Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Human Factors

Trip to Nashville.  April 1, 2020

Note: I opened a special category on my blog “Travel/Excursion” to collect all my trips and adventure stories.

I learned that a young couple of my acquaintances at the university were leaving to Kentucky and would drive through Tennessee.

I had just graduated with PhD in industrial/Ergonomics engineering in 199,1 after 6 long grueling years of toil. I worked 4 part-time jobs within the university confine to pay tuition and make ends meet, in addition of a half-time student assistant in my last 2 years.

You know, I obey to regulations, even if most foreign students work outside and have much better pay.

I had an open invitation from my ex-girlfriend in Nashville. She once got pissed off of me and transferred her job from Oklahoma City to Nashville, along with her two kids. (No, the matter was Not of any cheating stories: just a nervous laugh in a funny situation. Told that encounter in my post on Rose)

I asked the couple to give me ride in their tiny VW Beetle. They dropped me in Nashville where Rose lived.

(I wrote about this trip in “An inch taller than her country women“, reminiscing about the women I got this lucky of befriending. A hard working and resilient divorced woman) .

I guess that I spent about three weeks in Nashville but I never had the opportunity to tour “Graceland“, even though Shannon, the daughter of Rose, worked there for pocket money.

I guess that I could not afford the $40 entrance fees.

I tried applying for a position in that period of acute recession during Bush Senior Presidency that lasted until he lost the renewal of his tenure to Clinton. Yes, I also endured this deep unemployment period in San Francisco.

I applied to Nissan plant at Smyrna? and other positions.

There is not much to see in Nashville and I was not in the touring mood since Rose was working hard to make ends meet and I was feverishly applying for jobs.

I recall that I paid a visit to this “famous” record company of Hall of Fames of country singers and gold records . I didn’t care much, but just for curiosity reason.

I even experimented with selling books for a multilevel scheme company.

Rose reluctantly let me use her brand new Japanese car. I don’t drive other people cars, but I was dead broke. The company allocated me a neighborhood to sell the “book of the week” that was to be promoted…

The deal is that you don’t miss a house or a business office in the area allocated to you and you tour the streets clockwise to close the loop.

You leave the customers the book of the week for three days for their perusal. You come back the next week to retrieve the book or sell it to the client.

We had to be at the warehouse at six in the morning, followed by a military style pep talk and then we are trained to memorize definite phrases to eliminate hesitations and how to close deals.

At six in the evening we had to learn the accounting procedures for our business and stay way after eight or even nine.

Supposedly, a few of our role models who were poor in math learned to add and subtract, to harangue, and to get rich.

I lost money in the final analysis because a few books could not be accounted for.

I think this “company” made money by charging the high priced of “displaced” or non retrieved books , when it didn’t cost it a fraction. Maybe they got these books for free just to spread them around.

I once got a traffic ticket for over speeding in Rose’s new Nissan car; it is impossible to know whether you are speeding in these smooth driving cars.  I never paid the traffic tickets.

The woman graduate student, Sara, picked me up on her way back to Oklahoma in her tiny beige VW.

I don’t recall that I spoke a word on that return trip. Sara didn’t attempt to talk either. I guess we both were Not in the mood of sharing our disappointment or frustration.

Sara reluctantly let me sleep overnight when we arrived in Norman: I had no place to sleep since I had vacated my rented apartment

Two days later, Fakhry (a close Lebanese friend whose parents worked in Africa and was married to an American) lent me $100 for the Greyhound bus fare to San Francisco.

I was to attend the American Human Factors annual convention.

It was an excuse to let go of Norman town, a “boring hole” and start afresh, though I had no acquaintances in San Francisco.

I figured that sleeping two nights at the hotel with my advisor might open up new opportunities for survival.

Repetitive illnesses: Shouldn’t beast of burden enjoy the rights that Humain refuse themselves

Note: Repost of 2004 “What are the rights of the beast of burden; like a donkey?” 

Article #4: Human Factors in Engineering

People used to own donkeys for special works and they still do in many places.

Donkeys are relatively cheap, if you can find them:  They are quite obedient and resilient.

Donkeys can endure hardships if you provide food and minimal care.

Low level employees, such as in data input jobs, are far less loved and appreciated than the former hot blooded mammals.

They helplessly endure repetitive musculoskeletal pains. Ironically, many of the clerks do proudly claim these pains as a badge of honor.

They are remunerated cheaper than donkeys because all that their job entails is to just sit and do monotonous work.

They suffer all the sedentary diseases: neck, head, shoulders, and back pains.

They suffer irremediable hands, fingers and wrists handicaps for the rest of their wretched lives.

Graphic designers are certainly a tad better: They are paid slightly better; not for their artistic imagination, but may be because they can also use a few more computer application programs.

Historically, the design of the characters on the first typewriters was meant to slow down typing:

Fast typing used to jam the arms of the mechanical typewriters.

A large order by a big company at the time hampered any redesign of the characters for the newer technological advances in the manufacture of typewriters.

