Gongol.com Archives: 2015 Weekly Archives
Brian Gongol


May 11, 2015

Business and Finance The economy as we know it, May 2015 edition

Computers and the Internet Omaha residential customers to get 1-gigabit Internet service by next year
At $99 a month, it's more costly than most Internet service. But it's also orders of magnitude faster. Cox Communications is trying the same in Phoenix and Las Vegas, so Omahans are privileged.

Business and Finance Some producers are willing to take big chances that oil prices are coming back
If persistent and widespread, that makes for a pretty short bust

Weather and Disasters Aerial photos of the Lake City tornado damage

Threats and Hazards Man faces 15 years in prison for hurting 7-week-old baby
There has to be something better we can do to protect the defenseless innocent.



May 12, 2015

Business and Finance Moody's declares Chicago's credit rating is junk
Public-sector pensions are an enormous liability nationwide -- they just happen to show up in certain hot spots

Threats and Hazards Downward pressure on oil prices might trigger confiscation by the Russian government
When kleptocracy takes over, it's hard to see a peaceful way out

News Cedar Rapids family busted for trying to ship arms to the Middle East
More than 150 guns were seized

Business and Finance Bo Pelini is getting $737 an hour not to coach Nebraska football
Heads he wins, tails Nebraska loses

Computers and the Internet Why Verizon wants to buy AOL
It's a matter of online video ad revenues. The deal is for $4.4 billion.


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May 13, 2015

News Estonia practices largest war games ever
The tiny NATO member has reason to be alarmed about Russia

Threats and Hazards Why everyone should know self-defense: Case study #19
Someone fired a gun inside a Megabus from Chicago to Minneapolis and other passengers had to subdue him. You simply don't always have time to call the police. Related: A student at the University of Iowa photographed women with the tools they carry to protect themselves.

News Secretary Clinton's hostile relationship with the press

Science and Technology Consumer Reports names ten cars likely to last for 200,000 miles
Every one of them is a Toyota or a Honda

Threats and Hazards The little tyrant
North Korea's defense chief has been murdered by the state. Speculation abounds that a coup had been plotted.



May 14, 2015

Computers and the Internet Google's self-driving cars -- some accidents, but the company says not their fault
Ultimately, the totally self-driving car is still too far-out for many people to accept. We'll get there, though, as long as there is a transition during which computers take over more and more of the driving in the interest of enhancing driver and passenger safety. We should do our best to reach a goal of taking humans out of the driving equation entirely as soon as possible (since human error and fallibility is the leading cause of accidents), but it's going to take a little time.

Aviation News Drone group formally activated at Des Moines Air National Guard wing

Business and Finance Wall Street traders think the Federal Reserve is bluffing about raising interest rates
At least, any time this year. And with the Producer Price Index down for the month of April, one almost has to wonder whether the traders are right.

Computers and the Internet Facebook picks nine publishers for quick-loading news articles
Stories from the New York Times, BBC, NBC, The Atlantic, and others will load about ten times faster than those from other sites because they'll be pre-loaded on the mobile app (starting with the iOS, then showing up on Android later). Of course, that may only make the publishers involved more dependent upon Facebook than before, and that ought to make them nervous. But maybe not any more nervous than those publishers who had special deals with AOL and CompuServe back in the day...perhaps?

Broadcasting The subtle politics of B-roll
The State Department and the Pentagon are asking reporters not to use B-roll footage of ISIS/ISIL/QSIL/Daesh that shows the terrorists at strength. And, if they value the classical liberal values that the terrorists are fighting against, the journalists probably shouldn't use that footage anyway. But journalists should also be perpetually resistant to any kind of pressure from the government to frame things in a manner the government desires. It's a tough case: The wrong people are asking for the right thing.



May 15, 2015

Threats and Hazards A third of Russians fear a US invasion

Threats and Hazards Penn State's engineering school targeted by Chinese state-backed hackers

Science and Technology "The principle of transparency is the same regardless of what technology officials choose to use"
Omaha World-Herald gets backing from the office of the Nebraska attorney general, saying that the paper should get to see work-related text messages sent to the personal cell phone of the mayor of Omaha

The United States of America How we got to a 162-game baseball season

Humor and Good News Someone at The Onion loves Photoshop a little too much
The Supreme Court didn't need to heed the catcalls to "take it off"



May 16, 2015

Business and Finance Every boom is followed by a bust
A ton of money is flowing into skyscraper real estate in New York City right now. It's fueled by a combination of low interest rates, low returns on alternative investments (like bonds), a strong stock market (creating a wealth effect with concentrated effects near Wall Street), and a poor economic environment around the world (which makes foreign investors over-eager to put money into projects in the US). It cannot and will not last forever.

Science and Technology Automatic speed control wasn't working just before Amtrak crash
The more use we can make of computer augmentation of human control in transportation (cars, trains, and aircraft alike), the better. It's expensive and difficult to implement, but we have to think through the cost-benefit analysis with a bias towards implementation.

Iowa How does a community-college newspaper get into a dispute that escalates to serious First Amendment issues?

News Not the way to protest your innocence
A company founded and run by a family now standing accused of trying to smuggle weapons to the Middle East is protesting that their e-mails contain "privileged" attorney-client communications. While potentially true, that surely doesn't make them look innocent.

Humor and Good News "Junk playgrounds"
Seems like a strong antidote to helicopter-style parenting

Business and Finance President Obama earned $130,000 in book royalties last year
Former President Clinton seems to be doing better giving speeches, but the residuals off a couple of books sure aren't hurting

News A few tips for better presentations
Nothing especially ground-breaking, but given the culturally inculcated phobia of public speaking, perhaps these tips will help

The United States of America The 2016 Presidential cattle call begins in earnest
Eleven announced or prospective candidates showed up to give speeches in Des Moines

Broadcasting Show notes - WHO Radio Wise Guys - May 16, 2015



May 17, 2015

Threats and Hazards Forecast: Russia will get more territorially aggressive this summer
Putin's hands may be tied in a vicious cycle

News The Clintons have made $25 million giving speeches since the start of last year
Nice work, if you can find it

Science and Technology Google says its self-driving cars have been in crashes, but none of their own fault
The sooner we can get humans out of the driver's seat, the better. We are what cause accidents.

Computers and the Internet Discover is rolling out "chip" cards
Intriguingly, they avoid calling it by the "EMV" name -- for Europay/Mastercard/Visa. These cards are a step towards (but not a silver bullet for) better transactional security.

Broadcasting Corporate universities
Companies that have a serious commitment to and method of developing human capital are going to have a durable competitive advantage in the marketplace. What's interesting is that many of them are turning away from the conventional academy in order to get there.