More on Great Divides

Sometimes it seems like mariner’s news sources have been reading mariner’s posts:

Businesses are leading the way on crises like climate change and health care, because institutions like media and government are no longer seen as ethical and competent, Sara Fischer writes from the 20th annual Edelman Trust Barometer.

“Business has leapt into the void left by populist and partisan government,” Edelman CEO Richard Edelman said.

-> But that’s only by default: 56% of the online survey’s respondents (34,000 people in 28 countries) said capitalism as it exists today does more harm than good in the world.

The survey, out today, shows a stark class divide — a growing gap in institutional trust between wealthier, more educated people vs. the rest of the population.

-> For the first time, a record number of developed countries — including Australia, France, Germany and the UK — are experiencing double-digit divides in trust between the informed class and the mass population. [Axios]

– – – –

The western world has emulated the Greek and Roman empires in magical similarity and has sustained their motivations as if time had stopped, carrying forward their principles of war, classism, politics and consumption economics.

But wait – is it time now for the Peloponnesian wars? Is Donald our Nero? Is it time for another Mount Vesuvius? Who will play the role of Attila? Who will be Alexander?

Will artificial intelligence emulate the dark ages? Will global warming purify humanity as the flood did in Genesis? Which new plague will erase millions of humans?

As the twenty-first century begins there is a scent in the air. It isn’t pleasant; more of a wafting that won’t dissipate. It doesn’t have an aroma of the Fullness of Time that is proposed by science and optimistic futurists; it seems more like a day in criminal court. Where is Apostle Paul when you need his reassurance?

It is sentencing time. Humans must pay for their casual dalliances with Mother Nature; humans must pay for raping the environment; humans must pay as the cause of the Sixth Extinction. In regard to the treatment of humankind it is time, in our contemporary emulation of Rome, for a sequel to the fall of Rome in 476 BC.

Ancient Mariner

The Biggest Great Divide

The last post on perception is a lead-in to this post about a great divide. What are our perceptions of the future – not the far future but starting now until 2050? An emerging perception is that millennials (born 1981 – 1996) will live their lives on the fence between two very different social and economic cultures. They will bear the burden of financially supporting both offspring and elders; their own careers and roles in society will be tumultuously tossed about and fraught with uncertainty.

Millennials started their lives in an Adam Smith world (he married capitalism to reformation ethics) and will end it in an economic and social world beyond description today – though many futurists believe the concept of ‘job’ will be divorced from Adam Smith’s marriage; artificial intelligence will disrupt existing class perceptions; Planet Earth will play havoc with resources from Helium gas to the disappearance of vast stretches of dry land, to a shift in weather patterns that will collapse significant agricultural markets.

Progressive economists suggest if the economy isn’t soon redistributed from its advantages to oligarchs, the US may experience rebellion similar to that in other countries in the news today. Data tech corporations are so pervasive and so uncontrolled that a new retail culture may evolve with a US Congress of self-appointed data tech CEO’s and Jeff Bezos as President. (mariner speculates)

Presuming all these hotspots of change may happen, what is the core cultural issue? What will people experience day-to-day? What persistent event will cause foment and disorder as society rewrites itself?

Greater than identity politics, greater than economic imbalance, greater than global warming – it is the educated versus the uneducated; the elite versus the useless; those who can participate in society and those who can’t.

These perspectives are not new. Social philosophers and futurists have suggested this great divide since the 1970’s. But today it is a fresh subject in journals, magazines and online science sites. There are characteristics of the divide that exist today. For example, those who accept that the successful will be successful and others never will be are the same people who don’t believe in welfare, Medicare and Social Security. In other words, if a person hasn’t made it, they are not allowed to have any value in society – they are useless even to themselves.

The French term is ‘raison d’êtra’, which means reason to be or role in life or in personal terms, why am I here? The feeling of uselessness is a struggle often among retirees, young adults without links to society, and especially those who by their class and education are denied the right to succeed or interact with the participating members of society. Psychologists long have defined the emergence of gangs in destitute neighborhoods as a result of not being allowed to participate in society therefore they create their own role within their neighborhood.

Society is only a decade from the first waves of white collar job loss. It is a common statistic that artificial intelligence may eliminate from fifty to eighty percent of jobs across every discipline, every skill, and every function that constitutes the ‘common workforce’ today. It does not help that income for middle and lower income people already is suppressed and hasn’t kept up with inflation. Donald’s base, suffering job loss and massive reduction in salary, is a current example of a segment of workers that has fallen on hard times and claim they are forgotten in today’s economy. Indeed they are.

