Sunday, February 23, 2014

The pause...

Source: Scientists explore causes of the pause in warming, perhaps the most important research of the decade

Previous blog entries related to climate:
Which is it? - Feb 21st, 2014
Misc update (climate) - Jan 29th, 2011
Climate denial - Jun 5th, 2010
More on climate - Jan 31st, 2010
Climate change and doubt - Jan 24th, 2010
Meet Dr. Rajendra Pachuri - Jan 23rd, 2010
We wuz wrong - Jan 23rd, 2010
Saving the day... - Dec 20th, 2009

Random pictures - medals

Source: About Medals - Sochi 2014 Olympics

"The basis for the design of the medals is the main Sochi 2014 brand concept - the contrasts of our incredible country in which Europe meets Asia, pristine nature and megacities coexist, and innovation blends with a rich cultural heritage. The sun's golden rays deflected through a prism of snowy mountain tops and the warm sea and frosty ice living side-by-side are embodied in the medals. These contrasts in Russia's natural landscape will be an eternal souvenir for the champions and will be a reminder of the unforgettable Games in Sochi.

The medals of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games have been given a bright and original design. The medals have been engraved with the signature "Patchwork Quilt" of the Games - a mosaic of national designs from the various cultures and ethnicities of the Russian Federation. The unusual combination of glass and metal gives the artifact a lightness and unique beauty."

Yet more NEC Medias w N-05E

More NEC Medias W N-05-E - Feb 16th, 2014
NEC Medias W N-05E first look Jan 28th, 2014
NEC Medias W N-05-E second look- Feb 2nd, 2014

Found a couple of generic cases that have a decent fit (see pictures below, left and right)... One is slimmer than the other, but the larger pouch has belt loops in addition to a belt clip.


And a (very) slightly more powerful replacement battery (2200 mAh) from Mugen...

Friday, February 21, 2014

Random picture - supernova

Source: NuSTAR gives tantalizing hints about how stars go supernova (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CXC/SAO)

Which is it?

Bill McKibben says"...None of this should come as a surprise if people have been paying attention. It’s exactly what climate scientists and climate campaigners have been saying now for the better part of two decades. I mean, I wrote the first book about this for a general audience literally 25 years ago. And these are exactly the sort of things scientists said would happen..."

And a scientist on the same weather says: "...There is no evidence that global warming can cause the jet stream to get stuck in the way it has this winter. If this is due to climate change, it is outside our knowledge..."

Previous blog entries related to climate:
Misc update (climate) - Jan 29th, 2011
Climate denial - Jun 5th, 2010
More on climate - Jan 31st, 2010
Climate change and doubt - Jan 24th, 2010
Meet Dr. Rajendra Pachuri - Jan 23rd, 2010
We wuz wrong - Jan 23rd, 2010
Saving the day... - Dec 20th, 2009

Sunday, February 16, 2014

More NEC Medias W N05-E

NEC Medias W N-05E first lookJan 28th, 2014
NEC Medias W N-05-E second look- Feb 2nd, 2014

I really like this phone, even with some major drawbacks

First issue: no keyboard, however I'm surviving better so far with this phone than I have with other non-keyboard phones I have tried (I'm a definite "keyboard guy" which is why I have stuck with the BB)... 

Second issue: since using T-Mobile in a non-4G area the phone does not support the frequencies used by T-Mobile, so I'm doing all my data over WiFi as opposed to the phone. Quick Update: I did not have my APN values setup correctly, see here for more on connectivity...

Third issue: This phone is on version 4.1 and it's probably unlikely that OS upgrades will be supported...
I bought this as a gadget because of the two screens, and have been able to set up all the core programs I use (UberSocial Pro for Twitter, JABPLite for financial info, Evernote, Sonos, WeatherBug, MapQuest, Amazon Kindle, Flipboard, Chess, weight-control and blood sugar tracking apps, SplashID for passwords, PocketManga, and  QuickOffice; along with contacts, calendar, email, gallery, music player, video player, and various utility programs.), and make the switch...

My use is such that the battery still usually has around 40% left at the end of the day. Am looking for a case (have ordered a couple of generic cases, more to come). Currently I'm carrying the phone loose in my pocket and even though when closed the 2 screens are on the outside, they are Gorilla-glass and so have encountered no problems. There are very few accessories specifically for this phone/model, though there are screen protectors available via Ebay. I haven't taken many photos yet or had time to monkey with the camera settings, so the ones I have (see two examples at bottom)  are satisfactory but not particularly good quality...

However, in spite of its deficiencies it is growing on me.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Random picture - heights

Russian duo Vadim Makhorov and Vitaliy Raskalov sneak into and scale the still under construction Shanghai Tower From there they snapped this picture of the Jin Mao Tower (1,380 feet tall, on the left) and the Shanghai World Financial Center (1,614feet tall, on the right).

