Gongol.com Archives: 2013 Second-Quarter Archives
Brian Gongol




News Will a private developer revitalize downtown Detroit?
The founder of Quicken Loans wants to get some streamlined government approval for a massive redevelopment of the downtown area in America's 14th-largest metro. At some point, as long as the infrastructure for a city remains at least mainly in functional condition, a real-estate market from which the bottom drops out will eventually attract someone who thinks the future return on the investment is worth the risk. And there's no evading the fact that Detroit is on sale. It's possible -- not certain, but possible -- that a model that suspends most government regulation might be the swiftest way to attract the investment needed to get Detroit on the rebound. The city needs it: They're under emergency financial management. And Detroit isn't alone...quite sadly, we need to be aware of the risk that as cities find themselves unwilling or unable to make good on promises made over the years (especially to pension programs), more may find themselves in grave financial trouble. Stockton, California, has 300,000 people...and a $900 million debt to Calpers. That's $3,000 in pension debt for every resident. It's going to get ugly when pension obligations in other cities come due and nobody's prepared to pay. The problem at the municipal level is a reflection of the problem at the national level, too: Too many promises have been made by a government that hasn't been funding those promises adequately. (This tension, by the way, must be kept in mind when the same government makes additional promises to pay for more things in the future.)

Business and Finance T-Mobile goes after competitors in a big way
The CEO, using some salty but direct language, says mobile phone contracts are unreasonable and argues that T-Mobile's no-contract plan means customers will pay less over time, even if they lose the carrier subsidy for their phones

News Obituary for the first rabbi at the liberation of Buchenwald

Computers and the Internet The risk of the great honeypot
A huge online database run by the General Services Administration was found to have a big security vulnerability, which the government is now scrambling to fix. And thus we have a great case study in "Why you don't want the Federal government to centralize too many things". Massive national databases are a very attractive target for digital criminals.

Threats and Hazards What happens if North Korea's regime fails ungracefully?
The US military has been planning for the possibility, which isn't outside the realm of imagination. The greater the number of threats, the more likely it is that North Korea will do something to prove at least some of those threats to be credible. But the Communist system there is untenable in the long term, and long-term untenability risks short-term instability, and that could happen without a great deal of provocation. South Korea is standing its ground on the provocations, which it must.

The United States of America 40% of undocumented immigrants in the US didn't sneak across the border
They've just overstayed their visas. And the visa process is anything but clear and direct. It's well past time for reform.

Computers and the Internet Lowering barriers to entry
An iPhone with Instagram is now all a person needs to take pictures good enough for the front page of the New York Times

The United States of America Congress needs to reclaim the power to declare war

Science and Technology A good look around the changing energy landscape

Humor and Good News The great Peeps Diorama Contest




News A revival of the ranch home?

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Business and Finance Government pushes for high-risk mortgages all over again


Threats and Hazards North Korea warns it's ready to launch a nuclear attack


News Carnival Cruise Line needs to learn a few things about humility
And public relations

Business and Finance An abrupt slowdown in China's economy?
Yes...it's actually quite likely over the next decade. The US is gaining a big energy advantage with the shale-gas boom, and China's labor-price advantage is diminishing rapidly.




Threats and Hazards North Korea continues to add heat and tension


Iowa Iowa City residents circulate petition to stop red-light cameras


Iowa Iowa's losing a really good state auditor
But the country appears to be gaining a really good chair of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board. One can only hope he can spread some of the sense of responsibility he brought to his state auditor role.

Computers and the Internet Firefox turns (version) 20


Computers and the Internet Should Microsoft be afraid of Chromebooks?
It's clearly a competitive threat, but Microsoft is a badly-underrated company

Computers and the Internet Facebook wants to put something like a skin over the Android OS
They didn't go after a full Facebook phone because selling 10 or 20 million phones "wouldn't move the needle" for the company

Health To stretch, or not to stretch?
Medicine seems to still be working on an answer




Agriculture We're too slow to respond to signals of famine
A UK think tank points out that early-detection systems give warning of potential famines almost 12 months before they happen -- but the early detection still isn't translating into swift action. We have the means to feed the world, even if nature doesn't always cooperate...but it's human beings that stand in the way of making sure that other people get fed.

Computers and the Internet Austin, Texas, claims to be next on the list to get Google Fiber
It's Google's service for delivering 1 Gbps broadband Internet service -- that's one gigabit per second, or about 100 times faster than the speeds widely found on DSL or cable services. In much of western Europe, 100 Mbps Internet speeds are widely found (that's about ten times faster than American standards...and about a tenth of the speed of Google Fiber). European customers tend to have two things working to their advantage: More competition among Internet providers, and a much higher population density (which makes it easier to get the physical cables in place to deliver high-speed broadband).

Science and Technology A house built to expand as the family inside it grew
A very clever design for a ranch-style home with a huge volume of window space and an open, flexible floorplan

News A manifesto demanding that journalists start showing their work
It's possible to do so rather easily, thanks to the Internet, so it should probably happen more often -- as a matter of building and reinforcing credibility and trust

Humor and Good News That's not the recommended way of demolishing a silo
(Video -- language is not safe for work [NSFW])

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Broadcasting This week in trends, tips, and technology
Show notes for the "WHO Radio Wise Guys"

Business and Finance Today's negative real interest rates are something to behold
If you loan money to the Federal government for 5, 7, 10, or even 20 years, you will actually get paid less in interest than you will lose in buying power over that same time. In other words, it's a negative "real" rate of interest. That's exceptional...people around the world remain so fearful of the future that they're willing to pay the Federal government of the United States for the "privilege" of letting the government borrow their money. This behavior is clinically insane.

Business and Finance We live in dualistic economic times
The progress of technology, the growth in regulation, the hazard of steep tax increases to come, the natural-gas boom, the global marketplace, and the very deep cuts to interest rates all mean that we're in an economic phase that is very bad for people without skills or capital, even though lots of companies are doing quite well. It's all easy to lay out, but seeing where the future lies may be something else altogether.

Humor and Good News Costas does Ludacris name-checking Costas
(Video)

Computers and the Internet Wearable computing that could make a real difference
A "smart bracelet" is being developed that would track aid workers in faraway lands, giving them the option to trigger a signal that could be relayed both to GPS tracking and to social media if they find themselves in dangerous situations. You can have your Pebble watches and Nike Fuel bands...but this is wearable computing that could make a real difference.

Socialism Doesn't Work Anti-capital?
The President's budget proposal that's expected to come out next week may include some new limitations on how much people are allowed to put into their retirement accounts on a tax-advantaged basis. Here's the thing about such a proposal: We can't really evaluate it until it's on paper, nor is it necessarily unreasonable to place limits on the amount to which incentives are given in order to get people to put away more money for retirement. But a government whose first instinct always is to discourage capital investment is one that implicitly discourages all of the things that are necessary to putting people to work and making their lives better.








News Margaret Thatcher "will no doubt be remembered for her results"
So eulogizes the Christian Science Monitor. They conclude appropriately: "She had faith in unending progress for all".

Business and Finance US savings rate plunges back to dangerously low levels
There are plenty of problems from a savings rate that is too low: It starves the process of private-sector investment, making individuals and families less well-off in the long term. It puts households at greater risk of trouble if and when the unexpected occurs (like a water heater going bad or a surprise illness). And in an economy as consumer-spending-driven as America's, it means that policy-makers get desperate quickly when they see consumer spending decrease (since people without any savings don't have a well from which to draw in order to take advantage of bargains when the economy slows and prices fall...which is how an economy should naturally self-correct) -- so it encourages those policy-makers, in turn, to try to "prime the pump" through government borrowing and spending (which only further impoverishes the future taxpayer). But, perhaps worst of all, the progress of today's economy is away from human labor and towards time- and money-saving machines (and computers and programs) that make workers more productive than ever...meaning fewer of them are needed. It's nothing new...the John Deere plow was bad news for farmhands. But if people are under-saving (and thus under-investing in capital) at a time when capital is being rewarded proportionally better than labor is, then lots of people are making a deliberate choice to put themselves in a much worse future financial situation than they should. Some people are quick to get indignant about this inequity of payoff between labor and capital, but they're generally not thinking about the big picture -- the effort to discover time- and labor-saving devices is one of the defining currents of all human history. We settled the Great Plains because windmills let farmers get water from the ground with a lot less work. If they'd been forced to rely on hand pumps, they wouldn't have had time or the ability to become homesteaders. Even today, there are people around the world who must waste hours every day trying to collect and carry clean drinking water. Those are hours that children could instead be spending in school, and that their parents could instead be spending in many other productive pursuits. Virtually anything that saves human time and effort makes us better-off in the long run.

Broadcasting Are the broadcast television networks being drama queens?
Fox and Univision are both starting to drop hints that they might just pick up and leave over-the-air television someday because it's getting so easy for people to watch their programming without tuning a television set at a predetermined time. While it's pretty unlikely we'd see a network dissolve anytime in the coming ten to fifteen years, it's increasingly possible that the future will depend ever less on the big broadcasting networks. After all, who would've thought 15 years ago that NBC would be in 5th place among the networks for viewers ages 18 to 49?




Business and Finance If we only talk about "creating jobs", we'll never really get what we want
It's a lot more popular to talk about jobs than about capital...but wealth is necessary to buy the tools that make labor productive. Ignoring that necessity is a bad way to run a country.