As the months roll by, the issue of joblessness and especially the denial of the right to pursue happiness, success, etc., otherwise known as a raison d’êtra, will reach a breaking point where violence may be the proletariat’s only option.

The federal government has no choice even given polarized parties, wealth-driven politics and the cost of global warming, but to address joblessness which may be at a level commensurate with Venezuela today. The tax code, ensconced for generations as a capitalistic friend, must be dismantled in order to accommodate a very large portion of the US population.

Already in today’s democratic campaign for president, Andrew Yang has proposed a minimum income supported by taxes. A monthly distribution to citizens, especially those shut out of social participation, may be one way of preventing violence and stabilizing feelings of personal worth.

In a recent post mariner suggested that a new concept of having a job was to create a self-managed job. This is a job that a person assumes on their own for the good of their society. A pure example of this is a member of mariner’s family who has taken it on himself to improve the bare space around the base of trees along the sidewalk; he plants flowers and attractive greenery. He is satisfactorily employed but has taken on a role to improve his neighborhood. In the future, this approach to raison d’êtra will be a major way of defining work – and – it will need to be a source of income as well.

Another example is mariner’s neighbor who has chosen to maintain the gravel alley for his block. Again, income was not involved but, given the idea of a monthly distribution from the government, many otherwise unemployed citizens will find roles to play that will, mariner suspects, greatly improve the civility that is in short supply today.

If artificial intelligence and the corporations that control it are brought under control; if the tax structure shuts down abusive wealth and redistributes economic participation to the proletariat; if new job growth can be harnessed to deal with global warming; if international cooperation can be modified to support the economics of sustainability – maybe there will be some fun moments learning a new culture and new economics.

Ancient Mariner

 

The US has a bad transmission

The ol’ federal bus doesn’t move very well. The clutch is totally blown because legislators become more and more bound up in polarization, some want to shift gears, some don’t. Unengaged, the bus drifts down the road in neutral, ever slowing; other national buses rush by at the speed limit. Adding insult to injury, the gear box is a skip and miss experience even if the clutch worked.

Each gear tooth, a principled thrust applying torque to society, is bent, missing or warped. If the clutch worked, if the gear box worked, the bus at best would stutter and jump down the highway.

The sparkplugs, a vibrant electorate spark of energy and focus, are old and misfire, not knowing exactly when or even why they should energize their respective pistons.

The carburetor, instead of measuring and controlling the cash flow, leaks profusely, placing the whole bus in peril as hot spots grow and may combust even as the pistons run lean.

So it’s time to take the ol’ bus to the repair garage. A lot of work needs to be done:

The camshaft, sometimes called the Electoral College, causes misfiring. A better grease called National Public Vote (NPV) needs to be applied to restore smooth synchronization.

The valves are worn and should be replaced with newer, unified roles for state voting.

The clutch should be rebuilt with non-binding redistricting.

The entire transmission must be rebuilt with properly applied representation that synchronizes legislative energy with the sparkplugs.

Looking at the bus, many seats are missing and torn; there aren’t enough seats for every kind of rider that wants to go home.

No question new tires are needed that understand the meaning of “where the rubber meets the road.”

The repair had better be sound and functional; the storms of global warming are just down the road.

Ancient Mariner

 

The First Face of America

Mariner watched a PBS Nova broadcast about the oldest evidence of a Native American in the Americas.[1] All of Nova’s broadcasts are above average not only in reporting historical information but in providing insights into those moments. “The First Face of America” matched that quality.

Much of the broadcast displayed the effort and luck of a group of scientists exploring the lattice of caves underlying the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Today, these caves are underwater but 20,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age they were above sea level and dry. In fact, the Yucatan was exceptionally dry and early Americans often explored the caves looking for pools of water.

The great find was a complete skeleton of a sixteen-year old girl. Evidently she had entered a labyrinth in search of water and had fallen into a chasm. Carbon dating places her back 13,000 years and is the oldest evidence of humans in North and South America.

Most of us know the general story of how humans crossed over what today is the Bering Strait and followed the coast through Alaska into North America. During the ice age, the Bering Strait was a large, dry plain between Russia and Alaska. It was larger than many may assume – ranging more than a thousand miles North to South. It has been given a regional name, Beringia, because it was a busy, continuously moving place for nomadic tribes following herds and hunting opportunities. Constantly moving, they left little in the way of artifacts.

