Monday, August 31, 2015

Oliver Sachs: rest in peace

Oliver Sachs, who wrote gently about neurological disease and those who suffered from these disease, has died.

Interview here:

the film Awakenings was based on his essays about the first experiments using LDopa for parkinson's disease.

And it is one of the few films about doctors that I can actually watch without throwing my shoe and shouting at the TV: That's wrong you idiots.

Do lives really matter, or is it political spin?

A million people hyperventillated when Cecil the Lion (who was outside the protected park, i.e. a danger to locals) was shot. I suspect he strayed from his pack because a stronger lion was taking over his pride from him (and his brother). But lion vs lion violence is not noticed.

But how many care when inside that same park that Quinn Swales was killed by a lion trying to protect tourists from a lion attack?


No he doesn't count any more than the 3 million Africans killed in the various civil wars in Sudan and central Africa count.

But of course, this isn't just a "who cares" about black lives: The refugees from Syria don't count either...

Belmont club has an article noting a lot of refugee and other problems that are not being taken care of.

The hoards are coming, and it bodes ill for the rich and complacent.

And if I side with the hoards, it is because the Irish diaspora from famine and political oppression was similarly looked on with horror by the same types 100 to 150 years ago.

But the real backstory not being discussed is: watch what you wish for, because you might get it.

When the police, who when being demonized (for political reasons) have cut back on policing, the murder rate soared.

Similarly, we see the world who has happily demonized America the policeman, again,  for political reasons.

Guess what? America is now no longer keeping the peace...and so now we watch the world descending into chaos as America the policeman no longer is there.

Watch what you wish for, because you might actually get it...

But who in the US is discussing this? never mind. Obama is black, so if you criticize him, you are racist.

No, don't ask me about Trump: He is nuts. But he has hit a nerve because there are a lot of folks out there who are tired of being made into the bad guy because they follow the rules, and like Rush Limbaugh he can articulate their thoughts.

Reminds me of the late 1960's, when leftist riots led to Nixon becoming president.

But this is worse: because back then, there was still a consensus that communism was evil.

Nowadays, ISIS and Iran just cause folks to shrug: You opposed the Pax Americana, so fight it out fellahs. Which side should we chose? (like Hitler vs Stalin in WWII, the lesser of two evils).

In this case, Obama is not doing a Munich and giving up for "peace in our time": he is tilting the scales for the lesser of two evils: let Iran get the bomb. Of course, he will sacrifice Israel to do so, but anyone who remembers history knows what will happen: Shiite Sunni war redux, with nukes.

And you Europeans who felt so superior to the cowboy USA, well, you can pick up the pieces when the Middle East falls apart (or when Iran and the Saudis nuke each other: Hey who cares? We have North Dakota and fracking).

Belmont Club's article reminds me of the fall of Rome: The German tribes, who were poor and saw Rome as a rich place for them to live, decided to cross the Rhine when it froze over. The Roman government, which had descended into chaos from various interfighting between emperors, had just moved East to get away from the chaos, and didn't have enough troops or money or the will left to stop them.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Don't shot the nose

Quick before the copyright cops find it:

1984 meets cryogenics, clones, and robosex....


Disturbing stories

Freakonomics discusses if insurance companies should pay you not to get full treatment for what ails you, but get hospice instead.

One problem not mentioned: Good hospice care is just as expensive in many cases, since full treatment often lets you strong enough to recover, work and care for yourself... (and insurance companies don't count in the lost wages etc for family members who care for the dying patient in their homes). But I do agree that good hospice can let you live just as long in some cases, and that doing "everything" is sometimes absurd.

But it's not age as much as "comorbidity": If you have five or six things wrong with you, maybe chemo isn't the way to go. But if you are in good health otherwise, well, why not?

But when hospice only covers six months treatment, what happens when it disappears, and you are still alive? This is one reason that people often don't sign up until terminal.

the other problem is that a lot of the ICU etc type of care is done not on "hopeless cases", but in cases when there is a chance for recovery with a good quality of life.

Finally, minorities know that they could be offered less aggressive therapy due to racism. Which is why they hesitate to sign DNR orders etc. No, they are not paranoid: I've seen this.


Factoid of the day

StrategyPage points out that airlines are using Skydex to protect airplanes from  small bombs packed in luggage.

FlyBag is a further development of earlier blast absorbing technology. For example, after 2010 American MRAPS and Stryker wheeled armored vehicles had blast absorption (Skydex) panels added to their floors. Each 762x281x25mm panel (30x15x1 inches) weighs about one kilogram (2.3 pounds). The Skydex is actually a multilayer shock absorber that limits most of the blast shock from a bomb. Thus there are fewer casualties inside the vehicle, and troops are more quickly able to respond to the attack. The panels result in fewer casualties overall, and fewer severe injuries. The success of Skydex led to further research in the area of dealing with the many types of damage explosives inflict.

UKMail article explains it here.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A dollop of dragons

Daily mail (UK) advises on the best bedtime story 

The perfect bedtime story lasts eight-and-a-half minutes and includes a dragon, a princess, a wizard and a fairy, research reveals. And such knowledge might just come in handy because the survey also found that parents spend a total of one week a year trying to get their children to go to sleep. While the ideal story lasting eight minutes and 36 seconds might have traditional elements, such as the backdrop of a castle, the hero should carry a thoroughly modern mobile phone as well as a magic wand.

 well, that's how Tolkien got his start: Telling stories to his kid who was prone to nightmares.

And  a quiz: which is your favorite film with a dragon?

Top 10 Dragons

and only one has kids to tell bedtime stories to....

Stories below the Fold (plus rants)

strategyPage reports that one source of friction between North Korea and South Korea is....junk food: i.e.ChocoPies

August 28, 2015: As if North Korea does not have enough problems one of the most annoying has to do with South Korean snack foods getting into the country and becoming enormously popular. It got so bad that in June 2015 North Korea ordered South Korean companies operating in a special zone in the north to stop bringing in South Korean snacks as rewards for North Korean employees. This follows a 2014 ban of Choco Pies and the subsequent failure of a substitute made in North Korea

Father Z notes a Breitbart story about a petition to the Pope to stop messing with the marriage laws, signed by half a million people.

