As the title warns, this post is an acknowledgment that U.S. Veterans are always getting the short end of the stick. (Also please check: dav.org for info on Disabled Veterans.)
Don’t get me wrong. I am personally not knocking the care I receive at the VA Outpatient Clinic in Superior WI and the Minneapolis VA Medical Center in Minneapolis.
Far from it.
The care is almost identical to what I received in a civilian clinic.
A few of the difference are the wait times for resolution of questions and freedom of choice at all times.
Sometimes I think I am trying to move an immovable boulder.
Specifically, to mention what they do right: I haven’t met any service provider that doesn’t greet me with a smile; moving veterans around the clinics is an impressive choreagraphy; medicines are almost affordable even on a very miniscule budget; medical needs which need to be met outside the VA Healthcare System are available.
The VA puts out several newsletters each month advising of programs that are available.
They broadcast coming improvements to the delivery system early and often.
The mission of Mo’s Heroes is to provide services to assist in reintegrating homeless veterans into meaningful employment within the labor force, and to stimulate developing effective service and delivery systems that will address the complex problems facing homeless veterans.
The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group “supports maritime security operations, provides crisis response capability, and increases theater security cooperation while providing a forward naval presence in Europe and the Middle East,” according to the Navy.
The photographer, Sgt. Matthew Callahan took portraits of Marines assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Kuwait and in Romania. He also took pictures of the Marines’ Romanian counterparts with whom they were training.
There are many pictures some of which may interest you. It only takes a few minutes to flip through them.
SCOPE OF THE MARKETPLACE
US military forces deployed overseas
As listed in a project by Kristen Bialik of PEW RESEARCH.org.
The number of military overseas is about 200,000. The total military strength is about 1.3 million troops with 800 military bases in place around the world.
There are over 50,000 homeless veteran’s living on the streets of American.
Both of these topics deserve research and a post of their own. I am working on them now.
One last parting comment on suicides by veterans:
The risk of suicide among veterans is 22 percent higher than non-veteran adults.
The statistic that I didn’t know was that in 2014 approximately 65 percent of Veterans that died by suicide were age 50 or older!
According to Once a Soldier, of the 20 suicides a day by Veterans, 14 are not under VA care.
Think of what the rate would be if the VA wasn’t around with its very aggressive suicide prevention programs.
Another Poke in the Eye
“I knew something was not right,”
These were the words of radiology technologist Jeff Dettbarn.
A patient arrived in February 2017 for a CT scan, but the doctor’s order for it had been canceled.
Mr. Dettbarn told of his finding to USA TODAY.
He started collecting cancellation notices for a diagnostic procedure such as CT scans, MRIs and ultra sounds.
“None of these cancellations had been cancelled by a doctor.”
The VA inspector general, Michael Missal is auditing mass cancellations at eight VA medical centers. He is trying “to determine whether VA processed radiology requests in a timely manner and appropriately manage canceled requests.
More on this as it develops.
A Nod to the Military
A PEW Research study reported on Sept 4, 2018, revealed that large majorities in eight Western European countries and said they trust the military more than other institutions.
In a study reported on April 26, 2018, 80% of Americans said they “have confidence that the military will act in the best interests of the public”.
Banks, financial institutions, the news media, elected officials fared much lower in the rankings.
Another grave concern is how the complexion of the Veterans are changing.
Future posts will focus on the privatization of the VA Healthcare, the support services that are available to Veterans, the support services that are available to those people that provide care for Veterans.
“Courage is the enforcing virtue, the one that makes possible all the other virtues common to exceptional leaders: honesty, integrity, confidence, compassion, and humility”.
“We are taught to understand, correctly, that courage is not the absence of fear, but the capacity for action despite our fears.”
The above quotes were made by one of the most famous, most articulate and self-effacing men I have watched. He was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam’s Hanoi Hilton for more than five years of torture and mistreatment of the worst kind. He has been a United States Senator and is now one of our great Elder Statesmen. He will rank with all of the great ones of yesteryear and he may be the last one to come our way.
At the time of this great speech, to honor him with the award of the Liberty Medal, he is fighting terminal brain cancer. Senator McCain has fought the good fight. He has won all the battles that needed winning. He has already won the war against lesser men who spout inane stupidities and have no regard for the great country that we are. He has been a staunch supporter of the people of Arizona and of the United States of America. He will live long in our memories.
In his honor, I am going to feature images of the great state of Arizona.
Artificial Learning, Deep Learning, Machine Learning
“How they’re different and why are they all essential to the Internet of Things”
I had to go back and reread the post last time discussion of Artificial, Deep and Machine Learning. Not only are they fascinating topics to study, they may even be good topics for conversation.
Today we will look at the explanations by Calum McClelland. He is the Director of BD@Leverage. “Striving to change myself and the world for the better.”
I found his article in Medium. What an excellent source of writing. Beginners, long-lived writers, topics from A to Z.
Mr. McClellan starts his discussion by getting everybody on the same page. “We’re all familiar with the term “Artificial Intelligence.” After all, it’s been a popular focus in movies such as The Terminator, The Matrix, and Ex Machina. I like The Matrix series. How would a writer keep all the plot lines, characters, scenes, dialog all straight? No doubt by taking better notes than I!
“I’ll begin by giving a quick explanation of what AI, ML, and DL actually mean and how they’re different.” Mr. McClelland begins.
He continues “then, I’ll share how AI and the Internet of Things are inextricably intertwined, with several technological advances converging at once to set the foundation for an AI and IOT explosion.”
He certainly called that right. I read this article on February 2nd, 2017. Let’s try to anticipate what he predicted and what has been taking place in the same 8 months.
John McCarthy, in 1956, first coined the phrase AI. AI can perform tasks that are characteristic of human intelligence. Generally, it includes planning, understanding language, recognizing objects and sounds, learning and problem-solving.
“We can put AI in two categories, general and narrow. General AI would have all of the characteristics of human intelligence, including the capacities mentioned above. Narrow AI exhibits some facets of human intelligence, and can do that facet extremely well, but is lacking in other areas. A machine that’s great for recognizing images but nothing else would be an example of narrow AI.”
Machine learning is simply a way of achieving AI. Hmm, this discussion seems a bit looser than the one we looked last time, at least it seems easier to read.
Arthur Samuel coined the phrase Machine Intelligence in 1959. He defined it as,”the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed.” You can get to AI without using Machine Learning but oh it would take building millions of lines of codes with all the complex rules and decision-trees.
Instead of hard-coding software routines to execute a particular task, machine learning is a way of ‘training’ an algorithm so that it can learn how. “Training” involves dealing with massive amounts of data sets and then allowing the algorithm to sort itself out by adjusting and improving. Something like the Marine Corps teaches ‘Adjust and Execute’. At least it did when my three sons were in a few, well about 20, years ago. That really dates me and believe me I can feel every pulled muscle and strained ligaments from each misstep from during that time.
Machine learning has been instrumental in improving computer ‘vision’ (the ability of a machine to recognize an object in an image or video). Gather millions of pictures and have humans tag them. They would take a picture of a dog and of a cat. When the algorithm is instructed to build a model of a cat it can tell the difference. When it has performed this feat accurately thousands of times it has ‘learned’ what the difference between that cat and that dog.
Deep learning is one of the many approaches to machine learning. Other approaches include decision tree learning, inductive logic programming, and others.
Deep learning was inspired by the brain, its structure, and function. Also how the neurons were interconnected. Artificial Neural Networks ( ANNs) are algorithms that mimic the biological structures of the brain.
“In ANNs, there are “neurons” which have discrete layers and connections to other “neurons. Each layer picks out a specific feature to learn, such as curves/edges in image recognition.
It’s this layering that gives deep learning its name, otherwise stated as “depth created by using multiple layers as opposed to a single layer. The last time we learned that, just before going to press, IBM announced that they had made great strides in ‘speeding up’ these process which will save incredible amounts time to learn and get functioning.
Artificial Intelligence and IoT are much like the relationship between the human brain and body.
“Our bodies collect sensory input such as sight, sound, and touch. Our brains take that data and make sense of it, turning light into recognizable objects and sounds into understandable speech. Our brains then make decisions, sending signals back out to the body to command movements like picking up an object or speaking.”
This Internet of Things is like our body, sensors connected and raw data streaming in and forwarded to the ‘brain’. Artificial intelligence making sense of that data and deciding what actions to perform. The connected devices of IoT are on the receiving side, carrying out the actions or communicating with other devices.
Unleashing The Other’s Potential
His example of IoT and artificial intelligence are like two hands waving in the air. If we use only one hand only a small fraction of what is possible is accomplished. With both hands waving, both the value and the promise are multiplied.
Machine learning and deep learning have led to huge leaps in AI. Both of these require massive amounts of data and the data is being collected by billions of sensors. The more data the better the AI.
The more AI is improved the more IoT will be adopted. I think we have reached, and maybe gone a little past, ‘the tipping point’. Almost every day some new item, product, or process is being touted as the next best….hair dryer, semi truck, pizza maker. Just as IoT makes AI better, AI makes IoT more useful.
In industry, AI can be applied to predict when machines will need maintenance or analyze a manufacturing process to make gains in efficiency and generating large savings in dollars.