The skeleton provided a lot of implications about the life of a sixteen-year old girl in a nomadic culture 13,000 years ago. The scientists gave her the name Naia. Naia was 4 feet ten inches tall and led a rough life we today could not tolerate. There was evidence of damaging rape, and likely a stillborn child; she had bone damage on her limbs one of which was a spiral fracture, meaning someone had twisted her arm violently. Insightful to her lifestyle was that her thigh muscles at age 16 were as large as those of an adult male today – evidence of day-in, day-out walking and running; certainly evidence of a nomadic hunter culture.

Mariner ponders how complex society could have been not having a sense of place. These nomads were always moving to find the next meal. There was no expectation of something called ‘home’ – not even for one night! Did these nomads ever feel lost? Probably not but it’s certain there were other anxieties.

Remember this was 13,000 years ago on an undiscovered continent. Civilization as we understand it had not hit its stride; the earliest evidence of semi-permanent civilization outside Africa was on the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East around 15,000 years ago.

So how well have humans fared over the years? Civilization certainly has learned how to be complex but rape and violence still abide.

Ancient Mariner

[1] On PBS at https://www.pbs.org/video/first-face-of-america-m6dgpn/

Interesting Notes about Wall Street and Your Street

In the October 5 issue of Economics Magazine, an article claims that the role of automation and now Artificial Intelligence (AI) has taken over Wall Street. Note the following excerpts:

  • Funds run by computers that follow rules set by humans account for 35% of America’s stock market, 60% of institutional equity assets and 60% of trading activity. New AI programs also are writing their own investing rules, in ways their human masters only partly understand.
  • A final concern is corporate governance. For decades company boards have been voted in and out of office by fund managers on behalf of their clients. What if these shares are run by agnostic computers or worse have narrow objectives such as paying high dividends at any cost?
  • Hey Siri, can you invest my life savings?

In the eighteenth century, one showed superiority by wearing machine made, unfitted, uncomfortable shoes made in Europe instead of the commoner’s choice of a locally made, measured and fitted, comfortable shoe from solid, inexpensive materials which were easily reparable. While this seems incredulous, this practice dominates all retail today. Given the turn in international economics, ‘made in America’ AKA ‘Made by me’ as a personal experience doesn’t mean much anymore. Try to find a shoe repair store today. Try to have a shoe repair store make the reader a pair of personally fitted shoes. Alas, past his time, mariner remembers a local shoemaker who made shoes.

Mariner is old enough to remember the old days when Mothers, Aunts, Grandmothers and even Great Grandmothers made, knitted, repurposed, patched and otherwise sustained the family wardrobe. That was before inexpensive replacements could be bought from some Asian country or replaced by cheap but irreparable rayon and other -ons. Similar observations are visible in other disciplines: appliances for task-based jobs, automobiles instead of public transportation, accepting uncertain information from TV and YouTube instead of reading fact-checked and vetted newspapers and books – not to mention the greedy, life-controlling munchkins hiding in the smartphone.

Before the non-romantics rise up about preferring to not darn socks and make clothes, shoes, chop wood or make pasta from scratch or canning apples or other day-to-day self-rewarding activities, mariner understands the role and benefit of progress. He doesn’t want to darn socks either. But. But. How does an individual sustain personal value and satisfaction? How does an individual feel personal competency and life achievement within one’s daily life? How does an individual sustain an ethic centered on one’s psyche?

The most common metaphor from mariner’s posts is, “How does an individual feel about achieving intimacy and bonding with a spouse offered up by a corporation?” A whole segment of life experience and the exercise of emotional discipline are traded for spouse shopping with a spouse-salesman. Are trade-ins next? Mariner’s mind leaps to the phrase, “She’ll make a good first wife”, or “He’ll make a good first investment.” What happened to investing one’s libido and aptitude? As a realistic metaphor, many retirees develop hobbies that reflect personal achievement – perhaps for the first time in their lives. Mariner knew a judge from Baltimore who retired and learned to weld and repair trucks. Many folks actually drop a career to pick one that provides personal value, e.g., charity work, community leadership and the arts.

Individually, mariner understands the desire to improve the time/work/result ratio. What comes to mind, however, is how eager humans are to trade for the easy life by surrendering personal accomplishment at the existential level.

