Sunday, September 30, 2012

Craft item of the day

How to crochet a Sonic screwdriver.

More Dr.Who crochet patterns.

for non geeks: Wikipedia article on the Sonic Screwdriver.

video on how to make your own.

or you can buy one HERE.

Ever Have one of those days?

Crime story of the week

'Crime reducing' cardboard policeman is stolen 

A cardboard policeman used as a crime prevention aid has been stolen from a supermarket...
photos of it have appeared on social networking sites, including appearing at several house parties since being stolen from the shop in Shafton, Barnsley. 

The Van Eyck Altar piece

get a close up look at the Ghent altar piece LINK

via IdleSpeculationsBlog, who links to several other sites that discuss the artwork.

The Ghent Altarpiece recently underwent much-needed emergency conservation 
The altarpiece was scrutinised and professionally photographed at extremely high resolution in both regular and infrared light. The photographs were then digitally stitched together 
The result is that in the comfort of one`s home one can examine the work in 100 billion pixels on the website: Closer to Van Eyck: Rediscovering the Ghent Altarpiece
The new website is part of the Getty’s Panel Paintings Initiative.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cat item of the day

Podcasts of the week

Forget Oprah's stories of angels: Philosopher Peter Kreeft has a lecture here about angels according to Aquinas.
Or for a less etherial topic check out some of his lectures on CSLewis and Tolkien.

Was it the a redubbed porn film that made the Middle East go into hissy fits?

Check out StrategyTalk for a down to earth discussion on what is really going on....

for other short talks on stuff, check out How Stuff works, which has a whole slew of various podcasts for your listening pleasure.

Interested in Gandhi? Vinay Lal's lectures on Gandhi and Modern India are still available at UCLA's website.

Philippine Stories below the fold

7000 OFW have been advised to leave Syria...and their stories give a picture of what is actually going on inside that country.

OFW are a major source of income for the Philippines, and it's not just here: TPMBarnett comments on an article from the WSJ noting the huge amount of money sent back home from relatives working in richer countries.
We're number four...


Father Bossi has passed away. He survived his kidnapping, but others, not just priests but Evangelical missionaries and lay people, did not.


Even though most of the ivory used to carve statues here has to be certified as "old ivory", that hasn't been done due to lack of funds. So the NatGeo findings of some new ivory being used is "business as usual": but the local conservationists feel betrayed by the reporter for twisting the story to emphasize the crime, painting the Philippines as the center of the problem.

    “I should be honest with you, we have been expecting that you’d write about the Sto. Niño and our cultural traditions but we are disappointed that after all, we Filipinos would be portrayed as fanatics, idol worshippers, smugglers, etc. in a rather appalling story,” he said. 

So why bash the Philippines when most of the "blood ivory" goes to China?

because China might retaliate, but it's fun to make fun of Filipinos.

full rant at BNN.

A Media guide to Volcanos

Wired science has an article A Media guide to volcanos

don't know the difference between a crater and a caldera? Check link...

Eruptive plume from an eruption of Kanaga in Alaska. None of the material being erupted is smoke. Image: Public Domain.
Related item: The Ten Most Dangerous Volcanoes

the problem? some "active" volcanoes stay quiet, and some new ones (e.g. Pinatubo) are newly noticed only when they started to erupt...

HelloKitty post of the day

HelloKittyHell presents Hello Kitty Tie Fighter...

and here is her boss: HelloVader...

Friday, September 28, 2012

NO Free speech stories below the fold

My BNN Blogpost on how libel laws in the Philippines is a world wide trend to stop internet freedom and freedom of speech, but it is not limited to here:

Instapundit reports

New Justice Department Documents Show Huge Increase in Warrantless Electronic Surveillance. “The documents, handed over by the government only after months of litigation, are the attorney general’s 2010 and 2011 reports on the use of ‘pen register’ and “trap and trace” surveillance powers. The reports show a dramatic increase in the use of these surveillance tools, which are used to gather information about telephone, email, and other Internet communications.

It's not just in the Philippines where libel and namecalling is illegal:

Dave Barry reports that you can be fined in Italy if you falsely claim someone has had a bilateral orchiectomy:

Italy's highest court has ruled that telling a man he has 'no balls' as an insult is a crime punishable with a fine.
and watching a movie ridiculing a certain religious leader for having a 9 year old wife is also being blocked as hate speech in Brazil.

However, there is no information if singing this song is illegal...


then we have this statue beloved of the Nazi party:

The Wacking Buddha from Outer Space...

well, actually it is made from meteorite iron, which is why it is in the news.

Two other famous meteorite iron artifacts: This black stone and Tut's knife.




Dog item of the day

Insomnia alert

Librivox' newest audiobook for those of you who need to be bored to sleep is:

Anecdotes of Dogs

by Edward Jesse (1780-1868)
"Histories are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends."

The character, sensibilities, and intellectual faculties of animals have always been a favourite study, and they are, perhaps, more strongly developed in the dog than in any other quadruped, from the circumstance of his being the constant companion of man. I am aware how much has been written on this subject, but having accumulated many original and interesting anecdotes of this faithful animal, I have attempted to enlarge the general stock of information respecting it.

It is a pleasing task, arising from the conviction that the more the character of the dog is known, the better his treatment is likely to be, and the stronger the sympathy excited in his behalf.

