July 27, 2022

As I have mentioned over the past few postings, Chattanooga has become one of the best places to have lunch and dinner in the state of Tennessee.  There are multiple family-owned restaurants in our three (3) local business areas: Southside, Downtown and Northshore.  That’s not to neglect great restaurants in the outlying areas but in Chattanooga you have a great variety of places to eat with a great variety of menus.  We always love to go to locally-owned restaurants as opposed to chain-type facilities.  Much better dining available and never “me-too” menus.  I suppose there is something to be said for conformity but also much to be said when surprised by great and original food. Novelty never wears off.

Two weeks ago, my wife and I visited a fairly new restaurant called Frazier 5 & Dime.  It’s in the same location as was the Beast and Barrel.  The Beast and Barrel did not survive COVID-19 but the location remains a prime spot-on Frazier Avenue.  The first thing you see when you walk in the door is the very well-stocked bar.  If you can’t find what you want here, I would be very surprised.  Notice also the lighting and the large glass windows to the left of the picture.

The next three digital pictures show the dining areas.  I quite frankly was very surprised at the space available.  The now-defunct Beast and Barrel had a much different layout and did not cater at all to large crowds.  The tables you see now are in open areas where there existed booths accommodating four or five people. 

Below is the Chef’s Table looking into the kitchen.  Five seats available.

Shown below is the largest seating area.  The table is set for a party of fourteen (14) people.  We finished our meal before this crew came in.

Now, let’s get to the food.  As you can see, we had as a starter, an ample serving of bread and deviled eggs.  Both were absolutely delicious and unique. 

My wife had fish and grits with roasted red pepper.  I’m not a big fan of grits but she loves them and I must admit the dish shown below did look amazing.  Clean plate club here.

I had ribs and they were to die for although for although I thought the “dipping sauce” was much too spicy, at least for my taste.  Ample portion of ribs blackened to form an outer crust. Tinder to the point of being able to cut them with a knife. 

In addition to the delicious food, there was an excellent selection of wine, mixed drinks, and beer.  I can certainly tell you my wife and I will be back.    I might mention that we eat early and I mean around five o’clock.  That the reason the restaurant was fairly empty.  It was not the food because it was delicious. DELICIOUS.  Come join us!

NOTE: Information for this post came from the following sources: 1.)  “Medical Product Outsourcing” April 2022 and 2.) “ACDi Consulting”.

One of the greatest applications for digital systems may be found in the healthcare industry.  Printed Circuit Boards or PCBs are the heart of these systems.  The development of PCBs is a story of evolution and not revolution.  Let’s take a look.   


One of the most common components in electronic devices today, printed circuit boards (PCBs) have come a long way since their introduction in the early 1900s. Very hard for me to believe this all started as early as the 1900s but that’s the case.  Rising consumer demand and expectations for increased speed, functionality, features and miniaturization has driven much of this change. Consumers today expect their electronic devices to respond instantly, creating unique challenges for electronics designers.  This is certainly true with the application of the printed circuit board.  PCBs must act properly or lives may be at stake.   This is not only true for healthcare, but for any application in which PCs are installed.

Patented in 1925 by Charles Ducas, “printed wire” involved creating an electrical path directly on an insulated surface. While the concept completely eliminated the need for complex wiring, it wasn’t until 1943 that the first operational PCBs were constructed in Austria by Dr. Paul Eisler.

During the 1920s, developers constructed printed circuit boards from everyday materials like Bakelite, Masonite, layered cardboard and even thin pieces of wood. They would drill holes into the material and rivet or bolt flat brass wires onto the board. They made connections to various components by pressing the end of the brass trace onto the hollow rivet while pressing the component’s leads into the open end of the rivet. Although this didn’t create anything like the sleek, attractive and complex boards seen today, this process provided consistent results and these types of circuit boards were commonly used in gramophones and early tube-style radios.

As electricity came to homes across the country, the shift from coal, wood and oil brought unique possibilities. Homeowners around the country accepted this change readily. After all, it was much easier and cleaner to cook and heat their homes with electricity.  During this time, Standard Oil, the company responsible for supplying the oil used for cooking and lighting households around the U.S. had to find a new purpose for its oil. This happened with the introduction of the automobile.

In 1947, production on the first double-sided PCB began. This unique design included through-hole plating, which allowed developers to use both sides of the printed circuit board. Copper plating on the through hole enabled electrical conductivity to travel through the board.  

