Best of 2015 Lists

Best of 2015 Lists

A lot of people have been creating their end of the year “Best of 2015” lists and I wanted to aggregate them so you could go through them quickly. I have linked to the stories linked or listed below and tried to embed a couple of videos for easy viewing on my site.

This includes the Best of 2015 lists from across different media outlets:

  1. New York Times Magazine pictures and Recipes
  2. Harvard Business Review articles
  3. Economist
  4. Google Search Trends and Top 10 lists
  5. YouTube’s Annual Videos in Review
  6. NPR’s Top 30 Stories
  7. Lifehacker’s Top 10 Top 10 lists
  8. Gawker
  9. Gizmodo
  10. Slate
  11. TED Talks

Best of 2015 Lists

The New York Times Magazine’s Best Photos of 2015

List here:

Here at the magazine, we have the good fortune to produce and publish a wide range of photographs: From images of the refugee crisis to mischievous interpretations of “lost” recipes, it’s always something new.

This year, to pick our favorites, we spread out tearsheets of our most memorable photos on a big table, then made one lightning-quick round of cuts and selections — led by Kathy Ryan, the director of photography.

NY Times Most Popular Recipes of 2015

Click on the image or click here to review:


Your Favorite Harvard Business Review Articles of 2015

See full list here:

Here are the 20 articles you and your fellow HBR readers spent the most time reading in 2015. I’m biased, of course, but I think it’s a particularly good list this year. And as usual, it reveals a lot about what managers around the world are thinking and worrying about right now. A lot of us are feeling trapped in a work culture that’s unhealthy and unproductive. We’re working too many hours. We’re distracted. We’re sick of terrible meetings, and networking, and the annual ritual of ineffective performance reviews.


Here’s the list:

A FEW trends emerge from the list of The Economist‘s ten most-read articles of 2015. The theme of inequality remains top of mind for our readers; articles about Asian-Americans, working-class males and inherited privilege all found their way into the top four. Many articles in this list are amongst our longer offerings, suggesting that readers set aside time to read them rather than snacking on the go. And most of the pieces below are leaders, which tells us that our readers want to know not only what happened but what can be done about it. The top piece, however, is an exception to all these trends: a fascinating science report about a new breed of animal called the coywolf.

1. Greater than the sum of its parts
October 3rd | Science and technology

Over a century of interbreeding between America’s wild coyotes, wolves and dogs has created a new species: the coywolf. The genetic mix means the animal has the size and strength of a wolf and the social nature of a dog. The new breed is spreading across America at an astonishing pace—even into big cities.

2. The weaker sex
March 7th | International

Boys once spent longer and went further in school than girls, and were more likely to graduate from university. Now the balance has tilted the other way: one gender gap has closed, only for another to open up. Now it is not women who are suffering, but unskilled men.


3. America’s new aristocracy
January 24th | Leader

Privilege in America is increasingly passed from parent to child. The clever and successful are marrying each other more than ever before, an “assortative mating” process thought to have increased inequality by 25%. The best solution is to help clever kids who failed to pick posh parents—and the moment to start is in early childhood.

4. The model minority is losing its patience
October 3rd | Briefing

Asian-Americans are under-represented in top jobs despite being better educated than white Americans. This “bamboo ceiling” applies in businesses as well as Congress, where just 2.4% of lawmakers are Asian-American. Widely held perceptions of unfair treatment are pushing many into politics, and the minority is becoming more politically assertive.

5. Shape shifting
February 28th | Books and arts

“Curvology”, a book by David Bainbridge released in February, discussed why men’s and women’s bodies differ more than is necessary simply to bear children. Mr Bainbridge says it makes evolutionary sense for women to plump up as they prepare to reproduce. It is this biology—not just brainwashing by the tabloid newspapers that splash images of curvy women—that shapes humanity’s appreciation of the undulations of the female form.

6. Generation XXX
September 26th | Leader

Pornography accounts for more than a tenth of all internet searches, and its availability has sparked a moral panic. Teenagers are seeing debauched acts at a younger age; porn has become their main source of sexual education. Parents and governments wish to stem the tide of smut with porn-blockers. A better approach would be to take a long, hard look at what is out there—and start to talk about it.

7. The silent minority
February 7th | United States

America’s largest single ethnic group, German-Americans, are barely visible in public life. Companies (Pfizer, Boeing) and politicians (John Boehner, Rand Paul) play down their German roots, while private citizens have have grown rich and assimilated without political help. German-Americans are so well integrated that they barely noticed when Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, visited in February.

8. Putin’s war on the West
February 14th | Leader

In February, when eastern Ukraine was in flames, The Economist discussed how the West could best tackle Vladimir Putin’s incendiary foreign policy. Mr Putin had a grip on the Kremlin, a new toy in Crimea, a weakened neighbour in Ukraine and a divided opposition in Europe and America. The critical point was and remains Ukraine: it should be a lesson in the rewards of leaning West, not its perils.

9. Trump’s America
September 5th | Leader

Donald Trump rose to the top of the polls for the Republican nomination in the summer, despite saying things that would have torpedoed any normal campaign. His secret sauce has two spices: a genius for self-promotion and supporters who view his boorishness as a sign of authenticity. The Economist advised Republicans to listen carefully to Mr Trump, and vote for someone else.

10. Watch out
June 13th | Leader

In June, The Economist said that the fight against financial chaos and deflation was won. However, having moved on from one recession, the world is not ready for the next. Rarely have so many large economies been so ill-equipped to manage a slowdown. The best way for fragile economies to get back to normal is to allow the recovery to gather strength first.

Google Search Trends of 2015

Explore the year’s biggest moments and the questions they inspire

??A Year in Search 2015?? Google

and then view the top 10 lists broken down here.

See the Year in Search 2015 in Top 10 Lists

YouTube’s Annual Year in Review Videos

YouTube Rewind 2015. Celebrating the videos, people, music and moves that made 2015. #YouTubeRewind

Watch the year’s trending videos:
See the trends as they happen on the new trending tab:

30 Most Popular Stories On NPR’s Website In 2015

NPR's audience were drawn to a wide range of topics in 2015, from music and politics to the lives of girls and the work of robots.

Nearly 20 of the most popular stories on NPR’s website in 2015 were viewed a million times or more. Many were also widely shared and discussed on Facebook and elsewhere — and now, they give us a way to look back on what at times seemed like a uniquely unpredictable year.

1. Supreme Court Declares Same-Sex Marriage Legal In All 50 States
“The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote after recounting the legal struggles faced by same-sex partners. – by Bill Chappell, June 26

2. Lost Posture: Why Some Indigenous Cultures May Not Have Back Pain
There are a few populations in the world where back pain hardly exists. One woman thinks she has figured out why, and she’s sharing their secrets. Have Americans forgotten how to stand properly? – by Michaeleen Doucleff, June 8

3. What Happened To The 9-Year-Old Smoking In Mary Ellen Mark’s Photo?
The photographer, who died in May, has a famous portfolio of arresting images. Among them is a shot of two children in 1990. One of them thought the photo shoot would change her life. It did not. – by Chris Benderev, June 27

4. Trapped In His Body For 12 Years, A Man Breaks Free
Martin Pistorius spent more than a decade unable to move or communicate, fearing he would be alone, trapped, forever. NPR’s new show Invisibilia tells how his mind helped him create a new life.
by Lulu Miller, Jan. 9

5. Texas Governor Deploys State Guard To Stave Off Obama Takeover
Texas’ GOP governor is sending the Texas State Guard to monitor a military training exercise after right-wing militia alleged it’s just a cover for the president’s plan to put Texas under martial law. – by Wade Goodwyn, May 2

6. Boy Says He Didn’t Go To Heaven; Publisher Says It Will Pull Book
The young man at the center of The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, Alex Malarkey, said this week that the story behind the 2010 book was all made up. – by Bill Chappell, Jan. 15

7. How Well Can You Hear Audio Quality?
A hi-def test for your ears (and your audio equipment): Listen to these songs and see if you can tell the difference between an MP3 and an uncompressed audio file. – by Jacob Ganz and Tyler Fisher, June 2

8. Map: The Most Common* Job In Every State
The jobs picture has changed profoundly since the 1970s. This map shows how those changes played out across the country. – by Quoctrung Bui, Feb. 5

9. People Are Finally Talking About The Thing Nobody Wants To Talk About
It’s menstrual hygiene. The topic makes many folks uncomfortable. Yet in the developing world, it’s a problem that keeps girls from going to school and playing sports. Now things are changing. – by Nurith Aizenman, June 16

10. Will Your Job Be Done By A Machine?
Will your job be around in the future? We take a peek at the research. – by Quoctrung Bui, May 21

11. Vatican Details Pope’s Meeting With Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis
Responding to a flood of interest, the Vatican says the private meeting shouldn’t be seen as an endorsement of all of Davis’ views. – by Bill Chappell, Oct. 2

12. A Black Mississippi Judge’s Breathtaking Speech To 3 White Murderers
Judge Carlton Reeves sentenced three young white men in the murder of an innocent black man. But first, he had something to tell them. – Code Switch blog, Feb. 13

13. South Korea? Trump’s ‘Where Are You From’ Moment
Donald Trump interrupted an Asian-American student this week to ask if he was from South Korea. “I was born in Texas,” he responded. – by Asma Khalid, Oct. 15

14. In Spain, Entire Villages Are Up For Sale — And They’re Going Cheap
As Spaniards migrate from villages to cities for work, education and access to health care, rural hamlets are ending up on the auction block. Foreigners are in the market for these properties. – by Lauren Frayer, Aug. 23

15. Babies On Display: When A Hospital Couldn’t Save Them, A Sideshow Did
Among Coney Island’s sideshows a century ago, one was different: an exhibit of premature infants. The show funded Dr. Martin Couney’s pioneering work — and saved thousands, including Lucille Horn. – StoryCorps, July 10

16. Pain, But No Regrets: A Father Remembers His Adopted Son
Bill Jones is thought to have been the first single man to adopt a child in California, back in the 1960s. His son has since died, but despite the loss, Jones says he never regrets adopting his child. – StoryCorps, Feb. 20

17. How Much (Or Little) The Middle Class Makes, In 30 U.S. Cities
What do families in the middle of the income distribution actually make in cities around the United States? – by Quoctrung Bui, March 19

18. That Little Syrian Boy: Here’s Who He Was
A photo of a drowned Syrian toddler on a Turkish beach sparked anguish and outrage over the handling of the world’s migration crisis. – by Hannah Bloch, Sept. 3

19. Review: Mac Miller, ‘GO:OD AM’
The Pittsburgh rapper makes his major label debut and presents himself as a more balanced artist and human being. – by Timmhotep Aku, Sept. 14

20. A Girl Gets Her Period And Is Banished To The Shed: #15Girls
When a teenage girl in rural Nepal gets her period, an ancient tradition may drive her to sleep outdoors. But one 15-year-old is trying to break the taboos around menstruation. – by Michaeleen Doucleff, Oct. 17

21. Paris Attacks: What We Know On Saturday
As France copes with shocking violence, the death toll from Friday night’s attacks is not yet final, and details are beginning to emerge about the attackers. – by Christopher Dean Hopkins and Bill Chappell, Nov. 14

22. 8 Obama Jokes That Stood Out From The White House Correspondents Dinner
Every year, the president sits down for dinner with Washington reporters and delivers a stand-up routine. From his “bucket list” to Hillary Clinton, here’s what he came up with this year. – by Domenico Montanaro, April 26

23. 6 Clips Of Audio You Should Hear From The Planned Parenthood Hearing
The congressional hearing was oftentimes contentious, with the head of Planned Parenthood defending her organization and explaining that it does not receive federal money for most abortions. – by Eyder Peralta, Sept. 29

24. Rare And ‘Horrific’: Frilled Shark Startles Fishermen In Australia
The frilled shark’s roots are traced to 80 million years ago. Its prehistoric origins are obvious in its primitive body; nearly all of the rare animal’s closest relatives are long extinct. – by Bill Chappell, Jan. 21

25. NASCAR’s Kurt Busch Testifies That Ex-Girlfriend Is An Assassin
The race car driver and others told a Dover, Del., court this week that his former girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, is an assassin. Driscoll did not deny the claims. – by Bill Chappell, Jan. 13

26. 5 Things You Should Know About Hillary Clinton
She started out as a Republican and hasn’t driven a car since 1996. Here’s what you may not know or just may not remember about the former secretary of state and first lady. – by Tamara Keith, April 11

27. Here’s What People Are Saying About The Waco Shootout And Race
People are contrasting media and police reaction to the Texas shootout with their reaction to the recent protests in Baltimore and Ferguson, Mo. – by Maanvi Singh, May 18

28. Trevor Noah, Jon Stewart’s Replacement, Goes From Hero To Villain In 24 Hours
Soon after it was announced that Noah will host The Daily Show, it emerged that some of his tweets mocked women and Jews — tweets that critics have called sexist and anti-Semitic. – by Krishnadev Calamur, March 31

29. Take The ACE Quiz — And Learn What It Does And Doesn’t Mean
First developed in the 1990s, the 10 questions of the Adverse Childhood Experiences test are designed to take a rough measure of a difficult childhood. Finding out your score is easy. Now what? – by Laura Starecheski, March 2

30. Review: Cast Recording, ‘Hamilton’
Don’t call Hamilton unlikely: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s lauded musical about the life of the Founding Father is Broadway crafted by an artist who knows rap to be our cultural lingua franca. – by Frannie Kelley, Sept. 21

Lifehacker’s Most Popular Top 10s of 2015

Most Popular Top 10s of 2015

Top 10 Lifehacker Posts of All Time

Most Popular Top 10s of 2015

Lifehacker launched exactly ten years ago today (happy birthday to us)! In light of the occasion, let’s take a look back at some of the most popular posts we’ve shared with you this last decade.

Most Popular Top 10s of 2015

Programming is one of the most valuable skills you can pick up in these modern times, whether for career prospects or to stretch your brain and create something awesome. If you’re just getting started on your coding journey, here are ten tips and resources to set you off on the right foot.

Top 10 Ways to Look Better Based on Your Body Shape and Face Shape

Most Popular Top 10s of 2015

Our face shapes and body shapes can help us choose the most fitting hairstyles, clothing, and accessories. Here are ten tips to help you accentuate your best features.

Top 10 Gmail Labs and Features You Should Enable

Most Popular Top 10s of 2015

As if Gmail wasn’t powerful enough, you can find all sorts of goodies and extra features in Gmail Labs. The list is pretty massive, so we’ve narrowed down our 10 favorite labs to help increase your email productivity.

Top 10 Skills You Need at Work That Have Nothing to Do with Your Job

Most Popular Top 10s of 2015

Hiring managers make the difficult decision of who the best candidate is for the job based not just on the specific job requirements but also basic“soft skills” every worker should have, like communication and teamwork. Here are the top 10 additional job skills everyone needs.

