• TECHNOLOGY “HAS PROVIDED OPPORTUNITY TO INTERACT WITH THE WORLD, enhance our lives and bring people together. But, like all good things, has its dark side… Among the most important trends are technology’s impact on human interaction and the breakdown of skills” including: (1) Decision-making based on social media profiles versus engaging in conversation to develop relationships; (2) “Creating persona through broad powers of editorial license… an embellished picture of the person one wishes to be”; (3) Emerging language based on “brevity, abbreviations, acronyms and altered spellings to remove ‘excess’ letters” (over 140 characters acceptable to Twitter and thumb-typing); (4) Bullying or berating others “without consequence for bad behavior”; (5) Literal incapacity of children & young adults to physically carry on conversation.    [CALIFORNIA CPA – Aug 15]

• ANOTHER FACET IS THE ‘INTERNET OF THINGS’ (ioT). “Historically our built world has been relatively inert – like the TV in your living room: you watch it but it doesn’t watch you. That is all changing… In the not distant future, according to Google’s CEO, the ioT will be ubiquitous and the distinction between what’s online and offline will disappear; it will be part of your presence all the time… Take the Apple watch: in theory, this one device could tell hackers who you are, all personal details, where you are, whether moving or sitting, where you spend time… The same is true of most smart devices which collects huge amounts of user data and then relay info back to manufacturers and app designers – who are legally able to sell the data to third parties… The number of connected devices is projected to soar to 50 billion in the next five years.”   [THE WEEK = Aug 21, 15]

• ENERGY DEPENDENCE IS BECOMING RISKIER AND COSTLIER. Newest ‘fracking’ research suggests a “threat to under-ground drinking water because they are not deep enough.” A Stanford University study of 44,000 oil & gas wells in the U.S. found 22% at depths less than a mile from the surface and “some as shallow as 100 feet… posing a greater threat because there is so little separation between the chemicals pumped underground and the drinking water above.” Also that the fracking process for over one in twenty wells had “used more than one million gallons of water each.”  [ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY – July 15]

• THE ‘BLADE’ IS AN ECO-FRIENDLY 3D-PRINTED SPORTS-STYLED CAR, fitted with a 700 horsepower engine that runs on natural gas. With 3D modular pieces connecting carbon rods, the prototype (manufactured in California) weighs only 1,400 pounds but has the “same strength and safety protection as a frame made out of steel, and twice the weight-to-horsepower ratio of a Bugatti Veyron (with similar styling).   [REUTERS – Aug 4, 15]

• THE OTHER PERSPECTIVE ON THE ‘IRAN ACCORD’: “Anyone who thinks Iran is a nation that will “play nice” is a fool…But remember, engaging in the same activity (sanctions) and expecting a different result is one way folks determine insanity. Realities are that radiation exposure cannot be erased with a 24-day or even a 24-month window…and the radiation footprint will be detectable for thousands of years. Most of the world will follow what Switzerland has already done – lift sanctions anyway and refuse to honor any US attempt to continue, increasing our isolation from the global community. If somehow we were able to convince the world to play ball, even at a more intense level, Iran would for sure continue their military nuclear efforts. Then, left only with a hard-strike military alternative (with or without Israel), here is the likely result: (1) sleeper cells everywhere activated: (2) the Strait of Hormuz heavily mined stopping the flow of oil to most of Europe; (3) enabling Russia with its own massive oil reserves to finance Putin’s anti-Western dreams; (4) reigniting another global mega-recession; (4) Iran’s very deep underground facilities would be only temporarily impaired; and (5) ISIS would celebrate a major crippling of its greatest regional enemy while raising the price of their most valuable commodity and clearly be invigorated to expand their attacks. Want to worry? Keep your eye on the 100+ Islamic bombs and warheads in Pakistan, as both the Taliban and ISIS eye that bumbling and corrupt country for those little gifts waiting to be delivered to Western nations… or North Korea whose growing ire with the West could convince KimJongUn to supply ISIS with the nuclear capacity of their dreams.” – Peter Dekom

• THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: One in four American workers is required to have a ‘license’ to do his/her job. More than 1,100 occupations (including complex technical jobs like florist or auctioneer) are regulated by states lobbied to restrict entry.

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

“Mixing politics and religion is like mixing manure and ice cream. It doesn’t do much to the manure, but it surely does ruin the ice cream.” – Will Rogers