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War Cyberspace, Cybersecurity, Cyber Warfare Protect yourself. Protect yourself.  McAfee 2017 Total Protection - 5 Devices [Online Code] $24.99$79.99  (245)  Webroot Internet Security Complete + Antivirus 2017 |… $36.00  (1060)  Norton Security Deluxe 5 Device PC/Mac $39.99$79.99  (2900)  SOFTWARE to block RANSOMWARE -- VEEDogTM… $29.95$69.95  (11) All Search Amazon  Go Ads by Amazon   How do we stop Russia’s and China’s cyber-meddling in our affairs?  Should this be considered an act of war? > Big Questions Do you have nothing to hide?  Are you sure? Should the NSA be broken up? big ideas  Are we moving towards a surveillance state? in general: anti-surveillance: Electronic Frontier Foundation | russian cyber espionage: Fancy Bear | you’ve been hacked: Peace | ransomware: KeRanger | conferences & training: blackhat | critical infrastructure: carmaggedon | cyber armies | education & awareness: esetfoundation, Natonal Cyber Security Hall of Fame | news & analysis: Schneier on Security | Amnesia Carey | Cybersecurity and Cyberwar Singer | Cyber War Clarke | Intelligence Gathering and the Unowned Internet Berkman | The Director Ignatius

What is the hardest decision you have made in your lifetime?


[ t h i n k ]

Human Rights

Political Concepts Human Rights Should the world's moral responsibility to stop human atrocities rise above national sovereignty? sp > Big Questions What is modern slavery? Where should transgender children use the bathroom? Can enhanced interrogation (torture) ever be justified? freedom: Live Free or Die in general: lessons of history: The Guardians Pedersen > Geopolitics big ideas| oppression & struggle: Human Acts Kang | United Nations: Universal Declaration of Human Rights | dictatorships: Kim Jong-un | migrant workers: Cesar Chavez | torture: Break the Chain sp | CIA: Senate Report 2014 | ethiopia: Zone 9 | Geneva Conventions | Human Rights Watch: hrw | oral histories: Voice of Witness | UN Global Compact | modern trafficking: Human Trafficking Shelley | documentary: Harvest of Shame Murrow

Should the world’s moral responsibility to stop human atrocities rise above national sovereignty?

Should the world’s moral responsibility to stop human atrocities rise above national sovereignty? > Big Questions

What is modern slavery?

Where should transgender children use the bathroom?

Can enhanced interrogation (torture) ever be justified?

in general: lessons of history: The Guardians Pedersen > Geopolitics big ideas| oppression & struggle: Human Acts Kang | United Nations: Universal Declaration of Human Rights | dictatorships: Kim Jong-un | migrant workers: Cesar Chavez | torture: Break the Chain sp | CIA: Senate Report 2014 | ethiopia: Zone 9 | Geneva Conventions | Human Rights Watch: hrw | oral histories: Voice of Witness | UN Global Compact | modern trafficking: Human Trafficking Shelley | documentary: Harvest of Shame Murrow

Refugee Crisis

Population Immigration and Refugees Walls block people, but the far more destructive edge of this sword is that walls separate people. To spend billions of dollars to try and keep out a few more people from our country, but at the cost of separating us from an entire country, is a terrible trade-off and a fool's calculus. sp Climate change is a driver of refugees and immigrants. Has America has reached a point where perpetual growth from immigration cannot realistically continue within the country’s limited space and resources?  in general: refugee boat: Law of the Journey Weiwei > Art | We will all be melting pots of each other sp | deferred action: DREAM Act | largest refugee camp: Dadaab | america: In Jackson Heights | lessons of history: Kindertransport | migration: International Organization for Migration | Rule of Law vs. Lawlessness sp | fences: Hungary | trains: The Beast |  deporting kids: East of Salinas | good samaritan: Buen Dia, Ramon | Borderland NPR | Of Mice and Men Steinbeck | Sin Nombre | The Arrival Tan | Welcome to Shelbyville Snyder |

“There’s no refugee crisis, but only human crisis… In dealing with refugees we’ve lost our very basic values.” ai weiwei

 

Aerial Images from a Hot Air Balloon

shadow

by scott pickard

The other day one of my granddaughters (age five) was visiting us and she drew me a picture of a hot air balloon which she had just learned about at her daycare school. She was fascinated by the hot air balloon and its ability to silently fly over the countryside, so I told her a story of the time I flew over the Illinois prairie in a hot air balloon but with a specific purpose in mind.

kid

At the time, I was the manager of the Research Park and Incubator (EnterpriseWorks) at the University of Illinois which when fully developed we projected would cover about 200 acres. There is no better way to show the scope and vision of a research park than with aerial photography, but the trick is how to do that on at least an annual basis (since things are always changing) and do this in a cost-effective way. The aerial photos are quite useful since they can be used on a website and in all types of printed literature, videos, and PowerPoint and Prezi presentations. (Note that I was trying to do this almost 10 years ago before we had the drone technology we have today which can carry digital and video cameras to shoot spectacular flyover images.)

I talked to a few of my pilot friends to see if they would fly me over the Park but they said there might be some difficulties with getting clearance to fly low enough and slow enough while banking to have a chance of capturing some good photography.

Hearing what those problems were, my mind immediately jumped to the idea of flying very slowly (as slow as 5 mph) in a hot air balloon, and luckily I have a good friend in town (Max) who had been flying hot air balloons for many years. So a little sheepishly not wanting to impose, I asked him if he would be up for this and he said yes!

Then I asked another good friend (Brad) who specialized in panoramic photography, if he would join us up in the balloon and take photography and he also said yes. It helps to have good friends with skills!

Max figured the best time to fly over would be around 6 PM, so we agreed to keep our calendars open in the 5 to 7 PM time window late summer. Days went by until one day Max called and said the wind direction and speed were perfect. So my wife and I met him and his wife and Brad in the parking lot of a hotel which was on the northwest side of the Park about a half a mile away.

Under Max’s guidance we were his ragtag crew. We got the balloon, lines, burner and gondola set up and within a half an hour we three amigos (Scott, Max, Brad) were in the gondola rising up into the sky and drifting on a perfect track toward the Park.

three

Brad the photographer had brought both a digital and panoramic camera. As we silently glided over the Park at 5 mph or less, Brad leaned over the gondola and I held him by his belt loops while he continuously shot photography switching back and forth between the two cameras. Because of the combination of flying very slowly on a peaceful summer evening, the images we collected were spectacular!

spectacular

We flew about a mile beyond the Park and then Max slowly descended skimming the tops of the corn (just before harvest) until we found a clear spot and touched down.

Max’s wife and my wife had been following us in the chase vehicle. They stopped on the 2-lane blacktop road not far from where we landed, jumped out and ran to our location. Brad and I got out of the gondola and the wives got in and they relaunched with Captain Max while Brad and I followed in the chase van.

chase van

They ascended and flew for about a mile and then descended and made a smooth touchdown in another cornfield farther south. Apparently the farmer and his wife who owned the property had been tracking the balloon and made a beeline to us on four-wheeled ATVs. We weren’t sure what to expect when they arrived, but they were quite friendly and glad to see a hot air balloon on such a perfect evening since it didn’t seem like people flew them much anymore.

four

To cap off a glorious experience, my wife and I were asked to kneel on the ground with our eyes closed and then to our surprise they poured a bottle of champagne on top of our heads to induct us as first-time hot air ballooners. We didn’t mind – it felt and tasted pretty good – and we continued to party back at Max’s house.

The aerial photography we collected that evening was outstanding and served the University well for many years. So in addition to accomplishing something in a very creative way, we had one of the most memorable life experiences which we will never forget. That’s what I call a good day!

I had made a little video back then of the event not realizing that years later I would be able to show it to my granddaughter and encourage her to start thinking about the day when she will get to fly high in the sky in a hot air balloon.

- sp -

Fourth Industrial Revolution

Human Society Production and Utilization of Wealth  Are we on the cusp of a Fourth Industrial Revolution?  Will it be a force for good or evil?  Will it provide new opportunities for all, or will it exacerbate inequalities? Davos ‘16 > Randomness/unintended Economic Theory and Systems Economic Theory: index of economic freedom Economic Systems Historical development of economic systems Capitalism Centrally-planned systems Appraising economic systems The Consumer and the Market Scarcity, utility, and value: behavioral economics: | Valuation Consumer behavior: Buying Decisions | inelasticity Markets: markets hate uncertainty Price system in capitalist economies Organization of Production and Distribution Organization of the production of goods Marketing and Merchandising Inputs of the productive process Institutions that facilitate business formation, production, output Money Currency & Exchange Stock exchanges: AI Banks International: Bank for International Settlements BIS economic statistics business organization stock markets: Volatility Index (VIX) fear index Agricultural economics International trade Government’s role in production & distribution: privatization Methods of business organization Advertising & Promotion Distribution of risk Consumer credit: Don’t use a credit card for a loan sp Distribution of Income and Wealth the rich get richer and the poor get poorer Matthew Effect Distribution by categories of the population: Forbes 400 | gini coefficient How government affects the distribution Capitalism Taxation Laffer Curve postulates that no tax revenue will be raised at the extreme tax rates of 0% and 100% and that there must be at least one rate where tax revenue would be a non-zero maximum. Poverty Macroeconomics National income and employment theory misery index unemployment: U3 and U6 Intl. equilibrium and disequilibrium Business cycles Inflation and deflation key indicators: monetary velocity Economic Growth and Planning Nature and causes of economic growth Planning for economic growth and stability Government Finance Growth  books, forums, journals: innovation: The Fourth Industrial Revolution Schwab | behavioral: Misbehaving Thaler | Capital in the Twenty-First Century Piketty big ideas | Stealth of Nations by Neuwirth | The Mystery of Capital De Soto | The Wealth of Nations Smith | Wall Street Journal | World Economic Forum Davos

Davos 2016: Fourth Industrial Revolution

 

Adversity Drives Innovation

by scott pickard

Businesses face adversity from time to time which directly impacts profitability, such as:

  • From man-made environmental and safety situations that precipitate regulations requiring costly compliance measures; e.g., the fuel efficiency and general safety regulations imposed on the automobile industry
  • The water and wastewater treatment regulations imposed on manufacturers by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Acts of God and natural global conditions such as drought which is currently affecting much of the agricultural land in production across the world

Each era in our history has had its challenges. The automobile industry has been able to respond to the adversity imposed by fuel standard regulations and over time, improve the quality of the cars and their competitive advantage. Manufacturers have been able to respond to the adversity imposed by water and air-quality regulations from EPA to build new corporate cultures that embrace green and sustainable practices requiring innovation along the way while building goodwill, brand, and competitiveness in the market.

Today, drought is one of the most serious and pervasive adverse challenges facing farming and farm communities worldwide. Instead of waiting for it to finally rain, the farm industry must pursue innovation in several key areas:

  • Storage of water
  • Recycling of wastewater back to subsurface ground and storage
  • Efficient use of water to grow next-generation crops requiring less water

Research is ongoing in all of these areas and when successfully applied, innovation will sprout wherever drought is an issue.

History teaches us that adversity at first may seem like a direct attack to profitability and the sustainability of our businesses, and this typically instigates a stubborn defensive reaction in the beginning. But history also shows us that when companies face adversity head on, people rise to the occasion and solve some very difficult problems and those solutions benefit everyone.

- sp -