From Raskalov's blog: "... Hello everybody! I want to dilute the two-month-long silence in this livejournal with my post. Several month ago Vadim and I had planned a trip along Chinese biggest cities, from Hong Kong to Shanghai. The main purpose of the journey was world’s highest construction building – Shanghai tower. Now it is under construction and so far its height is a little more than 650 meters. So now it is the world’s second high building after Burj Khalifa in UAE. 

Aware of the strict Chinese law, we prepared carefully and picked an appropriate date, the Chinese New Year day. At that time the security was less watchful, workers were on vacations, and cranes did not work. We got to the crane at around midnight. It took us almost two hours to get on the 120th floor by foot. And also, we spend almost 18 hours on top of the building, sleeping and waiting for better weather. The result you can see in our new video..."

And the video of their exploit is available at  OnTheRoofs or YouTube...

Monday, February 10, 2014

Latest drug shortage update

Today the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on 'Examining Drug Shortages and Recent Efforts to Address Them.' See video here...

The testimony  from the GAO and FDA discussed the issue, quantified it, and spoke of efforts to combat drug shortages...The main reasons cited (GAO) for shortages? "... quality problems resulting in supply disruptions and constrained manufacturing capacity...", suggestions that "... changes in FDA inspections of manufacturing establishments also played a role...", and "... a number of additional factors that can cause supply disruptions and ultimately result in shortages —such as permanent product discontinuations or the unavailability of raw materials."  

The reason for all the quality problems? GAO testimony mentioned studies that point towards "...underlying causes generally suggested that such causes led to low profit margins, which limited infrastructure investments or led some manufacturers to exit the market." And when one manufacturer has a problem there usually isn't enough spare capacity in the system for the (few) others to make up...

The GAO's recommendations?  That the FDA "develop policies and procedures for the use of the existing drug shortages database (and, ultimately, the new drug shortage information system) to ensure staff enter information into the database in a consistent manner and to ensure the accuracy of the information in the database; and,conduct periodic analyses using the existing drug shortages database(and, eventually, the new drug shortages information system) to routinely and systematically assess drug shortage information, and use this information proactively to identify risk factors for potential drug shortages early, thereby potentially helping FDA to recognize trends, clarify causes, and resolve problems before drugs go into short supply."

Recommendations that may be characterized as fairly "generic."

The main reasons cited (FDA) for shortages? "... In 2012, for example, based on information collected from manufacturers, FDA determined that 66 percent of production disruptions leading to a shortage resulted from either (1) efforts to address product-specific quality problems (31 percent) or (2) efforts to address broader problems at a manufacturing facility (35 percent)." Also mentioned: product discontinuations (for economic reasons), natural disasters, and problems with raw materials availability... 

Finally, beyond working on measures to improve their response when shortages are already on their way (when the FDA is notified of production disruptions), the FDA is also looking for longer-term fixes, e.g. "... a focus on encouraging and sustaining improvements in manufacturing quality... encouraging development of techniques that can help advance drug manufacturing... actions to encourage manufacturers to adopt new manufacturing technologies, to facilitate their use of modern quality management techniques, and to ensure that FDA regulatory policies reflect state-of-the-art manufacturing science..."

Previous blog entries on drug shortages: 
A drug shortage comment - Jan 11th, 2014 
Drug shortages - update - Nov 21st, 2013
Random charts - drug shortages Aug 10th, 2013
Follow up (drug shortages) - Jul 5th, 2013
Random charts - drug shortages - Jan 31, 2013
Random charts - drug shortages - Jul 25th, 2012
Diagnosis - muddled thinking - Jan 21st, 2012
Polarization? - Dec 2nd, 2011
Help on the way? - Jul 31st, 2011
Random charts - Apr 6th, 2011

And a 2011 reprint of a 2002 entry with a dozen  real-life examples of reasons for drug shortages:

The why's of drug shortages - Mar 30th, 2011

Comment spam...

Example of comment spam  received by this blog, about 99% of all comments received by this blog! Clearly some bot and not a real person. Google catches them all, but you have to shake your head at most of them!

Random charts - curbing immigration

Source: Vote Results 

The cantonal breakdown of the vote, unsurprisingly la Suisse francophone voted against... plus Zurich, Zug, and Basel-Stadt.

Press release of the Federal Authorities of the Swiss Confederation: "The Swiss population has adopted a popular initiative aimed at stopping mass immigration. This brings with it a change of system in Switzerland’s immigration policy. The new constitutional provisions require that immigration be restricted by means of quantitative limits and quotas. The Federal Council will set to work on implementing these without delay. 

