Saturday, October 25, 2014

Science stuff around the net

The latest Ubuntu: Utopic Unicorn.


the WAGD post of the day: EBOLA!

The model developed by Galvani and colleagues projects as many as 170,996 total reported and unreported cases of the disease, representing 12% of the overall population of some 1.38 million people, and 90,122 deaths in Montserrado alone by December 15.... The study predicts that, at best, just over half as many cases (53,957) can be averted if the interventions are delayed to November 15. Had all of these measures been in place by October 15, the model calculates that 137,432 cases in Montserrado could have been avoided.

a good article on Ebola from the NewYorker


Remember all the hype that only embryonic stem cells would work

or maybe not:

stem cells from his nose helped paralyzed man walk.


From AnnAlthouse; blog:

"European Scientists Conclude That Distant Comet Smells Terrible.""The European Space Agency has posted a full rundown of the comet's BO on its website. The mix includes ammonia (NH3), hydrogen sulphide (H2S), formaldehyde (CH2O) and methanol (CH3OH)."

if you like Ebola (which is only spread via close contact with patients or their secretions) you'll love MERS, which has now spread to Turkey.

 The Saudi authorities have been faulted for having allowed MERS to proliferate, particularly in Jidda, Riyadh, the Saudi capital, and the holy city of Mecca, where pilgrims from the entire world converge for the annual hajj. Pilgrims are known to have spread the disease to Iran, Jordan and Algeria. The W.H.O. said that as of Friday, it had tallied 883 MERS cases worldwide, including at least 319 deaths. Most cases are in Saudi Arabia.
 Maybe they should quarantine anyone who is high risk, such as travelers from Saudi or those who had contact with camels. 


mapping the "murmurations" of starlings.


Gladiators were mostly vegetarians....

maybe because most of them were recruited from poor people, POW's or slaves...

Why live wayyy up there?

From the LATimes:

Archaeologists say they’ve found the highest-known remains of Ice Age human settlements in the southern Peruvian Andes, dated to more than 12,000 years old. The two sites, described in the journal Science, sit higher than 4,000 meters (more than 13,100 feet) above sea level and indicate that humans may have adapted to the extremely harsh climate far sooner than many researchers had expected.
...Above 13,100 feet, the thin air and treeless terrain offers little protection from the high solar radiation. There’s not much fuel to make fires, there’s much less oxygen available to breathe and it takes about twice the number of calories just to "maintain normal metabolic function," the study authors wrote.

For many archaeologists, these factors explain why human settlements higher than about 13,100 feet and older than 11,500 years of age have eluded them. It probably took a good amount of time for the genetic variations to arise in the population that would favor, among other traits, higher metabolic rates and more lung capacity – traits found in certain high-altitude populations today.  And yet these high-altitude settlements were set up within about 2,000 years of humans’ first arrival in South America. Whether they had developed the ideal traits or not, clearly humans didn't take that long to settle in (or, in this case, settle up).

one reason for fleeing up into the mountains is to flee from more war like tribes.

Maybe they need to check about fortifications...

Stuff below the headlines

Easter Island wasn't as isolated as some "experts" claim...

"We found evidence of gene flow between this population and Native American populations, suggesting an ancient ocean migration route between Polynesia and the Americas," says the study's lead author, geneticist Anna-Sapfo Malaspinas of the Centre for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen.
The genetic evidence indicates either that Rapa Nui people travelled the 3700 kilometres to South America or that Native Americans journeyed to Easter Island. The researchers believe it probably was the Rapa Nui people making the arduous ocean round trips.
"It seems most likely that they voyaged from Rapa Nui to South America and brought South Americans back to Rapa Nui and admixed with them," says Mark Stoneking, a geneticist with Germany's Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, who collaborated on a related study of Brazil's indigenous Botocudo people.

the suprise in this is not that the Easter Island folks traveled to South America, but that their DNA matched that of Amazon tribal folks.

But then, the Amazon was highly populated back then, and in contact with the mountain empires.

Video lecture here.


photo of the day:

This image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, taken in infrared light, shows where the action is taking place in galaxy NGC 1291 (NASA/JPL/Spitzer)


Angels according to the dead sea scrolls.

One of a series bookmarked for later reading.

Podcasts of the week:

OU continues it's series on the law.

from the Free Library site:

Walter Isaacson | The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital RevolutionWalter Isaacson | The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
Recorded 10/20/2014
Listen to MP3 audio

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sex and the single peacekeeper.

yes, like the WWII soldier, often they saw this as a quid pro quo: sex for them and the ability to feed the family for the girl.

