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Sunday, 27 May 2018
Frank Stella Unbound: Literature and Printmaking
 Frank Stella Unbound: Literature and Printmaking

The acclaimed American artist Frank Stella (born 1936) is renowned for his career-long innovations in abstraction in a variety of media. In addition to his early minimalist work, from the late 1950s and 1960s, and his later efforts to disrupt the accepted norms of painting, Stella made groundbreaking achievements in the print medium, combining printmaking processes, mining new sources for imagery, and expanding the technical capacity of the press.

Frank Stella Unbound: Literature and Printmaking focuses on a revolutionary period in the artist’s printmaking career, between 1984 and 1999, when Stella executed four ambitious print series, each of which was named after a distinct literary work: the Passover song Had Gadya, a compilation of Italian folktales, the epic American novel Moby-Dick, and the illustrated The Dictionary of Imaginary Places. In the four series titled after these sources, Stella created prints of unprecedented scale and complexity, transforming his own visual language—as well as his working process in all media—and reaching a technical and expressive milestone in printmaking.

Featuring forty-one prints from these four major series alongside their literary catalysts, Frank Stella Unbound: Literature and Printmaking will be the first exhibition to focus exclusively on the vital role that world literature played in his powerful exploration of the print medium.

The exhibition catalogue, published by the Princeton University Art Museum and distributed by Yale University Press, illustrates each of the works on view and affords a revelatory examination of the role of literature in the development of Frank Stella’s artistic practice.



Frank Stella Unbound: Literature and Printmaking has been made possible with generous support from the Barr Ferree Foundation Fund for Publications, Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University; the Andrew W. Mellon Publications Fund; the National Endowment for the Arts; Preston H. Haskell, Class of 1960; the Douglas A. Hirsch and Holly S. Andersen Family Foundation; Susan and John Diekman, Class of 1965; the Julis Rabinowitz Family; Theodora D. Walton, Class of 1978, and William H. Walton III, Class of 1974; Stacey Roth Goergen, Class of 1990, and Robert B. Goergen; Nancy A. Nasher, Class of 1976, and David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976; and William S. Fisher, Class of 1979, and Sakurako Fisher, through the Sakana Foundation. Additional support has been provided by the Judith and Anthony B. Evnin, Class of 1962, Exhibitions Fund; the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; the Allen R. Adler, Class of 1967, Exhibitions Fund; Lynn and Robert F. Johnston, Class of 1958; Ivy Lewis; Blair Moll, Class of 2010, through the Bagley and Virginia Wright Foundation; and the Partners of the Princeton University Art Museum.

Posted by tammyduffy at 10:30 AM EDT
Sunday, 20 May 2018
Eyelash Fibers To The Rescue
Women who have to take chemotherapy will at times lose their eyelashes or eyebrowns. But ladies, do not fret.  There are amzaing products out there that do mot break the bank.  Eyelash extensions can cost over $300 and only last 3 to 4 weeks.
False eyelashes serve a purpose but are a royal pain in the neck to apply. This also holds true for the new tricky magnetic eyelashes that are available.  They are even more difficult to put on. 
I went to Walgreens and purchased a product by Wet and Wild, fiber mascara. It lengthened my sparse lashes and it’s so simple to put on. Just put on the mascara, immediately follow with the fibers (don’t allow lashes to dry) and then another coat of mascara and viola! Lashes to envy! No flaking or raccoon eyes. I have a friend who has extensions and she was in awe that I got such great results for way cheaper than what she paid. Definitely a new favorite for me and the price is fantastic! 

The cosmetic company Too Faced also has developed an alternative to fake eyelashes with its Better Than False Lashes extension system. The system is also a 3-step program designed to increase eyelash volume and length.

To create the appearance of false lashes, the system requires you to apply a base coat, nylon lash fibers and a sealer.

Serum Details

Too Faced makes its serum without glue, and it takes 3 steps to create longer eyelashes. The gold tube contains the system’s activating base and sealer while the white tube features the product’s nylon fibers. According to the company, the serum increases eyelash length by up to 42% and eyelash volume by 98%.

Is it Safe?

