So machines are now able to assess a human's mood. "Emotion detection software" has put robots one step closer to replacing the humans who work -- or used to work -- in what we in the olden days called "customer relations."
Assuming that you, dear reader, are a human and not a column-consuming robot, you may be asking the question: What happens to the jobs of humans who were laboring under the impression that they could still do things machines couldn't?
Some time ago, I heard a power company executive arguing that humans have played no role in global warming. Actually, he went further, "demonstrating" that global warming isn't even happening. (This is often done by cherry-picking dates to start with an unusually warm year.) He ended by spreading his arms and beseeching us in his common-sense voice, "Can't we meet in the sensible middle?"
Before there was a California, New England fed itself. Somehow. The soil was lousy, the climate cold and the diet limited (lots of cabbage, no avocados). At least there was plenty of water.
New York and San Francisco are expensive places to live. That's a big problem for the nation because these cities are centers for the booming knowledge economy. High housing costs discourage this growth.
A law in Indiana and a bill in Arkansas making life harder for their gay neighbors have lost their wheels in a surprising smashup. Business interests, usually associated with the conservative cause, lowered the boom on "religious freedom" legislation supported by social conservatives.
Ellen Pao's gender discrimination suit against her employer contained the juicy elements that captivate us. The plaintiff was a Harvard-educated lawyer suing for a healthy $16 million. The defendant was Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the high-powered venture capital firm. The locale was Silicon Valley, where many complain that the big fortunes go overwhelmingly to men. And Pao's evidence resided largely in gray areas, where things said and things done could be interpreted in several ways.
The pilot who crashed the Germanwings plane, taking 150 lives, was too ill to work, according to doctors' notes found at his home. But Germany's strict medical privacy laws barred the doctors from conveying that judgment to the airline.
Let's start on an upbeat. Next to what we had before, Obamacare has been a spectacular success. The Affordable Care Act has brought medical security to millions of previously uninsured Americans and has helped slow the rise in health care spending.
On the average sunny day, Germany's huge energy grid gets 40 percent of its power from the sun. Guess what happened one recent morning when the sun went into eclipse. Nothing.
Give thanks for the little things, they say. A bill that would stop the feds from going after medical marijuana users in states that permit such activity is something for which we should give thanks. But it is little.