Saturday, July 31, 2010

Stuff below the fold

Audiobook of the week:
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew

If you prefer an insomnia book, try Heart of Darkness...or another book by Conrad.



Peter Sellers recordings at Radio4 podcast.

JoeCarter has a bunch of links at FTBlog. including:

Tea Party Jesus

Medieval multitasking and the hypertexted quality of medieval illuminated manuscripts

How-To of the Week: Make Your Own Glow Sticks

50 Fantastically Clever Logos

If Noah had a blog . .

and last if not least, Jane Austen Fight Club:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ever had one of those days?

in an email from TiaMaria

Asteroid stuff

There was a discussion on one of my podcasts about the Japanese space probe that was supposed to bring back asteroid dust. Apparantly, they had lots of mechanical/electrical problems in the 7year long voyage, but managed to fix them all.
It was supposed to "shoot" at the asteroid and then collect the dust, but instead it landed on the asteroid...twice...and hopefully got enough dust collected to let scientists investigate what they are made of.

And now the probe has landed.

Happy Little Quarks

Ethan Siegel is disussing quarks and the higgsBoson particle at his blog, all of which is over my head.

But he included this illustration:

Headlines below the fold

The Anchoress discusses taking things out of context, and how this can destroy people's lives.

My take HERE. You just can't fire civil servants without a hearing...but apparantly Sherrol wasn't a civil servant.
More disturbingly is that a professor can now be fired for teaching Catholicism in a course that teaches Catholic doctrine.


BelmontClub discusses taking things out of context...with the Wikileaks and others discussing "Afghanistan":

Missing in all of these well-written essays is global context. Where do the Taliban get their money, ideology and support? Will it be as important were the infrastructure that supported it neutralized? What is the role of Pakistan? Of the Global Jihad? The nine essays are a little like monographs about taking Guadalcanal without describing why anyone should bother to expend blood and treasure in such a godforsaken place

also missing from the discussion: both China and India have a vital interest in not having a global jihad state with a nuke next door trying to destablize them. And, of course, if they win, there will be more volunteers and "charity money" funneled to Islamic terrorists in the Philippines...and China, and India, and Indonesia, and Thailand, etc.

some of my other BNN Rants:
Probably not on your news: Bad floods in China.
And did you know there is a big strike in China against Honda? More about forming unions in China from DavidWhitehead at the Socialist worker website.

This StrategyPage podcast notes they are organizing using cellphones (and to a lesser extent, the internet).
.. Danwei reports how it was publicized via the alternative media.

Something to remember the next time a NYTimes editorial writer praises China...

Philippine news full of PNoy trying to get someone to act on corruption under the past administration.
No corruption here, folks, just move along says one Budget office official.

And then there is the rotting rice scandal:
During the rice shortfall last year, lots of folks got money (big commissions) to buy cheap rice, but then they stored it (presumably waiting for the price of rice to increase, so they would make a larger profit) instead of selling it cheaply to poor people.... and of course this excess rice could keep the price down and undermine the profit of local farmers who look forward to a good crop this year.

another local story: 15000 workers might return from Iraq.
Yes, working there was illegal, but the money was good, and the US hired many outside workers for security reasons. Now they are saying locals should take those jobs, hence the Pinoys may lose their jobs.


But the really important news of the day:
Happy Birthday Bugs Bunny!
Trivia fact: He's a veteran of WWII...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Stuff below the fold

StrategyPage's take on the Wikileaks:
The essence of these reports has long been available to the media, but often ignored (or downplayed) for one reason or another. One item the U.S. has downplayed is enemy casualties. Not wanting to repeat the problems with "body count" during Vietnam (especially pressure on commanders to increase it for the enemy), it indicated that since 2002, some 17,000 enemy fighters have died, along with at least 4,000 Afghan security personnel and 4,500 civilians. Also covered was lots of evidence of Pakistani support (via their version of the CIA and some army officers) for the Taliban (which Pakistan created 16 years ago, as a tool to control Afghanistan). There were also a lot of details about Iranian support for the Taliban. The leaked documents also provide a lot more of the day-to-day detail of the war, including the heavy use of commando type operations and UAVs.
WaPost report HERE.


