Thursday, August 25, 2016

Quote of the week

via Dustbury (An Okieblogger):

Baton Rouge attorney Heather Cross, in a blistering Open Letter to the media

...Not one person I watched on the national news during the weeks following Alton Sterling's death, or the murder of three police officers gave my friends, my family, my neighbors - any credit or the benefit of the doubt. Nope. The entire news media looked for someone to blame...
So where are the reporters on the flooding?
 I think you people are stone cold silent about this flood, because really, there's no agenda to push. 
There's no side to take. There's nobody to blame. So even though you don't seem in the least bit curious, here's what's been happening around here since you left.

First - as previously stated. There was a Noah's Ark Level Flood.
It affected all of us. Black, white, dog, cat, man, woman, child, transsexual.
While it was still raining, a spontaneous, private, and well-meaning navy of ordinary people assembled themselves. They were black, white, asian and otherwise. They weren't protesting anything. They got into their own boats, spent their own money, spent their own time, risked their own lives. Black people saved white people. White people saved black people. Nobody asked what color you were before knocking on your door.
These are not first responders on some list somewhere. These are a bunch of guys who like to hunt and fish and as a result own flat bottom boats and they assumed that the actual police and other first responders, not to mention their fellow citizens - could use a little help.
So they just showed up. Nobody told them to. They wanted to....
I suppose a bunch of self-sufficient folks that actually love one another, and are trying to figure things out isn't as interesting to you as casting gross stereotypes over people who live fly-over country. But we are a little bit baffled after all that unwanted attention we got a few weeks back, when we actually need you to get the word out, you are nowhere to be found.
I posted this under "Oklahoma" because in previous disasters, I saw a lot of locals do just this:  went to help.

And others organized supplies at their churches and had their youth groups take them there.

Down the Rabbit Hole indeed

I always check out Univ California talks because a lot of them are medically oriented.

But in the last week or two, they are broadcasting a lot of lectures by new age guru Chopra.

Much of it is about mindfulness.

Apparantly yoga and mindfulness can cure everything...

Uh, two problems:

This is being presented as science, but it is actually religion. Not even religion, but magical thinking that you can control disease etc by using these techniques.

Check out the start of this link.

or this one that promotes yoga "

We visit her studio to get an in-depth look at the relationship between her struggle with cancer and her art. We also follow her to the yoga studio with Eddie Stern, Yuko's yoga teacher for almost two decades, who shares his perspective on her illness and recovery, and how yoga practice contributes to
spiritual strength and perseverance.

Define "spiritual strength".

This is not one or two, but at least half a dozen lectures by Chopra. Fine.

But I suspect he will sell a lot of books from those watching these videos, meaning tax dollars at a secular institution is pushing religion as science and promoting an eastern faith, ignoring the wall between religion and state.

My problem: "Mindfullness" essentially is hypnosis. Which means that the entire "mind body" theory is essentially Mesmerism:

The method or power of gaining control over someone's personality or actions, as in hypnosis or suggestion.
now, as a doc, I am well aware of the placebo effect and the power of suggestion, not to mention the power of the mind to help one cope with illness. LINK from the Univ of MD lists lots of stuff but reading through the lines, you see it mainly helps you cope with stress... and none of the articles they list as references are double blind studies or in major journals.

But why is pushing "mindfulness" is "science", but if you push a pilgrimage to Lourdes or sending someone to a faith healer is not?

One of the problems with mindfulness/hypnosis/ deep concentration/relatxation etc. is that different people have different capacities to be hypnotized. It is not "in your mind": It is neurophysiologically wired into you. Want to find if you can be hypnotized? Look up while closing your eye and measure how much white of the eye shows.
LINK... PDF here.

You have a deep ability to use these techniques or be hypnotized if you are creative, emotional, not well organized, can roll your eyes up and show a lot of white below the iris..

 welcome sucker: because you are also prone to be persuaded easily (use my medicine and voila you are cured... and you will swear you are cured, up to the time you die.)

 and about 10 percent are very very easily hypnotized and because they are easy to persuade you can end up with a lot of error (and sometimes they will be persuaded if they think what they say will please you, without being told and even without being hypnotized/relaxed: This is where false memories can be implanted).

If you are a scientific geek, however, furgedaboutit. Think Dawkins, or Sherlock, or the guy running facebook.

And if you have emotional problems, are drunk or high, are schizophrenic, or just plain tired, it might not work too.

so how many of the studies suggesting mind body works for people are biased because they self select from the most vulnerable part of the population? I have no idea.

this NIH paper wonders the same thing.

Conventional medicine relies on methods proved to be safe and effective with carefully designed trials and research. But, many complementary and alternative treatments lack solid research on which to base sound decisions. The dangers and possible benefits of many complementary and alternative treatments remain unproved.

a lot of what is done is symptom relief or stress relief, and basic common sense medical advice all of us give to our overworked worried patients.

But you know what is the most common method used by Americans for stress control? Prayer....

People have used prayer and other spiritual practices for their own and others’ health concerns for thousands of years. Scientific investigation of these practices has begun quite recently, however, to better understand whether they work; if so, how; and for what diseases/conditions and populations. Many Americans are using prayer and other spiritual practices. Prayer is the therapy most commonly used among all the CAM therapies.
Encouraging someone to go to a Bible study, having the local prayer group pray over you, the Sacrament of the sick, Eucharistic adoration, saying the rosary, or arranging for my native American patients to have a ceremony are all ways for people to cope.