In 1949, Moe Abramson and Stanislaus F. Danko, members of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, developed the first PCB auto-assembly process and forever changed the way that PCBs were made. The process involved using a copper foil interconnection pattern and dip soldering technology to insert component leads onto the board. In order to create the boards, developers drew the wiring pattern and photographed it onto a zinc plate. They then created a printing plate with the zinc plate for an offset printing press. Moe Abramson and Stainslaus F. Danko patented this process in 1956.


Now relative to the healthcare industry, 2021 was the biggest year for digital health investment ever recorded.  Globally, more that forty-four (44) billion U.S. dollars was invested in nine hundred and ninety (990) digital health companies, according to the organization called StartUp Health.  Only a decade earlier, roughly two (2) billion dollars was invested in digital health. Since 2011, there has been more than a twenty-fold increase in annual global investment in digital health funding.  Think about that! 

Among U.S.-based health startups, the total funding in 2011 was twenty-nine (29) billion USD, across seven hundred and twenty-nine (729) transactions, with an average investment worth approximately forty (40) million dollars according to Rock Health.  Overall U.S.-based digital health startup investment nearly doubled from a record fifteen (15) billion USD in 2020.  These huge numbers demonstrate the attractiveness of digital health systems going towards digital technology solutions for equipment and services.  A great portion of that funding is for non-evasive medical diagnostic devices saving the patient and the medical practitioners time and supposedly money.

With that being the case, as more and more medical devices join the connected world, patent protection becomes increasingly important for companies in securing and maintaining competitive market advantage.   Patents are critical for companies of all sizes with digital healthcare innovations. For startup companies, patents are very often the only way for investors to place a value on their technologies.  Because of this, patents make up for a much more significant portion of enterprise value for any startup company.   As a company grows, patents become the currency that secures financing through venture capital or private equity investment.  Patents also can ensure trade secrets remain secrets. 

CONCLUSION:  The digital evolution affects just about every field of technology and certainly the healthcare industry.  Just imagine what the world would be like without PC technology.


June 1, 2022

I suppose it’s entirely appropriate in these “culturally sensitive” times to eliminate any references to anything or person that remotely offends anyone, and I do mean anyone.  After all, the Washington Redskins are now The Commanders, the Cleveland Indians are now the Cleveland Guardians, and a new Colorado state board is considering proposals to rename more than two dozen natural features. This effort will be made to address derogatory names.  This represents the state’s top priority. Negro Mesa and Redskin Mountain are being reconsidered. Chinaman Gulch– the board decided it should be changed to Yan Sing Gulch, which means “resilience” in Cantonese.  This fall, 2021, the panel recommended changing Squaw Mountain, which rises above this quaint Clear Creek County town and contained a term widely considered offensive to Native American women. The replacement, approved this month by a federal board, is Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain, after a 19th-century Cheyenne translator also known as Owl Woman, who brokered peace between Whites and Indigenous people on the Colorado plains.

The problem, some advocates and lawmakers say, is that the very formal process for renaming mountains, lakes and gullies does not meet the urgency of the moment. That argument was endorsed last month by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who declared the word “squaw” to be derogatory and ordered the creation of a task force to scrub it from more than six hundred and fifty (650) geographic names, as well as a diverse committee to recommend changes to other offensive place names. The moves, she said, will “accelerate” the current process, under which a long-standingfederal naming board considers proposals on a case-by-case basis after input from state bodies like Colorado’s. By next fall, “squaw” could be history on U.S. maps.  “Racist terms have no place in our vernacular or on our federal lands,” Haaland, the first Native American to serve as a Cabinet secretary, said in a statement.

I’m sure you by now get the picture.  Also, our Department of Defense has been very busy establishing a committee, The Naming Commission, to investigate renaming the most “offensive” military bases.  This effort is to sooth the ruffled feathers of any who might be sensitive souls. 

The Naming Commission, which was established by Congress in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, suggested a list of names for the military installations that include women and Black Americans for the first time, rather than white men. The eight-member panel is officially known as the Commission on the Naming of Items of the Department of Defense That Commemorate the Confederate States of America or Any Person Who Served Voluntarily with the Confederate States of America, but is commonly referred to by its shorter nickname, the Naming Commission.

Each of the military posts given below are located in states stretching from Virginia to Texas and are currently named for a Confederate officer, (God forbid). The names were often given long after the Civil War—including many in the first half of the 20th Century when the U.S. military was rushing to open training posts for both world wars.

The panel, composed of former uniformed and civilian military leaders, visited the installations to gain feedback from soldiers and the community about “their process, preferences for new names and an understanding of local sensitivities.” The commission said it received more than thirty-four thousand (34,000) submissions related to naming activities. Take a look.

Fort Benning Renamed as Fort Moore

Fort Bragg Renamed as Fort Liberty

Fort Gordon Renamed as Fort Eisenhower

Fort A.P. Hill Renamed as Fort Walker

Fort Hood Renamed as Fort Cavazos

Fort Lee Renamed as Fort Gregg-Adams

Fort Pickett Renamed as Fort Barfoot

Fort Polk Renamed as Fort Johnson

Fort Rucker Renamed as Fort Novosel

I don’t want to be overly negative about this but can anyone tell me how many man-hours will be spent on the renaming processes?  Time that could otherwise be used to consider the following:

  • Gas prices at an all-time high with the national average being $4.622 for low octane and $4.997 for mid-grade.
  • Raging inflation, 8.3% as of 1 June 2022
  • Rising cost of food. As of 5 April 2022, the cost of meat, poultry, fish and eggs is thirteen percent (13%) higher since February 2021. Fresh fruit has gone up ten-point six percent (10.6%) in price in that time, while the price for vegetables has remained much more stable, increasing just four-point three percent (4.3%.) The price of pre-packaged cereals and baked goods has increased seven-point seven percent (7.7%)
  • In my opinion, we still do not have COVID under control.
  • Immigration at our southern border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection figures now show that more than two (2) million unauthorized migrants came across the Mexican border in the calendar year 2021 and were apprehended or turned themselves in – in addition to those not stopped or detected.
  • Drug Problems: Whether it’s a problem with alcoholOpioidsCocaine, or any other substance, addiction kills thousands of Americans every year and impacts millions of lives. Addiction, or substance use disorder (SUD), is a chronic mental health condition. Because it affects the brain’s normal functions, an SUD compels someone to repeatedly use substances or engage in behaviors even though they have harmful consequences. Addictions can destroy marriages, friendships, and careers and threaten a person’s basic health and safety.
  • Almost twenty-one (21) million Americans have at least one (1) addiction, yet only ten percent (10%) of them receive treatment.
  • Drug overdose deaths have more than tripled since 1990.
  • Alcohol and drug addiction cost the US economy over six hundred ($600) billion every year.
  • About twenty percent (20%) of Americans who have depression or an anxiety disorder also have a substance use disorder.
  • More than ninety percent (90%) of people who have an addiction started to drink alcohol or use drugs before they were eighteen (18) years old.
  • Americans between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five (18 and 25) are most likely to use addictive drugs.
  • Gun Violence:  In 2020, the most recent year for which complete data is available, 45,222 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S., according to the CDC. That figure includes gun murders and gun suicides, along with three other, less common types of gun-related deaths tracked by the CDC: those that were unintentional, those that involved law enforcement and those whose circumstances could not be determined. The total excludes deaths in which gunshot injuries played a contributing, but not principal, role. (CDC fatality statistics are based on information contained in official death certificates, which identify a single cause of death.)

CONCLUSIONS:  I know the three branches of our government can walk and chew gum at the same time but where are our priorities and why does re-naming seem to be one of the top priorities?  Go Figure? 

Over the past several years I have had several medical problems that definitely have gotten my attention.  I’ve experienced (and it has been a real experience) multiple MRIs, CAT SCANS, EKGs, EEGs, X-rays, cranial bubble procedures I did not even know existed, etc.  I could go on and on but for the sake of time will bore you no longer.  The doctors thought at one time I may have A-Fabulation, then decided otherwise due to additional testing.  Next on the list-sleep apnea.  Let’s see if that could be a factor.  I took the “at-home” test for a period of time and then was instructed to come in for an over-night stay at the Memorial Sleep Clinic.  I was wired to the point of hoping there was no lightening in the local area because I would surely be fried.  To my amazement, I stopped breathing one hundred and nine (109) times in an eight (8) hour time period.  This is an average of approximately fourteen (14) times per hour.  The threshold for sleep apnea is five (5) times per hour.  I was diagnosed as having a moderate case but one that could cause significant problems.  I ended up with a CPAP device. 

A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device is the most commonly prescribed for treating sleep apnea disorders.  A CPAP machine’s compressor (motor) generates a continuous stream of pressurized air that travels through an air filter into a flexible tube. This tube delivers purified air into a mask that’s sealed around your nose or mouth.  As you sleep, the airstream from the CPAP machine pushes against any blockages, opening your airways so your lungs receive plenty of oxygen.  Without anything obstructing this flow of oxygen, your breathing doesn’t pause. As a result, you don’t repeatedly wake up in order to resume breathing.

