• BEWARE: MEDICAL MISINFORMATION PROLIFERATES. A fake study about cancer treatment with obvious mistakes (made up by a reporter) found 157 scientific journals willing to publish it.  And three of every four members of “panels that define diseases and determine how they should be diagnosed have connections to drug companies.”    [MENS HEALTH – Jan/Feb 14]
  • AMAZINGLY, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CONSTRUCTION IS NOW “LEADING THE WORLD.” Despite “some of the strictest regulations in the nation, making the Entitlement process substantially longer than any other state”–including hurdles involving electrical consumption, carbon foot-printing, greenhouse gases, air quality, commuter rail standards and anti-growth protest groups – some 18 million square feet of industrial space is being built. Key factors are ample land, combined with “skilled affordable workforce & housing and exceptional transportation options” (railway, proximity to airport & ocean ports, freeway systems and major FedEx & UPS hubs). Land prices increased up to 15% last year, driven mostly by needs of large ‘big box’ corporations, and rental prices are up to 40 cents per foot. Good news for a change.  [REAL ESTATE FORUM – Dec 13]
  • ONLINE GAMBLING IS ON THE WAY TO SMART PHONES. The U.S. Dep’t of Justice, bowing to states which want to replenish revenues by regulating and taxing online gambling, has “reversed its long-held opinion” that (other than for ‘sports’ betting) such activities are illegal, and lobbying is now in full swing for legislative acceptance. Unsurprisingly, the battle for is being waged by billionaire owners of casinos, hedge funds and buyout firms; the battle against is led by the owner of Las Vegas Sands (whose $60 billion stock market valuation “dwarfs all other U.S. casino companies combined”) who, for the record, contends that “there is no reason to put a casino on everybody’s kitchen table, in the bed of every young person, whether they are underage or of age, or on mobile phones. I don’t want people to get addicted.”  [FORBES – Jan 20, 14]
  • “OBSESSION WITH VICTIMHOOD” HAS OVERIDDEN CLASSIC HUMANITIES EDUCATION. The English department at UCLA has now joined a widespread liberal trend and “dumped requirements that majors study the work of Chaucer/ Shakespeare/Milton, etc. in favor of courses in Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Disability & Sexual Studies… to reduce the stunning complexity of the past to the shallow categories of identity and class politics.”  Today’s focus in major universities is instead the “study of oppression in all its forms – of women, people of color, and different sexual orientation… No wonder interest in the humanities is in steep decline.”  [THE WEEK- Jan 17, 14]
  • THE INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT) “HOLDS GREAT PROMISE for enabling control of all the gadgets we use on a daily basis – routers, televisions, refrigerators and other internet-connected devices besides computers. It also holds great promise for cybercriminals who can use these devices to launch large and distributed ‘thingbot’ attacks… Because they are easy to penetrate, consumers have little incentive to make them more secure, and the rapidly growing number of devices (200 billion connections predicted by 2020) can send malicious content almost undetected.” A two-week global attack which began just before Xmas “featured waves of email targeting enterprises and individuals worldwide… some 750,000 phishing & spam emails, of which no more than ten were initiated from any single IP address… and was the first proven IoT-based cyberattack involving conventional household ‘smart’ appliances.” [WSJ MARKETWATCH.COM – Jan 17, 14]
  • THE THREE WARMEST YEARS ON RECORD have all occurred in the last 15 years and created ‘El Nino’ conditions – excessive warming of surface waters in the southern Pacific ocean. 2014 is expected to be a global “record keeper on many fronts,” with El Nino impacts including “abnormally dry (fire) conditions in southeast Asia & Australia, extreme rain in parts of North & South America, drought in Africa, and destruction of coral & marine life.”  [TIME – Jan 13, 14]
  • “WHAT IF JAMES BOND on his next mission, instead of his Beretta, carried a sternly worded message from the United Nations?”  A 15-minute brilliant video lecture on “what it sounds like when a President actually believes in his mission” and the reality-based difference in conservative versus liberal vision for America. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wgxlp2UJI5I
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK:  “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt

                    “The difference between GREAT and MEDIOCRE is that the Great are willing to do what the mediocre won’t.”