the first parachuting nurses, changing technology and worshipping false gods

A nurse parachutist, having jumped, is about to open her parachute.

One of the first parachute nurses. WHO/Red Cross photo.

The first parachute nurses WHO/Red Cross photo.

The first parachute nurses WHO/Red Cross photo.

While it is great that the WHO/Red Cross makes these photos available, they do not supply dates. As best i can find out these nurses may have been part of the Emergency Flight Corps (1933) or the Aerial Nurse Corps of America (1936), both started by Lauretta M Schimmoler (1900-1981).

How Technology Is Destroying Jobs

Given his calm and reasoned academic demeanor, it is easy to miss just how provocative Erik Brynjolfsson’s contention really is. ­Brynjolfsson, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and his collaborator and coauthor Andrew McAfee have been arguing for the last year and a half that impressive advances in computer technology—from improved industrial robotics to automated translation services—are largely behind the sluggish employment growth of the last 10 to 15 years. Even more ominous for workers, the MIT academics foresee dismal prospects for many types of jobs as these powerful new technologies are increasingly adopted not only in manufacturing, clerical, and retail work but in professions such as law, financial services, education, and medicine.

That robots, automation, and software can replace people might seem obvious to anyone who’s worked in automotive manufacturing or as a travel agent. But Brynjolfsson and McAfee’s claim is more troubling and controversial. They believe that rapid technological change has been destroying jobs faster than it is creating them, contributing to the stagnation of median income and the growth of inequality in the United States. And, they suspect, something similar is happening in other technologically advanced countries.

The issue addressed should be of concern, especially since economic policy and cultural attitudes about work in the U.S., Canada and western Europe is driven by right of center Chicago school of economics. Though one of the things that bothered me was the possibility this gives to the far Right to use as another excuse. As in oh well, no sense passing any Keynesian economic incentives because they are of no use in light of changing technology. Some basics still remain. If you start paying all  low wage workers at fast food places, Walmart, Target, Sears, etc a living wage they will spend more, thus drive more demand. Because of technology the multiplier effect might not be as great as the post WW II era, but fair wages would create jobs.

There are some good thoughtful comments. Some seeing the new age as an opportunity, if you get the education and training. The whole article and those comments are worth a click over.

And let me address this troll in the comments section, or the attitude and empty platitudes:

@kbillet The idea that reward is directly tied to how hard you work is definitely a mindset of a past generation. Compensation in today’s world is about your output, and the comparative cost of your labor. Also, many business owners have put their fortunes and lives on the line for a shot to make a business happen. As you mentioned yourself, not everyone has the skills, vision, and luck to pull that off. For those that make that leap, if they’re able to succeed (or at least successful be enough to employ a team of engineers and programmers), I have a hard time not justifying the return on the investment.

Isn’t that the essence of the American Dream? Or does fairness now mean that every one should be entitled to same pay regardless of contribution?

Since when is “how hard you work” not pretty much the same thing as “output”. Excepting those who run around appearing to keep very busy yet create little in terms of products or services, work is productivity. Why is it this guys never supply a modern example of some one who put their fortunes on the line. Would that be businessmen like George W. Bush who tanked three businesses and still came out OK because rich friends bailed him out. Would that be Mitt Romney who used other people’s money, including tax payers subsidies, drained businesses of profits then sold them off. After which which many went bankrupt. How about the Koch brothers who were born into wealth and just made some basic business moves that made them even more wealthy. They have not put their wealth on the line. If they wanted to they could live off the interests of their liquid assets for three lifetimes. Are all the CEOs who make millions a year regardless of profits, risk something? – what exactly, the cash to buy a third mansion. kbillet’s tunnel vision is all too common. Why isn’t a worker – say a skilled programmer, or sheet metal worker or fishing crew, risking everything by working for company B instead of company C. If that hero risk taker CEO at B screws up, he or she will still have millions ( most American workers are still recovering from the Great Recession, while corporate America is back to make per-recession profits).  The worker will have invested a year, five years or maybe twenty years with a company whose CEOs did not have the vision or the humanity to see how their decisions affected their workers. When we start thinking about inclusiveness, the connections and interdependence of people, that is the kind of fairness we should always be thoughtful of. He is implying some enforced socialistic dystopia, a corrupt ignorant hyperbole at the mere thought of economic justice incorporated into our economic system. Let’s not be mindful of how we conduct business in the world because there are these mythical John Galts who are doing everything, inventing everything, risking everything  – while the mindless lazy workers are hanging behind the shed smoking a doobie, instead of being down on their knees in gratitude for letting them ride the great man’s coattails.


mike huckabee’s broken moral compass, spinning top wallpaper, memories add up to what defines us

Huckabee Says Connecticut School Massacre Occurred Because We ‘Removed God From Our Schools’

HUCKABEE: Well, you know, it’s an interesting thing. We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we’ve systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage because we’ve made it a place where we don’t want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability? That we’re not just going to have to be accountable to the police, if they catch us. But one day, we will stand before a Holy God in judgment. If we don’t believe that, then we don’t fear that.

Mr. Huckabee seems unaware of the reality of the tremendous freedoms students have to exercise their religion. They can pray before school with their families. They can pray at school, but not in an organized prayer by the school because that is a violation of the 1st amendment. He seems to imply that those children died because they violated Huckabee’s idea or concept of how schools should be conducted. Everyone of those children may have been religious. Certainly their parents talked to them about right and wrong. To suggest otherwise is an egregious slander against the parents. Teachers also teach kids about responsibility all through the primary and secondary education years. Discipline issues frequently end up with even more talks about acceptable behavior from schools administrators, with parents a part of those meetings. Huckabee seems to have a mental picture of public schools, children and parents of those children is detached from reality. His zealotry a wall over which he cannot see.

By implication Huckabee has brought up the Christian concept of free will. Huckabee is a Protestant. Protestants believe that God gives everyone the right to choose to accept the teachings of God and Jesus. The children were not allowed to exercise their free will and yet the God Huckabee believes in not intervene to protect the rights of those children.Christians such as Huckabee also believe, simultaneously with the concept of freewill that everything that happens in the universe is part of God’s will. That implies a vengeful or uncaring God that let’s children be terrorized and murdered.

Also according to any of the major denominations of Protestantism, if the murderer makes contrition and accepts Jesus as his savior, he will be forgiven and be given eternal life in Heaven. Huckabee is also thus implying that those children may or may not be allowed into heaven because “we’ve systematically removed God” from schools. Which clearly means that he believes none of the children or adults that were murdered had accepted Jesus as their savior. That brings up some differences in the concept of responsibility between those who tend towards rationalism and Minister Huckabee’s world view. By claiming that the religious practices or lack of, of the victims is shifting blame for their deaths away from the murderer. That seems like a point of view that many Americans would find deeply immoral, irresponsible or otherwise offensive. Maybe this is part of the greatness of the U.S., the Constitution and religious freedom. Minister Huckabee can shift blame to the victims, their parents and the school system, instead of the perpetrator and he will not be tarred and feathered, he will not be stoned to death or burned at the stake for expressing  malevolent thoughts about a national tragedy.

Let’s assume Minister Huckabee’s point of view for moment with a mental exercise. Let’s assume that all the children, adults and parents were atheists. Does that mean that they deserve to suffer the loss of their children. In terms of pure religious doctrine Huckabee has embraced certain moral dogma that does justify his point of view: Whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. 2 Chronicles 15:13 and He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:    16. Thus the ten commandments which Huckabee believes in has some fine print with exceptions for the thou shall not kill rule when it involves non-believers. So little wonder that Huckabee is less outraged by the murders themselves than he is with the mere possibility that the children, their parents or the school system might have beliefs that differ from his. A point of view he shares in general concept with American Puritan Cotton Mather of witch trail fame, the Taliban and Iran’s fundamentalist mullahs.

update: rewrote parts for clarity and grammar.

spinning top, toys, orange

spinning top wallpaper

workers taking a break in the snow

workers taking a break in the snow. copyright corbis.

How Michigan’s Right-To-Work Law Came to Be. Amazing how much outside groups like the Koch brothers, ALEC and Grover Norquist had to do with lowering the average pay of a Michigan workers.

street vendor, new york, circa 1900

street vendor, new york, circa 1900.

New research builds on the original ideas of Einstein and adds a new ingredient: a third entangled particle

In 1935 Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky, and Nathan Rosen, known jointly as EPR, published a thought experiment designed to show that quantum mechanics was not sufficient to describe reality. EPR tried to demonstrate, with two entangled particles, that there must be some hidden parameters not accounted for in quantum mechanics theory. John Bell would later follow EPR’s arguments and determine that the hidden parameters that EPR argued for were incompatible with observations of nature, leaving the mystery of quantum mechanics intact. Today, the entanglement of two particles as first proposed by EPR, is a valuable resource in emerging quantum technologies like quantum computing, quantum cryptography, and quantum precision measurements.

Seventy-seven years after EPR’s landmark work, researchers at the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo and at the University of Calgary have experimentally extended the original ideas of Einstein and his colleagues from two to three entangled particles. This new form of three-particle entanglement, based on the position and momentum properties of photons, may prove to be a part of future communications networks that operate on the rules of quantum mechanics and could lead to new fundamental tests of quantum theory that deepen our understanding of the world around us.

As described in their paper published in Nature Physics, the researchers created quantum correlations between three photons from a single input photon. “It is exciting, after all this time, to be able to create, control, and entangle quantum particles in this new way,” says group leader Thomas Jennewein. “Using these states of light it may be possible to interact with and entangle distant quantum computer memories based on exotic atomic gases.” Unlike classical particles, quantum particles work together as opposed to individually. The creation of three entangled particles could lead to new advances in quantum devices development.

Nothing like being rudely booted out of your comfort zone. I had become used to two entanglements. I could imagine them. Whether my imagination did the concept justice might be debatable.

I didn’t especially like this essay as a whole, though it does have an interesting perspective. That must constitute some kind of strange entanglement, Proustian Memory and The Palest Ink

This seems not only sensible, but desirable. As Heidegger said, in Being and Time, “Forgetting is not nothing, nor is it just a failure to remember; it is rather a ‘positive’ ecstatic mode of one’s having been, a mode with a character of its own.” Proustian memory, not the palest ink, should be the ideal we are building into our technology; not what memory recalls, but what it evokes. The palest ink tells us what we’ve done or where we’ve been, but not who we are.

I admit to a strong anti-Heidegger bias, but in terms of the science of memory, forgetting serves some useful psychological and neurological functions. That said we do retain a lot of memories. They too serve a purpose. Contrary to that author’s take, our memories and experiences are a major part of the sum of who we are. he could only make, or attempt to make an evaluation of how important his lost data, his lost memories are, based on values built on a foundation of memory.