Just in Case it Matters to You
Weekly Report 13-19
- “IF THE NOTION THAT A DRIVERLESS CAR IS AROUND THE CORNER SOUNDS FAR-FETCHED, remember that TV and heavier-than-air flying machines once did too… People already travel, unwittingly, on planes and trains that no longer need human drivers” and many autos already can ‘read’ traffic signs, reverse-park, maintain safe distance and brake automatically when sensing trouble. Google has tested self-driving autos which clock over 400,000 miles without incident and its co-founder, Sergei Brin, predicts customer sales within five years. Research is supporting the fact that “putting a car on autopilot is often safer, since computers never drive drunk or while texting.” Driverless cars should also reduce fuel cost and commuting time by easing congestion, since sensing slowdowns and braking faster allows closer-spaced ‘road trains.’ “As sensors and assisted-driving software demonstrate their ability to cut accidents, regulators will move to make them compulsory for all new cars… One day, people may wonder why earlier generations ever entrusted machines as dangerous as cars to operators as fallible as humans.” [THE ECONOMIST – Apr 20, 13]
- COULD ARTISTIC ENTREPRENEURSHIP LEAD TO A REVIVAL OF THE ECONOMY? With more than 12 million Americans still now unemployed and no end in sight, many are turning away from “things that were once safe bets” (like academic degrees) and embracing “a solid appreciation for art, innovation and personal leadership in this new reality… The internet has created an economy of connection (through the nature of everyday communication, range of choice, wealth of information and immense network)” enabling the launch of some 50,000 projects though the ‘crowd-funding’ website Kickstarter alone. “Thanks to the internet and access to ever better & cheaper manufacturing techniques (like 3D printers & laser cutters), ‘artists’ are increasingly turning into entrepreneurs.” Hopefully, this trend might also lead to a revival of spirit and lessening of the “unrest which long-term unemployment can generate,” as evidenced by recent violent protest in Europe. According to psychologists, “those without work can become unhappy and depressed. The absence of a compelling daily rhythm can lead to a sense of alienation, inferiority, and belief in precisely the image that government unwittingly projects onto them: that they cannot provide for themselves.” [INTELLIGENT OPTIMIST – Mar/Apr 13]
- THE U.S. $100 BILL IS THE MOST FREQUENTLY COUNTERFEITED NOTE in the world’s dominant international currency. The Secret Service, which is responsible for policing its integrity – 2/3 of which is overseas – reports that mega billions of ‘supernotes’ produced in North Korea alone are “undetectable to nearly all but the most sophisticated currency experts.” So, a newly-designed $100 bill is being released next October in attempt to thwart this massive and continuing theft, with old notes getting destroyed as they pass through the Federal Reserve System. Booby-trap features include a 3-dimensional hologram stripe, color-shifting images of the Liberty Bell & number 100 as their viewing angle is tilted, portrait watermarks, UV-detectable imprints, micro-printed words, and raised printing which gives Benjamin Franklin’s jacket a rough feel. Soon coming to an ATM near you. [REUTERS – Apr 24, 13]
- ODDS & ENDS: (1) Beer Pong, the most popular college party sport, has typically been found loaded with up to three million germs including staph, salmonella and E.Coli; (2) Major American tragedies during the past couple decades have all occurred during the five-day period following April 15th: the Boston & Oklahoma City bombings, Deepwater oil spill, Virginia Tech & Columbine shootings, and Branch Dividian mess; (3) Casual computer games – lasting a few minutes which players can pick up on one device at the point they’d reached on another – are now played some 650 million times a day. The most popular, Candy Crush Saga, gets played daily on Facebook by more than 15 million people with nothing better to do; (4) Just ONE bogus tweet last month (that explosions had occurred at the White House and injured the President) was captured by ‘computerized trading algorithms’ which triggered a sell-off and sent stock prices tumbling by $130 million in minutes, until a later Associated Press announcement of its falsity.
- AMAZING CREATIVITY FROM A WATER COMPANY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pfxB5ut-KTs
- THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: When you put ‘the’ and ‘IRS’ together, weirdly it spells ‘theirs.””In-laws can be worse than outlaws, and sometimes the only difference is that outlaws are WANTED!”