Gongol.com Archives: 2015 Weekly Archives
Show notes - Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - November 22, 2015
Is software programming really "engineering"?
On one hand, engineers of the civil/structural/environmental variety shouldn't let other people cheapen the title since certain types of engineering are (literally) a profession. On the other hand, engineering has long been much broader than what is defined strictly by those professions -- and we could use a lot more engineering-think from people outside the engineering professions (as strictly defined).
Rural bankers in the Midwest aren't very optimistic
Steve Jobs and the drowned toddler can't be the only images of the Syrian refugee crisis
They both belong in the discussion, but our understanding of the situation must go deeper
Japan asks Australia to stand up to "self-righteous assertions" by China
China says it's going to continue expanding its man-made island chain (in a transparent attempt to create maritime claims where none ought to exist). Now the question is whether anyone else can counterclaim or present a rejection of the claims that will stand up. China clearly doesn't want to lose face after putting in this investment.
Fire in Chicago's Hancock Building on the 50th floor
It happened in a residential part of the building
Jobs aren't the only thing
"Job creation" is a popular theme for politicians, but jobs alone aren't the only thing that matters. The national unemployment rate is estimated around 5.0%, which is generally thought to be in the neighborhood of the natural rate of unemployment. Yet lots of reasonable people would say the economy is substantially underperforming its potential. Jobs matter, but they're not the only thing that matters. And politicians need to show some humility about what they're capable of doing.
Why we shouldn't laugh at the (admittedly preposterous) North Korean dictatorship
It's now in its third generation of unimaginable absurdity, but it's no less murderous
What's going on inside the minds of Trump supporters
Chinese government goes after $64 billion in "underground" money movement
It's no surprise that people inside China are looking for ways to get their money outside the country, for reasons of both returns and security
"Branded content" looks like a new thing -- but it's as old as broadcasting itself
Companies like Marriott are spending money on original content (like 15-minute YouTube movies) that are intended to promote their brands. It's actually quite a back-to-the-future thing, considering that many commercial radio stations started as in-house "branded content" vehicles: WLS stood for "World's Largest Store" (Sears). WHO started out as a tool for Bankers Life (now Principal Financial). KMA was a department of the Earl May seed company.
Where Syrian children sleep
A powerful documentation of the refugee condition
ISIS/ISIL/QSIL/Daesh keeps a round-the-clock computer help desk
It does not do us any good to caricature them as some kind of medieval enemy. They are very much a product of the modern world and are not afraid to exploit modern tools. It is a modern machine of monstrosity.
US ranks second in index of global charitability
Seven of the top ten are among the world's most advanced economies. Two (Sri Lanka and Myanmar/Burma) are very much developing. One (Malaysia) is middle-class. It's certainly an endorsement for promoting prosperity.
What's new in the Windows 10 update?
It's a large update -- perhaps on a scale near that of the big service packs that came with Windows XP.
Proposed Canadian Pacific-Norfolk Southern merger would be huge
CP thinks it can cut operating costs at Norfolk Southern by 10 percentage points
China won't save the world's economy
President Xi Jinping: "China's economy is still coping with the complicated internal and external environment, considerable downward pressure, and the temporary pain of deep reforms". Don't imagine them to be quite so temporary. The political environment is going to put a permanent damper on the economic environment. It's too bad we ceased to call it "political economy" as a branch of study a long time ago -- the two are intertwined.
First the boom, now the purge
China's government is arresting and prosecuting people inside financial firms. It's a very modern form of purge.
Skilled workers tend to retire at 65: Beware the consequential workforce shortage
North America could soon be short by almost a million skilled industrial workers
Digital exhibitionism puts us at risk
It's hard to resist the lure to share too much personal information and leave behind a big digital footprint. These are uncharted waters.
Cumulus Broadcasting is moving into the prettiest building in Chicago
The Art Deco-inspired but 1989-built NBC Tower is really quite gorgeous
What's the root cause of radicalization in Europe? Look at youth unemployment.
The most dangerous thing in the world may very well be lots of young people (especially young men) with lots of free time and nothing to do. It can be especially dangerous when they don't think they have any prospects for improvement to their own material well-being. Always beware the well-intended steps that are supposed to make things better for the poor but that present new barriers to entry into the workforce for those with no experience and no skills.
Asus introduces the Chromebit
An $85 computer running the Google Chrome operating system. Attach to a monitor, add a keyboard, and you have computer functionality.
Pandora buys out Rdio
Consolidation in the broadcasting industry continues, even when there's no actual broadcasting taking place.
The price of steel is in freefall
Really bad news for extraction economies. This needs to be on the radar of the people who look after foreign affairs and geopolitics: The extractive economies are generally the lesser-developed ones. If they suddenly have less income, they're going to become less stable.
Unintended consequences of a larger air war over Syria: More refugees
We can't just look at the millions of displaced people as simple "collateral damage". There needs to be a vision for what is to be done for and about them. The air war may very well be necessary -- but it cannot be conducted as though in isolation from any other circumstances or consequences.
Will terrorists try to exploit the refugee crisis? Of course.
That should not make us treat the refugees badly. They are victims, too.
Good for Shepard Smith
Fox News Channel host editorializes against the knee-jerk reaction against refugees
Germany orders its flags to half-mast in honor of Paris
A lot can change in the course of a few decades. It matters whether our civic and political leaders have a vision for the future.
Going public made Cabela's vulnerable
If you don't want to lose control, don't give up ownership
Chicago restauranteur thinks tipping is about go extinct
Instead? A flat 20% service charge added to every bill.