Tuesday, January 31, 2012



via TORN

The Hobbit for Dummies

explained HERE

Thirteen dwarves want revenge on a dragon, so Gandalf gives them a hobbit and sends them across Middle-earth with a secret and a map. They meet goblins, elves, giant wolves, a shape-changing bear and a town on a lake. Gandalf keeps disappearing to talk to the wise people of the world while Bilbo turns out to be more than meets the eye (which isn't saying much).

Musical interlude of the day

Headlines below the fold

will nastiness by republicans lose the LDS vote?

Uncle Orson explains why not...the Democrats are worse. Sigh.

and DaveBarry instructs you on how to make your home Primary proof.

The good news is that here in the Philippines, the law mandates a short election season.
The bad news is that here, politics is a blood sport...sigh.

Will Iran try to close the Hormuz strait to distract folks from the Syrian massacres? Strategypage Podcast discussion HERE

works for us!

LATimes story on raising backyard Talapia in Baltimore.

Pythons eat Wildcats ? Who wudda thot?
and racoons and rabbits and deer...

maybe they should send in a couple of Cajuns... more HERE.

or send in this guy:

Blind Fargo hunter bags alligator in Florida Everglades

Read more here: http://blogs.herald.com/dave_barrys_blog/2012/01/he-was-aiming-for-a-deer-but-what-the-hell.html#storylink=cpy

(Via DaveBarry)

Puppies and kittens oh my

Someone threw some kittens into the garbage heap in the nearby vacant lot...

alas too small to eat on their own, so Lolo and I have to feed them with a small syringe.

The bad news is that with our dogs, who are hunters by breed, manage to kill three out of four kittens we rescue, and once in awhile even kill one of the adult cats...sigh.


And Sophie, the skinny one year old white dog, had three puppies last night. One looks like Papa dog (brown) and two are white, so maybe Snuffy is the father of these two.

Caring for all the new life keeps Lolo young at heart.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Miscellaneous links

More on the Inquisition:

MariaElena of Tea of Trianon who wrote a book about the Cathars links to this article on the clerical opposition to the Inquisition and preaching against that group.

and people mix up the Papal Inquisition, the Spanish Inquisition, and the witchcraft trials (which occured in Protestant areas). Indeed, witchcraft is not only in Christian cultures.... Professor Teofilo Ruiz gives a short talk here on the subject (alas, his university course podcast is locked)

the lectures on science/religion/magic course at Berkeley that I linked to earlier this week also discusses the topic, and again gives one the intellectual history behind the ideas behind the violence.

It's not a defense against these judicial star chambers, but if you don't understand history, you are condemned to repeat it
not really related, but MariaElena has published a short essay by one of her uncles who lived in the Philippines during world war IIu a

Podcast of the week

Some podcats or program downloads from the BBC are now on their site.

more suggestions HERE

Nice news below the fold

Congratulations to Brian Sibley for winning the BBC Drama awards for his serialization of the Gormenghast novels for BBC4...

more about the project HERE.

since the BBC removes their programs quickly, alas, I can't find the programs to download (except via illegal P2P).

Geeks know Mr. Sibley for his dramatization of LOTR and Narnia for BBC radio...

Geek joke of the week


You just can't be too safe

Pottstown Middle School, a school in Pennsylvania, is banning the wearing of fuzzy open-top boots, including Uggs, because students have been stashing mobile phones in the footwear.

Guess we'll have to keep hiding the cellphones in our bras....


It's not just haggis: Here it happened with KamotengKahoy

and beware of the exploding churros

like the previous post, these are from DaveBarry...

The "WAGD post of the day

The Sky is Snoring! the Sky is Snoring!

You're ready to face the first big conspiracy theory of 2012.

Just last week, citizens in the Malaysian city of Kota Samarahan reported they were kept awake two nights running because the sky was ... snoring?

Stuff below the fold plus rants

What if they gave a protest and no one noticed?

Get Religion reports on the lack of reporting of huge prolife demonstrations in Washington and San Francisco...

and they report on the controversy of "Mormon underware".
considering the ridicule I endured for wearing a simple Catholic medal in college, I don't blame them for the secrecy...

Kathleen Hale, the last of the Bloomsbury group, has died.

The obituary includes a cheerful (?) vignette of her bohemian life that could be interpreted differently: a secretary so underpaid that she sold her hair for necessities, children forced to collect firewood and churn butter (both of which are hard work), going unclothed in chilly England where there is no central heating, and an unsupervised "lord of the flies" environment for children...

The group was just an ordinary group of snobs, anti Semites, one sided"pacifists" and useful idiots who hated rules and ordinary decent folks who follow the rules


Is the Inquisition the precursor of modern totalitarianism?