CPAP devices all have the same basic components:

  • a motor housed in a base unit
  • a cushioned mask
  • a tube that connects the motor to the mask
  • a headgear frame device
  • “elbow” pieces that act as joints
  • adjustable straps that allow you to customize the fit of the device
  • a bubbler to add moisture to the air delivered to the patient

The benefits in using a CPAP device are as follows:

  • Improves your ability to sleep without waking up
  • Lowers your risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular event
  • Helps lower your blood pressure
  • Reduces daytime sleepiness
  • May reduce blood glucose and cholesterol levels
  • Now comes the public service announcement.  I was amazed to find sleep apnea can cause a multitude of problems one of which being the TIAs I have experienced multiple times over the past few months.   The graphic below will indicate those known problems that can occur.

I have been very pleased to find the CPAP device has definitely made a difference in my ability to gain a good night’s sleep.  At one time, I would wake up with a crashing headache.  I started my day with three Tylenol in addition to the medications and vitamins I generally take.  I have not had a headache since using the CPAP machine.  That is definitely a blow for freedom.  There is a period of adjustment when using the device and you have to try several mask configurations before you get one that suits you sleep patterns. 

Please take a look at the digital above and see if you recognize any issues you presently have.  Maybe a CPAP might be the answer.


April 12, 2022

Life allows for very few “do-overs”.  We simply cannot go back and relive and consequently erase the mistakes we have made earlier.  As such, many times we develop a “book of regrets” or at least as many regrets as might fill a good-size book, but what if you could?  What if you could go back?  What if you had taken that job instead of the one you have now?  What if you had joined that rock band as a teenager and continued playing with the band?  What would have happened if you followed a different professional path?  What if you had married Bob instead of Bill?  All of these “what-if” plague some of us as we age and can torment us later in life if we choose to let them. 

Between life and death there is a library. That’s the thesis of the book.  Nora Seed, who lives a monotonous, ordinary life feels unwanted and unaccomplished. One night, her despair reaches a peak and she commits suicide, but Nora is given the opportunity to go back and relive some of her regrets.  To correct things.  To say I’m sorry. To accomplish a “do over”.    She feels she has let everyone down, including herself but when she finds herself in the Midnight Library, she has an opportunity to make things right. The Midnight Library, as mentioned, exists between life and death and is filled with books in which lie endless parallel lives Nora might’ve lived; she is given the chance to undo her regrets by trying out these lives, starting right where her alternate self would’ve been on the night, she ended her life. While in the Midnight Library, Nora lives hundreds of lives and becomes hundreds of different versions of herself–some she’d never even fathomed–but she is faced with a difficult decision. She must decide what she is willing to sacrifice in order to live permanently in one of these ‘ideal’ lives, where they seem perfect for a time but, as she realizes, there are really new sets of challenges awaiting. Nora’s exploration of herself is captivating as she attempts to discern what is really important in life. The Library enables Nora to live as if she had done things differently.  Each book contains a different life, a possibility in which she makes different choices that play out in an infinite number of ways, affecting everyone she knew as well as many people she never met.  The Library makes it possible to undo every decision she has regretted in her life up to that point, but the Library eventually places her in a position of extreme danger.  Before time runs out, and it really does eventually, she must answer the ultimate question:  What is the best way to live?

This novel is very well-written and thought-provoking. Nora’s emotions are deeply portrayed, and I was captivated by the depth of Matt Haig’s storytelling. While the concept is simple, it drew me in as a reader and encompassed so many different emotional experiences that come with life. I spent much of The Midnight Library reflecting on my own life and the decisions I’ve made, as well as looking to the future and imagining the infinite possibilities–this is a sign of a talented author. There were also attempts to make Nora’s life-jumping seem scientifically possible, with reference to quantum physics, the focus was on Nora’s life and personal growth. Overall, I very much enjoyed The Midnight Library. The character development, setting, and plot are engaging, while also discussing important themes such as mental health.

I would recommend The Midnight Library to teens and adults alike. It’s a short, worthwhile read that will get you thinking and have you on the edge of your seat. And it may just awaken you to how much unlocked potential you have!

A good friend of mine sent me this very very interesting group of statistics.  We both are considerable older that sixty-five years and constantly try to keep our spirits up relative to getting older.  I thought these facts would interest you also.  Here we go: 

Considering a class size of one hundred (100) persons in the world, 

  • Only 8 live or exceed the age of sixty-five (65) years of age.  Think about that one!!!!!! 

 World Population vs Memory Loss, (NOTE: Be sure to take the memory test at the end.)

Earth’s Population Statistics in Perspective.  The population of Earth is around seven-point-eight (7.8) Billion.   For most people, it is a large figure however, if you condensed seven-point-eight (7.8) billion into one hundred (100) persons, and then into various percentage statistics the resulting analysis is relatively much easier to comprehend. 