Too Faced has ordered safety tests by ophthalmologists to approve the product for those who wear contact lenses. [1]

A few users reported problems. Specifically, the product irritated their eyes and caused them to water. Eyelash sticking is another problem reported by several users, but one person noted she was able to eliminate the issue by giving each layer the proper amount of drying time. [2]

User Tips

The first step is to prepare your eyelashes by applying the activating base. Begin from the base of your lashes and extend to their tip. Use slow, steady strokes. Next, shape your lashes with the system’s nylon fiber product.

Continue using slow, steady application strokes. Start building your lashes at their base and extend to the tip. During the forming process with the nylon fibers, do not shake the wand. For most people, a single sweeping motion provides the best results.

The fibers are visible while you are applying them. Sealing is the last step, and to complete this action, you’ll use the activating base once again. The base substance binds the layers together. Use one slow, steady stroke to pull the activating base through your lashes.

Begin at the base and extend out to the tip. Make sure the base covers the fibers completely. If you want more lash volume, repeat steps 2 and 3.

Both products work great. However, the Too Faced serum is more expensive than most over-the-counter products, so if it doesn’t work to your satisfaction, then it may not be worth the extra cost. I would advise you to give  the Wet and Wild product a try first, for a cost of $7.50.  The cost of Too Faced product is $35.00.  

There are numerous eyebrown products that work in the same manner. Gel eyeliners or powders I have found work the best to make you feel like a woman again!


Posted by tammyduffy at 1:53 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 20 May 2018 2:06 PM EDT
Sunday, 13 May 2018



Why Creativity Matters



I will start this from speaking from the heart. I want start by quoting from the Celtic prayer of approach. It is a beautiful way to approach anything.  It’s a prayer for when you are approaching a new situation, and this is the heart you want to go into that situation with.  We are always in approach in our lives. In this weird transitory planet we are in.  We are in always in a state of approach.


“ I will honor your Gods, I will drink from your well, I bring an undefended heart to our meeting place, I will not negotiate it by withholding. I have no cherished outcomes, I am not subject to disappoint.”


We cannot be disappointed unless we have a cherished outcome. So disappointment as hard as it is, is important for growth. This way of walking through the world in this constant state of approach in everything you are doing, in everything you are making, everyone you are meeting, everything that is coming at you is critical.


When people are allowed to approach you, they have to take their shoes off. The only people who will have a problem with you setting boundaries are those people who were happy when you had none. There is a phrase, the arrogance of belonging, from poet David Whyte. What is means is when we find the “tribe” that speaks to us, we can call on the arrogance of belonging to gather enough courage to knock on the door. The irony is that when we express our particular way of being in the world, we notice a whole tribe of folks who are enlivened by many of the same things. The things you know before you hear them, those are you, those are why you’re in the world.


It takes courage to let your soul speak and courage to find the team you know you belong to. It takes the arrogance of belonging. And because belonging to that particular team is the right place for you to be, it’s vitally important that you find the courage to bring your gifts to the table.  When you do that,  you will find that you are resonating, vibrating with a potent energy, and that nothing can stop you in those powerful moments of belonging and certainty about yourself and your team.  Don’t hold back. Don’t let others silence you.

We have to make a conscious effort every day to choose the path of curiosity vs the path of fear. That is leadership. These are the only two paths that exist. This fork in the road…if we stay on the path of curiosity our lives become a work of art. So it does not matter what you make, what matters is a standard of living that you make a habit of following this path every day. We are always told to follow our passions.


Curiosity is an inquisitive tiny touch that can be done every day.  If you live your life in this manner, you can build great things this way.



Imagine what would have happened if the Titanic had not struck an iceberg and sunk on her maiden voyage. Her reputation as an “unsinkable” ship would have been reinforced. Imagine further that she had returned to England and continued to cross and recross the North Atlantic without incident. Her success would have been evident to everyone and competing steamship companies would have wanted to model their new ships after her.


Indeed, they would have wanted to build even larger ships— and they would have wanted to build them more cheaply and sleekly. There would have been a natural trend toward lighter and lighter hulls, and fewer and fewer lifeboats. Of course, the latent weakness of the Titanic’s design would have remained, in her and her imitators. It would have been only a matter of time before the position of one of them coincided with an iceberg and the theretofore unimaginable occurred.


The tragedy of the Titanic prevented all that from happening. It was her failure that revealed the weakness of her design. The tragic failure also made clear what should have been obvious— that a ship should carry enough lifeboats to save all the lives on board. Titanic’s sinking also pointed out the foolishness of turning off radios overnight, for had that not been common practice with the new technology, nearby ships may have sped to the rescue.


