Thursday, November 7, 2019

"I Don't Want to Hear That!"

What are two of the biggest sources of revenue in the state of Oklahoma?   

Oil and gas is one, naturally. And the other? Agriculture.   

Those answers probably came to mind rather quickly. After all, both are fundamental resources for the state AND represent the personality of Oklahoma itself.  
  
Why do I bring this up?  
  
Well, take for example the oil industry. It isn’t a topic of conversation Okies want to have, but right now the oil business is showing signs of stress in different ways. According to Robert Hefner, an original wildcatter, in his book “The Grand Energy Transition”, it isn’t a matter of if we’ll need to find an alternative fuel source, but when. And if that happens, what then? What does that mean for Oklahoma and its citizens?  
  
It’s a tough question to tackle. One with enormous consequences for the state. I understand why people would rather not talk about it.   
  
“I don’t want to hear that! It is just too negative.”  
  
It’s a common response when I bring up this subject. After all, it’s not happening right now– we’re doing fine. What’s the point of fixing what’s not broken? That just causes more work and money, which the state doesn’t have a whole lot of anyway.   
  
While it’s not a popular topic, people are seeking out ways to deal with the inevitable. The search for alternative resources is on the rise, particularly amongst the very wealthy. Look no further than Bill Gates and friends by going to breakthrough energy at www.b-t.energy.com.  
  
Most of us are probably aware that the agricultural industry has an enormous effect on the environment. But do we really understand what that means? A few years ago, the cover of the National Geographic showed a cow standing in front of 6 barrels of oil.  According to them, it takes six barrels of oil to get one cow to your plate.   
  
Six barrels. One cow.  
  
Think of the number of cattle in the state. And that’s just locally! Now take that ratio and apply it on a nation level – a global level. It’s an astounding figure.   
  
So, what are some of these changes I was alluding to? Well, look no further than a fast food chain I’m sure we’re all familiar with: Burger King. It’s tested a plant-based meat substitute called Impossible Burgers with its employees. The result was that 82% of them couldn’t tell the difference.  My 12-year-old niece from a small town in southeastern Oklahoma, while eating a hamburger from her dad’s restaurant, responded to my question about plant-based meat by saying, “I probably couldn’t tell the difference”.  
  
Even Tyson Foods has gotten on the bandwagon recently, announcing that they are GOING BIG in alt meats.  
  
There are three primary ways companies (scientists) generate meat substitutes. One is plant-based, the second is cricket protein (yes, crickets!), and the third is to grow the meat from stem cells. All these alternative methods can yield a product that is indistinguishable (for many) from the real thing and is projected to be produced at 1/6 the cost.   
  
Imagine this with me for a second: we’ve significantly reduced agriculture and oil businesses. That’s huge! How would that impact Oklahoma? How would it impact us? This seems VERY positive for the world condition, but it does create a need for Oklahoma to reimagine itself and accentuate the many other positive attributes of our wonderful state.  
  
Whether it happens now or decades from now, the point remains that change is coming, and it seems to me faster than ever. We will likely always have oil and gas, and cow and chicken, and pig and sheep businesses going on in Oklahoma.  However, with 70% of the grain grown going to feed livestock in the USA, as this vegetarian has said many times over the years: "I’m just cutting out the middleman and going straight to veggies as my source of nutrition.”    
  
Just for fun, next time you are hankering for a hamburger Google ‘Impossible Burgers near me’ and try one. So far, I have not heard anyone complain. 

Friday, November 1, 2019

Smart Phone Fire Drill

Here’s a story I’m sure most of us can relate to. About a month ago a coworker and I were on our way back from a conference and stopped at a restaurant in Automobile Alley for lunch. I reached for my phone, but it wasn’t in my pocket. I went out to the car, thinking I’d left it there – no luck. So I went back into the restaurant and my coworker called my phone. No answer.   

By then I was starting to get a little panicky. I thought it HAD to be somewhere close. But here we were in this restaurant, and it was super hot, and to top it all off I couldn’t get WIFI on my laptop. My brain was getting more and more frazzled. I was caught in one of those maddening hide-and-seek loops (I’m sure you know the feeling).  
 
So I called my sister (a recently retired AT&T exec.) hoping she could help.  Uh, turns out no, she couldn’t. Now at that point I was starting to blame the customers, the wait staff, alien invaders – you know: anyone and EVERYONE.   

Well, let’s kick on over to the end of the story.  Setting: the AT&T store in the mall. (Did I mention that this particular mall is one of my least favorite places?) We were starting the process of getting me a new phone and locking up the old one.  My coworker opened her notebook…and SHAZAM, there was my phone!  

You’ve gotta be kidding me. 
 
Turns out she had put my phone in her notebook for safekeeping and forgotten.  What’s more, I’d turned the ringer on silent before giving it to her, so we hadn’t been able to hear any of our calls to locate the thing.  Talk about a lot of hoopla over nothing! 

I admit I felt a little sheepish.  I mean, there I’d been ready to spit fire at the world.  I’d placed the blame for the loss of my phone on everyone and everything…except myself.  I hadn’t even considered my own actions.  

It just goes to show that for a lot of people, especially people in business, it’s important to go through a “fire drill”.  In the event of an emergency, whatever that may be, are you prepared? What would you do? And how would you do it?  

My own experience got me wondering the very same things. A quick search on Google provided the answer. This article  by Norton Security states that if you know your phone is lost, you should do these three things: 
  
1.   Report the lost phone to your carrier company asap (in my case that was AT&T). 
  
2.   Remotely lock your phone and wipe it clean, if possible. 
  
3.   Change your passwords. 
  
I learned it’s also a good idea to change your master passcodes after your phone has been returned (or a new one’s been issued).  
  
Another wise precaution is to have a backup system for your usernames and passwords that ISN’T on the phone itself. Whether your phone is gone or simply misplaced, your cell phone carrier and the company of the phone itself (Apple, in my case) require that information. In the event of a missing phone, you’ll need a way to access it. And if the phone’s gone...?  
  
Another helpful little trick I learned is to make sure you have the find-your-iPhone feature turned on, and if possible have it activated with a trusted family member or friend. That feature enables you and/or that other individual to find your phone even if it’s on silent.  
  
Keep in mind that in an event like this, time is of the essence. After all, these days a lost phone is more than just an inconvenience. Potentially our whole lives are on those little devices! A lost cell phone can be a genuine threat to our safety – financially and otherwise.  
  
We don’t want to be running like a chicken with its head cut off while some unknown person has access to our personal information.  
  
It’s a real strange feeling, losing your phone. Even though I was fortunate and hadn’t actually lost mine, the experience was enough to send me into that emotional tailspin. There’s no real way to practice how you’re going to feel during such an experience – we can’t control our emotions.  
  
BUT preparing ourselves for such an event can improve our chances of success. As I learned the hard way: sometimes there’s no better practice than going through a false alarm!

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