Future World – What Might We Expect?

Predictions are always wrong, because we cannot shed the context and assumptions of now.

World population is about 7 billion now.  Half (3.5 billion) can work.  Two hundred million are unemployed.  Thirty percent of workers live in poverty.  Workers in precarious jobs number 1.4 billion.  Worldwide, 65.3 million refugees.

Suppose we succeed in breaking the connection of labor to living for everyone.  What will we do?

Those who watch Star Trek have seen people with no need of money.  Gene Roddenberry ’s model of the future is one in which each person chooses what they want to do with their time, talents, and capabilities.

“Replicators” provide food, clothing, anything they want; they “disassemble” waste at the atomic level and recycle it.  “Transporters” take us where we want to go.  We will have things we have not yet imagined.   Every critical human need could be met, except purpose, love, caring for children, and worship.  What could anyone gain by military force?

replicater            transporter

The challenge will be having a purposeful life. The competition for some vocations might be intense, but no one starves or languishes in rags.  The best of the best will gain the prized positions; meritocracy must rule.  People will seek learning, practice skills, and achieve mastery because they want to.

Imagine managing your life and relationships in this environment.  Most people want to have purpose, meaning, value, and love.  How would you operate with no mandates to work?  Unless you choose what you want to do, you could become a complete, passive consumer.  Sadly, some part of the population will choose nothing, spending their days with virtual reality or whatever passive entertainment suits them.  If anyone is bored, it would be their mindset, not the lack of opportunity or shortage of possibilities.

Picture the “landscape” this produces.  Everyone who has an interest, talent, or skill is doing what they love best.  They might split their lives among various pastimes, adventures, travel, and learning.

The world will still have certain needs for real expertise, but they might be limited to high technical or medical skills, education, psychiatry, management, art, sports, and entertainment.

People will still have medical and mental problems, even when they have no pressures, because we are physical, emotional animals.  Advanced medical knowledge, technology, pharmacology, and treatments should allow doctors, nurses, and aids to handle the physical needs.

Feelings drive us.  Coaching and emotional problem management would be a need.  We might still have people born with mental or physical limitations, needing caregivers.

Manufacturing, food, transportation, and housing would all be produced by the technology.  With no scarce commodities or resources, the only conflicts would be intra-personal: love, sex, sports, politics, and religion.  These can be resolved peacefully.

Billions of people would compete for and share the remaining tasks.  Sharing makes sense, especially for the multi-talented.  Doing three or four different activities a few hours each day might be satisfying, and fun.  They might have hourly shifts around the clock to accommodate all the masters of that task or activity.  There would be standbys for every hour making “on call” the rule versus the exception.  People could choose tasks we now assign as impractical, or worthless, like the artistry and craftsmanship we admire from the past.  How long something takes to do will no longer be a factor.  The world would be art.

 

 

 

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Media Magnifying Glass – More Like a Fun-House Mirror

scary-04

Disasters, accidents, violent events, novelties, and scandals sell news.  Human nature compels us to gawk when we drive past an auto accident.  Danger, violence, and death attract us.  We “try on” the situation as if it is happening to us.  If our imagination is vivid enough, we experience what we see.  Our adrenal glands secrete cortisol, which gets us ready to freeze, fight, or flee.  The media know this well, and play to that part of our nature.  The more they succeed, the more fearful and suspicious we become.  Common sense tells us to lock our doors and cars, and take other wise precautions.  But, exaggerated fear-based stories lack context and perspective.

Gun Violence

Fifty-million Americans own more than 300 million guns.  We see the gun violence on TV and read about the terrible incidents of people dying. We hear about the mounting toll of Chicago’s homicide victims.  That does not mean you can expect more gun violence in your neighborhood.  It does not mean that every owner of a gun is a menace to you or your family.  The statistics sound horrific until you realize how vast America is and how many people live here.  The US population is over 323 million today.

Race      Pop.   %
Total 323,515,021 100%
White & Hispanic 232,943,055 73.6%
Black 44,908,095 12.6%
Other 50,663,871 13.8%

Below is a table of firearm death facts.

