Gongol.com Archives: October 2015

Brian Gongol

October 2015
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October 1, 2015

Science and Technology Flowing water on Mars, you say?

Business and Finance German publishers buy Business Insider
For a company valuation well over $300 million, that sure looks like a triumph for digital-first/digital-only publishing

Broadcasting Founder of Cumulus Radio booted from CEO suite

Iowa I-80/I-380 interchange project will cost $270 million
And it will take five years -- if all goes according to plan. But it's a much-needed development.

Iowa An unusual door-to-door sales pitch: Library cards

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October 2, 2015

Business and Finance The long road to a more secure credit card

Science and Technology Tesla officially enters the SUV market

News Chicago cops break rules to save a young life

Business and Finance A look at one of America's most economically-disadvantaged places

Health Medicine as a science still has a lot to learn
But at least there's plenty of evidence that they're trying

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October 3, 2015

Business and Finance Investment money is flowing away from emerging markets
And that's the first time that's happened in a quarter of a century

Business and Finance Carl Icahn foresees bad things ahead for the markets
Uncertainty persists, but catastrophe? That's a bit tough to swallow.

Business and Finance Credit scores and your love life
Couples with high credit scores tend to stay together. People tend to get romantically involved with partners of similar scores.

Business and Finance ConAgra is leaving Omaha to save $300 million a year
Or so they estimate. But those estimates, like any promises of savings from "synergy", are almost always well off the mark. And it's going to cost them $345 million to leave.

Science and Technology Iowa State University career fair shows just how much demand exists for engineering majors

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October 8, 2015

Business and Finance 45% of Americans don't pay income tax

Science and Technology Wind energy now costs the same as coal or natural gas power

Science and Technology Car buyers aren't willing to pay yet for the tools that will make driving safer
Too bad; the costs of crashes are much too high

Business and Finance AB InBev raises offer to buy SABMiller to more than $100 billion

Threats and Hazards Who wants to go to a crime-ridden city for the Olympics?
Rio 2016 may be your chance!

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October 9, 2015

Business and Finance The Federal Reserve held off raising rates because of the global economic picture
Threading the needle -- raising rates before inflation takes hold, but after the danger to the US economy is gone -- is a challenge nobody in economic history has ever faced with nearly the same heightened stakes. Janet Yellen may need more luck than anyone has ever needed.

Business and Finance Gannett just can't help itself from going back into debt
What a train wreck

Threats and Hazards These are our allies?

Threats and Hazards Whether it's making headlines or not, the refugee crisis continues in Europe
This is the most historically-significant event taking place right now, whether or not it's in the news

Business and Finance Corporate boards are boys' clubs, and that's a problem
Women shouldn't be there as tokens -- they should be there because they're half of the population and are conspicuous by their absence

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October 10, 2015

Science and Technology The time for real, deliberate laws and policies on police body cameras is well overdue
The law is way behind the technology, and that's a problem

News Why good people get chased too often out of politics
Tools like Twitter are leading us to behave like rabid pack animals

Computers and the Internet Google gets more search inquiries from mobile devices than from desktops

Health Cigarette smoking is going to kill China

Business and Finance The Donald Trump exit strategy
He's not serious about running for President. He's only in it for as long as it appears to inflate his personal "brand".

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October 11, 2015

News If ever there were a case for government to try harder to do better
...it's the heartbreaking way in which American Indians have been treated

Science and Technology Where's the PIN in "chip-and-PIN"?
The whole point of making credit cards more secure is being negated by our failure to use the PIN system. Without the PIN, the chip is really too much just for show.

Business and Finance Union pension funds in big trouble
As with too many pension funds, the problems have been apparent for a long, long time

Business and Finance Good social relations at work
Sure, it's good to have friends at work. But we also should make sure that we're doing "work" in a way that respects the need for people to have "off-work" lives, too.

