At a conference near Washington, D.C., in February, Military.com’s Hope Hodge Seck reports that the commander of all Navy special operations units made an unusual request to industry: Develop and demonstrate technologies that offer “cognitive enhancement” capabilities to boost his elite forces’ mental and physical performance.
Coaching, says author and coaching educator James Flaherty is freeing people to take action, to engage that transmission that links their engine to their wheels in a way that takes into consideration their immediate concerns, their comitments, their personal and cultural history, the future possibilitites, and their mood.
“How many relationships, opportunities, and adventures have you neglected or ignored because you labeled yourself as a person who would or could not begin that relationship, opportunity or adventure?”
This is deeply evocative of a writing prompt offered up by the author of The Butterfly Hours , the one about decisions you have made.
In my case, they were the decision not to go to Brussels and spend the summer with the European representative for Alcoa Aluminum and his daughter and their Mercedes-Benz, or the decision not to turn West and go to California in the summer of ’67 but to head back East and spend the summer earning tuition by chipping the cooled blobs of zinc off the steel I-beams for guard rails that were turned out in a factory in Everett, MA, or the decision not to go with the young lady who’d found a program in women’s studies at some state college in the Sacramento valley, or the decision not to accept an invitation to enroll in a highly-touted hotel and restaurant management program right there where I was.
I was my own coach then, but you can’t see yourself well when you’re only a year out of high school.
“Are you ready to look deeply into your own self-characterizations that you have woven into a narrative that you protected with stories, justifications and excuses?” [page 65]
On Page 21 at the beginning of Chapter Two, Flaherty makes it very clear that coaching works from a deeply-grounded perspective that does not need to refer to psychology or use methodologies that will require you to divulge things you don’t want to divulge, or go into subjects where you are unwilling to venture.
There are books and methods for going there if and when you are ready to do so; Alexander Lowen’s books on the body and bio-energetics are mentioned. There’s lots of reference to somatics which, along with mindfulness, developmental psychology, and interpersonal neurobiology, form the foundation for training in some coaching curricula. Flaherty’s book https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/90128.Coaching is loaded with suggested reading.
‘Command-and-control organizations canot bring about the conditions and competencies necessary to meet the challenges they face holistically because their entry-level premise is that a power and knowledge hieraarchy is the most effective way of structuring an organization’. [page 2 of a book on how to evoke excellence in others]
Most people have a basic desire to contribute something of themselves; our tasks as members of our society is to begin how to help others achieve the competence to fully become themselves in a respectful, dignified and effective way. In part, we do this by becoming competent at interaction.
“Coaching isn’t telling people what to do; it’s giving them a chance to examine what they are doing in light of their intentions.”
“It’s only when someone tosses away the cookbook that he or she can become a truly great chef.”
“It is extraordinarily difficult to observe and improve one’s own performance in the challenging roles people face in taking responsibility for the future….
A person can help other people develop new capabilities, new horizons, and new worlds of opportunity to set aside ineffective and counter-productive habits and build new skills, practices, habits and platforms for collaborating in this ever-changing world.”
We started this post with a glance at a request by a small organization that is at the very tip of the empire’s spear. I’m not a militarist, and I’ve tended not to be violent; the last time I hit someone was 52 years ago. I have leaned toward the way of harmony of spirit; I got my first nudge down that path by reading a book by one of the premier coaches in the US, a contributor to The Art and Practice of Leadership Coaching.
But maybe as we teach each other how to best hit the beaches on the continents of the opioid crisis, the infrastructure crisis, the systemic corruption crisis, or any of the other overlapping crises from politics and society to home and marriage…
“We need to really believe that investing in the human makes sense”. So said the militarist whose goal is arguably the destruction of other humans.
Barack Obama ended opium eradication efforts in Afghanistan in 2009, effectively green lighting Afghan opium production and the Afghan heroin trade. By 2010, all US efforts to eradicate Afghan opium ceased. It has been US policy to allow Afghan opium growing and the heroin trade since. US heroin deaths tripled from 3,036 in 2010 to 10,574 in 2014 as a result.