I like dogs as much as the next guy, but someone needs to tell the author to simplify his overblown prose.

other recent books include:

Pony Rider Boys in Texas, The by Parchin, Frank Gee
Posted 29 hours ago

Bede's Ecclesiastical History of England by Bede, The Venerable
Posted 29 hours ago

Myths of the New World, The by Brinton, Daniel G.
Posted 31 hours ago
On the Laws by Cicero, Marcus Tullius
Posted 42 hours ago

Izaak Walton's Lives of John Donne, Henry Wotton, Richard Hooker and George Herbert by Walton, Izaak
Posted 45 hours ago

Bye Bye freedom of speech

rant moved to BNN...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The WAGD post of the day take three

The WAGD post of the day (take two)

they got it wrong...the big comet is coming in  2013...

more HERE.
The most exciting aspect of this new comet concerns its preliminary orbit, which bears a striking resemblance to that of the “Great Comet of 1680.” That comet put on a dazzling show; it was glimpsed in daylight and later, as it moved away from the sun, it threw off a brilliantly long tail that stretched up from the western twilight sky after sunset like a narrow searchlight beam for some 70 degrees of arc. (A person's clenched fist, held at arm’s length, covers roughly 10 degrees of sky.)
The fact that the orbits are so similar seems to suggest Comet ISON and the Great Comet of 1680 could related or perhaps even the same object.

No reform for China?

From Asia news: China isn't planning reform any time in the near future. 

Free speech "headup"

Gay Caswell, a Metis who lives and runs a program for children in her First Nation town, has an ongoing feud with the Canadian establishment types who are harassing her and protecting the local drug pushers.

A lot of this sounds like the normal tribal politics on Indian reservations in the US, (the difference being that it is unclear if the outsiders or locals are the cause of their problems).... But unlike the US, when she named names, the guy sued her and she was forced to take down her blog and pay a huge fine she couldn't afford.

She now is putting her complaints on Youtube.

Just click it to give her hits...

and I'll keep you informed if she is sued to remove this latest complaint about the problems.

Musical Interlude of the day

Andy Williams, rest in peace.

Science news

Slideshow link Hubble at 20

more at NatGeo
mage courtesy ESA/NASA


the earth is cracking up:

The sequence of huge earthquakes that struck off the coast of Sumatra in April may signal the creation of a new tectonic plate boundary.
Scientists give the assessment in this week's Nature journal.
They say their analysis of the tremors - the biggest was a magnitude 8.7 - suggests major changes are taking place on the ocean floor that will eventually split the Indo-Australian plate in two.

actually, what worries me about this picture is that another fault line goes right through Luzon north of us...
GM disease resistant Cassava could prevent hunger...

earlier report on the problem here.
CBSD has become an extremely serious constraint to cassava production in East Africa as well as a threat to cassava production throughout Africa. CBSD is listed as one of the seven most dangerous plant diseases in the world for the impact it can have on food and economic security across Africa. Cassava has been estimated to be the world’s third most important staple crop, providing carbohydrates for around 200 million people in Africa.

Read more at:

Cassava can be grown on poor soil and is a major source of calories in sub sahara Africa.
CBSD has become an extremely serious constraint to cassava production in East Africa as well as a threat to cassava production throughout Africa. CBSD is listed as one of the seven most dangerous plant diseases in the world for the impact it can have on food and economic security across Africa. Cassava has been estimated to be the world’s third most important staple crop, providing carbohydrates for around 200 million people in Africa. Cassava is an excellent crop for poor farmers as it can be cultivated year round and has flexibility in its harvesting times, providing food in periods when other food staples are not available. Its ability to better withstand drought and grow in poorer soils than other staples is also contributing to cassava replacing maize as a primary food crop.

Read more at:
CBSD has become an extremely serious constraint to cassava production in East Africa as well as a threat to cassava production throughout Africa. CBSD is listed as one of the seven most dangerous plant diseases in the world for the impact it can have on food and economic security across Africa. Cassava has been estimated to be the world’s third most important staple crop, providing carbohydrates for around 200 million people in Africa.

Read more at:
CBSD has become an extremely serious constraint to cassava production in East Africa as well as a threat to cassava production throughout Africa. CBSD is listed as one of the seven most dangerous plant diseases in the world for the impact it can have on food and economic security across Africa. Cassava has been estimated to be the world’s third most important staple crop, providing carbohydrates for around 200 million people in Africa.

Read more at:
CBSD has become an extremely serious constraint to cassava production in East Africa as well as a threat to cassava production throughout Africa. CBSD is listed as one of the seven most dangerous plant diseases in the world for the impact it can have on food and economic security across Africa. Cassava has been estimated to be the world’s third most important staple crop, providing carbohydrates for around 200 million people in Africa.

Read more at:
CBSD has become an extremely serious constraint to cassava production in East Africa as well as a threat to cassava production throughout Africa. CBSD is listed as one of the seven most dangerous plant diseases in the world for the impact it can have on food and economic security across Africa. Cassava has been estimated to be the world’s third most important staple crop, providing carbohydrates for around 200 million people in Africa.

Read more at:

The WAGD post of the day

A new respiratory virus appears in Qatar...

There have been a small number of other cases of serious respiratory illness in the Middle East in the past three months, one of whom was treated in the UK but has since died.
This person's illness is also being investigated, although there is no evidence as yet to suggest that it is caused by the same virus or linked to the current case. No other confirmed cases have been identified to date in the UK.

luckily it doesn't seem to be something that transmits from person to person, but the Haj is coming up and new diseases are always a worry... ----------------- update: headline at GMA: DOH readies "SARS ROOM" to deal with new SARS like cases.

Rant: The history behind the headlines

you know the headlines but tomorrow's wars are explained by history.

Why are so many Middle Eastern Islamic countries, which in the past was at the forefront of intellectual knowledge, now associated with backward states?  It's the terror of the 10percent who are religious zealots  who threaten any new ideas, and have been for a millennium...

Criticism of Islam was also forbidden by these conservatives, particularly by foreigners. In the past these conservatives have used persuasion and coercion to force the majority to resist change of any sort. Thus the early practice of Moslem scholars translating ancient Greek, Roman and other books into Arabic and then discussing all these new ideas was brought to a halt. The conservatives considered these foreign ideas and concepts poisonous and unIslamic. Thus after a few centuries of being a beacon of knowledge, the Islamic world began to fade. The Turks revived it for a while, by conquering most of the Middle East, but even the Turks eventually found themselves dragged down by corruption and opposition to new ideas. What used to be the wealthiest region in the world became one of the poorest. Were it not for the Western world developing an appetite for oil, which Arabia had a lot of the Middle East would be the poorest region in the world.

update: BelmontClub's essay also asks the question that no one else is asking: why are we allowing the PC (and this includes Islam but it not limited to them, given the way the left is trying to stop free speech by Christians) to stop the freedom of speech of others?
… Put it this way. Suppose the Necromonger cult invaded the earth. Could they claim to be a political party? Could they claim ‘religious freedom’. How do you deal with the Necromongers?

Donald Thornton, writing in the Thy Black Man asks the same question. What happens when you put militant ideologies in civil society and protect them as you would the Kiwanis or the Rotary? What happens when the piranha swim with the goldfish? Well, the goldfish get et.
so why is China threatening all of her neighbors?

StrategyPage also reports on the background of China's threats against India, the Philippines, and Japan...

China is pushing the "evil Japanese" meme to stir up their people (so they ignore the corruption, the increase in unemployment, and now the possible collapse of their economy).

so why the Philippines? They need the oil/natural gas in the West Philippines sea, but it's part of expansion because they see America as weak...and promoting the idea that all those countries are out to get them, not just Japan, just fits into the meme of distracting folks from problems at home.


Is there a common goal between Islamicists who hate America and the peace loving radical Left? Discussion with links here.

I think they both believe the old lies of the KGB and Chomsky that America is at the heart of the evil of the world, and like the environmentalists who think living a nice dirty poor life free of chemicals is utopia, they posit a nice utopia that will never really exist.

I love conspiracy theories: The problem is when too many people start believing that nonsense.

But things might not be as bad as the headlines scream:

 TMP Barnett points out that the Mariotts are planning to build a lot of hotels, not only in the North African area but in places like Rwanda...

Investors don't risk that kind of money out of charity, and I wonder if anyone notices that Mariott is run by an LDS family....Why do I bring it up? Because when I was in the National Guard in Idaho, we learned a lot of those ex LDS missionaries were often called up for emergencies, because of their experience overseas and their language skills.

One wonders if Romney has "on the ground" info via the church rumor mill in the same way I often know what is going on via the Catholic rumor mill, which doesn't always agree with the NYTimes...The Vatican for years has been a valuable source of information of what is going on because they have members all over the place who send reports to headquarters, and I always think of Salt Lake city as "Vatican lite".

One difference: Catholics tend to be the rich old money elite, and the poor. The Mormons, like the Evangelicals in South America and Asia, are part of the growing middle class in countries that in the past were poor. Both groups stress honesty and hard work and that our relationship to God is not just in prayer and rituals, but is shown in our everyday work.

These ideas have far reaching consequences: for example, they give the poor in the cities a new ethic to replace the "liberation theology" pushed by clueless Catholic missionaries in both South America and here in the Philippines. But they also give the entrepeneur class an ethic that says building a business (which hires people and results in prosperity for oneself, one's employees, and one's country) is also doing God's work. In other words, as Luther put it: A housewife can serve God as well as a nun, and by extention a businessman can serve God and help the poor more than one who merely donates a tithe to a local charity.

So in both places, they are at the forefront of freedom and prosperity.

This idea is the most revolutionary in the modern world, but rarely noted by the elites.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Just for nice


ROTFL post of the day

A reader writes to  Instapundit suggesting some Amazon reviews might be fake.

Ya Think?

warning: Put coffee down before opening link.


The "WAGD" post of the day

Well, maybe not "die" but we might be a bit miserable:

Feds scramble to halt stink bug invasion

or as Dave Barry writes:



(or as one comment says: no we're going to need a bigger can of Raid).


discussion on how to get rid of them here 

and HERE.

or just eat them


heh. Notice below where I said we use quotes from movies, not poets?

Well, trivia question of the day: Who is Dave Barry quoting. Hint: Duh duh duh duh duh duh...
answer here...