JoannaWaugh discusses why one finds old shoes in the walls of old buildings.
(Via TeaInTrianon)

Misleading headline of the day:
Heat wave one of hottest on record.
Missing data: Records only go back 120 years.

The "WAGD" headlines of the day

Gamma-Ray Bursts Could Halt Photosynthesis

Cosmic explosions thousands of light-years away could shut down photosynthesis in the ocean at depths of up to 260 feet, a new study suggests. The calculations add to a growing body of research linking these great blasts, called gamma-ray bursts, with biological damage and even mass extinctions on Earth.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


YUM! Durian.
Chano brought one back from Manila for us to eat.
Durian is called "The fruit that smells like H@@@ but tastes like heaven."
How bad does it smell?
Well, this sign is supposedly posted in Singapore's mass transit:

how smelly is it? The Brainiacs did a scientific test:

Boing boing has a thread on Durian, and mentions this urban legend:
If you drink beer with the Durian, it will ferment inside you and you'll explode.

No, it's not true, but it is famous for it's gas production....and for it's aphrodesiac properties.

Wikipedia reports that an Indonesian proverb says: When the Durians fall down, the Sarongs go up...

Jollibee and St. Martha

The heck with the "wikileaks" story. The real story is that Fast food might return to Afghanistan.

But the article said even the earlier order didn't apply to "foreign" fast food operators.
Calling Jollibee, calling Jollibee...
Jolibee, the symbol that peace is at hand....

Happy St. Martha's day (July 29)

What does St. Martha have to do with Jollibee? Well, she is the patron saint of cooks and waitresses (also nurses and caregivers)

The Davinci types and the radical feminists love Mary Magdalen (and tend to hate Mary, Jesus' mom) but they also tend to ignore Martha, Mary's sister.

Martha is best known for telling her sister off for sitting and listening to Jesus when there was a meal to be cooked. Jesus told her that listening was more important than cooking, since listening led to wisdom. Mary therefore is the saint of contemplatives or others who pray and meditate or study to seek the Ultimate Truth.

Like most of us who feel doing useful things is more valuable than sitting around praying,
Sister Mary Martha puts them straight:

Martha is the first person to actually figure out just who Jesus really is. On top of that, when Martha announces that she believes Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of God, she says she has always believed that. That means she knew she was waiting tables for the Messiah and she thought that it was important to give the Messiah a nice dinner... apparently, unlike her sister Mary, Martha could listen to Jesus and get dinner on the table...

heh. I guess that makes her the patron saint of "multi-tasking" too...

Trivia question on St. Martha:

The original "Joy of Cooking" cookbook had her on it's cover.

Navettes, a French tea cake, are given that name because they resemble the boat which, according to a local legend, brought Martha and her sister to France. Recipe at LINK

I tried to find a video on how to make them, but they are all in French.

But I did run across this video
This video is from a Pampanga parish:


Monday, July 26, 2010

Stories that make you go heh?

Three guesses who said this:
Hitler wasn't that bad, if you put him into

NHS in the UK won't pay for IVF and will ration hip and knee replacements, obesity surgery, and end of life care.

Well, in the federal clinics of the IHS, we limited Hip replacements, rarely funded obesity surgery, and didn't fund IVF.
But we did fund end of life care: the tribes would have rioted if we didn't treat grandmom.

Which, of course, is why I saw exactly two articles on the IHS during the debate about the Obama health care bill...reality might have been too scary.


Gloria didn't attend PNoy's State of the Nation address today.

You think Obama blames Bush for everything? Well, read THIS.
List after list of problems.

"...We will hold murderers accountable. We will also hold those who are corrupt that work in government accountable for their actions.. ."

We're still waiting...maybe now that a certain person is out of office, someone will check the books and see if the missing money was diverted to stop a court case.


now for some lighter news.Beer, making people happy for 9,000 years.




Lavender fields

just for nice:

England's famous lavender fields

Dawn over lavender fields in Faulkland, Somerset. Photographer Antony Spencer's shot looks like a real-life version of an impressionist painting

Read more:

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Musical interlude of the day

China vs google

There was a big kerfuffle about China vs Google, and I thought that China had won.

however notes:

July 20, 2010: China renewed Google's license to operate in China, and quietly backed down in their dispute over censorship. China said it won, but it didn't. It got some cosmetic changes to the Chinese Google web page, but uncensored access to the Internet is still available. While many government officials insisted that Google either restore censorship or be shut down, more powerful officials heeded warnings that this would hurt the economy and research efforts.

their podcast about China is HERE

History Stuff below the fold

Computer program to decode languages?

