Monday, August 03, 2015

Be Afraid, be very afraid

Pinker insists we discard ethics to get cures for rich first world people. After all, what could go wrong?

A truly ethical bioethics should not bog down research in red tape, moratoria, or threats of prosecution based on nebulous but sweeping principles such as “dignity,” “sacredness,” or “social justice.”

Then he uses the strawman argument: some treatment like vaccines, blood transfusions and anesthesia were considered immoral. Yes, but only by splinter groups, like George Bernard Shaw and his friends, who opposed both vivisection and vaccines, or Jehovah witnesses who oppose blood transfusions.

True, Catholics opposed IVF, because it separates baby making from love making, and makes babies a commodity (rich couples paying poor women in India as incubators) (and of course, just ignore the hundred thousand frozen babies in the freezer ethical dilemma).

So why did he publish this article now? Maybe the Youtube video of babies being cut up need to be dismissed as necessary and good.

ironically, in today's world you can always find an ethicist to okay your actions, so bioethics is not what is standing in the way.

Blame it on Hollywood: only they dare to write about an agenda that is lurking deep in the bioethics literature but rarely discussed in the MSM.

 Nor should it thwart research that has likely benefits now or in the near future by sowing panic about speculative harms in the distant future. These include perverse analogies with nuclear weapons and Nazi atrocities, science-fiction dystopias like “Brave New World’’ and “Gattaca,’’ and freak-show scenarios like armies of cloned Hitlers, people selling their eyeballs on eBay, or warehouses of zombies to supply people with spare organs.


but if you want to see how money manages to run around the paper thin ethical barriers, just come here.

Who needs warehouses of zombies when you can just give a thousand dollars to a poor Indian or Filipino for his kidneys? Or get it from a Chinese political prisoner scheduled for execution. Need to see if your vaccines or antibiotics work? Just go overseas (or use American Indians to see if Hep A vaccine works or if treating strep stops kidney damage).(for those of you who insist poor people benefit from the money when they grow babies or donate organs, the answer is: no they end up with poor health, and the middle man gets most of the profit.)

as for Nazi atrocities: killing and dismembering babies old enough to live outside the womb does resemble them. And in the wings: Using the brain damaged who are not brain dead but only handicapped, for experimentation and organ donation that will kill them.

article headsup from Arts and Letters daily

hackers needed

Anonymous has mainly hacked western government's secrets, but maybe they need to hack a few more secrets to find what is hidden in plain sight.

It was Russian hackers who exposed the fakeness before the climate conference in Copenhagen,but there is another one coming up and one wonders if the fake information will be implemented in treaties.

Congressional vetoes won't stop Obama in this. Like in immigration, he will just implement "regulations" that do the same thing.

the Russians have hacked the Saudis and guess what? They are sponsoring terrorism via their charities. StrategyPage link

so now what we need is Russian or anarchist hackers to find out what will be mandated in the so called "Iran agreement". Belmont club has more.

 The true facts are hidden or selectively emphasized in order to shape a narrative. One of the many examples is the Iran nuclear deal.  Before you declare yourself for or against it, ask  yourself: what does the public know about it?  That question turns out to be surprisingly hard to answer.
The Wall Street Journal notes that much of what the deal is about is hidden in Closed Covenants.  ”The Obama Administration insists there’s nothing secret about the Iran nuclear deal, even as it claims not to have read two crucial side deals Tehran has struck with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). “Confidential agreements, but no secrets” is the way top U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman describes the deals, which are thought to concern the military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear programs.”

Belmont club also brings out how a partisan judge has stopped the baby body parts videos.  Well, why not? And since affluent white women only have late term abortions when the baby is disabled (e.g. Down's syndrome) and less valuable for parts, I suspect that most of these babies come from minority women...who might be upset that their babies are used for profit.

Again, hackers are needed to hack the videos and put the on Youtube/thepiratebay. And hackers are needed to check if minority women are being pressured into late term abortion so they can make a profit.

a third item in Belmont Club's article is an email from an affluent NGO that already astroturfed local groups asked Hillary to help push abortion on Kenya.

So we didn't need hackers for that email.

But will anonymous hack emails that link "marriage reform" or "maternal child health" (read abortion/population control) with the willingness of the US to defend us against China?

Has a gay ambassador been sent to Viet Nam as a clue that America the wimp has other priorities than defending the sea lanes and oil in the West Philippine seas?

Yet few here expect the US to defend us against Chinese aggression, so Japan and Australia are stepping in to help.

The "gay ambassador" to VietNam story from Drudge brings up a coterie there.

Uh, Gresham's law? one wonders if all these "inclusive" policies are destroying the US military? And discouraging people of faith from working at the State Department (something that bodes ill for understanding the religious impulses that are important in foreign cultures).

Ah, but don't worry,
Distraction alert!

we are now being told the dead lion's brother is protecting his cubs... hello: it doesn't work that way...real story is probably that the dead lion's brother took over his pride and kicked him out, which is why he wandered off the reserve to find food.

and who released that story to begin with? a western funded NGO of course. Locals don't care. As even TIME magazine noted: Locals eat the animals, and poach to make money to support their families.  Allowing hunting is a good alternative for locals to make money and discourage poachers.

So who decided to push it as a narrative? The editors of the MSM, (who also chose to ignore the abover stories) and the SJW who run the two minute hate fest on Twitter/facebook.

Look! a dead Lion!

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Family news

Big row with my stepson about money.

He wants to sell the apartment in Manila that Lolo bequeathed to his granddaughter for when she goes to college (and for me to use until I die). We rent it out for income right now.

It is a power play.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Insomnia download of the week


Dragonriders of Pern.

this is book one but it looks like others of the series are available too.

Solar panels and butterflies

Cabbage White butterfly Photo: Alamy

UKTelegraph story about how the cabbage white butterfly help scientist figure how to position solar panels.

A team of experts from the University of Exeter have shown that mimicking the v-shaped posture adopted by Cabbage Whites to heat up their flight muscles before take-off, can raise the amount of solar power by nearly 50 per cent.
The secret appears to be the angle that the butterflies hold their wings, approximately 17 degrees from horizontal. It could even improve the effectiveness of sunbathing.

simple solar panels are cheap: We used them to heat our daytime water in our hospital in Africa 40 years ago. And many Okies had them on their roofs, and the poor would put black barrels inside their solar porches (porches that were enclosed but had large windows and screens, often on the south side of the house) that got hot in the day and helped keep that part of the house warm at night.

But electricity spouting panels are too expensive for poor countries. and they require the use of rare earth metals, of which China has a monopoly, and often are toxic, and spread pollution that harm locals where they are mined, used in manufacturing, or where they are thrown away.

one underreported story in the west is the anti pollution riots in China. On the other hand, would they prefer to be poor, with periodic famines?

The answer is neither. You can find ways to dispose of these toxins. But that takes money, which is lacking in poorer countries (and/or stolen by corrupt officials, but that is another story).

Mad Dads one, drones zero

Don't use a drone to spy on sunbathing daughters, at least in Kentucky. Those guys don't like peeping Toms:

VanMeter has a 16-year-old daughter who lays out at their pool. She says a drone hovering with a camera is creepy and weird. “I just think you should have privacy in your own backyard,” she said. Merideth agrees and said he had to go see for himself. “Well, I came out and it was down by the neighbor’s house, about 10 feet off the ground, looking under their canopy that they’ve got under their back yard,” Merideth said. “I went and got my shotgun and I said, ‘I’m not going to do anything unless it’s directly over my property.’” That moment soon arrived, he said. “Within a minute or so, here it came,” he said. “It was hovering over top of my property, and I shot it out of the sky.”

yes he was arrested, but I doubt he'll be convicted if any parents are on the  jury
via theotherMcCain

Meteorites in your gutter

I had read how the Vatican Astronomer went with an expedition to Antarctica to find meterites, and  how folks in the New Mexican deserts find them.

But can you actually find them in your area?

David Reneke's space blog explains how to find them.

the clue: They are iron.