And I've recommended them all. That doesn't mean I don't use physical therapy and medicine too.

I doubt yoga will work better than a CABG for your bad heart, although if you go on a strict vegetarian diet and lose 100 pounds along with the yoga it might help. My problem? I have had only one patient in 35 years of practice who managed to do that...

So when a major university is pushing one religious practice as "scientific", well, excuse me.

And religion, which gives you the grace to cope, is not the same as a philosophy that by doing X (mindfullness or yoga) will cure the disease. That is not religion but magical thinking, which is why both Chopra and your local faith healers make me angry.

Drugs kill (the Philippine war on drugs)

The US and local press, along with all those "human rights" folks are getting their knickers in a knot because a lot of folks are taking advantage of Duterte's war on drugs to get vigilante justice against the drug pushers who killed or sold drugs to their loved ones (and destroyed their lives, or were behind their loved ones being murdered by a druggie, or resulted in their deaths by suicide or overdose or shabu related heart attack or stroke)

What is not being told: That drug gangs corrupt cops, paying them to look the other way, they corrupt politicians to look the other way or to steal public money to buy drugs, and that even before Duterte's war on dugs, that every day there were unknown victims found in the streets or fields, killed by the gangs.

From our local paper:

10 Central Luzon mayors, vice mayors in 2nd drug list
 Ten mayors and vice mayors in Central Luzon, including from Nueva Ecija, are in the second list of illegal drug protectors.
 This was confirmed by Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, Region 3 police director, during the mass oath-taking of some 1,200 surrenderees under Project Tokhang held at the Talavera High School gymnasium. ...

another story:

9 illegal drug suspects killed
A total of nine illegal drug suspects were killed in different places in the province.

4 pushers arrested

translation: nine killed, some in vigilante style but many more "resisting arrest"....but a lot more came in to repent.

Cops usually are transferred if their suspected crimes are minor: That way, it takes time to get tempted again, and they know they are being watched.

Right now low level and middle level drug pushers are being targeted, but the result is thousands of low level users (who often are minor pushers) are volunteering for rehab.

The old city hall down the street is being used for rehab as is the local military base.

so what happens when a country doesn't push back on drugs?

StrategyPage on Mexico:

A U.S. government research agency has estimated that from 2006 to the end of 2015 the Cartel War has taken 80,000 lives. A lot of the dead were innocent civilians killed in turf wars between rival cartels.
so who cares about innocent Mexican civilians killed because the government looked the other way?
One suspects eventually the civilians will eventually get mad, and one will see huge anti drug gang demonstrations and the government will be willing to fight the problem, as was done in Colombia.
But in the meanwhile, it's easier for the government to let local people escape the danger to migrate illegally to the US (and if you don't think the drug gangs are coming across the porous border, you are a fool.)

and yes, the Mexican cartels have moved into our area.

The Philippines confirmed that the Sinaloa drug cartel is operating there. Sinaloa uses the Philippines as a drug transshipment point for moving drugs to major markets in the region (China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore) plus points further east (India and the Middle East). Affluence in these areas has grown considerably since the 1990s and so has demand for recreational drugs.

and don't use that nonsense about legalizing marijuana: What happens is that the cartels change to cocaine, meth and heroin.

Here, the main drugs is shabu, (methamphetamines) not marijuana.

and most of it comes from China....smuggled in and then distributed. There are also West African cartels involved.

So why hit low level users? They aren't the ones targeted: They are being encouraged to change.

It is the mid level dealers being targeted now, and working the way up to the big guys, who often have made friends with the powerful. Which is why the Senate hearings on TV are watched, and the human rights problems are worried about, but most ordinary folks shrug and know that a lot of this is merely people who were bribed to do this, or are "useful idiots" enabling the drug/crime/corruption problem by their cluelessness.

from the Inquirer:

“Nothing is free in this life. There is always a price to pay,” Mr. Duterte said. “These human rights, you choose: Is it the comfort and safety of the population or the lives of criminals?” he asked.
The government, he said, is supposed to protect the integrity of the republic and the safety of its citizens.
He said those killed in the campaign to rid the country of illegal drugs were only a small part of the population.
And there is even no certainty that that their deaths were drug-related, he added. “We are 104 million, you give me a s..t about―how many?―1,600 being killed there,” he said. “You’re not even sure how many of them died in an encounter, how many committed suicide, how many were killed out of anger.”
Illustrating his point that illegal drugs are destructive, Mr. Duterte recalled the experience of a friend of his whose child was raped and killed. The child had been a “shabu” addict, he said. “Who would be happy with that? You work your ass to death, staking your life there, and this is what happened,” he said. Mr. Duterte also cited rave deaths and said critics “just want to complain.” 

Stories below the fold

Drudge links to an article on waking coma patients with deep brain stimulation.

I heard a discussion about this awhile back on Coast to Coast.

Factoid: One third of those diagnosed with PVS (Vegetative state) are misdiagnosed.


via Instapundit: Texas and Israel ties: the silicone Prarie meets the Silicone Wadi.
Again, note the water technology, and that Israel is now talking about exporting gas to nearby Muslim countries.

they also link to the story that someone, probably the Russians, has hacked the NSA.

Well, duh.

They hacked my federal personnel file a few years back, and you mean no one has bothered to increase computer security since then?

or is it another mole?

