• THE ONLINE ADVERTISING WORLD IS TRANSFORMING RAPIDLY BUT WITH DIFFICULTY. While computer exchanges “match marketers and audience segments with increasing precision… at best only 70% of Web ads get seen for more than one second… and 36% of Internet traffic is fake, generated by phony websites that hijack traffic” to collect ad dollars from working campaigns. Advertising is now being sold based on “engaged time and attention measured in microseconds.” [FORBES – Nov 3, 14]
  • “EMERGING ECONOMIES MIGHT HAVE TO WAIT FOR THREE CENTURIES IN ORDER TO CATCH UP WITH THE WEST,” the World Bank admitted last month. The fact is that “mobile and transnational capital, which de-territorializes wealth and poverty, has made state-building and its original goals of broad social and economic uplift nearly impossible to achieve within national boundaries,” effectively dismantling the fundamental precept of “universal progress through western ideologies of socialism and capitalism. If we are appalled and dumbfounded by a world in flames, it is because we have been living with vanities and illusions: (1) that Asian and African societies would become, like Europe, more secular and instrumentally rational as economic growth accelerated… (2) that with socialism dead and buried, free markets would guarantee rapid economic growth and worldwide prosperity… (3) that western institutions of the nation-state and liberal democracy will be gradually generalized around the world… and (4) that aspiring middle classes created by industrial capitalism will bring about accountable, representative and stable governments… Instead, today, racial hatred and bloody collisions ravage the world, as nation-states already struggling against secessionist movements by ethnic and religious minorities have seen their internal unity further undermined by capitalism’s dominant ethic of primitive accumulation and individual gratification; In the U.S., 1% of the population now own one-third of the national wealth… The western world has lost the power to shape the world in its own image… The spell of universal progress through western ideologies has been decisively broken.” [THE GUARDIAN – Oct 14, 14]
  • OFFICE WORKERS ARE INTERRUPTED AN AVERAGE OF SIX TIMES AN HOUR.” A study of essay writing skills, by Human Factors & Ergonomics Society, found this disruptive impact “yielded fewer words and lower scoring by independent graders… and recommend turning off cell phone and disabling notifications like e-mail when working on important tasks.” [THE FUTURIST – Nov/Dec 14]
  • MEDICAL & FOOD NEWS UPDATE: (1) Hospital infections now sicken over a half-million Americans, kill around 2%, and cost the health-system over a billion dollars annually. Most infections are resistant to antibiotics, which often worsen the infection. Genome technology to the rescue: the newest remedy appears to be a “poopy pill – gut bacteria from healthy donor stool feces” which, now in final testing, “can restore gut health and cure infections”; (2) “A single Botox injection may reduce symptoms of depression nearly half” by letting fewer distress signals get to the brain and thus boosting mood. A study reported in the Journal of Psychiatric Research also found that over 25% “experienced complete remission of depression symptoms… and since the shot between eyebrows doesn’t affect forehead muscles, ‘frozen face’ should not be a problem”; (3) 80% of the world currently eats bugs and some 25 U.S. companies are introducing ground cricket powder foods – “just the first step toward a near future in which whole crickets, waxworms, beetles and stinkbugs are common ingredients.” While calories are doubled, protein & essential amino acids are more than doubled, and farming is environmentally responsible (requiring a fraction of greenhouse gases and water). “Once you overcome the ick factor,” bugs apparently don’t taste so bad. [BLOOMBERG BUSINESS WEEK – Oct 20, 14 and MEN’S HEALTH – Nov 14]
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: “Vegetarians and Vegans may be harming their chance of having children.” A four-year study at Loma Linda University Medical School found that “men who do not eat meat have significantly reduced sperm counts.”   Meanwhile, the world’s most expensive meatburger is now sold by a London restaurant. The ‘Glamburger’ mixes New Zealand venison and Kobe beef, topped with Iranian saffron, Italian white truffle, Russian Beluga caviar and a 24-karat gold leaf, for a price of $1,800. 

   “Biographical history, as taught in our public schools, is still largely a history of boneheads: ridiculous kings and queens, paranoid political leaders, compulsive voyagers, ignorant generals, the flotsam and jetsam of historical currents. The men who radically altered history, the great creative scientists and mathematicians, are seldom mentioned if at all.”  -Martin Gardner, mathematician and writer