Gongol.com Archives: October 2010
Brian Gongol

October 13, 2010

Business and Finance "Firms that do not adequately compensate risk losing their top bankers"
Revenues at lots of investment banks are relatively flat -- an they're even declining at some firms. But those firms are giving raises to their employees regardless, using the argument that they can't unilaterally disarm in the face of rising pay among their competitors. Cute excuse, but the real owners of the firms (their shareholders) deserve better. The nauseating argument that pay has to rise at outlandish rates just to keep employees from going elsewhere -- even for poor performance -- is a tired refrain used not only by investment banks, but also within collegiate and professional sports, and among high-level business executives. That argument would be a lot easier to swallow if it didn't sound quite so much like extortion -- or if it were only backed by performance that improved just as fast as the pay increases.

Computers and the Internet Google puts $5 billion into wind energy
The company is starting to get smart about diversifying away from its core business in search engines and online ad revenues. Electricity is one of the main input costs for Google, since it has to run massive computing centers worldwide 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Simultaneously, it's reaping windfall profits right now from its online businesses -- windfall profits that won't last forever. In fact, they probably won't even last for ten more years. So now is the time for them to wisely sink excess profits into other lines of business -- and in this case, alternative sources of electricity would be a wise place for that money to go, since it's both a market that's likely to grow over the long term, and a way for Google to vertically integrate its business model.

Aviation News Ignorance is bliss
(Video) An old recording of an airshow (supposedly from 1959) illustrates just how much fun it's possible to have when you don't know very much. The demonstration is compelling and thrilling, to be sure, but it includes several displays that are so ridiculously dangerous by our current standards that it's hard to believe they were ever performed.

Health So, are we really done with H1N1?
The brutal strain of influenza caused some serious panic last year, but it looks like it's pretty well-repressed for now. What have we done to prepare in case it, or something like it, comes back? Because something will.

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