Showing posts with label Direction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Direction. Show all posts

August 30, 2019

Breakthrough Hybrid Car Technology

Saw this photo on Facebook.

Thought this was just too excellent. 

Yes, a new hybrid car.

- The chassis goes one way.

- The passenger compartment goes the other way. 

Was the engineer on hallucinogenics? 

Or perhaps, this is some super secret new technology for easy parallel parking. 

Think about it, if the car is driverless than what difference does it make anyway? ;-)

(Source Photo: Facebook)
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April 30, 2017

Strategy, Strategery, Stratego

Like the all knowing eye...

Strategy is our way of trying to forge a coherent path ahead. 

Of course, as humans, we are imperfect and don't know what we don't know. 

But whether we call it strategy, strategery, or stratego, the goal is to have a method to our madness. 

We can't just rely on luck, gut, intuition, or subjective whim to get us wherever. 

Having no strategy is brainless following or aimless wandering. 

Strategy means your thinking ahead what you want to achieve and then at least trying your best to accomplish something. 

Ample course corrections allowed and encouraged, as needed. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 4, 2016

What Path Are We On This July 4th?


Over and over again, I hear people say that as a country we are on the wrong path.

According to recent polls, around 70% think we're moving in the wrong direction!

Very pessimistic bunch or something more going on?  

Despite all the technology advances--from smartphones to video-on-demand, drones to 3-D printing--people are still feeling like things are a mess. 

And the upcoming election seems to have given everyone with half a brain, reason to pause. 

The world seems like a very dangerous place these days with a resurgent Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and ISIS with your guess as to where terrorism of the day will be hitting. 

Moreover, weapons of mass destruction are proliferating from nukes to chemical and biological weapons...can anyone say $350 billion in the next 10 years to modernize America's nuclear arsenal

Deadly diseases from Ebola in Africa to Zika in South America are striking without warning and causing horrible sudden death and frightening birth defects in infant babies. 

The economy and politics of the world are grossly unstable with many banks now offering negative interest rates and Brexit tearing at the very core of the EU.  

Hundreds of thousands are dying in the Arab Spring and Middle East wars and millions of refugees are streaming to Europe and as far away as America. 

Ballooning national debts are leading to the looming bankruptcies of not only Greece, Spain, Ireland, and Puerto Rico, but also the 3 pillars of American entitlements: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. 

Unemployment shows at a deceptive 4.7%, but yet anyone looking for a job knows this is far from reality, and robots, artificial intelligence, and automation loom large over any future prospects. 

Racism and hate are all too alive and well as tempers seem to be boiling over in city after city, with or without police shootings precipitating things. 

Already as a kid, I always used to ask my dad rhetorically, "What's gonna be?"

As an adult, I understand that this was a question born of the deterioration of the moral and leadership fiber of our society and a future that was far from certain in the inner city or beyond, along with the anxiety born of wanting to have some reassurance that things somehow would end up being okay. 

But things aren't okay in our f*cked up world!

Especially with political jockeying to gerrymandering, from sit-ins to sequestration, from pork-barrel projects to outright fraud, waste, and abuse...the system is getting so broken. 

Now when I think in my head, what's gonna be, my mom and dad are not here anymore to reassure me that everything will be alright, and frankly in this day and age, those reassurances would not even be able to ring true. 

We need change and hope, but perhaps we must look Heavenward for it to come, because down here, things are looking more like a creeping hell, than a heaven that awaits.  

But good people can help to change things...one good thought, word, and deed at a time. You and I can be influences for good, for a brighter tomorrow, for peace, for freedom and equality, and for prosperity for everyone that doesn't buy into the status quo and the spin and lies that sustain it any longer. 

This is our magic wand to wave and wave and make good times based on values and faith return again. ;-)

(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 14, 2016

Making a Right, Left, or Straight

This was a funny sign to an Ethiopian cafe in downtown Washington, D.C. 

"When Nothing Goes Right, Go Left."

(and next to it is another sign that says, "Money isn't everything, but it keeps the kids in touch.")

So what type of person are you?

When the going gets tough and nothing is going right, where do you go--to the coffee shop, door on the left--or more seriously do you:

- Close your eyes and keep marching forward like a good soldier?

- Get scared off, turn around, and run the other way?

- Take a break or slow down, stopping long enough to figure out what's wrong, and come up with solutions? 

Maybe you do a little of all three--sort of the Curly Shuffle. 

But aside from faith in G-d (and coffee-drinking), perhaps two really critical traits for success in life are resilence in the face of adversity and your problem-solving skills.

That doesn't mean that you never plow on or turn back--these are appropriate at times too--but that you know when to turn right, left, or make a straight dash to the goal line. ;-)

(Source Photo: Danielle Blumenthal)
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February 29, 2016

Best Of The Best

We all know how important voting is so that our voices are heard in the democratic process and we can help shape the direction of this great nation. 

And this is especially the case when it comes to voting for the next President and Commander in Chief of this country. 

A couple of  concerning things though about this election cycle that I am noticing:

People Not Policy - While elections in general always have their share of rambunctious slogans and exaggerated/empty promises, this election seems to be shaping up with a distinct focus on the people running for President (are they trustworthy, do they have good judgement, how much experience do they have, are they decent people) as opposed to what policies and ideas they have for where they would take the country. Certainly, character and integrity are critical in voting for someone for such an important position, but it seems to have sidelined policy from off of the main agenda. Moreover, the inclination to vote for someone based on their race or gender or presumed sympathy towards those also has upended real discussion on where we are and should be headed. Maybe you really like your candidate of choice, but are you fully satisfied (or close to it) that they have a big picture vision for our future and that they telling it like it is or are they sugarcoating to what they think their audience simply wants to hear, or in some cases is it just limited to a single policy thread or maybe little or no cloth for the emperor at all. 

Questioning The Lineup - First it seemed with the election that people did what they always do, which is take sides and argue it out on the sidelines of the cacophony of all the electioneering. People would say, oh, I like this party and this candidate or that one or the other one--and people would debate who is the better choice. But now, this dialogue seems to have changed where many voters seem fed up with many (or even perhaps all) of the candidates. Some seem to be looking for new candidates to magically swoop in and "save the (election) day" or old candidates to show that they have different stripes. I have heard some question whether they will even bother to vote at all like this with all the negative campaigning or from whom they believe will be the ultimate candidates to chose from. Rather than people saying I like this one better for this reason, now I hear many asking which is "the lessor of the (presumed) evils."

Considering the unbelievable power of the President of the U.S. and that we are talking about this for the next 4 or 8 years, it is scary for people to think they may have to somehow settle for less than the greatness that this position demands.

There are still many more months in this election season and things can take a lot of twists and turns, but hopefully the country will work its way to selecting the true best of the best that our candidates have to offer. ;-)

(Note: This is not an endorsement for any candidate or political party.) 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to cgc76)

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December 31, 2015

Heading Askew

I thought I'd end the year with this photo that I took yesterday at the Hair Cuttery. 

There is this mannequin's head just laying on top of the washing machine. 

Is that what happens to customers' heads who don't cooperate with their haircuts or perhaps if they don't tip enough? 

More seriously though...

Maybe this is a good picture to summarize 2015--heads are down and the hair is all messed up, but it won't stop us from trying to wash the darn clothes going out there. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 18, 2014

Give 'Em A Choice

This is a funny sign from Germany for exiting...you can go this way or that.

I guess that's a choice...even if they both take you to the same place.

It's like my dad said to me the other day, "Give 'em a choice: take it or leave it!"

It's true--we can choose--and if leave it, then we have another choice, "Walk away or run!" ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Martin Fisch)
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July 8, 2014

Upside Down in D.C.

So coming downtown this week in D.C., I see this quite unhelpful posted sign. 

If you can read upside down, while rushing down a busy street with a million and one things on your mind for the day, it says, "Sidewalk Closed. Use Other Side."

Of course, the people flowing speedily down the streets in the morning, were still walking on this sidewalk, despite the construction and potential dangers. 

But in a way this reminds me of a bigger question here--is this really a sign of the times?

Today, I read in the Wall Street Journal about continued problems with Healthcare.gov--no, not related to the crashing websites, exemptions and delays, parts being overturned (such as with the contraception mandate), low enrollment (particularly after accounting for over 5 million people that lost their coverage with the new law and in effect had to sign up), but now in terms of thousands of people who signed up not getting their benefits due to continued problems with the enrollment system.

This is not just an issue for this party or that, but rather matters of government that we as a unified nation must tackle togther to grow our capabilities and competitiveness econically, militarily, and socially. 

Are the signs pointing us in the right direction and what streets should we be going down as a nation in order to succeed? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 30, 2013

When GPS Takes You Down The Wrong Path

Mashable is reporting that a team of university students from University of Texas at Austin were able to spoof the GPS receivers on an $80 million yacht with false signals and make it veer off course without anyone even noticing!

I remember a couple of years ago, I was heading to an offsite meeting for work. 


It was planned for a location that I wasn't extremely familiar with.


Of course, I turned on my GPS device in the car and set the destination.


It was a cold snowy day--the roads were iced--and it was already treacherous driving. 


But I followed the GPS directions to a T.


I ended up in someone's backyard--at a dead end--practically in the middle of a cornfield. 


I'm thinking to myself Crap!--what type of crazy GPS is this? 


Thank G-d, I had my smartphone in my pocket and I opened up the GPS app on it and set the destination again. 


Sure enough, it takes me off and running to the meeting location--about 10 minutes away!


Some things I learnt:


1) OMG, we are so very dependent on our technology; with technology gone wrong, I was stuck in nowhere land USA; with it right--I got out of there and to the correct location and thank G-d. 


2) GPS is a capability that is critical for everything from getting us to where we need to go to getting our missiles to hit on target. Take away or mess with our GPS and we end up missing the mark--potentially big time and with devastating consequences. 


3) Always have a backup, plan B. One GPS can be wrong as in this case, while the other GPS was correct. Redundancy and contingency planning is a must have, period. 


4) When you're heading down the wrong road (or you're off course in international waters), man up and admit it and make a course correction. You don't win any brownie points for continuing to drive into the cornfields. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 1, 2013

Washington DC In 1892

This is a beautiful lithograph from Currier and Ives that I came across of Washington D.C.

It is called Chesapeake Bay Area - The City of Washington. 

It's amazing how much less developed things were just a little more than a century ago. 

You can clearly see the major landmarks and institutions like The Capitol, the Washington Monument, and The White House, but not much else in terms of government.

Notice that even the Supreme Court building isn't there--it wasn't completed until 1935. 

We are a fast-growing and advancing society with a maturing government and capital city that today makes this historical photo look almost as if it's from fairy tale. 

It's nice to look back and see how far we've come and introspect on where we are going. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 20, 2012

Ominous Sky


Ominous_skyline
This was the skyline in Washington D.C. this past week. 

I have never seen anything quite like it. 

You can clearly see the grey clouds forming overhead. 

And the contrast with the clear sky off in the back. 

The trees along the train tracks provide almost an end of days feel--just a few standing.

There is a guy on the train on the right with his head bowed back against the train doors--is he feeling sick, tired or just down with the weather. 

This picture was taken one day before the second Presidential Debate, only weeks before the election, months before we come up on the "fiscal cliff," and perhaps only a few seasons before as they say, Iran gets "the bomb."

Where is this train taking us, what are we going to do to solve the sizable problems ahead, and will these dark cloud lift or settle in on us?

Hope and pray that G-d gives us the good fortune to succeed in these trying times and that the sun shines bright again for all of us soon. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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July 14, 2012

Leadership Now!

There is a very good interview in the Wall Street Journal today (14-15 July 2012) with George Shultz, former Secretary of State, Treasury, and Labor. 

Shultz talks primarily about our countries devastating financial situation today.

On the economy, he states bluntly: "We have some big problems in this country."

But according to the interview "the policies for revival are obvious with the right leadership."

Shultz gives an example of former President Reagan (who I blogged about previously (24 June 2012) in It's The Right Thing To Do] as someone who had what it took to lead us out of difficult times. 

"It took long-term thinking...[Reagan] knew and we advised him you can't have a decent economy with the kind of inflation we've got...The political people would come in and say 'You've fot to be careful Mr. President...You're gonna lose seats in the mid-term election."

And as Shultz reminds us, what was Reagan's response?

"And he basically said, 'If not us who? If not now when?"

The article goes on that "it took a politician with an ability to take a short-term hit in order to get the long-term results that we needed."

Reagans words and deeds remind me of the Jewish teaching from the Book of Avot ("Ethics of Our Fathers") from more than 2,000 years ago which reads in 1:14--

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
And if I am [only] for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?"


Reagan was in tune with this ancient wisdom of our forefathers, that we have an obligation to take the appropriate actions to care for ourselves and others and not to put off these actions unto others or for later. 

This is one of those true leadership qualities that made Reagan one of the most popular and favorite leaders on the 20th century. 

Reagan acted based on principle and not based on votes--the long-term health and outcomes for the country was more important than the minute-by-minute polling. 

Of course a leader needs to represent the will and wishes of the people, but he must do so with the bigger-picture and long-term view in mind for the nation to survive and thrive. 

Similarly Peggy Noonan writes today about how we need a "political genius" to get us out of the mess we are in as a nation. 

She too uses Reagan as an example and explains how he used to state about congress that: "when they feel the heat [from voters], they see the light," and it is the President's job to help the people understand and "galvanize them."

As Ms. Noonan states about a real leader: "he's direct and doesn't hide his meaning in obfuscation, abstraction, cliches and dead words."

A leader who knows and believes as in the wisdom of fathers, and like Ronald Reagan, "If not us who? If not now when?"

(Source photo: here with attribution to Tom Magliery)

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September 22, 2009

Organizational Politics and Enterprise Architecture

Organizations are intrinsically political systems, “in the sense that ways must be found to create order and direction among people with potentially diverse and conflicting interests.”

“All organizational activity is interest-based…an organization is simultaneously a system of competition and a system of collaboration.” Because of the diversity of interests… [the organization] always has a latent tendency to move in diverse directions, and sometimes to fall apart.

Organizational politics is founded in Aristotle’s idea “that diversity of interests gives rise to the ‘wheeling and dealing’, negotiation, and other processes of coalition building and mutual influence that shape so much of organizational life.”

“Organizational politics arise when people think differently and want to act differently. This diversity creates a tension that must be resolved through political means…there are many ways in which this can be done: aristocratically (‘We’ll do it this way’); bureaucratically (‘We’re supposed to do it this way”), technocratically (‘It’s best to do it this way’), or democratically (‘How shall we do it?’). In each case the choice between alternative paths of action usually hinges on the power relations between the actors involved.”

Power is the medium through which conflicts of interest are ultimately resolved. Power influences who gets what, when, and how.” Organizational power is derived from formal authority, control of scarce resources, control of information, use of structure, policies, and rules, and so on.

(Adapted from Images of Organization by Gareth Morgan)

Recognizing the importance of organizational politics—individual, group, and special interests, as well as the resulting conflict, and resolution through the levers of power is critical in User-centric Enterprise Architecture.

EA works within a diverse organization, takes competing interests and organizational conflicts, and turns it into common objectives and goals and the striving towards their achievement.

Enterprise architects work across organizational boundaries to synthesize business and technology to create interoperability, standardization, efficiencies, enterprise and common solutions, and integration.

Through the target architecture and transition plan, EA seeks to transform the organization from its intrinsic conflicts into a force with unity of purpose and mind to achieve ever greater accomplishments.


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