Aggregating the best in libertarian news daily from a number of leading sites:
The Beacon, FEE, Laissez-Faire, Lew Rockwell, Personal Liberty,
Reason, Scott Adams & Sex & The State. See our Sources
The Trump Economic Bump

True story: Yesterday I was talking to a friend who invested in Gilead stock right before Hillary Clinton started giving speeches about forcing companies in that space to lower their prices. The stock dropped and my friend lost money. He blames Clinton.

Over the summer this same fellow sold off his entire stock portfolio to avoid the risk of a Trump win followed by what he assumed would be a catastrophic market downturn. If Clinton won, he figured he could buy back in at about the same prices. But Trump won, stocks zoomed higher, and my friend lost out on the rally. Hillary Clinton cost him money for the second time this year.

But don’t feel bad for my friend. He reports that since the election his phone has been ringing off the hook with new job offers. He’s a residential contractor. Apparently the country got optimistic right after the election. Normally this would be his slow period. He’s swamped with work.

I love a happy ending.

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Can the Government Deduce Your Religion Without Asking?

I’m hearing a lot of chatter about President Trump potentially creating a “Muslim registry,” which, as it turns out, already exists. The current system only registers non-residents from certain countries. But how hard would it be for the government to figure out all of our religious beliefs – citizens and non-citizens alike — without asking?

My guess is that the government already uses Big Data to determine our religious beliefs and more. Consider all the information they have.

1. Your cell phone leaves a trail in the cloud of where you have been. If you have been to a Mosque, the government can know that.

2. Your banking and credit card records would tell the government if you buy any products associated with Islamic culture or beliefs. That could include food, clothing, and more.

3. The government can search all of your social media, text messages, and other digital communication for keywords and other clues about your beliefs.

4. The government knows who you associate with on social media and what websites you visit.

5. Census information.

6. Non-governmental forms you might have filled out with your religious preferences or ethnic background.

7. Health records might have clues too. For example, a hospital record might specify a halal diet.

I know the government doesn’t have explicit legal authority to snoop into all of the information sources I listed, but I’d be surprised if they aren’t doing it anyway in the name of national security. We wouldn’t know if they had backdoors into the major corporate networks. I assume they do.

So don’t worry too much about a Muslim “registry.” We’ve probably had one for years. And the rest of us are probably on lists of some sort too. So far, all it has done is reduce terror attacks (I presume).

I agree that society needs to keep an eye on this sort of “registry” to prevent abuse. It is frightening to even read the language about it. But once you see it in context, it probably isn’t much change from the current situation.

On another topic…

Are You Divorced with Joint Custody?

If you are a divorced parent with joint custody you know how frustrating it is to manage the hand-offs of the kids once or twice a week. One parent is always waiting for the other, and getting angrier each minute because of lateness that seems intentional (because exes are like that). You don’t want to text your ex, especially when the ex is driving with your kids in the car. So how do you solve this annoying child exchange tension that you have EVERY week?

Try my startup’s new app, WhenHub. It allows any group of two or more people to TEMPORARILY geostream their locations on a map as they head to a meeting spot. (Like the Uber app without the Uber car.) That way you know your ex is on the way without talking to them. And if your ex is not cooperative, you can put the app on your kids’ phones because they will be in the same vehicle.

No more frustrating texts back and forth asking “Where are you???” The geostreaming in the app is always temporary and times-out whenever you specify, so your ex can’t track you.

If you try it once, you’ll never go back to the old way.

WhenHub app for Apple: http://apple.co/2eLL3Oh

WhenHub app for Android: http://bit.ly/2fIb6L7

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The Mustache Prediction

Prior to President Elect Trump filling the Secretary of State job, I blogged here that Bolton’s mustache would be a problem.

Today I see this:

Trump rejects John Bolton not because he’s deranged but because he has a mustache. You can’t make this up. https://t.co/nimhTU60U4 pic.twitter.com/hjQHsu0Q4m

— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) December 22, 2016

Have you seen WhenHub yet? It does so many things I can’t even describe it.

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How to Be Unpersuasive

I’ve been teaching you how to be persuasive for the past year. But I should also tell you what doesn’t work for changing people’s minds.

Analogies: Analogies are good tools for explaining a concept to someone for the first time. But because analogies are imperfect they are the worst way to persuade. All discussions that involve analogies devolve into arguments about the quality of the analogy, not the underlying situation.

Hypocrisy: Pundits like to point out that politicians often criticize others for the very things they have done. That sort of observation is good entertainment but it is an intellectual exercise with no emotional power. You need emotion to persuade. And hypocrisy is such a universal human quality that it’s hard to get worked up about it when you see it.

What if the situation were reversed? Lately it has become common to address any criticism about your team by speculating that the situation would be viewed differently if the other team were being accused of the same misdeeds. While this might be true in some cases, it is an intellectual point in the same way as hypocrisy, and thus it has minimal persuasive power. The only power it might have is embarrassing the media toward a more even-handed approach in the future. But it won’t change anyone’s opinion about the current topic.

What about this irrelevant data? Even relevant data has limited persuasion power unless it is substantially new information. People tend to only believe data that fits their existing opinion. Irrelevant data (such as the fact that Clinton won the popular vote) is even less persuasive than relevant stuff.

Appeal to Experts: As long as there is at least one expert on the other side of a topic, the experts as a whole are not persuasive. To be clear, if you are introducing yourself to an unfamiliar topic, the number of experts on each side might matter. But for familiar topics such as climate change, it only matters that some experts are on the other side. And there are always experts on the other side of controversial topics. For example, here are a handful of climate skeptics: http://read.bi/2i0uKz2. That’s all you need.

You can identify the pundits that know nothing about persuasion because they use all of the approaches above and none of the ones that work. I’m excluding the hosts of mainstream media and Internet opinion shows because they are more about entertainment than persuasion. The hosts might understand persuasion but that won’t necessarily translate into using it unless it is also entertaining.

The “So” Tell: When you see an argument on the Internet that begins with the word “So…” you can be sure that what follows is a mischaracterization of the other side’s point followed by sarcasm and derision over the mischaracterization (but not the actual point). The sarcasm and derision are good persuasion because they act as an emotional penalty for maintaining the opinion that is under fire. But generally the “so…” structure of an argument causes both parties to debate the characterization versus debating the actual point.

Word-Thinking: I have never heard of anyone winning an argument by adjusting the definition of a word. But that doesn’t stop people from trying. We argue over whether a fetus is “living” at any particular point. We argue over the definition of a true “conservative.” We argue about whether or not Trump won in a “landslide.” We argue about Trump being a “fascist.” I doubt any of this word-thinking changed minds. 

I’m working on a new book about persuasion, using the election as a teaching tool to support the point. That’s due out in October.

You might enjoy my current book on the topic of systems versus goals because it is cold outside.

––

Have you downloaded my startup’s app called WhenHub yet? It’s a must-have for holiday get-togethers. No more frustrating texts back and forth asking “Where are you???” (The geostreaming in the app is always temporary so you can’t later be tracked.)

WhenHub app for Apple: http://apple.co/2eLL3Oh

WhenHub app for Android: http://bit.ly/2fIb6L7

Read More →
How Many Trump Votes Did I Cause?

I asked on Periscope today how many people used the persuasion I taught them in my blog to convert people to Trump voters. I was shocked that so many people had converted not just one friend but sometimes several or more. So I did a quick Twitter poll to ask this same question. Obviously this is not a scientific poll, but do me a favor in the comments and make your own estimate of how many voters this might extrapolate to.

For readers of my blog only, how many people did you convert to Trump voters because of something I taught you? #Trump

— Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) December 20, 2016

You might enjoy my book because hyperbole is persuasive even when it isn’t true and people like my book more than they like sex.

––

Have you downloaded my startup’s app called WhenHub yet? It’s a must-have for holiday get-togethers. No more frustrating texts back and forth asking “Where are you???” (The geostreaming in the app is always temporary so you can’t later be tracked.)

WhenHub app for Apple: http://apple.co/2eLL3Oh

WhenHub app for Android: http://bit.ly/2fIb6L7

Read More →
The Wikileaks Persuasion You Missed

Do you remember when Wikileaks first started releasing the hacked emails from the DNC? Julian Assange told us the good stuff was coming later. Then some more emails were released, but still no good stuff. Just stuff. 

But the really, really good stuff was coming, Assange assured us. Not this next release perhaps, but soon. Just wait.

And then it never came. There was no good stuff in those emails. There was plenty of little stuff. But nothing that moves elections.

Time passes. Memories fade.

If you were to ask the average voter whether the Wikileaks made a big difference to the outcome, many would say yes. But that’s probably a false memory triggered by Assange assuring us that big stuff was coming. We remember him telling us that. So it must have happened, right?

You can test for this false memory on your own. Ask a coworker or family member if they think the Wikileaks email releases made a difference to the election. If they say yes, ask which email topic in particular was the bad one. Then enjoy the magical sound of crickets.

The most likely outcome of that conversation is that your subject will try to conflate the Wikileaks emails with Clinton’s unsecured server issue. Let me know if that happens when you try it.

You have to give Assange credit for this persuasion. He made the public remember something that didn’t happen.

You might recall that i predicted that the emails released by Wikileaks would be a big nothing. But what I missed is that Assange turned that nothing into a something in our memories by making us remember that something big was coming. Even though it didn’t. That’s good persuasion.

You might like my book because New Year’s Day falls on January 1st this year.

Have you downloaded my startup’s app called WhenHub yet? It’s a must-have for holiday get-togethers. No more frustrating texts back and forth asking “Where are you???” (The geostreaming in the app is always temporary so you can’t later be tracked.)

WhenHub app for Apple: http://apple.co/2eLL3Oh

WhenHub app for Android: http://bit.ly/2fIb6L7

#Wikileaks #Clinton #Trump

Read More →
Watching the Climate Science Bubbles from the Outside

I often hear from people who are on one side or the other on the topic of climate change. And I think I spotted a new cognitive phenomenon that might not have a name.* I’ll call it cognitive blindness, defined as the inability to see the strong form of the other side of a debate. 

The setup for cognitive blindness looks like this:

1. An issue has the public divided into two sides.

2. You read an article that agrees with your side and provides solid evidence to support it. That article mentions the argument on the other side in summary form but dismisses it as unworthy of consideration.

3. You remember (falsely) having seen both sides of the argument. What you really saw was one side of the argument plus a misleading summary of the other side.

4. When someone sends you links to better arguments on the other side you skip them because you think you already know what they will say, and you assume it must be nonsense. For all practical purposes you are blind to the other argument. It isn’t that you disagree with the strong form of the argument on the other side so much as you don’t know it exists no matter how many times it is put right in front of you.

I noticed this phenomenon when I started blogging about climate change. The citizens who side with the majority of scientists in saying climate change is influenced by humans and the prediction models about doom are accurate have – as far as I can tell – never seen the strong versions of the argument on the other side. (I know because I ask about it.) They have only seen the weak versions presented by their own side. And the weak version of the argument goes like this: “The other side are science deniers and quacks.”

My bottom-line belief about climate science is that non-scientists such as myself have no reliable way to evaluate any of this stuff. Our brains and experience are not up to the task. When I apply my tiny brain to sniffing out the truth about climate science I see rock-solid arguments on both sides of the debate. 

Trained scientists might be able to sort out the truth from the B.S. in climate change science, although I’m skeptical about that too. But non-scientists have no chance whatsoever to discern which side is right. I consider myself to be bright and well-educated, and from my perspective both sides of the debate are 100% persuasive if you look at them in isolation. And apparently that’s what most citizens do. 

The best way to know if a non-scientist is under-informed is to ask if they have a firm opinion on climate change. If that firm opinion is anything but “I don’t know” it probably means they are experiencing cognitive blindness about the existence of a strong argument on the other side.

Some people deal with the uncertainty around the climate prediction models by saying that even if there is only a tiny risk of global catastrophe, we still need to do all we can to avoid it. But that isn’t as wise as it first sounds. Your life is full of worst-case scenarios that you ignore because you have to. You can’t live a life that manages to the worst-case scenario or else you would never have sex, apply for a job, or drive your car. The worst-case scenario for you EVERY SINGLE DAY involves you getting zika, AIDS, and bird flu right before the brakes on your car fail and you plunge into a ravine.

Does the worst-case scenario on climate change sound catastrophic to me? Absolutely. But so does the worst-case scenario for EVERYTHING. You can’t manage your life to the worst-case scenario. That would be no life at all.

The same applies to governments. Nearly everything a government does has a catastrophic risk in one way or another. Would it make sense to put full effort into avoiding all the imagined worst cases? If we did, we’d be wearing gas masks and protective bubble wrap instead of clothing.

But what if the worst-case scenario is really, really likely, as in the case of climate change disaster? In that case, shouldn’t you manage to the worst case? Well, yes, but only if you are sure the risk is as high as you think. And I don’t see any way a non-scientist could be exposed to both sides of the argument and assign a risk to it.

Given the wildly different assessments of climate change risks within the non-scientist community, perhaps we need some sort of insurance/betting market. That would allow the climate science alarmists to buy “insurance” from the climate science skeptics. That way if the climate goes bad at least the alarmists will have extra cash to build their underground homes. And that cash will come out of the pockets of the science-deniers. Sweet!

But if the deniers are right, and they want to be rewarded by the alarmists for their rightness, the insurance/betting market would make that possible.

It would also be fascinating to see where the public put the betting odds for climate science. Would people expose themselves to both sides of the debate before betting?

*It probably does have a name. It’s a mix of cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias at the least, but a special case in my opinion.

You might like my book because Christmas is on December 25th.

Have you downloaded my startup’s app called WhenHub yet? It’s a must-have for holiday get-togethers. No more frustrating texts back and forth asking “Where are you???” (The geostreaming in the app is always temporary so you can’t later be tracked.)

WhenHub app for Apple: http://apple.co/2eLL3Oh

WhenHub app for Android: http://bit.ly/2fIb6L7

Read More →
Persuasion and ISIS

Experts say ISIS can’t be beaten by military means alone. You have to get to the “deep” causes. Here are two experts saying just that, including a former head of the CIA. The problem is that observers seem to have different ideas of what is at the root of it all.

According to the article, many people believe the underlying problem is “chaos, poor governance, and poverty.” But that framing does a poor job of explaining why – as the article claims – Arab countries are 5% of the population of the world but produce 50% of the terror acts. Why are the other places with the same poor conditions NOT becoming terrorists at the same rate? 

Former CIA director Hayden says the fight has to be on “ideological” grounds, the way communism was eventually defeated. He refers to that as the “deep fight” and points out that Westerners have no credibility in the ideological framing of either Islamic beliefs or terrorist beliefs. We can’t influence them from the inside where it matters because we’re not on the inside.

If you have been reading my blog for the past year, allow me to translate what I just said into persuasion language. What the former head of the CIA is saying is that we don’t have the opportunity for “pacing and leading” the terrorists because we are too different from the start. To influence people at the “deep” level it helps to first become like them, to build trust and credibility. Later perhaps you can lead them to a better place, once they recognize you as one of their own.

That’s what Nixon did when he went to China. First he paced Americans who were distrustful of China until he was just like them. Then he visited China – a big deal at the time – and led Americans to his position of friendly relations.

Likewise, Trump paced the most hardcore Republican base in the primaries before leading them to moderation on immigration, Obamacare repeal, waterboarding, and more. Same persuasion method as Nixon. 

But we have no pacing and leading strategy for ISIS because there is no way for non-terrorists to act just like terrorists before leading them somewhere better. That path is closed off. We need a different type of persuasion.

So what would Trump, the Master Persuader, do in a situation in which pacing and leading are not available as tools? I think he would look to the physical environment for his persuasion. He would look to manipulate the physical situation around ISIS like it was the user interface to their brains. The tell for this brand of persuasion is that there would be major physical activity in ISIS territory that was not specifically military. Look for the Master Persuader to change something large and physical in their environment that they can’t ignore. That’s the persuasion play in disguise.

And guess what? Trump has been telling you his persuasion play against ISIS for over a year. You didn’t recognize it because it is disguised as something else.

And guess what else? I have been describing that same persuasion play against ISIS to you for over two years. Based on the comments in my blog at the time, you found my suggestions to be unrealistic and simplistic. But the context has changed. You watched me predict the outcome of the election using the Persuasion Filter, getting it right while the experts got it wrong. Now my crazy ideas from the past have a new life because you have to ask yourself if any other ridiculous things I have blogged about might also be correct. This is one of those cases. 

I called my idea for a persuasion play against ISIS a “filter fence.” Trump calls his persuasion play “safe zones.” Same thing. 

The reason you don’t recognize Trump’s plan as persuasion is that he’s disguised it as humanitarian assistance to the innocent. That’s how you start. But once the safe zones are up and running, the persuasion begins. 

Safe zones would be a big deal to the psychology of the region. It would give hope to the innocent. It would give ISIS a new thing to worry about. It would be large and physical and influence lots of things around it. But most of all – and this is the important part – it creates a mental categorization that has in one bucket the people who are in the safe zone and in the other bucket the people who are not. And the people inside will probably mostly be women and children – also known as the future of ISIS.

The long term persuasion play is to slowly drain ISIS of any illusion that someday they will be happily making love to their multiple wives while their many children are studying the holy scriptures. You ruin that illusion by putting the women and children from ISIS territory in the safe zone, unavailable to the adult men of ISIS now or later. Once ISIS has been reduced to nothing but horny, angry men with no biological future, they will turn on each other because all of that energy has to go somewhere. Here I’m assuming the border countries have their own walls to keep ISIS in. That’s happening as we speak.

Humans are biological entities before they are mental entities. Our biology influences our minds. And our most important biological imperative is to reproduce. When ISIS sees their biological future escaping to safe zones it will leave them with nothing. Their caliphate will become a jail.

Once you have the safe zones up and running then you also have to do something about the drug that ISIS gives their fighters. It’s called Captagon, or in some cases it might be meth by another name. Apparently that’s the secret ingredient to their violent ways. The persuasion play in this case is to create mountains of counterfeit Captagon pills with either too-weak, too-strong, or different chemistry. You want ISIS to no longer trust their drug sources. That will get in their heads too.

And that’s how you beat ISIS with persuasion.

People keep telling me that my book dramatically improved their lives. Others say it is a thoughtful gift. You might like it because of one of those reasons.

Have you downloaded my startup’s app called WhenHub yet? It’s a must-have for holiday get-togethers. No more frustrating texts back and forth asking “Where are you???” (The geostreaming in the app is always temporary so you can’t later be tracked.)

WhenHub app for Apple: http://apple.co/2eLL3Oh

WhenHub app for Android: http://bit.ly/2fIb6L7

Read More →
The Campaign Hallucinations Are Lifting

About half of the citizens of the United States think they elected a president who will “drain the swamp” in Washington DC and negotiate good trade deals for the public. But the other half believes they are living in 1930s Germany and the next Hitler just came to office. Those are very different movies, yet we all sit in the same theater at the same time. It’s trippy.

As I often say, the human brain didn’t evolve to give us a clear understanding of our reality because we don’t need it to survive as a species. All we need to do is survive long enough to procreate. As long as we can still make babies, it doesn’t matter that we are all experiencing different movies. You can be living in 1930s Germany in your movie and I can be living in 2016 trying to make America Great again, yet the population of humans is still growing. So living in different movies doesn’t matter as much as you’d think.

Immediately after the election was decided, protests against Trump popped up in several cities. Protesting makes perfect sense if you think Hitler just came to power in your country. You must stop Hitler!

But the days went by and the protests fizzled out. 

Huh?

If you REALLY believe Hitler just came to power in the United States, why would you stop protesting? What are you doing that is more important than stopping Hitler?????????

So why did the protests fizzle out? I find this question fascinating. So should you. Here are some explanations I can imagine:

1. Protesters decided that accepting Hitler as their leader was better than missing classes or skipping work. 

or…

2. Protesters have now seen enough counter-evidence to diminish their hallucination of living in 1930s Germany.

I think the better explanation is the second one. Look at how much counter-evidence is accumulating:

1. Anti-Trump Republicans are making peace and supporting Trump. Would they do that if they thought he was Hitler?

2. Foreign leaders show every sign of being willing and able to work with Trump. Wouldn’t they be yelling “Hitler!” if they thought he was one?

3. Trump continues to disavow White Nationalists when asked. Would Hitler do that?

4. Trump has moderated his more extreme views on immigration, waterboarding, and trying to jail Clinton. That doesn’t sound very Hitlerish.

5. Trump’s public demeanor has transformed from campaign mode to governing mode. He looks more serious now. 

6. A year ago it would have seemed ridiculous for a president to be tweeting provocative things several times a day. But now it looks almost normal. We even see the benefit of it because the media is a filter as much as a source of information.

7. Trump keeps meeting with people that opposed him, and both sides seem pleased with those meetings. That isn’t very Hitlerish.

8. Trump is non-interventionist. That doesn’t seem very Hitlerish.

9. Trump has done a better job of managing the county’s expectations and optimism than any prior president-elect. Consumer confidence and the stock market are up. It’s hard to dislike any of that.

10. Trump keeps demonstrating that he likes black people. Kanye West is the latest example. Football great Jim Brown also met with Trump and had good things to say. None of that makes sense if you think Trump is a racist.

