The day after the election…

Today, I have chatted with a number of friends who voted for Hillary around the country. Everyone I have talked to harbored a combination of disappointment and even fear, that frankly broke my heart.

You see… I am also disappointed. I have not been particularly discreet about my political views leading up to this election. I went as far as to write an open letter in Spanish (which I submitted to a few Hispanic newspapers) about my reasons for my vote this election. The version of the letter that I posted here earned me numerous attacks on Twitter. But I felt proud to be able to speak up.

I am heartbroken, because I remember in December 1998, when Hugo Chavez got elected in Venezuela, I had this same feeling… looking around me, and saying to myself “There’s no future! I am getting out of here”, not unlike the people that rushed to the Canadian Immigration website, crashing it last night while the results favoring Trump were pouring in. And I stuck to my plan: it took me over one year, but in January 2000 I came to this country.

3 years later, our son was born in American soil, and 14 years later, I became a citizen along with my wife. And yesterday I cast my first of many presidential votes to come.

As the final results began to sink in this morning, one phrase from Hillary’s concession speech stuck with me:

When I think back to what brought the country to where it is today, the one thing I can point back to is that not enough people voted. According to NPR, nearly half of adults registered to vote didn’t show up. It was the election with the lowest turnout since 2000, the previous most hotly contested election in American history.

So if there’s a lesson to take with us, remember: do not ever take for granted this incredible right we have in the United States. There are countries where the liberty to choose is being taken away, and we still have it in the US. And if you don’t believe positive change is possible after yesterday, consider that on the same day, we passed a soda tax all over the Bay Area, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio (a 7-term sheriff from Maricopa County, Arizona, accused of targeting Latinos) was voted out….

and if you need a lighter view of things to make you smile and wipe the tears (I know many of you cried today), check out Ellen DeGeneres’ amazing post-election message.

And no: I am not going to Canada! 😉

P.S. If this made you feel even an ounce better, please feel free to share it…

Por qué voy a votar por Hillary en mi primera elección presidencial

Yo vine con mi familia a los Estados Unidos el año 2000. Como tantos otros inmigrantes, salí de mi Venezuela natal buscando seguridad y estabilidad, dispuesto a contribuir en este gran país. Hace dos años mi esposa y yo nos hicimos ciudadanos de Estados Unidos, y una de las razones más importantes por las que lo hicimos fue para poder votar.

A los 44 años, esta es mi primera elección presidencial en este país, y me siento orgulloso de contribuir con mi voto. Pero me siento obligado a apelar a otros inmigrantes como yo, para que no dejen de votar estas elecciones. Específicamente, quiero hablar de las razones por las que considero que Hillary Clinton es la persona ideal para liderizar el país los próximos cuatro años.

Hillary representa una voz de inclusión y compasión, tan necesaria en estos turbios tiempos en que vivimos. Una voz que le habla de oportunidad y reconciliación a las minorías, a los inmigrantes, a las mujeres, y a todos los grupos que Donald Trump ha pisoteado e insultado a lo largo de su campaña.

Hillary trae décadas de experiencia y liderazgo que necesitamos de frente al futuro que se avecina: años donde tendremos que hacer frente a nuevas realidades en un mundo cada vez más duro; años en que la habilidad de negociar y la habilidad de actuar decisivamente son críticas; años en que las actitudes que ha demostrado Trump son garantía de fracaso.

Hillary defenderá y mejorará ObamaCare, ese programa que (si bien imperfecto), le dio acceso a un seguro de salud a millones de Americanos. Como alguien que fue diagnosticado con diabetes antes de ObamaCare (en el 2002), en un momento que no tenía seguro, entiendo de primera mano lo crítico que es este programa. Trump ha asegurado que eliminará ObamaCare.

Aunque desde el fondo de mi corazón espero que sea por Hillary Clinton, mi pedido muy especial a todos los lectores de esta publicación es sencillo:

VOTA. Si no lo haces, otros decidirán por ti.

Para votar no tienes que esperar al 8 de noviembre: empezando el 24 de octubre puedes acudir a votar en persona. Más detalles aquí:

Unencrypted comm. protocols in diabetes tech: not a feature

Today, when I woke up I found an email in my Inbox from Animas Corporation, the J&J company that makes my insulin pump. The email was in regards to a cybersecurity vulnerability identified in the Animas insulin pump, that under certain fairly extreme circumstances could give a person “unauthorized access to the pump through its unencrypted radio frequency communication system.”

I tweeted about it, and I was a confused with the first response to my tweet (which was merely meant to inform my peers in the #DOC), indicating that the fact that there was an unencrypted communication channel was a feature of the pump. The conversation quickly started taking a different tone: “I think the opportunities of open comm are worth more than the paranoia of pump hacking for evil. #MyTwoCents” I replied with this comment:

Several hours later, I found my Twitter notifications exploding with replies, RTs and Likes opposing my comment and asking me to “show where this is a legit risk that doesn’t read like a bad Tom Clancy novel“. I quickly realized I was in way over my depth, and Twitter is a terrible place to explain complex things, so I decided to blog about it.

There are many friends in the diabetes community that I have tremendous respect for, and I feel I owe it to them to write this, because I don’t want a series of tweets in any way to be interpreted as lack of support for the way way in which they have contributed to the advancement of things in diabetes technology. Of course, I am talking about the folks behind the #WeAreNotWaiting movement, and the folks at Tidepool.

I understand what David Cintron says:

and I also understand what Howard Look @Tidepool_org says:

At the same time, and maybe because I have been in industry since May 2015, I don’t think the only two options are either completely open and unencrypted channels to communicate with insulin pumps OR proprietary and encrypted protocols. Traditional paradigms can lead us to believe that, but we live in a new world, the world I was referring to in my initial tweet, that has shown us a very ugly face in recent years. This is the world that author Joshua Cooper Ramo talks about in his amazing book “The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks“. The central idea in the book:

Connection changes the nature of an object…

This notion can be best understood when you consider that incredible connection-enabling tools like Twitter were central to facilitating the Arab Spring, and have recently become a recruiting tool for terrorists. We are not in Kansas any more. This is not about Tom Clancy or science fiction: all it (sadly) takes is to look around us and pay attention at the Presidential Campaign, to remind us of how different a world we live in.

So what will it take to avoid stifling innovation? How to balance it with the mandate to empower AND protect the health and lives of the patients we serve?

We should not defend vulnerabilities: we need to advocate for secure communication protocols that are exposed in a responsible manner (I am not an expert on this topic, but as an optimist it strikes me as doable) to the research and development community. To this end, I like Howard’s idea of an “innovation switch” introduced last month at the NIH-NIDDK Artificial Pancreas Workshop.

This may or may not come from the incumbent companies. It remains to be seen, but when I see what BigFoot is doing (including a crypto-chip in their upcoming pump):

and what Tandem is doing (their t:slim G4 pump exceeds the highest standards as laid out by the Diabetes Technology Society), I feel hopeful about a future where we won’t need to wait five years since a vulnerability on a Medtronic pump was first identified by a hacker with type 1 diabetes like Jay Radcliffe to identify a similar vulnerability with the Animas Ping pump, before action is taken.

In the meantime, in spite of what Jeff Dachis may claim, I will continue to say what I said on Twitter: