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Threats and Hazards More friction in Hong Kong
Sooner or later, this will be much more important than ebola. Or maybe it already is.

Business and Finance The people freaking out about stocks aren't really investors
Responding to some passing bad news is just negative speculation, not investment

Computers and the Internet Idiot uses anonymous website to threaten Drake University
But he overestimated his anonymity

Threats and Hazards Now we don't even bother with the War Powers Resolution
What's the point of the rule of law if nobody ever respects the rule?

Aviation News Two years in space?

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Computers and the Internet Blackmail photography ring busted in Boone
More than 100 users had access to a collection of illegal photos of their own underage peers

Computers and the Internet Spoofed phone numbers: How crooks make you think you're calling yourself

Health A baby's first hour in the world

Aviation News Japan is getting back into the airliner-manufacturing business
Also, keep an eye on the HondaJet

Iowa Moving to Des Moines: More hipsterish than Brooklyn?
Let's avoid the hipster thing, shall we? But, yes, there's a lot of good happening right now in Central Iowa.

Computers and the Internet Dropbox had a little problem with a bug that led to file deletion
Cloud storage can't be your only option

News "That is not dignity."
Resolving poverty in the right way can bring a lot of dignity to the people of the world

The United States of America Sec. Hagel wants the US Army to be a "coastal defense force"

Computers and the Internet And now it's "voiceprint" time
Is the adult voice as unique as a baby's cry?

Computers and the Internet Slot machines for the 21st Century

Business and Finance How the Dutch fixed retirement savings
It looks like it works, but it isn't pretty. That's the tough reality.

Business and Finance What happens if you raise the minimum wage?

Threats and Hazards The continued threat in Syria and Iraq

News The UK Independence Party could turn European politics upside-down

News Fight out the details however, but every community needs a public library
Equality of opportunity to learn

Computers and the Internet Third-party apps hack Snapchat
It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that something like this happened

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News A completely ridiculous building
A Park Avenue building in New York will be the second-tallest tower in the city (second only to the new One World Trade Center), but its highest occupied floor will actually be the tallest. It's to be 1,396 feet tall and Crain's New York Business says the apartments inside are selling for $4,000 per square foot. So if you're looking to blow upwards of $75 million on your "home", operators are standing by. The ultra-thin, ultra-tall blueprint seems terribly disproportionate, but the time-lapse video of construction is worth a look.

Computers and the Internet Instagram and Twitter overtake Facebook among teen users
According to research by Piper Jaffray

Broadcasting Unsolicited endorsement: "Key and Peele" is better than ever
It's brilliant sketch comedy, and the most satisfying part is that there's some kind of incredibly satisfying word play somewhere in each sketch. The brilliant "gay wedding advice" sketch, for instance, involves lines about couscous and Camel Cash that nobody could reasonably see coming.

Broadcasting No-nonsense writing advice from Trey Parker and Matt Stone
No sympathy for people who let writer's block or pretention get in the way

Iowa MidAmerican Energy adds another $280 million in wind turbines to its plans
Adams County will get a bunch of new turbines

The United States of America The Republican Party wins when it's the party of good government
Going into November, Republican candidates have a lot of government failures to which they can point as evidence that it's time for the Democrats to be removed from power. That's when the GOP has historically been at its best -- when it's the party of getting the job of government done efficiently and effectively. But there's also a serious risk to the party if its candidates indulge in overstatement.

News Conclusive proof that red-light cameras aren't used to improve public safety
Chicago authorities gave out tickets for drivers at intersections with short-cycled yellow lights. It's quite simple: If you want to cut down on red-light running and consequent crashes, you lengthen yellow lights and increase the gap between the red in one direction and the onset of green in the other. At least, that's what you'd do if safety were your priority.

Agriculture Turning flies into food
Via the conduit of livestock feed

News UKIP gets its first elected seat in British Parliament
The anti-EU party now has a toehold in domestic lawmaking in the UK

Health Real diseases that are scarier than ebola

Business and Finance Demand falling, production rising: Recipe for lower oil prices is coming together
And there's no doubt it's having a positive effect on the US economy. We're getting lucky right now, and there's no guarantee the luck will last indefinitely. It should also be noted that corn is cheap right now, and ethanol production is high.