News Britain's new left-wing party leader is a small-"R" republican
And he may be wrong about a lot, but he's right about that

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October 13, 2015

Business and Finance Deflation in the UK
Falling prices only sound like a good idea if you don't know what happens in the long run

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October 14, 2015

News An identity crisis for today's libraries
Openness to all could mean an unsettling environment for some

Business and Finance Alibaba founder wants China's economy to slow down

Computers and the Internet FBI takes out a botnet

Humor and Good News Cubs to preserve home run ball that landed atop video board

News Australia will resettle 12,000 refugees from Syria
To those who fear the influx of refugees from Syria into Western countries, the question really is this: Wouldn't you rather show mercy and compassion in a time of need and give thousands of people the chance to absorb your sense of freedom and individual liberty, rather than condemn them to fear, violence, and potential radicalization in a hostile place?

Aviation News No doubt remains: Malaysian airliner was shot down by a Russian missile

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October 15, 2015

Business and Finance The Midwest had accelerated deflation in September
There was slight deflation nationwide, but marked deflation in the Midwest

Threats and Hazards Russia plays cyberwarfare offense against NATO

News Federal government starts fighting back against non-payers on student debt
All the more interesting, considering the tone that has been set from the top of the Obama Administration for quite some time -- one that has suggested that college is a right and that other people should pick up the tab

Business and Finance Low interest rates have set large companies on a debt binge
This should surprise nobody. What is surprising, though, is that we're not seeing the money being spent on capital equipment -- durable goods orders are down and in some sectors, significantly so. That's a bad signal for the economy at large -- if you're not seeing spending on stuff that will produce future profits, then you're not seeing a priming of the pump for future growth.

News Taking the wrong messages from research literature
A pop-culture analysis in The Atlantic says that determination is a bad thing. Embedded in the story, though, is this clarifying quotation: "[I]t's important to know when to quit and reevaluate rather than blindly push through". That is quite the opposite of saying perseverance is perverse -- it says that we ought to look for the optimal outcome.

News One-paragraph book review: "Accidental Empires"

Humor and Good News An honest job interview
"I'm dumb as rocks"

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October 16, 2015

News Shame on Mike Huckabee
A Presidential candidate who wears his Christianity on his sleeve should be positively ashamed of himself for saying of Syrian refugees, "It matters if they’re really refugees escaping terror, escaping potential death, or are they just looking at this as an opportunity to get out of their country and go find the benefits America will provide." First, it's preposterous to suggest that the overwhelming majority of people trying to escape Syria are anything but refugees trying to escape the twin threats of Assad's brutal and soulless dictatorship and ISIS/ISIL/QSIL/Daesh's awful incarnation of a totalitarian regime. Anyone who doesn't know better than that shouldn't be running for so much as dog catcher, much less President. But let's examine the second half of Huckabee's statement: Since when has any voluntary group of immigrants to the United States ever looked for anything other than "an opportunity to get out of their country and go find the benefits America will provide". That's exactly why immigrants have always come here! Huckabee's attitude is toxic and reflects the attitude of a man unfit to be President.

Science and Technology It's not quite full autopilot, but...
Tesla says the Model S can just about drive itself, and will be fully capable of so doing in three years

Computers and the Internet With the consumer computer business in turmoil, how long can AMD hold out?

Business and Finance Warning signs: Factories are slowing production
It's not a huge contraction...yet. But two months in a row of decreased output from American factories is a bad sign.

Broadcasting "Key and Peele" end the run of one of the smartest shows on television
It's good to know that they're going to continue working together -- but the show was just so perfectly executed and so brilliantly written that its departure will leave a void

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October 17, 2015

News Meet Chinese democracy

Business and Finance The impossible position of a big metropolitan daily newspaper
Too long protected by monopoly powers, they haven't had a really good time making the transition to a much more competitive market

Broadcasting NBC is going to launch an all-comedy online programming service
If only it could bring back Phil Hartman and put him back with Dana Carvey, the world would be a better place

Agriculture What in the world do inmates have against bacon?

