Gongol.com Archives: February 2006
Brian Gongol

Aviation News (2006.02.10)
Pilot's View of a Boston-to-Paris Flight

Weather and Disasters (2006.02.10)
Buy Futures Contracts on Snow
The wonders of predictive markets; people can now trade in marketable securities based on the amount of snow that falls in certain locations around the country. The theory goes that the more people taking part in such markets, the more accurate the predictive power of said markets.

Aviation News (2006.02.10)
Airlines Going Bankrupt, But Ticket Prices Are Cheap
Thank the Southwest Airlines effect

Computers and the Internet (2006.02.10)
Monitoring Computer Networks Like a Baby's Cry
By putting server behavior to music, a college IT department thinks it can figure out when something's going wrong

Humor and Good News (2006.02.10)
Are Pop Stars Becoming Ever More Boring with Time?

Humor and Good News (2006.02.10)
"BrokeBack to the Future"
(Video) Context is everything

Agriculture (2006.02.10)
After Long-Term Rise, Ag Land Values Could Plateau or Fall
Cut in farm payments and water shortages could both contribute

Broadcasting (2006.02.10)
E-Mail in Reporting: "Be a Journalist, Not a Stenographer"
Advantages to using e-mail: A better record with fewer misquotations, time-shifting, and access to people who don't have time for sit-down interviews. Disadvantages: Less spontaneity, fewer "aha" moments, and the ever-present chance that the person answering the question isn't really the intended interviewee.

The United States of America (2006.02.10)
Revised Patriot Act Probably Will Be Approved Soon
Some new safeguards for civil liberties installed

Agriculture (2006.02.10)
Making Ethanol More Energy-Efficient
Raise livestock near the plant, feed the plant's grain residues to the cattle, collect the natural gas the cattle produce, and use the natural gas to fuel the plant

News (2006.02.10)
US Cancels Afghanistan's Debt
But debt relief without structural reforms is useless

Threats and Hazards (2006.02.10)
Malaysian Prime Minister Makes Possession of Danish Cartoons Illegal
Christians make up about a third of the planet's population; Muslims about one-fifth. Neither one is going anywhere, so two things are going to have to happen: (1) Everyone's going to have to tolerate some differences of opinion; (2) The violence has to stop. The real pot o'gold at the end of the rainbow would be universal recognition of the rights to free speech, thought, and peaceable assembly, but that's going to take more work.

Business and Finance (2006.02.10)
Bad Days to Be an Autoworker
Volkswagen will cut up to 20,000 jobs (though the decline of German automaking has been foreseen for quite some time now), just as Ford cuts 25,000 jobs or more and GM goes price-slashing to stop the sales slide.