Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - September 14, 2014

Brian Gongol

Podcast: Updated weekly in the wee hours of Sunday night/Monday morning. Subscribe on Stitcher, Spreaker, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or iHeartRadio

Please note: These show notes may be in various stages of completion -- ranging from brainstormed notes through to well-polished monologues. Please excuse anything that may seem rough around the edges, as it may only be a first draft of a thought and not be fully representative of what was said on the air.

Yay Capitalism Prize

Computers and the Internet Football game days are a great argument for self-piloted cars
The idea of self-piloted cars has entered the public consciousness, and there are plenty of people whose knee-jerk reaction is to say, "Why would I want to let a computer drive my car?" Here's a great real-world example why: College football game days. People drive too fast, too close to one another, and drivers are often either tired (having gotten up much too early before a game) or drunk (having had too much alcohol while tailgating). A computer can be neither too tired nor too drunk to drive, and swarms of self-piloted cars can follow one another at greater speeds with smaller following distances at much higher levels of safety than human drivers. And that is just one of many reasons why we should welcome self-piloted cars.

Tin Foil Hat Award

Socialism Doesn't Work American sentenced to six years of hard labor in North Korea
(#1) Why would any right-thinking American go to North Korea? Sure, it looks like a place completely out of sync with the rest of the planet, but that's no reason to visit. (#2) What kind of system is so awful that it responds to stupid tourists and missionaries with sentences of years in prison labor camps? (#3) Do we not have a strategy for peacefully ridding the planet of the North Korean Communist menace?

This week:

Computers and the Internet You're being watched
We're all leaving breadcrumb trails all over the Internet -- and in private databases of our interactions with private companies. That's a pretty inevitable result of computing technology. Want to get an idea of just how much is known (and sold) about you? Try Acxiom's

News What to call it: ISIS, ISIL, QSIL?
The clearest, most direct language would be "Al Qaeda-land", even if that's not precise. Neither are a lot of other names, but precision is a luxury in this case. They are executing a long-standing Al Qaeda plan, and the leaders come from within Al Qaeda, so it's hard to think of a reason to call it anything else. Doing so only serves to confuse a global public which ought to be galvanized against allowing a group like this to permanentize and legitimize as a state. Don't think it couldn't happen. It's imperative that we use the simple, recognizable language with which we have all become quite uncomfortably familiar since at least 2001. Renaming the threat to something more complicated or less direct doesn't make it any less serious.

Computers and the Internet LA school district puts brakes on iPads-for-all program
Besides there being something rather fishy about the bidding process, it's never been entirely clear that the program was anything much more than a stunt. When people think that "technology" will somehow be "the solution" to everything, they lose the credibility that comes from having thought through the problem systematically first. Too many organizations get buffaloed into thinking that they just need to spend more on technology of some sort, and that spending will make everything better. There has to be a compelling reason why the technology is going to help, not just a vague hope that it'll be a magic bullet.

Computers and the Internet Stupid behavior on Twitter sinks a professor's teaching job

Computers and the Internet Another big password breach
A list of five million addresses and passwords has leaked online

Business and Finance When does the Federal Reserve pull back on the money supply? Good question.

Business and Finance "I think Einstein needed somebody to talk to"
Charlie Munger on his role as right-hand man to Warren Buffett

Humor and Good News Mike Rowe doesn't have time for a mindless socialist critic
The former host of "Dirty Jobs" and advocate for skilled trades has quite the way of responding to people who think he's part of some vast right-wing conspiracy

We should've covered this last week, but better late than never

Socialism Doesn't Work China takes a step back on democracy in Hong Kong
"[O]nly candidates approved by a nominating committee" (composed of mostly loyalists to the mother state) will be allowed to run for the job of Hong Kong Chief Executive. That's not democracy -- it's selection from a restricted menu. And if that's how they're treating Hong Kong, which is supposed to be under a whole other system from mainland China ("one country, two systems"), then they certainly have no intentions of loosening political control over the rest of the nation. It should not escape our attention that China is making bad choices on the political front (by tightening, rather than liberalizing), and on the economic one as well. Just one example: China's been harassing Japanese auto manufacturers (specifically Toyota and Honda) both officially and unofficially, meanwhile buying into control of European automakers like Peugot. Not that Peugot is necessarily a bad automaker, but Toyota and Honda are much better -- and they actually would have something to teach their Chinese partners. The Chinese system as we know it cannot go on forever -- and when it falls apart, it's going to be a global mess.

In case you missed it