American vision, Dilemas, Learn

Creative Problem Solving, week 1. A Coursera.org class

I joined the curse “Creative Problem Solving” at Coursera.org/ 8 hrs. ago. A different thing to do, imagine that. Soon discovered that class had started a week earlier and Homework was due in few hours. With 3 hrs left and feeling the pressure it was good to read and evaluate  a few of my peers, a divergent  solution. That exposure to different ideas did prime the creative side. The idea that just emerged was not connected to any process of analysis nor focusing an any problem. My problem was time,  a linear issue.

But what do we mean by being Creative?  *   What is this Creative Mind thing?

My personal belief is that Creativity is one side of the coin of Leadership.

We often view Creativity as an Insight Machine. So we look for ways to increase creativity(read this short Scientific American article) written Jul 21, 2009 |By Oren Shapira and Nira Liberman

We can see a contemporary meaning for creativity as the ability to find solutions that are brilliant and by that we mean solutions that enhance our lives to a new level. This solutions can be from inventing tools to managing resources, like the set of bow and arrow for tools or managing fire. Life has plenty of dangers, insurmountable  obstacles and just plain re-occurring complications.

How do we fix this? How do we make it better?  These are key thoughts.

And there is the rub, isn’t it? Our thinking. In particular our habits of thinking.  Much has been discovered and said about what aids the blossoming of this valuable skill. Even meditation has been suggested to help.  So I think today Creativity has come to crystallize one of 2 things:

  • for some the understanding that creativity is a birth quality
  • for others the challenge that creativity is a learning and a teachable process

This Coursera.org class on Creative Problem Sollving will examine both Divergent Thinking and Convergent Thinking, that Creativity can easily be acquired by changing habits of action and thinking. And we can develop Creativity as a skill just as we develop muscles to become strong. DSD, Do Something Different, Think different.

Divergent Thinking: the creativity engine under my rusty hood suggested several solutions after reading several posts from my class peer’s difficulties, and reading and identifying with their resolve. But one one suggestion had a louder voice.

On this first week’s lesson we are tasked to change how we eat.

Questioning the sources of opinions about ‘eating’ was first. Second: definitions.

What is eating? Eating means health now, but scratching the surface you will reveal the word Dining.
Dining and the cultural imprints of etiquette, cuisine, manners, social mores and style. These were strongly stressed in my family who had pride in gastronomical finesse.

You never ate in the bathroom and you never would,  … this is different!
This idea just showed up and I rejected quickly because it was a stupid and lame suggestion or not good enough to impress others and get a good grade.
What was stupid?  The idea intrinsically or the challenge of…” me doing such a thing! ” ?

It felt difficult to go through with it, yes easy activity to accomplish physically but not one a civilized human would do willing. Because

  • Eating in the Bathroom. It goes against everything I was taught on the subject of manners and have taught my children and struggle with my gran-children. Manners and a modicum of class.
  • This project has another difficulty, a personal one: I had to ask someone else to help me with the project. I hate to ask for help, it makes me feel dependent it makes me feel I owe something, unnecessary. My daughter and her fiancé, even worse. Did I mention that I hate to ask for help? Well I do. It is irrational, I know…may the time to change has come. But I hate it! di I tell you that already?

This project pushed me out to habits, my comfort zone and pride. If one was to solve one unsolicited problem, to my thinking then, submitting the homework within few hours after joining the class.

 So here is the proof I actually went through with the suggestion, and that I listened to that voice of creativity not the voice of my Habits and fears.

marenco1 a

Preparing the food. I don’t eat hamburgers, So I fixed one with green cold beans and carrots. The buns were spread with humus…yup roasted peepers humus.

Image Lime over cold burgers. Never had it before. I like limes but on a burger without salt? No..ok yes

No wordds are necessary. Did you say Hi-gene? I was cringing, but it got done.  It did not kill me.

