Doggie Psychologist

Doggie Psychologist
I took this photo of a sign in Florida advertising a “Dog Psychology Center.”


I think my dad would say that anyone taking their dog there should have their head examined!


Apparently, Cesar Millan is a fairly well-known “Dog Behaviorist” who works with especially aggressive dogs to rehabilitate them–soothing the savage beast!


There are enough people with mental problems that don’t get the help they need that it seems somewhat excessive to have dogs going to the psychologist, but people are still homeless and in rags on the streets of our cities. 


At Country Inn Pet Resort your dog can be “mastering the walk,” be socialized, get obedience training, and even learn to swim. 


Sounds nice to send your pet to a “resort,” but do they really need a psychologist or do you just want to ignore your pet the same way you ignore your children?  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

High-Tech Dance Shoes

These shoes are called Kangoo Jumps.



They provide the high-tech bounce for dancing, running, or other exercise.



This video is from their 2014 International Festival in Florida that I had the opportunity to watch.



Amazing what the participants were able to do and the fun they had.



I’d like a pair and to be able to kick up my heels like that too. 😉



(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)

Driving Away With It

Driving Away With It

This last week was another week for gross social injustice.

As it has now been widely reported, a wealthy drunken teen stole 2 cases of beer and then plowed into a stranded motorist and 3 bystanders who were trying to help–and killed them all.

The teen was 3x over the alcohol limit!

What an irony: 3 people stop to help a stranger in need and they are killed by someone who cares nothing for human life.

And the flagrant injustice of it all is that the kid was let off on 5 years probation and will attend a $450,000 a year private school rather than going to prison.

On the news this week, they interviewed the husband and father of 2 of the dead, killed by this teen. He is broken.

The defense teen argued “Affluenza” — like a disease, the kid should be let off the hook because…he is unbelievably wealthy and therefore was not given proper parental supervision–in effect, he is a victim of having too much–too many things, too much opportunity, but too little parenting as well.

I guess I never realized that justice meant if you had too much you could murder 4 people and walk!

While others that have too little–education, jobs, money, 2-parent families, and so on–must take the rap and go away for their crimes.

Too much–you can buy your way free.

Too little–you get sent up the river without a paddle.

Wouldn’t you think it should be the other way around–if you have more, then more is expected of you. While if you have less, your challenges are greater and so we take into account extenuating circumstances?

But no, money talks, and the guilty walks.

It is a shame on our society–and what we inappropriately call a justice system.

Whether the money buys you a top-rated defense attorney, paying off some officials or jurors, or provide alternatives to the the same punishment and rehabilitation that others must face, there is no denying that money influences the outcome.

Sort of reminds me of the infamous O.J. trial–another travesty of justice. How many more?

Funny, how art imitates life and life imitates art–in Season 2 of Homeland, the son of the V.P. drinks and drives and also kills someone and gets off with nothing but a slap on the wrist.

You see it’s not whether you’re black or white or yellow or whatever, it’s plain hard !!power!! and $$cash$$.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Walking Tall Again

CNN has a video out today on this amazing new technology for paraplegics.

It is a miraculous robotic exoskeleton called the ReWalk by Argo Medical Technologies in Israel.

The inventor, Dr. Amit Goffer, is himself quadriplegic and asked a simple question, “Why is a wheelchair the only answer for those with spinal injuries?”

He challenged the status quo and now there is a way for paralyzed people to stand and walk again.

I choose this video for the blog, because I found it so immensely inspiring to see someone previously wheelchair-bound participating in a marathon in Tel Aviv this year.

The ReWalk is strapped on and has motorized joints and sensors and a battery pack.

When combined with some braces, a person has mobility again on their feet!

I cried when I saw the patient, Radi Kaiuf go over the finish line after walking 10 kilometers with the ReWalk and everyone, including the children on the sidelines, cheering for him.

Congratulation to all the researchers from the Technion University who helped make this a reality–hopefully people around the world, who are in are in need, will be able to benefit in the future and walk again.

Truly, mobility is life! 😉

Warrior Augmentation

Warrior Augmentation

I love the direction DARPA is going in with robotic exoskeletons for our warfighters.

Helping soldiers perform their jobs easier, more capably, and with less injury using human augmentation is good sense.

Military men and women often carry weight in excess of 100 pounds for long distances and perform other tasks that challenge human physical endurance.

Creating a durable “soft, lightweight under[or over]suit that would help reduce injuries and fatigue and improve soldiers ability to efficiently perform their missions” is an smart and achievable goal, and one that would give us great advantage in the battlefield.

The timeframe of 2012-2016 is an aggressive deadline to form the mix of core technologies, integrate them, and develop a wearable prototype.

I think the goal of having this be “potentially wearable by 90% of the U.S. Army population” is notable as not something that is for just special forces or unique missions, but rather something that can medically protect and make for a superior fighting force for all of our men and women.

This is really only the beginning of human augmentation with sensors, storage, processors, and robotics to make our warriors fight with the best that both man and machine has to offer. It’s not a fight of man versus machine, but of man and machine.

Seeing and hearing farther and with more clarity, connecting and communicating timely and under all conditions, processing loads of data into actionable information, fighting and performing mission with superior skills (strength, speed, dexterity, and endurance) and integrated weapon systems, guiding warriors to their targets and home safely–these are goals that man-machine augmentation can bring to reality.

And of course, the sheer medical and rehabilitative benefits of these technologies in caring for the sick and disabled in society is enough to “pedal to metal” drive these efforts alone.

Like on the prescient show from the 70’s, The Six Million Dollar Man, “We can rebuild him. We have the technology…Better than he was before. Better…stronger…faster.”

And I would add healthier and more deadly! 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to DARPA and Boston Dynamics)

Should Or Shouldn’t The U.S. Attack Syria

Should Or Shouldn't The U.S. Attack Syria

As the hour approaches for a punishing U.S. attack on Syria, here are some thought on why or why not to do it:

Reasons Not To Attack Syria:

War-weary–The U.S. has been fighting back since 9/11 2001, how much more blood and treasure should we spend in a war that has brought limited results with over 5K dead and over 50K wounded Americans and costing almost $1.5 trillion dollars so far.

World policeman–No country alone, including the U.S. can be the policeman for the world. We cannot get involved in every war and skirmish: we can’t afford it; it is a distraction from our full slate of pressing domestic issues, and we ourselves are not perfect.

International Discord–Russia and China, two other U.N. Security Council members are not on board with us in punishing Syria for use of chemical weapons or for ending the conflict there. Even the U.K backed out of the operation.

Potential backlash–Syria, Hezbollah, or Iran may lash out at American interests, including neighboring Israel, embassies/posts worldwide, oil infrastructure, and more.

Limited strike, limited benefits–With all the media and lack of secrecy on this operation, the Syrians have had the notice and time to vacate suspected target attack sites and move critical equipment out. Also, we have already ruled out attacking the chemical weapons themselves due to fear of collateral damage. Plus, we have already said that we are not going to try and unseat Assad or end the fighting. So will hitting some empty buildings in a civil war that has already been going for more than 2 years have anything but symbolic impact?

Reasons To Attack Syria:

Morality–We can’t stand idly by while Assad indiscriminately is killing civilians (including women and children).

Norms of War–We must send a message that use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) is horrific and a precedent that is unacceptable.

Red Line–We drew a red line and now we must adhere to it; our words and deeds must be consistent or else we lose credibility.

Punish bad behavior–The Syrian civil war has cost over 100,000 lives so far and displaced millions, torturing and executing civilians and using chemical weapons is bad nation state behavior and must be punished to mete out justice, as a deterrent, as a rehabilitative action, and to reimpose some equality back in the fight.

Protect Ourselves–Being clear and sending a global message that use of WMD is unacceptable helps in the end to protect us from being victims of such a dastardly deed as well. It is in our own national self-interest.

Axis of Evil–Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah are working together to spread Anti-American and Anti-Israel hatred, terrorism, and to develop WMD (including Nukes) to threaten us and establish a greater stranglehold on the Middle-East as well as Europe. This is a war that is not desired by us, but one that has been thrust upon us by adversaries seeking our destruction.

Closing Thoughts:

If we do it, then we should do it right.

“Sending a message,” in Syria rather than fighting to win something strategically meaningful and tangible continues to leave us vulnerable and just having to fight another day.

We can’t straddle issues of morality, norms of war, and defense of our nation and way of life–either take out Assad, end the bloodshed, and establish a peaceful, democratic government or what is the point?

Obviously, there are arguments to be made on either side.

But what is frustrating is that making a decision after we’ve concluded wrongdoing, and doing something positive is seeming to take too long, and strong leadership is required to bring resolution and greater good.

Moreover, we need to look at the greater threat picture, so while sending Tomahawk missiles to Syria for their chemical weapons use, what about doing a full stopover in Iran with some Bunker Busters to put an end to their menacing and blatantly genocidal nuclear WMD program?

Wishy washy isn’t going to make us any righter or safer, definitive results-oriented action can.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to zennie62)

Never Worn, But Not For The Reason You Think

Never Worn, But Not For The Reason You Think

I remember learning for my MBA about people’s shopping addiction (aka compulsive shopping) and how it consumes their time and money and fuels their self-esteem.

Like a high gotten from alcohol, drugs, and sex, shopping can give people a relief from the everyday stresses that engulf them.

An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal (18 April 2013) called “A Closet Filled With Regrets” chronicles how people buy stuff they never wear and are sorry they bought it.

In fact, the article states, “Only about 20% of clothes in the average person’s closet are worn on a regular basis.”

One example given is a Pulitzer Prize -winning author who spent $587,000 on Gucci items between 2010-2012, before seeking treatment for his addiction.

A related disorder is shopper’s remorse that occurs, because people second guess themselves and feel maybe an alternative would’ve been a better choice (i.e. they made a bad choice), they didn’t really need the item to begin with (i.e. it was just impulsive), or that they spent too much (i.e. they got a bad deal).

For me, as a child of Holocaust survivors, I find that when I purchase something nice (not extravagant), I put away and also never wear it.

The difference for me is not that I have shoppers remorse, an addiction to shopping, or that I am unhappy with my purchase, but rather that I cannot wear it because I feel as a child of survivors that I have to save it–just in case.

No, it’s not rational–even though I am a very practical and rational person in just about every other way.

It’s just that having seen what can happen when times are bad–and people have nothing–I cannot bear to grant myself the luxury of actually wearing or using something really good.

Perhaps also, I look at my parent’s generation, who suffered so much, and think why am I deserving of this?

They sacrificed and survived, so we (their children) could have it better–what every parent wants for their children, or should.

But still, in my heart, I know that I am the one who has had it easy compared to their lives, and so those purchases are going to stay right where they are–never worn until I donate them to Goodwill.

I never really considered them mine anyway. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)