Computers and the Internet Disney wants a counter-cyberwarfare intern

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October 18, 2015

Broadcasting Show notes: Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - October 18, 2015

News One-paragraph book review: "Moneyball" by Michael Lewis

Humor and Good News Larry David is brilliant as Bernie Sanders
But Kate McKinnon is positively inspired as Hillary Clinton in the latest "Saturday Night Live" cold open

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October 19, 2015

News One-paragraph book review: "101 Things I Learned in Architecture School"

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October 22, 2015

Science and Technology Japanese automakers want to introduce self-driving cars around the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

The United States of America Jim Webb is dropping out of the Democratic Presidential race

The United States of America Good for Rep. Paul Ryan: Putting family ahead of political ambitions
And he may still end up as Speaker of the House

Computers and the Internet Price tag for SanDisk: $19 billion

News Canadian politics take a left turn

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October 23, 2015

Science and Technology A wheelchair that can climb stairs

Threats and Hazards Lifesaving aid workers in Syria are on the brink of collapse

Threats and Hazards Racist radicals may be working in German refugee camps

Business and Finance China may be easing controls on capital investment

Business and Finance Here's a terribly misleading list
A purported list of the "25 jobs with the best work-life balance" really only reflects that there are certain jobs that early entrants manage to exploit (temporarily)

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October 24, 2015

Business and Finance Negative interest rates in Denmark make property enter a bubble

Business and Finance It's getting really hard to differentiate in the car market
And it's only a problem because cars have generally gotten much better

Business and Finance China's economy keeps showing signs of slowing

Aviation News Building the next bomber

Business and Finance Omaha reacts to losing the ConAgra headquarters operation

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October 25, 2015

News One-paragraph book review: "Honda: The man and his machines"

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October 26, 2015

Computers and the Internet Google is betting on "machine learning"/artificial intelligence
Even a company that is "native digital" -- computer-based from its very founding -- is looking for new ways to have machines do the work so that they don't have to hire people to do it

News US Navy to China: Those aren't real islands. Your territorial claims are denied.
Turning reefs into artificial islands is just a naked ploy to claim large amounts of open sea. This isn't building up contiguous ground via landfill (like Manhattan) or draining low-lying areas (like Holland). It's really not that far from sinking an oil-drilling platform somewhere and claiming that it's sovereign territory with rights to a surrounding nautical boundary.

Business and Finance Why Omaha didn't stand a chance at salvaging ConAgra
Perhaps illustrative of the need for communities to focus on always leveling the playing field for the little firms that may organically grow into the big shots -- instead of trying desperately to kowtow to the big guns

News The worst thing in America? Donald Trump, say Latinas.

Weather and Disasters Big earthquake hits Afghanistan


October 27, 2015

Computers and the Internet Yahoo turns back to Google for search help

Business and Finance Honda hits brakes on plant expansion in China
An $822 million plant will go on hold because the company is worried about a decline in demand growth

Humor and Good News Out-of-control orchestra dads
The CBC's very funny satirical program "This is That" spins a tale of a parent who brings varsity-sport-parent intensity to his kid's orchestra rehearsals

News What happens to people who die alone in New York City
It's a big city with a lot of isolated people

Business and Finance China's ways of manipulating the currency


October 28, 2015

Business and Finance Michael Bloomberg editorial: Bad schools are a bigger long-term threat than terrorism
While dramatic, it's probably true. We badly need to find ways to improve career and technical training opportunities -- one of the worst things a country can develop is a persistent, low-skill, low-income underclass. It just doesn't work out in the end.

Agriculture Cash flow is becoming a problem for Midwestern farmers
As go the farmers, so goes a lot of the small-town economy. This is not a good sign.

Threats and Hazards Casey's finds credit-card skimmers mounted to gas pumps
The incident shows that not even the Midwest is safe from crooks

Humor and Good News Phil Collins is going back to the recording studio

Business and Finance Tough times for Norway's sovereign-wealth fund
Getting things right with a natural-resources bounty is very, very hard. Norway has done better than average -- maybe better than most -- but they're still not bulletproof.

News One-paragraph book review: "The Herbert Hoover Story"

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October 29, 2015

The United States of America Rep. Paul Ryan is elected Speaker of the House
Ryan and Chief Justice John Roberts get a lot of flak from elements of the "conservative" movement -- but they are two of the sharpest center-right minds in America, and we're lucky to have them both in high office

Business and Finance Malaysia's slow drift away from English has hurt its economy

News The latest slang, interpreted

Socialism Doesn't Work China changes repressive one-child policy to still-repressive two-child policy

Humor and Good News Linguist says Australian accent comes from early settlers being drunk

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