Gongol.com Archives: 2012 Weekly Archives
Brian Gongol

Business and Finance S&P downgrades debt of 9 of 17 Eurozone countries
That's pretty harsh...but it's also probably long overdue

Computers and the Internet Pandora founder wonders if Facebook is pushing instant sharing too far
And they probably are

News A video board at Wrigley Field? Bah!
It's practically heresy

Iowa Cedar Rapids got ripped off by giving away economic-development incentives

Science and Technology The worry over SOPA comes to a head in a big protest this week

Health Could the London Olympics become a starting point for epidemics?

Science and Technology 3D printing: Coming soon to a household near you

News Impressive or terrifying? Leaning towards "terrifying."
(Video) China races to construct a building worrisomely fast

Computers and the Internet Is Google giving up on search?

Science and Technology Should increasing energy efficiency be more important than expanding supply?

Threats and Hazards A yacht for the Queen?
Monarchies do silly things -- like giving a national birthday gift worth tens of millions of dollars to the Queen of England

Broadcasting Show notes from the Brian Gongol Show - January 15, 2012

Business and Finance China's economy is still growing quickly, but the rate of growth is slowing

Computers and the Internet How President Obama's re-election campaign is using data mining to plan their campaign
It's amazing to see the same people who would otherwise say that government can't be trusted turning over all kinds of information about themselves, voluntarily, to a political campaign. Of course, there's loads of data to be gathered from non-political databases, too. In a sense, it's highly democratic. In another, it's terribly creepy.

Computers and the Internet Facebook knows your political sentiments -- and now so does Politico

Business and Finance Ralcorp is spinning-off Post Cereals
They bought Post in August 2008, so somebody at Ralcorp has made a huge blunder -- either in paying too much when they bought, or spinning off too soon. But there's no way to categorize a quick purchase-and-resale such as this as a success.

Humor and Good News The television show for a generation that's never been told "No"
(Video) SNL may have just reversed years of damage to society (caused by sketches featuring the likes of Chris Farley and David Spade) in one fell swoop

Computers and the Internet An attempt to revive Atari
Strange that any of us should become nostalgic over a technology company. Yesterday's tech was slow and unimpressive by today's standards -- it's not like rediscovering a family recipe.

Science and Technology So...it turns out they really are making new real estate, after all

Humor and Good News Thoughts from the guy who wrote most of Elton John's lyrics

Health The neurology "time bomb"

Broadcasting On-demand edition of the "Brian Gongol Show" from January 15, 2012
Segments 1, 2, 3, and 4

Threats and Hazards Bureaucratic dithering probably cost 100,000 lives in eastern Africa
We need better ways of storing food for the long term and of moving it quickly to where it's needed

Computers and the Internet Jerry Yang quits Yahoo board

News One of Kim Jong-Il's other sons says the current North Korean regime will collapse soon

Computers and the Internet The problem with passwords

Business and Finance Lee Enterprises thinks it's exiting bankruptcy this month
The company expanded too much and relied on debt to do it

Health 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.

Computers and the Internet How Twitter is making live TV more interesting

Threats and Hazards Thoughtless Occupists don't think about the costs they impose on others
Just putting a few of them through the court process in Des Moines for their intentional arrests is going to clog up the courts for a while. Selfish.

Computers and the Internet Google claims 90 million users on Google Plus

Computers and the Internet An influx of data centers in the Midwest?
It's about time people started de-concentrating away from the major metropolitan areas of the country. On a related note: Small data centers are popping up in unexpected places.

Iowa The bridge to nowhere...will soon go somewhere
I-80 will soon have an interchange with 105th Street in West Des Moines. Waukee hopes for the best.

Business and Finance GM is once again the world's largest automaker
But at what cost? Some will argue that the Federal government has actually earned (or will earn) a profit on its "investment" in the company. But that means that there was, presumably, a profit to have been made by the private sector instead -- by people who specialize in capital allocation. The government doesn't specialize in that. Nor should it specialize in bailing out companies just because those companies happen to be major employers. Government's proper role is to establish a fair playing field for the private sector, and to ensure that the things society needs that are difficult or impossible to self-fund are provided. (The private sector tends to do a bad job of providing an Air Force, for instance.) When government turns its attention and resources to "rescuing" companies in the private sector just because those companies are big, then we march directly into dangerous territory.

Business and Finance Municipal debts are growing
Part of the problem: Incentive packages for businesses. Economic-development incentives seem rational on a case-by-case basis, but when taken as a whole, they're insanity. Cities do it, and so do states.

Iowa 29-year-old charged with identity theft...against the Iowa Secretary of State
One has to imagine it wasn't just a random pick, but rather a deliberately political attack

Computers and the Internet "Anonymous" movement crashes US government websites
Like the Occupy movement, the people at "Anonymous" may have reasonable grievances. But their means (vandalism, particularly) are unacceptable in a civilized society.

Computers and the Internet Sales of Microsoft Windows products drop by 6%
That's far from being a catastrophe, but it probably indicates that people are turning to alternatives like tablet computers and smartphones to do the things they may have done in the past with conventional desktop and laptop computers. Purchases of new tablets and smartphones are probably just offsetting the replacement of old laptops and desktops -- the kinds of machines that run Windows. Companies have probably slowed their replacement cycles for computers, too.