With AI, there is a new relationship: just as humans defer to corporate perceptions about life, humans don’t set the rules for computers anymore either. It may be that the only color available for clothes will be unbleached fiber – whatever color that is – because AI says it’s the cheapest solution for corporate profit.

As to Wall Street, J.G. Wentworth may become the largest lender in the nation if Siri won’t allow a withdrawal from the savings account to pay for a vacation in Acapulco.

Another down home decision that’s disappearing: personally meaningful, moralistic voting.[1]

Ancient Mariner

 

[1] In case the reader doesn’t notice commercials, J.G Wentworth will buy an individual’s structured accounts, e.g., insurance policies, so one can say, “It’s my money! I want it now.” Of course, one takes a financial hit when the smoke clears.

Planet One

Neil deGrasse Tyson classified a unified world where everyone was content with society and all its iterations as “Planet One”. There would be no desire for war or one-upmanship of any kind; as Elvis said, there will be peace in the valley. Utopian visions are comforting, even occasionally sustaining a purpose for one’s life.

One should not scoff at utopias and discard them as fantasy although a reality check quickly discounts that a utopian state will ever occur. Utopian visions are useful for identifying current issues that prevent a utopian experience. At a general level, how would religion perform in order to promote a utopian concept? Politics? Neighborhoods? Businesses?

At the individual level, could ambition exist? Pride? Judgment? What about any comparative rationale? Dare one have any kind of prejudice? In a favorable environment, moss exists in a utopian state although the need to reproduce in some fashion still exists, implying that things aren’t as utopian for moss as one would think.

A new vision of utopia has emerged because of the advancement in electronic technology. Is it possible to achieve a utopian state with a comprehensive support system provided by electronics? This may not be achievable for humans because they would have to turn over moral issues and definitions of utopia to the computers. Mariner has seen The Matrix and is not confident that this kind of utopia would exist for humans – although it may exist for the electronics.

So why does the idea of utopia hang around? It hangs around for the same reason as aspirin; thinking about a moment when one’s problems disappear, life is beautiful and the birds are singing, and that maybe, just maybe, things will feel better – just like taking aspirin.

Instead of envisioning utopia, reverse engineer utopia back to the present and ask, “By any definition, what is preventing utopia?” An example follows that is a large issue and certainly stands in the way of utopia.

The idea that racism is an endemic conflagration full of politics and skin color has begun to step into a broader plain that makes the point that racism is a weakness in the power structure of nations. A nation cannot exercise its full potential because racial prejudice eliminates the potential that may be had if all races were included. Taking this perspective, Donald and the white supremacists clearly would diminish the potential of the nation by eliminating the nonwhite population.

Simply by shifting one’s mindset from exclusionary awareness to a mindset of personal concern that one’s personal wellbeing is constrained suggests an entirely different set of resolutions promoting national potential, therefore assuring an individual will have improved finances and security.

The race issue is becoming more than a learned prejudice. The “Z” generation (born after 2007) is a white minority. For the first time since the Census Bureau has released annual statistics, they show an absolute decline in the nation’s white non-Hispanic population. Note the word ‘decline’; the drop has nothing to do with immigration. White citizens are producing children at the rate of 1.78 per woman. Not enough to sustain population.[1]

As long as the word ‘race’ is required to discuss black population, racism will not disappear according to Ibram X Kendi in his new book, “How to be an Antiracist.” A good example of not identifying race is the new awareness by corporate America; they already feel the fact that nonwhites don’t produce enough GDP and in many subtle ways are trying to integrate nonwhites into the economy. Mariner has noticed that television commercials with increasing frequency use mixed couples and mixed marriages.

Mariner is envious of the wonderful skin tone of Halle Berry. It’s too late for him; maybe his great, great grandchildren will be lucky.

Ancient Mariner

[1] For additional, dependable statistics and dialogue, see William H. Frey’s latest book, “Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics are Remaking America,”

Did You Catch This?

[Newsy] An appeals court ruled on Friday that survivors and family members of people killed in a mass shooting in South Carolina are allowed to sue the federal government for negligence.

In June 2015, a white supremacist entered an African-American church in Charleston and opened fire on a Bible study group. Nine people were killed. The shooter was convicted on federal murder and hate crime charges and now awaits the death penalty.

After the shooting, then-FBI Director James Comey said the gunman was federally prohibited from owning a firearm when he bought the weapon used in the attack, and that he was able to buy it due to failures in the FBI’s background check system.