Still, secretaries had to awkwardly learn typing fast to meet production and greed.

The benefits of redesigning the shapes and forms of computer keyboards, which could temporarily alleviate the many cumulative musculoskeletal disorders from harsh continuous and daily typing, did not reach the common typists and data entry clerks.

These low level employees were not worth any investment in upgraded keyboards.

Higher level employees, who barely use computers for any productive task, were honored with the latest gizmos.

In fact, I believe that even the best ergonomically designed keyboards cannot solve these disorders:

Heavy computer users, for 8 hours daily, are still performing repetitive movements, sitting still, eyes riveted to a display.

They are still asked to perform maximally, under the watchful and tireless computer supervisor:

An efficient program is embedded in the computer itself, a program meant to collect data and analyzes performances of the donkey clerk.

Employees should not demand any redesign of the characters on keyboards.

Any faster typing design will be at their detriment and they will pay the price bitterly.

Their task will come to higher risks to their health and safety with no increase in wages.

They should know that faster standards will then be required of them;

Instead of 60 words per minutes, Mr. Greed might ask of them to be able to type 300 wpm.

It is not enough to improve technology; we need to restrain its consequences.

Bless the French Rabelais who said: “Science without conscience is the ruin of the soul”.

Note: Nothing has improved with the new communication technologies, but with small mobile phones people don’t have to sit still in one place. People can lay down, move and commit traffic accidents talking and manipulating their new gizmos.

Tidbits and notes posted on FB and Twitter. Part 182

Note: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. I pa attention to researched documentaries and serious links I receive. The page is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains a month-old events that are worth refreshing your memory.

Documentary: Nero didn’t burn Rome. He didn’t persecute the Christians. St Peter didn’t die during Nero time. No foreign military expansions were conducted. Nero was an artist and didn’t appreciate the cruelties of the elite senators.  He surrendered himself with ministers from sons of freed slaves and built wonderful achievements. He did assassinate his mother Agrippa for fear of dethroning him. And he did assassinate his ex-wife Octavia.

What taxonomies Human Factors have to conceive?  How about the classification of human errors when operating a system, their frequencies and consequences on the safety of operators and system performance?

One alternative classification of human errors is based on human behavior and the level of comprehension. Mainly, skill-based, or rule-based or knowledge-based behavioral patterns. This taxonomy identifies 13 types of errors and discriminates among the stages and strength of controlled routines in the mind that precipitate the occurrence of an error, whether during execution of a task, omitting steps, changing the order of steps, sequence of steps, timing errors, inadequate analysis or decision-making.

Another taxonomy rely on the theory of information processing and it is a literal transcription of the experimental processes; mainly, observation of a system status, choice of hypothesis, testing of hypothesis, choice of goal, choice of procedure and execution of procedure.  Basically, this taxonomy may answer the problems in the rule-based and knowledge–based behavior.

It is useful to specify in the final steps of taxonomy whether an error is of omission or of commission.  I suggest that the errors of commission be also fine tuned to differentiate among errors of sequence, the kind of sequence, and timing of the execution.

There are alternative strategies for reducing human errors by either training, selection of the appropriate applicants, or redesigning a system to fit the capabilities of end users and/or taking care of his limitations by preventive designs, exclusion designs, and fail-safe designs.

I now take one task at a time. Now that time is worth everything, Time is irrelevant to me. I could be happy.

In my mind, “geek” and “nerd” are related, but capture different dimensions of an intense dedication to a subject. The distinction is that geeks are fans of their subjects, and nerds are practitioners of their fields of interest.

  • geek – An enthusiast of a particular topic or field. Geeks are “collection” oriented, gathering facts and mementos related to their subject of interest. They are obsessed with the newest, coolest, trendiest things that their subject has to offer.
  • nerd – A studious intellectual of a particular topic or field. Nerds are “achievement” oriented, and focus their efforts on acquiring knowledge and skill over trivia and memorabilia.

Then I learned of the double standards since my tacit demotion is that we must keep at work the details of moral standards accepted at work, and never transfer it outside the premises. This attitude is categorized under State Secret interests… Home moral standards are off-limits in the active function.

Nabih Berry, chairman of Parliament, khosser. 3amaarat al khorafaat 7awla shakhsihi inharat. reje3 la noktet al bidayat. Za3eem militia: ya ana al mou2assassat yamma al fawdat

Ra7 yedfa3 kteer Nabih lamma zarak Hezbollah. dha3dha3 misdakiyyat sayyed al mokawamat bi binaa2 dawlat mou2assassat wa al doustour

Kallam jameel la Jobran Bassil min Paris lel al mo2tamar wa fil Magazine. Al ghawghaa2 ajbaret Cote d’Ivoire ma te2der t2ammen 7imayyah la Jobran

Sa3d Hariri PM karrar yebneh dawleh: mosh kel siyassi bi mohemmeh la barrat laazem 2albo yo2bot.

