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Monday, August 27, 2018

As We Go Dark in Our Properties Thru Labor Day Here in the United States

We will be dark in our properties through Labor Day Week-End  here in the United States.  We hope all enjoy our live broadcast pods as our Twitter Channel will continue to be curated with updates throughout the weekend.   We also hereby join the World in remembering a valiant American, United States Senator John McCain, who passed away this past week-end with one of his final speeches as he accepted the 2017 Liberty Medal:

Senator McCain will lie in State at the Arizona State House,  and the US Capitol before he is laid to rest at his final resting place the US Naval Academy at Annapolis.     Former Vice President Biden will eulogize him in Arizona and former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush in Washington.     We honor his life and his sense of duty to America and pray that the almighty grant his family the solace to overcome the profound grief.

We leave you all with the Serenity Prayer as we gear up for a new month of deliberations here in our Properties:

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Notations On Our World (Special Edition): On BitCoins

U.S. Department of Homeland Security US-CERT
National Cyber Awareness System:

08/22/2018 04:10 PM EDT

Original release date: August 22, 2018
The Federal Trade Commission has released an alert on Bitcoin blackmail scams. In these schemes, scammers threaten victims with public disclosure of their "secret" unless they send a payment in Bitcoin.
NCCIC encourages users and administrators to refer to the FTC Alert and a related FBI press release for more information. If you believe you have been a victim of these scams, report it to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Notations From the Grid (Special Mid-Week Edition): On Data (( A Primer))

Please enjoy: 

Conversations with Data
Hi there! Can you believe it’s our 8th edition of Conversations with data? To celebrate, we’re bringing you eight of your favourite chart types.
But, before we begin, it’s important to bear in mind that the best chart type the depends on your dataset.
As Birger Morgenstjerne reminded us, ‘charts are all about making your data/information accessible, effective and powerful to your audience. A common mistake is not paying attention to what you’re trying to communicate. Visualising data is the discipline of whatyou want to communicate (data/story) and how to tell it (the visualisation). Always ask, does the chart support and make your story shine through?’
If you’re in doubt about which chart to choose, Mona Chalabi, Data Editor at the Guardian US, suggests: ‘visualise your data in two different charts and ask a friend (or better yet, your mum) which is the least confusing to them.’
Okay, now, let’s chat charts!
Charts you like
1. Timelines

‘I love enriched timelines because they help to provide valuable context to the data shown. In these days of avalanches of data, providing context and connecting pieces of information can help to transform them into accessible knowledge. As with most of charts, labelling is a critical part of the process, many times neglected by chart creators.
For example, these timelines summarising the lives of two well-known artists: Michael Jackson and Paul Newman. They provide a landscape vision into their existence just after they die. They also facilitate insights into their artistic careers thanks to the connections established between professional-personal dimensions. The reader can get a sense of their richest creative periods because their achievements are shown in a temporal context.’ - Álvaro Valiño, Publico
Álvaro's Paul Newman timeline for Publico.
2. Grid chart
‘When plotting multiple data series with very similar or very different values, a single chart may obscure more than it reveals. One alternative way to visualise multiple series that overcomes this is called the “small multiple” technique, or “grid chart”. This technique splits each series across individual charts in a grid and makes it easy to read and compare each series.’ - Mustapha Mekhatria, Highsoft
3. Pictorial small multiple

’My favourite chart type is the "pictorial small multiple”. Each of its marks is a miniature canvas. At a glance, illustrated marks anchor the viewer to the chart's topic. In focus, each mark is an opportunity for detailed inspection, and comparison between marks. The arrangement of the marks provides an order for higher meaning to emerge. Together, many levels of understanding are possible.’ - RJ Andrews, author, Info We Trust: How to Entertain, Improve, and Inspire the World with Data
A pictorial small multiple devised by Bashford Dean and drawn by Stanley Rowland.
4. Stacked bar chart
‘Line graphs and bar charts are really the first go-to charts I use. Almost all of the time, you can quickly get your data organised and visualised using one of these two charts, but my favourite is probably the stacked bar chart. Any time someone tries to use a pie or doughnut chart, I convert it over to a stacked bar. Horizontal or vertical, it doesn't matter. Representing a portion of a whole should be done using rectangular boxes, not radial degrees like a pie chart.’ - Brian
5. Flow map
‘One type of chart I particularly like is the flow map. The arrows easily communicate that movement is taking place in this chart. Although they’re not great for accurately displaying values, flow maps are much better at giving a generating view of the amount of movement of good or people taking place over a geographical region.’ - Severino Ribecca, The Data Visualisation Catalogue
6. Beeswarm chart
‘Although I don't truly have a favourite chart type, I do find myself using a beeswarm technique to position my data quite occasionally. I like how this technique still allows you to show the data at a very detailed level (each datapoint separately), while simultaneously showing how all of the data is distributed, typically across one axis. And you can play with the 'datapoints' as well, you can colour them, resize them or give them some other visual mark based on a variable that shows even more insights, and therefore context, about the data.
Furthermore, instead of one datapoint, you can also apply a beeswarm to “small multiples”. Where each “mini chart” is positioned on the screen by using some aggregate value of the mini chart (an average for example). So I love the combination of versatility, the level of detail it can show, and the general visual appeal it gives to a data visualisation.’ - Nadieh Bremer
Using the technique in The Top 2000 loves the 70s & 80s.
7. d3-force
‘I don't necessarily have a favourite or even a go-to chart type, but I do have a favourite D3.js module. d3-force is an implementation of the force-directed graph drawing algorithm, an algorithm for calculating the positions of nodes in a network graph. I love it for its flexibility: I can calculate node-link graphs with it, but I can also calculate beeswarm plots with it. I can cluster nodes into groups with it, and I can make the nodesfly around the screen like sprinkles. I've thought up a visual for my data and gone to d3-force to make that idea into reality. And that's why I don't have any particular chart type I love because there isn't any one chart that meets even most of my needs, but there are tools that I love because they help me translate what's in my brain to visuals on the screen.’ - Shirley Wu
8. Column chart