Firearm Deaths
  Total Black White & Hispanic
Homicide 17,250 7,881 6,576
Suicide 21,000 1,152 16,980
Police      500    233      267
Accidents      800    400      400
Total 33,900 9,666 24,223
% 100% 28.5%   71.5%

I broke the figures down by race because news about guns often revolves around race.  Note that blacks were 28.5% of the victims, which is more than double the 12.6% of the population who are black.  The FBI statistics show that 90% of black homicides were shot by blacks; likewise, 90% of white homicides  were shot by whites.  Gangs were responsible for most of the  homicides, while attacking other gangs, or committing  crimes.

Gunshot injuries 2015 were 85,000, according to CDC.  Total dead and injured 118,900.  Divide 118,900 by 300 million = .04%.  That means that 99.96% of guns did no harm.  That same total divided by 50 million gun owners = .24% were involved.  That means 99.76% of gun owners did no harm.

Police Shootings

Police shot 963 in 2016; 233 were black; of those all but 16 were armed.  The news media make it seem like hundreds of white police officers are shooting unarmed black men. A new study, “Do White Police Officers Unfairly Target Black Suspects?” used details of 2,699 police shootings 2013-2015 from 1,500 police departments around the country to discover:

  1. Black officers killed unarmed black suspects at a significantly higher rate than white or Hispanic officers.
  2. Both black and white police officers kill unarmed black suspects with higher probability than unarmed white or Hispanic suspects
  3. White police officers are not more likely than black officers, to kill black suspects.
  4. Hispanic police officers are significantly less likely to kill black suspects than either black or white officers.
  5. No evidence of significant racial discrimination on the part of white police officers with respect to black suspects.

John R. Lott, Jr and Carlisle E. Moody
College of William & Mary and the Crime Prevention Research Center
July 21, 2017

Here is a link to the study: https://goo.gl/xqI4bu (Unless you are a statistician, their paper can be daunting)

CDC Pushing Pain Patients onto Streets of Death – DEA announces 20-25% reduction of legal opioid production

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This week, in the Federal Register, the DEA announced 20-25% reduction of quotas for 2018, legal, U.S. opioid production.   (2017 Quotas:  https://goo.gl/sChjmc  2018 Quotas: https://goo.gl/sj8L7C)

This, along with ill-advised CDC pressure on ethical pain doctors is pushing legitimate pain patients to seek pain relief on the black market.  I am lucky, my doctors have not caved in to the hysteria.  What the public does not know is the difference between “dependent,” and “addicted.”

Four years ago, I started having sharp pains in my back and down the backs of both legs from my hips to my ankles.  I am fairly pain tolerant, but this was excruciating.  It felt like someone was electrocuting me from behind.  I had double sciatica. Two back surgeries, and three spine infusions later, the surgeons had relieved me of a baseball-sized tumor on my spine, and a herniated disk.  I now have a titanium strut screwed to my vertebrae, a substitute disk, and residual nerve damage.

My doctors started me off with a pretty big dose of oxycodone for two months while I was starting to heal.  Every month, they monitored my pain, and tested for “compliance,” before they gave me the next month’s prescription.  They gradually lowered the dose and switched me to hydrocodone and a small fentanyl patch.  Then I stopped the patch and lowered the dose of hydrocodone below the “worry line.”  They have guidelines for prescription levels that pose potential danger.  Now I take a small, stable amount of hydrocodone every day, right above the threshold of pain.  If I take less, the pains begin.  I do not feel high; I hardly notice the effects of the drugs; I do not crave more.  I am drug dependent, but not addicted; that is the difference.  This is what pain specialists want for chronic pain patients.

When the CDC reported the rise in drug overdose deaths, they said they were issuing “opioid guidelines for primary care physicians.”  My doctors told me that was code for the hospital lawyers that these were the rules for everyone, because of liability. That is when I read the CDC report.  I discovered most of the overdose deaths were from illegal drugs.  The deaths from prescription drugs did reveal the abusive prescription doctors; I think the authorities are dealing with them.  But that might be part of the problem.  Where do addicts or people in pain go when cut off from prescriptions?  Their options today are extremely dangerous.

carfentanil (1)

Equal Amounts of Death:  Above are Lethal Doses of Heroin, Fentanyl, and Carfentanil.

The latest CDC report showed that deaths from prescription drugs declined over the past several years, even before their report.  So, the “crisis” lies in illegal synthetic opiods, like fentanyl and carfentanil, which are many times more potent than heroin.  They are true pain killers.