Health Nobody really multi-tasks
We can suspend our attention to one matter and give it to another, and even cycle quickly among those things, but we can't really do two thinking things at once. Tragically, that was illustrated by a helicopter crash caused by the pilot's inattention to detail during the pre-flight inspection. He was distracted by text messaging.

Computers and the Internet Bad ideas go viral
A public-health study found that people are quick to believe nonsense (about the flu vaccine, in the case of the study) but not useful information. That suggests we need to think long and hard about how to disseminate public-health messages; apparently, it's a serious uphill battle. A lot more thought needs to go into how to make useful thoughts go viral.

Computers and the Internet Domain names are cheap...don't overlook them
If the Obama campaign machine (which is morphing itself during his second term into a perpetual-campaign machine), despite its much-vaunted online organizational skills, isn't sharp enough to have registered their new name as a domain name before rebranding...well, then just about anyone could probably use the reminder to protect important names as assets early on. Register your own name as a domain; do the same for your children. On a related note, none of us should be surprised at all when the "Obama For America/Organizing For Action" team decides to try to put First Lady Michelle Obama's name into contention for some kind of high office. (Strangely, though, nobody on the campaign's team apparently ever thought to register MichelleObama.com. They'll come to regret that.)

Science and Technology The Mandelbrot Set as a dynamic, three-dimensional shape

Business and Finance Insider trading may be signaled by what parents do for their youngest children

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The United States of America Know your Federal budget
The President has proposed a budget for Fiscal Year 2014. And it's not balanced, nor does it ever estimate becoming so. A deficit equal to 6% of GDP for 2013, 4.4% for 2014, 3.2% for 2015, 2.8% for 2016, 2.4% for 2017, and 2.3% for 2018 (see page 29). Of course, that also assumes the US economy will grow 4.2% in 2013, 4.9% in 2014, 5.4% in 2015, 5.5% in 2016 and 2017, and 5.2% in 2018 (see page 27). Would that be great? Of course. Is it going to happen? No way. A 5% economic growth rate would be a delightful boom, and a 2% Federal deficit would be easily-tolerable under those conditions. But that's not what's going to happen. Even making accommodation for the fact those estimates are not adjusted for inflation, deducting out 1% to 2% for inflation still assumes a much higher expected growth rate for the economy than has been experienced with any consistency for quite a while.

Business and Finance WTO forecasts slower trade growth in 2013
They'd like to see 5% growth; they're expecting 3.3% this year

The American Way "The miners' strike shows why Thatcher was correct to want the government out of industry"
Why the political left owes Margaret Thatcher a debt of gratitude: She so shifted the political dynamic that the most outrageous statism was revealed for what it was (and is), forcing leftists to get in touch with market economics.

Health Shifting attention from task to task leads to errors

Iowa Rebuilding Mapleton
The Iowa town was damaged terribly by a tornado in 2011, but the people there have rebounded admirably.




Business and Finance Global economics 101: Wages in East Asia are rising
The more wages rise, the less those countries retain a competitive advantage in selling their wares. Rising wages there will end up spilling over to places with even lower wage rates. Rising wages will also boost automation.

Computers and the Internet Samsung's Galaxy Mega smartphones are the size of a small book
They'll be introduced in European markets first, probably as a test. One is 6.3" diagonally -- bigger than the (huge) Galaxy Note (which is about 5.5").


Computers and the Internet Facebook and YouTube tie for "most important" social-media ranking among teens
But Facebook's ranking as "most important" has fallen about ten percentage points over the last year. That's significant. Twitter comes in third. Parents and adults generally need to know how to supervise their kids' use of social networks.

News North Korea from the riverside
The country's management (we can't honestly call it "leadership") is out of control. But the people didn't choose it, and they're human beings, just like the rest of us. A peaceful resolution to the tension there is badly needed, so that people don't suffer needlessly.

Iowa The nanny state versus the home-brewers
The state legislature is looking at revising Iowa's alcoholic-beverages rules so that home-brewers can get together and share their beers with one another. Current law says home-brewed beer can't be consumed outside the home...because, you know, we also prohibit people from sharing food at potlucks and bake sales due to essential government interest in the safety of its people. Oh, wait.

Humor and Good News A Beach Boys shred
(Video)

The United States of America A plan to build a mini-Albuquerque...connected to Albuquerque
The city is trying to cut off private-sector developers by creating a huge planned community with built-in sprawl resistance. Questions of "urban sprawl" sound pretty hilarious when you're from the part of the country that has a county bigger than Connecticut, with a population of less than 6,000.

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Business and Finance Roberts Dairy name to be retired
It lasted a little more than 100 years, but they're adopting the name of the parent (Hiland Dairy) instead. Hard to fathom that it's worthwhile to burn 100 years of brand equity in an instant, but that's what someone has decided to do.

Business and Finance Two more years of HARP to come
The FHA is extending it through December 31, 2015

Computers and the Internet LinkedIn buys newsreader site
The acquisition of Pulse is another effort by LinkedIn to make sure that it remains relevant -- no small matter in a world where MySpace went from pop-culture centrality to oblivion in what seemed like an instant. And good timing, too, as Google kills off Google Reader. Pulse could be a substitute for some users.

The United States of America The sequestration and the bigger problem

Threats and Hazards A truly mortifying case
The allegations against Kermit Gosnell, a doctor standing trial in Philadelphia, are utterly revolting. One cannot read the account without finding endless cause for outrage.

Computers and the Internet This week in trends, tips, and technology
A preview of the WHO Radio Wise Guys, which airs Saturday at 1:00

Business and Finance Newspapers on the market
Big-city newspapers, including the Boston Globe and the Chicago Tribune, are for sale right now. Rumor says the Koch brothers are looking at the Tribune (which would be historically suitable; the paper has historically been a pro-business Republican paper, and they're about as pro-business Republican as they come). Of course, big-city newspapers may be highly prestigious, but they're not particularly good investments. Small-town and middle-market newspapers are still much better moneymakers than the metro dailies.

Weather and Disasters Updraft helicity may tell forecasters how serious tornadoes will be
The more we learn about tornadoes, the better off many lives will be.

Business and Finance Bond returns are so bad, insurance companies are trying to buy toll roads instead

The United States of America Maybe the USPS will keep Saturday service after all

Computers and the Internet Google's "Inactive Account Manager" offers a plan for your Google accounts in the afterlife
It'll contact people you designate and give them your passwords after a 3/6/9/12-month period after you stop logging in. Or, you know, you could always just write down the passwords and keep them in a secure location.





Broadcasting This week in making money and having fun
Notes from the "Brian Gongol Show" on WHO Radio




Threats and Hazards Tragic bombing in Boston

Computers and the Internet Dish Network wants to buy Sprint for $25.5 billion

The United States of America Given a path to citizenship, 87% of undocumented Latinos in the US would take it

Computers and the Internet Family will sue accused assailants after daughter commits suicide over photos online
The high-school student was sexually assaulted, and the photos ended up online. She killed herself a week later. It's heartbreaking on so many levels.

Humor and Good News "Annoyance is fungible"




Business and Finance "The mystery of stable prices"
Inflation, unemployment, and the money supply aren't coordinating quite like the old models used to predict

News Do voters get the lawmakers we pay for?
The Minnesota Senate is looking at raising pay for state lawmakers from $31,000 a year to $42,000 a year. The pay rate hasn't risen since 1999. Some people might argue that anyone in public service should be willing to sacrifice (financially) for the privilege. But it's also worth noting that if you want your laws to be made by an assembly of people who reflect the interests of the mainstream voter, then if the job comes with the duties of a full-time occupation, it's probably necessary to pay enough for someone to live a reasonably comfortable existence. If legislators are required to perform full-time duties but aren't paid the equivalent of a professional salary, then nobody should be surprised if the resulting legislator is filled with people who answer to special interests, working things like no-show jobs at large companies and union halls.

News Where the Obama campaign team is working now
Some are turning electoral success into big business in the consulting and lobbying sphere

Computers and the Internet Google and Silicon Valley startup-backers fund a project to make Google Glass viable
They want application developers to take the tool under their wing. But it's still going to require a lot of social adjustment to imagine people comfortably wearing Google Glasses out in public -- it's going to be a clear mark of tech/geek status for some, but it's probably too obtrusive to gain mainstream interest, at least for quite a while. Wearable computing certainly has a future, but some things are hard to imagine crossing the gap from "geek chic" to widespread acceptance. Perhaps when they become little more subtle, we'll see them adopted widely.

Iowa Iowa State Patrol plans to trap car thieves
They're putting out "bait cars" equipped with tracking equipment to see if they can put some car thieves in jail.




Computers and the Internet China thinks Apple is obscene

Science and Technology Lab thinks it's built a better battery
Finding better ways to store energy should be one of the highest technological priorities we have. The natural world provides us with enormous amounts of free energy that we could be using, if only we could store it.

Business and Finance Is Steve Ballmer holding back Microsoft?

Computers and the Internet Provo, Utah, will get Google Fiber
Google is buying out an existing network in the town that's home to BYU, and they'll expand it

Business and Finance Greenland struggles with a resource bonanza
Natural-resource wealth can be a great thing -- like winning a lottery. But like many lottery winners, places that gorge on the bonanza without planning for the future often end up in terrible shape later on.

