Friday, September 30, 2011

Ancient Greece in the comics

The artist of the Age of Bronze comic books gave a talk which you can watch at this link

The Gratuitous Lady Gaga post of the day

Via Dustbury, who notes:

Have you ever wondered what’s at the very back of Lady Gaga’s closet, never to be seen except under the most unlikely of circumstances?

Yep. It’s a proper Little Black Dress:


Big Brother is watching you

No, not the CIA or the FBI, but Facebook:

instructions on how to remove cookies LINK

or add disconnect to your firefox

Rice farming

Oryza has an interesting article about rice farming in China.

yes, despite all the glowing reports of China, the villagers are poor, and now many are migrating to the cities for jobs, and those left behind are going into "country houses" for the rich or promoting tourism.

Other farmers are getting out of farming entirely, focusing on tourism instead. Locals are providing guests with food and lodging services, hoping to indirectly enjoy some of the higher incomes for city dwellers and in exchange offering visitors experiences including hot spring baths, hiking, and summer resort vacations.

One farmer says the environment has also improved as grain land was switched over to forests and goats have disappeared so they are no longer leaving a mess of dung or stirring up dust as they run down the hills. Those that stick to farming rice should enjoy recent efforts to improve infrastructure and provide subsidized seeds.

the reason I posted this is that we are seeing the same thing here in the Philippines. Santa Cruz now has lots of large summer homes for the rich, the farmers often are trying to sell us back their/our land (which they got via land reform) because they were rich enough to educate the kids, who now live in Manila or work in Saudi etc...

We are into selling our own brand of organic rice and (if we ever get it off the ground) organic veggies to sell to the growing middle class in Manila, but PhilRice is promoting hybrids to increase yield for local farmers.

And then comes a flood...the dams are mainly for irrigation (so one can plant rice in the "drier" season) but also for hydroelectric power. But then we have to let the water out when we get huge rainfall, such as this week's typhoon, or maybe the dam will overtop and collapse, meaning even worse flooding.

We also have planted a lot of trees (including mahogany and Mango) on our high fields...which may give us some income years from now.

Finally, one notes the death of environmental promoter Wangari Maathai, who is fondly remembered by Dr. E for her environmental work.

In west Africa, the trees are smaller and straggley, and often cut down early by women needing firewood to cook their meals. Ms. Maathai worked to replant these trees and promote a clean environment.

Of course, the dirty little secret is that in semi arid west Africa, the original "clean" environment didn't exist (the soil would deteriorate and people would move and slash and burn a new area for crops)...when one lives in dire poverty, one will cut down saplings and take bribes to allow industries that pollute (e.g. bad minining practices, removing hard wood trees from the forest).

The dirty little secret is that one needs people rich enough not to worry about starving to encourage the slightly higher prices for less polluting technology: Propane gas for cooking, concrete houses with tin roofs that keep out the termites, insecticides and fertilizers for decent crops etc.

So I promote "green" ideas to stop the greedy, but I am not so "green" that I think the primitive life of our ancestors was hunkey dorey...

Sept 29 was National Coffee day

Funny Pictures - Happy National Coffee Day Cats
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Wherz Coffee?

Ruff nite..  wherz mai coffee?

Stuff below the fold


The Fried Egg Nebula....

Photo:ESO/E. Lagadec

This picture of the nebula around a rare yellow hypergiant star called IRAS 17163-3907 is the best ever taken of a star in this class and shows for the first time a huge dusty double shell surrounding the central hypergiant. The star and its shells resemble an egg white around a yolky centre, leading astronomers to nickname the object the Fried Egg Nebula. The image was released Sept. 28, 2011.

not to be confused with the "Running Chicken" nebula

which looks more like an angry bird than a running chicken.
and let's not forget the Pacman nebula. or the Muscleman cluster....

InOurTime podcast this week is on the Etruscans

You probably have heard about the Bataan death march and the POW camps, but did you know a lot of the US POW's also were shipped out on hell ships to work in Japanese war industries? And some of these ships were sunk by US submarines who were unaware that US prisoners were on board....

HNN tells this usually forgotten part of the story...

SisterMartha Mary takes on praying to saints again.

I link it for one of her illustrations:

Summary: do those in heaven go around with their fingers in their ears humming "I can't hear you" or do they care about us and pray for us? And if they care about us and pray for us, why can't we ask them to ask God for something?

The confusion is that the word "pray" means "ask" but the Bible thumpers think it means "worship"...

The scandal of the "floating" inspectors...


Factoid of the day: there are an average of 1000 coal seam fires today, and the one at Mount Wingen in NewSouthWales has been burning for 6000 years....


and yes, Science fans, the Ignoble Prizes have been announced.

This year's winners of the dubious distinction handed out Thursday at Harvard University for head-scratching scientific discoveries included a team of Japanese scientists who invented a fire alarm that smells like wasabi; a European mayor who solved his city's parking problems with a piece of heavy military equipment; a Norwegian researcher who explored the science behind sighing; and the numerous people throughout history whose mathematical calculations to predict the end of the world have fallen flat.

more HERE.