The new constitutional provisions require that residence permits for foreign nationals be restricted using quantitative limits and quotas. These limits and quotas will apply to all permits covered by legislation on foreign nationals, including cross-border commuters and asylum seekers, and must be geared towards Switzerland’s overall economic interests. Businesses must give Swiss nationals priority when hiring staff. 

The new constitutional text does not specify how high these quotas should be, nor does it specify who should set and allocate them and according to what criteria. These details now need to be defined at the legislative level. The new constitutional provisions stipulate that the Federal Council and parliament have three years to implement the new system"

Two posters in favor of the measure, one against:


Swiss Vote to Curb Immigration in Referendum
Swiss vote to set limits on immigration from EU
Swiss agree to curb immigration and rethink EU deal

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Random picture - pro-democracy? Updated 3/1

Source: Reuters on Yahoo! The caption: "U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland (R) and Ukrainian opposition leaders Vitaly Klitschko (3rd L), Arseny Yatsenyuk (2nd L) and Oleg Tyagnibok (L) gather to hold talks in Kiev December 10, 2013."

Leaders of the "pro-democracy" protest against the Ukrainian government with Victoria "here are some cakes" Nuland. Oh, Tyagnibok, the leader of the Svoboda party, recently called out by the Wiesenthal Center and figuring at number five on their list of  '2012 Top Ten Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Slurs."... In recent elections the radical right party won 41 seats in the Ukrainian Parliament (10.44% of the popular vote). Tyagnibok has called for purges of the approximately 400,000 Jews and other minorities living in Ukraine and has demanded that Ukraine be liberated from what he calls, the “Muscovite Jewish Mafia.”..."

Svoboda's anti-Russian and pro-NATO program points apparently resonate with Victoria "'Fuck the EU' Nuland and the administration.... apparently willing to overlook other points, including:  

"Set the graph "nationality" in the passport and birth certificate. Determine the nationality by birth certificate or birth certificate of the parents, considering the requests of the citizen.... 

Provide an opportunity to employees to acquire right of ownership of state and communal companies, participate in their management and fair distribution of profits. Allow employees to sell their share in the company exclusively to the appropriate company. Require employees who have stopped the employment relationship with the enterprise to sell their share to the enterprise.... 

Allow persons who acquired ownership of agricultural land by lawful means (when shared, or obtained by an inheritance by law) to sell these plots of land exclusively to the state. Disallow any other means of transfer of such sites...  

Develop the cooperative movement in rural areas in accordance with a separate comprehensive state program... 

Implement a "Reproductive Health of the Nation" program. Disallow abortion except due to medical issues, and/or rape, which were proved in court. Align the implementation of illegal abortion to attempted murder in the criminal law....

Criminalize promotion of drug use (including so-called 'soft drugs') and sexual perversions...  

Restore the nuclear status of Ukraine..."

Oleh Tiahnybok

3/1/2014 update: 

The link to Svoboda's "Program for the Protection of Ukrainians" above seems to be scrubbed, all one gets is an 'Error 404.' But not to worry, it is still accessible, see the 'Error 404, cleaning up?' blog entry...

Random picture - WWII poster

 "This gruesome scene plays on human phobias about rats, eating dead bodies to the bone. Both specimens here, Hitler to the top and the diminutive Goebbels below, have vampire-like blood dripping from their jaws. The fires of destruction rage in the background, and ruined buildings are the detritus of Allied action.  A poor unfortunate German soldier gnawed to death must have died in his boots, bottom left, and his rifle is thrown down, bottom right. The discarded German helmet and the words imply these are Germans suffering at the hands of their own leader. Designed on the one hand to capture the death and destruction of Hitler’s policy, this poster plays on deep-seated feelings of revulsion and vengeance."

Sunday, February 2, 2014

NEC Medias W N-05E second look

NEC Medias W N-05E first lookJan 28th, 2014

A further looks at the N-05E... The external aspects of the phone:

Pop off the back and you get to the battery compartment, with slots for the SD card and Micro-SIM as shown...

Some additional screenshots, showing app space (used & free). Ditto for the SD card (see below) and RAM (not pictured):


So, how do the two screens work? When you turn on the phone the 'front' screen turns on, then if you open up the screens the second 'subscreen' comes on (Note: there is a setting so that you can choose what mode you start up in e.g. single screen mode, dual screen mode, or the last mode you were in. You also have the ability to set the apps up to use either only one or one/both screens).  The first pic shows the single screen mode - your app is in the top screen while the second 'subscreen' has a choice between saved pages, your browser, or a view of the gallery. 

You can extend the app to both screens via the icon (see arrow). If extended to two screen you can revert to one screen by using the same icon...

A few screen shots of the various combos possible - using one screen, using both for one app, and using both with two different apps: