Showing posts with label Vulnerable. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vulnerable. Show all posts

August 2, 2019

What's Your Relationship?

This week I learned about the Three Levels of Relationships.

Level 3: Family/Friends
The highest form of a relationship where you are being authentic (i.e. yourself), you share deeply about yourself (thoughts, feelings, desires, mistakes, etc,) and you are vulnerable. 

Level 2: Professionals
The middle level of relationships in which you are seeking to build trust and respect, you share some information (i.e. appropriate), and you expose yourself a little to the other person. 

Level 1: Acquaintances
The most elementary of relationships that is superficial in nature, there is little personal sharing of information (i.e. mostly when you are asked a question and you feel comfortable answering it), and you remain guarded. 

This is a good way to assess your relationships--is it a level 1, 2, or 3 and are you behaving appropriately within that, so that you trust, communicate, and collaborate effectively.  ;-)

(Graphic Credit: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 6, 2017

Driverless Cars - New Beginning or Part of The End

Driverless cars are exciting to so many.

But doesn't it also seem so boring?

There is a lot to be said for being the driver and doing the driving. 

We control the destination, trajectory, speed, etc.

Occasionally, there is even time to stop and enjoy the view. 

We've given up on doing or even knowing how to do so many basic things.

Probably 90% plus of us would fail at any sort of basic survival test. 

You can't hunt, you don't know how anything really works, and you don't even have a green thumb.

You'd be dead in under a week or max three

The only thing you do know how to do is sit at a desk, push papers, go to meetings, and post endless nonsense on social media--congratulations you're an imbecile!

When Axis of Evil North Korea, Iran, or Russia decide to hit us with an ICBM, EMP, or a massive cyber attack your gonna wish you knew something (anything) real, let alone how to drive a simple automatic. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 14, 2017

Our Assets Are Compromised

So in the games that nations play, spy games is #1 on the hit parade.

Of course, it's about using information to get a strategic advantage. 

It runs the gamut from pure espionage in terms of stealing state secrets and intellectual property to conducting stealthy subversive acts to undermine enemies and competitors. 

Whatever spies do, it's all about compromising assets...whether they be human, information, or critical infrastructure. 

From turning patriots into traitors, words into info warfare, or critical infrastructure in trojan horses ready to im/explode...whatever leads to getting the upper-hand or advantage. 

What one nation comes to rely on for their sustainment and survival is instead exploited and turned against them like a trojan horse or modern-day malware.

And with people, using money, sex, ideology, compromising material (Kompromat), or threats against loved ones--it's simply about appealing to either opportunism or extortion. 

So truly defense means protecting not only what before one's eyes, but also what in the rear and at the flanks. 

When the over 21 million personnel records and background investigations where stolen from OPM on virtually all federal employees (civilian, military, and intelligence personnel) a door was left open and the demon is still hiding and waiting to cross the threshold, infiltrate, exfiltrate, and compromise. 

As an society that meaningfully values an open and transparent democracy, we can perhaps too easily become lured or lax to common sense safeguards and vigilance, but that does not excuse negligence, incompetence or stupidity.

Rich people and countries around the world can unknowingly falter by becoming overly comfortable and full of themselves...to the point where many don't fully care about their jobs or their country, as they sit in their mansions, designer clothes, and with busting bellies.

From the need to vastly improve our competencies in cyberwarfare to defending ourselves from a tidel wave of global terrorism to upgrading the U.S. nuclear triad against resurgent superpowers and dangerous rogue dictators, we have let our guard down to compromise. 

Is expelling 35 Russian diplomats an effective strategy against their technical attempts to subvert our free and democratic elections or does it just underscore how vulnerable we continue to be?

When as a country and with our leadership, we decide to get serious rather than stay scared and war weary then we will not only stand firm again, but fight against weakness and compromise of ourselves. ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)
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September 20, 2015

Violation of Home and Person

So I took this photo of a newscast recently about women being followed into their homes and attacked. 

What can be more frightening and violating?

A home is one's castle and sanctuary--that is where we go for shelter, safety, and unconditional love. 

When the the home space is violated, then fear and panic ensue as all bets are off to what can happen to everything one loves and holds dear.

Think of basically any scene where the ancient city walls are being broached by a marauding army, and you'll immediately see men, women, and children running and screaming, but alas the city burns and the people are doomed at the hand of their invaders. 

Similarly, when people are followed or suffer a home invasion--their privacy and security is violated to the core--and they easily become victims of theft, rape, and assault. 

I remember when growing up in New York how one local neighborhood kid was followed home one day by a gang, and they started beating him in front of his home until some neighbors came and chased the attackers away. 

But it didn't end there, because this kid was vulnerable for months afterward, not knowing if and when the attackers would return for more. 

It's like when people threaten someone and say, "I know where you live!"

That puts the fear of G-d into people, because it's not only themselves, but their home and family at mortal risk--and not knowing when or how it may happen...people can just piss their pants. 

The opposite is true as well, people tend to be big shots and aggressive when they feel they are anonymous--when their faces are covered by masks, and they have no identifiable insignias--you don't know who they are or where they are from. 

With anonymity, people feel they can do what they want without fear of reprisal. 

But someone who can be identified, they better behave themselves, because they can be found afterwards and "made to pay" for the bad things they did. 

Ultimately, peace comes from having both safety in the home and the serenity of mind that comes with not having to look over your shoulder all the time. 

Everyone should be able to feel safe in their homes and neighborhood, and the attacker be caught, killed, or damned. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 22, 2015

Can You Just Stop And Think?

So oddly, one thing that many people these days find really hard to do is STOP AND THINK.

What do I mean?

Be alone, do nothing, and just take the time to be with yourself and think.

--without your smartphone, television, music, game, or even a book. 

Just you, the four walls, and your brain...thinking, thinking, thinking.

Feeling a little jittery, scared yet. 

Why are people afraid to stop and think? 

Is it because within the thinking is some craziness, fear, anxiety, and even remorse?

Are there overwhelming feelings and thoughts about issues, events, people, and places that are unresolved and painful. 

Also, by ourselves and in our thoughts, we can realize how weak, vulnerable, and mortal we are. 

If we are here in our own heads, maybe no one will even notice we are gone or maybe no one will even miss us--maybe they'll replace us?

We're so easily ditched, replaceable, just another character in a long cast of characters.

When we stop and think, do we worry about all the other things we're not doing or getting done...perhaps, we don't have the time to think, because we need to be doing, doing, doing. 

And if we're not moving forward doing something, then we are being left behind!

But doesn't thinking lead to more purposeful doing?

A little upfront thinking and planning, maybe can save you some serious time wasted just acting out. 

Somehow, like a prisoner in isolation though too much alone time with your own thoughts is enough to drive anyone crazy, docile, and ready to behave just to get out, interact with other human beings, and doing something.

We need to stay active, not be bored, so we don't think too much.

When I was in the hospital recently, one orderly named Kelvin, saw me sitting there by myself thinking, and he said to me, "Oh no, you don't want to have too much time to think. Block those thoughts out of your mind. Why don't you watch some TV?"  

Smart Kelvin. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 5, 2014

Sitting Ducks, Sitting In The Dark?

If you read the Wall Street Journal, then you heard today about the attack that took place last April on the power grid in San Jose, California. 

Yes, "the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred" and in San Jose in 2013!

Some assailants cut the telephone cables in an underground vault and shot for 19 minutes at a electrical substation with more than 100 rounds from an AK-47 and "surgically knocked out 17 giant transformers that funnel power to Silicon Valley."

In this isolated case, power was able to be rerouted around the damaged site, but it still took 27 days to make the necessary repairs.

What if this was a broader attack--what could have happened? 

Firstly, since our roughly 2,000 nationwide giant transformers sit mostly in the open surrounded by nothing more than chain link fences and some cameras, an attack is possible, if not probable.

According to the then Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), "if a surprisingly small number of U.S. substations were knocked out at once that could destabilize the system enough to cause a blackout that could encompass most of the U.S."

Further, since each transformer is custom made, weighs up to 500,000 pounds, costs millions to build and are hard to replace, a large scale attack could result in "prolonged outages as procurement cycles for these components range from months to years."

Is this an isolated incident and nothing to worry about?

Uh, no! Domestically, there were 274 incidents of deliberate damage in three years. And overseas, between 1996 and 2006, terrorist organizations were linked to 2,500 attacks on the power grid. 

"Utility executives and federal energy official have long worried that the electric grid is vulnerable to sabotage." 

The Former FERC Chairman said, "What keeps me awake at night is a physical attack that could take down the grid. This is a huge problem."  

Do you think the lights will be on forever or is it just a matter of time? 

On a personal level, have you given any thought to how you will feed your families, light and warm your homes, run your businesses, gas up your cars, and send and receive information?


Our Achilles' heels--is anyone even paying serious attention?

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal; this is not an endorsement of this book, but rather symbolic)
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November 5, 2013

Loneliness Is A Scream

One of the scariest things for many people is not being with other people. 

I don't mean intentionally not being with others--taking time away from the hustle and bustle for yourself--but rather being left alone. 

Think of the horrors of POWs kept in isolation, prisoners put in solitary, or just everyday kids icing out other children in school, adults marginalizing colleagues at work, and family members abandoning spouses and children at home. 


Elizabeth Bernstein makes the distinction between being alone (a potential voluntary state) and loneliness (when you feel that you are forced into an isolated state) in the Wall Street Journal today. 

It's an awesome article that explains so much about loneliness:

- We all experience loneliness from "homesickness, bullying, empty-nesting, bereavement, and unrequited love."

- Loneliness can occur when you are without anybody ("isolation") or with the wrong somebody ("dissatisfaction").

- It's a survivalist function and evolutionary to feel scared when your alone, because when you are "too close to the perimeter of the group, [then you become] at risk of becoming prey."

- Loneliness is also associated with memories or fears from childhood--when we were young and vulnerable--that someone wasn't there or going to be there to take care of us. 

- Too much loneliness is a "strong predictor of early death"--greater than alcoholism, 15 cigarettes a day, or obesity.

- Loneliness is on the rise, with "some 40% of Americans report being lonely, up from 20% in the 1980's" and this is correlated with more people living alone, now 27% in 2012 versus 17% in 1970.

- Loneliness can be placated by "reminding yourself you're not a [helpless] child anymore," building emotional health and personal self-sufficiency, doing things you enjoy when alone, and reaching out to connect with others. 

She jokes at the end of her article that when we aren't feeling lonely, we are annoyed that people just don't leave us alone.

This is a very real concern as well, especially with a multitude of family needs (significant others, young children, elderly parents), 24x7 work environments, and the reality of pervasive online communications and even invasive social media. 

Not exclusive to introverts, too much people can make us feel put upon, crowded, and even worn out--and hence many people may even run from excessive social activity and crowds.

Yet without a healthy dose of others, people can literally go crazy from the quiet, void, boredom, as well as from the real or perceived feelings that they are in some way unworthy of love or affiliation. 

So even though some people can be annoying, users, or try to take advantage of us, no man is an island, and growth, learning and personal serenity is through degrees of love and connection, for each according to their needs. ;-)

(Source Photo: here)
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August 10, 2012

Friends or Foes

People are amazing creatures--they can be sincere and trustworthy or phoney and users.  How do you tell them apart?

I learned in enterprise architecture and information architecture that information is power and currency--i.e. that those who have it rule and those who know how to get it--are the kingpins.

They may get information legitimately through research, study, reading, review, and working with others or they may cozy up to others illegitimately, to more to the point--find out "what's going on?" what have they heard. or "what's the real scoop?" 

In some cases, it is merely benign networking and that is a healthy thing--or as they say, "it's not what you know, but who you know." 

But in other cases, some people may take it too far, and literally prey on others when they are vulnerable, trusting, or simply let their guard down. 

We spend a lot of our waking hours in the office , and therefore people's social needs manifest in work friendships, confiding in others, going out for a coffee, lunch, drinks, etc. 

However, at work, people are also competitive and can be ruthless in getting what they want, making themselves look good, badmouthing others, going for that "gotcha", and even stealing other people's ideas and hard work--now where did they leave that notebook?

So when you tell an associate something--are they trustworthy with your feelings, experiences, information tidbits or will they take what you share and use it for their own ends?

There are a lot of good, decent people out there, but unfortunately, not all of people are.

Is their face for real or a poker face?  Are they playing on your side or playing you?  Will they come to your aid at the moment of truth or use the opportunity to thrust the blade through your back.  

My father used to joke about some people being two-faced, and then why would they choose that (ugly) one that they have on. :-)

I always learned talk is cheap and actions speak volumes. So when someone asks about your latest project, your kids, or ailing parents--is it from someone who genuinely gives a hoot or from someone who'd like to get you off guard, even for that split second.

In the military, this would be related to psychological operations (PsyOps)--getting into the other's person's head, figuring out what makes them tick, and then using that to extract intelligence or inflict mental and emotional "blows."

In law enforcement, perhaps the equivalent would be the old "good cop, bad cop" routine--where one person offers you some cold water or a cigarette and tells you everything will be alright, while the other person slams the table, yells, threatens, and says "your going to be going away for a long time."

There are lots of ways to get into a person's head, under their skin, and get to that valuable information--without going to the levels of physical, "torture" techniques, some of which have since been generally outlawed such as waterboarding.

So which people that you deal with are good, genuine, helpful, and have integrity, and which are selfish, nasty, and cruel?

It is definitely a challenge day-in and day-out to tell who is who--and you shouldn't let the bad apples out there, ruin your trust in all people--you just have to make sure to look beyond the veneer--to see if the other person is more friend or foe.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to BlueRidgeKitties)

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