain how this works quite right. The guy who developed it, was developing what was supposed to be like a chess playing robot. OK?

[Chris Jackson] OK.

[Brian Gongol] And then it started, actually, right around the Revolutionary War, about 1770, and lasted until like the mid 1850s. This whole, you know, thing that they did. And I don't want to call it an experiment.

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] Because it lasted forever and ever. It was was stunt that was pulled.

[Chris Jackson] Hmm-hmm.

[Brian Gongol] But it was what looked like a robot, and they had him dressed like he was Turkish, which is why they called it The Turk.

[Chris Jackson] OK. The Turk, OK.

[Brian Gongol] And what he did was, this Turk played chess against human beings.

[Chris Jackson] Hmm-hmm.

[Brian Gongol] So this stunt you could take around the world. And you know, "We're going to wheel up the Turk, and he's going to beat you at chess." And people would play against him. Highly skilled chess players would play against it, and they would lose. And the people were convinced for years and years that this guy had developed a robot to do this. This is well before robotics, as we know it, you know. I'm talking the machines that are building your cars in Detroit, or anything like that.

[Chris Jackson] Right, right.

[Brian Gongol] I mean, this was the 1700s. This was the time of Thomas Jefferson. OK? But it worked, and it convinced a bunch of people. Well the reality is, there wasn't a machine doing it. There was actually a guy hidden in the box, looking through mirrors, playing chess against the people.

[Chris Jackson] [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] And, it turned out, he was a chess master. So that was how he was able to do it.

[Chris Jackson] OK, so they had to keep finding chess masters to...

[Brian Gongol] Exactly.

[Chris Jackson] keep the ruse going.

[Brian Gongol] They went with this ruse for a pretty long time. As I understand it, there was one guy who did it for an exceptionally long period of time. Why you'd want to be cramped up in that box for that long, I don't know. But, except, you know, they did make pretty decent money off of it. OK, so it's a trick.

[Chris Jackson] Oh. [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] So the reason, you know, it was trick. And I guess if you make enough money, I suppose, that would be a career move.

[Chris Jackson] People have done much worse, for far less. [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] Oh, have they ever. So that's what they did, is they played chess against people and won money over this. And so, it was a funny experiment that went on for a really long time. This big ruse that they kept on forever. Well, the thing was, though, there was really a human being behind it. It wasn't really a machine doing the work. It was a human being. Well, the Amazon Mechanical Turk is very, very similar in that you sign up the computer, in essence, to do this work, but really, there's a human being doing all of it. So, for instance, you find things that computers are supposed to be able to do, like take the text of what we say on the radio, and turn it into a transcript. But obviously, the machine doesn't do a very good job of that. I should show you the transcript this thing came up with.

[Chris Jackson] Well, I've got a boss who's mechanically inept. [Laughs]

[Chris Jackson] And decided he was going to start sending emails by using these same kind of, you know, I'm just going to speak it. And there it will be.

[Brian Gongol] Oh, dear.

[Chris Jackson] And he almost sent the first one without reading it first.

[Brian Gongol] Ooh.

[Chris Jackson] Take a look. [Laughs]

[Chris Jackson] Listen.

[Brian Gongol] This is a fellow who could get in some serious trouble if he sends out the wrong messages. Wouldn't he?

[Chris Jackson] Yeah, uh-huh.

[Brian Gongol] Yeah, OK.

[Chris Jackson] So we got him back off that. [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] And now there's just no more emails. So we're going to turn him onto Mechanical Turk, apparently.

[Chris Jackson] Yeah, this might work.

[Brian Gongol] He could use it for this purpose, though. That's exactly what you could use it for. See, in this case, the machine was supposed to be able to take the transcript of what we say on the show.

[Chris Jackson] Hmm-hmm.

[Brian Gongol] Does a terrible job. I mean it just couldn't do the thing that I was asking it to do. People, on the other hand, are very at recognizing speech. You know, machines get confused. When I say "recognize speech", you know that I'm saying, "recognize what I say". The machine might think I said, "Wreck a nice beach."

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] Like go to the sand, and kick over sand castles. [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] You know, that's not what I'm talking about. That's not what I expect you to do. So I submitted this information. I took the show, just one of the shows that we've done here on WHO, cut it down into just the little segments, five-minute segments, and posted it on Amazon Mechanical Turk. And I said, "you know, if you want to transcribe this, I will pay you to do this section." And you just set a price for whatever you're willing to pay for that period of time, or that job.

[Chris Jackson] So, it's like eBay in that you say this is worth X amount of money to me, and take it or leave it.

[Brian Gongol] And instead of buy it now, people say, "I'll do it now." And they do the work, and they get paid right away for it. So, if you're sitting around and you're like, ah, you know, I got nothing to do this afternoon, but I could use a little extra cash, check out the Amazon Mechanical Turk. It's at, And I'll post the link over But there are all kinds of jobs available there for you to do.

[Chris Jackson] Are there all this kind of computer, are they all that same type of task, or, you know, I mean, it's not go to the 7-Eleven and pick me up a soda. It's... [laughs]

[Brian Gongol] No, it is not that. There are other services that do those kinds of things. This is, just look in here on the tasks that they have the most available, and what they do. Right now, when I go to this web site, the first thing that they say is, "Choose the Best Category for this Health and Beauty Supplies Product." And you get one penny every time you choose the category. So, what they do is they'll give you a list of products, and you go through the products and you assign them. So, presumably, this is somebody who is running an online store, let's say...

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] And they need to categorize the stuff that they have there, and instead of them doing the work, they outsource it to you. I mean, this is the ultimate outsourcing.

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] Because it goes around the world.

[Chris Jackson] Now is there any way, you know, let's take this health & beauty guy here. If I run through and do a thousand of these, and I assign them all to the same category, and take my penny each, and do it in 5 minutes. I mean, is there some comeuppance..

[Brian Gongol] There is...

[Chris Jackson] For a terrible job done?

[Brian Gongol] In fact, there is, because they can reject your work.

[Chris Jackson] Oh [laughs].

[Brian Gongol] Yeah. But, on the other hand, if they like your work, they can give you a bonus for it.

[Chris Jackson] Aw.

[Brian Gongol] So, there's an interesting structure to all this. There's a set price, and the person paying for it gets to decide whether you actually did the job, and you did worth while, and worth getting the money. Or they can say, "your work was terrible and I'm not paying you for it."

[Chris Jackson] So, now we got to tip people on our computers, ten...

[Brian Gongol] And then you can tip them if you think they did an exceptional job. I've used the tip thing on the transcripts, because some have come back, and they've been good, at least as good as whatever I would have put together in the same period of time, I'm sure. But, you know, nothing exceptional. There have been others that have been just outstanding. I mean, just terrific. Even people who have went to the effort of learning how to spell place names here in Iowa. I mean, at one point, one of them, I said, "Buena Vista County." And somebody went through and found the proper spelling for Buena Vista, and put that into the transcript. And I'm like, "well that's a bonus right there." [laughs]

[Chris Jackson] That's right.

[Brian Gongol] You win, because everybody else on the planet would have thought I said something goofy.

[Chris Jackson] If they can spell something that you wouldn't have spelled right, bonus.

[Brian Gongol] Something extra. Exactly. And it's fascinating how this has worked. Because some of them have clearly been Americans, and some of them have clearly not. I got some transcripts back in all these little 5 minute segments. I've gotten some back that they spelled program, p-r-o-g-r-a-m-m-e...

[Chris Jackson] Oh, yeah.

[Brian Gongol] And I said "utilize", it was u-t-i-l-i-s-e...

[Chris Jackson] Uh-huh.

[Brian Gongol] You know, some of them are clearly coming from other English-speaking countries around the world.

[Chris Jackson] Huh.

[Brian Gongol] It's the ultimate outsourcing, and it is just the coolest thing, because if you use it for your own personal life, if you for instance were going on a vacation somewhere. You can go to Travelocity or TripAdvisor or any of these web sites and look up the things to see in a certain location. Or, you could post it on Amazon Mechanical Turk and say, "plan a day for me in New York City."

[Chris Jackson] Ha-ha.

[Brian Gongol] And say, "I'll pay you 5 bucks to do it." Now that 5 bucks might be 5 bucks extremely well spent for you, because if you can get somebody to produce a really good outline for you and you didn't have to do all the research on your own. Hey, they made some money off of it because they might have expertise, and you got the information for less than you would have spent the time doing it.

[Chris Jackson] Well, that settles it. I'm never doing anything again. [laughs]

[Brian Gongol] You might very well find yourself choosing never to do any work again. When you find this, or on the other hand, the flip side to it is, you could be making some money here with your free time doing this as well. I suggested this to who I know have tasks that may have a long period of time stuck say, at a desk or something like that, where they're not actively doing anything. It's just their responsibility to answer the phone when it rings, but not really do anything else.

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] Right. Do a little double-dipping at the same time.

[Chris Jackson] Ha-ha-ha.

[Brian Gongol] And be productive members of society on top of it. I mean, this is just the coolest thing. We'll post a link to it at, and I'll even see if I can post a link to some of the results. You can see what it looks like when people get done with it, because, this is really cool stuff.

[Chris Jackson] See, and I think now for your transcripts, you could post not only your own transcripts, but then, in the Queen's English transcripts. [laughs]

[Chris Jackson] I mean, show me another radio show that's got that.

[Brian Gongol] I tell you what, we're breaking new ground right here, that's for sure. So, it's a way to get work done, and sometimes you need somebody else to do it. Now, the bottom line is, it has to be something you can upload to a web site. So, like you said Chris, no going shopping for me.

[Chris Jackson] The pile of dishes are going to stay a pile of dishes.

[Brian Gongol] Stay a pile of dishes. But we're working on getting Rosie the Robot to take care of that for you, too. So, in the meantime there are still some things humans can still do better than the robots, and that's what this is for. It's really cool.

[Chris Jackson] Huh.

[Brian Gongol] So, we got that, and we'll come back here and explain how you get into trouble for stuff that you didn't know that you were doing. When you were sleeping.

[Chris Jackson] We don't need that.

[Brian Gongol] I guarantee you, within 10 to 20 years, this is going to become a very serious legal issue. And you need to know about it, because the future happens much faster than we think. This is 2010, I still remember Y2K. So,

[Chris Jackson] That's right.

[Brian Gongol] That's hurting my brain. Hate to say it, folks, but we got snow on the way. Mainly afternoon on Monday, a high of 24 degrees. I see you shaking your head over there, Chris. I know, I'm not a fan of it, either. I'm certainly, don't blame the messenger, I'm just sharing the message.

[Chris Jackson] There are snow drifts that are impossibly large.

[Brian Gongol] Oh, I know it.

[Chris Jackson] I don't remember...

[Brian Gongol] There's a good reason you don't remember. It's not happened like this in our lifetimes. This is the snowiest two-month period, December and January period, since the 1800s.

[Chris Jackson] Well, and I saw that we're approaching the record, and it seems like we'll scream by it, for number of consecutive days with at least 5 inches of snow on the ground.

[Brian Gongol] Exactly right.

[Chris Jackson] And that's probably the difference. The January thaw didn't do anything but turn into a sheet of ice. So...

[Brian Gongol] Exactly right.

[Chris Jackson] Thanks for nothing.

[Brian Gongol] So, that's exactly right. We're going to hit that record. We've got the record for the most snow in a century. So, truly, if you thought this has been an unusually painful winter. Yeah, you're right, it has been. So, for the rest of today, we'll get a little sun out there. A high near 18. Right now, we've got cloudy skies, 17 degrees. So, right now, we're almost at that high temperature. So, enjoy it while it lasts. A wind out of the south-east of 5 now means we have a wind-chill index of 10 degrees. At least, it's above 0. We did have that 20 or 30 degree below 0 period when it was just merciless. I've been running my humidifier in the house. I finally got one of these things. After realizing that even the cactuses were dying.

[Chris Jackson] Ha-ha-ha-ha.

[Brian Gongol] Well, OK now, it's time to maybe put succulence in the house, and they're all falling apart. OK, fine, it's time to actually add some water to the atmosphere. I have been going through gallons of water every day.

[Chris Jackson] I've been going through almost two gallons a day. I mean, it's...

[Brian Gongol] Unbelievable.

[Chris Jackson] My dog is a walking science experiment without it. [laughing] So, it's non-stop filling that thing up.

[Brian Gongol] The dog is a Van de Graff generator.

[Chris Jackson] I mean, he's dangerous. And when it shocks me, when it shocks the wife, or something else. But, when it gets me, now it's time to...

[Brian Gongol] It's time to maybe do something about this. That is, you know what, it's good that at least your own self-interest makes something good happen. And you're going to electrocute people in your house. Thanks for not inviting me over during electrocution period. I appreciate that. All right, we just were talking a little bit ago here about the Mechanical Turk, which does things for you, because it's human beings. People are doing things, we've got some comments on that back here. I guess Wendell had a comment he wanted to share. Wendell, thanks for calling WHO.

[Caller, "Wendell"] Yeah, hi.

[Brian Gongol] Hi, there.

[Caller, "Wendell"] I'm writing a book.

[Brian Gongol] OK.

[Caller, "Wendell"] And this is a series of stories.

[Brian Gongol] Uh-hmm.

[Caller, "Wendell"] And right now there's about 40 stories, and one of them I've wrote is 17,000 words.

[Brian Gongol] OK.

[Caller, "Wendell"] Now my question is, can I use this, and would it be terribly expensive?

[Brian Gongol] Well, are these stories that you've done recorded to audio tape or something like that, or how?...

[Caller, "Wendell"] No, I would just, with the [??], I was just going to talk into the machine, you know.

[Brian Gongol] I see. Yes.

[Caller, "Wendell"] So, the problem was, when it got here, my computer guy came over to install it...

[Brian Gongol] Uh-hmm.

[Caller, "Wendell"] And, even though it said in the material that it would work fine on my computer, it would not.

[Brian Gongol] Oh, OK.

[Caller, "Wendell"] I did not have enough, whatever, enough gas in my tank.

[Brian Gongol] OK.

[Caller, "Wendell"] So, luckily, he had machine he could use it on, so he took that off of my bill for the day and took it home with him.

[Brian Gongol] Sure.

[Caller, "Wendell"] But, this, I woke up when you started talking about...

[Brian Gongol] Sure. It's absolutely something you could use if you have a recording. Now, the key is, you have to be able to put it in a file format like MP3, and be able to save it to a web site somewhere, because it could be somebody, literally, in India, doing this work. Or Australia, or Great Britain, or it could be somebody down the street. It could be anywhere on the planet. So, you have to be able to put it in a file format, and then put it on a web site.

[Caller, "Wendell"] I have an MP3, so that would work.

[Brian Gongol] Yep, then you should be able to do that just fine, and it's really not very complicated. All you have to do is go to that web site and follow the instructions. And they'll walk you through the process. It's really quite simple.

[Caller, "Wendell"] How expensive it this going to be for a 17,000 word...

[Brian Gongol] Well, you set the price. So, that's the key, is you set the price. When you write down that price, you have to set it so it is competitive enough to attract people to do the work.

[Caller, "Wendell"] I see.

[Brian Gongol] It, you just kind of have to take a look, you may very well want to go to, it's Look up what people are paying for similar work, and then try to evaluate your price based off of that, and offer something competitive.

[Caller, "Wendell"] Give me that again.

[Brian Gongol] It's "m", as in mechanical,

[Caller, "Wendell"] hmm-hmm.

[Brian Gongol] and then "turk". T-U-R-K, as in the first couple of letters of turkey, dot com. And I'll post a link to this again over at, on the Wise Guys page. So you can get straight there, and be able to follow it right away.

[Caller, "Wendell"] OK.

[Brian Gongol] All righty, Wendell?

[Caller, "Wendell"] Thanks.

[Brian Gongol] Thanks very much.

[Caller, "Wendell"] I appreciate the information.

[Brian Gongol] All right. Good luck to you. Good luck on that book.

[Caller, "Wendell"] Thanks, goodbye.

[Brian Gongol] Bye. 12:46 here on News Radio 1040 WHO. See?

[Chris Jackson] There are a lot of uses for it.

[Brian Gongol] This has got all kinds of uses. And it could be beyond just, you know, writing things down. I mean, don't think that it's just for transcription. I mean, this could be doing research. I'm not going to say that you can have people write newspaper articles for you,... [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] ...or school articles for you, but you could maybe have people edit your papers for you.

[Chris Jackson] What was your turn-around on these transcripts?

[Brian Gongol] You actually set the time period, too. You set all of the parameters on your own.

[Chris Jackson] So you could say, I want it back tomorrow, or I don't want it at all.

[Brian Gongol] You can say, exactly. You can say you want it rush. You can say you want it within a week. You can say you want it in a day. You can say you want it all different levels. You can set the time period. I found that I put those things out there. I put them within a week time horizon, you know, do it anytime. And I've gotten everything back within a matter of days.

[Chris Jackson] Huh.

[Brian Gongol] And it's funny because, you know, the pieces filter in, and you see how people respond. And it's funny because, literally, since it is an international kind of affair, you're literally out-sourcing internationally. Some of these things come in in the middle of the night. Many of them come in the middle of the night.

[Chris Jackson] Yeah, I bet that's right.

[Brian Gongol] And it's just, it's truly fascinating. They get really. And as an experiment, it's been the greatest thing. It's just been a lot of fun. But it's also really told me a lot of stuff. Now, speaking of things that people do in the overnight hours.

[Chris Jackson] Hmm-hmm.

[Brian Gongol] Now most of us are sleeping overnight, right?

[Chris Jackson] Should be.

[Brian Gongol] That's what we think that people are doing. You know, so, if you're sleeping in the overnight hours, what is one of the greatest frustrations that we all have? That we just don't have enough time in our lives. Right?

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] So, kind of start thinking. What if I could use that time more effectively? What if I could be doing something with my sleeping hours? How many people have tried to tell you that you could learn in your sleep? You know, listen to a transcript or something. You got those audio tapes that you learn a language...

[Chris Jackson] Uh-hmm.

[Brian Gongol] How well have those ever worked for you? Ever tried any?

[Chris Jackson] I've never tried anything like this. I know. [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] That's probably smart.

[Chris Jackson] Well, nobody around me wants me going to bed with something, and waking up with something else, what's not. [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] You wake up in the morning. You're speaking Klingon. We know that there's a problem, right?

[Chris Jackson] Yeah, and I don't know which choice words out of that tape I picked up in the middle of the night. That doesn't sound like a productive endeavor to me. [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] That could be a problem, too. So, you know, it's funny though, that we constantly want to be able to use that time. And like I was mentioning earlier in the show, this writer, A.J. Jacobs,

[Chris Jackson] Hmm-hmm.

[Brian Gongol] had written that he'd gotten in trouble with his wife because she dreamt that he was flirting with another woman. [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] And then got mad at real life him for the dreamed up version of him flirting with another woman.

[Chris Jackson] Well, it turns out in his dream he shouldn't have been flirting with another woman. [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] It turns out at least he could have been enjoying himself in the process. Right?

[Chris Jackson] If you're going to go to jail, at least do the crime.

[Brian Gongol] I, and see, speaking of going to jail, sleepwalking has been a defense, in the United States, or used as a defense, sometimes effectively, against crimes as serious as murder.

[Chris Jackson] OK.

[Brian Gongol] I mean, going back to the 1800s, there have been people who have been acquitted of crimes, including murder, because they used the sleepwalking defense. Now, I want to plug you in here to an issue that I think will be an emerging issue in the law, over the next 10 to 20 years, that we have just not clued in on. All right. We know that there are people who have cochlear implants. Right?

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] Things that go in the ear to allow people who are deaf to hear.

[Chris Jackson] Hmm-hmm.

[Brian Gongol] They now have bionic eye implants that they're putting in so that people who are blind, can see.

[Chris Jackson] See.

[Brian Gongol] And we're getting better at all these things all the time. So things with a very serious, useful purpose, you know, that involve implants, ...

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] ...bionic implants, have become widespread. And they're becoming more and more accepted all the time. Now simultaneously, there are a lot of people who walk around with those Bluetooth headsets clipped to their ears all the time. Looking like Lieutenant Uhura,...

[Chris Jackson] Yeah, yeah.

[Brian Gongol] know, in the Star Trek shows, and they never get away from their Internet. Now, what happens when the two of these concepts, the two of these, start to converge? And create a reality in which you're always plugged into the Internet?

[Chris Jackson] Through your head.

[Brian Gongol] Through your head, and when you're sleeping. [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] We need to chew on this one for a second. I need you to just chew and digest on this idea for just a second, so that we can talk about it in a moment or two. Because I think this will have very serious consequences, legally speaking, in the not so distant future. What happens when you're plugged into the Internet all the time, and you go to sleep? And you don't know what sites you're visiting, while you're asleep. We're going to talk about this in just a moment. So just chew on this one for a second, because I don't want you to get too scared about it, because I'm not saying that you're all going to get into trouble. But, I don't think this is too far away. I think this is really important stuff. 12:57 here on News Radio 1040 WHO. I'm Brian Gongol. Chris Jackson is in here with us on the WHO Radio Wise Guys, as our substitute host today, since Dan is out, and with the illness. So we want Dan to get away from whatever this sickness is that he's had, and then he can come on and join us again.


[Brian Gongol] Exactly, you know what? and we can all dream about this. Dreaming is ultimately what we are getting at. Now we were talking just before the break here about this notion that, anymore, the more we get these bionic implants that are working and are becoming more acceptable. Starting out for things like vision and hearing for people who are deaf and blind. And that's a great great set of progress we have going on there. But they're becoming better and better all the time, and much more wider use.

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] Meantime, we have people who spend all their time plugged in anyway. I mean we all know people who have the smart phones, the iphones, the blackberries who 'gotta tweet everything that I'm doing.' And literally will put their geotags on what they're doing and you could literally follow them everywhere they go. You know, so they're willing to tell people everything and they want to be plugged in in a sense all the time. I'm saying we are ten to twenty years away at most. Twenty years I think is pretty pessimistic. Like I bet about ten years away from people being plugged in getting these bionic implants. Literally to plug into the internet all the time. And I wonder what's going to happen when you're plugged into the internet all the time and you go to sleep, and you start dreaming. And what happens if you're in the middle of the night, visiting an al-Qaeda website and you didn't know it... In your sleep.

[Chris Jackson] Yeah, cause you're only going to visit the really good websites, in your sleep.

[Brian Gongol] Exactly, I'm pretty sure you're not just going to be donating to charity in your sleep. But what happens if you do that and you donate a thousand dollars that you don't have? While you were dreaming while you were plugged into the internet? People are going to have this problem and it it really is coming our direction. So we like to solve more problems than we create but I'm just telling you about this one, I didn't create this one. We're going to try to solve some of your problems in the next hour at 800-469-4295 or 284-1040. Text us at 989-1040.


[Brian Gongol] 1:12 on Newsradio WHO. I said 'uh' there because I was going to say 'eleven' because the one and the one were close together and I'm stupid and I can't read a clock.

[Chris Jackson] Those clocks, those digital clocks really do throw you for a loop don't they.

[Brian Gongol] You know what you don't realize, and that voice that you're hearing is Chris Jackson he's subbing in today for Dan Adams, who is out sick today. But I'm Brian Gongol and I can't read clocks and I never have been able to. I kid you not as a little kid it always got even the digital clocks I can look at them and I will say the wrong time. I'm looking straight at the time and I will say the wrong time. It happens constantly to me and I don't know why. It's the wierdest wierdest thing. I don't have any problem reading anything else on the planet but I have said repeatedly I can't read things that are on screens. I have the most difficult time in the world reading stuff that's on a screen. Makes no sense to me, I can't comprehend it, forget it. That's why I fear taking any kind of online tests. Because I just know I'm going to answer them all wrong.

[Chris Jackson] So Brian Gongol rolls into the DMV is a big...

[Brian Gongol] That's what I mean! I'm gonna fail! I'm gonna fail miserably. I think I'm a very capable driver. I'm going to go into the DOT some day and I'm going to say that a stop sign means go. I mean I'm going to do something totally wrong because I can't read things on screens. I have to print everything it drives the office crazy. Because I print everything. You want to talk about a paperless office? I am making up for every paperless office in the country right now... with the amount of printing I do.

[Chris Jackson] Somebody's got to keep Dunder-Mifflin in...

[Brian Gongol] I'm not joking ya

[Chris Jackson] That's...

[Brian Gongol] It's like half a ream a day. I'm serious, Jim and Pam are making their commissions off of me my friend I am not kidding you. I cannot help myself, but to print things because that's the only way I comprehend stuff. So these people who live constantly through the internet. Don't get me wrong obviously I'm a very heavy user of the internet, I do stuff their all the time. I'm posting podcasts I'm updating WHO radio dot com. I'm updating my personal site. I do tons of business online, I do all of these things. But ask me to understand what I see on a screen, I'm done.

[Chris Jackson] So you're not going to be moving to a nook or a kindle anytime soon.

[Brian Gongol] Or an IPad. The very poorly named tablet from Apple.

[Chris Jackson] Neither you or anybody else apparently.

[Brian Gongol] Well that's right, you were telling me that they might have a problem with the name.

[Chris Jackson] Well I read, I don't know...

[Brian Gongol] I mean aside from the obvious problem with the name.

[Chris Jackson] I mean it's hard to believe that two people want this name, but their's a manufacturer who makes. I don't understand exactly what it is. It looked to me like a little cellphone but it's not a cellphone. And apparently it's very popular in certain parts of Southeast Asia for store clerks.

[Brian Gongol] Okay.

[Chris Jackson] And it does something with bar codes or inventory or I don't know what exactly. But it is called the IPad. Because of course after the IPod came out everything had to have the letter 'i' on it.

[Brian Gongol] Yeah, well that goes back to IPhone, IBook, IMac..

[Chris Jackson] I don't care, so...

[Brian Gongol] That's exactly right

[Chris Jackson] There's a fight and apparently Apple has already been fighting this through the copyright office for a year and a half, two years over who owns the international copyright. And this company may or may not have renewed it properly.

[Brian Gongol] Oh geez.

[Chris Jackson] And it's been something of a mess. So it's not necessarily cut and dried. But the i-Pad can stay named the i-Pad, which...

[Brian Gongol] Which is probably an OK thing.

[Chris Jackson] is OK. [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] [Laughs] It's interesting, because looking at Google trends, right now, i-Pad is the number two, number three, and number four topic, on their hot topics list, because people spell it in different ways. Apparently it's possible to take four letters and...

[Chris Jackson] Change it four different ways.

[Brian Gongol] Goof with that, too. That's what people are doing. Now I think that, first of all, the hype over this thing is ridiculous.

[Chris Jackson] Well...

[Brian Gongol] I mean, OK.

[Chris Jackson] If Apple does anything well, it's the hype.

[Brian Gongol] Oh, yeah.

[Chris Jackson] In fact, I read a, I don't remember where it came from, a really good write-up of one of the reporters who wasn't one of the six hundred allowed into the auditorium the other day.

[Brian Gongol] Hmm-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] And was outside. He went just to cover the coverage. [Laughs]

[Chris Jackson] And how ridiculous it was...

[Brian Gongol] Yeah.

[Chris Jackson] That there were 60, you know, he's like, "I'm 12 yards away from this. And I'm watching on a 13-inch black and white screen, in a satellite truck." [Laughs]

[Chris Jackson] "And that picture has traveled 50,000 miles, so I could see something 12 feet away. You know, and then everybody comes outside, and we all just start interviewing each other...

[Brian Gongol] Uh-huh.

[Chris Jackson] About what we did and didn't see." So it...

[Brian Gongol] Yeah. And what is it? Because really, is it a production item yet? No. So it's just a thing that they're going to be doing, you know.

[Chris Jackson] Yeah, later.

[Brian Gongol] And that's OK. And for those who haven't caught up on all this, and perhaps you had not heard thoroughly what this is all about, Apple said that they were going to produce the i-Pad, a tablet computer...

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] that is essentially, basically it's the size of a Kindle. Or slightly larger than a netbook, but like flat. It's just on big flat screen, more or less...

[Chris Jackson] Uh-hmm.

[Brian Gongol] Off of which you can read things, like books and magazines and newspapers, and things like that. But also have constant access to the internet. Smaller than a laptop; bigger than, you know, your phone.

[Chris Jackson] Yeah, yeah. It's take your touch-screen cell phone,

[Brian Gongol] Hmm-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] and super-size it. But don't quite make it a laptop.

[Brian Gongol] Yeah. Yeah, like a little smaller than the size of a sheet of paper. I think that's about right.

[Chris Jackson] Yeah, I think that's about it. Yeah, about nine inches, I think, or something like that. That's about right.

[Brian Gongol] Now the thing about this is, I find it over-hyped because I've had a convertible tablet computer...

[Chris Jackson] Hmm-hmm.

[Brian Gongol] A laptop. That it's a normal laptop, or I can twist the screen around and flatten it, so that it becomes a tablet. I've had one of these things for two years.

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] And, eh, you know, it does it's thing. I think I've used the tablet feature twice in the last year, maybe.

[Chris Jackson] Yeah.

[Brian Gongol] I mean I just don't ever use it, because it's not that useful. It's not that efficient. And I think that there's definitely a purpose to having a tablet PC. I mean, a tablet computer is great if you're working in say, a hospital. And you need to go around checking off, doing checklists with patients...

[Chris Jackson] Yup.

[Brian Gongol] and things like that. It's terrific if you're working in an airport, and you need to check passengers in.

[Chris Jackson] Hmm-hmm.

[Brian Gongol] And you need to be able to walk around and have just a screenful of information, with very simple interactivity. You know, check boxes...

[Chris Jackson] Yup.

[Brian Gongol] and buttons, and that's it. If it comes down to typing anything, or writing anything, or communicating in any way, doing stuff that goes back and forth, this is not a very effective tool. And the thing that kills me about this is, how many people do you know who have broken screens on their smart phones? [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] Whether it's a Blackberry, an i-Phone, phone...

[Chris Jackson] Everybody.

[Brian Gongol] Everybody's got a broken screen. What's going to happen though, when you're broken screen is no longer the little screen on your phone, but it's the big screen on your tablet?

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] Which has just that much more surface area to break, and as a result of being larger, is more susceptible to breakage because it's not going to be as sturdy, in essence.

[Chris Jackson] You know, it looks to me like one of those things that looks cool to have.

[Brian Gongol] Yes.

[Chris Jackson] But that's the entire function of it. You know, if I have to add a keyboard to it, then just give me my laptop.

[Brian Gongol] Exactly. Exactly.

[Chris Jackson] And, as I understand it, the bottom of it is slightly rounded, so you can't lay it flat on a desk and type away. It's going to rock back and forth because it's rounded.

[Brian Gongol] Hmm-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] It does a few things. It's a super-sized cell phone.

[Brian Gongol] Yeah. And don't get me wrong. Again, there are purposes for this thing.

[Chris Jackson] Yes.

[Brian Gongol] And there will be people who will enjoy this. And if you were otherwise going to get a Kindle to do your book reading or your magazine reading, and you thought, "Well, you know, instead, I'd like to switch over to this and have a few more features, perhaps." OK, fine.

[Chris Jackson] Yeah.

[Brian Gongol] Then this i-Pad, or whatever they're going to call it, could be your thing.

[Chris Jackson] My wife has a Nook. And the e-Ink thing...

[Brian Gongol] Yeah.

[Chris Jackson] is kind of neat. I mean it does look like ink, and it's really easy on your eyes.

[Brian Gongol] Hmm-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] And this doesn't have that. But it would be neat while you're doing it, to jump onto the Internet.

[Brian Gongol] Exactly. Check your email.

[Chris Jackson] Or do...

[Brian Gongol] Respond to email.

[Chris Jackson] one of the various things you can do, you know. It would be neat to have that extra functionality. My feeling about these, and you know these things better than I do, but these tablets is, it's probably where we're going to be.

[Brian Gongol] That's right.

[Chris Jackson] Just not yet.

[Brian Gongol] [Laughs] Just not yet.

[Chris Jackson] And maybe this is the first big, you know, the first big product that moves that direction.

