On Taste And Smell

Just wanted to share this saying (translated from Hebrew) that I like:

On taste and smell, there is no argument.


What tastes or smells good or bad to one person versus another is not up for debate. 


Each person has their own taste buds and odor senses.


Some people may be more or less sensitive to different tastes and smells. 


So there is no arguing there.


You either like or you don’t like. 


That’s your prerogative!


Don’t make a big stink about it. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Radio-Activity

So earlier in the week, I had a great opportunity to visit the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR). 


It was fascinating to see the reactor, control room, and all the cool experiments–not things you see every day, right? 


For safety, we had to wear devices that measured radioactivity and also go through machines that checked us afterward. 


When one person in our group went through the scanner, it went off with a red alert, and the poor individual obviously got really scared–like OMG is there some contamination on me or something.


But they went through again and it turned out it was just a false positive, thank G-d. 


I guess these really can be dangerous substances to work around, but still so marvelous how the scientists harness these neutron beams and direct them to all sort of fascinating scientific experiments. 


Being around all this science makes me think whether if I could do it all again–wondering aloud–whether I would pursue an education in one of these amazing scientific disciplines and work in the lab like a “mad scientist”–exploring and discovering new things and figuring out the mysteries of the universe and how the world really works. 


What a fun, fun field to work in!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal and Art by 4th grader, Phillip Kenney)

Trace Amounts of Cocaine

So this is a funny story from today.


I had a wonderful opportunity to tour a couple of labs at NIST today.


One of them does work in contraband detection.


The scientist asks if anyone has any money in their wallet.


I pull out a dollar and hand it to him.


I ask him what happens if he finds any traces of bad stuff on the money from me.


He says, “A cage will fall from the ceiling” and I’ll be in big trouble.


Uh, we all laugh a little.


He unfolds the money and puts it into the machine that looks for the contraband.


Oh sh*t, it comes up in the “red”–positive for cocaine.


Someone else says jokingly, “A little leftover from the weekend?”


I joke back, “Na, It’s from this morning before work!”


Ha, ha, I think. 


It turns out the scientist explains that 90% of our currency actually tests positive for cocaine


I’m wondering whether this is a commentary on drug use and even the opioid epidemic in America.


The lab director explains a theory that the automated money counters spread traces of the drugs from bills and contaminates the other currency.


Aside from this little experiment today, I got to learn so much about creating standards for contraband detection systems and equipment and in another lab about magnetism. 


It is unbelievable how smart these scientists are–they are so unique and of the best in the world.


I am so happy to be able to learn from them even if it’s contraband on money. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Obsolesce Of Nuclear Weapons

This is one incredible video. 


It shows the killing power of micro killer drones. 


With a host of cameras and other sensors including facial recognition and GPS, plus a small amount of explosives, these drones can target individuals or critical infrastructure and take them out!


The drones can work alone or in swarms to get into and kill or destroy anything. 


No VIP (very important person) or CIP (critical infrastructure protected) is safe. 


We can wipe out entire cities or the nuclear infrastructure of our enemies. 


Despite the warning about artificial intelligence at the end of this video, rest assured these killer microdrones are coming. 


Big is the new small, and small is the new big. 


In fact, big things come in small packages–exactly!  


Iran and North Korea are chasing obsolete technology to harm the U.S. and Israel, and within a short time, they will see the error of their malevolent ways 


G-d foretells us all in the Bible and like David and Goliath–a slingshot to the forehead and the fight with the evil is over. 😉


(Thank you to Itzchak for sharing this video with me). 

Navy Under Attack

Collision.JPEG

So there was another collision of a U.S. Navy Destroyer.


The Navy destroyer collided early today with an oil tanker off of Singapore. 


10 sailors are missing and there is significant hull damage. 


This is the 4th known accident just this year of our Navy vessels in Asia waters.


And previously I wrote incredulously about the last Navy collision with a massive container ship in June that resulted in 7 dead. 


How do U.S. Navy ships with the most advanced sensors, navigation, weapons, and command and controls systems in the world–that are supposed to be protecting us–just simply collide with other ships like toys in a bathtub?


These Navy ships are a vital projection of U.S. might, and are supposed to be able to keep the worst foes away and keep our dedicated men and women warfighters safe at sea–whether from bomb-laden terrorist attack speed boats to anti-access/area denial missiles and all threats from on, above, or below. 


Yet, they just keep crashing…


There was supposedly some buzz online about a stealthy new cyber weapon that is attacking our ships and making them useless and helpless pieces of (G-d forbid) floating junk at sea or perhaps enabling them to be hacked and electronically commandeered and controlled in order to crash them.


Either way, how many collisions does it take for this to become a concerning problem with our Navy’s ability to manage the ships under their command and be ever war-ready. 


Our ships are a major element of our national strength and security, and loss of control implies a potentially great risk to our nation. 


We need our Navy and their tremendous people, assets, and expertise to safeguard our people, freedom, and democracy.


A few months ago, there was a hackathon to test the Navy’s systems’ security–and most certainly, this is a crucial type of test that we potentially face every day in real life.


These are challenging times for everything cybersecurity, so let’s make sure we have all the capabilities we need and are fully up to the task to defend ourselves and take out our enemies–it’s not just our Navy in the spotlight and at risk. 😉 


(Source Photo: With attribution to CNN and adapted from here)

Gorgeous Border Wall

Border Wall.jpeg

Hey, I’m not for erecting walls when there is no need for them.


Who instead doesn’t love to build bridges–full of peace and brotherhood, definitely. 


But after 9/11 and the ongoing, endless wave of global terrorism and serious threats that we are confronting (including from WMD), let’s face it…we need secure borders.


This is called common sense security, and it’s been highly regarded and employed throughout history and all around the world. 


That doesn’t mean that good people don’t come in…only that we have a thoughtful and effective way to work to filter the bad people out. 


Anyway, it seems that the bake-off of border wall prototypes has yielded this brilliant design.


If it’s truly rugged and includes intelligent border security mechanisms such as sensors, surveillance cameras, biometrics, and so on, then this could be an awesome looking and functional option.


Time to stop the bickering and time to start moving forward with security. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to True Pundit) 

Robots, They Are Coming

Robot.jpeg

I was so excited by this photo in the Wall Street Journal today.


YuMi, an industrial robot by ABB, is adroitly writing Chinese calligraphy. 


If you look at the photo and think for a moment, the notion of the robot doing and the person watching is truly prophetic of how we are evolving technologically and as a species. 


Yumi is made by ABB, a leading robotics company headquartered in Switzerland, that on one hand has over 300,000 robots installed worldwide, but on the other hand needs only 4,600 employees in 53 countries to produce all these fantastic and productive droids.  

This robot is a work of not just incredible science and engineering, but of art and beauty. 


It’s sleek black and white build with two incredibly agile arms and hands plus a viewing camera, enables it to do small parts assembly or even fine calligraphic work. 


YuMi stands for “You and Me” working together, collaboratively. 


While we surely will work together, the flip side is that with robotics, some people (who don’t make the transition to STEM) may not be working much at all. 


But of course, the positive side is that we are looking at an incredible capacity to do more and better with less! 


Leaving the innovation to humans, and the assembly and service to the bots, the bar will be raised on everything–both good and bad.


We will build greater things, travel and explore further, and discover ever new depths of understanding and opportunities to exploit.


But we will also edge people out of work and comfort zones, and be able to engage in new forms of conflict and war that only the power and skill of (semi-) autonomous machines could inflict. 


The robots are here, however, they are coming in much greater numbers, capabilities, and impact then we can currently fully comprehend. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via WSJ)