Showing posts with label Pandemics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pandemics. Show all posts

January 20, 2015

Superhero Socks

Thought these socks were pretty cool.

POW!
WHAM!
ZAAP!
KAPOW!
SPLAT!

We are living in an age with potential for great upheaval whether from terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, bigotry and social inequality, national debts and unpaid social entitlements, poverty and pandemics, global warming and environmentally unsustainable practices, and the clash of Western and Eastern civilizations. 

Thank G-d for advances in technology and innovation to help address these huge challenges of our time. 

However, whoever is portraying everything as all rosy or telling you to just be optimistic and all will be well--they're feeding you a bunch of you know what!

We need a superhero/Messiah leader to come help us save the day and these socks would be perfect for their arrival. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 26, 2014

Don't Worry About It--Yeah Right!

Lately, with the Ebola outbreak, primarily in Africa, but unfortunately also spreading here into the U.S., we are hearing refrains from politicians and pundits, not to be afraid.

- It won’t come here.
- It’s hardly contagious.
- Out health care system is superior.
- It’s all under control.

But what we are finding is that the reassurances are mostly empty words to calm a growing restless public, who are justifiably afraid, and see little to no action from their leaders.

- Ebola has come here to Texas, Maryland, and New York.
- Experts now admit that you can even get Ebola from sweat on the bus, and they blame broken protocols (as yet to be identified) that inflected 2 nurses in Texas.
- Yes, our health system is superior, but we are mostly inexperienced with dealing with a true pandemic.
- Define, “It’s under control” as the CDC is now projecting 1.4M infected by January (and growing exponentially)!

This is like the old adage that we are always trying to fight the last war, and not preparing with an open mind for what the next one will look like.

Similarly, we fail again and again to predict the threats and risks that confront us...Pearl Harbor, 9/11, Depressions/ Severe Recessions, ISIS, and much more are evidence of this.

FDR said “There is nothing to fear but fear itself,” but this is dead wrong.

I am afraid that we are not fearing enough (or that even worse, we are afraid to fear)--when this is perhaps of as great, if not of greater importance to adequately preparing ourselves to the immense challenges ahead of us.

Fear can cause paralysis or even chaos, but fear can also drive intelligent preparation, innovation, and life-saving measures.

Lately, many have said to me that unhealthy eating or gun violence is what we should fear and act on, and I think this is truly narrow vision.

We can’t live with heads in the sand, because there are multiple issues that we must confront.

True, we don’t have unlimited resources to address everything 100%, but as I’ve been telling people, we can worry about multiple issues (and I certainly do), work to address them with common sense—in other words, walk and chew gum at the same time!

Everyone seems to have their pet peeve issue that they want politicians to address, but we don’t have the luxury of paying attention to those that big mouths, lobbyists or politicians elevate to fear factor status, and ignoring others that may pose real significant threats to us. 

Frankly, I would rather be a little needlessly afraid, but more thoughtful, prepared/protected, and ahead-of-the-curve in addressing issues, than fearless, foolhardy, not ready, and extremely sorry later. 

While Ebola may or may not be catastrophic to us, when you hear coldly, almost matter-of-factly, “Don’t worry about it,” while thousands are dying and many more horrific deaths are at hand, and we are told by the U.N. that there is no real plan if things continue to go south, then be afraid, be very afraid--and let that guide you to creative problem-solving, and not deer in the headlights inaction. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 29, 2012

Zombie Homeland Security Training 101


Unbelievable. The Halo Counter-terrorism Summit (Oct 29-Nov. 2, 2012) is hosting a mock Zombie Invasion as part of its emergency response training for about a 1,000 special ops, military, police, medical, firefighter, and other homeland security professionals. 

The Zombie Apocalypse training exercise is occurring mid-summit on October 31, Halloween--so it is quite timely for other ghoulish activities that day. 

There are two sessions--#1 at 4:30 PM and #2 at 7:00 PM.

Both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have posted the CDC's Zombie Preparedness guidance--saying that "if you are generally well equipped to deal with a zombie apocalypse you will be prepared for a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake, or terrorist attack."

I guess this is very good news with Hurricane Sandy or "Frakenstorm" bearing down on the East Coast this evening.  Zombies, you ain't got nothing on Frakenstorm! 

In Yahoo News, Brad Barker, the President of Halo Corp., explained why Zombies are good for training, especially in asymmetric warfare: "No one knows what zombies will do in our scenario, but quite frankly no one knows what a terrorist will do."

Barker also jested that "No doubt when a zombie apocalypse occurs, it's going to be a federal incident, so we're making it happen."

Frankly, I love to see this type of creativity brought to national and homeland security and believe that this makes it less likely that we'll be perpetually fighting yesterday's war, instead of tomorrow's. 

The key is that we think out of the box in terms of what will the adversary do next--from cyberwar to weapons of mass destruction, we can't afford to be blindsighted. 

So do I think that aliens or zombies are coming for us some day--let's just say, never say never. ;-)

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May 26, 2012

Warnings: When It's Not Just "Crying Wolf"

There is a famous saying that "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." - George Santayana 

An editorial appeared in the Wall Street Journal (10 April 2012) by French philosopher Pascal Bruckner called "The Ideology of Catastrophe" that accuses those who warn others of danger as having "tiny minds who wish us suffering."

This "philosopher" maligns both Jewish prophets and Christian "millenarian movements" for having "no function other than indignation...and [the Prophet] becomes intoxicated with his own words and claims a legitimacy with no basis."

Mr. Bruckner must be completely clueless of those throughout history that have sought to warn us of dangers that if the world would but have listened, untold numbers of millions could have been saved. 

From the earliest of times, there have been warnings about pending catastrophes and those that paid attention were able to make a difference. 

In the Torah (Bible), G-d warned Noah of the impending flood, and Noah was able to save humankind and animals--2 by 2 they went unto the ark for 40 days and nights of pouring rain that vanquished the earth.

In the Prophets, G-d has Yonah (after being swallowed by the whale) warn the the inhabitants of Nineveh to repent and prevents them and their city from destruction. 

In the 20th century, if only the world had paid attention to the genocidal desires of maniacs like Adolph Hitler (may his name be cursed) in books like Mein Kampf, how many tens of millions may have been spared. 

In terms of the advent of nukes and other weapons of mass destructions, to at least some extent people and governments have listened to warning and retreated from a philosophy of mutually assured destruction (MAD) to instead move toward anti-proliferation, arms reduction treaties, and other safeguards, and we have thank G-d been able to avoid major catastrophes from these dangers. 

Thankfully, with dire medical issuances about various diseases, pandemics, and even warning about the dangers of obesity, smoking, and drinking, we have been able to curb harmful behaviors, promote healthier living, and lengthen life spans.

Similarly, with environmental warnings, we have been able to create awareness and educate people on more sustainable living--through conservation, recycling, reuse, as well as renewable energy sources, and more. 

Moreover, warnings about runaway spending and the national deficit have been heard for decades, but having ignored these for the most part, we now face a $16,000,000,000,000 bill and growing rapidly--soon coming due to future generations of Americans.  And we are already witnessing the effects--inflation, unemployment, default, and perhaps succession from the Euro and the EU itself--of countries on the other side of the Atlantic that have made the similar errors in their wild spending ways.

While some corporate, religious, and political leaders do use fear tactics to gain power or whatever they are personally-seeking that does not make every warning false and malevolent. 

Certainly, at the other end of the spectrum, some people would rather live in denial of any issues and pretend that everything is just hunky-dory all the time. 

Bruckner does makes some superficial and one-sided arguments--denouncing warnings and claiming that:

- Warnings cause fear, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

- Warnings "though they try to awaken us...eventually deadens us."

- People who warn "do not [really] intend to warn us as much as to condem us."

- Leaders issue warnings "to dazzle us in order to make us docile."

Unfortunately, Bruckner has failed to distinguish between fear-mongering and fact. 

Bruckner missed the point of how real warnings can help people--which is through changing hearts, minds, and behaviors. 

1) Fear is not a self-fulfilling prophecy unless people do not act in time to change dangerous and irresponsible behaviors.

2) Genuine warnings do not deaden those who seek truth and a way forward--it only deadens those who are unwilling or unable to adapt. 

3) People who warn based on facts and with sincerity to help others do not wish to condem us--rather they wish to alleviate unnecessary suffering.

4) Leaders who issue warnings to alert people to very real dangers out there in order to seek safety or change course are not trying to dazzle and make docile, but rather they seek to save lives by creating awareness, educating, and empowering people to change before it is too late.

Some people understand well from history as well as from common sense that our behaviors have consequences--other do not. 

For me, when we stray into dangerous waters, I am glad for the true heros out there looking out for us and helping guide us live better and longer lives. 

While it is good to be critical of unfounded warnings and charlatans, it is necessary to have warnings that are grounded in fact, given sincerely, not forced on others, and help people stay successfully on the road to health, prosperity, and human rights.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Alex Peruso)

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