Saturday, April 30, 2016

Audiobooks of the week

If you ever saw the TBS movie "Gettysburg", you probably know it was based on this book: the Killer  Angels

the back story is the theme of how things changed: Pickett's charge for example is a precursor of the killings of World War I, where brave soldiers going "over the top" faced modern weapons...

and the personalities behind the battle...


and quick: Before the copyright cops find it's there:

He Said WHAT?

So great is the value of a human life, and so inalienable the right to life of an innocent child growing in the mother’s womb, that no alleged right to one’s own body can justify a decision to terminate that life, which is an end in itself and which can never be considered the “property” of another human being. The family protects human life in all its stages, including its last. Consequently, “those who work in healthcare facilities are reminded of the moral duty of conscientious objection. Similarly, the Church not only feels the urgency to assert the right to a natural death, without aggressive treatment and euthanasia”, but likewise “firmly rejects the death penalty”.

DaTech Guy has more controversial statements defending traditional marriage, home schooling, and other controversial subjects by that right wing narrowmided bigot, Pope Francis.

oh look: Footnote! that depending on it's punctuation might be interpreted as destroying not just the rest of the 360 page document released by the pope but 2000 years of Christian tradition and 5000 years of natural law...

but then, guess who blasts the media?

84. The Synod Fathers also wished to emphasize that “one of the fundamental challenges facing families today is undoubtedly that of raising children, made all the more difficult and complex by today’s cultural reality and the powerful influence of the media”.

Weasel wars

Hadron collider shut down by Weasel

The Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator at Cern is offline after a short circuit - caused by a weasel.
The unfortunate creature did not survive the encounter with a high-voltage transformer at the site near Geneva in Switzerland...

headup DaveBarry

Friday, April 29, 2016

Audiobook of the week


quick, before the copyright cops find it's there

Family news

It's hot again so I am staying inside most of the time with the airconditioner on.

The good news: The monsoon should arrives soon, and indeed, we are seeing cloudiness in the afternoon which helps with the heat. Right now, it has started thundering, which is a good sign.

We are now having a huge thunderstorm, with lots of rain.

Ruby is teaching 10 year olds in her church's vacation bible school. Joy is going to meetings.

Chano is fixing the fish tank/fountain  so we don't lose more fish from hypoxia in the heat (from algae overgrowth).

Here is Lolo sitting on the fountain/pond/fishtank.

I wrote a few days ago that most of the politician's posters (we are having an election next month) were for Trillianes for VP and Duterte.

Well, now one neighbor, a strict 7th day Adventist, has a poster up for Poe, with her mom (a famous actress who adopted her) smiling at her daughter saying" My heart".

Downtown at the square, the fence is now covered with Binay stickers... I think he will be giving campaign speech for the fiesta.

Yes, it is the weekend of the town's fiesta.

When I first married my husband, he would fly to town yearly for the fiesta, and he and his friends who fought in WWII would march at the front of the parade.

He would carry a couple bottles of expensive whiskey with him from the US and they' sit around drinking and playing cards for the weekend...

But alas, slowly one after another died, or got too sick to come. Now I doubt any of them are left. Sigh.

The family usually gets together and has a big party, including the traditional lechon (barbecued young piglet) and lots of food.

But with Lolo dead, his son resents the rest of the family so we probably won't be invited, although I might sneak over with the cook after supper.

Usually there are parades (held yesterday lots of photos on the local news facebook page) and a special mass for Maria Divina Pastora: Mary the Holy shepherdess.  A Spanish madonna. Someone gave a family who lived here a statue, and voila lots of miracles, so a shrine spontaneously grew up in thet area. Which was ironic since no one had sheep back then. But the idea was pretty easy to grasp, and here Mary is "mother" and Jesus is an older brother, and God is the father. Not quite theological but God cares more that you love each other and don't steal too much than strict theology.

However, things have changed and we now have a neighbor's sheep and goats who graze on the local vacan lots.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

how ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm?

WIkipedia explanation here...I figure a lot of people under the age of 50 never heard of the song.

The Ghosts in the story

So a gay got hacked to death by Islamicists in Bangladesh.

But are you aware that one was promoting a gay magazine in that country, using US taxpayer money?

USAID, an American government agency for poverty prevention, identified one victim as Xulhaz Mannan. Mannan worked at the organization but also served as editor of the country's first LGBT magazine. "Today, USAID lost one of our own," the statement said.

translation: Either he was "double dipping", or the US gov't was behind a pornographic magazine in a conservative Muslim country.


Saudi discusses reform plans for "social change" and runs against the danger of their religious conservatives.

Very vague article.

Uhm, what about the OFW there? No, not mentioned. There has been a push to get rid of OFW and hire locals, but like the US, the OFW are doing the work locals don't want to do, i.e. "dirty jobs" not clean office work where you drink tea  all day and get good pay.

and that part about the "religious police": remember, no churches in that country, even though the Vatican estimates one million Catholics in that country (again OFW's).

nor mentioned that they might ban cinemas etc but that DVDs, cellphones and satellite dishes have been around for quite awhile, and I suspect that if these things can be found in rural Africa and Asia, that they are all over the place in Saudi too.

Again, how can you keep the kids down on the farm after they've see Paree MTV?

The famine that never was

Wikipedia on the Green Revolution.

includes a section on why some oppose it (it feeds people and encourages huge factory farms in areas that had only recently had socialist revolutions that had land reform, so the poor peasants could each have their own plots_)

Actually it is more complicated than that.

We had land reform here in the Philippines, and are allowed by law to own a limited amount of land per person.

And most of our ancestral lands were given to the families who grew on the plots for generations.... but after a generation, a lot of these farmers want to sell their plots back to us.

You see, the "wealth" of keeping their full harvest  allowed them to educate their kids, so the kids became OFW or went to Manila. So why do all that hard work and live in poverty when you can have a easier job elsewhere?

Another factor is not just more modern crops etc. but mechanizing small plots. Again, this is hard for farmers with small plots. We no longer have a lot of land, but we subcontract local farmers to grow for us.

