FDA Hacked | When Is a Database Nothing More than a Digital Filing Cabinet? (Part 2)

We start Part 2 of “When is a Database nothing more than a digital filing cabinet?” where we left off in Part 1. According to Wikipedia, “a database is an organized collection of data.”
If we truly embrace this definition of data, then we can completely redefine the issues of security, privacy, interoperability and identity. However, there are two essential words in this short definition of a database. One of them is data; the other key word is “organized.” Nowhere in the idea of organizing data is a further definition of when it must be organized. We used to organize data by carving information into wet mud that then dried into tablets. We progressed to scribes replicating information with ink on papyrus and really accelerated things when Gutenberg rethought the wine press and moveable type with the printing press. Unfortunately, for all the horsepower and capacity of our databases, our organizing principles remain paper-based. Continue Reading →

Trophic Cascades, A Human Ecosystem, TED, Love and Cancer

Before I talk about the trophic cascade, I need to provide a little locational context. I am sitting next to the woman I love. Let me repeat that, I’m sitting next to the woman I love.  Unfortunately, we are at Seton Central hospital after some outpatient day surgery. This great piece, “Marriage Is Not For You,” reminded me exactly what it means to say this word: LOVE. For 23 years, the best of times are the ones when I’m totally and completely focused on Maureen, the woman I love, or the kids we’ve had the privilege of bringing in to the world.

IMG_0003Ten years ago, we heard different words, words that started us on the journey that has me sitting next to her again… in a hospital room, waiting for her to recover from yet another procedure, this time, a biopsy. What were those words? They were “you have cancer.” My words right after she heard those were “I love you.” Take the time to read “marriage is not for you,” because it really captures the essence of what it means to be in love. I will admit to not always getting this right over the last 23 years, but boy, when I do, I am the absolute happiest man in the world. To know our story with cancer, I point you to this piece I wrote a few years back, “Survivorship is Not a Phase.” A couple of weeks ago, we learned that this stupid cancer had “snuck out” of the Herceptin box we’ve had it in for the past few years. It has found its way to a few new spots, and this biopsy will tell us what this round of cancer cells look like now, so we can beat cancer back again.

So, what in the world does any of this have to do with a trophic cascade? Continue Reading →

My Tribute to Kethan | TEDx World Tour Ends in Magic at Tallaght

Thursday night in Dublin, Ireland was nothing short of magic. As I flew into the Emerald Isle on Thursday afternoon from Rome, I felt the rich hues of green reaching out to embrace me. I have wanted to travel to Ireland all my life. I listen to “trad music,” as my cab driver called it, or to the sounds of bag pipes on St. Andrew’s Day at our school, and my soul moves. It is as if the sound is within me, being heard not through my ears but through my soul.

BWzmFiXIUAArPy0.jpg-largeMy soul moved in Tallaght Thursday night at the Civic Theatre. It is impossible to describe what it feels like to walk out on stage, on to the red dot of a TED stage. Yesterday, I was privileged to make that walk for the fourth time, however, last night was different. As I write this post, I am listening to the same album from Nabiha, Mind the Gap, that I’ve listened to throughout the journey. I met these artists at the airport as I left Austin almost 2 weeks ago. They had just played at the Austin City Limits (ACL) Festival. Their music has moved my soul throughout this TEDx world tour. I listened to it in the green room and in the hallway backstage at TEDxTallaght. It made me dance, move my feet and lightened my heart. Continue Reading →