Gongol.com Archives: 2015 Weekly Archives
Brian Gongol

August 20, 2015

Threats and Hazards Red-light camera company engaged in corruption
Former CEO pleads guilty to a $2 million deal

Computers and the Internet An argument for Google to buy Twitter

Computers and the Internet Computerized reconstruction of murder victim's face closes cold case
The value of a tool like that is hard to quantify, but psychologically huge

Computers and the Internet How to make the shrugging guy emoticon

News Innumeracy is just as bad as illiteracy
Lots of important things, including in political life, depend on numbers. If a person (like a Presidential candidate) can't even come close to getting the numbers right, then that person is functionally innumerate. And that's a problem.

August 19, 2015

Computers and the Internet Why you should even back up your cloud-based data
A freak incident wiped out some data stored on Google cloud servers

Health Good advice for showing concern for a hospitalized friend

Threats and Hazards ISIS/ISIL/QSIL/Daesh kills scholars. Enough said.
If your worldview is threatened by the advance of knowledge, then you have a problem.

Broadcasting The cost of not asking tough questions
Chuck Todd's interviews with Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders on the August 16th episode of "Meet the Press" were about as penetrating as a cover story for the "Weekly Reader".

News One-paragraph book review: "The Liar's Ball"

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August 18, 2015

Computers and the Internet An example of anything but transparency
The State Department just "found" thousands of emails it said did not exist

Threats and Hazards Donald Trump as mild fascist
Or, at least, as a dying canary in the coal mine of a healthy civic society. See also "It Can't Happen Here" by Sinclair Lewis

Computers and the Internet Hackers release huge data dump of user information from AshleyMadison.com
The website catering to those who want to arrange extramarital affairs was targeted by a curiously moralistic kind of criminal

Computers and the Internet A tool for the compulsive over-sharer
A site called "My Social Book" will convert an individual's Facebook feed into a printed bok. Sure, it's appealing in a sense to have a personalized journal. But if you share enough on Facebook to fill an actual book, it's time to pump the brakes. Over-sharing on Facebook can lead to identity theft, among other serious personal hazards.

Broadcasting A bad sign for late-night television
If television stations are rebroadcasting old episodes of the Johnny Carson-era "Tonight Show", then someone really needs to work on talent development for today's broadcasters. Carson was a genius, no doubt -- but why hasn't anyone with comparable talent emerged in the 23 years since the show left the air?

News One-paragraph book review: "America's Richest Families"

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August 17, 2015

Business and Finance Natural gas prices versus Chinese labor costs
The decline in the price of natural gas is making American electricity extra-cheap. Meanwhile, the cost of labor is rising in China. These factors mean that the overall cost of manufacturing in the United States is now within rounding error of that in China, and is likely to be in an advantageous positin within a couple of years.

Computers and the Internet Android Marshmallow is out for developers
The latest iteration of Google's operating system for mobile devices is ready for the last major step before public use

News "Knowledge wins: Public library books are free"
A terrific war poster just as accurate today as a century ago

Business and Finance NLRB: "Stability" is the prevailing factor in blocking Northwestern football unionization
Of course university officials oppose unionization by their "student-athletes", but until that phrase ceases to be a pretty awful euphemism when applied to major college football programs, someone needs to continue agitating for a change of some sort. It doesn't have to be unionization, but it needs to be something.

Science and Technology The robotic lawn mower is finally coming to America
FCC finally approves an exemption for iRobot (makers of the Roomba) to use low-power radio signals to control the mowers. Honda already sells robotic mowers in the UK, so the technology isn't entirely new. Overall, the less time human beings spend on silly tasks like lawn mowing, the better.