• ‘TIME’ IS ONLY PERCEIVED BY OUR BRAINS TO THE EXTENT THAT IT IS FILLED IN SOME WAY.” Our circadian rhythm cycle roughly tracks bodily functions every 24-hour period, correlating to the earth’s rotation, in a relatively consistent manner: “blood pressure peaking around noon, physical coordination cresting mid-afternoon, muscles strongest around 5:pm, and cataclysms of human error during night shifts… with long-distance travel disrupting not only sleep but metabolism, so that jet-lagged bodies recover at a rate of about one time zone per day… Most people complain that Time seems to speed up as they get older – in part because they feel more pressed for it. Time matters precisely because it ends.” [THE ECONOMIST – Feb 11, 17]
  • THINK THAT TIGHTER IMMIGRATION ‘VETTING’ CONTROLS ARE REDUNDANT? Be aware that fake British passports are now being openly advertised and sold on the deep web “hidden from search engines and traditional browsers… which fool even the tightest security systems.” With bitcoins equivalent to around $4,200, terrorists can now “buy ‘authentic’ passports from a Neapolitan Camorra crime country factory… that are entered into the official passport database (implying a connection to a UK-based criminal network) and registered in the EU national system.” [LEVINE BRIEFING NOTES – Feb 11, 17]
  • IMMIGRATION REALITY, based on stats from Homeland Security, Pew Research, Government Accountability Offices, Center for Immigration Studies, and Catholic Relief Services: (1) The U.S. foreign-born population is around 44 million, of which 11 million are “undocumented”up to half having gotten here on fraudulent documents or temporary visas which they overstayed, the balance from illegal border crossings; (2) Around 8 in 10 of the illegals came from Mexico (5.9 million), others from five Latin or South American countries (1.8 million), and from four Asian countries (1.2 million) – India, China, Philippines & South Korea; (3) Around 15% are harbored in three states – California, Nevada and Texas; (4) Only 4% hold agricultural/fishing/foresting jobs; 62% work in construction, extraction, production, repair or service jobs – twice the share of U.S.-born workers; (5) Over 80% of liberals “say immigration is not a very big problem… and want to prioritize illegals a path to citizenship.”  [TIME – Oct 24, 16]
  • TECHNOLOGY IS UPENDING MUSIC: Check out a 3-D printed violin: https://www.3d-varius.com/#3dvideo ; Blocks – a modular music studio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cw7WxMkdF8Q ; and LinnStrument – orchestra-in-a-tablet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flKMz9UmqAw
  • BACK TO THE FUTURE? Nearly fifty years after Mushrooms, LSD and DMT became “politically toxic as a research topic” (with President Nixon’s Controlled Substance Act), psychedelic drugs are again finding acceptance in academia, with privately-funded research now sanctioned by the FDA and DEA.” At Johns Hopkins, scientists test psilocybin in treating cancer patients; at UC-San Francisco, they test ayahuasca to treat PTSD; at University of Wisconsin and NYU, the therapeutic benefits of hallucinogens are studied to arrest depression and anxiety. Meanwhile, “the buzz among Silicon Valley types is that ‘microdosing’ on LSD boosts creativity” and mature adult experimenters consistently describe latent effects of psychedelics in terms like “heightened sense of the present… a feeling of interconnectedness and the sense that many of the things spent worrying about were frivolous compared with health, friendship & purpose… aggressions seem fleeting compared with existential questions and actual gratitude for how much has gone right” – all part of this strange new world. [THE WEEK – Feb 17. 17]
  • ONE MONTH INTO THE NEW REGIME AND WE AIN’T SEEN NOTHING YET. “The religion of technology, GDP and calculus of self-interest which underpin the modern embrace of free-market capitalism” are what led to the rage of voters against ‘globalism’ and focus instead on ‘populism’ – rejecting governing strategies perceived as being decided by an out-of-touch closed elite acting on behalf of its own interests. That rage mostly stemmed from an ongoing “mismatch between personal expectations, heightened by a traumatic break with the past, and the cruelly unresponsive reality of slow change – a toxic mix of envy, humiliation and powerlessness.” The battle between these forces is just beginning. [TIME – Feb 20, 17]
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: Job description semantics do matter. One worker’s application described current corporate employment as ‘Aqua-thermal treatment of ceramics, aluminum and steel under a constrained environment’ – which, on further clarification, turned out to be “washing restaurant dishes with hot water under the chef’s supervision.”

           The intense political divide in 2016s election has taken its toll in many ways. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found 13% of Americans had “ended relationships” over the discourse – including a California couple who divorced after 22 years. And the discourse inspired a new dating app ‘HATER’ which matches potential mates based on things they both despise, versus shared interests.