Kel 3ayleh badda toshnok al kaatel bi doun mou7akamat. Al amen lazem ye jor ha2oula2 lel mou7akamat, abel Hisham.

Fi ehmaal bi 3akaar, B3albak, Hermel? Nouwaab wa wouzara2 hal moukata3aat ba baddon ya3mlo investment wa business bi manate2on

Design: Got necessarily be evidence-based. Design is basically relevant to a human factors need

Note: Finally, an article that explicitly mentions Human Factors in Design

Dr Dan Jenkins leads the human factors and research team at DCA Design International, working on a range of projects in domains including medical, transport, consumer goods and industrial products.

Lisa Baker is a Chartered Ergonomist of the CIEHF and senior human factors researcher at DCA Design International.

Here, in advance of an interactive workshop they will present at Design Council, they discuss the necessity of designing from a strong evidence base.

Design is rarely a solitary exercise.

Despite perceptions brought about and perpetuated by celebrity designers, most products are developed by teams.

The reason is that many products, like planes, trains or automobiles, are simply too complex to be designed by one person alone. (And the more complex the system the worse in safety)

Even if they had the time, very few individuals have the required breadth and depth of skills, knowledge and attitude required to consider all aspects of the design.

For products of any notable complexity, the idea that a single individual could fully research the product, it’s context of use and commercial market, develop a concept, engineer it, test it, select materials and suppliers, and manage production transfer is simply a fantasy.

When it comes to working in teams, it’s not enough to be confident in one’s own convictions. If the best designs are to be developed, it is imperative that each member of the team is able to explain the rationale for the decisions they make and convince others.

The most beautiful products, like works of art, elicit physiological responses: upon first sight, pupils dilate and heart rate quickens.

The strongest brands can have the same impact.

Users often place greater trust in these objects, they care for them and take time to use them effectively.

But initial responses can also be fickle.

How do we ensure that users not only remain engaged with products but can also use them to enhance system performance? Or simply put, how do we create beautiful things that also work beautifully?

Evidence-based design is a key component in developing better things. It’s a philosophy that’s critical for ensuring the team have a common objective and rationale for decision making when working in large multidisciplinary teams.

And Measurement is a critical part of this.

This kind of approach is something that a select few do intuitively. They create compelling arguments for a vision of the future and they have the authority or the gravitas to set a course that others follow.

For most though, some form of systematic structure usually helps.

Fortunately, the human factors tool kit is jam-packed with methods and techniques ready to be used.

These methods range from ethnography and contextual enquiry to more data driven approaches that are able to quantify aspects of system performance such as efficiency, effectiveness, resilience, intuitiveness, usability and inclusiveness.

These approaches can also form the basis for ideation, providing inspiration and information for product improvements.

Ultimately a concise, well-supported argument for change is critical in ensuring that human factors are considered and communicated to a wide range of stakeholders.

This may include those within the design team as well as end users, regulators, maintenance staff, sales and marketing, as well as those involved with construction and decommissioning.

This way we can ensure that we are designing products and services that go beyond initial aesthetic appeal to enhance wider system performance.


A useful chart that maps the key factors in ensuring a strong evidence base for ergonomic design.


Dan Jenkins and Lisa Baker will be presenting an interactive workshop on these ideas at the Ergonomic Design Awards on 22 September at the Design Council. The workshop will introduce a range of human factors tools and explain how they can be used to build, inform, and present a compelling business case for change that leads to better products and greater system performance.

A second workshop will also be presented which examines how designers can ensure inclusivity into later life, and how we design for physical issues of ageing and cognitive impairments such as dementia, for example.

Find out more about these workshops or, alternatively, please contact James Walton on 07736 893 347 or at j.walton@ergonomics.org.uk

More to read on Human Factors designs

  1. On interfaces https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/05/17/what-other-interfaces-do-you-design%e2%80%9d/
  2. Message of HF discipline https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/07/10/what-message-has-the-human-factors-profession-been-sending/
  3. How HF fits in Engineering curriculum? https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/06/17/fitting-human-factors-in-the-engineering-curriculum/
  4. Taxonomy of methods in HF https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/an-exercise-taxonomy-of-methods/
Dr Dan Jenkins leads the human factors and research team at DCA Design International, working on a range of projects in domains including medical, transport, consumer goods and industrial products. Lisa Baker is a Chartered…
designcouncil.org.uk
“Did I choose to be a social designer?” And “Did the will and opportunity collide?”
My niece Joanna Choukeir Hojeily posted on FB:
“Did I choose to be a social designer, did it just happen, or did the will and opportunity collide?
I will be reflecting on how I got to doing what I do now; a practice and industry that didn’t exist 10 years ago when I first started out as a designer. Creating Futures Symposium this coming Tuesday at the ICA in London.
Did I choose to be a social designer, did it just happen, or did the will and opportunity collide?  I will be reflecting on how I got to doing what I do now; a practice and industry that didn't exist 10 years ago when I first started out as a designer. Creating Futures Symposium this coming Tuesday at the ICA in London.
I replied:
“Your field existed since 1942 when designers tried to minimize the frequent pilot accidents in the air war with Germany. It was called industrial psychology, then industrial engineering, ergonomics, Human Factors in Engineering
The advent of fast computing, personal computing and fast graphics facilities shifted the trend to social graphic engineering or design…
It is the varied opportunities in developed countries that upgraded your passion for “social graphic design” projects: Giving priority to the health, safety and ease of use of products and services…”
I have posted about 50 articles on that topic in the category “Human Factors in Engineering”
I have in a previous article, in a short sentence that may have gone unnoticed, mentioned that the main objective of Human Factors in Engineering is designing interfaces between complex systems and targeted end users.
Modern days are an accumulation of very complex systems that societies can no longer live without and have to suffer their consequences in health, safety, comfort, risks or fatal accidents. 
Modern days rely on communications systems, on health care, on educational, on information, on transportation, on energy, on financial, on tourism, on diplomatic, and even on political systems.
Usually, there are purposes for establishing any system and the money generated could only be the consequences of satisfying human specific demands that a developed standard of living requires, or are encouraged through advertisements, or are initiated by new laws to regulating a society.
This modern world, more than in any previous centuries, is plagued with complex systems that are automated in many portions with no human understanding of how a system functions or can be repaired or be redesigned except a few rare professional experts.
These vast and very costly systems are created, assembled, maintained and run by different specialized personnel who have no serious interconnections among one another.
Every section of any system requires an interface with another section so that the end user can communicate with another section without any obligation to know or understand the details of the other section.
These interfaces have to be designed to be used with minimal skills, knowledge or special training.
Consumers require easy to use objects, safe objects, error free and accident free objects.
Consumers need to access these complex systems quickly, cheaply, without the requirement for extensive training or intermediate personnel to doing business or making the objects function according to their idiosyncrasies.
The Human Factors engineering discipline should be the application of the body of knowledge, information and facts about human abilities, limitations, (physical, mental and psychological) and characteristics to the design of tools, machines, systems, tasks, jobs, and environments for safe, comfortable and effective human use.
The Human Factors engineering discipline is expected to direct its research toward practical design purposes and offer data that can be readily applied by engineers from different discipline”.
Here is a brief story of how I went about finishing my PhD dissertation.
My adviser had a business in forensic of accidents in workplace, safety consultancy and was focused on the lack of safety signs and pictorials since it was the rage of suing in consumer liability cases.
He proposed that I work on safety signs for my proposal and I didn’t feel hot about it: I sensed this topic was at best good enough for a Master’s thesis. The effects of safety signs were very short term, unless the system includes safety behaviors as an important part in the proper functioning of the corporation.
I recall that I worked for a year on a PhD proposal related to graphics of safety signs and pictorials. There were no personal computers and no graphic facilities. I toiled by hand.
My idea was to gather the used and adopted safety pictorials in many fields and try a taxonomy of elemental parts that designers could assemble in their jobs.  This proposal was killed by the team of advisers within half an hour of the session.
I tried another proposal related to cognitive engineering and it was not accepted. I was hooked to the cognitive field but my adviser would have none to do with cognition for my dissertation: he was not interested in such a field and it was not in his line of business.
To be fair, Dr. Purswell was more than patient with me and let me write two proposals related to cognition that both were turned down within a year.
I spent two years on idiosyncratic topics that my main advisor was not comfortable with, and I had no support system to guide me.
Two years earlier, my advisor told me: “Get on with my idea of a proposal. Get you degree and move on. At your age I had already three children...”
Two years earlier, one of my classmate obeyed the same advisor to the word and finished his dissertation (no experiment was conducted) and was accepted at a university as assistant professor, while I was toiling uselessly.
Finally, Dr. Purswell had to deliver an ultimatum or he would have no choice but to suspend my scholarships.
I was ordered to stop all part-time jobs. I obeyed and within a semester I wrote the proposal, designed the experiment, finished setting up the fictitious chemical lab and carried out several intelligence testing protocols just to divert the true objective from the over 120 “subjects”.
The subjects were mostly first year Psychology students because they are required to submit to experiments for credit-hours. That semester was hectic but a lot of fun.
The next semester was the worst of all semesters because I had to input thousands of data and read hundreds of pages of computer statistical results and the gruesome task of writing up my dissertation.
I had Dr. Schlegel in my advisory team and he forced me to use a specialized word processing program, simply because the print was professional and versatile. The problem was that no one could interpret the error in the program and fix it when I got stuck except him. I occasionally had to wait a couple of weeks to meet with him in order to untangle stupid word processing glitches.
By the time I submitted the final written copy I was totally depressed and I had erased from my mind any academic prospect.
To make matters worse, the US was experiencing a depressed market and universities had put a moratorium on hiring professors.
What a foreign PhD graduate with the wrong nationality and in a bad job market is to do to survive?
I asked for what I deserve. My temperament predicted this outcome.
I don’t complain in real life, but the blog is supposed to write about the oddities in life.