Security isn't exactly tight: I mean, Huma's links to the Muslim brotherhood are well known, but she still got a security clearance.

and finally: The coming persecution. Those pushing it don't see how churches benefit the community: they only see bigots.

think this is absurd? Then why is the Red Cross turning away private donations, forbidding a cop to pray with a victim?  and the government putting out guidelines to make sure help is not bigoted and insisting the "Cajun navy" receive training before they go out and save lives.

miss old fashioned romance books? Grace Livingstone Hill books now at Librivox. About as realistic as Harlequin romances, without the bodice ripping parts.


And the LATimes reports: as you get older, you get happier.

sounds familiar. Turn up speakers and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Factoid of the day

While checking out articles to write about Germs in military history on my medical blog, I ran into this factoid:

that air ambulances were first used during the Franco Prussian war to evacuate 160 casualties  during the seige of Paris using hot air baloons.

More HERE.

The earliest reported use of air transport to move trauma victims for medical treatment appears to be during the Franco-Prussian war and siege of Paris in 1870. 160 injured soldiers were moved from the battlefield to army hospitals via hot air balloons.

Flood stories

Mom Jones notes the extent of the flood in Baton Rouge.

But for some reason most of the article is whining that it wasn't as bad as Sandy or Katrina, maybe trying to justify that no one (i.e President Obama or the MSM) seemed to be concerned about it.

Of course, I am not sure about comparing it to Sandy: For one thing, the Baton Rouge flooding was due to a failure in flood control plans.

Two, since in the mid West, many folks find shelter with family and friends or pay for their own motel room, comparing the Red Cross numbers of people in shelters to those using shelters in Sandy might underestimate the true number of those made homeless.

Speaking of floods: India has a big one in Bihar. that displaced 200 thousand people, although so far the death tol, 23 is low.
There also have been monsoon related floods in China and Typhoon related flooding in Japan in recent days.

and in the news: The legendary Chinese flood 3900 years ago may have actually happened.

A Chinese myth that speaks of a flood so high "it threatens the very heavens" may be rooted in fact after all. Some 4,000 years ago, legend says, the flood tore through a large area of central China washing away cities and inundating farmland.
Enter a hero named Yu the Great, who earned his sobriquet by spending decades organizing a campaign to dig canals to channel the floodwater, supposedly passing his home three times as he traveled the region, but never setting foot inside until the job was done. Yu was so revered for these public works that he passed into legend as emperor of China's supposed first dynasty, the mythical Xia Dynasty.

hmm...maybe someone should hire someone like Yu the Great in Louisiana.

from the UPI article I cited above:

based on my experience studying risk and resilience in this region, I see parallels between the damage of current flooding and the damage caused by Katrina. In both cases, human decisions magnified the consequences of extreme natural events. Planning and permitting enabled development in areas that had experienced repeat floods, and agencies had failed to complete projects designed to mitigate flood damage before the storms hit.

Shiva and CERN

When the Atomic bomb was exploded for the first time, one scientist said in awe: "I am Shiva, destroyerr of worlds".

So when the statue of Shiva was erected in front of CERN, it made me wonder why. The "official" story was that it was a gift of India, to honor the Indian scientists who worked there.

But were they using Shiva as a secular symbol, i.e. as a destroyer or worlds, or Shiva, the symbol of the dance of the universe? Since there are a million Hindus in the world, one suspects at least a few of them would consider this a holy statue of an actual deity, making one wonder why Shiva and not a Christian religious symbol was erected.

But in secular Europe, who knows.

So the latest is that a bunch of guys conducted and had themselves filmed making a fake human sacrifice in front of the statue to put it on youtube.

Were they outsiders? if so, it means a huge breach of security.

or was it a joke, as the spokesperson in CERN insists.

if so, as IndiaToday notes:

Staged or not, work of fiction or not, such a ritual being conducted at a place that is considered to be driven only by science, is spine-chilling to say the least.  

Is anyone in India upset at this blasphemy against one of the gods?

Of course, it's not much better in the US: It says a lot that you can hold a black mass that ridicules the beliefs of two billion Christians, and desecrate a statue of Mary, a woman beloved of three major world religions (Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Islam)  in the US, and when you object, be told it is legal. So locals could only protest with a prayer meeting....

and now they are essentially holding the equivalent of a black mass in front of Shiva. What, no protests? There are a billion Hindus in today' world. How dare they mock their beliefs.

One wishes the secular authorities would take these things seriously.

On a secular level, all these things are hate speech against those who believe.

Ah, but if there is a supernatural aspect of life, then this goes beyond ridicule: even if it is a "joke" or a "publicity stunt", it is still essentially welcoming the diabolic into one's life.

I would get someone to exorcize the whole place, but never mind.

at least, they should hold mandatory sessions against hate speech for their employees.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Philippine news

the big news in the Philippines was the hearing on TV complaining about the innocents killed in the drug war.

Typical story in LATimes 

notes that most of the killings were by the public, who figured they could get away with private revenge that they couldn't get with the slow and corrupt court system

and the sob story doesn't hold water:

Rivera says he never did drugs. She heard later from a local official that police had raided the subdivision seeking a suspected drug dealer. Belmonte was inside with six other people; police arrested four of them and shot three. Yet she still does not know what he was doing in the building, why he was shot, and specifically who shot him.
if you bother to read between the lines of the sob story, this was a raid on a drug den. Why was he there in the middle of the night when he was supposed to be driving a tricycle/taxi?