Except of course they weren't that efficient, and they were established to stop the spontaneous killing of witches by neighbors, and stop genocides by governments under the guise of religion...

Heh: John Tyler's grandson says Newt Gingrich is a jerk.

Wikipedia on John Tyler.

Tyler...sided with the Confederate government, and won election to the Confederate House of Representatives shortly before his death.... his presidency is generally held in low esteem by historians; today he is considered an obscure president, with little presence in the American cultural memory.[1]

(What, no quotes from Hitler's American cousins?)
Native American population is growing...

Some of this is good news, but some is an artifact, because a lot of white folks who find they had a Cherokee great grandmother think they should have preferential treatment, stealing places from those who actually suffered discrimination in the past...


Audiobook of the day: Edward Lear's book of nonsense.

The work includes the "Owl and the Pussycat" and a recipe for Amblongus Pie, which begins "Take 4 pounds (say 4½ pounds) of fresh ablongusses and put them in a small pipkin."

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hello Kitty item of the day

cute kawaii stuff - Hello Kitty Monopoly
see more Must Have Cute

you can buy it HERE

and if you aren't into monopoly, you can buy HelloKitty Yatze and HelloKittyBingo...

and for the geeks in your life:

Klingon Monopoly is also available

Botany lesson of the day

lyrics HERE.

Factoid of the day

I'm listening to Professor Bulliet's world history(on youtube here) and he is saying that there are numerous mounds in southern Ukraine that predate ancienLinkt Mesopotemia, but that much of the archeology there is in other languages or is recent work, and of course for the layperson, there is a lot of fake stuff out there which is influence more by politics than reality.

The end of the ice age and the filling of the Black Sea in 5500 BC might have resulted from climate change...does this have anything to do with noah's flood?

and what about the drying of the climate?

a 1996 article about this from the LATimes.

the Scythian are actually Bronze age and may be a mixed population (the Greeks called any of the horse riding "barbarians" of the area Scythian, but the real controversy is the earlier settlements in the neolithic times.

Some of this mixes up with "indo european" vs semetic racism (and don't get started with the Dravidian vs aryan origin of Harappa or the Chinese Han embarassment of having "white mummies"which are either were Indo European or Turkish in origin).

then the DNA/RNA studies are "MYGO" and getting into the act.

The "WAGD" (not) post of the day


A small asteroid the size of a city bus zoomed between Earth and the moon's orbit Friday (Jan. 27) just days after its discovery, but it never posed a threat to our planet, NASA says.

The asteroid 2012 BX34 passed within 36,750 miles (59,044 kilometers) of Earth when it made its closest approach at 10:30 a.m. EST (1530 GMT).

Going where no toy has gone before

then there is this:

but this is my favorite:

Poor Dumbo

Improbable research has an article on an episode where they did a public dissection of an elephant in 1681.

youtube report HERE.
Ah, but the silliest elephant experiment was giving a male elephant LSD.

It had to do with checking if schizophrenia/psychosis was behind the amok of male elephants.

Alas, the elephant died...


Factoid of the day

The first air war was the Turko Italian war in Libya in 1911...

yes, StrategyPage has expanded to youtube.

Friday, January 27, 2012


I just watched a BBC video of the medieval knight Willam Marshall, and learned he got his fame and fortune by entering and winning melees and jousting tournaments (before he became famous in English politics) The video mentions lots of modern folks joust nowadays.

So, who can afford a horse and all that equipment?

No problem: Try wheelbarrow jousting:

and yes, it is narrated by the Tolkien professor...

Podcast of the week

I found two entertaining lectures by Tom Shippey on Tolkien and middle English on Swarthmore college's page.

The Roots of middle earth:

Audio [50:04m]: Download

Tolkien book to Jackson:

Audio [50:06m]: Download

there are other good lectures on the link if you like current events and modern type literature.


Marine archeology article here

The wreck provided tangible evidence of an astonishing array of contacts and trade between the different cultures of the Mediterranean and Near East in the late Bronze Age. The Ulu Burun ship sailed at around the time that Tutankhamun ruled Egypt, and “it is far more important than Tutankhamun's tomb as a contribution to our understanding of the period”, according to Wachsmann. “This goes to the nitty gritty of the world. It's Wall Street in a ship.”

archeoblog comments:

I didn’t know that no Minoan ships had ever been discovered. Me, I’m still waiting for the rush of perfectly preserved Black Sea wrecks to come to light.

the destruction of the Minoan civilization is now thought to be due to the Santorini eruption, with the Mycenean Greeks invading and taking over. How this fits into the myth of Theusus and the Labyrinth is anyone's guess.

