Gongol.com Archives: 2015 Weekly Archives
Brian Gongol

July 3, 2015

Computers and the Internet Google artificial intelligence bot says the purpose of living is "to live forever"
Chatbots are going to get more and more interesting over time. What will be most interesting is to program them to respond to questions in the mode of a particular individual. There are only certain individuals who have been prolific enough as speaker and writers that their thoughts could be used to populate an AI "brain", but those would be some of the most interesting people to imitate artificially today: Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Isaac Asimov all come to mind.

Computers and the Internet St. Louis Cardinals fire scouting director, apparently over hacking
The former scouting director, Chris Correa, "has admitted hacking into a Houston database but only to determine whether the Astros had stolen proprietary data", according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. ESPN notes that "in-house algorithms and analytic models" now represent a real source of competitive advantage in baseball.

News Mercy comes from strength

Broadcasting "NBC dumps orange loudmouth"

Weather and Disasters June was unusually wet for most of the Upper Mississippi Valley

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July 2, 2015

Computers and the Internet Twitter is preparing "Project Lighting" for public consumption in a couple of months
They're making the site more welcoming to the drive-by visitor

Threats and Hazards Groups even harder-line than ISIS/ISIL/QSIL emerge in Syria
Extremism often turns on itself when questions of purity and dedication to a cause take over. But this is still frightening news.

Threats and Hazards USA Today reviews 50,000 complaints about TSA and finds 15,000 resulted in claims
We should be nowhere close to this rate of criminal activity inside an organization that is supposed to be protecting the people. We also ought to get them to reel in their enthusiasm for showing off -- like the pictures shared of a cash stash confiscated from a passenger. Novelty isn't illegality, and it's not really a permission slip to make a big deal out of things.

Science and Technology Visitors can now take pictures inside the White House
But those abominable "selfie sticks" are still prohibited, as they rightly ought to be.

Computers and the Internet A social network for public-policy addicts
Brigade, which is currently in invitation-only mode, is out to solicit personal opinions on public issues and to build some kind of network around "supporters". It's attractive initial clickbait, but it may be hard to get enough people really addicted to the site sufficiently to make it work.

July 1, 2015

News Teen birthrates are alarmingly higher in small towns

Humor and Good News "What your email address says about your computer skills"

Aviation News Department of Justice investigating allegations of collusion among airlines
Any market with a very small number of suppliers is likely to look like it's engaging in cartel-like behavior, whether or not it's intentional. It can get pretty hard to distinguish PR bravado from signals deliberately telegraphed to others. If there really is illegal collusion, throw the book at them. But there's a real possibility that ordinary behavior is going to look like illegal coordination in a market like the airlines.

Business and Finance Is a Chelsea Clinton speech really worth more than an average American's annual salary?

Threats and Hazards NYC worries about terrorism over Independence Day holiday weekend

June 30, 2015

News Is there a rash of fires at black churches?

Business and Finance Greece defaults on loan payments to IMF

Iowa Kum and Go reveals design for new downtown Des Moines headquarters

Threats and Hazards Lots and lots of bad things led to a prison riot in Nebraska

Science and Technology A leap second to keep our atomic clocks on time

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June 29, 2015

Computers and the Internet App developers settle with FTC over crooked program to mine virtual currencies
The app, "Prized", apparently hijacked phones to turn them into bots to mine cryptocurrencies

Computers and the Internet Using positive feedback via text messages and the Internet to encourage blood donors

News Gov. Bobby Jindal has some pretty outlandish ideas for the courts

News Longer Omaha commutes in the forecast

News New Jersey jury rules "conversion therapy" a consumer fraud