PSA-180920-Crystal Ball

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Back in the nineties I read a book titled Megatrends 2000 by John Naisbitt in which he foretold the future ten to twenty years ahead. The author did not have any unusual telepathic talent he merely watched for trends. He collected snippets of information about happenings from newspapers around the country. If a particular action appeared in many places across the country he saw it as a trend.

After having read the book, and led the life I can attest to the fact that Naisbitt’s predictions were highly accurate. A few weeks ago I told myself to look for a new book that would predict the next ten years. Things are moving so fast that quite frankly, I can’t keep up with them and I would venture that you have the same problem too. I haven’t found such a book, but I did receive a list of predictions from a friend. I believe all of them will come to fruition within the next twenty- thirty years. I only hope I am around to see them happen,

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1. Auto repair shops go away. A gasoline engine has 20,000 individual parts. An electrical motor has 20. Electric cars are sold with lifetime guarantees and are only repaired by dealers. It takes only 10 minutes to remove and replace an electric motor. Faulty electric motors are not repaired in the dealership but are sent to a regional repair shop that repairs them with robots. Your motor malfunction light goes on so you drive up to what looks like a Jiffy-auto wash, and your car is towed through while you have a cup of coffee and out comes your car with a new motor.

2. Gas stations go away. Parking meters are replaced by stations that  dispense electricity.  All companies install electrical recharging stations for their customers and employees. (The gas station goes away, but must be replaced by a charging station. Batteries and charging must improve exponentially for this to happen. Currently an electric car needs ten hours of charge time to charge fully.)

3. All major auto manufacturers have already designated 5-6 billion dollars each to start building new plants that only build electric cars.

4. Coal industries go away. Gasoline/oil companies go away.  Drilling for oil stops. (This one is hard to believe because all these cars need electricity and it has to be generated. Most likely we will use natural gas.)  

5. Homes produce and store more electrical energy during the day and  then they use and will sell it back to the grid. The grid stores it  and dispenses it to industries that are high electricity users. (This ones assumes that we have roofs made of solar collectors, and that the sun shines every day.)

5. A baby of today will only see personal cars in museums. (This one forgets about our car culture and car hobbyists who will continue to build their own cars.) 

6. The FUTURE is approaching faster than one can handle! In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt.  What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next  5-10 years and, most people won’t see it coming. Did you think in 1998 that 3 years later you would never take pictures on film again? Yet, digital cameras were invented in 1975. The first ones only had 10,000 pixels, but followed Moore’s law.  So as with all exponential technologies, it was a disappointment for a time, before it became way superior and became mainstream in only a few short years. It will now happen again (but much faster) with Artificial Intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs.

Welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution.

7. Software will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years.

8. UBER is just a software tool, they don’t own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world! (This one assumes that there will be enough Uber drivers with cars willing to shuttle people around) 

9. Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don’t own any properties.

10. Artificial Intelligence: Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world. This year, a computer beat the best Go-player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected. (What the heck is “Go” and who cares that a computer beat him?) 

11. In the U. S., young lawyers already don’t get jobs. Because of  IBM’s Watson, you can get legal advice (so far for more or less basic stuff) within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans. So, if you study law, stop immediately. There will be 90% fewer lawyers in the future, only omniscient specialists will remain. (This will be a good thing because with too many lawyers our society has become overly litigious, and our government divided by politicians who are lawyers trained to win at all costs while our system relies on compromise.)

12. Watson already helps nurses diagnosing cancer, its 4 times more accurate than human nurses. (Nurses don’t diagnose cancer, doctors do.)

13. Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans.

14. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans. (So people quit learning because the computer knows everything.Who then teaches the computer new stuff? Does the computer perform lab experiments to learn new facts?)

15. Autonomous cars: In 2018 the first self driving cars will appear for the public. Around 2020, the entire industry will start to be disrupted. You don’t want to own a car anymore. You will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination. You will not need to park it, you only pay for the driven distance, and you can be productive while riding. The very young children of today will never get a driver’s license and will never own a car.