Convention Without Walls: ‘Digital Divide’ Overlooked by the live-streaming technology?

With a steady stream of blog posts, tweets, Facebook posts and YouTube videos, even the Republican party convention is live-streaming on YouTube.

The presidential campaigns have increasingly embraced the web as a way to speak directly to voters.

The Republican National Convention in Tampa, which is calling itself the “Convention Without Walls,” is releasing a mobile app and encouraging Facebook users to share their photos and videos.

The upcoming Democratic National Convention in Charlotte has planned similar digital outreach.

Yet, millions of Americans won’t be able to participate. They are blocked from experiencing much of the online world:  Simply, they don’t have access to high-speed Internet.

About one-third of Americans (100 million people) do not subscribe to broadband. This so-called “digital divide” will likely receive little, if any attention during the political conventions.

Gerry Smith in the HuffPost wrote:

“Bridging the technology gap fits squarely within the candidates’ platforms for reducing unemployment, increasing access to health care and education, and helping the country compete in a globalized economy, experts say.

Almost every aspect of today’s society — from looking for jobs to accessing online medicine and classrooms — now requires a broadband connection, and those without access are quickly being left behind.

“I feel like I’m at a disadvantage,” said James Brunswick, a 51-year-old Philadelphia resident who is looking for a job but can’t afford a computer.

There are different reasons why Americans are disconnected.

1. About 19 million people, mostly in rural areas, don’t have high-speed Internet because phone and cable companies don’t provide service to their location. I

2. Many low-income Americans can’t afford broadband subscriptions.

3. About 40% of adults with household incomes less than $20,000 have broadband at home, compared to 93 percent with household incomes greater than $75,000, according to the F.C.C.

4. A growing number of people who can’t afford computers or Internet service are turning to smartphones as a more affordable way to get online.

Experts warn that mobile devices — with their small screens, data caps and slower speeds — are no substitute for a computer with a high-speed connection.

To help more people join the digital age, the Obama administration set aside $7.2 billion to deploy high-speed Internet to unserved and low-income areas. The Federal Communications Commission has overhauled its Lifeline program to provide discounted Internet service to families in need and has partnered with major cable providers to supply $10 Internet access to households with a child enrolled in the national school lunch program.

Again, experts say more must be done.

A few of the experts argue the next administration needs to regulate broadband providers to promote competition, which would give consumers more choices and lower prices for broadband service.

“We can throw subsidies at the problem all day, but it’s not going to close the digital divide unless we have a robust, competitive market that will lead to lower prices and more attractive services,” said Derek Turner, research director at the public-interest group Free Press.

There are other reasons why people don’t get online.

1. Some are not comfortable with the Internet, while others think the web is a waste of their time, surveys show.

2. And while the price of computers is falling, many low-income Americans still can’t afford them and must rely on public libraries to get online — a digital safety net that is starting to fray.

3. More than half of libraries say their Internet connections are not fast enough, and libraries nationwide are facing budget cuts that have forced them to close on weekends and evenings, according to the American Library Association.

“We are suffering from the perfect storm,” said Emily Sheketoff, the executive director of the American Library Association’s Washington office.

About 80% of schools and libraries receiving federal funding for Internet service say their connections “do not fully meet their needs,” according to an FCC report issued last week.

Stephanie Thomas is a history and government teacher at Broad Street High School in Shelby, Miss., a rural town of 2,000 people where nearly half of families live in poverty.

Thomas often wants to show her students online videos or conduct interactive lessons, but the school’s limited bandwidth makes that impossible.

“We have the Internet but it can be extremely slow,” Thomas said. “There are times where I’ve wanted to show YouTube videos and I spend half of the class period waiting for it to load.”

The FCC’s National Broadband Plan, which was released in 2010, offers a blueprint for helping more people join the digital age.

The plan suggests:

1. That the commission provide wireless spectrum to companies on the condition that they offer free or low-cost broadband service to low-income customers.

2. It recommends Congress provide more funding to teach low-income Americans how to use the Internet and help people with disabilities and Native Americans, who have especially low rates of broadband adoption, gain access to the web.

Turner said there is another reason why both presidential candidates should be concerned about the millions of Americans who are not online: They need their votes, and the Internet has become an increasingly popular platform for candidates to reach voters and voters to learn more about them.

“The Internet is rapidly becoming an indispensable tool for democratic participation,” Turner said. “And we need to be concerned that there is a social cost to those who can’t participate in that conversation.”

It is about time the old effective method of door-to-door connections be relaunched: When will the voters get to meet the candidate coordinators and relay their concerns face to face?

