• PHISHING EMAILS & ROBOTEXTS CONTINUE TO EXPAND, linking to nearly 80% of all cyberespionage incidents in 2018 and representing nearly 20% of all global spams against Facebook clients just last quarter. Scammers use imitation links and web-page designs that look legit to trick users into clicking to a scam site asking for credentials – e.g. by combining letters ‘r’ and ‘n’ to appear as ‘m’ in Microsoft, or just misspelling miscroft.com. One way to check legitimacy is to “hover cursor over links or hyperlinked words in emails, which will show users which URL that link directs to.” [FOX BUSINESS – 2/6/20]

• ‘SENIOR MOMENTS’ – FORGETTING STUFF – MAY BE A GOOD THING, “a feature of our brains shaped by evolution to only remember stuff that is pertinent to our survival, and actually helping us to navigate a world that is random and ever-changing, by leaving us a list of useful rules to help make better decisions.” Newest research at Univ. of Toronto contends that “forgetting old information can keep us from generalizing too much from one piece of info, consistent with how artificial intelligence learns via a technique called ‘regularization’ which forces the system to forget some details in order to learn ‘general rules” (like what is a face or a dog versus a cat)… The process can be trial & error, but result is that our brains tend to forget episodes more quickly than general knowledge, forgetting all except those instances that were highly salient for survival.” [VERGE.COM – 6/21/20]

• ‘SECOND-HAND SCREEN TIME’ is now considered by an increasing number of researchers to be an “indirect health hazard to infants & preschoolers who watch their parents constantly looking at cell phones, which then becomes second nature and addictive as they desire to reach for a seemingly magical object that glints & flashes, impeding the formation of nerve systems involved in language development, expression and reading skills.” [THE WEEK – 2/14/20]

• PUBLIC SCHOOL CHILDREN THEN FACE THE DISRUPTION which has resulted from nearly two decades of Congressional strategy for standardized testing & competition, with reward/punishment to schools which do or don’t improve scores and graduation rates. “Faced with federal mandates, states & districts have spent billions on testing, crowding out untested subjects like history & science, and reducing time for recess… But test scores have been stagnant for the past decade, with some charter schools dominating the list of lowest-performing schools,” and with some Administrators cheating on grade scores to gain or avoid losing funding. It turns out that “every standardized test is normed on a bell curve reflecting family income & education with poor kids always at the bottom… What’s needed is funding for schools in low-income districts allowing experienced teachers to be paid as the professionals they are, writing their own tests (as they did for generations), and reducing class sizes so children can get individualized help.” Additionally, McKinsey research shows teachers presently working about 50 hours a week on average, but spending only 40% teaching/coaching students and 10% involving behavioral/ social/ emotional-skill issues, and the balance consumed with preparation, evaluation & administrative duties where application of technology would both save ‘teaching’ time as well as impact student learning. [TIME – 2/17/20]

• SCIENTISTS HAVE NOW “PROVEN THAT EPIGENETIC AGING CAN BE REVERSED IN HUMANS” by at least 2½ years. Researchers from Stanford and UCLA developed a protocol ‘cocktail’ of Human Growth Hormones, DHEA and Metformin which, after a one-year study, found “multiple, system-wide, anti-aging benefit to participants including improved immune function, increased cancer protection markers, regenerative effects on kidney function & bone marrow, and average age reversal of 2.5 biological years.” [LIFE EXTENSION – March 20]

• THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: Should 3-year olds make family decisions? https://biggeekdad.com/2020/02/kids-without-boundaries/

While the Obamacare mandate to penalize people who didn’t purchase health insurance was rescinded by Congress, California legislators never miss a beat for funding. Effective this year, ostensibly to help subsidize insurance to low income households (legal or not), uninsured adults are penalized the higher of $695 or 2.5% of gross income.

Over a third of food in average American households is wasted, some $240 billion annually – without even counting the costs of wasted labor/ water/ energy/ land/ etc. to produce it, related costs involving marketing/ distribution/ financing/ disposal/ etc, or impact on climate change – according to newest research at Penn State University.
Hoping to build a better mousetrap, a California startup (SpinLaunch) is taking a kinetic energy approach to ‘slingshot’ rockets carrying up to 200-lbs payload into space at 5,000 MPH – 10,000 times greater than earth’s gravity says syfi.com.