16. It will change the cities, because we will need 90-95% fewer cars. We can transform former parking spaces into parks.

17. One point two million people die each year in car-accidents worldwide. We now have one accident every 60,000 mi (100,000 km), with autonomous driving that will drop to 1 accident in 6 million mi (10 million km). That will save a million lives worldwide each year. (This one assumes that sensors and computers in the cars are better than those of a human being.)

18. Most car companies will doubtless go bankrupt. Traditional car companies will try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will do the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels.

19. Many engineers from Volkswagen and Audi; are completely terrified of Tesla. (Engineers fear only layoffs due to a lack of need. Electrical cars have simple drive trains, but more complicated controls, sensors, and computers.)  

20. Insurance companies will have massive trouble because, without accidents, the insurance will become 100x cheaper. Their car insurance business model will disappear. (accidents will never disappear completely)

21. Real estate will change. Because if you can work while you commute, people will move farther away to live in a more beautiful neighborhood. (If you can work while you commute, why go to the office at all? Work from home.)

22. Electric cars will become mainstream about 2030. Cities will be less noisy because all new cars will run on electricity. (People will step into traffic while looking at their personal work modules because they can’t hear the cars.)

23. Electricity will become incredibly cheap and clean: Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can now see the burgeoning impact. (This will require homes that have solar roofs, streets that are solar collectors, and vehicles that can pick up electricity from the road.)

24. Fossil energy companies are desperately trying to limit access to the grid to prevent competition from home solar installations, but that simply cannot continue – technology will take care of that strategy. (Low cost solar systems for the home which can compete with the electric companies will be needed to make this happen.)

25. Health: The Tricorder X will be announced this year. There are companies who will build a medical device (called the “Tricorder” from Star Trek) that works with your phone, which takes your retina scan, your blood sample and you breath into it.  It then analyses 54 bio-markers that will identify nearly any disease. (This dreamer has never had to experience an MRI, PET scan, Ultrasound, or colonoscopy test to believe a phone can detect your problems.)

WELCOME TO TOMORROW ! ! !

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It is only natural for me to be skeptical about these predictions because many of them rely not on technology, but rather on acceptance by humans to implement. Acceptance will evolve and shift culture toward these bold inventions. I predict they will take an additional ten-twenty years to be accepted by the public.

 

Funerals

 

Yesterday, I watched the funeral of John McCain at the National Cathedral in Washington DC. I failed to watch the earlier honorarium but did watch men from different branches of service carry his coffin up the Capital stairs. The precision they maintained while going up those steps while holding the coffin level. I wonder how much practice it takes to become that good.

I was having a late breakfast when I turned on the TV to learn the news at a point where the attendees were awaiting the hearse. That was it for me I sat watching for the rest of the morning. As a boy I was privy to attending  many funerals in our parish as an altar boy. The Episcopalian rite seemed to be somewhat different from a Catholic one. They dispensed with the incense burning and blessing of the coffin driving away all evil spirits from the body.

What always amazes me is to see our Past Presidents sitting together having a jovial time enjoying the privileges without the responsibility. Obama sat in the first row in pew one, Michelle was next to him. George W. and Laura Bush were next, and then Bill Clinton and Hillary. Missing were Trump, Carter, and George H.W. Bush. Oh-ho I thought, Trump must surely be holding a grudge against hero John. Later I learned that Trump was not invited nor was Sarah Palin. That is one for the books, and I’ll never figure it out.

The highlight of the eulogies was when McCain’s daughter Meghan presented. It takes courage and strength to speak about a loved one while grieving. I recall attending my own father’s funeral thinking I could never speak to the congregation without total emotional breakdown. As it was my oldest nephew did the job, and did so admirably, but even he had a few moments of emotional breakdown. Yet, here was McCain’s daughter doing a fantastic job of presenting. A few times she lost it for a few seconds, but she just took a deep breath, regained her composure and moved on. When she made her newsworthy comment , , , “The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great.” I remembered her left leaning politics that put her in opposition to her conservative dad. During their lives together I often thought how good a father he was to allow her to own a political philosophy the opposite of his without any remorse.