Cases brought by survivors and family members intended to hold the government accountable for allowing the shooter to buy the gun. They were consolidated and dismissed by a lower court, which ruled the federal government was protected from lawsuits under two provisions.

But the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Friday that judge was wrong. It ruled that the laws protect the government employee who performed the background check, but not the government itself. The dismissal was reversed.

Wow! This will provide impetus for gun legislation. Hit’em in the pocketbook.

[CityLab] Between crushing student debt, skyrocketing rents, and underemployment, more college graduates are crashing with mom and dad until they can find financial stability. A study using 2016 Census data, from the real estate site Zillow, found that overall, the share of young college graduates moving back home jumped from 19 percent in 2005 to 28 percent in 2016. Miami and New York had the highest shares—45 percent and 42 percent, respectively. For some Millennials, according to MarketWatch, that means they’re skipping starter homes and going for larger houses as their first purchase.

In his small home town, mariner has a related statistic. Many older families are now parking a third car in their two-car driveway.

[Propublica] Everything You Need to Play Baseball Is Made in China — and Getting Hit by Trump’s Tariffs.

Baseball is America’s pastime, but prices on its China-made gear are about to rise as the trade war escalates. Golf, lacrosse, basketball and other sports will feel the pinch, too.

It’s not hard to think of the future being made in a blender. Will the Minuteman Statue sport a Mongolian deel? will the Statue of Liberty wear tight Yoga pants? Will hamburgers be served at a Japanese tea ceremony? Will Afghanistani women wear stringy short-shorts? Will Donald attend his Alabama rally wearing a tilted bérét, a pencil mustache and twirling a Bat Masterson cane?

Mariner prognosticates that global politics, society and economy will all be in a blender until sometime after 2040 – a lot like living in the Bahamas with Dorian hanging around.

Ancient Mariner

News of the Moment

֎ Did the reader see Apple’s new ad selling an Apple credit card that “doesn’t need a bank”? Cryptocurrency is here to stay.

֎ Did the reader read that Jakarta, a city larger than New York by 2 million residents and is the capital of Indonesia, is sinking into the Java Sea? So they are building a brand new city from scratch on the island of Borneo. The downside is that it will house only 1.5 million residents – mostly government workers. Other nations should watch and learn how to do this so that when their home town sinks below the waves, they’ll know what to do.

֎ Mariner surmises that PBS news must read his blog. On Wednesday night’s broadcast they covered a children’s program in Oakland, California where a group of children are taken to a nature park on a regular basis. The program leaders believe that being outside (and not on a sidewalk leashed to a parent’s hand, is good for the general health of the children. One of the leaders had a good tag line: “You can’t click anything in nature.” (see mariner’s “The Child Park” published August 19)

֎ From Dave Chappell’s new Netflix show: “I want to see if you can guess who it is I’m doing an impression of.” He adopts a Homer Simpson–like tone and flails his arms: “Uh, duh. Hey! Durr! If you do anything wrong in your life—duh!—and I find out about it, I’m gonna try to take everything away from you!” Chappelle whines. “And I don’t care what I find out! Could be today, tomorrow, 15, 20 years from now. If I find out, you’re fucking—duh!—finished.” The audience doesn’t have much time to guess which dullard Chappelle is imitating, as he reveals the answer almost immediately: “That’s you!”

֎ Hazrat Inayat Khan appeared on the Zen daily calendar today saying “There can be no rebirth without a dark night of the soul. A total annihilation of all that you believed in and thought that you were.” He died in 1927. How did he know what it would be like in 2019?

֎ The Tongass National Forest in Alaska spans nearly 17 million acres, and its wilderness of old-growth cedar, spruce and hemlock trees makes up the world’s largest temperate rainforest. President Trump is pushing his agriculture secretary to lift logging restrictions in this cool-temperature preserve.

Ancient Mariner

 

 

 

On Reading

When mariner was just beginning his elementary school years, he began reading the family library. It consisted of about ten or twelve popular novels and a 1939 Book of Knowledge encyclopedia; the encyclopedia still is in his possession. The novels were best sellers and classics of their time but alas, over the years mariner has forgotten the titles. He does remember not having the patience, and perhaps the maturity, to finish the novels. However, he did, believe it or not, read page by page all nineteen volumes of the encyclopedia (the twentieth volume is an appendix).

Mariner more or less avoided reading fiction until high school – except for the beloved Sunday comic strips and comic books. In high school there were classes that existed only to read fiction. Books like Old Man and the Sea and (horrors) Heart of Darkness. In college mariner discovered fiction ponies called Cliff’s Notes; these helped his experience in those ‘fiction’ classes.

Not that mariner was illiterate or indifferent about knowledge and information. Mariner was the kid who would cut school and spend the day at the public library (not the fiction section). Later in life, after mariner was married, he decided to enroll in a Master Degree program. He knew his weakness for reading and his impatience while waiting for information to emerge. He asked his wife, an ardent reader, if she would read his textbooks for him. Succinctly, with a tone of disgust, she said, “No.”

So mariner had no choice but to learn to read very, very fast. He enrolled in Evelyn Woods’ speed reading program. Mariner must say up front it is a remarkable training program with excellent improvement in reading something extremely fast. Mariner’s words per minute tripled. The sensation of eliminating subvocalizing is a memorable experience. One feels as if they are in a plane lifting off the runway and soaring.

But mariner did not take Evelyn’s classes to read more fiction. In a manner of speaking, he wanted to avoid reading. The class he took to heart was the class about how to read nonfiction!

Mariner was able to dissect a textbook or treatise in a fraction of the time by not reading all the words! Specifically, one memorized the primary table of contents, skimmed through the preface, and then studied the author’s writing style. It turns out most writers habitually use one of three sentence locations within a paragraph to state the specific point or information for the whole paragraph. Most nonfiction writers use the first sentence of the paragraph to state the primary point. Second most popular is using the last sentence of the paragraph as a summation. A few writers set up the paragraph in the first sentence but don’t state the point until the second sentence. Combined with the top down thread of the table of contents, one can literally jump over chapters to sustain continuity. Don’t try this with math or engineering texts.

As the decades passed, mariner remained a reluctant reader unless there was a task at hand or a goal that required additional information or understanding. During his career, he often had to fly to different locations. Any traveler knows that hours in an airplane can be boring. One day mariner decided to try reading a novel.

At the airport bookstore he picked up Tom Clancy’s Clear and Present Danger. On the plane, he started at the beginning. A story line developed and pieces of plot were linked around the person in the story. At the end of the first chapter, the novel started all over again with another person. The second chapter never referenced the first chapter! Hell, mariner doesn’t have time for this nonsense. He closed the book and has never looked at a novel since.

The same pattern emerges when mariner watches movies. His poor wife enjoys movies. Mariner notes the color schemes, the actors, the music and the pattern of camera shots. About fifteen minutes into the movie – to his wife’s chagrin – mariner says he has seen the movie.

Ancient Mariner

 

Contemporary References

Today’s post is all reference section. Mariner provides a list of intriguing and entertaining articles from various sources that help us interpret daily life in a modern and unconstrained world.

REFERENCE SECTION

This first article from the Atlantic Magazine is about how the business world manipulates how users relate to their smartphones:

Copy website to reader’s browser

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/08/how-dark-patterns-online-manipulate-shoppers/595360/

The linguist Gretchen McCulloch aims to clear some things up with her new book, Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language. The “new” rules, she says in an interview, are emergent. Basically, communicating requires more than just a factual statement pursuing clarity; it also must simultaneously convey a state of emotion associated with those facts. Provided by NPR:

https://www.npr.org/2019/07/31/747020219/our-language-is-evolving-because-internet?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20190801&utm_campaign=books&utm_term=artsbooksculture&utm_id=39748169

 

Just so the reader knows, CRISPR is not something to keep lettuce fresh. “CRISPR = Clustered regularly-interspaced short palindromic repeats are segments of prokaryotic DNA containing short repetitions of base sequences.” Basically, it is a sequence of DNA that has space at the end where specially contrived DNA can be affixed – thereby changing the genome of the creature at hand. Science Magazine shows us how Chinese Agronomists are changing food crop characteristics:

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/365/6452/422?utm_campaign=toc_sci-mag_2019-08-01&et_rid=590596864&et_cid=2929035

Puerto Rico isn’t the only troubled subculture within the United States. At the other end to the North is Alaska, with deep concerns about sexual abuse in communities that have no law enforcement. ProPublica offers this sobering account of life in the back country:

https://features.propublica.org/local-reporting-network-alaska/alaska-sexual-violence-village-police/

Ancient Mariner