Saturday, February 25

The Pope is on twitter

The pope is tweeting once a day every day for the next 40 days of lent. He is reminding people in 140 characters or less of important biblical passages and themes. This is supposed to help people remain committed to their sacrifice during lent.

Question 1) what will he do when lent is over? Will his twitter account go dormant until next lent?

Question 2) who's idea was this? They should be fired. It is only a matter of time before it becomes public that the pope is following a priest that tracked down a kid on twitter and - well nothing good can come of that. Its a disaster of epic proportion in the making. It's Kim Kardashian + Arnold Schwarzenegger + Anthony Weiner = social media catastrophe. Ugh. .... Must we all witness the religious debris bound to spew from this impending wreck - yuck

Not trying to be sacrilegious here - just pointing out the inevitable.

Thursday, February 23

Crime management in Honduras

Last week in Honduras a prison fire broke out killing hundreds. The prisoners were locked inside their cells when the fire erupted. The guard who held the keys to the cell doors couldn't be found and most of the inmates burned to death in their cells. The death toll is now at 359 inmates and rising.

Do you think that:

1) There was only one guard that had keys that unlocked the cells of over 350 inmates and that guard couldn't be found anywhere.

2) The common prison fires in Honduras are a result of horrible overcrowding.

3) when the gangs become too powerful in the prisons and the gangs' power extends beyond the prison walls - the guards decide to roast marshmallows over a bonfire inside the prison ....

Story here -

Thursday, February 9

Virginia's State of Mind: The circle of life - Amazon's curious & cyclical business model

A company with a marketing team that
really likes the swoosh image on their
logo - which was used in the early 90's by
every company most notably by NIKE - Also they
are recreating the 'bookstore' idea invented
in 900 BC by Socrates & Friends

I was but a wee lass when the words "World Wide Web" began to be tossed about during everyday water-cooler banter. I was just a little older than that when every company, from a dry cleaner to a shopping superstore determined that a website was a successful business requirement.

Terms like "synergistic relationships," "strategic alliances" and "enterprise-wide collaboration" appeared in every PowerPoint presentation as companies scrambled to build a web page and define their online market presence. Simultaneously, consumers fell prey to innovative gadget advertising and the personal PC quickly became as pervasive as the household appliance.

It was in this environment of advanced technology expansion (I'm trying to get all of the buzz words in) that a few fresh-thinking risk-takers came up with a completely new business model called e-commerce (electronic commerce). The concept was simple: offer the same products available in stores — online. The traditional brick and mortar store business model would be totally eradicated. People could go on the Internet, purchase products and have them delivered overnight at an affordable price and never have to leave the comfort of their own home. It was revolutionary. For the first time, people were able to do all of their Christmas shopping at work while their boss assumed they were creating a PowerPoint presentation that included the words "stakeholder" and "analyses."
One of the most successful Internet-based stores was Originally, Amazon sold only books. The e-commerce idea swarmed the World Wide Web and Amazon's business (and stock) took off, catapulting them into an international online one-stop-shop retailer. Soon Amazon was selling everything from books to furniture.

However, the technology evolution didn't stop there. More fresh-thinking risk-takers at Amazon realized that along with the brick and mortar bookstore, even books could be eradicated. A completely new product called the e-reader was born. The concept was simple: offer a large number of books on one small hand-held device. The e-readers allowed consumers to read e-books on a device such as the Kindle or Nook. The e-readers were really helpful since it was hard to find "real" books because most of the brick and mortar bookstores had been eradicated. Amazon's proprietary product, the Kindle, solidified their e-commerce, e-reader spot in the online bookstore market.

Not surprisingly, more fresh-thinking risk-takers at Amazon have come up with an even more revolutionary idea. The concept is simple: offer the same products that are currently available for purchase online – in a store built out of brick and mortar. This evolutionary business model will allow customers to touch and feel products (and return them without a trip to the post office).

Amazon is planning to open its first market transforming, strategic store in Seattle. The store will showcase innovative products such as the Kindle e-reader. However, one of the most obvious business challenges is what to call this revolutionary concept. Perhaps "e-store to p-store" (electronic store to physical store) might work. Maybe a simple logo in the shape of a circle that has a tagline of "we've gone full circle" would be more effective? I suspect it's only a matter of time before more fresh-thinking risk takers at Amazon develop another revolutionary idea that will reshape the book market. The concept is simple: a brick and mortar bookstore that sells paper-based books and includes a small coffee shop.

Thursday, February 2

Virginia's State of Mind: What are Eli Manning, Tom Brady and Pat Sajak Thinking?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a study with proven results that weight loss is vital for morbidly obese patients with Type II diabetes. I know the researchers and their parents were very proud of their work so I didn't want to say anything, but I think we all know that weight loss is vital for morbidly obese patients. Additionally, for morbidly obese patients who suffer from further medical issues such as Type II diabetes, weight loss is extra, extra vital.

Self-evident research studies like the importance of weight loss continue to be published under the guise that the supposition must be proven by laboratory tests. The BBC recently published one such study concluding what I have known for many years. The BBC article, titled "Science decodes 'internal voices'" describes research that will allow scientists to one day turn thoughts of words into actual words. I have been able to decode the voices in other people's heads for most of my adult life.

According to the BBC article, scientists said, "A technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging to track blood flow in the brain has shown promise for identifying which words or ideas someone may be thinking about." I have never required magnetic resonance imaging to identify the ideas someone may be thinking about. When my children skulk around the kitchen cabinets in the afternoon it's clear to me that the voices in their heads are saying "Grab the cookies when Mommy isn't looking." I actually have eyes in the back of my head (at least that's what I tell my children because I don't want them to know I can hear the voices) and I know they are going for the cookies before they even get there.

I can even decode the voices of people that aren't near me. For example, when I saw the Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff miss a field goal in last week's NFL playoff game, I clearly heard the expletives shouting in his head.

I have an extraordinary ability to decode the voices in my husband's head and in fact I can hear them before he even thinks them. He strongly disagrees and believes that my decoding is inaccurate. It's not surprising then that my husband claims to be missing the ability to decode the voices in my head.
Luckily, there is now hope for those suffering with the inability to identify what someone else may be thinking. Researchers told the BBC that, "Several approaches have in recent years suggested that scientists are closing in on methods to tap into our very thoughts." I bet Eli Manning would like to tap into Tom Brady's thoughts right about now.

I must admit that there are times when even my decoding skills fail me. For example, I tried very hard to figure out what game show host Pat Sajak was thinking when he told ESPN, "Vanna and I would go across (the street) and have two or three or six (margaritas) and then come and do the last shows and have trouble recognizing the alphabet."

A few days later Sajak told ABC News Radio, "I hate to put an end to this drinking thing because we've gotten a lot of mileage out of it, but it was probably a half a dozen times we went across the street and had a margarita." I don't think any amount of magnetic resonance could help me figure out what the voices in Sajak's head were telling him.

I'm looking forward to the day when we can all identify the thoughts and decode the voices in each other's heads. My only concern is that I don't need my husband to tap into all of my thoughts, just the thoughts I believe he should have decoded.