There’s no specific theme or topic–just goofy stuff that has gone through my head as I self-isolate.
1. There’s no understanding the lengths people will go through to take advantage of others. A museum near Amsterdam closed because of the COVID-19 emergency. Someone–or several someones–broke in and stole a Vincent van Gogh painting, The Parsonage Garden at Neunen. As near as I can tell, except for artwork that the Nazis looted, there are less than a dozen masterpieces that have been stolen and not recovered.
Imagine if the thieves had put their time and talent to work doing something worthwhile. Then again, maybe they think that they look good in fluorescent orange jumpsuits.
2. The hospital ships USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy supporting New York and Los Angeles are amazing. They started out as commercial supertankers, and if memory serves correctly, were cut in half to make them longer. USNS indicates that the ship is owned by the US Navy, but is not a commissioned vessel. The crew is a combination of military and civilian mariners under the direction of the Military Sealift Command.
The 1000 bed medical facility is under the command of a captain from the Navy Medical Corps or Navy Nurse Corps. Each has a complement of diagnostic and treatment facilities including radiology, CT Scan, 12 operating rooms, and a burn care unit.
Years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the USNS Mercy and she’s an awesome ship. Both have helicopter landing pas for patients being medevaced. The trauma receiving area–similar to an emergency room–has its deck painted red, an old tradition so blood isn’t as obvious. After all, these were built to support combat casualties.
Many organized religions have a common rule; even those who are not religious have a similar rule–The Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
So simple, so logical, so easy to understand. Why, then, does it seem like one segment of the population takes it to heart. The other? “I’ve got mine and don’t you touch it!”
In newspapers, major event headlines were spread across the front page with large type. Day to day major-ish events had headlines in large–but not-so-large–type placed approximately mid-page to the right margin. Lesser events that either deserved front page coverage, or, on a slow news day were better than nothing, went to the left with (yawn) somewhat large type, but so what?
Notice the above. Major margin-to-margin headline, with sub-headlines for supporting stories below, on the right. The left? “Police Order Dorr’s Arrest.” I know the Titanic, but who the heck is Dorr? I Googled Dorr, but unless that Door was an attorney, I struck out.
So, to recap:
Across the Top=IMPORTANT.
Center to right side=Sort of, kind of important.
Left side=Not so much, but we want you to read it anyways.
However, now, in the marvelous 21st century, online news sites place their major stories on the left.
I guess we can claim that as progress.
When I was growing up, there were heroes I looked up to.
- Chuck Yeager–the first person to break the sound barrier in level flight.
- John Glenn–the first American to orbit the earth and later US Senator
- Neil Armstrong–The first man on the moon
- Gene Kranz–NASA Flight Director for Gemini and Apollo
Each of these people did something noteworthy–PLUS three of the four are from my home state of Ohio. Gene Kranz graduated from the same high school I did.
Women who did great things in the 1960s didn’t get the spotlight, or even worse, the credit went to a male instead of the female who actually did the work. VADM Grace Hopper, NASA’s Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and their colleagues would not be publicly acknowledged until decades after they had achieved great things..
The closest I came to considering a celebrity as a hero was Jimmy Stewart. I liked his laid back style, but I admired the fact that he enlisted in the Army as a private as soon as he could, became a pilot, and volunteered to fly B-24s over Europe. After the war, he remained in the Air Force Reserve, attaining the rank of brigadier general.
Who are today’s heroes? Who do our children and grandchildren look up to? Who inspires them?
Posted in Actor, Celebrity, Communications, Culture, Education, Future, History, Leadership, Media, Military, People, Philosophy, Space, Technology
“(CNN)NASA may have a multi-billion dollar budget and some of the most advanced technology in the world, but when the Mars InSight lander got into a spot of bother, scientists came up with a charmingly rudimentary fix for its space technology: Hit it with a shovel.”
The apocryphally named “GM’s Law” says, “Don’t force it! Get a bigger hammer!”
Sometimes the old ways are, in fact, the best. Occam’s Razor rules.
The Ferengi appeared as aliens in several Star Trek iterations. They were the ultimate business people who frequently quoted from their 286 rules of acquisition. I’ve heard they were originally planned as the villains for Star Trek: The Next Generation, but came across as more silly than intimidating.
In my favorite interaction, one Frengi asks, “What if this becomes a war?” The other replies, “Rule 34.”
The first responds “Ahhh, war is good for business. But, but, what if it doesn’t lead to war?” The response is “Rule 35.”
“Ahhh, peace is good for business.”
Today there are real Ferengi; not as exotic looking, but every bit as greedy:
- People pretending to be employees with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are knocking on doors, wearing white lab coats, telling residents that they’re testing for COVID-19. Then they rob them.
- A former White House advisor asked if people staying home to avoid the virus is worth the economic consequences.
- Senators dumped stocks after being briefed on the coronavirus, but before that information was released to the general population.
- All kinds of scammers are selling phony medications or religious talismans.
Oh, wait. Rule 14. “Anything stolen is pure profit.”
Posted in Actor, Business, Communications, Culture, Education, Healthcare, Media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Science, Technology
Tagged Ferengi, Politicians
I have no inherent dislike or paranoia about guns. I served in a war zone and carried a weapon. I like to go to a range and plunk at targets.
However, there are those today who are purchasing guns to protect their “stuff” in the event of shortages. It’s disturbing to think that anyone would kill another person over a loaf of bread, a side of beef, or a twinkie.* Talk about premeditated murder.
Somewhere around 250-280 AD, there was a pandemic–probably smallpox. The Roman death rate was around 30 percent, but in areas with a Christian presence it dropped to 10 percent. Why? The Romans deserted their sick friends and relatives to avoid catching the disease. Christians, even knowing that they might catch the disease, cared for one another.
* These are probably the same people who physically fought their way through the crowd to grab 18 cases of toilet paper.
Posted in Business, Culture, Family, Future, Government, Healthcare, History, Media, Military, People, Politics, Religion, Technology
Well, actually I do, but there are apparently many others who do not. The coronavirus COVID 19 is the current pressing example. People are dying–why wouldn’t you believe in it?
If someone has a radio talk show or a podcast that makes money for them, there’s more money in denying reality than accepting it.
As a human being, I am embarrassed. It may not be as profitable, but it is more human to help one another instead of leeching off others’ misfortune.
There are huge misunderstandings about many of the marvels that inhabit our everyday lives. They were not invented for the purpose that we are led to believe. Instead, they are some kind of cruel joke imposed on us by–well someone, but I’m not sure who.
With all of the labor saving devices we buy, you’d think that we’d be spared from any and all household chores. Instead, we spend as much time washing, cleaning, vacuuming, and cooking as grandma and great grandma did. In fact, the workload has gone up so that it is now expected that both adults devote most their timer at home to the effort.
Each of the following are believed to be labor savings conveniences:
The microwave was invented to encourage people to purchase packaged foods loaded with salt, sugar, and fat.
The crockpot was designed to remove all flavor from food and give it the consistency of soggy cardboard.
Perhaps the most fun the engineers had was with the dishwasher. Although it does clean dishes and cookware, its original purpose was to repeatedly bruise shins.
Now that you know, take appropriate protective measures.
One of the problems with medical issues is that scientists’ and physicians’ assessments must constantly be revised. As additional facts are uncovered, logical conclusions are changed. That is difficult for some people to accept.
For example, 1.2 + 1.2 when rounded is two. However, if additional research adds a mere .1 to the equation, the answer would be rounded up to three. This is how science works.
This is how reality works. This is how life works.
The view of the effects of coronavirus is changing as more data are available. This is good. This is how the intellectual process works. This is a time for thought, not emotion.
Viruses are unaffected by opinions, polls, or politics. So too are suffering and death. It is by keeping an open mind, examining the facts, re-examining the facts, and focusing on facts that we can progress.
Posted in Business, Communications, Culture, Education, Future, Healthcare, Leadership, Media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Science, Technology
Innumeracy is like illiteracy, only with numbers. There’s a lot of it going around–hopefully it won’t reach pandemic proportions.
I’m not talking calculus, trigonometry, or even quadratic equations. I’m talking simple, easy, yet important math concepts.
Let’s use round numbers and examine the stock market’s recent actions. Before the coronavirus spooked the market, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 29,000 points (rounded). After the virus scare, it dropped to about 25,000 points (also rounded), a loss of 4,000 points.* The loss of 4,000 points in this case is about 14 percent (1- [25000/29000]).
If the market, while at its low point, gains 14 percent it seem like the market has recovered all its losses. Down 14 percent. Up 14 percent. (14-14=0)
However, (25000*1.14) = 28,500, not 29,000. It’s still 500 points below its high mark, which is still a loss of 2 percent. It would take an increase of 16 percent to recover all its value.
Well, I found it interesting.
*Did you ever try to spend a point? Don’t!
Posted in Business, Communications, Culture, Education, Future, Management, Media, People, Wealthy
Tagged innumeracy, percent, stock, stock market
Jim Bakker is in the news; we’d say again, but he might say finally. Apparently he’s been promoting a coronavirus miracle cure (emphasis on miraculous).
Don’t know who Jim Bakker is? Maybe this will jog your memory.
New York Attorney General Letitia James sent a cease-and-desist order to Jim Bakker Tuesday ordering him to stop promoting “Silver Solution” as a remedy for the coronavirus.
My faith teaches that Jesus will come again, not PT Barnum.
Posted in Actor, Business, Celebrity, Media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Religion
Tagged con, flim, PTL, scam
I love nanobots.
Nanobots are microscopic robots that can do anything from curing disease to treating injuries or providing energy to weapons. There’s just one minor problem with nanobots . . . .
They don’t exist in the real world.
But they are a staple in science fiction. Have an insurmountable problem? Write how nanaobots resolved it—it’s the best Deus ex machina* tool ever. For example:
Powerful, evil dudes attack good people, who are powerless to resist.
Nanobots are released that change the mental and emotional state of the bad guys. Soon, everybody sings Kumbaya.
However, there may be technology on the horizon that provides the benefits of nanobots using existing materials. The first, albeit tiny, steps are being taken in utilizing a virus to edit genes in a patient by using the CRISPR technique. It’s not as sexy as the nanobots in a John Scalzi novel, but this is real world technology, which is rarely sexy.
Will it work, or like so many other ideas, fail to execute as imagined.
* Deus ex machina (/ˌdeɪəs ɛks ˈmækɪnə, – ˈmɑːk-/ DAY-əs ex-MA(H)K-in-ə, Latin: [ˈdɛ.ʊs ɛks ˈmaːkʰɪnaː]; plural: dei ex machina; English ‘god from the machine’) is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem in a story is suddenly and abruptly resolved by an unexpected and unlikely occurrence. Its function can be to resolve an otherwise irresolvable plot situation, to surprise the audience, to bring the tale to a happy ending, or act as a comedic device.