Arrived in Quito, Ecuador

We are traveling with Rene and Howard. They arranged the entire trip. We opted in. First stop Quito, then the Galapagos. This trip is going to be very adventurous. We are at 9,000 feet above sea level in Quito, and the four of us don’t feel a thing. So far, so good. We hope we do as well on the boat taking us from island to island, in the Galapagos, which we fly to on Thursday.

Today was a fun day. We did what every tourist does on the first day in a new city, Eat, shop, and take photos. I did a little damage at the market at Otavalo. These are the vendors I made rich.

The following photos are dedicated to my friend Bob Risse who taught me to appreciate the entrances (doors) to homes, offices and retail shops around the world. Rich or poor. many folks place emphasis on curb appeal. The following are the doors I found in Otavalo.

The view from our room in Quito.

Peacocks in love

This Airplane Is on Steroids

Stratolaunch’s First Taxi Test

I just heard about the largest airplane ever to be built. They say it will be ready later this year, but I don’t know that for a fact. You can ask Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft who is financing it, or Google its name, the mighty “Stratolaunch.” You might find out more information than I know.

I asked several tech friends for information and did some Googling myself. I was astonished to find out that the aircraft is so big that it requires two cockpits and six jet engines to fly.

This big bird is probably being designed for commercial use because its wingspan is longer than a football field. It measures 385 feet and reportedly will be used to transport rockets carrying satellites and astronauts into Earth’s upper atmosphere.

Last summer, billionaire Allen revealed the visionary firm’s ambitious plans for the giant record-breaking aircraft.

Allen told the Washington Post, “I would love to see us have a full reusable system and have weekly, if not more often, airport-style, repeatable operations going.”

When asked about the possibility of manned missions, Allen added: “If you caught the bug back in the Mercury era, of course, it’s in the back of your mind.

“But I think you’re seeing right now, other than [space station] resupply missions, most spaceflights are about launching satellites. That’s the reality.”

As well as sending cargo to space, the plane could be used to launch a secretive shuttle-size rocket codenamed “Black Ice.”

Right now the Stratolaunch is being tested in every conceivable way.

Allen plans to release more details about the functions and services in the near future.

For more information, read The Independent.”

Amazon Wants It All

This morning, I received a text from my friends who are meeting Eliot and I in Quito, Ecuador tomorrow. They are in the mountains and visited the Amazon today.

I decided to look up exactly where they were so I googled “Amazon.” I actually had to scroll way down to find the Amazon “jungle” or the Amazon “rain forest”. I finally had to resort to inserting the words “jungle” and “rain forest” in search to get what I was looking for.

The other Amazon, the Jeff Bezos kind, is not only overtaking Google, but the world as well. It has become our everything. It has taken over cloud services, voice assistants, publishing, and self-serving brick-and-mortar stores.

Now I hear that Amazon is getting into fashion. They want to change our whole approach to buying clothes. To some extent they already have. Now they want their own brands. They already own other fashion companies including Zappos, but that’s not good enough.

Coresight Research claims 14 per cent of what Amazon sells is their own product. Amazon now is going after the remaining 86 per cent dominated by third parties. They are going to spice things up with major fashion concepts and trends. It’s not good enough to be the largest apparel retailer. Amazon wants their own designed clothes on the cover of Vogue, Elle, and Marie Claire.

In case you are wondering, the Amazon “rainforest” is located in nine different countries with 60 per cent in Brazil. The balance is Peru, Columbia, Ecuador. Bolivia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.

Read more about Amazon moving into fine apparel in Tech Crunch.


Derek Fordjour

We had a wonderful time visiting the Nina Johnson Gallery in Little Haiti, Miami this morning where the works of Derek Fordjour were on display. The artist, whose paintings are on exhibit all over the world, was visiting from Harlem, NYC, where he lives.

We got quite an earful of what it’s like being a black man in the United States, what it’s like for him to visit Israel, how his paintings reflect the tenderness of the United States, his vulnerabilities, and the isolations of an artist.

All of Derek’s work sold out before the show was fully installed. Many of the folks on our tour, from the Perez Art Museum Miami, are collectors. Derek shared his emotions, his artistic journey, and all that he wants to explore.

I video taped short segments of Derek’s discussions. They are very inspiring.

Using Twitter to Predict Presidential Popularity

My brilliant tech friend from Washington DC, Gary Arlen, shared this story with me from the Tech Policy Institute. I thought you would find it very interesting.

