Showing posts with label Life Expectancy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Life Expectancy. Show all posts

January 27, 2017

A Little Wear and Tear

Despite a generally longer life expectancy...people still have lots of aches and pains already by midlife. 

Danielle Ofri in the New York Times points out:
"Our bodies evolved to live about 40 years and then be finished off by a mammoth or a microbe. [However,] thanks to a century of staggering medical progress, now now live past 80, but evolution hasn't caught up; the cartilage in our joints still wears down in our 40s and we are more obese and more sedentary that we used to be, which doesn't help."
I hear from so many people in their 40s that they are already getting knee and hip replacements; they have high blood pressure, diabetes, and are having heart attacks, and many even are seeing their first bouts of cancer.

So in many ways, the 40s really sucks!  

Many of us would be dead many times over already, if not for G-d's grace and the miracles of medical science and technology these days. 

So life is prolonged, and we even often get pain relief, while we are able to continue forward with our families, communities, and careers.

As we read in Psalms 39:4
"Show me, LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is."
Perhaps that's what illness is...G-d showing us that we are just mortal and that life is short and we need to make the most of every minute. 

When everything is going just swell, how easy it is to become arrogant and forget how mortal we really are. 

My father used to say:
"G-d doesn't let any tree grow into the heavens."
By our 40s, when most of us are growing our families, careers, wealth, and stature--unfortunately, maybe we sort of need that kick in the pants from Above. 

G-d is our maker and our teacher, and he guides us to the end of our days, and hopefully they are reached with wisdom, meaningful contributions, piety, and love. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 6, 2015

A Political Teddy Bear

Thought this was an awesome photograph.

Taken on the Washington, D.C. Mall...

You can see the Capitol of the United States in the background.

The gate is surrounding the construction being done.

On the fence is a Teddy Bear--representing so many of our national challenges--sort of just hanging there helpless.

This political bear looks like he's clutching for dear life, but unfortunately he is left hung out to dry as we just keep chugging away...but where is the real progress? 

- ISIS and radical Islam is still growing stronger.

- Iran continues building toward a nuclear WMD.

- China and Russia are "becoming [ever more] aggressive as they perceive U.S. pulling back."

- North Korea achieves capability for a "nuclear ICMB."

- Cyber insecurity is a "real and growing threat."

- There is a growing danger of a catastrophic EMP attack with a "staggering human cost."

- Immigration crisis remains in "limbo."

- Economic growth is "grinding to a halt."

- National deficit is "projected to skyrocket over next decade." 

- American economic competitiveness is in ongoing "slow decay."

- U.S. education "still lagging" significantly in science and mathematics. 

- Life expectancy in U.S. ranks 26th, "right behind Slovenia."

This doesn't mean that good things aren't continuing to happen especially with innovation despite all the gridlock...there is the Apple Watch (ok, the jury is still out on that one too).

Why don't we let the bear down gently please. ;-)

(Source Photo: Minna Blumenthal)
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June 6, 2008

Life Expectancy and Enterprise Architecture

We all hope and pray for a long and healthy life with our loved ones. Unfortunately, when serious illness strikes, the question is how long does a person have to live?

The Wall Street Journal, 6 June 2007, reports that despite all the diagnostic medical tools today, predicting life expectancy is still “a very inexact science.”

While it does not seem odd to me that “doctors often fumble predicting life expectancy” since this is truly only something G-d can know for sure—what is odd is the magnitude of the discrepancy with doctors predictions. “Doctors overestimated dying patients’ survival by a factor of 5.3”!

Why the gross inaccuracy? And can this provide any lessons for enterprise architecture planning?

  • Forecasting is not a science—“Even some of the best scientific studies of some of the more common medical cases points to one conclusion: we don’t really know.” Similarly, with planning business and technology, we can’t really see into the future or around corners. The best we can do is to extrapolate from events and trends. This is more an art than a science.
  • Old/bad data is a poor basis for planning—“Life expectancy data for such patients are dated. ‘True life expectancy with best treatment is constantly changing.’” Similarly, with business and IT planning, events on the ground are constantly changing, so for planning to be even somewhat accurate, you need real time and quality data.
  • Optimism is an exaggeration—Doctors tend to be overoptimistic with their life expectancy predictions, “in part because they tend to be confident in their abilities and hopeful for their patients.” While we can’t give up hope—ever—we should not be overconfident in our abilities. When architecting the organizing, we must try to be as realistic as we can and not look at the enterprise with rose colored lenses.
  • Overlooking the obvious—“Doctors simply overlook the signs of nearing death.” As architects, we cannot overlook anything. We need to be on the lookout for the latest business and technology trends and plan accordingly for the enterprise.
  • Difficulty communicating bad news—“The pain and difficulty of communicating the prediction exacerbates the error…when estimating life expectancy for patients who, it turned out, had about a month to live, doctors tacked on 15 days onto their private predictions.” Enterprise architects need to be good—no expert—communicators. This is important in translating business-technology speak and in charting a course. If the current roadmap is not right for the organization, architects need to articulate the problems, why and how to fix them.
  • Treatment can cause more problems—“Patients and doctors expecting a longer survival time may agree on more invasive treatment, adding the burden of side effects and complications to patients in their final days.” Similarly, as architects, we may see a business process or technology problem and in trying to fix it, end up doing the wrong thing and exasperate the problem. So like doctors, our first pledge needs to be to do no harm.
  • Feedback and quality control—these “could help hone survival estimates.” So to with planning and governance, doing the assessment/lessons learned and performance metrics can be very valuable for improving practices and processes going forward.

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