Law Office of Elliott Kanter APC - February/March 2020

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February/March 2020

WHAT WILL THE FUTURE BRING? LOOKING FORWARD WITH ‘HOMO DEUS’

Last June, I wrote a review of Yuval Harari’s New York Times bestseller “Sapiens: A Brief History of Human Kind.” We’ve moved on to other authors in the editions since then, but in the spirit of starting a new decade, I wanted to return to Harari and his eye-opening research on the human experience. But this time, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem professor isn’t turning his sharp eye back on where humanity came from but instead where we’re going. For his follow up work “Homo Deus,” the historian pulls from his research on the past to project thoughts on the future. The result is a book that is at once fascinating and deeply terrifying. The drama begins with the title itself. Where homo sapiens translates to “wise man,” homo deus is Latin for “god man.” Now, “Homo Deus” isn’t literally claiming we will somehow ascend godhood in a biblical sense. But Harari is arguing that scientific advances are reaching the point where we humans increasingly have capabilities our ancestors ascribed to the deities. The world’s knowledge at our fingertips, the ability to genetically engineer crops, our capacity for nuclear war — in many ways, we as a species have already begun seizing what the author calls “the divine abilities of creation and destruction.” And we’re poised to go far further, possibly transcending what we today would recognize as human.

be a fortune teller, per say. As he states in the book’s summary, one studies history “not in order to predict the future, but to free yourself of the past and imagine alternative destinies.” “Homo Deus” isn’t about what will happen, but rather what may happen if we continue to make the mistakes of our past and present. On the surface, many of the changes Harari predicts sound utopic. The continued decline of armed conflict around the world, advances in medicine preserving our youth, and the eradication of famine around the globe all sound like an ideal existence. But Harari doesn’t see things that way. After all, our existence in the 21st century would be seen as utopian to people living less than 100 years ago. But ask anyone on the street if we’re living in a perfect world, and you’re sure to get an earful. “Dramatic improvements in conditions … translate into greater expectations rather than greater contentment,” Harari points out, concluding “our future achievements too might leave us as dissatisfied as ever.” But being unsatisfied with positive advancements may be the least of our problems. “Homo Deus” spends a significant amount of time dwelling on trends that may have a destructive impact on the future. For example, the predictive algorithms used by sites like Amazon.com to recommend products you’re likely to buy are getting more finely tuned

every year. As the author asks, “What will happen to society, politics, and daily life when nonconscious but highly intelligent algorithms know us better than we know ourselves?” And algorithms are just one trend the book explores. Everything, including growing wealth inequality, automated labor, and genetic modification comes under Harari’s academic and philosophical lens. While the potential future of these world-shaping advances are innumerable, the book reaches a single conclusion: our power to shape the future. Harari says it best, writing “If you look back to the 20th century … you could use trains and electricity to build a communist dictatorship, or a fascist regime, or a liberal democracy. The trains don’t tell you what to do with them.” If you want to be more conscious of the ways we as a species are moving toward the future, this book is a great place to start.

-Elliott Kanter

One thing professor Harari is clear about from the beginning is that he is not trying to

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The Law Offices of Elliott Kanter APC | (619) 231-1883

Published by The Newsletter Pro | www.TheNewsletterPro.com

SCIENCE WANTS YOU TO STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES THE BENEFITS OF SPENDING TIME OUTSIDE

In a 2008 survey conducted by the National Trust in Britain, children were more likely to correctly identify a Dalek from “Doctor Who” than a barn owl. Likewise, a 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation study of 8–18-year-olds in the U.S. found that the average youth spends more than 53 hours a week engaged with entertainment media. These statistics, coupled with growing concerns that children are spending less time outdoors, are leading to terms like “nature deficit disorder” and global initiatives to get kids outside. Why is contact with the outdoors so important? Researchers are answering this question by studying the benefits of time spent in nature. One benefit is that outdoor time helps kids understand boundaries and learn how to assess risk. As naturalist, author, and broadcaster

Stephen Moss puts it, “Falling out of a tree is a very good lesson in risk-reward.” Not to mention, time in nature may help improve focus for hyperactive kids. In one national study of youths by the University of Illinois, participants’ attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms were reduced after spending time in a green setting versus a more urban one. This may be due to the fact that natural environments call upon our “soft fascination,” a less exhausting type of focus than what is required by urban environments. Emotional benefits were discovered too, including reduced aggression, increased happiness, and improved self- esteem. Beyond just getting outside, the type of contact we have with nature also matters. Visits to nature centers and watching “Planet

Earth” are two ways to experience the outdoors. But research points specifically to the importance of free play in the natural world: unstructured outdoor time when children can explore and engage with their natural surroundings with no curriculum, lesson, or activity to complete. Ever notice how kids are fascinated by the simplest things? A child visits a rose garden, but before they even get to the flowers, they become captivated by a leaf on the ground or an ant crawling on their shoe. Children are born naturalists. These are the moments we need to recapture. Take a page out of that kid’s book, and as the saying goes, stop and smell the roses — or leaves or ants — with no checklist and no plan, just time spent playing outside.

MILITARY EARPLUGS DON’T PREVENT HEARING LOSS IF YOU’RE A VETERAN, YOU MAY QUALIFY FOR COMPENSATION! Between 2003 and 2015, 3M Dual-ended Combat Arms earplugs have been military standard issue and used in foreign conflicts. Now, 3M faces more than 2,050 lawsuits from veterans affected by tinnitus and hearing loss. The evidence revealed against the company in these cases is astonishing. Aearo Technologies is a subsidiary of 3M and the original designers of the dual-ended earplugs. They claimed that the olive side protected the wearer from all sound while the yellow side protected against explosions but allowed combatants to hear spoken commands and approaching enemies. However, back in the 2000s, they needed to meet the Noise Reduction Rating requirements (NRR) in order to sell to the military. Recent cases say that Aearo and 3M misrepresented the results of the NRR tests. According to one lawsuit, “3M (ATI at the time) did not commission an independent lab to conduct testing on the Combat Arms Earplugs as federal law and the military solicitations require.” The company completed the testing in-house, and it was “a sham.”

Design flaws were known by Aearo Technologies as early as 2000. Multiple sources tell us the stem of the earplugs was too short for a proper fit. During testing, Aearo staff would roll back flanges from the noninserted side (yellow or olive) to stop the earplugs from loosening. American soldiers were not notified of either these defects or instructions when the earplugs obtained an exclusive military contract in 2003. Finally, in 2016, another company that makes hearing protection products called Moldex-Metric Inc. filed a lawsuit against 3M and Aearo, which uncovered much of the evidence concerning 3M’s awareness of the product defects. The whistleblower lawsuit ended with a settlement of $9.1 million in July 2018. If you or a loved one served between 2003 and 2015, were given these standard issue earplugs and suffer from hearing damage, you may be eligible for compensation. You fought for this country — you shouldn’t have to go through this fight alone. Call us at 619.304.3424 for a free consultation.

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The Law Offices of Elliott Kanter APC | www.enkanter.com

Published by The Newsletter Pro | www.TheNewsletterPro.com

IDENTITY THEFT AT AGE 7

The internet is becoming an inseparable part of our society — in fact, without access to Facebook or Google, we would be largely cut out of the lives of our family, friends, and coworkers. Our children are growing up in an age where learning to type is a natural part of socializing. Unfortunately, more than one million children in 2017 were victims of identity theft or fraud, two-thirds of which were age 7 or younger, according to a news report from Javelin Strategy & Research. To ensure their safety, parents must be aware of practices to keep your family safe from those willing to commit crimes over the internet. TEACH EVERYONE HOW TO WRITE A GOOD PASSWORD Identity theft can happen at any age, so it’s important to keep your child’s information safe once they create a social media page. Passwords shouldn’t be too simple, but they also shouldn’t be a random string of letters and numbers. It’s difficult to remember and doesn’t protect you; guessing randomized numbers and letters are what computers specialize in. Luckily, as humans, we have an easy time inventing and remembering narratives. Your best protection is often a password “phrase” — something specific with all the typical password requirements that sites invoke (including numbers, symbols, etc.) but is also a series of words that could take a computer years to assemble. Your child’s “phrase” may be the most memorable if they think of it like a story. It can be completely silly, like “theeagleatethemoon,” or it could be something like your child’s favorite detail in a book, like “Cat in the Hat”: “shakehandswiththing1andthing2!” RESTRICT PERSONAL INFORMATION ONLINE Make sure they don’t include their name — first or last — in any of their online usernames besides Facebook. Their email, unless it’s for school or work, shouldn’t include their name either; frequently, kids will use their email to sign up for online communities like Discord or Reddit, but while these sites are trusted and mostly secure, there’s always a chance their information can be leaked and traced to them. This may seem paranoid to some parents, but the internet is here to stay — something a child wrote could be dug up in their adolescence or adulthood. And years down the line, our accessible personal information stacks up, making identity theft or stalking easier to commit. It’s best to practice being protective about names, locations, and birthdays than not. Predators look for victims with vulnerable passwords and easy access to their information online. Implementing these tips into your daily routine on the internet can help protect your family from the dangers of our technological era.

