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11.13 What would a smog-free city look like?

11.13 Global report highlights Australia’s renewables potential amid mixed signals for coal

11.13 Interior department whistleblower: Ryan Zinke hollowed out the agency

11.12  This Land is Your Land:  The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.12 Planned Parenthood's new president warns of 'state of emergency' for women's health

11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.09 Rainforest destruction from gold mining hits all-time high in Peru

11.09 A new way to make steel could cut 5% of CO2 emissions at a stroke

11.08 Medicaid’s stunning victory

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11.14 The Real Florida Recount Fraud

11.14 Telling NRA #ThisIsOurLane, Doctors' Photos Show Blood-Soaked Reality of America's Gun Madness

11.14 Backed by Ocasio-Cortez, Youth Climate Activists Arrested in Pelosi's Office Demanding Democrats Embrace 'Green New Deal'

11.14 At Freshman Orientation, Young and Growing Progressive Caucus Makes Clear It Will 'Fight Like Hell' for Bold Democratic Agenda

11.13 'You Sound Nervous': Gillum Mocks Trump as President Demands End to Florida Recount

11.13 Kyrsten Sinema wins Arizona Senate race in breakthrough for Democrats

11.12 When Obstruction of Justice Is Glaringly Obvious

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11.09 Trump administration blocks asylum claims by those crossing border illegally [Making America Less Great Again...]

High Crimes?

11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]

11.10 US stops refuelling of Saudi-led coalition aircraft in Yemen war [But there are a few children still alive. It's too soon!]

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11.14 Brexit: May tells her cabinet, this is the deal – now back me

11.11 Tax reform: down with the ‘stepped-up basis’

11.08 Canada is richer than the US, according to a new wealth ranking — in fact, the US doesn't even make the top 10 [Graph of richest countries based on median wealth per adult]

11.05 Under Trump, Corporate Giants See Massive Drop in Penalties: NYT [Mafia-government...]

11.02 Los Angeles’ Measure B Is a Moonshot Aimed at Creating a Public Bank [Could save the public $Billions if setup smartly]

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11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]

11.14 Israel and Hamas launch hundreds of attacks in Gaza clash

11.14 Mueller seeking more details on Nigel Farage, key Russia inquiry target says

11.13 Austin's Fix for Homelessness: Tiny Houses, and Lots of Neighbors

11.13 Portugal Dared to Cast Aside Austerity. It’s Having a Major Revival.

11.13 Caravan marks one month on the road: ‘We keep on going, laughing or crying’

11.13 Letter Shows Einstein’s Prescient Concerns About ‘Dark Times’ in Germany

11.12 With Trump sitting nearby, Macron calls nationalism a betrayal [Trump was confused...; video]

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  Thinking About Gadgets


Thinking About Gadgets

Are we making new technology that matters?

by Fred Cederholm

The quality of our lives does not seem to be a function of the love and dedication of our friends, neighbors, families, and pets... that is, if you swallowed the hype of the most recent edition of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas.

I’ve been thinking about gadgets. Actually I’ve been thinking about CES 2010, phones, drones, stereo-3D- flat screen TV, programming, BETAs/VCRs/DVDs/BlueTeeth (or is it Bluetooth’s?), PDAs, and communicating. The quality of our lives does not seem to be a function of the love and dedication of our friends, neighbors, families, and pets... that is, if you swallowed the hype of the most recent edition of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas. There is an old saying: “He who dies with the most toys wins!” But... wins what? Having a silver 2000 Chrysler PT Cruiser, a bright red1967 Fiat Spyder 1500, a baby blue 1964 Olds 88 Convertible, and a British Racing green 1950 MGTD roadster really meant nothing to me as I approached death last summer. I actually thought about my gadgets and stuff a lot as I a came in and out of those long induced sleeps. Generally, I have never met a tool that I didn’t like and phantasized about playing with and using. Still...I’ve rarely been at the head of the curve, but I look (and drool) a lot --- it’s a guy thing.

You see the conclusion of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas just occurred. This is the largest trade show of its kind on planet earth. Ideas are hyped, concepts are exchanged, and “shtick” is put foreword. One might assume that everything shown, hyped, and discussed is going to happen by the coming Christmas just 11 months away. It will be the next “got to have.” Despite the prototypes and mach-ups shown, fondled, and hawked; CES is where Rodeo Drive (California), meets Madison Avenue (advertising) meets Wal-Mart (where America Shops for Cheap). It is a fairy land of the “what could be” at best. That is: if and only if, there is a real perceived need, the manufacturers can get it assembled somewhere abroad on the cheap, and it comes for a price the marketers can enhance. (That each stage in the pipeline thus makes a pile of money is another significant criterion.) The 2010 show was no different from its predecessors, and yet there were far fewer “home runners” shown, hyped, discussed, and presented this time. (I was taken by the personal drone which could be remotely flown to spy on --- well... whoever/whatever you wanted to spy on. But then, too... I‘d need a different telephony unit or PDA and tons of wifi and wireless hardware and software. (Oh... never mind!)

Hi definition, flat screened, plasma TV’s were a significant part of the show. Prices had come down significantly from the original offerings. But... just what was really new? These were not the buy- a-couch-and-chair and get a free TV model. OK... the screens were thinner, but would a trendy geek scrap a 2 - 4 inch thick model for a 1 to one-and-a-half incher? Sound hasn’t improved as the High definition models with 27 positioned speakers have enhanced the home entertainment “quality of life” for a couple of years now. Home 3-D was new but would people fork over that kind of cash in this economy? Hummm... Then too, if the programming sucks, will 3-D, dualdecimalseptem sound, on a 1 inch thick screen make more people watch CSI: Creston? If it was working, don’t change it. I mean... just look at the Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien mess that NBC wants to go away before the local affiliates scrap national programming for perennial reruns of “Golden Girls, Home Improvement, or Roseanne!”

Planned obsolescence is also a big part of the CES and what we will be offered for sale. The re-streaming, re-broadcasting, and re-playing of all the “got to see” shows speaks volumes of where we have been and where we are headed. TH*NK about BETAs, VCRs, DVDs, TiVos, or the latest BlueTeeth (or is the plural BlueTooths?) which we have all experienced or owned. Time and technology marches on --- as does the unending campaign to separate US/us from our money. I am somewhat of a cheap Neanderthal in that my PDA (Personal Data Assistant) is a $.77 paper pocket notepad from Wal-Mart and a free pen from my local State Representative, Bob Pritchard. The backup system for appointments is the free calendar from my local bank which hangs in my kitchen by my fridge. Not exactly high tech, but it works very well for me --- and it has for years.

Phones, or rather multi-tasking telecommunication handhelds, are really hot now as well. These combine a phone, personal data device, internet surfer, TV, camera, telecom texting/tweeting/messaging device, and a global positioning/locating gizmo. To be hip you got to have 3G or 4G access on your service map or you don’t cut it as any viable human being. I should point out that I got my first Cell phone (only) this past August and that our first in home phone was installed in 1966. My father was mayor back then and if people wanted him bad enough, they could come to the house (which they did)!

I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.

Copyright 2009 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at

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This story was published on January 11, 2010.


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