Poetry corner

Dr. Ebtekar's website today is about...poetry.
The Center for Peace and Environment convened the Evening of Poetry on Peace and Nature on September 20th 2012 on the International Day of Peace, in Tehran....I then spoke on the role that Persian poetry has played in introducing Iranian civilization and culture and promoting dialogue. Iranian  poetry  has a profound human and universal approach. The war against humans and the war against nature have a common root, I noted. We need to reach inner peace before we can come to terms with each other and peace with nature, I said. This poetry session intends to promote a message of peace with nations and nature on behalf of the Iranian nation we hope all conflicts will be resolved with dialogue and understanding, I stressed.

and her website includes this classic poem
The Rose
God, in spite of the skeptics,
caused spiritual gardens with sweet flowers to grow
in the hearts of His friends.
Every rose that is sweet-scented within,
that rose is telling of the secrets of the Universal.
Their scent, to the confusion of the skeptics,
spreads around the world, rending the veil."

 persian poetry has a long history and Iran is not a monolith...

One of the problems about modern "poetry" in the west is that no one in the USA reads it anymore.

Why? It has become like "modern art": a means of protest against the values of ordinary folks, or else poorly written prose that is meaningless, hard to understand, tepid, or just plain stupid.

However, poetry still lives, and maybe someday it will recover it's place in society.

Why do we have poets? Because they express what we ordinary folks can't find words to express. The last poet that people actually quoted was Robert Frost
(e.g. "Something there is that doesn't love a wall That wants it down...yes, it was written about an actual wall, but the phrase also describes the heartbreak of the Iron curtain that separated families and civilizations)

Nowadays, often we use a phrase from a song or a movie, but in the past we looked to poets.

Garrison Kielor's daily writer's almanac podcast has both a commentary on writers and a daily poem that he reads for your enjoyment. RSS feed here.


Sep. 25, 2012

No Difference

Small as a peanut,
Big as a giant,
We're all the same size
When we turn off the light....
So maybe the way
To make everything right
Is for God to just reach out
And turn off the light!

"No Difference" by Shel Silverstein, from A Light in the Attic. © Harper Collins, 1981. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

The CSMonitor also has a poetry corner on their newspaper site. LINK

Just like new Spring snow,
 Stars, the color of sunrise
 Fall on morning grass.
                 Karen Kenyon

StrongVerse poetry page LINK

A Midwinter Night's Sleep
It's Christmas again,
And the party's dying down.
Drunk and red-faced,
The bank manager dozes
On the diving board,
Bending it with his rotundity so
The tip dips into the cool pool,
Until someone nudges him
And he awakes at the bottom
Of the deep end drinking
Chlorinated water from
A beer can.
Tomorrow he'll service
Your home loan.
Hieropraxis often discusses poetry: Today's discussion is of Gerald Manley Hopkins poems.
No Worst, there is None – Gerard Manley Hopkins
No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,
More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.
Comforter, where, where is your comforting?
Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?
My cries heave, herds-long; huddle in a main, a chief
Woe, wórld-sorrow; on an áge-old anvil wince and sing —
Then lull, then leave off. Fury had shrieked ‘No ling-
ering! Let me be fell: force I must be brief.”‘
    O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
May who ne’er hung there. Nor does long our small
Durance deal with that steep or deep. Here! creep,
Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind: all
Life death does end and each day dies with sleep.

I often quote this when I comment on someone who has quick and easy answers to the problems of pain, sorrow and depression: Hold them cheap May who ne'er hung there!

Life Imitates Art

Sound familiar?


Today's teenagers: 

UK Mail story here. 

This is the problem of distant bureaucrats making a "one size fits all" rule and ignoring local input.
And if you think this is funny, wait until your doctor is ordered to obey the rules.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Stories below the fold

Most of the news is either political manipulations/lies or bad news, but there are a few stories out there that should raise eyebrows.


StrategyPage has an update about cyberwar...of course, cyberwars work both ways

This article on the LDS church discusses how the press fails to point out why they have a work ethic.
But the reason I am linking it is this comment:

Darren Blair says:
What few non-Mormons understand is the fact that in the early days of the church, “being a professional welfare recipient” was *not* an option.
The church quite literally had to terraform just about everywhere it settled in order to make the place livable. In fact, Nauvoo was originally a swamp and the Salt Lake valley had been forsaken by all but a handful of Native American bands. Every last warm body was needed to get the job done, and so if a person was physically & mentally capable they had a job to do.
I always like OSCard's post-apocolyptic stories that imagined the US in chaos, but Deseret as an oasis of peace. Theocracy? Yes,

but how many going to California gold rushes stayed alive by chosing to stay in SLC instead of ending up like the Donner Party....and it might raise eyebrows among bigots that the large Catholic cathedral is up the street from the Temple, or that Young welcomed the nuns starting a hospital for local gentile miners.

and yes, there are mosques down the street from the Temple too... most came as students in the last 40 years, but many are Bosnian or Somali refugees...

ironically, the LDS are not considered "People of the book"...because like the Bahais they are a "new" religion. In contrast, despite persecutions, most Muslims accept the Zorastrian religion as people of the book, because they are monotheistic and old...

And although one hopes that someone will clue President Ahmadinejad about the "Mountain Meadow Massacre" to prove those nice men neatly dressed suits can be quite lethal...
or better yet, clue in the Mullahs, since President A is already in trouble with the guys who actually run the government because he is trying to stop them from stealing everything in sight...

Drudge's story of the day is about kids complaining about Michelle's new lunch menu.

