Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Musical interlude of the day


Food post of the day (take three)

Tolkien at the Olympics

a follow up about the argument that Tolkien related themes were missing from the Olympics comes from the Cheezburger site

of course, one could argue that it was PeterJackson's imagery, not Tolkien, but one does wonder about their choice of what to plagerize...


For those of you who don't know what a kipper is, here is an article about this traditional part of an English Breakfast:
A kipper is a whole herring that has been sliced in half from head to tail, gutted, salted or pickled, then smoked – a process is known as "kippering". Fish have been smoked and salted for centuries, but kippering was popularized in 1843 by John Woodger, a Northumberland fish processor. Oily, plump and pungent, the kipper was popular on Victorian and Edwardian breakfast tables.

An oily fish high in Omega 3, kippers are quick and easy to cook, whether frozen, "in the bag" or chilled. As a sustainable fish they are on the Marine Conservation Society's list of fish to eat.



what is funny about this is that dried/salted fish (tuyo) are traditional for a Filipino breakfast,(description and photos  at 80Breakfasts Blog....

Lolo has changed from omelette to tuyo for breakfast, with rice with milk, eaten as they eat cereal in the US...

 an alternative is bangus.  They even sell the Bangus for breakfast at Jolibee...

Bento of the day

in honor of the Olympics:

Stories below the fold

Obama does have a slave in his ancestry.

More HERE. John Punch was a black indentured servant, but the other two indentured servants mentioned were not...and in those days, before the British invented racism, a lot of these servants married each other.
The story of white slavery is rarely mentioned in US history (50 thousand convicts were banished to the colonies to work) although the Aussies know the story about the UK banishing their convicts to that continent....

This study claims those who take aspirin every day have less Barrett's esophagus (a precancerous lesion of the esophagus).

But it's a bad study: They matched the controls with others and adjusted for age, sex, and alcohol use, but not for symptoms of heartburn, or diet, and it's unclear why the controls got an EGD done....  The study also was not statistically significant (95% is low enough to still be a coincidence). So it's probably true, based on the biochemical basis of the study, but they haven't proven it. And the dirty little secret is that even one aspirin a day can cause GI Bleeding in the elderly.

Manila needs a new sewer system: they flooded badly in yesterday's storm (again). 

we were fine...it's not that we have open ditch sewer drainage, it's that we didn't get that much rain, because the storm his south of here.

But Ruby's school in Manila (who sponsors and monitors her homeschool studies) was having a "retreat" south of Manila today, and they had to postpone it due to flooded streets.

Elizabeth Warren praises China for building their infrastructure.

Uh, didn't she read about that terrible flood in Beijing that a lot of locals are blaming on the bad infrastructure?
Probably not: We expect floods in Manila, but usually they cover up these problems in China... but now with cellphones and twitter, they have less control in stopping the story from getting out..


RIP: Tony Martin died, age 98, after a long career.


and yes, Hobbit Fans, The OneRingNet confirms there will be a third Hobbit film. and links to Jackson's facebook post.

Back to the future (religion wars)

Heh. Old fashioned values are the new counterculture.

Via Instapundit:
It may seem strange that anyone could look around the pornography-saturated, fertility-challenged, family-breakdown-plagued West and see a society menaced by a repressive puritanism. But it’s clear that this perspective is widely and sincerely held.
It would be refreshing, though, if it were expressed honestly, without the “of course we respect religious freedom” facade.
If you want to fine Catholic hospitals for following Catholic teaching, or prevent Jewish parents from circumcising their sons, or ban Chick-fil-A in Boston, then don’t tell religious people that you respect our freedoms. Say what you really think: that the exercise of our religion threatens all that’s good and decent, and that you’re going to use the levers of power to bend us to your will.
There, didn’t that feel better? Now we can get on with the fight.

Dr. E at Persian Paradox reminds us of the reason that Muslims fast for Ramadan:

During those moments of hunger and thirst the fasting individual considers the sufferings and pains of others and comes to a sublime level of selflessness. Ramazan takes humans to a higher level of contemplation and altruism, a sensation that is compromised in today's material world.
 I'm old enough to remember when western Catholics still fasted during Lent, and it was done for the same reason:

 The exact opposite of dieting, which only brings pride (which is why Paul was a bit sceptical of fasting and Jesus said do it secretly).

JuicyEcumenism reminds us of Chesterton's parable of the grey monk:

“Suppose that a great commotion arises in the street about something, let us say a lamp-post, which many influential persons desire to pull down.

A grey-clad monk, who is the spirit of the Middle Ages, is approached upon the matter, and begins to say, in the arid manner of the Schoolmen, ‘Let us first of all consider, my brethren, the value of Light. If Light be in itself good—‘ At this point he is somewhat excusably knocked down.

All the people make a rush for the lamp-post, the lamp-post is down in ten minutes, and they go about congratulating each other on their unmediaeval practicality. But as things go on they do not work out so easily. Some people have pulled the lamp-post down because they wanted the electric light; some because they wanted old iron; some because they wanted darkness, because their deeds were evil. Some thought it not enough of a lamp-post, some too much; some acted because they wanted to smash municipal machinery; some because they wanted to smash something. And there is war in the night, no man knowing whom he strikes.

So, gradually and inevitably, to-day, to-morrow, or the next day, there comes back the conviction that the monk was right after all, and that all depends on what is the philosophy of Light. Only what we might have discussed under the gas-lamp, we now must discuss in the dark.”


Monday, July 30, 2012


Newsweek usually calls Republicans stupid, but this time they are calling Romney a wimp.This is a guy who ran Massachusetts successfully for a couple of years, and managed to keep the SLC Olympics terrorism free. (as for his London Olympics "gaffe", remember if someone does manage a "Munich", his warning of lax security will be ignored.

Or maybe they don't mean "wimp" but W.I.M.P. Hmmm...

WIMP [wɪmp]acronym for
1. (Electronics & Computer Science / Computer Science) windows, icons, menus (or mice), pointers: denoting a type of user-friendly screen display used on small computers a WIMP system
2.A subatomic particle that has a large mass and interacts with other matter primarily through gravitation.

[w(eakly) i(nteracting) m(assive) p(article).]
So is Romney a user friendly guy, whose gravitas makes others prone to cooperate with him?

Just wondering.

And why, in the middle of a recession when Obama should be triumphing his great health care success, is newsweek and the MSM already descending to name calling?
Sigh...it's going to be a nasty campaign for you guys in the USA.

Art lesson of the day

EVERYTHING's better with bacon:

Bento of the day


news of the day

podcast of the week: The story of Evita's corpse.

another day, another storm...flooding is expected in some Manila streets.
Time to take down the outdoor ads. Here, the skeleton for huge billboards is left in place, while the tarps with the actual message is removed, so the wind doesn't collapse the signs on the locals (and the power lines)...

The president is complaining of news bias against him by ABS CBN, who hired the ex Vice president as a reporter.

On the other hand, the network was pretty vigorous at hitting our lovely ex president Gloria, especially Ricky Carandang, who is now working for PNoy.

China is moving troops into Hong Kong and has started propaganda classes in the schools.

The furor focuses on a Hong Kong government-funded 34-page book titled "The China Model" celebrating China's single party Communist state as a unique political system under which its economy and society have flourished.
Just send it to Tom Friedman of the NYTimes, who is pushing the same propaganda here.

South Korea holding joint training with the Philippines....hmmm...

and McCain is behind us (and VietNam) against China's attempt to grab our waters...too bad he isn't president, since Obama has told us we are on our own.
"The decision by China's Central Military Commission to deploy troops to islands in the South China Sea, which are also claimed by Vietnam, is unnecessarily provocative," the Republican McCain said in a statement.
He said other action by China including its appointment of legislators to govern such disputes "only reinforces why many Asian countries are increasingly concerned about China's expansive territorial claims, which have no basis in international law, and the possibility that China will attempt to impose those claims through intimidation and coercion."

Robert Kaplan warned about this last year in the journal Foreign Policy...Strategypage take is here.
and HERE. 

The Chinese strategy is to make it difficult for other nations to fish or search for oil and gas in the disputed waters. China will then offer to negotiate and share the economic benefits. The other nations will probably be offered some fishing rights in waters of the EEZ of each nation neighboring the South China Sea but China will keep all the oil and gas outside each nations territorial waters (22 kilometers from the coast).

China is assuming that no nation, including the United States, will confront China with military force in these matters. China itself will use military force sparingly. "Illegal" oil exploration or fishing, for example, will encounter Chinese civilian ships, and a few small military ships, that "accidently" destroy fishing nets or disrupt oil exploration activities. This will, as it has in the past, involve "accidental" collisions with the offending ships. Any use of force against the offending Chinese civilian ships will be met with force by Chinese warplanes and warships. The Philippines is hoping that the United States will provide the military muscle to make China back off.
The U.S. says it will protect its allies, like the Philippines, but this apparently only extends to direct attack on Filipino land territory, not disputed offshore waters

part of the problem is growing unrest in China over corruption and an economic downturn. A nice little war would distract folks from reality.


Chicken post of the day

This is the Dorking Cock:

this is the Dorking Cock on steroids

Dave Barry explains:

For their part, the cyclists continued on a course that covered 156 miles, traveling through the English countryside and towns south of London, including the town of Dorking, which is home to the world-famous Dorking Cockerel. In case you are unfamiliar with the world-famous Dorking Cockerel: It is a 10-foot-high sculpture of a chicken that was erected in a major Dorking roundabout as a way of expressing the theme: “Dorking — We Have a Really Big Chicken.”
The Dorking Cockerel has gotten into the Olympic spirit: Recently, a huge gold medal was placed around its neck by a group of guerilla knitters. I swear I am not making this up. According to the local newspaper, which is named the Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser, the medal was created and hung on the cockerel by “the Knit ’n’ Knatter group, which meets regularly at the Fluff-a-Torium shop in West Street.” This is the same group, the paper said, that “previously claimed responsibility for the colourful scarves placed on the statue for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.”

