Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - May 19, 2018

Brian Gongol


The Brian Gongol Show can be heard on WHO Radio in Des Moines, Iowa on 1040 AM or streaming online at WHORadio.com. The show airs from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm Central Time on Saturday afternoons. Podcasts of show highlights are also available.


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.

News watchlist

Weather

NAFTA negotiations

Hawaii volcano

Segment 1: (11 min)

BUT FIRST: The opening essay

7 days, 7 states

Airline customer counter in Chicago. Rental car franchise in Montgomery. Hotel in Tupelo. Uber in New Orleans.

Commerce makes us nicer

It's not a cure-all. People still need to be raised well.

But there's little that does more to civilize people and get them to look past petty disputes than a voluntary exchange of money for goods and services.

Kickers

News When Chicago restaurants serve non-Chicago-style pizza

Deep dish needs sauce

Totally Unnecessary Debate of the Day

Humor and Good News Air conditioning or allergy medication?

The people speak (in a totally unscientific survey): They want A/C

Live read: iHeartRadio app

iHeartRadio app: Graduation playlists at graduationplaylist.com

Segment 2: (8 min)

Don't amplify the school shooter

Threats and Hazards Ten people murdered in Texas high-school shooting

Another instance of violence in the ongoing public-health emergency of violence in American schools. This would be a very good time to examine the "No Notoriety" movement -- which asks the media to refrain from publicizing the name, likeness, or ideas of any mass murderer unless necessary to aid in an apprehension. Mass killings have an element of social contagion, so there is a role for media outlets to play in stopping the spread.

Segment 3: (14 min)

Live read: Contest

$16K Every Day

Make money

Business and Finance People respond to incentives

Mortgage interest rates are rising (they're still low by historic standards, but they're at a 7-year high), so it's a big market for sellers of residential real estate

Business and Finance Finland's test of the Universal Basic Income won't be extended

The measurable results of the experiment won't be shared for a while, but it's being suggested that the UBI under examination wasn't big enough to achieve really ground-breaking results -- they were still too small to sustain even the most modest lifestyle. There are good reasons to experiment with (and study) the UBI, as well as good reasons to avoid it.

Have fun

News Aon Center plans a gondola thrill ride that would tip over the side of the building

If built, that would make the third major observation deck with some kind of gimmick in Chicago

Clean up after yourself

Business and Finance Job losses to steel tariffs could get very real

"We could lose 50 to 60 jobs easily", says the chair of a Nebraska company that depends on steel to make parts. Even domestic steel has risen in price under the threat of tariffs (for what else should anyone have expected?), and that's a "tremendous burden" to the company. Hardly an isolated situation.

Business and Finance China disclaims plans to cut trade surplus with US

US authorities claimed that China had agreed to cut its trade surplus to the United States by $200 billion. Chinese outlets with quasi-official government status have declared to the contrary. A $200 billion cut would be large and dramatic -- not to mention difficult for both economies to accommodate. It's hard to imagine China voluntarily reducing its economic output by $145 per person without some kind of massive compensation in return. And it's almost certain that such cuts would have a huge impact on both the US consumer and producer markets.

Threats and Hazards The US has ambassadors in a third of the world and special forces in three-fourths

As Dwight Eisenhower said: "Our concern over these affairs illustrates forcibly the old truism that political considerations can never be wholly separated from military ones and that war is a mere continuation of political policy in the field of force."

Segment 4: (5 min)

By the numbers

News A big fine for a wolf whistle

An uncompromising view: "Those who break the law will face on-the-spot fines of up to Ä750". The bill appears to have passed in France's lower legislative chamber and is headed to the upper chamber for approval.

Business and Finance Chicago's distinctive Wrigley Building sells for $255 million

A massive eight times its sale price in 2011. But, sure, everything's perfectly normal in the real-estate market.

Mind your business

Business and Finance Salt Lake Tribune eliminates one-third of newsroom jobs

The awful economics of metro-scale newspapers are having a serious effect

Live read: Smart speakers (hour 1)

Smart speakers

Segment 5: (11 min)

Kickers

Threats and Hazards As the old IBM posters said: "THINK!"

Logically, shouldn't the exit door from the fire stairs on the ground floor have a panic bar that opens outward? In a fire, nobody's coming in and climbing up (other than firefighters).

Tin Foil Hat Award

News Seattle's going to charge a few big companies $275 per employee as a special head tax

The money will be used for low-income housing and homelessness-related programs. Unsurprisingly, Amazon and Starbucks aren't pleased. The tax is to be collected annually from 2019 until 2023.

Computers and the Internet A cryptocurrency "mining" computer that doubles as a space heater

When the byproduct of something is so much entropy that it could heat a room, then that thing needs to justify itself in a much bigger way than cryptocurrency ever has. Cryptocurrency is a mania, not a paradigm shift.

21st Century conservatism

News Former Secretary of State has harsh words for his former boss

Rex Tillerson, to the graduating class at VMI: "It is only by a fierce defense of the truth and a common set of facts that we create the conditions for a democratic free society [...] If our leaders seek to conceal the truth or we as a people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on the pathway to relinquishing our freedom."

