Gongol.com Archives: 2011 Weekly Archives
Brian Gongol



The United States of America The debt-ceiling debate is "diverting people's energy"
Warren Buffett observes -- correctly -- that the debt ceiling is just a symptom, not the real problem

Agriculture Everything you need to know about the new Iowa cellulosic-ethanol plant
It's a necessary step if the amount of ethanol produced is to meet the Federal mandates requiring its use

Agriculture Japanese beetles are eating all kinds of crops in the Midwest
They're attacking everything from peaches to roses

The United States of America More Americans are on Facebook than have passports
The numbers aren't particularly surprising -- 50% are on the social-networking site, and 37% can travel abroad.



Broadcasting They're not experts, they're guessers


Business and Finance Huge amounts of cash are flowing into bond funds


Iowa The pending end to the Iowa Power Fund


Threats and Hazards Prince Charles is full of horse manure


The United States of America Gay marriage in New York




The United States of America What's really caused the deficit of late
Of course, the structural problems of entitlement programs are the true 800-pound gorilla in the room

Threats and Hazards Really awful train wreck in China
There are consequences to the way China has been developing

Agriculture 11 million people could be threatened by famine


The United States of America The ever-modernizing state of interracial marriage in America


Iowa Vested benefits may not be quite so vested for former Maytag workers


Iowa One badly-cursed restaurant location




Business and Finance American companies are sitting on $2 trillion in cash


The United States of America The debt debate should just be noise to investors


Business and Finance The George Soros hedge fund is becoming a family office only


Computers and the Internet Microsoft and other companies step back from misstatements around the Amy Winehouse death


Humor and Good News The real state of the Internet today




The United States of America The debt standoff in cartoon form
It's going to be anything but a laughing matter if the US defaults on debt. There are those who say that people should adjust their investments in anticipation, but that's not likely to be the best move.

Business and Finance TD Ameritrade may be out to buy E-Trade


Humor and Good News A dinner with Abe Froman
A punter announces his trade to the Chicago Bears with a clever reference to getting a dinner with the sausage king of Chicago (a reference to "Ferris Bueller's Day Off")

Iowa Who bears the cost of flooding?


Computers and the Internet Apple's iPad now accounts for a measurable amount of Internet traffic
But no other tablet computers do

Computers and the Internet Advantages of Google Plus over Facebook
Skype (which just established a new deal with Facebook) is touting a "special" deal to offer videoconferencing for about $55 a year. Google is trying to attract customers to its similar service...offered for free.

Humor and Good News Putting an old grain elevator to good use
An Omaha grain elevator that's been abandoned has been decorated, turning it into a giant outdoor art display.

News Five deployments in eleven years
That seems like more than we should be asking from anyone in our volunteer military service.

Computers and the Internet Firmware updates could be a point of vulnerability for computers, but don't panic
Firmware is the stuff that works behind the scenes to keep other programs working, but it may be susceptible (under limited circumstances) to exploitation by crooks.

Humor and Good News Rickrolling by the White House
The official White House channel on Twitter was used to Rickroll the public. Good to see someone has a sense of humor, but what a weird way to show it.

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Computers and the Internet The smartest move Google Plus could make right now
Google Plus should add a "Share on Twitter" link, tied to the Google URL shortener. It should automatically post the first XX characters of your Google Plus post, with a shortened link pointing to the full post over on Google Plus. It would be a little sinister and a LOT effective.

Business and Finance One prediction regarding a government debt default
If a government debt default occurs, don't be surprised if that really rattles a few stocks. Not all would be shaken, but some would be hit quite seriously. Don't be surprised if, in turn, that creates a serious buying opportunity for an investor with a fat wallet, like Warren Buffett. The best investments happen when everyone else is in a panic.

Humor and Good News Happy rhetoric in favor of gay marriage
A lot of people say a lot of impassioned -- and often angry -- things about gay marriage, particularly when they oppose the principle. Several of these signs make the counter-argument gently and with a good sense of humor.

Socialism Doesn't Work Technology continues to undermine Chinese authoritarianism
The terrible crash involving the country's new high-speed rail system about a week ago is, inescapably, an important news story, and as the facts of the story got out, people re-told those facts. The facts, however, serve to undermine the legitimacy and trustworthiness of the government. And as people speak out -- especially on microblogging websites, where brevity begets frequency, which is the enemy of the censor -- they are expressing a natural distrust for the lies their government insists upon telling them.

Computers and the Internet "The beginning of the end of Google"
A technology columnist observes that by rather radically homogenizing data on the Internet, Google may have actually been undermining the sort of value-driven branding and quality control that it may need to survive in the future of Internet searching. People have ready expectations for how much to trust what they read on Wikipedia or Snopes or LinkedIn; there is no such pre-conceived notion of how much to trust the first result delivered by a Google search.