Saturday, March 31, 2012

How to build the old fashioned way

Interesting article in DerSpiegel.

The 9th century -- the era which will be recreated by the Carolingian monastery town project -- is a particularly interesting focus for such experiments. There are few surviving documents from the period some 1,100 to 1,200 years ago. "Our goal is not to end up having a monastery town, but to build it," says Geurten...Carts carrying building materials will be pulled by Hinterwald cows. With a height of around 115 to 125 centimeters (3' 9" to 4' 1")and weighing between 172 and 218 kilograms (380 and 480 pounds), these working animals come the closest to those used during the time of Charlemagne. "They are descended from the Celts' cattle," says Geurten.

Not just workers will have to adjust to medieval condit, though. The plan also includes a special experience for visitors, who will walk a lengthy distance from the parking lot before reaching the construction site. "They should feel like they journey in time and leave the present behind them," says Geurten. If they get hungry, the monastery town will have a 9th-century menu. "The potato was unknown," says Geurten. "And there will be no coffee around to drink." Everything that the tradesmen and visitors will eat will be grown in the soil near the construction site.

more information HERE

Musical interlude of the day

Your Spanish lesson of the day:

and then there is this one: And yes, we do have a water buffalo on the farm

Factoid of the day

There is such a thing as organic Vodka....and not just organic vodka, but Cucumber Organic vodka.

We crafted Square One Cucumber by combining the essence of organic cucumber with our original certified organic American rye vodka. To keep cucumber's fresh aroma, we applied the same skills used to capture the aromatics of flowers and plants in natural fragrances.

essence of cucumber? recipe on how to make it HERE

And if you have left over cucumbers, just use them for a facial.

recipes for cucumber cocktails HERE


of course, we don't have a lot of cucumbers here in the Philippines (although they do grow "locally" in Baguio).

Dang: Missed it

Friday was National Cleavage day.

headsup davebarry

you think it's bad now?

As the Zimmerman kerfuffle devolves into the Bonfire of the Vanities (with Obama playing the Bruce Willis role) to distract folks from the high price of petrol, I have switched to watching dysfunctional families via YOUTUBE.

If you think things are bad now, you just have to look at how it used to be in the "good old days".

The Cleopatras is about the dysfuncional Ptolymeic dynasty of Europe

and then there is the Borgias, Tony Soprano in medieval garb

a different view of the social anarchy is this story of Rita of Cascia, which for a "religious" movie isn't bad.

My point is that if you only look for the horrible things, you'll find them, but hidden in history are small shoots of goodness that sping up in the most unlikely places.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Film stuff

Does the economy of the HLinkunger Games imitate colonialism?

(And is the TeaParty mentality the remedy?)


Hollywood Peeps

see your favorite movie scene, with peeps.


and then there is this:

and this:


Applejack shot first...


Easter eggs

BoingBoing has a link on using a mold to make rainbow jello eggs.

or try some of these designs from the Martha Stewart website. LINK2

Ocean in Motion

headsup Col Updraft

Musical interlude of the day

The Bees

The Bees are dying off, and the blame this time is supposed to be an insecticide. Others blame GM food...while scientists suggest it might be a parasitic wasp.

But this isn't the first time that there has been a bee die off: the Buckfast bee helped revive the species when a virus caused a die off by a virus in the 1920's.

In the early 20th century bee populations were being decimated by Isle of Wight disease. This condition, later called "acarine" disease, after the acarine parasitic mite that invaded the bees' tracheal tubes and shortened their lives, was killing off thousands of colonies in the British Isles in the early part of the 20th century.[1]

In 1916 there were only 16 surviving colonies in the Abbey. All of them were either pure Ligurian(Italian) or of Ligurian origin hybrid between Ligurian and English black bee A.m. mellifera. Brother Adam also imported some more Italian queens. From these he began to develop what would come to be known as the Buckfast bee.

More about Brother Adams and the Buckfast Abbey (in Devon England)HERE.

And another factoid: The "new" Catholic translation for mass has put the bee back into the prayers for the Easter Vigil.

This is the night of which it is written:
The night shall be as bright as day, dazzling is the night for me,
and full of gladness.
The sanctifying power of this night dispels all wickedness,
washes faults away, restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners,
drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.
On this, your night of grace, O holy Father,
accept this candle, a solemn offering,
the work of bees and of your servants’ hands,
an evening sacrifice of praise, this gift from your most holy Church.
But now we know the praises of this pillar,
which glowing fire ignites for God’s honour,
a fire into many flames divided,
yet never dimmed by sharing of its light,
for it is fed by melting wax,
drawn out by mother bees to build a torch so precious.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Musical interlude of the day

Earl Scruggs has passed away. He will be missed.

Health care

No, I can't follow the health care debate, but I find it frightening that the law was passed without anyone reading it.

But if you go by this editorial in the NYTimes, it looks like there are legal problems with the law, and the Times is trying to frame it as the court overstepping it's bounds...

Just for nice


Echinopsis Atacamensis and the Milky WayCredit: ESO/S. GuisardThe Milky Way is seen in all its glory, as well as, in the lower right, the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Milky Way Skyscape over Mangaia
Credit: Tunc TezelThis heavenly view of the Milky Way was taken in the South Pacific paradise of Mangaia, the most southerly of the Cook Islands. This image was chosen as one of the winners of the National Maritime Museum's Astrophotographer of the Year 2011 Contest.

Chona has managed to grow orchids in Chicago...pretty.

and it's cherry blossom time...

Stories below the fold

The Crawdad Hole's examination of the controversial shooting in Florida as a small town cop might handle it.

George Weigel points out the social problems caused by the pill.

Or as one wag put it: The sexual revolution is over and the bad boys won.

The problem of computer passwords: if they are too hard, you can't remember them, if they are too easy they can be hacked.

Factoid of the day: 1.1% of the site’s users—365,000 people—had opted either for “123456” or for “12345”.

Place Spaceballs joke HERE.


The New Anti Semitism.

Compare and contrast:

Factoid of the day: 25 percent of those living in Iran are Azeris...and would like to join Azerbaijan

and no one cries over the Indonesian takeover of black, Christian Papua either.

Father Barron reviews the Hunger Games....and reviews the human need for a scapegoat.

Out of work? Indian needs coconut pickers...


Stop the world, I want to get off post of the day: Billions of habitable planets out there, say scientists.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ruby at the end of the year ceremony at her school

Silk Road Redux?

From StrategyPage::

they discuss how the US now gets all it's supplies via the northern route rather than through Pakistan, and then add a new railroad may redraw the map:

The plan was always to completely replace Pakistan, but that has happened sooner, rather than later. Now Pakistan has to worry about losing some of the transport business for Afghan civilian goods. That's a major industry in Pakistan, because nearly all (save air freight) cargo enters and leaves Afghanistan by truck. But now Afghanistan is building its first railroad system, connecting it with the Central Asian rail network terminal on the Uzbek border. Even with the longer distances, moving cargo would be competitive coming and going via rail through Central Asia, compared to going via truck through Pakistan. The NDN makes for a fundamental change in Afghan-Pakistan relations. Now Afghanistan can look north for economic, cultural and political alliances, rather than just with Pakistan and Iran, two countries that have not always been kind to Afghanistan.

Stuff below the fold

Here is has been announced that not only will we have to put up with rolling brownouts, but they now will last 8 hours.

Yes, we have a generator, but it's a pain, and often the internet goes off with the electricity.

Canadian blogger Mrs. Gay Caswell is again in trouble over a "libelous" blog post. Keep her in your prayer.

I have no idea if she is overstating the problem or if they are really out to get her. Knowing the politics of the "res" in the US, I'd suspect it's both: the "res" is out of sight out of mind if a local bigshot wants to get you.....

Update: Patterico Pontification blog reports a similar attack against Popehat.

Instapundit has links to various reports about the Supreme Court hearing on the Health Care bill.

Peking man report.

In the March edition of a scientific journal published by Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand, renowned South African paleontologist Lee Berger and two Chinese colleagues say the fossils may be lying under a parking lot in China's northern port city of Qinhuangdao where the Marine said he saw two crates of bones in 1947.

Insomnia book of the day: Around the world on a Tricycle.

The Legend of the Praying Hands


Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg , lived a family with eighteen children.
Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade
and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood.

Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of the elder children, Albrecht and Albert, had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them
to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his
brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won
the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the
other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or,
if necessary, also by laboring in the mines.

They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer
won the toss and went off to Nuremberg .

Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four
years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an
immediate sensation. Albrecht's etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils
were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he
graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his
commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held
a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant
homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and
laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the
table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice
that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing words
were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn.
Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream,

and I will take care of you."

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where
Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head
from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over,


Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced
down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands
close to his right cheek, he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to
Nuremberg . It is too late for me. Look ... look what four years in the
mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed
at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly
in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast,
much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush.

No, brother ....for me it is too late."

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer's hundreds of
masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, water colors,
charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great
museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people,
are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer's works. More than merely
being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in
your home or office.

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed,
Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother's abused hands with palms
together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful
drawing simply "Hands," but the entire world almost immediately opened
their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love
"The Praying Hands."
The next time you see a copy of that touching creation,

take a second look.

Let it be your reminder,

that no one - no one - ever makes it alone!

your email of the day from TiaMaria.

And yes, I know: It's probably just a legend.

Factoid: The sketch was made on light blue paper, which allowed Durer to highlight parts of the hand with white to make the sketch more lifelike.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Indianapolis Moon Tree

From Atlas Obscura:

The front lawn arboretum of the Indiana Statehouse counts several commemorative and interesting trees among its display, and it's up to visitors to decide just how special they actually are.

However, one tree is sure to stand out as undeniably unique - a tall Sycamore tree planted more than 30 years old, from a seed taken to the moon and back during the Apollo 14 lunar mission.

One of only 50 or so trees left alive and well-maintained from an original set of 500 seeds taken to orbit the moon by astronaut Stuart A. Roosa, this "Moon Tree" is actually just one of four that can be found in Indiana. The others are in Lincoln City, Tell City and Cannelton.

more HERE. and this includes a list of where the various trees can be found. of them is located in Ebensburg PA...

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom


Vimeo has the entire film on line to watch.

Headsup TokyoMango

On writing

TeaAtTrianon links to a paper discussing the link between pre Roman Irish rhetoric and the link of how Patrick used Irish styles of rhetoric and reinterpreted the legends to spread Christianity.

Unlike Britain, for example, Ireland was never conquered by Rome, and its pre-literate culture flourished beyond the fall of the Empire. Consequently, the Irish maintained a mythopoetic rhetoric based in narrative. Their stories recounted not only the deeds of their heroes, but also their words. And, like ancient Greece, ancient Ireland also had a class of sophistic rhetors, the Druids. When Patrick arrived around the end of the fourth century, he eschewed the Ciceronian rhetoric of Augustine and instead adapted Christian theology to fit Irish rhetoric.
So the poets influence others, and the beauty of the art form is part of that influence.

On the other hand, Ender's Uncle Orson points out that the story telling is the key:

Here's the great secret of literature: No matter how good a writer is, both language and fashion change over time, and what was once a vivid part of the culture becomes a footnote in literary history.

The stories and characters that endure do so for reasons having almost nothing to do with the talent of the writer.

Medical stuff below the fold

Chocolate lovers are thinner.

Cocoa is rich in antioxidants called flavonoids, which help fight inflammation, lower blood pressure and improve overall vascular function. The antioxidants also affect metabolism and improve insulin sensitivity, Golomb says. Insulin resistance contributes to hypertension and obesity, she says.

Stomach stapling works better than meds for type 2 diabetes.

popcorn has more anti oxidants than fruit.

and it's high in fiber.
just don't add butter or salt.


an aspirin a day keeps the cancer away?

Adults who take aspirin daily have a 15% reduced risk of death from cancer compared with controls, and a 37% reduced risk of cancer death after 5 years, based on data from 51 randomized trials of daily aspirin use vs. no aspirin.

Yes, if you don't develop a bleeding ulcer from it.

Too low of an LDL might not be a good thing...

it might be a sign of cancer, but the debate if lowering LDL too much (using medicine) might lead to cancer is the real question.

Is H Pylori, the germ that causes ulcers, related to diabetes?

In another recent study, in the journal Diabetes Care, scientists at the University of Michigan and elsewhere analyzed blood samples taken from 782 adults from 1998 to 1999. The scientists looked for a connection between various chronic infections and Type 2 diabetes, and found only one: People who had H. pylori in their systems were nearly three times as likely to develop diabetes as those who did not.


I should note that "association" is not the same as "cause"...there are often factors that link the two things, e.g. if you have an ulcer, if you eat it hurts less, ergo you get fat.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Cat item of the day

Guess what hit movie is at the mall?

Ruby, like all of her friends, can't wait to see it...

Family news

Nanette and Hermie left for Thailand...they have lived for years in the southern Philippines where there are many Muslims, and now are going to work in a two month stint working with Muslims who became Christians in Bangkok.

She is a pharmacist, so I had just assumed she'd be helping in health care, but apparently no.

A sign of spring: The Survivor tree is in bloom

photo AssoPress

NEW YORK — A pear tree that miraculously survived the Sept. 11 terror attack blossomed at ground zero on the first day of spring.
The Survivor Tree blossoms, Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at the World Trade Center in New York.

The "Survivor Tree" — as it's been dubbed — was discovered amid the smoldering rubble, limbs lifeless, roots snapped, trunk blackened. Workers freed it and it was nursed back to health in a Bronx park before it was replanted.

Now topping 30 feet — four times its size in 2001 — it towers above other trees in Memorial Plaza at the World Trade Center. On Tuesday, it sprouted white blossoms, seen for the first time by visitors to the 9/11 memorial that opened last September

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Family news

It's Joy's birthday and we plan to go out for supper.

Cute food item of the day

cute kawaii stuff - Epicute: Peanut Butter Bear
see more Must Have Cute

Ancient weaving

Examples of Native American weaving using the "backstrap loom".

how to make a backstrap loom

parts of Ecuador are still famous for their textiles History here.

Even before the arrival of the Incas, the Indians of the Otavalo Valley were known as weavers and merchants, using such indigenous technology and materials as the hand-held spindle, backstrap loom, and cotton and possibly camelid fibers to weave clothing and blankets

I know vaguely that there are various types of looms, but they used spindles?

I have a book on the history of textiles in Europe, but looms and spindles there could easily spread who invented spindles and looms in the Americas?

I just listened to a podcast about inventing the wheel (and why it isn't as easy as it sounds: the invention of spokes made the wheel more practical, you needed axels and roads are needed, but not necessarily animals). So the South Americans knew about the wheel on toys but didn't use it for transport...or develop the spoke.

Much of the nonsense of "ancient aliens" talk about moving stones (which doesn't take a lot of technology) but not about who invented the spindle, the loom, or wove the first set of breeches...and why...

Stuff below the fold

Want to learn Quechua?

NYU has a course and a podcast.

Peru in perspective

and before the Pan American highway, there were the Inca roads. which were actually started under the Wari culture.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

How to Ride in a Jeepney

Musical interlude of the day, take two

St. Joseph's feast was March 19, so here's an old song for you

Musical interlude of the day

Media vita in morte sumus: quem quaerimus adiutorem nisi te Domine? Qui pro peccatis nostris iuste irasceris. Sancte Deus, sancte fortis, sancte misericors Salvator, amarae morti ne tradas nos. Gloria Patri, et Filio et Spiritui Sancto. Sancte Deus, sancte fortis, sancte misericors Salvator, amarae morti ne tradas nos.

In the midst of life we are in death; of whom may we seek help but you, O Lord? Who for our offenses are justly displeased. Yet, O God most holy, O holy and mighty, O holy and merciful Savior, give us not over unto bitter death. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Yet, O God most holy, O holy and mighty, O holy and merciful Savior, give us not over unto bitter death.

headsup ChurchConservationblog

So, dad, how do you like that new Ipad?

and no, Lolo knows how to read the paper on the computer.

Headsup FatherZ

Family news

Joy was up the farm supervising the harvest, and this afternoon Lolo and Chano went with her.

They are almost finished doing the field, and now there is a thunder storm and it started to rain. Hope they got it cut and threshed before the rain started.

I am still nursing three kittens (two are very small and probably won't make it).

Ruby is planning to watch "The Hunger Games" movie this is at the mall.

Nanette will probably stop in this weekend again and are off visiting other relatives.

Rants elsewhere

Rants from my BNN blog:

Insomnia downloads of the week

Librivox presents book one and book two of the Ramayana:

The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is attributed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon (smá¹›ti). The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India, the other being Mahabharata. It is the story of Rama, who emabrks on an epic journey followed by the fight with Ravana, the demon king who abducted Rama's wife, Sita. The epic depicts the duties of relationships, portraying ideal characters like the ideal servant, the ideal brother, the ideal wife and the ideal king. (Introduction by Om123)

  1. Valmiki. "Ramayana Bk1, The" · (readers)
  2. Valmiki. "Ramayana, Book 2, The" · (readers)

if you prefer the Mahabharata, try this link

or listen to the excellent Mahabharata podcast LINK

if you prefer the philosophical part of this, the Bhagavad Gita: Librivox link

If you are interested in the history of India, try Professor Lal's course at UCLA LINK

Stuff below the fold

With his retirement, Brian Lamb's style of asking short questions about facts, not emotions, will be missed on TV...

via Instapundit:

Where are the 200 million dollars?
To Congress: I can't remember where I put it.
Friday news dump: Oh I remember: I transferred it to JPMorgan...

Celebrating Nowruz in Kurdistan resulted in the police breaking up the party in Turkish Kurdistan...
Turkey outlawed it's celebration until the year 2000... Not even Saddam Hussein dared to do that...


Speaking of ethnic tension: President Obama is stoking a murder case in Florida to enrage he black base and the anti gun lobby and to support him in the upcoming election

The problem? The perpetrator had physical evidence to support his claim of self defense, and was Hispanic...

Mother Jones is following this case and the law that allowed it in detail.

or maybe the story is being touted to let the press to ignore the protests for religious freedom held around the country
StrategyPage discusses the fight to eliminate polio that is made worse by conspiracy theories in Muslim areas.

StrategyPage explains that Iran will get a nuke, but in their podcast they explain why this may not be as bad as it seems.

China will end organ donations from condemned prisoners.

The Pope visits Guanajuato an area of Mexico that still remembers the war for religious freedom against a repressive government in the 1920's...


Friday, March 23, 2012

Gnome story of the day

Travelling gnome answers weighty question

Physicists looking at anomalies in Earth's gravity have turned to a garden gnome that has been shipped around the globe to have itself weighed at locations as remote as the South Pole.

The experiment is a twist on the 'travelling gnome' prank, in which a garden ornament is mysteriously stolen, photographed at various locations - with the pictures posted on the Internet - and then returned home...So far he has weighed most - 309.82 grams - at the Amundsen-Scott Research Station in Antarctica, where the inertial pull produced by Earth's rotation is strong.

His weight in Sydney came in at 307.8 grams.

(photo Source: The Gnome Experiment)

What is killing these African children

The Nodding disease has been sporadically reported in the past, but reports say it is spreading.

Fides notes:
A mysterious disease is claiming many victims among the children of northern Uganda, southern Sudan and Tanzania. It i a deadly pandemic which has not yet been identified and registered for the first time in 2003: the syndrome of Nod, or nodding d So far experts have failed to cure or contain it. It affects only children between 5 and 15 years of age causing uncontrollable spasms that leads them to death.

a longer report from CNN and Wikipedia

The CDC article is vague...blames it on poor housing and poor health care or maybe an infection with a parasitic worm....
Parasites in the brain can cause epilepsy, but usually you see it on ct scan etc.
but unless it is an autoimmune reaction, I'm not sure what it could be...

Family news

Nanette and Hermie are still visiting.
I am not feeling well, but Lolo is okay.

internet connection on and off (brownouts on and off too).

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Factoid of the day

Beverly Hills name can be traced back to medieval Beavers.

after several name changes, they named it after the Massachusetts town of Beverly, whose name came from the British town...

So why was this English town called Beverley? Because in the 700s, a bishop named John founded a monastery in the town of Inderawuda and called it Beverlac, possibly after a colony of beavers in a nearby river. Eventually a slightly altered version of the name came to stand for the whole town, and Bishop John became known as St. John of Beverley after his canonization in 1037.

Cat item of the day take two

Ever have one of those days?

Cat item of the day

I don't have any photos of our latest kittens, so this generic kittie will have to do...

Kittie report

We just gave away the only surviving kitten from the last group I rescued from the trash heap a couple months ago, and now while walking George up the street, he dashed into the open drainage ditch and I heard meows...

When I went back, I found two just born kittens and one that was older. So now we are again feeding kittens with a tiny syringe....I doubt the smaller ones will live, sigh.

I should note that we don't have sewers here: We have open air ditches to drain the water to the nearby river. The new mayor is starting to put in below ground pipes in the center city and Palenke area (open air market) maybe in a year or two we will have sewers.

Our own sewage goes to a septic tank, so at least we don't have a nasty smell in the ditches around our property...but they get filled with garbage, plastic bags, old food, leaves, etc...
In the "dry" season (which is now) and when it doesn't rain, the foul water stagnates, and voila, instant mosquito nurseries. They do spray for mosquitos about twice a year: the last time was three months ago....and then people wonder why Dengue fever is so common here.

The "Good Bye Howard Stern" post of the day

via Drudge:

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — City Council members took a step closer on Wednesday to becoming the first in the nation to adopt a resolution condemning certain types of speech on public airwaves.

Councilmember Jan Perry introduced legislation that would call upon media companies to ensure “on-air hosts do not use and promote racist and sexist slurs” on radio and other broadcasts.

But don't worry: you can still download his show a day later via the Pirate Bay

Musical interlude of the day

Headlines below the fold

There is bad news below the fold about Iran and China.
(headsup Instapundit)

and the headline in the Manila Bulletin:

PNoy: Yes To More US Troops

President Benigno S. Aquino III said Wednesday that more US troops would be welcomed to rotate through the Southeast Asian nation, but ruled out permanent bases.

The local countries remember that Chinese imperialism has a long history.

But there is some good news too.

The Supreme court just (sort of) upheld your property rights against an aggressive EPA.

Pot meet kettle: Russian conglomerate is boycotting British Businesses to protest banning the wearing of crosses.

Happy Birthday J.S. Bach (actually March 21)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Remember the good old days

when you had to use a circular slide rule....

if you want to know how to make an old fashioned circular slide rule, check out this link

Stuff below the fold

Audiobook of the day: Ramona...

via TeaAtTrianon:

was Downton Abby once an Abby? Yes.

Henry VIII did a "twofer" when he confiscated the monasteries: Got rid of the religious opposition and rewarded his cronies by giving them their land and houses.


I often put podcasts to play to go to sleep, and the talks usually keep out the noises of dogs and our water pump so I can sleep.
Usually I chose lectures or podcasts that are low on my priority list for this, but last night, when I woke up this podcast was running, and I found it really fascinating.

It a podcast about the place of literature in life, discussing Malcolm Guite’s ‘Stations of the Cross’ Sonnets which can be found HERE.

no, I'm not a poet: like Merry and Pippin I can't live on
such a high plane for very long, but I am glad that it exists and I know a little about such things.

Military history: Music loving war horses:

You now can buy a Smartphone controlled rice cooker.



New Zealand is out of Marmite.

(headsup HarryGumption and Dave Barry)


Beware of the evil refrigerator!

At a summit held by the CIA’s venture capitalist firm In-Q-Tel, the agency’s Director David Petraeus discussed how “smart homes” may someday be rigged to provide intelligence officials with details about someone’s whereabouts by collecting geo-location data.


Stuff below the fold

No drone strikes in the Philippines says PNoy

they have been using drones to track the Abus, but there was a report on AlJezeerah awhile back saying that the "air strike" that took out one of the terrorists leaders was a drone strike. But I wondered where they got that report, since the left here was silent about it, and there was nothing in our news .... and now it is officially denied.

that same article points out that the US is helping to back the Philippines against Chinese aggression to grab land. The article doesn't mention that the area in question also involves VietNam, who is putting Buddhist monks on a disputed island where their military and some civilians were killed "defending the islands against Chinese aggression: 25 years ago.

they also got the "Vietnamese diaspora" to protest Video links HERE.

China is also becoming aggressive here because of the perceived weakness of the US...but they are also starting a similar pattern of land claims against Japan, and India in pushing into border lands and claiming them as Chinese.

Yeah. Nothing like stopping internal unrest in Chinaby promoting a little war patriotism with nearby pacifistic countries.

Chinese scholars have estimated that there are up to 90,000 "mass incidents" each year in this vast country, many of them triggered by land confiscations and allegations of corruption.


Mark Your Calenders:

March 22 is "Talk Like William Shatner" day

headsup ThinkGeek

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Musical interlude of the day

my brother reports the flowers are springing up and the robins are returning early this year.

As for us, it's the start of "Tag-Init", the hot dry season that comes before the summer monsoon planting season, when afternoon showers tend to cool things off.

we have been harvesting the "second season" rice harvest (that tends to be smaller than the main season and requires irrigation). The harvest is good for the second season, which helps since we lost a third of our crop last year when the fields went under water during the typhoon rains at harvest time.

We are not in trouble (we have several sources of income) but it's been hard for a lot of local folks, and this second harvest will help them meet their expenses.

Factoid of the day

According to Wikipedia, there are large number of Iranian and Persian immigrants in the USA....

Iranian-Americans are of Shia Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Baha'i, Zoroastrian, Sunni Muslim and irreligious religious backgrounds.[29][30] "There are religious and ethnolinguistic differences among the Muslim, Jewish, Baha'i, Zoroastrian, Christian, Turkish, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Kurdish, and Assyrian groups".[31] The majority of Iranian-Americans are ethnic Persian, with sizeable ethnic minorities being Iranian Azerbaijanis, Iranian Jews, Armenian-Iranians, Iranian Kurds, and others.[32]

over half a million Iranian Americans live in the Los Angeles area, and they have a link to "Tehrangeles"

Of course, the US census claims there are only 300 thousand in the USA.

Get out the gold fish

And celebrate!

Happy Nowruz to our Iranian, Kurdish and Middle Eastern readers.

