Sunday, February 27, 2011

Random chart

Libya - 1,759,540 sq km, more than 90% of the country is desert or semidesert, population an estimated 6,461,454. 78% of total population lives in the cities... (and over 50% of the entire population live in Tripoli and Benghai)

CIA World Factbook - Libya
Largest cities in Libya

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Random charts

Source: Facts on Libya: oil and gas (IEA 21 February 2011)

Random chart

Source: The long term budget problem begins now

In the wild - V

In the wild - IV - Feb 6th, 2011
In the wild - III - Jan 30th, 2011
In the wild - II - Jan 2nd, 2011
In the wild - Dec 28th, 2010

The print edition of Pharmacy Practice News magazine seems to have taken up the mass use of MicroSoft Tags, which are scattered throughout the magazine. Scanning the Tags takes generally you to articles on associated subjects. However, some of the Tags' labels let you know that they will take you to a PDF version of the article... Seems not the greatest use of a tag, but I guess that this his might be useful if you then e-mail the url to someone (or yourself)...

Oh, and apparently USA Today to use Microsoft Tag in Every Issue as well...

And a print QR code on a TV show advertisement:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Random chart

Click on figure to enlarge...

Source: Empire at the End of Decadence. "It’s time for us to stop lying to ourselves about this country. America is great in many ways, but on a whole host of measures — some of which are shown in the accompanying chart — we have become the laggards of the industrialized world. Not only are we not No. 1 — “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” — we are among the worst of the worst...."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Random charts

Source: Pew: Most Embrace a Role for Islam in Politics: Muslim Publics Divided on Hamas and Hezbollah

Quote: "Extremist groups Hamas and Hezbollah continue to receive mixed ratings from Muslim publics. However, opinions of al Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, are consistently negative; only in Nigeria do Muslims offer views that are, on balance, positive toward al Qaeda and bin Laden.

Hezbollah receives its most positive ratings in Jordan, where 55% of Muslims have a favorable view; a slim majority (52%) of Lebanese Muslims also support the group, which operates politically and militarily in their country.

But Muslim views of Hezbollah reflect a deep sectarian divide in Lebanon..."

Additional BB QR readers - X

Next up, SimpleScanner...

Tried out with a few QR codes... Had good success reading a url QR code and a text QR code (from Alice in Wonderland from Books2Barcodes), see below... Note: the application web site says that it also scans contact QR codes, which can then be added to your 'Contacts' (not tested). This application uses the camera but does not take a photo, and defaults to landscape mode on the BB...

The application read, but then had issues processing a sms QR code:

The bottom line? A solid, basic QR code scanner. Works as advertised, but a level below Barcode Assistant, ScanLife, and mobiletag.

Previous QR reader reviews:
Additional BB QR readers - IX - WiMO
Additional BB QR readers - VIII - Upcode
Additional BB QR readers - VII - Lynkee
Additional BB QR readers - VI - Code Muncher
Additional BB QR readers V - Mobiletag
Further ScanLife - ScanLife
Additional BB QR readers - IV - i-nigma
Additional BB QR readers - III - Barcode Assistant
Additional BB QR readers - II - Deco, CertainTeed
Additional BB QR readers - BeeTagg, AT&T Code Scanner
BB QR Code Scanner Pro - BB QR Code Scanner Pro
Barcode Happiness - I - barcoo
No luck - Upcode
Misc update (BB/2D barcodes) - Mobiletag (also updated above)
BB & 2D barcodes - NeoReader, Microsoft Tag, ScanLife

Monday, February 21, 2011

Great quotes....

"It has been known for several years that the source called Curveball was totally unreliable. The question should be put to the CIA and the DIA as to why this wasn't known before the false information was put into the NIE sent to Congress, the president's state of the union address and my 5 February presentation to the UN."

- Colin Powell, now blaming the CIA and DIA for his presentation to the UN (which turned out to be equal parts fantasy and conjecture....). See 'Colin Powell demands answers over Curveball's WMD lies'

So now cometh Colin Powell, he of forked tongue, "demanding" that the CIA and DIA "... explain why they failed to alert him to the unreliability of a key source behind claims of Saddam Hussein's bio-weapons capability..." At the U.N. he said in 2003 "My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence..."

