Gongol.com Archives: March 2012
Brian Gongol

March 27, 2012

Computers and the Internet Don't ever give away passwords to non-essential users
Employers shouldn't be asking for Facebook passwords, and employees shouldn't give them out. (Some exceptions prevail, of course: Certain occupations are highly sensitive and require that someone with the right knowledge can sweep up mistakes. But those are few and far between.) Facebook has come out with a light rebuke of the practice, but it's really not the kind of definitive statement they probably should have made. A real defense of user privacy might've come with a statement like, "Any organization or employer shown to be demanding the passwords of current or prospective employees without cause directly tied to a substantial public safety hazard shall be immediately suspended from any use of Facebook in any manner whatsoever."

Health Today's babies could have a 1-in-3 chance of living to 100
New figures are being used by the UK's government for future projections, and that new assumption of longevity is one of them. This is exactly why we need to think very, very differently about mandatory old-age savings programs.

Business and Finance Elected officials: Please stop tinkering with taxes
Dow's fight with the IRS over a research tax credit just goes to show why politicians should stop trying to manipulate behavior through the tax code

Agriculture The PR campaign against "pink slime" has real, harmful consequences
Lots of people are going to be put out of work because the demand for the product is going to drop off so much. Moreover, where do people think the beef trimmings that went into the poorly-named "Lean Finely-Textured Beef" are going to go now? Anyone who's ever eaten a really good steak and gone back to salvage just a little bit more meat from around a piece of fat knows that there's nothing wrong with that meat. The "Beef is Beef" counter-campaign isn't a bad idea -- but it's probably too late to offset much of the damage that has been done. When given the opportunity to fear something they don't understand, people will default to whatever meaning is implied by a name like "pink slime", so it's imperative that people who sell products like LFTB actively get ahead of the parade long before it becomes an issue and actively promote shorthand names that sound good.

Business and Finance Forbes columnist argues for tighter controls on the Roth IRA
Suggesting that some people are using the investment vehicle to shelter investments in closely-held or even publicly-traded companies in which they are major investors, Deborah Jacobs suggests that new Roth IRAs be limited to a certain maximum amount, and that their tax-free transfer to heirs be limited as well. Perhaps more valuable would be to remove the restriction that keeps ordinary people from investing in their own companies via the Roth IRA. If the well-connected are already skirting the law on this matter, they shouldn't be getting an advantage over everyone else.

Computers and the Internet European politicians want Google censored

Computers and the Internet Jail time seems like a lot to risk for the chance to see Scarlett Johansson naked
A computer hacker went to a lot of trouble to try to get compromising pictures of celebrities. And he succeeded. But now he's headed to jail until he can be sentenced in July.

News Entertainment newspaper "Variety" is up for sale

Iowa The Des Moines Public Schools superintendent sure seems to want to leave town

Science and Technology The influence of architect Mies Van Der Rohe

Broadcasting Notes from the Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - March 25, 2012

Recent radio podcasts