The Truth Hurts

Truth.jpeg

So I purchase some nutrition bars from a prominent online store. 


If you click on 2 boxes (12 bars each), they charge you $30. 


But if you look over a little on the website page, they have 24 bars for $24. 


I contact customer service and start chatting with them about this. 


Basically, I wanted the difference refunded to me. 


Surely, not a lot of money, but more the principle of it. 


They are charging 2 different amounts for the very same thing! 


The lady on the other end of the chat asks me to forward her the link for the product. 


I comply. 


She says, “You see that link is 2 boxes for $30!”


I say, “No, that’s just the primary link to the product, and it has 2 different prices for basically the exact same thing.”


She says, “On that link you sent it has 12 bars x 2, which is different than ordering 24 bars!”


I’m thinking, Oh really!  What math class did she take in elementary school???


And then for good measure, she adds socking one to me:

“Truth Always Hurts!”


At this point, I couldn’t believe my chat “ears”.  


Aside from her “truth” not being “the truth” in any universe…


I was in shock and said something like “How dare you.  You are incredibly rude.  Put your supervisor on.”


She says: “Well, my supervisor will tell you the same thing!”


I repeated once more: “Please let me speak to a supervisor.”


Finally when I got the supervisor, who was a more normal, reasonable person, and also could do simple arithmetic, she immediately apologizes issuing me a refund. 


She asked if there was anything else she could assist with.


I asked, to confirm again, “Are you a supervisor?”


She responded affirmatively. 


I asked her to review the chat with the prior customer service rep and asked, “Is this how you want your company represented to your customers?”


Needless to say, she was flabbergasted by what she saw from their outsourced “customer service” representative.


She assured me she was flagging the chat for review by management and that this outrageous behavior from this company representative would be addressed. 


To me, it is amazing that our companies not only outsource the manufacture of our vital goods, but they also outsource customer service to people that barely seem to speak the language, can’t do basic math, and have zero customer service skills. 


This does not bode well for American competitiveness–in the age of Coronavirus or at any other time. 


I believe that this truth hurts much more than any company’s horrendous customer service. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Pacemaker No-No!

So I learned that this is called a Van de Graaff Generator.


It generates very high voltage electricity. 


The guy setting it up asks me:

Do you have a pacemaker?


I respond in the negative and ask what’s the danger zone on this thing.


He says: 

You probably wouldn’t want to get within 10 feet of this!


Good to know. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

(Please note that blog is not to be taken as medical advice.)

Interplanetary Travel – Coming Soon

Awesome presentation on Interplanetary Travel by Charlie Kuehmann, VP Materials Engineering at SpaceX and Tesla. 


Interplanetary travel and colonization is one of the most exciting possibilities for mankind.  

 

It’s all just beginning (we’ve only been in orbit for about 50 years). 


One of the keys Charlie mentioned at SpaceX and Telsa is how quickly we learn. 


It’s okay to fail, as long as we learn quickly and progress from it.  


The progress with reusable rockets at SpaceX is impressive. 


Can’t wait for more to come soon.  😉


(Credit Video: Andy Blumenthal)

That Decisive Qualitative Edge

So I am reading this book called “Israel’s Edge.”


It’s basically about their elite genius program, “Talpiot,” in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).  


Each year the program accepts only the top 50 out of 100,000 graduating high school students for a 9-year commitment. 


There are the mathematicians, physicists, and computer scientists that help give the IDF the cutting edge in military R&D and other innovations. 


These are the brain trust behind Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system and Trophy tank active protection system and many more both military and industrial advances. 


This program was born after the almost disastrous 1973 Yom Kippur War where Israel misjudged the intelligence and the advances in their enemies capability and almost lost the war. 


I like the philosophy of General Yitzhak Ben-Israel who understands the importance of challenging the status quo and looking differently at critical situations and avoiding confirmation bias:

My method is not to look for supporting evidence. I look for refuting evidence…you see one white swan, then a second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth. You still can’t conclude that all swans are white…nature builds us to be inductive, to make generalizations from past experience…this standard way of scientific thinking can be limiting and destructive.”

Instead we must be continuously curious, think outside the box, be creative, and innovate. 


Especially, where we don’t have a quantitative advantage like with Israel surrounded by many enemies, then we must rely on a very sharp qualitative edge. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

Cool Atom Puzzle

Thought this was a pretty stunning puzzle of The Atom


With sections for: composition, atomic model, thermonuclear fusion, periodic table, radioactivity, positron emission tomography, fission of uranium, nuclear reactor, and atomic scientists. 


Wow that’s a lot of information for a Puzzle and one very nicely designed at that. 


Congrats on putting this 1,000 piece beauty together. 


These things make me realize how very much I still have to learn–and in this case, it starts with all these small things. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Thought this was a pretty stunning puzzle of The Atom


With sections for: composition, atomic model, thermonuclear fusion, periodic table, radioactivity, positron emission tomography, fission of uranium, nuclear reactor, and atomic scientists. 


Wow that’s a lot of information for a Puzzle and one very nicely designed at that. 


Congrats on putting this 1,000 piece beauty together. 


These things make me realize how very much I still have to learn–and in this case, it starts with all these small things. 😉


(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)