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Why does the healthcare system in Canada have such a long wait?I used to write software to help hospitals keep track of their efficiency, and wait times was one of the things measured. (So were unnecessary tests, length of stay in Hospital, re-admission rates and much more)If you are interested in wait times and getting reports, the Canadian Institute for Health Information CIHI is a valuable resource.There are some things to consider.Triage: Some thing are important (Breathing before Bleeding before Broken) than others, so wait times should be sorted by diagnosis before making claims.Past results show that when Canada sets a target, the system responds to meet it, but you can't optimize everything. Triage as a concept is about setting priorities.Also, consider that workload on the health system is not uniformly spread out. I once broke a bone on Dec 23. I was out of the hospital with everything done, after having an X-ray, (including a copy of my x-rays on CD because they knew I was going to travel after Christmas), my physician talking to a specialist about the results deciding not to do surgery. All done in 3 hours from the time I got *injured*. Yes, that includes getting up, going home, finding a babysitter for my kid, waiting for my wife to come home and bring me to the hospital, limping across the parking lot, going home afterwards, etc. Everything. Apparently Canadians aren't getting sick or injured the Thursday before Christmas Eve. There are other days of the week or year where the emergency rooms are overwhelmed, and wait times skyrocket for a short period. Disease or cultural patterns can make some days have a sudden surge in need for health service.One important indicator that we track is the time from arrival to triage. If we can quickly sort out whom is going to die and whom can apply ice while waiting for the critical cases to go first, we get a preferable trade of higher wait times for non-emergency care and low overall mortality.Some Doctor's practices are better at managing appointments than others. So beware making conclusions about overall performance from a few samples, a classic logical fallacy. With my family Doctor, if you are sick or injured, you see him that day. If you just want an allergy shot or to follow up on a chronic condition, then it is next day or day after scheduled appointment. My wife's doctor (different practice) is nowhere near such schedule control and punctuality. [Any statements about why given the data I have would be purely speculative.]Population Density and Size. It is easier to achieve economies of scale and the efficiencies of specialization with high population and density. It is also easier to reallocate patients to another hospital with available capacity if it is nearby. Those whom compare Canada to France or the UK have to remember those countries have double Canada's population stuffed into less space than Manitoba, just 1 province. If those countries can't run a more efficient health care system, there is something very wrong with them.Pay by Taxes? Well that is a 2 sided coin.Canadian political parties both left and right claim to have plans to have balanced budgets. (This should be taken to mean that the Canadian voters expect the parties to at least claim they have a plan to eventually do so, and is not a partisan endorsement or prescription of how that is to be achieved.)This may come as a surprise to some readers, but a sizable number of Canadians want to keep their taxes low, and sometimes vote in governments with Tax Cuts as their agenda. This often does result in cuts to health care service, such as the Ontario Liberals removing annual eye exams from coverage (around 2004) . So while we do have taxpayer funded health care, it should not be read as unlimited money. We are trying to get value for money. Moving to a public system and away from a private one is sustained by being better value for money. Even those wanting to expand the public health care system are expected to bargain hard to control costs.Here is a hypothetical to make a point: Suppose you have to buy expensive diagnostic equipment, do to 48 "tests" a day. One unit can do one test an hour. As the purchasing manager, do you buy 2 of them, and run 24 hours a day, or 4 and let the techs sleep at night? If you buy 4, you have spent twice the money to achieve the same speed of service. If you can't line up the people needing the test to fill that queue 24 hours a day, you can't get away with buying only 2. Idle capacity costs money. If there is always 1 new person in line to get service as a test begins, you can maximize throughput and eliminate down-time. To a certain extent, wait times are about minimizing idle capacity.Next time you are in a hospital ward and there is no nurse at the station, remember that admins want their nurses doing patient care over 80% of the time. So 80% of the time they are out doing rounds and actively taking care of people instead of being available at the station. One will eventually return to the station, and one will definitely respond to the emergency button.Cuts that remove idle capacity are often called 'trimming the fat' and don't impact wait times. Other cuts do eliminate capacity or fail to provide service, so there are other issues. In some ways, this is dumping costs off the taxpayer and onto the sick, privatization by stealth.This is to illustrate that there is a tension between financial efficiency and speed of service. Sometimes we make good choices to achieve both. There are also cases where improving patient throughput at a lower cost per patient raises total costs because more people can get service faster. In the spirit of a non-partisan forum, I'll leave it to the Canadian readers to decide which politicians at a particular moment are cutting services to achieve budget targets and which ones are finding efficiencies and yielding real savings.Then there is something to consider: How much surplus capacity is needed in case of emergency, seasonal variance, or a crisis that can quarantine hospitals, such as SARS?In part America is paying for surplus capacity, UN-required tests, profit margins, massive administration, advertising, billing collection and bad debts, and other business overheads. Unlike America, other countries try to do bulk purchasing to negotiate better deals for drugs. This is part of how other countries can spend a lot less per citizen on health and get comparable or better results.In general Canada does quite well at giving priority to doing things to save lives faster rather than elective procedures. Remember when comparing health care systems you have to use %of GDP as a measure, since a government dumping a cost off the Taxpayer and onto the taxpayers whom happen to need care helps the Government's bottom line and reduces taxes, but does not make the national system more financially efficient.