The article mentions Ugarit, where they found lots of tablet in a language related to Hebrew. Took humans years to decipher them back in the 1930's, but now the computer "reads" them faster.

Will it help them decipher Etruscan?
And what about Harappan?

a list of undeciphered languages HERE

and will it help to figure out where the language of ancient Sumar belongs? They can read it but it is a "language isolate"...

Most isolate languages are small indigneous hunter gatherer groups who were isolated when more powerful folks invaded (e.g. the Ainu, the Basques).
But I didn't realize that Korean was an "isolate" language too...

Heh. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the guys who gave us 300 are planning a new movie on Xerxes, about the battle of Marathon.

Hmm...Ripping off Herodotus again...

And if you have trouble sleeping, his book is on Librivox, or at least part of his history. or check HERE.
Alas, only the first three books, and Marathon is bookVI and VII...

Family news

no earthquakes in our area, so we're fine.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Photograph of the day

cooking at comiccon...


Things a man should be able to do

PopMechanics has a list of 25 skills every man should have.

1. Patch a radiator hose
2. Protect your computer
3. Rescue a boater who has capsized
4. Frame a wall
5. Retouch digital photos
6. Back up a trailer
7. Build a campfire
8. Fix a dead outlet
9. Navigate with a map and compass
10. Use a torque wrench

you get the idea.

JoeCarter At FTBlog has his own list of 50 things, which includes some touchy feeling skills:

1. Forgive your parents.

2. Ask your parents to forgive you—You know what you did. They do too.

3. Change a diaper so that the baby is cleaner and you are no dirtier than when you started.

4. Perform CPR and the Heimlich maneuver.

5. Use a soldering iron to fix a loose connection.

6. Comfort a child...

7. Cook one signature dish.

8. Calculate square footage—Width x length.

9. Innocently flirt with a woman at least twice your age...

10. Write three coherent, connected, and grammatically correct paragraphs

so I googled for stuff women should be able to do, and most of them were touchy feely things like this one and included sex tips...

  • Breath enough to scream and fight back if attacked. ...

  • Perform CPR.

  • Say “no” convincingly.

  • Drive both a stick shift and an automatic.

  • Obtain birth control and use it effectively.

  • Think through the possible consequences of her actions...

  • Balance a checkbook.

  • Sew on a button.

you get the idea.

But my favorite, and most practical, list of skills is that of Robert Heinlein:

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.”

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stuff that makes you say: I want it!

Invention of the week: Rapid lash...
for those of us who are allergic to mascara but have puny eyelashes.

Artificial blood is being made from umbillical cord stem cells and modified animal cells....
They've been working on variations of this since I was in medical school 40+ years ago...hope this one works.

Best toy ever: A real laser zapper, just like in STARWARS!

of course, around here THIS one would be used a lot more.


This one is really useful for breakfast in bed, or feeding someone who is sick:

Non slip dining tables

and if you want to know which movies are really good, and which ones to avoid, check out ComicCon's news at USATODAY, or at their website. and of course Harry always has his own opinion.

Podcasts mirroring headlines of today

Big kerfuffle about journalists conspiring to ignore some political stories to get Obama elected...lots of links at Instapundit.

My take HERE: the timeline suggests this Press manipulation was against Hillary, not just the Republicans, and it came on top of the intimidation in the caucuses against Hillary...
maybe that's why that story got so little coverage, d'ya think?

remind you of the Gracchi brothers? LINK or LINK

Reverse racism causing resentment? the undesirables are kept out of elite universities...more HERE.

Keeping the elite limited to the "right stuff" is nothing new.
Right now, I'm listening to Professor Anderson's discussion of how Catholics were marginalized in 19th century Germany: even if they got into the universities, they couldn't join "fraternities" because dueling was required....

More about dueling fraternities HERE.
Dueling, may have changed the history of mathematics.
Hubble and all those galaxies. Astronomy cast LINK

And help them to classify the galaxies: join the Galaxy Zoo..


Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Lolo is on an "Adobo" kick, which means we are eating it two or three times a week.

This is the drier Visayan version of how to cook it:

another version can be found HERE.

and here is Adobo, the rap song:

Remembering the French terror

Altas Obsucura has an article on the Pipcus cemetary in Paris:

an estimated 16,000-40,000 "enemies of the revolution". Guillotines were set up in major plazas, hosting as many as 55 executions in a day.

(at) The convent of the Chanoinesses de St-Augustin the garden was dug up to accommodate mass graves for approximately 1300 men and women. Among the dead buried at the cemetery are sixteen Carmelite nuns known as the "Martyrs of Compiegne" who famously proceeded to their death singing hymns and were beatified by the Catholic church in 1906. Their story is memorialized books as well as in the opera Dialogues of the Carmelites by Francis Poulenc, which includes the sound of the dropping guillotine blade in the score.

Youtube has this video of the end of the opera:

Cat post of the day

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

The Explainer will now explain PNoy

Good luck to
Philippine blogger Manuel Quezon III
(AKA "Manolo", not to be mixed up with the Shoeblogger)

who has quit his TV show "the Explainer", to work for the President, Benigno Aquino III
(AKA NoyNoy, AKA PNoy).

(ever get the feeling of Deja Vu?)

Quezon, of course, is the (adopted son of the late Manuel "Nonong" Quezon Jr. (1926–1998) and Lourdes "Lulu" Casas-Quezon. His father is the son of former President Manuel L. Quezon (1878–1944).

And PNoy?
a 4the generation politician, of course.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

Musical interlude of the day

Gift item of the day

Small Spock Amigurumi Mounted Head

buy one for your favorite Trekkie at Etsy...

headsup GeekCrafts


Apparantly I missed the NYTimes Magazine story on freezing heads to live forever (aka Cryonics), but GetReligion blog has a summary.

It sort of sounded familiar, and then I remember this movie: Sleeper.

(youtube has excerpts HERE)
it's all there: Cryonics, being implanted with a computer chip (biometric identity), and, of course, cloning:
Miles and Luna successfully infiltrate the Aires Project: they learn that the Leader was killed by a rebel bomb ten months previously, and all that survives is his nose. The nose has been kept alive, and the members of the Aires Project, mistaking Miles and Luna for doctors, want them to clone the leader from this single remaining part. Instead, Miles steals the nose and "assassinates" it by squashing it under a steamroller.

Maybe not as funny as finding out J Edgar Hoover was a black woman, but a somewhat funny take on the "future as it was predicted"

Duckman to the rescue

from the UKTelegraph:

Joel Armstrong catches the first duckling to jump from the nestPhoto: JED CONKLIN
A duck keeps laying her eggs on an office building ledge...

"When mother duck starts looking down, I run out of the office and wait for the ducklings to jump. The mother jumps first, quacks at the ducklings above and they follow.

"The tricky part this time was when two jumped at pretty much the same time. Luckily I am ambidextrous and I caught one in one hand and one in the other."

Mr Armstrong, a father-of-two who admits to better than average hand-eye co-ordination, has had practice at duckling-catching, having performed his heroics twice before in 2008 and again last year.

He's not sure if it's the same duck laying eggs each time, admitting: "They all look the same."

To date he has caught 26 ducklings in three years. And no, he hasn't dropped one yet....

Headlines below the fold

Clan politics: Despite the massacre, the Ampatuan clan still got elected in a lot of posts.

How? They ran two folks for a lot of posts, guaranteeing a win, and of course they have access to loads of money to win.

of course, PNoy has lots of relatives and cronies in his administration too.
In other news, Senator Trillanes left out on bail (lots hoping he will be pardoned).(background HERE)

Global cooling episodes correlate with Chinese political instability.
Yup. famine, war, anarchy, and disease correlates with cold temperature, and not just in China.

and records of the first Emperor of China discovered.
and a quick perusal shows why folks hated him

Chicken Little was right: The sky is falling:

Layers of Earth's upper atmosphere. Credit: John Emmert/NRL.

NASA-funded researchers are monitoring a big event in our planet's atmosphere. High above Earth's surface where the atmosphere meets space, a rarefied layer of gas called "the thermosphere" recently collapsed and now is rebounding again.

"This is the biggest contraction of the thermosphere in at least 43 years," says John Emmert of the Naval Research Lab...

I can take criticism of God, but not their whiney silly adolescent screeds of the "new atheists".
Too illogical.
First Things agrees, and suggests that the "new Atheists", they read Nietzsche to learn how to do it right.

of course, as a doc, reading Nietzsche's manic outpourings are dazzling, but the writings are suggestive of the writings of someone who is manic. And I use "Manic" in the medical sense.

There are any numbers of reasons for mania, including bipolar illness and drugs, but Nietzsche's gradual deterioration and paralysis suggests tertiary syphilis, the same problem that affected Winston Churchill's father. HERE is an example of a typical case.

addendum: IgnatiusScoop suggests that Hume is a better philosopher for arguing atheism and scepticism.

Medical trivia: one way to "cure" or stop the deterioration of tertiary syphilis: Give the patient a case of Malaria...
apparently the high fever killed the germ

Finally, one of the headlines in the local paper:
ZsaZsa broke her hip.
yes, we have political murders, corruption, typhoons, dengue and malaria outbreaks, and a volcano that might erupt, but it's nice to know we keep up with the important news in our papers.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Photograph of the day

The Carl Zeiss photograph contest at link

here is a nanoetching of Cambridge Univ's shield.

Headlines below the fold

Attention Fat People: The government knows who you are ... Electronic medical records: am I the only one who worries about the privacy issues?
More here
John Allen explains to the NYTimes why the American church's "sexual abuse" paradigm isn't as popular in other areas of the world.

Is PearlJam just as bad as Marijuana?

Well, watch this and let me know...didn't work for me.

Latest global warming problem: Anesthesia.

So when you need your appendix out, just grin and bear it for Gaia's sake.

women better at multitasking than men.

Pun of the day

via Dustbury

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Gift item of the day

Simply roll your sushi using the roller and place the sushi inside the shaper to make fun edible decorations.

headsup Randomgoodstuff.

OR make it by hand:

Stories that make you go WTF?

Most chilling story of the week:
Saved by a blink.

Most ignored story of the cold war:
The children of Stalin's victims.

weirdest Medical headline of the week:

Prozac Pollution Making Shrimp Reckless

and you think we have problems headline:
man made mud volcanoes in Indonesia...

Big Brother is already here headline:

U.S. Authorities Shut Down WordPress Host With 73,000 Blogs
no, not's the copyright cops.


and this one is headsup from Madwillie:



Friday, July 16, 2010

Good News below the fold

StrategyPage has an article about medics teaching the Afghan police to use first aid.
and those bandages that stop bleeding are a hit.

and Midwife training by the UN and various NGO's has been lowering the maternal death rate.

Having iPhone problems? Duct tape to the rescue!

BP claims it fixed the leak...finally.

Points to Ponder

I had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: - 'No good in a bed, but fine against a wall.'
Eleanor Roosevelt


Last week, I stated this woman was the ugliest woman I had ever seen. I have since been visited by her sister, and now wish to withdraw that statement..
Mark Twain


The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible
George Burns
Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year.
- Victor Borge
Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
- Mark Twain


By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.
- Socrates
I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.
- Groucho Marx


My wife has a slight impediment in her speech. Every now and then she stops to breathe.

- Jimmy Durante

I have never hated a man enough to give his diamonds back.
- Zsa Zsa Gabor

Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat.
- Alex Levine


My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying.

- Rodney Dangerfield


Money can't buy you happiness ... But it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.
- Spike Milligan

Don't worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, It will avoid you.
- Winston Churchill

Maybe it's true that life begins at fifty .. But everything else starts to wear out, fall out, or spread out..
- Phyllis Diller

By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he's too old to go anywhere.
- Billy Crystal

And the cardiologist's diet: - If it tastes good spit it out.
words of wisdom from Tia Maria

Thursday, July 15, 2010

History stuff

Those of you who read Waltari's The Egyptian, or watched the B movie probably don't know it is a loose retelling of an ancient Egyptian text Tale of Sanehat.
more HERE.

and yes, that old fashioned film is at YOUTUBE:


and yes, the old clunker Cleopatra is there too...back when Elizabeth Taylor was still thin, and Richard Burton was still sober.


If you want to try to look like Cleopatra, Pixiewoo has a video:

StrategyPage posts the youtube video of that Chinese UFO.


Webecoist has an essay on a lot of yuckky medical treatments from the good old days.
Actually, a lot of these work...if I have time I'm going to post about it on my medical blog.

Barnes and Noble's book blog talks about a book on the Sultan of Zanzibar...including this single paragraph mentioning how he was involved in the East African slave trade:
"It began a millennium before the West's," Bird writes of the practice, "and continued for more than a century after." But it was really only after the international market for ivory and spices took off that the East African slave trade succeeded in devastating Central and East Africa. Many more slaves were needed to run plantations and transport tusks, so slavers began to provoke tribal wars (to generate prisoners). Eventually they simply raided and razed entire villages, driving their captives so mercilessly to market that most of them died before reaching it.


Angry Old Ladies for Hillary 2012

You know President Obama's in trouble when the Anchoress backs Hillary:

... under a President Hillary, it is entirely likely that there would be no tar-balled beaches in the Gulf; had the BP blast happened on Hillary Clinton’s watch, there would have been no need for silly talk of “boots on necks” and “ass-kicking,” because the federal government’s response to the crisis would have been swift, competent, energetic and focused on containment, containment, containment of that spill.

and coming soon to a theatre near you: a film about how Obama's minions intimidated her delegates in the caucuses.LINK

We Will Not Be silenced

as I wrote in 2008:

But an analysis of the primary votes suggests that there might be a reason beside menopausal rage to explain why the “angry women” who backed Senator Clinton may not support Obama, and if I were a Republican, I’d start touting the numbers to suggest Obama “stole” the election from feminists and from ordinary Democrats by manipulating the vote.

Cat links of the day

Audiobook of the day From Librivox:

  • It's Like This, Cat
  • This novel won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1964. This delightful story revolves around a 14 year old boy, Dave and his adopted cat, called just "Cat", who turns his ordinary everyday life into an exciting roller-coaster ride. (Summary by Neeru Iyer)
  • Zip file of the entire book 99.0MB
  • RSS feed · Subscribe in iTunes

  • they also have children's short stories that includes this cat tales:

  • The Life and Adventures of Poor Puss by Lucy Gray,(?-?) – 00:09:16
    Source: E-text
    [mp3@64kbps - 4.4MB]
  • also in the list: Benjamin Bunny, Johnny Townmouse, and Briar Rose...

    Webecoist has a post about the longest lived animals.
    According to the 2007 edition of the Guinness Book of Records, the reigning longevity champion of cat-dom was Creme Puff, a female tabby born on August 3rd, 1967 and who died on August 6th, 2005) aged 38 years and 3 days. Though an abundance of long-lived cats are regularly reported from the UK, Creme Puff lived with her owner, Jake Perry & family, in Austin, Texas, USA

    funny pictures
    moar funny pictures

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    Craft item of the day

    ExpertVillage has an entire series on Calligraphy, in excruciating detail.

    however, a less boring video is this one, number one of a series.

    Turn up speakers and enjoy!

    Movie of the week

    Kurosawa's classic film "Ran" is a retelling of King Lear, but set in medieval Japan.
    It is one of the films I brought with me to the Philippines...

    But if you want to view it, check it out on Hulu..

    yes, it's streaming video, but watch the beginning for it's visual beauty, then rent it for the whole thing.
    headsup InsideCatholicBlog

    Here comes/goes the sun

    What would happen if the sun went out?

    Ethan Siegel explains why we might not notice it for a couple thousand years.

    and notices that Hollywood already has done a film on the concept.

    FYI: the BBC special on the sun is HERE.

    Stuff below the fold

    Was Art Bell right about Nemesis?
    No, say scientists.

    True, mass extinctions occur regularly ever 27 million years, but the collision of a rogue object in the Ort cloud would change the interval
    and even if it's true, we have another 16 million years to go.

    How to make an artificial lung...

    Organ trafficking is illegal here in the Philippines, and NGO's oppose lifting the ban.

    it will only hurt poor people...most of the "gift" for the organ tends to go to the middlemen, and the poor end up in bad health and spending the small amount they do get
    Haiti six months later.
    Sigh. In our prayers.

    There is a big strike by sellers in the Bazaars of Iran...NYTimes BillClinton would say: it's the economy, stupid.
    background HERE.
    an older post at Strategypage discusses the economy

    why people are fat: Is it Leptin?

    Family news

    Typhoon hit last night...low winds (30 mph) with heavy rain but not bad. Brownout in the middle of the night had me putting out candles for safety.

    The "bad" news is that we ended up with three frightened cats in our bed and three frightened dogs under the bed. Fleas anyone?

    In other news: Lolo is getting new dentures, soft ones this time. He only needed his upper plate fixed, but the dentist recommended he replace his lower plate with a softer plastic too.

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    Headlines below the fold

    Another day, another Typhoon...

    It's actually good news: The rain from the typhoon might help the low water levels and stop a water crisis in Manila.

    Arlo Guthrie is a registered Republican?
    (actually a "RonPaul Republican)...

    They catch him on his exaggerations in his song, but fail to mention that Alice's Restaurant had to close when they couldn't afford to renovate for mandated handicapped rest rooms...or that a cheerful Chief Obie played himself in the movie.

    For those over 60 or under 40, here is the story of Alice's restaurant....

    Nat Hentoff, who was once at the Village Voice, is now writing for the Cato institute against Dr. Berwick and his medical rationing agenda...
    my take on Berwick's love of "scientific" medicine here.

    One problem with "scientific" studies is that they have their own bias, which is why the Endocrine society is now backing hormones for menopausal women in their 50's...
    (the "ain't it awful" "scientific study" was for women over 60 on higher doses of estrogen...for younger women the medicines help symptoms and have health benefits).

    I suspect a similar bias in this story: Fish oil lowers breast cancer risk.
    why am I skeptical? well, I dropped out of the study because I was making up what I ate (who remembers?)...and a lot of the questions made you want to answer yes to doing all the proper things.
    So how many pills, which pills, and how many years were these pills taken? Did they check the bottles to confirm the answers (90 percent of prescriptions aren't taken correctly)? Did the amount taken--number of pills per week for how many years-- correlate with the statistical decrease in cancer?

    Loftus' article on creating false memories HERE

    Headlines below the fold

    (AP Photo/Brandon Tauszik/ Invisibile Children)

    The American killed in Uganda bombing was working with ex child soldiers LINK..

    Our prayers for his family and friends, and for the families of all the Ugandans killed in this terrible terrorist attack.

    and several young people from a US church group from Selingsburg helping a local congregation were injured in the bombings.

    The terrorists, by the way, were not aiming for Americans, but trying to terrorize Uganda to remove their peacekeepers from Somalia; Burundi is now on alert for a similar attack.

    But the really big story is that police may have stopped a plan to bomb the World cup with a dirty bomb. I write about the various stories HERE and try to connect the links.

    Monday, July 12, 2010

    Gift item of the day

    at Amazon: A HelloKitty Toaster.

    they also have a HelloKitty Waffle Iron, or if you pack BentoBox lunches, use HelloKitty Riceball mold.

    Stuff below the fold

    Atlas Obscura explains why Pope Pius VI's heart is buried in France: the locals sympathized with him:

    The French Revolution caused great turmoil with the Catholic Church in France... In 1791, Pope Pius VI rejected the Constitution civile du clergé, that put control of the Catholic Church in France under the new Republic, rather than the Vatican....

    In retaliation, France annexed the papal territories of Avignon and Venaissin, followed by Napoleon’s attack on the Papal States. In 1798, the French took control of Rome and declared it the Roman Republic. When Pius refused to submit to the conquerors, he was taken prisoner and forcibly removed to France.

    and you thought the elites were hard on Benedict...on the other hand, past is prologue...
    I've been busy being sarcastic about the Berwick appointment over at BNN>
    other bnn screeds are as follows:
    Artificial Marijuana...

    the problem is not the drug but the idea it's okay to use a drug to get high...which leads to refusing to work hard, to take responsibility for one's actions, or do care for those around you.

    Lotus land, anyone?
    usually in the US, lotusLand is california, but this is the modern take:

    In the book and movie Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, the Lotophagi have taken residence in a casino-hotel in Las Vegas, luring the young to dwell there for eternity by forcing them to eat lotus pastries and promises of giving into almost every modern hedonist inkling. Time spent in the casino-hotel passes rapidly for those trapped within.

    Heh Los Vegas gets a lot of Bad press...

    and guess what? The Stand is on Youtube


    things that make you go: Awww

    funny pictures of cats with captions
    see more Lolcats and funny pictures

    Movie of the week

    quick, before the copyright cops find it:

    The Moonspinners

    Sunday, July 11, 2010

    Muscial interlude for today

    Finnish Tango on the Nyckelharpa...

    More on Nyckelharpa HERE.and HERE

    Family news

    good news: They fixed the water pump.

    More good news: The younger white dog Chloe had her puppies...she went missing, but Chano had told one of the farmers to take her home when he came to get his pay on Saturday, and we thought that was why we hadn't seen her. But when we checked with his wife, she denied they had the dog...
    we opened all the storage and closed bedrooms that had been locked up on Saturday night, and sure enough, she was under a bed with six puppies in a locked room. Must of had them during the night.

    Stuff below the fold

    15 Imaginary places where you'd probably like to live.
    The Shire...ShangriLa...ElDorado...Camelot...

    Honey they shrunk the Proton...

    English as She is Wrote, the audiobook
    and I bet you missed the annual Tour De Cluck...

    Tour de Cluck Music Video from Alvin Remmers on Vimeo.

    not to be mixed up with the Tour De Toona, a race on a little used interstate that was a local pork barrel project.

    Gift item of the day

    Image Credit
    links where to buy at HQ.

    Friday, July 09, 2010

    Family news

    Our water pump died so we're filling buckets with city water to bathe and drink...

    Ah, the wonderfulness of living in a tropical paradise.

    Luckily, the aircon is working, but we're expecting rolling brownouts because they are fixing the lines

    Medical news of the week

    I almost have to laugh: MMWR is now on facebook.

    That's the weekly CDC stats.

    This week: sex in teens is down, cigarette smoking in teens is down, almost as many women are sterilized as use the pill, and West Nile Virus infections are down.

    They also have the newest immunization schedules.

    For old folks, the big news is chickenpox, old folks don't get chicken pox, but they do get shingles, and this can leave them in pain for months. If you get the vaccine, your chance of getting shingles is lower, and if you do get it, your chance of post herpetic neuralgia, the real painful complication, is less.

    as for kids here are the latest recommendations:

    the only new one here is rotavirus: a nasty nasty diarrhea. No, it's rarely fatal in the US, but overseas it's a big killer.

    Viewing the stars

    Viewing the night sky makes one feel insignificant: Or maybe not.

    Astronomy without Telescopes

    We often sit out in the evening and look at the stars. Since we lived in the rural USA, we could identify a lot of constellations.
    When I lived in Africa, the nearest "town" was 50 miles away, so if we merely went away from the (lit up) hospital, we could view the Southern Cross and other constellations. But here, with the increased prosperity, "light pollution" is making that difficult in recent years (we live in the center of town). Since the larger towns tend to be north and west of here, our best view is to the south....We have binoculars, but no telescope.

    AstronomyCast has a podcast on how to view the stars without a telescope.
    Having a Planisphere helps: Uncle Al's Skywheel has PDF files to make your own, and yes, he includes Spanish and Southern Hemisphere charts on his site.
    and Pyxis Astonomy has starmaps for the Philippines (i.e. on the equator).
    more HERE. Old BBC program on "stars at night" podcasts for streaming HERE.

    and factoid of the day: The oldest starmap is 30thousand years old, and has Orien carved on a mammoth tusk...

    Musical Interlude of the day

    This is the Battle Hymn of the Republic, written during the Civil war in America, a war that freed the slaves. (The pivetol battle of Gettysburg was fought in early July, as I noted below).
    The Anchoress posted the version from Ronald Reagan's funeral, but I prefer this one:

    In Heinlein's book "A Citizen of the Galaxy", the protagonist, who was a slave on another world, knows little of American history, but insists on visiting the Lincoln Memorial, "Because he freed the slaves".