One is reminded of WKRP:

English Historical Fiction blog discusses nobility eating peacocks for the holidays, and adds:

And yes, they can fly. They seem very large but they weigh only about eight to ten pounds, the size of a large roasting chicken such as the Jersey Giant. They have a broad wing spread that gives them the “lift” they need. The tail, folded as it usually is, flops along through the air behind them, looking rather silly.


for later reading:

Professor (and poet) Holly Ordway discusses her conversion based on historical evidence and Sense of Event blog has comments about it.


faith healing in Monrovia meets ebola.


the article is about those living in the slums of New Kru town (an area with many Kru people, near the hospital where I worked 30 years ago).


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Well, that's nice to know


Microsoft says this is the most improved and complete version of Windows.. see at

sent to my by my geek grandson Takato

Musical interlude of the day

Computers 2, Bears 0

somehow I don't think a tablet would do this:

Man Fights Off Bear With Old Computer in Siberia

The unidentified man was looking for non-ferrous metals at a dump in the Tomsk region on Saturday when he was spotted by the bear, which immediately rushed toward him, the Interfax news agency reported Monday, citing local ranger Sergei Yelnikov.
When the man saw the bear coming, he picked up a computer that was lying nearby and threw it at the animal, before both ran away in opposite directions, the report said....
on the other hand frightening off bears? There's an app for that.
This is not the first instance of technology coming to the rescue in the case of a bear attack.
In July, a man in the eastern Sakha republic had an extremely lucky escape after his phone turned on as he was being mauled by a bear.
The phone's startup noise was enough to frighten away the beast, and the man, who had sustained a bite wound to his head, escaped with his life.

headsup DaveBarry

stuff around the net

It's a papist plot!

remembering the British hesitation to use the Gregorian calander. 
Back then, the Puritans and Cromwell were as bad as any Islamic country, at least to Catholics and the Irish, but since winners write history, few modern commentators discuss it.

headsup TeaAtTrianon, who just published a new historical romance...and whose older book is on Scribd, so I will be able to read it.


MaryBeard discusses learning Latin and gerunds.

essentially she says read the book, and then she'll help you on what you don't get...but don't expect her to spoon feed you in basics of grammar.

actually, I had to look up gerunds myself:
  1. The gerund (/ˈdʒɛrənd/ or /ˈdʒɛrʌnd/) is a non-finite verb form that can function as a noun in Latin and English grammar. The English gerundends in -ing (as in I enjoy playing basketball).
  2. Gerund - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In Tagalog it would be "pag play"... for more examples:  link

actually Latin was a bit easier to learn than non Indo European languages like ChiShona or Tagalog. You have to learn grammar, but to speak, you have to learn to translate phrases/ meaning, not words.
My main problem for learning Tagalog is that my brain is no longer nimble, and I am too lazy to keep up the drills that are necessary to learn vocabulary.


it's a bomb!? Is it terrorism?
SP notices Canadian loggers find a Japanese Balloon bomb from WWII..

This bomb was part of a bizarre and desperate scheme to give the Americans and Canadians a taste of the bombings they were inflicting on Japan and Germany. In November 1944 the Japanese Army's "Special Balloon Regiment" began releasing the first of over 9,000 hydrogen filled balloons. These were expected to float with the prevailing westerly winds all the way from Japan to the west coast of North America. Each carried an 18 kg (40 pound) bomb that would explode on landing, injuring anyone in the vicinity or starting a fire. It was believed that these bombs would cause forest fires in the heavily wooded northeast coast of the United States and across the border in British Colombia. At least 300 (and perhaps as many as a thousand) of the balloons actually did reach North America, but only three are known to have caused any damage. This amounted to six dead civilians and two brush fires. The Japanese apparently missed the fact that most of this area was thinly populated and also a rare “temperate rain forest.” The region is very damp most of the time and not conducive to wild fires.


Culture wars in Catholicism.

The Africans and the Potawanami answer the PC.



vodcast of the week from Boingboing.

