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Body posture depends on teeth

posture teeth

Why teeth are so important for the posture?

The skull is the heaviest part of our body and it is supported at the top, on the last cervical vertebra (atlas).

To ensure that our head, which weighs on average 4 kg, remains at the top with the least expenditure of energy, Mother Nature has devised a very ingenious “bio-mechanical system of levers”.

The question that we must ask is: “What or who is holding the skull on the last cervical vertebra?”

We will try to give you a picture of the situation.

 posted this feb. 12, 2015

posture skull

Until a few decades ago people believed that the skull was simply supported by the neck muscles operated by our willingness to stand upright.

Over time and with the birth of gnathology science, clinical trials have shown a functional-anatomic and physiopathological link between skull-mandible (CMD) and skull-cervical dysfunctions, aggregating various areas of the body in a single tonic-postural system: the skull-cervical-mandible joint.

In short, scientific literature, or rather some pioneers in this new sector, has started to understand the role of the mandible in the human postural system, and that consequently neck and back problems are caused by skull-cervical-mandible disorders.

Having established that, we can realize that in this bio-mechanism that keeps sustained our head on top of the first cervical vertebra, the “jaw” has a vital role in supporting the skull.

It is a matter of fact that these medical-science pioneers have managed to understand, more or less, the bio-mechanism and how to act on it with the use of a bite in order to alleviate people health problems, but they have always proceeded by trial and error without ever being able to develop a proper relationship between correct body posture, jaw and teeth.

Despite this important scientific progress, no one has yet managed to truly solve the classic postural problems (scoliosis, lordosis, kyphosis).

In fact, these scientists have been trying to test many different roads for years, in order to solve these problems. They have tried the most diverse methods, yet none of these have really focused on the issue. That is why this matter is still more of academic than practical interest.

Even some gnathologists assert that there is no proof of any relationship between occlusion and posture due to a lack of convincing scientific evidence.

You can solve a postural problem only if you know “precisely” how the bio-mechanism works and therefore the exact relationship between teeth, occlusion and posture.

The second question to ask is: “How does this postural bio-mechanism work?”

mandibola-cranio2-280x300

The first thing we do know is that the skull always leans on the first cervical vertebra and that it is supported only by the neck muscles.

The second thing we can notice is that the jaw is suspended between the hyoid bone and the skull and it is equipped with a movable articulation: the TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint), a joint which provides a movement along three planes of space.

Considering these peculiarity of the jaw, it is difficult to think that the skull can find support on teeth and lower jaw. And it is even more difficult to understand how a dysfunction in this district can produce such remarkable changes in the whole body.

mandibola-cranio1-300x235

The answer is in the fact that the lower jaw becomes a stable structure and has a carrier function only at the time of occlusion or during the occlusal contact. More precisely the highest stability is produced during the swallowing phase.

The support given by the jaw to the skull, through the occlusal contact, becomes even more stable during a stronger closure of the jaw thanks to the various muscles involved.

In fact, during the swallowing act all the muscles of the stomatognatic system start working and it is exactly at this time that the jaw becomes a solid structure, just like a sailing boat mast supported by cables.

During this process both the raising and lowering muscles of the jaw contract at the same time. When these muscles work together, from opposite points, they become like tie-beam giving a stabilizing effect to the jaw.

It is exactly during the swallowing act that the forces generated by the contact between the teeth are transmitted to the underlying structures.

Let’s try to progress in steps in order to fully understand this bio-mechanism.

Next questions might be: how this whole system can compromise body posture? How is a correct posture determined? How do back diseases generate? How can you fix scoliosis, and stop the deterioration of lordosis and kyphosis?

The answer to all these questions lies in the “teeth”.

We have seen how the skull is supported by the cervical vertebra and we have understood the role of the jaw. We also know that teeth are located between skull and mandible. Sometimes teeth may not be completely extruded in the premolar and molar area for various reasons.

In this case there may be several factors that can cause a dental arch inclination. In most cases these problems are related to birth defects, and mainly attributable to jaw bone dysmorphoses (lower bone thickness) or lack of teeth extrusion on thin and porous bones.

Other causes not related to birth defects may be a teeth collapse or bad dental work.

Nonetheless, it must be said that stress can be a trigger for the lowering of the tooth thickness. A body under high tension leads all muscles to work harder. Among them there are also those muscles in the mouth that constantly biting, especially on molars and premolars, can cause their collapsing.

Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter.

Let’s see in profile what happens to the posture of a skeleton looking at it from the sagittal plane. Let’s see if these premolar and molar teeth are not completely extruded or have collapsed over the years.

animazion-cranio-crollo

We note that the skull changes inclination with respect to the jaw then compressing all the cervical area. The skull changes inclination until it is re-established a good occlusal contact. A collapse of the teeth can occur in the years due to an excessive dental consumption or due to a heavy stress that can destabilize an already precarious situation.

Next step will be the consequent change in shape of the entire spine.

The spinal column will be forced to stay in a smaller space while maintaining anatomically its length. For this reason, you will have an increase of the curves such as the cervical and lumbar lordosis as well as the kyphosis.

In the image on the side we can see in seconds what happens in years or even in a few months of postural decay (due to strong psycho-physical stress).

decadimento-scheletro-profilo2

It is now clear that the collapsing or the lack of extrusion of molars and premolars over the years can make the skull incline and how this structural change passes on to the underlying structures.

In practice, as you can always see in the image on the side, the skull collapses until the upper teeth do not find contact with the lower ones.

The temporal masseter muscles etc etc. will force the skull to incline pulling it down.

From here on, the skull will lose its center of gravity and the body will perform a series of bio-mechanical changes such as the shortening of its natural physiological curves such as cervical and lumbar lordosis and kyphosis.

In the lower diagram you can clearly see this process broken into four phases.

This article aims to explain the bio-mechanism in a more simplified way.

If you want to know more about this, all information can be found in my book.

Carrying on with the reading we can observe the same mechanism of decay or postural imbalance on the frontal plane.

UpperBody4postures2
Just to sum it up, we analyzed the postural bio-mechanism on the sagittal plane observing a skeleton profile with lack of height in the premolar and molar dental area.

Now let’s see what happens to our skeleton on the frontal plane.

craniosx1-222x300

In the event that there is a lack of dental arch height as the left side of you may see on the picture on the side, the upper teeth will try to find occlusal contact with the bottom.

These are just examples, because, in reality, as already written before, the reasons for this asymmetry are connected to birth defects or bad dental work.

At this point, the skull will lean on the left side and the left masseter will shorten causing a stretching effect on that on the right side.

We also know that a short muscle is also much stronger, while the lengthened opposite side will be weaker.scoliosi1

The skull is pulled to the left side and all the muscles of the body to that side will begin to shorten.

A subsequent actions chain throughout the body will involve the development and worsening of the musculoskeletal asymmetry with abnormal curves of the spine or the origin of muscular imbalances.

The body or better the musculoskeletal structure will go through various stages until they find a new balance, or to be more precise, we could say a new “unbalanced equilibrium”.

There may be different types of unbalance according to the type of cranio-mandibular joint disorder (i.e. different types of imbalance that vary from person to person).

Case for engineering our food?

I am a plant geneticist.

I study genes that make plants resistant to disease and tolerant of stress. In recent years, millions of people around the world have come to believe that there’s something sinister about genetic modification.

Today, I am going to provide a different perspective.

0:35 First, let me introduce my husband, Raoul. He’s an organic farmer. On his farm, he plants a variety of different crops.

This is one of the many ecological farming practices he uses to keep his farm healthy. Imagine some of the reactions we get: “Really? An organic farmer and a plant geneticist? Can you agree on anything?”

we can, and it’s not difficult, because we have the same goal. We want to help nourish the growing population without further destroying the environment. I believe this is the greatest challenge of our time.

genetic modification is not new; virtually everything we eat has been genetically modified in some manner.