Later, in one of the eulogies, I forget which, the speaker told of when McCain was captive in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp for five and a half years, and how he, after his release, was able to forgive his captors. I’m not sure I could do that, in fact I’m not sure I could endure five and a half years of brutal captivity and torture, and as much as i try to be a Christian I really don’t think I could have forgiven them as a country or a people. It takes a super-human person to do that.

That afternoon, when I learned that Donald Trump was not invited to the funeral I thought how strange. McCain the POW forgave his torturer but he can’t forgive Trump. In retrospect I began to think of what I would do if I knew I was dying, and there was a demon eating away at the core of my mind.  It is the only rational explanation I can invent to explain his complete hypocrisy at the end of his exemplary life.

On the upside of this funeral ceremony were the many accolades and stories told by his friends. One of the most hilarious came from no other than Obama. He said, . . . “After all, what better way to get a last laugh than to make George and I say nice things about him to a national audience.”

PSA-180828-Senior Wisdom

I changed my car horn to gunshot sounds. People get out of the way much faster now.
Gone are the days when girls used to cook like their mothers. Now they drink like their fathers.
I didn’t make it to the gym today. That makes five years in a row.
I decided to stop calling the bathroom the “John” and renamed it the “Jim”. I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.
Old age is coming at a really bad time.
When I was a child I thought “Nap Time” was a punishment. Now, as a grownup, it feels like a small vacation.
The biggest lie I tell myself is ”I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember it.”
I don’t have gray hair; I have “wisdom highlights”!
If God wanted me to touch my toes, He would’ve put them on my knees.
Last year I joined a support group for procrastinators. We haven’t met yet.
Why do I have to press one for English when you’re just going to transfer me to someone I can’t understand anyway?
Of course I talk to myself. Sometimes I need expert advice.
At my age “Getting lucky” means walking into a room and remembering what I came in there for.
Actually, I’m not complaining because I am a Senager. (Senior teenager) I have everything that I wanted as a teenager, only 60 years later. I don’t have to go to school or work. I get an allowance every month. I have my own pad. I don’t have a curfew. I have a driver’s license and my own car. The people I hang around with are not scared of getting pregnant. And I don’t have acne.
Life is great.

Take A Knee Before God

A beautiful essay on a subject that seems to be very difficult today, i.e. respect for the American flag. It shouldn’t be so hard, but it seems the leftist movement has made it so. My parents brought me up up to kneel before God because He is the only one who matters. So in my opinion these fine young men who kneel on Sundays before the big game are merely doing the same. They kneel to adore God because that is the only thing that matters to them.
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Take a knee…

I don’t think I’ve ever read anything more powerful than this piece.

by Ted Nugent 

Take a little trip to Valley Forge in January. Hold a musket ball in your
Fingers and imagine it piercing your flesh and breaking a bone or two.
There won’t be a doctor or trainer to assist you until after the battle, so
Just wait your turn. Take your cleats and socks off to get a real Experience.

Then, take a knee on the beach in Normandy where man after American man
Stormed the beach, even as the one in front of him was shot to pieces, the
Very sea stained with American blood. The only blockers most had were the
Dead bodies in front of them, riddled with bullets from enemy fire.

Take a knee in the sweat soaked jungles of Vietnam. From Khe Sanh to
Saigon, anywhere will do. Americans died in all those jungles. There was no
Playbook that told them what was next, but they knew what flag they
Represented. When they came home, they were protested as well, and spit on
For reasons only cowards know.

