Wouldn’t You Like To Be A Govie Too

govie

Some people have a negative perception of government workers (“govies”).  


They think that it’s just a cushy job with a lot of free time and benefits. 


Sort of like the photo above with the lady streched out over her laptop, eyes half shut, and with the lightbulb above her head–thinking up great ideas for running the government and regulating the people. 


Ah, no–it’s not like that at all. 


Okay, maybe a little for some people. 


Having been in both the private and public sectors about 40-60 of my career, I can tell you that there is plenty of unproductiveness (i.e. dead weight) wherever you go. 


But there is also a lot of hardworking (some super hardworking) and really smart people too. 


Yes, there are meetings (lots of them) and paperwork (piled high), but there is also a good amount of out-of-the-box thinking and trying to figure out how to do more with the same or less.  


There is also some really big thinking like how to win the next Big One (i.e. war), how to protect the country from deadly terrorism, disasters, weapons of mass destruction, and cyber attack, how to partner with others around the world to achieve big ambitious projects and peace, how to colonize outer space, protect the environment, and improve the economy, healthcare, education, and so much more. 


Not all the big thinking is good thinking–some of it is unrealistic, biased towards this or that constituency, counterproductive, or even corrupt. 


But many govies really do want to do a great job and save the world!


If you think there isn’t plenty of hard work, passion, dedication–you’re wrong.


If you think, everyone is doing the right thing for the right reasons–your delusional.


Like with people all over the world, there’s a mix of good and some not so good, but overall, there is lots of opportunity to lead, problem solve, and do good and great things with real effect, nationally and globally. 


And if for that alone, being a govie is an amazing career move where you can have an influence on matters of tremendous importance and lasting impact. 


Wild perceptions and pictures can be deceiving–instead think about the hero that you can and want to be. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

With Surgical Precision

This is awesome–the iKnife (“Intelligent” knife) for cutting away cancer, can also detect the cancerous cells.

I had previously heard about dogs being able to sniff cancers such as lung, ovarian, and skin–but never a surgical knife doing this.

With the iKnife, a surgeon can use a electrosurgical knife to cut/burn away cancerous tissue, but even better yet, this knife sucks away the smoke containing the vaporized tissue to a mass spectrometer that analyzes the particles and is said to be 100% accurate (so far) in detecting cancerous tissue (from those that are normal).

This is critical because it can be life saving in guiding surgeons not to miss any of the cancer (and therefore also helps avoid repeat surgeries) as well as not removing unnecessary tissue that is not cancerous.

Dogs can help alert us to hidden cancers within and the iKnife can help remove them with greater precision and success.

Hopefully, with G-d’s help, one day we won’t need either anymore. 😉

Great Balls Of The Apocalypse

So the Chinese have invented an amazing life-saving device for whenever a great life-threatening catastrophe strikes.

Rather than an ark, this lifeboat is a giant ball of steel, concrete, and fiberglass–two layers thick and weighing four tons–they are advertised as waterproof, fireproof, iceproof, shockproof and they stand upright and float in water. 

In case of a tsunami, earthquake, shipwreck, or other major crisis, these can be you lifepod to safety. 

CNN reports that they can hold 14 people (video says up to 30 people) and can store food, water, and oxygen for two months. 

The pods also have a propeller for the craft and seatbelts for your added safety–should things get a little rough on the water of Armaggedon. 

The inventor says the next generation survival pod will be made of stronger steel and have more comfort gadgets–although, I imagine he can’t mean a flat screen TV. 😉

Escaping From A Submerged Vehicle Gets Easier

Of all things, here’s an innovation to the seat belt. 

In the movies, we’ve all seen cars plunging into the water and submerging with people trapped inside. 

Wired Magazine (11 December 2012) reported on a new escape belt that helps people get out of the vehicles and to safety. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administation, almost 400 people die a year from car accidents that result in accidental drowning. 

Now Dutch company, Fijen TMLS has developed a seat-belt that releases when water goes in the interior and dissolves a salt pill in the latch. 

The mechanism costs as little as $40 and according to the company’s website can “be assembled on all seatbelt releasers in just a few simple steps.”

From the pictures of the assembly instructions, I am not sure it is quite so easy. 

Also, it is unclear how long the device is good for, since on one hand, their website states that the “Escape Belt lasts 6 months” and on other hand that “the cartridge will need to replaced after 2 years.”

In any case, I think the idea is a good one as long as the belt remains secure when not submerged and will not release accidentally with any simple spill or splash. 😉

Warnings: When It’s Not Just “Crying Wolf”

Warnings

There is a famous saying that “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” – George Santayana

An editorial appeared in the Wall Street Journal (10 April 2012) by French philosopher Pascal Bruckner called The Ideology of Catastrophe” that accuses those who warn others of danger as having “tiny minds who wish us suffering.”

This “philosopher” maligns both Jewish prophets and Christian “millenarian movements” for having “no function other than indignation…and [the Prophet] becomes intoxicated with his own words and claims a legitimacy with no basis.”

Mr. Bruckner must be completely clueless of those throughout history that have sought to warn us of dangers that if the world would but have listened, untold numbers of millions could have been saved.

From the earliest of times, there have been warnings about pending catastrophes and those that paid attention were able to make a difference.

In the Torah (Bible), G-d warned Noah of the impending flood, and Noah was able to save humankind and animals–2 by 2 they went unto the ark for 40 days and nights of pouring rain that vanquished the earth.

In the Prophets, G-d has Yonah (after being swallowed by the whale) warn the the inhabitants of Nineveh to repent and prevents them and their city from destruction.

In the 20th century, if only the world had paid attention to the genocidal desires of maniacs like Adolph Hitler (may his name be cursed) in books like Mein Kampf, how many tens of millions may have been spared.

In terms of the advent of nukes and other weapons of mass destructions, to at least some extent people and governments have listened to warning and retreated from a philosophy of mutually assured destruction (MAD) to instead move toward anti-proliferation, arms reduction treaties, and other safeguards, and we have thank G-d been able to avoid major catastrophes from these dangers.

Thankfully, with dire medical issuances about various diseases, pandemics, and even warning about the dangers of obesity, smoking, and drinking, we have been able to curb harmful behaviors, promote healthier living, and lengthen life spans.

Similarly, with environmental warnings, we have been able to create awareness and educate people on more sustainable living–through conservation, recycling, reuse, as well as renewable energy sources, and more.

Moreover, warnings about runaway spending and the national deficit have been heard for decades, but having ignored these for the most part, we now face a $16,000,000,000,000 bill and growing rapidly–soon coming due to future generations of Americans.  And we are already witnessing the effects–inflation, unemployment, default, and perhaps succession from the Euro and the EU itself–of countries on the other side of the Atlantic that have made the similar errors in their wild spending ways.

While some corporate, religious, and political leaders do use fear tactics to gain power or whatever they are personally-seeking that does not make every warning false and malevolent.

Certainly, at the other end of the spectrum, some people would rather live in denial of any issues and pretend that everything is just hunky-dory all the time.

Bruckner does makes some superficial and one-sided arguments–denouncing warnings and claiming that:

– Warnings cause fear, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

– Warnings “though they try to awaken us…eventually deadens us.”

– People who warn “do not [really] intend to warn us as much as to condem us.”

– Leaders issue warnings “to dazzle us in order to make us docile.”

Unfortunately, Bruckner has failed to distinguish between fear-mongering and fact.

Bruckner missed the point of how real warnings can help people–which is through changing hearts, minds, and behaviors.

1) Fear is not a self-fulfilling prophecy unless people do not act in time to change dangerous and irresponsible behaviors.

2) Genuine warnings do not deaden those who seek truth and a way forward–it only deadens those who are unwilling or unable to adapt.

3) People who warn based on facts and with sincerity to help others do not wish to condem us–rather they wish to alleviate unnecessary suffering.

4) Leaders who issue warnings to alert people to very real dangers out there in order to seek safety or change course are not trying to dazzle and make docile, but rather they seek to save lives by creating awareness, educating, and empowering people to change before it is too late.

Some people understand well from history as well as from common sense that our behaviors have consequences–other do not.

For me, when we stray into dangerous waters, I am glad for the true heros out there looking out for us and helping guide us live better and longer lives.

While it is good to be critical of unfounded warnings and charlatans, it is necessary to have warnings that are grounded in fact, given sincerely, not forced on others, and help people stay successfully on the road to health, prosperity, and human rights.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Alex Peruso)

What’s A Life Worth

This is a video of a 2-year old girl run over several times–first by a van and then by a truck–and left lying in the street for 7 minutes, as 18 people pass by without stopping or calling for help. 

Are people too busy?  Are they afraid to get involved?  Are they somehow blinded to what is happening?

Watching the video again and again–the little girl seems to be treated as basically worthless, and it just doesn't seem to make any sense:

–Why didn't the van or truck stop when they saw the little girl?

–Why did they just drive off after hitting her? 

–Why didn't anyone else try and stop them–verbally, physically?

–Why didn't anyone step in front of the child and try to stop traffic? 

–Why didn't anyone seemingly call for help? 

–Where were the toddler's parents or guardians? 

I don't know and can't imagine the answer to any of these questions, but I do know that society must answer for this dead child, because this child could be anyone's child, and this unfortunate scene could happen anywhere in the world. 

In stark contrast, this same week, Israeli soldier Sgt. Gilad Shalit held captive for 5 years and 4 months was released by Hamas in a prisoner swap by Israel of more than a 1000 for 1–bringing him home to a hero's welcome and cries of "Welcome home Gilad!"

While I am not judging the security calculus of releasing so many potential recidivist terrorists for Gilad, I do believe that no one's child can be left behind–whether for 7 minutes in an accident or 5 years in captivity–we all have a duty to help those in need. 

Life is precious and how we treat it is a test of our spirit, mettle, and underlying social norms.

Vigilance on a Wrist

Vigilant_emergency_wrist_alarm

I just wanted to share this product with readers of my blog.

At the press of a button, you activate a piercing alarm (up to 30 minutes) and flashing locator lights right from this wrist band.
While I am not endorsing any particular vendor or product, this type of self-defense product can really be important.
This could potentially save the lives of loved ones about to be violently attacked, abducted, or even raped, G-d forbid.
From the Amazon site, I was impressed also to see that a portion of each sale is even donated to missing children’s funds.
At a price of only $16.99 per wrist alarm, how much is there really to think about?
Stay safe out there!