Let me give you a few examples. On the left is an image of the ancient ancestor of modern corn. You see a single roll of grain that’s covered in a hard case. Unless you have a hammer, teosinte isn’t good for making tortillas.

Now, take a look at the ancient ancestor of banana. You can see the large seeds. And unappetizing brussel sprouts, and eggplant, so beautiful.

to create these varieties, breeders have used many different genetic techniques over the years. Some of them are quite creative, like mixing two different species together using a process called grafting to create this variety that’s half tomato and half potato.

Breeders have also used other types of genetic techniques, such as random mutagenesis, which induces uncharacterized mutations into the plants.

The rice in the cereal that many of us fed our babies was developed using this approach.

today, breeders have even more options to choose from. Some of them are extraordinarily precise.

I want to give you a couple examples from my own work.

I work on rice, which is a staple food for more than half the world’s people. Each year, 40% of the potential harvest is lost to pest and disease.

For this reason, farmers plant rice varieties that carry genes for resistance. This approach has been used for nearly 100 years. Yet, when I started graduate school, no one knew what these genes were.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that scientists finally uncovered the genetic basis of resistance. In my laboratory, we isolated a gene for immunity to a very serious bacterial disease in Asia and Africa. We found we could engineer the gene into a conventional rice variety that’s normally susceptible, and you can see the two leaves on the bottom here are highly resistant to infection.

the same month that my laboratory published our discovery on the rice immunity gene, my friend and colleague Dave Mackill stopped by my office. He said, “70 million rice farmers are having trouble growing rice.”

That’s because their fields are flooded, and these rice farmers are living on less than two dollars a day.

Although rice grows well in standing water, most rice varieties will die if they’re submerged for more than three days.

Flooding is expected to be increasingly problematic as the climate changes. He told me that his graduate student Kenong Xu and himself were studying an ancient variety of rice that had an amazing property. It could withstand two weeks of complete submergence. He asked if I would be willing to help them isolate this gene. I said yes — I was very excited, because I knew if we were successful, we could potentially help millions of farmers grow rice even when their fields were flooded.

Kenong spent 10 years looking for this gene. Then one day, he said, “Come look at this experiment. You’ve got to see it.” I went to the greenhouse and I saw that the conventional variety that was flooded for 18 days had died, but the rice variety that we had genetically engineered with a new gene we had discovered, called Sub1, was alive.

Kenong and I were amazed and excited that a single gene could have this dramatic effect. But this is just a greenhouse experiment. Would this work in the field?

I’m going to show you a four-month time lapse video taken at the International Rice Research Institute. Breeders there developed a rice variety carrying the Sub1 gene using another genetic technique called precision breeding.

On the left, you can see the Sub1 variety, and on the right is the conventional variety. Both varieties do very well at first, but then the field is flooded for 17 days. You can see the Sub1 variety does great. In fact, it produces three and a half times more grain than the conventional variety.

I love this video because it shows the power of plant genetics to help farmers. Last year, with the help of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, three and a half million farmers grew Sub1 rice.

many people don’t mind genetic modification when it comes to moving rice genes around, rice genes in rice plants, or even when it comes to mixing species together through grafting or random mutagenesis.

But when it comes to taking genes from viruses and bacteria and putting them into plants, a lot of people say, “Yuck.” Why would you do that? The reason is that sometimes it’s the cheapest, safest, and most effective technology for enhancing food security and advancing sustainable agriculture. I’m going to give you three examples.

First, take a look at papaya. It’s delicious, right? But now, look at this papaya. This papaya is infected with papaya ringspot virus.

In the 1950s, this virus nearly wiped out the entire production of papaya on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Many people thought that the Hawaiian papaya was doomed, but then, a local Hawaiian, a plant pathologist named Dennis Gonsalves, decided to try to fight this disease using genetic engineering. He took a snippet of viral DNA and he inserted it into the papaya genome.

This is kind of like a human getting a vaccination. Now, take a look at his field trial. You can see the genetically engineered papaya in the center. It’s immune to infection. The conventional papaya around the outside is severely infected with the virus.

Dennis’ pioneering work is credited with rescuing the papaya industry. Today, 20 years later, there’s still no other method to control this disease. There’s no organic method. There’s no conventional method. 80% of Hawaiian papaya is genetically engineered.

some of you may still feel a little queasy about viral genes in your food, but consider this: The genetically engineered papaya carries just a trace amount of the virus. If you bite into an organic or conventional papaya that is infected with the virus, you will be chewing on tenfold more viral protein.

take a look at this pest feasting on an eggplant. The brown you see is frass, what comes out the back end of the insect. To control this serious pest, which can devastate the entire eggplant crop in Bangladesh, Bangladeshi farmers spray insecticides two to three times a week, sometimes twice a day, when pest pressure is high.

But we know that some insecticides are very harmful to human health, especially when farmers and their families cannot afford proper protection, like these children.

In less developed countries, it’s estimated that 300,000 people die every year because of insecticide misuse and exposure.

Cornell and Bangladeshi scientists decided to fight this disease using a genetic technique that builds on an organic farming approach. Organic farmers like my husband Raoul spray an insecticide called B.T., which is based on a bacteria.

This pesticide is very specific to caterpillar pests, and in fact, it’s nontoxic to humans, fish and birds. It’s less toxic than table salt. But this approach does not work well in Bangladesh. That’s because these insecticide sprays are difficult to find, they’re expensive, and they don’t prevent the insect from getting inside the plants.

In the genetic approach, scientists cut the gene out of the bacteria and insert it directly into the eggplant genome. Will this work to reduce insecticide sprays in Bangladesh? Definitely.

Last season, farmers reported they were able to reduce their insecticide use by a huge amount, almost down to zero. They’re able to harvest and replant for the next season.

I’ve given you a couple examples of how genetic engineering can be used to fight pests and disease and to reduce the amount of insecticides. My final example is an example where genetic engineering can be used to reduce malnutrition.

In less developed countries, 500,000 children go blind every year because of lack of Vitamin A. More than half will die. For this reason, scientists supported by the Rockefeller Foundation genetically engineered a golden rice to produce beta-carotene, which is the precursor of Vitamin A.

This is the same pigment that we find in carrots. Researchers estimate that just one cup of golden rice per day will save the lives of thousands of children.

But golden rice is virulently opposed by activists who are against genetic modification. Just last year, activists invaded and destroyed a field trial in the Philippines.

When I heard about the destruction, I wondered if they knew that they were destroying much more than a scientific research project, that they were destroying medicines that children desperately needed to save their sight and their lives.

Some of my friends and family still worry: How do you know genes in the food are safe to eat? I explained the genetic engineering, the process of moving genes between species, has been used for more than 40 years in wines, in medicine, in plants, in cheeses.

In all that time, there hasn’t been a single case of harm to human health or the environment. But I say, look, I’m not asking you to believe me. Science is not a belief system. (how people can easily discriminate science from pseudo science?)

My opinion doesn’t matter. Let’s look at the evidence.

After 20 years of careful study and rigorous peer review by thousands of independent scientists, every major scientific organization in the world has concluded that the crops currently on the market are safe to eat and that the process of genetic engineering is no more risky than older methods of genetic modification.

These are precisely the same organizations that most of us trust when it comes to other important scientific issues such as global climate change or the safety of vaccines.

Raoul and I believe that, instead of worrying about the genes in our food, we must focus on how we can help children grow up healthy.

We must ask if farmers in rural communities can thrive, and if everyone can afford the food.

We must try to minimize environmental degradation. What scares me most about the loud arguments and misinformation about plant genetics is that the poorest people who most need the technology may be denied access because of the vague fears and prejudices of those who have enough to eat.

We have a huge challenge in front of us. Let’s celebrate scientific innovation and use it. It’s our responsibility to do everything we can to help alleviate human suffering and safeguard the environment.  

14:19 Chris Anderson: Powerfully argued. The people who argue against GMOs, as I understand it, the core piece comes from two things.

One, complexity and unintended consequence. Nature is this incredibly complex machine. If we put out these brand new genes that we’ve created, that haven’t been challenged by years of evolution, and they started mixing up with the rest of what’s going on, couldn’t that trigger some kind of cataclysm or problem, especially when you add in the commercial incentive that some companies have to put them out there?

The fear is that those incentives mean that the decision is not made on purely scientific grounds, and even if it was, that there would be unintended consequences.

How do we know that there isn’t a big risk of some unintended consequence? Often our tinkerings with nature do lead to big, unintended consequences and chain reactions.

Pamela Ronald: Okay, so on the commercial aspects, one thing that’s really important to understand is that, in the developed world, farmers in the United States, almost all farmers, whether they’re organic or conventional, they buy seed produced by seed companies.

So there’s definitely a commercial interest to sell a lot of seed, but hopefully they’re selling seed that the farmers want to buy.

It’s different in the less developed world. Farmers there cannot afford the seed. These seeds are not being sold. These seeds are being distributed freely through traditional kinds of certification groups, so it is very important in less developed countries that the seed be freely available.

CA: Wouldn’t some activists say that this is actually part of the conspiracy? This is the heroin strategy. You seed the stuff, and people have no choice but to be hooked on these seeds forever?

PR: There are a lot of conspiracy theories for sure, but it doesn’t work that way. For example, the seed that’s being distributed, the flood-tolerant rice, this is distributed freely through Indian and Bangladeshi seed certification agencies, so there’s no commercial interest at all.

The golden rice was developed through support of the Rockefeller Foundation. Again, it’s being freely distributed. There are no commercial profits in this situation.

And now to address your other question about, well, mixing genes, aren’t there some unintended consequences? Absolutely — every time we do something different, there’s an unintended consequence, but one of the points I was trying to make is that we’ve been doing kind of crazy things to our plants, mutagenesis using radiation or chemical mutagenesis.

This induces thousands of uncharacterized mutations, and this is even a higher risk of unintended consequence than many of the modern methods.

And so it’s really important not to use the term GMO because it’s scientifically meaningless. I feel it’s very important to talk about a specific crop and a specific product, and think about the needs of the consumer.

CA: So part of what’s happening here is that there’s a mental model in a lot of people that nature is nature, and it’s pure and pristine, and to tinker with it is Frankensteinian.

It’s making something that’s pure dangerous in some way, and I think you’re saying that that whole model just misunderstands how nature is. Nature is a much more chaotic interplay of genetic changes that have been happening all the time anyway.

PR: That’s absolutely true, and there’s no such thing as pure food. I mean, you could not spray eggplant with insecticides or not genetically engineer it, but then you’d be stuck eating frass. So there’s no purity there.

Note: In Africa Burkina Fasso, Monsanto is monopolizing vast lands for genetically modified crops and Not distributing  any of its seed to local farmers

Patsy Z  shared this link

One of my favorite TED talks this year: Pamela Ronald makes a strong case for engineering food: http://b-gat.es/1zYWICq

Pamela Ronald studies the genes that make plants more resistant to disease and stress.
In an eye-opening talk, she describes her decade-long quest…
b-gat.es|By Pamela Ronald

How to double return on your investment? Have you considered Employment through Social Enterprise?

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —

Today REDF announced the findings of the Mathematica Jobs Study (MJS), showing social enterprise businesses provide a cost-effective way to both improve the lives of people who face barriers to work and generate savings for communities and taxpayers.

Beyond an average 268% monthly wage increase for those employed by these businesses, the report also revealed that the social enterprises generate a significant return on investment for society.

Commissioned by REDF, a grantee of the Social Innovation Fund, this first-of-its-kind study was conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, an internationally-known research and evaluation firm.

Jobs report from REDF and Mathematica Policy Research evaluates the impact of jobs for people facing barriers to employment

“Hundreds of thousands of people in this country want what we all want, the opportunity to work and contribute to their families and communities, but don’t currently have the chance,” said Carla Javits, REDF President & CEO.

“As a results-driven organization, we can now make the powerful case that social enterprises that put people to work not only generate the obvious benefits of greater hope and a paycheck, but also produce a clear win for taxpayers.”

REDF provides funding, business connections, and operational expertise to social enterprises, which are mission-driven businesses focused on hiring and assisting people who are willing and able to work, but have the hardest time getting a job, like people who’ve been in prison or homeless, young people who’ve dropped out of school, and those who live with mental health disabilities.

Some of the barriers to employment that people faced included:

  • 25 percent had never had a job;
  • 85 percent did not have stable housing in the year before starting the job; and
  • Only 23 percent of their monthly income came from work, with 71 percent coming from government benefits.

Social enterprises provide employees with real on-the-job skills development and comprehensive benefits including job placement services, counseling, and life-stability supports.

With the goal of helping employees secure long-term employment, these transitional jobs enable people to realize their full potential and establish a career path.

The Mathematica Jobs Study contains four integrated study components, finding that about one year after the social enterprise job began, workers were more likely to be employed, had greater economic self-sufficiency, and more stable housing.

Other successes include:

  • 67 percent of social enterprise employees were still working 6 months later.
  • These workers were more likely to be employed than those that were not hired: Social enterprise employment led to a 19 percentage point increase in employment one year later, compared to those that were not hired by the social enterprise and only received job readiness and search services.
  • Income from government benefits went down from 71 percent to 24 percent.
  • Housing stability tripled with employees living in a home or apartment throughout the year. (15 percent to 53 percent).
  • 90 percent received training to build soft, vocational or technical skills, and nearly 80 percent received material work support such as clothing, transportation or housing assistance, making this a comprehensive and holistic approach to employment preparedness.

In addition to the benefits for the individual, there is a significant return on investment for society:

  • For each dollar spent by social enterprise, taxpayers save $1.31. When you add in the social enterprise’s revenue, and worker’s income, the return on investment rises to $2.23. This means a $100,000 investment would have a return of $223,000 for society.

This report is based upon work supported by the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).

The Social Innovation Fund combines public and private resources to grow the impact of innovative, community-based solutions that have compelling evidence of improving the lives of people in low-income communities throughout the United States.

As an awardee of the inaugural year of SIF grants in 2011, REDF is one of the first organizations funded by this initiative to deliver on that promise – new, compelling evidence of the power of an innovative approach to solve one of America’s most vexing problems.

“The Social Innovation Fund’s promise is simple, find solutions that work and make them work for more people,” said Lois Nembhard, Deputy Director of the Social Innovation Fund.

“With this promise, we are proud to support REDF’s Mathematica Jobs Study, which serves as a catalyst for other social enterprises and organizations in finding innovative, cost-effective ways to impact the lives of economically disadvantaged individuals.”

For more information on the Mathematica Jobs Study, click here: www.redf.org/finalmjsreportbrief.

About REDF

REDF creates jobs and employment opportunities for people facing the greatest barriers to work – like people who’ve been homeless or in prison, young people disconnected from work or school, and people with mental health disabilities.

Founded in 1997 by George R. Roberts (KKR), REDF provides funding and expertise to organizations in California to launch and grow social enterprises, which are mission-driven businesses focused on hiring and assisting people who face barriers to work.

As a result REDF has helped thousands of people in California get jobs and find hope.  Now REDF is taking best practices learned from nearly two decades of experience to grow their impact nationally and put hundreds of thousands of people to work. For more information, follow REDF on Twitter at @REDF_CA or visit http://redf.org/.

Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150204/173631-INFO
Logo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150204/173632LOGO

How Marx observed Capitalists at work: Read former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis

Before he entered politics, Yanis Varoufakis, the iconoclastic Greek finance minister at the centre of the latest Eurozone standoff, wrote this searing account of European capitalism and and how the left can learn from Marx’s mistakes

Wednesday 18 February 2015

In 2008, capitalism had its second global spasm. The financial crisis set off a chain reaction that pushed Europe into a downward spiral that continues to this day.

Europe’s present situation is not merely a threat for workers, for the dispossessed, for the bankers, for social classes or, indeed, nations.

No, Europe’s current posture poses a threat to civilisation as we know it.

If my prognosis is correct, and we are not facing just another cyclical slump soon to be overcome, the question that arises for radicals is this: should we welcome this crisis of European capitalism as an opportunity to replace it with a better system?

Or should we be so worried about it as to embark upon a campaign for stabilising European capitalism?

To me, the answer is clear.

Europe’s crisis is far less likely to give birth to a better alternative to capitalism than it is to unleash dangerously regressive forces that have the capacity to cause a humanitarian bloodbath, while extinguishing the hope for any progressive moves for generations to come.

For this view I have been accused, by well-meaning radical voices, of being “defeatist” and of trying to save an indefensible European socioeconomic system.

This criticism, I confess, hurts. And it hurts because it contains more than a kernel of truth.

I share the view that this European Union is typified by a large democratic deficit that, in combination with the denial of the faulty architecture of its monetary union, has put Europe’s peoples on a path to permanent recession.

And I also bow to the criticism that I have campaigned on an agenda founded on the assumption that the left was, and remains, squarely defeated.

I confess I would much rather be promoting a radical agenda, the raison d’être of which is to replace European capitalism with a different system.

Yet my aim here is to offer a window into my view of a repugnant European capitalism whose implosion, despite its many ills, should be avoided at all costs.

It is a confession intended to convince radicals that we have a contradictory mission: to arrest the freefall of European capitalism in order to buy the time we need to formulate its alternative.

Why a Marxist?

When I chose the subject of my doctoral thesis, back in 1982, I deliberately focused on a highly mathematical topic within which Marx’s thought was irrelevant.

When, later on, I embarked on an academic career, as a lecturer in mainstream economics departments, the implicit contract between myself and the departments that offered me lectureships was that I would be teaching the type of economic theory that left no room for Marx.

In the late 1980s, I was hired by the University of Sydney’s school of economics in order to keep out a leftwing candidate (although I did not know this at the time).

Yanis Varoufakis: ‘Karl Marx was responsible for framing my perspective of the world we live in, from my childhood to this day.’ Facebook Twitter Pinterest

After I returned to Greece in 2000, I threw my lot in with the future prime minister George Papandreou, hoping to help stem the return to power of a resurgent right wing that wanted to push Greece towards xenophobia both domestically and in its foreign policy.

As the whole world now knows, Papandreou’s party not only failed to stem xenophobia but, in the end, presided over the most virulent neoliberal macroeconomic policies that spearheaded the eurozone’s so-called bailouts thus, unwittingly, causing the return of Nazis to the streets of Athens.

Even though I resigned as Papandreou’s adviser early in 2006, and turned into his government’s staunchest critic during his mishandling of the post-2009 Greek implosion, my public interventions in the debate on Greece and Europe have carried no whiff of Marxism.

Given all this, you may be puzzled to hear me call myself a Marxist.

But, in truth, Karl Marx was responsible for framing my perspective of the world we live in, from my childhood to this day. This is not something that I often volunteer to talk about in “polite society” because the very mention of the M-word switches audiences off.

But I never deny it either. After a few years of addressing audiences with whom I do not share an ideology, a need has crept up on me to talk about Marx’s imprint on my thinking.

To explain why, while an unapologetic Marxist, I think it is important to resist him passionately in a variety of ways. To be, in other words, erratic in one’s Marxism.

If my whole academic career largely ignored Marx, and my current policy recommendations are impossible to describe as Marxist, why bring up my Marxism now?

The answer is simple: Even my non-Marxist economics was guided by a mindset influenced by Marx.

A radical social theorist can challenge the economic mainstream in two different ways, I always thought.

One way is by means of immanent criticism. To accept the mainstream’s axioms and then expose its internal contradictions. To say: “I shall not contest your assumptions but here is why your own conclusions do not logically flow on from them.” This was, indeed, Marx’s method of undermining British political economics.

He accepted every axiom by Adam Smith and David Ricardo in order to demonstrate that, in the context of their assumptions, capitalism was a contradictory system.

The second avenue that a radical theorist can pursue is, of course, the construction of alternative theories to those of the establishment, hoping that they will be taken seriously.

My view on this dilemma has always been that the powers that be are never perturbed by theories that embark from assumptions different to their own. The only thing that can destabilise and genuinely challenge mainstream, neoclassical economists is the demonstration of the internal inconsistency of their own models.

It was for this reason that, from the very beginning, I chose to delve into the guts of neoclassical theory and to spend next to no energy trying to develop alternative, Marxist models of capitalism. My reasons, I submit, were quite Marxist.

When called upon to comment on the world we live in, I had no alternative but to fall back on the Marxist tradition which had shaped my thinking ever since my metallurgist father impressed upon me, when I was still a child, the effect of technological innovation on the historical process.

How, for instance, the passage from the bronze age to the iron age sped up history;

how the discovery of steel greatly accelerated historical time; and

how silicon-based IT technologies are fast-tracking socioeconomic and historical discontinuities.

My first encounter with Marx’s writings came very early in life, as a result of the strange times I grew up in, with Greece exiting the nightmare of the neofascist dictatorship of 1967-74.

What caught my eye was Marx’s mesmerising gift for writing a dramatic script for human history, indeed for human damnation, that was also laced with the possibility of salvation and authentic spirituality.

Marx created a narrative populated by workers, capitalists, officials and scientists who were history’s dramatis personae. They struggled to harness reason and science in the context of empowering humanity while, contrary to their intentions, unleashing demonic forces that usurped and subverted their own freedom and humanity.

This dialectical perspective, where everything is pregnant with its opposite, and the eager eye with which Marx discerned the potential for change in what seemed to be the most unchanging of social structures, helped me to grasp the great contradictions of the capitalist era.

It dissolved the paradox of an age that generated the most remarkable wealth and, in the same breath, the most conspicuous poverty.

Today, turning to the European crisis, the crisis in the United States and the long-term stagnation of Japanese capitalism, most commentators fail to appreciate the dialectical process under their nose.

They recognise the mountain of debts and banking losses but neglect the opposite side of the same coin: the mountain of idle savings that are “frozen” by fear and thus fail to convert into productive investments.

A Marxist alertness to binary oppositions might have opened their eyes.

A major reason why established opinion fails to come to terms with contemporary reality is that it never understood the dialectically tense “joint production” of debts and surpluses, of growth and unemployment, of wealth and poverty, indeed of good and evil.

Marx’s script alerted us these binary oppositions as the sources of history’s cunning.

From my first steps of thinking like an economist, to this very day, it occurred to me that Marx had made a discovery that must remain at the heart of any useful analysis of capitalism.

It was the discovery of another binary opposition deep within human labour.

Between labour’s two quite different natures:

i) labour as a value-creating activity that can never be quantified in advance (and is therefore impossible to commodify), and

ii) labour as a quantity (eg, numbers of hours worked) that is for sale and comes at a price.

That is what distinguishes labour from other productive inputs such as electricity: its twin, contradictory, nature. A differentiation-cum-contradiction that political economics neglected to make before Marx came along and that mainstream economics is steadfastly refusing to acknowledge today.

Both electricity and labour can be thought of as commodities. Indeed, both employers and workers struggle to commodify labour.

Employers use all their ingenuity, and that of their HR management minions, to quantify, measure and homogenise labour. Meanwhile, prospective employees go through the wringer in an anxious attempt to commodify their labour power, to write and rewrite their CVs in order to portray themselves as purveyors of quantifiable labour units.

And there’s the rub. If workers and employers ever succeed in commodifying labour fully, capitalism will perish.

This is an insight without which capitalism’s tendency to generate crises can never be fully grasped and, also, an insight that no one has access to without some exposure to Marx’s thought.

Science fiction becomes documentary
In the classic 1953 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the alien force does not attack us head on, unlike in, say, HG Wells’s The War of the Worlds.

Instead, people are taken over from within, until nothing is left of their human spirit and emotions. Their bodies are shells that used to contain a free will and which now labour, go through the motions of everyday “life”, and function as human simulacra “liberated” from the unquantifiable essence of human nature.

This is something like what would have transpired if human labour had become perfectly reducible to human capital and thus fit for insertion into the vulgar economists’ models.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Facebook Twitter Pinterest
Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Photograph: SNAP/REX
Every non-Marxist economic theory that treats human and non-human productive inputs as interchangeable assumes that the dehumanisation of human labour is complete.

But if it could ever be completed, the result would be the end of capitalism as a system capable of creating and distributing value.

For a start, a society of dehumanised automata would resemble a mechanical watch full of cogs and springs, each with its own unique function, together producing a “good”: timekeeping.

Yet if that society contained nothing but other automata, timekeeping would not be a “good”. It would certainly be an “output” but why a “good”? Without real humans to experience the clock’s function, there can be no such thing as “good” or “bad”.

If capital ever succeeds in quantifying, and subsequently fully commodifying, labour, as it is constantly trying to, it will also squeeze that indeterminate, recalcitrant human freedom from within labour that allows for the generation of value.

Marx’s brilliant insight into the essence of capitalist crises was precisely this: the greater capitalism’s success in turning labour into a commodity the less the value of each unit of output it generates, the lower the profit rate and, ultimately, the nearer the next recession of the economy as a system.

The portrayal of human freedom as an economic category is unique in Marx, making possible a distinctively dramatic and analytically astute interpretation of capitalism’s propensity to snatch recession, even depression, from the jaws of growth.

When Marx was writing that labour is the living, form-giving fire; the transitoriness of things; their temporality; he was making the greatest contribution any economist has ever made to our understanding of the acute contradiction buried inside capitalism’s DNA.

When he portrayed capital as a “… force we must submit to … it develops a cosmopolitan, universal energy which breaks through every limit and every bond and posts itself as the only policy, the only universality the only limit and the only bond”, he was highlighting the reality that labour can be purchased by liquid capital (ie money), in its commodity form, but that it will always carry with it a will hostile to the capitalist buyer.

But Marx was not just making a psychological, philosophical or political statement. He was, rather, supplying a remarkable analysis of why the moment that labour (as an unquantifiable activity) sheds this hostility, it becomes sterile, incapable of producing value.

At a time when neoliberals have ensnared the majority in their theoretical tentacles, incessantly regurgitating the ideology of enhancing labour productivity in an effort to enhance competitiveness with a view to creating growth etc, Marx’s analysis offers a powerful antidote.

Capital can never win in its struggle to turn labour into an infinitely elastic, mechanised input, without destroying itself.

That is what neither the neoliberals nor the Keynesians will ever grasp. “If the whole class of the wage-labourer were to be annihilated by machinery”, wrote Marx “how terrible that would be for capital, which, without wage-labour, ceases to be capital!”

What has Marx done for us?

Almost all schools of thought, including those of some progressive economists, like to pretend that, though Marx was a powerful figure, very little of his contribution remains relevant today. I beg to differ.

Besides having captured the basic drama of capitalist dynamics, Marx has given me the tools with which to become immune to the toxic propaganda of neoliberalism.

For example, the idea that wealth is privately produced and then appropriated by a quasi-illegitimate state, through taxation, is easy to succumb to if one has not been exposed first to Marx’s poignant argument that precisely the opposite applies: wealth is collectively produced and then privately appropriated through social relations of production and property rights that rely, for their reproduction, almost exclusively on false consciousness.

In his recent book Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste, the historian of economic thought, Philip Mirowski, has highlighted the neoliberals’ success in convincing a large array of people that markets are not just a useful means to an end but also an end in themselves.

According to this view, while collective action and public institutions are never able to “get it right”, the unfettered operations of decentralised private interest are guaranteed to produce not only the right outcomes but also the right desires, character, ethos even.

The best example of this form of neoliberal crassness is, of course, the debate on how to deal with climate change.

Neoliberals have rushed in to argue that, if anything is to be done, it must take the form of creating a quasi-market for “bads” (eg an emissions trading scheme), since only markets “know” how to price goods and bads appropriately.

To understand why such a quasi-market solution is bound to fail and, more importantly, where the motivation comes from for such “solutions”, one can do much worse than to become acquainted with the logic of capital accumulation that Marx outlined and the Polish economist Michal Kalecki adapted to a world ruled by networked oligopolies.
In the 20th century, the two political movements that sought their roots in Marx’s thought were the communist and social democratic parties. Both of them, in addition to their other errors (and, indeed, crimes) failed, to their detriment, to follow Marx’s lead in a crucial regard: instead of embracing liberty and rationality as their rallying cries and organising concepts, they opted for equality and justice, bequeathing the concept of freedom to the neoliberals.

Marx was adamant: The problem with capitalism is not that it is unfair but that it is irrational, as it habitually condemns whole generations to deprivation and unemployment and even turns capitalists into angst-ridden automata, living in permanent fear that unless they commodify their fellow humans fully so as to serve capital accumulation more efficiently, they will cease to be capitalists.

So, if capitalism appears unjust this is because it enslaves everyone; it wastes human and natural resources; the same production line that pumps out remarkable gizmos and untold wealth, also produces deep unhappiness and crises.

Having failed to couch a critique of capitalism in terms of freedom and rationality, as Marx thought essential, social democracy and the left in general allowed the neoliberals to usurp the mantle of freedom and to win a spectacular triumph in the contest of ideologies.

Perhaps the most significant dimension of the neoliberal triumph is what has come to be known as the “democratic deficit”. Rivers of crocodile tears have flowed over the decline of our great democracies during the past three decades of financialisation and globalisation.

Marx would have laughed long and hard at those who seem surprised, or upset, by the “democratic deficit”. What was the great objective behind 19th-century liberalism?

It was, as Marx never tired of pointing out, to separate the economic sphere from the political sphere and to confine politics to the latter while leaving the economic sphere to capital. It is liberalism’s splendid success in achieving this long-held goal that we are now observing.

Take a look at South Africa today, more than two decades after Nelson Mandela was freed and the political sphere, at long last, embraced the whole population.

The ANC’s predicament was that, in order to be allowed to dominate the political sphere, it had to give up power over the economic one. And if you think otherwise, I suggest that you talk to the dozens of miners gunned down by armed guards paid by their employers after they dared demand a wage rise.

Why erratic?
Having explained why I owe whatever understanding of our social world I may possess largely to Karl Marx, I now want to explain why I remain terribly angry with him.

I shall outline why I am by choice an erratic, inconsistent Marxist.

Marx committed two spectacular mistakes, one of them an error of omission, the other one of commission.

Even today, these mistakes still hamper the left’s effectiveness, especially in Europe.

Marx’s first error – the error of omission was that he failed to give sufficient thought to the impact of his own theorising on the world that he was theorising about.

His theory is discursively exceptionally powerful, and Marx had a sense of its power. So how come he showed no concern that his disciples, people with a better grasp of these powerful ideas than the average worker, might use the power bestowed upon them, via Marx’s own ideas, in order to abuse other comrades, to build their own power base, to gain positions of influence?

Marx’s second error, the one I ascribe to commission, was worse. It was his assumption that truth about capitalism could be discovered in the mathematics of his models.

This was the worst disservice he could have delivered to his own theoretical system.

The man who equipped us with human freedom as a first-order economic concept; the scholar who elevated radical indeterminacy to its rightful place within political economics; he was the same person who ended up toying around with simplistic algebraic models, in which labour units were, naturally, fully quantified, hoping against hope to evince from these equations some additional insights about capitalism.

After his death, Marxist economists wasted long careers indulging a similar type of scholastic mechanism.

Fully immersed in irrelevant debates on “the transformation problem” and what to do about it, they eventually became an almost extinct species, as the neoliberal juggernaut crushed all dissent in its path.

How could Marx be so deluded?

Why did he not recognise that no truth about capitalism can ever spring out of any mathematical model, however brilliant the modeller may be?

Did he not have the intellectual tools to realise that capitalist dynamics spring from the unquantifiable part of human labour; ie from a variable that can never be well-defined mathematically?

Of course he did, since he forged these tools!

No, the reason for his error is a little more sinister: just like the vulgar economists that he so brilliantly admonished (and who continue to dominate the departments of economics today), he coveted the power that mathematical “proof” afforded him.

Why did Marx not recognise that no truth about capitalism can ever spring out of any mathematical model?
If I am right, Marx knew what he was doing. He understood, or had the capacity to know, that a comprehensive theory of value cannot be accommodated within a mathematical model of a dynamic capitalist economy.

He was, I have no doubt, aware that a proper economic theory must respect the idea that the rules of the undetermined are themselves undetermined.

In economic terms this meant a recognition that the market power, and thus the profitability, of capitalists was not necessarily reducible to their capacity to extract labour from employees; that some capitalists can extract more from a given pool of labour or from a given community of consumers for reasons that are external to Marx’s own theory.

Alas, that recognition would be tantamount to accepting that his “laws” were not immutable. He would have to concede to competing voices in the trades union movement that his theory was indeterminate and, therefore, that his pronouncements could not be uniquely and unambiguously correct.

That they were permanently provisional. This determination to have the complete, closed story, or model, the final word, is something I cannot forgive Marx for.

It proved, after all, responsible for a great deal of error and, more significantly, authoritarianism. Errors and authoritarianism that are largely responsible for the left’s current impotence as a force of good and as a check on the abuses of reason and liberty that the neoliberal crew are overseeing today.

Mrs Thatcher’s lesson

I moved to England to attend university in September 1978, six months or so before Margaret Thatcher’s victory changed Britain forever.

Watching the Labour government disintegrate, under the weight of its degenerate social democratic programme, led me to a serious error: to the thought that Thatcher’s victory could be a good thing, delivering to Britain’s working and middle classes the short, sharp shock necessary to reinvigorate progressive politics; to give the left a chance to create a fresh, radical agenda for a new type of effective, progressive politics.

Even as unemployment doubled and then trebled, under Thatcher’s radical neoliberal interventions, I continued to harbour hope that Lenin was right: “Things have to get worse before they get better.”

As life became nastier, more brutish and, for many, shorter, it occurred to me that I was tragically in error: things could get worse in perpetuity, without ever getting better.

The hope that the deterioration of public goods, the diminution of the lives of the majority, the spread of deprivation to every corner of the land would, automatically, lead to a renaissance of the left was just that: hope.

The reality was, however, painfully different. With every turn of the recession’s screw, the left became more introverted, less capable of producing a convincing progressive agenda and, meanwhile, the working class was being divided between those who dropped out of society and those co-opted into the neoliberal mindset.

My hope that Thatcher would inadvertently bring about a new political revolution was well and truly bogus. All that sprang out of Thatcherism were extreme financialisation, the triumph of the shopping mall over the corner store, the fetishisation of housing and Tony Blair.

Instead of radicalising British society, the recession that Thatcher’s government so carefully engineered, as part of its class war against organised labour and against the public institutions of social security and redistribution that had been established after the war, permanently destroyed the very possibility of radical, progressive politics in Britain.

Indeed, it rendered impossible the very notion of values that transcended what the market determined as the “right” price.

The lesson Thatcher taught me about the capacity of a long‑lasting recession to undermine progressive politics, is one that I carry with me into today’s European crisis.

It is, indeed, the most important determinant of my stance in relation to the crisis. It is the reason I am happy to confess to the sin I am accused of by some of my critics on the left: the sin of choosing not to propose radical political programs that seek to exploit the crisis as an opportunity to overthrow European capitalism, to dismantle the awful eurozone, and to undermine the European Union of the cartels and the bankrupt bankers.

Yes, I would love to put forward such a radical agenda. But, no, I am not prepared to commit the same error twice. What good did we achieve in Britain in the early 1980s by promoting an agenda of socialist change that British society scorned while falling headlong into Thatcher’s neoliberal trap? Precisely none.

What good will it do today to call for a dismantling of the eurozone, of the European Union itself, when European capitalism is doing its utmost to undermine the eurozone, the European Union, indeed itself?

A Greek or a Portuguese or an Italian exit from the eurozone would soon lead to a fragmentation of European capitalism, yielding a seriously recessionary surplus region east of the Rhine and north of the Alps, while the rest of Europe is would be in the grip of vicious stagflation.

Who do you think would benefit from this development? A progressive left, that will rise Phoenix-like from the ashes of Europe’s public institutions?

Or the Golden Dawn Nazis, the assorted neofascists, the xenophobes and the spivs? I have absolutely no doubt as to which of the two will do best from a disintegration of the eurozone.

I, for one, am not prepared to blow fresh wind into the sails of this postmodern version of the 1930s.

If this means that it is we, the suitably erratic Marxists, who must try to save European capitalism from itself, so be it. Not out of love for European capitalism, for the eurozone, for Brussels, or for the European Central Bank, but just because we want to minimise the unnecessary human toll from this crisis.

What should Marxists do?

Europe’s elites are behaving today as if they understand neither the nature of the crisis that they are presiding over, nor its implications for the future of European civilisation.

Atavistically, they are choosing to plunder the diminishing stocks of the weak and the dispossessed in order to plug the gaping holes of the financial sector, refusing to come to terms with the unsustainability of the task.

Yet with Europe’s elites deep in denial and disarray, the left must admit that we are just not ready to plug the chasm that a collapse of European capitalism would open up with a functioning socialist system.

Our task should then be twofold.

First, to put forward an analysis of the current state of play that non-Marxist, well meaning Europeans who have been lured by the sirens of neoliberalism, find insightful.

Second, to follow this sound analysis up with proposals for stabilising Europe – for ending the downward spiral that, in the end, reinforces only the bigots.

Let me now conclude with two confessions.

First, while I am happy to defend as genuinely radical the pursuit of a modest agenda for stabilising a system that I criticise, I shall not pretend to be enthusiastic about it. This may be what we must do, under the present circumstances, but I am sad that I shall probably not be around to see a more radical agenda being adopted.

My final confession is of a highly personal nature: I know that I run the risk of, surreptitiously, lessening the sadness from ditching any hope of replacing capitalism in my lifetime by indulging a feeling of having become agreeable to the circles of polite society.

The sense of self-satisfaction from being feted by the high and mighty did begin, on occasion, to creep up on me. And what a non-radical, ugly, corruptive and corrosive sense it was.

My personal nadir came at an airport.

Some moneyed outfit had invited me to give a keynote speech on the European crisis and had forked out the ludicrous sum necessary to buy me a first-class ticket.

On my way back home, tired and with several flights under my belt, I was making my way past the long queue of economy passengers, to get to my gate. Suddenly I noticed, with horror, how easy it was for my mind to be infected with the sense that I was entitled to bypass the hoi polloi.

I realised how readily I could forget that which my leftwing mind had always known: that nothing succeeds in reproducing itself better than a false sense of entitlement.

Forging alliances with reactionary forces, as I think we should do to stabilise Europe today, brings us up against the risk of becoming co-opted, of shedding our radicalism through the warm glow of having “arrived” in the corridors of power.

Radical confessions, like the one I have attempted here, are perhaps the only programmatic antidote to ideological slippage that threatens to turn us into cogs of the machine.

If we are to forge alliances with our political adversaries we must avoid becoming like the socialists who failed to change the world but succeeded in improving their private circumstances.

The trick is to avoid the revolutionary maximalism that, in the end, helps the neoliberals bypass all opposition to their self-defeating policies and to retain in our sights capitalism’s inherent failures while trying to save it, for strategic purposes, from itself.

This article is adapted from a lecture originally delivered at the 6th Subversive Festival in Zagreb in 2013

Follow the Long Read on Twitter: @gdnlongread

The Bad B’s of Leadership

The letter B

Bad leadership feels safe like baggy jeans and broken-in sneakers.

Bad leadership has a baffling capacity to walk comfortable paths while the world changes.

Bold leadership, on the other hand, feels dangerous like learning to walk.

Bold leadership feels like almost falling.

The difference between safe and dangerous, bad and bold is:

  1. Declaring hopes. Unshared dreams don’t happen. If you want to get somewhere, tell someone where you’re going.
  2. Forgiving.
  3. Stepping out so someone can step in.
  4. Expecting more from yourself and others.
  5. Trying something untried.
  6. Developing untested skills.
  7. Admitting failure publicly.
  8. Trusting someone new.
  9. Accepting new challenges.
  10. Asking when in doubt.

No wonder there are so many bad leaders. Bad is benign.

Bold leaders step out with UNcertainty.

Bold leaders step toward the edge. Brash leaders mock the edge. Bad leaders are so far from the edge they can’t see it.

From bad to be bold:

  1. Let reluctance show you who you are. What’s in you that blocks your future.
  2. Reject notions of feeling competent. They’re overrated. You aren’t reaching high enough if you make it the first time.
  3. Make growth personal. Tie new skills and challenges to character. How does facing fear, for example, help you become who you want to be? What new character-muscles create your future.
  4. Imagine the new you before she emerges. Describe who you are on the other side of uncertainty.
  5. Rely on trusted advisers, mentors, and coaches.
  6. Continue moving forward – don’t fix failures – leave them behind. Think next time all the time.
  7. Role play in safe environments. Test your wings before leaving the nest.

What can you do that feels like you’re almost falling?

More bad “B” words for leaders:

  1. Belittle.
  2. Beguile.
  3. Baby.
  4. Biased.
  5. Baggage.
  6. Boring. (By the way, anyone interested in me isn’t boring!)
  7. Backstabbing.
  8. Bragging.
  9. Brownnoser.
  10. Bottleneck.

For a longer list of important “B’s” for leaders visit the Leadership Freak Facebook page (7/2/2013).

What good or bad B’s for leaders can you suggest?

Add important leadership words that begin with “C” onFacebook for tomorrow’s post.

Cost reduce or value increase?

Organizations that want to increase their metrics either invest in:

Creating more value for their customers, or

Doing just enough to keep going, but for less effort and money.

During their first decade, the core group at Amazon regularly amazed customers by investing in work that created more value. When you do that, people talk, the word spreads, growth happens.

Inevitably, particularly for public companies, it becomes easier to focus on keeping what you’ve got going, but cheaper.

You may have noticed, for example, that their once legendary customer service hardly seems the same, with 6 or 7 interactions required to get an accurate and useful response.

This happens to organizations regardless of size or stature. It’s a form of entropy.

Unless you’re vigilant, the apparently easy path of cost reduction will distract you from the important work of value creation.

The key question to ask in the meeting is: Are we increasing value or lowering costs?

Race to the top or race to the bottom, it’s a choice.

What a 40 min-day longer on Mars do to managing team on Earth?

We didn’t think that we are going to have Mars watches and the logistics of the time

Nagin Cox is a first-generation Martian. As a spacecraft engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Cox works on the team that manages the United States’ rovers on Mars.

But working a 9-to-5 on another planet — whose day is 40 minutes longer than Earth’s — has particular, often comical challenges

Nagin Cox. Spacecraft operations engineer

Nagin Cox explores Mars as part of the team that operates NASA’s rovers. Full bio

So many of you have probably seen the movie “The Martian.” But for those of you who did not, it’s a movie about an astronaut who is stranded on Mars, and his efforts to stay alive until the Earth can send a rescue mission to bring him back to Earth.

Gladly, they do re-establish communication with the character, astronaut Watney, at some point so that he’s not as alone on Mars until he can be rescued. So while you’re watching the movie, or even if you haven’t, when you think about Mars, you’re probably thinking about how far away it is and how distant.

0:50 And, what might not have occurred to you is, what are the logistics really like of working on another planet of living on two planets when there are people on the Earth and there are rovers or people on Mars?

So think about when you have friends, families and co-workers in California, on the West Coast or in other parts of the world. When you’re trying to communicate with them, one of the things you probably first think about is: wait, what time is it in California? Will I wake them up? Is it OK to call?

even if you’re interacting with colleagues who are in Europe, you’re immediately thinking about: What does it take to coordinate communication when people are far away?

we don’t have people on Mars right now, but we do have rovers. And actually right now, on Curiosity, it is 6:10 in the morning. So, 6:10 in the morning on Mars. We have four rovers on Mars. The United States has put four rovers on Mars since the mid-1990s, and I have been privileged enough to work on three of them.

I am a spacecraft engineer, a spacecraft operations engineer, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Los Angeles, California. And these rovers are our robotic emissaries they are our eyes and our ears, and they see the planet for us until we can send people. So we learn how to operate on other planets through these rovers. 

before we send people, we send robots. So the reason there’s a time difference on Mars right now, from the time that we’re at is because the Martian day is longer than the Earth day. Our Earth day is 24 hours, because that’s how long it takes the Earth to rotate, how long it takes to go around once. So our day is 24 hours. It takes Mars 24 hours and approximately 40 minutes to rotate once.

that means that the Martian day is 40 minutes longer than the Earth day. So teams of people who are operating the rovers on Mars, like this one, what we are doing is we are living on Earth, but working on Mars. So we have to think as if we are actually on Mars with the rover.

Our job, the job of this team, of which I’m a part of, is to send commands to the rover to tell it what to do the next day. To tell it to drive or drill or tell her whatever she’s supposed to do. So while she’s sleeping — and the rover does sleep at night because she needs to recharge her batteries and she needs to weather the cold Martian night.

And so the rover sleeps. So while she sleeps, we work on her program for the next day. So I work the Martian night shift. (Laughter)

in order to come to work on the Earth at the same time every day on Mars — like, let’s say I need to be at work at 5:00 p.m., this team needs to be at work at 5:00 p.m. Mars time every day, then we have to come to work on the Earth 40 minutes later every day, in order to stay in sync with Mars. That’s like moving a time zone every day.

one day you come in at 8:00, the next day 40 minutes later at 8:40, the next day 40 minutes later at 9:20, the next day at 10:00. So you keep moving 40 minutes every day, until soon you’re coming to work in the middle of the night the middle of the Earth night. Right? So you can imagine how confusing that is.

Hence, the Mars watch. (Laughter) This weights in this watch have been mechanically adjusted so that it runs more slowly. Right? And we didn’t start out — I got this watch in 2004 when Spirit and Opportunity, the rovers back then. We didn’t start out thinking that we were going to need Mars watches.

Right? We thought, OK, we’ll just have the time on our computers and on the mission control screens, and that would be enough. Yeah, not so much. Because we weren’t just working on Mars time, we were actually living on Mars time. And we got just instantaneously confused about what time it was.

you really needed something on your wrist to tell you: What time is it on the Earth? What time is it on Mars? And it wasn’t just the time on Mars that was confusing; we also needed to be able to talk to each other about it. So a “sol” is a Martian day — again, 24 hours and 40 minutes. So when we’re talking about something that’s happening on the Earth, we will say, today.

for Mars, we say, “tosol.” (Laughter) Yesterday became “yestersol” for Mars. Again, we didn’t start out thinking, “Oh, let’s invent a language.” It was just very confusing.

I remember somebody walked up to me and said, “I would like to do this activity on the vehicle tomorrow, on the rover.” And I said, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, or Mars, tomorrow?” We started this terminology because we needed a way to talk to each other. (Laughter)

Tomorrow became “nextersol” or “solorrow.” Because people have different preferences for the words they use. Some of you might say “soda” and some of you might say “pop.” So we have people who say “nextersol” or “solorrow.” And then something that I noticed after a few years of working on these missions, was that the people who work on the rovers, we say “tosol.”

The people who work on the landed missions that don’t rove around, they say “tosoul.” So I could actually tell what mission you worked on from your Martian accent. (Laughter) 

we have the watches and the language, and you’re detecting a theme here, right? So that we don’t get confused. But even the Earth daylight could confuse us. If you think that right now, you’ve come to work and it’s the middle of the Martian night and there’s light streaming in from the windows that’s going to be confusing as well.

you can see from this image of the control room that all of the blinds are down. So that there’s no light to distract us. The blinds went down all over the building about a week before landing, and they didn’t go up until we went off Mars time.

this also works for the house, for at home. I’ve been on Mars time three times, and my husband is like, OK, we’re getting ready for Mars time. And so he’ll put foil all over the windows and dark curtains and shades because it also affects your families.

And so here I was living in kind of this darkened environment, but so was he. And he’d gotten used to it. But then I would get these plaintive emails from him when he was at work. Should I come home? Are you awake? What time is it on Mars? And I decided, OK, so he needs a Mars watch. (Laughter)

But of course, it’s 2016, so there’s an app for that. (Laughter) So now instead of the watches, we can also use our phones. But the impact on families was just across the board; it wasn’t just those of us who were working on the rovers but our families as well.

This is David Oh, one of our flight directors, and he’s at the beach in Los Angeles with his family at 1:00 in the morning. (Laughter) So because we landed in August and his kids didn’t have to go back to school until September, they actually went on to Mars time with him for one month.

They got up 40 minutes later every day. And they were on dad’s work schedule. So they lived on Mars time for a month and had these great adventures, like going bowling in the middle of the night or going to the beach. And one of the things that we all discovered is you can get anywhere in Los Angeles at 3:00 in the morning when there’s no traffic.

we would get off work, and we didn’t want to go home and bother our families, and we were hungry, so instead of going locally to eat something, we’d go, “Wait, there’s this great all-night deli in Long Beach, and we can get there in 10 minutes!” So we would drive down — it was like the 60s, no traffic.

We would drive down there, and the restaurant owners would go, “Who are you people? And why are you at my restaurant at 3:00 in the morning?” So they came to realize that there were these packs of Martians, roaming the LA freeways, in the middle of the night — in the middle of the Earth night. And we did actually start calling ourselves Martians. So those of us who were on Mars time would refer to ourselves as Martians, and everyone else as Earthlings.

And that’s because when you’re moving a time-zone every day, you start to really feel separated from everyone else. You’re literally in your own world. So I have this button on that says, “I survived Mars time. Sol 0-90.” And there’s a picture of it up on the screen.

the reason we got these buttons is because we work on Mars time in order to be as efficient as possible with the rover on Mars, to make the best use of our time. But we don’t stay on Mars time for more than three to four months.

Eventually, we’ll move to a modified Mars time, which is what we’re working now. And that’s because it’s hard on your bodies, it’s hard on your families. In fact, there were sleep researchers who actually were studying us because it was so unusual for humans to try to extend their day. And they had about 30 of us that they would do sleep deprivation experiments on.

I would come in and take the test and I fell asleep in each one. And that was because, again, this eventually becomes hard on your body. Even though it was a blast. It was a huge bonding experience with the other members on the team, but it is difficult to sustain.

these rover missions are our first steps out into the solar system. We are learning how to live on more than one planet. We are changing our perspective to become multi-planetary. So the next time you see a Star Wars movie, and there are people going from the Dagobah system to Tatooine, think about what it really means to have people spread out so far.

What it means in terms of the distances between them, how they will start to feel separate from each other and just the logistics of the time. We have not sent people to Mars yet, but we hope to. And between companies like SpaceX and NASA and all of the international space agencies of the world, we hope to do that in the next few decades.

So soon we will have people on Mars, and we truly will be multi-planetary. And the young boy or the young girl who will be going to Mars could be in this audience or listening today.

I have wanted to work at JPL on these missions since I was 14 years old and I am privileged to be a part of it. And this is a remarkable time in the space program, and we are all in this journey together.

the next time you think you don’t have enough time in your day, just remember, it’s all a matter of your Earthly perspective.

Patsy Z and TEDxSKE shared a link.

Doctors Who Discovered Cancer Enzymes In Vaccines All Found Murdered

Sponsored by Revcontent

Note: This is Not a horror thriller novel. For decades now, vaccins have been laced with viruses to decimate aborigine tribes in Brazil and Africa, in order to take hold of their lands, rich in oil, mineral and water

Several holistic doctors have been found dead, in apparent suicides. The medical community is now speechless due to the timing of their deaths, based on the fact that they were all researchers working on a breakthrough cure for cancer.

Renowned autism specialist, Dr. James Jeffrey Bradstreet, was researching the enzyme prior to his death in July 2015. His body was discovered floating in a North Carolina river with a single gunshot wound to the chest.

Suspicions swirled that the doctor may have been killed as a result of his controversial research. Bradstreet and his colleagues had discovered that the immune system is being compromised by nagalase, which they suspected was being introduced through vaccines.

Dr. Bradstreet was working with a naturally occurring compound that may be the single most effective thing in the immune system for killing cancer cells

Nagalase interferes with an important protein in the body that kills cancer cells, explained Dr. Ted Broer in an interview on the Hagmann and Hagmann Report

This new breakthrough cure, which you can learn more about in the video below, includes the human protein GcMAF (globulin component macrophage activating factor). GcMAF actually activates macrophages that are already existent inside of the human body, and in turn causes the body to destroy cancer cells.

As the body produces this substance naturally, many cancer patients cannot produce enough necessary to ward off the disease. Thankfully, when administered GcMAF, the immune system can become stronger and can fight cancer by itself, without more invasive treatments like radiation or chemotherapy. The GcMAF website says:

“Your GcMAF empowers your body to cure itself. In a healthy person, your own GcMAF has 11 actions discovered so far, including two on cells, three excellent effects on the brain, and 6 on cancer. Amongst these, it acts as a ‘director’ of your immune system.”

The video we have linked shows GcMAF in action by use of time-lapse photography over a period of 60 hours.

It is no wonder that big pharma saw these doctors as their enemy.

Their lives were not payment for the monetary loss the pharmaceutical industry would have taken, and staying informed of information such as this is of the utmost importance.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

March 2017
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