Category Archives: Positraction

Interesting way to start the week

POSITRACTION: Viktor Frankl on the Human Spirit


How We Elevate Each Other: Viktor Frankl on the Human Spirit and Why Idealism Is the Best Realism
by Maria Popova

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“If we take man as he really is, we make him worse. But if we overestimate him … we promote him to what he really can be.”

Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl (March 26, 1905–September 2, 1997) is a timeless testament to the luminous tenacity of the human spirit. His 1946 psychological memoir Man’s Search for Meaning (public library) is one of the most vital books ever written, and one of the most vitalizing one could ever read — a wealth of insight on how to persevere through troubled times and what it means to live fully.

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I read this book very early in my educational years. (Wish I could remember when?)

I was amazed at the death camp side; the humanity came in by osmosis.

Soon after that, I became a “manager” at AT&T. I said many times that as a supervisor, the tile should be “leader”.

(“Manage Things and Lead People” — David T. Morgenthaler)

And, I hated to do appraisals. So I didn’t! I let my people set their own objectives (i.e., lines of correct code was a big metric in those days). I put down on a scrap of paper what I thought each one of my four people could reasonably accomplish. Didn’t show anyone. EVERY one of the four people ESTIMATE higher 25 to 200%; EVERYONE delivered more than they estimated. 

An my “leadership” couldn’t understand how I made that happen. They called me “Simon Legree”. But I just patiently explained Frankl and expectations. I’ve never been disappointed by letting folks set their own targets.

I was amazed to see this video.

Wish I could have heard him live.

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POSITRACTION: Cleopatra gets a 3D-printed shell


This injured tortoise can now rock a 3D-printed shell
by Stefan Sirucek / March 27, 2015

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Cleopatra is a royally-named tortoise with a royal problem: she has a condition know as “peaking” or, rather appropriately considering her name, “pyramiding”, a disorder that prevents her shell from growing smoothly. This is an issue because tortoises mount each others backs for a variety of reasons from mating to simple play and Cleopatra’s uneven pyramids have resulted in excessive wear and tear to her shell, which in tortoises can lead to disease.

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It’s amazing that humans can have such empathy and problem solving skills.

Wonder when this gets translated to our dealing with other humans?

3D printing is already saving lives in American medicine.

“What hath God wrought.”

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POSITRACTION: There are everyday heroes


Cheers For Good Deeds By Airlines to Rescue Stranded Travelers
Uplift Heroes by Good News Network – March 27, 2015

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Meanwhile on the West Coast, Miriam Thomas ran into a chain reaction of travel problems on her Delta flight from Vancouver, British Columbia, to a business meeting in California. Thomas faced delays and a diverted flight that landed in Portland, Oregon, before returning to Seattle for an unplanned overnight stay there.

The next morning, she got bumped from her rescheduled flight. Delta ticket agents couldn’t get her on another flight until the following day — too late to make her meeting. If that wasn’t complicated enough, a ticket glitch charged Thomas a second time for her rescheduled flight. It left her with no money and no ticket to get home.

That’s when Judy, working at the Alaskan Airlines counter, decided to help. She pulled out her own credit card and paid for a ticket to get Thomas back to Vancouver.

“She didn’t know me at all,” Thomas told News1130 in Vancouver.

But the goodwill didn’t stop at the ticket counter. Thomas says, “I was sitting up at the gate waiting for the flight and she came by asking me how I was and offered me money for coffee.”

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This is just simple charity, or maybe it’s just having empathy, for our fellow humans?

“An SEP,” he said, “is something that we can’t see, or don’t see, or our brain doesn’t let us see, because we think that it’s somebody else’s problem. That’s what SEP means. Somebody Else’s Problem. The brain just edits it out, it’s like a blind spot. If you look at it directly you won’t see it unless you know precisely what it is. Your only hope is to catch it by surprise out of the corner of your eye.” The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Hope I can see SEPs and react like I like to think I would.


Life is so hard.

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POSITRACTION: Are moral truths permanent?


Ten Conservative Principles
By Russell Kirk

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First, the conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order. That order is made for man, and man is made for it: human nature is a constant, and moral truths are permanent.

This word order signifies harmony. There are two aspects or types of order: the inner order of the soul, and the outer order of the commonwealth. Twenty-five centuries ago, Plato taught this doctrine, but even the educated nowadays find it difficult to understand. The problem of order has been a principal concern of conservatives ever since conservative became a term of politics.

Our twentieth-century world has experienced the hideous consequences of the collapse of belief in a moral order. Like the atrocities and disasters of Greece in the fifth century before Christ, the ruin of great nations in our century shows us the pit into which fall societies that mistake clever self-interest, or ingenious social controls, for pleasing alternatives to an oldfangled moral order.

It has been said by liberal intellectuals that the conservative believes all social questions, at heart, to be questions of private morality. Properly understood, this statement is quite true. A society in which men and women are governed by belief in an enduring moral order, by a strong sense of right and wrong, by personal convictions about justice and honor, will be a good society—whatever political machinery it may utilize; while a society in which men and women are morally adrift, ignorant of norms, and intent chiefly upon gratification of appetites, will be a bad society—no matter how many people vote and no matter how liberal its formal constitution may be.

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Unfortunately, it appears not.

As a little L libertarian, I trace my belief back to the “classical liberal”. Every man is his own sovereign.

From whence the Zero Aggression Principle derives. 

The “Divine Right of Kings” is as dumb as “Democracy”.

I can sum it is as a childhood lesson: “Don’t hurt people; don’t take their stuff.”

I had a category on my report card “respects the rights of others”. That was always an A I could count on. I was disappointed that in college that wasn’t part of the grading.

It seems to today, that “We, The Sheeple” have lost the concept of “morality”.

Sadly, I wonder when there will be a “Renaissance” for Americans.

Guess I was paying attention when in “Theology”, the theory of “natural rights” was explained.

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POSITRACTION: FACETIME as a medical tool


NJ doctor guides baby delivery via FaceTime
Posted: Mar 13, 2015 6:56 PM EDT
Updated: Mar 13, 2015 6:56 PM EDT

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The office manager grabbed her iPhone, and using FaceTime Dr. Devalla was able to watch the delivery and talk her assistants through it.

Dr. Devalla says FaceTime is a great tool for an emergency, but she wants to stick to traditional deliveries.

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When I was on the First Aid squad, radio communications with the ER was just becoming common place.

But it was was to let them know we were inbound and what to prepare for.

Now days, paramedics meet the First Aid squad with a “hot case”.

Imagine when the ER doc can be virtually in the ambulance to advise or direct.

That’s progress.

My near miss, when I’d have be happy to have a doctor over my shoulder, was when I was commuting into NYC on the train. The wires were knocked down. And, of course, that’s when a lady decides to go into labor. Long story short, the train got priority in the mess and the lady was off to the hospital. Closest time I have ever gotten to my USAF survival school training on how to deliver a baby — Why? How should I know. But, always wanted to do it. Laff. Unfortunately women prefer real doctors.

But, in any event, great progress.

Dona Nobis Pacem

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POSITRACTION: Gilberto Bosques Saldivar — why have we never heard of him?


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Gilberto Bosques Saldivar
by Accidental Talmudist

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Gilberto Bosques Saldivar was a Mexican diplomat who saved 40,000 Jews and Spaniards from the Nazi and Franco fascist regimes.

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Bosques sprang into action. He rented a castle and a summer camp in Marseilles, and maintained that the properties were part of the consulate and therefore Mexican territory under international law.Bosques began issuing visas to Jews, as well as Spaniards fleeing the fascist Franco regime. Bosques housed the refugees at his compound in Marseilles, and chartered ships to get them safely out of the country.Bosques issued visas to approximately 40,000 Jews and Spaniards. In the accompanying image, he writes one of those tickets to life.In 1943, Bosques, along with his wife, three children, and 40 members of the consulate staff were arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned in Germany for a year.They were released in 1944 after Mexican President Manuel Avila Camacho imprisoned German citizens in Mexico and then arranged a prisoner swap.

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For courageously saving the lives of 40,000 people at great personal sacrifice, we honor Gilberto Bosques Saldivar as this week’s Thursday Hero at Accidental Talmudist.

With thanks to Lily Izarraras Hamade

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When Evil is confronted, it take great moral courage.

To have that courage never recognized in life is a disgrace to all of us.

I’m not sure I’d have the huevos muchos grande to act this way. But I pray I would.

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POSITRACTION: Saying “thanks” sooner or later


Official TWS Member Publication : U.S. Air Force Edition

Parallel Lives, Shared History

Herb Heilbrun and John Leahr were twenty-one when the United States entered WWII. Herb became an Army Air Forces B-17 bomber pilot. John flew P-51 fighters. Both were thrown into the brutal high-altitude bomber war against Nazi Germany, though they never met because the Army was rigidly segregated – only in the air were black and white American fliers allowed to mix.

Both came safely home but it took a chance meeting 20 years ago when the two retired salesmen met at a reunion of the Tuskegee Airmen in Cincinnati. That meeting led them to review their parallel lives and discover their shared history.

It began in 1995 when Herb read in the newspaper that the city was honoring the local chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen; the all-black 332nd Fighter Group. They flew “Red-Tail” P-51s on missions escorting bomber squadrons from Italy into Germany and German held territories. Herb could still remember hearing, amid the radio chatter over the target, the distinctive voices of the Tuskegee Airmen. He felt that his thanks were overdue.

So Herb went down to the hotel where they were having a reception and told somebody he flew B-17s in Europe during WW II and that the Tuskegee Airmen escorted him. He then asked if there was a fighter pilot around that was over there and that he’d like to give him a hug for saving his behind. One guy pointed telling him there was a fellow standing across the room that he thinks flew fighters.

The man was John Leahr. When the two were introduced, Herb hugged John and said, “I’ve been waiting 50 years to meet one of you guys. You saved my tail on many a day.” John, who felt for many years that the nation he had served had paid him back with prejudice and discrimination, had been waiting just as long for one of those white bomber pilots to come along and say thanks. That was all he ever wanted. …

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