Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Living a Varied and Healthy Lifestyle

We Americans are not as active as we once were. Driving a few blocks to the store, overeating, eating lots of carbs and lots of TV watching is not healthy. It adds up over the years and eventually our doctor begins to warn us about diet and exercise are important. Without change you are likely to continue down the path of declining health. You can create change in your life that leads to greater life satisfaction and health. 

I get it! We are busy and have jobs, kids, bills, clubs, and much more. Our lives are hectic! That doesn't mean we can't create a more varied lifestyle that leads to better health. No one says you have to go to the gym for three hours a day. That would get boring fast!

You can integrate workouts and healthy exercise into your life. For example, when you can take an elevator to your floor you may want to opt for the stairs. Perhaps its only a few flights but by then end of day you may have climbed it three times. 

Same can be said for lunch. You have an hour. Go speed walk around a few blocks and then sit down and have your lunch. 

During the day I like to do some sit ups, push ups and other integrated lifestyle activities. That may not be easy for everyone unless you have your own office. However, if you do it consciously all day and evening you can get in a couple of hours a day by bedtime. 

Furthermore, try and create variety. No need to do the same movement over and over like they tell you in the fitness magazines. The best health is when you have a variety of movements and activities that use different muscles in different ways. 

Try short spurts of different fitness activities like swimming, jogging, biking, walking, boxing, etc... Yes do your weights but make sure you do all of the other stuff too because our natural bodies require variety of movement and resistance types. 

I got this fitness certificate but don't use it to help others very often. Yet it did teach me about health so why not share the knowledge. Oh my doctor gave me a check up the other day and "knock on wood" she said I'm in great shape. 

Monday, July 27, 2020

Covid Vaccine Operation Warp Speed Press Release-Can We Use Streamlined Applied Research in Industry to Speed up Innovation?

Research takes a lot of time and developing vaccines takes years. Operation Warp Speed did show us that speeding up slow research is possible. Streamlining the process is important because there are a lot of approvals and hoops to jump through. However, the risks to life were greater if we didn't develop a vaccine. It was necessary to accept some risk in the process. Yet it does tell us a little about research and our ability to speed up the process.

Can we apply those ideas to universities for national innovation?

The same concept couple be applied to innovation industry research. Things take time so sometimes good ideas can't be rushed to an "aha moment". However, science does follow a process of learning, integrating, and applying knowledge. Thus, innovation has something to do with the amount of time we spend in research. We might be able to better utilize our human capital.

Online universities do have options to create more innovation in the market that impact large swaths of industry. For example, a new biodegradable plastic that can be made at a competitive price might not only make billions but also help the planet. One complaint of universities is they don't often take new knowledge and apply it quickly to industry in a way that leads to innovation. We will need our universities to invent great ideas (online and campus based) and novel solutions to be used in the market. 

Streamlining research that isn't risky to human life and encouraging universities engage in more applied research can be helpful for national R&D and innovation. Encouraging industries to help universities by investing in particular researcher on a larger scale might help some schools that are struggling. Save schools while maximizing national research. Just an idea that isn't necessarily vetted.

You can Read the Release HERE

President Trump Is Leading a Once-in-a-Generation Effort to Ensure Americans Have Access to a COVID-19 Vaccine


 Issued on: 

Vaccines are coming along really well. Likewise therapeutics. Moving faster than anticipated.

DEVELOPING EFFECTIVE VACCINES: President Donald J. Trump is harnessing the full power of the public and private sectors to deliver a safe and effective vaccine as soon as possible.

  • The President is using all available means to ensure safe vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics are developed, manufactured, and distributed in unprecedented time and scale in response to COVID-19.
  • Earlier this year, President Trump launched Operation Warp Speed, a groundbreaking partnership between the Federal Government, scientific community, and private sector to develop and deliver vaccines in record time.
    • Operation Warp Speed’s goal is to produce and deliver 300 million doses of safe and effective vaccines with the initial doses available by January 2021.
  • The Administration has made large investments in multiple vaccine candidates to provide financial infrastructure for mass manufacturing, in parallel with late-stage clinical trials.
  • Operation Warp Speed is directing a colossal industrial mobilization to ensure the rapid delivery of an eventual safe vaccine.

SEEING TREMENDOUS PROGRESS: The President’s strategy for safely expediting vaccine development is already achieving incredible results.

