The Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio
Brian Gongol

We're trying a fun little experiment: Putting live updates about what we're talking about on a website called Twitter. Twitter gives you 140 characters to tell people what you're up to at any given moment, so if you want to follow along with the show while we're rolling through our two hours, see the Twitter channels for Brian Dean and Brian Gongol. And if you can't get enough of this show, you might like taking a stroll through our growing index of keywords to things we talk about on this show.

On a related note, we're playing a strange role here with this show: We're in the business of both entertaining and informing at the same time. That's a tall order, but it's really not that far from what teachers have to do in the classroom. If we can come up with ways to employ technology to extend our show, it sure seems like education could use a dose of the same. It's not as though the entire future of this country doesn't hinge on the success of our educational system or anything...

One of the interesting side-effects of the declining value of the dollar has been the rise in commodity prices. That is, since a bushel of corn is pretty much the same thing no matter where you are in the world, the dramatic rise in corn prices of late might not be due just to the increase in demand for things like ethanol, but also because it simply takes more dollar bills to buy a bushel of corn anywhere on the planet than it used to. On a related note, the weakness in the dollar has caused Britain's standard of living to rise above ours for the first time in more than a century.

Do we have Excessive Ovation Syndrome here in Des Moines? It seems like any performance, of just about any quality, is likely to get a standing "O" at the end. If we're over-eager to give those ovations out, we might not be the only ones: People in San Diego have been accused of EOS as well.

The story of the fraternal twins who married each other after being separated at birth raises an interesting question: Why in the world aren't our Presidential candidates talking about the massive changes on the way for our medical system. We're very close to having our personal genome maps available for an especially affordable cost. But once we're able to map our own genomes, we'll not only be able to know ahead of time whether we're unwittingly marrying a close relative -- we'll also be able to know whether we're at high risk for genetic diseases, or whether our kids might be. That could revolutionize medicine and turn the whole idea of insurance right on its head.

The new Tata People's Car (the new $3000 car made in India) bears a striking resemblance to the Cozy Coupe children's toy. That idle observation notwithstanding, the exploding markets for automobiles in India and China are going to further increase world demand for oil, and that's going to have a direct impact on our pocketbooks -- and it could also have a huge effect on the climate, if greenhouse gas predictions come true. This is neither the first time I've called for more energy-related inducement prizes, and it won't be the last. If the latest tiff with Iran doesn't offer enough encouragement for us to try to reduce our dependency on oil from the Middle East, it's hard to see what would.

Thank goodness for Moody's, the credit-rating company that has warned that the government had better get spending (especially on Medicare and Social Security) under control or else they're going to downgrade the value of Federal debt. This is a disaster that we have been able to see coming from miles and miles away.

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