Image In an clean environment  yet the mind has associated ideas with unclean and demeaning, rooted ideas that have emotional force.

  Summary for this lesson: 

  • A problem is a set of seemingly unbreakable physical conditions or/and mental rules that stand between achieving an agreement
  • The agreement can be a cognitive understanding of a value or material acquisition
  • There is a demand we call goal, a pressing urging from self or others
  • The creative process is the game of respecting the rules that contain us while finding a “Back Door” a …Hack!
  • There is no creativity without change through effort. Even accepting that one’s dire condition contain a hidden gift requires a paradigm change. Ask any Cancer survivor.
  • MOST IMPORTANT: Creativity is a CHOICE. It speaks to us as well as our habits and fears and desire speak to us. Developing the habit of listening and following through the suggestions of your creative voice

Fin de camino.  Thank you and good night. Till next class.

American vision, Dilemas, GOP's Vision, Leadership, poor leadership, Vision

Political Anger Management with GOP’s Aspbergers like behavior.

I used to admire the GOP during the 70’s and 80’s but… Does the new GOP have Aspbergers?  We love the principles of Liberty they claim to spouse and love their guts and work ethic  BUT … they are exhausting to watch and listen to.   When we watch the news and listen interviews, it would be easy to follow the GOP logic IF AND ONLY IF we agree with their basic assumption: That the new GOP Ideology is American Constitutional Purity and anything else must be stopped or destroyed, at any cost. More and more their reactions are tantrums  to anything that represents friction to the smooth sailing of this New RealGOP ideology. Which is simply the old WASP point of view. Clearly the GOP has very poor leadership skills and goals. Their Vision has  turned egotistical, arrogant and childish.

Their explosive responses reminds me of the reaction exhibited by some autistic  folk I know. They are perfectly fine in many areas and look normal and at times behave normal. We are awed sometimes at their unique talents.  Some autistic folk explode in strong displays of dissatisfaction or anger when told NO. This happens often …moment to moment. It is exhausting on parents and take carers, or taxpayers like in this occasion with the Government shutdown fiasco.

This Government shutdown is hard to understand through the thick smoke of burning ideologies and hate. But it is really simple once we pause to identify our core values detached of favoritism. Fareed Zakaria’s post on How to solve the crisis in Washington deserves reading. It will help the reader to discover how simple is the way to solutions. By comparing the rhetoric of both parties versus the basic teachings about our political system, we will realize how Anger has clouded our thinking through an issue.  And as a society how Anger has slowly isolated us from common sense while believing every body else lost it. How Anger is quietly soothing our sense of loss and becoming our companion.

So how do this happen to a society so advanced, curious, well informed, smart and caring like the USA? Are we burdened with data or has the digestion of information become a chore?

We may suffer with Decision Fatigue Syndrome

Our society became technically complicated and filled with information in all areas of our life: Law, medicine, crafts, business, hobbies you name it. Information became a requirement for negotiations. We are curious and fuel our need to know with more information and data. What no one suspected was that for every piece of information perused a decision is necessary. Do I think this information is data or just info. Do I believe this data? Do I trust the sources? What do I do with this? How does this info affect my goals?

It is important in our society to listen to both sides of an argument. Many political decisions are drastically different AND demand inspection or study of lots of information and make decisions about their accuracy, relevance and behavior in our lives.

Sometimes the data is drastically different from our expectations. Does this new knowledge demand a change in perspective and actions or behavior. And does it demand a character change?   DO I NEED A CHANGE IN IDEOLOGY

“Maybe a better way to describe chronic fatigue when it comes to Aspbergers and related conditions is to call it decision fatigue. The condition of decision fatigue comes from the world of social psychology  Mental fatigue is different from ordinary physical fatigue. ”

 This is how a parent blogs about caring for a child with Aspberger and continues:

“Unlike physical fatigue, you can have mental fatigue without feeling tired. What happens with mental fatigue is that you start to experience everything more intensely. You become more irritated, more easily frustrated. You may have a powerful impulse to eat, drink, spend money, or blurt out something stupid.”

