Monday, December 31, 2012

Well Said...

"The reason the enlightened prince and the wise general conquer the enemy whenever they move and their achievements surpass those of ordinary men is foreknowledge."

~ Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu (ca 544-496 BC)

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Well Said...

"My failures have been errors in judgment, not of intent."

~ Ulysses S Grant

Hon Ulysses S Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant; 1822-1885)

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Well Said...

"The education of a man is never completed until he dies."

~ Robert E Lee

Gen Robert Edward Lee, CSA (1805-1870)

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Austerity a Lost Cause

Fiscal policy-makers in government need to accept that the cause of "austerity" (as in "tax increases" and "spending cuts") will never win support as a popular movement.

Surely, politicians in both parties can come up with better, more persuasive language in their talking points. Different words such as "tax cuts" and "security" would better ring the peoples' bell in a way that "austerity" cannot. Let's face it, calling for more "austerity" is a lost cause.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Well Said...

"It's what people know about themselves inside that makes 'em afraid."

~ from the film, "High Plains Drifter" (1973)

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Well Said...

"If we take the widest and wisest view of a Cause, there is no such thing as a Lost Cause, because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause. We fight for lost causes because we know that our defeat and dismay may be the preface to our successors’ victory, though that victory itself will be temporary; we fight rather to keep something alive than in the expectation that it will triumph."

~ T S Eliot

Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965)

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

The National Math and Science Initiative

As reported by the National Math and Science Initiative:
The US is failing to produce and retain sufficient numbers of qualified math and science teachers to keep America internationally competitive. It is estimated that the US will need 280,000 more math and science teachers by 2015. Talented math and science teachers with strong content knowledge are urgently needed to help students reach their potential.
Learn More

I applaud this 21st century education program. Our nation needs more professionals with advanced skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) has never been greater. To meet this challenge, the US must expand its cadre of talented mathematics and science teachers in the public school system. Again, I endorse the National Math and Science Initiative.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Follow Me!"

Some inspirations are forever. One of those silent inspirations for me has been the stalwart image of "Iron Mike" who currently stands at the entrance to the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, GA. The image of "Iron Mike" has been with me since 1975 when I first laid eyes on him while attending Airborne (parachute) training at Ft Benning, GA. The "Iron Mike" statue stands as an icon for all infantryman, past and present, who have carried arms in the US Army.

"Iron Mike" standing at the entrance to the National Infantry Museum, Columbus, GA

Regards to my brothers in arms around the world who wear or have worn the crossed rifles on their uniforms. Follow the link below to learn more at the National Infantry Museum located in Columbus, GA.

National Infantry Museum

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Well Said...

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."

~ from the film, "V For Vendetta" (2005)

Protestors wearing "Guy Fawkes" masks...

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Well Said...

The good life comes in moments...

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Well Said...

"The good guys don't hide."

~ from the film, 'The Jackal' (1997)

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Well Said...

"The teacher can seldom afford to miss the questions: What is the unknown? What are the data? What is the condition? The student should consider the principal parts of the problem attentively, repeatedly, and from various sides."

~ George Pólya

Prof George Pólya (1887-1985)

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Future of Public Education

The debate about public education reform is about to expand as a result of the shocking events that occurred recently in Newtown, Connecticut. In my view, what society needs to do is return children home for schooling via Internet-delivered primary and secondary school programs. The savings would be huge in terms of buildings, teachers, school buses, you name it. Plus, children would be kept safe at home with their parents where families can practice “gun control” as a household. I see public school changing as a result of these horrific incidents involving children and innocent bystanders. It’s time to start the public debate about returning public school programs to the home where they belong. The Internet is the game-changer that will enable these reforms, perhaps not this year or even this decade, but certainly before the end of the 21st century.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Well Said...

"He who allows himself to be insulted deserves to be so; and insolence, if unpunished, increases."

~ Pierre Corneille

Pierre Corneille (1606-1684)

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Well Said...

"Knowledge is the currency of the universe."

~ Giorgio Tsoukalos

Giorgio A Tsoukalos (1978- )

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Friday, December 14, 2012

My Heartfelt Condolences...

My heartfelt condolences to the parents and families who lost children and loved ones today at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Such a senseless tragedy involving so many innocent children and good people. Words defy me...

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Saturday, December 08, 2012

Well Said...

"We have sold ourselves into a fast food model of education, and it's impoverishing our spirit and our energies as much as fast food is depleting our physical bodies."

~ Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Kenneth Robinson (1950- )

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Friday, December 07, 2012

US Employment to Population Ratio Stagnating

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the US employment to population ratio* for November 2012 stood at 58.8%, up from 58.7% a year ago in 2011, but down from 59.0% the previous month of October. The US employment to population ratio has been trending downwards since 2000.

Many economists believe that reporting the number employed as a percentage of the civilian population provides a more accurate description of the current state of employment than conjecturing the number of "unemployed" in a population. The US employment to population ratio reached an historical peak of 64.4% on an annual basis in 2000.

