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Thanks for stopping by. My name is John Patrick and Attitude LLC is the name of my company. My activities include writing, speaking, investing, and board service. My areas of focus healthcare, Internet voting, and technology. As you will see in the books I have written, I believe most big problems and big solutions involve Attitude. My latest book is Robot Attitude: How Robots and Artificial Intelligence Will Make Our Lives Better (2019). Robot Attitude and all the prior books are part of a Series called “It’s All About Attitude“.

My blog below has more than 2,000 stories about technology, music, motorcycles, travel, business, Internet voting, robots, AI, healthcare, and more. Every Saturday morning, I publish an e-brief which contains an easy to read post or two about new developments in my areas of interest. Please sign up and give it a try. If you don’t like it, you can make one click and you will not receive it again. You can find me on social media on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. You can also find my background in Wikipedia


John R. Patrick

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A Walmart robot – Source: Walmart Inc.

If you have not seen a robot motoring around a local retailer, you will. Historically, robots have been deployed mostly in manufacturing. However, robots are now fulfilling more and more tasks in retail. They are flipping burgers in restaurants and patrolling shopping malls for security. In big box retailers, robots are patrolling the aisles and scanning the shelves.

Walmart is expanding its shelf-scanning robots by 650 bringing its fleet to 1,000. The six-foot-tall robots are made by San Francisco-based Bossa Nova Robotics Inc. Each robot is equipped with 15 cameras. The robots roam the aisles looking for items which are out of stock, and send alerts to store employees’ smartphones who can take appropriate action. The robots can also report if the price on an item is different than the price indicated on the shelf. Industry analysts claim out of stock items cost retailers nearly a trillion dollars in lost sales per year.

Some employees are chatting about the robots as “job stealers”. The employees have a right to be concerned. Other robots can scrub floors and unload trucks. Walmart claims the robots make it possible to redeploy employees to less mundane jobs. That can be true in the short term, but eventually the jobs being eliminated by robots will far outpace the redeployment opportunities. Only one presidential candidate talked about the impending problem, but he dropped out of the race after the New Hampshire primary.

To learn more about the coming robots, read Robot Attitude: How Robots and Artificial Intelligence Will Make Our Lives Better.


I added the following Disclosure to my post about the Iowa caucus, Internet voting, MIT researchers, and Voatz:

Disclosure: I am not an investor in Voatz or any other Internet voting company. I do not receive any fees of any kind for what I say or write about Internet voting.

As predicted, the press has jumped on the idea of Internet voting and pointed out how insecure it is. I could not resist writing another post to get a more balanced point of view entered into the mix. I have also given some interviews and participated on panels about the subject. Following are some links to videos of what I had to say. There is some redundancy in the New York interviews. The links are:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLsHkes9-qQ&t=95s Pepperdine
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxUm30YdYbw NYC 11/2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVajKvM4sco&t=32s NYC full interview
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdsZI-2ipes NYC August 2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NWqWSY8z9k&t=303s Internet voting
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Um4wnMZ1-s NYC August 2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cJGsvfWyaw NYC August 2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SfT6ENx-jg&t=3s NYC August 2016


Data Fact of the Week

Each of our body’s 10 trillion or so cells contains about six feet of DNA, the enormously long molecule that contains all the genetic information which makes us a person. If laid end to end, the DNA would reach to the sun and back dozens of times. An equally amazing comparison is with the size of each of our cell’s nucleus, the container which holds our DNA. The diameter of a typical nucleus is about 1 ten-millionth of an inch, making it 400,000 times smaller than the DNA which has to fit inside it. The compression factor is equivalent to folding 20 miles of string perfectly into a tennis ball.


Tesla has now reached a market capitalization of more than $160 billion. This is remarkable but just a fraction of the MAGFA group. See the table below. The five giants market cap has pulled back a bit but is nearly five and a half trillion dollars. All five companies are global, but to put their massive valuation into perspective, it represents 20% of the market cap of the U.S. S&P 500. Shareholders are happy, but government regulators and politicians are licking their chops. The pressure on big tech will continue to mount.

