Gongol.com Archives: January 2013
Brian Gongol

January 25, 2013

Aviation News The new look at American Airlines
It's clean enough for now, but it'll look outdated in less than a decade. It would have been better if they'd made some kind of nod to the Astrojet livery of the 1960s, or even better, the earlier one. The "Flagship" livery was quite stunning, really.

Agriculture Hunger is more often political than natural
Some people in central Asia are going hungry because of a political dispute over borders. And that's more often the case than hunger due to natural causes, like crop failures. It's sad for humanity that we're scientifically capable of producing enough food for billions of people, but we allow avoidable squabbles over human matters to keep that food from getting to the people who need to eat it.

News Why is China investing in Central Asia?
Is it working on projects there as part of a global program of influence-building? Or is there a different motive involved, like keeping the Xinjiang province from splitting away? Rest assured: The map of China in 2030 will look different from the one of 2013.

Aviation News So, what's causing the battery fires aboard the Boeing 787s?

Computers and the Internet Changing your passwords: Necessary but not sufficient
An editor from Fortune points out that even though he carefully maintains great password hygiene, someone still used social programming to trick him into visiting a corrupted website, which in turn gave the crooks a route to hack his Twitter account.

Computers and the Internet And thus begins the panic over Apple
Nobody should wish the company harm; there are lots of investors, employees, and suppliers whose well-being is tied into the company. But Apple got over-hyped, and it's no surprise that the stock price has come down from its lofty heights of not that long ago. The only matter that was up to question was when -- not whether -- reality would take over. And the reality is that calling Apple the world's "most-valuable company" is misleading. It has recently been the highest-priced company in the world -- when the price of the company is taken as the number of shares multiplied by the most recent sale price for one of those shares. But a company's actual value isn't quite so straightforward: It's a subjective assessment of what it has, what it's likely to earn in the future, and what it takes to make those earnings possible. Price is what you pay, but value is what you get.

Computers and the Internet DHS Secretary Napolitano: A massive cyber-attack on America could happen "imminently"
Why, yes, it could. And that's really no change from any moment in the last decade. But because many in Washington are painfully illiterate on technology issues, we can't even begin to have a thoughtful discussion on these matters.

Health The swine flu really was an epidemic

Business and Finance The national debt isn't a new thing
It was essential to keeping the young United States together (read "Hamilton's Blessing" sometime for the full story).

Science and Technology Scientists claim they can turn light into a tractor beam
It only works on a microscopic scale, but even there it may have useful application in areas like medicine