 One suspects he was picking up drugs to sell, or was a courier for them. And the cops didn't shoot everyone, so maybe they shot the ones who tried to flee or tried to fight back?

locals know these things, which is why Duterte is still very popular, despite the shouts of the UN, US, Catholic church, "human rights organizations" etc.

You know: The type that didn't give a damn about corrupt politicians and others who killed and then never got to court, because either they bribed their way out of it, or they terrorized the witnesses.

So the ex mayor behind our nephew's killing (a bystander when he tried to shoot his political rival) was not indicted for years because rumors said he took city money to bribe the one supposed to indict him, and when he was indicted, he "disappeared", only to be found a couple years later getting dialysis in a clinic in the Manila region. When he died, he had a full Catholic funeral, complete with the KofC honor guard.

And even though our nephew was a US Citizen, we got no help from the embassy, who advised us not to file a case but let the politician's family file one for his two dead sons. WTF? Murder is only prosecuted if you complain? How convenient.

And what about another FilAm USNavy veteran who was killed in a robbery awhile back? Nope, no problem.

Remember the Maguindanao massacre that killed 58 people, many of them journalists?

CNN Nov 2015 report:

Maguindanao massacre: 2,192 days, 0 convictions

Since the massacre happened, there have been four chiefs of the Department of Justice — Agnes Devanadera, Alberto Agra, Leila de Lima, and now Benjamin Caguiao. Meanwhile, seven prosecution witnesses have been killed. And last July 17, Andal Ampatuan Sr. died of liver cancer, leaving his son, Andal Jr., as the sole principal accused. It has been 2,149 days to since the trial started. With the trial still ongoing, there have been zero convictions.

Lots of links at the PCIJ website.

You can see why ordinary folks back Duterte.

of course one waits for the big shots to get indicted.

They are the real problem.


Big news hidden below the fold

The US has sat back and let China build islands on shoals, destroying the ecosystem of the West Philippine sea.

So now they are threatening to go to war with Japan if Japan dares to travel in this area, even though an international court recently confirmed the area as international waters

This is an important sea lane for shipping to Japan.

China is also trying to push Japan from their islands in the East China sea...

China can get away with this because Japan has no military and no nukes, as per their American written constitution after WWII.... however, they do have a small civil defense force, but this could change if China attacks them and the US continues to sit back and watch.


My medical blog has a partial analysis of a CDC survey of 17 states analyzing deaths from violence ... partial beceause I sort of got distracted before I was done.


The majority (66.2%) of deaths were suicides, followed by homicides (23.2%), deaths of undetermined intent (8.8%), deaths involving legal intervention (1.2%) (i.e., deaths caused by law enforcement and other persons with legal authority to use deadly force, excluding legal executions), and unintentional firearm deaths 

suicides most common in young and old white men and homicides more common in non white non Hispanic men....

and despite the BLM kerfuffle, only 1.2 percent of violent deaths involve "legal intervention".


the Iranian diaspora is allowed so that the educated don't start a revolution? StrategyPage

the current Iranian government is kept in power largely because of the many religious fanatics willing to die to protect religious rule. China and Russia are not officially denounced by the Iranian government (as the U.S., Israel and West are) but China and Russia are not seen, by most Moslems, as friends of Islam.
In short, Iran is a dangerous and unpredictable business partner and shows no signs of trying to change that.
A lot of Iranians agree, which is one reason Iran allows so many well educated Iranians to emigrate.That simply reduces the number of potential (and more able) rebels.


disease of the week:

BBC: Bagpipe Lung Warning for wind Musicians

From inhaling mold growing inside the bag. And other wind instruments could also cause problems.

via DavidReneke:

Dinosaur not wiped out by asteroid. It was the smoke that done them in:

According to the new hypothesis, when the asteroid struck the oil-rich area of Chicxulub in the Yucat√°n Peninsula, Mexico, a significant amount of soot was released and spread globally, causing a long period of darkness. This then caused “colder climates at mid-high latitudes, and drought with milder cooling at low latitudes on land … in turn led to the cessation of photosynthesis in oceans in the first two years, followed by surface-water cooling in oceans in subsequent years”, Kaiho’s team reported.


The Kitty litter that almost blew up New Mexico

Is it me, or didn't this major nuclear accident in a nuclear waste dump get little publicity?

Today, Drudge has a link to the cost of clean up. LATimes article: a drum inside blew up and contaminated the storage area and 24 employees. It was near Carlsbad this time.

Is it me, or are the feds trying to destroy New Mexico? When I lived there in the early 2000's, there were major fires started by the feds (to burn off dead wood and brush) that burnt parts of LosAlamos and of course, last year there was a major mine waste pond that was drained down the rivers in the north: last week I read the Navajos are tired of the coverup and are suing.

What is interesting about this article is not the explosion and coverup, or that it will cost two billion dollars to clean up the mess: It is that an attempt to make the storage eco friendly that was behind the accident.

It had operated problem-free for 15 years and was touted by the Energy Department as a major success until the explosion, which involved a drum of of plutonium and americium waste that had been packaged at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. 
The problem was traced to material — actual kitty litter — used to blot up liquids in sealed drums. Lab officials had decided to substitute an organic material for a mineral one. But the new material caused a complex chemical reaction that blew the lid off a drum, sending mounds of white, radioactive foam into the air and contaminating 35% of the underground area.

more at this government webpage: includes lots of diagrams and notes two accidents that February: a truck fire and the waster barrel explosion.
yes, a small amount was released into the air.

the report has several PDF files: This one page 17 (actually page 27) notes adding the organic material made it capable of burning.

