Tuesday, December 31, 2013


As 2013 draws to a close a new intelligence report on Afghanistan, as reported by the Washington Post's 'Afghanistan gains will be lost quickly after drawdown, U.S. intelligence estimate warns', "... predicts that the gains the United States and its allies have made during the past three years are likely to have been significantly eroded by 2017, even if Washington leaves behind a few thousand troops and continues bankrolling the impoverished nation..." 

This elicited some skepticism, e.g. "Wait. Where Are These “Gains” NIE Says We Might Lose in Afghanistan?' However, clearly they were referring to these! Note the date...


Great quotes - Lebanon

Image credit: Worried Lebanese

"... The tragedy of Lebanon remains that most of these theories could be plausible, but we will have to wait for the evidence and the investigation to provide more clarity on the possible perpetrators..."

- Rami G. Khoury,  Lebanese journalist, on who might be responsible for the car bomb that assassinated Mohammed Shatah in December...

Some previous blog entries referencing Lebanon:
Great quote - more Walid Beg - Oct 15th, 2013
Great quotes - Walid Beg encoreMar 17th, 2013
Random charts - Aug 18th, 2011
Brief update III (Finally?)July 9th, 2011
No surprise... - April 4th, 2011
Misc update VI - Feb 14th, 2011
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

Sonos - second look

The 'Sonos - first look' blog entry looked at the initial Sonos Play:3 unboxing and setup... Once this is done music play can be controlled via the Windows/Mac desktop or via your Android or iPhone smartphone. The follow are screen shots of the Sonos app running on a Samsung Galaxy S4:



Works like a charm...

Prevous Sonos-related blog entries:
Sonos - first look - Dec 30th, 2013

Previous Samsung Galaxy S4 blog entries:
Even more Galaxy S4 - keyboard - Aug 4th, 2013
Yet more Galaxy S4 - Aug 3rd, 2013
More Galaxy S4 - Jul 13th, 2013
Galaxy S4 second look - Jul 4th, 2013
Galaxy S4 first look - Jul 2nd, 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

DF Type 40 - first look

 Want a slightly different watch? Try the Division Furtive Type 40!


When you first open it it is "dead," but hold the back up to a bright light source and it comes to life! 


At this point it is at the default time setting (10:10) as indicated by the orange lights... You then need to go to the "Set Watch" section of their web site and follow the instructions. These  consist of first tapping the watch face to get it ready to program, followed by holding the back of the watch up to your computer monitor as it flashes black and white and sets the time...


Pretty cool...

Sonos - first look

Went ahead and bought some Sonos system components - a Bridge and a Play:3 speaker to try it out...


Setup is a  snap, just follow the steps in the graphic below (plug in the Play:3; register and download the desktop Sonos controller app - Windows and Mac versions available - then add your Play:3 and connect it by simultaneously pressing the two buttons on the Play:3). Then play your computer music files, or Internet radio, Pandora, Spotify, etc.


 A screenshot of the desktop app:


The bottom line: easy setup, great sound, will definitely be getting additional speakers for other rooms of the house...

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Random chart - IEA sankey

Click to enlarge

Source: International Energy Agency Sankey diagram of world energy consumption...

Note: Sankey diagram (Wikipedia)

Random chart - economic fragility?

Click to enlarge

Source: Upside down economics

Ran into this blog entry from 2007....  The chart shows "... data to summarize the sizes of various industries in the U. S. economy as of 2005..."  in an alternate format... The blog entry was discussing the economic impacts of  global warming, and posited a different way to look at the U.S. economy and thus the impacts. Per the blog entry;

"... The entire economy stands on the shoulders, as it were, of agriculture, forestry, and mining (especially the extraction of oil, gas, coal and uranium) and on the utilities that deliver the energy mined in usable form. This method for depicting the economy was suggested to me by two things. 

First, Liebig's Law of the Minimum states that an organism's growth is limited by the amount of the least available essential nutrient. In the case of world society that nutrient would be food, though many would argue that fossil fuels are the essential nutrient since so much food production depends on the use of fossil fuels and their derivatives including fertilizers and pesticides. 

Second, a piece by Dmitry Podborits argues that it is nonsense to say that the U. S. economy is less vulnerable to oil supply disruptions today than in 1970s because it produces twice as much GDP per barrel of oil. Instead, Podborits suggests, we are more vulnerable to oil supply disruptions because we have so much more GDP balanced on each barrel of oil. The same argument might be made with respect to agriculture which in the United States in 1930 employed 21.5 percent of the workforce and made up 7.7 percent of GDP. In 2000 the numbers were 1.9 percent of the workforce and 0.7 percent of GDP. We are balancing an ever larger total economy on an agricultural economy that on a relative basis is shrinking. Certainly, we are getting more efficient, but are we becoming more vulnerable?..." 

Interesting (and possibly even more relevant today)!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Another one comes in...

Just received my eiMIM Y pens (Kickstarter project by Will Hodges). A pen body, back, and cap made from 7075 aluminum, with a Grade 5 (Ti6Al4V) titanium clip. 

The Y pen spec: 5.2" (13.0 cm) long closed 5.5" long when open, 0.437" (1.11cm) diameter, 30 grams with Fisher Space Pen (fine point, black ink) refill...

Great craftsmanship!


Previous related blog entries:
Another one bites the dust - December 14th, 2013
Patience - November 27th 2013
Indiegogo MVMT watch - November 27th, 2013  
Waiting... waiting... - August 7th, 2013
And the answer... (AI watch) - July 24th, 2013
Random picture - AI watch?- June 2nd, 2013

Random picture - cellular art

Visualization of cellular networks, New York City above...

Random chart - health care quality

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Not quite the same!

 Umm, well not exactly... prices aren't going down... Subsequently revised to:

Random charts - income growth


"... From 2009 to 2012, average real income per family grew modestly by 6.0%. Most of the gains happened in the last year when average incomes grew by 4.6% from 2011 to 2012. However, the gains were very uneven. Top 1% incomes grew by 31.4% while bottom 99% incomes grew only by 0.4% from 2009 to 2012. Hence, the top 1% captured 95% of the income gains in the first three years of the recovery.."

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Another one bites the dust

Well, after the AI watch turned out to be vaporware, so too did the Fuviss glasses... Too bad!

Previous related blog entries:
Patience - November 27th 2013
Indiegogo MVMT watch - November 27th, 2013  
Waiting... waiting... - August 7th, 2013
And the answer... (AI watch) - July 24th, 2013
Random picture - AI watch?- June 2nd, 2013