What Hurts Us Does Make Us Stronger… IT Too

first_imgIt’s funny how chance meetings can impact our lives… change our perspectives.Three specific occasions immediately come to my mind.The first occurred, of all places, on a cruise ship to Alaska. My wife and I were playing cards in one of the lounges when in comes a large group of service men and women—all ages and nationalities. As it turns out, there was a veterans meeting taking place. We hung around to listen. People literally from both sides of the conflicts in Afghanistan to Hiroshima to Hamburger Hill.The selfless explanation of the heroic acts these men and women carried out under such extreme circumstances made me feel superfluous…The second happened about a year ago.By chance, I learned that the Sacramento Chapter of an EMC Affinity Group was hosting the Tuskegee Airmen. I had seen films about this group so I was familiar with their story and excited to meet them.But what I heard that day I wasn’t prepared for.At dinner, I sat next to Airman Lenny Yates, who regaled stories not of heroism but of overcoming adversity and ‘just doing what he thought was right.’ Powerful words by any account, but by a teenage boy… wow. Sadly, Lenny passed away a short while after our visit, but this chance meeting will go down as one of my most cherished moments.The third occasion happened just a few weeks ago.I was in New York and was asked to attend a panel of IT professionals to talk through their experiences with Hurricane Sandy, one year later.To be honest, like most of you, I had read the news and watched on television the devastation this storm inflicted on the people of NY and NJ, but at the risk of sounding trite, once again, I wasn’t prepared for the first-hand stories I heard.Off-camera discussions about how 9/11 had helped prepare them for this tragedy; stories of how in the midst of their own personal strife, many of them had to leave their own families and work around the clock for days sleeping in conference rooms, of engineers working out of cars using cigarette lighter jacks for power, and of how one engineer even set up a war room in his house for the local team as he was the only one with a generator.Like the first two chance encounters, as I listened to the stories of the devastation and the backstories of their own personal situations, I found it impossible to logically assimilate what had happened.What really struck home wasn’t the technology or the strategic readiness, but the great lengths that people went to in order to ‘save the day.’I live on the West Coast, if ‘the big one’ (meaning an earthquake) hits and my family is in trouble, would I emotionally be able to handle the juxtaposition of my own personal situation and my job? Would you?I didn’t live through Hurricane Sandy, or Tuskegee, or Afghanistan, Hiroshima or Hamburger Hill, but I can say that I was truly humbled by the stories I heard from those who did.***You can read the article that accompanies the on-camera discussions of the Hurricane Sandy panel by clicking here. I hope you find the output of the meeting somewhat instructive from a disaster-preparedness perspective.last_img read more

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Baker’s Half Dozen — Episode 11

first_imgIf you’ve got questions about this episode, or a question you’d like Matt to answer in the next episode, comment below or tweet Matt using #BakersHalfDozen.We’re coming in hot! AI predictions, fire, electricity, 99 smartphones & busted keyboards!Episode 11 Show Notes: Item 1: Can A.I. Predict Psychopaths?Item 2: Is A.I. more impactful than fire?Item 3: 99 Smartphones in a wagonItem 4: Cloud repatriation pollItem 5: Why Kubernetes?Item 6: What happens when you press play?Item 6.5: Busted Keyboards!last_img

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Golden Globes Honor Frozen and Bryan Cranston; Snub August: Osage County

first_imgIce queens, lovesick princesses, mountain men, reindeer and talking snowmen were all the rage in Tinseltown when Disney’s Frozen took home the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film when the 71st annual awards were presented in Hollywood on January 12. The box office smash, which features the voices of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad and Santino Fontana, and a score by The Book of Mormon’s Robert Lopez, beat out The Croods and Despicable Me 2 to win the prize. Other big winners of the night were 12 Years a Slave (Best Motion Picture – Drama), Breaking Bad (Best Television Series – Drama), Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy) and Behind the Candelabra (Best TV Movie or Mini-Series). The big screen adaptation of Tracy Letts’ Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece August: Osage County left empty-handed. David O’Russell’s American Hustle beat out August in the category of Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical. View Comments Among the stage veterans who took home awards on the big night were Amy Adams (American Hustle), Elisabeth Moss (Top of the Lake) and Jon Voight (Ray Donovan). In addition, Bryan Cranston, who will make his highly-anticipated Broadway debut as LBJ in All the Way, surprised no one when he won Best Actor in a TV Series – Drama for his role as Walter White in the final season of AMC’s Breaking Bad. Woody Allen, whose stage adapation of Bullets Over Broadway is heading to the Great White Way this season, received the Lifetime Achievement award. Star Files Bryan Cranstonlast_img read more

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Diálogo Magazine: Interview with Frank Abrego, director-general of the National Border Service (SENAFRONT)

first_imgBy Dialogo October 28, 2010 9. Panama is a transit point for illicit trafficking, and narcotics trafficking in particular, and there is growing concern that Panama is also turning into a market for the consumption of illicit drugs. What can you comment on this? 2. Has the security environment in Panama improved or deteriorated during the last year? Very conservatively, we can say that at present the rapprochement of these narco-terrorist groups (ONT-FARC) with the border communities is latent; nevertheless, we cannot rule out the possibility that there are some collaborators who maintain this dependency, which in many cases results in an involuntary commitment on the community’s part. SENAFRONT, following the policy of the national government, carries out a variety of programs, such as proactive land and river interdiction operations, in addition to rapprochement and aid operations, together with the educational and health systems, and operations to negate attempts at control and mass mobilization, all tending to counteract the influence and objectives of these criminals, working intensely to reorient and reinforce the population’s social responsibility. 6. What have the results of this program been since it began? What more ought to be done to improve the results obtained by this program up to the present? Complying with state policies on security matters is what really guarantees democratic security throughout the national territory. Our institution adds dynamism to each action directed toward bringing social peace and development to all the border communities and establishing them in those communities. Increasing coordination with the competent authorities, with the aim of increasing legitimacy and bringing the direct transgressors and their collaborators before the courts. Strengthening our border commissions with neighboring countries, with the aim of reinforcing actions to exchange information about these transnational organized-crime organizations. Increasing interaction with civil society, with the aim of achieving territorial cohesion between the state and our remotest communities. 7. Are there reports that FARC insurgents in Panama are violating human rights? 4. How extensive is FARC infiltration in these regions? 8. What is SENAFRONT doing with respect to this issue? Could you elaborate on the kinds of human-rights abuses committed? 10. What measures are being implemented to combat this threat to the local population? 1. In your opinion, what are the greatest security threats for Panama at present? The results are reflected in the progress that can be observed in the different communities of the province of El Darién, the Kuna Yala Districts, Bocas del Toro, and Chiriquí; on the other hand, the perception of tranquility in the remotest towns or those with most difficult access in these provinces is constantly increasing; finally, our units’ level of commitment to the tasks being pursued has been our chief motivation. We urge all inhabitants to become aware of the government’s intention to fully protect its borders by means of SENAFRONT. The only thing left to do is to firmly root the principle of our sovereignty and the continuation of all the preventive-security, interdiction, and citizen-support operations. 3. What specific measures have been implemented to combat illicit trafficking in Panama, and above all, in the region of El Darién and San Blas? With reference to the narcotics trafficking present in our area, we can say:  We have a new institutional strategy, based on changing from the dynamic of fixed positions to highly mobile units, something that brings with it the strengthening of preventive and repressive actions against transnational criminal organizations, with improvement in human resources, training, equipment, and cutting-edge technology.  We have increased our footprint in areas where these groups meddle in Panama’s border zone with Colombia and Costa Rica, consolidating our areas of interest through more frequent land and maritime patrols, reinforcing commitment to the mission in our units with democratic security.  