 In short we are asked to make countless decisions in our daily lives.

This leads to fatigue and depression. In the long term it leads to apathy about the opinion of others or Anger.

We can easily get off the Anger and emotional fatigue train. First we can start with basic Anger Management which boils down to Growing up.

Like if ‘Am angry at KLMN because ‘His ideology puts me in danger”‘ then  ‘Growing Up’  beyond anger is pausing long enough to ask of one self: How do I really know this is true? What happened that i came to believe and agree these thoughts were real?
Now Decision Syndrome Fatigue may be one cause.

American vision, Dilemas, Vision

Lighter side

A mathematician, an accountant and an economist apply for the same job.

The interviewer calls in the mathematician and asks “What do two plus two equal?” The mathematician replies “Four.” The interviewer asks “Four, exactly?” The mathematician looks at the interviewer incredulously and says “Yes, four, exactly.”

Then the interviewer calls in the accountant and asks the same question “What do two plus two equal?” The accountant says “On average, four – give or take ten percent, but on average, four.”

Then the interviewer calls in the economist and poses the same question “What do two plus two equal?” The economist gets up, locks the door, closes the shade, sits down next to the interviewer and says “What do you want it to equal?”

American vision, Citizen responsibilty, Dilemas, understanding economic events

Financial Freedom: A decision

Financial Independence for newbies.

It has been difficult to write a post because the focus was blurred by nagging feelings that I could not use lucid thoughts connecting the dots between finances and world events that affect us sooner or later. Clearly these are not simple dots to connect they are entire pieces of fabric to be sewn together momentarily to create a fitting suit.
Slowly the wrinkles pointed to the missing subject: the Wisdom to make the best decisions or right decisions, the modern methods of  “Decision Making”  may sound fancy to this ancient human skill but in short is the obvious and simple common sense . Clearly no amount of Wisdom will not exempt us from the trials of life however it improves odds of  surviving them.

I believe that we can develop these skills, since we have had to develop difficult and complex tasks to function in our society, we just need to redirect our priorities. In my case I had to include fiances in my 2DO list. On the subject of Global Finances we begin to  develop a basic awareness of Money, the freedom and serenity afforded with the ability to make decisions with favorable results.  In short is In this world of global finances we need clear  vision of the facts, logic and of course healthy skepticism.

The birth of our Financial Independence.
Our Founding Fathers sought a political solution through military means to ensure The Financial Freedom of the American Colonies. Now we rejoiced on this past 4th of July about our Nation’s Independence and what we really celebrated was the incredible ability of our Founding Fathers to make decisions and carry them to their success.
Am and admirer of Deming and his success in quantifying Quality so I saw commonalities in the Founding Father’s  decision process to seek Independence.
We all can agree that they were not seeking to establish a Holiday nor entries in historical books, the Thirteen Colonies of North America overthrew the governance of the Parliament of Great Britain because they sought Financial Independence, this required a politically sovereign status.
Now we can argue about the philosophical influences or the Republican values advocated or the exhortation to civic duty yet all of this important academic fodder came about because the encroachment on financial freedoms, since in all other matters they were able to assemble and plot quite freely, relative to the times, for the war of Independence.

Making Independent decisions.

So how do we start to make the right decisions, how about a simplistic start to prime the learning bug?

If we look at a modified model of the Deming cycle:

  1. Evaluate our collected data
  2. Plan with specific goal in mind
  3. Do / Act execute clear steps
  4. Feedback on the effects/consequences of our steps
  5. back to 1 until successful and start a new project

American vision, Bailouts, Dilemas, understanding economic events, World events

Bail-inn 3d world countries or the USA

Markets

FTSE 100 3,893 -0.19% € per £ 1.07 +0.13%
DOW 7,750 0.00% $ per £ 1.46 +0.06%
HANG SENG 14,109 +3.57% ¥ per $ 98.36 +0.78%
DAX 4,238 +0.34% WTI Crude 53.61 +1.59%

It has been a while since my last post, it was difficult to write about what I saw coming down the pike without sounding sadly without any credible case. Now there is enough out there for the public to be willing to consider the drastic change in life styles and mind sets that will be needed to survive without becoming just a barely better economy than Mexico.

