• THE WAY OUR COUNTRY RUNS ELECTIONS IS “A PROCESS DESIGNED TO BE REGRESSIVE – distracting us with trivialities which drive us apart during two years of furious arguments, a divide-and-conquer mechanism that keeps us from communicating with one another, and prevents us from examining the broader, systemic problems we all face together… The rules of the Campaign Reality Show are designed to reduce political thought to a simple binary choice and force more than 100 million adults to commit to one or the other. Like every TV contest, it discourages subtlety, reflection and reconciliation, encouraging belligerence, action & conflict… As Americans on both sides are experiencing a deep sense of betrayal by the political class, with anger finally ready to express itself at the ballot box, what got in the way was a rebellion so maladroit, ill-conceived and irresponsible that even the severest critics of the system have become zealots for the status quo… We’re more divided, sicker & dumber than ever, and there’s no reason to think it won’t be worse next time.”  [ROLLING STONE – Nov 3, 16]
  • ANOTHER MAJOR REASON FOR THE TRAGICOMEDY OF THIS ELECTION is that first time voters, on average, only read for personal interest about ten minutes a day, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. “We’re becoming a nation of functional illiterates, incapable of pursuing a train of thought for more than minutes at a time… absorbing words only through captions, tweets, posts, memes and smartphone-screen-size articles… We’re becoming a nation of distracted nincompoops who don’t have the patience to bother finding out if lies are lies and, because we’ve lost the mental capacity to do otherwise, are forced to judge issues on the basis of style & delivery rather than substance and accuracy.” [TIME – Oct 24, 16]  
  • THE INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT) ISN’T REALLY ABOUT TOASTERS TALKING TO REFRIGERATORS. The former CEO of Cisco Systems predicted that we’ll be seeing “500 billion Things connected by 2025 – that’s 70 times the number of people currently living on this planet.” Things connect by sensors; some have as many as a hundred which talk constantly – some every minute, others every few seconds, a utility power grid sensor can send data 60 times per second. “The sheer volume of data that can be generated by Things will be exponentially larger than that of people applications, so Learning & Analysis products will include query technology with both supervised and unsupervised machine learning technologies.” Examples of this impact: internet-connected sensors built into products would allow tires to be sold by number of miles driven; or machinery by the number of cubic feet processed. “Dramatic changes are coming to business.”  [CFO MAGAZINE – Oct 16]  
  • THE ASSUMPTION THAT KIDS DON’T NEED HANDWRITING SKILLS IN THE COMPUTER AGE IS BOGUS. While new education guidelines de-emphasize penmanship (and LAUSD removed it entirely from grade-school curriculum), brain researchers say that “putting pencil to paper stimulates brain circuits involved with memory, attention, motor skills, and language in a way punching a keyboard doesn’t… Numerous studies have shown that pre-schoolers who practice handwriting read better in elementary school, are better spellers, and teach brain circuits responsible for motor coordination, vision & memory to work together. Recommended guidelines call for learning cursive in 3rd – 4th grade and continuing to write by hand until 7th grade, when their brains become mature enough to manage two-handed typing versus hunt-and-peck keypunching.” [WebMD – Oct 16]
  • CAMPUS P.C. IS RELENTLESS. Cornell’s football coach has had a policy of honoring players who display “Best Team Spirit” after each game with a big sombrero. That was until some students complained this was “offensive to Mexicans,” accused him of “appropriating a culture,” and have now bullied the University into forcing his apology for “cultural insensitivity.”   [THE WEEK – Oct 7, 16]

        FDA approval for new medicines now involves, on average: 1,600 scientists working around the clock for up to two years, looking for a single compound out of some 5,000, then conducting up to 36 clinical trials involving 8,500 volunteers for up to 12 years.

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