A century ago, this was a good job! Every era has its “good jobs” and those you “just have to take.” Over the next ten years, AI, Artificial Intelligence, will be the reason for hundreds of thousands of jobs disappearing. But AI will create millions of jobs. It is just the transition period that will be economically frightening.  The industrialization of Europe in 1848 lead to revolutions in every county, the reason 1848 in Europe is known as the Year of Revolution.  But there is a significant upside to AI.  Humans DO NOT have to do routine jobs like the one pictured here.  We will be able to do what evolution designed us to do: think, create and develop.  We are entering a golden age of creation. Ten years ago, book publishers did not publish good books; they published books that sold. Art galleries did not display good artwork; they displayed artwork that sold. Today authors and fine artists do not have to depend on publishers or art galleries.  Buyers are looking for artists, not the other way around. There will be plenty of jobs for the uncreative in the AI era.  But the future belongs to the humans who will think, create and develop on a scale never before seen in human history. [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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This is the Culebra Cut during construction of the Panama Canal. The United States Army Corps of Engineers was having a terrible time during construction because the ground where the canal was being built was unstable.  It had been a jungle for millions of years and there was no usable rock foundation. The Corps would dig down and when the trench got too deep, the sides would collapse into the diggings. So the Corps became off the wall thinkers. Instead of digging ‘down,’ they ‘dug up.’  They built up the outflow of the Chagres River where it entered the Caribbean and made a dam. That solved the problem.  Gatun Lake was completed in 1913 and, at that time, was the largest manmade lake in the world.  [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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Being an off the wall thinker means you come up with novel solution to everyday situations. It does not matter if the solution is high tech or low tech, only that it works. In the 1870s, famous German professor Rudolph Virchano, criticized the Iron Chancellor of Germany, Otto von Bismarck. Bismarck was furious and challenged the professor to a duel. Protocol allowed the professor to choose the weapons. He chose sausages. He sent two large sausages to Bismarck with the note: “One of these is infected with the deadly germs of trichinosis, the other is perfectly sound. Let His Excellency do me the honor to choose whichever he wishes, and eat it. I will eat the other.” An hour later the duel was called off. [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime.]

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History is not the story of the past; it is the study of the future. Unless you live on the East Coast, you will NOT have any idea what this is. In the days after whale oil and before diesel, homes on the East Coast had coal furnaces. Coal, by the ton, would be dumped into the basements of the homes through chute doors like this one.  All winter long, residents would shovel coal into a furnace to keep the home warm. Home heating oil tanks made the coal chute doors obsolete. Power grids made the heating oil tanks obsolete and within a decade, solar panels will make the power grid obsolete. Technology is speeding up. In the 1960s, gasoline was cheap and plentiful. Today gasoline is getting so expense electric cars are becoming economic.  The key to success is seeing the future before it becomes the present. That’s why you study history.  [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime.]

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Courtesy of the Alaska Gold Rush, we have two Alaskan terms in common usage – and in the dictionary. One is cheechako, generally translated as “tenderfoot.”  Except if you’re an Alaskan.  In Alaska, a cheechako is someone who has not spent a winter in the northland and doesn’t know ‘things are different in Alaska.’  It’s usually preceded by the word damn. The term is a combination of the Chinook words chee which means to “be late” and chako, “to come.”

The other term is cache, pronounced “cash.” Before the coming of the railroad, all food and supplies had to be moved by foot.  Or feet.  A stampeder would pack 60 pounds two or three miles and cache it in piles as illustrated by this photo.  Then the stampeder would walk back two or three miles, get another load of 60 pounds and walk it to the cache. Mile by mile the required 1,000 pounds per man would be moved forward. And people today think moving is a pain in the neck! [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime.]

