Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Trust but verify?

Доверяй, но проверяй.  Trust but verify.  Ronald Reagan applied this to the Soviet Union.  We currently do the opposite with our wounded warriors, verify and then trust.  This results in a backlog, mountains of paperwork, navigating the bureaucracy, old computer systems, silos, and endless delays that wear down our soldiers more so than running with 100 pounds of gear up a hill, in nasty weather, while under attack.  What if we follow Ronald Reagan's lead for our own people who sacrificed for our nation?  Let's approve all of their applications for health benefits and then audit later.  Treat human beings as human beings.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

TED Talks Summary - "How To Make Stress Your Friend"

Kelly McGoncial

  1. Research Study 
    1. showed that those who believed stress was harmful were 43% more likely to die.
    2. Those with the lowest risk, were not the ones who didn't experience stress, but those who didn't believe stress was harmful.
  2. Change mind -> changes body's response
  3. Stress as harmful mindset
    1. Interpret sweat & heart rate increase as harmful 
      1. causes blood vessels to constrict.
        1. causes high blood pressure
          1. causes heart disease
  4. If view stress as body preparing you to help rise to the challenge
    1. blood vessels stayed relaxed
  5. Oxytocin
    1. released in hugs -> stress resilience -> human connection
    2. neurohormone -> strengthens empathy, physical contact
    3. stress response -> nudging you to tell how you feel to others who care about you.
    4. anti-inflamatory
      1. helps heart cells regenerate, strengthens your heart
    5. Enhanced under social support
  6. Social
    1. People who cared for others created resilience
    2. You can trust yourself to handle life's challenges and you don't have to face them alone.

Monday, January 27, 2014

TED talks summary - "The Power of Vulnerability"



  1. Conventional research wisdom
    1. “If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist”
    2. “Lean into the discomfort”
  2. Connection = purpose & meaning
    1. people tend to focus on negative experiences
  3. Shame & fear => fear of disconnection
    1. I’m not smart/beautiful/etc. enough
  4. Excruciating vulnerability - 2 groupings
    1. Those with sense of worthiness, love & belonging, believe they are worthy
    2. Those who struggle with worthiness
      1. fear that we are not worthy of connection
  5. Wholehearted living
    1. from deep sense of worthiness
    2. Courage (from Latin cour=heart), tell who you are with whole heart, accept imperfect
    3. Compassion, first kind to themselves, then kind to others
    4. Connection => let go of who you should be
    5. Embraced Vulnerability
      1. Believed what made them vulnerable, made them beautiful
      2. Willingness to do something without guarantees
  6. Vulnerability
    1. birthplace of joy, creativity, and love
    2. we numb vulnerability to immunize against rejection, being turned down, getting layed off, etc.
    3. To avoid becoming vulnerable,
      1. we seek comfort
        1. in debt
        2. obesse
        3. addicted
        4. medicated
      2. We blame (a way to discharge pain & discomfort)
      3. We make uncertain into certain, because of fear, which leads to polarization
      4. We perfect
        1. Demand perfection from children, who are imperfect but wired for struggle. We take away their struggle.
      5. We pretend
    4. If we numb emotions like hard feelings, then we also numb other feelings like joy & happiness
  7. Way out
    1. Kinder and gentler to ourselves
    2. Kinder to others
    3. Practice gratitude and joy rather than catastrophizing
    4. Let ourselves be seen
      1. “I am enough”
    5. Love with our whole hearts.



She also has books on Amazon, such as:

Friday, December 6, 2013

Nelson Mandela 1918-2013 Rest in Peace

The most shinning example in action of Abraham Lincoln's words, "With malice towards none and charity for all."  We will never be graced again with the likes of Nelson Mandela, but the world is sorely in need of future leaders to be inspired by his life of courage to stand up to injustice and his mission to accomplish the true meaning of democracy for all.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Letter to my congressman


Mr. Williams,

Nothing is worth endangering the full faith and credit of the United States of America, raising interest rates, and risking economic collapse of a fragile recovery.  Have you thought this through?  What will happen to the nation's debt if we have to pay higher interest rates?

Republicans have said anyone who votes for re-opening the government and raising the debt ceiling would be "primaried."  Obviously they are more concerned with their own jobs than the countless millions of jobs that would be lost if we fail to raise the debt ceiling.  Please for God's sake, talk to conservative economists and see what the impact will be for failing to raise the debt ceiling.  Playing brinksmanship is one thing.  Going nuclear is something else.

Do you believe you are saving the country from Obamacare by ruining our nation with this fruitless hatred?  Otherwise you will have accomplished what the Soviet Union could never do, bring our country to its knees.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Transition from Academia/Military World to the Business World



Moving from the academic or military world to the American business world seems a daunting job at first.  Imagine the reverse of taking an executive from Wall Street and putting them in battle gear for a day with a platton.  It will soon be apparent to even the freshest private that they would stand out, and not in a good way.  The key is to leverage the strengths you have developed in one world to conquer the other world.

1) Research.  Whether you have studied enemy terror networks or agrarian reform in 19th century Russia, you have gained valuable skills that if re-applied to business topics will actually give you an edge.  You have gathered and weighed evidence, read primary and secondary sources, and chosen the right keywords for searches.  You have taken one aspect and applied laser focus to find out all you can about a narrow topic.  Please, please, please, find out as much as you can before the interview about the company, their competitors, what, as Warren Buffet says, is their defensible moat in the business world.  Visit the company's web site, view their about us page.  If they have a free trial, do it.

2) Learn the language.  Like going to a foreign country, you don't need to become fluent right away, but you need just enough to get by.  Acronyms are tossed around as if everyone knows what they are.  Find out as much as you can beforehand.  In the interview, don't be afraid to ask if a term can not be accurately inferred from context.  Use humor to deflect attention to deficient fluency, such as comparing acronyms from your previous world.

3) Translate your experience for them.  Find out what are their pain points.  You are NOT trying to get a job.  You are trying to find out their problems and then presenting your skills & experience as the right solution to their problems.  Sometimes you don't even realize you have honed skills, like improvisation.  Whether defending a thesis or improvising when things don't go according to plan, like losing a helicopter in a raid, adapting and working in teams is a crucial skill in business.

4) Read in your new field.  If you are seeking a new career, find out the thought leaders in that field.  Now a days you can follow them on Twitter and find out whom they are following and follow them as well.  In his day, Walt Disney read three books at the Kansas City library on animation before he made his first film.  It doesn't hurt to try contacting leaders for advice.  Imagine the reverse of someone contacting you for recommendations on your most influential books or articles in your field.  What would you do?

I wish you success in this transition to a new world and hope that with hard work one day you will stick out, in a good way.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Kindle vs Sony Reader


Feature Amazon Kindle Keyboard Sony Reader Notes
Power AC adapter or USB USB only Have to buy separate charger since wouldn't want to take a computer on vacation
Preview First chapter No Amazon store with extensive ratings and community and preview is hands down winner
Notes Cumbersome underlining, no drawing Click two buttons to pull up drawing tools This is the killer app reason I bought the Sony Reader since I am an active reader and the Kindle slowed things down
Up and Running A breeze if you already have an Amazon account Obstacles: required contacting support, creating two logins, downloading software to PC