*The BLS defines employment and population (civilian noninstitutional) as follows:
Employment consists of all persons who, during the reference week (the calendar week including the twelfth day of the month), (a) did any work at all (at least 1 hour) as paid employees, worked in their own business or profession or on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in an enterprise operated by a member of the family, or (b) were not working but had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent because of vacation, illness, bad weather, childcare problems, maternity or paternity leave, labor-management dispute, job training, or other family or personal reasons, whether or not they were paid for the time off or were seeking other jobs.... The civilian noninstitutional population consists of persons 16 years of age and older residing in the 50 States and the District of Columbia who are not inmates of institutions (for example, penal and mental facilities and homes for the aged) and who are not on active duty in the Armed Forces.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Try R Training

For those seeking to get started with the R programming language, O'Reilly Media is sponsoring a free online training course entitled, Try R. Follow the link below to learn more:

The Try R training program is delivered in an easy to follow "learning by doing" format divided into eight chapters as follows:
  • Chapter 1: R Syntax
  • Chapter 2: Vectors
  • Chapter 3: Matrices
  • Chapter 4: Summary Statistics
  • Chapter 5: Factors
  • Chapter 6: Data Frames
  • Chapter 7: Working With Real-World Data
  • Chapter 8: Installing Additional Packages

I completed the training and was delighted with the "learning by doing" approach of the program. Those new to R will find this offering to be an easy way to get introduced to how R works, as well as the power of the R programming language to perform vector and matrix analytics, which are fundamental to learning and applying advanced statistical methods. Again, Try R is a free training program sponsored by the experts at O'Reilly Media.

Learn More

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Thursday, December 06, 2012

Republican Party Lost

According to Bob Cesca in the Huffington Post (2012, December 6):
In the wake of the election, there's no doubt the Republican Party is capable of making some adjustments to rebrand itself... But it's obvious to anyone paying attention that the base simply won't allow the party to change in any meaningful way.... The [Republican] base is deeply encased within the twisted, alternate-reality looking glass that the GOP has been constructing throughout the last three decades: a realm of anger, racial resentment, distrust of government, hatred of immigrants and violently anti-choice misogynists and demagogues.
Read More

By all appearances, the Republican Party is lost.

Source: Cesca, B (2012, December 6), The Crazy Base Won't Let the Republican Party Change, Huffington Post.

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RStudio: Your Gateway to R

I am frequently asked by statistics learners for open source software recommendations. My advice is always to check out RStudio, a free and open source integrated development environment for R. You can run RStudio on your desktop (Windows, Mac, or Linux) or even over the web using RStudio Server.

Major features of RStudio include:
  • Syntax highlighting, code completion, and smart indentation
  • Execute R code directly from the source editor
  • Easily manage multiple working directories using projects
  • Quickly navigate code using type ahead search and go to definition
  • Workspace browser and data viewer
  • Plot history, zooming, and flexible image and PDF export
  • Integrated R help and documentation
  • Sweave authoring including one-click PDF preview
  • Searchable command history
  • Works with any version of R (2.11.1 or greater)
  • Runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, and even over the web using RStudio Server
  • Integrated with Git and Subversion for version control
  • Free and open source (AGPLv3 license)
RStudio is your gateway to learning and using R. Follow the link below to download and install your copy of RStudio now!

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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Appeal of Libertarianism

America's continuing political problems revolve around two competing factions pursuing two mutually exclusive approaches to building an economy: a) the big government Democrats, who guard entitlement spending while seeking to transfer the nation's wealth to entitlement beneficiaries, including government employees; and b) the military-industrial Republicans, who guard defense spending in order to transfer the nation's wealth into the hands of the military-industrial complex. The appeal of either party is to a populist majority at best (i.e., a simple majority), thus empowering a continued polarization of American politics around the two-party system.

The fact is that only the minimal government Libertarians stand for across the board cuts in government spending, lower total taxes for everyone, and a steadfast pursuit of liberty in the name of the people who own this country. Now is the time for everyone to reject the political ploys of big government Democrats and military-industrial Republicans, and to join the Libertarian Party, which is the only true party of principle. The appeal of libertarianism is universal with the potential to achieve a pluralist majority of support (i.e., a supermajority greater than two-thirds of the people), thus unifying our nation around libertarian ideals and principles. More at:

I plead with Americans to search their souls and beliefs, and to align those beliefs deliberately after a full consideration of the facts. For the record, I am a proud Libertarian, and I detest what the big government Democrats and military-industrial Republicans have done to our country and nation. Libertarianism gives me hope.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Well Said...

"Never make a decision out of fear."

~ unknown

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Well Said...

"An information retrieval system will tend not to be used whenever it is more painful and troublesome for a customer to have information than for him not to have it."

~ Calvin Mooers

Calvin Northrup Mooers (1919-1994)

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The Problem with Austerity...

The problem with austerity is that those who preach it the loudest are almost always hypocrites.

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Sunday, December 02, 2012

What is Jealousy?

1. Fearful or wary of being supplanted; apprehensive of losing affection or position.
a. Resentful or bitter in rivalry; envious: jealous of the success of others.
b. Inclined to suspect rivalry.
3. Having to do with or arising from feelings of envy, apprehension, or bitterness: jealous thoughts.
4. Vigilant in guarding something: We are jealous of our good name.
5. Intolerant of disloyalty or infidelity; autocratic: a jealous God.

jealously adv
jealousness n

Source: The Free Dictionary

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