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One of my favorite anecdotes, hopefully true, involves a couple from Iowa who were visiting San Francisco. They had never had Chinese so they ate every meal in a Chinese restaurant. Over the course of ten days they had sampled everything on the menu. And they had come to know the Chinese waitress very well. When it came time to order a meal on the last day, they asked the waitress to order her favorite food.  She agreed and brought them her favorite meal: tacos, burritos and nachos. “American” is just a label of the people who live here. We do not have a culture because it keeps changing. You can get sushi at a baseball game. There are standup Muslim comedians. Yin and Yang are newscasters in Cleveland and Tallahassee. We have had a President named Hussein, black mayors in Deep South cities and openly gay governors. Only in America. This reality strikes home to me. My father, an Italian Jew, was on the last train out of Italy before the start of World War II.  He was on one of the last trains out of Paris before it fell to the Germans and probably the last boat out of free France. In today’s dollars, his family was worth about $200 million. They arrived in New York with $15,000. He married a WASP from Montana. Today his four children are hardworking, income taxpaying credits to their community. (You can read his story on Kindle: MEMORS OF AN ITALIAN JEWISH HOLOCAUST REFUGEE.) [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime.]

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When Elsa Einstein, Albert’s wife, was being shown around the Mount Wilson Observatory, she was told the telescope could reveal how powerful the universe was.  She laughed and said, “My husband does that on the back of an old envelope.” True. But the quote from Albert I like best is “A person who has never made a mistake never tried anything new.”  The world moves forward, and upward, on great ideas.  Every one of the companies on the New York Stock Exchange started with an idea on the back of an envelope – or a napkin – and progressed from that slip of paper to desk blotter to a workbench in a garage and then into the mega marketplace. There were a lot of failures along the way. But, at the end of the day, what matter is the one success, not the hundreds of failures.  Anyone can fail; success comes from building on those failures.  So next time you fall flat on you face with an idea that didn’t quite make it, get back up and try again. At the very least, you know one thing that will not work.   [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime.]

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One of the most iconic images of the Arctic for tourists is the blanket toss.  Originally done with walrus hide, today the blanket is of firm but manufactured fabric. Depending the size of the blanket, as many as 30 people could grab a handle and, in unison, toss someone was high as 20 feet. The blanket toss was originally a tool for the Inupiat. There are no trees along the Arctic Ocean and during the winter, massive ice cakes pile up along the shoreline.  These ice mountains, known as ivu, (pronounced EEEvooo), can be as high as a skyscraper. The blanket toss was a mechanism to allow a Native to rise above level of the ice cake for a clear view of the horizon – particularly to warn of any incoming polar bears. [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime.]

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During the Alaska Gold Rush, this was a ‘fake news’ photo.  Technically there was no liquor in Alaska because it was all stopped in Seattle. The Revenue Cutter Service could only confiscate liquor on ships – which it only did when forced – and once liquor was ashore, well, you know . . .”  It was hard not to find a ‘blind pig,’ in Alaska, the term for illegal saloons that everyone knew about. Occasionally the United States Marshal would bust a still, like this one. But this raid was clearly what Alaskans call “to show.”  In Alaskanese, you do things “to show” or “to go.”  This still bust was “to show” the press you were on the job. Notice the lack of actual bottles of booze in the shot. [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime.]

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Next time you complain about the postal service, look at what it WAS. This photograph is from 1905 and heralds the ‘modern’ mail delivery between Unalahlik – now Unalakleet – and Nome.  Interestingly, the man on the right is John Clum.  Clum was an honest Indian Agent – surprising in an agency known for corruption – on the San Carlos Reservation in the Arizona Territory. He established the first Indian Tribal Police and Tribal Court and a form a self-rule for the Apache. He and his tribal police capture Geronimo in 1877 – and Geronimo was released by corrupt Indian Agents within a few years. Clum moved to Tombstone where he started the Tombstone Epitaph, a newspaper still in circulation today, and was good friends with the Earps. In 1898 he was appointed United States Postal Inspector for Alaska and at the start of his tenure, over a five-month period, he traveled more than 8,000 miles to set and equip post offices across the territory. He was later named Postmaster for Fairbanks, a post he held until 1909. [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime.]

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