Business and Finance Marchionne thinks the auto industry needs a carmaker bigger than Toyota
And he sees mergers as the way to get there. Given the enormous debt that Fiat undertook to swallow Chrysler, they're going to have to be both good and lucky to survive...so perhaps we should temper our enthusiasm for megamergers.

Iowa When to see the peak in fall colors in Iowa

Computers and the Internet Construction continues on Apple's new world headquarters

Iowa An old tradition returns to the University of Iowa
A tower decorated with corn

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Computers and the Internet Assignment for Bill Gates: Make Microsoft Office better

Business and Finance Nestle CEO blames corporate debt troubles on shortage of values
"[S]hort-termism eroded much of the trust between companies and society and rebuilding this needs to be a priority for business leaders."

Computers and the Internet How the Washington Post and the Amazon Kindle are coming together

Weather and Disasters The SPC is bringing out severe weather models with greater detail

Computers and the Internet Nobody stays on top in tech forever
Slower smartphone sales are hurting Samsung's bottom line, so the company is looking for new products to make to revive its profits. Great news for consumers; terrible news for investors.

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News Things aren't getting better in Hong Kong

Threats and Hazards Chicagoland man arrested for trying to join the Al-Qaeda-Land fight

Threats and Hazards Police confiscations are like highway robbery

Computers and the Internet HP is getting broken up after all

News The job market for academics isn't friendly

Business and Finance Warren Buffett's answer to a stock-market dip: Buy!

Computers and the Internet Microsoft will skip Windows 9 and jump straight to Windows 10

News The problem with funding a low-value degree

News Dialogue between the two Koreas?
It can't happen soon enough.

News Onetime Haitian dictator Duvalier dies

The American Way What's on the mind of Bill Gates
One of the world's smartest people has an unlimited budget to do what he wants, and he's using it to make the world a better place. That hasn't happened a lot in human history. He is the perfect technocrat and he doesn't have to work inside a bureaucracy -- it's a very special event in history, really. Broadly speaking, people really just want things to work. And who can blame them? We're paying for the system, whether it works or not, so we ought to get our money's worth.

Threats and Hazards The Chinese military is targeting US military contractors
If you thought we were all going to hold hands and sing "Kumbaya", you would be mistaken

Iowa "[D]o we really want to tell them we tore down an historic building to put up a glitzy highrise?"
Yes. Yes we do. The decision not to grant historic-preservation status to the downtown Des Moines YMCA building is a perfectly fine one, especially if it moves the space from a lower value to a higher value. There's nothing wrong with being nostalgic unless you're trying to do it on someone else's dime.

News Mistakes of the 1970s: Open floor plans in schools
Classrooms need doors, it turns out. The plans to wall up some classrooms around Omaha is an example of how decisions often have long-lingering consequences (35 to 45 years, in the case of schools from the 70s), and how knowledge isn't the same as judgment. Anyone can learn how to design a classroom, but deciding what layout to use takes judgment.

Broadcasting Show notes: Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - October 5, 2014
Streamed live at 9:00 pm on WHORadio.com and heard on AM 1040

News One-paragraph book review: "Honda: An American Success Story"
Toss out the hideously outdated dustjacket, and you have one of the very best books on management to be found anywhere.

News One-paragraph book review: "The Outsiders"
An appealing take on rationality in capital allocation, or "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Investors Instead".

News Keep a close eye on Hong Kong
The tensions boiling to the surface there are most likely not that far removed from the tensions we'll see in other parts of China someday if the Communist Party doesn't ease up on personal liberties

Computers and the Internet Nashville Marriott busted for jamming personal WiFi hotspots
Internet access may not be a fundamental human right, but it's also nobody's arbitrary right to block your access to it

Iowa Homeowners in the Quad Cities want guns for protection from coyotes
There are places where other protection isn't readily available and where a gun is the only reasonable tool of defense. Circumstances vary, but that's why universal gun bans don't make sense in America.

Iowa Spoof video brings attention to pull-over/slow-down rules
Police officers face too many hazards already; bad drivers shouldn't add to the risk. West Des Moines police officers deserve credit for having some fun bringing light to the issue.

Humor and Good News Parenting in the advertising parallel universe

Computers and the Internet Forgotten archive of speeches re-discovered
There is so much material that hasn't been digitized (and may never be), and it is at enormous risk of being lost to history if we don't catalog and digitize it

Computers and the Internet Parenting as a member of Generation X

Agriculture Iowa's corn and soybeans are behind schedule

News Why everyone should know self-defense: Case study #12
Two kids got into a fight at a Council Bluffs high school. The aggressor ended up dead after a single blow from the other student. It's tragic, and it never should have happened. But everyone really must know how to defend themselves against punches, kicks, and weapons -- especially if learned within a context that increases the odds that you will de-escalate any confrontation you enter.

News Pre-revolutionary Russia in color photographs

Business and Finance Bill Clinton sees that it's time to reform corporate taxes
Clinton came from a business-friendly wing of the Democratic party that the current administration has aggressively sent into exile, so we're wasting time blathering about "inversions" instead of fixing the real problem. That's not the way they would fix a faulty car design at a place like Honda, and it's not the way we should fix a faulty economic system. Ask why things you don't like are happening, and keep asking "Why?" until you get to an ultimate cause...then fix it.

Business and Finance August's personal-savings rate: 5.4%
Could have been higher, but at least it's above zero. Bodes well for the future if we can be consistent about it.

Humor and Good News 49ers wide receiver drafts a "Fantasy You" team via Twitter
A hilarious gag, really

Computers and the Internet Steve Ballmer doesn't want the LA Clippers using Apple products
Can you blame him? He's the largest individual shareholder in Microsoft.

Computers and the Internet Google's watching you from above
Or at least, they're floating balloons to provide broadband Internet serve

Iowa Americans know when to blow up the old and replace with the new
The Des Moines Register says city staff is going to deny historic-preservation status for the old YMCA downtown. Get nostalgic about it if you want, but not with other people's money.

Threats and Hazards Russia's fight with Chechnya is fueling our fight in Syria and Iraq now
Some Chechens got a lot of practice fighting a sophisticated army when they rebelled against Russia. Now those skills have moved (with the fighters) to the Middle East.

Computers and the Internet Metafilter and the one-platform problem
Owned-and-operated websites will always be the best tool for getting information out online...but whatever site you're running, you need to be able to adapt to where consumers are. Right now, that's Facebook and (to a lesser extent) Twitter and other sites. In the past, it was MySpace. For some people, it's LinkedIn or Instagram. It'll be something else in the future. The secondary platforms are too transient to be relied-upon forever, but you can't ignore them, either.

Aviation News One person should not have been able to do that much damage to Chicago's air-traffic control
The system just can't be that fragile -- they're saying that October 13th is the target date to get everything back up to full speed

Threats and Hazards Intruder got pretty deep into the White House
Contradicts previous reports and should send a shiver down the spine. Isn't that exactly what the Secret Service is supposed to prevent?

Recent history...

September 21 to September 27, 2014
September 14 to September 20, 2014
September 7 to September 13, 2014
August 31 to September 6, 2014
August 24 to August 30, 2014
August 17 to August 23, 2014
August 10 to August 16, 2014
August 3 to August 9, 2014
July 27 to August 2, 2014
July 20 to July 26, 2014
July 13 to July 19, 2014
July 6 to July 12, 2014
June 29 to July 5, 2014
June 22 to June 28, 2014
June 15 to June 21, 2014
June 8 to June 14, 2014
June 1 to June 7, 2014
May 25 to May 31, 2014
May 18 to May 24, 2014
May 11 to May 17, 2014
May 4 to May 10, 2014
April 27 to May 3, 2014
April 20 to April 26, 2014
April 13 to April 19, 2014
April 6 to April 12, 2014
March 30 to April 5, 2014
March 23 to March 29, 2014
March 16 to March 22, 2014
March 9 to March 15, 2014
March 2 to March 8, 2014
February 23 to March 1, 2014
February 16 to February 22, 2014
February 9 to February 15, 2014
February 2 to February 8, 2014
January 26 to February 1, 2014
January 19 to January 25, 2014
January 12 to January 18, 2014
January 5 to January 11, 2014
January 1 to January 4, 2014

Fourth quarter 2013
Third quarter 2013
Second quarter 2013
First quarter 2013

Fourth quarter 2012
Third quarter 2012
Second quarter 2012
First quarter 2012


Archives (2001 to present)

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