Out of 100 : 
11 are in Europe 
5 are in North America 
9 are in South America 
15 are in Africa 
60 are in Asia 

49 live in the countryside 
51 live in cities 

75 have mobile phones 
25 do not. 

30 have internet access 
70 do not have the availability to go online 

7 received university education 
93 did not attend college

83 can read 
17 are illiterate. 

33 are Christians 
22 are Muslims 
14 are Hindus 
7 are Buddhists 
12 are other religions 
12 have no religious beliefs. 

26 live less than 14 years 
66 died between 15 – 64 years of age 
8 are over 65 years old. 

If you have your own home,  eat full meals & drink clean water, have a mobile phone, can surf the internet, and  have gone to college,  you are in the minuscule privileged lot.  (in the less than seven percent (7%) category) 

Among one hundred (100) people in the world, only eight (8) live or exceed the age of sixty-five (65). 

If you are over sixty-five (65) years old, be content and very grateful. Cherish life, grasp the moment. 

If you did not leave this world before the age of sixty-four (64) like the ninety-two (92) people who have gone before you, you are already the blessed amongst mankind. 

Take good care of your own health. Cherish every remaining moment. 

If you think you are suffering memory loss…….  Anosognosia, very interesting… 

In the following analysis the French Professor Bruno Dubois, Director of the Institute of Memory and Alzheimer’s Disease (IMMA) at La Pitié-Salpêtrière – Paris Hospitals, addresses the subject in a rather reassuring way: 

“If anyone is aware of their memory problems, they do not have Alzheimer’s.” 

1. Forget the names of families. 
2. Do not remember where I put some things. 

It often happens in people sixty (60) years and older that they complain that they lack memory. “The information is always in the brain, it is the “processor” that is lacking.” 

This is “Anosognosia” or temporary forgetfulness. 

Half of people sixty (60) and older have some symptoms that are due to age rather than disease. The most common cases are: 

– forgetting the name of a person, 
– going to a room in the house and not remembering why we were going there, 
– a blank memory for a movie title or actor, an actress
– a waste of time searching where we left our glasses or keys .. 

After sixty (60) years of age, most people have such a difficulty, which indicates that it is not a disease but rather a characteristic due to the passage of years.  Many people are concerned about these oversights hence the importance of the following statements: 

1.”Those who are conscious of being forgetful have no serious problem of memory.” 
2. “Those who suffer from a memory illness or Alzheimer’s, are not aware of what is happening.” 

Professor Bruno Dubois, Director of IMMA, reassures the majority of people concerned about their oversights: 

“The more we complain about memory loss, the less likely we are to suffer from memory sickness.” 

Now for a little neurological test: 
Only use your eyes! 

1- Find the C in the table below! 


2- If you found the C, then find the 6 in the table below. 


3- Now find the N in the table below. Attention, it’s a little more difficult! 


If you pass these three tests without problem: 
– you can cancel your annual visit to the neurologist. 
– your brain is in perfect shape! 
– you are far from having any relationship with Alzheimer’s. 



April 3, 2022

This past Friday for Happy Hour, my wife and I visited a new restaurant in Chattanooga.  Chattanooga has become one of the most diverse cities in the south as far as dining choices.   We’ve got, American, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Mongolian, German, Cajun, Portuguese, Mexican, TexMex, soul food, Irish, Greek, Middle-Eastern, and as many fast-food restaurants as you can name.  There are also probably some I have altogether forgotten.  This is because Chattanooga “eats out” and I mean somewhat constantly.

Rosecomb is a fairly new restaurant located right off Hixson Pike on the North Shore.  The facility remined both of us of a small Italian buca.   It is a neighborhood pub built inside of a 1920’s cottage in the historic Riverview neighborhood of Chattanooga. The space is small and intimate, best for date nights with your favorite person.   One very interesting fact, they only serve a twenty-one (21) plus cliental.  That means no babies, teens, tweens, or anything in between.  My wife and I arrived at four P.M. so we were the very first ones to dine that day.  We always eat early to avoid the crowd.


Chloe Wright grew up in rural Tennessee surrounded by farmland and chickens, so when it came time to name the restaurant and bar she owns with her husband Ryan Smith, Rosecomb seemed the perfect name. It describes a certain type of bantam chicken, one of the oldest of the breeds dating back to 14th century Britain, and also the comb found on many chickens.

“I had a lot of chickens growing up and have just always loved them,” she said.