‘My favourite chart type is the humble column chart, here annotated for added effect. It triggers the viewer’s most intuitive comparative understanding – comparing heights of items – and is therefore extremely simple to process cognitively. Simplicity is power, especially in communicating crucial facts such as those about our rapidly changing planet and the impact we’re having on all of its inhabitants.’ - Mikko Järvenpää, previously CEO, Infogram
Mikko's Column chart, illustrating the CO2 impact of protein choices.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Notations From the Grid (Weekly Edition): On Charter Schools ((An Alternate View))

As a new week is before us, our team chose this coiurtesy of the team at Education Next about an alternative View about Education which we hereby present for consideration:

Research suggests that consistent exposure to high-quality curricula has a significant positive impact on student learning. The Louisiana Department of Education developed a rating system that identifies curricula with the strongest alignment to the state’s academic standards, identified partners that provide high-quality professional learning to teachers, and supported school systems as they purchased these top-notch resources. In an article for Education Next, Robert Pondiscio found that these “advances are unmatched in other states that have adopted Common Core or similar standards.” To date, 75 percent of charter schools in New Orleans have adopted the high-quality curricula. To learn more about Louisiana’s curriculum, check out Kunjan Narechania’s poston the EdNext blog.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Notations On Our World (Special Edition): Journalists Are not the Enemy & Journalism is Not a Crime #Free Press

We decided to choose two of our favorite images as we are honored as a small start up to join some 350 Media Outlets around the World to speak with one voice in noting how the attacks by the Media on the President of the United States is Wrong and must be condemned as we feature this throughout our properties.    We are extremely appreciative of the leadership shown by the Editorial Board of the Boston Globe in this regard as we say in uni-some:  Journalists are not the enemy.   This is as the President of the United States revoked the Security Clearance of one of the leading critics of his tenure, John Brennan--the former CIA Director as what is in our view a clear retribution for Director Brennan's political criticism.   

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Notations From the Grid (Special Edition): How to Block Your Phone Number

We just ran across this from our archives courtesy of the team at Techlicious which we hope all embrace:

How to Block Your Phone Number: How to block your caller ID on your cell phone and home phone permanently or on a call by call basis.

Notations On Our World (Special Edition): "Symphony for Palestine" A Masterpiece by Kayhan Kalhor

We are celebrating a milestone in our main property,    We have just released our 900th posting as we chose selections from the Iranian Maestro Kayhan Kalhour.  This one is a Symphony for Palestine that is in tribute to the people of Palestine showcasing their struggle.   In celebration of our milestone, we're privileged to present this powerful 3-minutes as we look forward to our journey of service.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Notations On Our World (Special @POTUS Weekly Edition): Face the Nation - Tim Kaine, Tim Scott, Nicuyah Walker

On this "milestone" week here in our Properties, we chose this selection courtesy of CBS News' Face the Nation that debated the State of America today as the 2018 Mid-Term Elections have begun in earnest. 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

An Outsider Musical Interlude For All to Enjoy....

As the Week-End looms, our team settled on a Musical Interlude which is being featured on all our properties:

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Notations From the Grid (Special Edition): Disaster Response, Infrastructure Innovations + More from Route Fifty


Featured eBooks and Special Reports

Infrastructure From the Ground Up

This ebook features a variety of stories about infrastructure, including a look at Puerto Rico’s ongoing recovery work after Hurricane Maria; the need for skilled workers to manage local water systems; building more resilient infrastructure in the San Francisco Bay area; and an unusual nearly 80-year-old legacy system that helps keep Seattle moving.

The Transformative Power of Civic Tech

This ebook on civic technology features a handful of Route Fifty stories that look at behavioral science, IT security, public engagement, public safety and public records management. These are among of the big ideas, insights and innovations that are changing government in 2018.