Mexico and China manufacture the drugs for drug dealers to strengthen other drugs, like heroin, and to put in counterfeit pain pills, such as fake oxycontin and hydrocodone.  The danger is that it takes so little of these super powerful synthetic opioids to kill you.  Fentanyl is a strong pain killer, 100 times stronger than morphine; Carfentanil is an elephant tranquilizer, 10,000 times stronger than morphine; 20 micrograms will kill a human being; that equals the size of one or two grains of salt.  Drug sellers and drug users do not know how much fentanyl or carfentanil is in their drugs.  Police are terrified when they discover drugs, that they might touch or breathe a deadly dose.  Houston police discovered that, what they thought was 80 grams of methamphetamine powder, was really carfentanil.  It could have been lethal for any officer who got some on their skin or accidentally breathed the dust.

On top of this, a new fentanyl derivative, acrylfentanyl, is resistant to Narcan, the drug used to neutralize overdoses of opioids.  Another Narcan-resistant  drug, tetrahydrofureon, is so new, it is not yet on the list of illegal drugs.

The current portrayal of the drug overdose epidemic hurts real pain doctors, like mine.  If they get pressured into under-prescribing pain medicine, three things happen:

  1. Patients with real pain will suffer
  2. “Breakthrough” pain will inhibit patient healing.
  3. Patients may seek illegal drugs for pain relief.

So, let us dispel this vast generalization and focus on the lethal products and problems.  Let professional pain management specialists do their best for their patients.  Do not push people in pain onto the streets of death.

Not Quiet Enough – Eminem’s Storm

Hey Eminem,

Storm not quiet enough?
You still singin’ hate stuff?
All that bitter candy-ass fluff
That Nasty taste of losin’ It
Why can’t you just swallow It?
Why you gotta wallow in It?
Just because you didn’t win It?

Why you all too mad?
Is your life all so bad?
What’s ‘at really about?
Breakin’ bad & hidin’ out

Down in that bunker of a studio
You just hear what’s on the radio
You heard what you were told
You bought what you were sold
Asked no questions about It
Just sang curses about It

Uploadin sore-loser gripes
Trippin over stars & stripes
No one buys nice words no more
Poison pays it forward low score
Keepin’ the meter ru-runnin’
Stackin’ up those Benjamun-uns

Oh say can’t you see
America can dis -agree
It’s not white OR black
Can’t take what is done back
Asterisks are not heaven’s stars
Stripes are not our prison bars

Playin out borrowed words of-color
Grinnin’ on color magazine covers
How can you real-world real-life correlate?
With your mind & your mouth stuffed so full of hate?

 

Five Myths About Five Myths About Gun Violence

How interesting, an article in the Washington Post entitled “Five myths about gun violence.”

What makes it interesting to me are the interpretations of the various data involved.  The authors are from a prestigious university, John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy.”  Sometimes they conflate gun violence with violent crime, which is not helpful, because violent crime includes rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, which may or may not involve a gun.

You can read the article at:  goo.gl/XHLuPj

First, my “Cliff” summary:

Myth 1.  Gun violence in the United States is at an all-time high.

 Analysis: Yes, kind of.  Murders up 2014- 2016; but nothing like the good old days of 1993

Discount:  No allowance for the advances in medicine that keep many shooting victims alive, and hence not “murdered.”  That factor alone made Viet Nam casualties lower than earlier wars.  Now we have the wounded to attend/forget/neglect like it has been after every armed conflict, ever.

Discount: Nationwide statistics smudge the hot spots, especially Chicago.  If Black Lives Matter, spend your time and money on the black-on-black genocide on the south side.  Gangstus/Drugs/Lack of response time/Corrupt, Ineffectual Mayor of bankrupt major metro.

Discount:  Strict gun laws?  Look at how laws on paper mean nothing, if the police and courts cannot or will not enforce them.

Discount:  White police handle microscopic share of killings of unarmed, young black men.  One bad move in the neighborhood will get you some lead.

Myth 2.  Background checks save lives.

What do they check?  A database of 17 million names, of which, 5 million are adjudicated mental health cases.

Active Records in the NICS Indices

09/30/17

Rank Prohibited Category Description Total
1 Illegal/Unlawful Alien (42.5%)          7,232,600
2 Adjudicated Mental Health (29.7%)          5,056,124
3 Crime >1yr  Misdemeanor >2yrs  (19.4%)          3,301,783
4 State Prohibits  (5.9%)              998,979
5 Domestic Violence  (.9%)              152,066
6 Indicted  (.5%)                91,665
7 Restraining Order  (.4%)                69,830
8 Renounced US Citizenship  (.2%)                41,676
9 Drugs  (.15%)                25,572
10 Dishonorable Discharge  (.07%)                11,285
11 Fugitive  (.004%)                      675
 Total  (100%)        16,982,255

Analysis: Not so much.  The top three categories, 92% of the people on the list, know better than to try to buy a weapon from a licensed dealer.  Those thwarted by ICE, mental health hospital stays, heinous crimes on their records do not stop looking for what they want.

Accolade:  the author acknowledges the weakness of government records systems.  But does allow for limited “success” in denying legal sales of guns.

Discount:  Have you ever seen the decades old computer systems the feds use?  It is pitiful.  Some people bring their own laptops to work, because smartphones are more powerful than the equipment they are assigned.

Discount:  The definition of mental illness is very strict.  A person must be committed to a psychiatric hospital, or found incompetent by a court to be added to the NICS database.  Not all states record or report mental health problems.    https://goo.gl/vKdh5N  Only 10 million of the 323 million Americans are in the NICS database, and 7 million illegal aliens.

Myth 3.  Mental illness is behind most gun violence against others.

The article asserts that, “Only an estimated 4 percent of violence against others is caused by the symptoms of serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.  Impulsivity, anger, traumatic life events such as job loss or divorce, and problematic alcohol use are all stronger risk factors for gun violence.”

Analysis:  40% of shootings involve people other than the shooter. 60+% of gun deaths are suicides. Gang and criminal shootings are the majority; family member shootings are a significant percentage too.

It may be true that most mentally ill people do not commit gun violence, but that is true of any large population or demographic, because gun-violence is rare: .8% of the general population, and 2.9% of the mentally ill.  That means that the mentally ill are 3 – 4 times more likely to commit gun violence.

The author cherry-picked the research, did not define mental illness broadly enough, and ignored the bigger picture.

Discount:  Most people would agree that murder-suicide is a mental health problem.

Discount:  The study cited was based on a study of Nordic and Australian people.  Americans are a bit different when it comes to guns.  https://goo.gl/KLV2wN

“Only one recent mass shooting — the 2011 attack at a Norwegian summer camp where 69 people died — was deadlier than the incident in Las Vegas.”

“New laws introduced after mass shootings in other countries addressed two main factors: gun types and mental health.  Comparing U.S. policy with similar rules in Germany, Australia and Britain illustrates the different approaches.”

Discount:  The same article cites a one-year study of people released from psychiatric hospitals after treatment for severe mental health issues and alcohol or drug abuse.  10%, committed violent acts.

Myth 4:  Right-to-carry laws decrease crime.

Analysis:  Statistical analysis tries to show that right-to-carry laws do not decrease crime using several statistical models that forecast what the crime rate would have been without the laws from 1978-2014.  They concluded that violent crime increased over their models in RTC states.

Discount: The Dept. of Justice figures show the following.  The US population increased 46.2%; violent crime decreased 26.6%.

Type of Violent Crime Change 1978-2014 Change per 100,000 pop
Rape -27.2% -4.6
Aggravated Assault +29.7% +29.6
Robbery -23.7% -94
Murder -27.3% -4.5
Total -26.6% -132.34
U.S. Population 46.2%

I cannot correlate RTC with the changes, but something is working, except in Chicago.

Myth 5.  Mass shootings are random.

Analysis:  This is a weird claim.  It is based on the definition of mass shootings used by the FBI:  4 or more people killed, other than the shooter.  This includes family murders (57%) and shootings in private residences (70%).

Public shootings often target specific groups, known to the shooter, like employers, professors, or classmates, at offices or schools.

Discount:  No one thinks mass shootings are all random in terms of targets.  Some might say that such shootings are random events in terms of predictability, but that is not a myth.

All-in-all, this Washington Post article does not fulfill its stated purpose.

 

CDC Declares Emergency for Epidemic of TDD – All Known Treatments Ineffective

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”—Aldous Huxley

Experts at the CDC are very concerned about the outbreak of Telepathy Delusion Disorder (TDD) across the nation.  Those affected by TDD believe they can perceive what others think, believe, and intend without asking them.  CDC noted small numbers of TDD victims prior to 2008, but the disorder has spread exponentially in recent years.

Efforts to stem the epidemic have been futile.  Those afflicted show 100% resistance/non-compliance when offered treatment.

TDD can affect:

  • Perception – Distrust, misinterpretation, ascribed motives, inferred intentions, ability to read the thoughts of others.
  • Thinking – miscomprehension, non-fact reasoning, conflation of concepts, objectifying others, certainty that their beliefs and opinions are facts
  • Language – Word choices, profanity, accusations, name-calling, generalizations, labeling, expression, and understanding
  • Emotion –  Angry attitude, personality changes, aggression, acting out, arrogance, and social inappropriateness
  • Judgement – Loss of logical function, rash conclusions, spontaneous attacks

Those with TDD can seem completely normal until the disorder is triggered by others, or events that disagree with their delusion.  Once triggered, no amount of information can dispel their beliefs.  They may vigorously proclaim and defend the world as they see it, despite facts to the contrary.  Because of this, they tend to congregate and socialize with others who share the same disorder.

What TDDs have in common is that they believe:

  • All the non-afflicted agree with them.
  • Their opinions and beliefs are absolute truth.
  • They can read minds
  • They objectify opponents
  • They can detect the intentions of large amorphous groups
  • They know what is best and the best ways to do it
  • They must thwart those with opposing ideas
  • They must be extreme in word and deed

Two opposite and intolerant variants of the disorder have arisen, based on core beliefs:  TDD-L(eft) and TDD-R(ight).  They attack, and reinforce each other; they intentionally try to infect others.

The CDC offers these suggestions to avoid being infected and to treat those afflicted who are willing.

  • Practice separating provable facts from opinions, beliefs, and assertions.
  • Practice asking what people they think, rather than “mind-reading.”
  • Avoid willful ignorance of facts that conflict with your beliefs
  • Investigate your important beliefs to better define and shape them.

Take Time Off from Politics – Flowers for Las Vegas Before Pointless Witch-hunts

Today, Stephen Paddock, a deluded, deranged, depressed, millionaire, from a small town in Nevada committed suicide in a Las Vegas hotel.  Tragically, beforehand, he tried to take 600 people with him.  He shot 586 outdoor concert-goers from his hotel window, before shooting himself.  He killed 59 people and wounded another 527 in the worst mass shooting in US history.  The grief and pain of the victims and thousands of loved ones is unthinkable, and indescribable.

President Trump showed true class in his address to the nation.  His speech held not one shred of politics, only honest compassion for the victims, their families, and friends.

Meanwhile, the political wolves began to howl partisan slogans, about gun control.

Gun control?  How about a CDC campaign against prescription hatred addiction and vitriol overdoses?

Hayley Geftman-Gold, CBS vice president and senior counsel, posted on Facebook: “I’m actually not even sympathetic [because] country music fans often are Republican gun toters,” and, “If they wouldn’t do anything when children were murdered I have no hope that Repugs will ever do the right thing.”

This is heartless, dispassionate, disregard, of death, pain & suffering, in Las Vegas.  She dismissed empathy for the victims and families of the tragedy.  This is a frightening manifestation of a widespread mental illness – ideological, borderline-personality, “left-supremacism.”

Here is a scary question: How many “friends” does she have on Facebook?  She must have felt safe posting her feelings to them.  Who would share, or be sympathetic to, such a soulless, sociopathic viewpoint?

CBS quickly disowned and fired her.  But she and her madness are not gone.  If anything, she now has more free time and a lot more anger, to power her rhetoric and spread the word.   I shudder to think that people with similar beliefs are kneeling next to me in church.  The harm their hatred does is pernicious, poison in the spiritual air we breathe.

She needs our prayers too, to heal herself and her “friends.” But not before we pray for the souls of the dead, and the hearts of the living who mourn them.