And another confused story is the relationship between the Minoans and the Phoenicians and the Hyksos...and some wonder if two centuries later the Trojan war caused the Bronze age collapse, with the Sea People migration and ultimately the resettlement of the Mycenean Greeks as the Philistines.

There are so many conspiracy theories about this that it may take another century or two to figure it out.

Dr. David Nieman's series on the Hyksos suggests that Minoans were part of the eastern Amorite empire. Part one of several short snips of his lecture on the Hyksos is here:

yes, it's Indiana Jones city of Tanis...

Cooking in the good old days

The FeedingAmerica webpage has a new cook book from 1803

here's an example: How to make Mead:

To make Mead.
To thirteen gallons of water, put thirty pounds of honey, boil and scum it well, then take rosemary, thyme, bay-leaves, and sweet-briar, one handful altogether, boil it an hour, put it into a tub, with a little ground malt; stir it till it is new milk warm; strain it through a cloth, and put into the tub again; cut a toast, and spread it over with good yeast, and put into the tub also; and when the liquor is covered over with yeast, put it up in a barrel: then take of cloves, mace and nutmegs, an ounce and a half; of ginger, sliced an ounce; bruise the spice, tie it up in a rag, and hang it in the vessel, stopping it up close for use.

a list of their vintage cookbooks digitalized and on line can be found HERE.

cat item of the day

see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Ghost ship

a modern day "flying dutchman" ghost ship found in Spain.

For more than three years she wandered the sea, devoid of a captain or crew. But last week, she was found off the coast of Spain, about 3,500 nautical miles from her home in Nantucket.The Queen Bee, a 26-foot pleasure boat, was left to drift after stormy conditions threw her passengers overboard off the coast of Nantucket on Aug. 25, 2008. The ghost boat was found 20 miles off the northern coast of Spain on Jan. 17, the US Coast Guard said today.

I was going to say this was a Bermuda Triangle mystery, but Nantucket is a bit north of that area.


Ship diasters take two

Does this ship look familiar?

From the UK Guardian (hat tipe DarkRoastedBlend)
Anyone who sat through Film Socialisme may have suspected that the Costa Concordia was heading for trouble. The cruise liner was the setting for the first "movement" of Jean-Luc Godard's ambitious, infuriating 2010 picture, serving as a self-conscious metaphor for western capital ploughing through choppy waters.

The "WAGD post of the day

The cruise ship disaster near Italy again raised the question of ship safety, and like the Princess of the Stars disaster, pointed to the importance of the captain and crew being trained to put safety first.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

and in the US, cruising up the beautiful coast of the Alaskan panhandle is in vogue, and Popular Mechanics muses: What would happen if a similar accident happened on one of these ships?

(Headsup via instapundit)

Well, it's been awhile since a passenger ferry had an accident in Alaska but this site lists a few, including that last major disaster: that of the steamer Princess Sophia

more at Wikipedia: which includes the controversy: because the captain hit a reef and even when rescue ship arrived refused to evacuate (waiting for high tide so they could launch the lifeboats and have rescue ships closer to the crippled ship) and then was hit by a storm that resulted in the disaster.

Film of the week

quick, before the copyright police find it:

Savannah Smiles is at Youtube. LINK

Musical interlude of the day

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Geek joke of the week

from an email of Eng Hamid

Cat items of the day

visit The Kuching Cat Museum:
via AtlasObscura:

Image of Kuching Cat Museum located in Kuching, Malaysia | (Flickr/Rolling Okie)

Tracing the history of cats back 5,000 years, the Kuching Cat Museum houses 2,000 different artifacts, ranging from a mummified Egyptian cat to strange cat headstones. Although the Cat Museum is a mix of serious historical exhibits along with kitsch you might find in a cheap Chinatown bodega, it takes its work analyzing the history of cats very seriously.

via Dave Barry:

Cat in the cockpit grounds Toronto-bound airplane

Read more here: http://blogs.herald.com/dave_barrys_blog/2012/01/those.html#storylink=cpy

Gift item of the day

via Notcot a Yellow cape

An elaborately embroidered cape and a 4m long scarf have both been spun from the silk of more than a million spiders.

(the Madagascar golden spider was used to make the cloth, and the yellow is the natural colour of spider silk.)

BBC Story here
(click on audio then check link to photos)

or watch this:

David Shrimp vs Goliath Fish

headsup Wired

Stuff below the fold

Professor Mary Beard explains why all those documentaries on ancient Greece are so positive: If you film there, they censor the scripts.

Tom Shippey discusses Uncle Orson's 30 years of scifi writing:

What Mr. Card does especially well... is deal with "folk of the fringe,"...folk very much like us muggles, sharing nearly all of the disabilities of our humanity, but commanding just that magic something extra that we all wish we had too.