Risk, Response and Resiliency: Building Stronger Communities in the Face of Disasters and Emergencies

In this special report, we take a look at what comes next for a place like Ellicott City, Maryland, whose historic Main Street was recently turned into a gushing torrent during another destructive flash flood; feature an interview with the mayor of Davenport, Iowa about how his city has come to embrace the Mississippi River and its flood risk; and from Washington, D.C., we look at the role of federal, state and local cooperation in disaster response and recovery.

IT Priorities for State Governments in 2018

In their State of the State addresses, only five governors mentioned the looming topic of cybersecurity. Governors, of course, have a lot of their plates, so that statistic may not be all that surprising, but security and risk management is a top priority for state government IT leaders. This special report looks at what’s leading the state government IT agenda this year, including recent Route Fifty stories from Georgia and Oregon.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Notations From the Grid (Weekly Edition): A Blast From the Past On the Conservative View on Education

How to Put Parents Back in Control of Their Child's Education

Writing for The Daily Signal, Sen. Mike Lee says the problem facing our public school system today is not about a lack of money. The problem is dysfunctional government policy.

Read America Next's Education Plan Here.

An education system for the 21st century

By Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. Tim Scott
The Washington Examiner

Would you trade your brand-new car for an Edsel? Or your iPhone for an antiquated mainframe computer the size of your living room?

Most people wouldn't dream of making such a choice — at least not unless forced to do so. But many American children face a similar situation each day when they head to school. For while some children in our nation's schools do receive a quality education, many do not. Archaic obstacles — a tenure system first developed early in the last century, and an education bureaucracy in Washington created as part of the Great Society five decades ago — often stand in the way of progress.

We need to create a modern educational system for the modern challenges future generations will face — a competitive, interconnected global economy, where students from Charleston and Baton Rouge will compete with those from Chengdu and Bombay. Creating that system involves reforms large and small — but three guiding principles.

First, give parents choices. Simply put, that means allowing education dollars to follow the child — to the best options parents select for their children. No one cares more, and knows better, about children than the parents who bore and raised them. We should restore parents' rightful place in education by empowering them with more choices and better choices. Charter schools, private school scholarships, online learning, educational savings accounts, vocational education, partnerships with businesses — we need them all. Every child has unique skills, interests and abilities, and we should provide parents with as many good choices as possible to maximize their children's talent.

Second, limit government involvement. Over the past half-century, Washington has built an ever-sprawling bureaucracy, attempting to impose its will on local school districts through a growing series of financial carrots and sticks. Common Core represents Exhibit A of why federal control needs to revert back to states — and ultimately to local school boards wherever possible. We should also eliminate unnecessary government programs and protect student privacy while we're at it.

Third, liberate educators, allowing teachers to teach. Too often, qualified individuals find entering the teaching profession difficult — while tenure grants lifetime job guarantees to teachers with as few as three years' experience. Right now, education policy has it backwards — instead of high barriers to entry and low barriers to retention, we should remove impediments to entry, but make permanent retention a tougher bar to achieve. Reforming training, preparation and certification requirements would also attract talent from other professions while restoring a focus on the ultimate goal — creating effective teachers in the classroom.

These three steps sound simple — and in many ways, they are. Implementing them has proven difficult. The forces that have created our current education bureaucracy over many decades fight hard to preserve the broken status quo. But children only grow up once, and the next generation can't afford to wait years, or decades, until we enact the reforms they need to receive a great education.

The good news is that we're making progress and slowly changing the conversation. In Louisiana, we passed tenure reform and doubled the number of charter schools. Fully 70,000 students now attend charter schools across the state, and our Recovery School District has 100 percent charter school enrollment.

We also expanded a scholarship program created for New Orleans to the entire state. As a result of these efforts, the graduation rate in New Orleans rose 18 percentage points since 2004, while the percentage of failing schools plummeted from 67 percent in 2005 to 17 percent. More than nine in ten parents are satisfied with the statewide scholarship program, and little wonder: From 2008 to 2013, proficiency among scholarship students rose 20 percentage points in third grade English language arts and 28 points in math.

And in South Carolina, the state has recently implemented a scholarship program for children with special needs, ensuring parents that their children have the opportunity to attend a school with the resources to help them reach their potential.

These results provide some inkling of what true education reform can bring if extended to every school, teacher and child across our land. We are gaining momentum, from victories in states like to Louisiana and South Carolina, to growing support for Sen. Scott's CHOICE Act in the Senate.

The principles outlined above, and the specific proposals in the America Next paper released Monday, will bring our nation's education system into the iPhone age once and for all. We hope educators, parents and policy-makers of all political stripes will embrace the solutions we offer; America's children deserve nothing less.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Notations From the Grid (Weekly Edition): A #RandomThought To Enjoy

As a new Month Dawns, we wanted to share a "light note" as our team will be dark throughout our Properties gearing up for our curation work in our Properties with this courtesy of the team at Futurism we captured on their Instagram: