Gongol.com Archives: July 2019

Brian Gongol

July 30, 2019

Computers and the Internet The strangest "other than" in history?

Capital One reports on a cybersecurity breach with a most unusual declaration: "No bank account numbers or Social Security numbers were compromised, other than: About 140,000 Social Security numbers of our credit card customers [and] About 80,000 linked bank account numbers of our secured credit card customers". How is that possibly an "other than"? 140,000 people is the population of a modestly-sized city -- slightly bigger than Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The press release further says "Based on our analysis to date, this event affected approximately 100 million individuals in the United States and approximately 6 million in Canada." It is, in fact, about as bad as bank leaders have long feared that a cyber-breach could be. These things aren't trivial or secondary in importance: This is a bank heist attempted via laptop computer.

Threats and Hazards A pox upon everyone who feeds the trolls

At the apex of technological advancement and the peak (so far) of civilization, we have elected leaders adopting veils of deliberate ignorance so they can feed the trolls of partisan fiendishness. And Madison wept. Rivalries, arguments, and even insults have been around from the beginning of America's status as an independent country -- but we do presently live at a point where blithe ignorance itself has neither any excuse nor any place. We know more than our forebearers ever could, and we can answer virtually any question quicker and more accurately than they ever imagined possible. We can continue to tease and even mock, but we shouldn't do so as willing dolts.

Business and Finance Other measures matter, but GDP shouldn't be manipulated

There are those who would see GDP measurements modified to account for other characteristics they value -- like environmental sustainability. And there may very well be good reasons to account for things that are valuable but which are not captured in GDP. Knowing the speed of a car doesn't tell you if it's driving safely. But knowing its speed -- and if it's changing -- is fundamental to knowing what's happening to the car. Just because a measurement doesn't tell you everything doesn't mean you break the measuring stick. It is quite enough to know that GDP is not everything that matters, but that it is materially important nonetheless.

Threats and Hazards How about your $1,346?

The US Treasury plans to borrow $443 billion in the third quarter of this year, with Federal spending on the rise and the need for cash continuing to grow. To be clear: This means the Federal government adds $1,346 to the national credit card in the name of every child, woman, and man living here right now.

Broadcasting Import this from France

(Video) How come French TV is capable of putting giant timers up on the screen during their presidential debates and American TV isn't?