Cowboy frog: called that because of the spur on it's heel.
Photograph courtesy Paul Ouboter via Conservation International

From Nat Geo.

Now if only someone can tell me why the NatGeo includes three links to the Huffpost on it's side column, two of which are articles on animal rights hysteria? That site best known for it's anti vaccine hysteria...

Syria: The end game doesn't look good.

when truth is replaced by opinions and opinion polls. Linked for a later thoughtful reading.

The future of Catholic health care? Replace the catholic with the name "dignity", post the abortion clinic next door, and starve conscious and talking handicapped folks to death?

Kazaks to Borat: we can make films too.

of course, Borat was a slav ethnic (according to his accent), not a native Kazak, in his satire.

Kazakhstan factoid of the day:

.Alexander Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is short novel centering on one prisoner's experiences during a single day in a Soviet labor camp identified as HQ.The author of the novel, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, based it on his own experiences in a labor camp at Ekibastuz, a town in the northeastern region of present-day Kazakhstan, which was part of the Soviet Union until 1991.

US Seals rescue two aidworker hostages.

When I read this, I wondered why they didn't do it the day before the SOTU speech by Obama so he could take all the credit ...then I realized that he might have been worried the hostages would be killed, so scheduled it the next day, just in case...

StartswithaBangBlog has great photos and explanations of the solar storm that is hitting earth...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

goldfish and vegetables

headsup Tokyomango who also links to how to make a cabbage flute.

more HERE

Musical interlude of the day

Podcast of the week

Not a podcast but a lecture series from Berkeley on Science, Magic and Religion.

See Professor Raia link the "modern" mindset with the pre socratic philosophers!

See Norton the dog represent a Platonic solid!

See what hat the professor is wearing today!

A "must" for those who think the "religion vs science" arguments being touted by some are nonsense, and find out the intellectual origins that underlie these ideas.

I have little philosophical background, but found it easy to follow, if a bit thick in ideas to think about.

Out of the Silent Planet

I rarely listen to streaming radio, but if you are a Tolkien Fan, check out Middle Earth Radio

they do have some programs in a podcast form LINK

the Pageturner's link is having a reading/discussion of Out of the Silent Planet by CSLewis.

you can find it podcast form HERE.

as LOTR geeks know, the space trilogy was written as part of the bet between Tolkien and Lewis to write novels they like: Tolkien took the idea of time travel (the unfinished Norton papers was the result) and Lewis took space travel.

And the protagonist in the Space Trilogy is based on the personality of JRRTolkien....

Stuff below the fold

J"Accuse: When you lose the National Catholic Reporter, you've lost the Catholic vote.

my take HERE.

If half a million protest and no one reports it, does it make any noise?


Archbishop Chaput has a long article on disability that includes this paragraph.

We live in a culture where our marketers and entertainment media compulsively mislead us about the sustainability of youth, the indignity of old age, the avoidance of suffering, the denial of death, the nature of real beauty, the impermanence of every human love, the oppressiveness of children and family, the silliness of virtue, and the cynicism of religious faith.

It’s a culture of fantasy, selfishness, sexual confusion, and illness that we’ve brought upon ourselves. And we’ve done it by misusing the freedom that other—and greater—generations than our own worked for, bled for, and bequeathed to our safekeeping.

Yeah, our TV is full of this garbage...the bad news is that some folks overseas watching American TV might thinks that Jersey shore is reality TV.
It makes one happy that "dirty jobs" is showing the other side of the picture.


Could a pacemaker to the tongue stop tongue based snoring and sleep apnea?

Sounds a bit better than the CPAP machine.

The "We're all gonna die" post of the day this time comes from Popular Mechanics:

Watch out for that Solar Storm.

Islamic Liberalism: Talk at TED

Headsup TheWhitePath

Hurry up and place your bets!

Also, there's an Irish bookmaking site laying odds on the first cliche Obama uses (h/t Maet)

A sample:
8/1 We have more work to do
10/1 Health Care reform
10/1 As I stand here today
12/1 Fundamental belief
12/1 God Bless America
12/1 Crossroads of history
12/1 Defining moment
12/1 Make Washington work

Plus some longshots:
80/1 Overcome the adversity
80/1 Bloated federal government
100/1 Diversity of my heritage
100/1 Yes, we might
250/1 Life is like a box of chocolates

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Quote of the day

“The thought manifests the word;
The word manifests the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character;
So watch the thought and its ways with care,
And let them spring forth from love
Born out of compassion for all beings.
As the shadow follows the body, as we think, so we become.”
Juan Mascaro


Headlines below the fold

Keeping American airplanes safe one senator at a time.