No, I didn't read the entire 394 page report to see if regular or clump kitty litter was the problem.

Most cat litter is made or clay or silica, but more "eco friendly" types use plant based materials

The composition of cat litter depends on whether it is clay-based or clumping. Clay-based cat litter is made of an absorbent, granulated clay, while clumping or scoopable litter is made of bentonite and silica. Greener, more eco-friendly options include wheat, sawdust, pine and cedar chips, newspaper and baking soda
and of course the "eco friendly" type can burn.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Blame Mother Gaia

NYTimes  lets a graduate student insist Zika is good because it will encourage people not to have any nasty kids

I never really bought the Gaia principle, but this is the perfect disease to present as evidence of its existence. Perhaps the earth is scratching an itch.

headsup Instapundit

longer rant moved to my medical blog.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

No good deed goes unpunished

That is, if you are a Republican.

When Bush risked his life to visit troops in Baghdad (where the risk of his plane getting shot down was real), He spent the day talking and behind the table handing out food. But then he joked and lifted up a display (real) turkey and voila, the press ignored his deed and for years you heard "plastic turkey" jokes to make fun of him.

So now Trump visits Louisiana and brings a tractor trailer full of food, and gets publicity for a major disaster that has pretty well been ignored by the MSM, and so what do we hear?

it was only a photo op:

Donald Trump struts around Louisiana flood zone, signs autographs, impedes first responders
Uh, that was the reason that Bush gave for no going to Katrina, but of course never mind. And I didn't hear this complaint when Obama went to visit those who were made homeless by Sandy: indeed, he was sure to get a photo op with Christie.

ah, but the ridicule goes on:

Donald Trump goes to Louisiana flooding site, spends a minute handing out Play-Doh, leaves
This is the next two minute twitter hate, btw.

photo from Gateway Pundit: That yellow box on top was playdoh.

So another proof of MSM bias?

Let's leave partisan sites and get a third opinion:
Snopes has the story:

although Donald Trump did donate Play-Doh modeling clay to flood victims in Louisiana, this was not his only donation to those in need, as a video of Trump helping to unload a truck clearly shows that he donated much more than Play-Doh:
Play-Doh, diapers, baby formula, various toys, cleaning supplies and socks can be seen in the above-displayed video...

ah, but he only "helped" unload someone else's donation for a photo op, right? Uh no.
 However, CNN and The Creole, the latter an online news source for Ascension Parish in Louisiana, reported that Trump had "donated" an 18-wheeler full of supplies, Trump spent approximately 20-25 minutes inside the command center and asked a lot of questions, according to [St. Amant Fire Chief James E.] LeBlanc. 

two comments: when the press hates someone so much, it makes me wonder.

Two: If this was a "photo op", then why is President Obama deciding he had better visit next week?

Graphene based sheets for water filtration take two

See previous post on water purification

I can't find any of the graphene foam sheets for sale, but NewAtlas has an article on what they are and how they work.

The biofilm is created as a two-layered structure consisting of two nanocellulose layers produced by bacteria. The lower layer contains pristine cellulose, while the top layer also contains graphene oxide, which absorbs sunlight and produces heat. The system works by drawing up water from underneath like a sponge where it then evaporates in the topmost layer, leaving behind any suspended particulates or salts. Fresh water then condenses on the top, where it can be drawn off and used.
it doesn't require pipes, and it uses solar power.
more HERE.
full article for later reading HERE 

The advantage over old fashioned water filters is explained in the StrategyPage Article:

Together, this material when placed on the surface of polluted water uses sunlight and a sponge-like process to purify the water that can then be directed (by gravity) to containers. Field tests have shown that it works and the next step is to mass produce the graphene-based biofoam sheets and distribute them widely so regional variations in water and climate can be tested and tweaks made to the composition of the sheets for different conditions. 

alas, it doesn't look like it is commercially available, although graphene is being used in water filters and in all sorts of other things.

Guess I'll have to read up on it.

although for those of us in the third world, unless it is cheap and easy to find (i.e. the Chinese sell it cheaply) we will have to stick with old fashioned ceramic pot water filters.

also for later reading: Low cost water purifiers for the developing world.

Water Purification

In my essay below, I pointed out the importance of water purification, and that providing clean water and properly placing latrines was a basic military practice for 2000 years.. or maybe 3000 years, if you read Leviticus...

So today StrategyPage has an article on water purification, and discusses a new method developed for the military.

This is done with sheets of thin, multi-layer foam material that consists mostly of cellulose (what trees are made of 0f) and a layer of graphene (a form of carbon that is extremely thin, strong and cheap) with specific bacteria. Together, this material when placed on the surface of polluted water uses sunlight and a sponge-like process to purify the water that can then be directed (by gravity) to containers.
Field tests have shown that it works and the next step is to mass produce the graphene-based biofoam sheets and distribute them widely so regional variations in water and climate can be tested and tweaks made to the composition of the sheets for different conditions.

they also discuss waterGenSpring, which extracts water from humidity, and  the Lifesaver portable water bottle, and other methods that are now available to the military and civilians.

watergen for troops includes a back pack type using a battery.

More on WaterGenSpring products here.... yup. Essentially the same as a dehumidifiier, and they sell product for dehumidifying/drying too...

 ah but would my civilian dehumidifier work for disaster situations? Discussion here.

The happy post of the day

two runners collide, and one stops to help the other up, even though it meant she would lost her place in the race.

More at NCathReg.

In what is being heralded as "true Olympic spirit", D'Agostino jumped back on her feet and appeared ready to race on. This is the Olympics, mind you. But then she looked down and saw her rival from New Zealand, writing in pain. Then she did the unthinkable—she stopped. She stopped and helped her opponent up. 

headsup LesFemmes

Stories below the fold

Druggies are overdosing, according to Drudge.

What's happening? Well, since pot is becoming "Decriminalized" the price is down and the drug lords are pushing heroin instead. And the druggies, who were smoking pot to get high (not to relieve pain) found heroin gave them a better high. They are also pushing Meth, which is the drug causing the problems here in the Philippines, albeit usually from Chinese or North Korean suppliers.

Decriminalization is not about reducing crime: It is about normalizing drug use, so that the rich yuppie elites can justify their making profits on the poor (i.e. banks that money launder etc) and think it is normal if they take it themselves.

what is not in the conversation: The harm to families. (usually the pro pot legalization either dismiss this, or say it's "no worse" than alcohol. Yes, if you are talking about heavy drinkers I agree. But only 10 percent of people who use alcohol are heavy drinkers).

I blame the churches: When was the last time you heard a sermon against getting high or drunk in church?

Na, they are too busy dismissing anything as sin, and destroying dogmas that might upset someone.

The PC group  from the very liberal catholic bishop's conference, aka "Catholics" and easy going Lutherans have made nice.

Like "communion for the divorced and remarried", this is pushed in order to make people feel good, but in reality it is a stealth attack on the holiness of the Eucharist.....if you cut through the happy rhetoric, it posits the Eucharist as nothing more than a happy symbol for people to celebrate each other's goodness.

In this I agree with the comment made by the late Flannery O'Connor:

Well, if it's a symbol the hell with it.

And the comment made by that sardonic Jewish carpenter comes in mind: Pearls before swine anyone?


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Family news

Joy and Ruby got back from Manila last night. Ruby did her exams there, but has to go back to finish some projects.

Then they left today for some sort of "church" meeting.

They are very involved in their church, always attending meetings and prayer meetings.

I am more like most Americans: I was never involved in church projects. And like most Americans I resent being told I should "volunteer" at the church for X. No thank you. You can serve God in your daily life: you don't have to belong to an elite "in group" to prove you love Him.

Saying Lord Lord is fine, and praying and worshiping (especially receiving the Eucharist) is the food that keeps one going, but the important part is your daily work. Being nice. Giving to charity. Helping your neighbor (without using the help to bribe them to attend your church). If you are lucky, like I was, in having a profession where one is "God's hands" in caring for the sick, fine. But even washing a dish well is a way to show your love for God. This is St Theresa's "Little way". Of the creed of Brother Lawrence. Or taking the advice of one Hindu saint, who told a lady who said she loved her family but didn't believe in the gods, that "your husband is god... your children are god".

Which is why I am not worried about those who say Americans are clueless to religion... uh not really. Most of them don't talk the talk but they walk the walk.

Islamophobia versus modesty?

BBC article on the Burkini.

Article on Marie Clare, who has this photo to show the costume that is being banned.

I remember when ManolotheShoeBlogger had a satire on the burkini, and was quickly corrected by Orthodox Jewish women and some shy Christian women, who said they were happy to have a modest alternative.

but now Europe is getting their knickers in a knot about Muslim women on the beaches wearing a burkini... one woman even got in trouble for wearing a tee shirt and jeans into the water.

Hello: I have a pale skin that burns easily, and I have already had one skin cancer removed.

 I usually cover up with a long  loose dress and hat outside the water, but even in the water I wear a teeshirt over my modest one piece 1940's style bathing suit, to prevent sunburn.

And how many older or chubby women hesitate to go to the beach or swim in the local pool because they are not bathing beauties?


Same sex swimming was pretty well eliminated under the guise of "equality" or something, but you know, we Rubenesque older ladies prefer same sex swimming, because of fear of ridicule. But now Muslim women are asking for this to be restarted, out of modesty concerns.

Good for them. And if you open the pool to all women, you might find this preference is not "religious" discrimination.

The Marie Clare article brings up the hygiene problem of wearing ordinary clothing in pools. Fair enough. But unless you have skinny dipping, or provide swim suits (as our local YWCA used to do in the 1950's) how do you know a swim suit is clean?

You know I remember when women wore swim hats too, for hygiene purposes, because hair filled up the pumps etc. and no one got upset when women stopped wearing them.

and since when is hygiene an issue in the ocean or lakes, where fish and mammals poop and often garbage is thrown into the water nearby?

There is a difference between the religious police (or in the west, local thugs) hitting women for not covering up properly in a Muslim area, and allowing women to cover up modestly in public.

I do however had a problem with facial coverings: They are against the western idea that everyone looks each other straight in the eye, and of course, they allow thugs to pretend they are women to get away with crime.

So a private or public facilities should have the right to ban these for security reasons (many already have "no shoes no shirt no service signs from when hippies used to come in to shop or dine half naked. Just add" and let me see your face" to the signs).