Vanda Felbab-Brown at the Brookings Institution, a liberal think tank that often writes reports supporting the Obama Administration, penned “No Easy Exit: Drugs and Counternarcotics Strategies in Afghanistan” in advance of the April 2016 UN Summit on Drugs (UNGASS). No way out for Uncle Sam is more like it. The report is notable for what it omits, which is any mention of the heroin epidemic, the deadliest illicit drug epidemic in history, or any of the tens of thousands of Americans killed by heroin since Obama took office.
The Bush Administration had an Afghan opium eradication program in effect, carried out by DynCorp. Obama didn’t renew DynCorp’s eradication contracts, effectively ending all US efforts to eradicate opium. (Afghan government eradication efforts in 2014, resulted in 1.1% of the Afghan opium crop being eradicated. The NY Times reported that the Afghan government will no longer eradicate opium crops as of 2016.) Heroin is made from opium.
Ms. Felbab-Brown might as well have said “let them eat cake” to the tens of thousands of Americans killed by heroin since 2009, the millions now hooked on heroin and the tens of millions living in terror because of loved ones now hooked on this deadly poison.
US policy changed to permit opium growing and the heroin trade during Obama’s first year in office, as a way to minimize US troop casualties in Afghanistan. And to maximize US civilian casualties in the US from heroin.
The CIA defines blowback as the ‘consequences at home of operations overseas.’
Since ending eradication efforts, US heroin deaths shot up from 3,036 (2010) to 5,925 (2012) to 10,574 in 2014. The heroin death toll continues to shoot up as does the number of heroin users, from the 1,500,000 US heroin users in 2010 to 4,500,000 users in 2015. As heroin deaths under Obama tripled, so has heroin usage.
There were 7,600 hectares of Afghan opium poppies when the War in Afghanistan began in 2001. (1 hectare = 2.5 US acres.) In 2009, there were 123,000 hectares. By 2014, Afghan poppy fields spread to 224,000 hectares resulting in a bumper crop of 6,400 tons of opium, enough to make 640,000 kilograms of heroin, thanks to Obama. Opium yields far greater profit than foods like wheat or corn, so opium production will continue to rise without serious eradication efforts.
Afghanistan is by far the number one producer of opium and heroin. Total worldwide opium production was 7,554 tons in 2014, of which 85% came from Afghanistan. The remaining 1,154 tons are primarily from Myanmar, Laos, Mexico, Thailand and Vietnam.
Mexico produced 162 tons of opium in 2014, enough to make 16,200 kilograms of heroin. An average heroin addict takes 0.15 kg of heroin a year, meaning Mexican heroin could only supply 108,000 heroin addicts. Heroin from Mexico cannot supply even 10% of US heroin demand.
Yet the DEA claims most heroin in the US is from Mexico. I asked Barbara Carreno and Russell Baer at the DEA questions like how such a mathematical impossibility was told by the DEA. They dodged many questions, claiming only 4% of heroin is from Afghanistan and the rest is mostly from Mexico. Carreno and Baer acknowledged 90% of heroin in Canada is from Afghanistan, but wouldn’t acknowledge that the USA has a border with Canada, only with Mexico.
We’re getting hit with the largest ever illicit drug epidemic in American history and the DEA is asleep at the wheel.
USA’s now #1 for heroin use. US heroin demand is 415,000 kilograms a year. The whole world, except Afghanistan, could only produce 115,400 kilograms of heroin (2014), not enough for even a third of the mushrooming US demand. Most heroin in the US is coming from US-occupied Afghanistan, there is no other mathematical possibility. There is no other physical possibility.
Carreno and Baer stated “we are a small press office with many queries to answer, and your line of questioning is expanding. I’m sorry to have to say that we will not able to assist you further.” I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for information about what the DEA has been doing (if anything) about Afghan opium and heroin.
I also asked the DEA people if they know how bad the heroin epidemic’s gotten or have any sense of urgency about it, they dodged these questions too. An American now gets killed every 32 minutes by heroin. Carreno and Baer seemed like they couldn’t care less and they don’t feel like answering most questions asked.
Perhaps the DEA people would answer questions (or plead the 5th) at Congressional Hearings.
Basic math shows that Mexico cannot produce enough heroin for even 1/10th of US demand. Besides 4,500,000 American heroin users (2,500,000 addicts and 2,000,000 casual users) and 10,000+ US heroin deaths a year, are the tens of millions of loved ones and neighbors living through hell because of this biggest ever drug epidemic in history.
One New Yorker summed it up “with heroin addicts on every block now, it’s like a zombie invasion.” One small American town has 190 HIV+ people due to IV narcotics use. The War in Afghanistan is the longest ever war in US history and the “collateral damage” of Americans being killed by Afghan heroin is shooting up.
Afghanistan has been known as the Graveyard of the Empires since Alexander the Great. Afghan heroin may yet destroy the American Empire. Since Obama green lighted Afghan opium and heroin, crime’s been shooting up in many places like Baltimore, considered to be ground zero for the heroin epidemic and the canary in the coal mine for the rest of the nation.
False narratives have proliferated recently about the heroin epidemic. One such narrative is ‘the Mexicans did it.’ Mexico, producing enough opium for 16.2 tons of heroin (2014), has enough for only 4% of current US heroin demand. The Mexicans didn’t do the heroin epidemic. (Colombia produced 2 tons of heroin in 2014, not enough for even 1% of the US heroin market.)
Another false narrative, ‘the doctors did it’ alleges patients got hooked on painkillers then turned to heroin. Not true. Only 3.6% of patients taking narcotic painkillers go on to take heroin.
‘Myanmar did it.’ Myanmar, a distant 2nd for heroin production, produced enough opium for 67 tons of heroin (2014), not enough for even 1/4th of US demand. Plus, Myanmar’s heroin goes to Asia, Australia and Europe. Not US.
“Genetics did it” which says ‘10% of people are prone to addiction, so genetics is the reason for the heroin epidemic.’ Human genetics hasn’t changed much the past 15 years. What has changed is Afghan opium production shot up from 7,600 hectares (2001) to 224,000 hectares (2014), a 29-fold increase.
‘Treatment is the solution.’ Treatment is a few fingers in a dyke that has sprung millions of holes. As Afghan heroin floods in, heroin use shoots up.
In Afghanistan, where heroin’s been as readily available as Coca-Cola since 2009, 8% of the people are addicted to narcotics. Following the footsteps of US policy in Afghanistan would mean 8% of the US population, 25,500,000 Americans, becoming addicted, which would be more like a zombie victory than a zombie invasion and would solidify Obama’s legacy as Heroin Dealer In Chief.
‘Decriminalize’ and “marijuana is like heroin” are additional narratives, about marijuana legalization in some places and Portugal’s decriminalization of personal possession of all drugs in 2001. Heroin’s not marijuana and trafficking tons of heroin is not personal possession. Apples and oranges.
Heroin is physically addictive within 30 days of daily use. Heroin kills 40x more than cocaine does and over 100x more than marijuana. Just as there are vast differences between swallowing a pint-size OJ, a Heineken or 3 liters of rum, so too there are vast differences between drugs. Decriminalizing personal possession of drugs is not comparable to decriminalizing trafficking tons of heroin.
Heroin traffickers no doubt want decriminalization instead of life imprisonment just as the makers of the world’s #1 narco state, Afghanistan, want people confused and distracted away from what they did.
The latest DEA narratives: ‘W-18 did it’ and ‘heroin deaths are over-reported’. Synthetics like W-18 are a drop in the overflowing heroin epidemic bucket. Heroin breaks down to morphine in the body within hours, gets recorded by American coroners as morphine (prescription drug) overdoses, resulting in under-reporting of heroin deaths by as much as 100%. The real US heroin death count in 2014 was closer to 20,000 than to 10,574.
It’s as if the recent media flurry of false narratives and distracting narratives have been to try to confuse and distract people away from the most lethal ever illicit drug epidemic (the heroin epidemic 2009-present), Afghanistan (source of 85% of all heroin) and how the heroin is getting to US. It appears as if certain elements within the US government are afraid of the epidemic of Afghan heroin being discussed and Congressional Hearings, sanctions (or worse) for what they did in making Afghanistan into the deadliest narco state ever in human history.
