• “ELECTIONS & REFERENDUMS ARE NOT ABOUT WHAT WE THINK, BUT WHAT WE FEEL. If democracy were a matter of rational decision-making, there would be absolutely no reason to give all people equal (or necessarily any) voting rights. There is ample evidence that some people are far more knowledgeable and rational than others, certainly when it comes to specific economic & political questions… Because democracy assumes that human feelings reflect a mysterious and profound ‘free will’ which is the ultimate source of authority, and ignores the reality that some people are more intelligent with necessary background in relevant issues, on election day an illiterate person has feelings which (represented by their vote) count just as much as anyone else’s… This reliance on ‘what the heart tells you’ might prove to be the Achilles’ heel of liberal democracy – for once somebody gains the technological ability to hack and manipulate the human heart, democratic politics will mutate into an emotional puppet show.” [Yuval Harari – 21 LESSONS FOR THE 21st CENTURY]   “Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.”  – George Bernard Shaw
  •  THE ROBOCALL ARMS RACE IS SO FAR A LOST CAUSE, since “separating scammy robocallers from the useful ones is a game of whack-a-mole, which makes effective long-term solutions” impossible. Latest stats show that last year some 4.4 million such calls get placed monthly in the U.S. – roughly 13.6 per average person, though many non-average people get that many robocalls every day. “Think of scammers as clever marketers who are in the wrong business; their goal is simply for you to pick up the phone, after which they (a) can pitch you, and (b) collect money from databases that store caller ID info” (which is then resold to other marketers)… The latest technological trick is ‘neighbor spoofing’ which disguises a scammer’s number to match the last four digits of a familiar number (TripAdvisor for instance), and which is also undetectable to ‘Do Not Call’ lists, even if they were functioning. The only current remedy is Do Not Answer unless you positively recognize the caller. [FUTURISM.COM – Oct 15, 18]
  • ‘WEED VS WINE’ IS THE NEWEST CALIFORNIA BATTLE, as winemakers’ “dominance of what is delightfully known as people’s Intoxication Budgets” is in jeopardy. Sonoma County is the first to have imposed restrictions on “who may grow weed and where,” attempting to forestall the 15% fall in alcohol consumption which other states have experienced, as “more women, baby boomers and high earners choose pot as a presumably more healthy substitute.” Marijuana dispensers are also aggressively utilizing the wine industry’s marketing techniques – like Tasting Week, 100-point rating systems, and publishing Weed Spectator magazine – as well as offering better-paid, year-round jobs on cannabis farms to recruit workers from seasonal grape harvesting. “On the principle ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,’ a marijuana-infused Sauvignon Blanc is also now available from one winery… and drinking, not smoking, may become the future of weed.” [THE ECONOMIST – Oct 13, 18]
  • GENE DATABASES MAINTAINED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES NOW INTERACT WITH CONSUMER DATABASES in a manner which “makes DNA anonymity impossible to safeguard.” Using public genealogical data to triangulate genetic identity is already successful in matching over 60% of traces to a level of “third cousin or closer” and may soon reach 100% as more  databases (like Ancestry, 23andMe, etc.) are accessed. Be aware that police have “free access to DNA and can demand samples even when no crime has been committed; so, while consumer companies claim to protect data privacy, law enforcement can now seek a match in other databases, if they don’t find a match in their own…so deciding to share DNA means providing information on parents, children, 3rd cousins you don’t even know about, even point to children who don’t exist yet.”  [SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN – Oct 11, 18]  
  •  THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” – Jack London    ”Everyone has a talent; what is rare is the courage to follow it to the dark place where it leads.” – Eric Jong    “For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity or perception to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication.” 

       Over 260 brilliant people have died while taking ‘selfies’ in the past half-dozen years, mostly by drowning, but followed by incidents involving transportation (like taking a selfie in front of an oncoming train), falling from cliffs, waterfalls and buildings.

       Civilization in 2018: Phones are Wireless, Cooking is Fireless, Cars are Keyless, Tires are Tubeless, Youth are Jobless, Leaders are Shameless, Relationships often Meaningless, Babies are Fatherless, Education generally Valueless, Children are Mannerless, Government pretty Clueless, Politicians are Worthless, and Reality is that people are becoming scared Shitless!   [INTERNET ANON]