SIMON Says Open

Discovery Channel has a series called Future Weapons.
This is part 1 from Israel and Richard (Mack) Mackowicz, a former Navy SEAL show us “The SIMON.”
SIMON is a high-tech, advanced rifle grenade for breaching virtually any door in hostile environments.  
It is made by Rafael, one of the largest and most innovative Israeli arms manufacturers.  
SIMON is in use by both U.S. and Israel armed forces. 
Essentially, a bullet-trap slides over the muzzle of a conventional assault rifle like an M-16. 
A regular bullet propels a grenade up to 30 yards into a door, and the blast wave from the detonation breaches the door and any locking mechanisms–with minimum collateral damage and keeping troops out of harms way. 
Breaching doors in urban warfare is one of the most dangerous tasks in any mission as troops may be walking into anything from the spray of gunfire to booby traps.
Well as Mack says: “SIMON says open door;” It is an “instantaneous key to any door.”
What I like about SIMON is the combination of its simplicity and effectiveness. 
On one hand, it works with conventional rifles and bullets and is light and compact to carry. It’s as simple as slide, aim, and shoot–and the door is breached for troops to enter and either rescue hostages or get the bad guy. 
With whatever technology we are building–whether computers or weapons–they need to be user-centric and mission focused. 
Israel has a history of innovation–everything from defense to medicine and making the desert bloom–and I think this has to do with that their survival is constantly imperiled. 
The lesson is that we ought to recognize the dangers out there and respond to them with immediacy and vigor, as if our lives depended on it–because in many cases, they really do. 

>The Information Blanket

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On July 4, 1976–the 200th anniversary of our free and democratic nation, something incredible was happening in Uganda–Operation Entebbe, a rescue operation to free over a hundred hostages at Entebee Airport.

This rescue operation became the basis for the movie Operation Thunderbolt, one of of my favorite movies (aside from Rocky).

The movie portrays the heroic and miraculous raid at Entebbe Airport in Uganda by the IDF to save the hostages of Air France flight 139, with 248 passengers and 12 crew (the Jews were later upon landing separated from the non-Jews and held captive, while the others were released). IDF Commandos with only a week of planning and preparation, travelled 2,500 miles in a daring operation that resulted in the rescue of the 103 hostages in a 90 minutes raid. Only three hostages and the commander of the mission, Lt Col Yonatan Netanyahu (the older brother of the Prime Minister of Israel today) were killed in the battle.

Despite, Uganda’s support of the terrorists in this event 35 years ago (a long time yes, but still pretty awful), today to help innocent people of this country and others that can benefit, I write about…The Information Blanket.

BMB, an independent advertising consumer PR company launched The Information Blanket this month to fight infant mortality.

According to Fast Company (June 2011), the Blanket is targeted for a country like Uganda where “on average 77 of every 1,000 Ugandan babies will die before they reach their first birthday.”

The creative director of BMB worked with UNICEF to “determine which health facts would best educate mothers and hopefully prevent infant death” and then they designed The Information Blanket with easy to read and understand information such as:

1) Vaccinations–“Get your baby vaccinated: 6, 10, 14 weeks.”
2) Feeding–“Breast-feed 8-12 times a day.”
3) Doctors–“Don’t forget to schedule your doctor appointment.”
4) Temperature–“38 degrees Celsius.”
5) Growth–“Growth chart (months).”
6) Warnings–“Warning signs: unconsciousness, convulsions, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, eye discharge, poor appetite, fast breathing, dehydration.”

These days, when going paperless and making everything digital is practically a mantra, I find The Information Blanket not only an effort to help people save lives, but a refreshing reminder that information can be delivered in many ways. And whether on a rock, a tree, bits and bytes, or a blanket, getting information out there to people is education, growth, and life for humanity.

Also, the role of design in effective communications and information technology is critical. Apple gets it…heck, they practically invented it. The more we incorporate good design and innovation into our communications, the more effective they have a chance to be.

(Source Photo: BMB)