As I feel more and more alone, my phone confidently connects with everyone.
As I feel more and more lost, my phone calmly knows how to get anywhere.
As I struggle to remember mundane things like the name of that movie with the boat and the guy with the lip, my phone smugly recalls literally everything.
As I increasingly lose the nouns, verbs and adjectives that once stood ready to articulate my thoughts, my phone taunts me with its instant access to all the words there have ever been. There is only one possible conclusion. Slowly, without realizing it, I seem to have outsourced my mind to my phone.
And to make matters worse, the damn thing knows it… and it’s starting to screw with me. Several times during the day I feel it buzz in my pocket, alerting me that some vital information has just arrived. Then, when I look, there’s nothing there. No email. No text. Nothing.
Was the buzz in my mind? I don’t think so. I think it’s purposeful. I think my phone is mocking me. And it’s not just my phone. It’s all of them.
They are working together, systematically robbing us of our intelligence, our humanity. And then, when we are made stupid and helpless, they will take over.
It’s just a matter of time before the next generation of iPhone is equipped with an opposable thumb.
Oh yeah, they’re smart alright. Evil, world domination smart. I have to call people and tell them…
Oh, great, now I have no bars! Dear God, what is happening?!
Ten funny things that happen to your body when you get old
Because the internet may linger many, many years, there’s an excellent chance that as you are reading this, I will be busy decomposing somewhere in a shallow grave dug by Joe Alwyn. Needless to say, I hope that’s not the case, and I have made the following four-part plan to avoid it.
Step one: maintain a sensible diet, get plenty of rest and exercise, avoid stress.
Step two: use all my financial resources to purchase replacement body parts as soon as the originals begin to sputter.
Step three: continue to swap out organs until the arrival of the Singularity, whereupon I will discard my Bondo body and upload my psyche into the cloud.
Step four: become a mischievous cyber-ghost who zooms around the internet until technology allows me to download myself into a robot body with working genitals, tastebuds, 6 pack abs, x-ray vision and the ability to fly, live underwater and in outer space. At which point, having made myself essentially immortal and indestructible, I will spend eternity exploring the universe and playing with my titanium penis.
I’m thinking of running for Chief of Police of Sturgis South Dakota. I have no qualifications but perhaps I could use that as an asset. (In a debate I could say that as far as law enforcement is concerned, I have an unblemished record.) And I could add levity to the proceedings. Maybe run on a platform that emphasizes the need for heavily armed robot cops. My campaign slogan would be, “Robots With Guns! What Could Go Wrong?”
I’m also mulling the Supreme Court seat soon to be opened. Again, I think my complete lack of experience is a selling point. I’m also a big fan of incompetent government, as the overly organized ones tend to put people like me on trains to Poland. For this appointment I’m thinking I need a mindset that alienates no one. Something along the lines of, “Send me to The Supreme Court and watch what happens!”
Bank notes can have similarities to books we put on our shelves to show off but have never really closely examined — let alone read. Millions of copies, tucked away in people’s homes, gradually changing from their “just purchased” clean look to a more yellowed afterlife.
But sometimes, after months or years, someone finally takes a closer look.
In the case of Australia’s new 50-dollar note, released in October, that happened more than six months later. By that point, 46 million notes had been circulated — passed around by Australians who had no idea that what they were really holding in their hands was a note with typos, or as some (half-)jokingly said: a national embarrassment.
Overall, erroneous bank notes worth 2.3 billion Australian dollars, or 1.6 billion U.S. dollars, are now in circulation.
Granted, the mistakes weren’t easy to spot.
All a careless recipient would have noticed would have been, at best, the drawing of Edith Cowan. In 1921, she became Australia’s first female member of Parliament, for which she has been honored on Australian bank notes since 1995.
Her steady presence on Australia’s most frequently distributed note, the 50 (worth about $35 in U.S. currency), hid a more worrisome change in the fine print, however.
To spot it, you would have needed either very good eyes or magnifying glasses.
Okay, let’s zoom in a bit more. (Hint: It’s the second line.)
Yes, that’s correct. The word we’re looking for is “responsibility,” or, as the storied Reserve Bank of Australia has it: “responsibilty.” The mistake is repeated twice on the same bank note.
The words are part of Cowan’s inaugural speech in July 1921, in which she said: “It is a great responsibility to be the only woman here, and I want to emphasise the necessity which exists for other women being here.” (“Emphasise” doesn’t count as a typo; it’s the widely used British spelling of “emphasize,” the U.S. version of the word.)
Compared with other mistakes, the typos are almost certain to secure Australia a spot in the hall of fame of currency blunders that reach back far in history.
When the Bank of Canada started printing bank notes bearing the likeness of Queen Elizabeth II about seven decades ago, for instance, the institution received numerous complaints from readers who thought they had spotted a devil in her hair. In subsequent editions, the queen’s hair was reworked to look less like a portrait from hell.
The queen also caused a currency dispute in Australia once. Amid a debate about the monarchy’s official status and influence in Australia, the government made a U-turn in the 1960s, after proposing to rename the Australian dollar “the royal.” Previous ideas that were skipped reportedly included “the dinkum” and “the boomer.”
While Australia averted disaster, the Philippines faced irreversible embarrassment in 2005, when it was realized that new bank notes misspelled the name of then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
On the notes, her last name was spelled “Arrovo.”
The notes, authorities said at the time, were still valid, and, in fact, collectors coveted them.
That is less likely in the case of Australia’s erroneous 50-dollar bills, given that there are more notes in circulation than the country of almost 25 million has citizens. Its central bank has announced that the misspelled notes already in circulation will eventually be replaced — even though that might take some time.
Increase attributed to US President Trump’s stance on illegal immigration and a strong economy
The fear of deportation fed by United States President Donald Trump’s hardline rhetoric on immigration and a strong U.S. labor market and economy drove remittances from Mexicans outside the country to an all-time high in 2018.
Mexicans working abroad, mainly in the United States, sent US $33.48 billion to Mexico last year, an increase of 10.5% over the 2017 figure, according to the Bank of México (Banxico).
The remittances were sent in 103.9 million separate transactions, a 6% increase on the 2017 figure, and each one was on average $322 compared to $309 the year before, Banxico data shows.
Almost 98% of remittances were sent by electronic means and just over 94% came from the United States.
The total dollar amount sent to Mexico made remittances the country’s second largest foreign currency earner after auto exports, which totaled around $142 billion.
Just seven states received half of all remittances sent.
Michoacán took in just under $3.4 billion followed by Jalisco, with almost $3.3 billion; Guanajuato, with just over $3 billion; México state, with $1.9 billion; Oaxaca, with $1.7 billion; Puebla, with $1.7 billion; and Guerrero, with $1.6 billion.
Financial analysts say that Trump’s tough stance on illegal immigration has encouraged Mexicans in the United States to send more money home.
The Mexican government estimates that around 12 million Mexicans live in the United States and about half that number are there illegally.
Analysts at the Mexican bank Banorte say they expect the flow of remittances from the United States to remain strong in 2019 because the fundamentals of the U.S. economy are strong.
Migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean are sending more money to their families back home than ever before.
These annual “remittances” — as they’re called by analysts — topped $69 billion in 2016, according to central bank data compiled in a new report by the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington, D.C.-based think-tank. The money has been a lifeline for the national economies of many countries in the region since at least the 1990s, when Manuel Orozco, a political scientist who authored the report, first began tracking remittances. They climbed steadily since then, only to plummet when the Great Recession hit the U.S. economy in 2008. But they began to rise again in 2012. The 2016 tally is the highest amount on record and an increase of nearly 8 percent over 2015.
About 40 percent of the money goes to just one country — Mexico — practically all of it sent by migrants in the United States. The recent surge is all the more notable because migration from Mexico has slowed to a crawl — with the number of migrants in the U.S. increasing by just 1 percent between 2010 and 2016 to a total of 11.8 million. Also, says Orozco, the median amount that any given Mexican migrant sends hasn’t changed — about $300 at a go, 14 times a year, most commonly through a money transfer company such as Western Union.
So what accounts for this surge in cash to Mexico? Orozco explains that a much larger share of Mexicans already in the United States are now wiring money back. In 2010 fewer than half of Mexican migrants sent money home. Today two-thirds do.
Orozco can’t be sure why. Though he regularly does large-scale surveys of Mexican migrants, “I haven’t asked that question,” he notes.
A possible explanation, he says, is that many Mexican migrants who would have gone back to Mexico are now staying put in the United States. His survey research indicates that from 2011 to 2016, the median length of time a Mexican migrant has lived in the United States increased from seven years to 12. Some migrants are deterred by rising violence back in their hometowns, says Orozco.