The fast pace in which the corruption of values and ethical standards from a critical mass of our Financial and Political leaders will require a strong public willing and ready to learn about the subject of economics and finance it is our responsibility if we do not pull ourselves by the bootstraps no one else will we the Joe Public types not Mr. Politician nor Mr. CEO

“Roughly once year the IMF, US Secretary and sometimes finance ministers of G7 countries get a phone call from the finance minister of a large emerging-market economy: …the country is rapidly running out of foreign reserves, lost access to capital markets, and that perhaps even lost confidence of its citizens. Without a large rescue loan, he country will be forced to devalue its currency and.”  This is how Mr. Roubini starts the introduction of his book “Bailout or bail-ins” co-authored with Brad Setser.

Eerily familiar, what sounds like corrupt dictators of a struggling African or Central American nation?

FT.com/ reports:  AIG paid more than $40m in controversial retention bonuses to staff at its troubled financial unit in December, three months ahead of schedule, according to the resignation letter of an executive at the insurance group.

News of the decision to pay bonuses of $165m to staff at AIG sparked political outrage and protests in the US Congress, after the insurer was bailed out with $173bn of public money last year. Before the publication of the letter, momentum on draconian legislation to claw back bonuses had begun to slow.

Jake DeSantis, a manager in AIG’s Financial Products unit, said AIG “accelerated by three months [the payment of] more than a quarter” of the $165m of retention bonuses due to the division’s employees.

The President of the USA will arrive in Europe for a summit hosted by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, while ”

European Union politician on Wednesday slammed U.S. plans to spend its way out of recession as “a way to hell.”

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, told the European Parliament that President Barack Obama’s massive stimulus package and banking bailout “will undermine the stability of the global financial market.”  Reported by Fox News

Will the strongest currencies dominate what may become the UN of finance and will that nation be China? Just consider:

China’s central bank yesterday proposed replacing the US dollar as the international reserve currency with a new global system controlled by the International Monetary Fund.

In an essay posted on the People’s Bank of China’s website, Zhou Xiaochuan, the central bank’s governor, said the goal would be to create a reserve currency “that is disconnected from individual nations and is able to remain stable in the long run, thus removing the inherent deficiencies caused by using credit-based national currencies”. Reported by FT.com

But no matter what we will make it through, believe that work hard like you mean it, have a good day no matter what

RedSerpent

Dilemas

Bailout of American Banks.

Regardless of what you read or hear one thing is certain and that is that adversity is imminent but the stress is optional. We can and will survive, good and bad  both shall come to pass. We resist pain and discomfort but soon we discover that we can deal with it and we see the gift in it.  The unfolding line of events that the media is calling “Financial Crisis” as an euphemism for Depression is a reality that vents  against or new  way of life, which is spending money not yet earned with credit cards, now an addiction.

This crisis was seen clearly by many in Wall Street years ago, including some of our Political leaders and it seems that they turned their eyes away for whatever the reasons. Let us remember that when our leaders are not honest and not competent it does not matter what kind of country you live in whether is wealthy or poor, enlightened or backwards, homogeneous or a melting pot. It is always the working classes, middle merchants and those who go or send their children to war that bear the burden, very seldom the Arkons, or powerful. They always manage to sell their country out for safety and comfort. Well that was before.

So now we are at that point where unearned credit has created a society of wanna be Arkons, powerful ones. A Psychological cocktail for denial made up of “my rights”, ” looking out for #1″, Ayn Rand, Credit cards and credit cards and credit cards…. Now the fall of the mighty wanna be Arkons along side a couple of real ones, or not so mighty it seems.