How did we know this was the case? Because at the time Powell claimed that he and his team had spent days reviewing and vetting the information to be used in the speech; that all items that were doubtful were removed (e.g. the uranium from Niger claim, the software from Australia claim, the pictures of pictures of Iraqi ''nuclear mujahedeen,", among others); and that he only used what had been checked and verified... For example: "... Months later, news articles reported that Powell had spent several days at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., looking over the intelligence, and that he put only the strongest evidence in his briefing, tossing out many claims—for instance, the business about uranium-shopping in Niger—that he considered flimsy, if not fraudulent..." And another example: "Mr Powell said he had all but "moved in" with US intelligence to prepare his briefings for the UN security council, according to the transcripts..."

Yet now he has the unmitigated gall to "demand" explanations of the CIA and DIA... Equally duplicitous, his aide at the time, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, has pronounced himself "extremely angry" (see here) that he and Powell were victims of "serious manipulation" and "outright lying" Yes, this is the self-same Wilkerson that made the rounds in 2008 providing Powell 'cover' re the mistreatment of detainees, which subsequently turned out to be wholly false (see below).

As recounted in 'The Powell rehabilitation project?', "... following Powell’s exit from the government, his former aide Colonel Larry Wilkerson came out strongly against the poor treatment of U.S. detainees; laid full responsibility at the door of Vice President Cheney and his staff; and said that Powell had no first-hand knowledge of how abuse/torture had come about. While this occurred, Powell remained silent on the issue and made no public proclamations. Due to the close relationship between the two Wilkerson’s views were taken as reflecting the views of Powell. Wilkerson's denunciations were part of an effort to preserve Powell's legacy and indicate that he hadn't been part of the administration's efforts to institutionalize torture... and Wilkerson saved Powell's reputation in the eyes of many people… Powell got “credit” for being a “good soldier”, “team player”, etc. while Wilkerson laid down cover for him…

Recently, however, it has come out that the "enhanced interrogation techniques" were discussed in excruciating detail on multiple occasions at the Principals meeting with Colin Powell present. Powell has not really been called out on this. Once when Diane Sawyer asked re him this apparent contradiction Colin Powell said that he didn't have "sufficient memory recall" about the meetings; that he had participated in "… many meetings on how to deal with detainees…”; and, “… I'm not aware of anything that we discussed in any of those meetings that was not considered legal…” However, so far he has not had to explain why he let Wilkerson so publicly exonerate him as not being involved while he was actually very much in the loop."

Powell's doubts over CIA intelligence on Iraq prompted him to set up secret review
Powell presents US case to Security Council of Iraq's failure to disarm
Focus on Iraq: Powell's UN speech dissected
The Powell Presentation - Harry Browne
Lie After Lie: What Exactly Colin Powell Knew Five Years Ago Today, And What He Told The World
Warnings on WMD 'Fabricator' Were Ignored, Ex-CIA Aide Says
THE STRUGGLE FOR IRAQ: INTELLIGENCE; Powell's Case, a Year Later: Gaps in Picture of Iraq Arms
The U.N. Deception: What Exactly Colin Powell Knew Five Years Ago, and What He Told the World
Colin Powell's Disgraceful Lies
Colin Powell’s Former Aide Angry Over Curveball Lies

Previous blog entries concerning Colin Powell:
Random picture - December 22nd, 2010
Powell... Tekel... - April 15th, 2009
And yet... - December 14th, 2008
As expected... - October 20th, 2008
The Powell rehabilitation project? - July 13th, 2008
Did they say that (III) - April 20th, 2008

Random chart

Source: Mapping and analysis of new data documents still-segregated America. "In the first analysis of new 5-year data from the American Community Survey at the Census Block Group level, Remapping Debate has found that reports that a long-term trend towards greater integration "overall" has continued leave out fundamental aspects of current-day residential reality... In a country that is only 12.1 percent African-American, 30 percent of African-Americans live in Census Block Groups that are 75 percent African-American or more. 75 percent of African-Americans in the country live in only 16 percent of the Census Block Groups in the United States..."

Examples above - Indiana & Indianapolis...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Random charts

Random quotes

"... When I left my last day in office I went to Congress and testified and projected $5.6 trillion surplus for the next ten years,” Lew told me. “I came back ten years later to look at projections of over $10 trillion in debt over the next ten years. It’s enough to break your heart. It’s going to take us a lot of hard work just to get to the point where we are not adding to the debt...”

Monday, February 14, 2011

The 2012 budget

So, it is reported that the President's currently proposed budget will be on track to reduce the deficit from the current 9.8% of the economy (GDP) to a more sustainable 3% by 2015.

Per the White House Whiteboard, the red line on the graph shows the baseline scenario, while the blue line shows the effect of the President's FY 2012 budget... Hmm, so looks like the "President's budget" actually moves the deficit from approximately 4% to approximately 3% of GDP in 2015. Not quite as exciting as a putative 10% to 3%, is it? Actually with the increases in Medicare and with Social Security now permanently in the red, how exactly does the deficit stay flat from 2015 through 2020 and beyond?? The further you go in the "out years" the less realistic is the projected trend...

Misc update VI

The January 28th, 2011 blog entry 'Look at Lebanon' suggested that "... (M8)... put forward a PM candidate to prove it (Ed note: that they have a parliamentary majority), but will NOT form a govt. They will spend the next several weeks and months talking a lot about a unity government, but making it as difficult for Hariri as possible, and counting on him to not go along with it. However, they will refrain from setting up a M8-only version. Essentially, the name of the game *right now* is to temporize and buy time, pending the STL indictments being made public (and then seeing how it pans out). Rather than a M14 govt backing the STL, or a M8 govt against the STL (but not credible), best for them right now would be NO government. Clearly this is not tenable for the long haul, but HA is in a tough spot and buying time is the best they can do *right now*…"

In the almost three weeks since there have been multiple meetings, talks, more meetings, but no proposed cabinet. And now, "well informed diplomatic sources" say that "... Cabinet formation has been postponed until after the indictment by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is issued..." Hmm. no shock here! However, if this truly was 'pushed' by the EU, then that was a silly move on their part, and they were well and truly snookered by Hezbollah and M8!

Some previous blog entries referencing Lebanon:
Look at Lebanon - Jan 28th, 2011
Random picture - Jan 25th, 2011
Random chart - Jan 20th, 2011
Great quotes - Dec 11th, 2010
Great quotes - Nov 27th, 2010
Coming to a head - Nov 27th, 2010
Great quotes - Oct 10th, 2010
Random charts - Sep 23rd, 2010
Random picture - Aug 4th, 2010
Great quotes - Jan 10th, 2010
Great quotes - Jul 29th, 2010
Such concern - Jul 24th, 2009
Lebanese elections II - Jun 9th, 2009
Lebanese elections - Jun 8th, 2009
Four years on... - February 16th, 2009
Quotes - Jan 21st, 2009
UNIIIC progress (?!) - December 18th, 2008
Great quotes... - December 10th, 2008
Damned if you do... - November 18th, 2008
Lebanon - good grief - November 11th, 2008
Taking it back - October 28th, 2008
Profile - Oct 20th, 2008
Litmus test quiz - September 2nd, 2008
Everything takes more time... - August 12th, 2008
At Last (Lebanon)! - July 11th, 2008
Self-examination - profound & shallow - July 7th, 2008
Some poll indicators - June 21st, 2008
Make that President Sleiman - May 25th, 2008
Le Sursis - May 21st, 2008
Lebanon - Doha noise - May 20th, 2008
Bad omen... good omen... - May 11th, 2008
Needed in Lebanon III - May 6th, 2008
Headed back down the toilet? - May 6th, 2008
Needed in Lebanon II - May 2nd, 2008
Needed in Lebanon - April 16th, 2008
Misc updates #3 - April 4th, 2008
Rogue's Gallery II - March 26th, 2008
A Rogue's Gallery - March 2nd, 2008
Benazir Bhutto follow-up... - Feb 9th, 2008

Random chart

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Misc update V

The August 28th, 2009 blog entry Health care re-form VIII (More nonsense) introduced and discussed the "medical loss ratio." It also spoke to the use/misuse of this metric in the context of the health care reform (or more correctly, health insurance reform)... The June 27th, 2010 blog entry MLR update linked to articles discussing what insurance company expenditures should count towards the MLR calculation, while the August 24th, 2010 entry MLR Redux noted that the NAIC Executive Committee was putting together a recommended formula for calculating the MLR. The October 25th, 2010 blog entry Misc updates - MLR noted further developments...

This month the American Hospital Association called on the HHS to modify its final MLR-calculation rules, see AHA calls for changes to MLR rules

Misc update IV

The February 2nd, 2011 blog entry, Nonsensical, rubbished recent reports that claimed that Al-Qaida is on the verge of producing radioactive weapons... Well (were it needed) a "defense specialist" has agreed that "... Western governments in recently disclosed warnings overstated al-Qaeda's progress in efforts to acquire material for radiological and nuclear weapons..." , also agreeing that "... the potential use of a radiological "dirty bomb" against NATO forces in Afghanistan "makes little tactical sense."