Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Stuff below the fold (plus rants)

The UKGuardian has the full Benghazi story, including how the reality disagrees with the cover stories put out by Obama.

And happily, unlike the US Media, they mentioned that Sean Smith noticed an attack was coming a couple hours before it started (giving the US State Dept plenty of time to get help there)... the Guardian say it was an email when it was actually an instant message to his EVE friends, but presumably he ALSO emailed the US State Department and was ignored..

Bathing in the medieval days.

I just listened to a podcast about this, LINK

Tickling rats for science.

(If you want to know exactly how one tickles a rat, this is the method outlined by Panksepp  and used in studies of rat laughter: “…The tickling was done with the right hand and consisted of rapid initial finger movements across the back with a focus on the neck, followed by rapidly turning the animals over on their backs, with vigorous tickling of their ventral surface, followed by release after a few seconds of stimulation.) 

Cat item of the day:

Kittens in hamster balls.
video link


What is precession, and why does it matter?

Podcast: Play in new window | Download (0.0KB)
The Earth is wobbling on its axis like a top. You can’t feel it, but it’s happening. And over long periods of time, these wobbles shift our calendars around, move the stars from where they’re supposed to be, and maybe even mess with our climate. (italics mine).


Joseph Pearce discusses the Catholic influences in the Hobbit in this podcast.

I should note that Pearce's expertise is noticing Catholic influence where it is usually ignored (e.g. Shakespeare). In this case, Tolkien, like most Catholics, is not an "either/or" writer, but a "both/and" person: able to love both Nordic legends and medieval/pre Vatican II Catholicism, but many modern experts ignore the Catholic influence because it is embedded in the sociology/psychology and plot of the story.

Culture note:
Some early Christians saw the gods as "evil"spirits; Paul (ironically) saw them as imaginary, but when the priests evangelized the Anglo Saxons, they "baptized" the good in their belief system, the same way we did when we worked in Africa.

and in medieval belief, the "gods" were archangels who were mistaken for "gods" through "the mist" of human error (to use a Percy Jackson term). See CS Lewis "That Hideous Strength"....or saint Boethius who was visited and comforted by a  "grey eyed" woman (not Mary: Athena, the goddess of wisdom).


Heh. Dawkins points out that that "childhood sexual abuse" was rampant in boarding schools in his day, and suffers the wrath of the sex police.

Actually, he points out something everyone knows but nobody bothers to say: not that sexual fondling etc. of children is not wrong, but that using it to demonize Catholics as if it only was done by Catholic priests ignores that it happened in all sorts of schools/institutions...

Next thing you know, someone will notice how common it was in the past to sleep with your maid/secretary/cute male employee....

Broccoli: Is there anything it can't do?

not it stops sunburn and skin cancer.

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