The couple’s new restaurant on Barton Avenue is located in an older house near the Riverview Park and is a testament to the couple’s love of food and drink. Her father, Rick Wright, recently retired as food and beverage director at the University of the South, and Smith, who is from Oxford, Mississippi, spent almost a decade opening new bars and eateries in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

His sister Ginny Smith Kelly talked him into moving to Chattanooga to help her and husband Tim redo Chattanooga Brewing about four years ago, where he would eventually meet and marry Wright.

She said the couple lives in the neighborhood on the Northshore and they look forward to collaborating with other businesses nearby on special events.

“We are very excited about being here,” she said.

The restaurant specializes in updated versions of classic Southern dishes, she added.

“Our menu is inspired by our childhood. Things like cornbread and marrow butter. Deviled eggs and fried okra. We use long-cut okra and cornmeal. Plus, our chicken sandwiches are really good.”

She said her husband has also come up with some specialty drinks including The Rosecomb, which is made with gin, watermelon and hibiscus, and the Luz Verde with spicy grapefruit, tequila, pamplemouse and serrano pepper.  Ms. Wright indicated the restaurant has about thirteen hundred (1,300)-square-feet inside and an equal space outside. Both areas can seat about forty-five (45) people. The patio is absolutely beautiful and a delightful place to sit.  I did not get a digital of the patio. 

It will be open from 4 p.m. to midnight during the week and a little later on Friday and Saturday.


As you enter the door, you see a very well-stocked bar.  That bar is show below.  Many people come in after work, enjoy a drink and order one of the many tappas available. 

As mentioned above, this is a somewhat smaller restaurant and very intimate.  One of the dining rooms is shown below.  This table is set for six (6) people and is one of the largest tables in the facility. 

The second largest room is shown below.  Notice the fireplace, the mantel, and the small two-person table in the foreground. 

OK, now to the food.  Our order, shown below consisted of Southern cornbread, pimento cheese and deviled eggs, and the best store-bought cheese sandwich I have ever eaten.   It was my dish and was truly magnificent.  I had wine and my wife had a delicious cocktail.

The menu is somewhat limited but what they do have is extraordinarily good and filling.  The staff is very at attentive and we never had to wait longer that a few minutes for additional service.  Excellent service. 


CONCLUSIONS:   Another GREAT restaurant in Chattanooga to check out next time you visit.  Better plan on spending some time in “river city” because you will not run out of interesting places to dine.  We can definitely recommend Rosecomb.


March 26, 2022

One of the most dangerous infusions into our daily lives is counterfeit commodities.  I’m not really talking about clothing, shoes, jewelry, sweaters, belts, etc etc., I’m taking about microchips, fasteners, ferrous and polymer materials, etc.  Don’t get me wrong, counterfeit “anything” is bad enough but there are no dangers to having a pair of “sneakers” made just like NIKE, in China or someplace in the Middle-East.   The production and trafficking of counterfeit goods poses a significant health and safety threat to consumers. It also impacts the economic growth of legitimate businesses and consumers through lost revenue, downtime, and replacement costs. To mitigate these threats and help ensure public safety, agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), work alongside federal, state and local law enforcement partners across the country to dismantle counterfeit operations and hold individuals involved in them accountable. 


Now, if we look at pharmaceuticals, the most fundamental challenges remaining as we move forward is that most pharmaceuticals and protective personal equipment are manufactured outside the United States. It was a shock for many people to learn during the COVID pandemic many essential medicines and products came from off-shore. In keeping with trends that have emerged in recent decades with manufacturing in general, China and India are big suppliers of medicinal drugs, as are places such as Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, France, Israel, South Africa, and Brazil. Most American drug companies have outsourced manufacturing to foreign locations. In that situation, supply chains are long and there often are logistical problems that limit availability of needed treatments. 


If we look at fasteners, we see the following:

The United States has one of the largest shares of the fastener market.  We use a tremendous number of fasteners each year; consequently, those fasteners need to be of the highest quality to meet the needs of manufacturers in the U.S.  How would you like an “off-quality” fastener used in your airplane, MRI, bridges, equipment used by the armed forces, etc?  Just think about it.


In addition to the ones listed above, some of the most dangerous counterfeit products involve automotive parts, electronics, safety equipment, prescription drugs, microchips, cosmetics due to the potential threats they present to public safety and public health:

  • Counterfeit airbags and their components can cause severe malfunctions ranging from non-deployment, under inflation, over inflation to explosion of metal shrapnel during deployment in a crash.
  • Counterfeit lithium-ion laptop batteries pose significant risk of extreme heat, self-igniting, and exploding.
  • Counterfeit helmets and baby carriers can break.
  • Counterfeit prescription drugs may not contain the active ingredient or could lead to accidental overdose.
  • Counterfeit cosmetics can cause severe skin reactions.


