Gongol.com Archives: 2011 Weekly Archives
Brian Gongol

Business and Finance Some people have far too much job security
The board of directors at BP -- the same BP that had a huge portion of its equity destroyed by a colossal oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico just a few months ago -- was just re-elected in full. Only one director had even a meaningful vote against his re-election -- but even then kept his job with 75% of the vote. In just one year, 30% of the stock's market value has evaporated, and the directors have overseen the company's loss of billions of dollars in expenses alone. How could they possibly have been allowed by the shareholders -- their bosses -- to keep their jobs?

Weather and Disasters The calmest, stupidest video of a passing tornado ever
(Video) Some lunatic sits calmly in his car as a tornado heads straight towards him. Seriously, America, we don't have to record everything on video.

Threats and Hazards Robo-calls attempt to scam Iowans

Science and Technology The volcano that feeds Yellowstone National Park is much bigger than previously thought

Humor and Good News Is "Scream 4" worth watching? Not if you're blind.
(Video) The "Blind Film Critic" says there's no way to figure out the movie if you can't see the picture. That doesn't mean it's not good eye candy, but one might stop to consider what movies are like for the blind. Great dramatic writing would be good whether the players are visible or not. On the other hand, visual stunts like extreme ironing probably don't carry as well.

Computers and the Internet Facebook: Just another tool for putting one's ignorance on display to the world

Health Do yourself a favor: Take two minutes for a self-exam today
Take a minute or two and conduct some basic self-screenings for cancer. Early detection saves lives. There's lots of misinformation about cancer that finds its way around the Internet, largely because we've been trained to wait expectantly for some sort of magic-bullet solution to cancer. But cancer risks can be significantly reduced through a balanced diet, exercise, and early detection and treatment. Meanwhile, science is making great progress towards improving genetic detection, which holds great promise for some types of cancer. Instead of forwarding hoax-ridden e-mails about "cancer cures" and false threats, people should instead remind their friends and family to assess their health once a month.

Humor and Good News A quick Passover summary for the Internet age

Broadcasting Podcasts from the Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - April 17, 2011
Four segments, each in MP3 format:
The problem with ATC
How did the BP board get re-elected? (part 1)
Seriously, how did they get re-elected? (part 2)
Please, make the gold bugs shut up.

Iowa Sophisticated crooks stole $2 million from Iowa banks
And they did it without ever stepping foot inside. They used identity theft and social engineering to get the money.

The United States of America General McChrystal didn't do anything worthy of firing
The Pentagon investigated the accusations made in the Rolling Stone article that got McChrystal canned, but couldn't substantiate anything sufficient to have warranted his firing. Too little, too late, unfortunately, but at least his name got cleared.

Agriculture US wheat farmers are facing a tough year
And that's probably going to put upward pressure on corn prices, since the two are, to some extent, substitutes for one another

Business and Finance Goldman Sachs set aside $5.23 billion for employee pay in the first quarter
And it still had time for a $2.7 billion profit. The two numbers combined would be enough, approximately, to rebuild the World Trade Center twin towers or buy out the entirety of Chrysler. There's no question that investment bankers play a necessary function in a free market. But there's also little justification for paying them that much.

The United States of America Don't dress little girls like tramps

Humor and Good News No, kitty! This is my pot pie!
(Video) One of the classic "South Park" clips

Humor and Good News She's not a competitive eater

Computers and the Internet Skype fixes a vulnerability in its Android software

Computers and the Internet Facebook decides that there's such a thing as "too much free speech"

Business and Finance Apple has a good quarter, but the iPod is having trouble
There's a whole lot of love now for the company, which is making lots of profits and earning lots of press. But sales of the iPod are down 17% from last year. The iPod was a huge success for Apple, but if it can fall this quickly, the company is quite obviously never more than a few years ahead of falling off a cliff. Product cycles are too fast in Apple's core business areas for the company to have a guarantee of success in the long run.

Computers and the Internet Wherever you go, the iPhone is watching you
Private movement is being recorded -- without a lot of transparency

Business and Finance "Brain drain" is a global phenomenon

Computers and the Internet Android phones track details of users' movements

Iowa Sensibility prevails; Iowa House won't impeach judges for no good reason
The Speaker of the House has stepped out to point out that he's against an impeachment campaign against the state's Supreme Court justices

Weather and Disasters Tornado-like storm rips up St. Louis airport
The winds especially left behind a terrible mess

Computers and the Internet UNI is switching to Google Apps
The good: It will allow the university to outsource a lot of the parts of its IT work that create headaches, and likely create some savings while giving students access to better tools. The bad: There are legitimate reasons to have concern about Google's approach to privacy, and a conscientious objector to Google probably can't opt-out without a whole lot of hassle.

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Health Free speech at odds with good public-health policy
The anti-vaccination campaigners, who are hell-bent on ignoring scientific evidence and putting their children (and everyone else) at risk of serious infectious diseases, are funding a billboard in Times Square to oppose the use of vaccinations. The American Academy of Pediatrics, which is about to celebrate National Infant Immunization Week, wants the billboard companies to take the messages down. It's a strange sort of tension: The anti-immunization lot have a right to say what they believe, but that imposes a costly burden on everyone else to respond loudly and frequently to drown out their fraudulent message.

Computers and the Internet How to prepare for an emergency evacuation

News Students learn better when teachers lecture
In-class problem-solving may be popular, but it's not associated with better learning