Do others tell you that you are a font of useless information? Do they contend that flapdoodle occupies most of your brain's storage space? If so, sneak up on the doubters with some items that are interesting and maybe even useful. That will put a cork in their criticism. 


For instance, El Nino has been in the news. “El Nino is the climate pattern that warms up water in the Pacific Ocean every two to seven years. It can simultaneously lead to excessive rainfall and severe drought in different regions. The World Meteorological Organization warns that this year’s El Nino could cause extreme heat plus problems with health, food security, and water management.”  


However, There are odd twists involving El Nino. “A Nature study demonstrated a link between El Nino years and civil war in ninety-three tropical countries. It also found that since 1950, one out of five civil conflicts has been influenced by El Nino. One hypothesis relates violent conflict to declining crop yields. Another is that people are more likely to engage in conflict when they’re hot.” (


El Nino occurs thousands of miles from Michigan, so it might seem like it should not be of much concern. However, if you like to have some elbow room, pay attention. According to a Pro Publica report, a “new American migration” may be in our future. 


“Wildfires rage in the West. Hurricanes batter the East. Droughts and floods wreak damage throughout the nation. Life has become increasingly untenable in the hardest-hit areas, but if the people there move, where will everyone go? The future looks like this: With time, the bottom half of the country grows inhospitable, dangerous and hot. People who live in the South and the Southwest decide to move north in search of a better economy and a more temperate environment.” 


Buried in this long report is a section that could be significant to us. “Once-chilly places like Minnesota and Michigan will become more temperate, verdant and inviting. Cities like Detroit and Milwaukee will see a renaissance, with their excess capacity in infrastructure, water supplies and highways once again put to good use.” (


All that heat can be serious. In a couple of months high school football practices will begin and most players will tell you that late summer is hot and sticky, particularly inside a football helmet. Louisiana State University will be experimenting this season with something that may make things more comfortable. 


“The Tigers have found a novel way to beat the heat. LSU will wear air-conditioned helmets for all practices and games in 2023. The helmets will reportedly have a five-hour life span before needing to be charged, and last up to four years. Other teams are bound to follow suit and adopt this potentially game-changing equipment.” (


Speaking of football, have you even encountered one of those floor sweeping robots roaming the aisles in a big box store? They may actually have something to do with your game day tailgate party. Hang with me here. 


At Sam's Club, for example, robotic floor-scrubbing vehicles are tasked with using  computer vision algorithms to check the stock levels of items. Also included are algorithms that adjust demand for the more than one-hundred items produced around localized events.”  The algorithms make sure 'we have enough rotisserie chickens or back ribs on college football Saturdays in the fall.' (


I sure hope those algorithms are up to speed with a new product debuting this week – Oreo Cotton Candy cookies. “Oreo Cotton Candy will hit shelves just in time for summer, because what pairs better with warm breeze than the iconic carnival treat flavors of cotton candy?”


The new flavor aims to tap into nostalgia. “The cookies are inspired by the iconic carnival treat and feature a golden Oreo base cake double-stuffed with side-by-side pink and blue cotton candy flavor creme.” (


Also announced this week was Apple's new mobile operating system – IOS 17. A Cadillac News article detailed a major part of that announcement, the Pro VR headset. At $3500 per unit, you'll probably buy several of these for Christmas stocking stuffers, right? 


But for those of us with a tad less cash to spend, another innovation could be pretty useful. Business Insider says: “Parents are going to love the new 'Check In' feature in Apple's iOS 17.” 


Here's how it works. “Check In is a new safety feature that allows family or friends to see that their loved one safely arrived at a destination according to plan. Users can activate Check In when they begin their travels. After the iPhone user arrives at their destination, a notification is sent designating a safe arrival.”  


What if the scheduled arrival time is altered? “A number of details will automatically share useful information, like the route that was used, battery percentage, and cellular service status. These details would allow parents to gain a better understanding of where their kids could potentially be in the commute, and whether or not they have enough battery to receive a call, or whether they safely arrived somewhere and simply forgot to text as promised. Check In makes it easier, automatic and real time for iPhone users to alert others if something went wrong.” (


Finally, one more useful phone feature that could come in handy for those of us a bit cloudy on where we exist on planet earth. Mashable says it's the best travel app most people don't use. “Some people delete it immediately, and most just seem to ignore it.” (


On my iPhone it's called My Compass. 'The compass tells you the bearings, coordinates, and elevation of your location. It displays in a big, bold font and also works without data or internet.' As I write this I know that I am facing ninety-six degrees east, in Cadillac, at 1320 feet of elevation. 


Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at and