•  PROUD AMERICAN STATS: The latest recent global study (this one by the World Bank, Gallup & George Washington University) puts the U.S. 14th in the world for ‘financial literacy’ after just 57% “were able to pass a basic, 5-question decision-making test.” One example of the reasons is that slightly over half the nearly three million college enrollees in 2009 have actually graduated in the six years following. But, at least, we do have claim to fame of ranking 4th globally for “locations where the most tweets are posted in support of ISIS,” according to a Brookings study – only behind Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iraq. [THE WEEK – Dec 4, 15]  ”THINK about how stupid the average person is… and then realize that half of ‘em are stupider than that!” – George Carlin
  • ‘BRING YOUR OWN DEVICE’ – SMARTPHONE, TABLET, LAPTOP – is now fully accepted policy at a third of major international law firms, and all but a few percent offer some type of policy for a portion of their workplace, according to the newest international legal industry survey. While data security remains the biggest issue, firms have no practical choice since “personal devices and cloud-based data storage solutions are being used with or without IT and firm management’s blessing.” Risk is real since in addition to unmanageable attorneys, their devices may be accessible by family members who then have access to information involving Firm data and/or regulatory compliance requirements (especially relevant for attorneys travelling internationally). “In this environment, focus is shifting to securing data itself rather than just the device, or where the data happens to be stored.” Another recent survey of partners from the top 200 American firms suggests that “the law firm environment could be paperless in as little as five years… including use of mobile devices as the norm in courtrooms.” And the beat goes on. [LAW TECHNOLOGY NEWS – Dec 15]
  • THE REASON THAT SMART PEOPLE SO OFTEN DO DUMB THINGS is that “traditional IQ tests miss some of the most important aspects of real-world decision making… like (1) basic human tendency to default to the processing mechanisms that require less computational effort (the ‘easy way out’) when trying to solve problems; (2) our tendency to evaluate a situation from personal perspective, weighing evidence and making moral judgments with a ‘my side’ bias, independent of measured intelligence; and (3) from absence of specific knowledge (rules, data, procedures, strategies, probabilities, logic, etc.) to think and act rationally, known as the Mindware gap… Intelligence does not encompass all cognitive abilities.” [SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN – Jan 15]
  • ‘BADASS SNEAKERS’ WILL SOON BE AVAILABLE which can display custom designs including animation, illuminate in the dark, and charge wirelessly while walking. Check out: http://www.digitaltrends.com/wearables/shiftwear-sneakers-e-ink-app/?&&utm_term=material+science
  •  “ADVICE FOR ANY MOMENT, FOR ALL STAGES OF OUR LIFE”: THE ART OF WAR, written more than 2,500 years ago by Chinese general Sun Tzu with over 4,000 titles and interpretations currently offered by Amazon, “deals with every form of conflict you’re likely to deal with, based on the self-knowledge that is necessary for a warrior: handling setbacks.” Fundamentals: (1) A leader leads by example, not by force; (2) Sometimes you win a war by avoiding a fight; (3) Make sure that all troops share the same goal and mind-set; (4) Always be prepared; never let down your guard; (5) Keep plans & intentions from your enemies; (6) All warfare is based on deception – tricking your opponent into believing you are weak when you are not, or strong when you are weak; (7) Always give your opponent the option of retreat; do not press a desperate foe too hard.  [THE OPTIMIST – Fall 15]
  •  THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: The U.S. ‘Visa Waiver’ program, created to “promote tourism and business travel,” every year allows over 19 million foreigners from any of 38 nations to enter the U.S. without any screening whatsoever.                    

      “War has rules, mud wrestling has rules, but politics has no rules.” – Ross Perot  //     A major reason that “the middle in politics – where you govern from – is sort of disappearing… is that journalists used to be dispassionate observers of the process. Today they are players, and that’s not good because it tends to more divisiveness and discord.” – James Baker, Cabinet Member to three Presidents

       Justice is supposedly blind but unquestioningly stupid as well. While bookie-betting is overlooked across the nation, a weekly $4-per-round Mah-jongg game played by Tampa, Fla. Seniors, aged 87 to 95, was raided by Tampa, Florida police and shut down for violating ‘gambling’ laws.