Showing posts with label Conflict. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Conflict. Show all posts

August 10, 2018

Space Force: Up Up And Away

Space Force as another full branch of the military is the right thing to do!

The things that get focused on, get accomplished. 

Space is the "final frontier."

And as Gene Roddenberry realized with the creation of Star Trek in 1964, it is the future of Mankind's very survival. 

It's time to stop thinking small as in planet Earth, and start thinking big as there is a whole universe out there!

Russia and China get it--hence their development and testing of anti-satellite rockets and other "kill vehicles" in space as well as lasers and jamming equipment against our satellites, and of course, their plans to colonize the Moon and land men on Mars and beyond. 

Why have we in America only gotten it in Hollywood?

Yes, there have been a few notable exceptions such as President Reagan with his vision for the Star Wars' Strategic Defense Initiative and President Trump with the bonafide stand up of a Space Force.

Some of the Pentagon brass, particularly the Air Force, may hem and haw about the politics of this thing...losing money and prestige for their branch of the military, but their power is not the concern, our power as a nation is!

I envision a day in the not too distant future when the Air Force doesn't run Space Command, but rather Space Force runs the Air Force. 

We need to put politics aside and stop laughing at our own ignorance about the potential of space for our future survival and for conflict. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 18, 2017

Invasion of Dinosaurs



So what's with the invasion of dinosaurs. 

First one is standing next to the checkout line in Whole Foods in Maryland.

Second one is actually on someone's terrace overlooking the beach in Fort Lauderdale.

Third one is the real McCoy from the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. 

Certainly, dinosaurs aren't cute and cuddly--even the plush ones from Whole Foods--they'd eat you and I for dinner if they could!

So why do we gravitate to relics from the Ice Age past?

Perhaps, just like looking forward to Aliens from outer space, the dinosaurs represent an important historical link for us, and thus anchor us in a much larger perspective of time and space. 

In a way, it all points to the dichotomy between us as humans with great--almost endless--potential, and yet at the same time, how small we are relative to the enormous dinosaurs that roamed the earth of yesteryear as well as the distinct possibility of mighty extraterrestrials that we may someday (soon) encounter from outer space. 

From this context, I guess what's really amazing is that we, as a people, are still here!

Despite our bad habits and unsustainable living, we continue to innovate our way out of own messes of greed, conflict, contagion, pollution, and resource depletion, and create a future far beyond what destroyed our predecessors or even what may come from current or potential future foes. 

Like the economy, we think we can grow ourselves out of all our troubles--and who knows, maybe we can if we can continue to stay at least one or two steps ahead of all the challenges and threats--but, at the back (or front) of our minds is what if we can't or don't?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 15, 2016

It's Not About The Regrets

So a teacher recently gave her students a scenario with the following moral dilemma:

An important and talented surgeon who has saved many lives in the past and will surely save many more in the future runs across an old man who has slipped and fallen under the cracking ice into a lake after trying unsuccessfully to save his puppy from drowning.  

The old man is trapped and will freeze to death in short order.

Should the surgeon walk across the breaking ice and risk his own life to try and save the old man?

The vast majority of students' responded...that the surgeon should try and save the old man.

When asked why they thought that, most said because otherwise he would feel guilty afterwards. 

Thinking about that it seems like a funny reason to do something dangerous, heroic, and maybe utterly stupid...so as not to feel guilty. 

I guess that I would've thought people who would advocate for trying to save the old man would say something like

- Every life is valuable!
- Saving one person is like saving the world.
- Helping people even at our own risk or peril is what we do for our fellow human beings.
- We would want others to help us if we were in trouble, so we should do that for them. 

While we can't judge someone else for how they react in situations of genuine moral conflict, we can teach the younger generation that doing something good for others is about more than just not feeling bad or guilty afterwards (for being lazy, selfish, or making the wrong call in the situation).

Making moral judgements is about choosing in every situation to try your best to do what's right, help people, be a good influence, take responsibility, and generally act selflessly, but not recklessly. 

Regret stinks (and can be truly painful), but missing opportunities to live a good, meaningful life is much worse. ;-)

(Source Photo: The Blumenthals)
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January 5, 2016

Warning 613

As per my prior posts in November and December, we are continuing to see the mystical 613 (representing the number of commandments in the Torah). 

This morning, on the Washington, D.C. Metro, see the time showing (above upper right). 

The whole family is seeing this, as I got a note from my daughter just a few minutes ago looking at online classes at Lynda.com and one of the classes had 613 views. 

Even to me (normally a critical thinker and healthy skeptic), it seems beyond regular explanations for the frequency and locations that we are seeing these signs. 

Also, last night I had a scary dream about what seemed like the end of times--it was almost like The Walking Dead, with people running to the countryside amidst chaos and destruction all around them. 

As tensions heat up between major Sunni and Shiite rivals, Saudi Arabia and Iran, and "Axis of Evil" Iran unveils a 2nd underground depot with missiles capable of carrying nukes, and ISIS continues their jihadi rampage leaving 80% of Ramadi in Iraq destroyed at a cost of $10 billion, a new Jihadi John replacement is executing British hostages in Syria, and there are escalating superpower tussles with Russia and China--it is not hard to see just some of the potential dangers in our times in terms of escalating conflict, terrorism, and war. 

What is the future for us all, I do not know for certain, but all I can tell you is there appears to be warnings all about, and the question is will we heed them or not and then what is the outcome--it should be with mercy and for blessings. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 21, 2015

The Monster Under The Bed

For those familiar with Yiddish...

A shiksa is a non-Jewish girl and is sometimes used to refer to Jewish women that don't follow the commandments. 

A shegetz is a similar term used for a male. 

Is it a bad word? 

Well, let's just say it's not a term of endearment. :-)

I guess it's funny that everyone has terms for those who are not just like them.

Of course we all don't have to be and aren't the same, cut from the same mold.

But we all have to have respect for each other and get along. 

I think the worst part of people being different is not even the overt jokes or off-handed remarks which can certainly be hurtful, but much more the backdoor insinuations and aggressive behaviors. 

Lately, to be frank, it seems that ethnic and religious war is brewing big time in the world--anyone else notice?

Not regional, focused on oil and resources, long held dictatorships, human rights, or even "the Palestinian issue."

But rather what no one wants to talk about or confront, a battle of civilizations.

It is so scary, because this is there are big and powerful actors at play whether Russia or China playing for the world's leadership role (one overtly and the other covertly), Iran and North Korea freely wielding nukes and threateningly strutting "their stuff," and ISIS and Al Qaeda looking for the next budding caliphate and  imposition of Sharia law as far and as wide as they can take it.

East meets West, democracy vs. dictatorship, religion against religion, this thing is building up steam, pressure is rising, and the question is whether and how big this is about to blow.

Shhh, if we don't say the words or we pretend to "make nice" and give out jobs, dole out handouts, and use our drones, oh so discretely, maybe no one will notice. 

Are we being phobic about communism, radical Islam, budding economic and military might, and other differences, or are we pointing out what we are all perceiving, but greatly fear to face. 

When I saw recently that some wonderful Muslim people were surrounding synagogues in Europe, not to attack it, but rather to encircle it to defend it, I was not only in complete awe, but also realized how many good and righteous people there are out there.

These people are actually doing something about the injustices and power grabs they are witnessing, and not trying to obfuscate or opiate the masses. 

It's not just about being tolerant of others and stripping hatred from our hearts and lives, but about being truthful when others may choose not to be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Facebook)
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July 12, 2014

From Hatred To Peace


Someone sent me this video by Dennis Prager on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and I wanted to share it.

An easy conflict to explain, a difficult one to solve: "One side wants the other dead!"

How do you get a people not to hate another?

"There are 22 Arab states stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean, but only 1 Jewish state the size of New Jersey..."

"Why can't the one Jewish state be allowed to exist?"

After generations of hatred and hostility--taught and practiced--truly a miracle is needed where we can live and let live. 

May G-d bring peace and security in our time, and may "nation not lift up sword against nation, and neither shall they learn war anymore." (Isaiah 2:4)
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March 1, 2014

First We Must Live

I liked this advertisement for the movie sequel to the 300 coming out this week. 

Anyway, for this scary-looking dude, "War is in my blood"--that's who he is and these days, it seems like he is not alone in this crazy and violent world. 

Some people are like that...they always like to fight, be oppositional, or just be difficult. 

My belief is more like Ecclesiastes--that there is a time and place for everything..."a time for war and a time for peace."

Around the globe, there seems to be plenty of fighting, slaughter, and tensions going on...from Damascus to Kiev, from Iran to Venezuela, from Sudan to the South China Sea, and more. 

I heard what I thought was a good saying on the Game Of Thrones Season 3 (which by the way is totally excellent), it went like this:


"If we die, we die, but first we will live."


Let's hope and pray for more peaceful, stable, and pleasant times.

There is yet much to live for. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 6, 2013

Teamwork, There Is No I

I really love this saying--"There is no I in Team."

A colleague said very astutely, "even though some try to put it in there!"

Teams work best, when everyone does their part and contributes, and no one makes it about their personal agendas, ambitions, and issues. 

A team implies a large degree of selflessness where we do what is best for the team and the mission we serve, and we don't get caught up in personal ego trips. 

When people place themselves above the team--and they try to impose that "I" right on in there, then rather than teamwork, we end up with rivalry and conflict.

From my experience, those who try to take the credit for themselves--typically end up exposed for who they really are and without the honor they chase.

But those who give recognition genuinely and generously to others are in turn respected for their contributions to the mission as well as to the team. 

Selflessly united as a team we can assuredly succeed, but selfishly divided as just a bunch of I's, we will most certainly fail. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 31, 2013

What Does A Robot And A Spouse Have In Common?


This is a pretty cool advance in robotics. 

The robot doesn't just perform tasks, but it interacts with the person--sensing his movements and thereby anticipating his needs. 

According to Gizmag, this advanced robot was developed by Cornell's Personnel Robot Lab. 

As you can see in the video, the robot sees the person picking up a pot and moving towards the refrigerator, and the robot "understands" and goes to pull open the fridge door. 

In another example, the robot first without anticipating the person moving his coffee cup, pours coffee, spilling it on the table, but then with the special programming, the robot "sees" the person picking up the cup to drink and putting it down, and waits to pour until the cup is in stably in place. 

The anticipatory skills of the robot are based on 120 3-D videos in its database of people doing everyday tasks and extrapolating from it to what is occurring around it. 

The robot's predictions of the person's actions are refined as the person continues to move making the robot's response that much more in tune and precise with the person it is interacting with. 

The less far out in time that the robot has to predict, the more accurate it is: for 1 second out, it is 82% accurate; 3 seconds out, 71% accurate; and 10 seconds out, 57%. 

It is pretty incredible that we are able to program a robot to watch and sense similar to the way we do, and to react accordingly. 

The challenge will be as in the show Lost In Space, where the Robot is often confounded by illogical or unpredictable human behavior, and frequently, repeats "Does not compute." 

People are not programmed like computers--they experience conflicting and complex thoughts and emotions, behave in unpredictable or seemingly illogical ways, may have difficulty making up their minds in the first place, or may change their minds, even multiple times. 

Being a robot in a human world will by necessity mean being adaptable and understanding to changing human moods, whims and desires, and being able to respond quickly and appropriately--sort of like what being married is all about. ;-)
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