11. Trump’s cabinet picks might not please everyone, but they are serious people for serious jobs. 

Every time Trump does something reasonable – and he is doing a lot of that now – the hallucination of living in 1930s Germany weakens. I’d say it’s about half gone already.

— WhenHub App —

People are telling me they love my startup’s new app for geostreaming your location to a friend/client/coworker as you approach your meeting spot. It’s like the Uber app without the Uber car. (And the geostreaming is temporary, for privacy.) Here are links:

WhenHub app for Apple: http://apple.co/2eLL3Oh

WhenHub app for Android: http://bit.ly/2fIb6L7

image

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Remind Me Why Russia is Our Adversary?

One way to look at the recent election in the United States is that Russia (allegedly) subverted our democratic process to ensure that Trump would win. The facts seem to point in that general direction, although we can’t know how much influence Russia really had.

Another way to look at the election is that Russia did a big favor for the American public by preventing Clinton from becoming president. That interpretation depends entirely on your opinion of Clinton. But it too fits the facts. One assumes Russia’s motives were to help Russia, not the United States. But we might have benefitted anyway.

Clinton saw Russia as an adversary. I confess my ignorance on this topic – and maybe you can set me straight in the comments – because I can’t think of any reason Russia and the United States should be considered natural enemies. Both countries want to defeat ISIS. Both countries want peace and prosperity. Neither claims ownership of any of the other’s territory. I see the prospect of good relations with Russia as a way to make some money for both countries and defeat ISIS too. That doesn’t seem so bad.

If Russia did interfere with our elections in a meaningful way, obviously that is a hole we need to plug. But this is an unusual situation because their alleged actions look more like the work of a sneaky ally than an enemy. The likely outcome of their alleged hacking is that we’ll have better relations with a major superpower and a better chance of defeating ISIS. 

One trick of persuasion that I have sometimes used involves treating an adversary like a friend until they turn into a friend. I’ve never seen it done on a country-to-country basis, but it works great in person. If you tell someone you are on their side, and you act that way, it is hard for them to keep you on the enemy list. I don’t know if this method of persuasion works for countries, but this is the perfect place to test it. 

Obviously this style of persuasion would not work in situations where there is something tangible at stake, such as competing claims for the same territory. But Russia and the United States have more interests in common than in conflict. In this particular case, Trump can change the frame from adversary to ally if he chooses to do so. And that would probably have the effect of making all parties act that way.

Speaking of persuasion, I noticed I sell more books when I include this photo.

See more Kristina Basham on Instagram here.

— WhenHub App —

I’m getting great feedback on my startup’s new app for geostreaming your location to a friend/client/coworker as you approach your meeting spot. It’s like the Uber app without the Uber car. Here are links:

WhenHub app for Apple: http://apple.co/2eLL3Oh

WhenHub app for Android: http://bit.ly/2fIb6L7

Read More →
More Start-Ups That Could Lower Healthcare Costs

I’ve been working with the UC Berkeley start-up ecosystem – the largest in the world – to help improve their odds of success. The stakes are high. Consider the healthcare field alone, and how much can be saved in terms of both lives and money. I included at the bottom of this post a snapshot of some start-ups coming out of that ecosystem. 

Now imagine how many more healthcare start-ups are popping up all over the country. That is a lot of stranded potential unless these innovations can make it to market. The hardest challenges are getting funding and, obviously, the FDA approval. That’s a tough road. I’m doing my part today to make that easier by giving them some attention here.

The path to market for these innovations might be a lot easier if Trump appoints someone like Jim O’Neill to head the FDA. O’Neill would like to speed up the approval process by using a more rational risk-management model. The opportunity for improvement is gigantic.

Here are just a few healthcare start-ups to give you an idea of the potential.

Healthcare Start-Ups out of UC Berkeley’s Ecosystem

Dot Labs Non-invasive diagnostic test for endometriosis. 

Stroll Health enables ambulatory clinicians to make personalized, value-based referrals. Stroll processes each patient through our intelligence algorithm using millions of healthcare data to show out-of-pocket costs for each location and service in real time. Physicians and patients select and electronically order through Stroll, and we follow through to make sure medically necessary care happens.  

Angilytics provides wearable sensors and data analytics for ultimate hypertension management. 

NestSense
Safety Solutions for managed dementia care 

SwiftMotion
Solutions to assess risks of occupational injuries. 

iTreatMD provides a point of care app that guides clinicians with a checklist to treat diseases, and
generates encounter notes for clinicians and personalized treatment plan for patients. 

ReThink Medical produces a remote patient physiologic monitor for predicting heart failure related
hospitalizations, enabling preventative interventions.  

First Derm is a mobile app that provides users with personalized dermatology information. 

Ava is on a mission to empower 360 million people with hearing loss to follow group conversations
again, using state-of-the-art mobile and speech technologies. We connect together devices in a room to
show the user who says what and when, in less than a second. 

KNOX Medical Diagnostics:
Mismanagement of asthma leads to hospitalizations and ED visits. Traditional at-home pulmonary
function tests are inaccurate. On-site tests are only available in specialized locations and not readily
accessible. KNOX has developed Spiritus, a reliable and convenient asthma management tool for
families, which includes a portable device that asthmatic kids breathe into to capture consistent
information regarding lung function. Parents can view and immediately act upon the results. Information
sent to the iOS app is saved to SaaS servers for physicians to track patients’ asthma severity in-between
office visits. 

BioInspira is a sensor platform startup. At BioInspira, we are advancing airborne chemicals and
pathogens detection for growing industrial and healthcare needs. Our first product is a bio-based natural
gas sensor that is 1000x more sensitive, 100x smaller and 100x lower in cost than current sensors. 

You can learn more about UC Berkeley-related start-ups at BerkeleyStartupNetwork.com. (Site is new, so some start-ups will not be listed yet.)

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Fake News Versus Misleading News

I’m watching the mainstream media have fits over so-called “fake news.” The theme they are pushing is that fake news stories are more damaging to society than normal news that includes the following:

1. True stories told out of context to intentionally mislead.

2. Biased reporting that the media doesn’t realize is biased.

3. Giving a spotlight to people who are lying.

4. Misleading by putting emphasis on some things and not others.

5. True stories too complicated for the public to understand.

6. True reports of sources that happen to be lying but we don’t know it. (That gives you the Iraq war, for example.)

7. Having boths sides represented when one side is clearly lying or wrong.

8. Simplification to the point of misleading.

9. Showing clear disdain for the opinions on one side but not the other.

I could go on. But I think you get the point. Most humans live the illusion that people can do a good job of sorting out truth from fiction if only they have good data. But that’s only true for trivial decisions with no emotional content. For any decision that matters, facts are irrelevant to decision-making. Humans choose their paths based on how they feel. Later they rationalize their decisions. The human mind doesn’t make decisions based on facts and reason. We only think we do. 

Does fake news matter in a world in which humans don’t use facts and reason to make decisions in the first place? Well, yes and no.

Obviously fake news can change people’s minds and influence the real world. If that influence causes people to act in some dangerous or suboptimal way, we can say the fake news was bad.

But what if the fake news is created with good intentions? For example, suppose you believed that Donald Trump would be the best president and you knew that facts and reason don’t change minds as well as fake news. In that situation you might create a fake news story that helps your candidate win, but you would be doing so in the interest of society.

In my worldview – that of a hypnotist and persuader – all news is persuasion, and it is presented for that purpose even if the presenters don’t think of it that way. According to this worldview, what matters is the effectiveness of the fake news and whether it is intended for the public good or just to generate click-ad revenue for the creator. Fake news is neither good nor bad. It is a tool of persuasion, just like mainstream news that can be either based on truth or not. In both cases what matters is how people are influenced. The underlying truth is generally beyond the public’s grasp. And it doesn’t matter most of the time.

if you live in the two-dimensional world where you still think truth and facts and reason matter to decisions, you probably think fake news is a problem. But in the 3rd dimension – where persuasion matters and reason is an illusion – fake news is a tool. And a tool can be used for good or evil.

You might like my book because that’s the kind of person you are.

— Are You Divorced? —

If you’re a divorced parent with shared custody of kids, you might love my start-up’s free app. It’s like the Uber app without the Uber car, for all those times you have to meet each other to exchange the kids. No more texting “Where are you” and asking about timing while one or both of you are driving. The app can even prompt you to use it at the right times based on your custody schedule.

And if you can’t get your ex to use the app, just have one of your kids that has a phone fire up the app while riding with the parent. Same result.

This is just one of thousands of uses for the WhenHub app. You’ll think of your own.

Here are links:

WhenHub app for Apple: http://apple.co/2eLL3Oh

WhenHub app for Android: http://bit.ly/2fIb6L7

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