The Taliban ruled Afghanistan until Fall 2001. In mid-2000, the Taliban outlawed opium, within a year it was all but gone, from 91,000 hectares (1999) to 7,600 hectares (2001). Since the Taliban effectively outlawed opium within a year, then why hasn’t the latest US-supported Afghan regime and US Administration done the same?
If serious efforts are not made to eradicate heroin at it’s source, then the heroin epidemic will get worse.
Besides prioritizing eradication first, which will take a year if done in earnest, there are additional solutions.
Second, outlaw precursor chemicals, like acetic anhydride, needed to make heroin from opium. The chemicals to make methaqualone were outlawed in the 1980s. Methaqualone overdoses then stopped.
Third, US government and government-chartered planes can be searched.
Fourth, buying opium for medical morphine in the meantime, until eradication is complete, will alleviate this surge of heroin shocking and awing America.
Fifth, millions of addicts need treatment. There aren’t enough inpatient beds or outpatient seats for even 1/8th of the surge in narcotic users. $25 billion constructs 100,000 inpatient treatment beds and $10 billion annually provides another million seats in outpatient treatment. So far, Obama has ponied up less than 1% of the money needed for treatment, only $0.116 billion, for the heroin disaster he made. Day late, dollar short.
Sixth, decriminalizing personal possession in order to focus on big heroin traffickers would result in lower overall prison costs and fewer non-violent drug users serving expensive lengthy sentences.
US government agencies and departments involved in Afghanistan, 2000 to present, can come clean and tell all about Afghan opium and heroin.
One giant step forward would be Congressional Hearings to determine facts:
1)how did Afghan opium surge from 7,600 hectares to 224,000 hectares, 2) why did annual heroin deaths surge from 1,779 to 10,574 on up,
3)how did the Taliban effectively eradicate Afghan opium within a year, 4) why hasn’t the current Administration done likewise,
5)what exactly have the DEA, CIA and DoD been doing about Afghan opium and heroin, and
6) why did Obama green light the Afghan opium trade and heroin trade leading to the most lethal illicit drug epidemic ever.
The UN has been given the power to hold inquiries focusing on getting honest answers to honest questions and voting on censure or sanctions against the US government and current Afghanistan regime until opium is eradicated as it was under the Taliban in 2001.
Obama green lighted the end of US eradication efforts against Afghan opium in 2009, which green lighted the Afghan opium and heroin trade, which green lighted the deadliest illicit drug epidemic ever. The 10,000+ Americans getting killed every year by heroin, that’s just “collateral damage” to “the little people” from the lingering War in Afghanistan, Mr. President?
Eradicate the Afghan opium crops, stat, the way the Taliban eradicated the Afghan opium crops, within a year. No need to re-invent the wheel on this one.
Here are two things that cause a lot of controversy: Genetically modifying organisms and spraying pesticides. So of course some scientists asked, “What if we could do both at the same time?” The scientists in question are Keri San Miguel and Jeffrey G. Scott of Cornell University, who in June published a paper in Pest Management Science, describing how they successfully protected potato plants from the Colorado potato beetle by spraying them with a substance that interferes with the beetle’s DNA, through a process called RNA interference, or RNAi.
RNAi takes advantage of RNA’s essential role in mediating the expression of genes. In 1997, Andrew Fire and Craig Mello discovered that they could use tailored RNA strands to “silence” specific gene expressions, cutting off the process of life at its very roots. This brought them the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2006, but by this time RNAi was already being used to modify plants, and eventually new genes were inserted into crops that would induce RNAi in the insects that eat them.
The idea that plants could be modified to themselves modify other organisms is perhaps one of the unsettling concepts driving the growing backlash against GM crops, particularly in Europe (Scotland recently announced a GM ban.) RNAi sprays theoretically avoid existing GM regulations by skipping the crops and modifying the pests directly. Unsurprisingly, agribusiness giant Monsanto is already on board, hoping to have a product on the market by 2020. They’re even trying to preempt opposition, sending a letter to regulators saying that, “humans have been eating RNA as long as we have been eating.” But according to Technology Review it might not be that easy.
Not everyone is convinced, though, that applying RNA will be commercially feasible or any less controversial than genetic modification. “The public is not accepting GMOs, and this could be more alarming. People are going to say you are taking the RNA and spraying this in the open,” says Kassim Al-Khatib, a plant physiologist at the University of California, Davis. “The acceptance of biotech has to be there before you can deliver another approach. This isn’t a technology for tomorrow. It’s for the day after tomorrow.”
