Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - January 18, 2015

Brian Gongol

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

The news this week

News Smuggler tries taping 94 iPhones to his body
He was going from Hong Kong into mainland China. The border patrol thought he was walking stiffly.

Business and Finance If you eat at Hardee's, you may be working at Hardee's too
Self-service fast-food kiosks are being pilot-tested at 30 Hardee's restaurants. Welcome to the future: If you don't mind doing some things for yourself, you may get faster service with fewer errors...but do not be surprised over the long term if lots and lots of entry-level jobs get replaced this way. There will be economic and social consequences as a result, making the need to constantly improve our educational system one of our most important priorities as a country. And in tandem with that, we have to ensure that opportunities remain available in the economy -- and that requires big-picture thinking, not government micromanagement.

Business and Finance A negative interest rate -- talk about extraordinary measures
It's how the national bank of Switzerland is seeking to re-value its currency. A negative interest rate makes it unpleasant to hold on to the currency, so it pushes people to spend it quickly. In a way, it's the same effect as inflation (since holding on to the money instead of exchanging it quickly for goods and services means you lose buying power), but it's an unusually explicit way of doing so. It's also illustrative for those who wonder why a little bit of inflation is a good thing, but a lot of it (or negative inflation) can be terrible.

Aviation News SpaceX shares video of the failed "soft landing" of its rocket
(Video) At least they're trying bold new projects. Not all of them will work.

Computers and the Internet Google is cutting off sales of Google Glass to individuals
There may be a revival, and there may be other paths they take to market, but time is running out to buy the Google Glass Explorer Edition. Sales end January 19th.

Iowa Gov. Branstad: Iowa needs more people
In his inaugural address, he notes: "Although we are growing as a state, we arenít growing fast enough. Iowa remains the one state in the nation that has not grown by even 50 percent since the 1900 census."

Agriculture Oil's price crash hasn't helped ethanol, but Federal mandates guarantee at least some demand
By 2022, the government will require 36 billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel to find their way into the fuel supply. Right now, ethanol consumption is about 13 billion gallons and biodiesel is about another billion. The price per gallon of ethanol has to be lower than that for gasoline to meet consumer demand, because it contains about 30% less energy per gallon. So when gasoline prices plunge, it puts extra pressure on the margins for ethanol producers.

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