We have effectively linked our operations with the government’s message of humanitarian and social support for the communities of difficult access situated all along our border, limiting the vulnerability of these communities to an illegal economy.  We are working on reengineering our interdiction team and improving our units’ working conditions, for the purpose of increasing their capability and professionalism. 5. What other measures are being taken to counteract this threat? In security matters, for the Panamanian state, the greatest threats we are currently facing are groups and activities related to narco-terrorism and transnational organized crime, such as homicide, drug trafficking, arms trafficking, gangs, and kidnapping, among others. This negative influence on the country is the result of the presence of criminal groups linked to narco-terrorist organizations, the actions of which generate degrees of violence that are imitated by our common criminals, creating an environment and climate of instability in our society.  Panama is effectively a transit country, which makes us a vulnerable territory for these activities, since we have a border with our brother country Colombia. It is a fact that these criminal organizations navigate along and use our coasts for rear-guard and logistics actions, making it easier for them to cover up the movement of these vessels, the majority of which are ultimately headed for North America. On the other hand, we are not ruling out the possibility that a portion of these substances remains in our territory for local consumption, used as part of the payment for these groups’ collaborators, who subsequently become distributors. Nevertheless, the government’s strategy is directed toward creating barriers that can reduce attempts at this supply and deny its utilization to those organized-crime and narco-terrorist organizations, through the actions of the National Border Service.  We’re increasing and specializing our personnel in counterterrorism issues and international humanitarian law, with the help of the International Red Cross, to educate the civilian population in order to create awareness in this regard and the non-collaboration they could engage in with these transnational criminal organizations. Our understanding is that the chief humanitarian right violated by these groups is the recruitment of minors for illicit activities and human trafficking. Considering that narco-terrorism is the chief patron and motivator of criminal actions, we can issue a favorable judgment on the issue of security; the actions SENAFRONT is pursuing on our borders have minimized the flow of substances toward our cities, contributing to a progressive improvement of security in the country. It’s our responsibility to sustain these operations in order to guarantee a climate of tranquility for our citizens, on both our western border (Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro) and our eastern border in the province of Darién and the indigenous districts; this is all reflected in an increase in the perception of acceptance by the inhabitants, in state and private investment, and in the stability of these provinces, due to governmental encouragement and community support. Speaking of this group as such would be to give these narco-terrorists a recognition they do not deserve. I can inform you that these lawbreakers have been violating a great number of laws, not only those related to international humanitarian law. Let’s remember that merely their illegal presence in our country is a violation of our immigration regulations; let’s add to that carrying weapons of war, drug trafficking, criminal conspiracy; and let’s not overlook the crime they incite, which is the collaboration they receive from our nationals, in many cases using minors, inciting them to infringe parts of our criminal law in supporting the intentions of these narco-terrorist groups.  Increasing patrols and operations, implementing preventive measures directed at the population, greater flow of information for intelligence work.  Specializing all our personnel in all the topics that have to do with this plague.  Carrying out more and better coordination with the authorities, with the aim of covering this problem better.last_img read more

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LIRR Derailment: Work Train Impeded Passenger’s Train Space, Officials Say

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The morning after a frightening crash that caused a Long Island Rail Road train carrying 600 passengers to derail Saturday evening, officials took a moment to breathe a sigh of relief that most people escaped without any serious injuries. “When you look at the actual damage to this situation, this silver lining is we’re fortunate that more people weren’t seriously hurt,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday morning after surveying the wreckage. “The damage to the train cars is extensive and we have had a number of injuries, but frankly, that we didn’t lose any lives is something to be thankful for.” In total, 33 people were injured, 26 of whom were passengers, officials said. Four of the injuries were classified as serious. One passenger suffered broken bones and was forced to undergo surgery. Although the crash is currently under investigation, officials were able to shed more clarity on the crash, which occurred just after 9 p.m. in New Hyde Park. Cuomo said the passenger train and a work train were running in the same direction when they sideswiped each other, causing three of the passenger train’s cars to careen off the tracks. The passenger train “was where it was supposed to be,” officials said, adding that the work train appeared to have intruded on the other train’s path. MTA Chairman Thomas F. Prendergast said the work train was being used for maintenance on an inoperable track.“One of the last steps is that piece of equipment going back and forth and I think they had completed and they were going to make a move east with all of the work equipment and clear up,” he said. “Why it ended up where it did…that’s what we need to find out in the investigation.”The work of ascertaining how it came to be that the work train apparently impeded the passenger train will be left to the National Transportation Safety Board, the agency responsible for investigating transportation-related incidents. Crews work to clean up site of LIRR derailment on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016 in New Hyde Park. (Photo credit: New York Governor’s office)Cuomo urged everyone to exercise caution and let investigators examine the crash site before drawing any conclusions. “Once we have the facts from NTSB, anything the LIRR can learn from the incident, we will learn,” the governor said. Cuomo was effusive in his praise for first responders considering they were working under darkness and were at a disadvantage because the track was sitting on a steep hill. He said crews will focus on removing the debris and the damaged trains with the hope of getting the train back in service. With Monday being Columbus Day, the railroad is expecting lighter ridership, which could help relieve the stress of the painstaking work ahead, officials acknowledged. Cuomo said additional state resources have been ordered to assist the LIRR. “If we have to work all day and all night long, we will because we want to make sure tomorrow’s commute is as normal and as easy as possible,” Cuomo said.Service remained suspended on the LIRR’s Oyster Bay branch due to the crash. The railroad released the following instructions to customers using its service:Huntington/Port Jefferson BranchPort Jefferson – Hicksville CustomersThe LIRR has established limited alternate service to/from stations Hicksville through Port Jefferson with a diesel shuttle train that will operate between Hicksville and Babylon, then train transfers at Hicksville to/from Huntington and points east.Westbound customers will take a westbound train to Hicksville. There, they will board a diesel train to Babylon, which will travel along the ‘Central Branch.’ At Babylon, transfer to a westbound train to New York.Eastbound customers should take an eastbound train to Babylon. There, they will board a diesel train to Hicksville, which will travel along the ‘Central Branch.’ At Hicksville, transfer to an eastbound train to Huntington and points east.To avoid delays, customers are advised to use the Montauk or Babylon BranchesWestbury – New Hyde Park CustomersThe LIRR is providing limited bus service between Jamaica and the New Hyde Park, Merillon Avenue, Mineola, Carle Place & Westbury Stations.Westbound customers will take a westbound bus to Jamaica, then transfer to trains for service to points west.Eastbound customers should take an eastbound train to Jamaica. There, they transfer to a bus for service to New Hyde Park, Merillon Ave., Mineola, Carle Place & Westbury.To avoid busing and delays, customers are advised to use the Hempstead Branch. (Featured photo credit: New York Governor’s office)last_img read more

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World Cup Commission report gathering dust three months after completion

first_imgSome senior sports journalists in the country are questioning why the Presidency has failed to receive the report by the Dzamefe Commission which probed Ghana’s poor performance in the World Cup, three months after it wrapped up its work.“I do not see any justification in the delay….my information is that they are waiting for the presidency to give them a date for the presentation of the report,” ace sports commentator Kwabena Yeboah told Joy Sports.The three member commission was set up in August 2014 and interviewed over 80 witnesses, including Ghana Football Association boss Kwesi Nyantakyi as well as former Sports minister Elvis Afriyie Ankrah.Officials of the Commission have told JOY NEWS the report has been ready since December last year for submission to the Presidency.According to Kwabena Yeboah, changes at the Presidency during the last months hampered plans to present the report. The President sacked his Chief of Staff Prosper Bani and deputy Valerie Sawyer.This, he says, may have created some instability at the presidency. “There is so much public interest in what the report contains,” he underlined.Many suspect the report will open a can of worms on the operations of the Sports Ministry and the involvement of politicians in the horrendous Black Stars campaign in Brazil last June.Sports journalist Christopher Opoku doubts government’s seriousness in dealing with the report.He mentions that although government funding the transportation of supporters to tournaments has been discouraged during the Commission hearing, government allegedly flew supporters to Equatorial Guinea in January during the AFCON tournament.“Every government is a huge PR institution,” he said, suggesting there may be attempts to cover up the findings of the World Cup Commission. –last_img read more

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