The United States of America The Republican Party can't afford to chain itself to an ethnic identity

Conservatism's roots in individual dignity should be conservatism's main appeal to people of all backgrounds: A belief in pluralism and the security of individual liberty, as goods in themselves -- regardless of race or faith or color or origin.

The United States of America Can we compel ourselves to promote the classical-liberal order without the threat of war?

Conservatives need to reject blind traditionalism, and the left has to resist the urge to recycle demonstrably failed experiments. The vigorous generation of new ideas (not just new policies) is good for everyone.

Live read: iHeartRadio app

Humor and Good News A thought on music

"Four bearded tenors trying to harmonize while one of them tickles a banjo ironically" is NOT a subgenre of alternative rock. Stop playing that crap on alternative rock stations.

iHeartRadio app: Graduation playlists at graduationplaylist.com

Segment 6: (8 min)

Kickers

Computers and the Internet How to tell if it's "Laurel" or "Yanny"

An ambiguous synthesized pronunciation of the word "laurel" sounds like "yanny", depending on the characteristics of the speakers through which it plays. Finding out where the sound crosses over from one to the other is a passing exercise in mass culture, the likes of which are rare now that people watch fewer things in common than in the past.

Your role in cyberwar

Computers and the Internet Don't use personality-testing apps

The data from one such personality quiz (tied to Facebook) got released onto the Internet, exposing quite a lot about 3 million users. There's nothing wrong with a quest to better know the self -- but there's a lot to worry about when the shortcuts to the answers are being peddled online with the help of quizzes that are without accountability for the data.

Computers and the Internet Google sister company Jigsaw says it can protect political campaigns against cyberattack

Wired reports that Jigsaw "will start offering free protection from distributed denial of service attacks to US political campaigns".

Segment 7: (14 min)

Live read: Smart speakers (hour 2)

Smart speakers

Contrary to popular opinion

The United States of America Federalist 39: Read it. Learn it. Love it.

The one-paragraph answer to every cheap shot taken at the Electoral College or the nature of the Senate: We have a Federal government, not a national one.

The week in technology

Weather and Disasters Why don't we have a technological solution to children being left in hot cars?

There has to be a technological solution to this. Maybe a motion sensor tied to a thermometer and a small cell that dials 911? It can't be too hard or too expensive for Silicon Valley to figure out. We need this to prevent tragedies. While it is evident that technological answers to the problem could end up having unintended consequences (like making some parents less careful), that line of reason mainly reinforces the case for making sure that technologists have a firm grasp on the humanity of the issues on which they work -- from the social implications to the human factors involved.

Iowa news

Threats and Hazards Apparent "swatting" incident in West Des Moines

Someone called 911 from a Jiffy Lube in Austin, Texas, to plant a fake report that sent a swarm of police to a house in West Des Moines in pursuit of a murder that hadn't happened

Segment 8: (5 min)

Stop the deliberate ignorance

News President Trump wants the US Postal Service to punish Amazon

This cannot be viewed apart from an apparent vendetta against Jeff Bezos, who started Amazon and who (separately) owns the Washington Post (which isn't gentle to the President, nor should it be). The President does not deserve credit for reportedly donating his government salary if he is simultaneously using the government to advance his own personal business agenda or to punish others for behavior he doesn't like. It's not consistent.

Threats and Hazards Bill Gates tried talking the President out of an anti-vaccine commission

The damage that could be done by a Federal government quest to discredit vaccines is almost unfathomable

Unsorted and leftovers:

This week

News Royal wedding illustrates some of the crazier aspects of British immigration law

The extraordinary case of an American becoming a member of the House of Windsor shows just how many hoops a person in Britain must jump through in order to marry a foreigner for love

News Obama Presidential Center gets first of many needed Chicago city approvals

The city's planning commission approved the center, so next it goes to the zoning commission. It's a half-billion-dollar plan, so there's understandable interest.

News There won't be a Chicago Spire, but two smaller (but big) towers instead

Laudably, they're being designed with setbacks

Quote of the Week

Hyperbole is going to kill us all

Curiosity, competence, and humility

Have a little empathy

Inbox zero

Yay Capitalism Prize

Capitalist solution of the week

Kickers

Health Triplets: Identical twins, plus a fraternal

As adults, the three all work in the same hospital -- the one where they were born. Quite a story.

Kickers

Humor and Good News Even New Orleans isn't 170' below sea level

It's low-lying, but not that low-lying

Kickers

News Secure your load

A truck traveling down the highway with a ladder barely clinging to the bed

Kickers

Aviation News Chuck Yeager salutes "The Right Stuff" author Tom Wolfe

One of the few movies that can turn any red-blooded American misty-eyed.

Kickers

Humor and Good News "The turducken of New Urbanism"

A proposal is out to convert a big abandoned office complex in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, into a "metroburb" -- a micro-suburb within a sprawling building

One year ago

Five years ago

Ten years ago

Programming notes

SUNDAY: 4:35pm: Barnstormers pregame
5:05pm-8:30pm: Barnstormers @ Arizona Rattlers

Calendar events to highlight

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