People who are antagonistic, exploitative, and generally disagreeable are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories

Researchers found that people who possess personality traits known as the “Dark Tetrad” are more likely to believe Princess Diana’s death was orchestrated by the British royal family, that the moon landing was faked, and that alien spacecraft are being stored at Area 51, among other conspiracy theories.

The traits of the Dark Tetrad are Machiavellianism (manipulativeness and cynicism); narcissism (vanity and self-obsession); psychopathy (impulsivity and callousness); and sadism (cruelty and abusiveness). Most people have elements of some of these traits, says Cameron Kay, a doctoral candidate in the department of psychology at the University of Oregon.

“In plain terms, it seems like disagreeable people, who score high in these traits, are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories,” Kay says. “They are prone to odd beliefs. They don’t feel like they are in control of their lives. They are robbed of their agency and have an innate distrust of other people and organizations like the government.”

We know who you are…

QR Code: growing innovation in the U.S., established lifestyle in China.


Caixin Global

CNBC recently reported on the widespread use of QR Codes in restaurants during the pandemic. In a time when every physical object is a potential virus carrier, QR Codes allow touch-free service by replacing paper menus with a code printed on the table itself. Once scanned, guests can access the menu, customize their order, and pay in one seamless transaction. The technology doesn’t just benefit customers, however, as it also benefits the restaurants by allowing a much more efficient operation with less staff.

According to link management service Bitly, QR code downloads have increased 750% over the last 18 months. As Americans have only begun to pick up the value of QR Codes, here in China these black-and-white pixel squares have been around for nearly ten years…

As one of the most used apps in the world, WeChat boasted 1.25 billion monthly active users as of June 2021. This massive user base and the continuous development of new features have enabled WeChat to grow into a “super app” with strong infrastructure-building capabilities.

Built into WeChat, QR Codes took this advantage and soon became one of the most commonly used tools in the everyday life of contemporary China. It is used in numerous scenarios by individuals from tech-savvy youths to elderly street vendors, small businesses, big businesses, public institutions…You name it.

And so it grows. Have to admit, I find QR so much more useful than predecessors…and growing in frequency in my life since everything I need is built into my iPhone.

Ready to go – almost

Manufacturers are stacking up unfinished goods on factory floors and parking incomplete vehicles in airport parking lots while waiting for missing parts, made scarce by supply-chain problems…

Companies determined to keep factories open are trying to work around shortages by producing what they can, at the same time rising customer demand has cleaned out store shelves, dealer showrooms and distribution centers. As a result, manufacturers are amassing big inventories of unsold or incomplete products such as truck wheels and farm tractors. Companies that are used to filling orders quickly now have bulging backlogs of orders, waiting for scarce parts or green lights from customers willing to take deliveries.

AFAIK, my wife’s soon-to-be Maverick Pickup ain’t out there in that field of Fords. They just didn’t get it made, yet.

We hope.

Prevent disease? Start by removing sugar.

Cutting 20% of sugar from packaged foods and 40% from beverages could prevent 2.48 million cardiovascular disease events (such as strokes, heart attacks, cardiac arrests), 490,000 cardiovascular deaths, and 750,000 diabetes cases in the U.S. over the lifetime of the adult population, reports a study published in Circulation…

Implementing a national policy, however, will require government support to monitor companies as they work toward the targets and to publicly report on their progress. The researchers hope their model will build consensus on the need for a national-sugar reformulation policy in the US. “We hope that this study will help push the reformulation initiative forward in the next few years,” says Siyi Shangguan, MD, MPH, lead author…“Reducing the sugar content of commercially prepared foods and beverages will have a larger impact on the health of Americans than other initiatives to cut sugar, such as imposing a sugar tax, labeling added sugar content, or banning sugary drinks in schools.”

Say “Amen!”

Self-driving vehicles are ahead of flying cars


Clifton Li

On the “we-were-told-there-would-be-jetpacks” spectrum of protracted transportation breakthroughs, self-driving vehicles are slowly creeping up on flying cars…

But while Waymo, a unit of Alphabet Inc., was dealing with a departing CEO and training its algorithms to recognize traffic cones, a rival that you’ve probably never heard of quietly took the drivers out of its “driverless” rigs. Gatik, which hauls cargo for Walmart, Loblaws and a handful of other massive retailers, told me it made the switch recently on a few of its routes in Arkansas, putting it on a very, very short list of human-free transportation…

It’s important to note that Gatik’s autonomous goals are far more modest than Waymo’s. Like Nuro, it forgoes the passenger entirely, choosing instead to focus on schlepping around goods. And it further narrows its lane to middle-mile transportation, essentially shuttling its trucks to and from two fixed points, say, a distributing center and a big-box store…

Granted, Gatik still has human chaperones, one dedicated per vehicle, but they’re patching into the vehicle from a remote location. If the truck runs into any kind of trouble, it executes a “graceful recovery,” essentially pulling over and pinging its overseer, like a lost teenager dialing dad. The truck will suggest a workaround that the chaperone can approve or revise. Uber drivers may eventually be out of luck, but these chaperones, housed in the ride-hailing version of a call center, will soon be one of the hottest occupations going.

For a retail empire, the economics spool up quickly. Their supply chains will go driverless long before the airport taxi queue and the savings will be both immediate and easy to model. As the autonomous driving field narrows, Gatik’s sneaky move to the front will no doubt be noticed by investors, possibly some of the same crew that has poured $5.7 billion into Waymo since last summer.

I’m waiting for the first report in print of a traffic cop pulling over a driverless truck and getting into an argument with a chaperone over the radio.

Toxic people to avoid like the plague!

Toxic people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons.

As important as it is to learn how to deal with different kinds of people, truly toxic people will never be worth your time and energy — and they take a lot of each. Toxic people create unnecessary complexity, strife, and, worst of all, stress…

Whether it’s negativity, cruelty, the victim syndrome, or just plain craziness, toxic people drive your brain into a stressed-out state that should be avoided at all costs…

It’s often said that you’re the product of the five people you spend the most time with. If you allow even one of those five people to be toxic, you’ll soon find out how capable he or she is of holding you back.

RTFA. Learn the difference between “those who are annoying or simply difficult from those who are truly toxic.” The article examines ten types of toxic drainers that you should stay away from at all costs.

Five possible climate futures

The UN’s latest report on the state of the climate offers a stark warning that humanity’s future could be filled with apocalyptic natural disasters. But that future isn’t set in stone. Depending on global economic trends, technological progress, geopolitical developments, and most important, how aggressively we act to reduce carbon emissions, the world at the end of the 21st century could turn out to be radically different. Or not.

The spectrum of possible futures that await us underpin the projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, whose first chapter on the physical science of climate change was released last week. The new report features five climate narratives that differ in terms of the level of projected warming and society’s ability to adapt to the changes ahead. Each narrative pairs a different socioeconomic development scenario with a different carbon emissions pathway, resulting in a Choose Your Own Adventure-style series of endings to the story of 21st-century climate change.

In some of those endings, humanity rises to the climate challenge while making concurrent efforts to reduce poverty and improve quality of life for everyone. The world is hotter and the weather is more dangerous, but the worst climate impacts are averted and societies are able to adapt.

In others, global cooperation is fractured by nationalism, increases in poverty, soaring emissions, and unimaginably hot weather.

You can start by reading this article…if you want to take part in building the changes that are needed. I hope you will.

Do You Ever Wonder Why Americans Can’t Have Nice Things


Chinese workers building a high-speed railroad

All the recrimination-filled reporting and commentary about how fast Afghanistan fell to the Taliban after President Joe Biden made the courageous decision to finish withdrawing our troops misses a much more important story.

This story concerns why Americans can’t have nice things anymore while our main economic competitor China does and is investing in a lucrative and influential future.

It’s the story of jettisoning the sensible Powell Doctrine of asking if war is quickly winnable before rushing into military action in favor of chronic combat. Endless war creates enormous fortunes for investors in the military-industrial complex, enabled by jingoistic political cowardice in Washington.

For two decades our elected leaders foolishly spent our money trying to impose democracy at the point of a rifle in a country with no democratic culture or tradition…

To date, U.S. taxpayers have spent about $2.3 trillion on an undeclared war that cost 2,448 American troops their lives avenging about the same number of lives lost on 9/11/2001. More than 100,000 Afghans died in the 20-year war…

The total ultimate Afghan war bill? More than $6.4 trillion, according to the Cost of War Project at Brown University. That’s more than $100,000 for the iconic family of four.

Please read Johnston’s rant in its entirety. Someone has to explain this arrogance, ignorance and futility to American taxpayers and, believe me, that someone won’t be speaking on behalf of the Democrats or Republicans treasured 2-party system.