The petition, which was started by U.S. conservative group TFP Student Action, calls on the Pope to “clarify the growing confusion among the faithful” at October’s Synod of Bishops and “implores” him to “prevent the very teaching of Jesus Christ from being watered down”. [The issue is confusion, surely.  The confusion is being created especially by Germans.  We shall see if the Holy Father tamps it down.]The group accuses “dissident Catholic pressure groups” of attempting to subvert Church teaching on marriage

This is not about divorce, but about letting unrepentant sinners receive the Eucharist. Since Catholics believe the Eucharist is the body of Christ, it is holy... And having a non believer or unrepentant sinner receive is an insult to God and implies the Eucharist is just a symbol.

Of course, I should talk. Like most pre Vatican II catholics I support the law, but don't always follow it.

which is why I think this essay (by a convert, of course) about the problem of "bad catholics" misses the point:

Evangelical and pentecostal Protestants chose to follow Jesus and are transformed. Back slide and you are in deep doodoo.

Catholics are part of an extended family, and like the younger prodigal son are always welcome home.

the phrase that Catholic means "here comes everyone" is more accurate: We are part of a family, so hey if we stray we are still part of the family.

However, I do have a problem with the "I'm okay You're okay" idea that people are really good, and that they never do anything wrong when they steal/lie/cheat/sleep around/get angry/get high/abuse or neglect their children.... There is a difference between human frailty and sociopathy...

In the USA, being "merciful" to sinners is about letting a gay or divorced person receiving the sacraments without being chaste.

Wonder why they don't notice the other 9 commandments?

Did I mention that the corrupt mayor who ordered the hit on his rival (that killed our nephew) died and not only had a Catholic burial but the Knights of Columbus were there...

related item: Local cult shuts down streets when Gov't goes after their leaders for looting the till and harassing whistleblowers... it's not about stealing, hey it's about freedom of religion.

and all the crooked politicians who are also under investigation for corruption are backing the church members...

so it's not just Borgia popes, the Vatican bank and Televangelists who do good and get rich...

So should one go after churches, especially when sometimes what looks as fraud is just naive or bad bookkeeping? Ah, and who polices the policeman?

Wheat and tares anyone?


TeaAtTrianon links to a book by Gareth Russell on the British monarchy...that discusses the ex church that housed Richard the Lionhearted and his parents' graves.

The bright new world of de-Christianised republican France had no use for places like Fontevraud and the damage done was so extensive that even after Louis XVIII and Charles X were restored to the thrones of their forebears, the broken abbey retained the purpose assigned to it by the revolution, a prison, until 1963. To amuse themselves, the souls trapped in terrible conditions within its walls, some poor and victimised, others criminal and malign, vandalised what was left of Fontevraud’s once-splendid interiors. The misérables hacked off the nose of Richard the Lionheart’s effigy and whittled away in boredom at his carved joints.
Today his tomb is a small splash of colour alongside his mother’s, father’s and sister-in-law’s in the vast white emptiness of the disused chapel, 
Couldn't happen to a nicer (/s) bunch of folks...who in their day were called the devil's brood.


The Saudis are hiring a  million Ugandans to work as maids, drivers, etc...They work cheaper than Pinoys, Indians and Bengalis...

One African bishop mentioned the problem of couple forced to live apart because one has to find a job away from their families, in cities, mine or even overseas, as something that the conference on families needs to discuss...


Secret societies you never heard of (and/or are ignored on C2c)

includes Katipunan....

The Katipunan was founded on July 7, 1892 with the singular goal of freeing the Philippines from Spanish rule. It was led by Andres Bonafacio, a warehouse clerk from a poor family, and recruitment from the working and middle classes was incredibly fast.

It led to the revolution to overthrow the Spaniards here.

headsup Presurfer:


Via AnneAlthouse: PeggyNoonan discovers that legal Hispanic immigrants dislike the illegals breaking the law to get in and many support Trump.

Well, when my oldest adopted son who lost his green card status is unable to visit his brother in the US (turned down by the embassy for a simple visitor's visa) it does sort of annoy me that those who follow the rules are punished, but those who break them get away with it.

No easy answer to this: I know too many hardworking people who came illegally when the rules were winked and except for papers do follow the law. They should get amnesty, as was done by Reagan... they are now are caught in the middle when Obama, instead of getting a just amnesty, just decides he will ignore the law.

Destroying rule of law for a higher good? 

This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? 

ah those nature loving Indians

Victims of human sacrifice at Cahokia were locals.

most were young women with no evidence of violence (suggesting human sacrifice), but another grave were a more mixed group that had been violently killed. (criminals?POWS?)

Given the many massacres in the histories of Europe and in Asia, I am not condemning AmerIndians, I am only pointing out that the pc myth of the peaceful primitive man is bunk.


Friday, August 28, 2015

disease of the week

Teenaged mutant ninja lice

just joking about the ninja part.

Guess we'll have to go back to nitpicking...

Discussing war, economics and how to chose the proper sized neck tie

The War college has lots of lectures giving lectures on the background of today's world headlines, and also history (which is why I check them out).

But today's lecture is on Dress for Sucess.

Why is Shiva at CERN?

Why does CERN have a statue of Shiva in front of their lab?

some anwers here

a "Symbol" of the cosmic dance.

the CERN explanation HERE:

The statue is a gift from India, celebrating CERN's long association with India which started in the 1960's and continues strongly today. It was unveiled by the Director General, Dr Robert Aymar, His Excellency Mr K. M. Chandrasekhar, Ambassador (WTO-Geneva) and Dr Anil Kakodkar, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Dept of Atomic Energy, India.In the Hindu religion, this form of the dancing Lord Shiva is known as the Nataraj and symbolises Shakti, or life force. As a plaque alongside the statue explains, the belief is that Lord Shiva danced the Universe into existence, motivates it, and will eventually extinguish it. Carl Sagan drew the metaphor between the cosmic dance of the Nataraj and the modern study of the 'cosmic dance' of subatomic particles.

Yes, but it is also a god worshipped by millions. and not necessarily a "good" god, but one who destroys. (destruction is good because creation follows destruction).

When the ABomb went off, one physicist quote Shiva: I am death destroyer of worlds. So there is a long history of this.

They are saying it is that CERN put it there because of their links to India: But India is not exclusively Hindu, you know. It is the country with the second highest Muslim population.

So why is CERN singling out Indian scientists? What? no Jewish/Christian/Muslims working at CERN? No European atheists? No Russian Orthodox Christians? No Jews there? No Chinese Buddhists?

So why Shiva, and not a reclining Buddha or an icon of Michael the archangel?

And the "Dance" implies circular history: western philosophy is based on the idea of the myth of progress. The dance implies reality is illusion, western philosophy implies reality is real.

Family news

We went to Manila yesterday.

I had doctor's appointment. We have ordinary doctors here but for specialty care you go to Manila, where the medical care is US level.

We then went shopping. I tried on clothing but gave up, since most of the clothing is for H shaped women and I am shaped like a pear, so even if I find the right size it doesn't drape right. Guess I'll stick to used clothing from the US.

It's a four hour drive.

Joy and Ruby went back today for Ruby's homeschool programs again. They would have stayed overnight but I wanted to come back, so a lot of driving etc. for them.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

film stuff

How to kill (or save) a Martian

and yes, this technology is available now


The Hobbit 3 movie extended edition is being anticipated by a lot of fans, because despite too many action scenes that slowed down the plot there was a lot left out, such as the actual battle with Dain, Beorn and the Eagles, and a lot of the people oriented scenes to flesh out the plot, such as Bard being elected leader of Dale and Thorin's funeral.

well, now we hear the extended edition will be R rated.
Heh. Unless they include an R rated scene between Tauriel and Kili, I suspect this means more bloody fighting scenes.

(update: One comment notes that maybe they will include more comments by Dain... Dain's language is not PC, to say the least, but went over the head of Yanks.).


I love the trilogy, but you know, the fan "Bilbo only" version that is closer to the book is actually better in some ways.


Every genocide has a silver lining

So the Middle East conflicts may be killing thousand and displacing a couple million people but hey, there is less air pollution says the LATIMES.

The cleaner air is the result of “international boycotts, armed conflict and related mass migration of people,” said study leader Jos Lelieveld, director of the atmospheric chemistry department at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany. “The changes are so large that they can be seen from space.”

and it's not just war that will clean up the air. One major source of pollution is Chinese industry.

With the economic slowdown in China, expect this industrial pollution to get better.

Of course, an economic collapse may hurt a lot of folks, and not just in China, and even lead to civil insurrections, but hey, the air will be cleaner...

The Banality of Evil

"The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid 'dens of crime' that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered… in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern.” — C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
(headsup Insightscoop)

The phrase "Banality of evil" is usually misunderstood as saying evil deeds such as genocide are banal and not evil.

But Hannah Arendt was talking about the phenomena of plain, ordinary folk discussing doing evil deeds coldly and routinely, as if it was just a normal ordinary thing.

Discussing murder over lunch as if it were nothing.

As in the Wannsee Conference.

or the Planned Parenthood videos of selling dead baby parts.

Me, I wonder: Since these are late term abortions, why were the abortions done? If for fetal abnormalities, the tissue would be useless, since often DNA etc. is bad.

If for social reasons, then I suspect a lot of them were done on minority teenagers, and one doubts they were asked to donate the parts, because the information that they would be killing a baby that looks like a baby would horrify them...

Often teenagers blank out that they are pregnant, (which is why they get late term abortion instead of the simpler first trimester abortions). They then blank out that it looks like a baby. They just want the problem to go away...

which is why we see teenagers, even in today's world, who come in the office or emergency room in labor and insist they couldn't be pregnant...

and of course, to deliver baby parts that can be used for scientific research, it often means doing a more dangerous method of delivery for the mom, or risking the "complication" of a live birth...but no one is discussing this either.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

sometimes it speaks to somebody's heart

IO9 has an article complaining about the attempted hostile take over of sci fi award the Hugo.

Sarah Hoyt has a lot of articles (her latest) about how she and others got disgusted at the PC takeover of sci fi and attempted to stop the takeover by a small group of experts aka SJW.

The short version of my comments is:
Sad Puppies which is a loosely connected (we’re not organized) group of fans (some of us are writers, but fans first) suspected that a small clique (whether motivated by power or politics, we don’t care) held sway over the Hugos.  This was in part because so few people voted in the award.  So we set out to increase the voter pool and we called attention to supporting/voting memberships and a group of people we thought were deserving of the award. The reaction from the clique was one of fury and name calling.  (For details look here 
and Instapundit links to this article about the kerfuffle.

so Hoyt said they tried to increase the voters who decided what to award, and got kicked out and screamed at in all sorts of mainstream journals and called names.

I stopped reading sci fi years ago because it got too nihilistic. (I gave up Game of Thrones after ten minutes on HBO).
So I am not making judgements in this matter.

But one little item in the IO9 article made me sit up and notice:

Based on the newly released statistics, Brandon Kempner of Chaos Horizon has a good analysis of the Hugo vote, (as does Nicholas Whyte in From the Heart Of Europe)—they estimate that the Rabid Puppies bloc was composed of 550-525 voters, while the Sad Puppies bloc made up 500-400 voters: around 20% of the 5,950 total voters. 

5900 votes total.

In other words, this is about a tiny number of people, not about ordinary fans.

And these 5900 voters can have a huge impact on sales (especially to libraries) and a person's career and his ability to write for a living.

So who decides who votes? If I have it right, it seems if you join the organization you can vote.

In other words, a self selected group. And easy to manipulate by anyone: which is the accusation of both the sad/rabid puppies who object to the coterie who runs the award program, and those who object to outsiders trying to change thing.

For example, BoingBoing dismisses them by saying that the various puppies (i.e. dissadents to the mainstream types who run the Hugo awards) are only one third of those who voted, so why worry about them?

Translation: Ignore them and they will go away.

Alternate translation: Geeks have other interest and are harder to mobilize to stop the SJW who can spread two minute hate message to millions on Facebook before anyone bothers to check the truth.

So the mainstream response is to keep them out. Change the rules.

Again, from BoingBOing:

At today's Worldcon business meeting, members of the Worldcon will consider a significant rule-change for Hugo nominations and voting, co-designed by Bruce Schneier, crafted to make the Hugo nomination system harder for small groups to sweep through slates. Update: It passed. It will need to be ratified at next year's Worldcon business meeting to take effect.
so all we need is for geeks to go to the meeting and vote against it, right?


In other news: Helsinki was selected as the site for Worldcon 2017.
Helsinki? Why not Ulan Bator?

well, anyway: the fight reminds me of how political correctness types slowly take over institutions.

The political enthusiasts with an agenda join a group (or some people for various reasons are converted while members).
Because they are politically active in the organization (while the rest of us have a life to lead) they end up in leadership positions.

They then make a lot of decisions (putting out opinion statements in the name of the organization, as if the membership agreed with them, deciding who writes in the publications read by the members,  deciding who to give awards or who needs to give talks to their membership meetings).

As a result, a lot of people quietly vote with their feet and leave the organization.
Others just stay for other benefits while ignoring the politics. (e.g. professional organizations like the AMA)
Still others are too busy to even notice what is going on.

