News — At The Edge — 3/28

Doc Huston
5 min readMar 28, 2020


Science and technology, not politicians — ignored virus warning, virtual democracy, geoengineering — is the future of civilization.


U.S. intelligence reports from January and February warned about a likely pandemic —

“Trump and lawmakers played down the threat and failed to take action that might have slowed the spread of the [virus]…until this month….

[HHS] had been alerted to the initial reports of the virus…on Jan. 3…[and] warnings from U.S. intelligence agencies increased…toward the end of January and into early February….

State Department, personnel…discussed it at a meeting in the third week of January…[when] U.S. diplomats in Wuhan were being brought home on chartered planes — a sign that the public health risk was significant….

[HHS Secretary] Azar couldn’t get through to Trump to speak with him about the virus until Jan. 18…[but] Trump was dismissiveand continued to assure Americans that the coronavirus would never run rampant [and]risk to Americans was small…on Feb. 10.


New crowdsourced COVID-19 symptom map could build a more complete pandemic picture —

“The ‘Covid Near You’ map…asks individuals to self-report any potential COVID-19 symptoms, as well as if they’ve taken a test, and then maps that activity on a rolling two week basis….

Google’s coronavirus map[uses] figures provided by…[WHO], and the John Hopkins coronavirus resource center map. These are useful resources, but only reflect confirmed cases based on approved testing, which…in the U.S., is limited…and drastically under-represents the actual spread….

[Although] self-reported symptoms are hardly a reliable indicator of actual COVID-19 spread, they are a…leading indicator that…can help researchers…[focus] efforts and gauge the effectiveness of strategies like social distancing….

Taken together, self-reported symptoms…temperature data tied to geolocation, and confirmed cases could provide…more complete picture of…[hotspots,] patterns of spread…and those that could be next.”


Virtual democracy means Congress and the courts should go online now —

“Both Congress and the Supreme Court have stopped meeting out of fear of [virus]…even though the technology exists to allow officials to continue working in virtual spaces…and voting, with access not just by officials but also the public….

For Congress, there is no clear requirement that its chambers must meet in person….

Constitution refers to ‘meeting’ and phrases like ‘at the desire’ of ‘those present’…[so] each chamber can define what ‘present’ means, including a virtual presence.

The dangers of distance voting are mitigated by the fact that legislative voting by Congress is a public act in which confidentiality is not required. Any security violation regarding individual votes would then immediately be known by lawmakers….

Public proceedings are mandated by the Sixth Amendment, and…’all trials are in open court, to which spectators are admitted’….[Yet] Supreme Court opposes cameras in its chambers…[which] is simply absurd and is now also dangerous. Rather than holding televised arguments with only counsel and the justices…Chief Justice John Roberts has chosen to suspend all further arguments….

It is a rather bizarre notion that millions of citizens are being prevented from seeing these arguments because the justices may not be able to control themselves from any grandstanding….

The optimal approach is for the justices to meet with lawyers alone in the chamber for televised arguments…[or] allow both arguments and conferencing to happen remotely….

No one needs to like…virtual democratic system, however, it is far better for…government to function from a distance than to not function at all.


Locked-Down Lawyers Warned Alexa Is Hearing Confidential Calls —

“Alexa, stop listening to my client’s information…[when] home during the global pandemic…[because] confidential phone calls with clients run the risk of being heard by…any kind of visual or voice enabled device…[including] Ring…baby monitors and closed-circuit TVs…[posing] a new source of risk for businesses.

As of last year, the U.S. installed base of smart speaker devices was 76 million units and growing….

[Study] found that the devices can activate inadvertently between 1.5 and 19 times a day.

Tech companies…[are] compromising users privacy by having teams of human…listen to conversations without consent to improve…AI algorithms.


The right dose of geoengineering could reduce climate change risks, study says —

“Stratospheric aerosol geoengineering…[adds] particles to the upper atmosphere…[using] available aircraft technologies to deliver the particles at a cost of a few billion dollars per year and would reduce global average temperatures…without making any region obviously worse off…[and] a complementary approach…to address climate change….

However, there are still many uncertainties about the potential effects of stratospheric aerosol geoengineering….

[Study] found that in…regions where halving warming with [such]…geoengineering…increased water availability rather than reduced it.’”


One of Darwin’s evolution theories finally proved by Cambridge researcher —

“[Research] discovered mammal subspecies play a more important role in evolution…[and] could now be used to predict which species conservationists should focus on protecting to stop them becoming endangered or extinct….

[It] also proved that evolution happens differently in land mammals (terrestrial) and sea mammals and bats (non-terrestrial) because of differences in their habitats and differences in their ability to roam freely….

[So] subspecies could be considered an early stage…[in] formation of a new species….

[Thus] warning that the human impact on the habitat of animals will not only affect them now, but will affect their evolution in the future….

’Evolutionary models could…anticipate how human activity…will affect evolution in the future.’”


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May you live long and prosper!
Doc Huston



Doc Huston

Consultant & Speaker on future nexus of technology-economics-politics, PhD Nested System Evolution, MA Alternative Futures, Patent Holder —