And the "making lemons into lemonade" item of the day:

the Marikina Shoe Museum contains Imelda's shoe collection and much more

Family news

Some of the rice crop in the area have been flattened...they were there trying to harvest before it spoiled. Not sure what is planned today. I'm not sure how much of our harvest has been lost...the house is now cleaned up, and I bought a lot of insecticide to keep the bugs down.

Lolo is okay but wheezing a bit. I keep the air conditioner on "dehumidify" at night and that helps.

Brownouts on and off again...the internet connection is okay now. The good news is that the death toll in the Philippines is low, but they are expecting another typhoon or low pressure area Saturday to complicate things.

Full report HERE.

The dam release of water caused the floods nearby (release of water to prevent overtopping and dam failure...)and they worry about more rain.... Lots of local flooding near the river. If you ever visited the river, you know that it is 20 feet below the land, and wide, but when it floods, it overtops this. No, I didn't take photos.

So it is a lowgrade but widespread disaster, and recovery is expected to be fast unless the next typhoon decides to turn the wrong way.

The bad news is the loss of the crops: They were expecting a bumper harvest this year, but now a lot of farmers will go hungry and the Philippines will again have to import food.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

AGHHHGH Typhoons

that last typhoon hit our area bad...we were high enough only to have no electricity, a window covering blown off, and leaking roofs, but some areas of town were flooded badly.
Chano and Joy went to the farm to see if they can get more crops in before the next typhoon hits Saturday, and to see if we lost some crops on the low lying fields. Our chicken house (we rent it out) was okay but the one next door lost the roof and lots of damage.

Internet is back on, and we did have electricity for awhile last night, but it's off again..we are lucky, but some areas of town were badly flooded, with 2 feet of water. So everyone is cleaning up.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Stuff below the fold

They held the funeral of the boy who murdered his boyfriend and then killed himselfafter smuggling a gun into a Pampanga mall...ah, but where did he get the gun (guns are strictly controlled here...which means you own them for protection but pretend you don't)....

our prayers for them and their families.

One result is that they are really really inspecting us when we go into the mall...when we went to ours so Lolo could get some Siopao, there was a long line waiting to be frisked.

Every day, there is a new scandal reported, that some one took bribes etc...and PNoy says they will be jailed by 2012...maybe.

We're still waiting for justice for the killers and the conspirators behind the killing of our nephew...

another day, another tropical depression...too much rain at harvest season is not good...

We do have our own rice drier this year, so don't have to pay for it to be dried (and maybe have the rice deteriorate from the delay like last year), but you can't cut and thresh rice when it's raining, and of course in some areas of the Philippines, it might mean losing the crop if the water doesn't run off and floods the fields....

Torture? Moi?

Military denies torturing arrested bombing suspect in NCotabato

No, it wasn't torture, but it was probably "enhanced interrogation"...the guy helped set two bombs, and no one wants a third one to go off...


A BBC report of protests by peasants about their confiscated land includes this factoid:

There are tens of thousands of mass incidents, as they are known, in China every year.

Anonymous one, Syria zero.

Don't piss off the hackers.

Tom Friedman has two words of warning for President Obama: Herbert Hoover.

LATimes on the Solyndra collapse scandal.

StrategyPage again reminds Americans that Ahmadinajad is an honest reformer who opposes the corrupt clerics, and may be using the evil USA/evil Israel card to stay in power.

But this part of the report is worrisome:

Russians who worked at Bushehr complained of sloppy work by Iranians and a nuclear power facility that is fundamentally unsafe. Perhaps because of this, the government recently announced that 4,000 civilians living near the Bushehr plant would be relocated

A cautionary tale for today: The Machine Stops.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Factoid of the day

Japan has huge keyhole shaped tomb mounds dating to 500 AD.

Nintoku-ryo Tumulus is Japan's largest keyhole-shaped Kofun Tumulus; it is one of the Three Mozumimihara Tumulus, along with Hanzei-ryo Tumulus to the north and Richu-ryo Tumulus to the south.

The front of the mound faces south and consists of three layers, with a total length of about 486 meters. The round rear part has a diameter of about 249 meters and a height of about 35 meters, while the front has a width of about 305 meters and a height of about 33 meters. The constricted left and right areas have relic altars, and the entire mound is surrounded by three moats.

As befits Japan's largest keyhole-shaped Tumulus, there are more than 10 subordinate burial mounds, including Hinotani Tumulus, Chayama Tumulus, Daianjiyama Tumulus, Gen'emonyama Tumulus, Kitsuneyama Tumulus, Dongameyama Tumulus, Tsukamawari Tumulus, and Osamezuka Tumulus. However, with the exception of Tsukamawari Tumulus, the structures of the primary mounds and grave goods of these subordinate Tumuli generally remain unknown. Nintoku-ryo Tumulus is believed to date from the middle of the fifth century.
more HERE.

and similar tombs are found in Korea

this video gives you a better idea of how they look:

Attension USA:
you have no right to eat the food you grow.