Is it possible to gauge American’s sentiment towards President Trump through the number of “likes” of his tweets?

Washington, DC – Can the number of “likes” of President Trump’s tweets offer any insight into his overall approval rating?

TPI’s President and Senior Fellow Scott Wallsten recently analyzed this topic in detail. The results show a distinct and meaningful correlation between the number of “likes” of President Trump’s tweets and his poll numbers.

Dr. Wallsten’s research and its implications mean that determining the number of “likes” might serve as an accurate, real-time snapshot of how Americans feel about President Trump.

According to the research, “every thousand “likes” correlates to about 0.02 percent decrease in his disapproval ratings and 0.015 percent increase in his approval ratings. These are meaningful magnitudes given that 87,000 likes per tweet on average.” A full copy of the report can be found here:


We spotted Venus tonight from our balcony in Miami Beach. Bright and bold, staring right at us. Eliot wanted a better look so he open his SkyView App and zeroed right in.


Smartphones Are The New Lie Detectors.

It may not be so easy to tell a little white lie in the future. Computer scientists at the University of Copenhagen are working on turning the smartphone into a lie detector.

I don’t think the technology is totally accurate yet, but scientists are working diligently to get the new algorithm to identify honesty and dishonesty. The results are determined by analyzing how you swipe or tap a smartphone. “Dishonest interactions often take longer and involve more hand movement than honest ones,” according to a research paper from the University of Copenhagen

The algorithm is called Veritaps. The university claims a green check mark is flashed when truthful statements are entered into a smartphone and notes doubtful information with a red question mark.

Will this replace the polygraph? I guess we will find out when it becomes a reality. Read more about this in CNET.

Click here.

A Check Up From The Neck Up—A Must

Image: Jonathan Harvey, New York Post

Pictured here: Jake Carlin, Alex Fisherman, Josh Chostaka and Ian Langan of the Cavallini Middle School in New Jersey created Head Safe.

In the last few years, I keep hearing stories about senior friends who have suffered head injuries and don’t seek medical help. Some slipped in the snow while others fell off ladders. If these folks didn’t experience bleeding, or lose consciousness, they assumed they were just fine and continued their normal activities.

Fast forward a few months later. Several friends experienced vertigo, headaches, double vision, and severe neck pain. Thankfully, no one died. Actress Natasha Richardson was not as lucky. She died in 2008, after a severe head injury in a skiing accident in Montreal. She refused immediate medical help.

The lesson here is that you must get checked out immediately. At least student football players all over the United States are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of head injuries. That’s why four New Jersey eighth-graders developed a device that can immediately detect serious brain injuries.

Samsung, headquartered close to the Cavallini Middle School, awarded $150,000 to the students as part of a technology contest.

Called Head Safe, a sensor is inserted inside a football helmet and “uses an accelerometer that detects a possible concussion based on the force of the impact. The data is then sent via Bluetooth to an app which alerts coaches, and other team members, that a serious injury might have taken place. The sensor calculates linear acceleration and also records vibration and shock.”

That is so amazing. The goal is to bring Head Safe to market. I’m available to help.

The New York Post was the first to report about Head Safe. Read it here.

Stop Telemarketing Calls

After reading the above headline, I bet you are all paying close attention to what I have to say. We all hate the endless telemarketing calls we get each day.

Just when you think the calls are going to stop, the phone starts ringing again.I’m just about to become your best friend.

I’m enclosing a story by David Cogen of Digital Trends who is going to give you a step by step plan to get rid of the calls. You must watch the video to get the true essence of what you need to do.

Click here.

Facebook Is Not Alone

Image: CFO Innovation

For the last several weeks, I have had to listen to many of my contemporaries talk about the dangers of Facebook. I find it very interesting that most of the comments came from friends who know very little about Facebook, and why it became so important to so many.

While everyone is focused on Facebook, they seem to be ignoring the fact that they too are vulnerable because of their participation on digital media with giants such as Amazon and Google. Both companies are collecting far more information on all of us than Facebook has ever been capable of obtaining.

Think about it.

Amazon and Google know your personal email, home address, credit card information, purchases, websites you have visited, trips you have made, local tracking information, addresses of your friends, your reviews, on and on.

The so-called Facebook backlash is just the beginning of more truths about the digital world. Get ready for it. You are very involved and you better be prepared for all kinds of exposure.

Read about the realities of the digital world in Mashable.

Click here. Facebook isn’t the only one with too much of your data. Just ask Google and Amazon.