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Business and Finance Gold isn't a "safe haven"
The price of the metal has fallen by double-digit percentages in a matter of months, and that's making people who use it for jewelry very happy. It's undoubtedly driving gold bugs crazy. And the plunge is just one of several reasons why money shouldn't be based on a gold standard. The recent gold fever has been bubble-driven, but people who were smart and converted their cash into skills instead are probably much happier than those who hoarded the metal.

News Memorial tributes to Margaret Thatcher

The United States of America Are you ready to start paying more to cover past pension shortfalls?
Lots of public-sector pension programs have gone badly under-funded for some time, and now it's time to pay the piper.

News Tom Ricketts promises a World Series for the Cubs
It's a promise made in exchange for very significant renovations to and around Wrigley Field

Business and Finance Tesco bids farewell to the US market
Hugely successful at home, Tesco found the American market just too much to bear. Domestic groceries celebrate the departure.

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.



The United States of America Should the TVA be privatized?
If it's not an essential public service, then the Federal government most likely should privatize it. But it seems strange that there are Republican members of Congress opposing the plan, and a Democratic administration floating the idea. The present White House hasn't show much tendency towards privatization -- in fact, much the opposite. So if nothing else, the idea makes for quite the soap opera.

Iowa Wells Fargo breaks ground on $100 million expansion in West Des Moines
The Des Moines Register reports "The bank is not seeking government incentive dollars for the Jordan Creek expansion".

Iowa Hard Rock Casino on the way for Sioux City
It will take the place of the current Argosy riverboat casino. Local supporters think the Hard Rock will bring in twice the money for local charities that the riverboat has.

News How big is Africa, really?

Weather and Disasters Chicago suffers serious flooding

Business and Finance Single adults close to retirement have a lot less on average than married peers

News The US could have shown a little more respect at Thatcher's funeral
No high-ranking administration officials were sent to attend. By contrast, Thatcher herself made a personal appearance at Ronald Reagan's funeral.

Humor and Good News Rammstein vs. Cookie Monster
(Video)

Broadcasting This week in trends, tips, and technology





Business and Finance If your skills are easily replaced, job security will be low
What's really important for people is to realize the value of having two specialties -- not just one. One is easily replaceable, but two makes for a better-rounded individual with far more pricing power in the market for labor. Charlie Munger just made a big donation to the University of Michigan in the hope of seeing cross-departmental cooperation among graduate students, saying "Specialization causes a lot of bad thinking."

Business and Finance Even the best intentions can leave us trapped
Students in northwest Iowa schools are involved in a stock-market investment competition in which they team up with one another and "invest" a hypothetical windfall of $100,000. It's great that the schools are doing what they can to encourage kids to learn about investing; something is definitely better than nothing in this regard. But it's impossible to do something tied to the school year that will teach kids the most important lessons about investing -- patience and the search for value -- because there's no way to fairly evaluate deep value investing on a time horizon of six or even nine months. Most people really need to learn how to invest for the optimal returns over many years -- and the way you do that is quite different from short-term speculation. Again, it's far better that these kids learn something about stocks rather than nothing, but it's hard to really instill the most important lessons without a much longer time horizon than the school year permits.

Health Tourniquets saved lives in the Boston bombing
Not to be widely used, but in catastrophic circumstances, they might be the best option

News The Onion: "Majority of Americans not informed enough to stereotype Chechens"
It's not even satire -- it's the truth

Broadcasting This week in the business of making money and having fun
Notes for and from the Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio for Sunday, April 21, 2013




Computers and the Internet IBM may sell its low-end server division to Lenovo
If an IBM-to-Lenovo sale sounds familiar, that's because IBM sold its PC division to the same company back in 2004/2005. Now, they may be looking to spin off another low-growth division, and Lenovo may be back with its corporate checkbook.

Business and Finance Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke may be signaling his exit
He's skipping the Jackson Hole conference, which is a big one among the American finance and central-banking crowd. His term is due to expire within a year, and he may simply be ready to pull a George Costanza and go out on a (relative) high note. On the other hand, he would be leaving at a moment when the Federal Reserve has to be watching the economy with great intensity. They've pumped lots of money into the system, but it hasn't started moving very quickly; when it eventually does, the Fed will have to show some very good judgment about pulling that money back off the table in a timely manner, or else we'll see high inflation rates.

Computers and the Internet Microsoft tries to steer the conversation towards privacy
It's one of the areas where they probably think they have a competitive advantage against Google

Threats and Hazards "Whenever the word 'terrorist' is mentioned in this country, reason tends to go out the window"
Overreaction is too much like surrender

Weather and Disasters How much rain, how often?
A NOAA tool lets users see how often heavy rainfalls can be expected. Exactly what would be a 1-in-1,000-year rainfall, for instance?




Computers and the Internet Facebook will build a data center in Altoona
The Des Moines suburb is on the opposite side of the metro area from the data center built by Microsoft in West Des Moines. The company says it's to be the fourth owned-and-operated data center for Facebook. Food farms and server farms can coexist in peace and harmony.

The United States of America Work-commute times across America
It's no surprise that metro areas in the Midwest like Des Moines and Omaha have some of the shortest average commute times in the country. It's a meaningful contributor to quality of life. Save ten minutes a day over 250 work days a year, and you've just cut an entire work-week (41 hours, in fact) out of your annual time behind the wheel. That's a lot of valuable leisure time to add to a year.

Science and Technology Scientists test putting swarms of robots to work
Lots of small robots with small brains might be able to do things very effectively -- just like schools of fish or flocks of birds. The demonstrations of distributed behavior by small robots with tiny "brains" resemble the behaviors we see in nature, and may show promise for what we need out of the robots of the future, like when they're at the nano scale and are used for things like cleaning our arteries. In the words of the lab's chief, how much work can we get done without lots of thinking?

Humor and Good News A public-service announcement about those Bill Gates pictures on Facebook...
...no, you're not going to get $1,000 for sharing

Business and Finance Yeah, we'll get to work. After the check clears.





Threats and Hazards Legislators propose cutting pay for Iowa supreme-court judges
It's intended as punishment for how they ruled in the decision that brought about same-sex marriage in Iowa. And for making such a ridiculous proposal, the legislators should be ashamed of themselves. Cutting pay (or otherwise seeking to enact punishment) for judges who decide against your wishes is the best way to destroy the safeguarding role that the judiciary plays in a healthy republic. We need the judiciary to make unpopular decisions occasionally, when the popular will is actively (or soon to be found) trampling on the rights of others. Rights aren't a matter of popular will, if we believe our founding documents and their "self-evident truths". So when the popular will is hostile to rights, we need the judiciary to provide a sober backstop.

Science and Technology Some watchers think solar power is about to break through on a big scale
That, plus cheap natural gas and tools like next-generation household energy-management tools (like the Nest thermostat) could make for volatile times ahead for the major energy utility industry

Business and Finance Huawei: "Not interested in the US market anymore"
The Chinese phone-maker plans to focus on the rest of the world's markets instead after running into social and political friction trying to get into the American market

Science and Technology Don't let your "friends" count get you down
A handful of well-connected people skews the average number of friends inside real and digital social networks

Computers and the Internet What happens to your posthumous Facebook account?

Business and Finance April 2013 edition of the EconDirectory




The United States of America The challenge of keeping fraternal and civic organizations alive
There are so many competing interests for people's attention and time that civic groups are having trouble recruiting younger members. This is a bad long-term trend: We really need to make sure that there is regular, personal engagement within our communities, and if fraternal and civic organizations aren't healthy, then it's time to start looking for the secret sauce to give them some help.

Computers and the Internet CEO at eBay calls for revolt over sales taxes for Internet sales
For self-interested reasons, eBay wants an exemption for small businesses (fewer than 50 employees and interstate sales of less than $10 million a year) from a proposed rule requiring Internet retailers to collect sales taxes nationwide. This one's a tough issue: States and local governments are clearly losing out on tax collection due to Internet sales, but the burden of collecting taxes on behalf of nearly 10,000 different jurisdictions would be altogether overwhelming for many Internet retailers. For those small retailers, eBay's self-interest brings deep pockets and first-class legal advice that the many little parties involved can't afford on their own. Anyone who thinks that it's reasonable to expect small retailers to collect taxes in that many jurisdictions at once is someone who hasn't spent enough time dealing with government regulations. The burden would be overwhelming.

News Forty people found alive a day after Bangladeshi building collapse
But at least 250 of the 2,000 or so people who were inside the building were killed

Computers and the Internet Make sure someone trusted knows how to take over your Facebook page
A Brazilian judge has ordered Facebook to take down the page of a woman who died at age 24, after her mother sued over the distress the lingering page caused her. You don't have to give anyone your passwords while living, but for goodness' sake, write down your essential passwords and store them in a safe location -- in a sealed envelope in a safe-deposit box, for instance. If something tragic (expected or not) should happen to you, whomever you trust enough to go through your belongings should also have your trust enough to do the right thing with the digital footprint you leave behind.

News Bringing some bulldog journalism back to the daily paper
A profile of the editor of the Toronto Star suggests that getting a little spunky has meant good business for the major-market paper. The same formula would never work in a smaller market, but that's the difference between metropolitan-level newsgathering and community-focused journalism.




Computers and the Internet US Cellular customers from St. Louis to Chicago to Fort Wayne will be moved to Sprint soon
That means they'll have to buy new phones. Both networks are on CDMA, but the companies claim the antennas within the phones are tuned to the wrong frequencies to make the switch. Strange move on the part of US Cellular to sell off 11% of its customer base, but they did, slicing a meaningful piece out of the carrier's national retail footprint. Customers in other US Cellular markets should still be able to use their phones, but it seems like a signal that US Cellular is trying to boost its cash supply. (Also interesting about the move: US Cellular is headquartered in Chicago, where they paid mightily for naming rights to the White Sox ballpark...$68 million for a 20-year deal. Wrigley Field remains named for the chewing-gum magnate, without a naming-rights deal. The carrier is facing a lot of upset customer comments on Facebook for selling them to Sprint. This is all happening as Sprint fights off losses of half a million customers per quarter and weighs which takeover bid (from Softbank or Dish Network) suits them best.

News Fake reporter, real bylines
An Australian publication uses a fake name as a byline for articles written by their editors. On one hand, it's misleading -- if no such reporter actually exists, then the articles are not really accountable to the individual who wrote them. But it's not entirely different from the practice of radio and television hosts who change their names to make them more palatable to the audience. "Mark Twain" wasn't, "Dear Abby" isn't, and the use of house names isn't original by any means. And the number of people who go by contrived identities online probably outnumbers those who go by their own names...so is a "house name" for editor-written articles all that bad?

Business and Finance First estimate of last quarter's US GDP: 2.5% growth
But the revisions to GDP figures have been large and frequent recently, so it's hard to say for certain what the final number will be. But it definitely won't be the 3% to 5% high-growth, low-inflation rate assumed by the White House in its recent budget proposals.

Broadcasting This week in trends, tips, and technology
A preview of the WHO Radio Wise Guys show for April 27, 2013

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Science and Technology A hurricane on Saturn
With clouds the size of Texas

News Nebraska: So big, the governor needs an airplane
It's hard to argue against a state-owned (or leased) airplane when it takes so long to travel from one end to the other via car

Iowa From Cedar Rapids resident to president of Sierra Leone?


Computers and the Internet Always have a way to communicate if your website goes down
Any individual, company, group, or organization needs to have its own, standalone website as its true home base on the Internet. But it also needs at least one solid backup means of communication in case the site crashes -- as happened to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Business and Finance CEO pay ratios
To declare or not to declare?




Business and Finance China, please stop stealing trade secrets
History will show that the stifling of political freedoms has and will continue to cost China dearly in the commercial market as well.

Computers and the Internet Facebook home gets off to a slow start
There's only so much encroachment into life that some people will accept. Make that: many people.

News Ricketts plays hardball over Wrigley Field
The family that owns the Cubs says it's a bunch of new video scoreboards in the outfield or they're leaving the classic park

News Just one bad decision after another
A teen mother goes from "reality" TV into pornography

Computers and the Internet Google Fiber gets a rival
CenturyLink says it'll test 1 Gbps fiber-optic service in Omaha




Business and Finance Unlocking human potential
Warren Buffett argues that America's full economic structural advantages over much of the world (built on free markets and the rule of law) haven't even been fully actualized, given how long we have had social obstacles to women's success in the private sector. It's interesting reading.

Agriculture If someone cordoned off Buffalo and starved the entire city, we would have done something
The UN says that 260,000 people died in a famine in Somalia between 2010 and 2012. That's the population of Buffalo, New York. The famine was detected early, and the crop failure that caused the food to fall into short supply could have been mitigated by humanitarian relief efforts...if it hadn't been for militant groups that kept out the relief workers and used food as a weapon of war. It's shameful that criminals like that exist, and it's shameful that we don't pay greater attention.

Humor and Good News Keeping the tradition of May Day baskets alive

Humor and Good News Judge with a sense of humor rules on Texas strip-club laws

Iowa Iowa's railroads by freight carried
Also interesting: A map of Iowa's abandoned railroads.

Weather and Disasters Snow in May? Unusual but not impossible in Iowa.

Business and Finance Good credit means inconceivably low interest rates
Big corporations with strong balance sheets can borrow money for 10 years right now at 2.625% (and for 30 years at 4.125%). That's cheaper than the governments of New Zealand, Australia, India, Italy, or Mexico can borrow for similar periods of time.

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Business and Finance Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger - Comments from the 2013 Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting
As they said it, more or less

Telephone or text: 918-2-GONGOL (+1-918-246-6465)



Socialism Doesn't Work Watch out for anti-capital proposals
The White House budget proposed in April called for a limit of $3.4 million on the amount Americans could accumulate in tax-preferred retirement accounts. The budget itself is really just a statement of policy preference -- it's not going to turn into the actual budget -- but it does echo a recurrent theme of President Obama's time in office: That capital accumulation is something to be viewed with suspicion, bordering on hostility. On one hand, $3.4 million is a lot of money -- nobody should doubt that. But we're also nearly completely blind in America to how much is "enough" for retirement. Many people would say the word "millionaire" and imagine Uncle Pennybags or Uncle Scrooge. But consider this: If you wanted to get $40,000 a year in retirement income and do it just on interest payments alone (in other words, if you were trying to avoid taking anything out of your nest egg and just live on the interest), then if you had your money in "safe" 10-year Treasuries earning 1.78%, then you'd have to have more than $2.2 million in the bank. Under those conditions, "rich" doesn't really look so rich anymore. Instead of turning every saver into a villain (or a convenient target for heavy taxation), we should probably start to get really honest with ourselves. Our biggest single fiscal problem is that we can't afford to pay for the entitlement programs we've created at current rates of spending and taxation. That problem isn't going to be solved by discouraging people from saving (and thus making them more dependent upon government entitlement programs). That's the straightest path to a downward-spiralling negative-feedback loop. We will only get out of the fiscal trap by getting the economy to grow meaningfully faster than it is (3% to 5% would be ideal), and that's only done by getting people to save and invest in productive businesses. That also has the very positive effect of creating a larger class of people who don't need those entitlement programs to support them in their old age.

Business and Finance There's "official", and then there's "Google official"
Google has now shifted from calling them the "Palestinian Territories" to "Palestine". It's not a decision that bears any diplomatic standing -- Google is, after all, just an international company...not a state -- but it's worthy of note that decisions like this by commercial entities can have more impact than, say, the same change when it's done by the UN. We may very well be in an era in which the behavior of large companies (like Google) may have greater impact on the world at large than comparable behavior by true nation-states. In other words, balance sheets may matter more than armies. Nothing presently rivals the United States for global influence, and there's certainly a tier of nations (including the UK, China, Russia, and India) that are significant enough for one reason or another to merit true global influence. But if one were to rank the relative influence of the UN Member States, there's no doubt that there are several big companies that would punch well above the weights of many member countries. It's not entirely unprecedented -- the Hudson's Bay Company and the Dutch East India Company are two examples that come quickly to mind. But we may be, as some writers have suggested, in an era when many corporations transcend the powers of nation-states, and that requires thinking about them in new ways.

Computers and the Internet Thinking of investing in Facebook?
Proceed with caution. Page 15 of the company's latest earnings report tells a very interesting tale of declining operating margins. It's becoming harder for them to make a profit, even as the number of users grows. That doesn't mean they'll stop making a profit -- but the downward trend is obvious even to the untrained eye. Also of note: On page 4, they reveal that membership growth in the US, Canada, and Europe has basically ground to a halt. If you're not a member by now, you're not likely to convert. The US/Canada "population" on Facebook grew from 183 million to 195 million from the first quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2013. Meantime, the US population grew from 313 million to 315 million, and Canada has about 35 million people in all, growing by about 400,000 a year. So, while Facebook's membership is still growing faster than the population overall, it's really at about the saturation point -- especially if one assumes that some of those "members" are second accounts.

Computers and the Internet Productivity growth doesn't seem to be showing benefits from computers and smartphones
Either something is wrong with the data (and/or how it's being collected), or we're blowing off some of the obvious benefits that everyone can see with their own two eyes by wasting time on Angry Birds. Or something. It may also be one of those insoluble paradoxes of trying to account for what we produce without a real measurement of our overall well-being.

The United States of America Republicans can succeed by pursuing good-government policies

Business and Finance Economic well-being is the only thing that can prop up political freedom
When people go hungry, they're far more likely to let go of their civic freedoms in exchange for promises of food. That's what's at risk in Egypt right now: Having clawed their way to greater political freedom, the people are suffering from economic stagnation. That could put the political freedoms at risk if a sufficiently persuasive party or demagogue comes along, offering bread in exchange for those freedoms.

Broadcasting This week in "making money and having fun"
Showprep for the Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio for the week ending May 5, 2013




The United States of America "Broke and demoralized, America retreats from the Pacific"
One of the possible scenarios detailed in an assessment of the next 20 years in the Pacific, as changes come to America, China, and Japan. The leading conclusion of the Carnegie Endowment report is that the status quo can't go on. And the evidence supporting that conclusion is clear: Publicly-traded companies in China are experiencing shrinking profits, and there's no escaping the demographic realities wrought by China's one-child policy. But the United States has to make the choice to grow (and to deliberately put policies in place to create the environment for growth), or else a slow-growth economy will choke out defense spending while cutting options for other things we want and need.




