Prepare for the big events by practicing on the little events.


Some people try to avoid making mistakes by paying close attention to what’s going on, and while events are developing to do the right thing. That is okay if they are prepared with the right responses to those kinds of situations. If they haven’t prepared responses and developed habits to respond with, they have to think. The problem with thinking is that it is too slow when in the flow of situations.

When you slip on ice you don’t think about anything, your body reacts instantly to prevent you from falling, or if falling to make instant adjustments to catch yourself. Those are normal bodily reflexes, but well cultivated habits can be nearly as fast and they can be learned to fit more varied and complex situations than simple reflexes. The way to be quick at proper responses is to practice them; musicians and athletes practice all the time, and that is why they are able to do the right thing quickly and make it look natural. But, it takes practice. People just don’t play the violin with natural talent, it takes practice.

You don’t have to be getting ready for a concert to become good at something, and probably everyone could improve their daily tasks by practicing them in an intentional way.

 Prepare for the big events by practicing on the little events.


How many days for Ebola to become symptomatic and infective?


, , , , , ,

This chart presents an estimate for how long it takes Ebola to become symptomatic, given various levels of the number of viruses entering the body. The virus’s doubling time is about eighteen hours, and at that rate it takes about thirteen days before the first fever strikes. A person infected with a large number of viruses, because they touched some virus-laden bodily fluids and then touched their own eyes, nose, mouth or open skin irritation, would display symptoms in only four days.

Until a person is displaying symptoms they are exuding few viruses, because the viruses only survive in a wet environment. However, when they are feverishly sweating, vomiting or having diarrhea they are exuding huge numbers of viruses in a wet environment where the viruses survive until dry. Even when their victim is dead their body is still being consumed by the viruses and is still exuding disease viruses. That is why the funeral practices where the survivors touch the body put them at great risk of contracting the disease.

Ebola chart for timing progression of symptoms and contagion

Time in days for Ebola to manifest serious symptoms and become infectious.

This chart demonstrates why it is necessary to track people who have been exposed to Ebola viruses. Even a single virus can cause the disease, but it takes many days before it manifests any symptoms. People who are working with sick patients should be tracked carefully, and the easiest way to do this is by issuing a cell phone and a thermometer to them and then phoning them a few times per day. They should be told when issued the cell phone that they will be treated for any disease they contract in the next thirty days free of charge. There will be people who contract some disease and fail to mention it, but when they can not answer their phone, or refuse to do so, a person can be sent to the cell phone’s location. This procedure should discover nearly all victims, and only costs the price of a cell phone and thermometer.

Ebola is a disease that can be totally eliminated from the human population, and usually it remains gone until it is reintroduced from some wild animal source. Since it has entered populated areas it has become more difficult to isolate, but that must be done. There isn’t much danger of it getting totally out of control in advanced countries with fully functioning health care systems, but in those densely populated areas with poor medical facilities there could be a massive outbreak. Any major city slum anywhere in the world is presently at risk, and so this disease must be eliminated quickly as possible. Until it is, a disaster is lurking for billions of people.

A good overview of Ebola is found at Up To Date.

TIME – Person of the Year 2014 – Popularity list



Below is TIME Magazine’s list of their candidates for Person of the Year 2014. They will announce their choice on December 10, 2014. Their choice appears to be based on whom they thought was the most newsworthy person of the previous months. Below is a popularity list created by a poll of public respondents. I have created links to Wikipedia where possible, and have added a comment based on 500-year memorability. See “Probaway Person of the Year” for my previous choices.

  1. Narendra Modi – 15th Prime Minister of India – Economic and population growth
  2. Vladimir Putin – 2nd and 4th President of Russia -
  3. Malala Yousafzai – Pakistan women’s rights activist – Nobel Peace Prize
  4. John Kerry – United States Secretary of State -
  5. Ebola Doctors and Nurses – Volunteers who fought the Ebola epidemic -
  6. Laverne Cox – American TV actor and LGBT activist -
  7. Elon Musk – Creator of SpaceX, PayPal, Tesla Motors, Hyperloop, Solar City -
  8. Ferguson Protestors – Public protest against the shooting of Michael Brown -
  9. Boko Haram Girls – 276 Nigerian school girls kidnapped for conversion -
  10. Pete Frates and Pat Quinn – Sponsor the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS awareness -
  11. Hillary Clinton – Potential President of the United States -
  12. Taylor Swift – American singer-songwriter -
  13. Tim Cook – CEO of Apple Inc. -
  14. Pope Francis – Head of the Catholic church -
  15. Barack Obama – 44th President of the United States -
  16. Jennifer Lawrence – American actress action heroine -
  17. Joko Widodo – President of Indonesia -
  18. Xi Jinping – President of China -
  19. Joshua Wong – Hong Kong student activist founder of Scholarism -
  20. Beyoncé – American singer and actress -
  21. Reed Hastings – CEO of Netflix board of Facebook -
  22. Bashar al-Assad – President of Syria since 2000 -
  23. Tom Frieden – Director of the US Center of Disease Control (CDC) -
  24. Dilma Rousseff – First female President of Brazil -
  25. Shondra Rhimes – American screenwriter, director and producer -
  26. Angela Merkel – Chancellor of Germany for 14 years -
  27. Jack Ma – Founded and Chairman of Alibaba. International B2B -
  28. Rand Paul – American Senator, Presidential hopeful -
  29. Jeff Bezos – Founder and CEO of Amazon -
  30. Rick Perry - Governor of Texas, Presidential hopeful -
  31. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi – President of Egypt -
  32. Benjamin Netanyahu – Prime Minister of Israel -
  33. John Oliver – Serious TV news commentary pitched as comedy -
  34. Travis Kalanick – File-sharing company Red Swoosh, and Uber
  35. Kanye West – American rapper, songwriter, fashion designer
  36. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – Caliph, of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)
  37. Elizabeth Warren – US Senator Mass – consumer protection advocate -
  38. Hassan Rouhani – President of Iran, and politically moderate -
  39. Christopher Nolan – Film director, screenwriter, procucer -
  40. Kim Kardashian – TV personality, socialite, fashion designer, model, actress -
  41. Janet Yellen –  Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System -
  42. Recep Tayyip Erdogan – President of Turkey -
  43. Thomas Piketty – author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century –
  44. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – Supreme Leader of Iran -
  45. Harvey Levin – Founder of celebrity gossip website TMZ -
  46. Mary Barra – the Chief Executive Officer of General Motors.
  47. Mitch McConnell - Senate Majority leader

This is a list of amazingly productive people, but when considered from a 500-year fame perspective, who begins to compare with Neil Armstrong? There were many heads of state, but in 500 years there will have been thousands of those, so a famous head for last year would have had to have done something spectacular. Competence isn’t enough for that level of memorability.

Elon Musk has created many amazing companies and is a contender for Probaway Person of the Year, but on that parameter Jack Ma’s company Alibaba was the shocker, although companies come and go and it is hard to imagine one lasting for 500 years. Xi Jinping took part in creating the most explosive economy in the history of humanity, and may be remembered as the founding father of a Chinese dynasty. Putin’s takeover of Crimea was bold and important, but in the long run isn’t memorable. The Ebola doctors and nurses are to be praised, but lasting fame will pass by any single individual. If fame comes to any from that epidemic it will be the 1st victim, two-year-old Emile Ouamouno.

Perhaps the most lasting event of this year will be the discovery of predicted effects of the first trillionth of a second existence of our Universe. It was predicted by Alan Guth decades ago in his expansion theory of the Big Bang. That seems even more memorable than the discovery of the Higgs boson, but not as important to the scientists. They are very close in time to the same event.

Quadcopter search and rescue system with multiple homebases


, , , , , ,

Quadcopters will soon be viewing highway accident scenes and other situations within minutes. It is technologically easy to manufacture complete standalone systems that would include the quadcopter and landing pads. Landing pads could be mounted on top of utility poles along highways and other convenient places. The landing pads would be data transfer sites and charging stations, which would be powered from grid power, batteries, or from a solar panel. On the permanent landing pads a lotus-like petal arrangement could close around the quadcopter to form a housing for protection. This container could have windows that would be aligned with the highway, or other site, for 24 hour monitoring. While at the landing pad the quadcopter could be recharged, and land-linked to a remote monitoring station, but at all times it can be cellphone linked.