“no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to own and use a dairy cow or a dairy herd;”

“no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to consume the milk from their own cow;”

“no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of their choice…”


Attention Switzerland: no lonely Guinea pigs allowed:

a service that has been in high demand in the Alpine nation ever since animal welfare rules were tightened up a few years ago. Switzerland has forbidden people from keeping lone guinea pigs because the animals are sociable and need each other's company.


of course, you could always eat the survivor...

print a book...yeah. It would be nice in rural areas in the Philippines...usually I can't get the books I want and can't afford them new....luckily the used book kiosk gets most of the best sellers after a year or so.

headsup forgotten classics

The "I know it's around here someplace" post of the day...

NASA: Location Of Satellite Debris Not Determined
Kris Rakowski put the dog out late Friday and looked to the skies above his Maple Grove, Minnesota, residence.

He saw lights -- a bunch of them.

"They almost looked like fireballs or fireflies, strobing," Rakowski told CNN Saturday.

or maybe it fell near Alberta Canada...

background HERE.

what is it with solar panels? first Obama's in trouble for helping a company which has since gone bankrupt, and now there are protests in China over the pollution caused by a solar panel factory.


a Hollywood Baby Boom?

the heartwarming Story of the day:

The Life Saving Tree of Quezon City

On September 26, 2009, the storm whipped across Metro Manila, bringing rain that lasted for hours.

Floods quickly swamped low-lying areas in Metro Manila, among them Bagong Silangan.

Ondoy left more than 200 people killed. In Bagong Silangan, 68 lives were lost.
There could have been more deaths in the barangay were it not for the Bita tree.

Seven families managed to climb the tree and sought shelter in its branches as floodwaters surged around them.

The families clung on for 24 hours until they were rescued.

To mark Monday’s second anniversary of the “Ondoy’’ tragedy, a Quezon City councilor is proposing the construction of a marker beside the century-old tree.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Factoid of the day

I was aware that Cromwell sent thousands of Irish into slavery to the West Indes (actually "indentured servants") but I wasn't aware of this factoid:

from the BBC:

The fishermen and coastal dwellers of 17th-century Britain lived in terror of being kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery in North Africa. Hundreds of thousands across Europe met wretched deaths on the Barbary Coast in this way....

Morgan also noted that he had a list, printed in London in 1682' of 160 British ships captured by Algerians between 1677 and 1680. Considering what the number of sailors who were taken with each ship was likely to have been, these examples translate into a probable 7,000 to 9,000 able-bodied British men and women taken into slavery in those years. Not content with attacking ships and sailors, the corsairs also sometimes raided coastal settlements...
In the 1600s, no one's racial background or religion automatically destined him or her for enslavement. Preachers in churches from Sicily to Boston spoke of the similar fates of black slaves on American plantations and white slaves in corsair galleys; early abolitionists used Barbary slavery as a way to attack the universal degradation of slavery in all its forms.

And Sept 24 is the feast day of Our Lady of Ransom....originally a feast day to pray for the captives...and the BBC site notes the work of several Catholic orders to rebuy/ransom the slaves.

headsup RomanMiscellany...

Teaching military history to veterans

Original article

HNN discusses Link

Blackfive discusses HERE.

CarlPrine discusses HERE.

It's a small world after all

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
---William Blake...

Yanping Wang, Beijing Planetarium: Sand

Picture: Nikon Small World / Yanping Wang

More Nikon Small World competition photos HERE.

The "WAGD" post of the day

My favorite headline on the problem: Pilots warned to watch for satellite debris.

He He He....

funny pictures - MemeCats: Oh Helium, You So Crazy!
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

your chemistry lesson for the day

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy birthday Bilbo

Actually I missed it: September 22 is Bilbo's birthday.

also Frodo's birthday...and is celebrated as Hobbit day by many in MiddleEarth.

Wikihow has instructions on how to hold a Hobbit day party. HERE is how to make a hobbit costume, and how to make Hairy Hobbit feet.
if you aren't into using latex, here are some easier ways to make them.

and don't forget the ears LINK complicated version LINK

Zucchini recipes

no, we don't have them here, but if your garden is overgrown with zucchinis that your friends refuse to accept as a gift, check here for recipes.
and HERE.

Musical interlude of the day

Factoid of the day

A woman was there...

The old version of Jason, especially the Harryhausen stop motion special effects, is a classic film...But the latest version from the Hallmark channel includes the heroine Atalanta, the only woman (in some versions) who was included with the great heroes who went with Jason and the Argonauts to get the golden fleece.

Like most myths (which get changed as they get told by word of mouth) there are a couple different version but HERE is the wikipedia entry on Atalanta.

Medea, of course,is the most fascinating character.

but this is a new factoid I learned about her, from the Apoloodurus version:

[5] The death of Achilles filled the army with dismay, and they buried him with Patroclus in the White Isle,* mixing the bones of the two together. It is said that after death Achilles consorts with Medea in the Isles of the Blest.

* a wooded island in the Euxine (Black Sea) off the mouth of the Danube

The first to affirm that Achilles married Medea in the Elysian Fields was the poet Ibycus, and the tale was afterwards repeated by Simonides.

(Scholiast on Ap. Rhod., Argon. iv.815)

Neither of these alternative versions is mentioned in this film, an excellent introduction to the story:

Stuff that makes you go "Huh"?

the steps of Cirith Ungol?