Even Iran and Russia want NATO to stay in Afghanistan: it's the drugs, stupid. (Ron Paul take note).


Our Daughters Dreams Arise from this Glad Slaughter!

a quote from the usually gentle Anchoress...

Obama administration's war on Catholic church: even the Pope is worried.


Can these bones speak?

Embryonic stem cell breakthru?

Why the hype about a press release from the company that distorts the findings? Follow the money...

Cat diagnoses breast cancer?

so why wasn't it diagnosed by mammogram? It's the bureaucracy, stupid:

Politicizing friendly fire:

Blackfive links to the real story.

I have a lot of rants about all these stories, moved to my Xanga blog so they don't bore you.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Musical interlude of the day

Etta James who will be missed

The Original Hobbit

no, not the one they are making now, and not even theRankin Bass cartoon.

This one.

Brian Sibley tells the story of the film.

Factoid of the day

Sun Yat Sen was the godfather of Cordwainer Smith.

Some of his science fiction short stories are found at Baen:

Link when the people fell

Link We the underpeople.

Ironically, I found part two of the Nostrillia novel, the Planet buyer, here in our used book kiosk. Luckily I had read part one.

My favorite story is the Dead lady of Clown Town

But the one most poignant to today's world is the warning of utopian in Under Old Earth...

This story concerns three of them: the gambler who took the name Sun-boy, who dared to go down to the Gebiet, who confronted himself before he died; the girl Santuna, who was fulfilled in a thousand ways before she died; and the Lord Sto Odin, a most ancient of days, who knew it all and never dreamed of preventing any of it.

Music runs through this story. The soft sweet music of the Earth Government and the Instrumentality, bland as honey and sickening in the end. The wild illegal pulsations of the Gebiet, where most men were forbidden to enter. Worst of all, the crazy fugues and improper melodies of the Bezirk, closed to men for fifty-seven centuries—opened by accident, found, trespassed in! And with it our story begins...

Chinese new year recipes

Check HERE for a lot of mouth watering recipes ( although I doubt that Cornflake cookies were served in ancient China)...

more recipes at the BBC

and then there is the Dumpling challenge:


Barbie, teaching your girls to be money hungry material girls for 40 years.

so they are pulling Barbie dolls off of shelves in Iran. for her western values and unIslamic dress.

On the other hand, as a feminist, I worry when our TV is full of Disney cartoons, Glee, and other barbie type cartoon shows aimed at our daughters that teach them the highest goal in life is to be a successful rock star who spends all her time shopping.

Ironically, I found that the Barbie film series, like the longer Disney films, are much more balanced.

Craft item of the day

Fandom in stitches is doing Hobbit inspired quilts and includes patterns.

Starting today, and on the first Wednesday through November 2012, we will share a paper pieced quilt pattern that will all go toward one awesome Hobbit-themed quilt! At the end of the BOM, you will have 13 unique blocks and we will share finishing instructions, which includes the layout that we have created for this completely awesome fandom quilt! Fabric choices are your own.

There And Back Again
Block of the Month
Pattern 1

Medical news

China reports a second bird flu death of someone who didn't have direct contact with birds.

and, although it should have been obvious to those of us who worked there, maybe one of the reasons for the high HIV rate in sub Saharan Africa is that infections with schistosomiasis. more HERE.


Seamus Heany discusses his award winning tranlation of Beowulf at MIT World.

and for those of you who never read the Tolkien lecture that made academia take notice that Beowulf was a great story, not just a cultural artifact, you can find it HERE and download it...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lolo says hi

Posted by Picasa

Chinese new year cats of the day

Posted by Picasa

World War I stories take two


no one in the family fought in the first world war, but this is my grandmother and her son, my uncle George, in his Homeguard uniform...the war stopped before he was called to fight.
Posted by Picasa

World War I themes are staging a come back

first there was WarHorse.

and now the second season of Downton Abbey takes place during the war, when the great house is remade into a convalescent hospital.


PBS has it as streaming video for those living in the US.

JaneAusten'sWorld Blog has several posts and interesting links about the times portrayed in the series...this poster for volunteers is from her blog...LadySybil the feminist becomes a VAD in the series.

VADs were trained for only a few weeks before working under professional nurses.

more about women who helped with the war effort in the "great war" can be found HERE.

and for another woman's view of the great war, from a middle class VAD who worked in France, check out this sad biographical miniseries:

Factoid of the day

What place on earth is farthest from the center of the earth?