Top 10 Mistakes We Make When Grocery Shopping (And How to Fix Them)

Most Popular Top 10s of 2015

Buying groceries is one of those universal chores most of us could probably do better at, whether it’s saving money on food or spending less time shopping. Here are ten common mistakes we tend to make at the grocery store—and how to avoid them.

Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Monitor, the Screen You Stare at All Day

Most Popular Top 10s of 2015

Many of us are stuck behind our desk and computer all day long, which makes the hardware we use quite important. Let’s give some more thought to our monitors, with these ten tips for getting the most out of those screens.

Top 10 Smart Ways to Organize and Upgrade Your Garage

Most Popular Top 10s of 2015

The garage is often a neglected, messy space. With a little organization and a few handy projects, though, we can get much more use out of our garages and also modernize them. Here are our top 10 garage upgrade ideas.

Top 10 Simple Weight Loss Hacks You Can Implement Right Now

Most Popular Top 10s of 2015

Weight loss isn’t easy (if it were, we wouldn’t have a billion different diet plans and products to waste our money on). But even the smallest weight loss tricks or mind hacks can make a big difference when it comes to sticking to your diet or weight loss plan. Here are 10 such tricks you can easily incorporate today.

Top 10 Things You Can Do with a Slow Cooker That Don’t Involve Food

Most Popular Top 10s of 2015

The slow cooker (or crock pot) is a wonderful appliance for hands-off cooking, but the gentle, slow heating process can also be used for other things unrelated to food. Such as these ten things.

Top 10 Difficult Decisions You’ll Make in Life (and How to Make Them)

Most Popular Top 10s of 2015

Life is full of big moments and big decisions. But fret not, from deciding where to live to finding your true calling, here’s some advice to help you along the way.

Top 10 Lazy Yet Smart Ways to Spring Clean Your Home

Most Popular Top 10s of 2015

It’s spring cleaning time. Even if you have the urge to clean your home from top to bottom, perhaps your natural laziness is keeping you from getting started. No worries, here are ten MacGyver-ish ways to freshen your home with minimal effort.

Top 10 Uncomfortable Situations and How to Deal with Them

Most Popular Top 10s of 2015

Life is full of awkward and uncomfortable moments. We can’t avoid them altogether, but we can handle them with grace. Here are ten situations we all might struggle with and how to relieve the discomfort.

Top 10 Essential Tips for Dating

Most Popular Top 10s of 2015

Dating is often awkward, sweet, and challenging (sometimes at the same time). But don’t worry, we’ve got more than a few tips for surviving the dating scene and improving your dating experience.

Top 10 Ways You’re Probably Using Email Wrong

Most Popular Top 10s of 2015

Email is the technology tool everyone relies on and yet perhaps also hates(it’s the cockroach of the internet!). Love it or hate it, we could probably all stand to improve our email skills, from managing our inboxes to sending more elegant email messages. Here are ten of the top mistakes we make with our email.

Thanks for a great 2015! And while you’re at it, don’t forget Lifehacker’s 10th anniversary celebration for even more great top 10 lists!

The 100 Most Popular Gawker Posts of 2015

The 100 Most Popular Gawker Posts of 2015

The 100 Most Popular Gizmodo Posts of 2015

The 100 Most Popular Gizmodo Posts of 2015

The 10 Most Popular Slate Stories in 2015

Check out The 10 Most Popular Slate Stories in 2015 here:

A glance at Slate’s top stories of 2015 offers a veritable Rosetta stone of our readership. History is represented here in several forms: from a mesmerizing interactive that recounted 315 years of slavery to a single momentous paragraph that launched a new era of progress. Millions clicked curiously on a piece about a deadly Chinese trend, and the many more tried our sex history calculator.


TED the Year of Ideas: 2015

Check out the aggregation of TED Videos from 2015 here:

The Most Powerful TED Talks of 2015Watch the talks we loved in 2015, and discover the year’s most powerful ideas:

Posted by TED on Monday, December 21, 2015

Carry the Future – Baby Carriers for Syrian Refugees

Carry the Future – Baby Carriers for Syrian Refugees

This morning I was scrolling through Facebook where I found a story about a mom in California who saw the struggling refugees carry their own babies while holding their kids hands and thought baby carriers would be really helpful. She got some friends together and ended up getting donations of gently used carriers that she flew with 10 other volunteers to help greet people as they got off the boat. With only 2 minutes per person, they had to quickly teach parents who were wary momentarily before the realization of the value hit them humbling both trainer and trainee. 

(All pictures from “Carry the Future” Facebook page.)


Founded by Cristal, Carry the Future started as a single, modest Indiegogo campaign to raise $2,500 and 100 baby carriers for her to send to family she had in Greece so they could deliver them to refugees arriving by boat to their shores. As a result of the campaign going viral, Cristal received support from volunteers inspired and offering to help. We have a network of over 3000 volunteers across the globe and donations continue to flow in from supporters everywhere on a daily basis.

Learn More on Their Websites

FAQ’s ON BABY CARRIERS FOR REFUGEES:Q: Do refugees really benefit from baby carriers?

A: Absolutely! We personally distribute the carriers in Greece and fit each parent and baby to ensure the carriers are properly fitted and used safely. We are already getting reports of refugees making it safely to Germany wearing their babies, so we know it’s working!

Q: What sort of baby carriers can I donate?

A: Please send us your gently used Soft Structured Carriers (SSCs). These are basically any carrier that has clasps or harnesses, and Mei Teis (square cloth with four ties). Our favorites are Baby Bjorn, Kolcraft, MobyGo, Mei Teis, Tulla and Ergo, but we accept all brands of SSCs.

Q: Why don’t you accept wraps, slings, pouches or other non-structured carriers?

A: We have to fit refugees in about 2 minutes flat, usually in very chaotic and crowded harbors, and without any spoken instructions (given that most don’t speak English). Because of that, wraps and slings are not a safe or efficient option. Structured carriers on the other hand are considerably more user friendly and have a much easier learning curve.

Q: My carrier is broken/recalled. Should I send it?

A: No. We cannot repair carriers and we have to discard recalled ones. Please only send us a carrier you would also give to a close friend! Old carriers, worn carriers, faded carriers are perfectly ok to send, but please no broken or recalled ones!

Q: Where should I send it to? 

A: Please mail your carrier to:

Carry The Future 121 W. Lexington Drive Suite L106D

Glendale, CA 91203

Q: Can I include anything along with my carrier?

A: If you like, pin a note to the refugee who will be receiving your carrier by using a paper clip! If your carrier has a pocket, you can also stuff it with items such as: plush toy, baby/toddler socks/hat/mittens, high protein snacks and/or electrolyte or vitamin packets.

Q: Can I donate other items like toys or clothing to Carry The Future?

A: No. At this time we are only accepting soft structured baby carriers and monetary donations. We are a very new organization, with 501c3 status pending, so we have to be very cost effective. Sending clothing and toys by plane with our volunteers is very costly, and we would rather spend our limited funds on carriers!

Q: Can I join you on a future trip/volunteer with your organization?

A: Absolutely! The first thing you should do, is collect donated carriers from your friends and family and have them all pitch in for shipping costs. Also, liking and sharing our social media accounts and fundraisers is extremely helpful. Lastly, you can add yourself to the event at this link for support and advice:

Here is a link to the Article “Five Ways You can Help Refugees with Small Children”:…/5-ways-you-can-help-syrian-re…


1. Mail us your clean, gently used structured baby carriers to (PLEASE NO ITEMS OTHER THAN SOFT STRUCTURED BABY CARRIERS such as Bjorns, Ergos, Mei Teis):


121 W. Lexington Drive 

Suite L 106D 

Glendale CA 91203

**Please don’t send wraps, ring slings or pouches at this time, as they are unsuitable for these circumstances, given that we have to fit the parent in less than 3 minutes with little to no spoken words. Again, please do not send items that aren’t carriers at this time, but feel free to add a small plush toy, protein bar, socks, note, etc. INSIDE the pocket of your carrier if it has a pocket. 

Cheapest way to ship is in a soft polymailer by standard parcel.**

2. Donate towards the purchase/shipment of more baby carriers:

Check out “3000 Baby Carriers for Syrian Refugees in Kos” on Indiegogo

3. Donate towards the purchase of a Care Package for a Syrian Refugee Child:

Check out “Operation Refugee Child ” on Indiegogo

4. Help spread awareness by liking and sharing our fundraisers and posts. 90% of our funding and success is thanks to people like you liking and sharing.

5. Join our team! We are a rapidly expanding organization looking for both casual and dedicated volunteers around the world. If you want to help we have a place for you! To join us, please join our volunteer group:

*CarryTheFuture is currently in the process of obtaining 501(c)3 status

My Dad Knows How to Serve

My Dad Knows How to Serve

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post Celebrating My Mother, and I have been mentally writing the one about my dad since. These kind of posts are hard to write because there is so much incredible information I want to share for people who don’t know my parents personally. How do biographers capture everything and convey the person they’re writing about?  For one they have chapters. I think my dad would be mortified if I wrote chapters and published them, but his life is so rich and could easily fill pages and pages. My dad retired as a LTC in the US Army after thirty one faithful years of service, cared about our family and the soldiers he took care of at each of his duty stations, and has a rich medical background as a Registered Nurse.

Servant Leader for His Family, Teams, and Country

I come from a family of hungry goal setters and my dad is no different. When he was a young kid in New York City, getting slapped on the knuckles by the Catholic nuns, he worked in an exotic boutique food store. He would sample foods from all of the world igniting a travelers curiosity that was only fueled by the classic novels he devoured like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Gulliver’s Travels, and The Lord Of The Rings.


He VOLUNTEERED for two tours in Vietnam in the US Air Force during the height of the war where he would jump out of helicopters after battles and search for downed pilots with his dog, Fang. During this time he “explored” Vietnam, the Philippines, and other regions of southeastern Asia. (He probably didn’t expect he would return to adopt two baby girls from South Korea, but the experiences he had built a foundation he shared about the continent his girls were adopted from.)


While he was stationed in Hawaii, he would work 12 hour nursing shifts during the day or night while attending school full-time to complete his Master’s degree. Further education was so important to him — while we were growing up there was no doubt in our minds that we were not only going to college, but it would be for a degree that would keep us financially independent and secure. He taught me that nothing is more important than taking care of and providing for your family.

During this time I remember going to a couple of unit picnics, playing together with his soldiers, their families, his peers, and some German contractors. I remember going to this incredible restaurant for escargot, dipping the crusty bread in the rich, garlic butter, and exploring the cobblestone town in the beautiful summer and snowy winters. It was important to him that we travel and travel we did. My parents got a special blue van we fondly named Nellie Belle, after the jeep in The Roy Rogers show we used to all watch together. We drove hundreds of thousands of miles to France, Holland, Italy, and Austria. We stopped in Luxembourg, Switzerland, and many cities in-between.


After Germany we went to Washington State and drove more! We went hiking on Mount Rainier, to the little German-inspired town of Leavenworth, and white river rafting down rapid rivers. Next he got stationed at Persidio in San Francisco, California, securing a beautiful 4 story home with hardwood floors. With education and stability so important to my parents we returned to Washington State without my dad and learned how families don’t have to be physically together to be a family. We celebrated Christmas during winter break and birthday summer breaks returning to San Francisco by car or plane when we could. We went to Alcatraz Island, Coit Tower, and drooling over dim sum that we took on picnics or as takeout he brought with him on the plane rides home.

From Persidio he traveled to Ft. Detrick where he was in charge of U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). Back home in Washington, my sister and I would brag that our dad worked at the place where the movie Outbreak was shot. We got to tour the facilities that we were allowed and watched James Bond style as he would scan his hands and other biometrics for entrances to the inner circles of the building, and lead high-profile visitors and news anchors through with charm and humor.


From Maryland, with his family was going to great schools with close friends in Ft. Lewis Washington, he was sent on an unaccompanied tour to South Korea and Camp Casey.


We received letters in the mail mentioning his jaunts over the DMZ bridges between North and South Korea that were packed with explosives in case war ever broke out. He also started to write us stories that I need to dig and find, a chapter per letter about a fantasy, whimsical world like those JR Tolkien wrote about with epic adventures, breathtaking landscapes, and unexpected heroes you could really rally behind and different faction clans.

IMG_4484 IMG_4482

After the stint in Korea we would reunion as a family in Grafenwoehr, Germany where we lived an hour off base in another wonderful home in the middle of Weiden, famous for their beautiful Chrystal. During this time he was the commander at Graf Clinic and the highest ranking Hispanic soldier. My dad is very, very humble, and does not always feel comfortable when the spotlight is on him. He embodies the definition of a servant leaders ensuring not only that his soldiers are taken care of but also making sure his leaders are taking care of their teams. It is never about the individual but the team, except when the individual is not carrying their weight and the team suffers.


He commanded respect but was very empathetic as a leader too — bringing home soldiers who just needed a family meal. He would have mass casualty simulations, what to do if the training base we were on was attacked and always coordinate with the local Germans fostering internationally friendly relationships. He would always attend the high school football games with a couple of his medics and an ambulance so they could respond immediately as needed. Sometimes when both your parents are nurses you take for granted what they know and can do but its really nice when it’s time for immunizations to have them lovingly done by someone you trust.


My dad is someone who roots for the underdog. He isn’t a die-hard football fan — he watches the Super Bowl and together on the seasons we were physically together we would cheer over snacks for the unexpected winners and also the best commercials and half-time shows. He has a fantastic sense of humor and a personable nature mixing his New York dotted directness with his satirical sense of humor.


When we left Germany he was stationed at Fort Sam and when he wasn’t working with software solutions for medical training to prepare medics for the war (right after 9-11), he tried to volunteer his time volunteering at the then BAMC burn unit. The burn unit at now SAMC is renowned in the country as the foremost authority on burn wounds — its an intensely emotional area to work in and one many don’t volunteer but my dad has spent years in the civilian sector at Tampa General’s burn unit.

My dad’s final duty station was in Landstuhl, Germany where he implemented an “aggressive approach to women’s health through a multi-tiered program that improved access to care, improved preventative health, and generated goodwill in the community…serving as a blueprint for future comprehensive preventative health programs.”



My dad went where the mission sent him and everything he did he held himself to a high accountable level. If no one saw the work, if no one saw his boots, it still would have been pristine. There were no shortcut taking with him and if you said you were going to do something you got up and did it. Both at home and work. 🙂

My dad is the humble, fair, and caring hero who you read about in books that did whatever needed to be done, because it truly was the right thing to do. Happy Veteran’s Day Dad. I love you.

77 Brands Celebrating #LoveWins Today

77 Brands Celebrating #LoveWins Today

In the excitement of today’s news that gay marriage legal in ALL 50 states, I decided to check out how brands, government entities, non-profit organizations, and travel destinations were spreading the love so to speak.

I didn’t really order these in a particular order (though I did give some placement love to brands that tweeted right away). Involved indirectly in the social media at my own company, I know some of the logistics that go on for enterprise companies to be able to run spur of the moment campaigns!  Kudos to these companies, including:

  • Expedia who is randomly awarding companies that got married today $1,500 gift certificates!
  • Hotels that are featuring #MarriageEquality like MGM Grand, Hill Country Hyatt, Hilton, and more!
  • The Weather Channel’s prediction of a rainbow
  • All the airlines (Southwest, Delta, American, Virgin Atlantic) and Amtrak that joined the conversation
  • Hynundai – the only automobile company I saw tweets about
  • Citys’ travel groups like New Orleans and Washington DC
  • The United Nations, Peace Corps, and more!


RT if you are happy that #LoveWon today!

— Bway Across America (@BwayAmerica) June 26, 2015

#LoveWins — thinkgeek (@thinkgeek) June 26, 2015

Love is love. #LoveWins

— Danskin (@Danskin) June 26, 2015

Love is Love. #LoveWins — Walgreens (@Walgreens) June 26, 2015

MAKE equality HAPPEN #LoveWins

— Staples US (@Staples) June 26, 2015

June is LGBT Pride Month, a wonderful reason 2 take pride. #MarriageEquality #SCOTUSmarriage — Hallmark Cards (@Hallmark) June 26, 2015


— The Land of Nod (@TheLandofNod) June 26, 2015

#LoveWins — Crate and Barrel (@CrateandBarrel) June 26, 2015

Love is love. ?????????????????? #loveeveryone #lovewins

— EO Products (@EOProducts) June 26, 2015

.@GapInc joins families nationwide to celebrate #equality -CEO Art Peck #LoveWins #LetsDoMore — Gap Inc. (@GapInc) June 26, 2015


— PacSun (@PacSun) June 26, 2015

#LoveWins — PacSun (@PacSun) June 26, 2015


— The Container Store (@ContainerStore) June 26, 2015

?????????????????? #LoveWins. Celebrating #equality today and always. — Banana Republic (@BananaRepublic) June 26, 2015

Love is love. #LoveWins

— Hot Topic (@HotTopic) June 26, 2015

Yes to love!! #LoveIsLove #MarriageEquality #LoveWins — Ideel (@shopideel) June 26, 2015

#LoveWins #Proud

— Intel (@intel) June 26, 2015

.@ConsumerReports will be marching in the #NYCPride March on Sunday. Follow our tweets #CRPride15! #LoveWins — Consumers Union (@ConsumersUnion) June 26, 2015

Namaste. ?? #YogaForEveryone #LoveWins

— Gaiam (@Gaiam) June 26, 2015

Love connects us all. #LoveWins — Bloomingdale’s (@Bloomingdales) June 26, 2015

Having a sweet treat on this beautiful Friday night! #LoveWins ????XoX????????

— Betsey Johnson (@xoBetseyJohnson) June 27, 2015

Great gay bars are just great bars, period. Find us at one tonight: #LoveWins — Foursquare (@foursquare) June 26, 2015

Celebrate #love! ????

— Aviary (@Aviary) June 26, 2015

Give it up for the allies! ???? #ProudToLove — YouTube (@YouTube) June 26, 2015

We hope to see a lot more proposal videos from here on out. #ProudToLove

— YouTube (@YouTube) June 26, 2015

#LoveWins — Bitly (@Bitly) June 26, 2015

Simply put: #LoveWins.

— PayPal (@PayPal) June 26, 2015

Our #MarvelCharacterOfTheDay is Karolina Dean: #LoveWins — Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) June 26, 2015

Historic day for love! Celebrate loud & proud with our Gay Pride Party playlist: #LoveWins

— Amazon Music (@amazonmusic) June 26, 2015

Remember that love doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be true. — Ebates (@Ebates) June 26, 2015

Today is a good day. #LoveWins

— Orange Is the New… (@OITNB) June 26, 2015

It’s been a landmark day for social, too. #LoveWins — Spredfast (@Spredfast) June 26, 2015

Overstock says “I do” to marriage equality. #LoveWins ?? ????

— Overstock (@Overstock) June 26, 2015

Bessie’s so proud of today’s #SCOTUS decision that she’s leading the stickers into #Pride celebrations. #LoveIsLove — Swarm (@swarmapp) June 26, 2015

To celebrate #Pride2015, let’s take a look at our proud celebrity parents! #LoveWins #SCOTUS

— The Bump (@thebump) June 26, 2015

With Liberty and Justice for all. #HyundaiProud celebrates #MarriageEquality. — HyundaiDiverse (@HyundaiDiverse) June 27, 2015

?????????????????? #BeautyIs #MarriageEquality

— Dove (@Dove) June 26, 2015

To paraphrase Justice Anthony Kennedy, “Everybody—even gay people—deserve multiple-choice.” #LoveWins @JenBilik — Knock Knock (@knockknock) June 26, 2015

“If you can’t stop thinking about it…BUY IT.” ???? ???? #QOTD

— Bluefly (@bluefly) June 26, 2015

#LoveWins — JCPenney (@jcpenney) June 26, 2015


— Urban Decay (@UrbanDecay) June 26, 2015

‘Open eyes, open minds we are proud! Congratulations USA, you are courageous and brave #lovewins‘ – DV — Versace (@Versace) June 26, 2015

Groupon supports same-sex marriage. And now 50 states do too. #LoveWins

— Groupon (@Groupon) June 26, 2015

Today, love wins. — Powell’s Books (@Powells) June 26, 2015

It’s a great day to be in #love!

— Pottery Barn (@potterybarn) June 26, 2015

Today we celebrate this historic love-affirming leap forward! We all deserve the right to say “I do.” #Lovewins — Adobe (@Adobe) June 26, 2015

“All you need is love.” #LoveWins


Feeling the love ???? — VSPINK (@VSPINK) June 26, 2015

We’re especially proud to celebrate Pride month in light of today’s #SCOTUS decision! #AmexPride #LoveWins

— American Express (@AmericanExpress) June 26, 2015

Love Wings #LoveWins — Red Bull (@redbull) June 26, 2015

We couldn’t be prouder to celebrate love today. #LoveWins

— (@Gilt) June 26, 2015

The 70th anniversary of the UN Charter was also celebrated in Times Square on Friday #UN70 — United Nations (@UN) June 27, 2015

Get your #Pride gear:

— PETA (@peta) June 26, 2015

A true cause for creative celebrations Today, #LoveWins — Etsy (@Etsy) June 26, 2015

“Love is the greatest virtue of the heart.” – Architect Frank Lloyd Wright #LoveWins ??????

