Last night, I had an unusually vivid dream that I was engaged in a fairly long discussion with David Bowie about me becoming his personal assistant.

It ended with him stealing my wallet.

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535 new members of congress… dare to dream

Can you imagine 535 new congressmen in the nation’s capital? (Yes, I realize we only vote for one-third of the Senate at a time, so that slows the plan down by six years.) Instead of slowly bringing in new people who can be taught by the old how to grease each other’s palm and scratch each other’s back to entrench themselves in the system, you’d have 535 people who wouldn’t even know where their offices are.

There’d be no existing relationships with lobbyists. No one would be well-versed in parliamentary rule. They’d probably have to rewrite the rules of the House and Senate. They’d look at the way the system has been working – like any outsider looking at a new company – and start addressing all of the problems that make it defective. Special interest groups would have no hold on any of them. The new representatives and senators wouldn’t owe anything to anyone except the voters.

And they’d all be emboldened. There’d be no established leadership to fear. There’d be no senior members who could put the hammer down and prevent them from speaking their mind.

Debate would be honest, and people would say what they mean. I think this is why some people are so excited for the 2014 election. For conservatives, it’s a chance to fight back against Obama’s policies. But if you look at all the career politicians in trouble, it’s really a chance to clear the decks of Democrats AND Republicans and start again in the United States Congress.

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Sometimes you hear people cite research that says “Cancer is on the rise,” or “There are more people suffering from some form of cancer than ever before.”

But we’re also living longer than ever before. What if cancer is a somewhat natural phenomenon, and we simply weren’t living long enough to get it to the degree we are now? How would we know until we were finally living long enough.

Kind of makes me wonder if there aren’t foods that we eat that are poisonous. It just takes about 80 years for the poison to take effect, like a timebomb.

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The downside of personalization

There are many tools these days that marketers use to create individualized experiences for their customers. Even if you don’t realize it, you’re often getting offers in your email or when you visit websites that are dynamic and personalized just for you.

Those offers are determined by your past web browing behavior, your past purchases or other information that a company may have on you.

Meanwhile, people are concerned that the country is getting more polarized. People are getting more set in their opinions and more tunnel-visioned in their likes and dislikes. Marketers like Seth Godin often talk about how technology is making it easier to find tribes of like-minded people – no matter what the unifying subject may be.

But is this a positive for society?

As we all receive recommendations, offers and other content that is determined and reinforced by our past behavior, we get less exposure to ideas, book, movies and music that challenge our ideas or change the way we think.

With personalization, we all get bombarded with what is essentially more of the same. Music that sounds like the music we already have. Books about subjects we’ve already covered. Movies that are just like the ones we’ve already seen. And most important, ideas that are just like the ideas you and your friends comfortably share and discuss.

Personalization is certainly good for marketers who are interested in building customer relations and selling more goods, but I sometimes wonder if while it’s creating smaller tribes, it’s also creating greater divisions.

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How many have to die?

I was recently in New York City for a meeting, and on the way from the airport to the city, we passed by a rather large cemetery.

This got me wondering, I wonder if there’s any way to figure out how many people have died since the first person walked the earth.

I imagine it’s quite a few…

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