Gongol.com Archives: October 2015
October 1, 2015Flowing water on Mars, you say?
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
Founder of Cumulus Radio booted from CEO suite
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.
An unusual door-to-door sales pitch: Library cards
October 2, 2015The long road to a more secure credit card
Tesla officially enters the SUV market
Chicago cops break rules to save a young life
A look at one of America's most economically-disadvantaged places
Medicine as a science still has a lot to learn
But at least there's plenty of evidence that they're trying
October 3, 2015Investment money is flowing away from emerging markets
And that's the first time that's happened in a quarter of a century
Carl Icahn foresees bad things ahead for the markets
Uncertainty persists, but catastrophe? That's a bit tough to swallow.
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.
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.
Iowa State University career fair shows just how much demand exists for engineering majors
October 8, 201545% of Americans don't pay income tax
Wind energy now costs the same as coal or natural gas power
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
AB InBev raises offer to buy SABMiller to more than $100 billion
Who wants to go to a crime-ridden city for the Olympics?
Rio 2016 may be your chance!
October 9, 2015The 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.
Gannett just can't help itself from going back into debt
What a train wreck
These are our allies?
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
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
October 10, 2015The 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
Why good people get chased too often out of politics
Tools like Twitter are leading us to behave like rabid pack animals
Google gets more search inquiries from mobile devices than from desktops
Cigarette smoking is going to kill China
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".
October 11, 2015If 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
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.
Union pension funds in big trouble
As with too many pension funds, the problems have been apparent for a long, long time
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.
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
October 13, 2015Deflation in the UK
Falling prices only sound like a good idea if you don't know what happens in the long run
October 14, 2015An identity crisis for today's libraries
Openness to all could mean an unsettling environment for some
Alibaba founder wants China's economy to slow down
FBI takes out a botnet
Cubs to preserve home run ball that landed atop video board
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?
No doubt remains: Malaysian airliner was shot down by a Russian missile
October 15, 2015The Midwest had accelerated deflation in September
There was slight deflation nationwide, but marked deflation in the Midwest
Russia plays cyberwarfare offense against NATO
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
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.
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.
One-paragraph book review: "Accidental Empires"
An honest job interview
"I'm dumb as rocks"
October 16, 2015Shame 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.
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
With the consumer computer business in turmoil, how long can AMD hold out?
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.
"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
October 17, 2015Meet Chinese democracy
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
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
What in the world do inmates have against bacon?
Disney wants a counter-cyberwarfare intern
October 18, 2015Show notes: Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - October 18, 2015
One-paragraph book review: "Moneyball" by Michael Lewis
Larry David is brilliant as Bernie Sanders
But Kate McKinnon is positively inspired as Hillary Clinton in the latest "Saturday Night Live" cold open
October 19, 2015One-paragraph book review: "101 Things I Learned in Architecture School"
October 22, 2015Japanese automakers want to introduce self-driving cars around the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Jim Webb is dropping out of the Democratic Presidential race
Good for Rep. Paul Ryan: Putting family ahead of political ambitions
And he may still end up as Speaker of the House
Price tag for SanDisk: $19 billion
Canadian politics take a left turn
October 23, 2015A wheelchair that can climb stairs
Lifesaving aid workers in Syria are on the brink of collapse
Racist radicals may be working in German refugee camps
China may be easing controls on capital investment
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)
October 24, 2015Negative interest rates in Denmark make property enter a bubble
It's getting really hard to differentiate in the car market
And it's only a problem because cars have generally gotten much better
China's economy keeps showing signs of slowing
Building the next bomber
Omaha reacts to losing the ConAgra headquarters operation
October 25, 2015One-paragraph book review: "Honda: The man and his machines"
October 26, 2015Google 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
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.
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
The worst thing in America? Donald Trump, say Latinas.
Big earthquake hits Afghanistan
October 27, 2015Yahoo turns back to Google for search help
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
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
What happens to people who die alone in New York City
It's a big city with a lot of isolated people
China's ways of manipulating the currency
October 28, 2015Michael 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.
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.
Casey's finds credit-card skimmers mounted to gas pumps
The incident shows that not even the Midwest is safe from crooks
Phil Collins is going back to the recording studio
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.
One-paragraph book review: "The Herbert Hoover Story"
October 29, 2015Rep. 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
Malaysia's slow drift away from English has hurt its economy
The latest slang, interpreted
Linguist says Australian accent comes from early settlers being drunk