Rain allows them to be rinsed from the roof of a house and concentrated wherever the gutters empty.  No or little rain means less gutter deposits.   So, how do we begin collecting these cool nuggets of science fact?  Grab a Ziploc bag, a small magnet, a spoon or small spade, and a wide-eyed little boy or girl.  Prepare to discover something just as cool as a good sci-fi flick.
To begin, go outside and find the spillway of one of your house gutters.  There is normally a patch of dirt and somewhat rocky-looking debris.  Scoop a small sample of this into the Ziploc bag with the spoon.  Take the sample to the deck or inside the house; just be certain you have a good work area to begin your exploration of the sample.  Dump the sample onto a paper plate or paper towel.  If the sample is wet, allow it to dry for a few minutes.  Once dry, take the magnet and pass it over the sample.  Be careful to avoid touching the sample directly.
What you are looking for are small rock-like particles which will begin to “leap” onto the magnet.  These little rocks are made up of mostly iron, an element not normally found on top of the soil.  It is, however, a primary ingredient in most micrometeorites.  Congratulations!  You have now discovered your own little samples of out-of-this-world rocks. 

Chicken post of the day

So who brought the chickens? ViaNatGeo

DNA showed that the chicken bones in South America dated before the Spanish arrived.

and then there is the question of how the Polynesians got sweet potatoes.

TechTimes article about these migrations

The real question is how the DNA of Australian aborigenes got into the DNA of South American Indians.

via Archeoblog

it's not reality it's a painting

MatteShot Blog has a series of posts on the art of matte painting: used for backgrounds in many movies, but rarely noticed by those watching.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Oh the poor lion (/S)

In March, Zimbabwe's president Mugabe had a birthday party for 20 thousand of his supporters, and included in the menu were two Elephants and a lion.

Remember the outcry? No, I didn't either.

And Mugabe's party in that poverty stricken country, cost $120,000....

and those killed animals? Well, they were scheduled to be culled, but by "donating" them to the party, it meant locals were impoverished.

"Villagers said the animals were part of their annual hunting quota and donating them meant no income for the year"

Photos of the lion that the SJW are lamenting show an elderly lion.

I suspect he was on the "cull" list, which is why a local tourism company arranged for him to be the one shot. Or maybe they were just corrupt, and figured a lion is just a lion, and hey, this one is old....No one seems to be pointing fingers to that tourism company.

So why allow hunting at all?

Follow the money. In Pennsylvania, hunting dear was a way to supplement the food budget, so when hunting season opened, even the schools were closed in our coal mining town.

I have less patience with rich folks doing it for sport, but one needs to control the population of lions and elephants etc or they will leave the preserves to poach easier prey, like corn crops of the local villagers or killing their cattle or children.

So one answer is to cull the excess animals that can't be supported on the limited land, and for predators like lions, arrange a kill for those who are elderly and would probably die in the near future anyway.

The outcry? Animal rights activists, of course.

And the MSM is hyping this so they don't have to examine the profit in baby bodies by planned parenthood.

Animals are "innocent" so let's mourn a dam lion, never mind that one rarely sees stories about the many dead in Zimbabwe from starvation, political terror, or disease spreading because the infrastructure is deteriorating.

But of course, on TV we can see oodles of "African wildlife" shows, and want to stop their killing.

Photos of starving African kids? Meh.

poetry corner

firstKnownWhenLost blog has a rumination on poetry and art today.

As I have observed here before, the older I get, the simpler Life seems to become.  I'm dumbfounded at the amount of extraneous luggage my mind carried around for years.  All those eventualities that never materialized, good or bad.  Scores of roundabouts and dead-ends, all bound for nowhere.
Yesterday afternoon -- the sky absolutely clear -- I walked through a tunnel of trees, beneath a canopy of interwoven branches.  Overhead, a thousand shades of green, shot through with blue and yellow.  "Life is too short," I thought, "for anything but this."

DavidWarren has an essay on Tea

actually, it is about the classic: The Book of Tea

Now, tea in its modern form — loose tea brewed in a tea pot with a handle and spout — is a development of the Sung Dynasty, centuries later. We tend to assume all progress is improvement, but Chinese scholars did not think that way. As we see in Lu Yu, the old methods were extremely complicated, and required great skills — down to the way the tea was powderized from the cakes, in specially-designed stone mortars, prior to brewing like Japanese matcha. The Japanese tea ceremony is itself derived from older Chinese rituals, which Lu Yu describes, but incompletely. One does not grab at tea, as one grabs at coffee in the morning. Rather it must be given one’s full attention.
the Book of Tea (wikipedia summary) more HERE.

heh. Actually, although Lolo always drank tea (using a tea bag with calimansi, a local citus fruit), I am lazy and tend to drink powdered ice tea...


