Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Congratulations to Dr Aeron Zentner

Congratulations and best regards to Dr Aeron Zentner, who recently earned his Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree from the School of Business and Technology at Capella University in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Dr Aeron Zentner

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Willie Minor (1922-2011)

Willie Minor (1922-2011), formerly of Exton, PA, recently passed at age 89. As a young boy growing up in Downingtown, PA back in the 1960's and 1970's, I vividly remember Willie joyfully riding his bicycle around town and through our neighborhoods. Everyone in Downingtown knew Willie from frequent chance encounters and seeing him riding his bicycle along the roads and highways. The photograph below shows Willie with his infamous bicycle and accessories just as I remember.

Willie Minor (1922-2011)

According to Willie's obituary:
From the 1940's through the early 1990's, Willie could have been dubbed Exton's Ambassador. Frequenting locations that are now just memories for Exton long-timers, Willie welcomed and conversed with folks at the Guernsey Cow, Exton Drive-In Theater, Downingtown Farmers' Market and Felix's Farm Market. His smile and laughter lightened the hearts of all who knew and loved him. A most beloved Exton resident, he will be remembered for his bicycle adorned with horns, lights, fenders, racks, flags and baskets heavily laden with old newspapers and many spools of string. Most Saturday's, Willie rode his bike through Marchwood and Whitford Hills where children gathered to greet him, admire his bike, and hoped to hear the toot of his bike horn.
By the way, the Guernsey Cow, Exton Drive-In, Downingtown Farmers' Market, and Felix's Farm Market were all places I frequented as a boy. Willie touched so many lives. Rest in peace...

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US 10-year Moving Average GDP Growth Ex-Government Spending (1958-2013)

The chart below depicts US economic growth as measured by GDP excluding government spending on a 10-year moving average basis since 1958. Note that GDP growth ex-government spending has been trending downwards since 1982, and that economic growth excluding government spending is now hitting historic lows.

[click to enlarge]

Apparently, US economic growth over the past 50 years has not been as high as standard GDP reporting suggests. For example, US GDP growth for 2003-2013 averaged a mere 3.4% after subtracting government spending. The above data suggests that the US should be prioritizing growth goals ahead of inflation and unemployment as a matter of fiscal and monetary policy under the assumption that robust economic growth can mitigate or reverse both inflation and unemployment over time.

The US is in desperate need of greater private sector growth now. The public sector should yield accordingly to private sector priorities in order to accommodate this necessary structural change in the US economy. The government cuts I envision will require a determined reassessment of both US social welfare and defense budget needs sooner rather than later.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Well Said...

"There is geometry in the humming of the strings; there is music in the spacing of the spheres."

~ Pythagoras

Pythagoras of Samos (ca 570-495 BC)

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

To my family, friends, colleagues, and readers around the world, Merry Christmas -- I hope it's a good one for you and yours...

Fractal art by Sara [click to enlarge]

Source: Deviant Art

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Well Said...

"On the chessboard, lies and hypocrisy do not last long."

~ Emanuel Lasker

Dr Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941)

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Well Said...

"Unfortunately, many regard the critic as an enemy, instead of seeing him as a guide to the truth."

~ Wilhelm Steinitz

Wilhelm Steinitz (1836-1900)

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Well Said...

"In almost any position, the boundless possibilities of chess enable a new or at least a little-studied continuation to be found."

~ Tigran Petrosian

Tigran Petrosian (1929-1984)

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Well Said...

"In chess, as in life, opportunity strikes but once."

~ David Bronstein

David Ionovich Bronstein (1924-2006)

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Chess Fever (1925)



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Well Said...

"What is the object of playing a gambit opening...? To acquire a reputation of being a dashing player at the cost of losing a game."

~ Siegbert Tarrasch

Dr Siegbert Tarrasch (1862-1934)

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Well Said...

"Chance gives rise to thoughts, and chance removes them."

~ Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

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Well Said...

"It is a well known fact that almost all the outstanding chess-players have been first-class analysts."

~ Mikhail Botvinnik

Dr Mikhail Moiseyevich Botvinnik (1911-1995)

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Francis Fukuyama: The Decay of American Political Institutions

According to Dr Francis Fukuyama in The American Interest (2013, December 8):
Ordinary people feel that their supposedly democratic government no longer reflects their interests but instead caters to those of a variety of shadowy elites.... The perception that the democratic process has been corrupted or hijacked is not an exclusive concern of either end of the political spectrum... As a result, trust in Congress has fallen to historically low levels, now barely above single digits.
Read More

Dr Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama (1952- )

The sad truth is that many Americans today are more afraid of the Federal government than they are of al-Qaeda. How this emerging public perception and attitude resolves politically will undoubtedly affect the economic fate of our nation.

Source: Fukuyama, F (2013, December 8), The Decay of American Political Institutions, The American Interest.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Bitcoin Mania

By all appearances, the Bitcoin phenomenon is now in the "mania" phase of what is otherwise known as an "economic bubble" (when asset prices deviate from intrinsic values).


I advise caution.

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Well Said...

