Friday, August 28, 2015

disease of the week

Teenaged mutant ninja lice

just joking about the ninja part.

Guess we'll have to go back to nitpicking...

Discussing war, economics and how to chose the proper sized neck tie

The War college has lots of lectures giving lectures on the background of today's world headlines, and also history (which is why I check them out).

But today's lecture is on Dress for Sucess.


Why is Shiva at CERN?

Why does CERN have a statue of Shiva in front of their lab?

some anwers here

a "Symbol" of the cosmic dance.

the CERN explanation HERE:

The statue is a gift from India, celebrating CERN's long association with India which started in the 1960's and continues strongly today. It was unveiled by the Director General, Dr Robert Aymar, His Excellency Mr K. M. Chandrasekhar, Ambassador (WTO-Geneva) and Dr Anil Kakodkar, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Dept of Atomic Energy, India.In the Hindu religion, this form of the dancing Lord Shiva is known as the Nataraj and symbolises Shakti, or life force. As a plaque alongside the statue explains, the belief is that Lord Shiva danced the Universe into existence, motivates it, and will eventually extinguish it. Carl Sagan drew the metaphor between the cosmic dance of the Nataraj and the modern study of the 'cosmic dance' of subatomic particles.



Yes, but it is also a god worshipped by millions. and not necessarily a "good" god, but one who destroys. (destruction is good because creation follows destruction).

When the ABomb went off, one physicist quote Shiva: I am death destroyer of worlds. So there is a long history of this.

They are saying it is that CERN put it there because of their links to India: But India is not exclusively Hindu, you know. It is the country with the second highest Muslim population.

So why is CERN singling out Indian scientists? What? no Jewish/Christian/Muslims working at CERN? No European atheists? No Russian Orthodox Christians? No Jews there? No Chinese Buddhists?

So why Shiva, and not a reclining Buddha or an icon of Michael the archangel?

And the "Dance" implies circular history: western philosophy is based on the idea of the myth of progress. The dance implies reality is illusion, western philosophy implies reality is real.

Family news

We went to Manila yesterday.

I had doctor's appointment. We have ordinary doctors here but for specialty care you go to Manila, where the medical care is US level.

We then went shopping. I tried on clothing but gave up, since most of the clothing is for H shaped women and I am shaped like a pear, so even if I find the right size it doesn't drape right. Guess I'll stick to used clothing from the US.

It's a four hour drive.

Joy and Ruby went back today for Ruby's homeschool programs again. They would have stayed overnight but I wanted to come back, so a lot of driving etc. for them.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

film stuff


How to kill (or save) a Martian



and yes, this technology is available now

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The Hobbit 3 movie extended edition is being anticipated by a lot of fans, because despite too many action scenes that slowed down the plot there was a lot left out, such as the actual battle with Dain, Beorn and the Eagles, and a lot of the people oriented scenes to flesh out the plot, such as Bard being elected leader of Dale and Thorin's funeral.

well, now we hear the extended edition will be R rated.
Heh. Unless they include an R rated scene between Tauriel and Kili, I suspect this means more bloody fighting scenes.

(update: One comment notes that maybe they will include more comments by Dain... Dain's language is not PC, to say the least, but went over the head of Yanks.).

Sigh.

I love the trilogy, but you know, the fan "Bilbo only" version that is closer to the book is actually better in some ways.

-----------------------------

Every genocide has a silver lining

So the Middle East conflicts may be killing thousand and displacing a couple million people but hey, there is less air pollution says the LATIMES.

The cleaner air is the result of “international boycotts, armed conflict and related mass migration of people,” said study leader Jos Lelieveld, director of the atmospheric chemistry department at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany. “The changes are so large that they can be seen from space.”
-----------------

and it's not just war that will clean up the air. One major source of pollution is Chinese industry.

With the economic slowdown in China, expect this industrial pollution to get better.

Of course, an economic collapse may hurt a lot of folks, and not just in China, and even lead to civil insurrections, but hey, the air will be cleaner...

The Banality of Evil

"The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid 'dens of crime' that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered… in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern.” — C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
(headsup Insightscoop)

The phrase "Banality of evil" is usually misunderstood as saying evil deeds such as genocide are banal and not evil.

But Hannah Arendt was talking about the phenomena of plain, ordinary folk discussing doing evil deeds coldly and routinely, as if it was just a normal ordinary thing.

Discussing murder over lunch as if it were nothing.

As in the Wannsee Conference.

or the Planned Parenthood videos of selling dead baby parts.

Me, I wonder: Since these are late term abortions, why were the abortions done? If for fetal abnormalities, the tissue would be useless, since often DNA etc. is bad.

If for social reasons, then I suspect a lot of them were done on minority teenagers, and one doubts they were asked to donate the parts, because the information that they would be killing a baby that looks like a baby would horrify them...

Often teenagers blank out that they are pregnant, (which is why they get late term abortion instead of the simpler first trimester abortions). They then blank out that it looks like a baby. They just want the problem to go away...

which is why we see teenagers, even in today's world, who come in the office or emergency room in labor and insist they couldn't be pregnant...

and of course, to deliver baby parts that can be used for scientific research, it often means doing a more dangerous method of delivery for the mom, or risking the "complication" of a live birth...but no one is discussing this either.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

sometimes it speaks to somebody's heart

IO9 has an article complaining about the attempted hostile take over of sci fi award the Hugo.

Sarah Hoyt has a lot of articles (her latest) about how she and others got disgusted at the PC takeover of sci fi and attempted to stop the takeover by a small group of experts aka SJW.

The short version of my comments is:
Sad Puppies which is a loosely connected (we’re not organized) group of fans (some of us are writers, but fans first) suspected that a small clique (whether motivated by power or politics, we don’t care) held sway over the Hugos.  This was in part because so few people voted in the award.  So we set out to increase the voter pool and we called attention to supporting/voting memberships and a group of people we thought were deserving of the award. The reaction from the clique was one of fury and name calling.  (For details look herehttp://accordingtohoyt.com/2015/08/12/the-goat-kicks-back/.) 
and Instapundit links to this article about the kerfuffle.

so Hoyt said they tried to increase the voters who decided what to award, and got kicked out and screamed at in all sorts of mainstream journals and called names.

I stopped reading sci fi years ago because it got too nihilistic. (I gave up Game of Thrones after ten minutes on HBO).
So I am not making judgements in this matter.

But one little item in the IO9 article made me sit up and notice:

Based on the newly released statistics, Brandon Kempner of Chaos Horizon has a good analysis of the Hugo vote, (as does Nicholas Whyte in From the Heart Of Europe)—they estimate that the Rabid Puppies bloc was composed of 550-525 voters, while the Sad Puppies bloc made up 500-400 voters: around 20% of the 5,950 total voters. 

5900 votes total.

In other words, this is about a tiny number of people, not about ordinary fans.

And these 5900 voters can have a huge impact on sales (especially to libraries) and a person's career and his ability to write for a living.

So who decides who votes? If I have it right, it seems if you join the organization you can vote.

In other words, a self selected group. And easy to manipulate by anyone: which is the accusation of both the sad/rabid puppies who object to the coterie who runs the award program, and those who object to outsiders trying to change thing.

For example, BoingBoing dismisses them by saying that the various puppies (i.e. dissadents to the mainstream types who run the Hugo awards) are only one third of those who voted, so why worry about them?

Translation: Ignore them and they will go away.

Alternate translation: Geeks have other interest and are harder to mobilize to stop the SJW who can spread two minute hate message to millions on Facebook before anyone bothers to check the truth.

So the mainstream response is to keep them out. Change the rules.

Again, from BoingBOing:


At today's Worldcon business meeting, members of the Worldcon will consider a significant rule-change for Hugo nominations and voting, co-designed by Bruce Schneier, crafted to make the Hugo nomination system harder for small groups to sweep through slates. Update: It passed. It will need to be ratified at next year's Worldcon business meeting to take effect.
so all we need is for geeks to go to the meeting and vote against it, right?

Except

In other news: Helsinki was selected as the site for Worldcon 2017.
Helsinki? Why not Ulan Bator?
-------------------------


well, anyway: the fight reminds me of how political correctness types slowly take over institutions.

The political enthusiasts with an agenda join a group (or some people for various reasons are converted while members).
Because they are politically active in the organization (while the rest of us have a life to lead) they end up in leadership positions.

They then make a lot of decisions (putting out opinion statements in the name of the organization, as if the membership agreed with them, deciding who writes in the publications read by the members,  deciding who to give awards or who needs to give talks to their membership meetings).

As a result, a lot of people quietly vote with their feet and leave the organization.
Others just stay for other benefits while ignoring the politics. (e.g. professional organizations like the AMA)
Still others are too busy to even notice what is going on.

Voila, the elites take over of cultural institutions and use them to push a larger agenda, as if the members agree with them.

As I said: The AAFP members opposed Obamacare, but it didn't stop the bureaucrat from pushing it in congress, even to the effect that he was there when the bill was signed. A similar ploy was done by the nun in charge of the Catholic health organization. Agenda before representing the interests of your members.

So how can you oppose those in power?

Well, When the elites start the takeover, if you point out they are a minority, and they should not push their agenda on the rest of us, they object we are wrong and insist they are on the side of the future, so resistance is futile.

When dissadents wake up and realize what is going on, and try to stop them, the dissadents are stopped, called names, ignored or otherwise ostracized.

This is true be it the AMA and the AAFP or the politically correct nuns of the catholic health organization, but it is also true in the US Catholic Bishop's Conference's various committees. Heck, it is true even in the Vatican, (as shown when a report changing Catholic dogma was released, never mind that no one had voted on this).

One also see it in the the "Leadership" conference of Catholic new age nuns (who support policies against traditional life, i.e. no prayer, no community, no poverty, and do your own thing,policies that drove out most of the Catholic sisters, which is why there are so few left). And I suspect it is true in many of the mainline churches.

These are the groups that I am familiar with.

You could probably think of quite a few others.

Yet a small group that stays committed to truth can keep the faith alive, and it springs up in the most unlikely places.

If the Catholic church in the US stays christian, it might be because a crippled Italian American cloistered nun in Alabama was invited to give talks on a small local Christian radio station, and decided to spread the gospel via the media.
The rest is history. And yes, we get EWTN here in the Philippines.

The Little Sisters of the Poor noticed the takeover of the sister's organization, and started their own group to represent Catholic nuns in the USA. They rarely get noticed in the MSM, but they tend to be younger and more traditional. Another 20 years and you might just see nuns wearing veils again.

In the AMA etc. the bad news is that there are yet splinter groups for dissdents: This bodes ill for you, because the newly trained doctors are being taught to obey the flowcharts of the bureaucrats rather than to actually take care of you. Which is why alternative medicine is thriving.

As for the media: There are now alternatives.

The internet allowed Andy Weir's book The Martian to be read by thousands of fans: started as a serial on the internet, published on line, and then self published on Amazon, and only later did someone bother in a publishing house to read it. It is now a paperback bestseller and now a movie.

and a side effect of the book?

it may save NASA.

self publishing music and art and writing on line will spread to others with a love of art and music that will not pass through the gatekeepers because it is not what the public wants (or rather what those in charge of the culture thinks the public wants)

In literature, the Tolkien phenomena is a good example of how the disdain of the politically correct could not stop a book that spoke to people's hearts.

So take heart, puppies and non puppies. If the story comes from your heart (and not from talking points to please the powerful) your story/music/art will reach those who want to hear or view it.

the phrase "spoke to somebody's heart" comes from Alan Sherman in this witty album, from the Boston Pops, about censorship of artists.  Watch/listen to the whole thing.






Argo to the rescue

No, not Jason's boat or the CIA in the movies: the corn starch brand that can be found on your grocer's shelf.

SciTechDaily reports that Scientists noticed that using Argo starch with water makes a thick glob that has interesting scientific properties.


. Fill a pool with this liquid and then run on it. Keep running, and you might as well be on a hard floor. Stop running, though, and you sink right in. Cornstarch Could Lead To Better Protective Gear “Think about what it says about the material,” says Brown, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science. “It’s very good about responding to impacts. If we can figure out the properties of this material, he said, we can figure out how to use it for making helmets, bulletproof vests and sports padding. 
Argo cornstarch is the best known brand of cornstarch, and is known to those of us who used to cook in the good old days before microwave ovens.

bake or broil or fry meat, add a tablespoon or two to the thickenings in the pan, add water and viola: nice thick gravy.

Add too much (as did my clueless roommate whose mom didn't teach her to cook) and voila: Glue.

You also could use corn starch to starch your clothes.

Remember when natural fabrics were limp and you had to starc your collars and shirts to keep them nice looking? It took starch and ironing to do that, and God bless the folks who invented spray on starch, and later who invented whatever it is that keeps fabrics nice nowadays (I'm sure it is a terrible chemical, but what the hey, greens haven't noticed yet).

so if you want to do it the good old fashioned way, here are instructions on how to mix it. Then you dip your clothes into it or sprinkle it on before you iron.

the history of Argo starch here.



more ways to use corn starch HERE.

And HERE.
Yes, cornstarch is an alternative to the more expensive talcum powder for diapers etc.

and then there is the phenomenum of eating starch right from the box.

we docs used to see Black women, usually pregnant, with severe iron deficiency anemia, and they would report that they had a craving for eating starch.

JAMA article here. 


Why starch? In Africa, they eat clay (i.e. from the ground).
and the habit came to the US when the people were brought here as slaves. But cornstarch had a similar consistency so women switched over to the cheaper stuff.

 According to the few doctors who have studied the subject, the craving for laundry starch is an offshoot of the clay-eating habit still prevalent among some Southern Negroes. Those who migrate North sometimes receive packages of clay (known as "Mississippi Mud" in Los Angeles) mailed by friends back home, but most switch to laundry starch, which is easier to obtain and apparently satisfies the same hunger.

So why eat clay?

Well, people with anemia get cravings to eat stuff. My white patients often ate ice (or carrots) and when they told me of this craving, invariably they were anemic and the cravings disappeared when you gave them iron tablets.

but why eat clay?

Also, clay helps calm a jittery stomach/intestine (you eat it with Kaopectate, which has kaolin, i.e. clay, along with pectin, found in apples, to calm your diarrhea).

Clay assuages hunger of course (think of it as the snack food you munch on: sort of a low cal potato chip).

And one wonders if clay is a self treatment for the hookworms that cause so much anemia in tropical countries.

Eating clay is different from eating dirt, which is more dangerous and usually found in kids or psychiatric patients. Dirt has a lot of germs and chemicals and parasite eggs; the clay is subsurface and cleaner.

My sons (Colombian born) were the ones who taught me how to find and identify clay when we were on a nature outing, they went to a river bank and dug to find clay, which they took home to make into pots, which they baked in the oven.

.

UKMAIL article is an easier read about the practice, and an old NYT article can be found here.
an essay on the CDC also discusses the practice LINK

So Argo starch is a modern alternative to an old cultural practice.

Business tip: if you market clay as a magic cleanser and charge a bundle for it, you too can sell it to Hollywood celebrities and get rich.

and if you don't have a river bank nearby, anecdotal stories suggest marketing Argo starch as a weight loss alternative might work.

(Yes, I am joking.)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tolkien lectures on line

Several lectures on fantasy literature, including several on Tolkien, are now at youtube. Listen before the copyright cops find them.






and Wheaton college has several speakers about Lewis and Tolkien on line as mp3's although some (especially on Lewis) tend to be theological.





The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is the next of NASA's Great Observatories; following in the line of the Hubble Space Telescope, the Compton Gamma-ray Observatory, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Space Telescope. JWST combines qualities of two of its predecessors, observing in infrared light, like Spitzer, with fine resolution, like Hubble.
The telescope has a 6.5 meter mirror composed of 18 hexagonal segments in a honeycomb pattern. Protecting the sensitive research instruments is a large sunsheild about the size of a tennis court. Further protection comes from the observatory's remote location in a place called the second LaGrange point (L2). Orbiting the Sun at L2, JWST will be about a million miles from Earth (roughly four times more distant than the Moon) and will always have Earth and the Sun in the same direction.
This animation, designed as an homage to a shot from "2001: A Space Odyssey", flies by and circles around a model of JWST at L2. The opening of the sequence illustrates the L2 location, showing the Moon in the foreground, Earth in the mid-ground, and the Sun in the background.

headsup Gizmodo 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

quote of the day

Guess I'm not the only one who can still quote the Baltimore Catechism.

From CBS:

He's just grateful to be alive. "That act, that impulse to be grateful, wants an object. That object I call God. Now, that could be many things. I was raised in a Catholic tradition. I'll start there. That's my context for my existence, is that I am here to know God, love God, serve God, that we might be happy with each other in this world and with Him in the next -- the catechism. That makes a lot of sense to me. I got that from my mom. And my dad. And my siblings." 
Read More at: http://www.local12.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/7-things-you-need-to-know-about-Stephen-Colbert-before-his-quot-Late-Show-quot-debut-188875.shtml

an article on Colbert's family tragedies here.

the "WAGD" Headine of the day: A new Korean war?

I've been out of the loop for news for a few days due to stomach flu, but today's Manila Bulletin headline says the gov't here is getting ready just in case we have to evacuate our 50 thousand citizens from Korea.

apparently they think loud speakers booming anti North Korea messages over the border are an act of war, so they are planning to bomb them.

The AlJazeerah take is here. They note the military buildup but doubt it will escalate to war.

FormerSpook has a long essay from Friday on the background of the crisis.

Here in the Philippines, we can guage how dangerous a crisis is by the number of folks coming back, and so far none have arrived from Korea. But since we lack ships, when there are too many to evacuate by air, we have had to rely on other countries to get them out of the war zones.

Forget Jack the Ripper: Dr Cream did it better

An article on the use of strychnine at English Historical Fiction Blog.

in small doses it was used in tonics, but larger doses lead to a terrible death

Dr Cream was the expert, using it on London girls of the night.

 Initially he administered the strychnine together with a white liquid mixture of brocine, telling his victims that the tonic would help to clear up pimpled skin and give them a healthier complexion. However, after the girls complained that the medicine was too bitter, Cream ordered a box of gelatin capsules from a local chemist in which to mask the taste of the poison and make it more palatable. Dr. Cream chose his London victims carefully; they were all streetwalkers living within the Lambeth area, a place that Cream knew well should he need to flee to his lodging house or lose the trail of ensuing police officers.

he told the hangman that he was Jack the Ripper but few believe that. Modus operandi was different, the time line doesn't fit, and he had a good alibi: He was in jail.

(the Ripper murders were done in 1888-1889, with one possible copy cat murder in 1891)

a more detailed story of Cream's deeds here. Heh. He was jailed for attempted murder of a girlfriend's hubbie in Chicago but was released after bribing someone there, in 1891.

Strychnine is not a chemical but comes from a tree.

more here at the PoisonGarden website.

It kills you by making you convulse. A nasty way to go, even if you are a rat.

and this FYI from the Aussie Bush tucker site:

The fruit and bark of the tree were mashed up to use as a body wash to help cure general illness.  It was also used tossed into small pools of water to stun the fish which soon floated and were caught by hand before being cooked and eaten.






Cars, Amazon, and TEOTWAWKI

David Warren has an essay musing on cars, and the driverless cars and trucks that now are threatening to take over North America.

It's nice for him to say that cars aren't needed, but we didn't have a car when I was young, so my mom had milk and bread delivered, bought veggies from the farmer who came around in season, her detergent from the Amway dealer, and for the rest of the stuff walked six blocks to the nearest large grocery store, using my brother's red wagon to carry the bags home.

Nowadays, it's worse, of course: In the slums, people take a taxi to Walmart superstore to shop once a week, and the reason Walmart got rich is that it provided the same service to rural folks: One stop shopping for busy moms...

of course, it meant the smaller local shops went broke. I did use the local shops but even though we had a small grocery in town, I did the same.

And I ran across an essay pointing out that Amazon's quick delivery service might destroy the Walmarts too. Right now someone posted an article criticizing Amazon for making it's employees work too hard.

But another article at FirstThingsBlog pointed out that anything that made it easier for overworked moms and dads was a blessing, and should be encouraged.

Perhaps the most under-appreciated difference is Amazon's remarkable commitment to serving families.The scarcest resource for any growing family is time, and in 2010, Bezos introduced Amazon Mom (Amazon Family outside the USA), a popular complimentary version of the company's two-day delivery membership offered to expectant and new parents. Shortly thereafter, Amazon acquired Quidsi Inc., parent of Diapers.com, for $550 million. The company's Kindle devices have powerful parental controls to restrict or limit children's access to media. A series of recent projects explores new ways to serve families including the Dash pantry reordering system; AmazonFresh for groceries; Prime Now one-hour delivery; and Amazon Echo, a voice activated virtual assistant for the home.


So overnight service to deliver diapers instead of going 30 minutes to Walmart or paying a high price at the local store (if there is any nearby).

But of course, this quick delivery might not work if you live in Frostbite Falls Minnesota, where I first was recommended Amazon by a fellow doc. I found not only could I find books not available at Barnes and Noble, but often I could buy them used.

Ah, but the ebook revolution is here, so the used book kiosk has now disappeared from our mall. Luckily most of what I read is available at Scribd, so no problem. And of course I brought 200 books with me here (alas, the cheap MBag to ship books is no more, so it costs too much to bring over the rest).

There is even talk to give the kids tablets here, so they don't have to use rolling luggage bags to tote books to and from school.