Take another knee in the blood drenched sands of Fallujah in 110 degree
Heat. Wear your Kevlar helmet and battle dress. Your number won’t be
Printed on it unless your number is up! You’ll need to stay hydrated but
There won’t be anyone to squirt Gatorade into your mouth. You’re on your Own.

There are a lot of places to take a knee where Americans have given their
Lives all over the world. When you use the banner under which they fought
As a source for your displeasure, you dishonor the memories of those who
Bled for the very freedoms you have. That’s what the red stripes mean. It
Represents the blood of those who spilled a sea of it defending your Liberty.

While you’re on your knee, pray for those that came before you, not on a
Manicured lawn striped and printed with numbers to announce every inch of
Ground taken, but on nameless hills and bloodied beaches and sweltering
Forests and bitter cold mountains, every inch marked by an American life
Lost serving that flag you protest.

No cheerleaders, no announcers, no coaches, no fans, just American men and
Women, delivering the real fight against those who chose to harm us,
Blazing a path so you would have the right to “take a knee.” You haven’t
Any inkling of what it took to get you where you are, but your “protest” is
Duly noted. Not only is it disgraceful to a nation of real heroes, it
Serves the purpose of pointing to your ingratitude for those who chose to
Defend you under that banner that will still wave long after your jersey is Retired.

If you really feel the need to take a knee, come with me to church on
Sunday and we’ll both kneel before Almighty God. We’ll thank Him for
Preserving this country for as long as He has We’ll beg forgiveness for our
Ingratitude for all He has provided us. We’ll appeal to Him for
Understanding and wisdom. We’ll pray for liberty and justice for all,
Because He is the one who provides those things. But there will be no
Protest. There will only be gratitude for His provision and a plea for His
Continued grace and mercy on the land of the free and the home of the
Brave. It goes like this,

GOD BLESS AMERICA

PSA-180815-REALLY?

The Mob vs Gangs

This morning after mass I stepped into our parish hall for hospitality. I sat and had coffee with another “old guy” who is just a year younger than me. Bill lives in a community outside of Frankfort named Gateway. It is an over 55 community. He started discussing how he loves it there, and how he has suddenly become allergic to mowing the lawn. Age triggers many allergies you know. He took to hiring a sixteen year old grandson of a resident. The kid cuts a hundred lawns a month at $20 a cut. That is amazing money for a teen ager 20 x 100 = $2000. Our conversation drifted to where we grew up. Bill in the Bridgeport neighborhood, and me in Burnside. We both attended Catholic high schools, Gordon Tech and Mendel. Our sports teams competed against each other.

Our conversation drifted to how the mafia dominated his neighborhood. He told of being in a neighborhood restaurant with his parents when two men dressed in long black overcoats and black fedoras came in. One stood at the door to prevent anyone from coming or going. The other walked through into the kitchen looked at everyone there then moved into the lady’s room to do the same. Finally the guy went into the men’s room to search it. Evidently he didn’t find who he was looking for so the two of them left. “There is no doubt in my mind that the guy they were looking for would have died on the spot,” said Bill. I couldn’t top that story, but it brought to mind that even though we don’t hear about mob killings anymore like when we were kids, we hear about gang killings daily. They are so common we don’t even get upset about them anymore. Then the idea that killing people on the streets is a long time Chicago tradition came to mind. Shooting people on the street has been part of our culture, and has been for almost a hundred years.

The next time I read the shooting count, like this morning, six wounded, one dead, it will just pass like the mob killings of my youth. It isn’t about gun control it is about eliminating bad people within the community. I have to admit, however, that the mob limited killing to their enemies while the gangs will kill anyone in the way. Therefore, they are not the same and I shouldn’t compare the mob to gangs. Gang killing is not just the result of rivalries, it is often a rite of passage. In some cases killing is necessary to prove you are man enough to join a gang.