— Guggenheim Museum (@Guggenheim) June 26, 2015

A conversation with Gilbert Baker, the artist who designed the Rainbow Flag, over at MoMA: — Kickstarter (@kickstarter) June 26, 2015

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fide…

— Peace Corps (@PeaceCorps) June 26, 2015

Congrats @RedPegasusGames! Can we make your honeymoon magical? DM us for your $1,500 voucher. #Expedia4Love #LoveWins — Expedia (@Expedia) June 27, 2015

“Never in my professional life have I felt more supported and safe regarding my sexuality than at JetBlue.” Will M. #CrewPOV #LoveWins

— JetBlue Airways (@JetBlue) June 27, 2015

A historic moment has been made! #LoveWins — Gaylord National (@GaylordNational) June 27, 2015

Love is Sweet #LoveWins

— DoubleTree by Hilton (@doubletree) June 26, 2015

06.26.15 #LoveWins — MGM Grand Hotel (@MGMGrand) June 26, 2015

#Hyatt celebrates #Love! #LoveWins #LoveIsLove #HyattLovesLove

— Hyatt Hill Country (@HR_HillCountry) June 26, 2015

#LoveWins — ARIA Las Vegas (@AriaLV) June 26, 2015

In recognition of this historic day. #lovewins

— MGM Resorts (@MGMResortsIntl) June 26, 2015

All you need is #Love. #LoveWins — Amtrak (@Amtrak) June 26, 2015

Let the celebration begin! #LoveWins #SFPride

— Virgin America (@VirginAmerica) June 26, 2015

#LoveIsLove #LoveWins — MapQuest (@MapQuest) June 26, 2015

Just in time for #marriageequality—NYC’s Stonewall Inn is granted landmark status: #lovewins

— Travel + Leisure (@TravlandLeisure) June 26, 2015

Check out 12 things to do in #WashingtonDC this summer: #LGBT #LoveWins — washingtondc (@washingtondc) June 26, 2015

Equally ever after: #SCOTUS #inahyattworld

— Hyatt Tweets (@HyattTweets) June 26, 2015

#SouthwestHeart beats for love. #MarriageEquality #LoveWins — Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) June 26, 2015

Fun for all. All for love. #LoveWins

— Carnival Cruise Line (@CarnivalCruise) June 26, 2015

#Lovewins in America, and we’re excited to celebrate #NOLA-style! — New Orleans CVB (@NewOrleansCVB) June 26, 2015

Forecasting lots of #Love. #LoveWins Photo Credit: @seisenhauer via IG

— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) June 26, 2015

Today we join our employees and customers in celebration of marriage equality: #LoveWins — Delta (@Delta) June 26, 2015

<3 for the #SCOTUS ruling! These pride celebrations are bound to be epic: #pridemonth

— Fodor’s Travel (@fodorstravel) June 26, 2015

2015 Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery Memorial Day Ceremony

2015 Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery Memorial Day Ceremony

This year, instead of highlighting great sales like I have in the past during Memorial Day weekend, I really wanted to pay tribute to the service men and women that we remember, and appreciate the ultimate sacrifice they gave our company. You can learn more about those sacrifices over the past US War’s here where I write about medical advances that also occurred during those wars and after.

It was actually very hard to find information about Memorial Day services but I was excited after much combing to find one at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery at 0930. I dragged my husband and daughter who were tired from a long weekend and we arrived with many others pouring into the cemetery at Fort Sam. I had gone to high school there and was nostalgic as I remembered the week before Memorial Day, during school, placing flags at each grave site, over 140,000 of veterans and their spouses.  There was probably a crowd of a couple hundred people, some in military dress uniform, some in BDUs (battle dress uniform), and many in civilian dress. We parked along the cemetery and started walking along the road past rows and rows of marble grave markers. Near the back of the cemetery were more freshly buried sites, huge sections with graves from 2000 to present.

It was very humbling when the Army officer in his dress uniform, walking in front of us, made a bee-line to a familiar grave, paused, and silently saluted his comrade before crouching to the ground. There were mothers and fathers hugging grandchildren, spouses sobbing next to headstones, and little kids comforting their parents as their parents probably told them about the person buried.

The sky was dark and ominous but stayed dry for most of the ceremony. The color guard presented the colors as everyone sang the National Anthem.  Veteran volunteers silently moved between the masses offering cold water, programs, and seats.  The master of ceremonies welcomed the distinguished guests including US Representative William Hurd and current Mayor Ivy Taylor.

Two Marines with Six Seconds

The guest speaker was Queta Marquez who is the Bexar County Veterans Service Officer and a retired Captain in the Marine Corps. She is an advocate for all veterans and their families and works as a member of the Military and Veteran Community Collaborative.

She talked briefly about her twenty years of service, understanding the sacrifices soldiers continue to make.

She told the following story:

Two Marines, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, 22 and 20 years old respectively, one from each battalion, were assuming the watch together at the entrance gate of an outpost that contained a makeshift barracks housing 50 Marines.The mission orders they received from the sergeant squad leader I am sure went something like: “Okay you two clowns, stand this post and let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.” They then relieved two other Marines on watch and took up their post at the entry control point of Joint Security Station Nasser, in the Sophia section of Ramadi, al Anbar, Iraq.

A few minutes later a large blue truck turned down the alley way—perhaps 60-70 yards in length—and sped its way through the serpentine of concrete jersey walls. The truck stopped just short of where the two were posted and detonated, killing them both catastrophically. Twenty-four brick masonry houses were damaged or destroyed. A mosque 100 yards away collapsed. The truck’s engine came to rest two hundred yards away knocking most of a house down before it stopped.

Our experts reckoned the blast was made of 2,000 pounds of explosives. Two died, and because these two young infantrymen didn’t have it in their DNA to run from danger, they saved 150 of their Iraqi and American brothers-in-arms.

The two Marines had about five seconds left to live. It took maybe another two seconds for them to present their weapons, take aim, and open up. By this time the truck was half-way through the barriers and gaining speed the whole time. Here, the recording shows a number of Iraqi police, some of whom had fired their AKs, now scattering like the normal and rational men they were—some running right past the Marines. They had three seconds left to live.

For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines’ weapons firing non-stop…The recording shows the truck careening to a stop immediately in front of the two Marines. In all of the instantaneous violence Yale and Haerter never hesitated. By all reports and by the recording, they never stepped back. They never even started to step aside. They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread shoulder width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons. They had only one second left to live.

The truck explodes. The camera goes blank.

Six seconds.

Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty … into eternity. That is the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight — for you.

Read more:

Cpl. Jonathan Yale Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter

Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter (right), along with Cpl. Jonathan Yale (left), was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his efforts on April 22, 2008, in Ramadi, Iraq.

Memorial Day Ceremony

It was pretty exciting to be able to share the ceremony in real-time on Periscope (currently a mobile app that allows you to stream video in real-time and for others to effortlessly watch along with you.) I had about 77 people who watched the stream, some in its entirety. Someone even sent love for our fallen soldiers from Ireland!

My program is water-logged as it started to rain heavily towards the end of the program but here’s a summary in case you’d like to go next year:

0900     Musical Prelude

0930    Open Ceremony

  • Welcome
  • Presentation of the Colors
  • Star Spangled Banner
  • Invocation (prayer)
  • Reading of the Deceased Veterans’ Names (read by Cadet Battalion Commander @ Reagan High School JROTC — yay for being female!)
  • National Moment of Remembrance
  • Guest Speaker – Ms. Queta Marquez, Bexar County Veterans Service Officer
  • Honors to the Military (see next section)
  • Singing of America the Beautiful
  • Three Volleys of Rifle Fire and “Taps”
  • Closing Remarks (rushed for weather)

Branches of the Military Songs

It was really touching when each branch of the military’s song was played and the veterans, active duty soldiers, and their families would stand proudly and sing loudly. After the conclusion of each song, everyone would cheer loudly in the way unique to each branch. I included a link (tried to find the best link for each branch) if you’d like to learn more about the history of the song and the meaning behind it.


When performed as part of a medley of Service songs, the following Department of Defense guidance applies:

The order of performance for Service songs is:

  1. Army: “The Army Goes Rolling Along”
  2. Marine Corps: “The Marine’s Hymn”
  3. Navy: “Anchors Aweigh”
  4. Air Force: “Official U.S. Air Force Song”
  5. Coast Guard: “Semper Paratus”


First to fight for the right,
And to build the Nation’s might,
And The Army Goes Rolling Along
Proud of all we have done,
Fighting till the battle’s won,
And the Army Goes Rolling Along.

Then it’s Hi! Hi! Hey!
The Army’s on its way.
Count off the cadence loud and strong (TWO! THREE!)
For where e’er we go,
You will always know
That The Army Goes Rolling Along.

Marine Corps

From the Halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country’s battles
In the air, on land, and sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.


Anchors Aweigh, my boys,
Anchors Aweigh.
Farewell to foreign shores,
We sail at break of day-ay-ay-ay.
Through our last night ashore,
Drink to the foam,
Until we meet once more.
Here’s wishing you a happy voyage home.

Air Force

Off we go into the wild blue yonder,
Climbing high into the sun
Here they come zooming to meet our thunder
At ’em boys, Give ‘er the gun!
Down we dive, spouting our flame from under
Off with one helluva roar!
We live in fame or go down in flame. Hey!
Nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force!

Coast Guard

We’re always ready for the call,
We place our trust in Thee.
Through surf and storm and howling gale,
High shall our purpose be.
“Semper Paratus” is our guide,
Our fame, our glory too.
To fight to save or fight and die,
Aye! Coast Guard we are for you!

Three Volley Salute of Rifle Fire

If you were looking at the stage, the riflemen were located to the left of the presentation and their fired their guns away from the area.

The 3-volley salute is a ceremonial act performed at military and police funerals as part of the drill and ceremony of the Honor Guard. It consists of a rifle party firing blank cartridges into the air three times. The custom originates from the European dynastic wars, where the fighting ceased so the dead and wounded could be removed. Then, three shots were fired into the air to signal that the battle could resume.

During this ceremony, the rifles were fired and as the smoke receded, the bugler started playing the song “Taps”.


Although for most of my Army brat life we did not live on military base, I was on base for many Taps bugle calls. This song is normally played as the day’s last call of the day — same time every day. I have fond memories of riding with my dad, the bugle sounding the song, and everyone stopping their car (or if they were walking, standing still), getting out of the car, and my dad saluting in the direction of an unseen flag and bugler. My dad always stood proudly at attention, no matter how tired. We never talked, it was always a very respectful time.




When taps is played during military funerals, military members will render a salute from the beginning until the conclusion of the song. Civilians should place their right hand over their heart during this time.

A Little Bit More about the National Cemetery Association and Burial Benefits

It probably sounds a little morbid in hindsight, but my dad has always talked about how he’ll be buried there. Entry into a slot requires sacrifices for one’s country, ones not everyone gives. He like all other veterans have the option for Burial benefits including a grave site in one of 131 national cemeteries with available space, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a Government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, at no cost to the family. Learn everything about the program here.

Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery flag pavilion and assembly area.

Visiting the National Cemeteries can be overwhelming. If you are looking for a particular grave site you can find them through this tracker. Search for burial locations of veterans and their family members in VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, various other military and Department of Interior cemeteries, and for veterans buried in private cemeteries when the grave is marked with a government grave marker.

Benefits of War: Medical Advances

Benefits of War: Medical Advances

As we celebrate Memorial Day this year and humbly remember and consider the women and men who have died serving our country, I wanted to share some benefits that war brings and the on-going research that the military and their partners are exploring. I am not advocating that war was worth these advances, but because there was a war we were able to make these medical advancements. The research that the military does to protect our soldiers is frequently also shared with the civilian sector. Take a second to think about the medics who are in the field, doing the immediate medical triage of injuries. They do not hesitate to risk their lives each time they go to their buddies in the war zone.  Both my parents are critical care nurses, in the military, at war, and in the civilian sector. It is hard for those not in this noble profession to even begin to comprehend what they go through. Please express gratitude to any medical professional, at any level of expertise.

“If war is the dark side of humanity, then military medicine is the light.” – Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. Jonathan Woodson

Wars ranked by U.S. combat deaths

From Wikipedia, here are the times the US was at war and the number of deaths from them.

Rank War Years Deaths
1 World War II 1941–1945 291,557
2 American Civil War 1861–1865 212,938
3 World War I 1917–1918 53,402
4 Vietnam War 1955–1975 47,424
5 Korean War 1950–1953 33,746
6 American Revolutionary War 1775–1783 8,000
7 War on Terror 2001–present 5,281 [92]
8 War of 1812 1812–1815 2,260
9 Mexican–American War 1846–1848 1,733
10 Northwest Indian War 1785–1795 1,221+
11 Kosovo 1999-2014 18+

Over 650,000 people have died in combat since 1775, in the American Revolutionary War. As devastating as war is, these soldiers did not die in vain.

Scientific Advancements by War

Civil War

Used by the U.S. military since the Civil War, tourniquets play an important part in constricting the flow of traumatic bleeding. According to an Army Medical Command fact sheet, nearly 50% of combat deaths since World War II can be attributed to blood loss. []

Closing chest wounds that prevents lungs from collapsing was realized by Dr. Benjamin Howard. He found that if he closed the wound with metal sutures, followed by alternating layers of lint or linen bandages and a few drops of collodion (a syrupy solution that forms an adhesive film when it dries), he could create an airtight seal. Survival rates quadrupled, and Howard’s innovation soon became standard treatment.

Plastic Surgery. In 1862, a surgeon from City Hospital in New York, Dr. Gurdon Buck used dental and facial fixtures to fill in the missing bone a soldier’s face  could regain its shape. He also pioneered the use of tiny sutures to minimize scarring.

A British ambulance collects the wounded at Sevastopol during the Crimean War, circa 1855.

Ambulances. It took Jonathan Letterman, the medical director of the Army of the Potomac, just six weeks to implement a brilliant system to evacuate and care for the wounded, becoming the model for the ambulance-to-ER system we know today. On September 17, 1862, the Battle of Antietam left 2,108 Union soldiers dead and nearly 10,000 wounded. Letterman established caravans of 50 ambulances, each with a driver and two stretcher bearers, to ferry the injured to field hospitals. []

Crimean War

Modern infection control borrows much from the work of Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War in the mid 19th century. She ensured hospital wards were cleaned and ventilated leading to a dramatic drop in mortality rates.


In the First World War measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including mobilelaboratoriestetanus antitoxin and vaccination against typhoid, limited the effect of disease.

French doctors first formalised the system of triage to treat mass casualties. Patients were split into three categories to allow prioritisation. Those who were most likely to benefit from treatment were selected ahead of those likely to live and those likely to die regardless.


During the Second World War developments were made in drugs such as penicillin and medical specialties focused on plastic surgery, rehabilitation and tropical diseases such as malaria. [Science Museum.Org]

Hand-held sonograms. Actually produced during World War Two to detect cracks in armour, they’re now used by medical professionals to check on pregnant women and scan for cancers! []

Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom

Combat Application Tourniquet is a one-handed tourniquet, which allowed soldiers to apply pressure to bleeds without assistance. In 2005 it was one of the Army’s 10 greatest inventions and since incorporated into civilian trauma care.

Oregon Medical Laser Center developed the chitosan bandage, which helps reduce hemorrhaging by combining a biodegradable carbohydrate found in the shells of shrimp and lobsters with blood cells.

A new, advanced mind controlled robotic arm from DEKA, given the Star Wars inspired name Luke (after Luke Skywalker), received approval by the FDA on May 9, so now it can be sold in the United States. The prosthetic arm will allow amputees to perform delicate tasks and movements like manipulating keys, holding a grape, cleaning, cooking, and much more.

Robotic Prosthetic Arm Controlled by the Mind Approved by the FDA Read more at
Photo Credit:

Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM) is a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary network working to develop advanced treatment options for our severely wounded servicemen and women.

Burn Treatments. Improvements in the study of burn treatments have also been advanced during the war. One technique is for replacing burned skin with new-grown skin, said Dr. David Baer, director of research at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research. I actually got to learn about this at an internal conference at work this year!  Military medical research also has shown that a burn patient’s fluid balance is delicate and must be managed in a prescribed manner, particularly during the first few days following the burn incident, Baer said. A computer program that can be used in the field has been devised to accurately measure a patient’s fluid intake, he added.Treatments for burn-caused scarring and other traumatic injuries have advanced, too, the physicians said. They now are researching how scars are formed, and how the scarring process can be slowed and even remodeled. []

US Army Medical Research & Materiel Command

Learn more about the US Army Medical Research & Materiel Command where some of this medical research takes place including collaborations with the private and academic sectors. I had an opportunity to listen to several presentations recently from doctors and nurses who develop some of the newest life saving procedures for the military and civilians. They are focused on leveraging technology in the areas that make the most impact, while taking into consideration the continued human aspect.

Please take this into consideration when you your legislative leaders want to reduce funding for military and medical research. The research efforts this group are working on are important, not only in critical times of war, but also in every day lives.

Celebrating my Mother

Celebrating my Mother

In honor of Mother’s Day, 2015, I am starting a new mini-series on my blog to highlight the amazing examples of traditional and nontraditional motherhood.

Science behind the Series

I won’t turn this into a cognitive science post, but people quickly categorize people into groups. One label includes the mother or not a mother tag. Pause though and think about how diverse the category is. Mothers aren’t just mothers – they’re individuals who make up a group of people with shared and unique experiences. I hope after reading this post you’re inspired to think deeply about who those people in your life are and how they got to be who they are. Realize that if there are gaps in your knowledge you can fill them by asking them their story.

The Mother of All Mothers – My Mom

Although I don’t blog about her specifically as much as I could, innately my mother is a part of everything I do, she’s the inspiration for doing everything I do. People all the time ask me how I can be working on so many different things and I get it from my mom. I am persistent (when others might throw in the towel) because my mom taught me there is always another way.

WARNING: I won’t even try to humble brag – this is full on adoration (the same you feel for those that inspire you in your life!)

My mother’s love language is Acts of Service (though remember this is another category and people go deeper than just one category):

“For these people, actions speak louder than words”

Life Giver (literally!)

You don’t have to give birth to give life. She went to (way out of state/continental US) college in Hawaii to become a nurse (progressively pursuing a career before it was “cool”) and takes care of others with that training.

She attentively monitored and managed wards of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients (whose heartbeats and vitals she literally watched for long-shifts of time). She diagnosed and tended to students as a school nurse, providing clean clothes and food to those who didn’t get it at home. She was in the classrooms teaching kids about their body with petri dishes of cultured germs, animal hearts dissections from local German butchers, and the importance of dental hygiene. She might have felt because we moved around so much incomplete because she didn’t get to formally complete what she started. For some people that’s really hard to get past. For me though it is easy. Everything she started became a new part of who she is and was trickled down to our family.

Serial Student

When she went to the University of Washington (go Huskies!) she taught us is it never too late to go back to school. She got into a competitive Nurse Practitioner program and I learned that my mom is a math rockstar and I need to be too. With my dad stationed in other parts of the world she maintained an immaculate household where we had well balanced meals every day, help with homework every night, fun playdates with friends, church multiple times a week, and enriching extracurricular activities. I don’t know how she did it because I still can’t do it. I don’t remember seeing her do her own homework over any of those activities (though I did steal her Mission Impossible theme presentation for one of my own group projects.) She is always there, the epitome of the phrase “be here now.”

Voice for the Deaf

I remember this man that made up the sign language interpretation program at our church, and my mom was drawn to the graceful, physical language. She could not get enough. She quickly learned to sign the words of the church songs and wanted to be able to sign the entire services (for the deaf people but I’m sure to also be able to offer back up support to whomever needed it.) She quickly graduated from the classes offered through church and started to take classes in the community college. Limited by the schools that offered it she commuted far distances to find the programs she needed to take. I remember my dad being able to be home for one of her graduation ceremonies and us cheering loudly from the balcony as she crossed the stage. She brought awareness to me of this isolated community of people who can see but are not heard, bringing a voice that echoes in the innovation ideas I explore. During the 2015 (and 2014) Big Give SA, I was inspired to donate money to Sunshine Cottage, an organization that helps “children with hearing loss become part of a community centered on enriching lives and improving listening, language and speech.”

Eyes for the Blind

A couple of years ago the lessons continued into Braille transcription. A serial learner, she wanted to think of ways to not only supplement retirement but also her knowledge. She learned how to transcribe Braille on a keyboard specific for that from a professor that was the only one in town. The professor actually moved to Phoenix literally the only class in town. This new knowledge of the blind community brought awareness to the unique challenges that blind people face and the lack of technology and resources they have. It also was a great conversation opener when I reached out to one of my blind co-workers at work who eventually even brought me to the Lighthouse San Antonio where they train and employee visually disabled people.

Threads of Love

My mother learned to sew and quilt (there’s a difference!) from her grandmother and she is on a lifelong pilgrimage to the quilting mecca. She needed clothes growing up so she made them. I needed homecoming dresses – she made those too. Medieval renaissance project = dress from that period, easy A+.

The quilts she makes (or restores) are stories with memories embedded into them. They are milestones that capture life events like the Elephant quilt she sent me to a prestigious preschool with and they are made with love. There are few things my mom made us do that were for her growing up but they were either historical (which were good for us anyways) or they were quilt related trek (and she’d weave white river rafting along the journey.) Just like everything else, her quilts are focused and purposeful down to the thread, fabric, and design. The fabrics she uses are lovingly recycled from her father’s tie collection, her daughter’s sorority shirts (my sister’s), and my favorite shirts (that I couldn’t get rid of.) She’s made quilts out of shirts from my dad’s running races around the world (that he beams with pride at.)

She makes them for parents to coddle babies who are pre-mature or still-born (Threads of Love), to bring warmth to the walls of hospitals and hospices, and security (for kids whose parents are in prison.)

That’s right, she answered the call for volunteer quilters to make quilts for children of incarcerated parents. The parent is presented the quilt and wraps their scent around it before later giving it to their child. My mom’s kid was 18 years old and requested Winnie the Pooh:

Margaret’s Hope Chest has 61 volunteer quilters making quilts for 118 children with an incarcerated parent. Of those 61 volunteers, 4 are victims of crime, 5 had a parent incarcerated when they were a child and 4 have a family member in prison right now. WrappedInHope

Even as I write this she is volunteering at an urban school to help a boy make his dream come true of creating a quilt that reminds him of his family’s trip to NYC.

>> Quilts are so complex that I want to highlight their intricacies in a later blog post.

We get so busy in life that it is not easy to stop and think. Literally we don’t make that time for ourselves. I really encourage you to make the time and write about someone you love. Give yourself permission and time to walk down memory lane today. Honor her by thinking about what makes them. Think about the memories and ask for their help filling in the gaps.