Well, Michelle only has girls. When I had boys, often I would come home and find the huge pot of stew or leftovers that I had prepared for supper had already been eaten by my sons and their friends...and often missing were the frozen corndogs, bread, lunch meats, and ramen noodle packages.


Hero of the day


From the UKTelegraph:
Heroic pig rescues foundering baby goat A pig comes to the aid of a distressed baby goat who found itself in trouble in a US petting zoo pond.

Monday, September 24, 2012


In the UK, "flanning" means a custard pie throwing contest:

and here is a film of the world championship being held in Kent:


but the classic pie throwing scene in movies is the one in The Great Race:

Made in USA?

AFP article on GMA:

Politics aside, the tendency to relocate is a multi-year process centered on growth prospects in the United States and "a lot of manufacturers have made a strong point of being closer to their customers," said Adam Fleck, an economist at Morningstar.
And not to be forgotten is the prospect of cheap and abundant energy thanks to a shale gas boom in the United States.
they probably could sell overseas too: Too often Chinese items break, and even our "korean" samsung refrigerator has it's enamel chipping after one year, suggesting shoddy workmanship that was dumped here.

There is a growing middle class in Asia that would be willing to buy American. 

Hobbits are for grownups

the Tolkien professor, whose book analyzing the hobbit is hitting the shelves, has an editorial on why you need to reread the Hobbit as an adult:
"The Hobbit" is a brilliantly constructed story, unfolding themes that remain all too relevant to the modern world: the nature of evil, the significance of human choice, the corrupting power of greed and the ease with which good people can be drawn into destructive conflict.

Mathematics can be beautiful

1 x 8 + 1 = 9
12 x 8 + 2 = 98
123 x 8 + 3 = 987
1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876
12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765
123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654
1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543
12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432
123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321

1 x 9 + 2 = 11
12 x 9 + 3 = 111
123 x 9 + 4 = 1111
1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111
12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111
123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111
1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111
12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111
123456789 x 9 +10= 1111111111

9 x 9 + 7 = 88
98 x 9 + 6 = 888
987 x 9 + 5 = 8888
9876 x 9 + 4 = 88888
98765 x 9 + 3 = 888888
987654 x 9 + 2 = 8888888
9876543 x 9 + 1 = 88888888
98765432 x 9 + 0 = 888888888

Brilliant, isn't it?
And look at this symmetry:

1 x 1 = 1
11 x 11 = 121
111 x 111 = 12321
1111 x 1111 = 1234321
11111 x 11111 = 123454321
111111 x 111111 = 12345654321
1111111 x 1111111 = 1234567654321
11111111 x 11111111 = 123456787654321
111111111 x 111111111=12345678987654321

your email of the day from Eng. Hamid

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Stories below the fold

Another day, another typhoon. It's in the Visayas, but supposed to go straight north and avoid our area.

we are still in the midst of harvesting rice, and it has rained nearly every afternoon  but not continously, so we can harvest and now that we have our own drier, get the rice dried before it deteriorates from mould.

Illegal logging? We haz that. Yes, there are laws, but they aren't enforced.


Private charity giving has long been part of the American landscape, and those who are hyperventillating over Romney as a tax cheat  because he gives a lot to charity need to check their history LINK 

One trivia question about rich folks who don't pay taxes ignore how one rich heiress (and step cousin of Jackie Kennedy Onassis) actually had congress pass a bill to lower her tax payments. Full story here.

Katharine’s charities outstripped her considerable fortune, especially after the introduction of the federal income tax, which at one point was gobbling up a third of her income. In a move that would be hard to imagine with today’s Alternative Minimum Tax, Congress in 1924 passed a bill providing that any person who had given at least 90 percent of their income to charity for the preceding 10 years would be exempt from federal taxes. The bill was widely understood to include no one but Katharine Drexel.

In contrast, the Obama administration will force charities to pay a huge tax penalty because they won't fund contraception/abortion pills, denying that these organizations have anything to do with religion.Maybe he needs to read the IRS pamphlet that I linked to above.

Speaking of Charity: The charity sweepstakes and now the push for Casinos to bring in money is not getting approval of the old leftie (now retired) Archbishop Cruz. He has a couple of articles on his blog against...gambling. Catholics are not against gambling per se, but sees the pushing of casinos and games of chance in the name of "charity" is merely a way for politicians to get rich while corrupting the poor.

The casinos now being pushed have other "added attractions" for corruption, such as prostitution, including the exploitation of young boys and girls, and of course selling "shabu" and other illicit drugs.


Related item: A priest remembers Martial Law in the Philippines under Marcos.


The NYTimes suggests that if you eat a diet that gives you kwashiorkor, you will not die of heart disease. Why do I say that? because our patients in Africa villages ate that diet, and we didn't see heart disease (which only was seen in those eating a European diet).
However, they died of infection, their wounds didn't heal, and we saw a lot of B vitamin deficiencies,  toxemia or pregnancy, and of course, the high fiber diet led to deaths from Sigmoid vovulus...

--cartoon from Paleohacks
Here is how to lower your stress level:


Peter Jackson reports the first hobbit movie will be "only" 2 hours and 3 minutes long, says TORN, and he posts this new poster of a fairly vicious looking Bilbo.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cat item of the day

Happy Hobbit Day

Actually, it was Sept 21st.

On September 21, 1937, J.R.R. Tolkien published The Hobbit. 75 years later, we're still reading about that hobbit who left that hole in the ground to follow a band of dwarves and a wizard on a great adventure

Ludacris speed!

