Paid Maternity Leave and Health Insurance

The table shows the value placed on mothers and families.  Every county on the list has universal healthcare of one kind or another and paid maternity leave, except the United States of America. The U.S.A. tells its nursing mothers, get pregnant at your own risk. The country really doesn’t care if you have medical insurance or need any money to live while you have a newborn.  Why?

Country Weeks of paid maternity leave
Iceland 105.6
Sweden 48
Norway 36
United Kingdom 35.1
Estonia 20
Lithuania 18
Portugal 17
Czech Republic 16.8
Austria 16
Latvia 16
Italy 16
Luxembourg 16
Netherlands 16
Spain 16
Germany 14
Finland 12.6
Belgium 12.3
Switzerland 11.2
Canada 9.35
United States 0

Source: Save the Children (pdf)

Education Today Is Not What it Use To Be.

I received this as an email from one of the supervisors at work. It was sent by an employee to their supervisor and coworkers following said employee’s resignation.

I have edited this email to remove any reference that would identify the author and place of business.

Subject: A positive Bid Farewell…(edit)..

Ensuing greater than six years of excitement to bestow this memorable stint, I bid a positive adieu.

Good Morning….(edit)…,

I am enchanted regretfully, to further my professional career … (edited). My Tenure as an …(edit)…will flux on (date edited) at 5:PM EST.

Executing parallel-bonded relationships deemed infectious, expelling a higher level of professionalism, pride, and commitment. This motivation increases independence and persistence through aiding in the advancement of my professional career. We strive to remain sociable and optimistic in our pursuits to comply and exceed expectations, while savagely harnessed to the pressures of life. We must remain innovative and enthusiastic; thickening our comprehension, until we are all established as intricate instruments of our selected crafts.

Remain diverse and engage in challenges, for each day presents another born opportunity.

Please accept this tribute for assisting in my quest of knowledge enhancement and professional career advancement. Rest humbly assured, l am immensely obliged.

“The day we stop working towards more, Is the day we all begin to receive less.”

Charlie Hebdo Cartoons and Traditional Media, A Hobson’s Choice?

The traditional news organizations that decided not the publish the cartoons must have reporters and other assets based in Muslim countries.  They must be trying to protect them from revenge attacks because of varying degrees of intolerance demonstrated in the past.  The intolerance seems to be bolstered by the “blue” laws on blasphemy, which are enforced using draconian measures in many of the countries. The decision not to publish could be interpreted as the organizations being held hostage by their unprotected, vulnerable assets being open to attack.

Protect free speech and the right to publish or protect assets in place and keep the ability to report the news, a Hobson’s choice.

A link to an article on this subject. https://gigaom.com/2015/01/08/online-outlets-showed-hebdo-images-but-offline-media-didnt-why/

Google, Privacy and Their Real Product

It is in Googles best interest to minimize an individual’s privacy. The objective of the company is to get enough information to serve you with ad-words tailored to your interests and demographic. This is allows the company to develop a method to segment a market to get the most bang out of an advertisers buck. For Google, the the product is not gmail, Android, Google Docs, Google Analytics or any other service they give away to sell for a nominal amount. The product Google produces is information about the people who use the various Google services.

What are you giving up when you use using Google services? The question was answered when they activated Google + and eventually making everyone use the service. To make Google + effective in gathering information on a typical Google user, Google started by banning pseudonyms and other methods of obscuring your identity. This was the method to ensure that they had real identities. When they tied search, mail, docs, YouTube, etc. to Google +, they now have a method to obtain an accurate picture of each user. By combing the pseudonyms once used for each Google service, Google now has a single user sign on tied to an identity of Google +.

Google services on Android track your location, sending the information back to Google. Combine this with Google scanning your email, documents on Google drive, YouTube posts and search queries for key words, you will see that they get a complete picture of where you go, what your interests are, income and other demographic information. Their apps on Android, IOS and the Chrome browser are reporting to Google HQ. The product is information, information about you! Privacy really screws this business model.

By redefining privacy, Google is doing its best to keep its business’s model off the politicians radar. They have not fully succeeded in Europe, but they seem to be getting some traction here. Most of the press does not pursue this angle about Google. An exception was when New York Time did a story in February 2014 on Google +, “The Plus in Google Plus? It’s Mostly for Google”. The tech press give the impression that Google can do no wrong.

Then there is Google’s chief internet evangelist, Vint Cerf, who is credited as one of the founders of the internet. He has been reported as saying; the industrial revolution and the growth of urban concentrations, created a sense of privacy, but that that privacy may actually be an anomaly. He went on to say; “In a town of 3,000 people there is no privacy. Everybody knows what everybody is doing,”. This is one of the most disingenuous statements concerning privacy. In a small town it may be true that everyone knows what everyone is doing, but they also know who is doing the asking and will also find out why they are asking. This is the check on outsiders trying to find out about an individual because the questioner becomes a subject of interest. Also, all information before, during and post the industrial revolution was on paper kept in the originating town or city. To do research before the Information Age and the ubiquity of databases on computers running the World Wide Web, you had to travel to the town or city that originated the documents. You also had to talk to people to get a sense of the person you were researching. This involved a lot of work and the work needed to assemble information on an individual afforded privacy. This obstacle to destroying privacy was not breached until all documents and vital statistics were stored electronically in easily accessible databases. This coupled with the rise of the World Wide Web connecting the databases removed the work it took to compile a profile of an individual.

The primary architect of developing the ability to catalogue and search the web efficiently was Google. To fund search, Google used user information gleaned from search activity to sell advertisements. The information gathered has evolved over time to what we have today. It is now not limited to Google. There is Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, all internet service providers, governments, etc. The end result is a complete depreciation of privacy, with large internet companies trying to convince their users that they need not be concerned about privacy because nothing was private to begin with.

The Morality of Dishonesty

I received this story in an email and in a perverse way the joke reveals some useful observations. The only changes were a few edits. The observations in italics are from the originator or a subsequent editor, whoever they may be.

Enjoy, this is amusing.

A few years ago robbers entered a bank in a small town. One of them shouted: “Don’t move! The money belongs to the bank. Your lives belong to you.”
Immediately, all the people in the bank lay on the floor quietly, without panic.

This is an example of how the correct wording of a sentence can make everyone change their view of the world.

One woman lay on the floor in a provocative manner. The robber approached her saying, “Ma’am, this is a robbery not a rape. Please behave accordingly.”

This is an example of how to behave professionally, and focus on the goal.

When the robbers were running from the bank, the youngest robber (who had a college degree) said to the oldest robber (who had barely finished elementary school): “Hey, maybe we should count how much we stole.”

The older man replied: “Don’t be stupid. It’s a lot of money so let’s wait for the news on TV to find out how much money was taken from the bank.”

This is an example of how life experience is more important than a degree.

After the robbery, the manager of the bank said to his accountant: “Let’s call the cops and tell them how much has been stolen.”

“Wait,” said the Accountant, “before we do that, let’s add the $800,000 we took for ourselves a few months ago and just say that it was stolen as part of today’s robbery.”

This is an example of taking advantage of an opportunity.

The following day it was reported in the news that the bank lost $3 million in the robbery. The robbers counted the money and found only $1 million, so they started to grumble.

“We risked our lives for $1 million, while the bank’s management embezzled $2 million and blamed the loss on the robbery? Maybe its better to learn how to work the system, instead of being a simple robber.”

This is an example of how knowledge can be more useful than power.

Moral: Give a person a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a person a bank, and he can rob everyone.

NRA’s Daft Stand on Shootings

After the tragic school shooting in Connecticut, the NRA kept quiet for a few days. Then NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre asked the following questions in public.

“But what if the gunman, Adam Lanza, had been confronted by a trained security guard?
“Will you at least admit it’s possible that 26 innocent lives might have been spared?”
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,”

When this is taken to its logical conclusion, good guys with guns would have to be assigned to every place where there could be a mass shooting. How many armed good guys would be needed?

What fantasy world are they living in!

A Method to Lose Weight, Avoid the Food Orgy of Extra Large Servings

This method worked for me. Thirty pounds and counting. Every person is unique, with their own goals and aspirations. The trick to this method is to record everything and make sure that the calories you consume are greater than the the calories used to live. It is a simple method based on mathematics and how the body uses food as energy.

We are surrounded with food, wine, deserts to-die-for and succulent snacks that smell and taste good. The portions are huge, we get our money’s worth. Food is cheap, abundant and available anywhere, at anytime, in any quantity. The television has lots of food advertisements, two channels dedicated to food and how to prepare it. Celebrity chefs everywhere telling us to eat and revel in the abundant food.

We are bombarded by advertisements for weight loss programs, books on how to lose weight and the latest fad diet with lots of mumbo jumbo about no carbs, drink grapefruit juice, eat our prepared meals (Jenny Craig is one of many), buy our specially formulated food, drink juices, cleanse, and the list goes on and on. What the purveyors of these products and services do not tell you is that the basic premise underlying all their programs is; reduce your calorie intake, expend more calories than you consume. What they are trying to do is the same thing you can do on your own without spending a small fortune on special foods, counseling and whatever else they offer in services.

