Sunday, November 24, 2013

Reflections On A Cold Fall Day- Our Holographic Future?

When I was 11 years old I was into science fiction.  It was 1968 and the United States was preparing to send a man to actually walk on the moon.  Being an astronaut, a lofty goal for a black pre-teen, was something I actually thought about. Every book that featured space travel or being an astronaut was something I read.  I watched on television everything related to the American space program.  Star Trek was my favorite television show.  It depicted futuristic beings of all varieties and colors exploring new worlds sometimes in harmony and sometimes in conflict.

In those days I never imagined that one day, I would hold in my hand a device by which I could talk to other people (as shown on Star Trek) and also read news, take photographs, take notes, and record my voice.  The smart phone was the thing of science fiction dreams.

So, I wonder, what lies ahead of us in 45 more years.  I can envision a world where holographic visuals replace items that we now have in our homes.  Why put up a real Christmas tree when you can turn on a device to display a holographic picture of a Christmas tree in your living room?  The same for other items that we now physically have in place.  It may become common place thought that you don't actually need a physical object in your home.  As long as you can view it, if it is not essential to touch it, why have it?

It would sure make buying furniture simpler!  I'd rather have a holographic photograph to hang rather than a real photo to mount on a wall.  I'd rather a holographic TV screen display come on rather than having to carry a flat screen into the house and then physically mount it on the wall.  Imagine us having less physical "stuff" to worry about?  Wouldn't a world with a need for fewer possessions be an improvement in our current chase for all the material things we can accumulate?

Maybe that is the future.  We can satisfy our needs for nice material things through visual holographics that depict those items that we want but truly don't need.  Our "comfort" possessions can be stored and displayed from within something comparable to a USB Flash drive.  Maybe we will be able to change our environments by changing the USB Flash drive to an "upgraded" version.  Of course, I'm sure it will come with a price tag attached.  But, it will mean less real clutter and junk to throw away or recycle.  Imagine your new home where the only real things you will need are a couch, bed, bathroom, kitchen and appliances.   Everything else could be holographically constructed to fit the materialistic lifestyle you want to have.

Well, I don't think I have  45 more years on this planet to see us get there.  But, for all of you who will, remember these times when we had to actually touch and feel an item to appreciate our lives.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

For Stores Opening On Thanksgiving Evening - Shame on You!

Remember those days when Thanksgiving evening was spent with family congregating together?  Some gathered around the television to watch football.  Some gathered in the kitchen helping with cleanup from the day's feast.  Others were on their way driving home from the feast.

Now we have a variety of stores proudly announcing that they will open Thanksgiving night to accommodate Black Friday shoppers.  In a country that values and promotes "family", how does this store opening policy promote families spending time together?  Where is the moral outrage and protests against stores opening on Thanksgiving night?  Are stores so desperate to make money that they can't give their employees and customers the evening to enjoy each other?  I guess not.

I applaud those stores that are closed all day on Thanksgiving.  Pausing a day to give thanks, should not be interrupted for old fashioned American greed.  Stores will not go out of business if they are closed for one day out of respect to families having time to gather and spend all day together.  The technological age of laptops, pads, smartphones, already interrupts normal conversations we used to have.  We don't need stores to add more distractions to take us away from spending time with each other.

Here is what you can do.  Don't go shopping at any of these stores on Thanksgiving.  Call the store and tell them you are outraged that they are open that night.  Let your friends and family know the same thing.  The stores should know that we the consumer, are the ones who they should cater to.  Stores should not drive policies down onto us.  Especially if they impact the limited quality time we have to spend with each other.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Why Police Have a Negative Image

A writer writes.

I just watched a video of the antics of several Caucasian policemen in New Mexico.  The video shows a policeman stopping a van driven by a woman for going 70 in a 55 miles per hour zone.  The policeman asks her to wait right there, and he walks back to his car.  For some reason the woman drives off.  The police follow her and stop her again, this time just asking her to get out of the car.  The woman declines doing so but finally gets out and goes to the back of the car.  When asked to put her hands behind her back she declines and attempts to get back in the car.  The policeman attempts to stop her from doing so.  Her son and another of her kids gets out of the car to come to the aid of their mom.  Apparently the policeman attempts to taser her oldest son who gets back in the car.  Then one of the cops goes to the passenger side of the car and demands that the son open the door.  When he does not, the policeman uses his baton to break the passenger window.  The mom then drives off.  As she does so another policeman, fires his gun at the van.  Thankfully he doesn't hit anyone in the car.  The mother finally ends the chase when she stops in front of a hotel.

What those policeman have done in addition to making a fool of themselves, is to make an enemy of a young black male.  His view of policemen will forever be clouded by their questionable behavior.  He will forever not trust a policeman.  He will question the authority of a policeman to ask him questions.  Policemen should realize, they too are role models.  Their behavior needs to remain exemplary in all instances.  They are entrusted with weapons that can kill people.  Use of those weapons should be on an as needed basis.  Why a policeman would feel threatened by a car moving away from him is severely questionable.

The policemen took an opportunity to handle the situation in a more diplomatic fashion and blew it.  Now it's just another instance of armed policemen going wild.  Some would say the mother should have just complied with the policeman.  More facts will come out in the next few days.  But, does it take bullets to stop a mother and a van full of kids?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bragging and Inviting Terrorism to Return

A writer writes.

The headline on a cable news website reads, "One World Trade Center to be Tallest U.S. Skyscraper". When I saw that, I thought to myself, "are they trying to entice terrorists to make a return visit to New York"?  Yes, it may be an accomplishment to build the tallest building in the United States from the ruins of a major tragedy in the United States.  But, it doesn't seem proper to tout and brag about the accomplishment.  It is the tallest because two previous structures at the location were destroyed by airplanes being used as missiles costing many people their lives.

In this world some times it is best to not over publicize an accomplishment, or bring onto yourself attention that is not needed.  Being labeled "the tallest in the United States", will bring attention to One World Trade Center.  More attention than it already has by it's virtue of being a building built from the ruins of the terrorist attack in 2001.  Now terrorist have a brand new target to refocus on.  The first attempt at the World Trade Center did not succeed.  The second attempt did. Why would we not think that another attempt to bring down the rebuilt tower in the United States will not occur?  A deadly cat and mouse game it is, but we should not think those who hate the United States are beyond another attempt.  So, the builders of the building had to make it the tallest to make a point.  Then we publicize this great accomplishment.  Then we take the necessary security precautions and wait.

Greatness is knowing you are the best, or have the best, without having to advertise that fact.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Celebrate Being Average or Above Average

A writer writes.

We all have a special gift that our creator has endowed to us.  Some of us know what that gift is and build upon that gift to reach our full potential.  Some of us don't know what our gift is, or if we do know misuse the gift.

We often hear about a person who has excelled in the use of their gift.  That person may be an athlete, singer, business person, or someone who stands out in a particular field.  It is fine to recognize and applaud those who excel in the use of their gift.  It is also fine to recognize all of us who may be just average or above average in how we accomplish a task.  Average and above average means that we are meeting expectations and that we may sometimes even exceed expectations.

A person does not always have to be different to be appreciated.  Currently in the United States there seems to be much attention being given to a push for same sex marriages to be legalized.  There is also a celebratory attitude when some public figures announce that they are gay.  In today's world why is such an announcement given such publicity?  It is as if being gay elevates a person to a higher status than being heterosexual.  Most people in the world are heterosexual.  There is nothing wrong with being heterosexual.  Yes, it may be average in today's world.  But, celebrate your heterosexuality.

If you are a business person who runs a successful business that allows you to make some money, celebrate that accomplishment.  You do not have to be a billionaire to be a successful businessman.  If you work in an office and support your supervisor getting his or her job done, celebrate what you do as a member of the office team.  You do not have to be a star to be successful.  There are many people who support others.  They may be average or above average, but without them there is no success.   Yes, if you can rise above being average by putting forth more effort than do so.  But, if you get the job done and you've done your best, celebrate your accomplishments!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Lack of Originality in Government

A writer writes......

Our government suffers from a lack or originality.  We limit ourselves to principles laid out in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  We judge new laws against the intent of that original constitution.  There is no need to limit our thinking to the intent of those born over 200 years ago.  People evolve, thinking evolves, and so should options to address an issue evolve.

Economic policies.  There is no reason why the United States should create test economic zones where some policies are "tested" for benefits/advantages.  We should allow states to test economic programs for a time limited period.  Then assess the programs and whether the programs should be modified, or stopped.

General laws.  There may be  a need to set time limits for some new laws and policies.  It may be true that some policies may not stand the test of time. How many communities have laws on the books that may have made sense in 1813, but do not  make sense in 2013?

Housing/Public Safety.  There should be federal requirements governing the building of apartments, homes, and safety areas for mobile home inhabitants.  In emergencies such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquake and other natural disasters policies need to exist that describe where people should go to for help.  In some instances we need to look at the wisdom of spending money to rebuild in areas where it is known that natural dangers exists.  Doing so would decrease insurance industry costs and the pain and suffering index of those hit by the natural disasters.  If mobile homes is a cheap retirement option for people, we should at least ensure the safety of people in those structures.  After Hurricane Katrina and the broken levies destroyed much of New Orleans in flood waters, there was talk a to why reinvest in New Orleans?  Especially if the area is prone to future hurricane strikes.  Any actions to rebuild in New Orleans should have considered whether you can hurricane proof a structure.  Can man dominate and control nature?  History has shown we can not.  The government now cautions us to develop our own plans for how to deal with emergency situations.  Create our own personal disaster plan.  That does not bode well for relying on the government to be there when emergencies occur.

We need to understand what government should, can, and will do for its citizens.   We also need to understand that governments have been around for ages.  Governments have not solved century old problems such as poverty, crime, or how to effectively wipe out diseases.  First, start from the premise that governments lack originality in thought to address issues.  Then realize that governments are not the solution to resolving problems.  Our collective actions as servants of our ultimate creator provides the final answers as to our collective future on this planet.

Monday, November 4, 2013

12 Years A Slave and other Visual Media to Educate Black Youth

A writer writes.

Today I viewed the movie "12 Years a Slave".  It is a story of a free Black Man in the early 1800s who is kidnapped away from his wife and family and sold into slavery.  I went to a more "upper scale" arts theater to view the film.  The crowd was mostly white patrons who looked to be 40 years and older.  Along with me there were approximately 8 black patrons most also over 40.

The film of course paints a graphic picture of the experience of the man and those he was enslaved with.  It was a horrifying existence in the days when slavery was part of this nation's culture.  The film is rated R but it would be a good visual history lesson for the young black generation who really has no idea what happened to their ancestors other than a small blurb in their school's history books.

A visual showing of the PBS series Eyes on the Prize, the mini series Roots, and such movies as Malcolm X, Miracle at St. Anna, etc. would provide our black youth a visual education of their heritage.  The purpose of such viewings would be for educational enlightenment.  It would be further enlightening if other cultures also viewed the films.  I'm sure there are other stories of other cultures that would educate us on how race was a major factor in this country in how people were treated.  We have yet to see a coverage of the most horrific injustice done in this country.  Maybe one day we will see a realistic depiction of the annihilation of the Native American culture in the United States of America.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Era of Domestic Terrorism

A writer writes.

Last week's incident of a TSA employee being shot and killed at Los Angeles International airport is becoming the normal expectation in the United States.  The security defensive schemes at public locations lacks the manpower or technology to keep weapons away from what should be secure areas.  The entrance areas to venues, with security present, assumes that security at that point will be effective to stop those trying to enter a secure area.

There needs to be a buffer zone between the secure entrance area and the final destination.  Sports stadiums, airports, movie theaters, amusement parks, etc. all operate under the assumption that if you have reached the entry zone to an area you must mean to do no harm.  That false assumption has opened up opportunities for domestic terrorism to succeed. More vigilance, and observation of those who have entered into a public venue is necessary.  Especially if the person is carrying a bag, wearing layers of clothes, or makes movements leading to display of a weapon.

Pushing initial entry zones further out with a pre screening that targets a search for weapons may be a required change in safety procedures.  The other option is more vigilance on the behalf of each person coming into an area.  Self protection and less reliance on official security may become the norm.  Security failed at the Boston marathon.  Security failed at Los Angeles International Airport.  People watching may become a skill we all will need to learn.

Domestic terrorists need to be made aware that not only is official security watching them, but so is everyone else.  We've yet to see an average citizen taking their safety in their own hands and defending themselves accordingly.  With domestic terrorist threatening the lives of innocent people, I would not be surprised to see vigilante protective actions occur against terrorists.  People are getting tired of running away.