The future is very difficult to predict. Quite a few people place faith in the notion that science and technology will offer a bail out for our pressing issues. At this point I doubt that will be true. What we do have is an over abundance of available labor but no means to pay for all that labor. That is going to continue and get much worse. Immigration, women working, working two jobs due to a bad economy and finally displacement of workers by technology is ganging up on us big time. What that really means is that we must change our theories of economy and assign the cost of operating society quite differently. It is now a given that most people will never have a really decent job. We will move to a system where pay checks are issued for not working by the government and oddly they must be decent sized pay checks. It is vital that all people have some arbitrary spending power in order to support businesses. In turn those businesses will assume the tax burdens formerly shouldered by the public. The reward of a business offering a very competitive product will be that people actually vote for them when they choose to spend their money at those businesses. They vote with their bucks so to speak. As far as care for the elderly folks that may remain one of the last tasks to be taken over by robotics and computers. It is harder to build machines that can deal with a huge number of random, trivial tasks, than it is to build the robot to deal with complex but repetitive tasks. The surgeon may be replaced faster than the aid that cares for the disabled or elderly.
If a few million people stop supporting a company because they spend ad dollars at Fox News we might see serious changes at Fox. The powerful do understand a punch in the wallet rather quickly.
It is vital information in that if there is proof that GM tried to deliberately cover up the issue by not allowing a new part number to be assigned then punitive damages are in order. If it was simply bad practice the simple liability for the consequences is sufficient. Not only could the potential fines and suits run into the billions but a string of executives might be looking at serious prison sentences. Do we even know if the engineer had anything to do with assigning the part number?
Americans may eat a lousy bunch of fast,junk food, but at the same time we seem to be living a lot longer than my grandparents generation. We just might be overly focused on diet in relation to health and longevity. If we took a teen off of all forms of junk food and measured his health over time and compared him to a similar teen who simply had to complete 45 minutes of controlled exercise every day we just might find that exercise trumps diet. And then there are things like clean air that might have more impact than diet. My personal bet would be that crowded, urban environments predict doom far more than either diet or exercise. Eventually we will see the light and realize that all the factors are vital. Diet,exercise, clean air and water, and lack of crowding are all required for a good outcome for most people.
At a certain point, after much testing and fussing, and deciding that such treatments are safe for humans we will be confronted with a simple fact. We can not afford the medical technology that we already have. How can we get these breakthrough treatments for the people that need them? Almost all seniors would need quite a few items repaired. Check out the price of testosterone gels for senior males. That stuff runs $1,400 per month and they would be on it for years, Imagine the price of getting some good stem cells customized for your heart or brain or kidneys. The multimillion dollar medical patient is about to become the norm.
3D printing is a huge game changer. It may be the greatest thing since the invention of the wheel. A 3D printer that can build a home apparently already exists. A canoe or a camper might be rather easy to generate. Combine 3D printing with robotics and the handwriting is on the wall. On top of all of that we now have tiny computers that are surprisingly capable. What might a 3D printer do with material to build a robot powered by a Raspberry Pi?
By covering the top of the Tesla with solar cells the cars could gather solar energy, store it and sell the excess to the power companies. Social chaos will soon follow. Just wait until the power companies have to hop scotch over homes that provide their own energy and the price of energy for homes on the grid goes through the roof. Big oil, coal, the nuclear industry as well as traditional car makers and associated trades could sink below the waves. The shifting of incredible amounts of money from those industries alone could generate financial chaos. Combined with breakthroughs like 3D printing we are entering an era in which we have no economic model to apply to this new way of life.
Frankly i dislike oil companies a lot. I'll say that up front. But what I do see in regard to spills and leaks is the same issue that invades many other industries. Frankly people and companies simply can not afford to be responsible. Your car insurance is a great example. Most drivers have insurance that is a joke when compared to the real harm that is often done. I saw one rare recovery in which a woman was ruined for life and in a nursing home permanently at a young age. Somehow her lawyers got her a 30 million dollar settlement. But after court costs and legal fees she had a bit over 20 million and the fear was that with 20 million dollars she would run out of money as she might live a very long life requiring a lot of medical care in a skilled nursing facility. Obviously every driver could easily cause such a horror and there could be more than one person in the car that they hit. And people unlikely to be hurt often suffer serious harm. I saw what looked like an ankle that was almost sprained turn into a near death situation for a salesman. When he arrived at work and got out of his car there was a tiny surface crack in the pavement. His shoe caught a bit and he had a bit of an ouch but did not fall down. What he did not know was that he had a minor break in the leg bone. Infection was not obvious and after about four days he suddenly collapsed and went unconscious. He was at death's door. The hospital brought him out of it and after the usual fifty thousand in expenses he could go home and rest until the cast came off, If he had died that little stumble would have been enough to bankrupt most small companies. So society cheats and Workmans' Comp would step in and his family would have been cheated out of everything. If the business could be held responsible it could not exist.
Perhaps being an atheist requires blind faith as well. If you are an atheist you have a belief that all hell won't be applied to you for adopting your belief system. Even science itself rests upon articles of faith. For example assuming that the laws of physics are the same all over the universe is irrational and arbitrary. That being the case the entire cosmology presented by science becomes very fishy. Quantum mechanics hints that physical reality is not actual and quite an illusion in itself. We can postulate that all science does is falsely attempt to decode segments of the illusion. It suggests that a rabid, backwoods, Baptist, in a fever of religious excitement and an atheist are as far as logic goes equals.
Obviously free speech does mean some pain and suffering as part of that freedom. America is supposed to be a melting pot so we ignore the screams when the lobster hits the boiling water. South beach in Miami has hundreds of topless girls on the beach and about 20 miles north of that is a nude beach. Obviously some women would strongly object to being filmed or photographed naked or topless . But guess what! It's a public beach and they are in public view. It is none of their business who films them. Silly as it sounds some girls get upset if the wrong guy looks at them. We all have to be willing to take credit for what we do.
Well on my other three hands I suppose that when an action takes place in front of others that it is very hard to consider it private at all. For example doing something in front of a photographer might really tend to bring into doubt that privacy applies in any way. Even taking the film to a store to have it developed makes it public.
Porn is not speech any more. The Supreme Court now says money is free speech and corporations are people. Being that i am not a corporation I suppose that now I am not a person and therefore laws do not apply to me at all.
I may not be the only one who thinks having three kids and a house in the suburbs either indicates a serious IQ issue or some sort of mental illness is at work. If one can get sold on the yuppie way of life one has already been lost.
Perhaps Bitcoin has more power than China. Sometimes a new idea or item has enormous muscle.
How about we simply allow Cuba's problems to be Cuba's and keep our hand out of the picture completely? The problem is that when we work to destabilize a government we often end up with a rebellion that ends up with an even worse government in place. Cuba's brand of communism has become a bit less harsh and will probably continue to moderate itself. But if we cause turmoil they could easily revert to a form of communism more like Stalin had in place in Russia. That would mean far greater suffering for the Cuban people. Right now Russia has great turmoil. Many people are suffering in the new Russia as their system was destroyed when the Soviet Union was broken. There is a certain risk that they will revert to a ridged and violent form of communism due to their current miseries. We can not see why North Korea is so greatly isolationist but I suspect it is simply because they are aware that other nations can manipulate the public so easily. Yes North Korea needs to change but it really must be internal rather than a result of covert actions by other nations.