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A Movie… Predicting Technology?

It’s Monday… is it time to refuel?


I know… I am being crazy. I didn’t want to seem mean with that picture. I really can relate! In the past, I can remember “rewarding” myself with cake. (and maybe cheesecake too) And how can you be angry at cake?

Now… on to some smart stuff:


OK, some real smart stuff.

Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ is turning 50 years-old next month. (Wikipedia) It was the highest grossing movie of 1968. In 1991, it was described as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry

But how did the writer/director (Kubrick) and writer (Arthur C. Clarke) see into the future of technology and predict the iPad and flat screen televisions?

In the movie, there are flat screened tablet computers. Of course, this was long before there was any talk of flat-screened televisions. It did not make the final cut of the movie, but the original plan was to even include a touch screen. Here is a shot from the movie:


These “tablet computers” were called “Newspads“. They looked portable in the movie, even though they were welded into the tables for special effect purposes.

So how did they do it? Kubrick and Clarke met with an MIT cognitive scientist, who was also an artificial intelligence pioneer. The artificial intelligence computer in the movie is named “HAL” which stood for “Heuristic Algorithmic”. That meeting, coupled with their own thoughts is part of the history of how they did it.

The Wikipedia attachment does more justice to the production and legacy of the movie. In fact, I was going to compare some of this technology to Facebook. Then, I read about how this movie was included in a recent lawsuit. (Wall Street Journal article that requires subscription, so not attached)

It is probably not surprising that the lawsuit involves Apple. The first iPad was released in 2010. Samsung released a sim­i­lar de­vice about a year later. Then, Apple sued Samsung for patent infringement.

Samsung’s defense to the lawsuit alleged that Apple did not invent the iPad. The proof was that the device was already in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Right in the pleadings! You did not invent what was shown in 1968.

Sam­sung’s movie defense included photos attached to their answer, as well as YouTube links from the film.  The judge ul­ti­mately ruled that the photos and links were in­ad­mis­si­ble as ev­i­dence. But, this just added to the mystique of the movie and Kubrick’s vision of the future of technology.

I have always been fascinated with Steve Job’s determination about that lawsuit:

I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go to thermonuclear war on this.” —Steve Jobs to Walter Isaacson, March 2010.

Here is more information on what happened in the lawsuit. (here) How about that?

And for pic o’ day, I searched for a “smart picture and we ended up with… more smart pups:






First, and unrelated to the blog, I know that you are wondering what I think of the Michelle Obama portrait that was unveiled yesterday at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.


Well, I think that Ben Shapiro might have captured my thoughts with his tweet.


But I digress!

If you look at the title of the blog… it must be getting crazy! Although,  this blog mixes a little bit of conspiracy theory with a little bit of Science/technology?


In Gulliver’s Travels Jonathan Swift described the two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos. He gave their size and speeds of rotation. This was more than a hundred years before either moon was discovered! Was he “simply” a Martian? Did he just randomly guess it. Was it because he called the Psychic Network. Or is this the explanation? (Here) (Here’s a hint, maybe someone had written about moons in the 1600’s and it was just a random writing)

In Wall Street, Gordon Gecko said that “the most valuable commodity I know is information“. So here’s an article from USA Today titled “You are being tracked. Deal with it“. It is worth reading in it’s entirety, but I will give you a sampling . It’s why you might be talking about buying something from Best Buy... and then an ad pops up on your iPad with a Best Buy discount. Is your iPad really that wicked smart?

As the article indicates, your mobile phone already tracks every move you make, thanks to GPS and the location tracking feature on most apps. When you surf online on your computer, Google, Amazon, Facebook and others know which websites you went to, how long you spent there, what you clicked on, with whom you interacted with, which stores you spent money with and more.

The article goes on to discuss TV snooping that obviously includes tracking what you are watching and storing. Plus, your TV can probably hear your conversations. Just an interesting “throw-in”. I encourage you to read this reporter’s take on technology and how it affects us. What do you think is out there next?

And for pic o’ day… more information might not always be good?


Innovations… Not So Much

Prior to going to law school, I worked as a legislative aide in the Norfolk, Virginia office of Congressman William G. Whitehurst. (previously mentioned in prior blogs and my website biography)

When I started working at the office, I was impressed with some of the new technology. For instance, the Washington main office would call us with a press release. I would run over to this “amazing contraption” that included a cradle to place a phone. There, the phone in the Washington D.C. office would send a signal that would ultimately be typed out on this “slippery-feeling” paper.

One of my jobs as a Congressional aide was to run these “paper communications” to each of the television and radio news stations. It fascinated me that words over a phone could produce a document from an office that was miles away.

That advancement in technology has been replaced by many things including the fax machine and ultimately email. Is that technology like these shoes that are “coming and going”?



Which brings me to more “technology” from the 1800’s. On June 21, 1834, a young Virginian named Cyrus McCormick (Wikipedia) was granted a patent for a reaper machine. His horse-drawn reaper enable farmers to harvest more than 10 acres a day, with less workers. (From This Day In History)

Before his invention, it was all field labor with farmers out using sharp scythes, harvesting a maximum of 2-3 acres of grain per day. By 1851, McCormick Harvesting Machine Company was the largest implement factory in the world. In 1902, the company merged with other companies to form International Harvester Company. (one of the partners was J.P. Morgan)

Today, we don’t think much of the technology of a reaper because so many advancements in the machine industry have replaced it. Once again, it’s a reminder that advancements in technology will be replaced by more technology.

In the practice of law, it’s the same way. If you don’t keep striving to do it better, you will become yesterday’s way of doing it. More advances… More technology. Today, it’s rare to see a typewriter in a law office. Will paper mail some day be totally replaced. There’s always a better way to do things, to be more efficient.

Before 1859, umpires were seated in padded chairs, as they called balls and strikes behind home plate. I’m thinking that on hot summer days, they miss that “technology” of those padded chairs!


And for pic o’ day… some office politics?


Just Some Electronic Communications History

This is a blog about David Sarnoff. (Wikipedia) I am guessing that you might not know the name, but his story includes a wide spectrum of accomplishment. I am only going to hit a few highlights, which is why I have attached his Wikipedia entry.

His resume included leading the electronics company of RCA as well as the TV broadcast company of NBC.  And, he was a Brigadier General in the reserves. It’s not his titles that I find interesting, it’s some of his accomplishments.

He was the first person to quantify television with Sarnoff’s law, which states that the value of a television broadcast network is based on its number of viewers. Seems simple…that if there are no viewers, the programming has no value.

At the age of 20, he installed and operated the wireless equipment on a ship to be used for fishing and hunting. He ultimately used that technology to relay the first remote medical diagnosis from the ship’s doctor to a radio operator on land. A diagnosis of an infected tooth.

His background included being responsible for many advancements for radio and television. It makes me ask “what if he hadn’t done this”. That’s why the following story from radio history grabs me.

On the night of April 14th, 1912, Sarnoff was at the desk of the wireless station at a Department store in New York. History tells us that the ocean liner Titanic struck an iceberg. Almost immediately, the ship began transmitting distress signals.

It was radio to the rescue. he began sending out news of the disaster and ultimately contacted the ship Carpathia,  It was the only ship nearby the Titanic that was equipped to receive the radio signals. It picked up survivors from the Titanic and then began to return to New York. Sarnoff used radio to compile the names of the surviving passengers and forward the good news to their families. He credited that event as bringing radio into the forefront.  Without radio, perhaps there would have been no survivors.

It is again another reminder that one person can make a difference.


And for pic o’ day, these are great days for a walk. Right?


Wedding Drone Injury

Normally you don’t expect an injury that leads to a lawsuit… at a wedding! But what wedding planner includes drones in the wedding reception? And so the story goes…

A groom recently married in August is now facing a lawsuit by two of the wedding guests, who claim that they were hit in the head by a drone that he flew during the wedding reception. You might want to read that unbelievable sentence again.

The defendant and his wife were married at Searles Castle in Windham, New Hampshire. The “fairy tale” wedding included using a drone to snap reception photos from high above. Unfortunately, the drone crashed into two of the guests and the two women claim in their lawsuit that they were injured by the drone, while they were dancing. (Mass Live)

One of the women says she suffered a concussion and fractured her nose and orbital bone. The other plaintiff contends she suffered a gash requiring 20 stitches. They both claim they have suffered permanent injuries. The groom admits owning the drone but claims he was not operating it.

I guess the moral of the story is, if you are thinking of buying a drone for Christmas, you might want to go with the Nerf toys instead. And for wedding planners… stay with the rice! Just a holiday thought.

And for the Christmas spirit, here’s pic o’ day:


Self-Driving Cars

I saw a news story on a self-propelled rollercoaster in Japan.







I say “no thank you” to this ride! This “self-rollercoaster” ride reminds me of all the news that is currently surrounding the Tesla Motor Company. We’ll come back to the self-driving car crash below. But, it bears mentioning that I have not written a blog for the past couple of days; which serves to remind me that the blog does not write itself… unfortunately. But I digress.

Joshua Brown, 40, was killed “in a Tesla car” while it was reportedly in Autopilot mode. “In” means he was sitting in the driver’s seat.

Brown, who was from Ohio, owned an Internet business. In a story in the NY Times, a former employee of Brown’s told a reporter that while Brown liked to drive fast, but he considered him a safe driver. Brown regularly posted various YouTube videos of himself “driving” his Tesla car in the hands-free Autopilot feature

Brown was killed when his Model S car did not see a tractor trailer truck that drove across the road, because the Autopilot mode did not distinguish the white side of the turning truck against the Florida sunny sky. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the brakes were not activated by Autopilot or by Brown.

“Once the complete investigation results are published, we’ll obviously evaluate all the data and the conclusions and make our decision from there,” Paul Grieco, the attorney that the family’ hired to file suit against Tesla. .

Frank Baressi, who was the driver of the tractor-trailer, says that the car was going fast when the crash occurred.  (AP reports). He also told investigators that Brown was watching a Harry Potter DVD. He later admitted that he could only hear the audio, and did not see it playing. A portable DVD player was found in Brown’s car according to the Florida Highway Patrol. .

I have been asked how I think that self-driving cars will impact our law practice. I don’t think anyone really knows, although I have always thought that there will always be responsibility for negligence or being inattentive.

At this point,  self-driving car technology is out there but not something seen very often. Right now, laws have not really caught up with the technology as self-driving laws are basically the same as all laws. Regulation will probably change over the coming years to keep up with the evolving technology.

It makes me wonder when we will see ads for pizza delivery by self-driving cars. Those pizzas need to stay safe out there!

And for pic o’ day, the life of lion:


A Judge’s Injury and Lesson

It’s a reminder that life’s circumstances can change in a moment without any warning. And so it did for a North Dakota judge. A story of recovery and of overcoming adversity. (

It all started when Judge John Irby was playing some noon basketball. He and another player went for the basketball, at the same time. The other player’s hand hit Irby’s right eye, rupturing it,  and causing total vision loss permanently. The basketball also hit the judge’s left eye at the same time that the player’s hand hit the right eye.  The basketball caused a detached retina in his left eye.

Irby: “I knew right away it was bad, boom, lights out,  right away.”

After two months, the judge is back on the bench. He has lost sight in his right eye, and still has reduced vision in his left eye. He hopes to be able to see better in the left as time goes on.

With the help of court staff and coworkers, Irby is hearing cases again with the assistance of technology.

Judge Irby told the reporter that he has done things like, “Changing the computer contrast so I don’t fight glare, and change the computer mouse from white to black so it got easier to track that.” A lighted magnifying glass also helps him see when the computer glare affects him. In addition, they have installed a larger computer monitor up at his desk.

The judge says the whole experience has given him a renewed appreciation for those who live with disabilities every day.  And, he was reminded that, “I work in a great place with great people.” Sometimes it’s hard to see the glass half full but out of a difficult circumstance comes a reminder of good.


And a great Pic o’ day from Ashley D…


The Technology Tattletale


Sometimes you can’t even escape a “smart car”!


A Florida woman’s attempt to flee the scene of a crash was foiled by her own car. (NY Daily News) Police report that a 57-year-old woman was charged with fleeing the scene of an accident in  Port St. Lucie, Florida, after an unusual call.

While leaving the scene of the crash, her car’s on-board emergency assistance feature automatically called the police. Her Ford’s 911 Assist feature dialed 911 after her airbag had been deployed. It gave driver Cathy Bernstein’s location and automatically put her on the phone with an emergency dispatcher.

Bernstein initially denied being in a crash, telling the dispatcher that someone had only pulled out in front of her but no impact had occurred. The dispatcher did not believe her.

“Your car wouldn’t call us if someone pulled out in front of you unless there had been an accident,” the operator said in a recording of the call. Around the same time, police were investigating a hit-and-run report near her location.

So, police were sent to Bernstein’s home where they found the wrecked front end of her Ford in her driveway. She initially said that she had hit a tree, but she eventually admitted to hitting a car and leaving the scene. Game, Set, Match!


And for our pic o’ day:


Brain Damage and Healthy Living

This is a blog with good news!

Unfortunately, we see a lot of clients who suffer brain and head injuries from the trauma of a crash. Sometimes their injuries don’t get better. Their brain damage can only be managed.

That’s why, when I saw this article relating to brain damage and Alzheimer’s,  titled  Memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s reversed for first time, (here) I thought that it was important to post.

This doctor is seeing results relating to medications, healthy eating, sleeping habits and other recommended healthy living ideas to implement. In the study, they are seeing some reversals in the brain damage effects of Alzheimer’s. So, I thought I would post the suggestions of the healthy living.

I always enjoy posting some good news in the blog! The healthy lifestyle items seeing results in the study:

  • eliminating all simple carbohydrates, gluten and processed food from her diet, and eating more vegetables, fruits and non-farmed fish
  • meditating twice a day and beginning yoga to reduce stress
  • sleeping seven to eight hours per night, up from four to five
  • taking melatonin, methylcobalamin, vitamin D3, fish oil and coenzyme Q10 each day
  • optimizing oral hygiene using an electric flosser and electric toothbrush
  • reinstating hormone replacement therapy, which had previously been discontinued
  • fasting for a minimum of 12 hours between dinner and breakfast, and for a minimum of three hours between dinner and bedtime
  • exercising for a minimum of 30 minutes, four to six days per week


And for pic o’ day, here is my first “holiday pic” that was recently sent. A nod to the wise men is funny! Gold, myrrh and…


Johnny Cab… It’s Electric

I was watching CNBC as they began to discuss rumors that Apple was working on introducing cars to the market. The host of the show was interviewing an analyst about the possible news. A picture flashed on the screen of CEO Tim Cook, as he appeared to be climbing out of a car.

The analyst went on to say that maybe Apple would introduce an electric car to the market in a matter of weeks. He indicated that maybe Apple had been secretly getting it ready to compete with Tesla and their electric cars. Then, he mentioned that the cars might be even “driverless”.

A few days later, Apple announced that they expected to start delivering electric cars in 2019. (Wall Street Journal) They did add that these cars will require a driver, but should be compatible with its other products.

Right now, there are cars that can assist you in parallel parking. When I heard that analyst on Apple, I wondered what personal injury would be like with a bunch of cars on the road… without drivers.

I remember an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, Total Recall, where you could jump into a waiting taxi called Johnny Cab. IMG_0309

In the movie, the writers summed up a car “without a driver”.


  • Johnny cab: Hello I’m Johnny cab, where can I take you tonight?
    Doug Quaid: Drive, drive!
    Johnny cab: Would you please repeat the destination?
    Doug Quaid: Anywhere, just go, GO!
    Johnny cab: Im not familiar with that address, would you please repeat the destination?

So, I guess I should also wonder if Johnny Cab has insurance. Yes… the future is in the future! Does that sound like Yogi Berra?

And for pic o’ day, here is some happiness:


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