With the current world-wide microchip shortage, manufacturers are desperately scrambling to keep their production lines going for electronic goods, including automobiles.  I know that the Ford Corporation has had several lines idle due to chip shortage.  Other companies are shipping product without chips with a promise to send product as soon as available.  One solution many companies are turning to is the so-called “grey market” or non-authorized suppliers of obsolete and excess component stocks.  Counterfeit ICs are sometimes marked as originating from different IC suppliers and sold as new.  Some unscrupulous companies are removing chips from used or damaged PC boards, repairing, re-branding, and shipping as new.  Completely counterfeit.

Counterfeiters use several methods to produce their fake goods, namely:

  • Empty packages marked to resemble actual ICs.
  • Cheap ICs re-marked to resemble more expensive ICs.
  • IDs with similar but poorer specifications re-marked to resemble better specifications or more expensive ICs.
  • As mentioned above, ICs salvaged from used circuit board.

These counterfeit goods usually bear the trademark of legitimate and trusted brands, but were produced by another party and are not made to the specifications of the original manufacturer. They’re often produced illegally and sold at a profit to fund other criminal activities. This makes the production and trafficking of counterfeit goods a transnational crime, commonly linked to transnational criminal organizations (TCOs). As such, related commercial fraud violations are also investigated by HSI’s Border Enforcement Security Task Forces (BESTs).


As a global, multibillion dollar crime, organized criminal groups have not hesitated to cash in on the trade in counterfeit goods. In many parts of the world, international, regional and national law enforcement authorities have uncovered intricate links between this crime and other serious offences including illicit drugs, money laundering and corruption.    Some estimates put the counterfeit business at well in excess of two hundred and fifty billion ($250) billion U.S. dollars per year and hundreds of billions more, if pirated digital products and domestic counterfeit sales are included.  With the combination of high profits and low penalties resulting from a greater social tolerance compared to other crimes, the illicit trafficking of counterfeit goods is an attractive money-making avenue for organized criminal groups.

The following table will give you some idea as to the scope of the illegal activity.


Another area that continues to be exploited by counterfeiters — and one that is often not considered in the public mind when discussing fake products — is foodstuffs. Every year consumers throughout the world are deceived into buying expensive counterfeit foodstuffs. A ploy favored by criminals is to intentionally mislabel and misrepresent foods as luxury items or as originating in certain countries, allowing them to raise prices. A recent estimate based on data from the United Kingdom Food Standards Agency41 suggested that fraud could affect as much as 10 per cent of all the food bought in that country. One such example is that of “wild” salmon, which, it is estimated, is in fact farmed fish in one out of every seven cases.  Think about this if you are a seafood lover. 


Adopting and fully implementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime: The counterfeit business is a global operation spread across numerous countries and organized by cross-border criminal networks. As a result, there is an ever-growing need for action at both local and international levels. The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime is the world’s most inclusive platform for cooperation in tackling organized crime. One hundred and seventy-nine (179) countries are currently Parties to the Convention and have committed themselves to fighting organized crime locally and internationally by such means as collaboration and ensuring that domestic laws are suitably structured. As an important instrument in tackling transnational organized crime, the Convention fosters international cooperation and, aside from encouraging the adoption of measures such as the establishment of domestic criminal offenses, urges countries to put in place frameworks for extradition, mutual legal assistance and law enforcement cooperation. Within the Convention’s framework, States Parties could decide to adopt tougher laws in order to tackle the illicit trafficking of counterfeit goods, particularly in the case of public health and safety threats. Strengthening money laundering legislation: With the illicit trafficking of counterfeit goods and money laundering intrinsically linked, there is a profound importance in ensuring national laws are securely in place to counter all forms of money laundering. Given the danger of re-investment into other forms of organized crime, tracking and confiscating illicit funds is critical. The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) recently presented a comprehensive argument on this issue. Advocating for the confiscation of the proceeds of crime, the two organizations called on Governments to seize profits made by organized criminal networks from counterfeiting as a more effective response than just imprisonment.

CONCLUSION: Every consumer and manufacturer can aid the efforts of law enforcement by being aware first, that this is a huge problem.  Then, turn over the suspected item to law enforcement and let them track down the culprits.  They are looking.

I don’t know if you have ever read a book by Mr. Walter Isaacson. He is very meticulous and tireless with the research done prior to writing.  For the book “Einstein”, he provides one hundred and eighty-eight (188) pages of sources and notes as well as a complete index relative to subject matter.  In my opinion, he is one of the best authors our country has ever produced, if you are after the absolute facts.  He does not produce fiction—just facts.