VEGAN BANANA PANCAKES

Inspired by My Darling Vegan

Breakfast in bed just got a whole lot yummier with this vegan banana pancake recipe.

INGREDIENTS

• • • • •

1 1/2 cups flour

• • • •

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 extra ripe bananas, mashed

Cooking spray

1 cup soy milk

DIRECTIONS

1. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. 2. In a separate bowl, whisk bananas, soy milk, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla together. 3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir. Don’t overmix. Lumps are okay. 4. Spray a heated pancake griddle with cooking spray, and scoop 1/4 cup of the mixture onto the griddle. Repeat until the griddle is filled. 5. After 3 minutes or when bubbles appear, flip each pancake. 6. After each pancake has risen to double its initial height, remove from griddle. Repeat as necessary until batter is gone. 7. Serve with your favorite toppings!

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The Law Offices of Elliott Kanter APC | (619) 231-1883

Published by The Newsletter Pro | www.TheNewsletterPro.com

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The Law Offices of Elliott Kanter APC 2445 Fifth Ave., #350 San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 231-1883

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

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BOOK REVIEW: ‘HOMO DEUS’

STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES

3M EARPLUGS MASS TORT OVERVIEW

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VEGAN BANANA PANCAKES

PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN FROM IDENTITY THEFT

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LEARN ALL ABOUT LEAP YEAR

LEAP INTO 2020

Like the Olympics and presidential elections, leap years only occur once every four years, which is why many people look forward to Feb. 29. But there’s a lot that you might not know about this quirk on the calendar. WHY To keep the calendar in sync with Earth’s orbit around the sun, an extra day is added to it every four years. Earth takes exactly 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds to orbit the sun. Those extra hours add up over time, so another calendar day becomes necessary. But a leap year doesn’t occur every four years. Adding that extra day still doesn’t quite keep Earth on track, so the calendar skips leap years that occur during century years not divisible by 400. For example, 2000 was a leap year, but 2100 won’t be. WHO The odds of being born on Feb. 29 are 1 in 1,461. That means that of the roughly seven billion people in the world, only about five million of them are “leaplings.” The number of leaplings currently living in the

U.S. is roughly 187,000. Some famous leaplings include motivational speaker Tony Robbins, rapper Ja Rule, and singer Mark Foster of Foster the People. However, the most famous leapling is probably Superman. When you invent a super-being, you might as well give him a super-birthday. WHERE Anthony, Texas/New Mexico (a single town that straddles the two states’ borders), claims the title “Leap Year Capital of the World.” The city throws one massive birthday party for all leaplings but invites everyone to join the celebration. Two leapling neighbors from Anthony began the tradition in 1988, and it’s blossomed into a festival with thousands of participants every four years. It includes banquets, hot air balloons, a carnival, concerts, parades, and more. When you have four years to plan in between each shindig, there’s time to go big. Celebrate this leap year by doing something unusual or new. It’s a special day that doesn’t occur often, so make the most of it by doing something you’ll talk about for another four years.

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The Law Offices of Elliott Kanter APC | www.enkanter.com

Published by The Newsletter Pro | www.TheNewsletterPro.com

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