Voila, the elites take over of cultural institutions and use them to push a larger agenda, as if the members agree with them.

As I said: The AAFP members opposed Obamacare, but it didn't stop the bureaucrat from pushing it in congress, even to the effect that he was there when the bill was signed. A similar ploy was done by the nun in charge of the Catholic health organization. Agenda before representing the interests of your members.

So how can you oppose those in power?

Well, When the elites start the takeover, if you point out they are a minority, and they should not push their agenda on the rest of us, they object we are wrong and insist they are on the side of the future, so resistance is futile.

When dissadents wake up and realize what is going on, and try to stop them, the dissadents are stopped, called names, ignored or otherwise ostracized.

This is true be it the AMA and the AAFP or the politically correct nuns of the catholic health organization, but it is also true in the US Catholic Bishop's Conference's various committees. Heck, it is true even in the Vatican, (as shown when a report changing Catholic dogma was released, never mind that no one had voted on this).

One also see it in the the "Leadership" conference of Catholic new age nuns (who support policies against traditional life, i.e. no prayer, no community, no poverty, and do your own thing,policies that drove out most of the Catholic sisters, which is why there are so few left). And I suspect it is true in many of the mainline churches.

These are the groups that I am familiar with.

You could probably think of quite a few others.

Yet a small group that stays committed to truth can keep the faith alive, and it springs up in the most unlikely places.

If the Catholic church in the US stays christian, it might be because a crippled Italian American cloistered nun in Alabama was invited to give talks on a small local Christian radio station, and decided to spread the gospel via the media.
The rest is history. And yes, we get EWTN here in the Philippines.

The Little Sisters of the Poor noticed the takeover of the sister's organization, and started their own group to represent Catholic nuns in the USA. They rarely get noticed in the MSM, but they tend to be younger and more traditional. Another 20 years and you might just see nuns wearing veils again.

In the AMA etc. the bad news is that there are yet splinter groups for dissdents: This bodes ill for you, because the newly trained doctors are being taught to obey the flowcharts of the bureaucrats rather than to actually take care of you. Which is why alternative medicine is thriving.

As for the media: There are now alternatives.

The internet allowed Andy Weir's book The Martian to be read by thousands of fans: started as a serial on the internet, published on line, and then self published on Amazon, and only later did someone bother in a publishing house to read it. It is now a paperback bestseller and now a movie.

and a side effect of the book?

it may save NASA.

self publishing music and art and writing on line will spread to others with a love of art and music that will not pass through the gatekeepers because it is not what the public wants (or rather what those in charge of the culture thinks the public wants)

In literature, the Tolkien phenomena is a good example of how the disdain of the politically correct could not stop a book that spoke to people's hearts.

So take heart, puppies and non puppies. If the story comes from your heart (and not from talking points to please the powerful) your story/music/art will reach those who want to hear or view it.

the phrase "spoke to somebody's heart" comes from Alan Sherman in this witty album, from the Boston Pops, about censorship of artists.  Watch/listen to the whole thing.

Argo to the rescue

No, not Jason's boat or the CIA in the movies: the corn starch brand that can be found on your grocer's shelf.

SciTechDaily reports that Scientists noticed that using Argo starch with water makes a thick glob that has interesting scientific properties.

. Fill a pool with this liquid and then run on it. Keep running, and you might as well be on a hard floor. Stop running, though, and you sink right in. Cornstarch Could Lead To Better Protective Gear “Think about what it says about the material,” says Brown, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science. “It’s very good about responding to impacts. If we can figure out the properties of this material, he said, we can figure out how to use it for making helmets, bulletproof vests and sports padding. 
Argo cornstarch is the best known brand of cornstarch, and is known to those of us who used to cook in the good old days before microwave ovens.

bake or broil or fry meat, add a tablespoon or two to the thickenings in the pan, add water and viola: nice thick gravy.

Add too much (as did my clueless roommate whose mom didn't teach her to cook) and voila: Glue.

You also could use corn starch to starch your clothes.

Remember when natural fabrics were limp and you had to starc your collars and shirts to keep them nice looking? It took starch and ironing to do that, and God bless the folks who invented spray on starch, and later who invented whatever it is that keeps fabrics nice nowadays (I'm sure it is a terrible chemical, but what the hey, greens haven't noticed yet).

so if you want to do it the good old fashioned way, here are instructions on how to mix it. Then you dip your clothes into it or sprinkle it on before you iron.

the history of Argo starch here.

more ways to use corn starch HERE.

Yes, cornstarch is an alternative to the more expensive talcum powder for diapers etc.

and then there is the phenomenum of eating starch right from the box.

we docs used to see Black women, usually pregnant, with severe iron deficiency anemia, and they would report that they had a craving for eating starch.

JAMA article here. 

Why starch? In Africa, they eat clay (i.e. from the ground).
and the habit came to the US when the people were brought here as slaves. But cornstarch had a similar consistency so women switched over to the cheaper stuff.

 According to the few doctors who have studied the subject, the craving for laundry starch is an offshoot of the clay-eating habit still prevalent among some Southern Negroes. Those who migrate North sometimes receive packages of clay (known as "Mississippi Mud" in Los Angeles) mailed by friends back home, but most switch to laundry starch, which is easier to obtain and apparently satisfies the same hunger.

So why eat clay?

Well, people with anemia get cravings to eat stuff. My white patients often ate ice (or carrots) and when they told me of this craving, invariably they were anemic and the cravings disappeared when you gave them iron tablets.

but why eat clay?

Also, clay helps calm a jittery stomach/intestine (you eat it with Kaopectate, which has kaolin, i.e. clay, along with pectin, found in apples, to calm your diarrhea).

Clay assuages hunger of course (think of it as the snack food you munch on: sort of a low cal potato chip).

And one wonders if clay is a self treatment for the hookworms that cause so much anemia in tropical countries.

Eating clay is different from eating dirt, which is more dangerous and usually found in kids or psychiatric patients. Dirt has a lot of germs and chemicals and parasite eggs; the clay is subsurface and cleaner.

My sons (Colombian born) were the ones who taught me how to find and identify clay when we were on a nature outing, they went to a river bank and dug to find clay, which they took home to make into pots, which they baked in the oven.


UKMAIL article is an easier read about the practice, and an old NYT article can be found here.
an essay on the CDC also discusses the practice LINK

So Argo starch is a modern alternative to an old cultural practice.

