Gongol.com Archives: December 2009
Brian Gongol


December 24, 2009

The American Way Americans actually kept saving in November
The personal savings rate stayed at 4.7% in November -- practically a miracle when compared with the savings rates of the last 20 years. One of the key problems with the American economy is that we simply don't save like adults ought to. A savings rate of 10% is really about right for most individuals and households, and that was what we had until the 1980s. But then, savings plunged. Debt is what gets a household -- and a nation -- into trouble, and we've been living off debt for far too long. Anyone who wants to get a jolt of reality about the value of savings and patience ought to read up on some of Whitney Tilson's notes from Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meetings, at which Warren Buffett shares his wisdom for free. Buffett built one of the world's 25 largest companies in a single lifetime, and he didn't get there by inventing anything. Just patience and prudence. Related: Eight consumer brands that bit the dust in 2009.

Weather and Disasters Webster County uses "reverse 911" to warn residents of an incoming storm
The National Weather Service is expecting an "epic" snowstorm across Iowa, and one north-central county prepared by issuing a county-wide warning about travel that went out by phone. The National Weather Service put the matter like this:

A ONCE IN A QUARTER CENTURY STORM WILL MOVE ONTO THE PLAINS WEDNESDAY AND WRAP UP AND INTENSIFY INTO THURSDAY. A LARGE AREA OF MAINLY SNOW...HEAVY AT TIMES...WILL LIFT NORTH INTO THE TRI STATE AREA WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON INTO WEDNESDAY EVENING. BY THURSDAY MORNING THE WIND WILL BECOME MORE NORTHERLY AND INCREASE WITH GUSTS OF 30 TO 40 MPH LIKELY. WITH A WIDESPREAD 10 TO 20 INCHES OF SNOW...SIGNIFICANT BLOWING AND DRIFTING WILL OCCUR ON THURSDAY INTO FRIDAY.

Sadly, the news media and some agencies like the NWS still use ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME. It only happened in the first place because the original teletype machines couldn't handle mixed-case text, so the convention became CAPS ONLY. Then people started trying to convince themselves that the all-caps routine was easier to read (for reporters and anchors), even though that's self-evidently untrue. If all-caps were easier to read, then books and magazines would be published that way. It isn't, and they aren't. On a related note, someone has taken the time to build a website that interprets the real-world weather for Star Wars fanatics. Whatever it takes to get the word out, one supposes.


Health Genomes for skin cancer and lung cancer are now known
Researchers think they'll crack brain cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, and ovarian cancer within five years

Computers and the Internet BlackBerry outage strikes again

Aviation News Dallas Morning News hints that pilot fatigue may have contributed to the American Airlines incident in Jamaica

Humor and Good News The worst touchdown celebration in history
(Video)

News The Cubs/Cardinals rivalry never gets this bad
Yankees fans actually kill people

Water News House of Representatives passes $2 billion bill for water and $48 billion for highways

Broadcasting Podcast: Shouldn't the Metrodome have lasted longer than 30 years?

WHO Radio Wise Guys on Facebook