What are some brain hacks that a neuroscientist or a psychologist knows that most people don't?You can rewire your brain!This is possible due to Neuroplasticity.Neuroplasticity refers to changes in neural pathways and synapses which are due to changes in behavior, environment and neural processes, as well as changes resulting from bodily injury To be honest, the brain is a dynamic entity undergoing changes all the time. As you read this innocent sentence, some neurons in your brain have fired and some synapses have become stronger. Voila! Your brain has been rewired a bit. But I am not talking about these sort of 'boring' changes which occur all the time.What if I told you, your actions can physically alter your brain? Some parts become larger than usual while some parts begin performing tasks they normally don't?László Polgár is the father of the famous "Polgár sisters": Judit, Susan and Sofia. He is an expert in chess and believed that "geniuses are made, not born". Before he had any children, he wrote a book entitled Bring Up Genius!, and sought a wife to help him carry out his experiment. He found one in Klara, a schoolteacher. He home-schooled their three daughters, primarily in chess, and all three went on to become strong players. Susan Polgar became the first female to earn the Grandmaster title.Because of her intense training, her brain had encoded chess board configurations and she was able to not only recognize these configurations but also what moves she had to do from there to win. Show her a random chess board setup that is infrequent her brain is just as slow as normal chess players. So what was happening? A scan of her brain activity showed she was using the part of the brain that recognizes faces to identify chess board configurations. This part of the brain is really developed in humans and face recognition is something humans are really good at. The hours of practice she had put in playing and studying chess had radically changed ho she used her brain to play it.Some of you might be thinking that it was because she got her training from childhood that she was able to become an expert and this fact is useless to someone older.Not really. Recent studies have shown although neuroplasticity declines it still can be made use of in older ages.The Sea Gypsies are a seafaring people who spend a great deal of their time in boats off the coast of Myanmar and Thailand, have unusual underwater vision -- twice as good as Europeans. This has enabled Mokens to gather shellfish at great depths without the aid of scuba gear. How do the Moken do this? They constrict their pupils by 22 percent. The brain orders the body to adapt to suite its needs. Another example of neuroplasticity has been found in London taxi drivers. A cab driver's hippocampus -- the part of the brain that holds spatial representation capacity -- is measurably larger than that of a bus driver. [from Neuroplasticity: You Can Teach An Old Brain New Tricks ]As children we have lots of free time and our brain is really quick to grasp new skills and ideas. To make signNow changes to the brain as grown ups one needs to exercise it regularly and focus on really specific tasks like learning to play the guitar or solve spatial puzzles. Because of the constraints of being social and other reasons, people miss out on this. It has been observed that spiritual leaders and prisoners of war have been able to develop extra-cognitive skills simply because of the immense amount of time they put in meditation, mental exercises and thought experiments. Plasticity can also be observed in the brains of bilinguals (Mechelli et al., 2004). It looks like learning a second language is associated with structural changes in the brain: the left inferior parietal cortex is larger in bilingual brains than in monolingual brains.I'll end with some interesting bits from The Brain that Changes ItselfLearning and brain exercises slow age-related mental declines. For example, education necessitates extra branches among neurons to accommodate the new information; new branching increases the volume and thickness of the brain that would otherwise decline with age.Physical exercise promotes the creation of new neurons in the brain. Yet another reason to start that walking program.Specifically designed brain exercises have been shown to improve brain function in children and adults with learning disabilities.The brain undergoes measurable, physical changes as we think. Computer technology can now use these measurements and changes to allow paralyzed people to moves objects with their thoughts.Researchers at UCSD have used imagination and illusion to restructure brain maps and ‘trick” the brain into managing phantom pain and some forms of chronic pain.Performance can be improved through visualization because action and imagination can activate the same parts of the brain. People have learned to play the piano or achieve greater results in athletic endeavors through mental practice. Is it time to visualize eating a nice salad?[from Neuroplasticity Research Shows “Old Dogs” Can Learn New Tricks!]
What is the most inappropriate thing that you have ever witnessed at a funeral?This is something I wrote a few years back about the side show that is the Italian-American wake. Every word is true.I'm not joking when I say that I knew the phrase "Think of me as dead" before I was ten. I was nine in the Fall of 1975, when most of my grandfather's side of the family just ceased to exist. At Easter we were eating ham in the traditional Italian-American basement of my great aunts, with its commercial oven and seating for 25; by Thanksgiving I wasn't supposed to make eye contact with them. There were several reasons for this, none of which, surprisingly, involve a bowl of sauce. My favorite is that when my Russian great-grandmother died, they sent Aunt Rose's husband Johnny as an "emissary" to the funeral. This violates Italian-American protocol in two ways. One, you can only send an emissary if you are not related, and two, he was an asshole. My grandmother literally referred to him as "Asshole Johnny V----". As long as he or his wife weren't in the room, that's what she called him, like it was a title or something.Five years of no contact go by and then my grandfather's brother "Rip" dies in his sleep. Rip's real name was Rocco, which I only found out when I read his obituary. Few things sum up the Italian-American experience better than only discovering your relatives' real names after they died. I had no idea I had an Uncle Rocco, although I guess I really didn't have an Uncle Rocco, because, you know, he was dead to me. Sometimes it's hard to keep track of who's actually dead.Back then I guess the official stance of my side of the family allowed for a "truce" for funerals. In every off the boat or first-generation Italian-American family there must be someone in charge of histrionics, a role historically taken by the oldest woman in the family. There were five brothers and two sisters in my grandfather's family, so that duty fell to the oldest sister Rose, with younger sister Mae serving as Rose's "hype-man", Flavor Flav to Rose's Chuck D. Of course were Rose to be unable to perform her duties for any reason, Mae could ably step in.Rip's death was the first since Rose's mother Laboria's funeral 11 years before, which had been Rose's first solo turn after years of backing up her mother. I was too young to catch that performance, but I was old enough to see this, like turning 21 and being able to see shows at bars.It's the night of the wake. Rose, pro that she is, waits until the place is packed to start her act. It's not out of the question that she blocked out her moves to an empty house earlier in the day, but then again she *was* a natural. There is a line out the door when Rose enters(stage left, I think) gets a few feet from the front of the casket, looks up and shouts: "68 YEARS LORD, TAKE ME INSTEAD! WHY, GOD, WHY?" That last line was sort of her catchphrase, like "Sit on it" or "Book 'em Danno." The crowd is transfixed. She owns the room. This is her moment! But where do you go after an entrance like that? How do you give them more? But this is Aunt Rose we're talking about. Her sauce is better than yours. Her *grief* is better than yours, dammit! She straddles the casket. I repeat, SHE STRADDLES THE FUCKING CASKET. This 69 year old broad straddles her brother's casket, grabs him by the lapels of his jacket and shouts to the rafters: "68 YEARS LORD! TAKE ME INSTEAD". She pulls on his jacket so hard that you can see his head lift off the casket pillow. "68 YEARS LORD! TAKE ME INSTEAD". The audience stares in rapt attention. My cousin Bobby looks at me and silently makes a clapping gesture. "68 YEARS LORD! TAKE ME INSTEAD". "68 YEARS LORD! TAKE ME INSTEAD". "68 YEARS LORD! TAKE ME INSTEAD". She climbs off the casket with no hair out of place, clothes as perfect as when she put them on. This woman knows what she's doing. She is led off by another mourner, almost certainly a plant in the audience.There is no encore.This happened a decade later. Rose was a bonafide superstar.THE RETURN OF AUNT ROSEAfter the family truce at my great Uncle Rip’s funeral my Aunt Rose’s side of the family went back to celebrating holidays in their basement kitchen and my side went back to not hearing what expensive NYC store Rose had purchased whatever articles of clothing and jewelry she had on at the moment. For almost a decade the only contact I had with Rose and her sister Mae was the time I ran into them at the Post Mall, which was especially awkward since they were technically dead to me at the time, meaning I should only talk to them if there was a corpse in the room. Since I had last seen them, they had traded hair colors, with Mae swapping her Geriatric Blonde for Rose’s Menopause Red, with the result being that I had a hard time telling which was which. This forced me me to address them as one entity-“Nice to see you Aunt RoseandMae!”, “I’ll be sure to tell my mom you say hi, Aunt RoseandMae!” Years later I would meet the hairdresser responsible for those colors when he would come over their house and utter bitchy one liners whenever they were out of earshot, like the wacky gay neighbor in a sitcom. I’m sure he only befriended them for the anecdotes.Toward the end of the eighties we kept up with the times and entered our own period of glasnost, mostly as a result of God taking yet another brother from Rose. I missed that one, since at the time he died, he was already dead to me. That kind of makes attending the funeral redundant, although you do end up missing a killer grief buffet. We didn’t go back to Christmas dinner in the basement kitchen but would stop by on holidays which is how my then girlfriend got to witness Mae picking up a photo of her grand niece and saying “And this my beautiful Downs Syndrome child.” It sounded like expository dialogue from “Dynasty”, although sadly Rose and Mae never had a Crystal/Alexis catfight, which their sunken living room would have been perfect for, with its full length oil portrait of their mother Laboria looking down as they pulled each other’s dyed hair.A year or so after our reconciliation my grandfather was killed in a hold up at his store. My family rush over to my grandmother’s, and everyone is sobbing when the phone rings. One of us takes the call and as soon they hang up says “Shit! Rose and Mae are on their way!” Let that sink in, my grandfather has just been murdered and his family is upset that *his sisters are coming over*. It’s like a blood stained Jackie Kennedy going ‘What the fuck is Teddy doing here?”Since we’re Italian Americans and live close enough to each other that you don’t have to reheat the lasagna you bring to Easter it’s not ten minutes later when last year’s fully loaded Sedan DeVille pulls up in front of the house. Saks Fifth Avenue heels clack on the walkway as Rose runs into the house and throws open the kitchen door.“WHY IS MY MOTHER TAKING ALL MY BROTHERS FROM ME? WHY WON’T SHE LEAVE ME ANY? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS, LABORIA?” Mae runs in behind her, but with no tagline of her own, partially because of protocol(she has not yet ascended the ranks to Lead Griever, after all) but mostly because how the hell do you follow that? It’s the “Sergeant Pepper’s” of histrionic grief.Bringing up the rear is their brother Paulie, which kind of kills the whole “My dead mother is taking all my brothers from me” thing, but Rose isn’t going to let numbers get in the way of a good performance.For the rest of the evening if our attention strayed too far from Rose she would start shouting to the kitchen light, which I guess was serving as a stand-n for the Heavens.“WHY ARE YOU SO GREEDY LABORIA? WHY MUST YOU TAKE MY BROTHERS FROM ME? WHY, LABORIA, WHY?”For those you keeping track at home, the scorecard reads Rose: 2 brothers, Rose’s mom: 3 brothers.