Could we invent Warp drive?

more HERE

Another demonstration you probably missed

From AlJazeerah:
Around 30,000 Libyans marched through the eastern port city on Friday in an unprecedented effort to demand the disbanding of powerful armed militias, in the wake of the assault that killed the US ambassador and three other Americans.
The massive crowd poured into Al-Kish Square square in front of the main camp of Ansar Sharia militia in the city, unfurling a long Libyan flag and chanting, "With our lives and souls, we redeem you, Benghazi".
the bad news is that the a smaller nut case group (estimated 3000) organized by the terrorists also demonstrated...

Michael Totten says it is a good sign...,

more at Russia Today that describes the militia's headquarters being taken over by demonstrators...

headsup Gatewaypundit

Science headline of the day

The IgNoble Prizes are out, and top prize goes to : The Pony Tail factor:

photo Unilever via BBC

It was won by Dr Warren and his collegues at Unilever, a company that makes hair care products:

 His and his co-workers' research produced what has become known as the "Ponytail Shape Equation". It takes into account the stiffness of the hair fibres on the head, the effects of gravity and the presence of the random curliness or waviness that is ubiquitous in human hair to model how a ponytail is likely to behave.

Together with a new quantity the team calls the Rapunzel Number, the equation can be used to predict the shape that hair will take when it is drawn behind the head and tied together.
other awards include

Fluid Dynamics Prize: Rouslan Krechetnikov (US/Russia/Canada) and Hans Mayer (US) for studying the dynamics of liquid-sloshing, to learn what happens when a person walks while carrying a cup of coffee.
Anatomy Prize: Frans de Waal (Netherlands/US) and Jennifer Pokorny (US) for discovering that chimpanzees can identify other chimpanzees individually from seeing photographs of their rear ends.
Medicine Prize: Emmanuel Ben-Soussan and Michel Antonietti (France) for advising doctors who perform colonoscopies how to minimise the chance that their patients will explode.
Yes, because nothing says "Malpractice suit" as much as exploding colons....

The "WAGD" post of the day

The BBC reports the sun is dimming....
We are all seeing rather less of the Sun, according to scientists who have been looking at five decades of sunlight measurements.
They have reached the disturbing conclusion that the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth's surface has been gradually falling.
Paradoxically, the decline in sunlight may mean that global warming is a far greater threat to society than previously thought.

 Whoops....maybe there will be a new mini ice age coming.

via Sense of Events Blog

Learning how to forgive

The "everyday hero" story of the day comes from Sports Illustrated 

I usually sneer at sermons that glibly talk about "loving your neighbor" and "Forgiving others" because the writers/speakers are so obviously talking cliches, not writing from the heart.

This story is different...

The English language has a million words, but only one for the two kinds of forgiveness. This is a major failure. The two kinds may be similar at the molecular level but they are far removed in magnitude. Like a candle flame and a volcano, an April shower and a hurricane, a soft tremor beneath your feet and the great San Francisco earthquake.
The first kind of forgiveness is the easy kind. Someone wounds you, and in time this offender comes to see what he has done. He returns to lay the crime at your feet. And when you reach down to pull him up a sort of charge passes between you, a cleansing force that refreshes both souls.

Candle flame and volcano. The second kind of forgiveness is a rare occurrence that becomes rarer as the crime grows more severe. In this case the offender gives nothing. He never comes to you. And when you go to him, he turns you away. This leaves you alone with your open wound and a solitary choice. No one will blame you either way. But the wound is yours to keep, or let go, and that choice may plot the course for the rest of your life.

One night 13 years ago a wound was opened in the dark, in a place deep in the abdomen that surgeons call the seat of the soul. The wound was a subterranean river, and it was not closed off until there was no more blood to lose. Professional athletes have done many terrible things over the years, but this was probably the worst. An unborn boy lay in the dark near the rising lake of his mother's blood, and soon he would join her on the brink of death.

The mother had a mother, and this story is about her...

(headsup GetReligion)

Friday, September 21, 2012

More ancient archeological finds for Harvard Feminists

More ancient manuscripts to sell to Harvard professors who want to have ten minutes of fame:

from Alunsalt

and here is an illustration found in the book of Revealations:

this one is from the ancient book of LOLCATBIBLEexodux 32
 moved to BNN....

Stories below the fold

HeirsOfDurin has screenshots of the new Hobbit Trailer for your viewing pleasure, including the four "alternative endings", including where Bilbo reads the part in his contract about Durin's not being responsible if he is incinerated...and promptly faints.
 Unique 1000 year old limestone sarcophagi found in the mountains of the Philippines.


 Remember those headlines stories about a text saying Jesus being married?

 Did they mention that a lot of scholars think the whole thing is a forgery?

In other words, the "anonymous collector took it to just the sort of naive person who would be targeted by a scam, and presented her with a papyrus that would confirm her feminist interpretation of church history...

wonder how much Harvard paid for it?
Some archaeologists were quick to question Harvard's ethics, noting that the fragment has no known provenance, or history of where it's been, and that its current owner may have a financial interest in the publicity being generated about it.

King has said the owner wants to sell his collection to Harvard.

