Wise Guys on WHO Radio - March 27, 2010
Brian Gongol

Tetris could be used to erase unpleasant memories and prevent post-traumatic stress disorder. If a person plays it within 6 hours of a traumatic event, it may help prevent those memories from migrating from the temporary part of the brain to the permanent memory.

The company that makes Facebook games like Farmville is going to sell prepaid credits in major stores. On one hand, I want to applaud their entrepreneurial ingenuity. On the other, I weep for the lost productivity. There's so much more that can be done with the brainpower that's being put into creating addictive games...like medical research and biotechnology development. On a related note, I won't participate in Facebook games because the terms of use give the game creators all kinds of access to your personal details.

Flash mobs, which we've talked about for years as a potential minefield for society, are turning violent in Philadelphia. Lawmakers need to think quickly about how to deal with the Constitutional right to peaceable assembly in an age when thousands of people can be assembled in a matter of minutes.

Google has officially moved out of China, and now they're reporting on service availability within the People's Republic of China. Google entered the country with the logical intention of making money, and the rationalization that they figured they could do more good than harm by giving the Chinese Internet user some access to the broader Internet, even if they had to bow to government pressure to censor some of those results. It has become apparent, though, that the Chinese government is going to make that impossible to keep up.

It's kind of odd: The Communist government in China recognizes the power of the Internet, and seems to realize just how dynamic and transformative it really is, but uses its power to oppress. Authorities here in the United States, by contrast, seem practically oblivious to that power and leave us at risk through their failure to act on the steps they should be taking to ensure that our laws keep up with the changes -- and that our infrastructure is robust enough to resist assault by forces like China's cyber-army.

Some of my favorites sites for tech news: The Tata Nano is a super-cheap car being sold in India, and it's having a little trouble with reports of safety and quality problems. The car is a classic, textbook-quality example of the nature of trade-offs. The Nano surely wouldn't pass muster by American standards for quality and safety, but it's probably better by far than a ride on one of India's deadly, overcrowded trains.

Firefox is out with an update. Get it if you haven't already. If you don't use Firefox, it's time to start.

How much is a year of work really worth? You might be surprised who makes 80 times what the President of the United States does.

Speaking of paying for performance, the Times of London is one of the world's most respected newspapers, and it's going to charge for online content. $1.50 a day. Count on that experiment to fail within 12 months.

By the way, if you follow @briangongol on Twitter, you'll get an early heads-up on some of the things we're going to talk about on the show. Get the links to today's show notes at http://www.whoradio.com/cc-common/mainheadlines3.html?feed=160469&article=6922746