“Feeling good: The new Mood therapy”? by David Burns, M.D

The book is mainly targeting these people who experience vast mood swing, like frequent depression periods or frequent bout of anger… This is a version of a section in the book concerning “why we feel that way (angry) relative to other people…”, meaning that it is good to read the original section and compare what differ in style and nuances and counterpoint…

We are under this supposed truth that all our current emotions are consequent to our relationship with other people. We are adamant that it is people around us who are rendering us the way we feel, all these overwhelming negative emotions of anger, displeasure, depressive mood…

People are actually the catalyst who generate sets of emotions in us at every moment, but they are far from being the cause of the particular emotions we feel toward them or their actions at the time.

Our emotions are an interpreted version, a schema of the priming image and predisposition we are ready to heap on a certain individual, regardless of the facts or his objective nature…

What kinds of distortions that our negative emotions catalogue?

1. Labeling is the greatest offenders among the distorted emotions. We say “you are a jerk, a bum, a piece of shit…” and you are cataloguing in your mind all the negative attributes attached to these labels, and the person is defined as such…

Labeling is unfair to the person and to yourself first of all: Everyone of us a complex mix of positive, negative and neutral attributes, varying in degrees as we grow up and mature.

Labeling distorts the thinking process and lead us into this laziness of the mind that relies instead on ready-made versions that we save in our memory, particularly people we feel indignant with…

2. Mind reading distortions. We have this fantastic ability to judge people within fractions of a second from facial expressions and gestures and body language…and we are adamant that we liked or accepted the person from these quick first impressions. We say: “he has a mean streak, stupid-looking, bad-kid demeanor…”

What if in the first encounter the individual was upset or in a foul mood before he met you, and his facial expressions were not meant to be displayed to you?  We might be able to settle on an impression quickly, but how easily can we let go of a bad mood that distorts our facial expressions?

In many cases, first encounter mind-reading feelings are off track, and represent the mood you are actually crumbling under at the moment, kind of projecting your mood situation on people you are meeting…

3. Magnification of emotions.  We tend to exaggerate the negative attributes and dwell on them for longer than is necessary, and forget to attach enough emphasis on the positive characteristics and how they may counter balance the other kinds of emotions and attributes…

4. Inappropriate “Should” and “Shouldn’t” statements. As if you’re the ideal person to judge what another individual should be, do, feel or like…

The sense of loss, disappointment, or inconvenience may lead to this feeling that the action was unjust or unfair, as if the world is bound to behave and run the way our current state of mind wants it to function…

You think that you are entitled to instant gratification at all times, as if you are an absolute monarch or a despot…

5. The perception of unfairness and injustice is the ultimate cause of our anger and negative emotions: We want the world to behave in a one-way traffic, the way we want events to occur and people to behave, in timely manner, as logically as we assimilate the meaning of logic to mean to us…

As long as we believe there should be an “absolute” moral system that governs our lives, we are in great trouble with our negative emotions most of the time.

Fairness and justice are relative concepts, depending on the idiosyncratic of cultural legacy and traditional heritage. Social rules and moral strictures that are supposedly “accepted” in a particular community, are more likely a consensus process that was dominated by the majority and forced upon the varied minorities…

Moral statements about fairness are stipulations, not grounded on objective facts most of the time.

No amount of general acceptance can make a moral system “Absolute” or ultimately valid for everyone and under all circumstances. For example, no one ever asked the thousand of aborigines tribes and smaller States what is their opinions or input on a fair absolute system of moral priorities.

For example, if you are working as accountant under the US laws and rules, most accountants in other parts of the world would consider your job as flat-out a big lie, siding with the privileged class at the expense of the little people…It is not a matter of aligning numbers, and doing harmful simple math exercises…but being engaged in a dirty job, consciously and willfully…

6. Much everyday anger results from confusing our personal wants and desires with general moral codes. Acting within a set of standards and a frame of reference that are different from yours…

Actually, it is how you primed the other person attributes that is your guiding rod in your judgment, and not the actual acts and behavior of the other person…

The pragmatic question would seem: “Where will I draw the line as I am confronted with negative emotions…?”

Does this statement suggest that we have to objectively undertake a cost/benefit analysis for the outcome before every outburst of emotions? Not feasible, not natural, not possible…

At least, if we occasionally manage to take a deep breath before the coming outburst, we invariably bring forth our power of reflection to intervene, now and then, and we become better persons.

We could apply two guidelines as we learn to reflect before an outburst of emotion:

1. Is my anger directed because I think the other person acted knowingly, willfully, and intentionally in a hurtful manner? (feeling of contempt is one of these kinds of emotions)

2. Does my anger helps achieve a desired objective? Like sincerely wanting to get rid of the presence of a person in my life because he is a sure obstacle to my well-being, sanity… for one reason or another?

At the Fair: Has anything changed?

Progress is visible in the Fair: In the stand of “Shooting of Nations“, the targets are jet fighters and “terrorists” wearing assorted headgear, variety of styles in long beards, and chest detonating jackets… Where the empty eggshells have gone?