What is it that we as Indians are collectively doing wrong?Taking Ola Share and Uber Pool for granted.Yes! All of us take these pooled rides for granted, and there are many people who consider the cab drivers their personal chauffers!We like understanding through examples, don’t we? So here’s a small story:I booked an Uber Pool some time ago in Kolkata. My destination was Quest Mall and there was another rider whom we had to pick up at the Kali Temple, Kalighat. Coincidentally, the Driver himself was the owner of a fleet of 13 cars which he was exclusively running for Ola & Uber. He came to fill in for one of his Drivers who had a medical emergency. Before the next pickup at Kalighat he narrated his story, we had a brilliant conversation on how he went on to start his Taxi Business and now one of his children is doing his M. Tech at IIT-Kharagpur and the other child is doing his Bachelors in NYSU. (I’ll reserve this rags-to-riches story for another question)He then told me about the how irritating it was to operate Uber Pool. When I asked him what exactly the issue was, he politely asked me to wait and told me what I told you guys: “I’ll give you a live demonstration”Within no time, he got a call from my fellow traveller whom we were supposed to pick up. The phone was on speaker, and the traveller was speaking in Hindi:T: “Hello Bhaiyya. Where are you?”D: “Sir, I’ve just crossed xyz road. Navigation says I should be picking you up in 7 mins”T: “What were you doing until now?! It’s been 10 mins that we’ve booked our cab”D: “I understand sir. But I’ve had another passenger to pickup. Plus a lot of traffic because it’s the weekend”T: “Why is there another passenger?”D: “You booked an Uber Pool sir!”T: “OK OK. Fine. Just come fast”And then the driver looked at me, gave me a smile and said: “This is part-1 of the movie. More action after the interval” and both of us burst out into laughter. He then politely asked me: “Sir, I understand you might be a bit late. But if you want to understand the true Indian rider mind set, would you mind sitting in the cab for a little longer?”“Absolutely not an issue”, I said.“Then you’ll have a great learning today. Part-2 begins”, he said and picked up his phone, asked the Traveller for directions.T, without hesitation: “Take a left there, then take a right. You’ll find a narrow lane that should fit a Chevy. Beat. Take that lane. Come down to the end, and then take a left”D: “I understand sir. But if you can just walk for 50m, I can avoid all those narrow lanes and pick you straight at the main road. And your co-passenger won’t be discomforted as well”T: “But you have to come to the pickup point. How dare you ask me to walk for 50m? Is that why we booked the cab? You either tell me whether you are coming to pick me up or not”D: “Sir, all I’m asking you is to just walk for 1 minute. And both of you won’t have any unnecessary delays. Also I can save some time avoiding U-turns, so it’ll be mutually beneficial”T: “I don’t care if you’re saving time of your other passenger. I booked a cab so that you can serve me well, so that you can pick me up from my home. If you can’t, then so be it. I’ll cancel my booking”D: “No no sir. Please don’t do that. I’ve almost signNowed your location. I will have to go all the way around and waste the time of multiple people. On my way sir”This is what we’re all collectively doing wrong. We don’t care if it’s a regular Ola/Uber or if it’s a Pool. We are only concerned about our pickup.In case of a Pool ride, it’s supposed to be symbiotic, where all passengers are supposed to understand each others’ constraints and proceed to the nearest pickup point that will minimise hassles for all the co-riders.But alas! Not many people do that.Plus there are people who abuse & insult the Drivers as though they are salaried chauffers working for them. To all such people: NO BOSS. You don’t have any authority over them. They are working to feed their own families just like you might be. It’s just a difference of profession: You might be a Businessman. He/She’s a Driver. In the end, both of you earn the same money. It’s only a difference in magnitude.I hope my answer will help sensitise people on very simple issues of collaboration and Dignity of Labor.Cheers.EDIT:The other side of the coin is misbehaviour from Drivers, ride cancellations etc. I couldn’t agree more with the comments. I guess almost every Ola/Uber rider has faced these situations. But having said this, I believe we should uphold our end of the responsibility. Just because some Driver was not good enough, does not mean that all others are bad too. There are some things we can’t change in a short time. We can only hope that by us being responsible, we can instill the same sense of responsibility in others as well - not instantly, but gradually at leastI did forget about the waiting times. The “Bhaiyya bas 1 minute” (Brother, just 1 minute) and then taking 15 minutes, making the other passengers wait - is another headache indeed.Really humbled by the no. of upvotes. Thank you.
I met this man who said he was diagnosed with cancer. From my understanding, he is being denied for lack of resources. How can I help?You say he’s in Florida. If he has cancer, then not only are his treatments covered, but he should also be eligible for public housing assistance, food stamps, and social security. Sure, it’s hard to get by on that, but millions of seniors and disabled/sick people do it every single day.If he needs help with filling out forms and finding resources, he can call 211 to find out how to get help.