So what's the problem? Aside from brownouts due to typhoons, floods, earthquakes or just interrupted service because the hydro electric dam level is low?

David Warren's musings end with a sardonic note about the "Carrington Event" which could end civilization in our time: No cars, no food, no people. Ah, the wonderfulness of a depopulated world (/s)(sarcasm off).

Luckily my husband, who lived through the depression and the Japanese occupation, assured me that if I came to live with him in the rural Philippines, at least I would always have rice to eat.

Back to the future, anyone?





Do Gooders at risk (or Polio bye bye)

when I worked in a rural hospital in a small wartorn African country, the year I left the violence exploded and at least 30 fellow missionaries were killed or injured by various groups. I was sent home after a gang invaded a mission, rounded up all the sisters and priests, and took them out and shot them. One priest fainted and survived. Another elderly nun was "overlooked" by a young insurgent (who told her to keep quiet) and who risked his life by saying no one was in the small room, that it was a storage room.

And this doesn't include those who hit landmines or simply "disappeared".

No, not Islamic terrorism: The "insurgents" were communist, and funded by the World Council of (leftist Christian) churches. You know, the group who loved insurgents but couldn't manage to notice the persecution of Christians behind the (then) Iron Curtain (or the thousands killed in China for that matter due to the Red Guard uprising at that time).

So nothing has changed: Politically correct terrorists can't be named...

But at least we didn't face being kidnapped...now Obama has made it clear we are fair game for anyone who needs money (and I say we, because here in the Philippines, foreigners, Chinoys, businessmen, and passing poor people are all sources of money for various insurgent groups, including the NPA and the Muslim group spin offs who need money to make bombs.

Why do I point out Obama? Because he said it's okay to pay ransom. That means we are fair game, like the Italians, who pay huge ransoms. True, families do it anyway, but irregular ransoms are smaller than ones raised with official okays: and more importantly, it means that if we are kidnapped, the bad guys don't have to worry about the Philippine special forces raiding the place...

So what brought this up?

StrategyPage notes that over 300 do gooders were killed last year. It's not clear that this included locals or just outsiders who are there to help.

August 22, 2015:  It continues to get more dangerous for foreign aid workers, especially in places like Afghanistan and Syria. Afghanistan has long been the most dangerous place for aid workers and 2014 was one of the worst years. Worldwide 329 foreign aid workers were attacked. Some 36 percent were killed (sometimes after being kidnapped) and 37 percent were kidnapped and, for most of them, later released. Most of the violence is related to local gunmen (bandits, rebels, Islamic terrorists or warlord militias) seeking to obtain aid supplies or cash from the aid organization. It’s the old extortion racket and if the victims don’t cooperate there is often retaliation.

Not all are "westerners":  A lot of Pinoys do that kind of work for NGO's: hey, it's a job, and the Catholic culture blesses such work (the same reason for so many Catholic nurses and firemen or Jewish doctors in the US: it's a mitzvah).

But the do gooders do help locals, despite the fact that some d who are PC love to point out their flaws or sins.

Are you aware that Africa is "polio free" for one year?

The BBC corrects the headline saying that there have been no "wild" cases there, because the dirty little secret of the oral polio vaccine is that a tiny percentage of the (live, weakened) polio virus giving in the vaccine mutate to the real thing, and if vulnerable unvaccinated folks (elderly, religious refusers, Hollywood anti vaccine activist types) are around, they can catch it from the kid. This was actually a problem when the mullahs stopped the vaccine: too many unvaccinated kids allowed a small epidemic of the vaccine related polio. (in places like the USA, "herd immunity" kept the disease from spreading, since enough were immune not to catch or spread it).

The way to stop the mutated virus from causing problems is to use a "dead" vaccine: i.e. the old Salk vaccine (AKA IPV) of the 1950's. 

Polio eradication this week:
  • This week, Pakistan will become the second polio-endemic country to introduce the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) into its routine immunization system. More than half the global birth cohort is now receiving at least one dose of IPV through routine immunization systems as a result of the biggest globally synchronized vaccine introduction in history. Read more on the status of IPV introductions.
- See more at: http://www.polioeradication.org/#sthash.ukJKnz3O.dpuf

But untrained people can give the sugar cube, but it takes training and a lot of syringes to give thousands of shots.

So now, the idea is to add one shot to give partial immunity and then give the weakened live virus on the sugar cube.

the disease is being eradicated even in places where the Mullahs have opposed it and the Islamic terrorists have killed people who were giving it out.

However, the mullahs aren't the only ignorant ones: as the BBC report reminds us, the Catholic bishops in Kenya opposed the vaccine too, because it was made from aborted fetuses or were unsafe or something.

Yeah, some very strict far right Catholic sites are aboard the green anti vaccine agenda for various reasons, (the latest is that some versions of various vaccines are grown on stem cells developed from fetuses aborted years ago) and the Bishops picked up the urban legend from them that the vaccine contained estrogen (previous urban legends were that pregnant women were given tetanus vaccine to make them miscarry, not to stop neonatal tetanus, alas a common problem, and of course, measles vaccine causes sterilization is another urban legend).

Luckily, no one listens to the bishops, even in Africa, when they talk outside their area of expertise (heck, they don't listen to them when they DO talk in their area of expertise: most Catholic women use birth control, and of course, our pious Catholic politicians here in the Philippines accept bribes and kill their rivals along with the rest of them). (I should note that liberal reporters fail to notice this when they laud Francis' green agenda as if ordinary Catholics will say yes sir and obey him: His opinion here is just that, an opinion. He is only "infallible" about faith and morals, not science or politics).

well, anyway, the website for the Polio eradication initiative says that Pakistan is now polio free too. Alas it takes a couple of years to make sure, since it can easily be imported and new epidemics can occur.

The Taliban and the Nigerian Boko's killed quite a few giving out the vaccine, but the people don't want crippled children so it is being done anyway. The vaccines are being given out even in war torn Somalia and Yemen.

So where are all the stories about brave Muslim health care workers risking death to save the lives of these children? Anyone? ANYONE?

Funding via the UN, WHO, the Rotary clubs, the Saudis and others. LINK and PDFREPORT.

Yeah, blame Bill Gates who provided one third of the money.



Saturday, August 22, 2015

Gift item of the day

 so how do you text while holding an umbrella?






via Presurfer

Another day, another typhoon

I have been flat in bed due to a stomach flu since yesterday, but it has been raining on and off for two days. Right now the rain is heavy.

Yup, another typhoon. we didn't get hit by the winds (it hit north of here) but central Luzon is still at risk for flooding with this heavy rain hitting soggy soil.

I stopped the daily newspaper that Lolo would read, and I've been too sick to check these things on TV or internet.

However, the heavy rain keeps the dogs sleeping in my room instead of outside chasing cats.

Joy and Ruby are still in Manila...with the rain heavy (yellow flood alert there) I hope they are okay. Chano got home last night....he didn't stay there because I am alone here in the compound and it's not safe to let me stay here without someone else to help guard the place.

Factoids and history

GetReligion blog discusses questions, and this week a reader asks why some verses were removed from her newfangled Bible.

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I ran across the 8 bells lecture series at the Naval war college.

LINK

or this one, about an expedition up the Congo River 150 years ago

I just finished a book about journalist Stanley's expedition to find Livingstone. Maybe nature lovers need to read how life was in the good old days, when Africans were preyed upon by their neighbors, wild animals, and Arab slave traders. Of course, those regions are still in the midst of civil wars where millions have died...

So was colonialism better? Maybe, maybe not. I still have on my "to read" list about King Leopold's colonial empire that enslaved millions in the name of his empire, which Stanley was also involved in (indirectly) by exploring that area.

And it mentions Conrad's Heart of Darkness was based on that journey.

And, of course, Heart of Darkness was the book that Apocolypse now was loosely based on.

but don't read The Poisonwood Bible for your view of Africa either: I can't get through the book because she caricatures Africans, and also whites....maybe because although she had lived in Africa, she based her book on Marxist type anti colonial books she read...

I'm also slowly working my way through a book (on Scribd) about the medical epidemics of the 1800's in the Philippines, which the author blames on the Spanish for bringing Pinoys into towns etc. where disease could spread, and also blamed the population explosion for making more people available to die. Uh, the reason for the population explosion was that the high death rate in traditional villages wasn't written down or noticed by any western writer...

so was European colonialism good or bad?


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at least the queen remembers VJ Day



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Two US Marines (unarmed) take down a terrorist with an assault rifle trying to shoot passengers in a European high speed train.

headsup Instapundit.



Friday, August 21, 2015

Family news

Joy and Ruby still in Manila doing homeschool stuff

Chano left with staff to set up a tradefair.

I have the stomach flu and am home.