Chimborazo volcano...in Ecuador

Chimborazo is actually an inactive volcano that stands at 20,565 feet. It makes up for the 9,000 foot difference between itself and Everest with the equatorial bulge. Only one degree south of the equator, the earth is thicker nearer the equator, and makes up the extra difference for Chimborazo. When all is said and done, Chimborazo measures 7,113 feet farther from the center of the earth than Mount Everest and is a whopping 3,967 miles from earth's center.

Narnia audiobook

Those of you who like the Chronicles of Narnia should check out this link


Cuban Bloggers report on the death of a hungerstriker there:

Pedazos de la Isla explained why Wilman Villar Mendoza must not be forgotten:

I have heard various people say that a hunger strike is a form of suicide, but I do not believe that. The only one at fault for his death is the dictatorship. It was that same dictatorship which arrested Mendoza during November of 2011 when he, along with other activists, peacefully marched down the streets of Contramaestre demanding freedom. And it was that same dictatorship which paid no attention to Wilman’s just demands to be liberated, which led to his hunger strike.

from Notesfromacubanexileblog:

Ladies in White and other opposition activists marched and demonstrated on his behalf suffering brutal beatings and detentions but the international press remained silent. Now that he has died, as was done in the case of Orlando Zapata Tamayo in 2010, the international media is reporting it. Too little and too late for Wilmar Villar Mendoza. Bloggers and activists on twitter had alerted the world early on about his plight. Pedazos de la Isla, Uncommon Sense, Babalu, and Capitol Hill Cubans deserve special mention for getting the word out on their respective blogs.

When confronting a brutal totalitarian dictatorship there is a very simple equation:
silence = violence = death.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Podcast of the week

The Kansas City Library has authors who talk about their latest books.

Their archive is on Internet archives LINK

or go to Internet archives and search for keyword Kansas city Public library under community audio section.

Happy Hugging day Jan 21

funny pictures - Happy National Hugging Day!
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

more lolcats HERE

How to feed your dragon


Chinese Water Dragon, St. Louis Zoo, 12/27/2005, Robert Lawton (self)

there are several species that go under the name "water dragon".

and this photo is from Reptilepark: article tells you everything you wanted to know about (Australian) Eastern water dragon:

and this video shows how you can feed them:

YUM! Jumping cockroaches

Factoid of the day

from NatGeo:

Just in time for National Popcorn Day, a new study says that people in what's now Peru were eating the snack 2,000 years earlier than thought.

Coastal peoples were preparing corn-based foods up to 6,700 years ago, according to analysis of ancient corncobs, husks, tassels, and stalks recently unearthed at the Paredones and Huaca Prieta archaeological sites on Peru's northern coast.

History lessons

There is a recent rewrite history to insist that the doomed Scott expedition to the south pole was "better" than the successful one by Amundsen by insisting that Amundsen merely got there first, but Scott was there as a scientist, collecting all this important "scientific" data.

Sorry, but Scott forgot the most important item: The welfare of his men.

Another person can collect "scientific data" but your men's lives cannot be replaced.

in contrast, when faced with dwindling supplies, Shackleton turned back:

Shackleton pioneered the route up to the polar plateau by way of the Beardmore Glacier, which he named for the expeditions patron. By January 9, 1909, the foursome had trudged on foot to within 96 miles of the South Pole before being forced by dangerously dwindling supplies of food to turn and run for home. It was the hardest decision of Shackleton's life, telling his wife Emily later: "I thought you'd rather have a live donkey than a dead lion."

his later expedition, of the Endurance, was famous not for it's scientific data, but because they survived..

FILM LINK another one HERE

Photographer FrankHurley not only survived, but his photos are a stunning reminder of that expedition: silent film excerpt here.



A dragon dance highlights the parade around the Chinese community in Binondo, Manila, Friday, January 20, 2012. The Chinese Lunar Year, the start of the Year of the Water Dragon, will be celebrated on Monday, January 23, 2012. (Photo by LINUS GUARDIAN ESCANDOR II)

Yes, mark your calenders: next week is Chinese New Year.

Chinese new year is next week: The year of the water dragon.>
What kind of year will 2012 be?
Many expect 2012 to bring about the end of the world, perhaps because they mistakenly think of Mayan or Hindu cosmologies as linear rather than cyclical. From a Feng Shui standpoint 2012, the year of the Yang Water Dragon, brings many possibilities for good fortune.

design via this FengShui site with lots of stuff HERE.

PAGASA assures us that we won't have a typhoon next week to ruin the festivities, but no word if there will be terrorist attacks or earthquakes.
No, we don't celebrate it in our town but in towns with a lot of Chinoys, it is party time...

Headlines below the fold

Canada's military orders 20,000 orange stress balls

and remember, they have to be orange!

