Gongol.com Archives: September 2013
Brian Gongol

September 27, 2013

Business and Finance "The age of the unskilled job is gone"
A Chicago Federal Reserve summit on economic competitiveness included comments from Paul Jones of the AO Smith Corporation. AO Smith is a manufacturer of water heaters -- not what most people would categorize as a high-tech industry. But Jones's comments are right in line with what many Americans need to hear. As others noted in the same conference, manufacturing jobs are important -- but the high-value jobs are high-skill jobs. The notion that people are going to get paid well to do jobs that aren't challenging in some way is pure fiction. But we have a choice available to us: The challenges can be that particular jobs are unpleasant in some way (and thus must be endured through their unpleasantness), or they can be challenging because they require the worker to know how to do things that are hard. Over the long term, we'll find ways to get machines to do ever more of our dirty work -- nobody pushes carts through towns to pick up horse manure anymore, like had to be done in the Dark Ages. But there are plenty of jobs within manufacturing that call for thinking and acquired skills of which people can be proud. Those are the manufacturing jobs of the 21st Century, and they're not for dummies.

Computers and the Internet Google turns 15 and overhauls 90% of search results
The code-named "Hummingbird" algorithm is supposed to make Google's searches more contextual and less constrained than the Boolean searches of the past

Computers and the Internet Popular Science shuts down comments
People survived for hundreds of years with an editor or publisher standing between them and the full power of the printing press. The ultra-democratization of Internet commentary did not, on balance, make us wiser than we would have been with at least a little editorial review of what people had to say in response to others' published work. An echo chamber of stupidity (like any hotly-debated set of comments on a YouTube video) is quite enough to make us all worse off.

News French government minister seriously proposes lowering voting age to 16

Humor and Good News The best of Franklin Sherman
(Video) A highlight reel from "The Critic", featuring the daffiest character of them all