Medium, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning Calum McClelland September September 26, 2017
Regarding consumers, the push seems to be, make technology adapt to us rather the other way around. A big example is in speech recognition. Every week somebody says they do it better.
I just hope that one day, some machine can understand my speech. The older I get (and the more teeth that I lose, the less the machines can understand me).
Until then I will let productivity slide by me as I continue my old prehistoric ways.
This year particularly the role of speech is seen everywhere, or at least in all the new products that Amazon is pushing. A size and shape of Alexa for everybody. “Alexa what time is it?”. The time is, as the lights dim and the bells chime, bedtime. In the meantime, Alexa adjusts the thermostat, locks the doors and opens the refrigerator so I can get a snack on the way upstairs.
“CONVERGENT TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS HAVE MADE ALL OF THIS POSSIBLE”
More powerful computer chips and improved manufacturing techniques translate into cheaper, more powerful sensors.
Additional advancements are coming in the technology of batteries. Elon Musk was able to improve the battery power and life during the recent hurricanes. By sending out a code to all the Tesla’s that had been purchased whether or not they had purchased the battery upgrade. Understandably the code upgrade only lasted a few weeks. Of course, you can always go in a ‘buy’ an upgrade.
Wireless connectivity is another improvement. Smartphones and data transfer rates are allowing all these sensors to send data to the ‘cloud’. I can attest to the improvement. Rather than pay $100 per month for the high-speed internet of 60 megabytes, I now pay $20 for the use of a ‘Homebase’. A fancy name for a small box that reaches out and touches you at about 3.0 megs tops. Slower, sometimes more noticeable than others but the price is something that makes it a lot more affordable.
Mr. McClelland promises to write a new piece in ‘Medium’ each week discussing another IoT topic in nontechnical terms. People can also send him requests. If it is a short question you can tweet him at #askIoT.
Blow out – AI
I am just going to blow a few things out here rather than keep them to the end. One of the biggest rewards I have stumbled upon (one being the app ‘Stumbleupon’) are the online sites: Medium, Telecrunch, and Futurism. How Futurism manages to put out so many editions out that have so much content is way beyond me. I plan to put out a version every week and it always stretches to a month. Imagine if I did this for a living I would starve! What brought that to mind is an excellent ezine I have been reading. I am struggling to think of its name. It is Daily Kos, yes, but more than that (yes I am now aware that ‘Daily’ is a ‘Politico Magazine’ owned piece.) But I was reading this other piece and I hope someone will send me the answer because I don’t remember it.
“Futurism” what a fantastic ezine. Great graphics, excellent topics, presented in a punchy format. I just love it. So for this bullet round we will look at “Scientists Just Found Half of the Missing Matter in Our Universe; Google’s Internet -Beaming Balloons will soon be floating over Puerto Rico; Tesla’s Elon Musk will be donating his batteries in Puerto Rico.”Researchers Find “Executioner Protein” That Causes Cancer Cells to Self Destruct without hurting healthy cells”.
You know and even I know that we are missing half of all matter, in the Milky Way – in the spaces between actual objects. The matter is known to be there but we just can’t see it. Two teams of astronomers one team French and one team English determined that the missing matter can actually be found in the filaments of hot, diffuse gas linking galaxies. When leftover light from the Big Bang passes through a hot gas it can be captured. A map of this effect was produced by the Planck Satellite. Each group was able to find definitive evidence that the gas between galaxies was dense enough to form filaments.
Futurism Dan Galeon October 9th, 2017
PROJECT LOON TO THE RESCUE:
Google has obtained temporary licenses from the FCC (thru April 2018) to deploy 2 helium balloons for the purpose of beaming emergency LTE internet over the islands of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The balloons float at 65,000 feet and send 160 GB of data. They cover an area about the size of Sweden and the data is comparable to receive around 30 million WhatsApp messages or 2 million emails.
This is not the first time Google has deployed its Project Loon, helium LTE Coverage providers in the wake of a disaster. The balloons have worked in Peru, France, Brazil, New Zealand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
Futurism Karia Lant October 8th, 2017
EXECUTIONER PROTEIN CAUSES CANCER CELLS TO SELF -DESTRUCT WITHOUT HURTING HEALTHY CELLS
Albert Einstein College of Medicine scientists have induced cancer cells to commit suicide with a new compound that leaves healthy cells untouched.
These scientists deployed their novel approach against acute myeloid leukemia (AML)cells (this cancer kills more than 10,000 Americans and makes up about 1/3 of all new cases of leukemia each year). The new compound fights cancer by triggering apoptosis: a natural process the body uses to get rid of malfunctioning and unwanted cells. Some other existing cancer treatments induce apoptosis indirectly by damaging the DNA in cancer cells.