Why do Pinoys worry about SOPA?

Because they will apply pressure (read bribes) to the Philippines to do the same.

Ruby is complaining that the streaming video for grand new movies was taken down...that means she will have to pay 60 pesos to buy them to watch at the palenke...and a lot of the lesser known but award winning movies never are available at all here except through download...

Friday, January 20, 2012

SOPA explained

from Khan Academy:

theoretically my sites could be shut down because I once posted a video of a Golden wedding anniversary celebration that was edited by Ruby who added a "copyright" song in the background.

I got a warning from Youtube, even though it was only part of a song....

and usually I ask for photo permission when I borrow a private photo from a site, but often the photo is from an unknown source that was posted on that site...
and quick: Do you really know who took that cat photo you are linking to?

funny pictures - Meowlancholy
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Mark your Calender

National Popcorn day is January 19

funny pictures - Happy National Popcorn Day!
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Education update

it's not just iTunes U, university courses on line, and Khan academy:

Ipads jumps into the Amazon/textbook electronic textbook market.

IBooks 2 will be available as a free app on the iPad, starting Thursday. High school textbooks will be priced at $14.99 or less, Schiller said.

Insomnia downloads of the week

For your sleeping pleasure from Librivox:

The History of Standard Oil: Volume 2

by Ida M. Tarbell (1857 - 1944)

an expose on Standard Oil, JD Rockefeler, and the shady business practices in 1904...

or if you prefer history:

Chronicles of Canada Volume 19 - Pathfinders of the Great Plains

by Lawrence J. Burpee

The Chronicles of Canada is a huge series, but I actually have read some of them, since the beloved library lady of our small coal town when I lived in PA finagled someone to donate a set for our small library, as a reference book for the kids in those pre internet days.

if you prefer easier reading, try

Subspace Survivors by Smith, E. E. “Doc”

Five Stories by Alan Nourse by Nourse, Alan

or any of the 40 short science fiction story collections LINK

and yes, Librivox was part of the SOPA blackout protest.

fyi: Anchee Min interview at the FreeLibrary podcast website

Stars and poetry

CREDIT: Bill Snyder
from SpaceCom:

The Pleiades star cluster is a group of 800 stars, formed about 100 million years ago and located 410 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Taurus...
One of the brightest stars in the cluster is called Atlas. This star, along with its companion Pleione and their seven daughter stars, make up what we can typically see with the naked eye.

The brightest stars glow a hot blue and formed within the last 100 million years. This means they are extremely luminous and burn out quickly. Scientists estimate these stars will survive for more than 200 million years before they die out.

they are sometimes called the "seven sisters"....more about the group in myth here.

The Moon has left the sky,
Lost is the Pleiads' light;
It is midnight,
And time slips by,
But on my couch alone I lie.

Sappho, trans: J. A. Symonds, 1883.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


funny pictures - I made you a cookie LOL
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

heh; even Cheezburger is worried LINK

These bills threatens sites like Cheezburger, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and any others that rely on user participation. It will allow the government to censor sites and force companies to monitor your email and restrict websites that post or link to infringing content.

Science lesson of the day

Having trouble getting your girl to love Chemistry?

No problem...get her a HelloKitty Periodic table.

Download law

So Wikipedia and some other sites are going black today to protest a draconian US law against downloads.

The dirty little secret is that they are hypocrites.

I can buy the latest Hollywood film release in the local palenke (open air market with small vendors) for 60 pesos even before it opens in Manila. I suspect most of these are pirated films via China.

But even though we have 50 channels, we only have three with documentaries in English, and they usually show the best programs after 9 pm, when we are in bed.

In the US, I used a VCR to copy films on at times when I couldn't watch them. Here, I download a lot of nature type films from Youtube for Lolo to watch....

But without illegal downloading, how can I watch Downton Abbey?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

anthropology lesson for today

How to eat crab Filipino style

actually we usually remove and mix the green fat with rice. Yum.

and this video discusses how to eat Balut...

we're number one

The photo that caught the assassin is Time Magazine's number one "viral" photo
more at the Inquirer

so why was he killed? from AsianCorrespondent

Dagsa was targeted, police said, because of his efforts to wipe out crime from his neighborhood....Although from the looks of it Dagsa’s murder was not a contract killing — the gunman, Arnel Buenflor, had an axe to grind with Dagsa, who testified against him one time – it nevertheless underscored the reality that, in the Philippines, murder is quite an easy thing to commit.

Did you know, for example, that you can have somebody killed here for as low as 5,000 pesos, or less than $100? We don’t have a dearth of guns for hire in this country, where crime festers in every urban community and where “loose firearms” proliferate especially during the violent election seasons.