The second half of the show was hot with talk of western droughts, oil rigs outpacing coral reefs for fish productivity, giant carnivorous kangaroos, a new idea about asymmetry involving the Higgs particle, Ebola updates, and why we dance when we hold our pee.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tinicum Quarentine hospital (Philadelphia)

From Atlas Obscura:

The current Lazaretto complex was originally constructed in 1799 to deal with the devastating Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 which killed thousands in Philadelphia alone, and forced the government from the city which had been the seat of power up to that point. The disease center held a large main building with a number of smaller support structures, and as with many disease hospitals, its own burial ground. Once completed, the center became the gate through with anyone (and anything, as goods were inspected for contagion just as thoroughly) coming to the city in the early 1800's had to pass before entering the city. According to some estimates, a full third of Americans have ancestors whose first steps on American soil were walking into Lazaretto. 
The facility operated until 1895 when the use as a disease hospital ceased and it became an airbase for a number of years until it was finally abandoned

it's just south of the airport, although putting yellow fever victims in that area, which is swampy and presumably full of mosquitoes, was probably not a good idea...yellow fever is spread via mosquitoes...

more at wikipedia

Nowadays, they'll probably put ebola into specialized rooms in the hospital (we had one such room in our IHS hospital, where the air pressure kept air from escaping into the hallway, but instead kept the air through filters to outside the hospital. We used it for our TB cases, usually until the cultures came back negative or they had 2 weeks treatment meaning that they were probably not producing enough germs to be contageous.

Ebola is a matter of strict procedure with body fluids of very sick people with vomit and fluid coming from all orifices that can kill you.

However, smallpox, SARS and other air borne disease (e.g. birdflu) can infect passersby...

In such attacks, there simply would not be enough rooms so separate hospitals would have to be designated for these diseases.

when I was in medical school, there was still a TB hospital and older docs told us about the children's infectious disease hospital that closed in the 1950' had a bell, to call for the nearest doctor to do an emergency tracheostomy when children's throats became blocked by Diphtheria membranes...


related item: CDC has a report on how Firestone kept Ebola from spreading among their 80 thousand employees.

Firestone implemented administrative and environmental modifications to convert an outpatient health clinic separated from the main hospital to meet the infection control standards of an Ebola treatment unit (ETU) following guidance developed by Médecins Sans Frontières (Figure 3) (1). The facility can house 23 patients, including those separated as having confirmed, probable, or suspected Ebola (Figure 3). By April 9, Firestone had completed the construction and certification of its ETU.

lower risk patients were kept separate from other patients (the problem being that malaria and other diseases look like early Ebola infection).

 Patients with suspected Ebola were sent to the ETU. From August 1 to September 23, three patients were sent to the ETU with suspected Ebola following this screening protocol; one of the three had confirmed Ebola.
Additional triage was conducted to prioritize patients who required hospitalization but were not suspected of having Ebola based on their signs and symptoms. Patients who had some signs or symptoms of Ebola but not those meeting the national Ebola case definition were isolated in a single, dedicated room. HCWs used standard precautions (combined features of universal precautions and body substance isolation depending on levels of care required during hospital admission) (2) and periodically screened for additional signs and symptoms of Ebola throughout the hospital admission. Patients with illnesses subsequently meeting criteria for suspected Ebola were transferred to the ETU. During August 1–September 23, 10 patients initially admitted for care at the hospital with non-Ebola diagnoses were housed in individual rooms. Among the 10 patients, four had suspected Ebola and were transferred to the ETU; three of the four were eventually confirmed as having Ebola. After establishing this secondary triage of patients admitted for standard non-Ebola care, no additional high-risk exposures were identified among HCWs.
the article also goes on how teams monitored contacts as outpatients...if you want the details go read the whole thing.

this article gives details of the CDC's work in Liberia starting in July..

and this one is about the health care workers infected. The problem is that patients presented to the ER and were not immediately diagnosed and so infected others.

podcast of the week

quick before the copyright cops find it there

The Invisible women


Acclaimed photographer Steve McCurry is documenting the abuse of migrant domestic workers from Asia as part of his latest project. McCurry, who is known for iconic photos such as Afghan Girl (1985) has captured images of women who have returned from stints as domestic workers in the Far East and Middle East with disturbing stories of physical, mental and sexual abuse.
The images make for unsettling viewing – you can see a selection of them here. (NYTimes link).

Science headline of the day

Stuff around the net

An Ebola Czar whose expertise is political spinning and no experience in medical matters.

Oh yes: And he thinks there are too many people in the world.

What could go wrong?

one side effect of all this is a distrust of institutions that bodes ill for the US

and we were told that sending home a sick person who had contact with ebola proved that Texas was a backward area of the country. Then what does that make of Virginia?

First hospital kept her in the ambulance for 20 minutes then sent her to a second hospital who used a checklist, not a blood test, to decide she was okay.