[Brian Gongol] Well,

[Chris Jackson] It's just not...

[Brian Gongol] And, of course, it being an Apple product - if Steve Jobs says it's cool, then there are lots of people who will sign up to buy it immediately.

[Chris Jackson] My Lord!

[Brian Gongol] Frequently, including our, uh - my normal co-host here, Dan Adams. He's usually up there, though I have to admit Dan has been remarkably resilient about not jumping on the iPhone train. So, I don't know --

[Chris Jackson] Well --

[Brian Gongol] You know, he may not be the first one on the list for this either. I again, just think it's - it's over-hyped. If everybody wanted a tablet PC you could've gotten one 2, 3, 4, 5 years ago. And by the way, we now have 2, 3, 4, 5 years worth of people who have had them, and complaining about them.

[Chris Jackson] Yes, yeah.

[Brian Gongol] About how they don't always work the way they are supposed to. So, eh, let's not buy too much into--

[Chris Jackson] Right. I think it's probably going to end up being kind of like the iPhone is. People are either going to rush out and have them and love them --

[Brian Gongol] Mm-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] Or you have the people who get them and go, 'Eh.'

[Brian Gongol] Yeah, there's a lot of that!

[Chris Jackson] It's... there.

[Brian Gongol] And this actually, speaking of things that people go, 'Eh' about, I hear you're not crazy over Twitter and Twitter Geo Location. We'll talk about that in a moment because Bing Maps from Microsoft now let's you search everywhere in the Universe to find where people are tweeting in real time. So we can check it out here in Des Moines and find out who the latest people are to say anything here in Des Moines. Or you could just tune into WHO Radio and do that too, I mean, you have plenty of options! So we'll talk about this one in just a second, 'cause I know, Chris, you've been just hankering to get some new stuff on your smart phone.

[Chris Jackson] Oh, I can't wait!

[Brian Gongol] I knew it! We'll talk about that in a moment.


[Brian Gongol] We were just talking about your new smart phone that you got, Chris, the uh... HTC Touch was it?

[Chris Jackson] Touch Pro 2.

[Brian Gongol] Oh, OK, Well, gee --

[Chris Jackson] I don't know why it --

[Brian Gongol] This is why Apple does the whole I everything thing.

[Chris Jackson] Yes --

[Brian Gongol] Cuz it's just simplified, you know exactly what it is. 'It's the phone, it's the iPhone.'

[Chris Jackson] Exactly!

[Brian Gongol] And by the way, I got a text here from one of our listeners, Tony, saying that I shouldn't make fun of the names like the iPad because people have also made fun of iPod and Wii and things like that. Yes, I get it. But iPad carries with a certain connotation that I think is unappealing to a lot of people. It sounds just....

[Chris Jackson] Roughly half the population is nervous.

[Brian Gongol] It does, and I --

[Chris Jackson] That's the best way --

[Brian Gongol] And I'm not sure the other half of the population likes the thing --

[Chris Jackson] I'm not gonna hear ya!

[Brian Gongol] So I think it's going to satisfy a lot of people. So I think that's why I've got a problem with it, Tony. Again, if you wanted to, uh, you know, weigh in, you can text us at 989 1040. But, okay, you're playing with this new phone, and I believe you used the word life-changing.

[Chris Jackson] Well --

[Brian Gongol] Or words, you know --

[Chris Jackson] I don't necessarily know that that's better or worse. But, you know, there's a certain appeal to being plugged in at all times and then there's a certain, uh --

[Brian Gongol] Reason not to get too far into it?

[Chris Jackson] Yes, exactly! You know, I -- we were talking about this, this Bing Maps added to your, your Twitter updates.

[Brian Gongol] Right.

[Chris Jackson] You know, I said I've got a program on my phone. We went to the Orange Bowl almost a month ago.

[Brian Gongol] Mm-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] And just to terrorize my poor brother stuck back here in Des Moines, freezing, I had some thing, some program I had that e-mailed him a map of exactly where we were and he got a map showing the corner of the...

[Brian Gongol] Oh, man!

[Chris Jackson] Of, you know, of the football stadium. And it was funny and I used it once, and you know, now... there's a reason I didn't pay for that program, that particular app.

[Brian Gongol] 'That's it!'

[Chris Jackson] Yeah, that's it! I'm done with that and I don't - I don't see what the daily application of this is to my... to my life.

[Brian Gongol] Oh, there are people though who are using it constantly and that's how Bing can offer this. Now, Bing again is Microsoft's new version of a search engine. It's the one that, you know--

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] They've had their own search engine, Live Search, and I mean it's gone through like 8 different names, MSN Search... Now they're calling it Bing because that's just easier to say and remember.

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] Again, they're going for the marketing angle on this. And with Bing they're trying to compete against Google. And they're trying to make search a little different, they're going for what they kind of refer to as a more natural style of search, and that's their general thing. But they have added some neat features to attract people in. And one of them is that they offer this mapping service --

[Chris Jackson] Mm-hmm.

[Brian Gongol] Which, frankly, if you use Bing's Maps - it's based off of, you know, the Microsoft Maps... that are actually really cool if you use their aerial views. They have better aerial views than Google does.

[Chris Jackson] Yes, they do.

[Brian Gongol] By far. And one of the things that you can do is, if you go to Bing's map service - and we'll post a link to this at - it will actually go to wherever the server is for your computer access, uhm, if you plug it in. It turns out I think that if you're in Media Comment assumes that you're in Chicago, so that must be where we're being routed through -

[Chris Jackson] Oh, okay!

[Brian Gongol] Which is interesting because I just logged in here at WHO and they're routing us through our corporate servers down in Dallas. So --

[Chris Jackson] Oh --

[Brian Gongol] So that's what showed up when I brought this up on Bing Maps.

[Chris Jackson] Okay.

[Brian Gongol] But what it'll do is give you the, you know, 75 or 50 latest tweets, if you will, the updates from Twitter, from your location, from your area. Then you zoom in and out of the map, you can find places where people are. And then zoom in and out to get that location. Now, keep in mind, too, not everybody has this geo-tagging going on with their updates.

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] It's what your phone was doing when you sent that message to your brother.

[Chris Jackson] ..and so, what, if I'm understanding this correctly, when you tweet, if you have this activated...

[Brian Gongol] If you have it activated.

[Chris Jackson] Attached to this tweet is this geo-tag.

[Brian Gongol] Uh-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] That allows people to see where you were because the GPS is active on your phone, or they know where your computer is located.

[Brian Gongol] Right.

[Chris Jackson] That tells them where you are.

[Brian Gongol] Exactly. And that tells them, that's an "attached as" data to your tweet, you know, whatever you put on Twitter.

[Chris Jackson] I hate the word, tweet.

[Brian Gongol] I know, it's goofy. I use Twitter, and then if you want to hit me up via Twitter, feel free. I've been, in fact, been conversing with some folks during this show via Twitter.

[Chris Jackson] Via Twitter.

[Brian Gongol] So,,, and I'm under the user name, surprisingly, briangongol. I know, that's complicated and...

[Chris Jackson] Cryptic.

[Brian Gongol] I know. You spell brian with an "i", so b-r-i-a-n, and then you spell "gongol" like, well it doesn't really spell like anything at all, does it now? [laughs] You spell it g-o-n-g-o-l. You can find me there, you want to send messages that way and send in questions that way, that's fine. I'll be happy to hear from you there. But I don't geo-tag, because like you, Chris, because I don't everybody knowing all the time where I am. I mean, I need some privacy here.

[Chris Jackson] You know...

[Brian Gongol] It's enough for you to know that I'm here, right now. [laughing]

[Chris Jackson] Yeah, I don't say this to disparage all you, whatever you call people who use Twitter are...

[Brian Gongol] Just say, people who use Twitter. That's good for me.

[Chris Jackson] Good enough.

[Brian Gongol] Don't call them "twits". That would be bad. [laughs]

[Chris Jackson] Yeah, I was trying to find a way around it, [laughs] and I didn't want to get swung at on my way out of here.

[Brian Gongol] That's probably smart.

[Chris Jackson] But, I'm not disparaging anyone, and I see the utility in Twitter and why people use it and whatever, but I have a hard time getting past, I'm not entirely comfortable with Facebook just yet, so...

