Monday, January 28, 2013

How to spot a scam

Here's an excellent article from CIO magazine on how to spot a scam on a social media site.  It's in the form of a slide show.

I continue to be surprised by the number of intelligent people who will go ahead and click on a message even when their own SPAM filter has identified it as SPAM.  Situational awareness is key when you're online as well as when you are out and about in the world.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Assessing risk

In the operational risk course I am teaching this quarter at the University of Washington, one of my students noted that the risk matrix table I had posted was remarkably like that used by the U.S. Army (above).  He showed me the Army matrix during our break time, and I am posting it here for a couple of reasons.

First, it indicates that there are two vectors to consider when thinking about risk:  frequency (how often is it likely an event will take place?) and magnitude (how severe will the event be?).

Second, it reminded me that many of my former staff were military officers.  I only wish that they had credited their source when they presented the matrix as a basis for determining risk.

Third, I know that, if I took the time to track this all the way down,  I would find that some Army officer found this table in another context and incorporated it into the Army training manual.  Without crediting its source.

Irrespective of such concerns, the matrix works.  As we note in Chapter 1 of the book, no matter what part of the country you live in, you can calculate likelihood and impact of events.  When you do so, and then when you back your analysis up with a survival kit and a family plan, you've suddenly become part of a unique group of citizens.  Now you can go back to living your life with the confidence that you are prepared for whatever Mother Nature wants to throw at you.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Violence and Public Safety, Round 2

My old boss used to say that, in order to be heard, you have to say something over and over.

So, in case anyone missed it yesterday, here is the January issue of ASA News & Notes.

I believe that my four recommendations are quite reasonable.  If you think about how many hoops you have to go through to purchase and drive a car, then you'll see that we have a long way to go to tighten up our regulations around guns, especially assault weapons.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Lighten up your life!

Four of the women I most admire -- Cathy Allen, Nancy Bearg, Rita Foley and Jaye Smith -- are the authors of Reboot Your Life, a wonderful book about how to consider your options.  In their most recent newsletter the "Sabbatical Sisters"  offer these ten ways to lighten up your life.

"Here are 10 ways you might choose to "Live Light" in 2013:

1. Start by doing a mental scan. What worries you? What isn't worth worrying about because you can't affect the outcome? Throw it away. 

2. Do you have a grudge or resentment against someone? Holding that belief creates more stress for you. Forgive that person, let it go, and you will see how much lighter you will feel.

3. There are givers and takers in life. Surround yourself with the givers and friends who give you energy; shed the others and lighten up your load. 

4. Lighten up your wardrobe - anything that is too tight, too small, or something you simply haven't worn in two years, give to charity or to a friend who will delight in having something new.

5. Now that you have lightened up your closet, try "packing light" for your next trip. Take just a carry-on bag and you'll find you really didn't need all that extra "stuff" and there are fewer decisions to make when trying to get out the door in the morning.

5. Get rid of all the chachkas in your house that you have collected over the years. You probably don't even remember who gave them to you.It's friendships that count, not objects. Start by cleaning just one drawer or shelf.

6  Cast off any negative thoughts about yourself - too fat, not good looking enough? You are fabulous. Repeat that. You are fabulous.  Throw away that old baggage and "Live Light" with the new freer and confident you. 

7. Remember "it's all just stuff." What counts in life is people and experiences, not material belongings. 

8. When faced with a negative situation - go to the extremes - spend a few minutes imaging the worst and what you might do. You will find that once you do that, you realize that they situation does have a solution, one you most likely won't need to implement. Now you can go back to "living lighter" with less stress.

9 Meditate. Try just five minutes a day, then build up. When your mind is totally in the moment, you are "Living Light". Meditation has been shown to decrease stress and promote health and happiness. 
10. If you have not yet completed your "Goals Circles" then do so now. (See our book.) If an activity you're doing doesn't fall in one of your wedges, consider not doing it - you will lighten your load and be more focused on achieving your desired happier and balanced life. "

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Do you have one minute? 5 minutes?

Here's an excellent website created by the Centers for Disease Control that offers a list of simple protective steps you can take, organized by the amount of time each takes.

While I'm here on the site, I wanted to urge everyone who has not yet had a flu shot to get one.  The news on this front is bleak:  emergency rooms are being overrun with very sick people.  Especially if you are out in public often, where others can make you sick, please consider the flu shot.  It takes two weeks to become effective.  While Seattle has not yet reached the levels of stress on the emergency room system that other cities like Boston and Chicago has, the King County Public Health Department issued a warning this morning that covered the last week of December as follows:

“The proportion of emergency department visits attributed to influenza-like illness during week 52 increased for all ages and is now comparable to seasonal peak activity during the last five flu seasons. The proportion of deaths due to pneumonia and influenza exceeded the national epidemic threshold for the second time this season. “

Until the shot is effective, your best strategy is still to wash your hands or use a hand cleaner on a regular basis.  Germs last for up to eight hours on knobs, keyboards, mice, tables, desks and almost any other type of surface you might come into contact with.

I think a number of the other tips will prove useful as well.