• NEW TAX LAW UPDATE Re BUSINESS MEALS: 50% of Business Meals can still be deductible, provided that supporting documents fully substantiate (a) that the meal was “directly related to a substantial and bona fide business discussion, associated with the active conduct of the taxpayer’s trade or business”; (b) that such expense was “not lavish or extravagant under the circumstances”; and (c) with documentation of both the business purpose and business relationship of parties.
  • THE METAPHORICAL ‘DOOMSDAY CLOCK’ is ‘set’ by a Board of cybersecurity, environmental science & nuclear policy experts who “weigh existential threats to humanity, including war, pandemics and artificial intelligence.” They moved the Clock ahead 30 seconds last month and it’s now set at 2-minutes-to-midnite, “marking the closest humanity has (in their eyes) theoretically been to annihilation” since the testing of H-bombs in early 1950s. “The point is to get people talking about urgent issues facing humanity, whether rising oceans, killer robots or nuclear destruction, but reality is that our daily deluge of disturbing headlines” has numbed most Americans to a quick thought and then on to more immediate personal issues. [THE WEEK – Feb 9. 18]
  • “GUERRILLA GEOPOLITICS’ IS HOW THE BEHAVIOR OF RUSSIA IS BEING DEFINED THESE DAYS – a “grey zone” in which they challenge Western leadership and mettle by “exercising aggression and coercion without exposing themselves to the risk of escalation and severe retribution… sufficiently ambiguous to leave targets unsure of how to respond, and not being responsible for reckless escalation… with tactics drawn from a comprehensive toolkit that ranges from cyber-attacks to propaganda & subversion, economic blackmail & sabotage, sponsorship of proxy forces & creeping military expansionism… Russia’s strategy is to undermine faith in Western institutions and encourage populist movements by meddling in elections and using bots & trolls on social media to fan grievances & prejudice, hoping to sap the West’s capacity to respond resolutely to national norms.” With America mired in endless political hearings & investigations, beset by media leaks & bias, with constant partisan rancor, how can Russia’s campaign do any better job of undermining our democracy than we do to ourselves?   [THE ECONOMIST – Jan 27, 18]
  • 2017 SAW RECORD COSTS RELATED TO U.S. WEATHER EVENTS, with cumulative costs from all events exceeding $300 billion. The Nat’l Oceanic & Atmospheric Admin estimates annual “total climate-related economic losses & health costs will rise to $360 billion over the next ten years” primarily from severe storms, hurricanes & flooding. But sort of better news: while the U.S. Geological Survey forecasts that Southern California has a 99.7% likelihood for a 6.7+ magnitude earthquake during the next 30 years, the state is at least installing an Early Warning System later this year “available on a limited basis.”
  • LARGE OCEAN FISH, ESPECIALLY TUNA, CONTAIN HIGHER-THAN-AVERAGE AMOUNTS OF MERCURY – particularly dangerous to young children thru age 12 whose nervous system, brain, heart, kidney & lungs are susceptible to the harmful toxic effects. Canned or bagged ‘Chunk-light’ tuna is safest for tuna sandwiches since it’s usually Albacore or Skipjack variety which are smaller, faster-growing & shorter lived fish, with less accumulated mercury than blue-fin.  [MENS HEALTH – Mar 18]
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: Cancer Answer? A vaccine which reactivates a patient’s own immune cells after simple injection has proven 100% successful in destroying lymphoma tumors in mice, and is now entering human trials at Stanford University.

     Another honor for Los Angeles: 2017 Winner over 1360 other cities in 38 countries to claim the “Worst-Congestion” title for the 6th consecutive year, with drivers spending an average of 102 hours battling traffic during peak hours.

     ARE COMPUTERS MORE MASCULINE OR FEMININE IN NATURE?  The male argument for Feminine features: (1) No one but their creator understands their internal logic; (2) The language they use to cross-communicate is incomprehensible to everyone else; (3) Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for later retrieval; and (4) After committing to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.  The female argument for computers being Masculine in nature: (a) In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on; (b) They hold a lot of data but still can’t think for themselves; (c) They are supposed to help solve problems, but half the time are the problem; and (d) As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, a better model would have come along[Anonymous internet]