Gongol.com Archives: October 2010
Brian Gongol

October 16, 2010

Business and Finance RIP Benoit Mandelbrot
One of the most novel mathematicians of the modern era has died. His book "The (Mis)Behavior of Markets is a work of genius, explaining exactly why financial markets behave erratically, even though thousands (if not millions) of people think they're smart enough to predict those same markets. Mandelbrot's work explains exactly why someone like Bernard Madoff can't honestly produce impeccable, smooth results year after year. (That crooked scheme netted Madoff some high-on-the-hog living, though. Too bad he was living high on the backs of the ill-informed.)

Computers and the Internet China is using malware attacks to spy on South Korea
Infected attachments sent with spoofed e-mails are poking holes in South Korea's security

Threats and Hazards The state of America's budget: Worse than critical
The Concord Coalition thinks we could be suffering trillion-dollar deficits every year from now through 2020

News A brilliant scholarship offer
The University of Nebraska offers a free-tuition scholarship to seventh-graders who obtain a perfect score on any section of the ACT or SAT. It's a brilliant offer: First of all, these are the kinds of kids to whom the university would likely offer a scholarship later, so why not make the offer early? Colleges are offering athletic scholarships at ridiculously early ages, so why not do the same for actual scholars? Second, it establishes credibility that old "State U." is serious about academics (even if the selection method is a little arbitrary). Third, it makes for good publicity: Who can say anything bad about an offer made to a bookish junior-high student? Well done, Nebraska.

Science and Technology You can't multitask, nor can anybody else
We're only capable of switching our attention quickly from one task to another. But every time you switch, your brain has to re-set -- so too much switching only results in lots of lost productivity.

Humor and Good News "How to wallow in unbridled hedonism"
Panel three of the comic is artistic genius

Humor and Good News How Grandma sees the television remote control

Science and Technology Snails moving at something faster than a snail's pace
Truly spectacular time-lapse video. Impressive even for those who don't like nature shows.

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