Business tip: if you market clay as a magic cleanser and charge a bundle for it, you too can sell it to Hollywood celebrities and get rich.

and if you don't have a river bank nearby, anecdotal stories suggest marketing Argo starch as a weight loss alternative might work.

(Yes, I am joking.)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tolkien lectures on line

Several lectures on fantasy literature, including several on Tolkien, are now at youtube. Listen before the copyright cops find them.

and Wheaton college has several speakers about Lewis and Tolkien on line as mp3's although some (especially on Lewis) tend to be theological.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is the next of NASA's Great Observatories; following in the line of the Hubble Space Telescope, the Compton Gamma-ray Observatory, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Space Telescope. JWST combines qualities of two of its predecessors, observing in infrared light, like Spitzer, with fine resolution, like Hubble.
The telescope has a 6.5 meter mirror composed of 18 hexagonal segments in a honeycomb pattern. Protecting the sensitive research instruments is a large sunsheild about the size of a tennis court. Further protection comes from the observatory's remote location in a place called the second LaGrange point (L2). Orbiting the Sun at L2, JWST will be about a million miles from Earth (roughly four times more distant than the Moon) and will always have Earth and the Sun in the same direction.
This animation, designed as an homage to a shot from "2001: A Space Odyssey", flies by and circles around a model of JWST at L2. The opening of the sequence illustrates the L2 location, showing the Moon in the foreground, Earth in the mid-ground, and the Sun in the background.

headsup Gizmodo 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

quote of the day

Guess I'm not the only one who can still quote the Baltimore Catechism.

From CBS:

He's just grateful to be alive. "That act, that impulse to be grateful, wants an object. That object I call God. Now, that could be many things. I was raised in a Catholic tradition. I'll start there. That's my context for my existence, is that I am here to know God, love God, serve God, that we might be happy with each other in this world and with Him in the next -- the catechism. That makes a lot of sense to me. I got that from my mom. And my dad. And my siblings." 
Read More at:

an article on Colbert's family tragedies here.

the "WAGD" Headine of the day: A new Korean war?

I've been out of the loop for news for a few days due to stomach flu, but today's Manila Bulletin headline says the gov't here is getting ready just in case we have to evacuate our 50 thousand citizens from Korea.

apparently they think loud speakers booming anti North Korea messages over the border are an act of war, so they are planning to bomb them.

The AlJazeerah take is here. They note the military buildup but doubt it will escalate to war.

FormerSpook has a long essay from Friday on the background of the crisis.

Here in the Philippines, we can guage how dangerous a crisis is by the number of folks coming back, and so far none have arrived from Korea. But since we lack ships, when there are too many to evacuate by air, we have had to rely on other countries to get them out of the war zones.

Forget Jack the Ripper: Dr Cream did it better

An article on the use of strychnine at English Historical Fiction Blog.

in small doses it was used in tonics, but larger doses lead to a terrible death

Dr Cream was the expert, using it on London girls of the night.

 Initially he administered the strychnine together with a white liquid mixture of brocine, telling his victims that the tonic would help to clear up pimpled skin and give them a healthier complexion. However, after the girls complained that the medicine was too bitter, Cream ordered a box of gelatin capsules from a local chemist in which to mask the taste of the poison and make it more palatable. Dr. Cream chose his London victims carefully; they were all streetwalkers living within the Lambeth area, a place that Cream knew well should he need to flee to his lodging house or lose the trail of ensuing police officers.

he told the hangman that he was Jack the Ripper but few believe that. Modus operandi was different, the time line doesn't fit, and he had a good alibi: He was in jail.

(the Ripper murders were done in 1888-1889, with one possible copy cat murder in 1891)

a more detailed story of Cream's deeds here. Heh. He was jailed for attempted murder of a girlfriend's hubbie in Chicago but was released after bribing someone there, in 1891.

Strychnine is not a chemical but comes from a tree.

more here at the PoisonGarden website.

It kills you by making you convulse. A nasty way to go, even if you are a rat.

and this FYI from the Aussie Bush tucker site:

The fruit and bark of the tree were mashed up to use as a body wash to help cure general illness.  It was also used tossed into small pools of water to stun the fish which soon floated and were caught by hand before being cooked and eaten.

Cars, Amazon, and TEOTWAWKI

David Warren has an essay musing on cars, and the driverless cars and trucks that now are threatening to take over North America.

It's nice for him to say that cars aren't needed, but we didn't have a car when I was young, so my mom had milk and bread delivered, bought veggies from the farmer who came around in season, her detergent from the Amway dealer, and for the rest of the stuff walked six blocks to the nearest large grocery store, using my brother's red wagon to carry the bags home.

Nowadays, it's worse, of course: In the slums, people take a taxi to Walmart superstore to shop once a week, and the reason Walmart got rich is that it provided the same service to rural folks: One stop shopping for busy moms...

of course, it meant the smaller local shops went broke. I did use the local shops but even though we had a small grocery in town, I did the same.

And I ran across an essay pointing out that Amazon's quick delivery service might destroy the Walmarts too. Right now someone posted an article criticizing Amazon for making it's employees work too hard.

But another article at FirstThingsBlog pointed out that anything that made it easier for overworked moms and dads was a blessing, and should be encouraged.

Perhaps the most under-appreciated difference is Amazon's remarkable commitment to serving families.The scarcest resource for any growing family is time, and in 2010, Bezos introduced Amazon Mom (Amazon Family outside the USA), a popular complimentary version of the company's two-day delivery membership offered to expectant and new parents. Shortly thereafter, Amazon acquired Quidsi Inc., parent of, for $550 million. The company's Kindle devices have powerful parental controls to restrict or limit children's access to media. A series of recent projects explores new ways to serve families including the Dash pantry reordering system; AmazonFresh for groceries; Prime Now one-hour delivery; and Amazon Echo, a voice activated virtual assistant for the home.

So overnight service to deliver diapers instead of going 30 minutes to Walmart or paying a high price at the local store (if there is any nearby).

But of course, this quick delivery might not work if you live in Frostbite Falls Minnesota, where I first was recommended Amazon by a fellow doc. I found not only could I find books not available at Barnes and Noble, but often I could buy them used.

Ah, but the ebook revolution is here, so the used book kiosk has now disappeared from our mall. Luckily most of what I read is available at Scribd, so no problem. And of course I brought 200 books with me here (alas, the cheap MBag to ship books is no more, so it costs too much to bring over the rest).

There is even talk to give the kids tablets here, so they don't have to use rolling luggage bags to tote books to and from school.

So what's the problem? Aside from brownouts due to typhoons, floods, earthquakes or just interrupted service because the hydro electric dam level is low?

David Warren's musings end with a sardonic note about the "Carrington Event" which could end civilization in our time: No cars, no food, no people. Ah, the wonderfulness of a depopulated world (/s)(sarcasm off).

Luckily my husband, who lived through the depression and the Japanese occupation, assured me that if I came to live with him in the rural Philippines, at least I would always have rice to eat.

Back to the future, anyone?

Do Gooders at risk (or Polio bye bye)

when I worked in a rural hospital in a small wartorn African country, the year I left the violence exploded and at least 30 fellow missionaries were killed or injured by various groups. I was sent home after a gang invaded a mission, rounded up all the sisters and priests, and took them out and shot them. One priest fainted and survived. Another elderly nun was "overlooked" by a young insurgent (who told her to keep quiet) and who risked his life by saying no one was in the small room, that it was a storage room.

And this doesn't include those who hit landmines or simply "disappeared".

No, not Islamic terrorism: The "insurgents" were communist, and funded by the World Council of (leftist Christian) churches. You know, the group who loved insurgents but couldn't manage to notice the persecution of Christians behind the (then) Iron Curtain (or the thousands killed in China for that matter due to the Red Guard uprising at that time).

So nothing has changed: Politically correct terrorists can't be named...

But at least we didn't face being Obama has made it clear we are fair game for anyone who needs money (and I say we, because here in the Philippines, foreigners, Chinoys, businessmen, and passing poor people are all sources of money for various insurgent groups, including the NPA and the Muslim group spin offs who need money to make bombs.

Why do I point out Obama? Because he said it's okay to pay ransom. That means we are fair game, like the Italians, who pay huge ransoms. True, families do it anyway, but irregular ransoms are smaller than ones raised with official okays: and more importantly, it means that if we are kidnapped, the bad guys don't have to worry about the Philippine special forces raiding the place...

So what brought this up?

StrategyPage notes that over 300 do gooders were killed last year. It's not clear that this included locals or just outsiders who are there to help.

August 22, 2015:  It continues to get more dangerous for foreign aid workers, especially in places like Afghanistan and Syria. Afghanistan has long been the most dangerous place for aid workers and 2014 was one of the worst years. Worldwide 329 foreign aid workers were attacked. Some 36 percent were killed (sometimes after being kidnapped) and 37 percent were kidnapped and, for most of them, later released. Most of the violence is related to local gunmen (bandits, rebels, Islamic terrorists or warlord militias) seeking to obtain aid supplies or cash from the aid organization. It’s the old extortion racket and if the victims don’t cooperate there is often retaliation.

Not all are "westerners":  A lot of Pinoys do that kind of work for NGO's: hey, it's a job, and the Catholic culture blesses such work (the same reason for so many Catholic nurses and firemen or Jewish doctors in the US: it's a mitzvah).

But the do gooders do help locals, despite the fact that some d who are PC love to point out their flaws or sins.

Are you aware that Africa is "polio free" for one year?

The BBC corrects the headline saying that there have been no "wild" cases there, because the dirty little secret of the oral polio vaccine is that a tiny percentage of the (live, weakened) polio virus giving in the vaccine mutate to the real thing, and if vulnerable unvaccinated folks (elderly, religious refusers, Hollywood anti vaccine activist types) are around, they can catch it from the kid. This was actually a problem when the mullahs stopped the vaccine: too many unvaccinated kids allowed a small epidemic of the vaccine related polio. (in places like the USA, "herd immunity" kept the disease from spreading, since enough were immune not to catch or spread it).

The way to stop the mutated virus from causing problems is to use a "dead" vaccine: i.e. the old Salk vaccine (AKA IPV) of the 1950's. 

Polio eradication this week:
  • This week, Pakistan will become the second polio-endemic country to introduce the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) into its routine immunization system. More than half the global birth cohort is now receiving at least one dose of IPV through routine immunization systems as a result of the biggest globally synchronized vaccine introduction in history. Read more on the status of IPV introductions.
- See more at:

But untrained people can give the sugar cube, but it takes training and a lot of syringes to give thousands of shots.

So now, the idea is to add one shot to give partial immunity and then give the weakened live virus on the sugar cube.

the disease is being eradicated even in places where the Mullahs have opposed it and the Islamic terrorists have killed people who were giving it out.

However, the mullahs aren't the only ignorant ones: as the BBC report reminds us, the Catholic bishops in Kenya opposed the vaccine too, because it was made from aborted fetuses or were unsafe or something.

Yeah, some very strict far right Catholic sites are aboard the green anti vaccine agenda for various reasons, (the latest is that some versions of various vaccines are grown on stem cells developed from fetuses aborted years ago) and the Bishops picked up the urban legend from them that the vaccine contained estrogen (previous urban legends were that pregnant women were given tetanus vaccine to make them miscarry, not to stop neonatal tetanus, alas a common problem, and of course, measles vaccine causes sterilization is another urban legend).

Luckily, no one listens to the bishops, even in Africa, when they talk outside their area of expertise (heck, they don't listen to them when they DO talk in their area of expertise: most Catholic women use birth control, and of course, our pious Catholic politicians here in the Philippines accept bribes and kill their rivals along with the rest of them). (I should note that liberal reporters fail to notice this when they laud Francis' green agenda as if ordinary Catholics will say yes sir and obey him: His opinion here is just that, an opinion. He is only "infallible" about faith and morals, not science or politics).

well, anyway, the website for the Polio eradication initiative says that Pakistan is now polio free too. Alas it takes a couple of years to make sure, since it can easily be imported and new epidemics can occur.

The Taliban and the Nigerian Boko's killed quite a few giving out the vaccine, but the people don't want crippled children so it is being done anyway. The vaccines are being given out even in war torn Somalia and Yemen.

So where are all the stories about brave Muslim health care workers risking death to save the lives of these children? Anyone? ANYONE?

Funding via the UN, WHO, the Rotary clubs, the Saudis and others. LINK and PDFREPORT.

Yeah, blame Bill Gates who provided one third of the money.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Gift item of the day

 so how do you text while holding an umbrella?

via Presurfer

Another day, another typhoon

I have been flat in bed due to a stomach flu since yesterday, but it has been raining on and off for two days. Right now the rain is heavy.

Yup, another typhoon. we didn't get hit by the winds (it hit north of here) but central Luzon is still at risk for flooding with this heavy rain hitting soggy soil.

I stopped the daily newspaper that Lolo would read, and I've been too sick to check these things on TV or internet.

However, the heavy rain keeps the dogs sleeping in my room instead of outside chasing cats.

Joy and Ruby are still in Manila...with the rain heavy (yellow flood alert there) I hope they are okay. Chano got home last night....he didn't stay there because I am alone here in the compound and it's not safe to let me stay here without someone else to help guard the place.

Factoids and history

GetReligion blog discusses questions, and this week a reader asks why some verses were removed from her newfangled Bible.

I ran across the 8 bells lecture series at the Naval war college.


or this one, about an expedition up the Congo River 150 years ago

I just finished a book about journalist Stanley's expedition to find Livingstone. Maybe nature lovers need to read how life was in the good old days, when Africans were preyed upon by their neighbors, wild animals, and Arab slave traders. Of course, those regions are still in the midst of civil wars where millions have died...

So was colonialism better? Maybe, maybe not. I still have on my "to read" list about King Leopold's colonial empire that enslaved millions in the name of his empire, which Stanley was also involved in (indirectly) by exploring that area.

And it mentions Conrad's Heart of Darkness was based on that journey.

And, of course, Heart of Darkness was the book that Apocolypse now was loosely based on.

but don't read The Poisonwood Bible for your view of Africa either: I can't get through the book because she caricatures Africans, and also whites....maybe because although she had lived in Africa, she based her book on Marxist type anti colonial books she read...

I'm also slowly working my way through a book (on Scribd) about the medical epidemics of the 1800's in the Philippines, which the author blames on the Spanish for bringing Pinoys into towns etc. where disease could spread, and also blamed the population explosion for making more people available to die. Uh, the reason for the population explosion was that the high death rate in traditional villages wasn't written down or noticed by any western writer...

so was European colonialism good or bad?


at least the queen remembers VJ Day


Two US Marines (unarmed) take down a terrorist with an assault rifle trying to shoot passengers in a European high speed train.

headsup Instapundit.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Family news

Joy and Ruby still in Manila doing homeschool stuff

Chano left with staff to set up a tradefair.

I have the stomach flu and am home.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Family News

Joy and Ruby went to Manila for activities at Ruby's home school magnet.

I saw a dermatologist about a facial lesion, and will go to Manila for a biopsy and then back for plastic surgery type removal (called Mohs surgery) that will leave a smaller scar.

No I'm not vain but it is where my glasses hit my cheek so I don't want the lesion burned off and a tender scar.

Chano is busy doing his thing. We have no idea what is going on. He borrowed some money from me, but I will need my pension for medical expenses so he now has to find his own funds (i.e. stop wasting it on constructing fancy stuff where cheap places would work).

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Stories behind the news

if it bleeds, it leads.

But as the Belmont club points out: The really important stuff can be found in the back pages, but not noticed until it changes your life.


Warp speed space travel a possibility thanks to Einstein's theory of relativity, astrophysicist says

what's wrong with this headline? Well, Einstein's theory of relativity does not make this possible. Einstein's theory of relativity is one way at looking at reality: A description.

It does not "allow" something to happen, as if it were a law that allows or forbids an action.

An example of scientific illiteracy in the headlines.


The "ME ME ME" generation gives advice on how to live your life.

Heh. Most of them talk about ME ME ME and fulfilling MY DREAMS. Can you say "narcissism", children?

In contrast: From the Baltimore catechism: The purpose of life is to know love and serve God and our neighbor.


Remembering the worst day in the Battle of Britain.

Guess they were too busy fighting Nazis to worry about ME ME ME.


there is an old phrase: The greatest thing since sliced bread.

What I didn't know is that it was a military invention. And Mom Jones reports on other food items that were invented to feed soldiers more efficiently, such as granola bars and freeze dried coffee..

And another piece of food trivia:
 canned stuff was also a military invention, to feed Napoleon's soldiers.


When suicide is pushed by the press with sympathy, or even as a good thing, the result is more dead people. But another side effect is to push the message that "useless eaters" should kill themselves and not burden their families.

Not Dead Yet, a disability advocacy group, points out the problem that needs to be addressed.


eight percent of primary care docs don't accept new patients, but if you only have Medicare, the number not accepting you jumps to 35 percent.

Well, when processing the paper work costs more than you are paid (IF you are paid), why go to all that bother?


I stopped reading SciFi years ago, because it became leftist and nihilistic instead of fun.

the background of the Sad Puppies kerfuffle in Science Fiction and the Hugo award: The PC elites tried a take over, and the geeks went elsewhere. So the non pc geek writers are asking fans to fight back.

WHAT? Weir's The Martian didn't win any awards? Something must be wrong with those who chose the Hugos....

of course, given some recent academy award winners one can see a similar rot in movies. Quick: Did you actually watch Birdman?

Heh. Adam Savage of Mythbusters has a vlogcast about it:

note that he essentially self published on line and later on Amazon.

They also discuss ion engines:  Ion engines...

Catamarans to the rescue

The Sunnis of Saudi and other gulf states are fighting the Shiite rebels in Yemen that are funded by Iran.
The latest twist? The UAE is leasing the HSV Swift, a catamaran that is fast and can navigate in shallow waters.

 It features a new, modular design, which will allow the ship to be refitted to support missions without requiring long shipyard periods. While from the front the vessels appear to look like a trimaran, the centre hull does not rest in the water and is not used for buoyancy. As a logistics vessel, it does not have water-tight compartments or weapons systems. Its propulsion is provided by directional water jets, so it doesn't have propellers or a rudder for steering and can maneuver in twelve feet of water.[1]

Wikipedia Commons
Useful to bring supplies to civilians in disasters, such as the tsunami of 2004 or hurricane Katrina...

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

People who fight against the propaganda of PC

So what does a good old boy do when he hears a song ridiculing the South?

He writes a better song:


someone's been channeling their inner Crocodile Dundee:

That's not a knife sword THAT'S A KNIFE SWORD.

heads up DaveBarry


The man who documented the talking points were wrong, and that communism really was evil.

(Conquest) summarising Soviet Communism in a much-quoted limerick:
There was a great Marxist called Lenin
Who did two or three million men in.
That’s a lot to have done in,
But where he did one in
That grand Marxist Stalin did ten in.
The kind of people who overlooked such trifles, he reckoned, were also willing to scrub their minds on other issues.


we have crying rooms in churches, so should they have crying rooms in airplanes too?

a lot of the crying is earache, which can be prevented by giving the child a decongestant before you take off and/or having them feed/swallow to open the Eustachian tube when the cabin pressure changes.


 when the addicts turn to heroin to get high, it is called a "complex" problem. 

no, it's not complex, it is a moral sickness that will  get worse as society continues to ridicule and even to prosecute religions with rules, and society legalizes "medical marijuana", sending the "getting high is good" signal for anyone who wants to use drugs to get high.