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/29/2917545/dave-barry-tight-shorts-cycling.html#storylink=cpy
and FYI: The Cock has it's own facebook page, just in case you want to "friend" it.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

SciFi video of the week

Silent Running.

Video of the week

Quick, before the copyright police find it:

Cat item of the day

Rant time

Latest Rants on BNN:
 No, I didn't watch the Olympic opening but here are some links to folks who did:

Dave Barry on the Olympics. and Governor Romney's gaffe:
(the Governor) expressed some mild concerns about the level of Olympic preparedness.
The British press was deeply offended. This is pretty funny when you consider that the same British press has spent months and months loudly and repeatedly expressing grave concerns about the level of Olympic preparedness. But when Mitt did it, the Brits were outraged, outraged. Many journalists took time out from questioning Britain’s Olympic preparedness to declare that Mitt was an idiot for questioning Britain’s Olympic preparedness.

GetReligion covers the Olympics.

The writer, like I did, thought that Tolkien was missing at the Olympics, but got this tweet back:
“There was no C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkein”
Sarah, Sarah, Sarah, did we both watch the same opening ceremony? Yes, there was no C.S. Lewis, but did you not see the Lord of the Rings? The green shire dissappears, Isengard staring at me, with those smoking chimneys and the Ring is forged!! Tolkein was all over it.
This article cleverly said in words what I was thinking!

Screenwriter Roger L Simon's take at PJMedia.
Death panel link of the day:

For years the Philippines has sent the US nurses and doctors: now the US is outsourcing paper work here:


WASHINGTON — After years of shipping data-processing, accounting and other back-office work abroad, some healthcare companies are starting to shift clinical services and decision-making on medical care overseas, primarily to India and the Philippines.

Some of the jobs being sent abroad include so-called pre-service nursing, where nurses at insurance firms, for example, help assess patient needs and determine treatment methods.
No quick: tell me how someone 10 thousand miles away three years of nursing education can be better at 'assessing"  your needs and how you should be treated than the doc who has 8 years of schooling and 3-6 years post graduate training and just spent a half hour or more examining you?
The answer is she can't: She will use a checklist to make the decision.

But cheer up: at least you aren't in the UK....

WHAT THE CHICK-FIL-A BROUHAHA says about the future of religious freedom.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/27/2915484/dave-barry-opening-ceremonies.html#storylink=cpy

Saturday, July 28, 2012

More news stories

another day another storm...the main danger with this is flooding (so far).


 P10 million pesos worth of smuggled onions confiscated.
Actually not a joke: These cheap (often chemical laden) onions from China are undermining the local onion farmers here in N.E....it's a form of economic warfare: subsidize the product, underprice the local product, make the locals go bankrupt, and voila, export market now a monopoly. and it's not just Onions... ---------------------------------------

No, they still haven't found Amelia Earhart.

 Prozac as an anti viral medicine? 


Wired has a good article on Rabies.


 Via Improbable research notes a lot of kitchen utensils are used to describe medical conditions, such as  Nutcracker esophagus,
 from Radiopadia...not to be mixed up with
then we have the  "silver fork deformity" of the Colles fracture...

and the Acetabulum – bowl  is used to describe the socket of the hip joint.

and then there are Spoon-shaped nails

Chicken Pox vaccine could eliminate shingles in the elderly. 
The problem is a shortage of the new version of the shot for adults.


Dr. Robert S Ledley, RIP:

a dentist turned biomedical researcher and computing trailblazer who invented the first CT scanner capable of producing cross-sectional images of any part of the human body, died on Tuesday in Kensington, Md. He was 86.

His scanner probably saved hundreds of thousands of people but I doubt his name is a household name.

The Olympics had all sorts of celebrities, including Mr. Bean, Mr. Beckham, and...Sir Tim Bernards-Lee

(Getty image)
the UKMail comments:
This is Sir Tim Berners-Lee. He invented the internet. Blame him if you don't like what you're reading now.
They included Harry Potter, but I didn't spot anything about Tolkien during the ceremonies.

Is that because, thanks to Peter Jackson, the Shire is now considered a Kiwi franchise?

Stuff below the fold

Saint Kateri...NYTimes article HERE...pretty good, except they failed to note her mom was Algonquin and Christian and that might be behind her decision to move to Canada. (the R rated version of her life can be found in this history book )

(headsup Getreligion)


Culture war updates:
 A slippery slope? Nah, doesn't exist...it's the triumph of good vs evil in their eyes.

and no one bothers to protest when restaurants deliberately promote drug use....
(headsup Instapundit)

related item:
 Father Z notes some good news for religious freedom:


US firms in China going home.
Analysts said many US companies in China are mulling the relocation back to the US due to the rising labor cost in China and cheap energy in the US.
 It also has to do with the lack of skilled workers: it might be easier to train a blue collar kid in the US (who grew up with cars and machines) to become a skilled worker than a farm kid from China who grew up without such things. People see the skyscrapers and forget how poor China actually is....

And if they can't find skilled workers, why, there are plenty of skilled Pinoys who will jump at getting a visa to work in US factories, like they do in Korean factories.

Somali is getting a constitution...and will have it's first government in 20 years.
Related item: The thugs are losing.

"if it bleeds, it leads", but good news is ignored.

A bit above my head, but this AlJezeerah article questions the philosophy behind the Boson Higgs discussions in the media.

It's the Ontology, stupid.


Throwing the Philippines under the bus to kowtow to China...Strategypage has details.

Ceramics dating back 17000 years?

James Bond and the Queen jump in on the Olympics.

film here:

(actually a stunt double of course). More photos HERE.

Friday, July 27, 2012


For those of you interested in teapots, go to TeapotsTeapotsTeapots...

a blog that posts on....teapots (who wudda thot?)

 the latest image there is this: Natasha Dikareva's Grand Prize winning teapot "Between East and West" 


or if you prefer something more modern: a dalek teapot, for Doctor Who fans:


How to make a decent cup of tea. This guy remembered to preheat the tea pot, which is a step most Yanks forget. however he uses a teabag, but he does show you how to use the tea strainer.

Yanks don't usually use milk in the tea, but when I lived in Africa, we drank very strong tea and we put in hot milk or creme and lots of sugar... Here, I just microwave the hot water to boil and add a teabag and either add one calimansi and one half teaspoon of sugar, or if I can't find the fruit, just put in a half teaspoon of "instant tea with lemon". we can buy both green and black tea here, but hot tea is rare: you can buy coffee (usually they give you "three in one" pack and hot water) or ice tea (from the powder) at restaurants. At Luz's restaurant, they make the ice tea from scratch and it's delicious...

Tea against dysentary

I mentioned a few days ago that tea was supposed to be associated with the decrease in cholera in the UK.

I can't remember where that lecture came from, but there is a lecture Cambridge that discusses some of the same issues:

Title: How did tea help infants against dysentery in England?
Authors: Macfarlane, Alan
Keywords: immunology
Issue Date: 5-Aug-2004
Abstract: How did tea help infants who were not themselves drinking tea to avoid water borne diseases? Alan Macfarlane explains that without tea, the industrial revolution would have been impossible.
URI: http://www.dspace.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/585
Appears in Collections:Digital Orient


I believe the original series where I heard the link was in this series of lectures LINK

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat
lecture_malthus.mp4strategies1_malthus220.51 MBmp4View/Open
lecture_disease_routes.mp4strategies2_disease_routes59.13 MBmp4View/Open
McKeown.mp4strategies3_McKeown79.45 MBmp4View/Open
lecture_strategies_malaria.mp4strategies4_malaria245.43 MBmp4View/Open
lecture_dysentery.mp4strategies5_malaria135.25 MBmp4View/Open
lecture_war.mp4strategies6_war142.67 MBmp4View/Open
lecture_famine.mp4strategies7_famine170.51 MBmp4View/Open

Sigh...yes, I know that the lectures have illustrations, but one does wish we could just download them as an MP3...

Insomnia downloads of the day

I'm pretty well gotten through the Vikings course by Dr. Sally Vaughn from Univ of Houston, and have started listening to her course on the Normans.

The Vikings morphed into the Normans (and the Rus) so the two subjects are related, and many of them ended up going to the crusades, so sometime in the future I'll get around to listening to her lecture course on the crusades too...

And now at UCSD Dr. Miano is giving a course on ancient explorers that I have on my mp3 player...

he mentioned in last night's lecture that Herodotus reported a huge "worm" that lived in India...hmm...wonder if that was a distorted description of the Indian python...

All are interesting but a bit slow and detailed, which is excellent so I can listen to them when I have insomnia but not so exciting that they keep me from falling asleep. Sometimes it takes two or three nights to listen to the entire lecture...


If you are interested in past travelers, check out
  1. Twain, Mark. "Innocents Abroad, The" · (readers)
  2. Herodotus of Halicarnassus. "Herodotus' Histories Vol 1" · (readers)
  3. Herodotus of Halicarnassus. "Herodotus' Histories Vol 2" · (readers)
  4. Herodotus of Halicarnassus. "Herodotus' Histories Vol 3" · (readers)
  5. Pliny the Elder. "Natural History Volume 1, The" · (readers)
  6. Pliny the Elder. "Natural History Volume 2, The" · (readers)
  7. Pliny the Younger. "When Vesuvius Destroyed Pompeii" (in "Scrap Book (volume 1) Sampler, The") · (readers)

or try one of these you can listen to Sir Richard Burton's book on sneaking into Mecca

more stuff:
  1. Romesh C Dutt. "Mahabharata by Vyasa: The epic of ancient India condensed into English verse, The" · (readers)
  2. Various. "Ancient Greek Philosopher-Scientists" · (readers)
  3. Various. "Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern, volume 1" · (readers)
  4. Various. "Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern, volume 2" · (readers)

Librivox also has "chick books:

Elizabeth and her German Garden by Arnim, Elizabeth von

by the author of "Enchanted April (I have the book and it's okay but not as good as E.A,)

and that old favorite:
Pollyanna (version 2) by Porter, Eleanor H.

And for my grandson who is studying Mandarin: they have an audiobook on Tang poems 
in both Mandarin and Cantonese. I tease my grandson that he could get around Bejing but the Chinese here wouldn't understand him.


Non politically correct ethnic joke of the day

           The Three Little Pigs - Italian Style

Once upon a time there were three little pigs. The straw pig, the stick
pig and  the brick pig.

One day this nasty old wolf came up to the straw pig's house and said,
"I'm gonna huff and puff and blow your house down."  And he did !!! 

So the straw pig went running over to the stick pig's house and said,
"Please let me in, the wolf just blew down my house." So the stick Pig
let the straw pig in

Just then the wolf showed up and said, "I'm gonna  huff and puff and
blow your house down." And he did !!!

So the straw pig and the stick pig went running over to the brick pig's
house and said, "Let us in, let us in, the big bad wolf just blew our
houses down!"

So the brick pig let them in just as the wolf showed up. The wolf said,
"I'm gonna huff and puff and blow your house down." The straw pig and
the stick pig were so scared! But the brick pig picked up the phone and
made a call.

A few minutes passed and a big, black Cadillac pulls up.

Out step two massive pigs in pin striped suits and fedora hats. These
pigs go over to the wolf, grab him by the neck and beat the living
shit out of him, killing the wolf, then they tied cement blocks around
his feet and threw his sorry ass into the river.  Then they got back
into their Caddy and  drove off.

The straw pig and stick pig were amazed!!! "Who the hell were those
guys?"  they asked.

"Those were my cousins...

The Guinea Pigs.

your email of the day from Tiamaria

Astronomy Factoid of the day

from Astronomy picture of the day: 

Teimareh Petroglyphs and Star Trails
Image Credit & Copyright: Babak Tafreshi (TWAN

Explanation: Engraved in rock, these ancient petroglyphs are abundant in the Teimareh valley, located in the Zagros Mountains of central Iran. They likely tell a tale of hunters and animals found in the middle eastern valley 6,000 years ago or more, etched by artists in a prehistoric age. 

More HERE.  

But this is also interesting:

 In the night sky above are star trails etched by the rotation of planet Earth during the long composite exposure made with a modern digital camera. On the left, the center of the star trail arcs is the North Celestial Pole (NCP), the extension of Earth's axis into space. Polaris, the North Star, leaves the bright, short, stubby trail closest to the NCP.

 But when these petroglyphs were carved, Polaris would have made a long arc through the night. Since the Earth's rotation axis precesses like a wobbling top, 6,000 years ago the NCP was near the border of the constellations Draco and Ursa Major, some 30 degrees from its current location in planet Earth's sky.
more on the Chandler wobble HERE...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Factoid of the day

I'm busy reviewing my medical tapes and ran across this:

vinegar — delays gastric emptying; lowers postprandial glucose by 35%

heh. those old coots who took a spoonful of apple cidar vinegar maybe knew something we docs didn't...

Stuff below the fold

TeaAtTrianon reviews the Tudors
On the whole, The Tudors is an amalgamation of brilliantly authentic and well-acted historical recreations with the most banal and absurd distortions. The salaciousness of Season 3 carried over into Season 4 only to die off with Katherine Howard. I appreciated Tamzin Merchant's portrayal of the doomed Katherine much more in Season 4 than in Season 3, for she acquires some personality beyond that of a giggling teenager. It is enchanting to see her dancing at court with complete joie de vivre, as she and Henry VIII enjoy their idyll which will soon end so tragically.

and adds this factoid:
 I wish they had showed how she sent food and blankets to the imprisoned Carthusian martyrs as well as to Blessed Margaret Pole, who was beheaded while Katherine was Queen. Perhaps it would have lent more depth to her character.
No, I haven't seen it: it's either not on our cable stations or is on late at night when we don't watch it, and I don't know if it's worth the time and bandwidth to try to download it from a torrent site.


DaveBarry is visiting London to report on the Olympics. Today he informs us of the ease in which he can get around London.

. The East End is part of London in much the same way that Pittsburgh is part of New York City; it is a lonnngggg way from the city center. Somehow we wound up wandering around out there, completely lost, lugging heavy backpacks and wearing media credentials the size of doormats.
We kept asking passers-by how to get to central London, and they were unfailingly nice, every single person stopping and patiently giving us directions. That was the good news. The bad news was, we could not understand these directions. This was partly because jet lag had reduced our IQs to crustacean level. But it was also because of the London street system, under which no street ever goes in the same direction or keeps the same name for more than 35 yards. At that point it veers off in a new direction under a new name, assuming a whole new identity under the London Street Witness Protection Program.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/25/2912225/dave-barry-navigating-londons.html#storylink=cpy

Heh. Sounds like Boston.
The trick in Boston is to hire a cab. Truckdrivers from out of state are known to hire a cab to follow when making deliveries in that city.


The Bad news: Greenland's ice field is melting...

The good news: it's right on schedule:
Even Greenland's coldest and highest place, Summit station, showed melting. Ice core records show that last happened in 1889 and occurs about once every 150 years.

