Monday, October 23, 2017

Notations From The Grid (Weekly Edition): On the #GreatCaliforniaShakeout

This week saw the Great California Shakeout.    Our Community Schools here in South Orange County:

We wanted to report on this courtesy of the team as FEMA as we here in California realize that it is not a question of if, but when as we present these Four Steps to Earthquake Preparedness

Join Us in the World's Largest Earthquake Drill.
This morning millions of people practiced how to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” during the ShakeOut, the world's largest earthquake drill.

In order to keep the momentum going, there are further actions you can take to prepare for an earthquake.

Follow these four steps from the Earthquake Country Alliance:
  1. Secure your space by identifying hazards and securing moveable items like bookshelves, televisions, and water heaters.
  2. Plan to be safe by creating a disaster plan and deciding how you will communicate in an emergency.
  3. Organize disaster supplies in convenient locations.
  4. Minimize financial hardship by organizing important documents, strengthening your property, and considering insurance.

For more information, including a video about When the Earth Shakes, visit the Prepareathon™ Earthquake page or You can also download the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Earthquake Safety Checklist

Saturday, October 21, 2017

View of the Week (W-End Edition) : On thanksgiving

Today's selection -- from The American Plate by Libby H. O'Connell. The American celebration of Thanksgiving:

"To understand the importance of turkey in our culinary heritage today, let's take a look at how it became the iconic food of America through its association with Thanksgiving, a vivid part of our shared, almost mythic past. The idea of Thanksgiving is based in part upon the natural inclination of agrarian groups of people to hold a festival in thanks for the harvest, and we humans have been celebrating the gathering-in of crops for millennia.

"The term 'Thanksgiving' originally included serious religious dedication, with several hours spent in church -- and it started long before the famed feast between American Indians and colonists in Massachusetts. In 1519, at St. Augustine, Florida, the Spanish celebrated Thanksgiving with pork and chickpeas brought from the Old World. According to contemporary sources, a harvest dinner shared by Spanish settlers, missionaries, and American Indians took place in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the 1590s. At the Berkeley Hundred settlement in Virginia in 1618, the English dined on ham and gave thanks for their safety and survival.

"Of course, the 1621 harvest feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts -- where the 'Pilgrims' (the term is in quotes because they wouldn't have labeled themselves that) were joined by ninety Wampanoag warriors -- is the big dinner remembered every November. We know that four Englishmen went out hunting for that celebration and brought back unspecified fowl, which could be anything with wings -- duck, geese, partridge, or yes, even turkey.

"They also may have served eel and shellfish, plus foods based on the Three Sisters [winter squash, maize, and climbing beans], which their indigenous neighbors had taught them to grow with such success. We know that the Indians brought venison. Cranberry sauce, which requires so much sugar, would not have made an appearance, although stewed pumpkin sweetened with honey or maple syrup may have been shared.

"The historical record about the harvest feast we celebrate as the first Thanksgiving does not specify a turkey, but it is clear that there was plenty of food at the celebration. As the colonial period progressed, the tradition of a harvest festival continued, particularly in the Northeast, where it was observed at different times in different colonies.

"Families traveled to be together and dined on turkeys as well as chicken pie, ham, and game. Women worked hard for weeks to present a table laden with different dishes, along with an abundant array of fruit pies and cakes, and distributed gifts of food to the poor. After the American Revolution, young families emigrated from New England, looking for farms of their own in the western territories, and brought the Thanksgiving tradition along with them.

"This particularly home-centered holiday grew in cultural importance before the Civil War, when it was championed by Sarah Josepha Hale, the Martha Stewart of her day. Cookbook author, novelist, and magazine editor, she published recipes for roast turkey with stuffing and pumpkin pie, along with editorials favoring the creation of a new national holiday. At that time, governors of several states declared Thanksgiving at some point in the late fall.

"Hale encouraged President Lincoln to make the feast day a single national holiday for all, uniting every American. With his uncanny political timing, Lincoln authorized this quintessential American celebration in 1863, just as things were looking up for the Union in the Civil War. ...

"One reason why our images of Thanksgiving reflect the Pilgrim legend is that New England (and the North more generally) culturally predominated in the United States in the years after the end of the Civil War in 1865. And this was the era when popular artists created the images of our mythic New England forefathers and foremothers gathered around a scenic table, complete with a big turkey roasted to a golden fare-thee-well. So it is the story of the Wampanoags and the settlers of Plymouth, not Jamestown, Virginia, and certainly not St. Augustine, Florida, that schoolchildren have reenacted for more than a century. Quite possibly, other similar Thanksgiving celebrations between European settlers and American Indians occurred as well. We just didn't hear about them."

Friday, October 20, 2017

Notations On Our World (Special Friday Edition): On #Leadership....

Some "Food 4 thought" on this Friday in our Network we hope all enjoy courtesy of the team at Verne's Insight:

The more technologically advanced our society becomes, the more we need to go back to the basic fundamentals of human communication. 
Angela Ahrendts, Apple

New Best Practices at the Apple Store -- Angela Ahrendts, the former CEO of Burberry, has been running Apple's stores since May 2014 (and compensated almost $74 million). With over 60% of Apple's employees working in these stores, she has chosen to focus on the people side vs. the product side. This Fortune article details why Tim Cook chose her (some excellent insights into hiring top execs and the mistakes to avoid); how she has spent her first year; and some of the routines (you might initiate) she's added to the stores. NotesFortune:

One of the first things Ahrendts did was institute a now-weekly video communication in which she lays out the game plan. It may seem small, but every Apple store employee I spoke with cited it as a welcome change. The video is a combination pep rally and strategy session, with three key thoughts expressed in a few minutes.
In addition: better understand retail staffers' perspectives, Ahrendts launched Share Your Ideas, an internal app in which they can propose improvements or lodge complaints. (Apple had a process before, but it was mostly ad hoc and not widely used.) Ahrendts says she reads every comment, and within 48 hours someone from her team responds.
Ahrendts also brought the physical stores and online retail together under one team so there was a common customer experience. This article is worth the 3 minutes to pick up more tips on how a new executive makes an impact to an already successful store and brand.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Notations From the Grid (Special Thursday Editon): On Our World....

 Please Enjoy this courtesy of the team at @Futurism: 
Over the weekend Elon Musk answered public questions in an AMA (ask me anything) on Reddit. While being both transparent and lighthearted, he discussed the potential of internet on Mars, the design of the rockets that will get us there, and took on many other technical questions about the future of SpaceX. READ MORE
A power plant in HellisheiĆ°i, Iceland not only produces no emissions — it technically produces negative emissions. Moving forward, the development and adoption of such geoengineering methods will be essential as we continue to fight climate change.READ MORE
Virgin Galactic CEO Sir Richard Branson spoke at a gathering of entrepreneurs last week in Helsinki, Finland. The 67-year old British businessman talked about his plans for commercial space tourism, which he says is possible by early 2018. READ MORE
Ray Kurzweil is a formidable figure in futuristic thinking, as he is estimated to have an 86 percent accuracy rate for his predictions about the future. The future he envisions is one marked by decentralization of both the physical and mental. READ MORE
This Monday, the scientists from LIGO, VIRGO and observatories around the world will reveal new information about their work with gravitational waves — an area that could transform science forever, and offer unparalleled insight into our universe. READ MORE
See Full Infographic
This is the World 1,000 Years From Now

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Notations On Our World (Mid-Week Edition: On The Healthcare Exchange & #Obamacare

We wanted to report on the aftermath   of the decision by the Trump Administration which we view it as Educational in line with the mission of our Education Road Property Here for all in California which is one of the largest exchanges: 

We know there is confusion about last night’s decision by the federal government to stop select reimbursements to insurance companies. These reimbursements support subsidies for lower-income consumers known as Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments. 

Despite this action, Covered California members will not see any change in their health costs for the remainder of 2017 and the rates and out-of-pocket costs published by Covered California for 2018 will not be affected.

How can stopping the funding for CSR payments not affect insurance prices? It’s because this cut to one subsidy will trigger an automatic increase in other kinds of financial support.

The CSR payments to health insurance companies the federal government is eliminating are designed to help with out-of-pockets costs, like deductibles and co-pays.

These CSR payments don’t go directly to eligible Covered California members, instead health insurance companies lower the costs of some out-of-pocket expenses for eligible Californians, and then the insurers get reimbursed for that expense.

Even without CSR reimbursements, insurance companies are still required to help eligible Covered California members with their out-of-pocket costs. That’s a requirement of the Affordable Care Act and this requirement has not been halted.

The Affordable Care Act also includes another, larger type of subsidy that is specifically designed to reduce the cost of premiums, ensuring that family budgets are largely unaffected. That subsidy or premium assistance is called the Advance Premium Tax Credit (APTC).

The CSR payments that the federal government is eliminating only apply to certain silver plans. Covered California has already taken steps to minimize the impact of the loss of CSR funding and worked with insurers to price plans accordingly to ensure stability in 2018, adding a premium surcharge only to silver plans.  Silver plans are the basis for the amount of premium assistance, APTC, consumers receive, so an increase in silver premium will be offset by an increase in APTC for most consumers.

Because the surcharge will only be applied to Silver-tier plans, nearly four out of five consumers will see their actual monthly premiums stay the same or decrease, since the amount of premium assistance they receive will also rise.

The effect of the federal government’s decision is something like this: Insurers get less money for helping low-income people with out-of-pocket costs on silver plans; premiums on silver plans increase more to compensate; and that forces the federal government to increase all APTC based subsidies to make sure people can still afford insurance. 
So, the bottom line to get the best plan at the best price: SHOP and compare all plans offered by Covered California!!

Thank you,
The Covered California Team

Monday, October 16, 2017

View of The Week (Special Monday Edition): On Net Neutraility

Latest in "TPI Shorts" Video Series:
Net neutrality in 10 minutes
September 27, 2017 - A new TPI Short highlights key points from a discussion of research papers on net neutrality and Title II published in a special issue of the Review of Industrial Organization."Net Neutrality, So Far" summarizes a panel discussion held as part of the conference "The Future of the Internet in a Post-Internet Regulation World."

This video is the latest installment in the TPI Shorts video series, which condenses TPIevents into short, coherent discussions of key policy issues. Other topics from the video series include patents and antitrustcompetition policy in the global economyartificial intelligenceprivacymusic licensing, and productivity and growth.These other videos from TPI are available on the TPI YouTube channel.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Notations On Our World (W-End Edition): Cybersecurity is a Must

As October is Cybersecurity Month here in the United States, we wanted to share this courtesy of the team @ US-CERT that underscores how critical it is to adopt a culture of security and awarness always:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security US-CERT
National Cyber Awareness System:

10/10/2017 01:38 PM EDT

Original release date: October 10, 2017October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, an annual campaign to raise awareness about cybersecurity. Creating a culture of cybersecurity is critical for all organizations—large and small businesses, academic institutions, non-profits, and government agencies—and is a responsibility shared among all employees. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published resources including standards, guidelines, and best practices to help organizations of all sizes to strengthen cyber resilience.
US-CERT encourages organizations and employees to review the following resources:

Friday, October 13, 2017

Notations On Our World (Special Friday Edition): On Being Prepared....

As our State has been witness to two major fires our team reported on earlier in the week,  we wanted to report on this courtesy of Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett's Office which we hope to turn into a Emergency Preparedness Portal repository in the future as we can plan ahead and be ready because We Can!

The 2007 Santiago Fire as seen from Mission Viejo.
It is evident from recent natural disasters that being prepared is something we should all be proactive about, especially with September being National Preparedness MonthOctober 21, 2017also serves to remind us to be ready in the event of a major emergency, as it marks the 10th anniversary of the Santiago Firethat burned over 28,000 acres in Orange County in 2007.

Flooding in Laguna takes out Main Beach.
We can all agree South County is a wonderful place to live, work, and play, but the beauty of our area can easily distract us from the reality that a disaster can arise at a moment’s notice. While we are blessed to live in one of the greatest regions in the world, Southern California is susceptible to some of the most damaging natural disasters, including wildfires, earthquakes, storms, flooding, and even tsunamis.

Bluebird Canyon landslide in Laguna Beach.
We all know how devastating these disasters can be, but few of us have taken the necessary precautions to ensure we are prepared for a major emergency. Thankfully, there are simple steps we can all take to be prepared. It’s as easy as counting to three: Get a Kit, Make a Plan, and Be Informed!
Get a Kit

The first step you can take is to assemble an Emergency Kit for your home, work, and car. You never know when a disaster will strike, so it’s crucial you are prepared regardless of where you are. Acquiring an emergency kit can be as easy as purchasing a prepackaged kit online, or as interactive as making a family game to compile important supplies into an old school backpack. Please note that when getting supplies together, it's best to think about the basics for survival, including water, food, a first aid kit, and other necessities. For a full list of supplies to include in a kit and other useful tips, visit
Make a Plan

Once you have created an emergency kit, it’s essential your family makes a plan. Questions to ask include: If there was a major earthquake, how will I get in touch with my family? How will I get home? These sound like simple questions, but in a disaster or emergency, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the moment and not be able to think clearly, so sitting down with your loved ones to make a plan is very important. Again, is another resource to help you make a comprehensive plan.
Be Informed

In times of emergency, information is crucial. Luckily in Orange County we have Alert OC, which is a mass notification system that keeps residents informed of emergencies and other important events. If you haven’t done so already, I strongly encourage you and your family to sign up for Alert OC at www.AlertOC.comtoday.