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In nineteen-eighty-two I read a book titled Megatends by John Naisbitt. It fascinated me. It read like a list of Nostradamus prophesies, but none of the predictions were created by a seer getting messages from God they were documented trends. I can truthfully report that all of the trends predicted in that book have become mainstream. A friend recently sent me a new list of trends that read like prophecies, except we already see some of these things happening.

WELCOME TO TOMORROW……!

1- The basic auto repair shops will disappear. Read on to know why.

2- A gasoline engine has 20,000 individual parts. An electrical motor has 20. Electric cars are sold with lifetime guarantees and are repaired only by dealers. It takes only 10 minutes to remove and replace an electric motor.

3- Faulty electric motors are not repaired in the dealership but are sent to a regional repair shop that repairs them with robots

4- Your electric motor malfunction light goes on, so you drive up to what looks like a car wash, and your car is towed through while you have a cup of coffee and out comes your car with a new electric motor!

5- Gas pumps will go away.

6- Street corners will have meters that dispense electricity. Companies will install electrical recharging stations; in fact, they’ve already started in the developed world.

7- Smart major auto manufacturers have already designated money to start building new plants that build only electric cars.

8-Coal industries will go away. Gasoline/oil companies will go away. Drilling for oil will stop. So say goodbye to OPEC! The middle-east is in trouble

9- Homes will produce and store more electrical energy during the day and then what they don’t use, they will sell it back to the grid. The grid stores it and dispenses it to industries that are high electricity users. Has anybody seen the Tesla roof?

10- A baby of today will see personal cars only in museums. The FUTURE is approaching faster than most of us can handle.

11- 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. Who would have thought of that ever happening?

12- What happened to Kodak and Polaroid will happen in a lot of industries in the next 5-10 years … and most people don’t see it coming.

13- Did you think in 1998 that 3 years later, you would never take pictures on film again? With today’s smart phones, who even has a camera these days?

14- 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.

15- It will now happen again (but much faster) with Artificial Intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs.

16- Forget the book, “Future Shock”, welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution.

17- Software has disrupted and will continue to disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years.

18- UBER is just a software tool, they don’t own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world! Ask any taxi driver if they saw that coming.

19- Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don’t own any properties. Ask Hilton Hotels if they saw that coming.

20- 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.

21- In the USA, young lawyers already don’t get jobs. Because of IBM’s, you can get legal advice (so far for right now, the 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 , (what a thought!) only omniscient specialists will remain.

22- Watson already helps nurses diagnosing cancer, it’s 4 times more accurate than human nurses.

23- Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans.

24- Autonomous cars: In 2018 the first self-driving cars are already here. In the next 2 years, the entire industry will start to be disrupted. You won’t want to own a car any ’more as you will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination.

25- You will not need to park it, you will pay only for the driven distance and you can be productive while driving. The very young children of today will never get a driver’s license and will never own a car.

26- This will change our cities, because we will need 90-95% fewer cars. We can transform former parking spaces into green parks.

27- About 1.2 million people die each year in car accidents worldwide including distracted or drunk driving. We now have one accident every 60,000 miles; with autonomous driving that will drop to 1 accident in 6 million miles That will save a million lives plus worldwide each year.

28- Most traditional car companies will doubtless become bankrupt. They 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.

29- Look at what Volvo is doing right now; no more internal combustion engines in their vehicles starting this year with the 2019 models, using all electric or hybrid only, with the intent of phasing out hybrid models.

30- Many engineers from Volkswagen and Audi are completely terrified of Tesla and they should be. Look at all the companies offering all electric vehicles. That was unheard of, only a few years ago.

31- Insurance companies will have massive trouble because, without accidents, the costs will become cheaper. Their car insurance business model will disappear.

32- Real estate will change. Because if you can work while you commute, people will abandon their towers to move far away to more beautiful affordable locations.

33- Electric cars will become mainstream about 2030. Cities will be less noisy because all new cars will run on electricity.

