We’re Dead And We Don’t Even Know It

We're Dead And We Don't Even Know It

We all know the frightening threat of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) heading over the ice caps–from Russia, China, and even North Korea someday) and landing in our “backyards” destroying life as we know it.

But what The Washington Beacon reports about the arms race to new ultra-high speed missiles means we are probably dead already and don’t even know it.

These new missiles being developed by China, Russia, India, and the U.S. are designed to be so fast, so small, go so low (“ground-hugging), and be so maneuverable with precision guided systems that they may completely evade all our missile defenses (long-range interceptors, medium-range sea and land-based interceptors, and short-range, near target interceptors).

China tested one of these on Jan. 9–it would sit atop an ICBM and “then glide and maneuver at speeds of up to 10 times the speed of sound from near space en route to its target.”

It “takes off towards its target from near space, or less than 62 miles from earth.”

Traveling at Mach 10 or 7,680 miles per hour, the warhead would hit accordingly to my calculation in under 30 seconds!

These hypersonic weapons can be loaded on the last stages of ICBMS, submarine missiles, aboard strategic bombers, on cruise missiles, and even on surveillance drones.

This is the “hypersonic arms race” and the winner has asymmetric warfare advantage and can take out their opponent before the other guy even knows what hit them.

The good news is that the U.S. is testing the Lockheed HTV-2, Hypersonic Technology Vehicle, capable of Mach 20 (13,000 mph), and within the next 10-15 years we expect “rapid kill” to be able to “attack any location on earth within an hour.”

Note: the diameter of the earth is only 7,926 miles so if we can achieve Mach 20, it will actually only take us about 36 minutes!

So conventional missile defense is a bust, which leaves kinetic weapons and lasers (high-speed hit-to-kill capabilities) as our last defensive hope, as Ian Easton of the Project 2049 Institute said, “If there is a great power war in this century, it will not begin with the sound of explosions on the ground and in the sky, but rather with the bursting of kinetic energy and the flashing of laser light in the silence of outer space.”

What follows though is anything that gets through these defenses rings will destroy everything down here before you would even have enough time to read this post.

In a sense, we’re all dead already, and this is a very small foreshadowing testament.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Jonathan McIntosh)

Rethinking How Blood Work Is Done

Rethinking How Blood Work Is Done

The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating interview today with Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of a new company that has rethought how we do blood work for medical diagnosis.

Her company, Theranos, has certified phlebotomists for taking patient’s blood, but instead of taking vials and vials of blood, they just take a pinprick worth–1/1,000 of a typical draw–from the tip of your finger.

Moreover, unlike with conventional blood work testing, “only about 62% of tests that doctors order are ultimately carried out,”partially because there is still not enough blood drawn, but with Theranos the tests are able to be done with only small drop sample sizes.

With advanced, patented technology, Theranos does the tests (blood, urine, other) faster–in 4 hours or less, rather than in days, so you, the patient, can get the results quicker, and treatment for your condition sooner.

Moreover the results are said to be more precise to within a 10% variation–in contrast to typical labs tests that are within plus-or-minus 30% allowable error–a 60% error range!

With faster and better technology, Theranos helps your doctor to make a more accurate diagnosis and provide targeted treatment.

The testing results are provided securely and electronically to the doctors in this very cool dashboard (pictured above) in which blood measurements can be quickly and easily seen on a scale of low-to-high, as well as whether something is deficient, insufficient, or at toxic levels.

Also, Theranos provides trending of results over time, so the physician can quickly see whether the patient’s condition is worsening or improving, and can make treatment decisions accordingly.

And when the doctor releases the results, you’ll be able to logon and see them for yourself as well.

Further, Theranos is committing to conduct the blood work at a 50%-off discount on Medicare fees–they are saying, “we want to bill you at less than you’re willing to reimburse.”

I really like when someone bold and bright like Elizabeth Holmes comes around and breaks the old broken paradigms–really rethinking how something could/should be done better.

In general, it often seems that the medical field is change/risk adverse (like with adoption of electronic health records), but Ms. Holmes has brought a better, faster, and cheaper testing and diagnostic process to all of us.

I noticed that Theranos has a very impressive roster on it’s board, including former Secretary of States Henry Kissinger and George Schultz and former Secretary of Defense, William J. Perry to name just a few.

Theranos seems to be the company to watch in this medical diagnostic laboratory field.

No more scary big needles–just a pin-prick and a few drops of blood…that’s blood worth taking and testing. 😉

(Source Photo: Theranos Website)

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. 😉

Tiptoeing Or Delivering A Knockout Punch

Russia (and many others countries) develop some really kick-a*s weapons–especially, when they are so simple, yet so devastatingly effective.

Like this TOS-1A heavy flamethrower system–it is a multi-rocket launcher mounted on a T-72 main battle tank chassis.

The TOS-1A carries 30 (newer version 24) 220-mm incendiary or thermobaric unguided rockets that it can shoot up to 3 km (newer version 6 km), and it destroys everything within 300 square meters using high-pressure and temperature.

What is cool is that the technology seems boiled down to the basics–shoot and eliminate. And when multiple TOS-1As roll unto the battlefield–they unleash what looks like a ruthless barrage of destructive fire.

Of course, precision targeting weapons have the added benefit of mitigating civilian casualties–but from the looks of things, that is not what this weapon is all about.

The question is do you go half way or finish the job–do you hit below the belt or keep it a clean fight?

In war, if you leave the enemy intact or with fighting capabilities, then you may just have to fight them another day.

While the rules of war protect people from the cruelties of all out hostilities, we need to make sure that in the end, it keeps them safe over the long-term, and does not just prolong the inevitable cat-fight.

Good, kind, and just people often don’t feel comfortable delivering a knockout punch, but sometimes (not all the time) that is just what is needed to restore the peace. 😉

Emperor Titus and The Micro-Drones

The Talmud tells of how the wicked Roman Emperor Titus who destroyed Jerusalem and the Holy Temple in 70 AD was punished with a small insect that flew into his nose and gnawed at his brain for seven years.

By the time Titus died, they opened his skull and found the insect had grown to the size of a bird–the lesson was that Titus thought that he was so powerful with his legions, but G-d showed him that even a little insect sent by G-d could defeat him.

Now when I watch this amazing video from the Air Force about micro-drones, I see this story come to life all over again.

With Micro Air Vehicles, little drones the size of insects can carry out missions from surveillance to lethal targeting of enemy forces.

They can fly, hover, perch, power up, sneak up, sense, communicate, and attack.

With these micro-drones, especially in swarms, these small packages of sensors and weapons can bring a big wallop for our warfighters.

And like with Emperor Titus, you would not want these buzzing around and giving you big headaches–because these little buggers will be able to take down the mightiest of foes. 😉

>Managing Change The Easy Way

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We all know that change is not easy, even when it’s necessary.

As human beings, we question change, fear change, and at times resist change.

Often, change is timely or even overdue, and is needed to remain fresh, competitive, and in sync with changes in the external and internal environment.

At other times, change could be conceived of for selfish, arbitrary, politically motivated, or poorly thought out reasons.

People often react to change negatively, saying things such as:

“Everything is really fine, why are you rocking the boat?”

“This will never work” or “We’ve already tried that and it didn’t work.”

“This is just the pendulum swinging back the other way again.”

“Thing are now going to be even worse than before.”

“I’ll never do that!”

The key to dealing with change is not to dismiss people’s feelings, but to take the time to thoroughly understand them, to take input from them for change, and to explain what is changing (precisely), for whom, when, where, and why.

The more precise, timely and thorough the communications with people, the better people will be able to deal with change.

To successfully plan and implement change, we need people to be engaged and on-board rather than to ignore or subvert it.

Below is a nice “change model” From http://www.changecycle.com/changecycle.htm that helps explain the stages of change that people go through including loss, doubt, discomfort, discovery, understanding, and integration.

To me the keys to managing through these six stages of change are solid information, clear communications, and people working together.

The Change Cycle™ Model

(All of the text below is quoted)

Stage 1 – Loss to Safety

In Stage 1 you admit to yourself that regardless of whether or not you perceive the change to be good or ‘bad” there will be a sense of loss of what “was.”

Stage 2 – Doubt to Reality

In this stage, you doubt the facts, doubt your doubts and struggle to find information about the change that you believe is valid. Resentment, skepticism and blame cloud your thinking.

Stage 3 – Discomfort to Motivation

You will recognize Stage 3 by the discomfort it brings. The change and all it means has now become clear and starts to settle in. Frustration and lethargy rule until possibility takes over.

The Danger Zone

The Danger Zone represents the pivotal place where you make the choice either to move on to Stage 4 and discover the possibilities the change has presented or to choose fear and return to Stage 1.

Stage 4 – Discovery to Perspective

Stage 4 represents the “light at the end of the tunnel.” Perspective, anticipation, and a willingness to make decisions give a new sense of control and hope. You are optimistic about a good outcome because you have choices.

Stage 5 – Understanding

In Stage 5, you understand the change and are more confident, think pragmatically, and your behavior is much more productive. Good thing.

Stage 6 – Integration

By this time, you have regained your ability and willingness to be flexible. You have insight into the ramifications, consequences and rewards of the change — past, present, and future.