I also remember that if I had any ideas of joining a street gang to cause trouble, the trouble would have been mine. My Dad would have punished me in a way that hurt long and hard, killing would have been too easy on me.  I truly believe that the current gang problem is the result of kids being raised in fatherless families. There is one thing fathers are good at like dispensing punishment, deprivation, banishment, or some other form of misery to their kids who err. The problem is that mother’s never wait for the father to come home, and they dispense justice immediately. If the job was too big for Mom she relied on the famous standby  “wait until your father gets home.” That wait was enough to make me change my ways.

“Ah, the good old days!”

No ICE Please

Listening to the Liberals cry and accuse Trump and his administration reminds me of me, except I cried and accused Obama. The latest cry is to cut I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).  Libs don’t want laws, they rail against police, they yearn for open borders, and they refuse to obey existing laws. what do they want? It appears to me they want to return to the ancient days before kingdoms. Kingdoms were the first move toward needing borders to define what was under the king’s jurisdiction. Kingdoms are ruled by a of course, a king. The king was the executive, legislator, and adjudicator for all within his borders. Kings ruled with an iron fist, and all of his subjects were equal in stature, except of course the royal court, knights, jesters, shamans, etc. Those special people were special to cater to the kings needs.

The era before kings was a wild and wooly one. People were afraid of their own shadow, and if a stranger walked across your property, and you did not recognize him you killed him; “Better be safe than sorry” is the mantra people lived by. If the stranger wanted what you had he killed you and took it. Of course you had supreme liberty to do what you wanted to do. If you wanted to smoke pot, go smoke, if you wanted sex drop the first woman, girl, child you see and rape her on the spot. If you needed to eat you killed something. Sometimes it might have been your neighbor. Eventually people began to see value in living in groups, or tribes. Soon there was one among them who was strongest and he ruled the tribe. Eventually, he became king and ruled many tribes within a defined territory. Gee, they spoiled everything by making rules, and keeping order. The modern-day example of a liberal king right this moment is Nicolás Maduro, dictator of Venezuela. How can I tell he is king? He is getting fatter while his people are starving, it is the liberal way.

Here is more of what I see the liberals wanting:

  1. Open borders to allow the free movement of people, animals, and goods. People can roam freely like the native Indians did, how else will they be able to avoid punishment for a crime committed.
  2. No laws. What use are laws, they interfere with your imagined right to live as you please. It smacks to obey the ten commandments, and what fun would it be if “thou shalt not kill” was formally accepted as the norm. Killing seems to be an act that incites anger, and a need for revenge even in the most primitive people, therefore the need for open borders to allow escape from the avengers.
  3. Drugs, what drugs?  Free and open borders will allow men from strange countries to freely expand their trading enterprises without impairment. A nation on drugs would be a Utopian society. Everyone happy, and no one hurting you, unless of course you are coming down and can’t afford a fix immediately.
  4. I seem to recall that originally, the “C” in ICE stood for citizenship, but my memory isn’t what it was. No citizenship runs parallel with no borders, and no laws, What is citizenship anyway? I thought is was something that made you responsible for your country. Citizenship implies that you make laws, enforce laws, and obey laws.
  5. Liberals do not like order. Meaning populations that keep laws and civilly debate differences. Order-less societies can dispense their own brand of justice when some little thing ticks them off. If you don’t like the way your neighbor mows his law, shoot the bastard. Oh, excuse me, liberals don’t like guns. Choke him to death instead, but dispense your punishment for having committed an act that upset you.
  6. Liberals don’t like the four letter word spelling “work.” They seem to enjoy living off the land, except the land is a made up of a mass of people in congested cities, and not in the wild where you have to use your body’s energy to seek sustenance. They would sooner stand on the corner with a hand printed cardboard sign begging for something to eat like, “Work for Food.” I have never seen one of these people jump into a car by invitation to go work for a sandwich.
  7. Liberals riot against the separation of children from families, i.e. somebody else’s family, yet they demonstrate to have free, paid by you, abortions. In my mind that is the greatest separation of your child from your family. Isn’t divorce a form of family separation? When the parents decide to split from each other by abandoning their marriage vows until “death do us part” the kids they abandon the kids they made. I see too many screwed up kids today resulting from broken homes. Granted, single women do a great job of raising their kids, but it isn’t the same as when two parents (one man one woman) do the job.

