Friday, November 30, 2012

On the Benghazi incident

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

MacOS X Time Machine question

Is there a way to restore files from the MacOS X Time Machine backups to an entirely new disk (different from the original disk, and not an identical replacement of the original disk)?

In my case, the MacOS X 10.7.5 update broke NEC Spectraview, and I'm unable to calibrate my monitor.  I don't want to do what some have done, which is use Time Machine to downgrade the current installation to 10.7.4.  I simply don't know what it might overwrite.

I have a Mac Pro in which I had a spare disk slot in which I put one of the disks I had lying around; I want to restore 10.7.4 from Time Machine to that disk. 

Right now I don't see any way to make Time Machine do that (and if it is not possible, Time Machine should not be considered to be a back-up solution!)

The other solutions I've tried:

1. Try download from the App Store where my MacOS X Lion order was still visible - that gives only 10.7.5; not 10.7.

2. Write to Apple Store support.   That was worse than useless.

Reality bites!

Revenge of the Reality-based Community, by Bruce Bartlett
I hit upon the idea of ignoring the academic journals and looking instead at what economists like John Maynard Keynes, Irving Fisher, and others said in newspaper interviews and articles for popular publications. Recently computerized databases made such investigation far easier than it previously had been.

After careful research along these lines, I came to the annoying conclusion that Keynes had been 100 percent right in the 1930s. Previously, I had thought the opposite. But facts were facts and there was no denying my conclusion.
Read the whole thing.

A poignant note from Bartlett as he adjusted his beliefs to conform to reality:
At this point, I lost every last friend I had on the right. Some have been known to pass me in silence at the supermarket or even to cross the street when they see me coming. People who were as close to me as brothers and sisters have disowned me.

I think they believe they are just disciplining me, hoping I will admit error and ask for forgiveness. They clearly don’t know me very well. My attitude is that anyone who puts politics above friendship is not someone I care to have in my life.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Anyone who likes history, or the operations of politics in a democracy, or has even a little regard for Abraham Lincoln, will greatly enjoy this movie.

PS: this NYT pieceSteven Spielberg, Historian by Philip Zelikow,

Having worked before at the intersection of Hollywood and history, helping a tiny bit with a respectable movie about the Cuban missile crisis called “Thirteen Days,” I approached the new movie “Lincoln” with measured expectations. I had seen how a film could immerse viewers in onscreen time travel without messing up the history too much. But that was the most I hoped for.

“Lincoln,” however, accomplishes a far more challenging objective: its speculations actually advance the way historians will consider this subject.

The movie, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the 16th president, makes two especially interesting historical arguments.

....The first is to explain why the passage of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, was overwhelmingly important to Lincoln in January 1865.  .... {The second explains the course of the secret negotiations to end the war.}


The plot falls apart and almost brings down the Bond franchise along with itself.  Remarkably stupid!  

The third comment on this page (spoilers aplenty) takes apart the whole ludicrous story line.

PS: I'm afraid they will take down the comment, so I reproduce it below the fold.  Spoiler alert!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Life of Pi

Won't be to everyone's taste, quite a few will be bored. A worthwhile watch for me,

PS: the all religions are the same is an attitude Hindus are beginning to shed as they awaken. Like a Richard Parker, the others are quite inimical to Hindus in reality.  A future Yann Martel hopefully will not find this theme available again.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Neat idea!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


An advertisement in the New York Times magazine, proclaims:

I wasn't the first to notice it, Chance News, which reviews news with statistics or probability concepts, notes
(There are only about 7 billion people in the world, so if there are only two “top ranked drivers” then the odds are only 1 in 3.5 billion or so.)
PS: The 1 in 88 odds of autism is in the news, e.g., here (LA Times). Please note that it is one of those "if you look you will find it" cases. Utah and New Jersey which screen extensively for autism,  have rates of 1 in 47 and 1 in 49 respectively.   Alabama, which does little, has a rate of 1 in 208.

Who killed Savita Halappanavar?

Two very educative daily kos diaries:
Part I
Part II

It would seem that Irish medical rules allow for the medical procedures to terminate Savita H's miscarriage; it would seem to be a case of medical malpractice, aided by Catholic fundamentalism.

If there are more parts to the diaries, I will post here.

Part III

PS: Epilogue.

Fox News characterized in one brilliant image

Monday, November 19, 2012

Proof that US schools' science education is lousy!

Florida Senator Marco Rubio (bio) shows his anti-science bias:

GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?
Marco Rubio: I'm not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that's a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I'm not a scientist. I don't think I'm qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I'm not sure we'll ever be able to answer that. It's one of the great mysteries.
This creature aspires to be President of the United States!!!!!!  Only in America!

PS: The science that underlies the estimate of the age of the Earth has very much to do with how our economy performs. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Republican evolution

Read a great article, excerpting from Republican platforms from the 1980s onwards, showing how the Republican party has changed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pro-life tragedy

The doctrinaire approach to anti-abortion leads to tragedies like this one.

And more are happening all the time.
PS: Some Irish march.

Rangoli 2012

Posting in rush.

Continuing a Diwali tradition, with my niece as art director:

Rangoli 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012

An observation

For whatever reason, the frames and mats out there do not match up with the natural photo ink-jet printing sizes.  Not an unsolvable problem, it just means you can't go and impulse buy a frame for something you just printed.

Twitter and politics

There appears to be a new political trend - a politician say something in a public forum, and then takes it back later - often almost immediately - on twitter.

This was very much in evidence during the Romney presidential campaign, where Romney would make a centrist statement in a speech or interview, and his campaign would then contradict it on twitter.

House Speaker Boehner just did the same thing.ABC News reports:

Boehner to Diane Sawyer on Repealing Obamacare – “Well, I think the election changes that.  It’s pretty clear that the president was reelected, Obamacare– is the law of the land.  I think there are parts– of– the healthcare law that– are gonna be very difficult to implement.  And very expensive.  And as– the time when we’re tryin’ to find a way to create a path– toward a balanced budget—everything has to be on the table.”
Sawyer: But you won’t be spending the time next year trying to repeal Obamacare?
Boehner: There certainly may be parts of it that we believe– need to be changed.  We may do that.  No decisions at this point.

His follow-up Tweet – @SpeakerBoehner ObamaCare is law of the land, but it is raising costs & threatening jobs. Our goal has been, and will remain,#fullrepeal.

Let's see how far this goes.



The first stirrings from majorlyprofound after dropping off the face of the earth.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The toppled tree

Shallow-rooted tree! It seems trees are lazy too, and don't grow deep roots if they help it. The height of the uprooted mess was about six feet. The uncovered electric cable snakes its way at the bottom of the pic.

The gods must be crazy

Tropical storm Sandy followed closely by winter storm Athena ('s designation).


Thursday, November 08, 2012

Statistics of note

Dailykos:  Barack Obama...
...has become the first Democratic president since FDR to be elected to two terms with a majority of the vote in both of his victories.
Republicans have won the popular vote for president once in the last six presidential elections.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Sign of the times

On I-95 near Baltimore: (iPhone photo)

(Text of sign:

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Some thoughts post-Sandy

After the storm passed through my area, the AT&T mobile network did not work for a day or more (dunno about the others); nor did all those Internet Protocol based phones offered by Comcast, Cablevision, Verizon, etc.; and all because of the lack of electric power.  What worked for me was the POTS (plain old telephone service) powered by central office DC power.  And a paper telephone directory.  This decades-old so-called obsolete technology was engineered for very high reliability, and NONE of the new-fangled stuff can match it yet.  You'd have thought that the problem of providing reliable power to cell towers should not be so much more difficult than providing power to a million phone subscribers on POTS lines; but ha! apparently you'd have thought wrong.

If it doesn't work in an emergency, then it working the other 99% of the time seems kind of not-so-relevant, once you've experienced an emergency.

In any case, we need to make our electrical grid much more reliable.  If we have to choose to strengthen it in parts because it is too expensive to make it universally reliable, I'd suggest the following order of priority for hardening the power supply - (based on the hardships I saw for people who hadn't lost their homes).

1. The basic communications network, power needed for water supply
2. Emergency services - firefighters, police, ambulance service, hospitals, etc.
3. Traffic lights
4. Essential goods - Gas stations and grocery stores

 I am very fortunate to live within walking distance of a Wegmans, which has a generator, and which kept open every day after the storm, serving hot food & drink,  fresh produce and perishables, and ice. So even without power at home, I was better off than some who had power but no such grocer anywhere nearby. (The traffic lights not working and gas stations not able to pump gas made it much more difficult for those who had to drive to get to such a store.)

I think a good part of the difficulties faced by the people in my inland town were -  technologically speaking - quite avoidable, and as an allegedly advanced society, we should make it so.

Hurricane Sandy - graphically speaking

I survived Sandy!

Quite lucky, actually. Given the direction of the wind, the tree toppled in the best possible direction where it did the least possible damage.

Power and gasoline remain a problem for those lucky New Jerseyians whose families and homes escaped unscathed (or mildly bruised).  I can't imagine what people who have lost more are going through.

PS: iphone pic: