Gongol.com Archives: November 2006
Brian Gongol

November 22, 2006

Science and Technology If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging
Google Maps hack shows where you'd end up if you dug a hole straight through the center of the earth

Socialism Doesn't Work Russian government trying to cripple Russian economy
Groups within the government want a broad range foreign investors to go through a vetting process controlled by the successor to the KGB

Iowa Des Moines - way more of a service economy than most other places
The insurance industry in Des Moines gives the city a service-industry concentration much higher than in the rest of the country

Computers and the Internet Don't use Firefox password manager
In general, password-saving features are a bad idea, but in this particular case a widespread attack on an unpatched flaw has been identified

Graphics Cosmic Wormhole

News Good reason to think twice about frying a turkey
A fried Thanksgiving turkey can hardly be tasty enough to warrant the risk of burning one's house down (and perhaps engulfing the neighborhood in flames)

Water News Trees create environmental Catch-22 for Nebraska

Threats and Hazards Stock-speculation spam could be helping terrorists
Being computer-security analysts, the people at Symantec have raised red flags about the problem of stock-speculation spam -- the annoying unsolicited e-mail promising "Hot Tips!", usually about penny stocks that are "about to explode!" They even point out that this sort of spam is actually successful at producing short-term spikes in demand for the stocks they solicit, even though they're terrible investments. But what the Symantec analysts may not realize is that there's a very good chance that the people promoting the spam are connected to organized crime and/or terrorism. These gangs are quite aware of ways to game the futures markets, which is a terribly efficient way to make lots of illegitimate money, especially with advance knowledge of a likely attack. The people sending out the stock spam have prior knowledge of which stocks to pump and dump, but the gullible investors who fall prey to the stock spam don't. Sadly, a huge number of people respond to spam. The bottom-line message: Don't invest in stocks you hear about via spam...if you do, you're probably funding organized crime.

The American Way Ben Stein eulogizes Milton Friedman
Thanks the economic genius for promoting individual responsibility, and ties it into his own message about finances: "Don't wait for government to come along to save you. Do it yourself."