There’s an additional queasy footnote: lots of organisms have gene sequences in common. The Cornell study itself notes that their potato bug spray would also kill the common house fly. What about their effect on humans? “That can be tested,” Professor of Biology Saskia Hogenhout told New Scientist. “With all technologies, there’s always a risk… My opinion is the RNAi approach would be a better option than pesticides that are less specific.” Such less-specific pesticides might include neonicotinoids, a leading killer of honeybees. Let’s just hope we don’t kill ourselves in the process.
The 1.49-meter-tall, 78-kg “AnBot” has a maximum speed of 18 km per hour. It can patrol at a speed of 1 km per hour and has battery capacity of 8 hours.
The security robot is capable of autonomous patrol, intelligent monitoring, emergency calls, auto recharging and has optional modules for environmental monitoring, biochemical detection and clearing explosives.
An electrical anti-riot device can be activated through remote control if a threat is detected. Shouting for help in the patrol area or pushing the robot’s emergency button will alert the police immediately.
Breakthroughs in low-cost autonomous navigation and positioning as well as intelligent video surveillance have contributed to the development of the robot, said Xiao Xiangjiang, director of the Institute of Electromechanical Engineering and Automation of the National University of Defense Technology.
Other highlights of the robot include its ability to react during emergencies, according to Xiao.
Wei Quansheng, an officer from Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, said the robot guard can be used in many public places such as airports, stations and subways to help with police officers’ anti-riot missions.
The robot is jointly developed by the National University of Defense Technology and a robotics company in central China’s Hunan Province.
The university began researching robotics theory and technology in the 1980s. The school is hoping to continue to build up China’s intelligent security service robots to promote development of the robot industry and upgrades to the country’s security industry, according to Xiao.
As Brain-Computer Interface is rapidly developed worldwide, mind-controlled drones turn into sports and weapons of today.
Florida University hosted a sporting event that might give a start to a new generation of high-technology sport involving latest trademark inventions of 21st century — drones and consumer-grade brain-computer interface (BCI).
Drones have become a trademark of 21st century, since development of low-weight, high-capacity batteries and small sophisticated electronic controllers allowed to construct fairly cheap yet very easy to control flying device.
It turned out that brain can be taught to reproduce many specific states of mind — or thoughts — that can be repeatedly interpreted into digital commands. By changing their state of mind, operators can control virtually every device. The limits of such ability to control is yet to be determined.
The technology is already a matter of interest of military R&D across the globe, with both US and Russian military institutions developing tele-operated (read mind-controlled) drones for troops assistance. The idea of a mind-controlled strike drone hovering along an armed exo-skeleton-packed trooper might change the shape of battlefield so dramatically, it was even made a basis of a story of a AAA-class computer video game a couple of years ago. What is important is that it might not be as much of a fantasy, but of a reality.
Watch mind-controlled drone in action in “Voennaya Priyomka” show from Zvezda TV channel, published on March, 2015.
As the average age of farmers globally creeps higher and retirement looms, Japan has a solution: robots and driver-less tractors.
The Group-of-Seven agriculture ministers meet in Japan’s northern prefecture of Niigata this weekend for the first time in seven years to discuss how to meet increasing food demand as aging farmers retire without successors. With the average age of Japanese farmers now 67, Agriculture Minister Hiroshi Moriyama will outline his idea of replacing retiring growers with Japanese-developed autonomous tractors and backpack-carried robots.
First, what kind of motivation am I talking about?
I’m talking about the urge to pursue a goal to change things for the better. An urge that goes beyond the simple desire to belong to a group; that goes beyond the desire to reflect the pronouncements of authority; that goes beyond a need to bolster the status quo.
Eliminating those motivations, we are left with something that involves an individual taking a stand—and making his position public.
His position, his beliefs, his principles, his ideas.
The problem centers on his family, friends, colleagues, co-workers. To some degree, he feels enmeshed in a group, and that group would take a dim view of his ideas and actions. In the territory of his thoughts, he’s emerged from the shadows of conformity; but in the world? That’s a different story.
What would “they” think of him? What would they say? What would they do?
Is he willing to risk fracturing his relationships?
Is he willing to risk “being misunderstood?”
Most people stop at this point, reconsider, and fall back into line. They see The Group as the final arbiter of what they’re permitted to do.
But they’re missing something.
Some far more basic. Something that comes earlier.
As individuals, do they see that they have individual power?
Do they understand they have the capacity to act independently in the world? And that these actions have strength?
Because if they don’t see that, then where would they stand?
And next, do they realize they can form a vision of what they want to do—and do they sense this vision has power?
What I’m talking about here has nothing to do with making an assessment of the likelihood of success or victory versus the numbers of people who are asleep or who defend the status quo. That calculation is, at bottom, an excuse for doing nothing.
If sheer numbers were the deciding factor, all action would be rejected.
Boiling down the basis of motivation comes to this: does the individual realize he is an individual? Does he realize it in greater and greater degrees?
If not, he’ll root around in the forest and never form an independent vision.
A vast overemphasis on his “interdependence with others” will sentence him to grinding out his days.
The “individual who is first and foremost a part of the group” is a fiction. It becomes a convenient fiction for many. It rationalizes avoiding uncomfortable circumstances.
There is the old saw: with great power comes great responsibility. There is some truth in that, but in most cases people are urged to consider responsibility in a way that chokes off their power. The responsibility is directed toward group-duties.
The individual’s responsibility is toward himself. Then, assuming his own power, he can act. Then he can think about his connection to others—but even so, how much is there to think about, if he is forwarding a vision to make things better?
Critics will drag up examples of individuals who enacted destructive visions. But what do these criticisms add up to? The discovery that there are bad apples in the bunch? This is no revelation. Is the crazy dictator a justification for damning all individual action? Of course not.
Where does individual power come from? It comes from the creative urge, the creative impulse. This is deeper than the notion of solving problems. It’s deeper than mechanical resolutions.
If the major part of the last 10,000 years of human history has been dedicated to submerging the individual, then turning the formula right side up is not going to be a Sunday picnic.
Understood. But the reversal has to start somewhere. It certainly isn’t going to start from the program of a group. That would be a root contradiction.
The longer a person waits for a spark of inspiration to jolt him into action, the less likely it is that he’ll cross the threshold into a new life.
Placing a “we” before an “I” may at first appear to be a strategy for exiting an old life, but it soon fades in the glaze of conformity that groups insist on.
Powerful groups can exist—when they are composed of powerful independent individuals, but the group does not give birth to the individual.
Individuals do not sacrifice their personal interests to the larger team vision; rather, the shared vision becomes an extension of their personal visions. In fact, alignment is the necessary condition before empowering individuals can empower the whole team.
The discipline of team learning involves mastering dialogue and discussion, the two distinct ways that teams converse. In dialogue , there is the free and creative exploration of complex and subtle issues, a deep “listening” to one another, suspending one’s own views. By contrast, in discussion , different views are presented and defended; there is only a search for the best decision that must be made at this time. Dialogue and discussion are potentially complementary, but most teams lack the ability to distinguish between the two and move consciously between them.
Team learning also involves learning how to deal creatively with the powerful forces opposing productive dialogue and discussion on working teams. For example, when faced with conflict, team members frequently either “smooth over” differences or “speak out” in a “no-holds-barred”, “winner-takeall” free-for-all. Yet the very defensive routines that thwart learning also hold great potential for fostering learning, if we can only learn how to unlock the energy they contain. Inquiry and reflection skills begin to release this energy, which can then be focused in dialogue and discussion.
Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline
“… Without a highly inquisitive mind motivated to find the solutions to unanswered or seemingly unanswerable questions, and the proper analytical methods to pick apart your adversary, your analysis of information of intelligence value will be found wanting….. keep in mind that your adversaries may be building a pattern of life for you, too. Do a SPACE Analysis on yourself and identify the patterns you set and how they could be exploited. Humans are creatures of habit, so be sure to identify the habits or patterns you exhibit. SPACE Analysis can be used to find patterns and associations for a multitude of things, not just gang activities. Put it in your analytic toolbox and apply it to real world situations that affect your community.”