The Total CIO - Andy Blumenthal

Jul 22

Time To Get Up

This person is sitting on a stool and waiting for the Metro.
The quiet and complacency of this person just sitting there was a stark contrast to the big train coming down the tracks.
I wondered if this is not a sign of our times where the world is moving large and fast in turmoil:
- With big airliners with hundreds of passengers being shot of the sky
- Thouands of rockets and dozens of murder tunnels aimed at cities full of civilians by terrorists hiding in hospitals, mosques, and playgrounds, 
- Six year old girls raped by their roller-skating instructors
- Women being stoned to death for alleged adultery. 
…but where we are sitting here quietly and contemplatively as the big train rolls over any vistages of moral decency left in humankind.
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Time To Get Up

This person is sitting on a stool and waiting for the Metro.


The quiet and complacency of this person just sitting there was a stark contrast to the big train coming down the tracks.


I wondered if this is not a sign of our times where the world is moving large and fast in turmoil:


- With big airliners with hundreds of passengers being shot of the sky

- Thouands of rockets and dozens of murder tunnels aimed at cities full of civilians by terrorists hiding in hospitals, mosques, and playgrounds

Six year old girls raped by their roller-skating instructors

Women being stoned to death for alleged adultery. 


…but where we are sitting here quietly and contemplatively as the big train rolls over any vistages of moral decency left in humankind.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Jul 21

Shout It From The Rooftops

Awesome picture of the sacred Jewish prayer:
"Hear, O’ Israel, The L-rd is our G-d, The L-rd is One."
In lights on Tel Aviv Mall in Israel. 
(One more from my Cousin Betty—thank you!)

Shout It From The Rooftops

Awesome picture of the sacred Jewish prayer:


"Hear, O’ Israel, The L-rd is our G-d, The L-rd is One."


In lights on Tel Aviv Mall in Israel. 


(One more from my Cousin Betty—thank you!)

Jul 20

G-d Changes Path Of Rockets

From the Jewish Telegraph.
I have to say this one terrorist was pretty smart. 
Despite his blind hatred of Jews and desire to obliterate Israel, at least he knows why the Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets are not hitting their targets.
"Their G-d changes the path of our rockets in mid-air."
Yes, technology may help intercept missiles heading for the populated cities.
But the chief engineer is none other than G-d almighty, the ultimate protector of the Children of Israel. 
Next up after Iron Dome is Iron Beam (by the same G-d inventor).
(Thank you Betty Monoker for sharing this with me.)

G-d Changes Path Of Rockets

From the Jewish Telegraph.


I have to say this one terrorist was pretty smart. 


Despite his blind hatred of Jews and desire to obliterate Israel, at least he knows why the Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets are not hitting their targets.


"Their G-d changes the path of our rockets in mid-air."


Yes, technology may help intercept missiles heading for the populated cities.


But the chief engineer is none other than G-d almighty, the ultimate protector of the Children of Israel. 


Next up after Iron Dome is Iron Beam (by the same G-d inventor).


(Thank you Betty Monoker for sharing this with me.)

Better Early Than Never

So I learned a new word/concept today…PREcrastination (New York Times)
It’s when you do things early!
The better known opposite word is PROcrastintion.


That’s when you put things off or delay…often until the very last minute.
We know why people procrastinate—they don’t want or like to do something, have more important things to do, may be overwhelmed with too many taskers, or perhaps they are just plain lazy. 
But why do people precrastinate?
Well, it’s sort of the inverse of the above—they may like doing it, it may be a priority, or they just may want to get “ahead of the curve” on all the things they have on their to-dos, or they may be a Type A personality and don’t rest until they’ve “got a handle on things.”
Getting things done at the last minute (procrastination), can push off stress until later—perhaps a better time to deal with it, but getting it done early (precrastination), can help eliminate stress by just getting it over with. 
Some of us who get things done right away, may be doing extra work, because at times, the necessity of the moment is “overcome by events” (OBE) later on or we may start something before we even have all the directions or information and do it wrong altogether. 
While others who dilly-dally, may find that they waited too long to get the job done or have other things going on later that precludes them from meeting the timeline—as they say, “if you fail to plan, plan to fail!”
Is there a right or wrong in terms of Pre/Procrastination?
I want to tell you now, but I think I’ll wait until later. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Better Early Than Never

So I learned a new word/concept today…PREcrastination (New York Times)


It’s when you do things early!


The better known opposite word is PROcrastintion.

That’s when you put things off or delay…often until the very last minute.


We know why people procrastinate—they don’t want or like to do something, have more important things to do, may be overwhelmed with too many taskers, or perhaps they are just plain lazy. 


But why do people precrastinate?


Well, it’s sort of the inverse of the above—they may like doing it, it may be a priority, or they just may want to get “ahead of the curve” on all the things they have on their to-dos, or they may be a Type A personality and don’t rest until they’ve “got a handle on things.”


Getting things done at the last minute (procrastination), can push off stress until later—perhaps a better time to deal with it, but getting it done early (precrastination), can help eliminate stress by just getting it over with. 


Some of us who get things done right away, may be doing extra work, because at times, the necessity of the moment is “overcome by events” (OBE) later on or we may start something before we even have all the directions or information and do it wrong altogether. 


While others who dilly-dally, may find that they waited too long to get the job done or have other things going on later that precludes them from meeting the timeline—as they say, “if you fail to plan, plan to fail!”


Is there a right or wrong in terms of Pre/Procrastination?


I want to tell you now, but I think I’ll wait until later. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Jul 19

Risk In The Eye Of The Beholder

Should I do it or is it too risky?
That’s a question we ask ourselves many times a day.
- Open our mouths at work or keep a lid on it.
- Run to catch that train or bus or slow down and go more carefully.
- Eat that greasy burger and fries or opt for a salad and smoothie.
- Invest in that highflier stock or put your money in the “G” fund.
The Wall Street Journal presents risk management as both quantifiable and qualitative. 
For example, a MicroMort (1 MM, and sounds like micro fart) is “equal to one-in-a million chance of death.”
An average American has a 1.3MMs chance of a “sudden, violent end” on any given day. 
However, climb to the base camp at Mount Everest (at 29K feet), that’s over 12,000 MM, base jump at only 430 MMs per jump, parachute 7 MM, and go on a roller coaster at only .0015 MM. 
So there you have it—statistics tell the risk story!
But not so fast, our risk calculations also take into account our qualitative values. For example, we tend to lower the risk in our minds of postpartum depression (10-15% or higher) because we value having a baby. 
Similarly, we tend to think driving (1 MM per 240 miles) is safer than flying (1 MM per 7,500 miles) because we believe we are in control of the automobile, as opposed to a passenger jet flown by a couple of pilots. 
The result, “Scariness of an activity isn’t necessarily proportionate to its risk.”
That means that you can easily make a mistake and underestimate risk, because of your personality or cultural and social biases. 
Rock climb at your own risk…BUT do you really understand what that risk even is or are you driven to do something overly dangerous and maybe stupid. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Risk In The Eye Of The Beholder

Should I do it or is it too risky?


That’s a question we ask ourselves many times a day.


- Open our mouths at work or keep a lid on it.


- Run to catch that train or bus or slow down and go more carefully.


- Eat that greasy burger and fries or opt for a salad and smoothie.


- Invest in that highflier stock or put your money in the “G” fund.


The Wall Street Journal presents risk management as both quantifiable and qualitative. 


For example, a MicroMort (1 MM, and sounds like micro fart) is “equal to one-in-a million chance of death.”


An average American has a 1.3MMs chance of a “sudden, violent end” on any given day. 


However, climb to the base camp at Mount Everest (at 29K feet), that’s over 12,000 MM, base jump at only 430 MMs per jump, parachute 7 MM, and go on a roller coaster at only .0015 MM. 


So there you have it—statistics tell the risk story!


But not so fast, our risk calculations also take into account our qualitative values. For example, we tend to lower the risk in our minds of postpartum depression (10-15% or higher) because we value having a baby. 


Similarly, we tend to think driving (1 MM per 240 miles) is safer than flying (1 MM per 7,500 miles) because we believe we are in control of the automobile, as opposed to a passenger jet flown by a couple of pilots. 


The result, “Scariness of an activity isn’t necessarily proportionate to its risk.”


That means that you can easily make a mistake and underestimate risk, because of your personality or cultural and social biases. 


Rock climb at your own risk…BUT do you really understand what that risk even is or are you driven to do something overly dangerous and maybe stupid. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Jul 18

[video]

Jul 17

[video]

Our Lovely Metro System

Ok, so grossed out the last few days on the Washington, D.C. Metro system. 
This (see above) is what I was sitting next to this morning on the train. 
And last night was even worse, I was about to sit on one of the seats, and this nice man stopped me. 
Someone had actually spit on the seat—and just left it there for another unknowing person to sit in. 
Thankfully, I was saved this indignity, and ended up sitting somewhere else.
But later on the train, I saw someone jump up and start cursing—apparently, he had sat right in it. 
I saw another guy offer him a handkerchief, which was quite a nice gesture, considering. 
At the same time, I saw a lady on the train wearing one of those surgical masks that cover your mouth and nose—maybe not the worst idea under these ill conditions. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Our Lovely Metro System

Ok, so grossed out the last few days on the Washington, D.C. Metro system. 


This (see above) is what I was sitting next to this morning on the train. 


And last night was even worse, I was about to sit on one of the seats, and this nice man stopped me. 


Someone had actually spit on the seat—and just left it there for another unknowing person to sit in. 


Thankfully, I was saved this indignity, and ended up sitting somewhere else.


But later on the train, I saw someone jump up and start cursing—apparently, he had sat right in it. 


I saw another guy offer him a handkerchief, which was quite a nice gesture, considering. 


At the same time, I saw a lady on the train wearing one of those surgical masks that cover your mouth and nose—maybe not the worst idea under these ill conditions. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Jul 16

Garbage In, Repair The World Out

I’m sure you know the saying, “Garbage In, Garbage out”—in other words what you put into something is what you get out.
In this case, I took a photo of a garbage truck—of all things—that had prominently plastered on its side, “Tikkun Olam - Repair the World.”
That is quite a positive message to put on a garbage truck!
Maybe that is our challenge in life, to make good things happen from the garbage that life often throws our way. 
Make something sweet like lemonade out of something sour like lemons.
This is not easy without some sugar, but in life, we need G-d to supply the raw ingredients and we add the elbow grease. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Garbage In, Repair The World Out

I’m sure you know the saying, “Garbage In, Garbage out”—in other words what you put into something is what you get out.


In this case, I took a photo of a garbage truck—of all things—that had prominently plastered on its side, “Tikkun Olam - Repair the World.”


That is quite a positive message to put on a garbage truck!


Maybe that is our challenge in life, to make good things happen from the garbage that life often throws our way. 


Make something sweet like lemonade out of something sour like lemons.


This is not easy without some sugar, but in life, we need G-d to supply the raw ingredients and we add the elbow grease. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Jul 15

[video]

Jul 13

Starbucks - BYOF

Okay, this was the second week in a row at Starbucks that I’ve seen people BYOF.
BYOF = Bring Your Own Food.
This gentleman relaxing on a Sunday has brought his ziplock bag and with some nice looking pound cake at that.
Message to Starbucks…either your food is really bad, overpriced, or perhaps a little of both. 
You pride yourself on your coffee and everyone pays a premium for it, but you are slacking on the food side of the coffeehouse. 
Seems like a big opportunity—fix your food (finally!) and make gazillions of dollars more off the addicted masses that flock to your coffee havens. 
My consulting fee…we can discuss. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Starbucks - BYOF

Okay, this was the second week in a row at Starbucks that I’ve seen people BYOF.


BYOF = Bring Your Own Food.


This gentleman relaxing on a Sunday has brought his ziplock bag and with some nice looking pound cake at that.


Message to Starbucks…either your food is really bad, overpriced, or perhaps a little of both. 


You pride yourself on your coffee and everyone pays a premium for it, but you are slacking on the food side of the coffeehouse. 


Seems like a big opportunity—fix your food (finally!) and make gazillions of dollars more off the addicted masses that flock to your coffee havens. 


My consulting fee…we can discuss. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Two Lost Children

Often we hear about lost children with everything from Amber Alerts to our phones and billboards to advertisements on local TV and even on milk cartons—and it is completely frightening. 
Rarely though do we come into contact with lost children…but yesterday it happened to us. 
We were taking a nice quiet walk around the neighborhood, but something was different this time. 
I see 2 children running down the block, and as they get closer, I see they are not playing, but running scared. 
The taller, older girl is ahead of a smaller boy. 
As the girl is within speaking distance, her whole face breaks into tears and she starts sobbing loudly.
Not knowing if they were in some imminent danger, I asked quickly what was wrong and were they in danger. 
By now the little boy has caught up with his sister and they—taking turns—saying they are lost. 
We start asking more questions.
Are you from around here?  No, they are visiting from NY. 
What is the address of where they are staying?  Don’t know. 
What the name of the people they are staying at?  Don’t know. 
Where are their parents?  Don’t know—they told them to go out and run around the (strange) neighborhood.
How old are they? The girl is 7 and the boy is just 4.
We told these 2 little kids not to worry that we would help them find their way back and that we wouldn’t leave them until we did. 
Immediately, we headed back from where they had come from to backtrack and find their parents. 
The boy and girl took turns running ahead, crying, afraid they were not going to find the house they came from and saying the streets here are so curvy unlike the square blocks where they are from in NY. 
As we kept going around, I started to get leg pain, as I am still on a cane myself from recent surgery, and we were rushing to find their home in the midday Summer sun.
We made it down a long block, looking this way and that with the kids—turned the corner…then again the same thing…down another block…although we try to calm them, as we kept going, the kids get more panicky that they were just completely lost. 
Finally, thank G-d, a lady in the distance…the kids start running…they recognize her immediately…it’s their mother. 
The lady sees us behind them bringing them home to her…she picks up the little girl who makes it to her first…so glad to have her kids back.
She waves to us…a quick sort of thanks—and turns and walks away.
That was it…she didn’t say a word and was gone before we even caught up. 
The kids were really sweet—and were also fortunate—and I hope they are okay and never have to experience anything like that again. 
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Two Lost Children

Often we hear about lost children with everything from Amber Alerts to our phones and billboards to advertisements on local TV and even on milk cartons—and it is completely frightening. 


Rarely though do we come into contact with lost children…but yesterday it happened to us. 


We were taking a nice quiet walk around the neighborhood, but something was different this time. 


I see 2 children running down the block, and as they get closer, I see they are not playing, but running scared. 


The taller, older girl is ahead of a smaller boy. 


As the girl is within speaking distance, her whole face breaks into tears and she starts sobbing loudly.


Not knowing if they were in some imminent danger, I asked quickly what was wrong and were they in danger. 


By now the little boy has caught up with his sister and they—taking turns—saying they are lost. 


We start asking more questions.


Are you from around here?  No, they are visiting from NY. 


What is the address of where they are staying?  Don’t know. 


What the name of the people they are staying at?  Don’t know. 


Where are their parents?  Don’t know—they told them to go out and run around the (strange) neighborhood.


How old are they? The girl is 7 and the boy is just 4.


We told these 2 little kids not to worry that we would help them find their way back and that we wouldn’t leave them until we did. 


Immediately, we headed back from where they had come from to backtrack and find their parents. 


The boy and girl took turns running ahead, crying, afraid they were not going to find the house they came from and saying the streets here are so curvy unlike the square blocks where they are from in NY. 


As we kept going around, I started to get leg pain, as I am still on a cane myself from recent surgery, and we were rushing to find their home in the midday Summer sun.


We made it down a long block, looking this way and that with the kids—turned the corner…then again the same thing…down another block…although we try to calm them, as we kept going, the kids get more panicky that they were just completely lost. 


Finally, thank G-d, a lady in the distance…the kids start running…they recognize her immediately…it’s their mother. 


The lady sees us behind them bringing them home to her…she picks up the little girl who makes it to her first…so glad to have her kids back.


She waves to us…a quick sort of thanks—and turns and walks away.


That was it…she didn’t say a word and was gone before we even caught up. 


The kids were really sweet—and were also fortunate—and I hope they are okay and never have to experience anything like that again. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Jul 12

[video]

Robots Reach The Clouds

So robots have reached the clouds before many of our government agencies have—who would’ve thought? 
Bloomberg Businessweek reports how robotic activities are being stored in the cloud and are then accessible to other robots to learn from and repeat as necessary. 
The “cloud servers essentially [are] a shared brain” where memories and experiences are uploaded and accessed by other robots with a need to know the same thing. 
The cloud is the means of transfer learning from one robot to the other.
It serves like a master neural network where the Internet provides the how-to for everything from serving juice to patients in a hospital to functioning as autonomous warbots in battle. 
Like the Borg on Star Trek with a collective brain, the cloud may become the mastermind for everything from day-to-day functioning to taking over the species of the universe. 
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Robots Reach The Clouds

So robots have reached the clouds before many of our government agencies have—who would’ve thought? 


Bloomberg Businessweek reports how robotic activities are being stored in the cloud and are then accessible to other robots to learn from and repeat as necessary. 


The “cloud servers essentially [are] a shared brain” where memories and experiences are uploaded and accessed by other robots with a need to know the same thing. 


The cloud is the means of transfer learning from one robot to the other.


It serves like a master neural network where the Internet provides the how-to for everything from serving juice to patients in a hospital to functioning as autonomous warbots in battle. 


Like the Borg on Star Trek with a collective brain, the cloud may become the mastermind for everything from day-to-day functioning to taking over the species of the universe. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Jul 11

Even Tolerance Has Limits

This torn down sign in Washington, D.C. caught my eye.
It’s about ending bullying and teaching tolerance. 
This poster specifically has to do with LGBT, but the universal message of acceptance is more broad. 
While each of us has our own beliefs, we should allow others to have theirs as well. 
My father used to tell me basically (that within G-d’s law), “You can do whatever you want in life as long as you don’t hurt yourself or anyone else.”
However, I am reminded this week that not everyone lives by the same common sense and decency. 
I read in the Jerusalem Post about Palestinian Media Watch posting a Hamas video yesterday threatening “stabbing attacks [in Israel] everywhere…[and] suicide attacks on every bus, cafe, and street.”
Moreover, Arutz Sheva tells how a female Egyptian lawyer “recommended that Arab men begin sexually harassing Jewish women” as a mean of fighting Israel. 
Then watching the news and seeing Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists from Gaza shooting missiles and intentionally aiming to try to hit major Israeli cities and population centers, airplanes, ports, and other critical infrastructure like the nuclear facility in Dimona that could potentially spread radiation and kill untold numbers of people—I am reminded morality is not universal. 
While Israel calls the residents in Gaza to vacate before an attack on then empty buildings—the terrorists that Israel is fighting try to kill as many civilians as possible—at which time, they would presumably sing, dance, and hand out candy to the kids to celebrate as is their custom.
Like the sign calling for tolerance that was essentially torn from the pole, we have to remember tolerance for others is one thing, but there are limits when they actively seek to harm (themselves or) others. 
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Even Tolerance Has Limits

This torn down sign in Washington, D.C. caught my eye.


It’s about ending bullying and teaching tolerance. 


This poster specifically has to do with LGBT, but the universal message of acceptance is more broad. 


While each of us has our own beliefs, we should allow others to have theirs as well. 


My father used to tell me basically (that within G-d’s law), “You can do whatever you want in life as long as you don’t hurt yourself or anyone else.”


However, I am reminded this week that not everyone lives by the same common sense and decency. 


I read in the Jerusalem Post about Palestinian Media Watch posting a Hamas video yesterday threatening “stabbing attacks [in Israel] everywhere…[and] suicide attacks on every bus, cafe, and street.”


Moreover, Arutz Sheva tells how a female Egyptian lawyer “recommended that Arab men begin sexually harassing Jewish women” as a mean of fighting Israel. 


Then watching the news and seeing Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists from Gaza shooting missiles and intentionally aiming to try to hit major Israeli cities and population centers, airplanes, ports, and other critical infrastructure like the nuclear facility in Dimona that could potentially spread radiation and kill untold numbers of people—I am reminded morality is not universal. 


While Israel calls the residents in Gaza to vacate before an attack on then empty buildings—the terrorists that Israel is fighting try to kill as many civilians as possible—at which time, they would presumably sing, dance, and hand out candy to the kids to celebrate as is their custom.


Like the sign calling for tolerance that was essentially torn from the pole, we have to remember tolerance for others is one thing, but there are limits when they actively seek to harm (themselves or) others. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)