No, the steps to climb Huashan Mountain...a sacred Taoist mountain in SE China.


Saturn and it's moons.
from NASA

Maybe some things can go faster than the speed of light?

first the giant clothespin, now the giant toothpick.

Yes, the wonders of modern art.

via Epicurious
Food, glorious food...

Museum of Obsolete objects

Museum of Obsolete objects

headsup Uncle Orson

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Factoid of the day

I'm listening to a BBC podcast about "useful idiots" and they mention Stalin had a withered right hand and facial scarring from childhood smallpox.

More here: he was born with it, so supposedly it was Erb's palsy...some of the discussion wonder if it was from being beaten (either by his father or in jail) but one posted noted his hands were different lengths, which suggests Erb's palsy.

Factoid two: Kaiser William (of WWI) had a similar problem.

Since Erb's palsy is usually due to the midwife/doctor pulling too hard on the head of the child to get the shoulders out (usually due to shoulder dystocia) and shoulder dystocia can result in a dead baby, one shudders to think up an alternative history, where either they didn't get this birth injury (and weren't psychologically affected by it) or if they had died at birth...

Or in Stalin's case, if he had died of Smallpox.

If you really want to get into pscyho history, imagine if FDR never had polio (or died from it) or if Churchill had died in the Boer war or from that car accident in New York...

Stuff below the fold

Two reports on what's going on in Syria from Strategypage One Two

The pre Incan Indians had irrigation systems 3500 years ago.

that would make it pre Chavin, and then the Inca conquered the Chavin and the Spanish wiped out the Inca. more HERE and HERE. more HERE.

Islamicist radicals planning a jihad in the Christian areas of eastern Indonesia more here.
there are some who will benefit since this will divert attention from the corruption...


want to see if the book is worth reading? Librivox has first chapters of some books for your discernment.

The fish tank contains miniature plants, multicolor stones, and has several miniature zebra danio fish Photo: Anatoly Konenko/Solent News

the world's smallest Aquarium

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

WTF headlines of the day

Airport security tries to confiscate Kevin Rudd's Vegemite

Explanation for non Aussies: Rudd is Australia's ex prime minister, and Vegemite is the Aussie version of Marmite...

here is a lesson on how to use Vegemite on your sandwich.

and Obama lost the kiwi and Aussie vote because he hates Vegemite.

The Good news of the day

they redesigned the ketchup packet for fast foods.

They don't say if it still sprays your clothing with stains when you open it...

headsup DaveBarry

Factoid of the day

General Curtis LeMay didn't chew on a cigar to look ferocious, but to mask a facial weakness due to Bell's palsy.

Stuff below the fold

The "We're all gonna die" headline of the day:
Solar Megastorm Could Cripple Satellites for a Decade
Satellites not strong enough to withstand sun's explosions, model shows.

but don't worry: If Tambora blows we may starve to death first

every day more corruption found:

The problem is not just displacing 3000 families to make room for an economic zone, it's that the original site was moved to benefit a bigshot.

and 1BPeso agrifund was milked to bigshots, not poor farmers.

This is worrisome: A second shooting/murder at the SMCityMall in Pampanga...the worry? The security guards check folks for weapons and bombs at the door, and missed the guns.

Probably because the shooters were a woman and a 13 year old boy...and one of the victims was the security guard who tried to stop the woman from shooting herself. Sigh.

Mark your calender: It's Octoberfest.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Musical interlude of the day

allowFullScreen" value="true">

feeling blue? Let Mozart cheer you up.

Let the Wookie win

cute kawaii stuff - Star Wars Stitchery
see more Must Have Cute

from Craftzine.

RIP Delores Hope

Delores Hope, the wife of Bob Hope, has died at age 102.

more HERE.

more HERE.

Factoid of the day

The destruction of the ancient Marib dam that fed the ancient kingdom of Yemen led to the downfall of that kingdom, and many local tribes migrating elsewhere which may have helped the spread of Islam.

The dam broke and was repaired in AD. 450 and again in 542, but in the latter part of the sixth century - AD. 570 according to early Muslim historians - the dam broke for the third and last time, the skill, and perhaps the will, to repair it having vanished.

Subsequently, as a result, many farmers of Marib began to migrate - some in whole tribes north to Syria, as their descendants relate to this day - while others joined the victorious armies of Islam and scattered to the four corners of the earth. The Koran itself refers to the collapse of the Marib Dam as a punishment on the Sabaeans for their ungratefulness to God.

more HERE.

a new dam was constructed here in those in the UAE who had originated in that area. And the UAE has a film about this dam HERE.

Philippine headlines

the big news here is the jeepney strike in Manila yesterday. But there is other news:

Supsup stopped traffic in Manila.

did you know that there is a world
Karaoke championship?

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines’ debut participation in the annual Karaoke World Championships (KWC) has yielded double wins for the country after Joel Cruz and Lyda Shyla Roxas emerged first and third runner-up, respectively, in the male and female categories at the 2011 finals held recently in Killarney, Ireland.
and the Philippines continues to lead the world in the game of pool...

Happy news of the day

Feminist writer Hirsi Ali has married Niall Ferguson.