The handplow instead of the water buffalo is now widespread (don't mourn the waterbuffalo...there is a growing industry for using them instead of cows for milk products), and we use a thresher instead of beating the seed off the rice.

Most local farmers can afford the handplow, and will rent/borrow our thresher at harvest time.

In recent years, we also bought a rice drier. Traditionally, rice here in the Philippines is spread on a road or on a tarp and the sun dries it. You have to watch driving when you travel in rural areas

But then we we had a typhoon at harvest time, we thought we were okay since most of our rice had just been cut...alas, we couldn't dry it, and had to wait in line for it to be dried at the local rice mill... as a result much of the rice was deteriorated and had to be sold as animal feed instead of gourmet organic rice.

Many local farmers had the harvest destroyed, however. So again the kids migrate to get work.

Ironically, many of the farmers who now plant the fields we still own are from Joy's home island in the Visayas, where life is poorer. (an island that I once saw touted on a green ecotourism video that showed the  happy natives who were happy in their traditional lifestyle. Uh, I don't think so... notice the NPA (communist rebels) around? And did you ask them how do you keep the kids down on the farm after they've seen Paree Manila, i.e. all that easy life with stuff on TV?

Well, anyway, the latest is the harvester/thresher, which means no back breaking cutting of the rice by hand. Problem is mud.
So on certain fields we still cut by hand and pull our older small thresher into the fields with a water buffalo, since the Jeep thresher would get stuck.

Ironically, the gov't here is pushing organic (see Wikipedia part on the Philippines).

But after getting whacked by the typhoon, having our chicken farm destroyed (meaning no 'free" chicken manure for fertilizer), the bugs that drifted in from neighboring fields, and a lot of weeds thanks to the typhoon damage, my step son is now planting some fields with non organic fertilizer and pesticides. His wife still supervises the the pure organic grown rice etc.

I have no problem with this: diversity is good.

If I criticize the "Green" types, it is because a lot of them are fundamentalists who hate those nasty corporations who get rich by keeping starvation at bay.

But organic is a big thing here, partly because the SJW in the Catholic church are "Green" and pressure the gov't.

Luckily, the businesses are run by Chinoys and Protestants and Catholics who love making money.

Get more of them, and we will continue to pull the country out of poverty.

The Philippines is now a lot richer than when I first visited here, and the growing middle class will pay extra for organic.

But if you want to feed the 10 million people of Manila, it means encouraging the green revolution here, or else having enough manufacturing base to pay for importing rice from VietNam etc.

Related links: Remembering Norman Bourlaug

the man who saved a billion lives.

Now if they only could get it to Africa: Lack of infrastructure and corruption are a big reason why they still have poverty there.

But note the part about green SJW preventing the green revolution in Africa in the article.

To return to our original question: Why isn't Borlaug better known and why is his work so endangered? For one, he has chosen to work outside the media spotlight, engaged in the rather unglamorous enterprise of improving crop yields in parts of the world that receive little attention in the Western media, except to report sensational disasters or scandals.
But, an even more significant and disturbing reason is identified by Gregg Easterbrook, when he writes: "Borlaug's mission -- to cause the environment to produce significantly more food -- has come to be seen, at least by some securely affluent commentators, as perhaps better left undone. More food sustains human population growth, which they see as antithetical to the natural world."
According to David Seckler, the director of the International Irrigation Management Institute, "The environmental community in the 1980s went crazy pressuring the donor countries and the big foundations not to support ideas like inorganic fertilizers for Africa." As a result, high-profile yet 'image-sensitive' organizations such as The Ford and Rockefeller Foundations and the World Bank, once sponsors of Borlaug's work, have begun disassociating themselves from it.
Support for the International Maize and Wheat Center -- where Borlaug helped to develop the high-yield, low-pesticide dwarf wheat upon which a substantial portion of the world's population now depends for sustenance -- has also dwindled. The net result, according to Easterbrook, is that "although Borlaug's achievements are arguably the greatest that Ford or Rockefeller has ever funded, both foundations have retreated from the last effort of Borlaug's long life: the attempt to bring high-yield agriculture to Africa."

Yes, again a lot of green types are running church and secular NGOs.

It is sort of like the Pope or like those in the US who think Chomsky knows what he is talking about: not because their criticisms are wrong, but because they don't see that the alternative to what they criticize is worse.

Think Zimbabwe, which is again facing starvation after a poor harvest, when anyone who lived there 30 years ago knows that irrigation and fertilizer and proper seeds, planted by educated farmers, could make Zimbabwe another Kansas. But of course, the communist gov't kicked out the rich farmers in favor of "land reform", including a lot of land going to the friends of the corrupt president who knew nothing about running a large complicated farm, but hey, it looks good on paper that "locals" own everything now. As for starvation: Well they oppose food donations if there might be GM food in the donation (again green propaganda wins over starving kids), so what keeps the country afloat is that a lot of their kids now work in South Africa or Europe.

So Yes, Mr. Francis:  yes there is poverty in the world. And there is a big gap between poor and rich people. But I don't think socialism is the way to go, unless of course you convince those running "socialist" governments to get rid of corruption. You know: preaching Thou Shalt not Steal and pushing fire and brimstone instead of "mercy"? Nah, Never mind.
"who am I to judge" makes you popular, and condemning sin only would get you crucified, like that asty Jewish carpenter who not only told the sex worker to stop sinning but threw out the crooked vendors who everyone outside of modern theology schools know were giving kickbacks to the temple priests so they could overcharge their customers.

But the dirty little secret is that the poor are not worse off than they were in 1950. And if there are a lot of "poor people", maybe it is because they didn't starve to death as they did in the past. But as a percentage of the population, there are a lot fewer of them now thanks to capitalism.


In response to the sustained campaign against his work, Borlaug has said:

 Some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They've never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they'd be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things

which, of course, is why China not only has a lot of pollution, but has a lot fewer people in poverty. And if Africa is lucky, they, not the benevolent west, will be the ones to bring south Saharan Africa into the modern world.

Audiobook of the week


When you get to 8:50 or so, they start discussing how artificial nitrogen fertilizer was invented (by Germans in WWI) and then they start discussing the Green revolution that started in Mexico, of all places.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Stuff that makes you go WTF

via Toxel: A bicycle washing machine.

uh, fellah, it is small, will leak all over the floor when you open the door, and you still will have to wring the wet clothes out after you remove them.


CO2 rising, earth getting warmer, and the earth is getting greener?


Why buy cheap sprinkles for 40 cents an oz when you can pay fnacy gourmet sprinkles for $1.10 an ounce?

Stories behind the headlines

Heh. Lots of stuff on the Catholic blogosphere debating Pope Francis' emphasis on "love love love". Sentimentality over those old fashioned rules (which were put there to defend the weak from being destroyed by the strong).

Old leftie bishop Cruz has several short essays explaining Francis' writings, but then he posts this essay on anti social personality disorder and how it manipulates others.

Ya think?

Hmm...maybe the Pope needs to read the DSM-IV.

Jesus offered mercy to all, but I seem to remember him telling off certain SOB's using quite colourful language...

Or maybe the Pope should read Niebuhr's essay the Children of Light and the Children of Darkness... on how those with a sentimental idea of humanity don't see how "self interest" might see this as weakness and use this against them.


StrategyPage has a book review on the first Sino Japanese War. More here. and HERE.

book marked for later reading. I was aware of the very repressive Japanese takeover of Korea in the early 20th century but don't know much about this. right now, I'm trying to beef up on East Asian history.

This is also a background for Chinese expansion into Japanese held Islands that is causing tension today, and like most of the very bloody wars of Asia, are almost unknown to the west (including all the clueless bozos commenting on the internet and TV who claim all wars are caused by religion. DUH. Talk about European bias...).

Related item: StrategyPage on China's sea grab from the Philippines and other nearby countries.

This is going on over the complaints by half a dozen countries here, but only token resistance from the Obama administration.

No one takes Obama seriously in Asia... and the trust in the US is down, which is why Duterte says he will try to compromise with China if elected.

This, and the fact he is the front runner, has the powers that be upset, so I was not surprised to see several almost idential articles calling him as Trump-like (he isn't, he is Mayor Guillani lite) and calling him a bigot for making a "rape" joke.

Uh, he was discussing a serious incident, and tried to lighten the discussion by making a joke (a cultural trait here is defuse emotional or stressful situations by making a joke).

But three major articles doing hit jobs in one week suggest someone doesn't want him President of the Philippines...presumably the "American girl" or the corrupt former VP are preferable to the NWO.


Remember the song: From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.

well Professor Bob has a bunch of podcasts on the Mexican American war.

StrategyPage again puts ISIS and terrorism into the perspective of the Middle East and Islam as a religion.

The shores of Tripoli were the Barbary pirates who were stole people into slavery and stole goods from merchants, but were simply paid off by Europe for centuries until Thomas Jefferson got mad...


Suicides are soaring.

No, it's not poverty or joblessness: It's societal breakdown, and often drugs.

And the press/MSM/Hollywood is making things worse: psychologists have known for years about the tendency of copycat suicide, and even warned the press that sympathetic and often sentimental coverage of suicide would lead to more suicides.

Of course, the cutting edge argument in medicine is assisted suicide, to be passed by the Supreme court as soon as Obama or Clinton can get appoint the deciding vote there.

But of course, the plans for these policies (often with plans for medical rationing for untermensch, not for themselves) have been openly written about in the "bioethics" literature since the mid 1980's...and it is simply Orwellian that the UK medical rationing board is called "NICE"....

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bedbug news of the day

according to the BBC

According to the work in the Journal of Medical Entomology, the blood-sucking insects love black and red but hate yellow and green.
This information could help make better traps to lure and catch the bugs.
But it is too soon to say if yellow sheets can stop them nesting in your bed, say the US researchers.

The Etruscan mystery

A new inscription in an Etruscan temple might spar more debate on who were the Etruscans.

Wikipedia article.

If they were immigrants from southern Turkey, as their non Indoeuropean language suggests, then why does their mDNA suggest they were related to the Villanovan culture of Europe?

or did a few immigrants come and intermarry with locals?

the migrant theory goes back to Herodatus.

Supporting this theory is the language, which is "agglutinating", like Turkish/ Hungarian etc. But it is considered a language isolate right now.
The debate goes on.

unfortunately, the language has not yet been deciphered, and although it is known that Rome was a mixture of a lot of different peoples, they did include Etruscans influences. Unfortunately a lot of their records were destroyed when the Celts invaded and burned down Rome.

BBC InOurTime podcast discusses the problem:

Monday, April 25, 2016

Uh OH: Rice causes Global Warming

I frequently post on green sites that a lot of China's greenhouse gas emission is methane, from rice paddies, and that some of the cut in greenhouse emissions were because they have started using a drier method of cultivating rice.

The reason is that you flood the fields with slowly moving water that drowns the weeds and lets them rot, while you plant seedlings by hand. The rotting weeds produce methane gas (as do the water buffalos but that's another story).

You can also grow rice by just throwing seed down and letting it grow, as is done for the dry  season on low lying fields.

more details at the rice project site here.

Then we read: this: Oh my, maybe that's why the ice age hasn't returned:

It has been hypothesized by some climate scientists that methane from rice contributed to an anomalous rise in methane over the past 5000 years which is not explained by natural sources. If so, then this has contributed to global warming even before the industrial era and will need to be factored into models that hope to predict where global climate change is going.

one way, of course, is GM modified rice, but never mind: The anti science types would rather have Asians starve than admit science can benefit humanity.

African Rice

I was aware that they ate a lot of rice in West Africa, since when I lived in Liberia, the rise in the  price of rice was an important reason for the revolution that put that country into years of civil war and chaos.

What I didn't know (since I worked in urban Liberia, not in a rural area) was that rice was independently domesticated in West Africa around 1500 BC from a wild plant that grew there.

From Kew garden site:

Scientific name:
Oryza glaberrima Steud.
Common name:
African rice
Conservation status:
Widespread in cultivation.
African rice grows best on fertile alluvial soils although it tolerates low soil fertility and can produce higher yields than Asian rice on alkaline and phosphorus-deficient soils. Floating rice is planted on loam or clay soils.
There are only two species of cultivated rice in the world: Asian rice (Oryza sativa) and African rice (Oryza glaberrima). African rice is native to West Africa, where it is cultivated as a foodcrop. It is known for its hardiness and its ability to compete with weeds, pests, infertile soils and human neglect. However, increasingly African rice is being replaced by the introduced Asian varieties of Oryza sativa, which produce a higher yield than African rice, shatter less easily and have a softer grain that is easier to mill.

Wikipedia LINK

This article notes that a new cross breed of both rices has greater yields and could help the growing population in West Africa.

For Later Reading: guaranteed income

Feakonomics podcast: Would giving everyone money make everyone rich?

The Bard: 400 years ago he was just a popular entertainer

Shakespeare remains high on the list of influential writers, even though he sort of hid in plain sight when he was alive (some say it was because Shakespeare was not Shakespeare, but some other guy, but more modern explanation makes sense: he was sort of hiding in plain sight because he was a gasp Papist).

David Warren has an essay on him, noting (omong other observations) that one reason people never read him is because they were forced to read him in school.

That didn't bother most of my classmates, who promptly bought "classic comics" version, and managed to pass the tests without blinking an eye.

The reason is that Shakespeare was a popular writer. He didn't just cater to the intelligencia but to the folks who can and did buy tickets. So lots of romance and gore and humor in his plays.

Asimov has a short story where a physics professor discussed time travel and Shakespeare with an English professor...turns out that Shakespeare was brought to modern times, attended class out of curiosity, and flunked the course.

No, Shakespear would fit right in with the Hollywood hacks.

So what is the trouble with modern folks enjoying his plays? The language has changed.

Even if you watch them in a movie, following what is going on is almost like watching a movie with subtitles: Your mind has to summarize what the people are saying so you can follow the plot.

There is an argument that they need to be tranlated into modern English.

There are several modern versions of his plays that are watchable, but only as one watches a "classic", not as one watches a hit movie.

Ironically, a lot of Shakespeare's plots have been morphed into hit movies. The Taming of the Shrew, with Elizabeth Taylor comes to mind.

But too often, the films that try to "stay true to the plays" have the flaw that we see in "religious" movies: The people act like they are performing in a church service, not acting like real people.

Maybe this is why I prefer Shakespeare in the original Japanese : a pun on this famous line:

My favorite is Kurosawa's Ran, a remake of King Lear. It is one of the films I brought with me to the Philippines.

He also did Throne of Blood, a remake of Macbeth.

But modern versions, from "Ten Things I hate about you" (loosely based on the Taming of the Shrew) to West Side Story (Romeo and Juliet) show that the plots are still there for others to build on, for people to enjoy, not to force students to study because it is good for them, like medicine.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The WMD lie may bite back

The meme that Bush lied about WMD has been repeated so often that people think it is true.

The real lie, however, may be that there has been a coverup of the WMD: that a lot were carted to Syia before the war, and that a lot of active nerve gas and "yellow cake" were found by soldiers, and the CIA bought a lot of such weapons from locals to get them out of circulation.

LINK has a summary.

The question is: Why was this covered up?

Probably for the same reason that Obama and Hillary covered up the CIA action in Benghazi, (where a similar mop up of weapons and WMD was being done, with some of them diverted to pro democracy rebels in Syria via Turkey)

In all these cases, getting publicity would have gotten a lot more folks in the CIA etc. killed.

but the real danger is that some are still there, for ISIS to use against civilian targets in Syria or Europe.

But of course, the rumors get out anyway and distorted on conspiracy sites on both sides of the political spectrum.

The EM Drive works?!

Instapundit has two links about the new EM Drive today.

Physics astronomy blog link

Over the past whole year, there's been a lot of excitement about the electromagnetic propulsion drive, also known as EM Drive - a logically impossible engine that's challenged almost everyone's prospects by continuing to stand up to experimental study. The EM drive is so thrilling because it yields enormous amounts of propulsion that could hypothetically blast us to Mars in only 70 days, without the need for dense and costly rocket fuel. Instead, it's actually propelled forward by microwaves bouncing back and forth inside a sealed off chamber, and this is what makes the EM drive so powerful, and at the same time so debatable.

Jerry Pournelle links to the MIT article.

and this video summarizes it.

The UKMail article is a bit easier for those of us who have a limited background in electrical engineering. It has something to do with microwaves.

Gizmodo article HERE includes a photo

Wired UK article here.

"Test results indicate that the RF resonant cavity thruster design, which is unique as an electric propulsion device, is producing a force that is not attributable to any classical electromagnetic phenomenon and therefore is potentially demonstrating an interaction with the quantum vacuum virtual plasma."
This last line implies that the drive may work by pushing against the ghostly cloud of particles and anti-particles that are constantly popping into being and disappearing again in empty space. But the Nasa team has avoided trying to explain its results in favour of simply reporting what it found: "This paper will not address the physics of the quantum vacuum plasma thruster, but instead will describe the test integration, test operations, and the results obtained from the test campaign."

The drive's inventor, Guido Fetta calls it the "Cannae Drive", which he explains as a reference to the Battle of Cannae in which Hannibal decisively defeated a much stronger Roman army: you're at your best when you are in a tight corner. However, it's hard not to suspect that Star Trek's Engineer Scott -- "I cannae change the laws of physics" -- might also be an influence. (It was formerly known as the Q-Drive.)

Holly Maddux day

The Girl behind earth day:

The history books have been rewritten, but the dirty little secret is that one of the founders of "earth day" was a sociopathic liar and violent partner abuser who killed his girlfriend (Holly Maddux) and let her dying in a trunk. Later, when the cops found the body, he got bail with the help of his political friends, fled to Europe and lived off of sympathetic leftists until an aggressive DA patiently worked to get him back to face justice.

as LesbianConsrvative relates:

This conniving criminal was finally brought to book by the unrelenting efforts of Philadelphia’s District Attorney, Lynne Abraham who served as DA from 1991 to 2010.  Although a loyal party hack who knew how to pay homage to the Democrat political machine in Philly, Lynne Abraham was also a fierce supporter of the police department and an even fiercer advocate for justice.  She pursued Ira Einhorn through every legal channel available and never gave up.  It is due to her bulldog efforts that Einhorn is now finally serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, stuck away in a maximum security lock-down smack in the middle of the Pennsylvania boonies.
the SOB was later dubbed "The Unicorn killer" and they made a movie about the murder and the hunt to get justice.

The Hunt for the Unicorn Killer at imdb includes this comment from 2002:

 It is so important to remember Holly Maddux a young women who was trying to make a life for herself, never to marry, or have children, taken from this world at the hand of another, and in such a brutal murder. My family and I payed our respect to her grave just yesterday, along with the graves of her father and mother. We have never met the family but had such strong feelings this movie gave us, we felt compelled to find her marker and leave flowers. I hope this movie touches you the way it touched me and my family, and that you will remember HOLLY MADDUX the victim, the person, and remember the family who would not give up until justice was done. The hippie guru has now been sent home to face his crime and punishment from France. He does however get to have a new trial...Go figure...
Rest in peace, Holly...

Saturday, April 23, 2016

PC writers, PC films with PC animals and PC genderlessness

SciFi writerSarah Hoyt at Instapundit links to an essay by Orwell about Kipling.

....before one can even speak about Kipling one has to clear away a legend that has been created by two sets of people who have not read his works. 
the politics of Kipling will be forgotten long before his stories will be.

For example, his short stories which were changed into a unitary story behind the hit films The Jungle Book.

Alas, the newest film is a well done CGI but lacks the joyfulness of the previous cartoon....and unlike previous versions, which are about a boy coming of age, finding his home, and enjoying the best of both worlds, the latest version ends after he essentially burns the jungle down to kill the tiger....Uh, fellahs, the tiger probably killed a lot fewer people than that fire.

But never mind.

At the end, all the surviving animals chant about the wonderfulness of the utopia of animals all getting along...Presumably the wolves are vegetarians in the new Disney film?

But I always Kipling's best story was the Man Who Would be King...which could be seen as an allegory on the British empire. They came to get rich, they stayed to civilize, and they got thrown out by those who didn't like outsiders telling them how to live.

Peggy Noonan notes the decrease in civility masks the problem of despair.

Because I felt anguish at all the estrangements.
Because some things that shouldn’t have changed have changed.
Because too much is being lost. Because the great choice in a nation of 320 million may come down to Crazy Man versus Criminal.

on the other hand, Tom Hanks says cool it: American will survive.


via Drudge: Boris Johnson criticizes Obama, gets called a tea partier. *

The Mayor of London spoke out against the US President after he urged British voters to stay in the EU and mentioned his African ancestry as he criticised the decision to remove a bust of Sir Winston Churchill from the Oval Office shortly after Mr Obama entered the White House.

Mr Johnson - who is favourite to succeed David Cameron as Prime Minister - suggested the President got rid of the statue as a 'snub' to Britain's wartime prime minister and a 'symbol of the part-Kenyan President's ancestral dislike of the British empire'. 

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Boris should watch it: The last guy who said that ended up in jail for a tiny (10k$) "illegal" campaign donation to a friend...

and the UKMail does note that Obama threatened to hurt the UK economically if they don't stay in the EU or else.

*the tea party wasn't about race, but about financial responsibility... but never mind. If you repeat a lie enough times, it becomes the truth.


Uncle Orson on the Philosophy of hate and how a small minority decided a rule that was universally accepted a year ago, is now suddenly proclaimed to be evidence of hate....and if you disagree you lose your job and get your state boycotted.

(But when) you make rules without first trying to build consensus, and without tolerating any discussion, and without making any allowances for the conscience of others, it sure feels like oppression to those of us who believe in evidence, diversity of thought, democracy, and the value of free speech, a free press, and open inquiry. Oh, yeah -- and freedom of religion.

When the press stops spinning the Pope, they might notice that Francis agrees with Uncle Orson, only more so, because he knows this is not about bathrooms but the prelude to a much larger agenda.

56. Yet another challenge is posed by the various forms of an ideology of gender that “denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual differences, thereby eliminating the anthropological basis of the family...
 ..., It is one thing to be understanding of human weakness and the complexities of life, and another to accept ideologies that attempt to sunder what are inseparable aspects of reality. 
(headsup theTechguy who has more about what the Pope actually wrote here)

Family News

Joy (with Ruby) are in Manila where her mom will have a minor medical procedure. Keep her in your prayers.

Chano is going with the farmers for their annual post harvest excursion/meeting.

My son in Colombia, who lives near the Ecuadorian border where they just had a major earthquake, relays that he is okay.

I just hope the earthquake doesn't activate the volcano near his city.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Sargent Shultz Casino heist

Sargent Shultz was a character in the comedy series Hogan's Heroes, whose managed to survive by not noticing what was going on.

We need to call it the "I see nothing...nothing" casino heist after him, because so many people involved deny they noticed anything unusual going on.

the Bangldesh/Philippine casino heist was probably Chinese in origin, and the money slipped to China and will never be returned.

local Chinoy involved does a Sargent ShultzI see nothing, nothing...

winning and losing and collecting billions of dollars? No problem...

the money was removed from the US Federal Bank in NYCity... apparantly they didn't see anything wrong until the 5th withdrawal occurred.

A lot of money is involved in the casino operations, and it is enabled by the climate of corruption here in the Philippines.

No one does anything wrong. They are given a "gift". They don't want to ask questions of their friends and/or relatives.

And with all the time that the investigation is taking, the money is probably well laundered and hidden in China, and the guilty will manage to hide in plain sight.

Not everyone took gifts to look away when money was stolen/diverted...some just encouraged the casinos to be built, and local operators to bring high rollers to the area. Other politicians and gov't workers just didn't get around to tightening the laws to discourage money laundering.

and they see nothing either.

From the

After the hearing, Osmeña identified three groups likely involved in the scam, apparently based on information gathered so far by the committee.
He said the first group was made up of those who stole “the code and information” at the Bangladesh central bank.
“This kind of group, they sell the information and then another group comes in to do the actual hacking (of the money in the bank),” Osmeña said.
The second group was responsible for hacking the computer of the New York bank and had made arrangements first in Manila on who would receive the transferred money and who would launder the money, according to Osmeña.
“And the actual laundering is in the third group … the Philippine group,” the senator said.
At the hearing, Osmeña asked Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas officer in charge (OIC) Nestor Espenilla Jr. to make an informal inquiry into why the Federal Reserve Bank of New York did not ask Philippine authorities about the $81 million  stolen from it.

Read more: Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter |inquirerdotnet on Facebook

there are a lot of Filipino establishment big shots involved in this indirectly, which explains why they have coopted the PC and SJW in Manila to try to destroy Duterte over a bad (rape) joke. (I'd have to explain the culture to show why this was merely a complement on the beauty of the woman who was killed, and not an anti woman joke. Filipinos joke about everything to defuse anger and emotions, including in tragic situations such as the one he was discussing).

Shem to the SJW patsies: because essentially they are helping to distract the public from the very real problem of corruption that is the main concern of ordinary folks.

this StrategyPage article is mainly about the WOT here etc but includes this line

The anti-corruption effort is accelerating with senior government officials and politicians being prosecuted for actions that, for decades, were known but could not be stopped because the justice system and police were also corrupt. That has been changing, mainly because of growing public anger and the ability to get around often corrupt mass media to circulate news of corrupt activities via the Internet.
this explains why there is an attempt to include the law of "libel" for internet bloggers etc.

Often to translate who is doing what, you have to know who they are related to, and also read behind the lines to figure out what is being said against them.

Many SJW types oppose Duterte for his skirting the law on getting justice done, and prefer the more staid Poe, who also has a reputation for being a reformer.

but when crime here in our city against middle class types is skyrocketing, and when politicians call down hits on their political rivals so they can continue to steal/divert money into their own pockets, and when murders take place but families wait years for justice, then maybe one is happy when the cops kill a local thief or kidnapper instead of a formal arrest.

the election is the elites in the cities vs the non elites in the provinces, but since the elite's favorites have low numbers, maybe the election here could be better summarized as the dual of the outsiders/reformers: the American girl vs the macho mayor: LINK

if you want to follow the latest timeline on the heist, Rappler has a long summary. most of it from March

My favorite "I see nothing" was the broken computer in Bangladesh, so no one printed out the "what's going on here" notice from the US Feds.

But what about that part about the Fed?

Why didn't the Feds in NYC notice?


if it is blamed on a hack, shouldn't their cyber experts be fired?

Of course, since my US government personnel file was  hacked by the Chinese, maybe cybersecurity is a joke...

Film and literature and Trumpie, oh my

Uncle Orson reviews Max, Run All Night, London is Falling, and discusses San Andreas special effects.

Ironically, "London" had an opening gross that was higher in China than in the USA. Maybe it's because the US reviewers gave it a "thumbs down" because it was "xenophobic", but to the Chinese,  all white men look alike...

Overseas, people like movies but they have to be dubbed or subtitled. So it helps if you have a lot of action.

more  movies reviewed HERE.including the Irish film Brooklyn...


Prose Edda audiobook is now up at Librivox.

the original tales of the Vikings.

Harriet Tubman, A Methodist Evangelical woman.

Iowahawk twitter of the day

Breaking: Treasury throws founder of the Democratic Party off $20 bill, replaces with gun-toting Republican

re: The year without a summer (in earlier post). Not only did a lot of poor Europeans decide to flee to America, supplying manpower to the Americann industrial revolution in the North, another result was that a lot of anti slavery New England farmers decided to move into the Midwest, and this was the cause of Bloody Kansas, the constitutional crisis, and eventually the Civil War.

Blame global cooling for the end of Slavery?

Anne Althouse has two interesting posts.

First, Trump notes that bathroom laws ignore that common curtesy would work just as well as a legal solution, and passing fancy laws would cost Business a bundle.

Well, duh.

But what about the security issue? That's what a lot of women actually worry about: not a polite trans using a stall, but a pervert who will use the "law" to prey on defenceless women.

Her second post is about the start of the "gay libertion" idea. 

But when she links to the story, it turns out it is actually about behavior: e.g. Bathroom sex, and open cruising, i.e. making open and unasked for sexual advances against a stranger.

Some bars who cater to the neighborhood type clinetele would discourage customers who do such things openly, fearing (often correctly) that they will lose their regular customers.

Or does being gay give you a pass for not following the basic rules of decency   
violating the safe space of ordinary people?

anti Semitism and Holocaust denial is now fashionable in the UK Left.

As Netanyahu once quipped: They can't forgive the Jews that Hitler killed millions of us.


the biggest story never reported is the fall of the price of petroleum products, thanks to American fracking and the Saudi overpumping.

is this economic warfare? 

Podcast of the week:

BBC InOurTime podcast this week is about the Year without a summer.

Caused by a volcanic eruption in Indonesia:

Tambora has been linked with drastic weather changes in North America and Europe the following year, with frosts in June and heavy rains throughout the summer in many areas. This led to food shortages, which may have prompted westward migration in America and, in a Europe barely recovered from the Napoleonic Wars, led to widespread famine.
more at Wikipedia.

and notice that part about Europe recovering from the Napoleonic wars? LINK Five million dead? Who knows.

notice about a half of the "French military" casualties were from disease, and many were of "allies" where Napoleon pressured local gov'ts to join him. Half of Napoleon's "Grand Army" that invaded Russia were not French.
BBC story here which meant fewer young men to farm the fields...

yes, there were major famines in Europe in the 1800's...this was only one of several (more occured in the 1840's).

One result of the cold weather was that a bunch of hippies sat around and wrote stories: Teenager Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, and probably influenced culture more than her poet husband, who no body reads except under duress in school.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

How to make Harriet Tubman acceptable to Rednecks

PBS story here...

heads up senseofevents blog

Diamonds are forever

George Stuart designs and makes miniatures of historical figures at the Museum of Ventura County...

He then gives talks about the folks behind his creations, which are posted on you tube.

His two latest lectures:

A lot of his lectures are linked at the site, or can be viewed at youtube....

or you can see the figurines at the museum's gallery site.

but warning: Put down coffee before viewing videos because many are very very
photos of various exhibitions here.

Andrew Jackson take two

this old movie has his bio...

and the Battle of New Orleans has been shown in several films,
the most famous one, the Buccaneer, is about Jean Lefitte's role.

here is a short film about the rag tag upstarts who dared to oppose a UK army that was war hardened from the Napoleonic wars.

there is a new version that is in production 
but has no release date yet.

altogether now:

There goes General Jackson

So the PC, who tried to get a mulatto Alexander Hamilton removed from the 10 dollar bill, were defeated by... a NYCity play that made people aware of who he was.

Backkup plan: Get rid if Andrew Jackson, an Indian fighter and slave holder. And a redneck from the south. That makes him a "threefer" bad guy for the elites SJW's.

However, they forget that he also saved the nation at the Battle of New Orleans, with the help of a Multi ethnic force that included Choctaws, freed slaves, the local French, and the infamous pirate Jean LaFitte.

the Wikipedia article is interesting, but fails to note that it was not LaFitte's men per se who helped win the battle, but the cannons from his ships.

Jackson finally accepted Lafitte’s help in December 1814 because of the ammunition, cannoneers, and knowledge of the area Lafitte could supply. The expert cannon fire of Jackson’s troops, including Lafitte’s Baratarians, contributed to the American victory over the British at the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815. So impressed with the artillery skills of Baratarian Dominique You at Battery No. 3, Jackson reportedly stated before the Battle: “I wish I had fifty such guns on this line, with five hundred such devils as those fellows are at their butts.”
Ah, but the PC hate military men, and hate "slave holders" and hate those who fought in the numerous Indian wars

(Jackson, who had a less rosy picture of Native Americans, was the one behind their removal to Oklahoma, which is rightly condemned to this day as ethnic cleansing, ignoring of course, the other ethnic cleansings before and after that time, or the safety issue for settlers who still remembered relatives who had been killed by the Indians...but not all people back then backed Jackson's plan: Indian Fighter Davy Crockett opposed the move, and as a result lost his seat in Congress).

Ah, but Harriet Tubman is a "twofer": Black and a woman and anti slavery. She is so little known that I have often seen photos of Stagecoach Mary labled as Harriet Tubman. Heh. All black ladies look alike.

A worthy woman, but not critical to history: if she never lived, history would be the same.

But if Jackson had died in the Revolutionary war, then the Mid West which was bought as the Louisiana purchase would probably have been kept by the British, (never mind the Treaty of Ghent), Texas would be an independent country, and the US would have remained a weak country that could never have saved Europe in WWI or WWII....

A similar PC stupidity was tried with the Susan B Anthony dollar and the Sacajaweja dollar, replacing known patriots with footnote people who nobody but history experts had ever heard of.

Susan B Anthony was a suffragette, but only one of many, so again she didn't change history.

But at least, one could argue that if Sacajaweja (and her baby) had never lived, then the Shoshone would have wiped out the Lewis and Clark expedition, (having a woman and her baby along signaled to local Indians that they were travelers, not a war party).

No, it doesn't affect me.

Our local currancy was redesigned last year, and changed the back of the bills to include pictures of our country, with the 1000 peso bill still has World War II heroes, including a woman and a Chnoy,

and changed the 500 pesobill from a frowning Niony to have a smiling Ninoy and Cory on the front and a parrot on the back

hey, I have an idea:

Instead of Harriet Tubman, why not include the "power couple" of the revolution: John and Abigail Adams, together on the twenty dollar bill.

They helped found the Republic, and were not slave holders either.

and, thanks to HBO and PBS, people might actually know who they were...

Nah, too heterosexual to be PC.

The Battle for Mosul

Austin Bay on the Battle for Mosul. and why it matters:

It will decide which narrative will triumph: the dream of the caliphate, or the nation of Iraq.

and the battle will be bloody, with booby traps and mines and civilian casualties.

The press will undoubtbly see these thing, and make the good guys look bad, while they were not there with the casual killing and deliberate atrocities that are occuring now. This will allow the pacifists rewrite the story, as they did in Kuwait (see note below that I added to the Bollywood film Airlift).

the part about this battle being a test to unite the nation is noted:

Liberating Mosul from ISIS genocidaires gives Iraqi Kurds, Shia and Sunni Arabs and other ethnic and religious minorities a common objective. A single "battle forging nationhood" is a romantic notion, but creating a cooperative process to solve a shared problem isn't. The complex political and logistical process of creating, training, deploying and then employing Iraq's diverse forces to drive ISIS from Mosul is a constructive process. In fact, it is a national effort.

it will give this country, artificially forged in the Versaille treaty from the Ottoman empire, a common narrative. This may have implications in the area, and the alternative is a tripartate country of Kurds. Shiites backed by Iran, and Sunnis who hate each other.,

or as Austin Bay notes:

Will Iraqi national unity emerge from this national effort? It could be a significant step to bridging divisions and building trust. The national effort, however, must first deal the apocalyptic fanatics a thorough and uncompromising defeat.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

GeoEnglineering a barren island

BBC has a nice article about Ascension Island, an isolated island in the Pacific, was literally a desert island in the middle of nowhere.

from Wikipedia:

Dry and barren, the island had little appeal for passing ships except for collecting fresh meat, and was not claimed for the Portuguese Crown. Mariners could hunt for the numerous seabirds and the enormous female green turtles that laid their eggs on the sandy beaches. The Portuguese also introduced goats as a potential source of meat for future mariners.

