Category Archives: Positraction

Interesting way to start the week

POSITRACTION: Wais Barakzai — The Video


Wais Barakzai: The Video that inspired a million lives Facebook

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A 3:00 minute video. No idea if true or not, but if it hasn’t “inspired a million lives”, it did for me.

I’ll let this 3 minute take the front stage this week.

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POSITRACTION: New nanobots could destroy cancerous tumors soon


August 30th, 2014 at 8:10 am
New nanobots hunt down and destroy cancerous tumors

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An army of tiny weaponized robots traveling around a human body, hunting down malignant tumors and destroying them from within sounds like a scene from a science fiction novel. But research in Nature Communications today from the University of California Davis Cancer Center shows the prospect of that being a realistic scenario may not be far off.

Promising progress is being made in the development of a multi-purpose anti-tumor nanoparticle called “nanoporphyrin” that can help diagnose and treat cancers.

Cancer is the world’s biggest killer. In 2012, an estimated 14.1 million new cancer cases were diagnosed and around 8.2 million people died from cancer worldwide.

This year, cancer surpassed cardiovascular diseases to become the leading cause of death in Australia; 40,000 Australians died as a result of cancer last year. It’s no wonder that scientists explore every possible technology to efficiently and safely diagnose and treat the disease.

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Now here are some “weaponized robots” that we can all get behind.

God, the Universe, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster has enable humans to do both great and terrible things. 

I hope we do more “great”.

Imagine this developing technology saving your loved one. 

I pray for the individuals working on this to work faster, harder, and smarter.

Wish I could contribute, but for now we can all send good thoughts in their direction … …

… … and maybe God, the Universe, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster will hurry them along.

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POSITRACTION: The humanitarian disaster at the southern border


August 13, 2014
by Samuel Gregg

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For weeks now, Americans’ eyes have been fixated upon the humanitarian disaster unfolding on our southern border, as some of the least among us seek to enter the United States without permission from what is, after all, a sovereign nation.

We’ve also witnessed outpourings of raw fury as Americans, including many Catholics, vent their frustration with the federal government and Congress, due to the economic and political dysfunctionality bred by the failure of our immigration laws.

As tempting as it is, however, to express anger, Catholics cannot be in the business of allowing public policy to be driven by feelings. That’s at least partly because Catholicism has always taken reason deadly seriously. But we also have a rich tradition of teaching about political questions that embodies principles based upon the Gospel and the natural law: principles that lay Catholics have the primary responsibility, as Vatican II underscored, to apply to complex subjects such as immigration.

Catholic teaching on immigration contains many exhortations to be merciful. Indeed, the commandment to love our neighbor often means we’re required to go beyond the strict demands of justice, albeit not in ways that violate justice. At the same time, the Church articulates a framework for thinking — rather than merely emoting — through the immigration issue in a manner consistent with Catholic concerns for liberty, justice, human flourishing and the common good. And part of this involves affirming that there is a right — albeit not an unlimited right — to migrate.

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Sad to say, but this is a manufactured political crisis.

The D’s are trying to take the “latino” vote away from the R’s.

The funny part is that the R’s could wrest the “black” vote from the D’s.

Instead of focusing on JFK’s “a rising tide raises all boats”, everyone is focused on “dividing a fixed size pie”.

The understanding of ekky-nomics is dismal.

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POSITRACTION: The Syracuse Chiefs, an exemplar of Noblesse oblige


Team’s visit to children’s hospital is a big win after a bad loss
Posted on August 12, 2014

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A professional baseball player whose team gets clobbered, yet shows up the next morning at a children’s hospital — I mean really shows up, doesn’t just phone it in — is more than OK in my book.

Ten players from the Syracuse Chiefs, the minor league Class AAA affiliate of the Washington Nationals, did just that Tuesday. They brought a lot of smiles to pediatric patients at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse.

The players stayed a good two hours, handing out souvenirs, talking with kids and their parents and signing autographs. Pitcher Matt Grace read a children’s book aloud (“Knuckleball Ned,” by Toronto Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey). None of the players seemed to be in any hurry to leave, and the adults in the room were just as happy as the kids about that.

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Noblesse oblige!

I guess — other than explars of bravery, honesty, or charity — exemplars or just examples of Noblesse oblige inspire POSITRACTIONs.

While these fellows are pro baseball players trying to get to the “bigs”, they are fighting for their dreams and their livelihood. To be self-concerned would be “understandable”. But, yet here, they put it all aside to make some sick kids happy. That’s class.

Baseball has some great examples of exemplar behavior — Clamente classy charity, Jeter classy team spirit, Rose for hustle and clay feet, and on and on. These guys demonstrate the best of baseball imho.

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POSITRACTION: One man’s “farewell” email


My Farewell
Posted: 07/28/2014 7:46 am EDT Updated: 07/28/2014 8:59 am EDT

John Donnelly is an 82-year-old retired public relations executive who has held senior positions in industry, government and the non-profit sector. He was diagnosed with liver cancer several months ago and is keeping busy trying to get his affairs in order. He has left instructions that in lieu of flowers, donations in his memory be directed to Smile Train in the hope at least some will remember him with a smile on their face. 

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When I learned I had terminal cancer, I sent an email announcement to virtually everyone I know.

I did not want to slip away unnoticed. When the time comes, my obit in the newspaper will be seen by some. But I wanted my friends, relatives and colleagues in all the places I have lived and worked to know and the only way to do it was through the Internet. I couldn’t just call up people — some I hadn’t seen for years — and say “Guess what? I have cancer!” Email may be impersonal, but it gets you there.

Timing was another factor. One of my doctors hinted I might only have six months or so; others offered no predictions, but I got no encouragement to think long-term. My depleting energy level suggested it would be prudent not to wait too long to say my farewells.

A certain amount of egotism was at play, too. I was, after all, in the PR business all my life, a profession in which modesty is not overly prized. So yes, I wanted to be remembered for some of my accomplishments.

In addition to having been a corporate VP of Fortune 500 companies, I was vice president of the MS Society, where I played a key role in the creation of a major national advocacy organization for medical research (Research!America). And as head of media relations for NASA, I negotiated the public information agreement with the Soviet Union for the Apollo/Soyuz mission. (These I knew would undoubtedly come as some surprise to a lot of those who knew me way back when I was a high school dropout, a teenage sailor, a longshoreman on the West Side piers, driving a cab or working on a beer truck.)

One other thing that prompted me to act was the fact that I discovered too late that I really knew so little about so many deceased friends and colleagues, and only found out about some of their remarkable exploits and achievements when reading their obituaries.

How many times after belatedly learning that a deceased neighbor or co-worker had been a WWII War ace, a former Olympian, a Holocaust survivor or a POW did I exclaim to myself, “God, I wish I had known that while he was living!” Not saying my own relatively humble accomplishments compare, but I thought they might be of interest to some and informative to others who had lost track of me over the years.

When I sent my farewell note, it was to deliver a message, and I had no idea what kind of responses to expect. I still can’t believe what I got — an overwhelming outpouring of warmth and love. I never knew that so many people liked and even loved me. More than a few were testimonials recalling how I had helped them personally or professionally. One even swore I had saved her life. Others praised me as a good boss, a good friend and a benefactor.

What especially heightened my delight and surprise by this heartwarming response was a humbling experience that occurred just a few months earlier (before my own diagnosis). I had attended a funeral on Long Island for a very dear old friend who just happened to be one of the most popular guys ever. His wake was so crowded you could sell tickets to get in. I thought by comparison they’ll have to offer free ice cream just to fill enough seats for a decent turnout at mine.

Not that I ever lacked a favorable opinion of myself. I’m a smart, fairly good-looking guy with a good sense of humor, a strong work ethic and certain other qualities. Unlike my popular friend, however, I have some less endearing traits.

On the other side of my personal balance sheet are some liabilities that offset those on the asset side.

I am too opinionated, too judgmental and too often too quick-tempered. Given these flaws, I never honestly considered myself likely to win a Mr. Nice Guy award. Nor did I actually ever work at achieving popularity the way some people do by trying so hard to be agreeable all the time.

So it was quite a boost to my morale, when I really needed it, to find my mailbox filled with expressions of love, admiration and appreciation from all over the country. I guess I never realized how much I wanted others to care about me. I do now.

I’ll find out soon enough if Somebody Up There Likes Me, but if everyone who has promised to pray for me does, I should at least have the benefit of a good introduction, if not a free pass, when the time comes. In the meantime, it is truly comforting to have the support of so many friends.

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I find it is “positive” if one recognizes one’s own mortality. 

What good works did I DO today to ensure, that if there is a life after, you’re getting the “good” end.

If there’s is NO life after, what good works did I do today and how did that make me feel. (Usually if I do “good”, then I feel “good”.)

I read the obits for our fellow alums and always wished I knew their stories.

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POSITRACTION: Being “Christ-like” to a fellow human


After 31 Wedding Anniversaries at Red Lobster, a Widow Received an Unexpected Surprise When She Went This Year Without Her Husband
Jul. 11, 2014 8:56pm
Oliver Darcy

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For 31 years, a Missouri woman and her husband spent their anniversary at Red Lobster. This year was different.

The unidentified woman’s husband passed away in March, so this year, her daughter volunteered to keep the tradition alive and taker her mother out for an anniversary meal, KSDK-TV reported.

Their meal proceeded as normal, until the waitress asked if they were celebrating anything special. According to the daughter’s brother, who posted the story on Reddit, his sister explained her parents’ tradition.

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I read this and I asked myself if I was being “Christ-like” to my fellow humans who were silently invisibly suffering.

I’ve had a spouse pass. So I can empathize. 

Next time someone is trying to merge in traffic, let them.

Maybe they too are having a bad year.

The S370HSSVs will do it anyway, but maybe this one has an “excuse”.

Dona Nobis Pacem

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POSITRACTION: “Big Data” in medicine to save lives


Posted by samzenpus on Sunday October 13, 2013 @10:32AM
from the checking-the-chart dept.
mattydread23 writes:

“Often, the signs of eventual heart failure are there, but they consist of a lot of weak signals over a long period of time, and doctors are not trained to look for these patterns. IBM and a couple heathcare providers, Sutter Health and Geisinger Health System, just got a $2 million grant from NIH to figure out how better data analysis can help prevent heart attack. But the trick is that doctors will have to use electronic records — it also means a lot more tests. Andy Patrizio writes, ‘What this means is doctors are going to have to expand the tests they do and the amount of data they keep. Otherwise, the data isn’t so Big.'”

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[JR: When I saw IBM’s WATSON perform on Jeopardy, I wonder when this would come to medicine. I now wonder if my wife had lasted another decade, then could WATSON have diagnosed her. Sigh! I know this is what I label “Shoulda, coulda, and woulda!” thinking. But for a Sunday morning thought provoker, I think it’s a good question.]

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