  • There has been promising early data from clinical trials and manufacturing is ramping up as candidates go through late-stage trials.
  • Operation Warp Speed has invested in more than five vaccines and teamed up with multiple pharmaceutical companies to safely produce as many effective vaccines as possible.
  • A number of vaccine candidates have shown promising early clinical results and are either in or starting Phase 3 clinical trials, including AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Pfizer.
  • Several vaccine candidates are using the National Institutes of Health (NIH) clinical trial network to help enroll individuals into the clinical trials.

UNLEASHING AMERICAN INGENUITY: President Trump has unleashed the power of American innovation in order to fight the invisible enemy.

  • The Trump Administration is using the whole of our Nation’s scientific genius to help combat COVID-19.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized more than 185 tests under emergency authorities, including more than 150 molecular tests and 30 antibody tests.
  • The FDA launched its Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program to facilitate new treatments for COVID-19 patients as quickly as possible.
  • A number of promising therapies for COVID-19, like Remdesivir, have been identified and are already in use.

$5 million+ in Grants Available for U.P. Businesses trying to Restart Administered by InvestUP

As of July 15th 2020 there are grants available in the MEDC SMALL BUSINESS RESTART GRANT PROGRAM. Businesses can receive up to $20K and Application Deadlines close August 5th.  

Businesses in the U.P. with 50 or less employees are eligible. If the money is there some may want to take advantage of it. 

The money can be used for anything as it relates to Covid. Think in terms of payroll and expenses. 

Invest U.P. will be responsible for selecting the businesses to divide up $4,545,455. See FAQ HERE

You will also want to check out information as it relates other COVID Resources HERE. 

"Get Tuff" Government no Longer Works in All Cases-$ 8 Home Forfeiture and Common Sense

"Getting Tuff" government no longer works in all cases. I'm reading the article, "Michigan county treasurer rebuked for seizing retiree's home over $8 tax debt" by Andrew O'Reilly and I realize that common sense really failed here. Tax officials saw the technicalities of the law but failed to use reasonableness in its application. Government should work for the people and be based in what is best for its population.

Our governments role is not to enforce laws blindly but to do so with wisdom and knowledge. It is invented to help manage groups of people and keep order and togetherness. We as a people created a contract to be governed. However, when things like this happen a there is a lack of common sense we have to sort of rethink the type of people we put in positions of power and the way in which law is interpreted. 

Laws are laws but they are blind and like any good or bad ideology they can be manipulated. There are times when the application of a law goes against its very spirit. We see this all the time when two judges come to completely different ends of the spectrum but then fail to truly understand the significance of what they are doing and their role in society. 

I can say that we need a better way of managing our "railroad" in the future. We deserve smart, honest, and thoughtful people in our government that have the best interest in mind. I bet where mistakes are made like this on a regular basis there is little review of the blind processes and incentives in place that push to forfeit as many properties as possible. If that was their grandfather would they have done the same? 

Could Delta County Use "Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success (ROUTES) Grant?"

Delta County has a lot of roads and could be a transportation and shipping hub in the Great Lakes. It hasn't really capitalized on its deep sea port nor its centralized location as a gateway between Canada, Chicago and Detroit. There are grant monies available and it may be beneficial to look at which grants could improve our local roads. If there is money available we should be fixing pot holes and setting up for longer term economic sustainability. 

The following was taken from a press release....

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao Announces Key Resource for Rural Communities
Washington - U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao today announced the Applicant Toolkit (Toolkit) for the Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success (ROUTES) Initiative at the U.S. Department of Transportation. It is the latest effort by the Department and the Trump Administration to improve rural access to federal grant funds. The Toolkit provides user-friendly information and resources to enhance rural applicants’ familiarity with the Department’s discretionary grant programs and the funding process.

“The ROUTES Applicant Toolkit will help rural communities better identify and navigate grant funding opportunities for rural transportation projects,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

Rural communities and their transportation networks have been instrumental in building and supplying urban areas throughout our nation’s history, carrying people from city to city and carrying freight from bedrock American industries such as agriculture, mining, forestry, and manufacturing. Yet rural transportation infrastructure has significant challenges.  

While one-fifth of Americans live in rural areas, 70% of America’s road miles are in rural areas, carrying nearly 50% of the nation’s truck traffic. In addition, 44% of automobile travel on rural roads is done by metropolitan area citizens, and rural America’s traffic fatalities are disproportionately high, with a fatality rate twice that of urban areas. Further, of the nation’s bridges that are posted for weight limits, 90% are in rural areas.

Discretionary grant applications can be complex and resource-intensive to complete. Many of the Department’s discretionary grant programs require non-federal funding to cover a portion of project costs, which may present an additional barrier to rural communities with limited funding.