34- Cities will have much cleaner air as well.

35- Electricity will become incredibly cheap and clean.

36- Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can now see the burgeoning impact. And it’s just getting ramped up.

37- 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.

38- Health: The Tricorder X price 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. There are dozens of phone apps out there right now for health

WELCOME TO TOMORROW – some of it actually arrived a few years ago.

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What I have not seen in this article is a plausible explanation of where the electricity to run all these inventions will come from. The closest is that solar cells are getting better. They will have to be ten-thousand times more efficient to generate the amount of electricity used by electric vehicles in the amount of fossil fuel generated power today.

COVID-19 has caused many of these innovations to become reality in the time we are hiding from the virus. Many of the computer devices doing diagnosis and doctor-patient face to face video conferences are becoming more realistic because we are actually using these systems. I personally witnessed a video conference between a doctor and patient in a hospital that took place via face to face video. I went to pick up a lady in the emergency room at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital. She was being discharged but she needed instructions for how to take care of herself once she got home. She does not speak English very well. Not a problem, she spoke Polish, Russian, and Lithuanian fluently. A nurse wheels up a portable video screen and types in her needs, doctor, discharge instructions, Russian. A young man appears on the screen live, and begins asking questions in Russian; the patient returns answers. She understands everything he tells her. The whole conference takes less than fifteen minutes to arrange and complete. If this lady had to rely on the old system she would have spent at least another four hours in the emergency room taking up space as she waited for an interpreter to come .

We may see the list of predictions above come true within ten years or it may take another hundred to happen, but these things will happen because they are not just dreams they are trends based on actual science that is happening today.

Something Old-Something New

It has been too long since I tried to make a movie. A few years ago I became very adept at using iMovie on the Mac and went crazy converting my old Super 8 movies into digital media. Last week when I posted about my first Cattail bloom I tried posting a simple video from my phone. I couldn’t make it work. (I had to take and insert a  still photo of the Cattail to show it off).  So, I left  iMovie open and went to work on it. It took me a full week to re-learn iMovie, but it is getting a little easier, now that I know how to import from my phone, and to turn it into a project on iMovie. All of the stuff that was in the program five years ago is still there, but trying to find it now is not easy. It seems that the millennials working at Apple think differently than do I. I use my own logical thinking sequences to make things happen, and they use the mindless computer functions as the logic to make things happen. Then, they garble the whole thing up with computer speak that only the inventor of the computer and its accompanying language can understand.

I can not understand computer speak and must resort to trial and error to learn what works and what doesn’t. Most time I strike it lucky but then can’t redo the same function, or at least don’t understand what I just did. Mind you, I learned how to program a computer in 1962 on a rather clunky Royal McBee 5000 (the size of a kitchen stove) that needed step by step instructions in binary code to function. Computers and their programs have evolved tremendously since then. Thank you Lord! What hasn’t evolved as quickly is my brain. I think my brain stopped evolving about the same time I realized that programming a Royal McBee 5000 was not going to make me a living. Before facing a real physical Royal McBee 5000 on the job I had learned of computers from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Illinois. They proudly possessed a hand made (Heathkit) personal analog computer the size of a drafting table which could add and subtract. Hidden behind the walls in another part of the school was a special lab that worked on a thing called the ILLIAC.  We only knew of its existence by rumor as the machine of the future. None of us really gave a damn.

Throughout my career, I fought the temptation to become a computer nerd. As a machine designer I prided myself on being able to visualize, and to hand draw machines. When I entered the mold making business this skill was most useful, I was able to design a plastic part in two dimensions in all planar views. Then I became adept at converting those views into a three dimensional perspective, and finally to convert that into a reverse image which was the picture of a mold cavity. Mold makers loved that. Because when you are machining a mold you are not machining the actual part but rather the hole into which the plastic flows to form the part. My images enabled them to get the job done much faster.