Later that day, it was determined that the patient who had been turned away from the Virginia Hospital Center not only did not have Ebola, but that she did not even need to be tested for Ebola.
not in the link, but apparently she hadn't visited an ebola area.

Headsup FR


Saudi Cleric claims Twitter is the source of all evil.


Joseph Pearce reveals that Shumacher was Catholic. 

FR link and discussion.

Actually, I knew that: Small is beautiful has links to Chesterton and the Catholic idea of subsidiarity, simply and keeping things as close to home as possible instead of letting the Leviathan nanny state do everything.


For later reading: Blessed Karl, who inherited an Austrian empire in the midst of WWI...

more HERE

Professor MacMillian's on the Versailles treaty includes a discussion on the devastation caused by the empire's collapse, although the nationalists view the episode as liberation.link2

what is past is prologue?

CT scans suggest that some ancient Pharaohs didn't have osteoarthritis, but ankylosing spondylitis.


Cat in a box

more at link copyright LondonMedia

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Family news

Joy and Ruby went to Manila for deliveries and Ruby has to give a speech for her homeschool sponsoring school to get credit.

She has to memorize the speech and then give it.

I couldn't help her: When I took a public speaking class in college, we learned to use "talking points" and give the details spontaneously, not read a speech or give it by memory (similar to how actors give speeches).

That is why I was bemused when the press went viral criticizing Sarah Palin for having notes written on her palm. They implied she was stupid, but didn't notice she wasn't reading from a teleprompter like other politicians, but was using the technique I learned in college, i.e. use notes or an outline only.

Black kitty lost a kitten when PapaDog managed to get the box containing her kittens off the high shelf. Luckily the other kitties were deep inside the box and I saved them on time.

So now Black kitty, aka Pandera, has moved her family to the back of Lolo's closet shelf, behind his underware.


Stuff around the net

Billy Boyd, aka Pippin, whose poigent song is the background for the Hobbit trailer (and was sung in the ROTK) is writing the end son for the third Hobbit movie.

Cardinal Kasper is so mad at being outed as a racist that he is threatening to sic reporters on the reporter who quoted him accurately and had the tape to prove it.

Father Z has details and links.

Heh. There is a "jounolist" for the church dissadents? that might explain much of the bad reporting on what went on.

a lot of this is about the PC elites trying to change the church's laws on sex and being non judgemental in the name of "compassion. But things are more complicated than that, because often this allows the elite sociopaths to ignore the harm they do to others.

A good example of putting things into perspective is this essay by old lefty Archbishop Cruz (ret) on the murder of one of our boy-girl prostitute by a US Marine...

full rant moved to my other blog.


GetReligion complains that the SciAm essay on religion and ET gets it wrong.

And no one seems to notice that angels are "ET's"


Cuba helping in the war on Ebola.

An interesting story, but the inclusion of deliberate bias in this "news report" shows why AlJezeerah is despised by most Americans.

and MomJones has the five most stupid response to Ebola in the USA.

It is not spread through the air, or by mosquitos. It is spread via body fluids, so unless someone spits, pukes, has diarrhea, or has sex with you, you won't catch it.

The main danger is to caretakers and those who clean up the place.

If it was airborne, half of those in the apartment complex and hospital would be dying. That is why SARS was a lot scarier than Ebola...


the world's smallest dog.?

more here.

Slideshow of Hubble's greatest hits.


Wired article on the bed bug wars.

no, it smells good but doesn't kill the bugs.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Good news of the day

Viagra prevents heart attacks

Stuff around the net

Car as Power Plant


the X rated version of ancient Greek myths that you didn't learn about in High School.

and for the geek set, the latest Percy Jackson book, last of the series, is now available. Ruby has the series.

Spoiler: In this one, the ADHD geek Leo (not the son of Zeus or Percy) wins the day

NPR blames the fact that guys like wargames for the lack of women in tech, but in this discussion I agree it's this reason: The guys learned to type themselves so didn't need secretaries.

even medicine swelled up with women when it changed from hard science to touchy feely stuff and following flowcharts instead of encouraging independent thinking.


and strategyPage analyzes why women can do well in "combat" but that the muddy infantry carrying 100 pounds of supplies might put them at a disadvantage.


if you love Lego and the Hobbit, here is a two hour vodcast for you

Bad reporting or incompetence?

I'm not sure what the Army is doing in Liberia, but now I read they are the 101 airborne, and they had 4 hours training and no protective suits.

 Yes, I know: They are supposed to be buildling tent hospitals, but as I have written before: There are buildings, some even with running water, that could be used for hospitals.

