Monday, September 26, 2016

family news

There was a huge thunderstorm yesterday in the early evening. I heard it hit somewhere near, but we didn't get a brownout. Apparently it hit a transformer in SanLorenzo because that neighborhood had an 8 hour brownout last night.

The harvest is still in full swing, although much has been cut.

It used to be by hand, but now we have a harvester/thresher so it takes less time.

And we have our own electric drier. Usually the rice is dried on the streets/driveways or on a tarp on a flat area, but when we got badly hit by a typhoon we had to wait and get the rice mill to dry the rice. The delay meant the rice was of poor quality, only good for animal food, not to sell as gourmet organic rice. So Lolo invested in an electric drier. This was put on our land on a small hill where we can't irrigate but it doesn't flood.

Joy and Ruby spent much of their day with their church activities. Lots of social life there. I stayed home with the dogs and cats.

the spare bedroom is full of kittens right now: Not only the two that I rescued but three yellow kitties that a visitor had in the closet there.

One of these days, we will start leaving the door open to discourage the cats from staying there, but I don't have the heart to let in the dogs when the sweet kitties are roaming around.

Finally: There is supposed to be a debate in the US. I don't follow the election, but Kuya says he will come down to watch it on our TV so we can throw popcorn at the screen when the candidates lie.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Chinese in Roman London?

I saw reports of a possible skeleton found in London that some said looked East Asian.

Prof Mary Beard discusses. They might have been East Asian, or maybe their ancestors were East Asian...

in other words , they attest to the multicultural world of the Roman empire. But they do not mean that these are a pair of people who made their way, in one generation, from China to Rome.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Drugs and terrorism: a marriage made in hell

The old leftie, retired Archbishop Cruz, notes the link between drug gangs and the Islamic terrorists in the southern Philippines that was behind the recent bombing in Davao City, which was done to warn the president to keep his hands off them.
He calls them the ShabuSayef.

he notes sadly that the result will be more checkpoints and less freedom.

Well, we already had them a couple years back during a push against the NPA. so this is nothing new.


DuterteSpeak: A guide for foreign media.

Here are some tips: “Fuck you” really means “I reject strongly your position on this matter and am expressing my intense displeasure with your pronouncements.”...

 “Putangina” really means “I firmly believe you are mistaken.” ...

“Gago” really means “It is unfortunate that you have embraced a viewpoint that is contrary to mine.”


The Philippines is in danger from Shabu  (meth) epidemic associated with gangs using us as a transport point to the rest of Asia.

compare and contrast: Iran's murderous anti drug war.

the article is shocked, shocked that they are persecuting drug pushers, and that the west if helping them do it with money.

The dirty little secret is that they are fighting drug gangs from Afghanistan and that they too are a heroin transport point to ship heroin to Europe and Russia. They also have a huge heroin addiction problem.

a lot of those executed are Afghans or minorities. (Iran houses 3 million Afghan refugees, who have lived there for years: mostly from when the Russians or Taliban ran the place) and a lot of this is related to the Baluchistan militants who smuggle drugs (not just heroin but meth and hashish) to fund their insurgency against both Pakistan and Iran.


StrategyPage has a long article on the violence in Mexico, and about the crooked politicians who help them.

StrategyPage also has noted that since 2006, 80thousand have lost their lives due to the drug gangs (some of them civilians).

In the meanwhile, two more priests have been murdered by drug gangs in Mexico. and notes 11 have been murdered and two have gone missing over the last three years.

Crux puts the total at 14 priests and 2 church workers over the last three years, 11 over the last decade, and several pastors have also been murdered in that country.

So poor the poor priest murdered by a delusional teenager an Islamic terrorist in France is instantly called a martyr by everyone, including the Pope, but just ignore the priests who preached against the violence of the narco terrorists who get tortured to death.


of course, such things would never occur in the USA...

Chicago magazine about the links between gangs and politicians.

Stories below the fold

Scientists figure out how to read a scroll that had been burned in 600 AD

using a micro CT Scan.


