• TODAY’S SMARTPHONES, FOR MANY, CREATE AN ADDICTION which, in combination with social media feeds & links, can consume up to 12 hours a day. The average iPhone or Android user evidently checks in about 80 times a day, which “scientific research, not surprisingly, has linked to decreased concentration, lower problem-solving skills, and depression – particularly for youngsters.” Latest research has also shown that nearly 50% of couples are “struggling with relationship conflict… feeling ‘phubbed’ by a partner – i.e. snubbed in favor of checking social media news or texts on a phone, even if the phone isn’t in use (like simply having out on a dining table) since this interferes with sense of connection, as eyes flick to the device for new alerts, suggesting that the piece of technology is more interesting.”  But reality is that “dazzling images and alluring tidbits of information are virtually impossible to exist… lighting up the pleasure centers in our brains – the same ones activated by recreational drugs – so we keep going back for more… and collectively damaging American mental health.”  [THE WEEK – Oct 27, 17]
  • AND MORE: INTERNET CONNECTION “CAN BREED CONTEMPT… Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other internet communities have splintered the western world into angry factions and filled public discourse with vitriol and insult.” It turns out that rather than bringing social harmony to the ‘global village’ of some six billion people with mobile phones (1/3 more than have access to a working toilet), technology has generated a “constant avalanche of online self-disclosure and oversharing of differing ideas preferences & habits” – which instead irritates people with “an oppressive sense of digital crowding,” who then lash back. The internet’s faceless mode of interaction promotes people to share four times as much information about themselves as when talking in person, “making cultural differences more salient… and placing greater stress on the ways those people differ rather than resemble us.” Studies find that, “on average, we like strangers best when we know the least about them… Technology serves as an amplifier for humanity’s worst traits as well as our best.”  [BOSTON GLOBE – Apr 21, 17]
  • THE FUTURE: ‘Stella Vie,’ a solar-powered vehicle which carried five people over 1,800 miles at an average speed around 43mph and allows users to feed power back into the grid, just won Grand Prize at the bi-annual World Solar Challenge. This vehicle could be the key to practicality of solar-powered family vehicles within a few years. [FUTURISM.COM – Oct 21, 17]
  • TECHNOLOGY UPSETS CULTURAL CONVENTION AGAIN! Skin Color is a trait that most people associate with race, but turns out to be “a terrible classifier.” The prevailing concept has been that “humanity began with dark skin in Africa to protect against the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, and that as people migrated to other continents with scarce sunlight, groups evolved lighter skin to more effectively produce vitamin D.” However, based on latest research at Univ. of Pennsylvania which measured dark-pigment melanin in some four-million spots in the genomes of 1,600 volunteers, “DNA can vary by a single letter, with only six genetic areas accounting for 29% of the variation in pigmentation” – suggesting that for hundreds of thousands of years before homo sapiens evolved in Africa, light & dark skinned peoples coexisted. Accordingly, “we can’t be cavalier about stating that a particular crime suspect has a particular color, based on presence of a single genetic variant of DNA.”  [THE ATLANTIC – Oct 12, 17]
  • NEW ACCOUNTING/REPORTING ISSUES exist for organizations involved in Construction, Engineering, Real Estate, Asset Management, Healthcare and Not-For-Profit services. After 11 years of debates among U.S. and International bodies, financial standards for ‘Revenue Recognition’ have finally been adopted. The effective date is deferred to fiscal 2019 for non-public entities, however big issues like structuring new contracts, profit reporting, and tax consequences may merit priority attention. In essence, because existing procedures have “increasingly become detailed, complex and costly to apply… as organizations utilize financial engineering to structure transactions around the rules,” the new approach is now “principles-based” to allow focus only on “significant matters…with less interpretive or implementation guidance,” and instead utilize professional judgement of CPAs and other advisors. Such matters include factors like rights & responsibilities of the parties in Agreements & Contracts, payment terms & collectability, and “commercial substance” of the deals.  [CALIFORNIA CPA – Oct 17]

          Shoes off at home isn’t a bad policy since most carpeting can be a reservoir for contaminated soil and dust. Univ. of Houston researchers tested pairs of shoes to find 40% contained ‘C.difficile,’ a species of bacteria that can cause nasty symptoms.