MAGFA Market Cap (02/21/20)
Microsoft $1.370 Trillion
Apple $1.390 Trillion
Google $1.030 Trillion
Facebook $0.602 Trillion
Amazon $1.050 Trillion
     
Total $5.442 Trillion
     
S&P 500 1/31/20 $26.720 Trillion
     
MAGFA 20%  

The next author event will be on March 19th at AdventHealth in Palm Coast, FL. The event is open to the public. The first 65 to register will get an autographed copy of
Robot Attitude: How Robots and Artificial Intelligence Will Make Our Lives Better

Date

Time

Location

May 15, 2020

1:00 PM

Founders Hall
193 Danbury Rd, Ridgefield, CT 06877

March 19, 2020

11:30 AM

AdventHealth Palm Coast Community Forum
60 Memorial Medical Pkwy
Palm Coast, FL 32164

February 14, 2020

8:30 AM

Senior Provider Information Network
2 Corporate Dr.
Palm Coast, FL

February 6, 2020

1:00 PM

Hammock Dunes Club
Palm Coast, FL
Private event: Request invite
Mail to [email protected]

November 14, 2019

1:00 PM

New Fairfield Senior Center
33 CT-37
New Fairfield, CT

October 9, 2019

5:30 PM

Crowne Plaza Hotel
18 Old Ridgebury Rd
Danbury, CT

August 29, 2019

5:30 PM

The Boiler Room
Hawley Silk Mill
8 Silk Mill Drive
Hawley, PA

On Thursday morning, The New York Times ran a story about how MIT researchers found alleged flaws in the Voatz software used to support overseas military voters from West Virginia. Voatz has great success with mobile voting in multiple precincts around the country with no security problems. The terrible way in which the Iowa caucus vote reporting app was implemented with woefully inadequate testing and training was a rallying cry to researchers to find something wrong with Voatz. Researchers can be very helpful, but only if their approach to the research is itself beyond critique. It is not always the case.

Like many negative stories about Internet voting, the Times cited an experience with TrustTheVote software used by Washington, D.C. in 2010. The city technology team which implemented the voting system found a problem with the router which connected the voting server to the Internet. Perhaps because of time constraints, the router was replaced with a new one without setting a strong password. Protection of the voting server was limited to a default, out of the box, password which a high school kid could easily guess. When the voting server was turned on to the public for testing, with no security testing, researchers from the University of Michigan were able to break in to the server within minutes. Rather than quickly and discreetly work with the Washington technology team to fix the problems, the researchers caused the voting system to play the University of Michigan fight song each time the voting system’s integrity failed.

Is that research? Was the goal to help advance Internet voting for the benefit of the millions of voters who are disenfranchised by our 150 year old system, or was it to gain notoriety and bragging rights by taking down a poorly implemented voting server?

In the case of the MIT researchers and Voatz, there is much to question about their “research” approach. Suppose Apple found some bugs in release 10.0 of its software which they fixed in release 10.1. Suppose researchers decided to evaluate Apple’s software and, to do so, they elected to test the release 10.0, and then reported the bugs Apple had already fixed. Is that helpful research? In the case of Voatz mobile Internet voting software, the MIT researchers analyzed an Android version of the Voatz app that was at least 27 versions old. The software they reported on was never used in an election. The researchers did not have access to the Voatz server, so they created one which they believed would work like the Voatz server.

Research? Had the researchers taken the time, like nearly 100 other researchers who evaluated Voatz software, to test and verify their claims using the latest version of the Voatz platform, the outcome of the research would have been quite different. The MIT researchers did not inform Voatz of their testing nor offer to collaborate for the benefit of disenfranchised voters. Instead, they chose to remain anonymous and seek media attention around their findings. 

The leadership of the Democratic caucus did a terrible disservice to American democracy. With people already skeptical of Internet voting, the experts are now piling on saying “See, we told you so. Don’t even consider Internet voting”. The anti-Internet voting activists do not seem to be interested in the 100 million people in 2016 who could have voted but did not. 

West Virginia has not received much press coverage on the great leadership it has provided in this area. The state wants to make it easy for military and disabled citizens to vote wherever they may be. Rather than roll it out at the last minute with no testing, West Virginia worked with Voatz to thoroughly test the mobile voting system. Voter satisfaction with Voatz Internet voting was high, and the vote was accurate and secure.

