Well now I know

US Postal Service fun

While reading an article about marketing and big data, I came across a link to an article that explains how the ZIP code system works. These two images are from that article:

I remember when the wonderful—to many and curmudgeonly to others—Andy Rooney, of CBS’ 60 Minutes, expounded on the topic in 1989. I couldn’t find the video but found a link to a newspaper opinion piece by Rooney that was archived.

Getting a Ph.D.

I applied to pursue a doctorate in international studies in 2008 but was turned down due to professor availability. I wanted to continue the ideas that I put forth in my master’s thesis. In the graphic below—created to demonstrate causality of ideas before I even started writing—I addressed the first 2 “developments”. The focus of my doctoral thesis would be on the future avenues of research described in “development” #3.


While I have not permanently ruled out the possibility, a Ph.D is on hold for now. (The department at the time ruled out on rationale for getting a PhD: replacing those professors facing imminent retirement. He explained that old political science professors don’t retire, they just die.). This site, “Should I get a Ph.D.“, may give me further pause.

More A.I.

As part of my continued research into understanding the business opportunities represented by artificial intelligence and to continue to my product brief—that is rapidly become a book—I came across a very interesting article that about neural networks. What is really cool is that a playground where you can actually the neural networks in action, and make changes, is also provided.

More things to learn

Dvorak keyboard

As if I didn’t have enough change in my life, I am thinking of learning the Dvorak keyboard, which is apparently much more efficient than the QWERTY keyboard used in English. The QWERTY layout was apparently created to slow typists down because that was necessary at the time; typewriters couldn’t handle such rapid input. Since habits die hard, the use and teaching of the QWERTY continues to this day, even if the technical reason for its existence does not. So I shall tread a well-worn path and give Dvorak a try ! (Update: Nope, looks like a pain in the butt for not much added value.)


Schematic of the Dvorak keyboard. (Source: Wikipedia)


Modern war

I came across when the new website was announced. Lots of interesting articles, and interesting battlefield / theatre pictures. One article talked about the importance of concrete in the war in Iraq. This section was interesting:

The demand for concrete was immense. New contracts had to be developed and concrete factories had to be found, built, and expanded in multiple places across Iraq. Getting concrete became as important a mission as emplacing it.

A major component to the well-known Iraq surge of 2007 in response to rising sectarian violence was the mission to clear and secure the neighborhoods of Baghdad. US forces found concrete to be their most effective weapon to reduce violence and protect the local population. They used concrete to reduce the complexity of the environment.

Concrete enabled coalition forces to flip the narrative regarding enemy operations in Sadr City:

In response to the situation, the US forces basically engaged in siege warfare. But atypical to historic examples, instead of attacking to break through fortified wall, they imposed the siege on the enemy by building walls. Reminiscent of a medieval siege engine, each night US forces drove up to the limits off Sadr City with massive cranes and trucks loaded with twelve-foot-tall T-walls. On a good night, soldiers could emplace over 122 barriers. Enemy forces attacked the soldiers putting in the walls and it was not uncommon to be hanging concrete while attack helicopters, tanks, and Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles returned fire.

I read a second article on the site, looking at Clausewitz’ famous On War treatise in the context of Start Trek. I shared the link yesterday but got around to really reading the article today:

This was interesting:

Without passion, war is absent energy. Without reason, war is uncontrolled rage. Without chance, war is mere slaughter. All three are necessary, and necessary to remember.

According to the article, the parallel with Star Trek is as follows:


More WordPress fun

  • Installed a command line interface (CLI) capability so that I can manage my main WordPress site via from a Terminal
  • Installed a cron plug-in so that I can see the kinds of events going on behind the scenes on that same site
  • Ran a batch of plug-in updates
  • Didn’t break anything


Friday funday not yet done day

Paid work

It has been a couple of months but I got a contract so I a, busy filling out an Excel workbook and doing searches for medical conferences in Quebec. I am running RescueTime to better quantify and understand where I am spending my time. (Though just on my laptop for now. The problem is that the information that is being captured and uploaded for reporting could also be hacked.) I am running a separate app, Billings Pro, to record hours worked.


I wonder if dictation might be a good way to capture all of my ideas faster than I can type them. There are a lot of options and commands to master the dictation feature on macOS. I probably need to do some more testing.


I figured out how to import pictures into iA Writer for my brief on artificial intelligence. I was having issues with iCloud file permissions when trying to drag files directly into the folder where my document is located. The right approach is to drag images directly into the document and the images get uploaded on their own.


Screenshot from the movie War Games (1983)

I also broke my document up into separate files and then linked them in using a new feature in version 4 of iA Writer. It looks like this:

Screen Shot 2016-12-09 at 11.44.53 AM

Screenshot of the contents of the main document. Markdown is the formatting language used here.

Once exported, it formats to look like this:

Screen Shot 2016-12-09 at 11.49.41 AM

Not satisfied with the spacing in the Table of Contents for now.