"Truth is treason in the empire of lies."

~ Ron Paul

Hon Ronald Ernest "Ron" Paul (1935- )

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What is Cybernetics?

cybernetics
n
The science of control and communication in all of their manifestations within and between machines, animals, and organizations. Specifically, the interaction between automatic control and living organisms, especially humans and animals.


Source: The Free Dictionary

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Thursday, December 05, 2013

Well Said...

"There’s class warfare, all right... but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning."

~ Warren Buffett

Warren Edward Buffett (1930- )

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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Well Said...

"In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot."

~ Czesław Miłosz

Prof Czesław Miłosz (1911-2004)

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The Great Stratification (of Professionals)

According to Prof Jeffrey J Williams (2013) in the Chronicle of Higher Education:
The spread of academic labor follows the trend of other professions. The idea of the professional usually evokes a generic image—the old-fashioned family doctor, for instance, who hung out his shingle—but now we have a much more variegated system of alpha and beta practitioners. And rather than the ideal of being independent and roughly equivalent to their peers, most professionals now work in hierarchical bureaucratic structures.
Read More


No one should doubt that the future landscape for all professionals, including university professors, is shifting with the times. The "good old days" of earning an advanced degree and then joining the ranks of other aspiring professionals in a given cohort are ending. Yet, the global demand for "alpha" professionals with world-class skills has never been greater. As for the "beta" practitioners, the great stratification now underway globally will likely mean less career opportunity, reduced job security, lower salaries, and ultimately, diminished fulfillment. Understanding the essential qualitative differences between "alpha" and "beta" professionals carries currency in the 21st century.

Source: Williams, J J (2013, December 2), The Great Stratification, Chronicle of Higher Education.

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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Tabular versus Multidimensional Modeling

According to Microsoft TechNet (2012), the distinction between tabular versus multidimensional modeling is operationally significant for analysts:
Multidimensional modeling, introduced with SQL Server 7.0 OLAP Services and continuing through SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services, enables BI professionals to create sophisticated multidimensional cubes using traditional online analytical processing (OLAP).

Tabular modeling, introduced with PowerPivot for Microsoft Excel 2010, provides self-service data modelling capabilities to business and data analysts. The tabular modeling experience is more accessible to these users, many who have spent years working with data in desktop productivity tools like Excel and Microsoft Access. In SQL Server 2012, tabular modeling has been extended to enable BI professionals to create tabular models in Analysis Services or to import a tabular model from PowerPivot into Analysis Services. Note that a PowerPivot model cannot be imported into an Analysis Services multidimensional model.
Read More

[click to expand]

Business intelligence (BI) analysts who have not yet done so will want to become conversant about PowerPivot for Excel, PowerPivot for SharePoint Services, Analysis Services Tabular, and Analysis Services Multidimensional. Follow the link below to learn more.

Source: Raja, N (2012, May 3). Choosing a Tabular or Multidimensional Modeling Experience in SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services. Microsoft TechNet.

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Detroit: Evidence of Decay



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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

To all my friends, colleagues, and family around the world, best wishes and regards to you and yours this Thanksgiving day!

From my front yard in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania...

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Well Said...

"If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present."

~ Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu (6th century BC)

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Veterans Day 2013

Sending my very best regards to all veterans of the US armed forces, and especially those with whom I had the privilege of serving during my military career.

My retirement flag from the US Army -- still serving...

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Bullying 24/7

The question asked at the end of this video translates as, "What if there was schoolyard bullying in the workplace?" Needless to say, the theme of adult-bullying carries throughout the clip.



For some, bullying is a way of life that extends into adulthood. Some call it prejudice -- others, bigotry. If only the world could get past this hurtful tactic that has left so much destruction in its path throughout human history. I regret that political bullying is the modern incarnation of this dark phenomenon. For example, television journalists today often resort to bullying their guests during live interviews. No wonder bullying in schools is such a problem. Ponder for a moment how and where children and young adults learn about bullying -- simply watch the many bullies covering the news on your television -- 24/7.

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Friday, November 08, 2013

US Employment to Population Ratio Hits 30-Year Low in October 2013

The US employment to population ratio fell to a 30-year low based on annual reporting through October 2013. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the US employment to population ratio* for October 2013 stood at 58.5%, down from 58.8% the previous month, and 59.0% the previous year. The last time the employment to population ratio was below 58.5% for October was in 1982. The US employment to population ratio has been trending downwards since 2000.

[click to enlarge]

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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What is a Data Artisan?

According to The Data Artisan:
Data Artisans use internal and external data in order to answer questions and solve complex problems faced by organizations large and small. What separates a Data Artisan from a typical analyst is the variety of tools and sophisticated methods they employ to achieve their desired results, often under very tight deadlines.

Both creative and analytical by nature, Data Artisans use what they are given and then think outside the box in order to coax strategic and actionable intelligence from the streams of data at their disposal. Often, this found intelligence can only be realized once multiple, traditionally unconnected sources of data are merged in the Artisan's workflow....

There is no exact count of how many Data Artisans exist in the public and private sectors, but no doubt, they probably number less than 3,000 world-wide. Whether your organization employs one directly, utilizes the services of one as a consultant or has yet to hire one, rest assured, the Data Artisan is to the New Economy, what the Assembly Line was to the old.

Source: The Data Artisan

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Thursday, November 07, 2013

Well Said...

"Without privacy, there can be no democracy."

~ Dilma Rousseff

Dilma Vana Rousseff (1947- )

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Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Libertarianism and the "Tea Party"

The so-called "Tea Party" needs to shift away from its disorganized and incoherent political philosophy, and instead adopt the time-tested principles and values of Libertarianism, which is a very different conservative philosophy from Republicanism. Conservatives looking for a new home will want to consider abandoning the Republican party and joining the Libertarian party, which is the only party of reasoned principles, minimum government, and maximum liberty.


Republican jingoism and Democratic socialism are frightening prospects for ordinary Americans living along Main Street USA. Personally, I am more terrified of military-industrial Republicans and big government Democrats (who are in tacit league with each other) than I am of al-Qaeda. Libertarianism is the future of conservatism in America.

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Monday, November 04, 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The World Needs Data Scientists: Infographic

The need for data scientists is growing. The infographic below explores both the need for data scientists as well as the qualifications required for entry.

[click image to expand]

Source:
The World Needs Data Scientists – Infographic (2013, October 17), BusinessIntelligence.com.

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Mandatory Reading for Business Intelligence (BI) Professionals

Every business intelligence (BI) professional on the planet should make BusinessIntelligence.com their home page. Follow the link below to learn more.


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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Well Said...

"The only power you have is the power of your decisions."

~ Paulo Coelho, "The Valkyries"

Paulo Coelho (1947- )

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Friday, October 18, 2013

The Tea Party's Pyrrhic Victory

According to Peter Coy of BloombergBusinessweek (2013, October 17):
In political terms, the Tea Party’s scorched earth strategy has produced some impressive legislative wins but damaged the movement’s popularity. Now its blunt tactics threaten to make deficit reduction seem like a fringe issue, one of concern only to extremists. The Greek king Pyrrhus, after whom Pyrrhic victories are named, once said, "If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined."
Read More


Source: Coy, P (2013, October 17), The Tea Party's Pyrrhic Victory, BloombergBusinessweek.

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What a Coin Can Buy...



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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What is a Dependent Variable?

dependent variable
n
1. Mathematics A mathematical variable whose value is determined by the value assumed by an independent variable.

2. Statistics The observed variable in an experiment or study whose changes are determined by the presence or degree of one or more independent variables.


Source: The Free Dictionary

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What is an Independent Variable?

independent variable
n
1. Mathematics A variable whose value determines the value of other variables.

2. Statistics A manipulated variable in an experiment or study whose presence or degree determines the change in the dependent variable.


Source: The Free Dictionary

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Well Said...

"Authority doesn't work without prestige, or prestige without distance."

~ Charles de Gaulle

Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle (1890-1970)

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Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Well Said...

"Small minds are concerned with the extraordinary, great minds with the ordinary."

~ Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

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Friday, October 04, 2013

Well Said...

"Why should I care about posterity? What's posterity ever done for me?"

~ Groucho Marx

Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx (1890-1977)

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What is an Error?

error
n
1. An act, assertion, or belief that unintentionally deviates from what is correct, right, or true.
2. The condition of having incorrect or false knowledge.
3. The act or an instance of deviating from an accepted code of behavior.
4. A mistake.
5. Mathematics The difference between a computed or measured value and a true or theoretically correct value.


Source: The Free Dictionary

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What is an Omission?

omission
n
1. The act or an instance of omitting.
2. The state of having been omitted.
3. Something omitted or neglected.


Source: The Free Dictionary

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Thursday, October 03, 2013

Increased Risk, or Not


Republished with kind permission of XKCD

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Well Said...

"For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in the Middle East, and we achieved neither."

~ Condoleezza Rice

Hon Condoleezza Rice (1954- )

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Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Well Said...

"It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong."

~ Thomas Sowell

Prof Thomas Sowell (1930- )

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Well Said...

"The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he breaks, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime, and the punishment of his guilt."

~ John P Curran

John Philpot Curran (1750-1817)

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Well Said...

"The 'private sector' of the economy is, in fact, the voluntary sector; and... the 'public sector" is, in fact, the coercive sector."

~ Henry Hazlitt

Henry Stuart Hazlitt (1894-1993)

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Tatsuo Horiuchi: Excel Spreadsheet Artist

Meet Tatsuo Horiuchi, the 73-year old computer artist who uses Excel (Microsoft) as his palette to create world-class artworks.

Tatsuo Horiuchi (1940- ) standing behind some of his many Excel creations

Follow the link below to learn more about Tatsuo Horiuchi's life and artistic endeavors, as well as to download original Excel files of his acclaimed works.

Read More

Below is an example from Tatsuo Horiuchi's Excel files.

"Cherry Blossoms at Jogo Castle" by Tatsuo Horiuchi (2006)

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