Voatz has been very progressive and open in their testing approach. They established a public bug bounty program two years ago. Nearly 100 researchers helped the company find bugs. They were paid a bounty for bugs they found. The MIT researchers could have joined the public bug bounty program. Instead they chose a sneaky approach and tested out of date software and gave the results to The New York Times.

America has the best researchers in the world. They can help make Internet voting a great success which would strengthen our democracy. The goal should be enabling people to vote conveniently, securely, privately, accurately, and with verifiability. This can be done as Voatz has demonstrated. Come on researchers, let’s collaborate to make it even better.

Disclosure: I am not an investor in Voatz or any other Internet voting company. I do not receive any fees of any kind for what I say or write about Internet voting.

A Meet the Author event was held on Friday at a monthly meeting of the Senior Provider Information Network. The meeting was at the beautiful Market Street Memory Care Residence in Palm Coast, Florida. Additional author events will be held in Florida during the 1st quarter of 2020 and then more back in Connecticut in the Spring. The table below shows events scheduled so far. Details on upcoming events will follow. Questions to [email protected]


As predicted, the press has jumped on the idea of Internet voting and pointed out how insecure it is. I could not resist writing another post to get a more balanced point of view entered into the mix. I have also given some interviews and participated on panels about the subject. Following are some links to videos of them. There is some redundancy in the New York interviews. The links are:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLsHkes9-qQ&t=95s Pepperdine
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxUm30YdYbw NYC 11/2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVajKvM4sco&t=32s NYC full interview
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdsZI-2ipes NYC August 2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NWqWSY8z9k&t=303s Internet voting
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Um4wnMZ1-s NYC August 2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cJGsvfWyaw NYC
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SfT6ENx-jg&t=3s NYC


Data Fact of the Week

Each of our body’s 10 trillion or so cells contains about six feet of DNA, the enormously long molecule that contains all the genetic information which makes us a person. If laid end to end, the DNA would reach to the sun and back dozens of times. An equally amazing comparison is with the size of each of our cell’s nucleus, the container which holds our DNA. The diameter of a typical nucleus is about 1 ten-millionth of an inch, making it 400,000 times smaller than the DNA which has to fit inside it. The compression factor is equivalent to folding 20 miles of string perfectly into a tennis ball.


Tesla has now reached a market capitalization of $145 billion. This is remarkable but just a fraction of the MAGFA group. See the table below. The five giants have now reached a market cap of five and a half trillion dollars. All five companies are global, but to put their massive valuation into perspective, it represents 21% of the market cap of the U.S. S&P 500. Shareholders are rejoicing, but government regulators and politicians are licking their chops. 

MAGFA Market Cap
Microsoft $1.400 Trillion
Apple $1.420 Trillion
Google $1.040 Trillion
Facebook $0.610 Trillion
Amazon $1.060 Trillion
     
Total $5.530 Trillion
     
S&P 500 1/31/20 $26.720 Trillion
     
MAGFA 21%  

 

Date

Time

Location

May 15, 2020

1:00 PM

Founders Hall
193 Danbury Rd, Ridgefield, CT 06877

March 19, 2020

11:30 AM

AdventHealth Palm Coast Community Forum
60 Memorial Medical Pkwy
Palm Coast, FL 32164

February 14, 2020

8:30 AM

Senior Provider Information Network
2 Corporate Dr.
Palm Coast, FL

February 6, 2020

1:00 PM

Hammock Dunes Club
Palm Coast, FL
Private event: Request invite
Mail to [email protected]

November 14, 2019

1:00 PM

New Fairfield Senior Center
33 CT-37
New Fairfield, CT

October 9, 2019

5:30 PM

Crowne Plaza Hotel
18 Old Ridgebury Rd
Danbury, CT

August 29, 2019

5:30 PM

The Boiler Room
Hawley Silk Mill
8 Silk Mill Drive
Hawley, PA

A lot of knowledgeable experts will be weighing in with their points of view about what went wrong with the Iowa caucus vote counting. There were many problems but it is clear as can be the core problem was the lack of testing. I learned decades ago about the importance of testing anything involving software. The other thing I learned is software always does exactly what you tell it to do, not what you want it to do. The only way to get software to do what you want it to do is testing, and you can never test too much.