The new ROUTES Toolkit addresses these challenges by assisting rural stakeholders to better understand how to access the Department’s grants and financing products. Specifically, the Toolkit illustrates key applicant requirements when participating in the Department’s discretionary grants processes. It also catalogues discretionary grant programs by applicant type and eligible project activities. Additionally, the Toolkit provides resources for applicants to maximize the potential for award success.

Secretary Chao announced the ROUTES Initiative at the annual meeting of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in St. Louis, Missouri last October. The initiative is led by the ROUTES Council, an internal deliberative body at DOT, which identifies critical rural transportation concerns and coordinate efforts among the Department’s operating administrations.  

To learn more about the ROUTES Initiative and the Toolkit, visit

Recently, Rep. Jack Bergman submitted an official comment to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regarding unmet transportation needs in rural America.

In part, the letter noted, “In order to improve rural transportation infrastructure in Michigan and across the nation, DOT should consider ways to simplify and streamline burdensome requirements on aid recipients in rural and remote areas."

Diving at the Quarry-Mining Cart

I believe in a healthy and active lifestyle with lots of variety. There are people who feel that the more toys and influence they gain the happier they will be. I guess there is a point where money does bring some level of happiness but then influence, health and lifestyle become more important. I once read a study on wealth and happiness and once you get to a certain level people felt other things were more important. 

In my case I have an explorer's heart. I like to try new things and discover new things. Even though this mining cart has been seen by most of the divers in the area it is still new to me; and probably you as well. I had the idea of next time putting a plastic skeleton hand in it. 

Different Types of Justice for Different Types of People

I wish we lived in a world where bad actors are punished and good people are offered help. I been plagued by an ideal where everyone tries to do the right thing and differences on how justice is enacted is minimal. Sometimes people make mistakes but that each person really sought to do what was best for themselves and their neighbors. It took me to middle age to realize that while most people try to be descent some's goodness is highly dependent on them and their context. When it comes to the Justice system I can only hope and pray people have good intentions and they are willing to act on those good intentions.

There are different types of justice for different types of people. Before the Black Lives Matter movement I had decided to try and climb Mount Everest to raise awareness about justice (I still have no idea if I will actually do it...maybe just Base Camp 1). It wasn't about Black or White people or any other race as much as it was about a concept of justice where people who did bad things were held accountable and people who needed help were given the help they needed. 

A different way to look at justice that would save our states money and be more effective in the long run. Yet it is an ideal that really isn't seen as practical  by many of our politicians.

I suspect when I first blurted out the idea no doubt there were people who laughed about it and thought it was a very dumb idea from an "over educated" idealist. Thinking back over the past year + I realize that it is even more important now than it was when I first came up with the idea. You know people did bad things and they walked for those things. That didn't look like justice to me and I doubt there will really be any attempt to create justice.

Its not all about punishment.

You can do the best you can but the system needs to change and adjust to something that seeks focus beyond punishment to what is best in the long run for society. Sure we can put people for decades in prison for minor offences but that doesn't solve any problems for anyone does it? It may be creation much more serious problems for society in the long run. So we might need to rethink things and get outside of the "box" type thinking. 

In addition there is a good point about disparity that should be raised. Some people shouldn't get a free pass to commit crimes and others hit with a sledge hammer. People who are hurt often end up hurting other people. They also are not held accountable for damaging people (in this case kids) if it isn't caught on tape or if they have the right connections through work and associations. It doesn't matter how much I care about them, it was intentional and there was a history of such behavior and thus accountability is necessary. 

I'm not a light foot on crime and people should be held accountable for the bad things they do. I'm just not a believer in taking the most simple obvious answer that sits in front of me and assuming that is the whole truth without accepting any alternative explanations. Let me give you an example, adults bully a kid and then we blame that kid for a change in his behavior. We don't go back and hold the adults accountable because that would require us to take the less obvious answer. No investigation and thus no crime (I suspect the answer isn't so simple). 

He is Black. That isn't the essential issue for me as a father but it is likely an essential issue for others. What bothers me most about this is the complete lack of remorse.  It seemed like the perpetrators took pleasure in the behavior and bragged about it to their friends. The life of a child is changed but the adults got a good laugh about it. In their minds they can do no wrong and it appears as long as they keep lying no one looks beyond the obvious pattern.

Its that subjectivity on who we investigate, where our focus is, and who we see as worthy of accountability and who we see should get a free pass that concerns me. There shouldn't be all these different types of justices out there. Locals get one type of justice, that race another, that person this one and that one something else. Each case should have its own merit based on its uniqueness but that isn't based on superficial justifications. It should be based on the unique circumstances of each individual.

Sure the kid is responsible for his/her behavior but one crime was swept under the carpet because they know the right people, because its not caught on video, or because it requires holding people in your friend network accountable. When children are not protected from certain behaviors then we have to start wondering what kind of other misjudgments are being made throughout the entire system. The system seems to lack self-reflection and self-accountability.

I'm a firm believer in holding people accountable for their behavior. Throwing the book at someone for small mistakes and ignoring serious crimes in another situation isn't fair. It becomes a one sided justice where some get harsh treatment, some walk for their bad behavior, and the system continues to grind lives without really thinking about its implications. If we want people to feel valued in our country we need to make our institutions feeling and thinking entities that do more than process people and suck tax payer money.

Saying that, I'm not impervious to the idea that there are so many people and there isn't enough resources to do it all.  ...but I do think we can sort of change around a few things to be more helpful. Getting people therapy and help is a much cheaper alternative then putting people in prison. Heck! We can even get the perpetrators to pay for it! Let us try and understand what happens to people and why certain things occur before we jump to ruin people's lives.

Do I support the protests? I support peaceful demonstrations that seek to raise issues of inequality and lack of insight in the system. On the same hand, I support the police and hope that we can find reforms that will help them be more effective in their jobs (Sometimes that means helping people and sometimes that means punishment) and remove troubled officers quickly before they can cause additional harm to people in their community. So like many other people in society...I'm a little mixed on the issue.

I'm limited in what I can do and my voice only resonates so far. This blog is just a small part of using education, science and good conscious to make America a stronger country. I may have to run for politics out of necessity. I no longer care how good or bad I look in front of people but I do care what happens to my country. We got people on the right and people on the left battling it out but it seems as though we are more worried about punching the other side than "reasonableness" and compromise. I think the middle of the road, practical based, politicians are going to be needed if we are going to reconcile.

I might not even be qualified...I do have a weird sounding name and mixed race children which will likely knock me out of most political certain circles right away. Yes...I think we are not as open as we pretend to be. If a political ideology is going to be valid in the future it will need to be inclusive of everyone. That means Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Blacks, Whites and on and on and on.

I don't pretend to know what I'm doing or have all the right answers. Likely why we may need a guy like me. I just can't seem to accept that where we are now as a nation is our final state of being. There must be something more or our experiment has failed. We need people who care to stand up and let their voices heard if we hope to keep developing and changing as a society. We need less over confident people who know all the answers and more people who are willing to question and ponder the possibilities.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Pictures of the Farm-Horses and Chics!

I know that this blog can be a little heavy from time to time so sometimes it is nice to include some lighter stuff. Nothing profound...just the simplicity of life. 

The CIA's Uncrackable Code

The CIA has a uncrackable code that no code breaker has been able to break. The first three code strings have been broken but no one do the others. There are a lot of people trying to break this puzzle. If some of the world's smartest people in the world are not able to crack it then they are using the wrong type of logic. Logical sequential type mathematical models might not work. I wonder if they look at it from the world of symbolism and how that relates to logic they may be able to gain another perspective. It doesn't mean its right its just that the solution is right in front of their eyes but their brains are not seeing because they have solved problems the same way using the same method. They might need to step back and look at it from a different perspective. 

One day someone is going to look at this think and just sort of "click" and go well that was easy! Kind of cool. 

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Giftedness and the Stoic Concept of Justice-Universalizing Justice

I read this thought provoking article today on Philosophy and Theory in the Study of Gifted Children as it pertains to the concept of justice development in gifted children. First, its an interesting read because these kids gain knowledge of the difference between right and wrong at a very young age. That knowledge seems to be defined throughout their lifetimes leading to philosophers, scientists and deep thinkers. 

For some reason these children can think about values and principles as being more universal while the rest of the population thinks more along the lines of the technicalities of the law and what their friends, parties, or clubs think. Such values are also likely why its called the "tragic gift" high potential and lack of validation in the environment.

There is sort of a theory of development by Psychologist Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg that discusses the reason why gifted children develop a better sense of Justice at a higher level than others. You can read more about Piaget HERE. 

There are three layers of development of the concept of justice offered. 

1. Morality of authority is the morality of helplessness and following the rules for fear of punishment. 

2. Morality of association occurs when people develop their sense of morality through shared beliefs and associations.

3. Morality of principles occurs when people begin to see morality as principles that should be followed. 

How does that work in real life?

Let's go back to the example based in my experience. A group of people engaged in coordinated harassment based on a number of things such as hiding past wrongs, embarrassment, a history of similar behavior, a level of bigotry, and a very narrow understanding of the beauty and value of life. 

I wrote a little about how adults involved and shared false and misleading information to not only my child but also their own children. It was racially/religious motivated information designed to do damage. Yes providing false and misleading information to underage kids is not only manipulative but also a form of bullying; especially if the child is not reacting well to that information. So this behavior moves beyond just anger and inappropriate behavior into something more dysfunctional.  

 It seems that the group has issues as it relates to people who are not the same as them and who have different values, backgrounds, ethnicity and creeds. There is a general disregard for anyone that isn't in the "in crowd" and they generally believe in the superiority of the "in crowd" when they say things like, "everyone wants to be like us". Most people would pause for a moment and take exception to those comments but for some reason there is a proper feedback mechanism.

Lets give another example of how people who are different are treated poorly and "less than". I had an Arab friend of mine visit and the group acted in that awkward polite in a way that that is half friendly and half rude. As a teacher and a stand up respectable person with a Masters degree, two children, and well traveled she didn't need to be treated that way. She felt awkward enough that she half joking told one of the ladies to please not come near her. In hindsight it seems as though the group was trying to make her feel uncomfortable. 

 It should also be noted that this is the same place their law enforcement guest walked up to me in an abrupt manner and asked if I had a gun. 

In this instance I can say it seems like the group is into the second stage of value systems. Certainly they would be afraid of punishment but they are much more afraid of not looking good to other group members. There is constant comparisons of themselves and others, putting down of other people, and general trying to "mingle" with what they deem as the "right" crowd of people. No one in the group is particularly wealthy or accomplished but the social status seems to take a theme in their conversations. 

At the association level, people look to their friends as an example of how to act.Their values are socially constructed based on cues and conversations within their friends (group norms).When one causes a problem the others jump in despite having no reason to do so.  If you asked them what that person did to them they might not be able to pin it down into a formal statement. group members reinforce each others values without checking them against the outside world. You can call this "cultic" or "clannish" in nature. 

Gifted children gravitate past the cooperation stage and into the very principles by which justice is created. They are open to different values, different people, and believe more in a universal justice system that applies to all races and religions equally. One doesn't get excused for bad behavior because of the "right" background and the other doesn't get unfairly punished because of theirs. 

This is a blog post (with all of the misspelling and poor grammar) but the discussion is an imortant one for society. Its not an academic article so I'm not going to move through all of the fine details. I think that is the crisis we are facing between minorities and law enforcement. I advocate for peaceful protests and the need to focus on the bigger picture of how we can improve society and not on being destructive. At the same time, I'm a big support of police as well as a supporter of improving policing for the benefit of everyone. There are some poor officers in the system and we need to do better on creating feedback, checks and balances and ultimately removing bad actors.

We know that society needs police because people do criminal things that are harmful to others and every society should have some type of enforcement mechanism that keeps low developed individuals honest. We also need judges to make wise decisions that are fair and make sense. At the same time "bad apples" in law enforcement that circumvent the law and use their badges for personal gain or to intimidate others should be removed to maintain trust in the whole system. 

Thus, justice is an interesting concept that will continue to be debated in society for some time. I do believe we are beginning to develop as a society and start universalize the system in a way that different people of different backgrounds are given equal weight and consideration under the law. When this occurs people will have more trust and in turn it will help law enforcement through better leads, diversity in recruitment, and less societal distress. That will in turn reduce crime and increase economic activity.

Gifted kids learn these lessons fairly early in their life and develop beyond fear of punishment and strict compliance with group values. That is why intimidation isn't a strong tactic with this population; nor is the fear of social rejection. What does work is honesty and honest conversations about how to ensure that such behavior doesn't happen again and how to help those "influencers" in the group that may be acting from a trauma based past. Its not about punishment...its about accountability and justice; even if that means getting people the help they need.

Today I was at the beach and I saw a young white girl and a young girl that looks mixed race playing in the sand without a care in the world. Giggling,laughing with buckets picking up and quickly dumping sand into large dome towers. They were oblivious to their superficial differences and had no idea that there are others who not only frown on these friendships. Even works that one of the girls is likely going to be treated a touch more harshly when she gets older. They are under the age of associated morals. I wonder at what age it becomes acceptable to discount the value of life...and I think back to my own children.  

If we don't draw a line somewhere and start thinking beyond our values based in fear of punishment or the values of our friends and associates then I wonder where our society will be in 10 or 20 years. 

White, D. (2003)Philosophy and Theory in the Study of Gifted Children. Roeper Review, 26 (1).