Attention HomeLand Security:

The Minions are coming the Minions are coming...

Leo Fitzpatrick, with his mum Daire Fitzpatrick Photo: SWNS

Dragon talk

Dragons do talk in other folktales, but usually only a few sentences. Smaug however is fluent in Common speech and talks like a British upper class twit.

So, KRu asks: Does Smaug speak Common tongue or does the ring allow Bilbo to understand dragon speech? essay at link.

Left out of the movie: The thrush understand Bilbo, and Bard because of his ancestry, is able to understand the Thrush's language...

Monday, August 17, 2015

For later reading

DavidWarren links to a site that has liturgical book downloads. I checked one and it seems to be basic instructions on what the liturgy means: i.e. how it keeps us holy and close to God.

Pre vatican II of course.

related item: Blessing of the first fruits of the harvest at August 15th mass.


Heh. StrategyPage says that the USNavy finally is recognizing that being sleepy results in accidents.

This is difficult to implement because lack of sleep and keeping people on duty even when they are obviously having a hard time staying awake, much less alert, has long been taken for granted and accepted as a worthy tradition. It was another one of those difficulties navy personnel had to overcome to become a real sailor. Lots of strong black coffee and resolute leadership was seen as the solution to sleep deprivation problems.
But now the data is making it clear that merchant marine sailors and civilian firms doing similar work (like running nuclear reactors) have become more effective, and less accident prone, by adopting more pragmatic attitudes towards sleep and dealing with fatigue. 

True for doctors too...but it took a dead teenager with rich parents and a major malpractice suit to pressure hospitals to limit the hours of their interns and residents.


In case you didn't notice: There is an Iraqi gov't counteroffensive against ISIL going on. StrategyPage reports.
President Obama is sending the Special forces types back in to repair the damage done when he removed them .


the author of TeaAtTrianon has a podcast,..A lot of the stories most people "know" are propaganda that is related as history, but a good examination of the documents find another side of the story.

I remember when the book "Citizens" came out, and Americans were aghast to find out about the Vendee atrocities that had sort of been left out of the history books.


Crab Nebula

Gizmodo has the story of the crab nebula, which was a star that went NOVA in 1054 AD and noticed by Chinese astronomers

At its center is a tiny, dense mass made up mostly of neutrons, rotating very rapidly and emitting regular pulses of radiation across the whole electromagnetic spectrum. Pulsars like this one are what’s left behind when a star explodes. The material that doesn’t get ejected by the explosion collapses on itself. If there’s enough mass, the collapse forms a black hole, but smaller stars end up as pulsars.
At the center of the Crab Nebula, the Crab Pulsar is as massive as our Sun, but it’s only about 30 kilometers in diameter. It rotates about 30 times a second, and atronomers have used its pulses of radiation to study the Sun’s corona and the atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan, based on how radio and X-ray waves passed through or were blocked.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Howard Carter's paintings

Howard Carter was not a bored upper class toff who decided to loot pyramids: He was a kid whose father painted pictures of rich folks' pets and horses, and who learned to do the same.

Some of the rich folks where he worked had Egyptian souveniers, and he became interested, so when one group needed a person to copy the wall paintings inside tombs and couldn't afford a professional, they hired this lower class 17 year old instead.

The History blog has a nice summary of his work and career.

One example of his paintings:

an Oryx
 tomb 3 of Khnumhotep III (or II acording to some authors) at Beni Hasan, temp. Amenemhet II to Sesostris II (Dyn. 12) 

Once there, he learned a lot from other Egyptologists and started to do excavations.

He later branched into administration  as an inspector, got fired for telling off pushy tourists, and then sold paintings to stay alive. Later he went back to excavation and met Carnarvon, and the rest is history.

A painting of Hatsheptup's temple

Pride and Prejudice and....Mummies?

I was aware that Lord Carnarvon was the money behind Howard Carter's discovery of King Tut's tomb, (and that Downton Abbey was the home of the Carnarvons)

But what is their link to Jane Austen?

Jane Austen's world:

In Jane’s day, Lord Carnarvon was Henry, the 1st Earl. Jane wrote in a letter to Cassandra Austen, Saturday25 – Monday 27 th,  October 1800 :
“This morning we called at the Harwood’s & in their dining room found Heathcote & Chute for ever – Mrs Wm Heathcote & Mrs Chute – the first of whom took a long ride in to Lord Carnarvons Park and fainted away in the evening…”

go to the link for more photos of the Carnavons, Tut, and lithographs of how Downton Abbey (actual name: Highclere Castle) looked in Jane's day. More about Highclere Castle here.

so maybe instead of having a book called "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" they should have written "Pride and Prejudice and Mummies"...

News you can use

Canadian company gets a patent for a space elevator.

but no, not a real space elevator where you reach an oribiting space station... this one only reaches 12 miles up, but they could use it to launch rockets.

Of course, you would still have to use lots of money to lug the rockets up the elevator, but whatever


a sky ladder, by Cai Guo Qiang



Starwars fashion and makeup?

Heh. Looks like the "future fashion" stuff we saw in films 50 years ago.

Why do they always think that women in the future will look like androids and not like Jane Austen? Or a geisha, or a Bollywood actress?

or even like Barbarella?

At least Princess Leia wore a modest tunic (or a copper bikini) and didn't look like a zombie.


and from Freakonomics: The dangers of safety.

discussing foot ball and helmets design to prevent concussions.

think of your brain as a bowlful of jello.

CANTU: Well, the best analogy, or at least one that I think is useful, is to think of Jello in a bowl. And if you hit the bowl, very forcefully, you’ll see the Jello oscillate. If you put the Jello into a bowl that is elliptical in shape, not round, and hit it, because you’ll invariably hit off-center, you’ll see that the Jello moves forwards and backwards and it also spins around in the bowl. And those are the primary forces that are imparted to brain, the linear forces are those in one plane, front and back, or side to side, and the spinning forces are the rotational forces. And those combined forces cause shearing and straining of brain tissue. And that in turn leads to a metabolic cascade of dysfunction, that is what we refer to as a concussion.
This is not just a problem with football: IED's and landmines result in similar concussions in the military, who are busy investigating new designs to prevent injuries...

some of which look like the helmets in sci fi films.

so the NFL is talking with the military about new helmet designs.