Wise Guys on WHO Radio - August 17, 2013
Brian Gongol

The WHO Radio Wise Guys airs on WHO Radio in Des Moines, Iowa on 1040 AM or streaming online at WHORadio.com. 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 wiseguys@whoradio.com.

Science and Technology 3D scanners plus 3D printers equals a nightmare for intellectual property

Health New record-holder for the world's oldest person?
Maybe he's really 123 years old; maybe he's not. But it's still astonishing that there isn't a more deliberate push by us -- as a species -- to push the boundaries of what we think our lifespans should be. Two root causes are likely at play: First, people confuse growing old with a decline in their quality of life. That's absolutely unnecessary; George Burns and Norman Borlaug were happy, engaged, and active well into their 90s, so we need to separate the notion of "aging" from the notion of "feebleness". Second, we culturally resist acknowleding that death even exists, which in turn makes it hard to take seriously the idea of prolonging a viable, healthy life. Death really is Public Enemy #1, and we should treat it as such. Other living organisms routinely live into multiple hundreds of years, and we are rapidly developing the technology to replace our own failed organs with new ones from our own cells. That means we should, in theory, be approaching a stage in which we can do an end-run around nature and perpetuate ourselves well beyond what might have been our otherwise natural expiration dates. And if we truly think that age can beget wisdom, and that wisdom is a good thing to be used and applied, then we should quite reasonably think of prolonging healthy lives as a means of increasing the world's human potential (an economist would say "human capital") at an exponentially-increasing rate. Had people like Thomas Edison or Albert Einstein or Benjamin Franklin lived to be 150 or 200 years old, wouldn't we all be better off? Capitalism in liberal democracies works because it nudges us all to work hard and (more importantly) helps reward and encourage the occasional genius who can truly leverage big improvements in the quality of life for us all. Anything we can do to perpetuate some of our real geniuses would be a good thing.

Aviation News Area 51 exists. So what?
That the government has acknowledged the existence of Area 51 as a test area for aircraft isn't quite the step towards more transparent government that we should all be demanding. Area 51 conspiracy theories are for the tin-foil-hat crowd. Meanwhile, we're really not doing enough about government surveillance.

Health The accelerating evolution of pathogens

Science and Technology Bill Gates on the connection between standardization and his charitable work
He notes similarities between the contribution that shipping containers have made to the modern world and the missing components he think would make the biggest contributions to fixing problems like malaria in poor countries and low educational standards in the US.

Iowa A day at the Iowa State Fair with Chuck Grassley

Science and Technology It's tough to get good STEM teachers into rural schools

Iowa Where more wind turbines will be built across Iowa

Computers and the Internet "Package file invalid"
A warning many have been seeing on their Android smartphones recently; Google seems to think the problem has been cured

Agriculture USDA predicts Iowa will harvest 17% more corn than in 2012

Iowa Iowa City picks a strange time to close Dubuque Street
Dubuque Street is one of the very few thoroughfares from I-80 to the university campus. Work needs to be done on the interchange with the Interstate, but couldn't they have scheduled that work for some time other than the start of the fall semester?

Computers and the Internet Facebook's new algorithm will create an echo chamber
Their approach to sorting your news feed includes a change to the algorithm, which gives higher priority to news from people with whom you've recently interacted. Which means the more you hear from certain people, the more you will hear from and about them -- and the less from others. Not necessarily a good thing.

Computers and the Internet Twitter's usefulness as an election-prediction tool