Election Disillusionment

mars

So invariably you hear these days from those that dislike one or the other candidate running for President, that if he/she wins, they are moving out of this country. 


That is apparently how strong people feel in terms of dislike for the candidates–in fact, the most disliked candidates in American history!


Well, I ran into this couple in the Metro.


They were from New Jersey and visiting Washington, D.C. with their daughter. 


They were wearing matching t-shirts that said:

“Election 2016Time To Move To Mars”


Now moving from the USA is not far enough away for people to get from the horrible politics and/or politicians that they can’t seem to stand…so next stop is Mars!


As a big time proponents for colonization of other planets, I think this may actually be one of the best things to come out of this election cycle. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

America’s Great Disappointment

City.jpeg

So the Wall Street Journal asks today,”Why [Is] This Recovery Is So Lousy“?


They say that with Obama, “No president was ever better positioned to lead a strong recovery…no resources were spared…yet not once in the last seven years has annual economic growth ever reached [even] 3%.”


But the news gets worse, in fact, “U.S. GDP grew a disappointing 1.2% in the second quarter…[and] economic growth is now tracking at a 1% rate in 2016…that makes for an average annual 2.1% rate since the end of the recession.”


And that is after Obama’s $836 billion stimulus and $3 trillion in Federal reserves injected into the economy!


The Great Recession may be the most disastrous economic results short of the Great Depression itself.


However, this is not the only reason Americas are disappointed with what they are getting from Washington (and we won’t even talk about the candidates).


80% say we are heading in the wrong direction!  Let’s repeat that again, 80% say we are heading in the wrong direction.


Harvard Business Review says it’s not just the economy stupid, since we still [despite ourselves–with failing policies of enormous tax and spend and over-regulation] rank #5 on GDP per capita. 


Yet that doesn’t translate into overall social progress for us.


Get this, the U.S. ranks 19th in social progress in the world–just one place above Slovena!


Why???


– We rank 26th on personal rights because of restrictions on freedoms like the right of assembly. 


– We rank 27th on personal safety because of high homicides and poor road safety.


– We rank 36th on environmental quality because of high greenhouse gases and poor water quality.


– We rank 40th on basic knowledge because of poor education and high dropout rates.


– We rank 68th on health and wellness because of suicides, obesity, cancer, and heart disease.


HBR points out that there may be individual reasons for each of these, but overall this is a bleak “troubling picture” and Trump isn’t the one who painted it.


The sad fact is that one of the only things that the U.S. is ranking #1 in the world in is our national debt to everyone else…and this is being squandered. 


Think good and hard about the nation you are leaving your children and grandchildren…this is a horrible performance scorecard for America, the superpower!  😉


(Source of the amazing photo: Minna Blumenthal)

Pain Pain Go Away

Ripped Face
So I am more the emotional type who cries at sad songs or heroic endeavors. 



But with the hip surgery, I have to admit that I have had some moments of literally screaming pain. 



The surgeon said he did about a full half hour of cauterization to prevent another bleed (hematoma) and infection that happened last time…so not sure if this is causing the extra-extra sting. 



Usually when they ask my level of pain, I say like 2-3, because I imagine a 10 being some horrible torture like being sawed in half (while hung upside down–actually saw this in a movie) or flayed of your flesh, burnt alive at the stake, or quartered by horses–or countless variations on these.



Let’s just say, the medieval tormentors had this torture stuff down.



In a way, I almost feel guilty expressing my post surgical pain (sort of child’s play) relative to these made-to-order cruelties.



Of course for pain, the doctors give you medicine, but honestly I don’t like to take these because of side-effects and even addictive properties. 



But the nurse and physical therapist told me not to let the pain get ahead of me, because then it is harder to control it (and also harder to do the full PT and get the benefits from it).



In the hospital, I was amazed that some people had so much pain (i.e. me) and others just sat there in PT seemingly shrugging off the whole experience. 



Still I made it the full loop with the walker the first day (which the therapists told me is maybe 3x what most others do at that point).



Another thing that I am thinking about with pain, is how do you compare emotional and physical pain–which is worse?



The loss of loved ones, deep disappointments, suffering with sickness or disability, anxiety and depression can certainly cause a lot of pain inside–those are the screams that often no one hears.



Also, that hurt can often lead to physical sickness and bodily pain and vice versa–so they are not mutually exclusive.



My father used to tell me that “When you have your health you have everything.”



I think this is partly because if you don’t have your health, you can’t really do or enjoy much else anyway–so good health is sort of a precursor to all other activities and pursuits.



Probably the worst pains are the ones where their is simply no hope of getting better…and you just have to accept the loss or the end. 



The corollary that my father taught me was “Where there is life, there is hope!”



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Baxter Disappoints

This new robot named Baxter, by Rethink Robots, is practically being touted as the greatest thing since Swiss cheese–“allowing our people to use their minds more than their hands”–but this demonstration video shows a clumsy and awkward robot instead.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek (18 September 2012) actually calls it a “huge disappointment” and I’ve got to agree.

The product manager in video calls Baxter–developed with $62 million over 5 years–“easy,” “complaint,” and “collaborative,” but unfortunately Baxter, the robot, comes off looking anything but as he slowly and laboriously tries to pick up and move items from one location to another, and the product manager pulls his arms and pocks at his screen/face to program it.

While I am a huge fan of robotics and see their potential to transform our society–where robots can becomes surrogates for humans in everything from work to even odd companionship, I do not see the breakthrough here by Rethink Robots–except in the affordability of this robot to be used in manufacturing for only $22,000 a unit.

What I do like about Baxter is that it is generally a good-looking device–with a solid looking grey base and long 9 foot wingspan red stretch arms. I even sort of like the eyes and brows giving it a humanoid nature, but the quirky and flimsy looking red screen hanging off the main body looks chinsy.

Also, if the robot is so “friendly,” you’d almost expect it to be on wheels and mobile with the ability to speak, so that it could more genuinely interact with others, but it does not.

Baxter is the brainchild of one of the pioneers of the Roomba vacuum–another toyish device that I wouldn’t spend a dime on.

Maybe, the way to look at it is that we need to take baby steps before we get the real iRobots coming to us–and hopefully that day will come soon.