We're number 2!

Headline in the Inquirer:

Good news: JFK dislodges Naia as ‘worst airport

The good (and bad) stories of the day

Muslim blogger risks her life by publicizing attacks on Christian churches in Karachi.

Sana Saleem... a blogger for the Pakistani and international newspapers such as the "Guardian", said that "it will happen again, because this is not just bigotry, but blind hatred that our silence feeds". The blogger also defends other religious minorities like the Ahmadis (considered an Islamic sect), victims of abuse and harassment in Pakistan, and writes: "If we do not find the strength to take a stand against bigotry, to express outrage against barbarity, to be compassionate toward those who suffer, we will be well on our way to self-destruction".


Honors for the Chinese hero who died defending a girl from robbers.

a report on the Kenyan fight against the Somali terrorists who are terrorizing civilians and stopping aid to a half million refugees

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Philippine News below the fold

The Good news headline of the day: all of the 296 Filipino crew members who worked on the sunken ship in Italy are alive and well.

Latest hit on daytime TV here is the impeachment trial of the head of the Supreme Court.

lots of conspiracy theories but it's PNoy cracking down on corruption starting with the big shots instead of removing a few low level crooks and letting the big shots go.

On the other hand, one has to feel sorry for a good man who only did what everyone else did, and now is being targeted for his actions as a warning to others.

the good news: They aren't making a circus out of the trial.
an editorial in the pro business Manila Bulletin, notes that by televising the trial, the people will decide not matter what the Senate decides.

and this article suggests one of the problems in this country:

MANILA, Philippines — Five of the senator-judges in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona have fathers who presided over as judges in the trial of former President Joseph Estrada in 2000

maybe getting new blood from the middle class into the gov't will help...

Senator McCain and others are here, in meetings about the Chinese threat to take over the Philippine Sea(aka south china sea).

Few in the US realize that McCain was one of those who helped normalize relations with VietNam in the early 1990's, after that country started reforms. And like the Philippines, VietNam has claims to most of the South China sea.


Yum: Chinese Pizza

A local pizza from Malaysia.(via GrowingTeenagerBlog)

I can haz touchdown?

It's a touchdown!!!  Kitteh Tebows!

Stuff below the fold

The New Apartheid: Keeping primitive tribes in a people's zoo.

Belmont club is even more cynical, maybe because of his Pinoy background:

Maybe the the problem with all the treehuggers and ethnic preservationists is that they haven’t spent enough time in the woods and in the villages. Where you sleep on a mat with the dusk because there’s no lighting, watch your child die because there’s no medicine; where you’re trapped for days in your hut while the monsoon rain turns the trails into rivers of water so strong they can carry you off or kill you from hypothermia in the tropics. Because if they had to and could never leave, then they too might think of asking the next visitor to fantasy island: “Why don’t you treat me like a white fella?”

related item:

LostWorlds discusses the lost civilization of the Amazon:

Instead of being pristine forests, barely inhabited by people, parts of the Amazon may have been home for centuries to large populations numbering well into the thousands and living in dozens of towns connected by road networks, explains the American writer Charles C. Mann....

“If one wants to recreate pre-Columbian Amazonia, most of the forest needs to be removed, with many people and a managed, highly productive landscape replacing it,” said William Woods, a geographer at the University of Kansas who is part of a team studying the Acre geoglyphs.

“I know that this will not sit well with ardent environmentalists,” Mr. Woods said, “but what else can one say?”

Read the full story at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/world/americas/land-carvings-attest-to-amazons-lost-world.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=world

so where did the people go? I suspect they caught the European infectious diseases spread via trade routes....

another Belmont club article on how undertreatment of TB and gov't regulations that stop new drugs from being marketed are the real cause of the multidrug resistant TB that is a new threat to health.


Father Z links to an article on Asia news about "the disappeared".

AsiaNews has decided to ask for the release of three bishops and of six priests who have disappeared in police custody or are detained in prison without trial. Their release could be a gesture of friendship and hope for Catholics and human rights activists, as well as a sign of true hope for the upcoming Chinese New Year.

and this human rights problem is not being noticed by feminists in the west: That 1800 Hindu and Christian girls in Pakistan were forcibly "converted to Islam" by being kidnapped and raped and forced to marry the perpetrator, and that thousands of "honor killings" have occurred..,.

Update: The BBC noticed it: BBC report on the kidnapping and forced conversions on non Muslim girls in Pakistan.


mark your calenders:

7 Ways to Celebrate Squirrel Appreciation Day

Dave Barry comments:

PERHAPS THEY MEAN AS A MAIN DISH> recipes HERE. more comments HERE.including this photo: