Gongol.com Archives: June 2012
Brian Gongol


June 22, 2012

Iowa Cityview says the Des Moines Register will leave its home of almost a century
The weekly newspaper has the scoop on the possible move by the heritage daily in town. But that heritage is being burned to the ground as fast as Gannett can make it go.

Science and Technology Pair of planets 1,200 light-years away look like giant moons to one another
Kepler-36b and Kepler-36c apparently orbit profoundly close to one another, which means each "rises" like the Sun or the Moon do here, once every 97 days on the other. That causes them to have big gravitational effects on each other (imagine colossal tidal forces on the one that has water) and to look much, much larger in their respective neighbors' skies than the Moon does here.

Computers and the Internet Russian police bust 22-year-old hacker who stole more than $4 million
He set up a botnet that infected more than 6 million Russian computers and stole people's banking information. This is why everyone needs to run antivirus/antispyware software, use a limited-access Windows account for their Internet browsing, and use a webmail service whenever possible.

Health People don't need "exorcisms", they need mental-health care
A 14-year-old girl in Omaha was nearly killed because her friends and family thought she was being "possessed by a demon". No, she needs clinical attention from someone trained to help people with mental-health issues. There's nothing shameful about seeking out that kind of care -- the only shame is when people come up with excuses instead of helping their loved ones get the treatment they need.

Science and Technology NASA thinks we know the locations of 95% of nearby space objects larger than a kilometer across
We need to know where those things are so that we can anticipate what to do in case one is headed towards us (which could be calamitous)

Business and Finance Parenting and work
Any number of issues are far more complex than the sound bites people put out: "Pay equality", for instance, sounds justified in principle, but there's no way to strike a perfect balance that rewards tenure, productivity, and experience without penalizing parents who take time away from the workforce to raise children. It's like the marriage penalty within income taxes: If we believe that income-tax rates should be progressive, then there's no way to fully escape the fact that a household of two adults totaling $100,000 will pay something more than two individuals each earning $50,000. It's impossible to fully resolve -- so if we're smart, we acknowledge the inherent difficulties and try to find ways to accommodate them as best possible.

Science and Technology Tesla finally introduces its second car -- a sedan for $50,000 to $100,000
It was made available for a very brief set of press test drives, so initial impressions are limited by the very short exposures, but the Wired Magazine driver seemed to find it pretty solidly impressive. Tesla took an interesting gamble, but one that makes sense: Target high-end drivers who are already less price-sensitive than other folks, and use them as the basis for rolling out all-electric cars.

Business and Finance Kudos to McDonald's Canada team
(Video) In a very clever marketing move, they showed exactly how their advertising teams make their burgers look really good in photos and on TV...when they're not so impressive in daily life. Credit deserved for admitting that there's a wizard behind the curtain.

Computers and the Internet Is there a bizarro undertone to Apple's Siri commercials?
Maybe. The fact they feature well-known people sitting at home all alone certainly is...well...unusual.

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