A success is just that—a success. It is something that works well for a variety of reasons, not the least of which may be luck. But a true success often works precisely because its teams thought first about failure. Indeed, one simple definition of success might be the obviation of failure.


As humans we are often called upon to design, fix and build something that has never been tried before. 


So grab your creativity, like you are repairing  a car, all the while going 70mph. We will figure it out. Nothing ever stops. Some days we are trying to change a tire while we are driving the car.  But, this is how we succeed.  We have to push ourselves to do the unthinkable every day. When we do, the outcomes can be quite amazing. 

Posted by tammyduffy at 6:41 PM EDT
Sunday, 29 April 2018
Six Fixes To Better Climbing Performance


Six Fixes To Better Climbing Performance

The quickest way to enhance your performance in almost anything is to improve the quality of your thinking.

This is definitely true in climbing whether you’re working a high-ball boulder problem, sport route, multi-pitch traditional line, or alpine route.

All performance operates from the inside-out–your beliefs, focus, emotions, and confidence form the foundation from which you will either succeed or fail.

While off-season strength training and year-round technique training are paramount for progressing into the higher grades, during the climbing season your biggest breakthroughs will come from toning and flexing your mental muscle. To this end, I have outlined below six mental strategies and skills that will help elevate your performance and enjoyment.

Practice them with the same dedication and resolve as you would a new strength training program, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results. Obtain the greatest payoff by applying these skills all the time, not just when you feel like it. For some, an almost instant breakthrough will follow on the rock, while others will need to persist and let these mental skills build to a critical value before they will produce a noticeable impact in your climbing.

(This depends upon the current degree of “tone” or “atrophy” of your mental muscle.”) Recognize that these six mental training skills are interlaced and can produce a powerful synergy when all are in practice. In aggregate, they may produce an effect similar to unloading a 10-pound weight from your back that you have unknowingly been hauling up climbs. I call this using your “mental wings.”

1. Separate your self-image from your performance.
Unfortunately, when your self-image is tied too strongly or singly to this role, it translates to an overwhelming need to perform perfectly every time in order to prove your worth in that role and, thus, as a person. The subsequent pressure can become stifling and is maybe the single greatest cause of frustration in this sport (or in any endeavor).

Human beings perform best in a process-oriented, not outcome-oriented, frame of mind. Detaching your self-image from your climbing performance allows you to enjoy climbing regardless of the outcome. More importantly, it liberates you to try new things, take chances or, say, throw a dyno that might be required to get through a crux sequence. Bottom line: self-image detachment will reduce pressure and anxiety and, paradoxically, you’ll climb better by not needing to!

2. Surround yourself with positive people.
There is an aura or influence that surrounds each of us and its effects are based on our personality and attitude towards life and its events. Your thoughts and actions will affect the thoughts and actions of those around you, and vice versa. As I see it, there are three options-either climb alone, climb with upbeat and positive people, or climb with cynical and negative people. Why would you ever want to climb with the “complainers” out there? Their negative aura impacts your climbing and enjoyment whether you recognize it or not. Vow to either climb with positive individuals or by yourself-both can be hugely rewarding. However, if pushing your limits is the goal du jour, then take advantage of the synergy afforded to you by having creative, motivating and positive people on your side.

3. Stretch your comfort zone.
To improve in anything, your goals must exceed your current grasp and you must be willing to push beyond your comfort zone in your reach. In performing on the vertical plain, this means climbing onward despite mental and physical discomfort; it means challenging your fears head on by doing what you fear; it means attempting what looks impossible to you through your current set of “glasses.” Through this process, you stretch the envelope to a new dimension and reshape your personal vision of what is possible.

4. Assess and proactively manage your risk.
Climbing is an activity with obvious inherent risks, and the desire to climb harder requires taking additional risks. These risks can come in the form of obvious physical danger such as a potentially injurious fall or as invisible mental risks like opening yourself up to failure, criticism and embarrassment. It’s interesting to note that for some climbers the physical danger feels more benign than the aforementioned mental dangers. Consider the climber who continues upward on a horrendously dangerous route he’s not prepared for because he’s afraid of being dissed by those standing safely on the ground!

Make it your goal to always assess the range of possible risks before you ever start a climb. By objectively analyzing the risks ahead of time, you’ll often be able to lower the risk of the climb (e.g. taking other gear or rigging a belay differently than you normally would) and, at the least, be aware and able to respond to the most critical risks as you climb. As for the mental risks, see Mental Wings Strategy #1.

5. Fortify your confidence.
Your degree of self-confidence is primarily based on your self-image and the thoughts you hold minute-by-minute and day-by-day. Thoughts of falls or poor performance in the past and self-talk loaded with words like “I can’t”, “don’t”, “possibly”, and “try”, lower confidence and are the seeds of failure. Conversely, focusing on past successes by actually visualizing and feeling the process and exhilaration of positive action leads to tremendous feelings of confidence. Using visualization throughout the day, everyday, to re-live great events in your past–climbing and non-climbing–is the best way to reshape and fortify your self-confidence for success in all future endeavors.

6. Be happy regardless of situations and outcomes.
Superior traits of all real winners is resilience to bad results and/or criticism, and unwavering belief that success will come with time, effort and patience. Attitude is the wild card in the “climbing performance equation” that can often compensate for what you are lacking in strength, technique or reach. I can’t understate the importance of always having fun. We all get into climbing because we love the outdoor experience and the feeling of moving over stone, yet in time far too many climbers become Grinches who have fun only when they are winning.

The biggest secret for better climbing is to love climbing unconditionally. Vow that any day of climbing is a great day regardless of the results, and you will usually get the results you desire.

In my years as a climber, perhaps the biggest breakthrough occurred when I realized that almost all the mental skills and strategies I learned through climbing could be applied to other areas in my life. (Read the first line of the 6 tips above–don’t they all apply equally well to your non-climbing life?) I believe the process of climbing reveals the ultimate metaphors for life and, if you transfer the many lessons and mental skills to other areas of your life, you’ll ignite breakthroughs there as well. I wish you the best on the rock and in your pursuit of your own personal Mount Everest!

Posted by tammyduffy at 5:18 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 29 April 2018 5:23 PM EDT
Sunday, 22 April 2018
7 Falls Hike in Colorado Springs




7 Falls Hike In Colorado Springs









The hike to Seven Falls in Colorado Springs follows a paved canyon trail 0.8 mile to this famous tiered waterfall. After severe damage by the floods in 2013, the Broadmoor Resort purchased the property and has made significant improvements, including trail and site repairs, as well as creating an on-site restaurant. As in the past, there is an access fee to this Colorado Springs attraction. Explore the full Seven Falls hike profile for 4 different hike options, driving directions, trail map, and tips for making the most of your trip to Seven Falls.


 Since purchased by the Broadmoor, the hike to Seven Falls begins at the east parking area at 6 Lake Street in Colorado Springs. Visitors then take the free shuttle to the Seven Falls entrance. From here, it’s a 0.8 mile (one-way) hike through the canyon up to Seven Falls. Visitors have the option of taking a $1 tram service to the base of the falls; however, the tram is prioritized for those who are have physical limitations that may prevent them from making the journey up to the falls and back. So, on busy days, availability may be limited.


There are 4 Different hike options for visitors to Seven Falls in Colorado Springs.


#1 – Initial hike from the ticket area to the base of Seven Falls


Visitors to Seven Falls can walk the 0.8 mile paved trail from the entrance to the base of the falls. The paved, private road winds through South Cheyenne Canyon and under the shadows cast by the Pillars of Hercules, a set of twin rock towers that soar nearly 1000 feet above the floor of the canyon.


At the base of the the waterfall, you can choose to take the staircase of 224 steps that provide both an opportunity to view the unique segments of this tiered waterfall and give visitors access to the 3 hikes above Seven Falls.

At the falls, visitors can also take an elevator to an observation point.





























#2 – Midnight Falls Loop Hike 

After climbing the steps to the area above Seven Falls, a short 0.35 mile trail leads south along Cripple Creek to another small waterfall, Midnight Falls. Round trip, this hike takes approximately 30 minutes and is a total distance out-and-back of 0.7 mile.

#3 – Inspiration Point Out-and-Back Hike

Once above the Falls, visitors will follow the Midnight Falls Trail until its first intersection with the Inspiration Point Trail. Taking a left onto the Inspiration Point Trail, it will lead east, then north to the Helen Hunt Jackson Memorial and to the Inspiration Point observation area. Here, hikers can take in views of the Great Plains as they stretch out to the East and of views of the city of Colorado Springs below. The hike to Inspiration Point is about 1.5 mile round-trip, and takes approximately one hour to complete from the top of the falls.

#4 – Stage Road Loop Hike

A longer loop hike that visits both Inspiration Point and Midnight Falls can be created by following the route above to Inspiration Point. After visiting Inspiration Point, hikers would continue south then east on the Sunrise trail, which intersects with the Old Stage Road at approximately 1 mile into the hike.

Going right on the Old Stage road, it will wind south, then will make its way west to where it will intersect with the Inspiration Point Trail (on the right/north side of the road). The Old Stage Road segment is approximately 1 mile.

The Inspiration Point trail will lead North back towards Seven Falls. After about 1/2 a mile on on the Inspiration Point Trail, hikers will see the short spur trail on the left that leads to Midnight Falls. After visiting Midnight falls, this loop hike can be completed by following the Midnight Falls trail back to the steps above Seven Falls. The total distance for this loop hike ends up being approximately 3 miles. Because Seven Falls has posted closing times, hikers should budget enough time for this longer hike so that they are able to make it back for the last shuttle to the parking area.



 Fee: While parking itself is free of charge for patrons, there is a fee required to visit Seven Falls. At the time of this posting, the fee for visiting Seven Falls is $14 for adults and $8 for children. For the most up-to-date prices and hours, contact the Seven Falls Office at 1-855-923-7272.

Posted by tammyduffy at 3:10 PM EDT
Sunday, 15 April 2018
Busy, Bubbly ‘Junie B. Jones’ Comes to MCCC's Kelsey Theatre April 28


Busy, Bubbly ‘Junie B. Jones’ Comes to MCCC's Kelsey Theatre April 28



Youngsters will enter a world of fun when “Junie B. Jones” comes to Central New Jersey. Theatreworks USA brings the irrepressible first grader to the stage at Mercer County Community College’s Kelsey Theatre Saturday, April 28 at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Kelsey Theatre is located on the college’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.

Based on Barbara Park's best-selling book series, this endearing musical chronicles a day in the life of our very outspoken and very active leading kid as she describes it in her "top secret personal beeswax journal.” Among Junie’s challenges are getting used to a new bunch of friends, meeting a new teacher, adjusting to wearing glasses, participating in the annual kickball tournament and other familiar childhood challenges. Young audiences will easily connect with this warm and bubbly heroine, who finds a way to succeed in the end and learns important lessons about friendship and acceptance along the way.

Theatreworks USA is America's largest and most prolific professional not-for-profit theater for young and family audiences. Since 1961, Theatreworks USA has enlightened, entertained, and instructed more than 96 million people in 49 states and Canada.

Tickets are $12 for adults, and $10 for children, students and senior citizens. Free parking is available next to the theater. Tickets may be purchased online at www.kelseytheatre.net or by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333.

Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking next to the theater. For a complete list of adult and children's events, visit the Kelsey website or call the box office for a brochure.  

Posted by tammyduffy at 2:42 PM EDT
Sunday, 8 April 2018
Pregnancy and Corporate America

Pregnancy and Corporate America
When a male manager says to a female subordinate, "You would have made your budget for the year, if you did not have a baby." That is a statement representative of lawsuit just waiting to happen. It is radically unacceptable in any setting to say this to a woman. When the statement is embraced by leadership, that is a culture that is in need of optimization. 
Women have been bearing the brunt of the collective stupidity of civilisation for a long time now. For the past few centuries, from the suffragette movement, to the first, second, and third wave feminist movements, men and women have stood up to question prevalent mind-set. But the separation continues. Why? No one seems to know. Some blame God, others blame the government. But there's hardly anyone who blames himself or herself for having fallen for a division that pits one half of the world's population against the other. The effects of this separation can be best studied in ways in which it has been brought about via a practise called the totalitarian tiptoe - where various forms and degrees of suppression and control tiptoe over centuries to gain complete dominance. We all have heard the adage divide and rule. The complete statement however is – divide man against woman and rule. Until we understand that no such division occurs naturally, we will continue to demean ourselves and the women of our planet by asking them, especially women who wear the pants at work, these childish questions.
Anyone who is anyone is so because they have worked towards getting there regardless of their gender. Sure, there are discrepancies here and there, especially among the most celebrated occupations of our times, but to conclude that women simply cannot be at the top, on basis of popular opinion which in turn in based on a fictional TV show, is a sign of a decaying society. 

While not much good can be said of today's education system, their institutions still remain the only way to certify one's talent. That is to say, there are both women and men passing out from some of the most prestigious educational institutions of the world, every day. And both, men and women, more often than not, give it all they have to pass with flying colors to get smashing degrees under their belt. If they both got this far by their own personal virtue and skills, how can differences occur from the moment they enter an office and get wider till they leave it?

 A woman who is a CEO is a CEO because she knows what she is doing and her efforts have been recognised. A woman who is a senior manager is in that position because she is good at what she does and knows how to deliver. Period. In questioning a female colleague's ability to perform a difficult task, just shows willful ignorance on the part of the person concerned and should be dealt with appropriately. However, when a woman is in a leadership position and her main focus is moving up the ladder, that is a recipe for disaster. All those below her suffer. When she ignornes bad behaviors of her subordinates to not upset the "boy's club", that is a bad place for women to work.   

 Going to work every day with the same people requires skillful relationship management. There may be personal conversations that occur and you may even forge friendships with coworkers – it’s often encouraged through company team-building events and activities these days. But, it’s important to remain professional with all coworkers, including your boss. While you want to build a strong relationship with your manager, it’s best to avoid mixing business and pleasure.


Posted by tammyduffy at 1:58 PM EDT
Tuesday, 27 March 2018
Visor wearable detects stroke with 92% accuracy


 Visor wearable detects stroke with 92% accuracy

A device worn like a visor can detect emergent large-vessel occlusion in patients with a suspected stroke with 92 percent accuracy, according to a study published March 6 in the Journal of Neurointerventional Surgery.

Conducted by clinical researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), Mount Sinai and the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, the study aimed to test the feasibility of the volumetric impedance phase shift spectroscopy (VIPS) device in detecting stroke in patients.

When a patient is having a stroke, the brain fluid changes and the VIPS sends low-energy radio waves through the brain that change frequency when passing through fluids. These waves are then reflected back and detected by the device which measures the asymmetry of the radio waves to identify the stroke.

In this study, researchers tested the device on both healthy patients and those with suspected stroke to evaluate the devices accuracy when compared to emergency clinicians. A total of three patient readings were conducted, which took an average of 30 seconds, and the VIPS device was able to detect patients with a suspected stroke with 92 percent accuracy. Clinicians using standard equipment only had an accuracy rate of 40 to 89 percent.

"This could potentially be something like a defibrillator. You can find out if a patient is having a stroke, just like you can put a defibrillator on a patient to see if they're having a heart attack." said Raymond D. Turner, MD, professor of neurosurgery and chief of the Neuroscience Integrated Center of Clinical Excellence at MUSC and principal investigator of the study. "Transfer between hospitals takes a lot of time. If we can give the information to emergency personnel out in the field that this is a large-vessel occlusion, that should change their thought process in triage as to which hospital they go to."

Posted by tammyduffy at 8:08 PM EDT
Sunday, 18 March 2018
Why We Climb




Why We Climb


I believe one of the main reasons why I enjoy going up mountains, either alone or with a group; is to allow me to focus on the motivation of learning, climbing to learn. Modern man seems to concentrate too much on the result, neglecting the value of the attempt. Learning goes beyond results. A person learns from trying.

If someone has done his/her own best and has used all his/her energy in the attempt, the learning experience is an excellent one and the result acquires its natural importance. Summits will be reached; in others; climbers will get as far as they can. One thing that I have always valued in my expeditions is people's courage to continue learning. I strongly encourage those who are consistently facing new challenges in search of a broader view of the world and of themselves; to climb a mountain.

Each expedition is a great opportunity to be back in touch with nature. A man/woman and their basic belongings, just to survive, making progress at the speed of their own steps, surrounded by an essential world.

It's about making a basic connection, a return to a state of unity, which is usually accompanied by an increasing perception of our relationship with the planet, the species we are a part f, and the cosmos around us.

All of the experience gained through the relationships developed with other members of our group is an important part of the expedition. Sharing so many special moments with our fellow-climbers makes us feel that exchanging becomes a basic experience. Sometimes, we have to share a small tent as we wait for a storm to stop. Other times we relax at base camp and, if everything runs smoothly we also share the happiness of reaching the summit, one of the most incredible experiences about mountaineering. Our fellow climbers are right there, becoming our closest beings and willing to give us a hand to achieve a common goal. I can recall some really difficult situations when the members of the group where the only ones one can count one. They can be moving experiences which help you remember the priority of values.

It is the experience which lies in our deepest self. Very little can be said about it since it is the most individualistic and secret aspect of the experience. It belongs to the the secret world where we find the answer to questions like why we went up the mountain.

In my experiences, every journey means a new way of seeing the world, a feeling of great objectivity, a state of mind which allows me to settle down and make the right decisions in harmony.

Finally, I believe that mountaineering is a highly humanizing activity, which can help people develop, especially if growing is their ultimate aim. Climbers know fairly well that going up the mountain means facing one's own challenge, many times away from home and in the middle of a hostile environment. One knows that problems will occur, as well as answers. Conquests and failure as well will occur. But one also knows that in the right way and that a new experience is gained every step of the way.

This is the virtuous circle: going ahead beyond results, sacrifice and one's own ego, keeping the strength to go along the path of attempt.

Posted by tammyduffy at 9:06 AM EDT
Hype Behind Self-Driving Trucks


Hype Behind Self Drivng Trucks 






Automation is the blue collar workers worst nightmare—or is it? Why autonomous vehicles offer the trucking industry an opportunity to address their ongoing driver shortage.  

In October, billionaire investor Warren Buffet’s company Berkshire Hathaway acquired a 38.6 percent equity stake in Pilot Flying J, the largest truck-stop chain in North America. By 2023, Berkshire will become Pilot Flying J’s majority stakeholder by acquiring another 41.4 percent of the company. 

In a world where technological innovation reigns, this may seem like a bad investment. However, according to Steve Banker, service director of supply chain management at ARC Advisory Group, the multi-billion dollar investment likely hinges on Buffet’s belief that autonomous trucks are not even remotely close to becoming a reality—meaning the human beings transporting our goods still need to stop at locations such as Pilot Flying J to refuel not only their trucks but themselves. 

In fact, the FSCMA’s electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, which requires drivers to obey a strict hours-of-service requirement, will further reduce the time drivers spend on the road, Banker says, which seemingly makes Buffet’s investment in travel stops a safe bet. 

Berkshire’s investment sends a strong message to a billion dollar industry plagued by driver shortages and costly regulations, but is the idea of relief via an autonomous fleet all hype? 

Semi-autonomous vehicles already move across American roadways every day, however, the road to fully autonomous vehicles involves surmounting significant technological hurdles.

While Banker believes this reality will eventually come to fruition, he says it might not happen as soon as the industry thinks. 

“When you look at the technological challenges, it's not like these are minor steps,” he notes. “Going from step one to step two is a huge technological hurdle that requires an order of magnitude, more information, much faster computers and much better machine learning capabilities. 

“Where we're at right now is step two. Arguably getting to step four is where Buffett would start to be impacted. But, there are just huge technological challenges to get there. It easily could be decades before we get there,” he adds. 

In the meantime, Banker speculates there will be “tens of thousands of warehouse workers thrown out of work, based on robots in the warehouse, before the first truck driver loses a job because of autonomous trucks.” 

Uber, who is one of the hundreds of technology companies racing to make self-driving trucks a reality, agrees with Banker’s timeline, envisioning a future where truck drivers and self-driving trucks work together to move freight around the country.

MIT Technology Review recently spoke with Uber’s Nancy Sun, who is the engineering lead for self-driving trucks, about the reality of self-driving trucks and the challenges still ahead. She tells the magazine that a world where the majority of vehicles on our roadways are autonomous is 10 to 20 (or more) years away. 

“It’s not like you’re going to flip a switch one day, and you’re going to have self-driving trucks everywhere doing everything for you,” she says. “It’s going to be a long journey to get to a point where it’s even going to be a majority-of-transit-happens-by-self-driving-vehicle world. It’s not in the next three years. It’s not in the next five years. We’re talking like five, 10, 15, 20-year future, beyond.”

And for Uber, that world is at the core of their mission to provide safe, reliable transportation to everyone, everywhere. Their ridesharing network is used by millions of drivers and riders every day, and now they are investing in trucking. In May of last year, the company introduced Uber Freight, a free app that matches carriers and their drivers with loads to haul. They’re also working hard on getting autonomous vehicles on the road through their Advanced Technology Group (ATG), which is comprised of a team of engineers dedicated to self-driving technologies, mapping and vehicle safety. 

“We saw an opportunity to drive the logistics industry forward, which is why we began Uber Freight,” says Sarah Abboud, a spokesperson for Uber. “Uber Freight has already begun to transform the driver experience, and we believe that a hybrid network of self-driving and driver operated trucks will only improve the logistics sector.” 

 Uber’s acquisition of tech startup Otto was a huge step toward achieving this hybrid network. In October 2016, the combined tech powers reached their first major milestone, successfully delivering the first commercial shipment by self-driving truck. While a human still sat in the cab, the truck delivered a trailer load of Anheuser-Busch beer from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, Colorado, approximately 120 miles.   

“Job demands may change, but we believe there will always be a need for professional truck drivers,” adds Abboud. “Drivers will handle more dynamic parts of the job such as communicating with facilities workers, unloading, loading, city driving and final delivery. We also expect to see increased safety and efficiency, wherein self-driving trucks are an opportunity for drivers to have a say in where and how they work.” 

So while self-driving vehicles may not replace the need for human truck drivers, it may ultimately address the industry’s driver shortage by making the job more attractive. The American Trucking Association estimates that the for-hire trucking industry’s driver shortage stood at roughly 58,000 in 2015, due to several reasons, including demographic, regulatory and the fact that drivers are away from home for a period of time. 

Uber is listening to truck drivers, unions and others who depend on the trucking industry for their daily lives to better understand their needs, so Sun says they are able to make technology that supports the industry well. 

“We’re not looking to eliminate people’s livelihoods. We’re looking to supplement and help improve their livelihoods,” she adds. “A model where self-driving trucks automate a lot of the long-haul routes and drivers continue to operate going from a transfer hub to a distribution center, driving more on the local routes near their homes, is a route we’re super-interested in pursuing.” 

Technological challenges are chief among concerns that block the road to self-driving trucks. But doubts in regards to safety, government regulations, infrastructure, and of course, cyber security also linger. 

There's a huge machine learning, vision recognition challenge; there's just so much going on once you get off the highway, and you start to get into a city environment. The machine learning issues, are massive, but I think those can be tackled, eventually,” Banker explains. “But, there's also the cyber security issues. Foreign governments have proven that they can hack into anything. They could hack into cars, but the bigger terrorism threat is to turn an 80,000 pound truck into a guided missile. I don't think we're anywhere close, to solving that issue.” 

In terms of regulatory roadblocks, Banker says that is probably least of the industry’s worries. “The government will do tests first; they'll do pilots first. If they like what they see, I don't think the hurdles will be too hard to get to regulations that will allow for this,” he adds. 

Right now, the United States has varying regulations at the state level controlling the deployment of autonomous trucks. But federal regulators recently took the first step toward creating a policy guiding the development of autonomous transportation beyond self-driving cars to include trucks, buses and other ground-based modes.  

During a January speech at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said the U.S. Transportation Department will soon publish four requests for public comment on how to cast aside roadblocks for transportation advancements in vehicles, trains, buses, commercial trucking and transit systems. Calling current regulations numerous and outdated, Chao said an update would allow for innovation to move forward.

In addition, self-driving pilot programs have taken off in several states such as Oregon, where Daimler, a commercial vehicle manufacturer, has tested a concept called platooning. Platooning is when a group of computer-controlled trucks drive closely together to save fuel.

For Daimler, the test was a first big step for technology they say stands for more efficiency and safety.

“In truck platooning, connectivity and automated driving improve safety within the vehicle convoys, support drivers and enhance efficiency through closer distances between the connected trucks,” Daimler said in a news release. 

“When the legal framework is set, Daimler Trucks customers will be able to operate their vehicles in platooning mode,” the company added.  

Pittsburgh has also allowed multiple experiments with autonomous cars, becoming a somewhat safe space for the testing of self-driving technology. Uber is among several tech companies conducting experiments in Steel City. 


As for Uber, they consider regulatory agencies key stakeholders in their journey. “Our general approach is to maintain close engagement and transparency with these agencies. We believe this approach better prioritizes safety and is rich with opportunities for continued dialogue and two-way education,” Abboud says.


Posted by tammyduffy at 12:01 AM EDT

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