And this happy note: The new North Korean leader got married to his sweetie.
The couple attended a July 6 concert that featured Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters. They later visited a kindergarten together, and paid respects at the Kumsusan mausoleum where Mr. Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, and his grandfather Kim Il-sung, the North Korean founding president, lie in state.
Yes, just ignore those starving natives and those gulags...

Gloria is out on P1 million bail.. (about 25 thousand dollars)

everyone is taking bets on how long til she manages to high tail it to another country.


Austin Bay on Syria's WMD...Syria's threatening to use them against foreigners, meaning Turkey or Israel...but the real worry is an accidental war with Turkey...who is a member of NATO (an attack on one member is an attack on all members)

First they ganged up on Pacman, and Now it's a chicken restaurant kerfuffle.

Free speech for me but not for thee...

The Tolkien professor's Fantasy literature course this week discusses Peter Beagle's The Last Unicorn LINK

Another sign the end of the world is nigh

from HelloKittyHell....

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Stuff below the fold

Anti Obama care rally in Arkansas attacked...yawn you say? Ah, but it was actually a prayer rally, and they were saying the rosary.

Huh? I didn't know there were many Catholics in that Bible Belt state..(there aren't...data here.)

Orphanage study shows deprivation makes the brain develop poorly.

Yes, a classic study after WWII showed the same thing...but this time they prove it with brain scans.
Hell freezes over article of the day: Sir Elton John praises Bush.

“We’ve seen George W. Bush and conservative American politicians pledge tens of billions to save the lives of Africans with HIV. Think of all the love. Think of where we’d be without it, nowhere, that’s where. We’d be nowhere at all,” John said at the International AIDS conference in Washington on Monday.
Sir Elton better watch out for hate attacks: First Rush, now Bush...


Muslim athletes face problems because the Olympics are occuring during Ramadan.

I wonder why no one thought of this when it was being planned, since scheduling it two weeks earlier would have inconvenienced hardly anyone.

Trivia question of the day: What award winning film had a similar religious dilemma for an athlete, and who was it's producer?
The film was Chariots of Fire, and the executive producer was Dodi Fayed, a Muslim (who was killed with Princess Diana in a car crash).

The Iranian nuclear facilities are again under attack by a computer virus:
 or, as one commenter put it:

Oh no! Not the dreaded “Turn ON the computer and play AD/DC music, virus!”
well, it could be worse: It could have played Barry Manilow....

Did you ever run across the word "Thurible" in your bible and wonder what they were talking about?

Well, it's the thigamagiggie that they burn incense in during church services (on a chain so they can waft the smoke into your eyes)...

Well, Father Z has this photo, and even tells you the best way to clean out the gunk.... CocaCola!

StrategyPage explains why Alqaeda is no longer popular in the Muslim world...it goes against the headlines in the MSM so you might want to bookmark it for later reading.

their latest podcast reviews their stories over the last 13 years. link

Related item: Facebook is popular in Kabul...

Some two million people, less than 10 percent of the population, have computer access to the Internet, officials say, but the figure is rising and many more have access through the increasing use of smart phones.

and even the Taliban is using Twitter...


And, from the 2013 calender, here are the Guinea pig Olympics:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Send in the Drones

From the BBC:

In his proposed system, UAVs will be launched immediately to monitor the unfolding disaster from the air.
They will provide real-time footage to disaster responders on the ground, who can request specific information from the drones using hand-held electronic devices.
They might ask, for example, 'how stable is this building's roof?' before entering to look for victims.
"We could also have robots on the ground, that would go into areas too dangerous for humans," says Prof Jennings.

of course, unless you have them nearby, they aren't going to be much help...

Happy little death panels

read the fine print in the NYTIMES.
But there’s a side that’s often forgotten: the so-called pay-fors and the cost-containment measures. These components — provisions to finance the new expenditures and tax credits, as well as to slow the rapid rise of health care costs — help explain why the act was so hard to pass, and why it remains the subject of so much debate. Unfortunately, they are also the parts that need to be expanded and built upon....

A third measure is the new Independent Payment Advisory Board, charged with proposing near-term cost savings whenever Medicare spending is projected to grow faster than a target rate. Though it’s precluded from suggesting many things — notably additional revenue measures or benefit limitations — it can suggest restructuring or cuts in payments to health care providers. Congress must either accept these recommendations or find alternatives that achieve the same savings. In this way, the board may be able to bring about politically difficult changes.
so if it costs too much, they can order your insurance company not to pay the doc or to cut what he/she is paid.

And this is the Obama bill, not the Ryan budget cuts to Medicare.

Cat item of the day

Stuff below the fold

Who really invented the internet?

If you are reading this, thank....Xerox? (and Steve Jobs)

The latest Hobbit Vlog is up.

a report from Comic.con and the last days of shooting...and it will probably be  posted later today on youtube...

Latest "we're all gonna die" hysteria says we're all gonna get cholera because of climate change.

Well, that explains the 1854 London , and the 1832 Philadelphia cholera epidemics.

Well, it's more PC to blame global warming than the fact that governments aren't doing their job keeping the water supply clean.

I actually heard a lecture about public health that told how the introduction of tea helped eliminate cholera...and  of course, the reason Paul told Timothy to "add a little wine to your water for your stomach's sake" is that he knew from experience drinking ordinary water made you sick....


An interesting article in AlJezerah, about hunger elimination via government food distribution

He notes that giving out vouchers means they lose value due to inflation, and reminds us corruption doesn't destroy the ability to keep people from hunger...

Jellyfish pacemakers?
Scientists have created an artificial jellyfish .. made from silicone and heart tissue from rats, could be used to help create a new generation of ‘biological’ pacemakers which do not need electrical signals.

Cebu is getting one of their own declared a saint.
A teenaged OFW who worked with the Jesuits in Guam as a catechist, and was martyred there.

The Ceremony will declare several others are saints, including two Americans: Sister MaryanneCope, a nun who nursed lepers in Molakai, and Kateri Tekawitha, a Native American from the Iroquois/Algonquin tribes.


Michael Auslin's essay reminds us that behind the terrible stories, Bravery still exists... 

Survival tip of the day _


  fashion advice to Wonder Women and other superheroines:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chapels built by Italian POW's

by the Geneva Convention, prisoners of war had to be sent to areas with a climate similar to where they were captured.

As a result, the Italians captured in North Africa were often sent to South Africa or Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.

Here is a photo of the small Catholic chapel they constructed near Masvingo: from Veteranrhodie's Flickr site/

But I was astonished to run across a photo of a chapel, also built by Italian POW's, that they had built in the Orkney Islands:

of course, these were in the days before the PC liturgists decided to make catholic churches look like the inside of airplane hangers.

Family news

The electricity is back on, but it's been pouring rain most of the night from a "tropical depression".

Today is the "State of the Nation" address, and one headline instructs protesters to "bring umbrellas". 

but, more seriously, flooding is expected:

Also on Sunday, the Pampanga River Basin Flood Forecasting and Warning Center alerted residents along the banks of the Pampanga River in Nueva Ecija, Bulacan and Pampanga for flash floods due to high tide.
We are on a bit higher ground, but the streets are flooded with an inch or two of rain. The mayor is starting to put regular sewer lines to drain the usual flooding in front of the palenke; we still have open ditches, but Chano is thinking we need to replace them with a large pipe...but the bad news is that the pipes tend to clog with plastic bags and garbage (leaves and fallen fruit)...

The other bad news is that our roof is leaking again...the heavy rain overtops the gutters and sends drips into the kitchen etc.

The other bad news is that, no matter how much we beat them, the dogs prefer to use the corner of the living room as a rest room. Oh well: At least they aren't doing it in the kitchen or dining room, and we don't use the living room much....

Sunday, July 22, 2012

family news

brownout all day, signal one from a passing "low pressure area"...we are okay but Manila has flooded streets.

Since it was cool, we didn't turn on the generator until it got dark. Chano is cooking a gourmet supper, and I stole some of the wine he is using for his wine sauce.


a lot of webpages are using this photo to commemorate the first moon landing, but actually it was taken by Apollo 8...
Nalaka Gunawardene's blog has the full story...

As Apollo historian and film-maker Dr Christopher Riley recalled on the 40th anniversary of this remarkable event a few days ago:
For the first three orbits, preoccupied by the Moon and their latest TV broadcast, the spacecraft was not orientated to give them a chance to see the Earth. But as Apollo 8 nosed its way back from the far side of the Moon for the fourth time, one of the crew spotted the view by chance from a window, his reaction captured by the on board tape recorder.
“Oh, my God! Look at that picture over there!” he exclaimed. “Isn’t that something…”
After a quick joke about the fact that it was not in their flight plan to photograph it, the crew abandoned protocol and scrambled to get a snap of the occasion with their stills camera.
The Hasselblad only had a black and white film magazine in, resulting in the image (below) – the first photograph of Earthrise taken by a human as he watched it happen.
But this first historic picture is rarely reproduced. Not content with this first monochromatic image, the astronauts rushed to find a colour film, and Bill Anders managed to snap two more frames which became the choice of photo editors for the rest of history.

Poetry corner

Here are some lesson plans to celebrate the anniversary of Apollo 11's landing on the moon.

I'M A LITTLE ROCKET (I'm a Little Teapot) I'm a little rocket Pointing at the moon. Now I'm getting fueled up We'll be ready soon. When it's time to board me Then I'll say: Blast off! Zoom! We're on our way!

The Olympic Torch relay

our relatives in Redhill posted some photos of the Olympic torch passing by.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Factoid of the day

From the British Museum:
King Offa made a gold dinar.

This unique gold coin of Offa, king of Mercia, is one of the most remarkable English coins of the Middle Ages. It is remarkable because it imitates a gold dinar of the caliph al-Mansur, ruler of the Islamic cAbbasid dynasty....
The purpose of the coin is uncertain.,,,It is more likely that it was designed for use in trade; Islamic gold dinars were the most important coinage in the Mediterranean at the time.

Offa's coin looked enough like the original that it would be readily accepted in southern Europe, while at the same time his own name was clearly visible.
A quick google finds lots of Islamic web sites claiming Offa was a Muslim.
A more likely reason was that trade links with Spain or the Muslim world existed.

That the Muslim presence in Britain stretches back to the 9th century when the Anglo-Saxon King Offa had the Islamic dinar minted in his name. This clearly shows that Anglo-Saxon England had trading relations with the Muslim world and that the dinar was the ‘dollar’ of early medieval Europe.
 Wikipedia article about King Offa of Mercia (there are several Anglo Saxon Lords named Offa...this was the British one who was a "king" who may or may not have constructed Offa's Dike)

Many surviving coins from Offa's reign carry elegant depictions of him and the artistic quality of these images exceeds that of the contemporary Frankish coinage. Some of his coins carry images of his wife, Cynethryth—the only Anglo-Saxon queen ever depicted on a coin. Only three gold coins of Offa's have survived: one is a copy of an Abbasid dinar of 774, and carries Arabic text on one side of the coin, with "Offa Rex" on the other side. The gold coins are of uncertain use but may have been struck to be used as alms or for gifts to Rome.

In search of the Dark Ages: by Michael Wood: King Offa




Cat item of the day

The WAGD post of the day

The Rebels in Syria have lots of Alqaeda guys with them, and the gov't has the help of Iran's Qom group of terrorists.

So which group of terrorist might get Assad's WMD's?

And the "WTF" quote comes from the Daily Beast:
DeSutter also said she would want the U.S. and international community to secure any remaining nuclear-related equipment from the al-Kibar reactor destroyed in 2007 by Israeli jets. Also unclear is what, if anything, Iraq transferred to Syria before the 2003 U.S. invasion. “That is the wild card,” said DeSutter.... James Clapper, now the Director of National Intelligence and formerly the director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, said in 2003 that he believed materials had been moved out of Iraq in the months before the war and cited satellite imagery.
Yes I know about the huge truck convoys from Iraq to Syria before the Iraq war started, but this is the first time I saw a left wing blog admit it.

Headsup Belmont Club

 Fides has a report from the local bishop on the civilians living in fear.

and strategypage discusses how Assad's fall could hurt Iran's ability to export terror.

Local news

Another day, another storm:Heavy rains in northern Luzon (signal one)from a tropical depression...right now it's cloudy and it rained hard last night.

presumably we're okay unless the heavy rains decide to flood our dams downstream.


Ramadan has started.
more here

28 million Pinoys are on Facebook

One sign that the civil war in Syria is getting dangerous: the government here is evacuating 8000 of our OFW's...

a local boy had the same virus that is killing hundreds of children in China and Cambodia but has recovered.
I hope we don't end up with a similar epidemic.
Health Secretary Enrique Ona said the boy was the only confirmed case among eight suspected in the Philippines to have the form of hand, foot and mouth disease known as enterovirus 71 strain, or EV-71.
The Hand-foot-mouth disease we usually see in the US is from the milder Coxsackie virus, but this type is bad and can spread to the lungs, hence the large number of deaths.
and no, it has no relation to the foot and mouth disease in Animals...


TeaAtTrianon remembers her mom and her Philippine roots...with photos.


the good news is that the economy here is getting better...I suspect that this is due to PNoy, who is going against corruption is one reason, another is that China is running out of skilled workers so some businesses are looking to start up here, even though wages are higher here than in China...

Now, if only the weather gods will refrain from sending us floods and typhoons at harvest time later this year... -------------------------

Factoid of the day

In this article, which is about another UN Treaty that will tell us how to live, I ran across this factoid:

In a 2007 study, 6 percent of parents of the nation's 1.5 million home-schooled students cited health or special needs as the reason for educating at home.
more statistics from a USGov website:
Faith-based and nonsectarian private schools, along with a growing number of children who are homeschooled, account for approximately 13 percent of the school-age population in grades K-12....

...private schools...currently account for about 24 percent of all elementary and secondary schools, 11 percent of all students and 12 percent of all full-time teachers. Seventy-six percent of private schools have a religious affiliation...

About 1.1 million students were home schooled in the U. S. in the spring of 2003, an increase from an estimated 850,000 in the spring of 1999. 

hmmm...looks like the gov't needs to update their website, since it only has estimates up to 2003...
This website has 2010 statistics:

In fall 2011, over 49.4 million students will attend public elementary and secondary schools. Of these, 34.9 million will be in prekindergarten through 8th grade and 14.5 million will be in grades 9 through 12 (source) . An additional 6.0 million students are expected to attend private schools (source).

My sons attended public and church schools...the public schools had the ESL programs they needed, but I ran into violence and prejudice in these schools. My oldest was strong and macho, and after being suspended for defending himself against five other students did okay, but I kept my younger boy in church schools because he was too gentle to fight back, and paid for his dyslexia tutoring myself.

My grandchildren are home schooled and/or attended church related schools.

Here in the Philippines, Ruby is homeschooled so that she can accompany her parents on trips to deliver rice or attend trade fairs. If she was in a school, she would not have time with her family; local teachers come in the evening to give her classes, and Joy can help her with her homework in the car during the trips, usually to Manila or Pampanga.