Showing posts with label Endurance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Endurance. Show all posts

June 8, 2020

Holding Back The Tide

These rocks are holding their own against the tide. 

They are also standing the test of time. 

We all need to push back against the tide when wrong is pushing forward. 

Whether its corruption or violence.

Be like a rock!

Choose good over evil in every situation.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 27, 2020

You Can Overcome It!

I like this runner's shirt a lot. 

It says:
Courage is endurance for one moment more.

Just when you feel that you cannot go on for another moment.

Just when you are at your very limit.

Just when you've reached your total breaking point. 

Then...

You take that deep breath and focus your mind intently. 

You disassociate yourself from the pain and struggle. 

You see the challenge in front of you for what it really is and you raise yourself above and beyond it.

Your inner spirit is so much greater than its power over you. 

You have the inner faith and can endure whatever it is. 

You can overcome it! ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 29, 2017

It's Not (Always) Easy

Sometimes, we see people--especially on social media these days--and they look "all that!"--so happy, so loved, so rich, so with everything--so it seems (superficially). 

But there is definitely another reality out there, and that is that everyone has problems:

- Family
- Health
- Finances
- Work
- School
- Conflict
- Spiritual

Like Helen Keller said: 
"I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet."

I remember as a child, if I felt sad about something, my dad at times would remind me about the children in the hospital, and to think about how we can help others less fortunate--and he was right!

What I see in life is a lot of people trying, but also so many challenges, failures, and suffering along the way...unfortunately, it's part of the learning and growth equation, and in why we're here. 

In college, I always remember one (English) professor who taught me from Henry David Thoreau:
"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation."

Sometimes, in our solitude or when we speak quietly from our heart with our closest loved ones, we feel and express some of those deep feelings of hurt, pain, and suffering from our lives.  

Those experiences, memories, and feelings are not all that there is of us, but it is certainly a part of all of us--although maybe only the brave will admit theirs.

It's not shameful to feel, to cry, and to be human. 

It's certainly not what Facebook and Twitter are all about. 

But it's a genuine and critical part of us which recognizes as my dad also taught me that--life is not easy--and that we have to fight every day to do our best and to help others to do theirs. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 9, 2017

Drones Vs. Man

I took this photo of this man and drone in Florida. 

Look how close this machine is flying to his head!

Aside from the surveillance capabilities and offsetting privacy issues, these are bringing some dangerous fighting capabilities anywhere and everywhere.

Just today, I read about how the U.S. shot down an armed Syrian drone--presumably made and deployed by Iran!

I guess it's not proprietary technology anymore!

As drones and robots become better, faster, and cheaper and ubiquitous on the battlefield and on main street, who will be (relatively) safe anymore? 

Unless of course, my drones are stronger than your drones!

It's going to be a war of technology and machines more than ever before. 

Small ones like insects, swarms of them like engulfing locust, and large ones like Godzilla. 

What was once human flesh against a steel blade, arrow, and then bullet is now going to be an superfast artificially intelligent, armed to the hilt "man of steel" (and they don't miss) against just regular everyday people.

Don't hurt your hand punching that Robot in the face. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 2, 2013

Warrior Augmentation

I love the direction DARPA is going in with robotic exoskeletons for our warfighters. 

Helping soldiers perform their jobs easier, more capably, and with less injury using human augmentation is good sense. 

Military men and women often carry weight in excess of 100 pounds for long distances and perform other tasks that challenge human physical endurance.

Creating a durable "soft, lightweight under[or over]suit that would help reduce injuries and fatigue and improve soldiers ability to efficiently perform their missions" is an smart and achievable goal, and one that would give us great advantage in the battlefield. 

The timeframe of 2012-2016 is an aggressive deadline to form the mix of core technologies, integrate them, and develop a wearable prototype. 

I think the goal of having this be "potentially wearable by 90% of the U.S. Army population" is notable as not something that is for just special forces or unique missions, but rather something that can medically protect and make for a superior fighting force for all of our men and women. 

This is really only the beginning of human augmentation with sensors, storage, processors, and robotics to make our warriors fight with the best that both man and machine has to offer. It's not a fight of man versus machine, but of man and machine. 

Seeing and hearing farther and with more clarity, connecting and communicating timely and under all conditions, processing loads of data into actionable information, fighting and performing mission with superior skills (strength, speed, dexterity, and endurance) and integrated weapon systems, guiding warriors to their targets and home safely--these are goals that man-machine augmentation can bring to reality. 

And of course, the sheer medical and rehabilitative benefits of these technologies in caring for the sick and disabled in society is enough to "pedal to metal" drive these efforts alone. 

Like on the prescient show from the 70's, The Six Million Dollar Man, "We can rebuild him. We have the technology...Better than he was before. Better...stronger...faster."

And I would add healthier and more deadly! ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to DARPA and Boston Dynamics)


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December 29, 2009

What Hollywood Can Teach Us About Fighting Terrorism

U.S. law enforcement officials have thwarted about two dozen known terrorist plots since 9/11 and there are probably lots more that haven’t made the papers. Some of them, like this month’s “Underwear Bomber” have nicknames, like the “Shoe Bomber” (2002), the “Lackawanna Six,” (same year), and the “Virginia Jihad” (2003). Others are known by geographical location, such as Fort Dix (2007) and the foiled plot against synagogues in the Bronx (2009). But one thing they all have in common is their determination to threaten and even destroy our freedom and way of life.

As a person who is deeply dedicated to America’s safety and security, both personally and professionally, I worry about the rise of terrorism that has sprung up in the past few decades. Terrorists are relentlessly determined to destroy our lives even if it means taking their own lives to do it. But what is even more frightening is that despite all the actions we have taken to fight terrorism, our culture remains deeply reactive. Can we really stay one step ahead and lucky forever?

The best example of our relative complacency in the face of a deadly threat is the policy of taking off our shoes for screening only after the case of the Shoe Bomber came to light. Now again, we waited for an Underwear Bomber before talking seriously and publicly about full body screening for all?

There is a saying that you can’t drive a car by looking in the rearview mirror, but unfortunately that seems to be the way our culture approaches the fight against terrorism. The focus should not be on stopping the last threat, but on anticipating and countering the future threat before it ever materializes.

To do this, we need to think like the bad guys do as well as conduct more exercises to expose our own security weaknesses (red teaming), rather than be surprised when the terrorists find our next Achilles heel.

In the particular case of the Underwear Bomber, it was particularly shocking that we knew this person was a threat. His own father warned us, yet we didn’t put him on the terrorist watch list or revoke his visa (as the British did). And just today I read that this individual told investigators there are literally hundreds more just like him, all waiting to strike.

Think about that for a second. There are seemingly endless terrorists out there, and they can have a 99% failure rate and still be “successful.” Yet U.S. and global law enforcement can’t fail at all—not even once—without dire and deadly consequences on a massive scale.

However, instead of gripping that unbelievable reality and treating it as the dire situation it is, there is actually talk about “rehabilitating” the terrorists. As if we have succeeded at rehabilitating “normal” criminals…now we are going to try and “deprogram” people who are religiously “inspired” to commit their diabolical deeds?

To adequately manage the new reality we face today, we must not only stay ahead of known threats, but also proactively envision new potential attack scenarios, prepare for them, and thwart them before they become potentially lethal.

A great place to start would be Hollywood; our entertainment industry has done a pretty good job of imaginatively exposing potential attack scenarios—in dozens of films from Air Force One to The Sum of All Fears, Executive Decision to The Peacemaker, and Arlington Road to The Siege, and many more.

There are also television shows like 24, with now seven seasons and counting, that keep Americans riveted to their seats week after week with terrorism plots that play out before our very eyes. We seem to generally view these as serious threats that are possible in our time.

I respect the President for openly acknowledging the "systematic failure," but it is going to take all of us to commit and follow through with ongoing security measures. It is not a one month or one year event (or even an 8 year event post 9/11), but rather a complete new security mindset that stays with us always.

We can and should learn from the visionary talent in our vibrant entertainment industry and from wherever else they may reside, and adopt creative and proactive thinking about terrorism and make this a regular part of our security culture. I understand that there are many forces at play here, and that most of us are not privy to some of the more sophisticated ways that we fight terrorism every day. But what I am talking about is our collective, public culture, which still seems to shrug off the seriousness of threats against us. For example, just today, I saw a sign in an airport that directed wheelchairs through security screening. It seemed almost an invitation to sew explosives into a wheelchair (although I understand that these are actually screened).

I have the deepest respect for the men and women who serve to protect us every day. But as a culture, it is long past time to wake up. We don’t have the luxury of collective denial anymore. We must embrace security as a fact of life, fully and in an ongoing manner.

Further, as we approach 2010, let us resolve to learn from the most imaginative people in our society about how we may think out of the box when it comes to combating terrorism.

In the real world, we must act now to quickly deploy new, more advanced screening technologies to our airports, marine ports, and border crossings, and employ our most creative minds to “outwit, outplay, and outlast” the terrorists who plot against us—whether in their shoes, their underwear, or wherever else their evil schemes might lead them.


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