• 2021 PROMISES TO BE “PARTICULARLY UNPREDICTABLE, given the interactions between the pandemic, an uneven economic recovery, fractious geopolitics, and as risks abound to health and social stability,” including: fights within & between countries over vaccine, over keeping companies on life support versus helping unemployed workers, and stemming from China tensions, world disorder, shrinking tourism, as well as risks like antibiotic resistance, nuclear proliferation, and terrorism. It will be a year of “unusual uncertainty” and hopeful, while dubious, positive change. [ECONOMIST – WORLD IN 2021]
  • A  FLYING CAR IS NOW ‘STREET LEGAL’ IN HOLLAND. Netherlands has licensed the  ‘gyrocopter’ called PAL-V Liberty, which needs a 600-foot runway to take off and 100-feet to land, but can hover and fly up to 100 mph. Lots of technical & safety regulations remain, but expectations are for use as a flying taxi, with pricing as low as $400,000, are early next year.  [IMPACT LAB – 1/19/21]
  • IS TODAY’S CONCEPT OF DEMOCRACY SURVIVABLE? History over centuries has shown that  the ‘will of the people,’ when provoked far enough, “will manifest their nature with ‘Mobocracy’ – running out of control and generating into anarchy, as the poor plunder the rich and profligacy produces bankruptcy… Political philosophers have been making these points for 2,000 years – that institutions must guard against too much inequality, ensure that ‘voters’ have access to objective information, tame money’s influence in politics, and reinforce checks & balances.”  Regardless of whether the mobs patronize X or Y or Z programs or personalities, meeting those criteria have a rough road ahead when today’s circumstance involves: (1) Monopolistic media and social media making billions by peddling misinformation and partisanship; (2) Wealthy individuals & organizations are expending unlimited sums to influence the process; (3) “Society is polarized into a super-class and a demoralized proletariat”; (4) the check/balance system is not perceived as unbiased; and (5) Today’s ‘Cancel Culture’ is the “digital equivalent of the medieval mob roaming the streets looking for someone to burn.” Rough times are ahead.  [ECONOMIST – 1/16 and LBN EXAMINER – 1/17/21] 
  • THE U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT HAS EVOLVED INTO BAD SHAPE over the past several Administrations, with “budgets woefully inadequate, admin & computer systems antiquated, organizational structure outdated, and repeatedly sidelined by presidents who preferred to run foreign policy out of the White House. Roughly 1/3 of ambassadorships were handed out to wealthy campaign contributors – a bizarre practice that no other nation follows – with the Department forced to spend time, energy, credibility & resources on missions in response to congressional whims, as experienced officials left in droves.” Despite Joe Biden’s declared agenda to “place the U.S. at Head of the Table and exercise effective ‘leadership’ in every region on every critical issue, neither adversaries or even close allies are going to fall in line with U.S. preferences, when several decades of American blunders have given other States both the incentive and ability to hedge… Expectations of quick reform are doomed to disappointment.” [FOREIGN POLICY – 1/21/21]
  • GET READY FOR THE NEXT INSECT PLAGUE, forecast this May, when soil temperature reaches 64 degrees, trillions of cicada locusts will emerge, with population density of up to 1.5 million per acre, for the first time in seventeen years. National Geographic says that, at least most cicadas are edible.

     George Carlin’s right-on prediction of what Big Business “wants” and is getting (crass language): https://redstate.com/jenniferoo/2021/01/20/comedian-george-carlin-predicted-2020-15-years-prior-n313295/amp

     A cosmetic tip for teeth discoloration: Drinking a full glass of water after ingesting coffee, tea, cola and particularly red wine keeps the residue from staining surface of the teeth. Gargling also works.