Friday, September 19, 2014

Stuff around the net

BBC article on cloves, the sins of colonialism, and the clove tree that defied empires.

In 1652, after displacing the Portuguese and Spanish, the Dutch introduced a policy known as extirpatie: extirpation.
All clove trees not controlled by the Voc were uprooted and burned.
Anyone caught growing, stealing or possessing clove plants without authorisation faced the death penalty.
On the Banda Islands, to the south - the world's only source of nutmeg - the Dutch used Japanese mercenaries to slaughter almost the entire male population.
Like Opec today, the Voc also limited supply to keep prices high. Only 800-1,000 tonnes of cloves were exported per year. The rest of the harvest was burned or dumped in the sea.
Somehow, Afo managed to slip through the net. A rogue clove. A guerrilla plant waging a secret war of resistance.
Afo would eventually bring down the Dutch monopoly on cloves.
In 1770, a Frenchman, appropriately named Poivre, stole some of Afo's seedlings.

the article includes this factoid:

A Han dynasty ruler from the 3rd Century BC insisted that anyone addressing him chew cloves to sweeten their breath. 


Manila needs a new sewer/drainage system, so is in danger of floods as the rain from the last storm comes downstream from the north.

Marikina is partly under sea level, but they managed to build there anyway.


Mona Lisa had high cholesterol

The facial expression - one of the main reasons why the 16th century painting is among the most famous works of art in the world – shows signs of a build up of fatty acids around the eyes of the subject , according to Vito Franco of the University of Palermo.
The Italian scientist says the. model in the oil painting had a xanthelasma – a subcutaneous accumulation of cholesterol – in the hollow of her left eye and a fatty tissue tumour.
It suggests very high levels of cholesterol in the model, thought to be Lisa del Giocondo, a member of a Florence family who married a cloth and silk merchant.

the latest hack: Home Depot. I got an email about this today


Facebook isn't content in knowing your life story and presumably letting the NSA and a lot of businesses to spy on you, they now insist that you use your real name, and it has caused a kerfuffle because they are removing the stage names of dragqueens from their site.

Drag queen Sister Roma says Facebook should change its policy that bans profiles with fake names. (Isabel Angell/KQED)

A Facebook spokesman said the company requires people to use their real name to promote accountability, but drag queen Sister Roma says that is her real name.
“If you ask anybody who I am in and out of drag, my name is Roma. So currently my profile says Michael Williams next to this gorgeous picture of me, and it doesn’t make sense,” she said. “People don’t look for Michael Williams, and it’s not who I am.”

And one wonders if the "fake name" applies to others with stage names or who publish under a pen name.

and I wonder how Facebook knows your real name and that you are lying?

FYI: How to use a fake identity on facebook.


The TV version of Fargo: Behind the scenes.

the best thing about the film were the "in jokes" about Minnesota, but the TV version hasn't hit our screens yet.


Siskel and Ebert panned back to the future?

Well, it's not a "great" film, only a classic comedy.


NYTimes has a couple articles and an editorial condemning "futile" care, especially at the end of life.

Can you say "death panels"?

Most docs actually discourage this, but what they don't see is that often the "futile" care is done because there is a chance for recovery...and there is a fear if you don't do everything you will be sued.

Get rid of malpractice suits and you'll see less futile care.

And I should add: Certain minorities insist that everything be done because they suspect they will be left to die because they are black/nativeAmerican, and that if they were white, they'd be given the chance to live... Given my experience, sometimes they are right to refuse to sign these papers.


Politics, political correctness, and budget cuts are destroying the US Navy.

and the press is parroting "racism" in the services, never mind that it's not true.
it's about getting out the vote, not about racism, since the military was always one way to get trained for a job, the result of the manipulation is a higher unemployment rate, but never mind.


headlines emphasize the negative ignore the real story

children now don't die as much as they used to...

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