• ONLINE SURVEILLANCE OF INTERNET USERS HAS BECOME A ‘HOLY GRAIL’ FOR MARKETERS, whose job is to target unsolicited content to a consumer’s digital footprint.  Reliably tracking all a person’s devices is becoming more extensive as tech companies expand the Internet of Things (a category that includes not only connected home devices but wearable computers) – such that more and more digital ads will be following people around; “more than just being creepy, it’s a huge violation of privacy.” The process involves advertisers placing invisible trackers in the websites which compile data through a “sophisticated ecosystem of online ad networks, data brokers and analytics companies.” Several free ‘privacy tools’ can help by preventing your browser from loading elements of designated websites; some provide a list of known domains that serve trackers, others block all or let you opt-in or out; most popular are Red Morph, Disconnect & Privacy Badger.  [NEW YORK TIMES – Feb 17, 16]
  • LATEST GOVERNMENT ARROGANCE: The U.S. Veterans Administration, again! Despite media, watchdog and congressional challenges, the agency continues unreformed. While some 1,000 vets died without getting appointments to see a doctor, the VA spent $20 million ($5 million of which was account-coded as ‘furniture’) on “high-end art, curated without constraints or rules” of any kind, including $1.2 million for a cubed-rock, and $670,000 for two commissioned sculptures – ostensibly to create a “healing environment” except that the facility was for blind The VA has “instituted new rules governing artwork purchases going forward, but ignored a proposed policy that veterans’ art be displayed in VA medical centers.”  [FORBES.COM – Sep 25, 16]
  • HEALTH AND LIVING STANDARDS IN AMERICA NOW RANK 28TH OUT OF 188 COUNTRIES in the “most comprehensive ever analysis” – involving some 1,900 researchers in 124 countries, compiling data on 33 different indicators all focused on ‘survival.’ Guideposts were the United Nations “Sustainable Development Goals which measure the obvious (like poverty, clean water, education) and less obvious (like societal inequality, industry innovation). While the U.S. has the biggest economy, health food & fitness industries and scores high in sanitation & child development, response to natural disasters, infant obesity, HIV, alcohol abuse, suicide and homicide” rank poorly. Of the 27 higher-ranked countries, Iceland and Singapore top the list followed by 19 Europeans, Canada, Australia, Israel, Japan, Brunei, and even Slovenia.  [BLOOMBERG.COM – Sep 22, 16] 
  • BACTERIA CAN CONTAMINATE FOOD INSTANTLY!  The ‘5-second rule’ – about food dropped on the floor still being safe to eat – is out the window, after researchers at Rutgers University tested different textures (including bread, butter, watermelon, & gummy bears) on a variety of surfaces (including stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood & carpet) that had been contaminated with a “nonpathogenic cousin of salmonella naturally occurring in the digestive system.” After more than 2,500 experiments, results showed that “bacteria move with moisture; the wetter the food, the higher risk of transfer… which can occur is less than one second.” Candy and carpet drops and were the safest, but none survived the 5-second window myth.  [SCIENCE DAILY – Sep 9, 16]
  • THE ENTIRE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY SYSTEM is presently built around the prominence & stability of the American Dollar which serves as ‘Global Reserve Currency.’ While U.S. politicians are gridlocked and have been unable to realistically tackle long-term problems since the 2008 economic crisis, our base money supply has been increased 400 times and trillions of dollars of debt to foreign countries has reached a level which most economists consider unsustainable. Meanwhile, “China, Russia and the oil-producing nations of the Middle East are doing everything possible to end U.S. monetary hegemony – with potential impacts including cyber & financial warfare, deflation, hyperinflation, market collapse (from systemic factors amplified by regulatory incompetence & banker greed) and chaos.” For a bracing analysis, read: The Death of Money – JAMES RICKARDS
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: “In olden times, sacrifices were made at the altar, a custom which is still continued…” 

     “The man of system… seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own.”  – Adam Smith

     “BLAME is simply a way of discharging anger. I has an inverse relationship with accountability and is very corrosive in relationships.” A quick and engaging perspective: http://biggeekdad.com/2015/07/the-blame-game/ 

      The latest Drone Camera –check out this amazing technology!   https://www.youtube.com/embed/4vGcH0Bk3hg?rel=0