Professor Giles' Harvard lectures from the early 1900s about China are now at Librivox, including one on his traslations of Chinese poetry.

text here


and for us geeks, the really important poetry question of the day:

Did the Dwarves prewrite the "crack the plates" song?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Lesson of the day

From Home Sanctuaryblog.

I see indignation and wrath as our default setting. We're so quick to put our dukes up and assume a fighting stance at the mere mention of our pet topics.

But is this how we should act? ...As people of faith, we should take a higher road.
Let's be the ones to love people who disagree with us. Let our words be balm and healing to those who are wounded around us.
Let's stop having to be right about everything, and instead build bridges made out of gentleness and goodness. Right will win out in the end, anyway.Let's quit having to say the last word; and with gracious self-control, listen to the other side.We might learn something.Let's outdo our enemies, whether real or perceived, in kindness.
Let's not qualify our generosity for only those who "deserve" it.
When we start to lash out in anger, let's ask, "what would love do here?"

Jesus said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:3

Factoids for today

FreeLibrary podcast is by Kathy Reich, of "Bones" fame. LINK

Stuff you didn't know from history podcast is about Calamity Jane

Most Americans who went to parochial school know about Maryland being one of two colonies where they could worship legally (the other one being Pennsylvania) but now a silver box makes some think the underground Catholics were in Jamestown too.

Sorry Tom Cruise

Top Gun is obsolete
you don't need fancy expensive jets to shoot down other jets:
Being seen first is usually a death sentence, especially in an era of high off-boresight, long range missiles.  Stillion notes that since Vietnam it’s been missiles all the way.  The last gun kill by anybody was in 1988.

and guess who did that last gun kill? 
the use of guns in aerial combat virtually ended after the Yom Kippur War in late 1973. Out of 498 victory claims since that time, 440 (88 percent) have been credited to AAMs and only thirty to guns.39 The last gun kill of one jet combat aircraft by another occurred in May of 1988 when an Iranian F-4E downed an Iraqi Su-22M with 20 mm cannon fire.
on the other hand, you do need fancy expensive jets to do other things.

bookmarked for later reading.

Stuff around the net

Actor/writer Kevin O'Brien has an on-line speech class  for home schoolers.


Well, maybe Hillary's stroke kept her from answering questions on what really happened in Benghazi, but Michael Bay's movie is due out soon.


what does the Pope's "green" encyclical have to do with Japanese anime?

modern man insisting he can control nature (i.e. he is "god") and finding that idea is neither correct nor moral.

more HERE.

and HERE

Some Pig!

King Neptune, the Red White and Blue Pig that raised $19 million for the war effort.

(Photo: Union County Historical Museum/Used with Permission

Lingle had intended to use the piglet for a Navy fundraising dinner, upon being presented with the young Neptune, he found that he couldn’t slaughter him, describing the pig in a later interview as “an innocent-looking thing.”
Yet where Lingle saw doe-eyed innocence, he also saw opportunity. If those adorable little piggy eyes could keep this animal from the dinner table, maybe they could open a few charitable wallets as well. Thus, the runty little piglet once known as Parker Neptune, was rechristened King Neptune.


viaAtlas Obscura

Rice to the rescue

How to Fix a Phone Dropped in the Toilet

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

the cuddly little Chinese radish monster

from the BBC, a film about a Chinese film hit about a monster that looks like a radish.

The back story is more interesting:

One reason why the film may have done so well is that China severely restricts the release of foreign films to just 34 titles a year so that local titles have a better shot at scoring at the box office.Those that do get approved for release often get delayed opening dates so that local films can get maximum exposure - a restriction especially apparent in the summer.In Monster Hunt's case, there was only one foreign film that was allowed to be released in the same week - Shaun the Sheep Movie - reported Variety.
So the Chinese gov't censors and limits what film you are allowed to watch. Who wudda thot?

which makes me wonder if the Chinese, who pirate and sell films all over the world, why aren't they watching foreign films at home.


Semi related item: Someone is stupid enough to be picketing The Producers because it trivializes Hitler.

sheesh. What's next? censoring Blazing Saddles?


Tolkien lectures

New guest lecture series at Mythgard.

and Tolkien library has an essay on Tolkien as everyman

Stories below the fold: Christians in the MIddle East

Bookmarked for Later Reading

Libertarian blogger AnneAlthouse links to a UKGuardian story about Christian persecution. 


GetReligion reviews a similar post about the "post Christian" middle east.


Ah, but the dirty little secret is that these countries have millions of Christians working there, because local talent is lacking (Chinese tech workers or Filipina nurses) or locals are too proud to do the work, be it farm work in North Africa (done by SubSaharan Africans and Coptic Egyptians) to oil workers (Filippino, Indian, or Pakistani) or maid (Indonesian and Filipino).

Many of these workers are Christian, and although in the small Gulf states they have churches, but there are none in Saudi.

Why do they go? Poverty and no local good paying jobs. And not just men migrate to work as teachers/oil workers/drivers/factory workers, but women, to work as maids or hospital nurses.

MigrantRightsBlog has an article on why Muslim Indonesian  women are willing to leave their families to work as maids.  But a similar story can be said for Catholic Filipinas or Buddhist Nepali women who sacrifice to support their families.

Remember this the next time you read stories by rich western eco-warriors about how evil capitalism should be kept from destroying the lives of simple people need to be left alone to live in those picturesque villages. As my husband once told me: You can't eat the scenery.


related item Yes. I know. The Rohingya refugees are Muslims fleeing Buddhism.

And Chinese Uighurs are finding refuge in Turkey.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Iglesia scandal or how Christ Brown broke the church

The Catholics are being told to pray for the local Iglesia Ni Cristo, a strict church that is undergoing a big scandal in it's leadership.

Apparently the latest generation who inherited their positions are living rich. Tch tch: spending tithe money of their mainly poor members for private planes instead of huge flashy churches.

and then there is the "Chris Brown" scandal.

well, nothing new here. Jesus was a bit sarcastic about the kickbacks paid by crooked merchants in the temple, we Catholics had the Borgia popes, and I'm old enough to remember when the televangelists were outed as living in luxury.

Why is this scandal important? I mean 2.5 million church members is a lot of people, but not a large percentage. And although they tend to be anti Catholic, what amuses me is that the local Baptists etc. consider them a "cult" because they don't believe in the divinity of Jesus.

(Of course, the local Baptists think Mormons worship the devil and Catholics are pagans associated with the beast of Babylon, not Christians, so nothing new about their opinions. I mean, Tim Tebow brags about his family converting Filipinos to Christ as if they never heard of Jesus either).

Ah, but the InC directs their members to vote for certain people, usually on the left side of politics, so they have political clout.

and election year is coming.

The most amusing part of the State of the Nation address yesterday? That we shouldn't have political dynasties.

This from a president who won mainly because his mom was president, his father was martyred to keep him from running for president, and his grandfather helped the Japanese run the place during the occupation (something usually ignored in the history books).

Unlike the US, where we have a Bush and a Clinton running for president, politics runs in the family here.

presumably so their dads can instruct them on how the real world works.

Thornton Melon: Oh, you left out a bunch of stuff.
Dr. Phillip Barbay: Oh really? Like what for instance?
Thornton Melon: First of all you're going to have to grease the local politicians for the sudden zoning problems that always come up. Then there's the kickbacks to the carpenters, and if you plan on using any cement in this building I'm sure the teamsters would like to have a little chat with ya, and that'll cost ya. Oh and don't forget a little something for the building inspectors. Then there's long term costs such as waste disposal. I don't know if you're familiar with who runs that business but I assure you it's not the boyscouts.

RodneyDangerfield Back to School

good news headline of the day

South Korea reports that there are no more MERS cases.

now we only have to worry about new cases in Europe or people flying back from the Middle East.


forget the Oscars: The really fashion conscious watch the SONA crowd here in the Philippines.

or maybe not

Davao Del Norte Rep. Antonio Lagdameo with wife Dawn Zulueta -------------------

Chicken post of the day

image credit Vimeo

it looks like a chicken but it's actually a dove:

Daniel Alamsjah revealed that he was working in Jakarta when he suddenly received a divine message from God to build a prayer room in the form of a dove.