Ali is under a "fatwa" death threat for helping make a film about the oppression of women under radical Islam. LINK

She is also a leader in the fight against Female genital mutilation.

Ferguson? Well, he did this series

In her latest book, Nomad, Ms Ali mentioned a conversation with journalist Oriana Fallaci, who said that the greatest regret in her life was not raising a child...and it was one reason that Ali decided to have a child, which is due any time now. In the book, she didn't name the father, and was unsure if she wanted to marry.

So I am happy for them both.

Insomnia downloads of the week

Librivox has books in other languages:

The Ancient Greeks are considered the fathers of Western culture, and at that time, Greek was indeed the lingua franca. No wonder St. Paul would write his letters in this language! Read the Epistole pros Collosaes in the version of the Patriarchike Ekdosi. We also have the English KJV of this text.

A major pillar of Eastern culture are the teachings of 孔子 – Confucius. His 論語 -Analects have been collected after his death, and have been ingrained in daily life until today. Besides the Chinese text, we also have a reading in English.

Egri csillagok by Géza Gárdonyi tells about culture clashes: about the occupation of Buda and the siege of Eger by the Turks in the 16th century. Of course, there is also a love story within this historical novel – the most famous one in Hungarian.

The Finnish novel Rautatie by Juhani Aho is considered his main work. Here, an old couple meets progress in the form of the railroad and finally decide to take their first ride in the horseless carriages.

Craft item of the day

Martha Stewart is now at Lionsbrand yarn's webpage.

You do have to sign up, but the webpage has lots of free patterns and crafts for your knitting/crocheting pleasure).

Pattern of the day: Some fluffy little sheep


RogerSimon (of Hollywood) asks: Is cool dead?

All I can say is I hope so. Fifty years of being ridiculed for being a science nerd (and an "uppity" doctor who thought she knew more than some self important nurses) is enough for anyone.


of course, the nerds triumphed:

News below the fold

Fides, a catholic news service, reports terrible floods in southern Pakistan...where a lot of rice is grown....
Oryza, a rice industry website, reports the same,
StrategyPage says it's bad but not as bad as last year, and has only displaced 7 million people (compared to 17 million last year).

Spengler writes on Turkey and the Arab spring, and notes that Egypt is facing a major food crisis.
and Turkey's president upset the Egyptian radicals by saying Egypt needs a secular gov't...yes, he may be a devout Muslim taking apart the anti religious "secular" gov't there and dissing Israel to get support, but he is a trained economist...

This makes sense: The new gov't health care plan will cover preventive services but not if you have symptoms suggesting you need to be checked.

so if you come in for a cold, and I see you are fat and have acanthosis nigricans and check your blood sugar, you'll have to pay for it.

and that part about paying for colonoscopies for everyone over age 50 every ten years: Do we really have enough docs to do all those colonoscopies?


Monday, September 19, 2011

Musical interlude of the day

turn up speakers and enjoy!

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day

DaveBarry remind all of you that today is Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day

And for those of you who speak Tolkien, here is a translation for you

Somwhere in Holland, a group of piratical Tolkien fans celebrated Dutch Tolkien Day (Sept. 11) with a contest to see who could come up with the best Tolkien-to-Pirate translation. They sent along too many to print here, but our favorites include:

One Ring to rule them all,
One Ring to find them
One Ring to bring them all,
and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where shadows lie

Translated as:

“Arrr! Booty' be steerin’ them landlubbers,
Aye! it be findin’ them
Beauty' be' makin’ them walk the plank,
arrr! it be,
In t' holes of bilge rats where black spots placed be”

Happy National Cheeseburger day

actually it was Sept 18, so we missed it.

Funny Pictures - Happy National Cheezburger Day!
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Geography lesson of the day


Stories below the fold

Vaccine paranoia kills kids.
A couple days after I posted about the problem HERE, StrategyPage provides more details here.

related item: Is the internet fueling paranoia?
maybe, but we were pretty paranoid in the 1950's
and Professor Anderson in her course on Germany history does point out how the technology of the printing press fueled religious hatred: Printers found that the most radical pamphlets sold more so they made more money...some printers even published screeds from both sides. The result was the religious wars in Germany.


Strategypage also has a summary of Philippine war news HERE.

but they have it wrong: it's BIFF, not in the BIFF for the MILF.

and yes, you can buy it on a teeshirt HERE at Zazzle.


Factoid of the day BIFF in the UK means a unix mail program... more HERE.

Does eating low fat yogurt when pregnant increase your kid's chance of allergies?
Actually the study was trying to prove evil milk caused more allergies, but they only found an increase in yogurt eaters, making one think that maybe it was a selection error (yogurt eating is more common in health conscious and in those with lactase deficiency).

related item: Yuck. Yogurt Sodapop.

autism and GI problems may be related...

uh, which autisitc kids? there were only 22 in the study, and they didn't say if it was fragile X or another genetic problem as the cause.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Moringa: latest herbal fad?

This article says that the lowly Malunggay plant (moringa oleifera) is being pushed by some development workers in Sierra Leone as a miracle plant:

It is unclear how the plant first came to Sierra Leone.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) which has promoted its use in Ghana and Liberia says it first brought the seeds to Sierra Leone in 2001, later training some 150 farmers on how to cultivate it.