Sometime in the nineteen eighties the company began thinking the wave of the future was Computer Aided Design or CAD. Piggy backing onto that was Computer Aided Machining. Just think, draw the plastic part on the computer, push a button and the mold cavity will be ready to cut. Just clamp a piece of steel onto the milling machine table, install the cutting tool, press go, and walk away to take a break. They(computer salesman) made its sound that simple. Of course our company bought into it. It wasn’t until the late nineties that we came anywhere close to having the right computer, and the staff trained well enough to be able to think in computerese, computer controlled machines, and to give up the old ways. About five years into the program to convert our engineering department into nerdsville we met with the company experts from McDonald Aircraft who were selling the CAD/CAM system referred to as McAuto. I attended the meeting to express my dissatisfaction with their product. I asked the VP in charge if it was true that their aircraft division used this system to design the F15 jet fighter plane. “Why yes of course” was the reply. I said, I am surprised the wings on the F15 stay attached to the fuselage.”

“Why would you say that?”

“Because we use your system to model and machine our product, and at the intersection of the strap body (wing) to the cable tie head (fuselage) the system blows up and we cannot successfully complete the job. I can model and machine the job 1000 times faster using analog methods over the digital method capability.

What our problem was determined to be (note, it was our problem) was that we needed to make a design change at that intersection in order to make the system work. In other words, the system was incapable of replicating the geometry of our successful product, and now we were going to have to change the geometry to suit the capabilities of the CAD system. I was not a happy camper.  Luckily the owner of our company, the man who invented our product and insisted we keep the design exactly as he intended, allowed us to make this critical change and we moved forward.

So with all of the computer baggage behind me I am ceding to Apple’s latest iMovie system  to complete a short video which will become the basis of my new movie called 2020 Monet Vision-Retired. I selected the theme Retired because I fully expect this will be my last garden. I will use my iPhone exclusively to take videos and still photos of the garden as it blooms throughout the summer and use those clips to document this year’s gardening effort. I will post the finished product when it is complete, in the meantime here is the start, or in Hollywood terminology, the Trailer, but it is not really a Trailer because Trailers tell the whole story from beginning to end and my trailer is really just a Tease of what is to come, so here is the Tease.

 

 

 

Day 71-SIP-Pandemic Or TV Series?

Adventure stories turn me on, and I am reading one that is probably the hardest journey ever undertaken by man, the trip to the South Pole. Maybe I am wrong, perhaps the trip to the moon was just as hard. The idea of living in the cold for two years does not appeal to me at all. Not to be able to see the color green as in vegetation would be a living hell. Yet the men who undertook this journey lived in conditions totally unbearable to normal people. These were not normal people, they were extraordinary men.

Reading this account during the warm spring-summer months is recommended. When it is ninety outside and you are reading about living in minus fifty it has a cooling effect on the body. Sir Ernest Shackleton led this exploration in 1914. His trip was to be the first to cross the continent of Antarctica via the South pole. The sad story is that this first attempt failed, and it became an adventure to survive. I think I would rather live with COVID-19 than to take on such a trip as Shackleton did.

The book is over seven hundred pages long, and I have just crossed the four hundred page mark. I have finally reached a point where I can’t seem to put it down. Even as I write this, I am longing to finish so I can resume reading.

At my Tuesday Night At the Stray Bar Club via Zoom meeting one of the members suggested I watch a new series titled Billions. Since, I have watched two episodes and I am hooked on another story. I heard about this series months ago, but steered clear because the principal character is played by actor Damian Lewis who played Brody in Homeland. I truly believed I would continue to visualize this man as Brody in the new series. I didn’t want to ruin the image of Brody the marine who was captured and imprisoned by radical Islamist terrorists for eight years.

It didn’t happen, I didn’t see this new character as Brody. After ten minutes of the new story, I saw him as the totally new person playing the part of a billionaire hedge fund manager. The plot of this new story is wrapped in the mystery of how hedge fund managers avoid prosecution. The main conflict is between big money business and big power government. I’ll watch all the episodes and look forward to the next season too.