Agriculture Last week's weather really put the brakes on Iowa's crop planting
Last year was terrible because of drought. This year, it's been too cold and too wet so far. It's hard to get a lot of field work done when you get 31 straight hours of snow in May.

Science and Technology Self-proclaimed "psychics" are taking money and hope from real victims
"Psychic" Sylvia Browne went on television in 2004 to tell the mother of a missing girl that the girl was dead. Except she wasn't -- she was one of the women freed this week in Ohio. But her mother died in the meantime, having been told a lie. It's heartbreaking, but it keeps on happening.

Humor and Good News Life is harrrd. Waaah.
A collection of animated .gifs from infomercials that make 21st Century Americans look like the biggest idiots in history.

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Computers and the Internet Are your passwords any good?
Intel offers a way to test their robustness

Business and Finance A hidden threat in Europe
High unemployment among young people. It's partly the result of bad government policy. And the effects will linger for a long time to come.

Computers and the Internet Google and Twitter team up to help Syrians get around Internet blockades

Humor and Good News The view from the cockpit
Photos from the cockpits of several fascinating vehicles

News Mayor Emanuel's popularity slips
Chicagoans may very well be getting tired of the violence

Humor and Good News Where should you chat online?

The United States of America A map of American English dialects




Business and Finance Unwinding "quantitative easing" will be the greatest trick a Fed chief will see in a generation or more
We may have sidestepped a dramatic economic catastrophe, but we'll have to take off the Band-Aid someday, and that won't be pretty.

Computers and the Internet How "The Onion" got hacked
It's all a matter of using social cues and tricking people into trusting those they shouldn't

Computers and the Internet Adobe is taking Creative Suite to a service model
No more downloads...only online, "cloud"-type access

Humor and Good News "Mad Money" Billionaires
...and other clubs that don't exist

News A very insightful story about depression
Good reading for everyone




Business and Finance What worries Ben Bernanke
Or, at least, what might. The thing that should really worry him most is whether his successor will be deft enough to take a lot of money off the table when inflation starts to pick up.

The United States of America Highest-paid state employees, by state
Mostly college football and basketball coaches. Probably not a good thing for America.

Computers and the Internet E-mail newsletters won't die
All things digital may be fleeting, but Twitter and Facebook posts (and their contemporaries) are even more ephemeral than a good old newsletter. That's why newspapers themselves will always have a place -- as the institutional memory of a place.

Threats and Hazards Buddhism has extremists, too

Iowa Best use of Swedish in a headline
A woman is said to have been carrying a "smorgasbord" of drugs

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Computers and the Internet Warfare goes digital, and the "Syrian Electronic Army" wants its recognition
Meanwhile, the Pentagon says China is getting bolder about state-backed cyberwarfare. The Defense Department says they've figured out it's easier to steal and copy our work than to invest in their own original R&D.

Iowa When will Highway 20 be four lanes wide across Iowa?
"Since IDOT doesn't plan for more than five years at a time, pinpointing a completion date isn't possible". And yet some businesses operate on 100-year business plans. That's how you win the future.

Computers and the Internet Snapchats don't really disappear like the service promises
The photos can be recovered with some simple file renaming -- or, you know, by taking a screen capture

News Emotions that stretch the English language
Some are too nuanced for English to neatly contain...but people feel them anyway

The United States of America Omaha police officially confirm citizens' right to record police activity
Civilian oversight of police authority is the only way to go in a free society




Broadcasting This week in making money and having fun
Notes from the Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio for May 12, 2013

Broadcasting This week in trends, tips, and technology
Notes from the WHO Radio Wise Guys show on May 11, 2013




Threats and Hazards If it looks and smells like government overstepping its powers...
...then there's probably a good chance it really did. The Associated Press says the Justice Department secretly took two months' worth of their phone records. The AP calls it "a serious interference with AP's constitutional rights to gather and report the news". From what has been reported thus far, they appear to be absolutely right. And it should also be noted that this is exactly why people are wrong when they repeat the tired (and incorrect) refrain that "corporations aren't people". The AP is a corporation -- a cooperative, technically, but a corporation nonetheless -- that exercises the same legal rights to report the news under the auspices of the First Amendment as the individuals who work for the corporation. If the corporation (as a "body" of people) doesn't retain the same Constitutional rights as the journalists individually, then how could we really enforce those Constitutional rights for us all? This particular instance, at least, appears to illustrate exactly why it's silly to dismiss the understanding that corporations really are (made up of) people. And it should also be a case to give us all a serious case of concern about how open and transparent the Federal government really is.

Agriculture Iowa's farmers have 15% of the corn crop planted
This time last year, they had 86% of it in the ground. That's how cold and wet conditions have been.

Science and Technology Payphones, remembered

Science and Technology How smart are dogs, really?

Weather and Disasters Strangely, we've had practically no tornadoes in a year
Iowa and Nebraska have been virtually tornado-free. That's not normal at all.

Humor and Good News Listen more
Paul Bennett: "For most of my twenties I assumed that the world was more interested in me than I was in it, so I spent most of my time talking, usually in a quite uninformed way, about whatever I thought, rushing to be clever, thinking about what I was going to say to someone rather than listening to what they were saying to me." Sounds like a profound statement to the Twitter and Facebook age.

The American Way A democratic China within 20 years?
(Video) Maybe. A bold statement from a Chinese businessperson on "60 Minutes" earlier this spring.

Business and Finance Google versus the newspaper ad

Broadcasting Seth Meyers gets "Late Night" when Fallon takes over for Leno

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The United States of America This thing we call a "free press"
The Associated Press is a corporation -- a cooperative, non-profit corporation, but a corporation nonetheless. It is owned by its member newspapers, radio stations, and television stations. The reporters and editors who report for the AP do so in America with the protection of the First Amendment, which applies to the individual reporters -- but also to the organization itself. Why? Because the corporation, ultimately, is made of people -- the people working for it, and the people who own the companies that own the AP. Like it or not, the Citizens United ruling struck down certain campaign expenditures because "certain disfavored associations of citizens -- those that have taken on the corporate form -- are penalized for engaging in the same political speech" as individuals and unincorporated groups. So, for as much as it was popular to jump on the bandwagon that criticized Mitt Romney for saying that "corporations are people", he was right: Corporations are made up of people, and those people do not give up their rights just because they decide to associate with one another. It may, however, take a case like this in which there is near-universal revulsion at the government's behavior for people to see the context.

News Is musical talent a depleting asset?
Specifically, music-writing talent, particularly for popular audiences




Computers and the Internet Dwolla gets cut off from Bitcoin
The Federal government has stepped in to stop money-transfer service Dwolla from exchanging any of the "virtual" currency called Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a strange thing -- a private currency with no government and no real management, just a pre-programmed rate of creation and a highly anarchical exchange system. Dwolla probably didn't do anything wrong, but it seems quite likely that someone using Bitcoin did, and it's possible that the government wanted Dwolla (and possibly others) to stop touching it while something fishy is being investigated.

News Omaha's mayoral office goes Republican

The United States of America More US children are being born to unwed mothers
35% in Iowa in 2009, about the same as the national figure.

News Oregon researchers say they've developed a cloned embryo to the 150-cell stage

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Weather and Disasters Damage mitigation makes sense
Former Obama administration official Peter Orszag concludes that it's probably time to start looking at ways of making urban life more resilient to things like heavy rainfall and other dynamic weather patterns. His essay expresses frustration that "we seem to lack the will to reduce this threat by cutting greenhouse-gas emissions", but concludes that something can be done about mitigating the consequences. That's a conclusion that may well have been informed by Bjorn Lomborg, who has long argued that (a) there are likely to be climate changes ahead, (b) we humans may or may not be ultimately responsible, and (c) even if we are responsible for it, even the most drastic cuts to things like carbon-dioxide emissions are likely to make life terribly miserable without really reversing the effects of climate changes already underway. Lomborg makes a strong case for focusing our energy and resources on addressing problems that we know with a high degree of confidence that we can solve, rather than on speculative and massively costly efforts to reverse the warming of the global climate. His group concluded that $75 billion spent wisely could massively improve human happiness worldwide.

News Al Gore probably is about as wealthy as Mitt Romney
Gore got wealthy mainly after leaving office. His connections have kept him well-fed.

Weather and Disasters Some good news: 356 days without a tornado
That's the longest spell without a tornado in recorded history in Iowa. But we can't help but feel sympathy for the people of Texas, who had 12 tornadoes, including at least one EF-4 yesterday.

Iowa The Great Plains during the Colorado gold rush
A great map showing Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado during the gold rush. This is how the Great Plains looked during the Civil War.

Science and Technology Scientists find 1.5-billion-year-old water source a mile and a half under Canada
They think it's gone untouched by the rest of the environment for that incredible length of time, and they're trying to figure out if it contains anything living. If it does, that could hint at ways we should look for (and at) possible forms of life on Mars.

Computers and the Internet What does it mean to be a publisher?
The main writer behind a Chicago Cubs-related website posts a mea-culpa after relaying some rumors that he turned out to regret. He notes that since his site has evolved from a one-man blog into a much more significant operation, "I can -- and will -- still write 'differently' about the Cubs than traditional media, but I've got to stop thinking of myself as operating in an insular bubble." He deserves credit for recognizing that digital publishing still carries responsibilities, even if those words never make it to paper or the regulated airwaves. It's a lesson a lot of people have to learn, especially now that it's possible to publish to the entire world from a smartphone (possibly while drunk). As Charlie Munger put it at the 2013 Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting, "I think there's a time when your ignorance and folly ought to be hidden".

Threats and Hazards The threat to several species in Africa is great

News Will the indignation at White House behavior grow?

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Broadcasting This week in trends, tips, and technology

Iowa Iowa State Patrol gets Humvees for the next winter storm

News San Francisco residents don't love their bacon enough

Business and Finance Still growing, but more slowly
Signals from the East Coast hint that the US economy may not be growing very quickly at all. The President, meanwhile, is trying to shift attention away from the scandals of the week and is using the "jobs" refrain as the means to try. What he ignores, willfully or otherwise, is that the private sector has a lot of people who distrust his motives and his moves alike. The budget proposal to cap tax-advantaged retirement savings at $3.4 million was just one example why he doesn't have that trust he needs: A limit like that just tells people not to save or invest. He can make all the speeches he wants, but when his policy proposals tell investors that their services aren't needed or wanted here, they're going to hold back.

Humor and Good News Just try explaining the political abuses of the last week




Business and Finance Remember: China is still a developing nation
People too often use "developing" nation as a euphemism for "poor". China, it should be remembered, is widely recognized as the world's second-largest economy, but with four times the population of the United States, its people are much less well-off on average. And in the course of "development", the country will have to deal with its Communist government and its restrictions on things from land ownership to speech, as well as a host of issues related to the quality of life. In the meantime, Americans will have to figure out how to navigate the inflow of investment capital from China as this country remains one of the best places in the world to invest.

Business and Finance EU accuses Huawei and ZTE of "dumping" on the European phone market

Computers and the Internet Microsoft adds Google chat service to Outlook.com
An interesting move by Microsoft to integrate services from a competitor

News BBC documentary examines the "Quiverful" movement

Broadcasting A long-form essay on radio today

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 Wall Street Journal says Yahoo will buy Tumblr for $1.1 billion
That's a lot of cash, no matter who you are. But it could be a bold move by Yahoo to inflate its relevance. Tumblr is in a category that also includes Instagram -- sites that depend upon users sharing with one another, very much in a "social" way, but not in a manner that directly competes with Facebook. Tumblr counts on rapid-fire posts, sharing, and re-sharing of uncounted sources and types of content. Everyone seems to want to control the "next Facebook", but Tumblr and Instagram (which was purchased by Facebook last year) might just be the logical successors to Facebook, without actually looking much like Facebook. Yahoo, meanwhile, is about as seasoned (read: old) as an Internet company gets. Under CEO Marissa Mayer, they seem to be adopting the conglomerate model for an online company -- putting together a porfolio of services under one ownership umbrella, without actually integrating those services together, and they're treating their properties somewhat independently. For their flagship Yahoo page, they're reaching out to integrate services from other companies (like Twitter) into what they do. What's funny about that move is that many stock traders and investors actually discount the value of conventional conglomerates and pay less for them. It's not a rational thing to do of course, but the "conglomerate discount" is a widely-known phenomenon. Yet, moving from the bricks-and-mortar world into the online world, people seem to shift from discounting conglomerates to valuing them more.

Weather and Disasters Interactive map of Iowa tornadoes since 1950




Humor and Good News Watch a "psychic" fail
(Video) Anchor Larry Potash calls her out: "You know what? You failed!" The "psychic" responds by accusing him of not being very nice.

Weather and Disasters A report on yesterday's severe weather in Iowa

Business and Finance More surcharges may be forthcoming
Especially with new costs coming for things like mandated health care

Agriculture Iowa farmers put 56% of the state's corn crop in the ground last week

Humor and Good News Zach Galifianakis shows some real humanity
He tends to play a total screwball, but it turns out he's been caring for an old lady out of his own pocket and the goodness of his heart for two years now

Weather and Disasters Straight-line winds damage airplane on the ground at Cedar Rapids airport




News China embarks on yet another goodwill tour

The American Way South Korea's economic miracle
It's the perfect contrast to the failure of Communist government up north. South Korea's history isn't perfectly free, democratic, or untroubled...but there's no denying that it's used the tools of democracy and capitalism reasonably well and in growing measure.

Business and Finance The modern wonder that is the standardized shipping container

Computers and the Internet Netflix says it's ready for the "Arrested Development" rush
New episodes will be released this weekend

Weather and Disasters Kansas TV broadcasters head to the basement when a tornado approaches the studio
(Video)




The American Way Investment clubs are a good thing
Illustrating how people can voluntarily associate for their own welfare

The United States of America How President Obama makes the case for limited goverment
It's not by intent, to be certain. It's by demonstrating just how awful over-reaching government can be.

News FBI agents kill man supposedly tied to the Boston Marathon bombers

Threats and Hazards Cyberwarfare most certainly will show up in the physical world around us
And we're woefully unprepared.




Business and Finance Ford decides it's not worth building cars in Australia anymore
They're closing their Australian plants by 2016, leaving behind GM and Toyota as the only two remaining carmakers down under. Ford says it's been building cars in Australia since 1925.

Humor and Good News The Onion: "Woman who cracked three separate iPhone screens expecting baby boy this August"

News Newsweek's move to a digital-only format
They're sticking with a deliberately once-a-week publishing schedule for now. It's probably a smart move in that it allows the publication to serve an archival role -- marking how the world looks at a particular moment in time. We're so inundated with non-stop, live-streaming information from around the world that it probably should be comforting to know that there are sources to which we can turn for a review of everything that is or was important over a specific period of time. The true periodical probably has a more important role to play than ever.

The United States of America Boy Scouts remove prohibitions on homosexual members

News Frightening collapse of Interstate highway bridge in Washington
It may have been caused by a truck crash, but it shouldn't escape our attention that the nation needs a lot of infrastructure work. We've deferred maintenance on a lot more than just roads and bridges for a very long time.




Iowa What Jim Zabel taught me

Business and Finance Think!
Thomas Watson's command never goes out of style

Computers and the Internet Internet cafes: Good. Illegal gambling houses: Bad.
That's how it's been adjudicated in Ohio for now.

Humor and Good News Copyright in space
Cheers to the Canadian astronaut who made the most of his time on the International Space Station

Aviation News RAF scrambles fighter jets to escort flight from Pakistan
Two passengers were arrested after the plane was diverted

Weather and Disasters Video of the early stages of the EF-5 tornado in Oklahoma this week
(Video) Better coordination of spotter activity with better radar should mean even more warning and more lives saved in the future






Science and Technology Receding glaciers expose plants that haven't been seen for 400 years
Astonishingly, some are coming right back to life. What this says about environmental change is one thing. But what it tells us is biologically possible is quite another.

Computers and the Internet Dr. Watson, I presume
How IBM's Watson supercomputer is likely to dramatically change health care




Threats and Hazards China keeps on hacking
The Federal government says that it's becoming a "key point of concern" that China's government is using cyber-espionage (some would say "cyber-warfare") to get things like information on US weapon systems. The Washington Post reports that a confidential report for the Pentagon says that a laundry list of weapons have been "compromised" by Chinese hackers.

Business and Finance Have stock prices become severely decoupled from the real economy?

Computers and the Internet Google says it's not evil to avoid paying extra in taxes
They're getting criticized for using the law to avoid paying a bunch of taxes in the UK. Eric Schmidt says in response, "If the British system changes the tax laws then we will comply."

Science and Technology A look at electricity in 1888
We occasionally need to look back to see just how far we've progressed in just a few generations

Humor and Good News Duck takes up residence at an Iowa City hardware store




Business and Finance Bad money chases out good
What's known as "Gresham's Law" states that if counterfeit money or "debased" currency starts to enter a market, people will hoard the valuable stuff and exchange the junk. It's easy to understand; if you have a 1964 dime, it's worth several times more than its face value for the silver content alone, so you'd be stupid to exchange it for something worth just ten cents. It's not a huge step to imagine that there's a digital corollary to Gresham's law: That in a "virtual" currency, bad transactions will chase out the good. The Federal government just clamped down on "Liberty Reserve", a digital-currency exchange that had its own virtual currency, which the government says was being used almost exclusively for money laundering and illicit exchanges. It's well-known that businesses with high rates of cash transactions are widely used for money-laundering. But if a digital currency exchange allows people to convert money more seamlessly and with a minimum of supervision, there should be no surprise that it attracts illegal activity. Legitimate consumers may not want the government tracking their moves, but they do tend to want Visa or MasterCard or PayPal to offer some kind of reassurance that they will back the security of the transaction and help the consumer in case of fraud. A totally laissez-faire digital currency exchange that does everything it can to avoid collecting information and details on its users offers no such reassurances -- and thus, the "bad" transactions will quite likely crowd out the "good".

Computers and the Internet Why is Facebook's stock not going anywhere?
One columnist speculates that it's because the company needs Mark Zuckerberg to start talking more like the head of Amazon, promising a big future in return for investment now. In reality, it's because Facebook was severely overpriced when it went public, and there are much better values to be found in the stock market for much more solid companies with much more certain futures.