"There are all sorts of really dodgy things about this," said David Gill, professor of archaeological heritage at University Campus Suffolk and author of the Looting Matters blog, which closely follows the illicit trade in antiquities. "This looks to me as if any sensible, responsible academic would keep their distance from it."

the real question is why the Smithsonian "fell" for pushing such a poorly authenticated piece of parchment when selling fake antiquities has been a big business in Egypt for 4000 years.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Good news of the day (take 2)

13 year old Pinoy street kid wins award.

THE HAGUE  - A young Filipino who lived off a rubbish dump and slept in an open tomb has won a prestigious children's award in the Netherlands for his work to improve the rights of his fellow street kids.
Cris "Kesz" Valdez, aged 13, was handed this year's International Children's Peace Prize at a glittering ceremony in The Hague on Wednesday, where he received a 100,000 euro ($130,000) prize.
Valdez was chosen from three finalists for the work of his "Championing Community Children" charity which raises funds to hand out gift parcels to needy children in Cavite City, about 30 kilometres (18 miles) south of the capital Manila.


The Good news of the day

Well, if the Middle East doesn't blow up and if a solar flare doesn't destroy all the electronics in the world, next december Bilbo will be showing the Dwarfs the heroism of hobbits.

Cat item of the day

the "WAGD" post of the day take two

from APOD:

A Solar Filament Erupts
Image Credit: NASA's GSFC, SDO AIA Team
Explanation: What's happened to our Sun? Nothing very unusual -- it just threw a filament. At the end of last month, a long standing solar filament suddenly erupted into space producing an energetic Coronal Mass Ejection (CME).... If you missed this auroral display please do not despair -- over the next two years our Sun will be experiencing a solar maximum of activity which promises to produce more CMEs that induce more Earthly auroras.

so why worry?

The "WAGD" post of the day

On the front page of the Manila Bulletin, right below the story on Mar Roxas.

Syria Plans Chemical Attack Against Syrians
LONDON (AFP) – The Syrian regime plans to deploy chemical weapons against its own people “as a last resort,” the former head of Syria's chemical arsenal told The Times newspaper in an interview published Wednesday.
Major General Adnan Sillu said he defected from the Syrian army three months ago after being party to top-levels talks about the use of chemical weapons on both rebel fighters and civilians.

that is bad enough but then read the rest:: both Hezbollah and the Iranian Republican Guard is involved in the chemical weapons use, and of course they are aiming to use them against Israel.
“They wanted to place warheads with the chemical weapons on missiles – to transfer them this way to Hezbollah. It was for use against Israel, of course,” he told The Times.
He suggested that the regime now had “nothing to lose” in sharing the weapons and added: “If a war starts between Hezbollah and Israel it will be only good for Syria.”

Formerspook has a full analysis, including a link to the JPost reprint of the German article that revealed that they are testing rockets to use shells with chemicals.
He notes that the report is Assad waiting to see if anyone in the west blinks or says stop.

The more partisan Diplomad has the backstory on how the Romney tape kerfuffle is being used to distract people from the real danger of a corrupt and incompetent State Department.
Austin Bay's take HERE.

and if you think this is complicated, just wait til the price of bread in Egypt goes up...keep an eye on this chart...

of course, to us the real story is the Chinese threats against Japan. That too is testing to see if the US is watching and will help protect Japan...if the Chinese succeed, I guess we can say goodbye to Palawan...

Stories below the fold (plus lots of ranting from others)

From AMA Wire:  Ad about job losses targets lawmakers on 2 percent Medicare sequester cut
As a new White House reportPDF FIle outlines required cuts under the Budget Control Act of 2011, the AMA is warning Congress about the costs of implementing a 2 percent Medicare sequester cut.

An adPDF FIle running in the nation's capital this week forces lawmakers to face the economic impact of the cut: the loss of 766,000 jobs. ...The sequester would reduce physician payments by $11.1 billion in 2013 and increase each year throughout the decade-long sequester.

According to a studyPDF FIle the three groups released last week, more than 496,000 jobs will be lost next year alone....

The AMA and more than 100 other medical associations also submitted letters to leaders of the U.S. SenatePDF FIle and House of RepresentativesPDF FIle last week, urging them to act against the cuts.

When added to the uncertainty surrounding the 27 percent cut scheduled for Jan. 1 under the sustainable growth rate formula, access to care for Medicare patients also is a weighty concern. In addition, the cuts threaten the ability of physicians to invest in much-needed health care innovations.

and that is because Obama cut Medicare to fund Obamacare.

I have a better idea: Just reopen the inner city PHS hospitals that Jimmy Carter closed, and give all those without insurance the equivalent of a CDIB card, and let them experience the joys of federal medical care, complete with rationing and delays.

I am old enough to remember the horrors of PGH, the city hospital run by cheap medical students  so the poor would have access to care. How bad was it? well, for those of us learning how to be doctors, it was great, but for the patients, not so great....It was so bad that the Honorable Frank Rizzo (sarcasm) read a report on the problems and said, hell,if it's that bad, just close the place...saying the poor should apply for Medicaid and use the much better private hospitals instead.

 Insomnia download of the day: Librivox has an audiobook of an old National Geographic magazine.

not sure how they do the topless women photos, which is why teenaged boys used to peruse it in the good old days.

transhumanists want to make underpeople from animals.

People always point to Huxley, but actually Cordwainer Smith predicted this.

