Gongol.com Archives: 2015 Weekly Archives

Brian Gongol

November 15, 2015

Threats and Hazards Keeping perspective after the Paris attacks

Business and Finance China wants to buy Syngenta
China has lots of available capital to invest, and lots of American companies are prospectively for sale. If you don't want to lose control, don't sell out.

Business and Finance Japan's GDP fell in Q2 and Q3
That officially makes for a recession. Business investment is slipping, and that most likely has a contributing effect.

Business and Finance Tough times for the South Korean chaebol
It may be necessary for government to protect certain firms or industries for countries without a lot of natural resources to develop rapidly. South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and others have gone the route of high intervention in exchage for quick development. But eventually the protections have to go away, and that transition isn't easy.

Threats and Hazards "[T]his is a war about a vision of history"
"State-sponsored slavery seemed like a thing of the past, but now ISIS is an unapologetic slave state."

November 14, 2015

Computers and the Internet Facebook never intended to get into fights it cannot now avoid
Some British parents are fighting to get the service to remove a photo of juveniles from the page of a far-right-wing group -- so far, to no avail

Computers and the Internet Google launches "YouTube Music" app for phones
People already use YouTube heavily for listening to music (whether or not they watch the videos), so this is hardly a groundbreaking step -- other than admitting that's what people use YouTube for

Computers and the Internet Microsoft starts major updates to Windows 10
It always takes Microsoft a little while to dial it in after launching a new operating system

Computers and the Internet Twitter's stock price is below IPO price
The service has certainly found its place, but growth remains elusive and so do profits. Who would want to compete with them if even from a position of dominance they still don't bring in buckets of cash?

Science and Technology Google self-piloted car pulled over for driving too slowly

Computers and the Internet Microsoft locates some data centers to avoid US legal authority
Probably a sensible thing to do if you have customers who want to avoid certain regulatory oversight

Computers and the Internet Amazon will start distributing NEXRAD data
The government collects the data via the National Weather Service, but until now has found the distribution of that data to be beyond its capacity.

Threats and Hazards Russia wants to build a nuclear doomsday machine
No, really. A doomsday machine, like in "Dr. Strangelove".

Aviation News Mitsubishi claims starting from scratch helps it build a super-efficient regional jet

Computers and the Internet Google is getting into the manufacture of computer chips
Not content to make the software, they're venturing into the deepest heart of hardware

Broadcasting Show notes - WHO Radio Wise Guys - November 14, 2015

November 13, 2015

Business and Finance China's dependence on captive government enterprises
That dependence will keep Chinese industry from developing the kind of quality improvements that Japan and Korea have used to their respective advantages. Honda, Toyota, and Samsung are all examples of companies that learned to get better at their industries because the pressures of the marketplace forced them to do so in one way or another. Toyota developed kaizen methods because they didn't have enough cash to purchase lots of raw materials inventory. Honda overcame strong government objection in Japan to even enter the auto market, and crushed the major automakers at meeting new emissions regulations using new technology in the 1970s, when its cars were entirely unknown in the US. Samsung has fought pitched battles in semiconductors, smartphones, and all manner of consumer electronics. To build a company for long-term success, it's crazy to try to insulate the company from competition with a captive market. Success is forged in the heat of competition.

Computers and the Internet Email goes back to the future
US military networks are going to strip incoming messages of HTML and turn them into plain text, just to thwart cyberattacks

Aviation News Dubai is (supposedly) buying jetpacks for high-rise firefighters

Humor and Good News Canada and Denmark are engaged in the most polite border dispute in history
Their respective militaries keep leaving bottles of liquor for one another

Weather and Disasters Des Moines got a tornado and then snow the other day
An exceptionally rare phenomenon

November 12, 2015

Threats and Hazards Russia is using "hybrid warfare" in Syria

Health Memorial Sloan Kettering says women shouldn't change their mammography schedules
Despite new recommendations from the American Cancer Society, MSKCC says women at normal risk should stick with a target age of 40 to start screenings

News Puerto Rico is edging towards full-blown fiscal crisis
This is going to test our understanding of bailouts

Business and Finance Female economists don't get the respect they deserve
Tacit demotions of their contributions seem to be a problem in the (already minimal) coverage their work receives in the mass media

Computers and the Internet Apple's new iPad Pro is 12.9" in diameter
...blurring the lines altogether between "tablet" and "laptop" sizes

November 11, 2015

News The shocking human tragedy in northern Africa
People are risking everything -- and often losing their lives -- trying to escape war, terrorism, deprivation, and other horrors. And the heartlessness with which people like Mike Huckabee try to say "That's not my problem; they're too far from home" is revolting. No sensible person thinks we should grant entry to every refugee without the slightest effort at screening out the inevitable bad apples, but it is pure hackery to malign the refugees by mockingly asking, "[A]re they really just coming because we've got cable TV?"

Business and Finance AB Inbev lands the SABMiller purchase
Sale price: $107 billion

Business and Finance Negative interest rates, long thought imaginary, are now very real
It's one way to try to get people to spend money

Aviation News Mitsubishi officially enters the regional-jet market
Test flights are underway

Broadcasting Chicago Cubs broadcast moves again: From WBBM to WSCR
WSCR was formerly the renowned WMAQ

November 10, 2015

News Why people are so desperate to get into Europe

Business and Finance Oh dear: Large companies have over-extended their borrowing again
The duration of near-zero interest rates should have been a signal it would come to this. The real peculiarity, though, is that all this borrowing seems not to have driven real investment in tangible things that will improve long-term business prospects. So where in the blazes has all the cheap money gone?

News The right is "peaceably to assemble", not to call in "some muscle" to bounce journalists from a public space
Fortunately, faculty members at the University of Missouri seem eager to punish the titular faculty member who demonstrated some serious misunderstanding of the First Amendment.

Business and Finance Saul Bass and the importance of a company logo that matches its image

Humor and Good News Why Dave from "Alvin and the Chipmunks" always sounded a little unhinged

November 9, 2015

Computers and the Internet Google and Tag Heuer roll out a $1,500 smartwatch
Get a smartwatch, but get a cheap one, then beat the crap out of it as most people do to their regular watches. Then replace it in a couple of years with one from the next generation. Unless there's something you simply cannot live without in the smartwatch you've been craving, everyone should start with the Pebble. For $100 (less when on sale, as they frequently are), you can test whether you get any real utility out of a smartwatch without committing hundreds and hundreds of dollars to a piece of vanity jewelry.

Agriculture The problem(s) with a record harvest
Iowa farmers are bringing in so much corn there's no place to put it all. And that's not going to put any upward pressure on low prices.

Computers and the Internet Samsung's $600 "Galaxy View" tablet has an 18.4" screen

Health Russia "sabotaged" London 2012 Olympics with doped athletes

Computers and the Internet "Uber angst": The fear of getting "disrupted" right out of business

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