My team at IBM built a website for the Atlanta Olympic Games of 1996. In 1995, there were not many people who knew a lot about how to build really large websites or, for that matter, any kind of website. The Olympic site was the largest in the world back then, and we learned a lot in building it. We were humble with our expectations. We didn’t know how many people would come to the site, when they would come, or what they might do when they got there. We learned many lessons, but I can summarize it in a simple mantra: Think big, act bold, start simple, iterate fast (with testing). Another way to say it is to take a lot of baby steps.

The Olympic Games website was successful. For the first time, people around the world had real-time access to the individual and country results from the Olympic Games. We had a lot to share about how the site was developed but, unfortunately the story was overshadowed by a glitch in an unrelated application (the word app had not yet been invented) developed in Atlanta. The application was designed to distribute news and results to the press. A software developer made a change to the application but failed to test it. The result was a disaster. If an application was to have a failure for a customer, the last place you would want it to happen is with the press. 

In software development parlance, testing happens in phases. First is the alpha test to see if the concept works. Then comes beta testing where you bring in a small number of users and get their feedback. Sometimes software can be in the beta phase of testing for months or even years. When it is finally ready to go live for all users, the software is released. As an extreme example, Google introduced gmail in 2004 and kept it in beta for five years, signaling the company was still making feature changes and testing them. As of 2019, there are 1.5 billion users.

Development of a test plan is at least as important as the plan for the product or service itself. In the innovation group at IBM, my team would develop a new application and conduct the alpha test among just our own team. When everybody was happy, we would roll it out to a small subset, by invitation. When the team was satisfied with the testing progress, more beta users would be added. When it was clear the application was working properly and the users were happy, the application would be released for all users. 

Almost 20 years later I heard about the impending launch on October 1, 2013 of healthcare.gov. I knew it would be a failure from the get go. A project as massive as healthcare.gov which intends to serve all types of insured citizens in all 50 states can have many possible points of failure. It reminded me of the mantra I learned in 1996. It appeared the mantra for healthcare.gov was “think big, act big, start big, fail big”. The healthcare.gov site could have been introduced in one state for one type of insured. After successful testing, another state could be added. Then another type of insured. The proper testing would have spanned at least a year, in my opinion.

Clay Shirky, an American writer, consultant and teacher on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies, analyzed the failure in “Healthcare.gov and the Gulf Between Planning and Reality“. He concluded the developer’s idea that “failure is not an option” but, with no testing, was a fantasy. The developers feared if they openly tested the system before releasing it to the public, politicians would attack the purpose and efficacy of the site. The lack of testing caused catastrophic results.

And now, in 2020, after a vast accumulation over decades of experience with the Internet, the leaders of the Democratic caucus released an app which had virtually no testing. People in 1,700 precincts were told to download the app for the first time on the night of the caucus. The app was not available in the app store because it had not had proper testing. The users in the precincts had to follow a special download process which was daunting for many. In interviews before the caucus, leaders said they had a backup plan if things did not go well. The backup plan was a call center which also served as the technical support center for users having trouble with the app. Some users were on hold for hours and finally gave up. 

How difficult would it have been to have an alpha/beta test plan? It would have been relatively easy. It could have started with 17 of the 1,700 precincts. If successful, another 17, then 170, and after all were happy, released to all. A solid test plan would have taken months. It is clear from the various news reports the Democratic leadership had little or no technical competency and the vendor who developed the app had little experience with apps. 

The leadership of the Democratic caucus did a terrible disservice to American democracy. With people already skeptical of Internet voting, the experts are now piling on saying “See, we told you so. Don’t even consider Internet voting”. The Internet had nothing to do with this massive failure. It all came down to one simple concept: Testing. 

Another root cause of the Iowa disaster is the lack of technical skills. Voting was delegated by the Constitution to the Secretaries of State most of whom are lawyers. The administration of voting takes place at the county level, 3,000 of them. The staff and volunteers are hard working and dedicated to enabling people to vote. Unfortunately, the system they have to work with is a 150-year-old paper based system, the staffers are not technical, and budgets to upgrade are limited. 