The ‘executioner’ protein is BAX. This process seems like a ‘eureka’ moment to me but let’s look deeper.
In 2008, Dr. Gavathiotis was part of a team that first described BAX’s activation site’s shape and structure. Since that time (almost 10 years) he has been searching for small molecules to activate BAX and produce sufficient activity to overpower the natural resistance cancer cells mount to apoptosis. Pronounced: ( a-pəp-ˈtō-ˌsēz,).
His team screened more than one million compounds and narrowed the field to 500, many of them synthesized by the team, and then evaluated them. The technical jargon follows but hopefully I distilled it close enough to be correct. I just have trouble imagining spending 10 years in the pursuit of something you think works but you have to prove it first. Ten years. How many dollars? How do you fight for dollars for projects like this?
Futurism Karia Lant October 9, 2017
Creating Hydrogen Fuel from Water
Hydrogen fuel has been difficult and cost-intensive to produce, along with being extremely toxic to the environment).
Enter the University of Central Florida (UCF).
Current political machinations aside fossil fuels are on the way out. UCF researcher and assistant professor Yang Yang has developed a breakthrough hybrid nanomaterial that uses the power of an existing green source, solar energy, to turn seawater into hydrogen fuel.
Another overnight miracle that was ten years in the making. Scientists have been working for years to split solar hydrogen.
The current state of hydrogen fuel is well known. It almost doubles the fuel economy of traditional gasoline and but is also considerably more expensive to process.
In addition, there is no infrastructure to distribute the fuel. The current process also uses natural gas which is nonrenewable. Hopefully, politicians will not muck up the likelihood that, due to Hurricane Irma, Florida will be able to use the plentiful seawater and federal funds to bolster the new economy with this new research. Imagine having to replace gas stations with gas stations. We need to be looking at replacing gas stations with hydrogen stations.
Mercedes Benz unveiled a production-ready SUV at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 2017. Toyota and Honda are also moving fast in getting this new hydrogen fuel to market. Next year will be another fascinating one. Electric vehicles were just able to gain a foothold and already they are being replaced with cheaper fuel alternatives.
Futurism Chelsea Gold October 5th, 2017
FUTURISM – A LOOK FORWARD BACKWARDLY
Remember when the US built the first C5 Galaxy supercargo lifter? Remember US’s first man in space? Remember the first moon launch? Let’s reminisce for a moment, for just a moment though because China is handing us our lunch. The Chinese are building solid fuel rocket launchers. The Chinese have positioned freighters (as in ships) along the Equator. Why? To launch rockets! Cheaper, less fuel used, more smarter. They read everything we did and everything Russia did and are doing it bigger, faster, cheaper. Russian cosmonauts and American astronauts in the Space Station. Now Russia and China are swimming together. We don’t have the will or the resources or the smart enough politicians to move us forward. China is going to spring ahead while we fall back.The solid fuel rockets are being developed by The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALVT). They have a military transport capable of carrying the Long March 11 rocket which weighs 120,000 pounds. ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY THOUSAND POUNDS? How big is the airplane? The Y20 has a max payload of 132,000 lbs. The rocket is merely 120,000 pounds. But never fear, the CALVT is working on a bigger rocket.
Greater payloads, less fuel being used. They can increase the frequency of flights and thus improve the learning curve.
Futurism Kyree Leary October 4th, 2017
WHO IS SMARTER GOOGLE AI or A FIRST GRADER?
Google’s Artificial Intelligence is outperforming Apple’s Siri. (Say it ain’t so Joe). Google’s AI is rated as having an IQ of 47.28. A six-year-old child has an IQ averaging around 55.5. An average 18-year-old averages 97. China’s search engine Baidu had a score of 32.92, Microsoft’s Bing measured 31.98 and Siri scored 23.94 – less than half of Google’s AI. But looking backwardly, in 2014 Google’s DeepMind rated 26.5, Microsoft’s had a 13.5. This means that in two years both have increased significantly. So, are we going to fall on the sword of AI? That is the prediction by Elon Musk regarding AI. Still too early to tell. Applications are now developing imagination and a sense of surroundings.
In fact, all the biggest
, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella have both shifted resources to speed up development. Because both know that Amazon came out with 6 new models of Alexa a few months ago and now they have to catch up. While smartphones are ever increasing in their intelligence, I would watch for an ever stronger force developing with the artificially intelligent secretary and soon the artificially intelligent baby. Won’t mother’s just love that. She will have to be what? SUPER MOM! No doubt.
We didn’t even talk about how the movies of tomorrow will watch you; how Google’s new in-ear earbuds can translate 40 languages instantly,