Western civilization sees looking another person straight in the eye as part of a sign we are equal so covering the face is a big taboo.

 (In Africa, and traditional parts of South America children and inferiors are not supposed to hole their heads high and look you straight in the eye, because to do so would imply you were equal to them, and this was interpreted as a sign of disrespect... Even blacks in the days of Jim Crow were aware of this).

and face coverings suggest that you are a criminal, who doesn't want to be recognized.

(Which is why Stocking cap face coverings are the favorite for our drive by shooters.)

On the other hand, there are times to wear a face mask.

Here in Asia, ordinary people wear surgical masks if they are on TB treatment, or when there is an Influenza epidemic. In Minnesota, I wore a ski face mask so I would not get cold induced asthma during my walk to the hospital. Here in the Philippines, taxi and motor cycle drivers often wear such masks to keep from inhaling dirt on the back roads.

In summary, a lot of people insist Islam is a monolith and get upset at burkinis being a sign of "Islamic extremism".

But allowing shy Muslim women (not to mention shy fat women, shy old women, etc) on the beach in a modest costume is not the problem

The problem is that the Saudis are using oil money to spread their hateful version of Islam as the only "real" Islam, and essentially inspiring terrorism in the name of God.

How many years did it take the UK to jail a preacher who recruited terrorists? How many terror cells in Europe are living off of welfare while they plan attacks? And how many of the recent terror attacks were done by people known to the police, often reported to the police by their Muslim neighbors as potential problems?

The Islamophobia of the "ignorant public" is more due to the public worry about the next suicide bombing than it is about women in burkinis having a day at the beach, but since it is not PC to mention the problem of Saudi funded Mosques with Saudi trained leaders who preach extremism and recruit terrorists, this fear is not allowed to be articulated in public.... until a woman shows up in a "Muslim extremist" costume, and the pot of repressed emotions erupts.

But only Trump is crass enough to insist that people from terrorist countries need to be better screened, and that border security needs to be stronger to keep out the bad guys...and he is called a racist. Never mind.

WTF stories of the day

First, Trump visits Milwaukee and says ordinary folks need law and order for protection, and that illegal immigrants take jobs from African Americans, then he visits the flood victims in Louisiana.

Drudge is pushing Trump,but of course the rest of the MSM is pushing Hillary. No big story here: Drudge was the one who broke the story of the Blue Dress and Hillary tried to take him down by having Sid Vicious sue him for libel when he linked to a story written elsewhere that turned out not to be true.

But the real WTF story is that Wikileaks has it's aim on Hillary.  Putin is blamed, of course, but hey, no one called the hackers dirty commies before this series of links when they were endangering the military with their leaks...

no don't ask me: We only get the anti American CNN International version: no more BBC or AlJ. (we do get local news, and CNN Philippines, which I haven't watched enough to see if it knows what it is saying).

Then I watched the Suicide Squad movie and found that the bad guys have family values (not just the Will Smith Character, or ElDiablo, who is trying to do something good in reparation for killing his family, but even Harley: who has a secret dream to be a suburban housewife, who wudda thot?) which inspire them to go back after they lose.

And no, the ruthless black woman who is the puppet master is not based on a certain ruthless black woman who is the puppet master of the Obama White House: The character predates the administration.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Attention Hogwarts

Hogwarts: The Next Generation

and no, I haven't finished reading the series, but will one of these days since they are now on youtube as audiobooks which make it easy for me to follow (most of my books are free downloads of classics, or via ScribD, but reading on my tablet hurts my eyes, and I rarely buy new books and the used book kiosk is now closed).

But the latest book is a play: And one fan is trying to post it piece by piece on youtube (check out before the copyright cops find it)

What govenment does right

This blog, like much of the internet, is full of crybaby posts on what the government does wrong. Well, sometimes the government does things right


Happy birthday to the National park service.

Porcupine quills

I am well aware of the use of porcupine quills in jewelry and decoration by Native American craftmen.

Check out NativeTech website for information on how to do this and links to those who use these in their crafts.

Wikipedia link.

NativeLanguages link has photos

But I was unaware that Italian porcupine quills were handy in bookmaking (no, not off line betting but in making a book).

David Warren has a nice essay about this.

One uses them to tamp curls and corners upon carefully shaped drops of glue; they will intrude wisely into edges recessed against raised borderings. They will compress with a precise amount of force. One quill, or another, will answer to each need. But these are makeshifts compared with the fine tooling of gold leaf; with working colour over the gold; or fixing minute particles of pigment in a consolidant. Whether in the conservation, or in the creation of an illuminated manuscript, icon, or altarpiece — should the job happen to require skill — the porcupine quill comes into its own.

a related essay on CherylPorter's porcupine quills discusses the use of Italian porcupine quills in repairing old books.

NatGeo article on Porcupines includes this fact on why they are so hard to remove:

Quills have sharp tips and overlapping scales or barbs that make them difficult to remove once they are stuck in another animal's skin. Porcupines grow new quills to replace the ones they lose.
more on the quill's biological properties here on Science: the barb makes them easier to penetrate but harder to remove.

so unles the dog has only a few quills, the advice is to get your vet to remove them: usually this is done under general anesthesia.

the article is graphic so only check the link if you have a strong stomach.

It's the water supply, stupid

AustinBay's column summarizes the media bias that has gotten so bad that he notes Howard Kurtz has even notice it.

Which is why I hesitate to comment on politics: the bias, at least in the BBC and European press in 1980 when Reagan ran (and I lived in Africa and mainly had access to European news). Reagan was a cowboy who would destroy the world. He was an incompetent actor (never mind he was head of his union and later governor of a state with an economy larger than many nations).

And when he stopped Carter's mushy approach to defense, hundreds of thousands of western Europeans marched against Reagan the warmonger.

Fast forward a couple years: Uh, the Berlin wall fell down somehow disappeared was taken down by ordinary people.

The fall was not spontaneous: It was sort of pushed by JP2, Reagan and Thatcher, but the press hated all three so now we hear it was rock and roll or economics or something else: Anything but a policy of freedom lovers.

The leftist debacle in Venezuela gets visits from actors and other leftists hailing the policy that is destroying that country, while the millions (yes, millions) of Colombianos marching against their leftist drug pushing FARC gets ignored, as does the fact that FARC essentially has lost the war and Colombia is a poster child for capitalistic economic recovery.

as a whole, problems going on outside of the media bubble chamber tend to be ignored. Zika hysteria, but no one worried about the yellow fever epidemic in Angola and the Congo (and a couple of cases in China?)

How about the silence of the media about Haiti. The Clintons for while were the big heroes here...Whoops: link about their work on the water supply has vanished.
even the WAPost admits their high profile work and billions of money donated didn't quite get things fixed, and goes into details if you read the whole thing. Building a fancy hotel is nice, but what was needed was basic pipes and wells and water systems in the slums, and that is a big job.

In other words, the failure of the UN and the Clinton foundation help to Haiti is below the fold. Instapundit links to a NYTimes article where the UN finally takes responsibility for the cholera epidemic there that killed 10 thousand people.

Uh, cholera was brought there by UN Peacekeepers from Nepal, because the germ was the strain seen in that country. And yes, some people do become cholera carriers, but such cases are rare.

Cholera it is spread by the 3F route: Fingers, feces, and flies. And that "feces" part means latrines that leak into the water supply that people drink. Defecate in latrines, wash your hands, keep the dishes clean, clean up the water supply, vaccinate everyone in sight,  and voila, end of epidemic.

This long article gives the background:

In this case, it seems that one of the UN Peacekeepers was one such carrier, and that he spread it via the usual means. The bacteria got into the river that was downstream from the camp of the UN peacekeepers  (poorly placed latrines? Defecating outside the latrine?) and then people used river water.

So we have a poorly nourished population, low vaccination rates, a collapse of the infrastructure, and lack of clean water. Epidemics are the usual result.

Read the whole article: although it is mainly about how Brazil stopped the epidemic from being brought into that country by illegal Haitian immigrants. The article notes that Brazil's last cholera epidemic was when a weaker cholera strain spread in several SAmerican countries in the 1990's.

It is nice to know that the UN now says that it's peacekeepers will be checked for the carrier state and treated with antibiotics in the future.

Uh, basic latrine building knowledge seems to be lacking. Call in the Marines... actually, just call in your local National Guard for advice. Basic latrine building is part of the training.

One of hte vital jobs of the US National Guard is supplying clean water to disaster areas. The unit I belonged to in PA supplied water to Johnstown during the 1977 flood.

But when the disaster happens in a country that is already a disaster, and then you get an earthquake/ typhoon etc. the problems are a bit overwhelming.

At least when we had our typhoon and flood here in the Philippines, and the city water supply was contaminated, we just turned on Lolo's deep well pump and supplied our neighborhood. Ah, but if it was an earthquake, would the pump still work if the buildings collapsed? And we used generators for electricity.. What if there had been no more gas or diesel in the local gas station? Yes, in the long term alcohol or biodiesel could be made, but that would take time.

And we are on an earthquake fault, as is much of Manila. They hold periodic earthquake drills. Presumably if the big one hit there, people would return to their villages, and we are close enough to be a place for refugees.

I helped with a vaccination team that gave out routine MMR and DPT shots to rural areas after the Nicaraguan earthquake in the 1970's... We worked in rural areas, where populations had increased due to such refugees.

But it doesn't take a natural disaster to spread disease: The cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe was due to the gov't not taking care of the infrastructure left by those bad white people who once ran the country.  
No, it wasn't ignorance: lots of locals actually were able to do the work. But it was corruption: why spend money doing the job when you could siphon it to your family and get rich? True, the cholera was there when I worked there: But it was in local rural areas (not where I worked) and quickly isolated.

so preppers, remember: it's not just that you need two weeks of water when the big one comes, but you need to know how to clean up the water.

When I first visited here we still used the ceramic/clay pot to filter our water, and for hot water we boiled a bunch in the morning and put it in a thermos to use. But Lolo had a deep well dug for water before we moved here. A couple years later, the local water was clean to use, so we started using the city water which was easier, but we left the pump intact.

But for preppers in the US, it just points to the problem you might face if "the big one" comes.

in Oklahoma, my "emergency" bag included a small hand pump water filter, but luckily we never got a direct tornado hit.

But prepper sites do have DIY ways to filter water if you are interested.

I always laugh at preppers discussing what gun would be best for a disaster scenerio: Uh, fellahs, you'll probably be dead of diarrhea first.

And ladies, check out NFP articles, unless you want to have a baby every year. Your main risk is death in childbirth...