The smart phone and teen mental health

From an article by Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, and author of a book on psychological changes across generations (Generation Me) and apparently has just published another (iGen).

“Around 2012, something started going wrong in the lives of teens. In just the five years between 2010 and 2015, the number of US teens who felt useless and joyless — classic symptoms of depression — surged 33 percent in large national surveys. Teen suicide attempts increased 23 percent. Even more troubling, the number of 13- to 18-year-olds who committed suicide jumped 31 percent.”

“In a new paper published in Clinical Psychological Science, my colleagues and I found that the increases in depression, suicide attempts and suicide appeared among teens from every background — more privileged and less privileged, across all races and ethnicities and in every region of the country. All told, our analysis found that the generation of teens I call ‘iGen’ — those born after 1995 — is much more likely to experience mental health issues than their millennial predecessors.”

“What happened so that so many more teens, in such a short period of time, would feel depressed, attempt suicide and commit suicide? After scouring several large surveys of teens for clues, I found that all of the possibilities traced back to a major change in teens’ lives: the sudden ascendance of the smartphone. All signs point to the screen.”

The truck as performance art

It’s been a few weeks since I got my first look at what I’ve started thinking of as “the Eldon truck.” It’s sitting outside the garage of a local mechanic who one day hopes to find the time to bring it back to life. In a bizarre example of cosmic coincidence, it’s the same year (’79) and model (Series III) as my Land Rover. While I’ve yet to get my hands on my truck, I have been allowed to poke around inside the Eldon truck.

The the owner of the truck (now deceased) reportedly bought it new in 1979 and wasn’t bashful about “enhancing” it over the years, the flyswatter and fan being to of my favorite mods.

As a general rule I tend to be clutter-averse. I like things tidy. But sitting in the driver’s seat of this old truck, it’s hard not to get a sense of performance art. There’s a Rube Goldberg Machine quality to all his little tweaks.

In the photo above, note the Mystery Knob. I don’t think this was merely decorative. It had some purpose but the old man took that with him when he went.

My truck will arrive in pristine condition. Seems unlikely I’ll live long enough to give it the character of this beauty. I’ll do my best.

iPhone X Photos

Barb’s only had her iPhone X for a few days and is still getting the hang of new features. Today she played with some of the new photos options. Don’t know how they’ll look here but on my laptop (and her phone) they looked damned good. Not sure which setting were used for each photo but I can tell you I’ve never seen a photo taken with a phone that was this crisp and sharp. The new iPhones are just larger than I like so I’m hoping these new camera features come to some future SE model.

More photos of the Eldon Rover

A couple of weeks back I posted about an old Land Rover (spotted by one of my coffee shop buds) wasting away in Eldon, MO, a small town about 30 miles southwest of Jefferson City. Since then another coffee shop pal purchased the the truck and it’s now sitting in the garage of another coffee shop friend who has the task of bringing the truck back to life.

She needs some work but that’s a good thing. This is the exact year and model as my truck, right down to the 2.25 litre diesel engine. As pal #3 (a talented mechanic) works his magic, I’m hoping to watch (quietly) from a corner of the garage. (I assume I’ll have to pay for the privilege)

There has also been some question as to whether my truck would fit through my garage door. I kept hearing different measurements from the guys in San Diego. This is important because we don’t want a diesel engine sitting outside during mid-Missouri winters. I now know it will pass easily into my garage (84 in clearance).

My truck scheduled to be transported from SoCal to NoCal this week.

The robots are here

“My solution is that all robots must be raised for their first few years in Minnesota, where everyone is kind and generous. I assume there are other spots around the world in which the culture evolved to be unusually friendly. Part of the value of your future robot is where it was imprinted with its base personality. Someday the Minnesota Series of robots will fetch top dollar.” — Scott Adams

“When robots start doing all of the medical research, the speed of discoveries will increase a hundredfold. Robots will simply try every idea until someday there is a cheap pill that keeps your body young and healthy. The government will get out of the healthcare field when the cost of medical services becomes trivial, and I think robots will get us there.” — Scott Adams

“Spofforth had been designed to live forever, and he had been designed to forget nothing. Those who made the design had not paused to consider what a life like that might be like.” — Mockingbird (Walter Tevis)

“At some point the real cost of healthcare, energy, construction, transportation, farming, and just about every other basic expense will fall by 90% as robots get involved. It would be absurd to assume we know anything about the economy in thirty years. Nothing will look the same.” — Scott Adams

“The highest-earning professions in the year 2050 will depend on automations and machines that have not been invented yet. That is, we can’t see these jobs from here, because we can’t yet see the machines and technologies that will make them possible. Robots create jobs that we did not even know we wanted done.” — Kevin Kelly

Spare tire in “the tub”

Very pleased with the spare tire mounted in the “tub” of the Land Rover. The bottom photo makes it appear to take up more space than it does. It was either here or on a swing-arm at the back of the truck. I prefer this. And the rear seats will be replaced with a couple of custom cushions (and no back).

Self-Driving Trucks

“Since early October, autonomous trucks built and operated by the startup Embark have been hauling Frigidaire refrigerators 650 miles along the I-10 freeway, from a warehouse in El Paso, Texas, to a distribution center in Palm Springs, California.”

“For now, the Embark milk runs are designed to test logistics as well as the safety of the technology. On each trip, a human driver working for Ryder (a major trucking company and Embark’s partner on this venture) heads over to the Frigidaire lot in El Paso, picks up a load of refrigerators, hauls them to the rest stop right off the highway, and unhitches the trailer. Then, a driver working for Embark hooks that trailer up to the robotruck, cruises onto the interstate, pops it into autonomous mode, and lets it do its thing. The truck mostly sticks to the right lane and always follows the speed limit. Once in Palm Springs, the human pulls off the highway, unhitches the trailer, and passes the load to another Ryder driver, who takes it the last few miles to Frigidaire’s SoCal distribution center.”


The end of human-driven vehicles

Bob Lutz worked for Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, and BMW, usually as a product guru. I believe he was the guy responsible for the Dodge Viper. In this article he predicts that in 20 years (at the latest) human-driven vehicles will be legislated off the highways.

The end state will be the fully autonomous module with no capability for the driver to exercise command. You will call for it, it will arrive at your location, you’ll get in, input your destination and go to the freeway. On the freeway, it will merge seamlessly into a stream of other modules traveling at 120, 150 mph. The speed doesn’t matter. You have a blending of rail-type with individual transportation.