Gongol.com Archives: 2011 Weekly Archives
Brian Gongol

Aviation News Southwest Airlines buys AirTran
This could be very dangerous for Southwest -- it's going to require integrating a whole lot of pilots, cabin crew, maintenance workers, planes, and office workers into a well-known, but highly distinctive, culture. Very hazardous territory for any business to successfully navigate.

Aviation News Cockpit voice recorder from the Air France dropped-out-of-the-sky airliner finally located
It's hard to believe they were able to find it with so few clues to work with and such a big ocean floor

Humor and Good News This could be our year, Cubs fans

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News Where Osama Bin Laden met his end

Iowa Iowa's economic development plan for the future
Apparently, part of the debate bouncing between the state legislature and the governor's office is whether the state's economic-development corporation should include the name "Iowa" or the name "Wallace" (one of our state's most well-known families...from the past)

Computers and the Internet Going public with the Chinese equivalent of Facebook
Public in the financial sense, that is. The fact that people are willing to chase Renren to the tune of nearly a billion dollars illustrates just how bonkers the stock market has been for "social networking" websites. It's just another bubble -- nobody in their right mind would throw vast amounts of cash trying to buy a portion of a company (like Renren) that doesn't operate in a truly free market, under the authority of an authoritarian government known for shutting down websites it doesn't favor, in a language the investor has no hope of understanding. And if the word "bubble" doesn't apply to the lunatic valuations described for Facebook, then the word applies to nothing at all. Bad things are happening with respectable companies like Sony, which says its databases have been attacked by online terrorists; why would any sensible person bet hard-earned money on the future of companies that don't even have a physical product to sell, and have nothing but that virtual presence -- a big attraction for crooks who have lots of resources with which to conduct their attacks? One really bad attack would be enough to bring down Facebook or Renren.

Business and Finance Productivity continues to rise in the US economy
It's estimated to have risen by an annualized rate of 1.6% during the first quarter of the year. Increased productivity is the only way to ensure that the US economy continues to grow over the long term -- especially as a large demographic group (the Baby Boomers) retire and leave the workforce. We'll have to get more work done by fewer people.

Computers and the Internet What can you learn about a computer from the files it produces?
Many novice and intermediate-level computer users would be surprised to learn just how much their computers are telling about them to the people who open their files

Humor and Good News "Domino's scientists test the limits of what humans will eat"

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Computers and the Internet Service providing one-stop password-for-everything service may have been hacked
The service, called LastPass, says it can't account for a big spike in recent traffic to its servers, and figures it could be a worst-case scenario involving theft of its password databases. This would be a good time to re-visit instructions for saving passwords securely -- assuming you don't want to use a site like LastPass -- and to review the rules for creating a good password.

Computers and the Internet Google tweaks its search algorithm constantly
Some people are fixated on a recent update meant to weed out the junk -- and there certainly is a lot of promotional junk clogging up the Internet. What's interesting is to read some of the comments left for Google's search team by people who are frustrated by content thieves who steal their stuff and by Google's nonresponsiveness to their claims of infringement.

Weather and Disasters A great tornado video isn't worth your life
The problem with the new ubiquity of cell phones with video cameras is that people are now inclined to record movies of things they used to have the good sense to stay away from -- like tornadoes. The instinct to get on YouTube shouldn't exceed the instinct for self-preservation.

Humor and Good News The Blind Film Critic reviews "Clerks"
(Video) "Content is king"

News Brazil legalizes civil unions for gay couples

Water News A "monumental" flood on the Mississippi River

Iowa Iowa loves wind power, but will we tolerate what it takes to sell it?
Iowa is situated in a great location for capturing a great deal of wind and turning it into electricity, but the free market dictates that sometimes it's better to sell that electricity far away from Iowa than to sell it close to home. The state's economy would benefit from selling electricity for higher prices elsewhere, but in order to get the power to those higher-price markets, someone will have to build a lot of transmission lines and those might not be very pretty.

News Scotland may have just put independence on a fast track
A political party that wants independence from the UK just roared into a majority in local elections there