Thursday, August 21, 2014

Autism from vaccines?

I was born in a time before most vaccines. I endured regular and German measles (rubella), mumps, and chickenpox. I knew kids who endured whooping cough and polio (I never had polio, but my mom did). 

These were not diseases that magically appeared--they "traveled' around, carried by people. A community that had been free of one of these diseases would eventually have a wave of incidents as the virus was carried into the community by an unwitting victim... and eventually most of those whose immune systems couldn't fight it off got it... and then the disease would fade away because the remaining people were able to resist it. A few years later, the process would repeat when again someone brought the virus back into the town.

My kids have not had any of those diseases. They and the vast majority of other kids around them were vaccinated against them. Unfortunately vaccines aren't 100% effective, so those who weren't vaccinated sometimes became carriers amongst themselves and to those whose vaccinations failed to protect them. Still, smallpox is gone (for now, but that's another story) and most other of those diseases became rare for a while.

Unfortunately, a British doctor faked some research and convinced a lot of people that vaccines were dangerous and causing autism. His twaddle is still out there on the Internet, but at least he was caught and punished for his lies (stripped of his license). And the rates of infection for those once rare diseases have climbed. Children are much more at risk for those diseases... Diseases which were fought for a reason: those diseases killed many kids and crippled many of the survivors.

Now, I don't think unvaccinated kids should be marked in any way... but I'd be happier about all this if there were a reliable way to keep my grandkids away from their generation's disease carriers. Yes, my daughter is getting her kids vaccinated, but since the shots aren't 100% effective, there will still be the risk of disease from those who aren't vaccinated. And that means a lot of kids, even some of the vaccinated ones, are going to get polio, measles, mumps, etc. and are going to suffer needlessly.

Bad science is used by charlatans to bamboozle people into joining their ranks, contribute to their cause, buy videos or books, or just read their twaddle online so they can be paid by those whose ads appear on their webpages. 

Please don't be fooled. Kids' lives are at risk.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Line Too Far...

During this past year I've noticed an increasing number of drivers stopping short of the crosswalk lines by an ever increasing amount. Not too long ago most drivers stopped 3 to 5 feet short of that line. Today at least a third of them are stopping 15 to 20 feet away from those markings.

Why are they doing this? I've no idea. Why do I care? They're stopping short of the underground sensors that trigger the traffic lights.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Why Human Organizations Fail

All large human organizations are doomed to failure. Think about it—I just said that every large human organization is doomed to fail. How can this be true?

An individual person can accomplish a lot, but only so much. A few people working together can do a lot more—they do this by forming partnerships or small companies. These small organizations do quite well and, in fact, are responsible for hiring many, many people. When they need additional talents that they do not individually have, they typically hire out those functions. For example, they may turn to a professional accounting firm to handle their payroll.

But what happens when a company grows so large, involves so many people, that they can no longer effectively communicate with one another person-to-person? At this point most companies subdivide themselves into departments that handle specialized functions. These may include sales, human relations, manufacturing, and/or transportation. Functions which a smaller company would hire out are now typically done by one of these departments.

Now the communication problems become immense... And people who once would pick up the phone and talk to each other find that they must communicate by other means. This means sending memos, sending e-mails or voicemails, or worst of all—calling a meeting. At some companies before anything important can be done in form must be filled out and the proper number of copies submitted to the various departments involved.

The same tendencies happen even faster in governmental organizations. Primarily, this occurs because of human nature regarding self importance. The relative importance or worth of a manager in government is reflected in the number of people who report to that person. It's not unusual to see a multitude of employees in a government office doing very little, if not nothing. If you don't believe me, visit your local drivers license bureau.

Changing Light Bulbs in the Army

In short, human nature works against the success of large organizations. Years ago, as part of a college business psychology course, we were divided into teams which competed for resources. What we were not told until the game ended is that we represented in our teams different divisions of the same company. Our squabbling over resources led to the demise of the overall company! The same human dynamics exist in companies and other organizations throughout the world.

Of course companies turn to the same solution to their problems each and every time—they build up and establish bureaucracies within their companies. And of course the government excels at this! Once dynamic companies and other organizations lose their focus as the people in each division or department start relying on forms being filled out, committees being formed to solve problems, and policies or procedures being established for every conceivable situation.

In short, success creates the very problems that lead to the demise of once successful companies. To defend themselves from smaller companies, large companies turn to the government to establish laws and agencies to hinder the growth of those smaller companies. They are more than willing to contribute to politicians who help them in their efforts. That is why large corporations fund foundations and issue grants to nongovernmental organizations that lobby for laws that hurt those corporations' industry. If you're big enough you will not be bothered by new laws that hinder your smaller competitors.

Fortunately, eventually smaller companies do manage to overcome the barriers raised by the unholy collusion of large corporations and unethical politicians. It requires hard work, inventiveness, and dedication to serving the customer. Yet when those smaller companies do succeed, almost all of them grow into larger corporations and repeat the sins of the past.

Perhaps someday someone will find something better than the bureaucratic model. I certainly hope so.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Twice Burned...

In the history of the world each of the major religions has, at one point or another, been very intolerant of all the others. Today, one in particular is extremely intolerant of all the others. And it's not Christianity, no matter what you may hear in the news or from your PC friends.

Several countries are officially 100% of that religion. Their governments may unofficially tolerate other religions amongst them, but in reality their religious leaders are running the show and have "religious police" to look for evidence of infidels amongst them.

I mention this because yesterday I talked with a friend who recently came home from an overseas assignment in one of those countries. A member of his faith had to quietly rent a home large enough for everyone to meet in. On that country's official Sabbath day, his congregation would quietly assemble at that home. Things went well for several years. Then a young man, new to the country, posted pictures of that home on his social media account and stated "This is where my church meets!"

It's wasn't long before the religious police showed up, threats were made, and the family was forced to move to a smaller home. Eventually a different family found a large enough home and moved to it. The congregation began meeting there and–this really shouldn't surprise anyone–the young fool posted the photo of the new meeting place on his social media account and the trouble began again.

What is it about young adults and social media? Have they no sense of self-preservation?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What does it matter?

I wonder how many Americans are aware that our Congress is investigating the disaster in Benghazi and are refusing to let this administration get away with murder? By this I do not mean that the Obama administration deliberately targeted and killed our ambassador and three other Americans, but rather that they allowed things to go wrong. Most Americans seem to be unaware that their government was providing weapons to terrorists in Benghazi. Indeed, our ambassador may have been attacked and killed with some of those weapons.

The mainstream press seems uninterested in these things. They were all too happy to accept the theory that this event was nothing more than a protest over a movie clip on YouTube that got out of hand. No one in the mainstream expressed any interest in how this attack came about nor why no effort was made to rescue our ambassador and the others. Nor did they ask how it was that the protesters showed up with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.

I am tired of our president claiming, on issue after issue, to have been ignorant of what was happening on his watch. There have been several such events such as: Operation Fast and Furious, the IRS targeting conservative groups, and most recently, the VA Hospital scandal. In every case the president has claimed to have learned about these scandals by reading the newspaper.

Had anyone of these scandals come about during any Republican presidents term in office, that president would have been impeached! And I would have applauded. Willful incompetence is unforgivable, especially when lives are needlessly lost. The ambassador and his staff made multiple requests for improved security in Benghazi—requests that were repeatedly denied. That is why I personally hold Pres. Barack Hussein Obama responsible for those deaths.