• IT’S NOW BEST TO JUST “ASSUME YOU’RE UNDER GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE.” The National Security Agency is building a new $2 billion data center to store data already flowing from thousands of government and some thirty-million commercial cameras which “record your image at banks, tollbooths, grocery stores and public places… Online, emails and website searches are being tracked and recorded… travels are revealed by GPS on smartphones & tablets… police patrol cars are being equipped with automatic license plate readers that check a thousand plates an hour against databases, and facial recognition technology is in the works… Plan for it.” [THE WEEK – Jan 18, 13]
  • AS IMPORTANT AS STRATEGY AND TACTICS ARE to optimizing the productivity, profitability and effectiveness, “breakthrough results” only come from dealing with the (usually hidden) impacts of organizational culture – “the company’s reason for existing, as well as its values and vision… Culture is the foundation that Strategy and Tactics sit on but, like an iceberg, a powerful force that is underwater where you can’t see it.” DCG expertise in Transition Management includes focus on the too often dysfunctional impacts of ignoring cultural disconnects in executing otherwise well developed business plans. DCG is your Go To consultancy in this area. [OPENVIEW LABS – Jan 24, 13]
  • CALIFORNIA GOV. JERRY BROWN HAS ‘ANNOUNCED’ THAT THE STATE’S BUDGET DEFICIT IS OVER – from a November forecast of nearly $2 billion annual deficit next year to now a surplus of perhaps $1 billion, with total state debt decreasing from some $30 billion to $4.3 billion over the next five years. Among the just few risks of this happen- ing, however, is the fact that expenditures on pension & retirement costs continue to rise (over 50% in last five years) with no end in sight. “California is hardly alone in having made rash promises to public employees, but its liabil-ities are more extensive than most… facing a demographic squeeze as the ranks of the elderly swell, the birth rate falls and population growth declines.” Unfunded pension liabilities and health care pledges to the elderly are alone estimated above $180 billion, and “money needed this year to keep the state’s pension fund for teachers afloat could more than swallow up the budget’s increase in school funding” (from the recent Proposition 30 tax-increase, approved for that specific purpose). Nonetheless, “the laughing-stock of America gets serious about its budget… deploying a curious blend of soak-the-rich rhetoric with austere pledges of responsible stewardship.” [THE ECONOMIST – Jan 19, 13]
  • “CERTAIN ASPECTS OF PSYCHOPATHIC PERSONALITIES AND INTELLECT ARE OFTEN HALLMARKS OF SUCCESS... Studies show that the border between functional and dysfunctional psychopathy depends not on the presence of attributes per se, but rather on their levels and the way they are combined…Traits that are common among psychopathic serial killers – a grandiose sense of self-worth, persuasiveness, superficial charm, ruthlessness, lack of remorse and manipulation of others – are also shared by politicians and world leaders… Such a profile allows them to do what they like when they like, completely unfazed by the social, moral or legal consequences of their actions… Think of their traits as the dials on a studio-mixing-deck; if the soundtrack is graded, and some are higher than others – such as fearlessness, focus, lack of empathy and mental toughness, for example – you may well have a surgeon who’s a cut above the rest.” [SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN – Oct 12]
  • “ONE SODA A DAY MAY RAISE PROSTATE CANCER RISK. Men who drink “a lot of soft drinks or other drinks with added sugar” increased their prostate cancer risk by 40%, according to a 15-year Swedish study of over 8,000 men, reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. “High intake of sugary breakfast cereals also raised the incidence of milder forms of cancer to 38%… and a diet heavy on rice & pasta to 31%.” [LIFE EXTENSION – Feb 13]
  • TECHNOLOGY AT ITS FINEST: SMARTPHONE TOILET CONTROL. Expand your 2013 decadence with the newest bluetooth-controlled app home appliance – enabling not only hands-free toilet seat lifting and flushing, but also playing music through built-in speakers and a ‘toilet diary’ to monitor “regular washroom sessions” along with water & power usage. Available now from a Japanese manufacturer for only $4,500. http://mashable.com/2012/12/15/smartphone-controlled-toilet/
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: “Atheism is a non-prophet organization.”
    The odds of an adult being hit by lightning is one in 1 million; of a U.S. student being killed at school, one in 3 million.