Computers and the Internet Cedar Falls Utilities will offer gigabit Internet service
They've put fiber-optic cable all over the city and promise to turn on the gigabit-speed service the same day the customer requests it. They're the first community in the state to go with fiber to the premises. Not everybody needs it -- 1 Gbps is about 100 times faster than a typical cable Internet connection (running at 8 Mbps to 12 Mbps). But for those parties willing to pay for it, gigabit-speed Internet could be a fantastic service.

Agriculture Why we need to watch farm-land prices carefully
Interest rates are very low, so borrowing is attractive. Meanwhile, conventional investments like bonds look very unattractive to investors, so some of them have been switching from bonds to land, meaning there's more demand for the land that goes up for sale. Simultaneously, crop prices are very high. All of these things make for a recipe for high (and possibly inflated) land prices in the Midwest. The conditions are optimal for the highest-possible prices, really. That doesn't mean they won't rise further, nor that they will necessarily crash. But when you see that a market is firing on every possible cylinder, you have to assume that something about it is going to have to come back down to earth.

Iowa Michael Gartner sues Iowa Public Radio
Gartner can generally be expected to do or say something when he thinks people in government are trying to hide something

News Wrestling, baseball, and softball may still make the cut for the 2020 Olympics

Humor and Good News The Onion: "It's almost as if BuzzFeed doesn't respect my intelligence as a reader"
Original humor (like The Onion) beats hackneyed, copied content anytime

Computers and the Internet Why it would be a mistake for Microsoft to spin off Xbox or Bing
Just because the company doesn't dominate every market doesn't mean it should leave those markets

Computers and the Internet Yahoo's mission to become an Internet conglomerate
A writer for Wired echoes a theme echoed here on May 19th.




Business and Finance Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary MidAmerican Energy is buying a Nevada energy company
Berkshire has treated MidAmerican differently than its other subsidiaries -- instead of shipping the profits back to Omaha, they reinvest them over and over within MidAmerican's own portfolio. This purchase fits the standards for a Warren-Buffett-friendly acquisition: Using a rough back-of-the-envelope estimate for how Buffett appears to have valued other recent purchases, NV Energy is intrinsically worth about $6 billion, and MidAmerican is paying $5.59 billion. If a company in a steady industry (like utilities) where retained earnings can be deployed to create even higher profits (as MidAmerican has done by building a mammoth portfolio of wind turbines), then getting a company for a decent discount to its intrinsic value makes plenty of sense.

Threats and Hazards Man who tried to bomb Wrigley Field gets 23 years in prison

Business and Finance Goldman Sachs says keep buying stocks, regardless of what the Federal Reserve does

Weather and Disasters Many tornadoes but light damage in Nebraska yesterday

Health Everything you ever wanted to know about blood types




Science and Technology NHTSA wants four years to decide whether self-driving cars are safe
Four years seems like an awfully long time. Computers will be a lot faster and more powerful by then.

Computers and the Internet Relive the Amiga computer days and play "Lemmings"

Iowa Iowa's official flood-related Tumblr page goes live

The United States of America Are we overheating our talk about Social Security?
It's possible that the language used to discuss the program is hard to distill from actuarial-speak to general-public discussion, but it's also well worth noting that the costs of entitlement programs in the United States are still growing as a percentage of GDP, and are expected to keep on growing by that measure.

Computers and the Internet A preview of Windows 8.1
Microsoft knows that Windows 8 hasn't lit the public's imagination afire, so they're making some changes and will roll them out as "Windows 8.1" late in the summer or in the fall.

Weather and Disasters Should schools in Tornado Alley contain safe rooms?
It's a highly worthwhile question. "Safe rooms" would probably be a more rational expenditure of money on school improvements than bulletproof glass, but in all cases, the most important question is whether the incremental dollar spent is doing the maximum good it possibly can.





News Chicago Sun-Times lays off entire photography staff
Freelancers and reporters will be expected to pick up the slack

Iowa And you thought your mail was lost...
...one letter mailed in 1943 was just delivered in Sioux City

Broadcasting Larry King returning to TV with show on Russian-based cable network

Broadcasting This week in "making money and having fun"




Iowa An old editor reminisces about the Des Moines Register
Michael Gartner clearly wishes the Des Moines Register were something closer to what it used to be.

Computers and the Internet Who wants to buy Hulu?
News Corp. and Disney are trying to sell it, and it's reported that DirecTV, Time Warner, KKR, Yahoo, and others are all in the running as potential buyers

Computers and the Internet Public pressure sends Facebook after pages featuring hate speech
The number of chuckleheads who think they're being funny when they joke about domestic violence is far too many




Business and Finance Lessons from Zynga's troubles
The online-game maker is in trouble, with plans to lay off 20% of its employees soon. What lessons can be taken away from their experience? (1) All bubbles eventually burst; desktop gaming was just another of many. (2) The best way to stay in business is to try to put yourself out of business; Zynga apparently didn't try hard enough to get mobile platforms right, and stayed too long with desktop games. (3) Overspending may be fun, but it's not good business; buying office buildings and overpriced subsidiaries doesn't seem to have helped Zynga's fortunes.

News "Functional obsolescence" and our bridges
When a bridge is called "functionally obsolete", that means it still works -- but we wouldn't design a replacement in the same way. Unfortunately, even though "roads and bridges" are a popular refrain for infrastructure spending right now (and there are many bridges, for sure, that need it), infrastructure is about much, much more than just roads and bridges. We are generally ignoring dams and water plants and the power grid and many other things, to our peril.

Socialism Doesn't Work 24 years ago: Tiananmen Square
Watch the Frontline special on "The Tank Man"





The United States of America Never trust yourself with power you wouldn't trust your opponents to use wisely
The uproar over the revelations of telephone and Internet surveillance conducted by the Federal government that may very well have encroached on the privacy of a very substantial number of American citizens is clouded in all kinds of mystery and crosstalk. But it does highlight the great danger in any group asserting powers when in office that they wouldn't entrust to their opponents. Everyone thinks their own motives are pure...but the whole idea of the "rule of law" is that we aren't subject to the whims of transitory things like motives, but rather are bounded by a sense of self-restraint that supersedes the stories we tell ourselves about our own purity.

The United States of America Better enforcement of exclusion orders? Yes, please.
They're a tool the government can use to block the importation of products that infringe on intellectual property rights







The United States of America The left may be regretting the choice for President Obama
The administration's approach to national security and other policies doesn't seem to be living up to the promises of openness and freedom that were made in 2008 and in 2012. The NSA promises that its data-sniffing system is operated carefully and that they correct errors, but who can really know whether that's the truth when everything is conducted under cloaks of secrecy with no meaningful civilian oversight?

Iowa Iowa is already well ahead of 2012's year-end totals for precipitation

Aviation News US Airways is really taking over American Airlines
They announced plans for most of the new management team to come from US Air. American Airlines will emerge from bankruptcy with its old name but under new management.

Computers and the Internet Unnamed company plans $140 million data center for West Des Moines

Computers and the Internet Twitter finally expands list options
Any user can now have 1,000 lists (as opposed to the previous limit of 20), with 5,000 members of each list (previously capped at 500). This is long overdue and a major improvement to Twitter's functionality.




Computers and the Internet Apple overhauls the iOS for iPhones
Version 7 is a lot less cluttered, at least on first appearances

Business and Finance Incredibly low interest rates may be fueling bad behavior on Wall Street again
The easier it is to access something as addictive as cheap money, the greater the danger that it leads to addiction.

Humor and Good News Photographer somehow turns traffic into a great short film

Humor and Good News When the history of the fall of Western Civ is written, this video will play a role
(Video) A "dancing queen" that will leave you with nightmares




Science and Technology Should cars get Gorilla Glass?
The material that has shown itself to be enormously popular for smartphone screens might also have a place in the windshield

Computers and the Internet An avalanche of information about the state of Internet use today
Operating systems, what's being shared, who's online...all of it in one entirely overwhelming presentation

Health Vaccinations save lives
There's no escaping the facts: People who feed on paranoia about vaccines are putting themselves and others at risk, including innocent children. It's unconscionable, when the science is clearly in favor of vaccination.

Weather and Disasters Wildfire destroys homes near Colorado Springs
It's big

The United States of America Was government surveillance unconstitutional?
A semi-secret court will allow the release of a ruling on some of the data-gathering activities that hadn't been previously disclosed to the public

Computers and the Internet Microsoft, Facebook, and Google want to report on what they're sharing with the NSA
One would think that's a good first step towards greater transparency in the process

Agriculture Who owns Iowa's farmland?
"62 percent of Iowa farmland was owned by non-farmers last year, up from 60 percent in 2007". That number undoubtedly includes both disinterested investors as well as family members who inherited a piece of the family farm but who moved to the city.

Iowa Des Moines/West Des Moines has nation's best outlook for jobs in coming months
Says a survey by Manpower, reported in Forbes.

Computers and the Internet A big load of updates in Microsoft's Patch Tuesday this month
Of high importance: The ones that refer to "remote code execution", since that's how other people can hijack your machine.

Business and Finance News Corp. divides itself in two




Business and Finance The President's Council of Economic Advisers is an all-Harvard team
There are some fine economists from there -- but isn't a little more heterogeneity in order?

