Gongol.com Archives: 2015 Weekly Archives
Brian Gongol

June 28, 2015

Business and Finance First-quarter GDP growth estimate revised up, but it's still negative
From a +0.2% estimate to -0.7% and now to -0.2%. These aren't trivial swings in estimation.

Broadcasting Show notes - Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - June 28, 2015

June 27, 2015

Broadcasting Show notes - WHO Radio Wise Guys - June 27, 2015

June 26, 2015

The United States of America Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage rights nationwide
One of the great beauties of our judicial system is that the majority and the dissenters are accountable for putting their decisions in writing. This is vastly to the credit of the nation. In fact, how about a Constitutional amendment requiring every elected official to write 200 words a day for public review (with no assistance permitted)? There may be no faster way to expose idiots, demagogues, and empty suits.

Computers and the Internet China and Russia aren't just cyber-attacking the United States
"[C]yber espionage is combined with human espionage to research targets and work out whom to approach and how"

Threats and Hazards 5,000 child refugees from North Africa have gone missing in Europe
This is an enormous human disaster -- these are children, and some of the will undoubtedly become victims of exploitation

Science and Technology Bill Gates thinks Uber will get to self-driving cars first
The people who will push hardest for innovation are the ones who have the most to gain. In the case of self-driving cars, Uber has a lot of potential upside to gain. But trucking companies have an enormous amount to gain, as do suppliers who want to reach the very large potential consumer markets including groups like outside salespeople and the elderly.

Threats and Hazards European tourists killed in Tunisian terrorist attack

June 25, 2015

Threats and Hazards The problem of baseline error
The New York Times notes: "Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims". It is depressing and it is sad. And it's important to public policy that we recognize the baseline error that creeps into our thinking on the subject. "Lone-wolf" extremism of the type described fades in the public's attention because it has become familiar. It's not common, really, but it's been around for a long time -- since at least the 1960s, when white male killers murdered President Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and 15 people on the University of Texas campus. It is sad but true that we have established a baseline expectation for those kinds of killers in our collective attention. Consequently, when a new type of killer emerges (like the kinds who attacked America on 9/11), they get a disproportionate share of attention because they are new and novel. Our baseline expectation for those killings starts at zero, so we pay attention when something causes the number to rise above zero. This baseline error has serious consequences for public policy-making; we shouldn't address problems in proportion to how novel they are, but in proportion to their consequences and what we can do to prevent them.

Business and Finance Cartels like to protect their advantages
French taxi drivers protest the rise of ride-sharing services like Uber by blockading the streets

Computers and the Internet Samsung, you're not helping
Samsung appears to be disabling automatic Windows updates on some new laptops

Computers and the Internet Yahoo aims for answers-first search results
On mobile search, Yahoo says "rather than delivering endless links for you to sift through on a small screen, we beautifully assemble the most relevant information in a way that allows you to take action right away". Since its earliest days as a web index (rather than a search engine), Yahoo has always taken a different approach to delivering information. Whether they can use computer-generated results to deliver a curated-style experience that can beat out Google Now and Siri is theirs to prove.

Computers and the Internet Amazon "Echo" drops in about three weeks
Coming July 16th: A product that is combination stereo speaker, Siri, and cloud-computing device. But will people really embrace a product that's always listening?

June 24, 2015

Computers and the Internet OPM breach probably affects 18 million Federal employees
It's a huge breach of security, and nobody wants the hot potato to fix it

Computers and the Internet Google puts an "unsend" button on Gmail
Some may find it useful, but it won't stop every regret

Iowa "Connect Every Acre" legislation becomes law
Iowa's effort to get broadband everywhere

Threats and Hazards ISIS/ISIL/QSIL/Daesh begins minting coinage
Another trapping of statehood

Computers and the Internet Emojis are the hot thing of the moment
But that's only going to continue for a while -- they aren't clear enough to remain durable

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June 23, 2015

Business and Finance Retailers drop the Confederate flag
In many ways, the retail-level decision-making is actually much more important culturally than anything done at the legal level. If Amazon.com and Walmart decide that something is too toxic to sell, then they're literally putting their money at risk in making the decision.

Business and Finance Durable goods orders have dropped in three of the last four months
That paints a highly worrying picture of the economy

The United States of America Ben Bernanke agrees: Kick Jackson off the twenty
Leave Alexander Hamilton in his place on the $10 bill

Science and Technology Google's health-tracking wristband
Big deal? Maybe. Too much privacy encroachment for some? For sure.

Computers and the Internet IBM's "Chef Watson" goes to a more public stage
As of today, it moves to a public Facebook group and more open access

June 22, 2015

Business and Finance American business should prepare itself for a congestion crisis
Supply chains that break down can spell death to businesses

The United States of America Take down the Confederate flag from South Carolina state grounds

Computers and the Internet Don't let your domain names expire
They're cheap. Once you reserve a name, you'd better be committed to holding on.

Business and Finance Supreme Court decides in favor of the small farmer who wants out from the raisin cartel

Science and Technology Pebble Time now open for pre-orders

The United States of America On the malappropriation of Native American identity
While many are guilty of adopting the superficial trappings without any deeper understanding (fetishizing things like feathered headdress without any real engagement with American Indian culture), there's also the complex and curious case of those who are descended from First Nations but who were culturally cut off from their heritage by aggressive tactics of assimilation.