When an emergency is reported, the quadcopter would be dispatched to fly automatically to the GPS location and circle it at an appropriate distance. At the dispatch station the videos could be monitored and the emergency access routes verified as clear. The navigation videos would be sent back to the home station and recorded for review, and high-definition videos and photos off-loaded back at the pad, or the best images off-loaded while returning.


From B & H DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Quadcopter

  • Camera with 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer
  • Takes 14MP Still and 1080p Video
  • Wi-Fi Downlink for Smartphones
  • iOS/Android App for Monitoring/Control
  • Up to 25 Minutes Flying Time
  • GPS-Based Autopilot with Return to Home
  • Intelligent Orientation Control (IOC)
  • Stationary Hover with GPS Attitude Mode
  • LED Indicators & Low Voltage Protection
  • Self-Tightening Prop Design

There are many alternatives available to extend the quadcopter’s on-site useful life, such as landing at the site and just using the camera and transmitter, occasionally popping up to a low altitude for a quick view and then landing, and turning off the motors. Also when responders arrived they could have recharging hookups, so the quadcopter could soon be airborne again on longer missions. The alternate recharging landing pads could be located anywhere there is easy access, and need be little more than a battery with an automatic hookup capability. These could be routinely stored in a police car or ambulance and deployed on site when needed. They would have a radio beacon and visual alignment pattern for the approach and landing.

Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 6


, , , , , ,

Epictetus (55-135 CE) Enchiridion
A manual for living a contented life
Rendered by Charles Scamahorn (1935- ) 2014

Paragraph 6

Don’t take personal pride in the fine qualities of another being. When a horse comports himself with the attitude of exuberance, he might think, “I feel good and beautiful.” Those are his qualities of the moment, and he has control of them, but you can only take a vicarious pleasure in his exuberance. When you feel, “I have a good and beautiful horse,” you are referring to your own emotions, over which you do have control, and not those of the horse over which you don’t. What is it that you own, but your personal inner responses? What is important for you to be aware of is how you are dealing with the appearances. It is when you are in accord with yourself and your way of dealing with external appearances of things you see, that you can be joyful because it is something that is within you and under your personal control.


Here Epictetus is making an example of a distinction between things we see outside of ourselves over which we have no direct control, and those within ourselves over which we do have immediate control. Those external things are manifestations of their being, and are not of our own; thus we may appreciate them for what they are, but we must be aware that they are what they are, and their essence is in their control of how they act.

Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 5


, , , ,

Epictetus (55-135 CE) Enchiridion
A manual for living a contented life
Rendered by Charles Scamahorn (1935- ) 2014

Paragraph 5

What diverts us from our daily life of equanimity isn’t life’s difficulties themselves, it’s our habitual responses to them. We need not respond even to death as a horrible thing; it is a natural and inevitable occurrence. Socrates demonstrated a Stoic’s response by being cheerful and even making jokes at his own execution. It is how we feel about things, even death, that might be horrible or beautiful. It is our feelings about things that matter, and that we have under our personal control; so why feel horrible when we can choose to feel cheerful? When we encounter difficulties that might bring unpleasant emotions to us, let us have cultivated the habits of responding to unexpected events with confident cheerfulness. There is no tranquility to be gained by being angry and blaming the world, or someone else, for a difficulty; our feelings are created by our own self, and we are in control of our feelings! An immature response to problems is to blame external things like other people; a more adult response is to take responsibility for whatever happens to our emotions; and a mature response is to not accuse anything or anyone including oneself, but to respond appropriately to situations and maintain personal equanimity.


In this paragraph Epictetus develops the how and why of the Stoic world view and the cultivation of responses to difficult situations that will result in short-term equanimity and long-term contentment. These are habits that can be learned, which requires having a goal and seeing a series of actions that will bring about the realization of that goal. The long-term goal is contentment with the world and oneself. We achieve contentment by cultivating responses to unexpected problems with equanimity; and we develop these habitual responses by our conscious actions toward situations we encounter in routine daily life.


What is worth saving? DNA, Life, Humanity, Civilization, anything?


, , , , , , ,

Saving DNA code, saving life itself, saving humanity, saving civilization, saving a sufficient amount of these things to maintain them and revivify them has been my goal. The EarthArk Project, The LifeHaven Project, Doomsday Recovery. Unfortunately the natural processes of life, often called Darwinian Evolution, are driving humans to exploit all of the resources available to them for their own use. Usually consuming resources enhances a species’ vitality and growth, but in present humanity’s case we have been so successful we have destroyed what supports our life form.

There are several ways humanity’s success has set itself, and most of the other species of the earth, on the brink of extinction. Some of these extinction events are quick, like the explosion of the Doomsday Arsenal now instantly available. Some are a little slower, like continuing human greenhouse emission, which may have already triggered unstoppable feedback cycles of global warming. The existing human population and its food requirements are already consuming the soil and water which creates the food, and when the soil is gone there will be no more food coming from that land. Similarly, pumping one time usage groundwater can’t be carried on for very long. For example, California, which produces twenty percent of America’s table food, is now in one of its naturally recurrent drought cycles, and the short-term response is to pump deep groundwater. The water pumped this time won’t be available for the next drought. Thus each following drought will be worse, until there is no more deep water, and only intermittent surface water and then no more food.

We are now feeding humanity with food created with one-time usage of coal, oil, and gas, and when they run out most food will vanish as well. Perhaps before that happens global warming will ruin the productivity of the current farms, but the point is these are one-time-use sources of food and they won’t last forever. One of the tipping points may have already have been passed and it won’t matter what we do. Watch this video – Arctic Death Spiral and the Methane Time Bomb –

Another bummer video is – Human Extinction by 2030. Guy McPherson, University of Arizona, author of Going Dark. McPherson concludes, “Only collapse of industrial civilization prevents runaway greenhouse. That’s the best hope for the other species. We have already fired the gun, the Gatling gun in our case, that leads to human extinction in the relatively near term. I don’t think that means we should give up on other species, however, and habitat for those other species. We have a moral imperative to ensure habitat for as many species as we possibly can, instead of driving some 200 species a day to extinction. I know that’s not what most people want to hear; they want to hear that we can maintain this way of life forever, or at least maintain a habitat for humans for an extended period of time, but as a conservation biologist I recognized a long time ago that humans, like other organisms, do go extinct. At the time I just didn’t realize that it would be occurring so rapidly and that I would live to see much of the die-off myself.”

Where is the tipping point to where a positive feedback will begin? No one knows, but methane is already percolating up in the warming Arctic. Methane’s tipping point may have already been passed, and it will take only a few years for its effects to be obvious. But once it is obvious to scientific measurement it will be far too late to do anything to stop it, and when it is obvious locally to ordinary people the crops will start failing. Everyone will know the endpoint is near when the price of food is more than they can afford. Notice in McPherson’s title it is “Human Extinction by 2030,” and in this case the word by means before. Hopefully that date will pass without disaster, just like George Orwell’s 1984 went by without disaster, but by then the problems should be obvious enough that effective actions will be needed and desperate actions attempted.

Make what you want to do fit in with the conditions which will prevail when you are done.


, , ,

The idea underlying my current thinking is to accomplish things in the world external to one’s own personal being. To do this requires that preparations be made which will be effective when the time for action comes. The quality of these actions is that they will not vanish when my personal being vanishes, which in my case at age seventy-nine can’t be more than twenty years, and probably much less. It isn’t that there is any desperation in this idea, rather after all of my years of experience it is time to state and to do those things which clearly manifest what my experience has brought to me. If I am ever to be helpful in fulfilling my stated goals of helping humanity to prosper and survive, the time is now. Perhaps it has always been in the moment, now, but as we age now becomes an ever more fleeting moment.

How can I look into the future, and determine what I need to foresee? Most people seek personal wealth, and assume health and happiness will follow, because with money they will be able to purchase what they need. For nearly everyone these goals are sufficient for a happy life, but my concerns are now different. As stated they concern humanity as an entity; it’s basically DNA, and it has an indefinite life expectancy. It means my goal is to have our human DNA have as much success as is possible. Perhaps, if I am thinking of DNA, the goal should be expanded to include all DNA, not just human, and that would simply mean I would be doing everything possible that that form of chemical information should exist long into the future. But why?

It would seem that when we consider anything beyond our own personal comfort it would soon become abstract and meaningless to most people. Most would see some value in helping their family and possibly their friends to prosper, but this is mostly because it would make them feel good personally. Perhaps the purest form of this is in parental pride in seeing their own children and grandchildren do well. Perhaps my wishing for human DNA to do well is like our children doing well, and wishing for the DNA of life in general is like having our grandchildren do well. Who knows? It is a question to be answered by every individual, but it probably doesn’t concern them until they are old and the usual concerns have faded away.

Perhaps the best we can do as a person, or as a species, or as DNA is to “Live long and prosper.”

Demonstrations of why we all see the world differently.



Here is an experiment demonstrating individual people’s response to non-sense pictures. A very large number of colored blocks were randomly generated, made blurry and then viewed by large numbers of people to find out what they thought they were looking at. In fact they were not looking at anything.

A blurry picture of random colors.

What do you see when you look at this picture?

A result of this experiment demonstrated that people of different cultures saw different things in the random pictures. These experiments are reported in MIT Technology Review Emerging Technology From the arXiv October 31, 2014. People from Singapore are most sensitive to cars viewed from the front, and Americans identify cars most easily from the side. It seems that different cultures have different realities even for common things like cars.

In the top picture I can easily see a blue car with a chrome bumper coming toward me, on a dirt field with dust trailing out behind it to my right. There is a hazy blue sky with a cloud and some tan-colored hills in the distance. I can also make up stories about each of the nine others. What this means to me is that I have some gestalt images lurking in my brain, that are similar to those of other people, at least Americans. We seem to have similar images in our brain, because there is reported to be an overlap in describing these pictures.

A set of 9 blurry images used for experiments in human vision.

Some other random patterns where people see things.

What to make of this? We of the same background experience tend to see similar things in these blurry images, but people of different background experiences see different things. Our brain is filled with the images created by our experience, and these images modify what it is we see in the moment, and what we mean when we talk about these things. Our whole experience of the world is different, but similar. In the past we all knew that other people seemed to be seeing things differently from us, but this experiment gives us a clue as to what those differences are, and how they must affect our experience of the world.

Is there something fundamentally different going on here or is this just a different form of a classic Rorschach Test, made up of semi-symmetrical ink blots?

Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 4


, , , , , , ,

Epictetus (55-135 CE) Enchiridion
A manual for living a contented life
Rendered by Charles Scamahorn (1935- ) 2014

Paragraph 4

When about to do something, for example going to a public swimming pool, consider what type of activity it is, and what kinds of things happen there. Prepare yourself for how you might respond to those things with some forethought. Typically you will be splashed, pushed about and made fun of, and sometimes things are stolen from the storage area. As you enter the area say to yourself, “I am choosing to swim in this public pool, and I want to enjoy myself and maintain my equanimity.” When uncomfortable things happen, as they often will, remember your intention for being here was not only to swim, but also to enjoy yourself by maintaining your good humor. If you become annoyed with some trivial happening you would be contradicting your whole reason for being there. Be prepared not to become annoyed but to take happenings as good fun, and move on and enjoy yourself.


Epictetus takes a common public event where boisterous activities are common, even between strangers, and where some of them may become annoying. So he makes a general strategy for avoiding becoming annoyed and precipitating an angry interchange. Getting angry usually makes a difficult situation worse. A calm demeanor will better diffuse the conflict and will also help the Stoic keep his own mind tranquil.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 90 other followers