In 2016, 100 million people who could have voted did not. Why? There is a long list of reasons. Absentee and vote early paper-based voting is not the answer. In Election Attitude – How Internet Voting Leads to a Stronger Democracy, I described how our smartphones with biometric authentication and blockchain technology can automate the voting process with security, privacy, accuracy, and verifiability. If we can land a robot on Mars, we certainly can automate voting. We just need the right attitude politically and technologically and a lot of testing.

West Virginia has shown great leadership in this area. They have been working with a Boston based technology company called Voatz. Voatz has a team of technology and voting experts. They designed a mobile blockchain app which has proven to be secure and easy to use. Rather than roll it out at the last minute with no testing, West Virginia worked with 144 overseas military voters residing in 31 countries. Ballots were submitted via the app for the November 2018 election. Before that, there was a smaller pilot of the system in two West Virginia counties in May 2018. Voter satisfaction with Voatz Internet voting was high, and the vote was accurate and secure.

We should not let the mismanaged Iowa experience diminish the vision to enfranchise the 100 million people who didn’t vote in 2016. We need Internet voting to have a strong democracy. As Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet said, “We can do this.” 

On Thursday afternoon I made a presentation to about 50 members at the Hammock Dunes Club, where I am a member. The topics I discussed included 5G, augmented reality (AR), Bitcoin, Blockchain, CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing for cancer treatment, facial recognition, home automation, Internet voting, mHealth, robots, and AI. All of these have been and will continue to be topics of my weekly blog posts.


Tesla has now reached a market capitalization of $138 billion. This is remarkable but just a fraction of what I call the MAGFA group. See the table below. The five giants have now reached a market cap of five and a half trillion dollars. All five companies are global, but to put their massive valuation into perspective, it represents 21% of the market cap of the U.S. S&P 500. Shareholders are rejoicing, but government regulators and politicians are licking their chops. 

MAGFA Market Cap
Microsoft $1.400 Trillion
Apple $1.420 Trillion
Google $1.040 Trillion
Facebook $0.607 Trillion
Amazon $1.040 Trillion
     
Total $5.507 Trillion
     
S&P 500 1/31/20 $26.720 Trillion
     
MAGFA 21%  


The next Meet the Author event will be February 14 in Palm Coast, Florida. Additional author events will be held in Florida during the 1st quarter of 2020 and then more back in Connecticut in the Spring. The table below shows events scheduled so far. Details on upcoming events will follow. Questions to [email protected]


Date

Time

Location

May 15, 2020

1:00 PM

Founders Hall
193 Danbury Rd, Ridgefield, CT 06877

March 19, 2020

11:30 AM

AdventHealth Palm Coast Community Forum
60 Memorial Medical Pkwy
Palm Coast, FL 32164

February 14, 2020

8:30 AM

Senior Provider Information Network
2 Corporate Dr.
Palm Coast, FL

February 6, 2020

1:00 PM

Hammock Dunes Club
Palm Coast, FL
Private event: Request invite
Mail to [email protected]

November 14, 2019

1:00 PM

New Fairfield Senior Center
33 CT-37
New Fairfield, CT

October 9, 2019

5:30 PM

Crowne Plaza Hotel
18 Old Ridgebury Rd
Danbury, CT

August 29, 2019

5:30 PM

The Boiler Room
Hawley Silk Mill
8 Silk Mill Drive
Hawley, PA

Picture by Active Implants LLC

There are many posts in this blog about knee surgeries and replacements. One of the problem areas is the meniscus, a C-shaped piece of rubbery yet tough cartilage which acts as a shock absorber between your shinbone and thighbone. A meniscus tear can occur if you suddenly twist your knee while bearing weight on it. The knee is the largest joint in the body, and a meniscus tear can result in swelling, popping, limping, giving way, and a lot of pain. Like many issues, age can be an issue contributing to meniscus tears.

A privately held medtech company with headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee, Active Implants LLC, develops orthopedic implant solutions designed to complement the natural biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system. The company’s goal is to allow patients to maintain or return to an active lifestyle. The current focus of Active Implants is to gain clinical validation for its NUsurface® Meniscus Implant, the first artificial meniscus. The target market is to replace a meniscus which is damaged or deteriorating.

The NUsurface meniscus implant is designed for patients with persistent knee pain following medial meniscus surgery. The artificial meniscus is made from medical-grade polymer and other unique materials. Because of the composite structure and design, the artificial meniscus does not require fixation to bone or soft tissues. The NUsurface Implant design mimics the function of the natural meniscus and redistributes loads which are transmitted across the knee joint.

The NUsurface device is already being marketed in Belgium, Germany, Israel, and Italy. The U.S. FDA has designated the NUsurface implant as a “breakthrough device”. According to the Active Implants website, two clinical trials of the NUsurface® Meniscus Implant were fully enrolled as of June 2018. One trial is called SUN (Safety Using NUsurface®) and the other VENUS (Verifying the Effectiveness of the NUsurface® System). Final approval by the FDA is expected this year. If approved, it will be the first artificial meniscus in the United States.

As I wrote in Robot Attitude: How Robots and Artificial Intelligence Will Make Our Lives Better, we are continuing the journey where more and more non-biological items are being inserted in humans. At the same time, biological-like items are going into robots. When we reach the singularity, it will be very difficult to tell the difference between human and non-human beings. 

Source: First ‘Artificial Meniscus’ Wins FDA Breakthrough Device Designation | MDDI Online

Another of Elon Musk’s companies, spaceX, continues on a roll like Tesla. Wednesday morning there was a beautiful launch of a Falcon 9 rocket. The rocket’s nine Merlin engines put 60 more StarLink satellites in orbit to expand the Internet service goals of the company. We will hear much more about this in coming months. After the stage 1 booster separated, it returned to Earth and made a perfect landing on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. I was able to see the rocket from my terrace which is about  80 miles north. Atop the rocket were the 60 satellites and two fairing pieces, like a clam shell, which protect the satellites during the trip to space. A fairing is 43 ft long and 17 ft in diameter. It weighs approximately 4,000 pounds. After the two fairing halves tumbled back to Earth, a spaceX ship in the ocean with a huge net was able to catch one of the fairings. Truly amazing. The other fairing had a near miss at a second ship. A fairing costs about $6 million, so the attempts are  worthwhile. Isn’t it amazing American and Russian space agencies have not thought of re-using booster rockets and fairings after their many decades at space launches?


Tesla has now reached a market capitalization of $103 billion and Apple now exceeds $1.4 trillion. Microsoft is almost at $1.3 trillion. Amazon and Google are north of $900 billion and Facebook is approaching $600 million. Who would have thought these numbers would be possible?


The next Meet the Author event will be February 6 in Palm Coast, Florida. Additional author events will be held in Florida during the 1st quarter of 2020 and then more back in Connecticut in the Spring. The table below shows events scheduled so far. Details on upcoming events will follow. Questions to [email protected]


Date

Time

Location

May 15, 2020

1:00 PM

Founders Hall
193 Danbury Rd, Ridgefield, CT 06877

March 19, 2020

11:30 AM

AdventHealth Palm Coast Community Forum
60 Memorial Medical Pkwy
Palm Coast, FL 32164

February 14, 2020

8:30 AM

Senior Provider Information Network
2 Corporate Dr.
Palm Coast, FL

February 6, 2020

1:00 PM

Hammock Dunes Club
Palm Coast, FL
Private event: Request invite
Mail to [email protected]

November 14, 2019

1:00 PM

New Fairfield Senior Center
33 CT-37
New Fairfield, CT

October 9, 2019

5:30 PM

Crowne Plaza Hotel
18 Old Ridgebury Rd
Danbury, CT

August 29, 2019

5:30 PM

The Boiler Room
Hawley Silk Mill
8 Silk Mill Drive
Hawley, PA

VotingSeveral House members have introduced a bipartisan resolution to modernize how Congress operates. It includes the ability to vote remotely or take part in hearings online. A California Congressman said, “Across the nation we see the development of new, innovative ways of conducting business to improve communication and connectedness. It’s time for Congress to learn to be more mobile and adapt to the times in which we live.” Amen.

What a great idea, although long overdue. Consider how the Senate votes. On January 21, the Senate held 11 votes related to amendments to a pending resolution. First, let me say I am not going to make a political pronouncement about whether the 11 votes should or should not have been passed. I want to comment on the mechanics of how they voted, not the politics. In the House, when a vote is called, it is over in a few minutes. The count is shown in real-time and members can modify their vote up to an announced cutoff. In the Senate, they vote the same way they did 150 years ago.

Our Senate uses the NBC (No buttons or clicking) method. The roll call is the controlling technology. Each vote starts with “Mr. Alexander”. Mr. Alexander then stands up and casts his voice vote. “Ms. Baldwin”, “Mr. Barrosso”, “Mr. Bennet, “Ms. Blackburn”, and the same for the other 95. After Mr. Young stands and casts his voice vote, there is a very long silence. Not sure what somebody is doing. I would hope all the votes were entered into some kind of app which then showed the totals, but it would not surprise me if they manually counted the votes and then had a second person double check. A long document is then presented to whoever is in charge, in this case the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

As I have written in Election Attitude – How Internet Voting Leads to a Stronger Democracy and in numerous posts, mobile blockchain voting is very doable. All we need to do is impose the political and technological will to overcome the fear and the protection of the status quo. It can be done and be secure, private, accurate, and verifiable. Much more so than paper ballots. In a closed chamber where all the 100 voters are in the room, a simple wired keypad application could easily handle the voting task. It would be a near instant vote count.

Every month I get an email from a software company called Smile. It includes a report telling me how many minutes I saved for the month as a result of using an app called TextExpander. I have the app on all my devices. When I type eatl, my device types on its own “Election Attitude – How Internet Voting Leads to a Stronger Democracy”. The time savings are up to an hour a month. Imagine how many hours the Senate could save if it had electronic voting.

Our Congress is the body of politicians who the tech industry is urging to develop regulations for artificial intelligence, facial recognition, cryptocurrency, and other critical and highly technical issues. Are the politicians, especially the Senate, up to it? You can guess how I would cast my vote on that question. The latest survey shows a job satisfaction of 9% for Congress. No surprise.

Hobby Attitude is the one! The final tally came in with 63% of the votes for Hobby Attitude. I have started an outline for the book and will update you from time to time on my plans and progress. Thanks for your interest.


One of Elon Musk’s companies, Tesla, continues on a roll. Tesla overtook Volkswagon as the world’s second most valuable carmaker behind Japan’s Toyota. Tesla’s stock has more than doubled in the last three months, with its market capitalization at $103 Billion as of the close on Thursday, exceeding that of Ford and GM combined. No stock can go straight up forever, but the short sellers have lost billions betting Tesla would stumble. Apple has now reached a market capitalization of $1.4 Trillion. Who would have thought Apple would become worth more than ten times the market cap of IBM?


The King Conservation District is a state environmental agency that encompasses Seattle and more than 30 other cities. The District is rolling out new technology will be used for a board of supervisors election. More than one million people will be able to vote from their smartphones. This is an historic event and, hopefully, will inspire other jurisdictions to begin pilot projects to enable Internet voting in 2022.


The next Meet the Author event will be February 6 in Palm Coast, Florida. Additional author events will be held in Florida during the 1st quarter of 2020 and then more back in Connecticut in the Spring. The table below shows events scheduled so far. Details on upcoming events will follow.


Date

Time

Location

May 15, 2020

1:00 PM

Founders Hall
193 Danbury Rd, Ridgefield, CT 06877

March 19, 2020

11:30 AM

AdventHealth Palm Coast Community Forum
60 Memorial Medical Pkwy
Palm Coast, FL 32164

February 14, 2020

8:30 AM

Senior Provider Information Network
2 Corporate Dr.
Palm Coast, FL

February 6, 2020

1:00 PM

Hammock Dunes Club
Palm Coast, FL
Private event: Request invite
Mail to [email protected]

November 14, 2019

1:00 PM

New Fairfield Senior Center
33 CT-37
New Fairfield, CT

October 9, 2019

5:30 PM

Crowne Plaza Hotel
18 Old Ridgebury Rd
Danbury, CT

August 29, 2019

5:30 PM

The Boiler Room
Hawley Silk Mill
8 Silk Mill Drive
Hawley, PA