So why use tents (well tents are airconditioned, so maybe that's why).

 But Liberia has shut down all reports on Ebola, so the folks are dying quietly in the slums. a lot of slum dwellers were Kru or other tribes, while the gov't is run by the AmericoLiberians, even tho the presidentess is not of that lineage she is essentially schooled in the US and part of the establishment (Think World Bank appointment). Think Apartheid, by blacks.

The civil war there that killed a quarter million people was essentially a tribal uprising that resulted in tribes killing each other, both in Liberia and Sierra Leone and Guinea. The "second civil war" was merely a continuation of the first civil war, and the result was "women for peace" put in the present president with the help of outsiders. And one wonders about Firestone here...payoffs to armed groups to be left alone is illegal but normal (including here in the Philippines).

Hobb's Leviathan suggests that the mess needed a strong gov't, but it took the NWO about 20 years to bother to do so.

One thing few Americans realize is that third world countries have only so many people who are competent, so often the only answer to the chaos caused by "popular uprisings" is chaos, and then folks prefer peace.... a dictator is take over by the same group of people who supported the same dictator. Egypt is another example of this.


Oh China is taking over their "Traditional" areas, never mind that other countries have custody of them for 50 to 500 years. Obama talks of a pivot to Asia, but the only result is that no one trusts him. The Philippines is too weak to fight, so expect more takeovers of our traditional fishing grounds.

The USMarine who killed one of our boy girl prostitutes is not going to help matters here.

And the real danger is that Japan might not stand for it.


The fake report released by the left wing "reformers" at the bishop's conference was voted down, and the press is having a field day condemning the bishops who insist that right and wrong might apply to matters of sex.

I say it was a fake report for two reasons: One, it was long and complicated, and no one had time to write such a report during the meeting, meaning it was written beforehand to tell the bishops what they should David Warren noted: 

 a week that began in one of the dark moments for the Catholic Church — in the release of a synod Relatio profoundly evil and destructive — has ended fairly well. The response to it from the bishops assembled in the working groups of the synod has been stellar. They have made clear to the world, or at least, that part of the world paying attention, that it was a false and lying document, intentionally misrepresenting what they had been discussing inside.
since the "deliberations" were secret, they thought they could get away with pretending that bishops agree with them, until a few stubborn "men with chests" decided to " stand athwart history, yelling Stop,"
again, David Warren:

The Australian, Cardinal Pell — whose “dayjob” is currently cleaning up corruption and incompetence in the Curia — made the initial stand, leading the overwhelming majority of bishops to demand the publication of internal proceedings which the pope’s own agents were trying to suppress. I was immensely cheered, once again, by the courage and clarity of such men as Cardinals Mueller and Burke. Cardinal Napier of South Africa showed in both his clarity and his instinctive statesmanship a wonderful example of what a Prince of the Church should be. And in the “hard lines” drawn by bishops from across Africa and Asia, we could see the future of our Church: that she can indeed recover from the filth and squalour into which she has been led by compromised and compromising Western bishops
all of which brings to mind this quote:
  • 'How shall a man judge what to do in such times?' 
    'As he ever has judged,' said Aragorn.
     'Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves, and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.'

Damn Aussies and Africans and rural hicks....

Well, anyway, the final report is actually much better.

But the press is disappointed but has replaced the old meme ("compassionate church") with the new meme ("divided church").

Oh well.

nothing new here, as St. Athanasius could tell you.

Don't expect any report with Wuerl's name on it to actually recognize some things are sinful. We saw how he nicely overlooked sin when he was in Pittsburgh...and Dolan and the new Chicago guy will go along with the "niceness" agenda because they want to be seen as nice guys.

Who could spoil their fun? Hint.

Damn Potawanamis....


update FatherL blasts bad reporting and the usually pessimistic MarkMallet is upbeat. and posts the entire post meeting speech of the Pope...bookmarked for later reading.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Gladiator for a day

A good article on the Roman ruins in Trier, which includes this factoid:

Resident gladiator Jan Krueger steps into antiquity each week from May to October at Trier’s Roman Amphitheater. Wearing loincloth and sandals, he leads testosterone-fueled classes for men wanting to learn firsthand about the physical stamina needed by Roman gladiators — those showmen who participated in life-and-death dramas in front of emperors and an audience of thousands....His classes range from Gladiator for a Day sessions costing $200 to a $4,000 personalized “Extreme Gladiator” program (with hotels and dinners) lasting three grueling days, starting with blunted replicas before the real weapons come out.