DC Metro Is In Shambles

DC Metro.jpeg

So the latest this week from the crumbling infrastructure of the DC Metro train system, not withstanding the mess of Operation SafeTrack. 

While riding this morning, a large panel inside the train abruptly and widely swings open and smashes against the fabricated white and plastic wall adjacent to the seats. 

It made a loud bang and initially everyone on the train looked up with the deer in the headlights stare apparently thinking it was a gunshot on the train or something. 

Luckily, no one was in the 2 seats where the panel swung open like that, because their would’ve been some physical damage done to somebody there. 

The age and decrepitness of the train obvious from the incident and also looking at what’s behind door #1!

What is amazing is that this is the Capital of the United States, one of the wealthiest and most powerful nations on Earth.

We spend lavishly abroad and domestically on wasteful pork barrel politics, broken programs, and even money that goes completely unaccounted for (can anyone say pass a financial audit). 

Yet, we cannot provide a modern, clean, safe, and functional metro transportation system servicing the capital of our country or for that matter educate our young people properly or feed the hungry and shelter the homeless within our own borders. 

There is a lot broken here and Metro is just the tip of the leadership iceberg unbecoming who we are and what our potential for this world is. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Bird’s Nest Surveillance

Birds Nest Surveillance.jpeg

I took this photo today of a bird’s nest on top of a surveillance camera. 


I find this fascinating!


The pure irony of a bird finding safety and shelter in a nest atop a surveillance camera looking out for bad things like criminals and terrorism. 


On one hand, safety and security.


And on the other hand, the fear and insecurity of it all. 


A bird may find a peaceful nesting place there.


But for the rest of us, the world continues to be a very dangerous place. 


Often walking the streets of a major urban city, I think to myself the chaos and danger that could so easily ensue if events took a sudden and serious turn for the worse where society as we know it can completely start to unravel, and as they say, “the sh*t hits the fan!”


I believe that many, if not most people are worried about this, hence the incredible popularity of shows and movies far and wide such as:

 (Fear) The Walking Dead

Containment

The 100

The Last Ship

Jericho

Mad Max

Road Warrior

I am Legend

The Book of Eli

The Postman

World War Z 

Waterworld

Children of Men

Outbreak

Armageddon

Oblivion 

The Day After Tomorrow 

and more. 


The camera is surveilling and the bird is watching from their perch. 


We go about our days like the post apocalyptic zombies that wander the Earth.


But not so deep down, in our minds and hearts is the terror of what can happen at any moment and what is likely destined to happen eventually. 


This is not about doom and gloom, but about what the threats are out there, what is being done or not done about them, and who will ultimately survive and would you even want to. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Metro Doesn’t Always Get You There

Metro Ad.jpeg

So today the Washington D.C. Metro has a full suspension of service for at least 24 hours over the entire system


Metro says it is to check safety after a fire on the system on Monday, but the hastiness and extremeness of the action has many scratching their heads and asking “Terror Threat?”


Either way, better safe than sorry!


It’s funny because just on the way home yesterday, I took this photo of what I believe is a advertisement for taking Metro (instead of driving) or for some reason I took it as that. 


Metro is supposed to get you there, but doesn’t always. 


Still better than sitting in traffic or getting tickets downtown. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Market Watch 2016

Sale.jpeg

I took this photo in the mall on New Years Day–yes, the stores were actually open on the holiday.


And Macy’s was having a blowout sale with racks and racks of “80% Off Original Price[s].”


We were laughing saying what’s next–99% Off and then even 100% off! 


So you think the economy is healthy with fire sales like these on the very first day of the new calendar year–when we still have another 364 days to make our year end sales quotas…


With turbulence around the globe brewing from Iran, Syria, Russia, North Korea, Yemen, Sudan, Nigeria, ISIS, and more…anyone care to say (pending) crisis.


How about commodities–my bet–that are in the toilet (and have been for years now)–do you really think no one needs iron, aluminum, nickel, lead, cooper, potash, oil, gas, coal, diamonds, and gold anymore? 


Then the Wall Street Journal warned again today about the overall investment marketplace, asking “How do you invest when everything is expensive? [at 25 times cyclically adjusted earnings–now that’s a fancy term]?


We’ve been down this road before in the bubble bursts and recessions of 2001 and 2008.


Is now really the time for the Federal Reserve to be raising interest rates (and what a nifty ripple effect that will have in both slowing our economy down and raising our interest payments on our already ballooning $18 trillion national debt)?


Oh, technology to the rescue again and again…it’s possible with everything from virtual reality to robotics and artificial intelligence on the cusp…or maybe not this time around. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

No More Flooding With Permeable Pavement

Very cool solution to flash flooding called Topmix Permeable by Tarmac (a U.K. sustainable building materials company). 


The concrete literally drinks up hundreds of gallons of water. 


Where the heck does all the water go? 


If you’re walking, no more soggy shoes and pant’s bottoms. 


If your driving, even more important is the potential life-saving element for about 75 people that die in vehicles every year when they try get caught in the vehicles in flash flood conditions. 


Also, many potential accidents, injuries, and deaths could be averted by people whose car’s go hydroplaning on wet road surfaces.


Finally, think how transportation would be faster and more efficient (with less traffic) from better road conditions with innovations like this.


With this new material on our roads and some added heat elements to prevent snow and ice, we got some darn good road-safety going on. 😉

Violation Of Home And Person

Followed

So I took this photo of a newscast recently about women being followed into their homes and attacked. 


What can be more frightening and violating?


A home is one’s castle and sanctuary–that is where we go for shelter, safety, and unconditional love. 


When the the home space is violated, then fear and panic ensue as all bets are off to what can happen to everything one loves and holds dear.


Think of basically any scene where the ancient city walls are being broached by a marauding army, and you’ll immediately see men, women, and children running and screaming, but alas the city burns and the people are doomed at the hand of their invaders. 


Similarly, when people are followed or suffer a home invasion–their privacy and security is violated to the core–and they easily become victims of theft, rape, and assault. 


I remember when growing up in New York how one local neighborhood kid was followed home one day by a gang, and they started beating him in front of his home until some neighbors came and chased the attackers away. 


But it didn’t end there, because this kid was vulnerable for months afterward, not knowing if and when the attackers would return for more. 


It’s like when people threaten someone and say, “I know where you live!”


That puts the fear of G-d into people, because it’s not only themselves, but their home and family at mortal risk–and not knowing when or how it may happen…people can just piss their pants. 


The opposite is true as well, people tend to be big shots and aggressive when they feel they are anonymous–when their faces are covered by masks, and they have no identifiable insignias–you don’t know who they are or where they are from. 


With anonymity, people feel they can do what they want without fear of reprisal. 


But someone who can be identified, they better behave themselves, because they can be found afterwards and “made to pay” for the bad things they did. 


Ultimately, peace comes from having both safety in the home and the serenity of mind that comes with not having to look over your shoulder all the time. 


Everyone should be able to feel safe in their homes and neighborhood, and the attacker be caught, killed, or damned. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Blame The SLOW Trains

Train
So another tragic major train derailment in Philadelphia this week. 



Already 8 people killed and over 200 injured. 



All over the news, we see that the train was speeding by going just over 100 mph.



Yes, it was a curve, and maybe we need to build some straighter more stable lines (I believe that is partly what eminent domain used properly is for) and with the latest safety features. 



But does anyone ask how can other countries safely implement their trains at far faster speeds–that makes 106 mph look virtually like a mere snails pace in comparison.



Just last month, the Wall Street Journal ran an article about the U.S. potentially upgrading to bullet trains that rountinely and safely go at far higher speeds:



Japan: 375 mph!



France: 199 mph.



China: 186 mph.



U.S.: 149 mph (even the Acela train has the potential to do at least this much, but for the most part they don’t due to shared lines with commuter and freight trains and an aging infrastructure–uh, so where did all that money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act go exactly?)



In what now seems retrospectively almost mocking, Japan Railways, International Division Chief stated: “We have a track record of transporting a huge volume of passenger traffic with very few delays or accidents…Because the trains operate so accurately, travel can be made very efficiently [and safetly].” 



Do you think we the U.S. can catch up with our 21st century peers here?



(Source Photo: here with attribution to Toshy Island Paddy)

Keep ‘Em Clean

Passwords
My friend’s mother used to say to always make sure to wear clean underpants in case you end up at at the doctor or in the hospital. 

 
I guess that’s some good advice.
 
In that context, I thought this was a funny post on facebook about how passwords are like underpants:
 
“Change them often, keep them private, and never share them with anyone.”
 
Maybe you could add to this list as follows:
 
– Make them difficult to guess at. 
 
– Don’t use the same one for every occassion.
 
– Never put them out there in a conspicuous way. 
 
– And require that you change them at least every 90 day. 😉
 
(Source Photo: Facbook)

Safeguarding D.C.

Gas Cylinders
I took this photo the other day of a truck loaded from front to back with compressed gas cylinders in downtown, Washington, D.C.



I understand that there are strict safety regulations for this. 



Although with this truck just sitting out on the street, appapently not moving or even attended as far as I could see, I was a little concerned. 



At the same time, coming to work today, there was someone marching down the street yelling “Allah”–again and again–sort of talking to themselves yet screaming something that wasn’t intelligible, at least to me. 



Not that there is anything wrong with freedom of expression, but it just seemed a little wild and scary on the darkened streets. 



I couldn’t help think about this gas truck with all these gas containers from the other day…and are we keeping things as safe as they need to be. 



We take a lot for granted in terms of our security, but are we perhaps getting a little overconfident so many years after 9/11 now. 



Hopefully, we’re all good, but we need to be careful, vigilant, and safe! 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Buyer Beware, Else Buyer Remorse

Wallet
Just a quick lesson I wanted to share from my grandfather.



He used to say (or so my dad used to tell me), “You open your eyes or you open your wallet!



Put another way is that “A fool and his money are soon parted.”



But I like the way my grandfather put it even better–easier to remember and no name calling involved! 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)