• The “first dog” is going to Mars…
  • Don’t have time to read? Facebook wants to “help”…
  • The augmented reality space is heating up in 2021…

Dear Reader,

Today’s topic may be controversial to some. It is not meant to be. My goal is simply to share the kind of information that I would want to have if our roles were reversed.

This information has largely been suppressed by the media “machine.” And sadly, very little objective investigative journalism is taking place right now.

Since the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was given emergency use authorization (EUA) on December 11, I was anxious to understand the side effects – and in some cases, deaths – from the administration of the vaccine.

Yes, it was proven as 95% effective in clinical trials. But efficacy is a different thing than overall safety.

Before I share the details, it is important to say that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is generally safe. It is made up of the mRNA vaccine, lipids, salts, sugars, and polyethylene-glycol. All pretty innocuous.

But what can be dangerous is an individual’s reaction to the vaccine.

Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finally started reporting the adverse events from the COVID-19 vaccines in its “Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System” (VAERS) over the holidays. This database is accessible to the public, but it is awkward to deal with. That’s why I’m including a snapshot here of the results, which are current as of last Friday (they are only updated each Friday).

Data From Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System

(Click to Enlarge)

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As we can see in the chart above, there have been 361 events in total. 307 visits to the emergency room, 36 hospitalizations, and 17 life-threatening events. At the time the CDC published this data, about two million vaccine doses had been administered. The number of adverse events is a small percentage.

And yes, there have been several deaths which are largely going unreported. A healthy 56-year-old obstetrician from Miami Beach died after taking the vaccine. The platelets in his blood were destroyed by the vaccine, and he was admitted to the hospital due to the reaction to the vaccine. He had a hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding in the brain) and died.

Two nursing home residents in Norway are reported to have died after receiving the vaccine. A Swiss woman has died after taking the vaccine. A man and woman in Israel died hours after taking the vaccine… and there are others.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the media, press, pharmaceutical companies, and even the CDC are attempting to attribute these deaths to other factors.

What’s ironic is the unwillingness to acknowledge these deaths for what they are, while being so anxious to categorize a gunshot wound victim or a car accident victim with “chest pains” as a COVID-19 death. Of course, the same is true with a heart attack, terminal cancer, coronary heart disease, etc. On average, every COVID-19 death has two to three serious underlying comorbidities.

Public concerns have escalated to the point where the CDC finally had to make a statement on January 6 acknowledging that 29 people in the U.S. have developed anaphylaxis after receiving the vaccine. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can result in death.

The CDC said that, “Even at 11 cases per million doses administered, it’s a very safe vaccine.” The CDC added, “We’re in the setting of 2,000 COVID deaths per day… I would stay it’s a good value proposition for someone to get vaccinated.”

For a healthy adult under 65 years of age, I’m not sure the prospect of anaphylaxis or death, however small, is a “good value proposition.”

This is one of the reasons such a large percentage of health care workers are refusing the vaccine. And people like me, who have already had COVID-19 and developed cellular immunity, receive little additional benefit by taking the vaccine. We would introduce unnecessary risk by doing so.

I’m sharing this information in hopes that it will help us in making a more informed decision. When we speak with our physicians, we can ask them specifically about the risks and severe allergic reactions. Then we can make the best possible decision depending on each individual’s circumstances.

And if a physician isn’t familiar with the adverse events being reported by the CDC, that’s probably not the right person to be looking to for counsel.

Now let’s turn to today’s insights…

Spot is going to the Red Planet…

We last talked about Spot the robotic dog back in June. This is the incredibly functional “dog-like” robot developed by robotics innovator Boston Dynamics. It can navigate its environment, including going up and down stairs. It can carry objects around. And Spot can even open doors.

What’s more, Spot can be enabled with artificial intelligence (AI) and equipped with light detection and ranging (lidar) sensors and a 360-degree camera. This allows Spot to “see” perfectly, which allows it to move around autonomously.

For the benefit of newer readers, here is footage of Spot navigating and mapping a cave system:

Spot Navigates a Cave System

Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

And here’s where this story gets really exciting…

Over the holidays, researchers from NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)-Caltech announced that Spot is going to Mars. They envision using the robotic dog on a follow-up mission to explore the Red Planet.

And their reasoning is completely logical.

Last year, we had a look at three separate Mars missions that are set to arrive at the planet next month – one from the United States, one from China, and one from the United Arab Emirates.

