Sunday, December 13, 2015

Another historic agreement!

Talks wrapped up at the climate summit in Paris with an agreement and politicians rushed to congratulate themselves - hailing the 'historic' agreement and (no doubt completely coincidentally!) emphasizing the importance of their specific roles and the actions taken by their governments... (see, for example, Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama).

OK, so looking at criticisms of what was achieved e.g. here, here, and here, it appears that there is rather less to this agreement than meets the eye, with "the theory" outpacing "the actual." In sum, a very Obama agreement. See this blog entry looking at the trend of "Obama agreements," from Copenhagen 2009 to the 2010 NPT Review Conference, from New START to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1887, and the Honduras "Tegucigalpa/San Jose" agreement.

Speaking of Copenhagen 2009, in his address President Obama also referenced it, claiming "In 2009, we helped salvage a chaotic Copenhagen Summit and established the principle that all countries had a role to play in combating climate change." Back in 2009 I deconstructed the account of Copenhagen 2009 provided by "senior administration officials" and found it patently ridiculous and "incredibly amateurish" at best!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Vulture down

 Photo credit: Radio Sai

Earlier blog entries had looked at the unfortunate demise of vultures in Asia (specifically the Indian subcontinent), e.g. blog entry here

Having decimated the vultures there, apparently it's now the turn of Africa, see: "Almost half the vultures in Africa are on the brink of extinction because they scavenge on meat poisoned by farmers, a report by BirdLife International has warned..."

Friday, November 27, 2015

Blackberry Priv - second look

Blackberry Priv - first look - Nov 17th, 2015

Got the phone all set up; am enjoying it thus far - great screen; the keyboard works well for me (though physically smaller, I actually like it better than the larger Passport keyboard because a number of the functions e.g. numbers, @, punctuation, etc. can be done on the actual hardware keyboard, as opposed to having to be done on the virtual Passport keyboard); good music/sound; great video; etc. It's better than some of the very critical reviews below, but not as great as the most laudatory ones...





Blackberry Priv reviews:
Blackberry Priv Review
Blackberry Priv review - c|net
Featured Review: Blackberry Priv
BlackBerry Priv: 6 features that have got us excited
BlackBerry Priv Review: Good, Just Not GREAT -- Yet...
BlackBerry Priv review – I’m in love with a BlackBerry again
BlackBerry Priv review: Android alone can't save the company 
BlackBerry Priv review - A solid first effort, but not without its flaws 
BlackBerry Priv review: Android fixes the OS, but the hardware can’t compete 

Blackberry Priv Reviews (YouTube):

Blackberry Priv Review
Blackberry Priv Review

Monday, November 23, 2015

Random charts - U.S. crime rates


"... Overall,homicide and violent crime rates have been trending downward for more than two decades, and both rates are at historic lows.. An analysis comparing 2014 and 2015 homicide data from the nation’s 60 most populous cities suggests that violent crime is not increasing. Overall,reported homicides were up 16% in 2015, but a majority of cities (44 of 60) have not seen a statistically significant increase in homicides. The general consensus is that it is too early to draw any conclusions about the reversal of long-term trends..."

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

BlackBerry Priv - first look

The Blackberry Priv alongside an old Blackberry Torch 2, a Blackberry Passport, and a NEC Medias W N-05E (with keyboard closed and open):


The specifications include:

Size (LxWxD): 147 (184 opened) x 77.2 x 9.4mm
Weight (w/battery): 192g

• Qualcomm 8992 with 64 bit Dual-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A57 and Quad-core 1.44 GHz CortexA53 (Snapdragon 808 Hexa-Core, 64 bit)
• Adreno 418, 600MHz GPU

• 3GB Low Power RAM
• 32GB Flash
• Hot-swappable MicroSD slot (up to 2TB)

• Curved 5.43”
• 2560 x 1440 resolution
• 540 DPI
• High Brightness Mode for Outdoor Readability
• 24-bit color depth
• 16:9 aspect ratio
• Corning Gorilla Glass 4

Rear Facing Camera:
• 18MP Auto-Focus
• Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)
• 6-element f2.2 lens
• Dual Colour, Dual 2 mm2 LED Flash – Enhanced photo color balance
• 4k Video Recording: 30 fps, 1080p HD video recording at 60 fps, 6DOF video stabilization combined with OIS for incredibly smooth video
• 4x digital zoom

 Front Facing Camera:
• 2MP Fixed-Focus, f2.8
• Image & video stabilization
• 720p HD video recording
• 2x digital zoom
• Wide Selfie Mode (also known as Selfie Panorama)
• Multi-Frame Low Light Enhancement

 Voice Input/output:
• Integrated speaker and 3 microphones
• BlackBerry Natural Sound enabled• Hands-free headset capable
• Bluetooth headset capable
• Integrated Hands-Free Speakerphone

Headset : 3.5 mm stereo

Ports and Connectivity:
• USB 2.0 Connector with SlimPort enabled

• 3410 (typ) 3360 (min) mAh 4.4V 680 Wh/L integrated non-removable battery
• Fast charge enabled

• 802.11 b/g/n for 2.4GHz
• 802.11 a/n for 5GHz
• 802.11 ac for 5GHz
• 4G Mobile Hotspot
• Wi-Fi Direct 2x2 MIMO

Bluetooth Support: Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy (LE)

Blackberry Priv reviews:
BlackBerry Priv: Is it worth getting excited about?
Blackberry Priv: A second opinion
Why BlackBerry's Android-powered Priv is a big deal: What we know, think we know and expect in this phone

Blackberry PRIV: First Look (2015) (YouTube)
PRIV Feature Overview (YouTube)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Random chart - foreign aid

"... The United States provided approximately $35 billion in economic aid to over 140 countries* in fiscal year 2014. In the map below the relative size of each country is proportionate to the aid received from the United States and the color of each country indicates GDP per capita. Of the $35 billion of total economic aid distributed, almost a quarter of funds went to five countries.  Below are the top 5 recipients of economic aid in 2014.
  • Israel: $3.1 billion
  • Egypt: $1.5 billion
  • Afghanistan: $1.1 billion
  • Jordan: $1.0 billion
  • Pakistan: $933 million"

Friday, October 16, 2015

Random chart - GDP

"... As of 2013, India had a GDP per capita of $5,200, as measured in 2005 dollars. For comparison, the US had a GDP per capita (again, measured in 2005 dollars) of $5,200 in 1881. For Haiti, the comparison is even more brutal. Its 2013 GDP per capita was $1,650. In 1800, one of the earliest years for which we have data, the US's was $2,100..."

Random charts - religions

"If current trends continue, by 2050 …
  • The number of Muslims will nearly equal the number of Christians around the world.
  • Atheists, agnostics and other people who do not affiliate with any religion – though increasing in countries such as the United States and France – will make up a declining share of the world’s total population.
  • The global Buddhist population will be about the same size it was in 2010, while the Hindu and Jewish populations will be larger than they are today.
  • In Europe, Muslims will make up 10% of the overall population.
  • India will retain a Hindu majority but also will have the largest Muslim population of any country in the world, surpassing Indonesia.
  • In the United States, Christians will decline from more than three-quarters of the population in 2010 to two-thirds in 2050, and Judaism will no longer be the largest non-Christian religion. Muslims will be more numerous in the U.S. than people who identify as Jewish on the basis of religion.
  • Four out of every 10 Christians in the world will live in sub-Saharan Africa."