Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cybook Gen 3 Gold Ed first look

Yet another e-reader is on the scene, the Cybook Gen3 Gold Edition by Bookeen.

The specifications:
6-inch E-ink screen - 4.8 x 36 inch, 600x800 pixel, 166 dpi, daylight readable, B&W screen
Samsung® S3C2440 ARM920T 400MHz processor
Dimensions: 4.7" x 7.4" x 0.3" (118 x 188 x 8.5 mm)
Weight: 6.13 ounces (174 grams)
Battery: 1,000 mAh rechargeable built-in Li-Polymer
Supported formats: PDF/ePUB, FB2, HTML, TXT, JPG, GIF, PNG
Supported sound format: MP3
2.5mm stereo earphone connector
Expansion: SD card slot

Some size comparisons - with an Ectaco jetbook-Lite, a Sony PRS-300, and a Gemei GM2000:

Product reviews
Bookeen Cybook Orizon - YouTube (in Italian)
Bookeen 1st Demo: is it better than the Kindle? (YouTube)
Cybook Orizon news, here you go!
Bookeen's multitouch-equipped Cybook Orizon e-reader to launch next month
Bookeen Cybook gen 3 Review - Trusted Reviews

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Random chart

Source: Revealed: The maps that show the racial breakdown of America’s biggest cities

Great quote

"You can make an easy kind of a link that, if you have a protest group protesting a war where the cause that's being fought against is international terrorism, you might have terrorism at that (protest). You can almost argue that a protest against that is a terrorist act."

- Mike van Winkle, spokesidiot for the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center. So this quote was from 2003, however the spirit lives on e.g. see 'Inspector General Criticism Doesn't Faze FBI Raids on Midwestern Anti-war Activists.'

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Great quote

“I look at each one of my 13 combat platoons as a development team” -Lt. Col. Rodger Lemons, commander of the 1st Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment, Afghanistan.

Source: American and Afghan Troops Begin Combat for Kandahar

Come on...

Over the last couple of days have run across a number of articles in which various pieces of 'evidence' are adduced to support dubious conclusions. Correlation is taken as causality, complex situations are 'simplified' to one or two main issues and other, possibly confounding, factors are ignored, etc. Three examples:

  • A. Following in the same vein as The Death of American Manufacturing (from 2006), and 'The Plight of American Manufacturing' (from December 2009), the article '19 Facts About The Deindustrialization Of America That Will Blow Your Mind' (September 2010) continues the meme that U.S. manufacturing is going down the tubes. This is mostly based on the facts that manufacturing accounts for a smaller share of GDP over time... and also the ongoing decline in manufacturing jobs. Both are taken as clear evidence that U.S. manufacturing is on its way down/out. Umm, not quite. Manufacturing as a percentage of GDP has declined for most of the industrialized countries, as it eventually will for the China and Indias of the world. However, U.S. manufacturing output and production continues to grow, its share of GDP has diminished because other sectors of the economy have grown faster. And manufacturing employment has decreased due to increases in productivity, and not because "jobs are being shipped abroad." (On a side note, manufacturing jobs have also decreased - for the same reasons, improved technology and productivity - in the countries to which U.S. jobs are "being shipped to." For example, while the U.S. lost approximately 11% of its manufacturing jobs over the last decade, the other manufacturing powerhouses have also lost manufacturing jobs - Japan 16%, Brazil 20%, China 15%, etc.). True, China will soon overtake the U.S. as the world's largest manufacturer, but that's hardly the same as the "weak manufacturing giant" characterization of the U.S.

The Future of Manufacturing, GM, and American Workers

  • B. So How Did the Bush Tax Cuts Work Out for the Economy? looks at the Bush tax cuts. It starts out: "... The 2008 income tax data are now in, so we can assess the fulfillment of the Republican promise that tax cuts would produce widespread prosperity by looking at all the years of the George W. Bush presidency..." and then goes on to point out that over the Bush years "... Total income was $2.74 trillion less during the eight Bush years than if incomes had stayed at 2000 levels..." OK, so one could perhaps draw the conclusion that tax cuts did not stimulate the economy sufficient to cause growth. (Note: some might argue that this ignores a number of other factors and that absent these cuts things would have been worse - similar to the Obama "jobs created and saved" argument). However the article then goes on to strongly imply causality i.e. that the tax cuts actually caused the decrease in income. This is definitely a step too far, this blogger is unaware of any suggested economic mechanism or model that would argue this effect for tax cuts...
  • C. '15 Shocking Facts Show That the Middle Class is Being Wiped Out' and 'The Middle Class in America Is Radically Shrinking. Here Are the Stats to Prove it' (both incidentally by the same author) purport to show that the middle class is "being wiped out." It doesn't particularly help that in neither does the author bother to define "middle class." The statistics quoted do go to show that there is much inequality in the U.S. (no surprise to anyone who has looked at its Gini coefficient, the highest among the industrialized G10 countries), and that the people at the two extremes of the spectrum are really hurting or doing extraordinarily well. However, the leap to the middle class "being wiped out" is not supported. It doesn't help that the reasons for this happening given in the two articles are that "... Both parties have absolutely refused to stand up to the Federal Reserve and the horrific economic policies that they have been shoving down our throats for decades..." and Ross Perot's "... giant sucking sound..." i.e. globalization and free trade. Ah, the yearning for easy answers, associated with the need to blame someone else!

Random charts

Source: BP: Deepwater Horizon Containment and Response: Harnessing Capabilities and Lessons Learned

Random charts

Source: Revolving Door Lobbyists Conclusion: "In this paper we show that ex-government officials extract monetary rents in terms of generated lobbying revenue from their personal connections to elected representatives. In particular, we find that lobbyists with past working experience in the office of a US Senator suffer a 24% drop in revenue - around $177,000- when their ex-employers leaves office. The eff ect is immediate, it is discontinuous around the exit period and it persists in the long-term. We show that our fi ndings are not consistent with the existence of shared trends between politician and lobbyist, 'swansong e ffects' or reverse causality. Consistent with the notion that lobbyists sell access to powerful elected officials, the drop in revenue increases with the seniority of and committee assignments power held by the Senator immediately prior to leaving office. For lobbyists connected to US Representatives we fi nd similar if weaker e ffects. Overall, our findings suggest that access to serving officials is a scarce asset that commands a premium in the market for lobbying services."

Mental health break

Random charts

Source: CBO Director: Fiscal Policy Choices In Uncertain Times

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Back to the SL-C3000

After trying the UMID M1, Viliv N5, and Coolbphone as pocket computers, it's back to the venerable (and unfortunately) discontinued Sharp Zaurus SL-C3000 in conjunction with my BB Torch. A question of size, portability, screen resolution (suitable for older eyes), and two great pieces of software that fit the need better than many others that I have tried - IQNotes and Informanager (see some screen shots below).

Great quote

"Years from now, when historians reflect on the time we are currently living in, the names Biz Stone and Evan Williams will be referenced side by side with the likes of Samuel Morse, Alexander Graham Bell, Guglielmo Marconi, Philo Farnsworth, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs — because the creation of Twitter by Stone, 35, Williams, 37, and Jack Dorsey, 32, is as significant and paradigm-shifting as the invention of Morse code, the telephone, radio, television or the personal computer." - Ashton Kutcher, in The 2009 TIME 100

Random chart

Source: U.N. National Accounts Main Aggregates Database Manufacturing output, top ten countries in the world, 2000 to 2008, in current USD - USA, China, Japan, Germany, Italy, UK, France, Russia, Brazil, and South Korea.

Random charts

Source: CMS 30-minute rule for drug administration needs revision 30-minute rule: "... requirement in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Conditions of Participation Interpretive Guidelines to administer scheduled medications within 30 minutes before or after the scheduled time..."

Nurses: requiring us to comply with this rule (i.e. give our patients their medications when they are due) will "compel" us to take short cuts, which might harm our patients...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Random picture

Source: THE IRAQ WAR -- PART I: The U.S. Prepares for Conflict, 2001 "Notes used by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to brief Central Command chief Tommy Franks during a November 2001 meeting in Tampa to discuss a new plan for war with Iraq"