Do military members have to pay any fee for leave or fiancee forms?NOOOOOOO. You are talking to a military romance scammer. I received an email from the US Army that directly answers your question that is pasted below please keep reading.I believe you are the victim of a military Romance Scam whereas the person you are talking to is a foreign national posing as an American Soldier claiming to be stationed overseas on a peacekeeping mission. That's the key to the scam they always claim to be on a peacekeeping mission.Part of their scam is saying that they have no access to their money that their mission is highly dangerous.If your boyfriend girlfriend/future husband/wife is asking you to do the following or has exhibited this behavior, it is a most likely a scam:Moves to private messaging site immediately after meeting you on Facebook or SnapChat or Instagram or some dating or social media site. Often times they delete the site you met them on right after they asked you to move to a more private messaging siteProfesses love to you very quickly & seems to quote poems and song lyrics along with using their own sort of broken language, as they profess their love and devotion quickly. They also showed concern for your health and love for your family.Promises marriage as soon as he/she gets to state for leave that they asked you to pay for.They Requests money (wire transfers) and Amazon, iTune ,Verizon, etc gift cards, for medicine, religious practices, and leaves to come home, internet access, complete job assignments, help sick friend, get him out of trouble, or anything that sounds fishy.The military does provide all the soldier needs including food medical Care and transportation for leave. Trust me, I lived it, you are probably being scammed. I am just trying to show you examples that you are most likely being connned.Below is an email response I received after I sent an inquiry to the US government when I discovered I was scammed. I received this wonderful response back with lots of useful links on how to find and report your scammer. And how to learn more about Romance Scams.Right now you can also copy the picture he gave you and do a google image search and you will hopefully see the pictures of the real person he is impersonating. this doesn't always work and take some digging. if you find the real person you can direct message them and alert them that their image is being used for scamming.Good Luck to you and I'm sorry this may be happening to you. please continue reading the government response I received below it's very informative. You have contacted an email that is monitored by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. Unfortunately, this is a common concern. We assure you there is never any reason to send money to anyone claiming to be a Soldier online. If you have only spoken with this person online, it is likely they are not a U.S. Soldier at all. If this is a suspected imposter social media profile, we urge you to report it to that platform as soon as possible. Please continue reading for more resources and answers to other frequently asked questions: How to report an imposter Facebook profile: Caution-https://www.facebook.com/help/16... < Caution-https://www.facebook.com/help/16... > Answers to frequently asked questions: - Soldiers and their loved ones are not charged money so that the Soldier can go on leave. - Soldiers are not charged money for secure communications or leave. - Soldiers do not need permission to get married. - Soldiers emails are in this format: email@example.com < Caution-mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org > anything ending in .us or .com is not an official email account. - Soldiers have medical insurance, which pays for their medical costs when treated at civilian health care facilities worldwide – family and friends do not need to pay their medical expenses. - Military aircraft are not used to transport Privately Owned Vehicles. - Army financial offices are not used to help Soldiers buy or sell items of any kind. - Soldiers deployed to Combat Zones do not need to solicit money from the public to feed or house themselves or their troops. - Deployed Soldiers do not find large unclaimed sums of money and need your help to get that money out of the country. Anyone who tells you one of the above-listed conditions/circumstances is true is likely posing as a Soldier and trying to steal money from you. We would urge you to immediately cease all contact with this individual. For more information on avoiding online scams and to report this crime, please see the following sites and articles: This article may help clarify some of the tricks social media scammers try to use to take advantage of people: Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/61432/< Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/61432/> CID advises vigilance against 'romance scams,' scammers impersonating Soldiers Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/180749 < Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/180749 > FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center: Caution-http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx< Caution-http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx> U.S. Army investigators warn public against romance scams: Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/130...< Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/130...> DOD warns troops, families to be cybercrime smart -Caution-http://www.army.mil/article/1450...< Caution-http://www.army.mil/article/1450...> Use caution with social networking Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/146...< Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/146...> Please see our frequently asked questions section under scams and legal issues. Caution-http://www.army.mil/faq/ < Caution-http://www.army.mil/faq/ > or visit Caution-http://www.cid.army.mil/ < Caution-http://www.cid.army.mil/ >. The challenge with most scams is determining if an individual is a legitimate member of the US Army. Based on the Privacy Act of 1974, we cannot provide this information. If concerned about a scam you may contact the Better Business Bureau (if it involves a solicitation for money), or local law enforcement. If you're involved in a Facebook or dating site scam, you are free to contact us direct; (571) 305-4056. If you have a social security number, you can find information about Soldiers online at Caution-https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/sc... < Caution-https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/sc... > . While this is a free search, it does not help you locate a retiree, but it can tell you if the Soldier is active duty or not. If more information is needed such as current duty station or location, you can contact the Commander Soldier's Records Data Center (SRDC) by phone or mail and they will help you locate individuals on active duty only, not retirees. There is a fee of $3.50 for businesses to use this service. The check or money order must be made out to the U.S. Treasury. It is not refundable. The address is: Commander Soldier's Records Data Center (SRDC) 8899 East 56th Street Indianapolis, IN 46249-5301 Phone: 1-866-771-6357 In addition, it is not possible to remove social networking site profiles without legitimate proof of identity theft or a scam. If you suspect fraud on this site, take a screenshot of any advances for money or impersonations and report the account on the social networking platform immediately. Please submit all information you have on this incident to Caution-www.ic3.gov < Caution-http://www.ic3.gov > (FBI website, Internet Criminal Complaint Center), immediately stop contact with the scammer (you are potentially providing them more information which can be used to scam you), and learn how to protect yourself against these scams at Caution-http://www.ftc.gov < Caution-http://www.ftc.gov > (Federal Trade Commission's website)
What are the common mistakes that seed-funded startup founders make?I raised $500,000 at 19. I was on my way to change the world. Three years later everything burned down.This post is not about how to shoot for the stars or run a company. Others are better at that.This is about what not to do.I’ve made every mistake possible. But ironically, I’m constantly meeting teams doing the exact same things that caused my first startup to implode. Everything I’m writing about I’ve experienced first hand through my own startups as well as various businesses I’ve been involved in. It’s been all my fault and this is my story.Some of you will disagree with me. Others will have things to add. I’m happy to discuss in the comments.Here’s my attempt.ZUCKERBERG SYNDROMMy girlfriend didn’t know what I was working on for nine months. I slept with a chair blocking the front door. My phone was tapped. Corporate America and Uncle Sam were listening. Someone was going to kill me to steal the idea.I really believed this. So I did everything possible (literally) to avoid getting feedback out of the fear of having our idea stolen.Ultimately, secrecy and stupidity killed us. Three years and hundreds of thousands later, we released an alpha version to a modest 30 people for the first time. Everyone hated it. Our capital was gone. Our morale: zero.I see this all the time. Startup founders hiding their ideas because of the fear that someone will steal it. Remember: no one cares about you. Your biggest issue is getting discovered. If someone steals your idea, that means you’re doing something right.Because of this syndrome, most startups are wasting their time and money building products no one wants. Why? Lack of testing. The biggest mistake a company can make (product wise) is to avoid talking to and testing with potential and current users. Every day. It’s also one of the main reasons startup’s fail.If you’re not constantly releasing and looking for feedback you’re either a) delusional (me) thinking too many people will sign up/buy your product and you won’t be able to scale b) scared that it’s not good enough (me) or c) someone will steal your idea (as I was).A. SCALING“Your priority, in short, is proving that people will use your product at all. If they won’t, then it won’t matter if you can’t scale. If they will, then you will figure out a way to scale. I’ve never seen a startup die because it couldn’t scale fast enough. I’ve seen hundreds of startups die because people refused to embrace their product.” — Guy Kawasaki [Emphasis mine]I’ve done this and I’ve experienced this in the past three startups I’ve worked in. It’s completely delusional. If five out of five people tell you that they wouldn’t use your product (before you build), quit. If eight out of ten people tell you that they hate this feature and you empirically see that they’re not using it, kill it. Don’t assume. Always be testing.More on feedback below.b. TESTINGSee point A.C. STEALING(!)No one will steal your idea. It takes time, money, skills and immorality to steal. Not everyone is born that lucky.Most importantly, no one cares about your idea.They’ll only start caring when there’s a massive amount of initial traction (50,000+ users). By then, you’ve already established a strong user/customer base and it’s too late for the others.HIRING FOR WEAKNESSOnly hire for a strength that needs to be filled in your company. Never for a weakness.Not once did any of the startups I worked in hire for a strength. I repetitively recommended hiring people purely out of loneliness, fear and scarcity repetitively. Each time it sunk us deeper.But what does that mean?Hiring for a weakness means that you attempt to fill a weakness in the fundamenetals in your company by hiring for a weakness. Example: If you’re building a product and it’s not gaining traction and your company doesn’t have inherent fundamentals, hiring Ryan Holiday to sell your product won’t help. You can’t fight weakness with weakness.However, if you have a rockstar engineering team and you want to add a marketing person to help take the product get to another level, then you’re adding a strength.Hiring for weakness also means:a. You hire a B+ player instead of a A+ player.b. You hire people so that they go through the struggle with you, so that they share your fears and paranoia. Not so they execute on what’s needed.c. Hiring someone to fill a position. Not to compliment the rest of the company.d. Hiring someone and not having any idea of what the hell you want them to do.e. It means hiring someone because you think there’s no one else. Scarcity.f. Hiring a client’s friend. Because you’re scared.It’s ultimately about the fundamentals. If the fundamentals of the product and the team aren’t there, adding someone is just adding a weakness. It won’t help, because it’s not a strength.PAINTER’S DILEMMAApproving emails? One week treks. Our first wireframes? $40K and four months. Did we have a working product after all this? No. We failed.The Painter’s Dilemma is when you’re so deep in the details of your project that you don’t even know what the idea is anymore. You’re blind. When you’re too deep you need help.How to solve it? Stop. Talk to people. Get feedback. Iterate and build. Release. Breathe.Repeat the loop.The more feedback you get the healthier you and your product are.FEEDBACK*I can’t emphasize this enough. If you don’t get feedback (everyday) you will die. I never got feedback. EVER. Well, until the cash ran out. Oops.If you’re not getting qualitiative and quantitive feedback/data everyday, the cancer will start.It’s easy: speak to people, Google Analytics, send surveys. Just don’t hide from it.