From Ann Althouse, on the Romney tape kerfuffle:
... according to his unnamed source who, he says "noticed this quickly and turned it back one [sic]. The source estimates that one to two minutes, maybe less, of recording was missed."

Really only 2 minutes? You sure it wasn't 18 minutes? Could the name of the source be Rosemary?
What's with Mother Jones? They usually are a left wing but accurate source.

But first, they publish a questionable tape, and now they are busy dissing kittycats:

Kitties, Rabies, the Plague, and You

 maybe so, but this morning, Ruby's cat Greyson left us a huge 9 inch rat as a present, so we'll keep him even if he kills a few sparrows.

Sunday School lesson for today

A woman was at work when she received a phone call that her small daughter was very sick with a fever.

She left work and stopped by the pharmacy to get some medication.

She got back to her car and found that she had locked her keys in the car.
She didn't know what to do.
She called home and told the baby sitter what had happened.

The baby sitter told her that the fever was getting worse. She said: "You might find a coat hanger and use that to open the door."

The woman looked around and found an old rusty coat hanger that had been left on the ground, possibly by someone else who at some time had locked their keys in their car.

She looked at the hanger and said : "I don't know how to use this."

She bowed her head and asked God to send her HELP.

Within five minutes a beat up old motorcycle pulled up.

A bearded man who was wearing an old biker skull rag on his head.

The woman thought: "This is what you sent to help me?"

However, she was desperate. She was also very thankful!

The man got off of his cycle and asked if he could help.

She said: "Yes, my daughter is very sick. I stopped to get her some medication and I ’ve locked my keys in my car. I must get home to her. Please, can you use this hanger to unlock my car?"

He said: "Sure." He walked over to the car, and in less than a minute the car was opened.

She hugged the man and through her tears she said : "Thank You SO Much! You are a very nice man."

The man replied: "Lady, I am NOT a nice man. I just got out of PRISON yesterday, I was in prison for car theft."

The woman hugged the man again and with sobbing tears cried out loud:

"Oh, thank you God! ..........You even sent me a Professional!!"

sent to me by both TiaMaria and Col Updraft.

How to talk like a pirate

Pirate Phrases

Aaaarrrrgggghhhh! - exhortation of discontent or disgust

Ahoy! - Hello!

Ahoy, Matey - Hello, my friend!

Ahoy, me Hearties! - the same as saying "Hello, my friends!"

All hand hoay! - comparable to all hands on deck

Avast ye - stop and check this out or pay attention

Aye - yes

Batten down the hatches - put everything away on the ship and tie everything down because a storm is brewing

Bilge-sucking - insult

Blimey! - exhortation of surprise

Blow me down! - expression of shock of disbelief akin to "Holy Crap!"

Blow the man down - command to kill someone

Booty - treasure

Buccaneer - a pirate

Bucko - a buccaneer

Cat O'Nine Tails - a whip with nine strands

Corsair - pirates in the Mediterranean Sea

Crow's nest - small platform atop the mast where the lookout stands

Cutlass - short heavy curved bladed sword used by pirates

Davy Jones' Locker - fabled, mythical place at the bottom of the ocean where the evil spirit of Davy Jones brings sailor and pirates to die

Dead men tell no tales - phrase indicating to leave no survivors

Doubloons - other coins or found in pirate hoards and stashes

Feed the fish - will soon die

Hang 'im from the yardarm - punishment of those captured in battle

Head - the pirate ship's toilet

Heave Ho - give it some muscle and push it

Hempen Halter - a noose for hanging

Hornswaggle - to defraud or cheat out of money or belongings

Jacob's Ladder - the rope ladder one uses to climb aboard a sloop

Jolly Roger - pirate's flag including white skull and crossbones over a black field

Keelhaul - punishment in which a person where dragged underneath the pirate ship from side to side and was lacerated by the barnacles on the vessel

Lad, lass, lassie - a younger person

Landlubber - big, slow clumsy person who doesn't know how to sail

Letters of Marque - letters issue from governments during wartime to privateers endorsing the piracy of another vessel

Man-O-War - pirate's ship outfitted for battle

Me - my

Mizzen - third mast from the bow of the ship on ships that have three or more masts

Old Salt - an experienced sailor

Pieces of eight - coins or found in pirate stashes

Pillage - rob, sack or plunder

Poop deck - the part of the ship farthest to the back, which is usually above the captain's quarters. This is not the bathroom.

Privateer - government-sponsored pirates

Rum - pirate's traditional alcoholic beverage

Run a shot across the bow - warning shot to another vessel's captain

Savvy? - do you understand and do you agree?

Scallywag - mild insult akin to rapscallion or rogue

Scurvy dog - the pirate is talking directly to you with mild insult

Scuttle - to sink a ship

Seadog - old pirate or sailor

Shark bait - will soon join Davy Jones' Locker

Shipshape - cleaned up and under control

Shiver me timbers! - comparable to "Holy Crap!"

Son of a Biscuit Eater - insult directed towards someone you don't like

Thar she blows! - Whale sighting

Three sheets to the wind - someone who is very drunk. One sheet is mildly drunk and four sheets is passed out.

Walk the plank - punishment in which person walks off a board jutting over the side of the ship while at sea. The consequence is drowning and a visit to Davy Jones' Locker.

Weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen! - pull up the anchor and the sail and let's get going

Ye - you

Yo Ho Ho - cheerful exhortation to demand attention

your email of the day from Col Updraft