Getting back to the protest to cut I.C.E. I want to rail against some other bureaucracies that are more important to drop before we move to I.C.E. For starters, let’s eliminate the Department of Education. Oh no! We can’t do that we have to educate our kids. Well before there was a huge educational complex in Washington to oversee what we learn we had schools, and they did an outstanding job of teaching us. We learned more before the Department of Education than we do now. The difference is now, the Dept of Ed has a huge say in what our kids learn. For instance; before we learned reading, math, history, geography, penmanship, English, and art. Today we have new math, (the long way to learn how to do basic additions and subtraction. It saves all the brain power kids needed to spend memorizing their tables.), sociology (instead of geography), political correctness (let’s not upset anyone), gun control, what history should have been instead of what it was, how bad white people enslaved black people for their gain, how bad white people stole North America from the native Indians (oh, just to keep things streamlined let’s leave out how bad white people from Spain and France) committed genocide in Central America to find gold. Let us also leave out the fact that for thousands of years one of the rewards of winning a war was to enslave the losers (not all wars were against black people). Let’s make sure that we teach our majority white population that they have special privilege over all other races because of what transpired in history. Then there is the omission of how one European country decided to eliminate people with specific genetic make-ups that they thought were undesirable. How was this science conducted? By starvation, shooting, gassing, etc. The latest is to teach Islam, and to justify doing so under the realm of teaching world religions, except there isn’t enough time in the year to get to the other world religions, and the final exam just happens to be the same test given to converts to Islam (Then make a big argument for separation church and state).  Let’s make sure we feed these kids a good breakfast, and lunch to make them less dependent on their parents, and more dependent of the Department of Education..

Another area the government meddles with is money for teachers. The idea is that all fifty states should have the same level of education. Some states are more poor than others, so let’s make them all the same so every kid is equally smart. If you look at the level of smarts that the kids have against the money spent by Uncle over the past forty years the picture is nothing short of dismal failure. Remember the adage “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?” Well for the past forty years we have done nothing but throw money at the educational system without improving a single leaning level. Where does the money go? Good question. I don’t think the educational complex wants anyone to know. Why? Because we would realize that the money goes into education-administration, and not into education of kids. There are more PhD level workers in our schools today than ever before. Why? Because teacher’s get paid by their level of education, the more you know the more you make. Another problem is that their fringe benefits are all tied to the same education. A PhD retires with a larger pension than a B.S degree. I am still not convinced that this is the problem, because the teachers should be state of the art in their skills. What about the unseen administration: like physical plants, i.e. school buildings etc. Chicago maintains a special corporation for handling their school buildings and properties. Every large school district in the country does the same. These agencies spend money on new schools, and upgrades to the old ones, but if Chicago is an example, they have tons of 100-year-old schools and very few new ones. What the hell are they spending money on?  I can almost tell when the teachers union will strike by what month it is. August is prime time just before the schools open. Where does that money go? Certainly not to the teachers they are alway complaining about how poor they are. Meanwhile the State government is always crying about the under funded pensions they have for public sector workers like teachers, police, and firemen. That one blows my mind. Where does it all go?

It is time to hit the reset button on education and get rid of the Department of Education from Washington. Starting from scratch would be a hell of a lot smarter than throwing more money at a losing proposition.

I could go on further with other bureaucracies that are equally useless, but I’m getting tired of bitching about things because the only voice I have is my vote and election time isn’t for another few months.

Forget I.C.E. and go for the Department of Education, the EPA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or the Department of Agriculture. I can write an equal to or better rant on each of these crappy bureaucracies, but I won’t because I ruined my Sunday writing this one.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement would be last on my list.

 

 

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