Just about every adult has heard of Albert Einstein and his Theory of Relativity AND his mathematical formula E=mC².  This formula links total energy to mass and the speed of light squared.   We all basically know that.  You mention Einstein and automatically you think of E=mC².  What I did not know: this man was a very complex individual with a tremendous independent personally.  A bit of a lady’s man to boot.

The book can be at times can be very tedious but that’s because Isaacson takes GREAT pains to provide factual and accurate information, sometimes at the expense of detailing minutia.  So, with that being the case, I will not try to re-write the book.  What I would like to do is provide several comments from noted individuals.

“An illuminating delight ……This is a warm insightful, affectionate portrait with a human and immensely charming Einstein at its core.  A wonderfully rounded portrait of the ever-surprising Einstein personality”.  Janet Maslin, The New York Times.

“Once again Walter Isaacson has produced a most valuable biography of a great man about whom much has already been written. It helps that he has had access to important new material.  He met the challenge of dealing with his subject as a human being and describing profound ideas in physics.  His biography is a pleasure to read and makes the great physicist come alive”.   

Murry Gell-Mann, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics and author of The Quark and the Jaguar.

(NOTE:  I can’t say it any better than Dr. Gell-Mann.)  Isaacson paints a very personal picture of Dr. Einstein as well as describing the paths leading to much, if not most, of the very important work he accomplished in his lifetime.  This provides a complete picture of the man.  Einstein was remarkably focused, at times to the detriment of his family. 

“Isaacson has given us a life, not just a mind, perhaps the greatest in the twentieth century, but also a personality, as imperfect and fallible as all the rest of us.  This unique combination of sheer brilliance and human uncertainty makes this one of the greatest biographies of our time”

Joseph J. Ellis.  Author of Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation.

“Isaacson has triumphed…producing a thorough exploration of his subject’s life, a skillful piece of scientific literature and a thumping good read…It’s one of the greatest stories of modern science and to his credit—Isaacson has done a first-rate job in telling it.  This is, quite simply, a riveting read”.

Robin McKie, The Guardian (UK)

I think you get the picture.  This is a profound book certainly worth reading.  You must be patient, take your time, check some of Isaacson’s references and sources and read the book. 

As always, I welcome your comments.


March 22, 2022

2034 is one of the scariest books I have read lately.  It’s co-authored by Elliot Ackerman and Admiral James Stavridis.  As you might expect, the events in the book start occurring during the year 2034.  Two factors making the book so believable are the credentials of each author.  Mr. Ackerman is a former White House Fellow and Marine.  He served five (5) tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan where he received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with Valor, and the Purple Heart.   Admiral Stravridis understands how naval fleets work and has clearly given a great deal of thought to America’s greatest strategic risks.  The top of that list is how we deal with China.   Stavridis was educated at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and has held positions as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and commander of U.S. Southern Command.  No rookie!

War with China is the most dangerous scenario facing the United States and the world at large.  Both countries have nuclear capabilities. That fact is developed and unpacked during the pages of this book How that could happen may surprise you. 

The book starts at 14:47 March 12, 2034 in the South China Sea.  It ends at 07:40 April 16, 2039 in New Delhi. During this time, we see the destruction of San Diego, California; Galveston, Texas; Xiamen, China, Fuzhou, China; and Shanghai, China.  In the beginning, a Chinese cyberattack neutralizes a US naval squadron in the South China Sea, and Iran takes a hotshot F-35 pilot hostage after neutralizing the electronics in his fighter.   This leads to a series of escalations, and soon, as mentioned, several US cities are reduced to radioactive craters as American nuclear counterattacks devastate Chinese cities.  This is not a “happy” book and the possibilities are spelled out in a very real fashion. 

Among the most interesting elements of the 2034 plot is the role technology plays in demarcating China’s rising and America’s declining power. Beijing is portrayed as an unrivaled cyber power: Just as negotiations break down, China shuts down all White House systems, piling a devastating cyber-attack on top of a devastating kinetic one. Beijing also hacks the networks of the U.S. carrier group in the South China Sea, cutting off external communications and leaving commanders reliant on manual navigation and weapons deployment. Undergirding all these plot points is the assumption that the U.S. is incapable of defending against cyber incursions or responding in-kind: ” If the Americans had really wanted to threaten the Chinese, they would’ve launched a massive cyberattack. The only problem was that they couldn’t.”   Both authors plainly indicate the Unites States had better wake up relative to cyber security and learn how to deal with an enemy that’s really good at shutting down electronic systems, even in moving aircraft. 

I read this book in about two (2) days and consider it very hard to put down once you have started.   This is also during March Madness so you know it’s very engaging. I can definitely recommend it to you.

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