*This is the crucial and worth a dedicated blog post in the future.COMMUNICATE“Don’t talk to him, he doesn’t understand. He’s out of the picture next funding round anyways.” I hid everything internally. It was easy, we were in 5 different countries! Our developers were remote (I’ll get to that) and Basecamp was our only means of communication. In other startups, I wouldn’t included people from discussions because “it isn’t necessary. That isn’t their job”New features, awful designs, conniving plans were all pushed through a funnel. I was the leader of the deceiving. Architecting a blue print to push my own delusional “never test and succeed” agenda. My style? The longer the email the less likely someone important will read it. What a strategy. As always, the CEO is the biggest idiot.I don’t care if you’re a church, a tech startup or a non-profit. If you don’t have a system of communication in place that keeps everyone aware of what everyone is doing in the company, in real-time, for every milestone, everyday, you will die very soon.Lesson: Live and breath Scrum.SCREW LAWYERSLawyers are criminals.I spent $15,000 on legal documents/fees we never used. Every entrepreneur/startup I’m involved with thinks lawyers are the first step to success. Bullshit.DOCSAll the legal documents you ever need are available online. If you’re B2B, all companies that you’ll work with have their own standard LOEs, NDAs, etc., that they anyways steal from Fortune 500 companies. Request it. Then use it. B2C? Here.BUT I NEED A TRADEMARK!Unless you have 10,000 clients you don’t need to think about copyright or even the name. Prove the concept first. Worry later. If you do have to worry, those are very nice worries to have.PATENT IT!Patenting something that isn’t validated with at least 10,000 clients is moronic. Ironically, this is the only mistake my first startup didn’t follow through with (fully, at least).DECISION MAKINGI was traumatized from taking decisions. Most startups never take decisions. In other statups I work in, decisions took weeks. People join startups for the reason of avoiding bureaucracy but everyone still does it. Why? Lack of trust and overview of the team, so they choke the process (have I suggested Scrum?).The board should decide on the vision and the group should decide what to execute on by creating a backlog for the week. The team should then have the power to execute it. With a great communication process in place, teammates should be able to take decisions without reporting to anyone while keeping everyone updated with everything’s that going on, live. Have a flat structure to achieve this by using Scrum.Let people do their jobs. Trust them. Don’t have a tedious review process as most startups do. Don’t suffocate the system. Empower your people.Read Scrum by Jeff Sutherland on how to manage your team. Then read Team of Teams by General Stanley McChrystal for how to organize the information flow. Both books compliment each other perfectly.THE BOARDThe ideal board is 3–5 people maximum if you’re a startup. Anything above that means that either no decisions will ever be taken (my first company) or someone has a hidden agenda and profits from a discombobulated board.A business is not a democracy. Unanimous decisions don’t work and will never work.Who’s should I put on the Board?Only investors/shareholders who hold a large stake and are extremely active in the success of your venture.INVESTORSSmart Money vs Still MoneyJust because someone is offering you cash almost always means you shouldn’t accept it.Your investor can have the greatest contacts in the pharmecutical industry. She can be CEO of Merck. If she doesn’t have a massive network in whatever industry you’re in, it’s worthless. The money will be worth nothing. This is true 100% of the time.Always onboard investors that can help you in your niche industry.MEETINGSThis is my top 3 favorites. Most won’t agree with me on this.I’ve never been to a meeting that has made me money/funded my venture. I don’t think anyone has. Has anyone ever handed you a check at a meeting? I doubt it. Today, it usually happens by wire-transfer.Meetings are pointless. Every team I meet, consult for/work with all think that going to meetings is the most crucial part of business. Most importantly, the whole team should be there. Pick up the fucking phone. Travel is time and money expensive. Even if you’re taking a cab.I would fly 10,000 miles for a 3 hour meeting and then fly back to Europe that same day. $30K. Gone.“If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be: ‘meetings.’” - Dave BarryMost of the discussion can be ironed out over email and FaceTime.Ok yes, I agree. Meeting in person is important. But not until it’s necessary. Most of the time, it’s unecessary. And even when it is, it shouldn’t always be an excuse to leave work for a business lunch or to Shanghai for the day.Avoid meetings. Get more done.It’s a waste of time 99% of the time.FOUNDING PARTNERS = YOUR SPOUSEYou will be married to your partners and investors for the next 7–10 years. Choose wisely.Know your team. Speak to your investor’s enemies. Get references for everyone.Don’t be a deceiver. Use Scrum.WORKING HOURSWe worked 16 hour days. Yey! Startup life!No. Work 8–10 hours and you’ll get more done than working 18 hours a day. Don’t believe me. It’s proven.Working 18 hour days leads to a burn out, which leads to painter’s dilemma, then delusion, then deceiving others around you, then depression. Then it’s too late.Ultimately, the more you work the more mistakes you’re prone to make. Mistakes made are mistakes that need to be corrected. Mistakes that aren’t correct can take up to 24x longer to correct than if they were corrected immediately.But you can’t see that. You’re burned out. You’re in Painter.PRODUCT / MARKET VALIDATIONAnother reason I refused to test in the three product startups I was involved in was because “the ideas work successfully elsewhere. They will also work here.” Doesn’t work like that.Just because you’re making a mishmash of several products that have product/market validation elsewhere doesn’t mean people are willing to use your product. I have yet to meet a new founder who hasn’t claimed this.In order for someone to switch to your product, your product needs to be at least 8x better.*Is your product really 8x better than your biggest competitor? If the answer isn’t a clear yes, quit.*Read Hooked by Nir Eyal and Ryan Hoover for how to build habit forming products.RECREATING THE WHEEL“God gave you eyes, so plagarize.” -Michael LewisNo need to re-create the wheel. Everything is out there already for a reason. Use APIs, read books (many books), steal functions, designs, ideas, marketing slogans, branding, on boarding processes, software, colors, clients, everything from other people/companies who are successful.This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t test it in your own environment. You must validate every single function that you put out there. Use the Lean Startup KanBan by Ash Maurya for this.DILUTIONWe gave away 51% for our first funding round. How much did we plan to keep when we “exited?” Think about that. It doesn’t make sense.Startups do this all the time. If you retain 51% after the seed round, how much does the founding team plan to keep by Series B? 20%? If you take the average of what you got paid for equity after the exit + your salary you’ll be paying more in taxes with a minimum wage paycheck for the past 8 years it took you to exit. Might as well work in a shoe store.If you don’t have the bargaining power (a validated product) to raise money with, quit.GUYS IN SUITSOur tech partners wore suits. That made us comfortable. They ended up quoting $100k. We ended up with nothing.If you see tech people in suits, run.OUTSOURCINGI lost well over $100,000 for our first version that was outsourced. We were smart enough to not learn from our mistakes so we found another team to outsource with. Another hefty sum gone. Only myself to blame.I’ve had terrible experiences with outsourcing and great experiences with in-house development.However, many products (we all use everyday) have found great success in outsourcing. I also know many entrepreneurs who outsource and are extremely succesful. While there are massive benefits, there are also downfalls. If you plan to, find a free consulting company that has pre-screened teams.Either way, using Scrum increases your chances of success in-house or out.YOUR TEAMEntrepreneurs read about Steve Jobs’ management style and think he was a tyrant. So they curse at their employees and tell everyone that they are “shit.” They think that’s how a company should be run and that’s how teammates should be treated. Wrong. Treat your team like shit and you’ll get shit.Either way, that’s not how Steve Jobs did it. Steve Jobs empowered his team. He told them that what they’re outputting is shit because he knew that they could do better. Because they are the best in the industry. He made them feel good. He challenged them and today Apple is Apple because of that.On the other hand, I lied. Didn’t speak about the hard things and repressed whatever fear or worry we had. We were scared that someone would quit or that we would look bad if we showed our emotions in front of our investors.You should always be able to tell your teammates all the fears and worries you have. Chances are, if you’re worried about something, everyone is worried about the same thing. Bring it up. Talk about it. I keep mentioning Scrum* because it encourages team members telling each other what’s bothering them and what’s impending the growth progress. This is key to not failing.Not once, in any of the startups I was in, did I or others get credit for great work or for their ideas that ended up being implemented. Not once did anyone congratualte a teammate on a engineering triumph, a beautiful design or a new lead. Startups think “business is business. This isn’t a cute place to pat each other on the backs.”BUT THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT A BUSINESS SHOULD BE. You should be holding each other up, helping one another and listening to the problems in the team. Because ultimately, you’re on the same mission.The second the negativity flows in people become scared. They stop raising issues, telling you how they feel and how to improve the business. When that happens you start to slowly die because you’ve fell into dillusion that everything is working. Six months later, you’re on the street.Empower your team. Congratulate people. Love each other. When someone screws up, tell them that. But also tell them how to improve and ask them why they think they screwed up and how to make their job easier.You’re a team. Be one.*Believe it or not, I’m not affiliated with Scrum in anyway. I’m not even a Scrum Master.—When I reflect on all the stupidity I’ve personally done and the startups I’ve been involved in, I realize that the only thing I ever followed up through and executed with absolute perfection, were the things that eventually ended up killing us: not telling a soul what our idea was. Talking to lawyers. Partnering with bad teams. Hiring out of weakness. Going to too many meetings. No decision making system. Not using Scrum. Hiring people out of fear. Hiding from reality.Mistakes are simple to make but hard to correct. They’re usually the first option that pops up. But as entrepreneurs we do thing because they’re hard, not because they’re easy.Hard choices take a long time to get right. It takes guts, intuition, experience and lots of luck. But never settle. Never accept your situation.Life can always be better.…..This was originally posted on the NY Observer and our blog on Penta.Follow me @lukaivicev or contact me directly at email@example.com.
Has any current or ex-radiation therapists contracted any form of radiation poisoning or cancer?I think that you mean, “is there increased risk of cancer amongst radiation therapists?” I think that radiation therapists (and others who work with medical diagnostic and therapeutic radiation) do not now have an increased risk. They get cancers with the same probability as the population in general. In the early days after the discovery of X-rays, radioactivity and radiation, before there was common knowledge of the dangers of radiation, many researchers and practioners did die from effects of the radiation including cancer (Monument to the X-ray and Radium Martyrs of All Nations - Wikipedia). At one point radiologists had to pay higher life insurance premiums! Nowadays, the States and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission require medical (and other) radiation workers to be monitored and the annual exposure is limited. That having been said, there have been accidents where medical radiation workers (or their patients) have been exposed to dangerous or fatal doses of radiation. So, the preceeding answer depends on proper operation of the equipment and following policies and procedures.
Why don't schools teach children about taxes and bills and things that they will definitely need to know as adults to get by in life?Departments of education and school districts always have to make decisions about what to include in their curriculum. There are a lot of life skills that people need that aren't taught in school. The question is should those skills be taught in schools?I teach high school, so I'll talk about that. The typical high school curriculum is supposed to give students a broad-based education that prepares them to be citizens in a democracy and to be able to think critically. For a democracy to work, we need educated, discerning citizens with the ability to make good decisions based on evidence and objective thought. In theory, people who are well informed about history, culture, science, mathematics, etc., and are capable of critical, unbiased thinking, will have the tools to participate in a democracy and make good decisions for themselves and for society at large. In addition to that, they should be learning how to be learners, how to do effective, basic research, and collaborate with other people. If that happens, figuring out how to do procedural tasks in real life should not provide much of a challenge. We can't possibly teach every necessary life skill people need, but we can help students become better at knowing how to acquire the skills they need. Should we teach them how to change a tire when they can easily consult a book or search the internet to find step by step instructions for that? Should we teach them how to balance a check book or teach them how to think mathematically and make sense of problems so that the simple task of balancing a check book (which requires simple arithmetic and the ability to enter numbers and words in columns and rows in obvious ways) is easy for them to figure out. If we teach them to be good at critical thinking and have some problem solving skills they will be able to apply those overarching skills to all sorts of every day tasks that shouldn't be difficult for someone with decent cognitive ability to figure out. It's analogous to asking why a culinary school didn't teach its students the steps and ingredients to a specific recipe. The school taught them about more general food preparation and food science skills so that they can figure out how to make a lot of specific recipes without much trouble. They're also able to create their own recipes.So, do we want citizens with very specific skill sets that they need to get through day to day life or do we want citizens with critical thinking, problem solving, and other overarching cognitive skills that will allow them to easily acquire ANY simple, procedural skill they may come to need at any point in their lives?