Freetown botanist Christian Jones, says: "It is likely that it was one Pakistani soldier serving in the UN Peace mission who discovered the presence of Moringa in the 1990s in the back yard of a house in the capital."

Catholic NGO Caritas recently led a campaign to popularise the use of Moringa by distributing samples in the northern city Makeni, urging some 2,000 residents to replant them in their back yards and farms.

Yeah, but I hate to be cynical, but yes, it's delicious and in vitamins/anti oxidants, but unless they can make it a "fad" in the west and export it to the aging yuppies, I don't see how it will be any better for the folks than any other green vegetable.

On the other hand, we do eat it in the Philippines as a veggie.
more HERE.

a recipe for tinolang manok with malunggay HERE.

Mungbean soup with shrimp and malunggay HERE.

I looked for a video recipe, but all of them seemed to be poor quality or in Tagalog (not even in Taglish).

And for how it is used in traditional medicine in India, check out THIS page.

Spratlys problems again

India is helping Vietnam, and China is threatening both.

no international law doesn't count if China claims they "owned" the area a century ago.

At least they never "owned" the Philippines, but Vietnam was once a colony of China, as was Korea...

The US is Mr. Milquetoast in all of this which bodes poorly for the area.

Family news

Joy and Chano and the farmers are out getting in another rice field. We postponed it for the last two days because it rained during the night, and by the time the fields dried, it started raining again.

Last night it didn't rain a lot, So they are out trying to get another field done before it rains (and it's getting dark...)

our main jeep thresher is getting old, and our new secondary thresher (which can be wheeled out to the fields with a waterbuffalo) is smaller...but the rice is cut by hand so usually we get a lot of folks to help. Even Dita (our 65 year old cook) takes off to help her kids during harvest season.

I am staying home. I was city born and bred, and would be in the way.

The good (and bad) stories of the day

The Good news of the day:

the astronauts landed safely.

The bad news of the day (from Wired):why expensive weapons systems fail:

Air Force Lt. Col. Dan Ward provides a nerdy-but-accurate examination of the Empire’s acquisition flaws in building the moon-sized death ray:

In the Star Wars universe, robots are self-aware, every ship has its own gravity, Jedi Knights use the Force, tiny green Muppets are formidable warriors and a piece of junk like the Millennium Falcon can make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. But even the florid imagination of George Lucas could not envision a project like the Death Star coming in on time, on budget.

The Empire’s answer to Ash Carter should have seen it coming. It’s embarrassing enough that the galaxy’s supposedly most fearsome weapon was felled by crappy duct work.

Good news of the day: The anti mosquito pill.

who built the Stone Circles in the Middle East?

Giant stone structures in the Azraq Oasis in Jordan (David D. Boyer APAAME_20080925_DDB-0237)
(headsup HistoryNewsNet)
Inside the Great Pyramid, from Smithsonian magazine.

except for scurvy, syphilis, amputated limbs, life in the Navy of Nelson's era was fine...

and women on board UK Navy ships is not new: More HERE.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Andrew Cusak says if you like Tolkien, try pronouncing these lovely Finnish words.

kaupunkilaissuomenruotsalaiset — Finland-Swedish townspeople

pyyhkäisyelektronimikroskooppi — scanning electron microscope

paikallispuolustusjärjestelmä — local defense system

ylioppilastutkintolautakunta — matriculation examination board

tietojenkäsittelyjärjestelmä — data processing system
The Kalevala was partly behind some of the LOTR, but especially behind the sad tale of Turin Turumbar.

And this cheesy Russian/Finnish film was based on some of the stories in the Kalevala

as was the Chinese film Jade Warrior

and there is a Disney version, starring Uncle Scrooge...

Video of the day

Rosselini's classic film Open City is now on youtube:

The big question in the Philippines today

Who is bigger? Aussie's Cassius Clay or our Lolong?

another big question here: Did Miss Philippines lose the Miss Universe crown because she said she'd chose God over her boyfriend?

more news:

Lysistrata in Mindanao...

The JI terrorist group "graduates" 20 bomb makers, and so Catabato city is on alert.

half of the world is using counterfeit software.

Yeah, it's all over the place here, even when you buy a computer with guaranteed legal windows.

WTF headline of the day

Barry Manilow on Ron Paul: ‘I agree with just about everything he says’

via Drudge, of course.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Insomnia dowloads of the week

biography of Brother Dutton of Molokai ...he's an interesting character (a Civil war vet suffering from ptss, alcoholism, a bad marriage etc. who sobered up and went to help an ailing Father Damian). However, I suspect this is a pious book, so it will put you to sleep.

What is it with PTSS? John Bradbourne had a similar background of ptss from World War II, and when he was killed was proclaimed a saint by the locals who loved him (not the more "useful" missionaries who were similarly killed).