Every diet and fad to loose weight goes back to; the calories eaten must be less than the calories used. That is all, nothing else. It is not hard to do and there is no diet, just informed choices.

This is the method I used. It works. Between January 23rd and May 12th I have lost 30 pounds. I went form 200 to 170. It works. The method is a food diary where you record everything you eat.

I found a site called Lose It. http://loseit.com/. It is a is a food diary. I use it to record everything I ate. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and all tastes. Why? Everything you put in your mouth has calories. Some items have so little they are listed with zero calories, but most have some calories. Would you believe that a quarter cup of chopped onions has 16 calories. Every calorie counts.

I recorded everything. I looked at food labels and made some buying decision based on the calorie information printed. An example, bacon, I stopped buying regular bacon, 80 calories for two slices. I started buying Canadian bacon, 3 slices, 60 calories. That is 20 calories not eaten. When buying bread I got whole wheat. Whole wheat is supposed to take longer to digest than white bread and should you feel full longer. Also, watch the calorie count per slice. Stay away from the 100 or more calorie per slice whole grain breads. The higher calorie count means the slices are bigger than normal. I also checked the sugar content of foods. The lower the better, no added sugar is best and definitely NO HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, corn sugar or artificial sweeteners. Who needs the extra chemicals. Refined flour and white sugar should be avoided if you can. (It is not really necessary.) These are easily digested, leaving you feeling hungry in a much short period of time compared to whole grains. I noticed this when I had cereal for breakfast, I was hungry and ready for a snack by 10:30 am. When had eggs, Canadian bacon and whole wheat toast, I did not feel hungry until about 12:30 pm. Just in time for lunch.

Drink water. Many people mistake thirst for hunger. Also do not snack when you are bored. Go do something, take a walk clean the house, just do something to take your mind off of snacking. Hunger gets worse, it does not go away. Cravings and the munchies fade away when you are active.

When you are limiting your calories, keep in mind the recommendations on nutrition. The web sites where you log your meals will provide the nutritional breakdown for everything you eat. If you have to create a custom food, make sure to record all the information and not just the calories. This will help when you have to analyze what you are eating when you hit a plateau and the weight loss stops.

You will hit the plateau, some sooner than others and some more than once. A plateau may be the result of your body thinking that it is starving or facing a food shortage. At this point it will hold on to every bit of fat until it is convinced otherwise. Increase your calorie intake for a few days. Go over the recommended daily calorie intake, then go back to it. The pounds should start to disappear.

Weight loss does not happen overnight. It takes time, usually months. Lean about a balanced diet that provided the nutrition your body needs. Cook, this way you know how many calories are in the meals you prepare instead of guessing what the restaurant does. When you eat out, look for places that publish the calories in their dishes, or look up the estimated calories on what you plan to order before you go to the restaurant. This takes a little planning but it can be done. Most restaurants pack extra unnecessary calories into their food. The dishes have too much oil, some have cheese, sauces thickened with flour, corn starch, cream, butter and who knows what other high calories additions.

Also, there will be days where you have no control over what you have available to eat and as a result you go over the recommended calories for the day. Treat it as a necessary over day and enjoy yourself. Live is just for living and not suffering just to loose weight. So the weight loss takes a little longer, so what, live, have fun.

Recommended nutrition parameters lifted from the Livestrong web site.

A healthy diet should get 45 to 65 percent of its calories from carbohydrates, and contain 21 to 38 grams of fiber.

For heart health, limit your intake of dietary cholesterol to less than 300 milligrams a day.

Your daily protein needs vary, depending on your gender, age, weight and activity level. In general, most healthy adults need 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For example, an adult weighing 150 pounds needs about 55 grams of protein a day.

A high-sodium diet may increase your risk of developing high blood pressure. To reduce your risk, daily sodium intake should range from 1,500 to 2,300 milligrams a day.

My goal is to get my BMI down to between 18 and 20,which according to some, is the ideal for someone my height. I have read about another method of measuring recommended weight. It is a ratio; waist measurement should be less than 1/2 your height. It is not finalized and still under discussion according an article I read and can no longer find to reference.

This method has worked for me. I am no longer fat and all the indicators the doctors look at have returned to the extremely normal range. I feel great and the long term goal is, never return to an overweight state. A side effect of my weight loss is, many people in my office have noticed and some of them have started using a food diary. Many asked what was my diet and my answer; none, no diet, just eat less calories than you burn and you will loose weight. No conditions, exceptions, no mumbo jumbo or special conditions.

The end result for me. I have to go out and replace my wardrobe with clothes that fit. I just love shopping.