• OFFICE WORKSPACE IS INCREASINGLY STRUCTURED FOR ‘OPEN FLOOR PLAN’ WORK WITHOUT WALLS, the objective being, beyond cost savings, “supposedly to promote sense of community and culture. But whenever people work together, it often leads to tension and arguments when co-workers don’t respect boundaries or listen to concerns of others.” Stuck with overhearing personal calls, smelling re-heated lunches, even hearing the slamming of desk or file drawers, workers can become not only annoyed but also impacted in their productivity and capacity to meet deadlines. Tips for minimizing tight workplace impacts begin with: (1) discussing potential pitfalls before they happen; the more proactive and transparent a person is, the more likely their colleagues are to cooperate; (2) remaining professional and trying to see things from the other’s perspective; (3) avoiding the temptation when something does go wrong to assign blame; (4) recognizing that disagreements are inevitable but can become constructive with “calm and friendly conversation to resolve differences.” [FAST COMPANY – May 4, 18]
  •  “THE DIGITAL MANIPULATION OF VIDEO MAY MAKE THE CURRENT ERA OF ‘FAKE NEWS’ SEEM QUAINT… With academic and commercial labs developing ever more sophisticated tools (algorithms that map facial expressions and mimic voices with precision), and social media having helped bring on a new era which enables individuated encounters with the news that confirm biases and sieve out contravening facts, …mass manipulation is the culmination of the internet’s history to date, and probably only a low-grade version of what’s to come: ‘infopocalypse’ …where our eyes routinely deceive us. Put differently, we’re not so far from the collapse of ‘reality,’ as unedited video has acquired an outsize authority in our culture and the public has developed a blinding, irrational cynicism toward reporting & other material that the media have handled & processed – overreaction to a century of advertising, propaganda and hyperbolic TV news… Fabricated videos will create new and ‘understandable’ suspicions about everything we watch, ultimately destroying faith in our strongest remaining tether to the idea of common reality.”  [THE ATLANTIC – May, 18]
  • SCIENCE FICTION FILMS CONTINUE TO FORECAST REALITY. “Predictive Policing and Surveillance Algorithms – a mini-version of ‘Minority Report’ – now serves Los Angeles, a dozen other California police & sheriff departments and Highway Patrol, along with numerous other U.S. cities & counties… Palantir-powered software “assigns people points based on past offenses, or even just having been stopped by (or in contact with) law enforcement, which determines who ‘ought’ to be monitored. Those targeted by the algorithm and flagged as people of interest can then face extra police surveillance for up to two years, just because they may be associated with or know of criminal activity – even if they haven’t done anything wrong ever, in their entire lives… The system model intakes ‘suspicious activity’ reports from across the many agencies and compares against each other plus all sorts of intel (including instant access to 911 call records) to identify patterns.” [FUTURISM.COM – May 11, 18]
  • CALIFORNIA’S HOUSING CRISIS IS LIKELY HEADED FOR WORSE. As homelessness increased by 14% last year (versus 1% nationally) with median monthly rent nearing $2,700 in Los Angeles (and10% higher in Oakland), a UC-Berkeley survey found over 60% of registered state voters support rent control. Accordingly, the November ballot will include a measure giving cities the right to “expand rent control, to mitigate the shortage of affordable housing and prevent landlord price gouging.” Problem is, that’s not what 98% of the cities want to do, as they keep failing to approve construction needed to keep pace with population growth… the impact of which, combined with antiquated zoning code that is heavily skewed towards single-family homes… is likely to restrict housing supply even more.” [THE ECONOMIST – May 12, 18] 
  • “THE ACTIVE INGREDIENTS IN CANNABIS, THC and CBD, enhance the body’s anti-inflammatory network (the endocannabinoid system), minimizing pain and helping injuries heal.” Latest clinical trials by Scottsdale Research Institute are providing the basis for currently “working with football players to end the NFL’s ban on weed.” [MEN’S HEALTH – May 18]

        The World Record for “Most Big Macs Consumed” was set this month by a Wisconsin guy who has eaten two of the overstuffed burgers every day since 1972 – over 30,000 Big Macs!

        Notice an increase in your RoboCalls? They are up nearly 900,000 a month from just a year ago. This April, Americans received a record-breaking 3.4 million machine-voice pitches, despite the do-not-call registry, reports Business Insider.