Librivox also has their latest collection of mystery stories for your listening pleasure,
older stories

  1. Various. "Library of the World's Best Mystery and Detective Stories, Volume 1" · (readers)
  2. Various. "Library of the World's Best Mystery and Detective Stories, Volume 2" · (readers)
  3. Various. "Library of the World's Best Mystery and Detective Stories, Volume 3" · (readers)
  4. Various. "Library of the World's Best Mystery and Detective Stories, Volume 4" · (readers)
  5. Various. "Library of the World's Best Mystery and Detective Stories, Volume 5" · (readers)
  6. Various. "Library of the World's Best Mystery and Detective Stories, Volume 6" · (readers)
  7. Various. "Short Mystery Story Collection 001" · (readers)
  8. Various. "Short Mystery Story Collection 002" · (readers)
  9. Various. "Short Mystery Story Collection 003" · (readers)
  10. Various. "Short Mystery Story Collection 004" · (readers)
  11. Various. "Short Mystery Story Collection 005" · (readers)
  12. Various. "Short Mystery Story Collection 006" · (readers)
and I never liked Alice in Wonderland, but you can find several different versions of Carroll's various books HERE.

the hidden algebra behind Alice

The trouble with democracy

from the Phil Inquirer:

A bigshot Swiss conservancy group wants the endangered crocs to be released into the wild, but local mayors and barangay leaders are saying no way.

Yeah, it's a bummer that voters don't want their kids to be eaten.

Cat item of the day

headsup BoingBoing

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Happy Mid Autumn Festival

It's the mid autumn harvest festival in China

Yes, they celebrate it in Manila (but not here in the Provinces, where there are few Chinese).

celebrate with a mooncake or two or three or four...

mooncake recipe HERE.
or watch this:

Stuff below the fold

Factoid of the day:

  • In 1940, the actor Cary Grant donated much of his earnings from The Philadelphia Story to a charity that financed the evacuation of British children from London and other cities suffering under the blitz to Canada and the United States.
The Holy Lance (or one of them) can be found at this Armenian Monastery

Turkey's new Ottoman wannabe president visits Cairo as a way to support the Palestinians...

But some tweeters who remember their history aren't impressed. And what about all those Kurds you oppress?

Saudi Arabia is arresting human rights activists for "insulting the judiciary"...

Measuring the speed of light...using Jupiter and it's moons.

Bachman just lost my vote, not that as a Democrat I would have voted for her, but she is now officially into Art Bell (or Jesse Ventura) conspiracy territory.

and she can't even get her conspiracy theories correct: Gardesil causes teenage girls to have sex, it's MMR that causes retardation and polio vaccine that gives you AIDS...

Sigh. I wonder how many of these nuts have seen children die of Measles, be crippled from polio, or die from cervical cancer?

Stop the vaccine, and you won't have to live in Africa to see these problems.

Mark your Calender

the next "End of the world" day will be September 26th, when the earth will be hit by the comet Elenin.

and if that doesn't do it, don't worry: The planet Nibiru is due next year.

Mark Your Calender

September 19th (every year)

is International Talk Like A Pirate Day

via Dave Barry

Video of the day

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I can haz cheezberger?

US scientists have developed a strain of green-glowing cats with cells that resist infection from a virus that causes feline AIDS, a finding that may help prevent the disease in cats and advance AIDS research in people. Picture: REUTERS/Mayo Clinic

Craft item of the day

Boost your wifi signal with a beer can.

actually it won't work here, because someone put the wifi up near the ceiling next to a concrete wall that blocks the signal.


but after a year, I finally got an internet wire connection to the bedroom so I can blog downstairs.

Stuff below the fold

Spongebob Squarepants is bad for kids because it makes them ADD.

The results should be interpreted cautiously because of the study's small size, but the data seem robust and bolster the idea that media exposure is a public health issue, said Dr. Dimitri Christakis
by making it a public health issue, they will allow the government to intervene.

Presumably, Bugs Bunny and RoadRunner are okay.

What do you call it when those from a religion that must not be criticized attack a funeral by those of another religion, and then go off to riot?

A sectarian clash.

We see similar headlines in Nigeria, and in the Philippines..

of course, the main target for the haters is innocent people from other versions of Islam or those who actually think Islam is a religion of peace...


Al Jezeerah allowed this "editorial" linking Michelle Bachman with the 30 years war,

they fail to notice, of course, like most Norwegian Minnesotans, neither she nor her ancestors had anything to do with it.

and NCR has instructions on anticatholic bashing for dummies.
Factoid of the day:

the Yugas and how the ancients saw the precession of the equinoxes.


More people attend Christian churches in China than in Europe.


Charice performed the National Anthem at the NFL 911 tribute game,

and then sang "God Bless America" at halftime.

After the original 911, one snotty Brit sneered about why Americans seemed so eager to ask the deity to bless America.
Well, he got the idiom wrong. When someone does you a favor, a common expression is "bless you sir", which means "God bless you for what you have done for me".

The song was written by Irving Berlin, whose family fled the pogroms of Russia....

Monday, September 12, 2011

Craft item of the day

how to crochet a coral reef...
it's also posted on YOUTUBE.

Stuff below the fold

Demographics should Turkey worry about the Kurds?

Wikileaks scandal causing waves here. None of this is "new" of course, it's just that because of the strict libel law here in the Philippines, you couldn't write such things....

So the newspapers are happy that they now can print all the rumors they already knew about the corruption of a certain lovely ex president's husband...

Another story revealed is that the US pressured the Philippines into a peace deal with the MILF.

StrategyPage connects the dots and explains why.


AlJezeerah prints their usually pro Muslim story about the conflict...

Worst name for an insurgency: MILF.
Second worst name for an insurgency: BIFF
Teeshirt says: BIFF for the MILF

I say they should sell their teeshirts on Ebay and make a fortune.


Photo of the day

A plane flies through the "Tribute in Lights" in lower Manhattan in New York September 10, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

O God of love, compassion, and healing,
look on us, people of many different faiths
and traditions,
who gather today at this site,
the scene of incredible violence and pain.
We ask you in your goodness
to give eternal light and peace
to all who died here—
the heroic first-responders:
our fire fighters, police officers,
emergency service workers, and
Port Authority personnel,
along with all the innocent men and women
who were victims of this tragedy
simply because their work or service
brought them here on September 11, 2001.

We ask you, in your compassion
to bring healing to those
who, because of their presence here that day,
suffer from injuries and illness.
Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families
and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
Give them strength to continue their lives
with courage and hope.

We are mindful as well
of those who suffered death, injury, and loss
on the same day at the Pentagon and in
Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Our hearts are one with theirs
as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering.

God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world:
peace in the hearts of all men and women
and peace among the nations of the earth.
Turn to your way of love
those whose hearts and minds
are consumed with hatred.
God of understanding,
overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy,
we seek your light and guidance
as we confront such terrible events.
Grant that those whose lives were spared
may live so that the lives lost here
may not have been lost in vain...

Benedict XVI's Prayer
from FatherZ

Dave Barry's essay This Hallowed Ground

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tom Shippey lectures

while checking out viking history, I ran across THIS...if you scroll down, it includes two lectures by Tom Shippey

factoid of the day from the lecture on Beowulf: The American seal almost had Hengsta and Horsa on it (if Tom Jeffereson got his way)...

and this one is amusing
on how folks got their name or nickname.

Musical interlude of the day

again, the wonderful Mary Fahl sings...
the photos are of the Gettysburg battle field in Pennsylvania, over the mountain pass from the Shankesville area.

Notes from a sad day

The Philippines lost 20 of their citizens in the 911 attack.

“Honey, I love you. I’ll see you when this is over.”

Bush gives a speech in honor of the passengers who saved the USSenate:

For me it's personal: One of my classmates was at the Pentagon...
more HERE:

Perhaps a dozen injured were on the lawn, most suffering from blistering, second-degree burns on the face, hands and arms. Some had inhalation injuries; almost all were in shock.

...Frost and Feerick appeared to be the first doctors on the scene. They began using the medical kits, putting in intravenous lines with saline and dextrose drips.

Someone with a badge began yelling that there was a threat of incoming aircraft. An FBI agent ordered the doctors to move. Frost just kept working...For about 45 minutes, Frost worked to stabilize the dozen to 15 patients on the lawn....

Feerick left to establish triage areas in the tunnels leading to the parking lots. Frost moved to treat those with inhalation injuries and those who had been hurt by debris. The stream of incoming patients began drying up.

"This began to bother us - were we in the right place?" Frost said. He began hearing stories about the World Trade Center. "I then understood this was a far greater tragedy than we'd hoped."

For the next several hours, Frost treated firefighters and other rescue personnel.

In late afternoon, Frost remembered to call his wife, Zan. She was frantic, having learned that morning that he had gone to a Pentagon meeting.

Peggy Noonan says it best:

And there were the firemen. They were the heart of it all, the guys who went up the stairs with 50 to 75 pounds of gear and tools on their back. The other people who were there in the towers, they were innocent victims, they went to work that morning and wound up in the middle of a disaster. But the firemen saw the disaster before they went into it, they knew what they were getting into, they made a decision. And a lot of them were scared, you can see it on their faces on the pictures people took in the stairwells. The firemen would be going up one side of the stairs, and the fleeing workers would be going down on the other, right next to them, and they'd call out, "Good luck, son," and, "Thank you, boys."

They were tough men from Queens and Brooklyn and Staten Island, and they had families, wives and kids, and they went up those stairs. Captain Terry Hatton of Rescue 1 got as high as the 83rd floor. That's the last time he was seen.

Three hundred forty-three firemen gave their lives that day. Three hundred forty-three! It was impossible, like everything else.

Many heartbreaking things happened after 9/11 and maybe the worst is that there's no heroic statue to them, no big marking of what they were and what they gave, at the new World Trade Center memorial.

But New York will never get over what they did. They live in a lot of hearts.

They tell us to get over it, they say to move on, and they mean it well: We can't bring an air of tragedy into the future. But I will never get over it. To get over it is to get over the guy who stayed behind on a high floor with his friend who was in a wheelchair. To get over it is to get over the woman by herself with the sign in the darkness: "America You Are Not Alone." To get over it is to get over the guys who ran into the fire and not away from the fire.

You've got to be loyal to pain sometimes to be loyal to the glory that came out of it.