Showing posts with label Historical. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Historical. Show all posts

April 11, 2019

Israel 4th Nation To Reach the Moon Surface - Mazel Tov!


What an unbelievable achievement for Israel. 

Even without a soft landing, Israel is the 4th country in the world to reach the moon surface.

The Moon Club of Just Four:
USA - The Most Powerful
Russia - The Largest by Landmass
China - The Largest by Number of People
Israel - The Holy Land!

Mazel Tov on this truly great accomplishment.

We are all so proud of you!  ;-)
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July 7, 2018

Supporting Israel is Right

Please see my new article in Times of Israel called, "Dialogue with a Former Israel Supporter."

Israel is not only the biblical and historical homeland for the Jewish people, but it is the only Jewish country in the entire world. 

Nations and terrorists have attacked, again and again, denying the United Nations declaration for the State of Israel and the modern-day geopolitical reality of its existence--and it is flourishing!

The State of Israel has successfully made peace with its neighbors Egypt and Jordan, and they seek the same with the Palestinians.

Let us hope and pray for coexistence speedily in our times. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 6, 2017

Mazel Tov On Jerusalem

Today, Jerusalem has been recognized as the capital of Israel--Mazel tov!

- 70 years after President Truman instructed the State Department to support the U.N. partition plan.

- 50 years since the Six Day War in which Jerusalem was reunified.

- 22 years after the Jerusalem Embassy Act was passed for relocating the U.S. Embassy to the capital, Jerusalem.

Everyone has been patient and waited a long time for this.

As President Trump stated, we are recognizing the reality, the obvious, and "it is the right thing to do!"

Yes, Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to determine their own capital as every nation does. 

And Jerusalem is that capital today as it has been historically from the times of the Bible. 

We are blessed to be witnessing in our time the miraculous fulfillment of G-d's promise for the quintessential return of the Israelites to the Promised Land, and toward the ultimate redemption.

From the ashes of the Holocaust, G-d has resurrected and brought us alive again.

Many that I have spoken with today express genuine fear about the ramifications of this announcement of recognition. 

But as President Trump displayed today, we must all go forward together courageously and in celebration. 

The State of Israel is blooming from its agricultural fields to the incredible medical and technological innovations that are helping people throughout the world.

We must never forget that it is only with G-d's blessing and under his watchful eye.

May we all pray for peace and security, and let their not be war or terrorism anymore! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via WhiteHouse.gov)
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August 8, 2017

Tiny Houses Old Style





Recently, we visited the Underground Railroad Experience Trail in Maryland. 

It simulates the route and challenges that runaway slaves had to face in seeking their freedom. 

While I am certain that the suffering endured was in no way captured here, I thought it was still beneficial to have people sensitized and thinking about these horrible historical events around slavery.

Aside from the hiking trail, there were these amazing tiny houses from the 1800's.

The wood cabins and stone houses were so cute, but also so inviting. 

If I had to live in a Tiny House, these looked sort of incredibly charming. 

HGTV tiny living spaces--like the one we saw last night that had only 200 feet and was really awkward--have nothing on these tiny gems. 

The matching tiny trees were also a very nice effect. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 3, 2017

DC Lights It Up - Just Physical or More








Wanted to share these beautiful lights from around Washington, D.C. 

They are all sort of magnificent!

But even while I am marveling at them, my mind is tearing another way...

I am thinking, there is physical light, yet in so many ways the world seems dark. 

We have lots technological progress to be proud of, and yet there are big problems all over the horizon.

- Nuclear and missile proliferation, and rising cyber threats.

- Rising global terrorism and potential for military conflicts

- Spiraling national debt and the trust funds for social entitlements running out

- Rising discrimination and associated hate crimes

- Family strains and the decline of marriage

- Challenges in confidence with organized religion 

- World leadership at a crossroads. 

We need light--but not just the physical type. 

Transparency, enlightenment to solve big problems and a spiritual awakening to ensure good wins out over evil are all on order. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 13, 2015

Absence, A Big Statement

We all know from psychology 101 that what we pay attention to and give to is what is really important to us. 

Parenting is an example of this where we give our time and efforts to our children as our most important investment of self. 

This last week was the historical Paris Unity Rally attended by millions, including 40 world leaders, to denounce blind discrimination and hate and the associated terror and murder that marked the terrorist attacks in Paris.

The Paris attacks were a striking blow on free speech and resulted in the murder of many innocent citizens and law enforcement at Charlie Hebdo magazine and numerous Jews in a kosher grocery store--it was more than shocking to see our top leadership missing in action (MIA).

In the Wall Street Journal today, there are many words on this from "error" to "lost opportunity."

Yet, despite acknowledging the blatant absence, what we are left with are an unfortunate series of excuses, such as the incredible statement that "No one in the White House brought such a request to the the President's attention."

As if someone needs to tell the leader of the free world that he needs to be participate in the Paris Unity Rally. Did the millions who attended or the other 40 world leaders need a reminder or a nudge?

Or here's another one about not being able to attend because of "security concerns."

Once again, did the heads of state for France, Germany, England, and Israel not have similar concerns that their protectors were able to adequately address. 

What about the  apology that he "regrets his decision not to send a top White House official"--uh, what about going himself?

I remember immediately after the attack of 9/11, President George W. Bush, with bullhorn in hand, standing on the rubble of what was once the World Trade Center...there was no excuses as to a need for reminders from staffers, security or health concerns, or sending surrogates--the leader was there and doing his job to lead, period.  

How can we fight a war on terrorism, fanaticism, and blind hatred, when we won't give it our time and attention--from the top down. 

As with a parent who is absent with his children, it speaks a thousand words about what is really important to that parent and the impact on the (symbolic) child.

"A cat's in the cradle with a silver spoon little boy blue and the man in the moon when your coming home dad I don't know when, but we'll get together then dad, you know we'll have a good time then."

In the past, the administration has been incredibly supportive in fighting terror, anti-semitism, and standing up for human rights, and with genuine commitment of time and effort, can do so again. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Doug)

(All opinions my own).

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January 6, 2015

Interned On The Aisle Of Man


I found this amazing letter to my dad from 1940. 

He was interned during the war as a child with his mother in the Rushen Internment Camp on the Aisle of Man, a possession of Britain.

My father was only 12 years old, but already worked as a messenger for the camp Superintendent. 

Here is probably one of his first letters of recommendation for a job very well done. 

"On His Majesty's Service"

How incredibly awesome for a child during World War II and the Holocaust. 

Love you Dad!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 5, 2014

Saw It Right Off

This was something amazing that really gave me pause. 

In the physical therapy center, hanging on the wall, encased in this wooden box.


A saw from the civil war that was used by the doctors of the time to amputate soldiers legs and arms. 


The saw was so ominous looking, especially with it's design of medieval-looking torture, it's raw industrial quality, and the age and rust. 


I could literally envision the utter fright on the faces of the young men upon seeing the doctor approach with this tool. 


They would give you a piece of wood to sink your teeth into, so you wouldn't bite your tongue off when they started sawing away at your limbs.


Not sure how people lived like this...not all that very long ago. 


(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)

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December 24, 2013

To Archive Or Not

Farhad Manjoo had a good piece in the Wall Street Journal on the Forever Internet vs. the Erasable Internet.

The question he raises is whether items on the Internet should be archived indefinitely or whether we should be able to delete postings. 

Manjoo uses the example of Snapshot where messages and photos disappear a few seconds after the recipient opens them--a self-destruct feature.

It reminded me of Mission Impossible, where each episode started with the tape recording of the next mission's instructions that would then self-destruct in five seconds...whoosh, gone. 

I remember seeing a demo years ago of an enterprise product that did this for email messages--where you could lock down or limit the capability to print, share, screenshot, or otherwise retain messages that you sent to others. 

It seemed like a pretty cool feature in that you could communicate what you really thought about something--instead of an antiseptic version--without being in constant fear that it would be used against you by some unknown individual at some future date. 

I thought, wow, if we had this in our organizations, perhaps we could get more honest ideas, discussion, vetting, and better decision making if we just let people genuinely speak their minds. 

Isn't that what the First Amendment is really all about--"speaking truth to power"(of course, with appropriate limits--you can't just provoke violence, incite illegal actions, damage or defame others, etc.)?

Perhaps, not everything we say or do needs to be kept for eternity--even though both public and private sector organizations benefit from using these for "big data" analytics for everything from marketing to national security. 

Like Manjoo points out, when we keep each and every utterance, photo, video, and audio, you create a situation where you have to "constantly police yourself, to create a single, stultifying profile that restricts spontaneous self-expression."

While one one hand, it is good to think twice before you speak or post--so that you act with decency and civility--on the other hand, it is also good to be free to be yourself and not a virtual fake online and in the office. 

Some things are worth keeping--official records of people, places, things, and events--especially those of operational, legal or historical significance and even those of sentimental value--and these should be archived and preserved in a time appropriate way so that we can reference, study, and learn from them for their useful lives. 

But not everything is records-worthy, and we should be able to decide--within common sense guidelines for records management, privacy, and security--what we save and what we keep online and off. 

Some people are hoarders and others are neat freaks, but the point is that we have a choice--we have freedom to decide whether to put that old pair of sneakers in a cardboard box in the garage, trash it, or donate it. 

Overall, I would summarize using the photo in this post of the vault boxes, there is no need to store your umbrella there--it isn't raining indoors. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Spinster Cardigan)
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February 5, 2013

From Holocaust To Holograms


My father told me last week how my mom had awoken in the middle of night full of fearful, vivid memories of the Holocaust. 

In particular, she remembers when she was just a six year-old little girl, walking down the street in Germany, and suddenly the Nazi S.S. came up behind them and dragged her father off to the concentration camp, Buchenwald--leaving her alone, afraid, and crying on the street. And so started their personal tale of oppression, survival, and escape. 

Unfortunately, with an aging generation of Holocaust survivors--soon there won't be anyone to tell the stories of persecution and genocide for others to learn from.

In light of this, as you can imagine, I was very pleased to see the University of Southern California (USC) Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) and the USC Shoah Foundation collaborating on a project called "New Dimensions In Testimony" to use technology to maintain the enduring lessons of the Holocaust into the future.

The project involves developing holograms of Holocaust survivors giving testimony about what happened to them and their families during this awful period of discrimination, oppression, torture, and mass murder.

ICT is using a technology called Light Stage that uses multiple high-fidelity cameras and lighting from more than 150 directions to capture 3-D holograms. 

There are some interesting videos about Light Stage (which has been used for many familiar movies from Superman to Spiderman, Avatar, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) at their Stage 5 and Stage 6 facilities. 

To make the holograms into a full exhibit, the survivors are interviewed and their testimony is combined with natural language processing, so people can come and learn in a conversational manner with the Holocaust survivor holograms. 

Mashable reports that these holograms may be used at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. where visitors will talk "face-to-face" with the survivors about their personal experiences--and we will be fortunate to hear it directly from them. ;-)

(Photo from USC ICT New Dimensions In Technology)

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January 2, 2012

The Internet Lives


While the Internet, with all its information, is constantly changing with updates and new information, what is great to know is that it is being preserved and archived, so present and future generations can "travel back" and see what it looked liked at earlier points in time and have access to the wealth of information contained in it.

This is what the Internet Archive does--this non-profit organization functions as the Library of the Internet. It is building a "permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format."

In the Internet Archive you will find "texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages" going back to 1996 until today.
I tested the Archive's Wayback Machine with my site The Total CIO and was able to see how it looked like back on October 24, 2010.

It is wonderful to see our digital records being preserved by the Internet Archive, just like our paper records are preserved in archives such as The Library of Congress, which is considered "the world's most comprehensive record of human creativity and knowledge"), The National Archives, which preserves government and historical records, and The National Security Archive, a research institute and library at The George Washington University that "collects and publishes declassified documents through the Freedom of Information Act...[on] topics pertaining to national security, foreign, intelligence, and economic policies of the United States."

The Internet Archive is located in San Francisco (and my understanding is that there is a backup site in Egypt).

The Internet Archive is created using spider programs that crawl the publicly available pages of the Internet and then copy and store data, which is indexed 3 dimensionally to allow browsing over multiple periods of times.

The Archive now contains roughly 2 petabytes of information, and is growing by 20 terabytes per month. According to The Archive, the data is stored on hundreds (by my count it should be about 2,000) of slightly modified x86 machines running on Linux O/S with each storing approximately a terabyte of data.

According to the FAQs, it does take some time for web pages to show up--somewhere between 6 months and 2 years, because of the process to index and transfer to long-term storage, and hopefully the process will get faster, but in my opinion, having an organized collection and archiving of the Internet is well worth the wait.

Ultimately, the Internet Archive may someday be (or be part of) the Time Capsule of human knowledge and experience that helps us survive human or natural disaster by providing the means to reconstitute the human race itself.

(Source Photo: here)

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