Archive for August, 2012


August 31, 2012

All I can say . . . this dog is stylin’!   While dogs have been used for protection for centuries, the practice of formally training them for police work only began in the late 1800s (in Europe).  Ghent, Belgium, is generally cited as being the first city to establish a school where dogs were trained for law enforcement work.  Eight years after Ghent, the New York City police department began using trained police service dogs.  Now, the use of police dogs is widespread and canine units can be found in all major city police departments as well as numerous other smaller agencies/units at all levels (municipal, county, state, federal).  The breed of choice: the German Shepherd; the Belgian Malinois is another frequently chosen breed.

In addition to the “protection” function, police dogs can be called upon to perform a variety of tasks:

  • article searches
  • search and rescue
  • drug and explosive detection
  • arson detection
  • cadaver detection

Check out these popular police dog associations:

Peace and Quiet?

August 30, 2012

While I can acknowledge that the busy urban world/lifestyle I’ve chosen is generally not a particularly quiet place.  Pockets of peace and tranquility can certainly be found from time to time if one looks (or plans) hard enough.  But at the same time, there are also those locations where you had best just resign yourself to the fact that peace and tranquility will NOT be found.  Take for example a recent trip to the grocery store where a child was caterwauling at the top of their lungs for the entire duration of my visit (approximately 10 minutes).      So, in honor of this caterwauling youth, here is an apropos demotivator from  Enjoy!

Eighth Lesser Known Wonder!

August 29, 2012

Here is a satellite view (courtesy of NASA) of the Salar de Uyuni, in Bolivia.   The Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat (4,086 square miles) and is at an elevation of 11,995 feet above sea level (near the crest of the Andes).  Some fun facts include:

  • the salt crust is a few meters thick and covers a pool of brine.
  • the brine pool is rich in lithium (Bolivia holds 43% of the world’s lithium reserves).
  • the Salar is very flat and an ideal area for calibrating the altimeters of observation satellites.
  • a breeding ground for several species of pink flamingoes.
  • 10 billion tons of salt (less than 25,000 tons are extracted annually).
  • virtually devoid of wild life or vegetation.
  • a major transportation route across the Bolivian Altiplano (high plateau) when not covered with water (seasonally).
  • when covered with water, it becomes one of the world’s largest mirrors.

Learning Analytics 101!

August 28, 2012

Here is an infographic on learning analytics (courtesy of, thank you Tess Pajaron for bringing this one to my attention).    And, as I discovered, analytics goes way beyond tracking hits/visits to a webpage . . . it includes looking at the actual student interactions with the assorted online tools that are available today to gauge student performance and to customize and improve the learning process.  And while learning analytics are not being widely used yet, the 2011 Horizon Report (p. 32-34) estimates that it will be 4-5 years to adoption.

Learning Analytics: Leveraging Education Data – An infographic by the team at Open Colleges

Social Media and Investigations!

August 27, 2012

There was an interesting article in the August issue of Government Technology (on page 42) on the use of social media by law enforcement in the investigation of crime.  The following stats are the result of a survey conducted by LexisNexis Risk Solutions (in partnership with PoliceOne).

Let’s start with “who’s” using social media for investigative purposes.

  • Federal (81%)
  • State (71%)
  • Local (82%)
  • Rank and file (79%)
  • Supervisory (85%)

Regional use:

  • Northeast (89%)
  • Northcentral (83%)
  • West (81%)
  • South/Southeast (77%)

The size of the agency matters.

  • Cities with populations under 50,000 (86%)
  • Cities with populations between 50,000 and 100,000 (76%)\
  • Cities with populations over 100,000 (78%)

Which social media sites are used for investigations (at least monthly)

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • MySpace
  • Twitter

What types of investigative activities are done via social media?

  • Identify associates affiliated with persons of interest (80%)
  • Identify the location of criminal activity (68%)
  • Gather photos or statements to corroborate evidence (60%)
  • Identify crimimal activity (80%)
  • Identify persons of interest (85%)
  • Identify/monitor persons of interest’s whereabouts (54%)
  • Soliciting tips on crimes (35%)
  • Anticipating crimes that may be occurring (33%)
  • Understanding criminal networks (40%)
  • Use info from social media as probably cause for search warrants (23%)  Note: when challenged, social media as evidence for search warrants holds up in court 87% of the time.



August 26, 2012

Today, allow me to ponder failure or defeat via some really great quotations (some variation on the theme).

“What we perceive as a failure may simply be our inner being’s way of telling us that we are ready to move to a new level of growth.”  — Anne Wilson Schaef
“What is defeat? Nothing but education; nothing but the first step to something better.”  — Wendell Phillips
“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”  — Vincent van Gogh
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”  Henry Ford
“An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field.”  — Niels Bohr

I guess that the bottom line is all of this is that we must not be afraid to fail.  Hmm, a lot easier said than done, sometimes.

I’m Just Saying . . . !

August 25, 2012

Our world is full of catchy phrases, sayings, and quotations (and I enjoy them as much as anyone).  But rare indeed is the person who has the ability to be succinct in their delivery of an apothegm or aphorism.


\apuh-them\, noun;
1. a short, pithy, instructive saying; a terse remark or aphorism.
2. to speak one’s opinion frankly.


\afuh-riz-uhm\, noun;
1. a terse saying embodying a general truth, or astute observation, as “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton).


True[ly] Vision[ary]!

August 24, 2012

In the course of updating my art collection inventory, I discovered a piece that I had not yet highlighted on my blog.  So, let’s rectify this omission immediately!  The title: True Vision.   The artist: Shirley Ward.  The medium: acryllic.  This is one of the many paintings that I purchased from the Color Connection Gallery over the years and I really hated to see this gallery close.  But, I am still able to keep in touch with many of the artist, many of whom are still painting on a regular basis.  Allow me to apologize for the poor photograph (I took the picture in situ [on the wall of my office], so there is a little bit of glare off the glass).

The Marriage of Architecture to Art to Music!

August 23, 2012

Question: What do you get when you cross architecture with art and music?  Answer: the Singing Ringing Tree . . . a wind-powered sound sculpture constructed in the Burnley district of East Lancashire, England, by architects Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu (of Tonkin Liu).

This sculpture won the National Award of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for architectural excellence in 2007.

Source: This photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license and is attributed to Mr. Andrew Kline at the English language Wikipedia.

Lesser Known Wonder Number Seven!

August 22, 2012

Stretching more than 1,200 miles along the Atlantic coasts of three countries (Angola, Namibia, and South Africa), and up to 120 miles inland (to the foot of the Great Escarpment) the Namib desert is the oldest desert in the world and occupies around 31,200 square miles.  And while the Namib is almost completely uninhabited by humans, it may be home to more endemic species than any other desert in the world.  Namib is roughly translated as: “an area where there is nothing,” or “vast place.”  And just by referring to this graphic, the shape of this area somewhat resembles the human spinal cord.  Hmm, how’s that for free association?