And if it is a paradise today, blame Charles Darwin. Again from the BBC article:

when the British garrisoned Ascension to discourage French attempts at rescuing Napoleon - who had been exiled to St Helena, the nearest point of land, 700 miles southeast - they too could find virtually no fresh water.
"Near the coast, nothing grows," wrote Charles Darwin. "The island is entirely destitute of trees."
Darwin discussed how to make Ascension more habitable for humans with his friend Joseph Hooker, later director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, who visited in 1843. Hooker devised a plan. He would plant trees all over the 859m (2817ft) summit of Green Mountain, Ascension's highest point. Foliage would trap moisture from the warm southeasterly winds that sweep continuously over, letting it drip down to ground level to assure a water supply for the troops. He would introduce grasses to create pasture for livestock, and soil to plant vegetables.
to make the ecology worse, in the 1980's, someone brought in another bush with a deep taproot that is now taking over the place:

Engineers arrived in the mid-60s to construct transmitters to beam World Service programming to Africa and South America. They built a new village, a few miles inland from the sleepy capital, Georgetown - and planted a type of mesquite, known as Mexican thorn, to bind the dry soil.
Today the dry, stiff-thorned mesquite runs riot, dominating whole swathes of Ascension's terrain. "A conservative estimate is that there's now about 38,000 of these bushes," says Weber. "It's very difficult to control physically - it puts down tap roots that can be 20-30m deep - so we're looking at biological methods of control, bringing in pest species that are specific to this shrub from its native range."
well, that might make the ecology types unhappy, but the Mesquite bush does have value as a food plant etc. LINK link2

The Wiki article notes that the UK would like to claim sovereignty of the local octean (for it's mineral and petroleum rights).

finally, the island has an emergency landing strip for the US Space Shuttle, which is now, of course, no longer in service.

New York Values

So far, the NY primary reports on Drudge say Clinton and Trump got most of the votes.

Yes. New York Values.

Cruz blew it when he ridiculed "New York Values", implying the immorality of what he thinks is Time Square .

But Cruz also forget that Time Square not only has porn, but has a huge Pentecostal church, and that New York Values include not only the naked cowboy strumming his guitar (while good people ignore him with an easy going tolerance) but the 300 plus rescuers who lost their lives in the Twin Tower terrorist attack.

what Cruz should have said is "Chicago values".

However, I'm not sure how Bernie lost the primary. Again, maybe it is because college kids and upper east side socialist sympathizers are not as numerous as blue dog Democrats, inner city blacks, immigrants, and union workers.

but all this bodes well for a President Clinton II...

Prayer in Space

Father Z and his commenters discuss the story of a Catholic astronaut who was permitted to take consecrated Eucharistic hosts with him when he was to abide in the Space Station.

lots of the discussion is technical. What about crumbs? How does he give communion to himself? what about if pieces of the host float away and get lost? etc.

And then there is the question of Jurisdiction:
Usually the boat is under the jurisdiction of the diocese where the ship left, so that the moon was under the jurisdiction of the bishop of the diocese that included Cape Canavral.

iamlucky13 says:19 April 2016 at 6:13 PM
With the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011, the Russian Soyuz spacecraft became the only way to get humans to the space station, including Colonel Hopkins. He would have been launched from Kazhakstan, so perhaps he should be under the jurisdiction of Archbishop Tomasz Peta of Astana?
 However, he then left that vessel. The largest proportion of the pieces of the vessel he was aboard at the time of receiving Communion, including all of the US portion of the station, were launched by the Space Shuttle from Kennedy Space Center, so maybe it makes more sense that he would be under the jurisdiction of Bishop John Noonan of Orlando? 
 Then again, with the US portion of the station under continuous control and communication from Houston for well over a decade, can this really continue to be treated as a voyage, rather than a more permanent condition of the station, and could a case be made for being under the jurisdiction of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston? So confused.

As for receiving the sacrament without a priest: Vatican astronomer Brother Guy Castomagno (who is not a priest) carried consecrated hosts with him when he went to Antarctica to collect meteorites.

Buzz Aldrin, a Protestant, had a communion service in his moon trip, but it was hush hush for years, for fear of upsetting the (anti)religious police in the US..

There is, of course, a difference between science and scientism.

Often the scientism-ists pretend they are scientific, and use "straw man" arguments to ridicule believers, and the press eats it up.

But real "scientists" may or may not be believers... you see, scientists rely on logic and the scientific method to explore the universe (which for Christians is an extention of the belief that the "book of nature" and "the Book" Aka the Bible, are two ways to find God). In other words, doing science is doing the work of God.

Brother Guy in one of his books notes that the percentage of believers of scientists is about the same as that of the country where they live: i.e. low in Europe, but higher in the USA.

so what about Russia? Remember that part of Yuri Gagarin saying he didn't see God in space? It was made up by propagandists. Indeed, the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, was reported to be a quiet believer.

and the Russians now have a bishop bless their space trips (to the bemusement of the UK reporter who saw this as a political stunt), and the Russian side of the space station has Icons on prominent display (although the western press dismiss these things as Putin propaganda).

But years ago, in communist times, I remember stories that the Russians saw angels in space,
nor were the Russians the only ones who saw "angelic beings" while in space, but of course, we are getting into conspiracy theory territory (as a scientist, I agree: like NDE's,  probably there are physiological explanations for this).

And what about other religions? Lots of Asian or Asian American astronauts have gone to space.

but usually religious affiliation information is not included but presumably includes secularists, Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists.

However, Asians do tend to be a diverse group in ethnicisty and religion:

The first Korean-American astronaut, Mark Polansky, was Jewish.
The first South Korean Astronaut, Yi So-yeon, was a Christian.

And if you think Christians are the only ones who have to ponder about how to practice
 their religion in space, here is a Wired article about a Muslim's dilemma on how to pray.