Business and Finance How much do cities owe their growth to the industries already there?
According to one research paper, not as much as we'd likely think. The argument for what are called "agglomeration economies" is that a town with a specialty in one industry should try to attract other businesses from the same industry because that will enhance the economic growth of the city. Des Moines, for instance, is an insurance town. Agglomeration economics suggests that trying to get more insurance companies to reside here would make the city grow, attracting more insurance companies, in a virtuous feedback loop. But, aside from a few outlier cases like Los Angeles, it turns out that the feedback loop is only one of many factors, and not the most important one.

Computers and the Internet Facebook adopts the hashtag
Hashtags got their legs through use on Twitter, but all kinds of other services are starting to adopt them. While occasionally useful, they mostly just make things difficult to read.

Humor and Good News Recording a three-overtime Stanley Cup game...not so easy with a DVR

Computers and the Internet Apple's new iOS looks almost...Microsoft-ish
Yet nobody's really gotten on the Windows Phone bandwagon

Humor and Good News A prize for terrible art
The "Turnip Prize" rewards terrible art that doesn't try too hard




Threats and Hazards Having nothing to hide
Some people say "You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide." Those people need to explain why they still have window blinds and curtains.

News Australian army chief lays down the law about sexual abuse
(Video) Worth watching to see what happens when a leader gets unequivocal

Aviation News How to make airships practical for carrying cargo
Variable buoyancy might be just the trick

Business and Finance Angela Merkel thinks labor should get more mobile
Europe has a problem with unemployed youth; some of them undoubtedly could do better by moving.

Weather and Disasters Tornadoes in Belmond, Iowa, on June 12
(Video) Very clear footage

Weather and Disasters Live updates on the fires in Colorado Springs
A helicopter pilot shot some aerial footage of the damage. Containment of the fire is still quite minimal, at least officially -- just 5%.

Computers and the Internet Surveillance in the news ought to heighten awareness of ransomware


Broadcasting Gannett buys Belo television stations





Broadcasting This week in making money and having fun
Notes forthe Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio for June 16, 2013

News This week in sports





Computers and the Internet Why don't we see more Internet-related gains in economic productivity?
A decent question at a time when real earnings are relatively flat

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 Your best bet for antivirus software right now
When given the choice, go with Kaspersky. For now, it appears to have the best overall record at capturing malware and preventing problems early.

Computers and the Internet Facebook wants you to give real gifts to your online friends
Now they're trying to push real-life gifts, including Amazon gift cards, along with those birthday greetings people leave one another

Computers and the Internet Faster computing changes almost everything
Ideas that might have seemed outlandish just five or ten years ago are rapidly approaching plausibility due to the rate of increase in computing power available to all kinds of users. That means people are looking at ways of screening schools for handguns without forcing everyone through a lumbering metal detector -- and they have a good shot at getting it to work.




Science and Technology Mergers in the 3D printing universe
Widely-known Makerbot is merging with Stratasys, but will probably remain a separate subsidiary

Computers and the Internet Not Auto-Tune, but automatic tunes
Please note that (a) IBM's Watson won "Jeopardy"; (b) music is, fundamentally, mathematical in nature; and (c) Watson won't die of a drug overdose. Long after individual artists burn out (or die much too young), the patterns that made them great can be replicated. Some day soon, a computer will learn to "think" musically like Jimi Hendrix or John Lennon. It won't be exactly the same, but it will be very close, very good, and much better than whatever One Direction is recording.

Health Half of babies born at 25 weeks of gestation can survive with modern medicine

Science and Technology Nature's pretty good at photosynthesis already
(Video) But figuring out how to replicate it mechanically turns out to be a little more tricky. But if we get it right, we'll do quite well by ourselves. If we can achieve ready supplies of super-cheap and abundant energy, then more or less every other problem facing humanity becomes easy to overcome.

Computers and the Internet Microsoft and Apple team up to challenge Google
It's not an Earth-shattering arrangement, but Apple's Siri program will now use Microsoft's Bing search engine to find results when they're outside the normal realm of what Siri can find

Computers and the Internet When's the next edition of Android coming? Nobody seems to know.




Computers and the Internet Instagram ventures into 15-second videos
With Instagram-characteristic filters. One wonders whether the 15-second limit isn't a subtle nod to Warhol's 15 minutes of fame, but compressed into seconds for a media-drenched world. Is there really a reason to become obsessed with the differences between Instagram video and Vine's 6-second videos, or should everyone just calm down? Probably the latter.

Computers and the Internet Are the Apple iOS 7 graphics too gaudy?

Business and Finance Google decides that brain teasers are a pointless way to hire
Google's approach to hiring and interviews always sounded a bit gimmick-heavy, and they've apparently determined that giving people brain teasers as an interview test doesn't really tell them anything useful about how those people will perform as employees.

Business and Finance Dish gives up on pursuit of Sprint
This makes it a lot more likely that Softbank will successful in its attempt to buy out Sprint. But it also highlights the possibility that Dish may just be regrouping and thinking of buying T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom.

Computers and the Internet The market for used games
Microsoft apparently announced, then reversed, a policy to make it more costly for people to buy and sell used Xbox games. But as major software makers are taking things out of the physical world of game cartridges and discs and making them Internet-based (like Adobe's new cloud-based Creative Suite), used games may already be an endangered species, even without a policy.

Aviation News FAA may be ready to allow more access to "the cloud" from among the clouds
A final report from a working group working for the FAA won't come out until September, says the New York Times, but they may be thinking of allowing greater use of electronics in-flight

Business and Finance "Jersey is the new Wall Street"
So much of stock trading is electronic that the NYSE may be headed the way of bell bottoms and mood rings

Computers and the Internet Microsoft plans expansion of West Des Moines data center
Iowa is giving the company a tax break to "create 24 high-quality jobs" with a nearly $700 million expansion of the data center

Telephone or text: 918-2-GONGOL (+1-918-246-6465)



Broadcasting This week in trends, tips, and technology
Notes for the "WHO Radio Wise Guys"

Follow briangongol on Twitter




The United States of America The Supreme Court doesn't care about your Tweets


News Donald Trump is a strange choice to speak to a social-conservative group


News Where to find the largest libraries


The United States of America Another attempt to measure American well-being


Iowa Gov. Branstad warns state universities to think before they build


Computers and the Internet What matters about LinkedIn





Science and Technology Smart and not-so-smart action on climate change
President Obama's proposals on climate change include a lot of ideas that could cost a lot of money. Some would be well-spent. Some would be wasted.

Computers and the Internet Malware for mobile devices is out there


Threats and Hazards 75% of young people are ineligible for military service


Computers and the Internet Supercomputing is coming soon to a business near you


Iowa Iowa's top political donors






Iowa Iowa tries to sell ICN, but gets bids from only one prospect
The commission overseeing the network rejected the two bids it received from INS

Computers and the Internet When Apple's 3D maps go awry

Weather and Disasters Flooding in Calgary damages bridge, causing train derailment
And the train cars appear to be carrying petroleum products, so that's not a great situation for anyone

Computers and the Internet Verizon and US Cellular issue Android update (4.1.2) to Samsung Galaxy S3 phones

Business and Finance Rising interest rates mean higher costs for public-works projects

Business and Finance Should new technology subsidize old technology?
Did newspapers subsidize the town crier?

Computers and the Internet Stop sending naked-baby photos around the Internet
Today's children beg you. And John McIntyre asks for no more than one baby picture (of any sort) per month.

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Business and Finance Personal income fell in 49 states in the first quarter
Only South Dakota had growth. But among the 49 declines, Iowa's was the smallest.

News The Supreme Court's judgment on fonts
With high-profile opinions being issued this week, a question: What's the font face they use? Answer: Something from the Century family.

Computers and the Internet BlackBerry is losing money
The company lost $84 million in the last quarter, even as sales rose. They're pretty much the last manufacturer left standing with keyboards built into their smartphones, but is that enough to keep users around? It's still a popular corporate platform, particularly for e-mail security, but that might not be enough. Meanwhile, it looks like plans for Microsoft to buy Nokia's phone line died out. It's been noted that Microsoft's phone business depends upon Nokia, so if Nokia changes strategy and turns to the Android platform instead, Microsoft could be without a real presence in the smartphone market.

Health People aren't short of time -- they're short of thinking time
It's suggested that the problem many frazzled people have today is not so much that they have too much to do, but that they don't reserve adequate amounts of mental and emotional capacity to make decisions

Computers and the Internet It's not perfect, but Feedly is a decent substitute for Google Reader
It's as close to the Google Reader as any of the other RSS readers on the market. Just be sure not to enable the widget to follow you everywhere you go using the Chrome web browser.

Threats and Hazards Reuters: Chinese newspapers threaten "counterstrike" against Philippines
The two countries dispute one another's claims to parts of the South China Sea, and the newspaper's belligerence may or may not reflect official government attitudes...with a bias towards "may". If one were to make a list of "things the United States really doesn't need right now", towards the top of that list would be "a shooting war between China and one of our allies".

Science and Technology Imagining Earth's skies with Saturn's rings

Computers and the Internet Trojan-horse attack wipes out wide range of files
It looks like it's targeting computers in Korea, though that's no real assurance that it won't migrate elsewhere. And that it's hitting Korean computers certainly ought to raise eyebrows and suspicions as to whether the North Korean government and its cyberwarfare squads are involved.

News Cubs and City of Chicago progress towards agreement on Wrigley Field changes




Broadcasting This week in trends, tips, and technology
Show notes for the WHO Radio Wise Guys for June 29, 2013