Gongol.com Archives: December 2009
Brian Gongol

December 30, 2009

Aviation News New air-travel security rules: Just a bunch of show
Bruce Schneier again calls it "security theater", and he's right. What good is a rule about staying seated for the last hour of a flight when we don't even bother to screen airport employees. The TSA ran a tiny pilot program to screen airport workers in 2008. Since then, what? And while thousands of airport workers will continue to have unscreened access to luggage, planes, and travelers, the government wants to introduce more full-body scans. How about spending that money on more Air Marshals instead? Human intelligence and direct human intervention are the only things that stopped the shoe bomber and the latest terrorist attempt. We ought to emphasize the use of things that work instead of putting on a show for the illusion of security.

Business and Finance China forecasts 8% economic growth in 2010
That's a very quick rate of expansion -- imagine if everyone were 8% better at their jobs on December 31st than they had been on the preceding January 1st. Economic growth is hugely important, even if that's not so widely understood. And, fortunately for 1.3 billion people, economic growth often leads to political freedom as well. They're not perfectly correlated; India has long had more political freedom than China with less economic growth, but that may very well be attributable to the work of politicians who valued "self-sufficiency" in the Indian economy more than growth.

Business and Finance Why people will sign up for a credit card with a 79.9% interest rate
If people who can't get credit otherwise can manage to keep a zero balance on the card, it could be the only way they can get a card

News Does Interpol now have free reign to police in the United States?
A brand-new Executive Order seems to say "yes, it does"

Business and Finance Why listen to a financial reporter when you can actually follow the advice of the wealthy?
A BBC financial reporter, looking back on the last decade -- one in which the stock markets were big fat losers -- says that "in these kind of conditions, the old tenets of 'buy and hold' and 'invest for the long term' seem hard to justify." Wrong interpretation. Instead of taking the advice of someone who talks about other people's money, one should instead take the advice of someone who has built an enormous fortune over many decades: Warren Buffett, who says America's economy is going to grow over the long haul, and who notes that "Cash is going to become worth less over time. But good businesses are going to become worth more over time." People are free to follow the advice of whomever they wish, but it certainly doesn't seem worthwhile to follow the advice of a reporter when it runs directly contrary to the advice of the kind of magnate upon whom the reporter reports.

Humor and Good News The MacGyver Kitten
(Video) Brilliant? Not really. But a sufficiently clever 80s flashback to be good for a laugh.

Broadcasting Radio on-demand: Why should investors sell their winners?

Broadcasting Radio on-demand: What did you get for Christmas?

Water News Chloride "is pervasive in Iowa groundwater"

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