Samsung batteries are exploding?

Follow the money: some cases in China are from owners burning their phones and claiming explosion.

Lastest scam discussed by Chinese netcitizens on Weibo.

more here at Global Times.

The Sky is Falling!

well, not the sky but the Chinese space station.


Quantum teleportation is real....

Reporters write about NDE, leave religion and God out of the story.


Climate change from earth's orbital wobbles might have resulted in humans deciding to leave Africa.

Friday, September 23, 2016

World Peace!

From the Manila Bul: 26 countries pledge $151 million for world peace.

The co-hosts underscored the importance of the Peacebuilding Fund and the UN combined focus on sustaining peace. “A change of mind-set in how we go about doing the business of peace also requires a different kind of players, a different kind of willingness and commitment in how we invest in the peacebuilding complex, including prevention,” said Amina C. Mohamed, the cabinet secretary for foreign affairs of Kenya. “Today we saw a good initial step in that direction. There is still much work to be done.”

more money for rich NGO workers, and to be diveted into the pockets of local politicians.

one of the goals of the UNPeacekeeping funds:

The PBF constitutes an essential component of the enhanced UN architecture to provide for a more sustained engagement in support of countries emerging from conflict and will support peacebuilding activities which directly contribute to post-conflict stabilization and strengthen the capacity of Governments, national/local institutions...

yup. money for politicians.

we all want world peace, don't we? but the real problem is how one plans to do this....

Duterte is taking his advice from Gracie:

Viking Chickens

No, I am not joking.

Viking chickens.

Viking chickens are a breed of chicken from Iceland. These chickens were brought to Iceland by the Vikings in the 9th century AD and were found on most farms for centuries. Indeed, one of their Icelandic names -- Íslenska landnámshænan -- means "Icelandic hen of the settlers." With the advent of the commercial type chickens, by the 1950s the Icelandic breed was nearly extinct. All the birds now existing (less than 3,000) are descended from a very small group of fowl saved in the 1970s. 

Hammar of the gods met their match

We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs flow.
Hammer of the gods, will drive our ships to new land.
To fight the hordes, and sing and cry.
Valhalla I am coming.

Always sweep with, with threshing oar.
Our only goal will be the western shore.

Ah, ah.
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs flow.
How soft your fields so green. Can whisper tales of gore.
Of how we calmed the tides of war. We are your over Lords.

sorry, fellahs: Not True. The AmerIndians kicked your butts so after a couple of years you left.

Why were they so angry at the innocent immigrants? Maybe because they were poaching, or maybe because they attacked when they should have been trading. Or maybe because in these attacks you stole their women: DNA suggests you might have captured a local female to use as a slave and took her back with you.

The LedZepplin song was inspired by Icelandic history.

The "Land of ice and snow" is Iceland, where the band played in June 1970. Robert Plant explained: "We weren't being pompous. We did come from the land of the ice and snow. We were guests of the Icelandic Government on a cultural mission. We were invited to play a concert in Reykjavik and the day before we arrived all the civil servants went on strike and the gig was going to be canceled. The university prepared a concert hall for us and it was phenomenal. The response from the kids was remarkable and we had a great time. 'Immigrant Song' was about that trip and it was the opening track on the album that was intended to be incredibly different."

Viking Kittens!

Live Science: cats did travel with the Vikings. cats were domesticated in the Middle East, and also in Egypt... and in China. And the Egyptian cat DNA was found in cat skeletens from areas settled by Vikings.

so are  Norwegian forest cats originally from Egypt??

does LedZepplin know this?

And then there is the mystery of the Maine Coon Cats....

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tolkien essay of the week

LINK on northern courage, the Battle of Maldon, and Thorin Oakenshield

is the refusal to give up courage, or is it wrong since overwhelming pride can cause many people to die who otherwise had a chance to live?

Reminds me of the hothead hero in Heneral Luna.

Like Thorin, a man of honor who would not compromise.

ironically many in the US opposed the war back then, including Mark Twain... and ironically many of the civilian deaths were not so much atrocities but from malnutrition and infectious diseases due to displacement, although the Moros did get pay back massacres so might not agree with me here.

Of course, "independence" in 1901 would have meant letting the rich families rule the place. Heh. Sort of what they are doing now...
except American presence did lead to schools and the idea of rule of law and democracy, not the feudal system of Spanish culture.

A lot of the problems here in the Philippines today is that there is still a struggle between the traditional Asian/Hispanic values of noblesse oblige and extended families caring for themselves and a feudal system where who you know can get you ahead, and the US system where hard work and education will pull you out of poverty.

And the wild card is the OFW: Those migrating overseas to work and making money and then coming back.

Of course, an "independent" Philippines in 1901 was open pickings for other stronger superpowers of those days...would the Philippines have morphed into a French, British, Japanese or Chinese colony?

For that matter, with the withdrawal of US influence, will it now morph into a Chinese colony  or controlled by Chinese big business instead of American Big business?

Neocolonialism, anyone?

Discuss, class....

ExtraJudicial killings

copyright Joey Velasco

the problem with extrajudicial killings is that they go too far.

But of course this one was a legal execution for political reasons, so I guess it is okay.

yes, I am being sarcastic.

Sigh. It is the poor who suffer no matter what.

So is Christ the drug pusher who is killed for our sins? Or is he the symbol of the many who have destroyed their lives taking drugs?

and where do the rich, who take bribes from high level drug dealers to look the other way, fit into the picture?

Discuss, class...

Stories below the fold

GPS blockers discussion on StrategyPage.

SP also has these factoids about Shiites in Afghanistan:

Only 15 percent of Afghans are Shia and these Shia are a particular target for Sunni Islamic terrorists (like the Taliban). Most of these Shia are the Hazara, who are ten percent of the population and the descendants of the hated Mongols who conducted several brutal invasions during the 13th and 14th centuries and destroyed more of the country and its population than any other conquerors.

MomJones recounts the debate if Roundup causes cancer, or if it is the ingredients added to the insecticide that are the problems.

First problem: What do they mean by "cancer"? This is like saying "germ" because there are a lot of cancers out there.

Apparently it is lymphoma... non Hogkins' lymphoma, according to the ambulance chasing lawyers.

This UK website says the cases have increased 180 percent since 1970's... but if you look carefully, you see the UK had 13 thousand cases in 2013, and half were over age 70.

my take: Fix the problem, but remember that the choice is starvation of millions or cancer for a couple thousand old people.

I am fairly certain that some cancers are environmental (smoked fish and stomach cancer, tobacco and radon with lung cancer, sexual promiscuity spreading HPV and cervical cancer to name a few). So I suspect some cancers are caused by chemicals in the environment.

But even since I studied in medical school, we have seen a shift in types of cancers and other diseases.

as for NHL remember: chronic diseases, autoimmune disease, and HIV, that affect the immune system are known causes of the disease.

and HIV was rare before 1980...

MomJones also points out that yes, California has a drought, but if Californians didn't waste so much water, but recycled it, there wouldn't be such a terrible water shortage.

believe in your horoscope? Well DavidReneke there is bad news for you:

NASA has declared that because of a shift of the Earth’s axis, the zodiac needs to be re-evaluated. They explain that in the 3000 years since the zodiac system was drawn up, “the sky has shifted because Earth’s axis (North Pole) doesn’t point in quite the same direction.” This, combined with evidence of a long-suspected 13th zodiac sign, has led NASA to propose a new zodiac.

more here.

Democrats scouring overseas expats for votes

Drudge's headline points to this Breitbart article, which I have not read (I try to avoid political stuff on right wing webpages like Breitbart or the CNN).

But it is true.

I belong to the local Democratic overseas group here in the Philippines, but since they meet in Manila and I live elsewhere, I don't attend meetings. During the last presidential election they were helpful in sending us the information so we could keep our registration active in our home state and vote.

This year, our caucus backed Bernie, not Hillary.

But in the last few days, not only did I get an email asking me to volunteer to man the phones to urge people to get registered and vote.

They must have had other volunteers doing this since they called my contact number, which is my stepson's phone, urging us to vote, telling us how important this is, and instructing us where to go to the Embassy in Manila to get registration information.

I found this hilarious, since my step son, a Balikbayan like my husband, got the phone call, and like my husband, he is a rabid Republican and a Trump enthusiast.

So the end result is a vote for Trump.

Since there are over 100 thousand Expats living here in the Philippines, not to mention Balikbayans (returnees from the US with citizenship) it could change the numbers.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Philippine news

The soap opera of Senatorial hearings is still going on. Don't bother to read the MSM: you are missing the part where he had to be coached.

And one of the latest casualties is the daughter of a "british Lord" (and drug kingpin) who was killed and left with a note saying she was a pusher. And indeed, if you read down ten paragraphs you find her realtives admitting she "took after her father" and of course she was arrested awhile back with a lot of drugs.

a lot of the murders are bad from a human rights angle: what is needed is rule of law and swift justice.

But when one sees one politician after another getting off, and when those crying "human rights" have lots of stuff, well, a lot of people think that maybe they are being paid off.

and the release of our lovely ex-president suggests that if you are rich, you can steal everything in sight (actually only 8 million dollars) but still get Clinton allies to go to the UN to get you off under the guise of human rights violations.

Duterte clarifies his remarks about telling the US to leave, and says he needs the US to help protect Philippine territory in the West Philippine sea (note: the US has been doing little to help)

StrategyPage has a good summary of what is going on here: read the whole thing.

As president Duterte’s aggressive anti-crime approach has had immediate results for most Filipinos. Crime is down and it’s the criminals, not the average Filipino, who are now living in fear. That is enormously popular with most voters. Some local and many foreign critics consider these vigilante methods illegal, immoral and ineffective. That remains to be proven. In the meantime these methods have, since July 1st, left over 3,500 known or suspected drug gang members and addicts dead. Most were low level dealers but these are criminals the people see daily and hate the most. As a result a recent opinion poll found 91 percent of Filipinos approved of this new “shoot on sight” approach.
they also discuss the war against terror and the upsurge in piracy in the south.

also big news in the Philippines: the breakup of Brangelina.

“The future will tell. The fact that she wants custody of the six children (with visiting rights for Pitt) possibly means that there is something behind this break-up. Maybe in the next few days we will learn there is another story,” she said.

He was once a big user of pot and other drugs, and TMZ reports is that he relapsed... which is why she doesn't want him caring for the kids.

The same yuppies who see tobacco use as the only sin left ignore the social effects of drug use.

who needs mindfulness when you have smartphones?

awhile back, I pointed out that the "mindfulness" craze being pushed on docs is nothing more than self hypnosis, and that "mindfulness" is merely deep concentration, where outside thoughts are stopped to concentrate on one thing. This mental ability is found when you do yoga, jog, say the Jesus prayer, say a mantra, say a rosary, surf the internet, or just plain read a good book or play/listen to music.

Ah, but in today's world, it might mean using your cellphone 24/7.

 Andrew Sullivan's column that notices he no longer has a human life, but is addicted to the internet.

Heh. Been there, done that.

But actually, Sullivan is so last year: It is smart phone addiction that is the problem now.

David Warren notes:
I have seen it myself all over, while walking and riding about the city; and moreover, I have seen it increase, dramatically, over the last few years. I would not call it a “zombie look,” for it conveys a certain alertness.

and two seconds in this zombie movie (at minute 1:34) sort of says it all:


Stories below the fold

DavidReneke posts an interview with the Vatican's astronomer from the NZHerald.

A good article that corrects a lot of misconceptions, from the conspiracy theories that the Vatican is in touch with ET trying to take over the world to the absurdity of the new atheists.

I laughed at this part.

....the reason that people think they are at odds is because most people stop learning about science when they’re 12, and most people stop learning about religion when they’re 12.
What does a 12-year-old know about science?
It’s a big book of facts, and they feel the same about religion; they learned it at Sunday school, so it must be true.

and he explains why the pope, who has a degree in chemistry, is so involved in climate change.

his expertise is meteorites.

read the whole thing.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Factoid of the day

I am quite ignorant of Middle East history, so I found this snippet of history interesting:

From StrategyPage in a discussion about the civil war in Yemen:

For thousands of years Arabia was largely poor and thinly populated. Most of the population and wealth (what we now call GDP) were in the south, where there was regular rainfall in what is now Yemen. During all that time Iran was the regional superpower. 

Then came oil to complicate matters and Yemen became the poor cousin.

I was not aware, however, that the Persians were not always Shiites: it was imposed on them.

The Turks were relatively new in the region and had adopted Sunni Islam. Iranian rulers deliberately forced their subjects to convert and that process took over a century to complete. That produced an ethnic/religious divide in the region which is now triggering and sustaining several wars, including the one in Yemen and a larger potential one between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

so although the Persian/Arab conflict goes back to Darius' time, the Shiite conflict only dates back to 15th century... WIKIPEDIA  has more details.

And they cared for her

WesternDigs has a report on an excavation on a Hohokum burial site, where the body of a young woman suffering from TB and scoliosis was recently uncovered.

Human remains found buried in downtown Tempe, Arizona, are revealing a touching story about one young woman’s painful life and the community that cared for her more than 800 years ago.....
For one thing, her skeleton was severely disfigured, likely from a combination of both congenital and contracted diseases.
And for another, her grave was one of the most richly appointed of all the burials that were studied.

and later it is noted that her teeth were perfect, suggesting she was fed specially prepared soft food.

“... they took care of her for decades. It wasn’t like she was taken out to a hill and left to die because she was never going to be a productive member. The community banded together and took care of this woman for her whole lifetime.”

the attitude toward the disabled varies from community to community and in many communities they are seen as special or holy and/or that the deity blessed you when you cared for them.

Alas, in today's society often "bioethicists" claim that in the past such handicapped children were simply killed or discarded at birth, so we should allow them to be legally killed,

and nowadays,  "bioethicists– supported by friendly media stories–want to be able to force nursing homes to starve incompetent patients who willingly eat".

in case you didn't notice, the "abortion laws" have passed by, and killing the dying is pretty well gone away: the debate now is about killing the handicapped LINK

Doctor Gallagher, call your office...

actually, he did more than write a biography of FDR as hiding his disability to lead the country.

Dr. Gallagher’s work in those posts led directly to the passage in 1975 of Public Law 94-142, the Education of All Handicapped Children Act. The law, known today as the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, mandated public education for every disabled child and affected well over a million children. “He was one of the major advocates who saw to it that this law was written and passed,” Dr. Coleman said. “He knew that children with disabilities would have unique learning needs that required specific educational support.” One of the law’s provisions, set forth by Dr. Gallagher, was the creation of individualized education programs, which remain in use today.

Beware the kittens

why worry about Afghans going amok, when the real enemy is probably living right next to you:


UKTelegraph discusses cat scratch fever:

Cuddling kittens can kill you.

ah but the real danger is toxoplasmosis. SciAm notes:
Feeling sociable or reckless? You might have toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by the microscopic parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which the CDC estimates has infected about 22.5 percent of Americans older than 12 years old. Researchers tested participants for T. gondii infection and had them complete a personality questionnaire. They found that both men and women infected with T. gondii were more extroverted and less conscientious than the infection-free participants.

actually, the real danger of toxoplasmosis is that if you are pregnant when you get infected, it can affect your baby.

So I always warned my pregnant patients not to clean the cat litter.

neonatal toxoplamosis

Congenital toxoplasmosis is caused by transplacental acquisition of Toxoplasma gondii. Manifestations, if present, are prematurity, intrauterine growth restriction, jaundice, hepatosplenomegaly, myocarditis, pneumonitis, rash, chorioretinitis, hydrocephalus, intracranial calcifications, microcephaly, and seizures. Diagnosis is by serologic testing or PCR. Treatment is with pyrimethamine, sulfadiazine, and leucovorin. Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite found worldwide, causes congenital infection in about 1/10,000 to 80/10,000 births
Sigh. Zika is not the only danger to you and your baby...

He wasn't a terrorist, he was just angry /s

AnnAlthouse (sarcastically?) notes the Jersey bomber might not have been a terrorist: He might just have been mad because the local city ordinance was passed to try to get their restaurant to close at 10 am, because locals were upset at their noisy patrons in the middle of the night... (or as one comment on her blog says: I'll bet you dollars to donuts that First American Fried Chicken was selling more than batter-coated chicken parts and the side items weren't on the menu.)

Yes, because everyone angry at local ordinances protests by bombing gay neighborhoods and commuter train stations.

the NJ bomb was found by homeless men, but one comment on her blog notes that one of the bombs in NYC was also taken out of it's suitcase and put in a trash can by two guys, who then stole the suitcase. LINK

Guess they didn't want the cellphone and pressure cooker.

Hmmm...I wonder if the bomb that went off in the dumpster also was discarded there by someone who stole the suitcase. Few were killed because the explosion was limited by the heavy iron dumpster walls...

If it wasn't for honest criminals reporting bombs to the cops, and obeying littering laws, more people could have been killed....

Who needs soap operas when we have Senate hearings?

My teenaged granddaughter was watching the afternoon soap operas on the TV: No, not the Korean dramas, but the Senatorial hearings.

Much of this is in Tagalog, so I didn't watch, but my granddaughter related this:

The witness was giving testimony on the President's many hit jobs. Like a previous LATimes article that quoted a hitlady who had a lurid story but no proof, the guy claimed he had killed 50 people himself... but when he was actually questioned, he got confused and seemed ignorant and easily confused. He must be the dumbest hitman in the Philippines.

When he got confused, DeLima, an opponent of the president, would interrupt and even coach him to answer. This annoyed the president's allies.

The Inquirer now notes that DeLima has been removed from her chairmanship.

DeLima has been on this from the beginning, and the president has already hinted at some of her secret life to shut her up. from the Manila Times:

Duterte claimed the driver-bodyguard, whom he alleged had collected money from drug traders for de Lima’s senatorial campaign, could not have acted without her knowledge. The two were intimate, he said, based on recordings of their “lovers’ talk” over the phone.
DeLima makes Hillary Clinton look like a beauty queen, so everyone laughs at the president making out that she is a seductive vixen, but hey, this is the internet savvy Philippines, so her sex video is on line for your watching pleasure.

The US press is doing hit jobs on the Philippines, and here people believe that the embassy and the US NGO's associated with the US Government are exaggerating the extent of the "murders" is  not making US/Philippine relations better.

This is especially true at a time the US thinks legalizing Marijuana is okay, while ignoring that the same folks selling marijuana are now into meth and heroin.

One only has to see the situation in Mexico that has been taken over by the drug cartels now that Colombia has kicked them out. And the Philippines, like Mexico, is at risk for becoming a similar narco state..

We saw a similar elite/left wing outcry in Colombia for years against those trying to destroy the drug gangs, until the ordinary people started demonstrating by the millions against the narco gangs. And the election of President Duterte is a similar populist attempt to stop the criminals who run the country.

Remember, here in the Philippines, almost half the hits are payback vigilante stuff, by people frustrated by the slowness of the justice system, which is seen as easily manipulated by those who have money.

and the hit jobs are not being put into perspective: before this happened, every day there were bodies found after they were tortured to death, murders in robberies, or murders by hopped up boyfriends, not to mentions suicides.

The elite and college kids are up in arms, taking their cues from the international elites and the US, but the taxi drivers still are backing the president.

to understand this, read the CSMonitor article from 2015 about meth abuse in rural China.

or this VICE article about the spread in the Philippines.