This is Our Greatest Generation: Reflections From A Retired Special Forces Officer
What does today's anniversary of 9/11 mean for the 9/11 generation, who did not let America's greatest national tragedy break them. How will its legacy define their lives over time?
Editor's Note: Lea Carpenter writes the English Lessons column for Big Think about what we can learn from the writing we love. She interviewed former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens for Big Think, and wrote this post.
Everyone knows “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” That line, spoken first fifty years ago, has unique resonance for what journalists are now calling “The Nine Eleven Generation.” They rose to President Kennedy’s challenge. They did not let America’s greatest national tragedy break them. What will Monday mean for them? How will its legacy define their lives over time?
As Lea Carpenter writes, Eric Greitens joined the Navy SEALs "in another era, when the choice to serve may have seemed slightly less stressful." Watch the video here:
What’s the Big Idea?
One set of voices we won’t hear from as much as we might like to this week are those of the men and women in the U.S. Military. On par, they’re working too hard to take time to appear on Morning Joe. Most work hard knowing they will receive little reward and less recognition, and while many of those now serving have served since before Al-Qaeda was a well-known name, others chose the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines directly in the wake of September 11th. Some made that choice because they wanted to help their country in a time of crisis; some simply felt it was a more meaningful option that all the others.
It’s a lie that the military is the only choice for those who choose it; service in war-time still offers something neither the Ivy League nor Wall Street can match: a chance to participate in a mission. Eric Greitens joined the Navy in another era, when the choice to serve may have seemed slightly less stressful. But his concept of service, informed by his choice and his experience, is applicable across industries, temperaments, and demographic lines. It’s even relevant for those of us will never have the chance to join the Special Forces. Greitens puts it like this:
“Now, the Navy said to me, ‘If you join, we’re going to pay you $1,332.60 per month. If you join, we guarantee that you will have zero minutes per day of privacy in your first few months.’ Now, in some way, it wasn’t such a compelling offer . . . I realized that a university career at Oxford could give me a lot of freedom. Consulting could give me a lot of money. The Navy was going to give me very little, but would make me more. I think that whenever you or whenever we are facing these decisions in our lives, if we ask ourselves the question, ‘Which decision, which path on our journey is going to make us more’—I think we’ll always be happy with the choices that we make.”
What’s the Significance?
Most people want to be “made more.” The men and women who made the choice to serve ten years ago have grown up alongside and within the “war on terror.” Their reflections will one day prove as powerful as those collected from other wars.
This generation—of soldiers and sailors, doctors and operators, JAGs and intelligence analysts, anyone who serves—has no name. It’s too soon. Tom Brokaw called World War II veterans “the Greatest Generation” only fifty years following the last cease-fire. “The Nine Eleven Generation” doesn’t feel right—or fair. The shock of loss lengthens and shifts, into the challenge of respectful reflection. Americans are excellent at honoring loss; we will do our best to respect the memory of those lost on that day. An equally crucial challenge is how best to respect, and understand, those who’ve given their lives to the fight in the intervening years.
English author Martin Amis concluded his 2008 collection The Second Plane with an essay titled “September 11.” Its last lines were:
“September 11 entrained a moral crash, planet-wide; it also loosened the ground between reality and delirium. So when we speak of it, let’s call it by its proper name; let’s not suggest that our experience of that event, that development, has been frictionlessly absorbed and filed away. It has not. September 11 continues, it goes on, with all its mystery, its instability, and its terrible dynamism.”
Of course “it goes on:” we are all the Nine Eleven generation now.
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Technology may soon grant us immortality, in a sense. Here's how.
- Through the Connectome Project we may soon be able to map the pathways of the entire human brain, including memories, and create computer programs that evoke the person the digitization is stemmed from.
- We age because errors build up in our cells — mitochondria to be exact.
- With CRISPR technology we may soon be able to edit out errors that build up as we age, and extend the human lifespan.
The controversial herbicide is everywhere, apparently.
- U.S. PIRG tested 20 beers and wines, including organics, and found Roundup's active ingredient in almost all of them.
- A jury on August 2018 awarded a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma victim $289 million in Roundup damages.
- Bayer/Monsanto says Roundup is totally safe. Others disagree.
The pizza giant Domino's partners with a Silicon Valley startup to start delivering pizza by robots.
- Domino's partnered with the Silicon Valley startup Nuro to have robot cars deliver pizza.
- The trial run will begin in Houston later this year.
- The robots will be half a regular car and will need to be unlocked by a PIN code.
Would you have to tip robots? You might be answering that question sooner than you think as Domino's is about to start using robots for delivering pizza. Later this year a fleet of self-driving robotic vehicles will be spreading the joy of pizza throughout the Houston area for the famous pizza manufacturer, using delivery cars made by the Silicon Valley startup Nuro.
The startup, founded by Google veterans, raised $940 million in February and has already been delivering groceries for Kroger around Houston. Partnering with the pizza juggernaut Domino's, which delivers close to 3 million pizzas a day, is another logical step for the expanding drone car business.
Kevin Vasconi of Domino's explained in a press release that they see these specially-designed robots as "a valuable partner in our autonomous vehicle journey," adding "The opportunity to bring our customers the choice of an unmanned delivery experience, and our operators an additional delivery solution during a busy store rush, is an important part of our autonomous vehicle testing."
How will they work exactly? Nuro explained in its own press release that this "opportunity to use Nuro's autonomous delivery" will be available for some of the customers who order online. Once they opt in, they'll be able to track the car via an app. When the vehicle gets to them, the customers will use a special PIN code to unlock the pizza compartment.
Nuro and its competitors Udelv and Robomart have been focusing specifically on developing such "last-mile product delivery" machines, reports Arstechnica. Their specially-made R1 vehicle is about half the size of a regular passenger car and doesn't offer any room for a driver. This makes it safer and lighter too, with less potential to cause harm in case of an accident. It also sticks to a fairly low speed of under 25 miles an hour and slams on the breaks at the first sign of trouble.
What also helps such robot cars is "geofencing" technology which confines them to a limited area surrounding the store.
For now, the cars are still tracked around the neighborhoods by human-driven vehicles, with monitors to make sure nothing goes haywire. But these "chase cars" should be phased out eventually, an important milestone in the evolution of your robot pizza drivers.
Check out how Nuro's vehicles work:
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