Everything else is unchanged: Music for all, emanating from every corners, special stalls, mechanical cars, wooden horses…

Whatever it takes to cheat and delude the little people, that the living is paradise incarnate at the end of a hard slaving week…

Flags, glorious banners, soldiers on retirement, spiritually maimed, wrestlers without much muscles…

The fun is elevated to riding tiny electric cars that bump and derange whatever spared brain you still have, churning up sturdy stomach…No limit to crashing into the bewildered soft-hearted riding with a crazy driver…

As the band is readying to play, sing, or act…there is always a missing member…A posy is sent to locate him and fetch him back among the harmonious band.  One member is returned and two have already parted company, drunk as they possibly could be…

Mothers are completely exhausted and valiantly waiting for the firework to get going back home, before the mass wake up and start moving haphazardly as a mob, stepping on kids, crushing feet…

Mother would give up on this joyful day, if they can finally tuck in the over excited kids and call it a day.

The fair is the “waiting” per excellence for the steady heads, the arrogant who refuses to let go and join the communal fun, to mingle and be harassed by the little cheaters at the end of the week…

The fair is the constant crying of babies and kids, short on nickels and dimes, crushed between chairs, ordered to tame their excitements, to learn to sober down their desires to mount wooden horses, carousels, anything that turns and swing and flip-flop…

The fair is the ideal training ground to forging characters, to learn that fun cost money, and there are not enough saved to go berserk…

The fair is a fantastic opportunity for parents to initiate the rules to the kids of how to start reflecting, setting priorities on what games to select, among the hundreds of them, all equally great, and how to maximize the fun for the little money to spend…

The fair is great for learning the golden rule: “You want fun, you pay for it…” and the best methods to finally get it is administering frequent slaps and boxes…until the Pavlov reaction is mastered

The lights, fixed and gyrating, won’t go down until the little cheating businessmen have counted their dimes, checking and rechecking the day’s receipt of the funny kids…and the little helpers dozing on rickety chairs, on the floor, on a swing…waiting for the boss to part of some of his profit…

Note 1: Kids don’t need money to discover the pleasure of living.  All they need is to be out of home and be free to run and connect with other kids, free from any discrimination factors.  It is the parents who ruin the cheerfulness and joy of living for the kids, with their idiosyncratic principles, boring habits, faulty ideas on how to keep good entente with neighbors and community…

Note 2: Post inspired by a section of the French book “Voyage to the end of the night” by Louis Ferdinand Bardamu (Celine as pen name, the first name of his mother)

 International Monetary Fund:  Top Ten Reasons to Oppose the IMF

I have already written a dozen posts about the calamities and damages that International Monetary Fund has and is still doing on world financial and economic stability.  An extra concise article is a great reminder, from an unknown author.

What is the IMF?

Also available as a
pre-formatted flier.
(PDF 35kb)

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank were created in 1944 at a conference in Britton Woods, New Hampshire, and are now based in Washington, DC.

The IMF was originally designed to promote international economic cooperation and provide its member countries with short-term loans so they could trade with other countries (achieve balance of payments). Since the debt crisis of the 1980’s, the IMF has assumed the role of bailing out countries during financial crises (caused in large part by currency speculation in the global casino economy) with emergency loan packages tied to certain conditions, often referred to as structural adjustment policies (SAPs).

The IMF now acts like a global loan shark, exerting enormous leverage over the economies of more than 60 countries. These countries have to follow the IMF’s policies to get loans, international assistance, and even debt relief.

Thus, the IMF decides how much debtor countries can spend on education, health care, and environmental protection. The IMF is one of the most powerful institutions on Earth — yet few know how it works.