Watching a series is like watching a movie that doesn’t end. The story keeps developing throughout all the episodes and getting more and more complicated as it does. Usually, there is an end which wraps up the season, with a teaser to pull you in to the next season’s story. One benefit of modern TV is that when a season is over the entire set of episodes is available anytime you want twitch it. It is a very popular pastime to binge watch thirteen episode stories at one sitting (all day). I only hope the series called COVID-19 doesn’t mimic one of these tv series. I hate the idea of COVID being a story that doesn’t quit.

Day 60-SIP-Blogs, VLOGS, Videos, and Podcasts

As part of my routine of killing time everyday while in place and hiding from COVID-19, I listen to a lot of radio through my hearing aids. I have a blue tooth pendant that hangs around my neck that connects my iPhone to the hearing aids. Hell, I spent a fortune on that phone so I am going to get some use out of it, the same with the hearing aids. The system also feeds TV into my ears, and of course the telephone, i.e. if the connections are all made. What are the connections you ask? Number one the bluetooth pendant has to be charged and turned on, then it must be paired with the phone, once that is done I have to connect the phone to my hearing aids. It only took me two years of trial and error to understand and make all those connections. It all takes but 10 seconds to accomplish. Old folks don’t adapt too fast to these new fangled contraptions.

Another time waster is watching Youtube videos. My grand daughter kind of pointed me to that when I asked her what her favorite TV show was. Her response, “I don’t watch TV.”

“How do you find entertainment,” I asked?

“I watch Youtube videos.” That is what pushed me into watching Youtube. At first it was to learn how to cook. I found that if a recipe exists there will be any number of chefs making videos on how to combine the ingredients. I have gotten so spoiled watching cooking videos that now before I attempt to do anything I will search Youtube and watch other people do it. Some are fantastic entertainment and some are so so. What I’m learning about with this is that: 1. people make videos in the hope of making money, and 2. people would rather learn by watching than by reading and understanding a recipe.

Oma is a carbon copy of my mother.

Another thing I have become acquainted with through streaming are Podcasts. When my favorite radio programs are over and I am still in my shop grinding wood or glueing, I listen to Podcasts. First I found Fox News Channel with all my favorite people, and discovered that they are not broadcasting live news they are streaming podcasts and turning conversation into something entertaining and also educational. A favorite is listening to Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss politics, or history.

A few months ago I was in conference with my financial advisor. He asked me how I spend my time now that Peg is gone. I told hm I was struggling trying to find suitable TV that was worth watching, but that I loved reality programs. He told me about how new companies like Amazon, Netflix, etc. are now doing original programming to compete with network broadcasters. So, I checked out what Amazon has. Since I already subscribe for their Prime shipping service I also get what is termed their streaming service. Streaming allows a person to tune in to a program at the moment you are ready to watch it. There is no need to remember to watch at a specific time. You find a program, and click watch and it happens on the spot. Needless to say, I got hooked on a several of their original programs and love watching TV this way. It allows me to turn on the set when I am ready to see something and to see it immediately.

If all of this sounds old to you remember I am old and it takes longer for this kind of stuff to register as useful. Long gone are the days when I was entertained by a floor model radio that had a speaker as large a pizza that I sat in front of with my ear glued to the sound. Those were the good old days. The good old days are different now, we sit in front of a huge color picture screen with high definition picture and stream material we never could have imagined before.

The use of these new technologies has inspired me to wonder if I shouldn’t be getting into making videos and/or podcasts. Grumpa Joes Place is my number one vehicle to spout off steam and to talk without actually speaking. I like writing because words seems to flow from my mind easier than does speech. One of my speech problems is that I always say the opposite of what I actually mean. If I want to tell you to use your right hand to do something, it will come out as use your left hand. Or, if I want to tell you the sky is blue it will come out the sky is grey. I have done this repeatedly for years and I believe it is some form of dyslexia. Anyway, I want to try videos and podcasting as a form of expression. At this point though, I don’t know my rectum from a hole in the ground.

One Idea I have for a podcast is to promote Lions. I would interview Lions Club Presidents and discuss what he does with his club to serve the community. With over 46,000 Lions clubs in the world I think I have some work to do. One curiosity leads me to compare club size to town population. In the nineteen eighties Frankfort population was 2500 residents, but the Lions had 130 members. Today, Frankfort population is near 20, 000 residents and the single Lions Club has seventy members. Why so? Take another example, the La Moille, IL Lions club has thirty members and a town population of 750. What are they doing that is so different from Frankfort? I think I could use that kind of information to make an interesting video for Lions all across the world.

My body clock is running down and I have a lot of work to do before the main spring finally reaches the end and stops ticking. This pursuit however, may make life more interesting along the way. What ever I do, I’ll give you a report on Grumpa Joes Place in the future.

Day 55-SIP-New Milestone

Yes, I accomplished a new goal. I took ride on my trusty two wheel convertible and lasted for seven miles without awakening my sciatic nerve. I must admit that even though the nerve did not fully awaken it did begin to send signals of uneasiness. For those who don’t know why I’m concerned about my sciatic nerve it is because it runs from the back through the ass and down to my knees. Ever try pedaling a bike when so much of the engine is hurting? Let me advise you, don’t.

We are three days away from the point when we who live in zone five can plant flowers without worrying about a frost. Except that this year I am not going to trust that date at all. The weather in general has been too cold. I can testify to that after experiencing the bike ride. I often tell the story about how my wife Barb and I waited patiently to get started in the garden and planted annuals on May 15. That year we had a killing frost on May 30. If you are a gambler like I am give it a try, and be prepared to cover your plants when the temp is predicted to drop into the thirties.

This year, I am redesigning my yard by transplanting perennials and redistributing them to where annuals used to be. The reason is that I have way too many beds dedicated to annuals, (because I love the colors and huge spreading masses of flowers) and I cannot maintain it anymore. Well, let’s just change that to I don’t want to maintain it anymore. I’m getting too old and lazy. With COVID-19 closing businesses I can’t even count on getting fresh plants from the nursery’s even though I need to get some to fill spaces. The alternative to this is to let the garden go natural, except I abhor out of place native perennials, and I would spend my summer-in-place pulling weeds by the bushel.

Lobelia With Rabbit Barrier

Today, my Lions club announced on Facebook that it is officially cancelling their annual fund raising WURST FEST. This would have been our fortieth anniversary, but in the interest of the community health and safety we are giving it up. The event has been our largest fund raiser of the year and fuels our service projects through the year. Until COVID-19 is dead we will replace this crowd attracting event with a more simple fund raiser.

Also on the Lions front, the club held it’s first meeting since February using ZOOM. It went well and we are pleased. The attendance was about half (27) of what it would have been (48) if it were live. We usually use our Community Center for the meetings but it is closed, and the President’s and Governor’s guidelines are to keep meetings to less than ten, to use social distancing and to wear masks. The last thing we want is to infect each other then go out into the community to infect others and the next thing we know the Lions are responsible for shutting down the entire town. That works against our creed which is to serve.

The country is definitely feeling the effects of the shut down. Our unemployment rate is nearly that of the great depression in the thirties. I was born at the very end of that one, and maybe I’ll be buried at the end of this one. What a history. Yet the time between has been among the greatest experienced by the planet. I wouldn’t want to live in any other timespan. I have seen so much development during my lifetime I don’t think a greater period of positive development will come along for many years to come.

I have always thought it would be cool to be so advanced that countries get to the point where they held virtual wars instead of real hard-fought wars. Think about that, it would be computer against computer, programmer against programmer, and gamers against gamers. No one would die of the injuries inflicted on line, and the winner ends up owning the loser.

Over 1 million Reddit users waged a virtual war to create this bizarre work of art with 16 million pixels

I think I’ve had too much coffee.

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