• ‘SURVEILLANCE CAPITALISTS’ aka BIG OTHER “now wield a uniquely 21st century quality of power in the form of impersonal systems trained to monitor and shape our actions remotely, unimpeded by law… Having hijacked the Internet and its digital technologies, the new economics covertly claims private human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioral data which predicts our behavior, tradeable in a new futures market – selling certainty to businesses (and political parties) determined to know what we will do next. The process takes the form of online ads to first attract interest, then engineer subliminal cues to shape our real world actions & feelings, and subsequently to cue behavior at the moment of maximum vulnerability” (like shopping or voting). Seven decades ago, George Orwell warned of the dangers of mass surveillance & social control, arguing that autonomy and self-determination were crucial to survival of democracy. His novel 1984 remains relevant and, not coincidentally, remains on best-seller lists. [TIME – 6/17/19]


  • CALIFORNIA IS ON ITS WAY TO A “PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS,” In San Francisco, ‘Poop Patrols’ are unable to control the sidewalk & street deposits by homeless campers; In Los Angeles, typhus & Hepatitis A have resulted from a “trash and rodent nightmare which threatens downtown… from a mountain of rotting, oozing, stinking trash that stretches a good twenty yards along a skid row alley, where rats pop their heads out of the debris like they’re in a game of Whack-A-Mole… Under progressive governance, California appears to be regressing at an alarming pace.”  [CITY JOURNAL MAGAZINE – 6/4/19]


  • DESALINIZATION OF OCEAN WATER IS AN EXPENSIVE AND POLLUTING PROCESS involving continuous power from batteries or diesel oil, requiring transport over long distances. A start-up company in Finland has developed a game-changer: converting small shipping containers run by solar panels, located near beaches. The units produce over 900 gallons of clean water hourly, along with clean energy and a tiny footprint. The process “filters sea water through a membrane that also removes bacteria, viruses, other contaminants,” and is already serving communities in African rural villages. [FAST COMPANY – 5/23/19]


  • ABILITY TO OPT-OUT OF WEBSITE TRACKING MAY FINALLY HAPPEN. After stalling for nine years, the ‘Do-Not-Track-Act’ has been re-introduced in the Senate, worded to prohibit companies which “employ creepy surveillance tactics on their users… from collecting or sharing data for ad targeting.” These days lawmakers, aware of public discontent over facial recognition technology and other privacy invasion issues, are considering major fines against abusive companies of $1000/per person/per day with $100K minimum. [MANATT ADVERTISING LAW – 6/6/19]


  • SELF-DRIVING ROBO-TAXIS have now completed over 50,000 automated rides to paying LYFT customers in Las Vegas, 92% of whom claimed they “felt very safe during their trip, though this could be attributed in part to the presence of a safety driver behind the wheel just in case someone jumped out in front of the car… The average ride ‘rating’ was 4.97 out of 5 – you have to wonder where it lost that 0.03.” Clearly robo-taxi transportation will be expanding sooner than later. [DIGITAL TRENDS – 6/2/19]


        Research reveals that while some ¾ of workers have the freedom to modify their functional tasks, fewer than one-in-five do so. A simple tip: track a week’s worth of work tasks and do a PRO/CON listing of what you ‘love’ versus ‘loathe,’ then take steps to reprioritize daily activity more to the ‘love’ side – an initial step to then also improving work/life balance. 

      The irony of life is that, by the time you’re old enough to know your way around, you’re not going anywhere. Aspire to inspire before you expire.