Well, Spot has distinct advantages over the traditional exploration rovers used on these missions.

For one, Spot is faster. It can move at three miles per hour, whereas NASA’s Curiosity rover can only reach speeds of 0.9 miles per hour.

And Spot is far more mobile.

The rovers need to stick to areas with relatively flat terrain to keep from getting in trouble. But Spot can navigate the Red Planet at will. It can go up and down hills. And Spot can explore valleys, caves, and tunnels – something the rovers could never do.

This could lead to some very exciting insights into the potential for past or current life-forms on the planet. And such exploration can identify locations for future habitats for a manned presence on Mars.

Here’s a neat depiction of the team’s vision for Spot on Mars:

Spot Will Explore Mars

Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

As a bonus, Spot is 12 times lighter than the current rovers. That makes it cheaper to get the payload to space and off to Mars in the first place.

So this is a great idea. My only disappointment is that they renamed Spot to “Mars Dog” for the upcoming mission. Not exactly creative, but it will probably stick.

It is also worth noting that South Korean conglomerate Hyundai recently took an 80% stake in Boston Dynamics. That gives this visionary robotics company a home and plenty of resources to continue its work.

We’ll continue to keep an eye on Boston Dynamics. And we’ll certainly look forward to more details on the upcoming “Mars Dog” mission.

Another frightening initiative from Facebook…

At its last company meeting, Facebook revealed its newest AI product called TLDR. This is a widely used acronym in the tech community that stands for “Too Long, Didn’t Read.”

Facebook has twisted that acronym by creating an AI that will scan news stories and summarize them in just a few bullet points so people don’t have to read them. This has some scary implications…

First of all, news is dumbed down already.

As we saw last year, it often lacks nuance and context. And sometimes it even omits critical information all together. Reducing news stories to a few bullet points will take this to a whole new level. And encouraging people not to read, contextualize, and understand information themselves will just dumb down society.

Even worse, Facebook likes to manipulate or censor information that it disagrees with. In this way, the company actively injects bias into its technology platform. Why would we expect its AI product to be any different?

And the fact that Facebook touches billions of people daily is the frightening part. It has the ability to influence more than half of the world’s population.

If there is anything that we learned from 2020, it’s that we can no longer trust the news media. We must do our own research. That’s the crux of everything we do here at Brownstone Research.

We never gloss over news stories. We go straight to the source. We comb through the data sets, analyze the trends, and assess what we find within the wider context.

And what we find time and again is that the data paints a completely different picture from what’s represented by the press.

Sadly, I suspect TLDR will be welcomed by many. People are inundated with so much information that they would happily allow an AI to summarize everything for them.

It will be interesting to see how this factors into the discussions around Section 230 and Facebook’s exemption from liability, which we talked about back in October.

The employment of technology like this would put Facebook more at risk of getting into hot water over Section 230. If it intends to commercialize this, it would be smarter to wait until after the latest antitrust suit is settled before moving forward with TLDR.

Another big company enters the augmented reality space…

Lenovo – the Chinese company that bought IBM’s laptop division – just gave us a sneak peek into the new augmented reality (AR) headset it is working on. This is yet another big entrant into the AR space.

What’s unique about Lenovo’s approach is that the device appears to be geared for enterprise use. The glasses come with a tether that will connect to a separate device with more powerful computing capabilities. My guess is the glasses will link to one of Lenovo’s laptops.

This allows them to have a great form factor without sacrificing their graphics processing ability. They look almost like a regular pair of glasses.

Lenovo’s AR Glasses

Source: “WalkingCat”

This is very early in the year for such an innovative design announcement to be made. I’m excited to learn more about how these glasses will be used.

And this entrant by a large consumer electronics company will accelerate even more development in the AR space.

We already know that several AR launches will happen in 2021. And I suspect we will see a prominent company surprise the market with the unexpected announcement of its own AR launch.

In fact, I predict that Apple will launch its first pair of AR glasses this fall, which would be one or two years ahead of what the press is predicting. That would be a blockbuster announcement.

So the AR space is heating up. Stay tuned…

The investing public doesn’t know it yet, but AR is on track to become the next mass-market consumer frenzy after the current 5G-enabled smartphone refresh cycle. That’s very good news for strategic AR investments over the next 36 months.


Jeff Brown
Editor, The Bleeding Edge

P.S. One final note…

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