• PHISHING IS AMONG THE MOST PREVALENT FORM OF CYBERCRIME where, by using fraudulent websites and false emails, scammers can steal passwords, credit info and other personal data. The links look like trusted sites – like PayPal, EBay, Yahoo or a bank – but have at least one different character in the email address. Some protection tips: (1) Legitimate senders will never request sensitive information, and never submit confidential info via forms embedded within the email; (2) Beware of scare tactics which imply that your account may be disabled or services delayed until certain info is ‘updated’; (3) Avoid generic-looking messages, like ‘Dear Sir/Madam,’ especially from senders you don’t recognize; (4) Avoid using links within email messages; if connection to a website is desirable, open a new browser window and type the URL directly. [NORTON BULLETIN – Apr 4, 17]
  • THE 250 MILLION CARS CURRENTLY ON U.S. ROADS (WORTH SOME $2 TRILLION) WILL BE REDUCED “AS MUCH AS 50% in the next five years, as economics of electrification evolve from the shared-driving model. Also because vehicle safety concerns continue to surge, as some 40,000 accidents occurred last year – many from texting while driving. “The only thing progressing faster than the pace of machine learning is the pace of human unlearning, and Americans are getting dumber faster than cars are getting smarter.” Tesla’s Autopilot system already provides Autosteer, AutoLaneChange, Traffic-Aware Cruise Control, AutoPark, and is “inching closer and closer to a level that requires zero interaction from a human driver, more capable and a safer alternative… Tesla will make all other cars obsolete.” [FUTURISM.COM NWSLTR – Mar 17]
  • THE IMMIGRATION DEBATE, AT ITS CORE LEVEL, IS PRETTY SIMPLE – whether to continue or scale back the current priority for ‘family-based’ immigration (families of current U.S. citizens or legal residents), versus adopting a ‘skills-based’ system which considers economic goals and ‘adaptability’ to American culture. Canada established the skills-based model fifty years ago by grading applicants on six factors: work experience, education, language ability, age, arranged employment and “a subjective measure of adaptability.” “To keep their skills pipeline stocked, Canada (also Australia) welcome double the percentage of immigrants based on population” than does current U.S. policy – even though our experience supports their policy, as “one quarter of technology and engineering companies established in the U.S. from 1995 to 2005 had at least one immigrant founder.” It’s predominantly Hispanic liberal vote potential which dissuade legislators from sensible policy. [BUSINESS WEEK – Mar 27, 17]
  • “ONLY GOVERNMENT CAN PROPERLY DEFEND THE CAUSE OF INEFFICIENCY.” Businesses pursue efficiency as a cardinal strategy and consumers, spoiled by technological innovation, demand continuous improvement in speed & simplicity of transactions – like “ordering goods using Alexa, a voice-activated assistant, which is as easy as saying its name, with tech firms working on ‘gesture-controlled’ devices that could enable payments with just a furtive glance of desire… But excessive ease in transactions (known as ‘facile externality’) encourages bad habits, and the great curse is value erosion. Persistent need is the world’s great motivator. With instant gratification, consumers end up alienated, economies are worse off… and innovations which eliminate too much hassle could do society harm.” [THE ECONOMIST – April 1, 17]
  • A LOOMING A.I. APOCALYPSE? “There are many futurists who feel a certain inevitability or fatalism about Artificial Intelligence and robots, where humans would have some sort of peripheral role.” Elon Musk, founder of Space-X, is a leading doomsayer about the perils of A.I., contending that we are: “(1) Already Cyborgs, with phones & computers simply extensions of ourselves, interfacing through finger movements or speech; (2) Only four or five years away from ‘neural lace’ inside our skull, flashing data wirelessly from our brain to digital devices or to virtually unlimited computing power in the cloud; (3) Marching toward the inevitable phase where empires fall and societies change; (4) To a point where, despite good intentions, we can still produce something evil by accident, including possibly a fleet of A.I.-enhanced robots capable of destroying mankind;” and (5) Arguing not about whether but rather how close we are to replicating and improving on ourselves.” Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates are all raising the same warning about Silicon Valley’s rush to embrace A.I.: “when you’re building something smarter than yourself, you have to get it right on the first try.” [VANITY FAIR – Apr 17]

    UNBELIEVABLE! A New Jersey high school student was accepted to Stanford University based on the ‘creativity’ of his  essay responding to the question ‘What matters to you, and why?”  The essay consisted literally of writing “#BlackLivesMatter” 100 times, as reported by Levine Briefing Notes.

                                     For card trick lovers:  https://biggeekdad.com/2017/03/scarlett-johansson-magic/