Gongol.com Archives: December 2009
Brian Gongol


December 28, 2009

Business and Finance A worthwhile interview with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates
(Video) The 90-minute "town hall" with the two broadcast on CNBC was surprisingly pointless -- not by the fault of Buffett and Gates, but because it was filled with sycophantic applause and long-winded introductions by Columbia Business School students hoping for a moment in the spotlight instead of really good questions to probe two of the sharpest minds in America. Fortunately, they were smart enough to control the conversation when filmed during a walk-and-talk interview with a CNBC reporter, and that was the content worth watching.

Aviation News Instead of behavioral profiling, we're getting new stupid air-travel security measures
Passengers are being told to keep nothing in their laps, to stay seated for an hour prior to arrival, and to expect no in-flight entertainment, all because of one failed attempt on a passenger jet on Christmas, conducted by a suspect whose own family warned officials to be alarmed about him. As has consistently proven to be the case, we have far more to gain from human intelligence-gathering than from idiotic blanket procedures that just make air travel miserable for everyone.

Socialism Doesn't Work China is strategically expanding its energy supply
For all of the self-flagellation and hand-wringing that's been conducted over America's contributions to carbon-dioxide production and global warming, the environmentalist movement has utterly missed the place where realpolitik coincides with their interests: China is aggressively expanding its access to hydrocarbon fuels through every means available, financed by lots of state-controlled money. This means that two things will happen in the future: First, China's (dubious) lead as the world's largest producer of greenhouse gases will increase. Second, access to those fuels will become increasingly expensive to Western nations. Thus, the quest for alternative energy sources, which the environmentalist movement wants people to adopt because they feel guilty about harming the environment, is really far more significant as a matter of national security. By shedding the guilt-trip nonsense, which often comes across as blatant anti-capitalism, the environmentalists might actually be able to wisely align their interests with unconventional allies in the business sector and among national-security hawks who don't want to see the next century turned over to Chinese hegemony. It might even lead to the adoption of proven strategies like innovation prizes, which would almost certainly get us to the "energy future" we really need faster than punitive carbon taxes or cap-and-trade ever will.

Health The real costs and benefits of health screenings
Unfortunately, the tone of a lot of new recommendations sounds like it's anti-testing altogether, and that's certainly not making anyone feel more comfortable with the idea of government (which is already broke, frequently incompetent, and hidebound by bureaucratic rules) taking over health-care rules for many Americans

News Will the NBA add franchises in Rome, Rio, or Tel Aviv?
Over the next ten years, possibly. So says the NBA commissioner.

News The last ten years as a graphical chart

Computers and the Internet How to save a water-logged piece of electronics
Put it in a bowl full of dry rice. Very sensible, and it has a lot of testimonial support.

Water News Cedar Rapids told to scale back flood-protection plans

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