  1. The IMF has created an immoral system of modern-day colonialism:  The IMF — along with the WTO and the World Bank — has put the global economy on a path of greater inequality and environmental destruction. The IMF’s and World Bank’s structural adjustment policies (SAPs) ensure debt repayment by requiring countries to cut spending on education and health; eliminate basic food and transportation subsidies; devalue national currencies to make exports cheaper; privatize national assets; and freeze wages. Such belt-tightening measures increase poverty, reduce countries’ ability to develop strong domestic economies and allow multinational corporations to exploit workers and the environment A recent IMF loan package for Argentina, for example, is tied to cuts in doctors’ and teachers’ salaries and decreases in social security payments…The IMF has made elites from the Global South more accountable to First World elites than their own people, thus undermining the democratic process.
  2. The IMF serves wealthy countries and Wall Street: Unlike a democratic system in which each member country would have an equal vote, rich countries dominate decision-making in the IMF because voting power is determined by the amount of money that each country pays into the IMF’s quota system. It’s a system of one dollar, one vote. The U.S. is the largest shareholder with a quota of 18 percent. Germany, Japan, France, Great Britain, and the US combined control about 38 percent. The disproportionate amount of power held by wealthy countries means that the interests of bankers, investors and corporations from industrialized countries are put above the needs of the world’s poor majority.
  3. The IMF is imposing a fundamentally flawed development model: Unlike the path historically followed by the industrialized countries, the IMF forces countries from the Global South to prioritize export production over the development of diversified domestic economies. Nearly 80 percent of all malnourished children in the developing world live in countries where farmers have been forced to shift from food production for local consumption to the production of export crops destined for wealthy countries. The IMF also requires countries to eliminate assistance to domestic industries while providing benefits for multinational corporations — such as forcibly lowering labor costs. Small businesses and farmers can’t compete. Sweatshop workers in free trade zones set up by the IMF and World Bank earn starvation wages, live in deplorable conditions, and are unable to provide for their families. The cycle of poverty is perpetuated, not eliminated, as governments’ debt to the IMF grows.
  4. The IMF is a secretive institution with no accountability: The IMF is funded with taxpayer money, yet it operates behind a veil of secrecy. Members of affected communities do not participate in designing loan packages. The IMF works with a select group of central bankers and finance ministers to make polices without input from other government agencies such as health, education and environment departments. The institution has resisted calls for public scrutiny and independent evaluation.
  5. IMF policies promote corporate welfare: To increase exports, countries are encouraged to give tax breaks and subsidies to export industries. Public assets such as forestland and government utilities (phone, water and electricity companies) are sold off to foreign investors at rock bottom prices. In Guyana, an Asian owned timber company called Barama received a logging concession that was 1.5 times the total amount of land all the indigenous communities were granted. Barama also received a five-year tax holiday. The IMF forced Haiti to open its market to imported, highly subsidized US rice at the same time it prohibited Haiti from subsidizing its own farmers. A US corporation called Early Rice now sells nearly 50 percent of the rice consumed in Haiti.
  6. The IMF hurts workers: The IMF and World Bank frequently advise countries to attract foreign investors by weakening their labor laws — eliminating collective bargaining laws and suppressing wages, for example. The IMF’s mantra of “labor flexibility” permits corporations to fire at whim and move where wages are cheapest. According to the 1995 UN Trade and Development Report, employers are using this extra “flexibility” in labor laws to shed workers rather than create jobs. In Haiti, the government was told to eliminate a statute in their labor code that mandated increases in the minimum wage when inflation exceeded 10 percent. By the end of 1997, Haiti’s minimum wage was only $2.40 a day. Workers in the U.S. are also hurt by IMF policies because they have to compete with cheap, exploited labor. The IMF’s mismanagement of the Asian financial crisis plunged South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and other countries into deep depression that created 200 million “newly poor.” The IMF advised countries to “export their way out of the crisis.” Consequently, more than US 12,000 steelworkers were laid off when Asian steel was dumped in the US.
  7. The IMF’s policies hurt women the most: SAPs make it much more difficult for women to meet their families’ basic needs. When education costs rise due to IMF-imposed fees for the use of public services (so-called “user fees”) girls are the first to be withdrawn from schools. User fees at public clinics and hospitals make healthcare unaffordable to those who need it most. The shift to export agriculture also makes it harder for women to feed their families. Women have become more exploited as government workplace regulations are rolled back and sweatshops abuses increase.
  8. IMF Policies hurt the environment:  IMF loans and bailout packages are paving the way for natural resource exploitation on a staggering scale. The IMF does not consider the environmental impacts of lending policies, and environmental ministries and groups are not included in policy making. The focus on export growth to earn hard currency to pay back loans has led to an unsustainable liquidation of natural resources. For example, the Ivory Coast’s increased reliance on cocoa exports has led to a loss of two-thirds of the country’s forests.
  9. The IMF bails out rich bankers, creating a moral hazard and greater instability in the global economy:  The IMF routinely pushes countries to deregulate financial systems. The removal of regulations that might limit speculation has greatly increased capital investment in developing country financial markets. More than $1.5 trillion crosses borders every day. Most of this capital is invested short-term, putting countries at the whim of financial speculators. The Mexican 1995 peso crisis was partly a result of these IMF policies. When the bubble popped, the IMF and US government stepped in to prop up interest and exchange rates, using taxpayer money to bail out Wall Street bankers. Such bailouts encourage investors to continue making risky, speculative bets, thereby increasing the instability of national economies. During the bailout of Asian countries, the IMF required governments to assume the bad debts of private banks, thus making the public pay the costs and draining yet more resources away from social programs.
  10. IMF bailouts deepen, rather than solve, economic crisis:  During financial crises — such as with Mexico in 1995 and South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil, and Russia in 1997 — the IMF stepped in as the lender of last resort. Yet the IMF bailouts in the Asian financial crisis did not stop the financial panic — rather, the crisis deepened and spread to more countries. The policies imposed as conditions of these loans were bad medicine, causing layoffs in the short run and undermining development in the long run. In South Korea, the IMF sparked a recession by raising interest rates, which led to more bankruptcies and unemployment. Under the IMF imposed economic reforms after the peso bailout in 1995, the number of Mexicans living in extreme poverty increased more than 50 percent and the national average minimum wage fell 20 percent.

adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2020
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