• HOLIDAY SCAMS UPDATE: (1) Hundreds of counterfeit ‘Pirate’ retail apps now compete to steal credit card information and/or to infect your device with malware. They claim links to brand-name companies (like Nordstrom or Jimmy Choo), so best to check the app name carefully for spelling errors, recent publish date or absence of customer reviews. When in doubt, input the website directly. (2) Cellphone numbers have become “a code to your private data on online habits… tied to so many databases that it often tells more about its owner than a social security number, and with scant, if any, consumer protection.” [THE WEEK – Dec 2. 16]
  • WITHIN THE NEXT 6 TO 9 YEARS, WE’RE LIKELY TO SEE A “HYPERCONNECTED, BORDERLESS WORLD” of nearly eight billion people, communicating through satellites, drones and balloons managed by Facebook, Google, OneWorld and Space X. “Residency and language are rapidly being disrupted and dematerialized by (1) Virtual Reality Avatars: imagine being able to put on a VR headset, headphones and a haptic body suit that transports your eyes, ears, touch & movements to a robot located any-where on the planet, and feeling it move, see, hear & feel – effectively transporting your consciousness without moving your body”; (2) Augmented Reality: fully immersive, high-fidelity, virtual worlds which will allow you to ‘beam into’ virtual workplaces and hangout with virtual co-workers, sharing ideas; and (3) Instant Translation Technology: allowing anyone to speak any language with anyone else, thanks to real-time simultaneous translation. Skype already offers voice-to-voice in seven languages and the Pilot smart earpiece currently translates between users speaking English, French, Spanish & Italian. [PETER DIAMANDIS – Nov 20, 17]
  • THE MARIJUANA ISSUE IS NOW FRONT LINE with 28 states permitting medicinal use and eight also allowing recreational use, a recent Gallup poll finding 60% of Americans now approve legalization, and some 8.4 million admitting to regular use. THE UPSIDE: $1 trillion has been wasted on the failed ‘War on Drugs’ with criminal syndicates and gang wars have expanding, while “growing scientific research shows casual cannabis use by adults is less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco… In Colorado alone, the cannabis industry has created more than 18,000 full-time jobs and generated $2.4 billion in economic activity” – a substantial portion going to government coffers. THE DOWNSIDE: “Legal weed states have experienced a significant jump in marijuana-related DUIs, nearly 50% increase in fatal car crashes whose drivers tested positive for THC, hospitalization for overdoses up  (particularly children who ingest edibles which look like regular candy), and scientific studies which connect adolescent use to a significant loss of IQ points with increased risk of psychotic illness… Weed remains strictly prohibited under Federal law (classified the same as heroin)” but the issue is now front line.   [THE WEEK – Nov 25, 16]
  • TODAY’S AMERICA IN TOO MANY WAYS PARALLELS ROME – whose destruction was caused by powerful trends including: “costly infrastructure, expensive social welfare programs, and endless wars with peoples viewed as violent and uncivilized who would stop at nothing to destroy Roman way of life… Corruption and destructive bureaucracy were increasingly rampant. And the worse imperial finances became, the more the government tried to ‘fix’ everything by passing debilitating regulation and debasing the currency.” In today’s America, we have a “commercial banking system still at significant risk to succumb to a major crisis, a central bank nearly insolvent, $2 trillion of debt growing at a far more rapid rate than the economy could ever hope to expand… and Civil Asset Forfeiture levels that have increased to astonishing rates… Solutions are simple, effective and absolute no-brainers; all it takes to implement are the proper tools, the right education, and the basic will to take action.” Mr.Trump’s ‘Drain the Swamp’ initiative is hopefully the start. [ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-25/heres-what-happened-when-ancient-romans-tried-drain-swamp ]
  • AMONG THE POSITIVE BENEFITS OF MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY ARE ‘ONLINE PATIENT PORTALS’ – through which many networks now let members view their personal medical files, lab reports and even the Notes their physicians were typing, along with requesting prescription refills and/or asking specific questions about symptoms & treatments. [MENS’ HEALTH – Dec 16]  
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: Post-Thanksgiving comfort: “Families are like fudge…mostly sweet, with a few nuts. And remember that today’s mighty oak is just yesterday’s nut that held its ground 20 years ago.”

      For an excellent Harvard Business Review article on how absence of “White Working Middle Class” perspective lost the election for the Democrats:  https://hbr.org/2016/11/what-so-many-people-dont-get-about-the-u-s-working-class

     An incredible rendition of Leonard Cohen’s HALLELUJAH: https://biggeekdad.com/2016/11/hallelujah-by-pentatonix/