Gongol.com Archives: February 2013
Brian Gongol

February 1, 2013

Humor and Good News Most people really are good at heart
A bunch of Omaha 5th-graders who got a snow day off of school used part of it to cheer up a classmate hospitalized with cancer

Science and Technology "Peak jobs?"
Is technology going to lead to a permanent class of people employed at low levels

Computers and the Internet If you're on Twitter, change your password
The company says there's been a sophisticated attack that stole 250,000 passwords from their servers. The stolen data was at least somewhat encrypted, but it's time to update those passwords anyway. And be savvy about it: Crooks have gone wild lately, breaking into computer systems in a lot of high-profile places. We're not doing enough to harden our defenses. Not nearly enough.

Threats and Hazards Shootings in Chicago seem to be getting more brazen
Broad-daylight shootings on Lake Shore Drive

Business and Finance The Dow Jones Industrial Average exceeds 14,000
Remember: The DJIA is a pretty much meaningless figure. And nominal thresholds like even thousands may be pretty, but they, too, mean nothing.

Computers and the Internet Norton says 2/3rds of mobile-phone users don't have security on their phones

Computers and the Internet Applebee's server fired for posting picture of rude receipt online
The restaurant patron who wrote the sanctimonious note should be ashamed of herself, but the waitress was dumb to photograph and share something that included a private individual's name and credit-card information. Just a lot of stupidity going on in this story.

The United States of America The White House jobs council is out of work
The "Council on Jobs and Competitiveness" has reached the end of its charter, and the President isn't renewing it. Councils like these are hard to take seriously -- even more so with an administration that is so frequently hostile to business interests -- and it seems not to have been taken very seriously by the President, either, who spent little or no time with them. The persistent problem is that the professional political class in Washington is so badly disjointed from knowing how their policies affect the rest of the country that when they do make a token gesture like forming a "council on jobs", they form it so badly that it doesn't really tell them anything. The President of the United States should probably already have the CEO of General Electric on speed dial (as well as the CEOs of many other large companies). Those people should probably be feeding back observations and news to the White House on a regular basis anyway, for the good of the country. But the people from whom Washington is outrageously disjointed are the people who own and run small and medium-sized businesses. Sure, they get a lot of lip service, but Washington is (generally speaking) so far removed from knowing what's happening with them that the country pays the consequences while nobody in power to do things about it notices. On a related note, it doesn't help when headline-writers skip essential parts of major stories. CBS reported that "Economy adds 157K jobs, unemployment hits 7.9%" -- skipping the essential word "but". Unemployment has risen even though jobs were created because more people entered the job market than the number of new jobs. But the more bad writing obfuscates a simple matter of numerators and denominators, the less the general public feels that it can understand the important work of economics.

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