PIECES OF EIGHT less two

January 30, 2018

This is “The Year”

Why this title? This year I am determined to get some change so I can get blogs out faster.  This post has eight topics. Clever eh? This one is way behind due to my excursion into a hospital and rehab facility and hospital again. I hope we are done with that!

I am looking for a photo, graphic that helps tell the story about Lodestarandyou. I am not sure the graphic that I am currently using works with this subject matter.

Maybe I could use a Toddler Robot to help me get organized!

EGADS! Robo toddlers! Not only are robots still being ”taught” in new ways (think AlphaGo which taught itself how to play the human game ‘GO’. It taught itself so well it beat the computer that beat the best human to play the game!).

Now, engineers are ‘planning’ the flexible skills in the complex real-world situations’. In human speak that means they are training robots to think ‘new’ again. New ways of looking at things, very much like a toddler.

Toddler Robots. Learning how to think 'new' again.
Toddler robots! Learn how engineers train artificial intelligence devices – robots – to look at things ‘new’ again.

In practice ‘thinking like a toddler’ would enable your new self-driving car, say a Tesla 3 running down the road. Not only is it looking for your destination, it will also be looking around so it can anticipate events.

Fourth Industrial Revolution

I write posts to my blog regarding topics related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

How are your studies doing? Picked the field(s) of study? Signed up for the classes? On-line I assume?

This is going to be ‘ “The Year”. For years engineers and researchers have been gathering data, testing ways to enter the fastest with no errors. They have I been writing the algorithms and re-testing them so that no prejudices from the authors exist.

This is going to be the breakout year when so many products, disciplines, and new pathways open up, come together, spin around and open up even more new paths.

I recently spoke with a former coworker and he was relaying all of the improvements in the oil and gas industry. I chimed in that it was just in oil and gas. Manufacturers are putting sensors into a multitude of products going ‘out into the field’. These sensors keep the people using them informed as to its status. When was the last major repair? When is the next preventative maintenance check due?

Isn’t that magic to a paper pusher’s ears. The machines will track the metrics. Soon, in reality, the machines will know more than their handlers. They will be smarter about filing reports too!

Researchers at the University of a Queensland in Australia say the world has to produce up to 80% more food by 2050 to feed the world’s 9 billion people. They are developing ways to get that much food grown especially in a diminishing amount of space. All of this: the jobs lost, the new jobs created and trained for, the new jobs that are going to be available are going to be a major upheaval that the world has never seen before.

Flu Season

This flu season is going on 10 weeks. The CDC is expecting another 10 weeks. A Stay of December 30th 46 states has serious flu cases. The week before it was 36. Last year just 12 states reported widespread flu activity.

As of the end of January, 7.1% of hospital outpatient visits were related to flu symptoms. Even more alarming is the rate of hospitalizations. From October 1st to December 31st the rate of hospitalizations was 14 per 100.000 hospital visits. For Senior citizens that rate soared to 57 per 100,000! Last year the rate of flu hospitalizations was just 5 per 100,000.

The question then arises: why is the flu so bad this year?

The flu is notorious as to its timing, locality, severity, and longevity.  All of these factors vary from year to year.

This year the strain of flu going around is strain H3N2. This is a particularly virulent strain and harder to create a vaccine for. Additionally, an issue developed in the creation of the vaccine. An abnormal mutation occurred which rendered the vaccine less effective against the virus. This aberration seemed to be 30% in the early phases of the season.

Now it is projected that the effective rate is a low as 10%! I think all bets are off as to the end of the season, the total number of people afflicted. It will be considered a “Notable” season.

Doctors advise that even if your vaccination does not reflect the most prevalent strain completely ( other strains currently circulating such as another type A and a Type B) is that your body benefits from any vaccines since it still helps you ward off the most severe symptoms and recover faster.

The good news is? Sorry  I am not aware of any specifics regarding this season. The effectiveness rate over the period 2004 to 2015 has been 33 percent for the H3N2  virus. With 61% effectiveness for the H1N1 and 54% against influenza B viruses.

Hang on almost 10 weeks to go.

 

flu virus Google Images
Depiction of flu virus

A Heart Risk Factor Doctors Didn’t know about

THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT!!

Have you watched the TV show “The Biggest Loser”? Remember Bob Harper? He of the ripped muscles, the chiseled physique with every muscle in the right place?  He could run faster and longer all the while talking and then turn around and run backwards without getting tangled in his shoelaces!

He had a heart attack! Last February he had a MASSIVE heart attack at a New York gym.  He was saved by a bystander that performed CPR. The paramedics got him to a hospital but he was in a coma for two days!his annual checkups indicated he was in excellent health. So what happened?

One little fatty particle in his blood called lp(a). During blood tests, we are tested for lipoproteins HDL and LDL cholesterol. Very few people are tested for lp(a). At high levels, it will triple the chances for a stroke at an early age.

Most people do not have to worry. Levels are strongly determined by genetics and the majority of people produce very little lp(a). This may be why so few people are tested for it during a routine procedure. BUT if you have parents, especially fathers die young even though they appeared in good health must be made aware of what they also may be facing.

I worked with a man whose father died young. Indeed this man barely reached age 50 when he passed on.  We must work so these tragedies will be avoided. If not we are derelict in our duties.

2 in 5 Americans carry levels that are periodically high. What’s more diet and exercise have ALMOST NO effect on l(p(a). What’s more, cholesterol-lowering drugs ONLY MODERATELY lowering it.

Columbia University expert on lp(a) says that somewhere between 15 and 20% of the population would clearly benefit of the population outdated clearly benefit from knowing that this is their problem!

Discovered

Lp(a) was discovered in 1963 by a Norwegian scientist Kare Berg. He noted that it was especially common in people with coronary artery disease. What lp(a) does on a regular basis is not known.

The downside of excessive lp(a) is clear: It accelerates the formation of plaque in the arteries and it promotes blood clots.

Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones is a cardiologist at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He helped write the American Heart Association’s Guidelines on cholesterol says that it is a “double-whammy. Biologically it, lp(a), gets into artery wall and causes the coming damage to be accomplished more easily .”

Studies show the levels between 150 and 300 as being at high risk. So, if your levels are above 30 you need to be alert. If they are above 60? Get your butt in gear.

Many people at high risk appear similar to Bob Harper. They appear fit, health conscious, and dietary conscious. Obviously wider testing needs to be done because there are too few signs and once symptoms of heart failure are noticed it is often too late for a good outcome.

Another stress factor caused by this lipoprotein, lp(a) is the lack of effective pharmaceutical drugs. There are two drugs currently in use, niacin which is a B vitamin but is known to have some unpleasant side effects. The other is PCKSK9 inhibitors which have had modest results in lowering lp(a) levels. Additionally, if PSCH9 is used off-label it is not covered by insurance. Costs can range up to $14,000 per year.

Ionic Pharmaceutical is one company working on a new drug but it is many years before it is commercially available.

Good Works

Mr. Harper now has a new mission: raise awareness of heart disease and urge people to get tested for lp(a).

If you have a father or other family member that died young of apparent heart disease especially if there were no “markers” for heart disease it is necessary for you to manage your physical health and get tested.

Bob Harper has written of his approach to his new life in “The Super Carb Diet.”

Veteran’s Healthcare

A parasite is killing America’s Veterans, 40 years after the War in Vietnam ended. Hundreds of Vietnam War veteran’s who’ve died, or are dying, of bile duct cancer which is called cholangiocarcinoma.

This cancer is rare in the United States and is caused by parasitic worms, called liver flukes, that are found in fish in the waters of Vietnam and other Southeast Asia countries.

Humans who eat raw or undercooked fish can ingest the parasite larvae, which mature in the bile ducts. These ducts or slender tubes carry digestive fluid bile and the larvae produce carcinogenic irritation.

Thousands of Americans who served in Vietnam can be at risk for this cancer.

The disease can take decades to manifest and once the cancer is discovered the overall duration of survival is less than six months.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is making it difficult for diagnosed veterans with this disease to get their benefit claims approved. Indeed most claims have been denied by the agency and this includes survivor benefit claims for the spouses.

The Associated Press reported last year that about 700 veterans with bile duct cancer have been seen by the VA in the past 15 years. Of the claims that were submitted, most were not approved because the correlation to service in Vietnam had not been established. Only 20% of claims have been approved!

The reason the VA has not been approving claims? According to their science, the lifespan of liver flukes is a maximum of twenty years. The Vietnam War ended more than forty years ago.

Dr. Paul Brindley, a professor of microbiology, immunology and tropical medicine at George Washington University, said that is beside the point. “The science suggests exposure for even some of those 20 years may have been sufficient for cancer to originate and then be dormant there for a number of decades.”

As with Agent Orange, this disease and the necessary claims approved are being thwarted by the VA. Again and again, veterans who’ve filed claims related to exposure to Agent Orange are STILL BEING DENIED.

The Caregiver Support Line is 1-855-260-3274

The Game Changer

Dr. Joshua Baker, a physician, and researcher at Duke University School of Medicine discovered an unconventional way to provide 3D scanners for $10.

He upgraded 2D ultrasound scanners with a $10 chip used in video games! He used the inexpensive chip, which normally tracks the movements of wireless controllers to give 2s scanners the ability of 3D scanners. Otherwise, a 3D scanner is about $1,000 per scan or $2,000 per MRI.

He was playing Nintendo with his son and wondered if the ultrasound probes he uses to work similarly to the digital tennis balls he was whacking around with his son.

He took the question to Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering and together they were able to produce a rounded 3D image. This game-changing discovery will help people not only in the United States that may not be able to afford a scan or MRI and especially in developing countries.

Thanks for stopping by.

Craig

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Massive Update!

date January 19, 2018

Just published that affects every UNITED STATES MILITARY VETERAN and all Veterans Adminisration Employees:

Senate Committee and Director Shulkin

VA Administration head John Shulkin was called out by the Senate’s Veteran’s Affairs Commitee. The following information was published in ‘Task and Purpose’. The author was Nikki Wentling Stars and Stripes January 18, 2018.

Top VEterans Adminstration  Positions Not Filled

On Wednesday January 18, 2018. John Shulkin was asked why four top positions had not yet been filled. It has been almost a year since Trump took the oath of office.

VA is the Second Largest Federal Agency

To me that is cause for alarm! The VA is the second largest federal agency! Working shorthanded would seem to be a path to trouble, especially considering the positions that haven’t been filled: Benefits Administration, Health Care System, IT, the new assistant secretary for accountability and whistleblower protection office.

Now, that number smells fishy and secondly, not intelligent management of the healthcare system.

What we know: Trump’s cabinet officers have not filled large numbers of vacancies such as the State Departments 113 positions.

Trump when asked a similar question in his usual asinine mentality he told New York Magazine on November 3, 2017 ‘I am the only one that matters”.

Other Federal Departments Budgets, Personal

We also know that the State Deptment is being cut by one-third and thousands of jobs cut. That may be a smart move. However, how much can we trust an administration who lied through their collective teeth on the tax cut bill? Whose staff have again been caught changing numbers on reports to make it appear that foreign terroists had committed terroris activities when it has been established that the majority of such activities have been committed by home grown terrorists. Why? To buttress their attempt to not allow Islamic immigrants in this country.

So what is at stake here. The second largest agency is short four top administrative positions. John Shulkin came from the healthcare section. He was appointed by President Obama. The VA Healthcare system: is the country’s largest; has 160 medical centers; 900 outpatient clinics; and serves 9 MILLION Veterans. Mr Sulkin came from this job and calls it “one of the hardest jobs in this country”.

Expectations and Encouagement

My hope is that Mr Shulkin finds a qualified replacement for the healthcare system very quickly before bedlam, chaos, and shenanigans  kill all the good that he brought to this organization.

Craig

I am sorry for the great length of time between posts. I am writing this while recovering from a six day stay in the hospital and I am now recovering in a rehab facility.

Soon I will be back in control.

“Keep the tiny humans alive”

“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to overthrow it.”

Abraham Lincoln

US flag, ruffled by the wind, with the iconic motto "Proud to be an American'
United States Flag, ruffled by the wind, Proud to be An American

 

 

 

‘BLOOD MONEY’ “keep the tiny humans alive”

Why the image of festive holiday lights when we are talking about BLOOD MONEY and BLOOD DIAMONDS?

First, to brag about Duluth MN and Lake Superior

Second, a special sneak preview of “THE VIETNAM WAR” The epics PBS Documentary Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick premiered on Sunday, September 10th at the Duluth Depot prior to its Nationwide Debut on September 17, 2017.

Dated: December 15, 2017

Subtitle: Keep the Tiny Humans Alive

theme for today we allowing the one percent to keep their Blood Money via Google Images
The theme for Today! Why are we paying BLOOD MONEY instead of Saving Them!

First, I apologize slightly for featuring a view of this year’s Bentleyville, Duluth MN 55810. How often have we seen a full moon as a backdrop? Fabulous! I don’t know who took this shot but it was posted on Facebook by Duke Skorich.

Second, the graphic for this post is shown above. The poignant statement is “KEEP THE TINY HUMANS ALIVE”. I first saw a graphic today on my desktop. I use a slideshow of Unsplash! images as wallpaper to have something of interest around my desk instead of just all of the clutter (No I won’t show a pix of my desk!). This is not the exact image that I saw, but I will keep looking for it since it so much more poignant than this graphic.

Third, again I apologize. I looked at each of my blogs and I could not find one this hypotheses fit into. Certainly not the one ‘liarliar.fieldnotesfromanoldman.com’. I reserve that one for heated jabs at the administration that is in power on this date.

So we begin.

Frustration

Yesterday on Facebook a buddy asked a very vexing question:

“Rather than enact rational gun control legislation we are willing to accept the necessity for ‘Active Shooter” drills in our elementary, middle and high schools. If you don’t think we are in a free-fall as a democracy, this might (should) convince your mind.”

I continued to read some of the responses to his post. Then WHAM it hit me! I know why sensible gun legislation never gets enacted or even proposed in congress in any real way. I believe that my hypothesis is applicable to this and many other actions that the general public wants to happen but are rebuffed at the foot of the steps leading to congress.  I posted my twenty points. I just now realized that I did not receive one comment on them. I guess people just ignore my posts because they usually attack a person so people are real fans of his and ignore me or they are numb to my crazy essays and just flip right past them.

Hypothesis

I postulate:

When we react as we normally do on Facebook: First, after the original post, several more people speak out on the egregiousness of Congress for not even attempting to solving this seemingly intractable but yet, on the other hand, seemingly easy problem to solve. Second: we repeat the above.

WE ARE MISSING THE POINT-JUST AS I HAVE ALWAYS DONE!

This was my AHA! moment. Crystal Clear problem, Crystal Clear solution.

When we respond this way we are doing exactly what and in the exact manner the 1% wants us to – we are cowering sheep! By cowering before them we agree that we, as a people, have no power to change what they have deemed as right and proper and just.

Assignment of Guilt

I have assigned the guilt for these bloody actions to the 1%. They are the ones that control the wealth of the United States (and a very large portion of the world’s wealth also). They are the ones that invest in the businesses of gun manufacturers, bullet manufacturers and other businesses that benefit from these bloody actions, such a hospitals, insurance companies and so on.

Framework of the Argument

BLOOD MONEY AND BLOOD DIAMONDS

1.) We agree that we give up our rights in exchange for what is right – FOR THEM. We accept that we are fearful and accept their “BLOOD MONEY” to keep still.

2.) We accept that they have a right to their BLOOD MONEY.

FOLKS LET’S CALL THIS WHAT IT IS (Is this money any different than the “BLOOD DIAMONDS IN AFRICA”?). After all, is this not what our children are to us “BLOOD DIAMONDS”?

3. By acquiescing to them and their surrogates (our congresspeople) they run the United States and we give up our right to call them out.

4. Therefore, as long as THEY AND THEIR SURROGATES KEEP STILL, as long as they continue to MAKE EXCUSES and then, AS ALWAYS PUT THIS TOPIC ON THE BACK BURNER,  they are safe from us. With our conscience now clear we blithely go about our normal business.

5.) Yes, we go on grumbling and mumbling and incoherently cry for our ‘BLOOD DIAMONDS’ as they die before our eyes. We have done our duty. We have called desperately to our congresspeople. We can now move on.

6.) Do we want this constant drumbeat of crying parents and crying spouses to continue? Crying incessantly, crying over spilled blood only to repeat this same drama again in two or three months?

7.) If we really wanted we could change this situation. I didn’t hear you!! If we really wanted we could change this situation right?

8.) If we set our national psyche we could solve this problem. HOW?

9.) We know that by doing the same thing again and again, protesting to our congresspeople, that we will receive the same response again and again.

10.) HAS THAT WORKED? NO! Why not? Because we are not causing discomfort to the top dogs! THEY CONTROL THE CONGRESS – REMEMBER THAT! Our congresspeople, as officious as they are, are not as powerful as they want us to believe!  These people are not the top dogs!   The 1% ARE THE TOP DOGS! BUT THEY DO NOT DO A DAMN THING!  NOW!! Now, do you understand?

11.) In order to make a change, real change we have to do what we have done before-BRING DISCOMFORT TO THE 1% THAT RULE THIS COUNTRY! HOW DO WE DO THAT? WE HAVE TO GO TO WHERE THE MONEY IS!!! I get posts from a gentleman, I have never met him or talked to him in any way except on Facebook. But HE KNOWS! He has never been wrong. His MANTRA? FOLLOW THE MONEY. FOLLOW THE MONEY!!

Think back. Think back to the 1970s. What do you remember?? Say it out loud! VIETNAM!! I didn’t hear YOU!  Say it louder V I E T N A M!! That war was another huge hemorrhaging of innocent blood.

Remember the movie ‘Gone with the Wind’? Rhett Butler made everything absolutely crystal clear with this line:

“I told you once before that there were two times for making big money, one in the building up of a country and the other in its destruction. Slow money on the upbuilding, fast money in the crackup. Remember my words. Perhaps they may be of use to you someday. “(Rhett Butler)”-Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind.

He even told us to remember his words. That “they may be of use to us someday”!

12.) THERE IS MONEY TO BE MADE IN WAR! BIG MONEY!!

13.) We face the same situation now as we did back then. Blood was being spilled and for a time no one except a few protesters really seemed to care. No one seemed to pay attention. How long? When?

Who did we protest against? Our congresspeople – who didn’t make changes, Why – because they had no power. Against our institutions – remember KENT STATE?

KENT STATE SHOOTINGS MAY 4, 1970 WIKIPEDIA 2
KENT STATE SHOOTINGS, May 4, 1970

14.) A protest by a small group of students protesting Nixon’s advance into Cambodia was met by 29 Guardsmen. 67 bullets were fired, 4 people were killed, 9 injured (one permanently paralyzed). Some of these people were not even involved in the protest they had merely been walking nearby or watching the protest from a distance.

9.) WE CAN CALL THEM OUT! WE HAVE DONE IT BEFORE! WE CAUSED THEM TO CONSIDER THE BLOODSHED! WE CALLED THEM TO STOP AND WE CAN DO IT AGAIN!

march on the pentagon by Bernie Boston for Washington Star
March on the Pentagon October 21st, 1967 by Bernie Boston for Washington Star

The young man putting flowers in the barrels of loaded guns! Crazy move! Lots of Courage! The scene below was also taken at The Kent State Massacre.

Pictures tell 1,000 words and so also can music. The image played over and over for the next years. Marc Riboud took this picture with Jan Rose Kasmir. FLOWER POWER HAS EMERGED!

girl with the flower flower power has emerged Google Images Marc Riboud
FLOWER POWER has emerged!

The March on the Pentagon on October 21, 1967, engaged 2,500 soldiers against 100,000 protesters!

15.) So what the hell, why a Song? A picture? We were protesting against our congresspeople? How did that work out? They didn’t have the power to do anything! ONLY THE 1% CAN!

16.) What happened that day was the turning point in the war some say. The 1% saw that they would not have a Nation if they didn’t retreat. Slowly, oh so slowly. But this day made them fill the discomfort of what they were doing. Doing? Making money on both sides of the war!

17.) Songs didn’t stop the war. The protests didn’t stop the war, even as they got more violent. Songs were a rallying battle cry. They created a bond among the protesters. The protesters were from so many different backgrounds and needed something to bind them. It ‘energizes the base’ as an outlandish political figure calls it in these days.

18.) Even today the songs stir something in my being: Bob Dylan “Blowin the the Wind” 1962 (now it is listed as number fourteen song in the list of the top 500 songs of all time); Phil Ochs “What are you fightin for”; Barry McGuire  “Eve of Destruction” recorded in one take (many radio stations refused to play it “you’re old enough to kill, but not for votin”; Tom Paxton “Lyndon told the Nation”; Pete Seeger,  Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Country Joe & the Fish “Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die’ was a signature moment at Woodstock.

Bob Seeger, Creedence Clearwater Revival (John Fogarty wrote this song in response to the wedding of David Eisenhower and Julie Nixon) ‘Fortunate Son’. The depiction of those born with a silver spoon in their mouth and those without.

John Lennon. He recorded a song while he and Yoko Ono were holding a “bed-in” in Montreal. Five months later half a million people were singing ‘Give Peace A Chance” at a protest rally.

Jimmy Cliff “Vietnam” heralded by Bob Dylan as the greatest protest song ever.

Marvin Gaye, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young “Ohio”, Edwin Starr ‘War’, George Harrison, Steppenwolf, The Doors.

Songs gave the protesters (and the rest of us) the words to hurl at the organizers of the war, the 1%. It helped us all be melded in mind and spirit so that at last we were One Voice.

The 1% were still invincible. Since they were both the architects of the war and the beneficiaries of the wealth of the war they were able to ignore the will of the people for a very long time. That is a testament to their power.

19.) So how to reach these builders of riches at the expense of people? Reach out and touch them! Show them something to discomfit them and they will start to respond.

Reach out to them where they will feel it! A facebook buddy has had the correct answer from the outset: FOLLOW THE MONEY!  FOLLOW THE MONEY!!!

20.) PROTESTERS – Where do you DISCOMFIT the 1%? Where do you hit them where the source of the BLOOD MONEY will feel discomfort?

PROTEST THE BLOOD MONEY’S DEEP POCKETS AND ENABLERS: Banks where they invest; Insurance Companie where the invest; Newspaper Syndicates; Television Networks; Stocks where they make their money. There is major activity RIGHT NOW in Syndicates and Networks. ACT NOW!

REMEMBER OUR CHILDREN ARE THE ‘BLOOD DIAMONDS’ of this battle. To make the 1% ‘interested’ shall we say, in stopping the killing requires that you make them discomfited.

Stop the “BLOOD MONEY”!  Those that are being slaughtered: children or as at KENT STATE,  anyone walking around outdoors. They are all potential victims.

They could all become “BLOOD DIAMONDS”.

FOOTNOTE

January 20, 1965, Lyndon B. Johnson takes the oath of office and became President of the  United States of America. He declares, “We can never again stand aside, prideful in isolation. Terrific dangers and troubles that we once called ‘foreign’ now constantly live among us…”

Anti-war marches and other protests, such as the ones organized by Students for Democratic Society (SDS), attracted a widening base of support over the next three years. The SDS peaked in early 1968 after the successful Tet Offensive by North Vietnamese troops. The offensive proved that war’s end was nowhere in sight. The people of the United States now understood that our leaders were lying. There was no end in sight for that misbegotten war.

Opposition to the United States involvement in the Vietnam War began with demonstrations in 1964 as the escalating role of the US military in Vietnam and grew into a broad social movement in the ensuing years.

In 1964 there were 23,300 American advisors in Vietnam. By 1968 there were 563,100 troops. By 1973 there were 50.

Troops on college campuses? Fear struck at the hearts of many.
Soldiers on College Campus! Free Speech? Freedom of Expression? Those were hard to earn in the Vietnam Era. Some people had the courage to change the status quo.

PBS hosted the preview of the PBS Documentary “The Vietnam War” by Ken Burn and Lynn Novick. It debuted on WDSE-WIRT TV on September 10th, 2017. It debuted nationwide on PBS stations on September 17th. This has grown into a statewide Minnesota Television Association and community organizations organized to tell the story of veterans and other impacted by the Vietnam War.

bentleyville 2017 Duluth MN Lake Superior
Bentleyville 2017, Duluth MN Lake Superior