Here is there solution offered by some out there in powerful desks: To cry for a benevolent society where the Government will look out for the welfare and safety of our whole country and keep it joyfully singing Kumbaya …or please read it as Socialism; it almost appears as if some of them are willing to give America back to England or create a Royal class of entrepreneurs, financiers and public servants(shadowed by lobbyists).

They are frantically searching for Competent people not like us…  ;-)  Don’t let them fool you when you hear them beg congress for more and better education for the incompetent like us that want to much money $15.00/hr. plus medical benefits, can you immagine that! They understand, we …don’t, of course  ;-)  That is why Mr Fuld, ex Lehman CEO, deserves $350.00 million that he still claims. Sarcasm asides our reality is blunt, well the “Wall Street credit crunch reality”

In the ABC Sunday show This Week with George Stephanopoulos(Sept-28-08) George Will made the comment that the British define socializing (Socialism) when the government takes control of the banks[loose paraphrase]. The collective state is not in total control in the production of goods nor its distribution however the bailing out of GM might indicate that is the the beginning of such case. What are the best advocates for Socialism? The best advocates for socialism are these exposed behaviors of Greedy and arrogant Executives.

What do we belive in and what do we fight for in our lives? I and friends served in the military, my son  just came from Irak and has to go back again while my friend’s grandson is servin in Afghanistan. It seems many have gone to war in Irak and Afghanistan to protect our country from our mortal enemies made up of the few practitioners of Islam that have declared war on the US, from well  over 20 years ago. These loyal people did not go to war to protect us from our leaders stupidities and vices nor the mistakes of  the Bush Administration, the mistakes of Congress or the mistakes of Few greedy Wall Street executives.

It’s all Wall Street and Washington bad? No. But does it matter now if it is 10% bad or 70% bad? The bailout and control of some financial institutions come at an announced price of $700 billion dollars that is US$700,000,000,000.oo so in 6 months the cost will be above $1trillion dollars or $1,000,000,000,000.oo.  … for What? What are the tangibles the stuff  paid with all that money? Show me the Stuff? Wall Street leaders wants to avoid paying fire sale prices as if  no one made a mistake is just it is a natural disaster like Katrina, except the taxpayers like you and me who elected these arrogant/incompetent public servants that think, believe and act as if we the taxpayers work for them. because we the taxpayers will certainly will pay that tab, not the executives that made the lousy decisions. A friend who worked with derivative swaps commented that this kid made $250,000.oo in his first year later he stopped talking about it because ” when you start making real money you stop talking about it”. Imagine all the tens of thousands of brokers making that kind of money, America is wonderful…when it works and when the brokers are honest and work for you the investor to make that money. This crisis wil happen and it needs to happen. do you love freedom? do you lov America? Are you willing to bear the discomfort of sustaining freedom. Is your patriotism just an agreement with Hollywood productions. This is the time to be patriotic not at the movie theater watching war movies or watching John Wayne movies. Is not about buying guns is about thinking soberly, why buy a $500,00.oo house on credit when your annual income is $70,000.oo and drive a Lexus SUV have cable and $120.oo/mo cell phone bill blah blah. You and I can endure the pain my friend and we can endure it in far more comfort that 3d world countries. Think about it we are talking about a standard of living that goes back only to the 60’s or 70’s and what if it was back to the 50’s? Yes we can endure it for freedom, we don’t have to bail out that corruption because if we do it will never end, CORRUPTION IS AN ADDICTION. Reading Suggestions: Traders Sowing Seeds of Destruction Prompt Crackdown: Derivatives swap sheets  / / This isn’t Armageddon @Money.CNN.com, Chaos on Wall Street @ money.CNN.com, Hill leaders: Bailout agreement reached in principle / Stephanopoulos: On Track for Deal and Debate / across the pond: France: Sarkozy to Limit Executive Pay, Guarantee Deposits /

Dilemas

The Bailout

Politicians, Wall Street execs, Media talking heads… …Would please someone tell all these people with Learning Deficit Disorder to stop using the name of America and the name of the American people to excuse and rationalize what they do for whatever reasons they do it for? We are sick of all of them, A-L-L   O-F   T-H-E-M,   S-I-C-K. THE PROBLEM: In a country where one of the steady growing Industries is the Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Industry (read: Addicted Nation),  Why do we have to enable the Wall Street gamblers with cash, $700 billion of it really a $1 trillion, you have to admit that is legalized but still gambling. Listen and view the video with John Bogle below, his opinion on the difference between Speculating and Investing. My parents invested in PG&E stock back in the 70’s and my mother still depends on the dividends of that stock, they stayed the curse with that stock, my parent’s broker did not need to use shorts nor longs with their account. Also my parents bought a house that they could afford and had the down payment in cash. On Monday the Dow plunged -777.x points at close today Tuesday the Dow rally ed +485.x points, because of speculation and that my friend is the reality of Wall Street, Speculation. Fundamentally nothing had changed and  no company listed in any of the exchanges, DJI, S&P, NASDAQ, DAX, NIKKEI, none of them listed companies whose products had ceased, failed or changed in any way; it was all about the betting chances of making or losing money. They do not care if The American people suffer or not. Their only oratory sentence to atone for their attitude is that “They do  care and protect the American Investor”. How can you know if this assertion is correct? You know that regardeless of profits or losses Execs decide to lay off american workers, blue and white collar alike, to “Protect the Share holders”. As the American corporations layoff workers their executive and board of directors get increased paychecks and benefits.  Bogle Says Lawmakers `Obliged’ to Approve Rescue Plan September 30 (Bloomberg) John Bogle, founder of Vanguard Group Inc., perhaps he flip-floped his own argument at the end, at first he was critical of Wall Street then he pleaded for the goverment’s handout saying that lawmakers are “Obliged”, to what? Reward them? http://www.bloomberg.com/avp/avp.h Bogle The most sane conversation came from people that I have disagreed with in the past,  as what I heard in ABC’s News “This Week ” with G. Stephenapolous. Not matter how much the panelists disagreed they shared a common observation and that was almost unspoken that the American public has been childish in their spending Habits and beliefs about handling money. This Week  the bailout abcnews.go.com Videos week 39. THE SAVIOR: Henry Merritt “Hank” Paulson Jr. (born March 28, 1946) is the United States Treasury Secretary and member of the International Monetary Fund Board of Governors.  He previously served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs. He joined Goldman Sachs in 1974. The scope of the problem is global. Goldman Sachs is a Global company and obviously so is the IMF, so why is anuone surprised that Mr. Paulson demsned almost 1 trillion dollars to be used at his private discretion. An interesting  bit abouit his ties to China: He wrote an article about what the US must do to please China in the magazine Foreign Affairs While at Annapolis he said about China: in seeking to smooth the way for the discussions, Paulson said that while China faced many economic difficulties, so did the United States. One reason that China does not import more American goods, he said, was that its savings rate was so high. In the United States, he said the savings rate was too low.

MARTIN CRUTSINGER (AP Economics Writer) writes: Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Tuesday the next round of high-level talks with China will focus on energy and environmental issues, and efforts to agree on an investment treaty.

Why would a Secretary of Treasury needs to have diplomatic conferences with foreign powers about energy matters?

Do tou reallize what could you become with a trillion dollars? Emperor of the whole world my friend at least Emperor of Europe. And the USA? well we would not allow that to happen, would we? Now to keep all in perpective something for your funny bone: Ann Telnaes Cartoons

No matter what Faith and Grace will carry many through turbulent times…but not all for many millions of dollars and a priviledged life was not enough … and so it goes