[Brian Gongol] Oh, I'm with you.

[Chris Jackson] And the people who drive me crazy on my Facebook are the ones who update 45 times a day with everything they do,...

[Brian Gongol] Oh, yes.

[Chris Jackson] And that just smells Twitter to me.

[Brian Gongol] [laughs] That's the same thing.

[Chris Jackson] You look at me, plus look at me at where I am,

[Brian Gongol] Uh-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] Just becomes a wee bit self-important for my taste. [Brian laughs]

[Chris Jackson] I mean, I barely care where I am. I can't imagine why anyone else would want to know.

[Brian Gongol] I can understand that.

[Chris Jackson] You know, but the utility I can see in it is when you have some major event. You know, a natural disaster of some kind, or something like that. I get it then,...

[Brian Gongol] Uh-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] But that's, like I said with this program I've got, it's great three times in my life.

[Brian Gongol] Exactly.

[Chris Jackson] You know, I see it, but I don't...

[Brian Gongol] And I'm with you exactly on the use of geo-tagging when it comes to emergencies and things like that. You're exactly right, because if there is some kind of an earthquake, for instance, people have found out that Twitter has been a good early warning system for events like that.

[Chris Jackson] Yeah.

[Brian Gongol] People say, "holy cow, I just felt an earthquake." And if you're 30 seconds away as the earthquake travels, because earthquakes do travel,...

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] You know, people have been finding that, wow, that information spread out faster than can get out through the normal channels. OK, it does have use. And so, if you have that geo-tagging, you can trace where people say, "I felt the earthquake", and use that as a way to back into where the epicenter was. You know, that information can be found.

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] Right now, if you were to go to this Twitter Mapping, and you were trying to center the map of Des Moines, the most recent tweets the geo-location tagging, let me try...

[Chris Jackson] Reading it off the screen, aren't you? [laughing]

[Brian Gongol] No, I was trying to say it out loud from a screen, and that's even worse. It's, it will tell you that we have people who are updating, a fellow apparently saying where he is. In fact, people are just saying exactly where they are, because they are using that "four-square" application.

[Chris Jackson] Oh, yeah, yeah..

[Brian Gongol] Which I don't have to understand the purpose of it all, but that's OK. I don't have to understand all of it.

[Chris Jackson] As long as they're enjoying themselves.

[Brian Gongol] Exactly.

[Chris Jackson] They're not bothering me.

[Brian Gongol] So, right now, the most, the largest number of recent updates are people just saying where they are. So, one fellow said, he's in Cedar Falls, and someone else is on East Locust here in Des Moines, and someone else is at home and giving a location for their home, which I don't really want to know about. And these are just some of the things people are sharing, thanks to you know, using.

[Chris Jackson] "Come stalk me", that's what it's saying.

[Brian Gongol] That's why I've never been a big advocate of sharing too much information online.

[Chris Jackson] Well, like I said, I get it, I understand, the natural disaster context, I don't know that if I'm sitting at Kinnick Stadium on a Saturday afternoon, I really need to know what 45 other people think about Kirk Fairings running the ball three times with a minute to go and a tie game. [laughing] I don't know if...

[Brian Gongol] Waiting out the last minute of play, I'm not going to...

[Chris Jackson] Yeah.

[Brian Gongol] Go and bring out bad memories.

[Chris Jackson] That's fine.

[Brian Gongol] But you could find everybody else...

[Chris Jackson] You know, I mean, so, I don't know. I guess it's all part of our, we all have to be part of the entire community at all times.

[Brian Gongol] I suppose that's being part of the borg. This is why I think that going back to our conversation from the last hour, that people are going to find that there are going to be some adopters that are going to very enthusiastically plug into the Internet at all times. Very quickly. Yeah, and there are going to be people. The thing that I want to chew on for a moment is, the people with nothing to lose, in that sense. People, for instance, with some kind of terminal illness may be among the very first to try making this sort of leap that goes a step beyond. This is maybe 30 or 40 years down the road. But I think there are people who are going to make the leap from...

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] their bodies to the internet, you know that thing, in a sense.

[Chris Jackson] And you're probably right. And I'm thinking, I have a friend who has no hearing in one ear.

[Brian Gongol] Hmm-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] And at one time, explored these cochlear implants,

[Brian Gongol] Hmm-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] and just decided it wasn't worth somebody going and shoving something in my brain,

[Brian Gongol] Hmm-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] when I can hear OK out of this ear.

[Brian Gongol] Right.

[Chris Jackson] And there's other things I can do to try and fix the problem, you know, and get by.

[Brian Gongol] Right.

[Chris Jackson] That's the part that would make me nervous. I mean, you know you're asking them to put something into your brain,

[Brian Gongol] Hmm-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] which is not just going to be there, but is apparently going to interact and...

[Brian Gongol] directly with the brain.

[Chris Jackson] And you know, and cochlear implant, you know, is just an input, as opposed to an input and an output.

[Brian Gongol] Exactly right. [Laughs]

[Chris Jackson] I mean, I suppose that is the people and people will enthusiastically jump on that train. But...

[Brian Gongol] Hmm-hmm. But as we get more and more processing power and more and more data storage capacity, you know, in essence, pieces of all of us are living online. If we leave any kind of digital footprint,

[Chris Jackson] Yeah.

[Brian Gongol] pieces of us are there. We may not be that far away from a time when those pieces, in essence, form their own kind of living, breathing, being of sorts. You could, possibly, and this is where science has not yet caught up to the possibilities, because there are a lot of different directions that this stuff can go in, right now. Because we don't know enough about how the brain works to know if you can take a brain out of a person and put it into a computer. We don't know...

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] if you can do that, but maybe you can. And if you can, some of the first people to do that will be the people with, essentially, nothing left to lose. Who may see that, you know what, their bodies are physically failing, but their brains...

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] are still just fine. They may be some of the first people making some of these leaps. And we don't know where this is headed.

[Chris Jackson] Well and, you know, I've never thought this before, but the Internet still sort of, in a way, being in its infancy,

[Brian Gongol] Yeah?

[Chris Jackson] compared to other technologies,

[Brian Gongol] Like the wheel.

[Chris Jackson] Yeah. [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] Cars.

[Chris Jackson] [Laughs] Exactly. But that is also a way for people who think they have nothing left to lose, and think they're on their last days...

[Brian Gongol] Hmm-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] to attempt to live on in perpetuity.

[Brian Gongol] That's what I mean.

[Chris Jackson] Because things that we've put on there, think about how much is on there about us, and that's in ten years.

[Brian Gongol] Exactly. And that's just exactly, ten years of really widespread popular use of the Internet, and we're already leaving these huge footprints.

[Chris Jackson] Yeah.

[Brian Gongol] It could be much bigger than that.


[Brian Gongol] I hate to say it, folks, but snow is a possibility on Monday. In fact, a pretty likely possibility. I know. It's just not what we wanted to hear, but mainly afternoon, high of 24. And you know, it's too bad. Because now that I have the Matterhorn at the end of my driveway, [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] It's just going to get worse. I can't win. I just can't win.

[Chris Jackson] Terrible.

[Brian Gongol] I honestly went out last weekend and chipped like crazy, and got all that ice out of the end of the driveway. I had it down to about an inch, that was about four inches wide.

[Chris Jackson] And now it's back.

[Brian Gongol] No big deal. Then it wasn't even a speed bump. Now, I'm not kidding you. I think I'm bottoming out every time I go through. I'm going to, you know, probably end up breaking my fuel tank, or something like this, going over this.

[Chris Jackson] I made the mistake, after that huge first snowfall we had,

[Brian Gongol] Hmm-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] That I made the mistake, first of all, of buying a house in the middle of nowhere, and we drift. [Laughs]

[Chris Jackson] I mean like it's astounding. And I allowed the driveway to be about six inches narrower on my wife's side, because that's where it was piling up.

[Brian Gongol] Ah.

[Chris Jackson] And I had about six, seven feet of snow there.

[Brian Gongol] But what else were you going to do?

[Chris Jackson] What was I going to do with it? So that six inches is now eight or nine inches, and I mean, we need a thaw or something. Because before too long, you know...

[Brian Gongol] You're going to have a one-lane driveway.

[Chris Jackson] I know. She's going to have to either leave and stay gone, or stay home, because there's going to be no more getting out. [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] No more options for her at all.

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] Oh, it does get bad out there. It's cloudy and 18 right now, here in Des Moines. Fortunately, the winds are calm, so we don't have a windchill. So that, at least, is a good turn of events. But 18 degrees with snow coming on Monday [Bronx cheer], is what I have to say about that. [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] We just don't need it. It's so bad, it's almost like living on the moon, which apparently, NASA will not be going to anymore.

[Chris Jackson] Unbelievable.

[Brian Gongol] The President has basically cut the moonshot from the budget. We were planning to go back. 2020, we were going to send a rover back, and start establishing the base. In 2025, we were going to be putting people there. That was the plan.

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] And the President said, you know what? We don't have the cash for it, so that's what's getting the axe.

[Chris Jackson] And as I understand it, and I'm just pulling this, I might in fact, be making it up, but what I...

[Brian Gongol] What? [Laughs] You make something up, Chris.

[Chris Jackson] It... I...

[Brian Gongol] Yeah, probably.

[Chris Jackson] I understand it is, you know, if we de-fund for a year...

[Brian Gongol] Hmm-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] That adds two or three or four years to the horizon. So, if in two years we decide, well, we can fund this again, let's make a run at it. 2025 now is 2030 or 32, or something like that. I mean, it pushes the ball way down the field.

[Brian Gongol] Oh, probably. And, what's interesting is this, this also then relates to what other countries plan to do, because, just because NASA isn't going back to the moon doesn't mean that other countries won't also. For now, China says they want to put a rover there by 2020. The European Union has said they want to do a manned mission by 2025. It was going to kind of be the sequence. We were going to go there with a manned mission, immediately followed by the Europeans, immediately followed by the Chinese, immediately followed, I think, by the Japanese. I mean, it was going to be this 1-2-3-4 shot, or whatever. Well, if we're out, I don't know if the others change their plans, as well. I just don't know.

[Chris Jackson] Well, and so much of that technology is collaborative, outside of just one country.

[Brian Gongol] Uh-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] It's, they're relying on our program to move certain things forward while they move other technologies forward. And if we go full stop, that changes a lot of things.

[Brian Gongol] That is 100% right. And see, the thing that I think is really interesting is that, there is now a private incentive to get to the moon. Google has fronted $30 million for this. They actually want to send you to the moon.

[Chris Jackson] You know, and $30 million, when you're talking about going to the moon, I mean, doesn't that sound like a pittance? [Brian laughs] You know, well, you know, it's like, what's his head that owns Virgin...

[Brian Gongol] Yeah, Richard Branson.

[Chris Jackson] Yes, he's got the Space Port out there in Arizona...

[Brian Gongol] Uh-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] And by "space", they just mean, kind of high.

[Brian Gongol] [laughs] Well...

[Chris Jackson] I mean, it's technically "space", I get it...

[Brian Gongol] Yeah.

[Chris Jackson] You know, leave me alone. And so, you know, if he's going to spend like $5 billion to get to the moon, I mean, $30 million. I mean, I don't know, the return on investment there becomes...

[Brian Gongol] Well, what he's building is, he wants to sell those tickets for $150,000 a piece, and then people can go up and experience weightlessness and say they've been to space. Which is, space tours. So,...

[Chris Jackson] That's right.

[Brian Gongol] And interestingly, NASA, since they're stopping the use of the Space Shuttle this year, the Space Shuttle gets retired this year. We don't have a replacement. We just don't.

[Chris Jackson] So, what's NASA going to be doing now?

[Brian Gongol] Buying tickets. It's sounds like they're going to have to be using these private space companies to get astronauts into space. I'm not joking. They really, truly are.

[Chris Jackson] Oh.

[Brian Gongol] Just absolutely crazy, but it looks like that's what they're going to have to do, because they don't have another option. I mean, are we going to start putting people on the backs of rockets again? I mean, that's, literally, that's probably the way that we're going to get people back up for a while.

[Chris Jackson] That's the plan.

[Brian Gongol] That's what the Russians have been doing.

[Chris Jackson] The next, as I understood it, the next plan for a way to get man to space was back to the top of the rocket.

[Brian Gongol] Uh-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] In fact, two rockets.

[Brian Gongol] Uh-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] One for the man, and one for the payload...

[Brian Gongol] Right.

[Chris Jackson] And they meet in space. But now all of that is iffy or stopping as well...

[Brian Gongol] Uh-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] And...

[Brian Gongol] And now what they're doing on the other side of things, with the private space flight, and what, the people who won the X-Prize. And that was actually, scaled composites came up with that. Or one, the Ansari X prize, which was to get a person into space and back, twice within a week, safely. [laughs] You know, that "safely" part was a pretty important component, by the way. And they were able to do that, because they were going in pursuit of a prize. And they spent, I think they spent, $20 million to win a $10 million prize. So, they had a net loss on that project, but then sold the technology to Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, which has more than made up for what they spent on the development. And now, they'll be going into space, and doing private space flight. And they really, they promised they're doing it next year. Now, they had been promising they were going to be doing it last year, but, you know, they had pushed the date back a little bit.

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] No big deal. So we get there in 2011. All right, fine. So, you can buy a ticket and go to space. Well, it looks like NASA may be hopping a ride with you, too, because, their system is different from the rocket. They actually take a plane that goes up to a certain altitude and then launches the space ship off of that plane.

[Chris Jackson] Well, remember, you don't see it anymore because nobody cares about the Space Shuttle anymore. But when they used to, they'd land in California, and then they'd have to fly it back to Florida.

[Brian Gongol] Exactly.

[Chris Jackson] It's kind of like that.

[Brian Gongol] Piggy-backing on the back of a 747.

[Chris Jackson] Yes, and if it's like they, they got it up there and then they took off again...

[Brian Gongol] Uh-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] It's the same kind of thing.

[Brian Gongol] And that's all they're going to try to do to get back into space for now. But what Google is offering, is they're behind this $30 million prize, and here are the details. You have to safely land a robot on the surface of the moon. That's part one. You have to travel 500 meters over the lunar surface, so about the length of two football fields.

[Chris Jackson] OK.

[Brian Gongol] Travel around. And then you have to send images and data back to Earth. So you have to do those three things. The teams, they say, have to be 90% privately funded to do this.

[Chris Jackson] Oh, OK.

[Brian Gongol] This is the key. They have to 90% privately funded, and they say you have to register by the end of this year. December 31st, 2010, is the last day to get in. Now, the first team to get there and complete the objectives, do those three things...

[Chris Jackson] Yeah.

[Brian Gongol] They get 20 million dollars, as long as they do it before New Year's Eve 2012. You have to do it by December 31, 2012. [Laughs]

[Chris Jackson] I thought you were going to say New Year's Eve like 2019. And we're just trying to beat the Japanese.

[Brian Gongol] Yeah. Nope, that's right. You have to do it then. [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] And the final deadline for winning any of these prizes, because they have a second prize for the second team to get there. Can you imagine being second place in this? [Laughs]

[Chris Jackson] Oh, man.

[Brian Gongol] Second team to do this gets 15 million dollars. Then there are bonus prizes, up to 5 million dollars for all this. The final deadline they say, December 31, 2014. So Google will pay somebody to go to the moon before NASA will even be going there. In fact, NASA's taking it off the list of things to do.

[Chris Jackson] Of things. You know, and I guess this is probably just an idea that we need to get comfortable with.

[Brian Gongol] Hmm-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] We have all lived in a world where governments go into space.

[Brian Gongol] Exactly.

[Chris Jackson] And because they were the only ones who could possibly get their arms around the technology, and the infrastructure to do it. But those days are likely on their decline.

[Brian Gongol] Hmm-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] And it's private industry that is going to be picking up. And that's how exploration, I suppose, has always happened.

[Brian Gongol] Exactly.

[Chris Jackson] Is the state ships go out first, and then the entrepreneurs come flying in second, and actually make it worthwhile.

[Brian Gongol] Well, then of course, the guys who first sailed from Europe to the Americas were not exactly coming on a mission of, "Oh, hey, what's around here?"

[Chris Jackson] [Laughs] Right.

[Brian Gongol] They were probably looking for gold and trade routes.

[Chris Jackson] That's right.

[Brian Gongol] So they were looking to make some dough out of it. So certainly, it's not out of line to expect that private companies will be back on the moon before the U.S. government will be.

[Chris Jackson] Hmm-hmm.

[Brian Gongol] Perhaps by a decade or more.

[Chris Jackson] Unbelievable.

[Brian Gongol] Which is, yeah, it's just huge. Just enormously huge. So, all of that happening. But there is one thing that government does reasonably well, and that is basic research. And there is some basic research on how to keep all of our devices, from computers, to television sets, to our cell phones working using Mr. Fusion that they may have just taken a big step forward on figuring out how to do this. And this actually is a government agency that has done it. We will explain how Mr. Fusion could be in your very near future.


[Brian Gongol] 1:53 here on News Radio 1040 WHO. I'm Brian Gongol. Chris Jackson is here with us today. Thank you so much for coming in on such short notice again. I appreciate that.

[Chris Jackson] It's my pleasure.

[Brian Gongol] Filling in today for Dan Adams. Dan, we hope you're feeling better soon. It's, you know, not a good thing to be filled by any kind of illness, but best not to, you know, give it to your fellow radio hosts. [Laughs]

[Chris Jackson] I appreciate that very much.

[Brian Gongol] So we were talking, in the last segment here, about the excitement over what has just been discovered at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, a government agency. And you know, we were just talking about how government apparently is not going back to the moon. But maybe we've solved the basic problem here on Earth, and that is keeping the lights on...

[Chris Jackson] [Laughs] Which would be good.

[Brian Gongol] In a really, really big way. Now check this out. They have actually found that they were doing an experiment to try to create fusion. And you know, everybody's familiar with Mr. Fusion from Back to the Future. Right? You know the very end of the...

[Chris Jackson] Right, right.

[Brian Gongol] end of the movie. You know, he's dumping the banana peel and the beer into the Mr. Fusion Machine.

[Chris Jackson] I've emptied out many Miller High Life cans in the hope that someday I can use that can... [Laughs]

[Chris Jackson] to power my DeLorean.

[Brian Gongol] Of course, there was still beer inside the can when he poured it in. [Laughs]

[Chris Jackson] Oh.

[Brian Gongol] Oh, yeah. Well, there was ethanol before its time.

[Chris Jackson] There's only so far I'm willing to go. [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] So what they are doing now, is trying to figure out how they can create fusion. I mean, we do everything, nuclear energy now, through fission. They're splitting atoms.

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] That releases a lot of energy, but it also means that then you end up with radioactive stuff afterward. And you have to put the waste somewhere. Now it turns out that the waste can be managed and maintained. And there maybe ways to make it less toxic, and all kinds of other things that can be done to make it safer. But, on the other hand, there's fusion, which instead of splitting the atom apart, puts the atom together. And they can do it with basically, an isotope of hydrogen that is widely found in the ocean.

[Chris Jackson] Oh, perfect.

[Brian Gongol] Like it's just available pretty much for free. And if they can do it just right, we could have this unbelievably clean, super abundant source of energy. Because, I don't know about you, but I don't think we're running out of seawater anytime soon. Perhaps this is a way to counteract the rising sea levels from global warming.

[Chris Jackson] The only thing we have too much of is seawater. [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] And they may be able to produce this cheap energy to almost limitless amounts out of this fusion. But the thing about this that's exciting is, they thought this was going to take, you were thinking, what, five or ten years, you've been hearing?

[Chris Jackson] Yeah. I mean, I read something about this, and they were saying, "Well, we're close. We're so close." You know, five, ten, fifteen, twenty years. You know, maybe twenty five.

[Brian Gongol] Hmm-hmm.

[Chris Jackson] But you know, the usual what you hear kind of time horizons of decades.

[Brian Gongol] And now, the results of the first experiments, at what they're call the National Ignition Facility. This sounds cool.

[Chris Jackson] Oh, I like that.

[Brian Gongol] [Laughs] Just anything that sounds like it involves fire sounds cool.

[Chris Jackson] Just don't be the guy who loses the keys.

[Brian Gongol] No. [Laughs]

[Chris Jackson] At the National Ignition Facility...

[Brian Gongol] At Lawrence Livermore, they've been trying to turn in, turn lasers into this super-concentrated energy to then ignite, or kick off, the fusion process in these little isotopes of hydrogen. And what they're trying to do, you know, they've got a video on their website. And we'll post a link to this at, so you can see how they're putting it together. It's kind of a neat video. And it show the lasers bouncing back and forth against these mirrors, and getting super-charged each time they bounce past. And then they concentrate all of these lasers into one central point. And, in a matter of billionths of a second, they super-charge this little, tiny, like centimeter-sized piece of hydrogen that then they try to fuse. They kick off fusion. Now the worry that they've had for the longest time is, with all of these lasers shooting everywhere, and all the heat that'll be involved, there will be a plasma ball. And the plasma ball will keep the energy from the lasers from getting into the hydrogen, and then initiating the process.

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] But it turns out,

[Chris Jackson] Hey, maybe not. [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] Basically, the summary is, oh, it turns out that we didn't think that it was going to happen before, or happen like it was going to happen. It turns out that there's really no plasma ball at all, and we get it kicked off. And now they're saying, and I'm taking this straight from their press release on the subject, they're like, "Well, this is a major milestone, demonstrates that basically, we can do everything that we want." And in fact, the quote is, "NIF has shown that it can consistently deliver the energy required to conduct ignition experiments later this year." [Laughs] Perfect.

[Brian Gongol] In other words, they think they're going to be testing fusion this year.

[Chris Jackson] That's crazy.

[Brian Gongol] 2010. Fusion.

[Chris Jackson] That's supposed to be just impossible.

[Brian Gongol] I know. And they thought that this was going to take forever. This huge breakthrough, though, means, hey, we could be looking at super cheap energy in the very near future. I mean, obviously, any of these things take a long time to go from the pure science, which is where it is now...

[Chris Jackson] Right.

[Brian Gongol] to the practical applications. Not like we're all going to have a little fusion reactor in the backyard. Not right away.

[Chris Jackson] It takes a long time before you could put Homer Simpson in charge.

[Brian Gongol] [Laughs] That's exactly right. But it will be on the way. They think that they've just found far more than they expected to. I mean, they were able to concentrate 30 times more energy in this laser concentration system, than they've ever been able to put together before.

[Chris Jackson] So as long as these guys get the testing down this year, before CERN creates a black hole, and we all explode... [Laughs]

[Chris Jackson] we're in good shape?

[Brian Gongol] We have to trust the Europeans not to create a black hole in the middle of, what is it, Switzerland, or wherever it was.

[Chris Jackson] Switzerland and France.

[Brian Gongol] Oh, OK.

[Chris Jackson] It goes into France.

[Brian Gongol] Ah. [Laughs] And create a black hole that will kill us all. I guess that's the kind of existential thing that could keep a person awake at night. [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] Which, if they're plugged into the internet, could get them into trouble if they end up visiting, you know, Al-Qaeda websites in the middle of the night. And then the government comes chasing after them.

[Chris Jackson] Well, as long as we attach the geo-tag to all of it, we'll know exactly where it happened. [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] Don't you love that we've been able to just kind of put this whole show together in one neat little package, and then tie the bow on top? [Laughs]

[Brian Gongol] We're so helpful like that. Well, we've got to check out for now. Now if you go over to, on the Wise Guys page, links to some of the things that we have talked about today, including that Amazon Mechanical Turk, and some of these other items. I'll have those up here in about 15 minutes or so. You can hit us up online via email, You can text us any time you like throughout the week at 989-1040. Or, of course, you can hit me up on Twitter, I'll be happy to hear from you any of those different ways. Lots of exciting stuff. And we're going to have some help desk information for you over on the website as well, at Chris, thanks so much for coming in today.

[Chris Jackson] My pleasure.

[Brian Gongol] And we'll be looking forward to having you back again soon. I mean, you know, Dan, get well, but if he's not, you're good to have here. [Laughs]

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