PersianParadox explains about this springtime feast,

Nowruz literally meaning "new day" is the most precise timing for the commencement of spring according to the solar calendar. The Iranian new year coincides with the Equinox and the true shift in the earth's axis which leads to a change in climate and season. Nowruz is celebrated in many Central Asian countries where festivities continue for weeks. As nature welcomes change and new life, Nowruz is the time for a revival of spirit and body. After weeks of Khanetakani or major housekeeping efforts, Iranians prepare a table of specialties beginning with S, or Haft Sin. Nowruz is a time for friendship and forgiveness, it is a time for cherishing the blessings of life and nature.

The feast has been celebrated for over 3000 years, and dates back to ancient Persia... more information HERE.
In addition to these there are representatives of the other kingdoms sustaining life on earth, i.e., products from the animal kingdom in the form of cheese and yogurt, the plant kingdom in the form of flour, vegetables, rice, and of the water kingdom in the form of the goldfish are also placed on the sofreh. Pomegranates and pussy willows also are sometimes seen. The latter is especially important as it blossoms at this very time of the year.

and no, we don't celebrate it in the Philippines, but there are a lot of Iranian students and businesspeople who hold private celebrations LINK

Conspiracy Theory of the day

Effective World Government Will Be Needed to Stave Off Climate Catastrophe

A policy article authored by several dozen scientists appeared online March 15 in Science...The authors called for a “constitutional moment” at the upcoming 2012 U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio in June to reform world politics and government.... Unfortunately, far more is needed. To be effective, a new set of institutions would have to be imbued with heavy-handed, transnational enforcement powers....

No, it's not Coast to Coast: It's from one of the editors of Scientific American on that magazine's website, and it seems incredibly naive.

Yet their proposal, which imagines coercing an obedient population, is chilling.

Would any institution be capable of instilling a permanent crisis mentality lasting decades, if not centuries?
How do we create new institutions with enforcement powers way beyond the current mandate of the U.N.?
Could we ensure against a malevolent dictator who might abuse the power of such organizations?
the answer is no, that's impossible and no.

Next question?

They imagine that a UN fiat will be followed...well, maybe that's so in China or the US/EU, but here in the Philippines (and in much of Africa and Asia), all it would take is a small gift to get around the rules.

Family news

Nannette is coming today to visit with her husband. So blogging will be light.

I saved three kittens from the vacant lot: two are tiny and probably will die, but one is old enough to make it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Family news

Ice Princesses

Educational video of the day

headsup Gizmodo

Good news below the fold

The headlines are political spin, or mainly ignored like the one I posted below, or this one. (HotAir says it was just a routine update, but I'm sure Coast to coast will be hyperventillating about it next week).

But there are some good stories.

The WA Post notices the growing middle class in Mexico.Link

The BBC questions the crusade against plastic bags.

Studying the Irish language has become more the USA...Link

or maybe you would like to apply for a scholarship to study Klingon

Iranians and Israelis are posting photos on line encouraging friendship between the two countries.

a story about "Cave dwellers" in China...actually some of the caves sound snug, more like Hobbit holes....

and forget the politics: America's Real Debate...

The really important news of the day

Brian Lamb, CEO and founder of CSPAN is retiring.

One of the things I miss here in the Philippines is CSpan...We can get snippits on it via youtube and yes, they do stream stuff on the internet (but with our bad connection streaming is iffy during the day).

Obama vs catholics

Compare and contrast:

the link for the article:

yes, the link says:obama-administration-says-birth-control-mandate-applies-to-religious-groups-that-insure-themselves

but the actual headline says:
U.S. Clarifies Policy on Birth Control for Religious Groups

the first paragraph says:

— The Obama administration took another step on Friday to enforce a federal mandate for health insurance coverage of contraceptives, announcing how the new requirement would apply to the many Roman Catholic hospitals, universities and social service agencies that insure themselves.

Sounds like they are extending the mandate further, not "clarifying" it...
The mandates go further than that, of course, and include a comment by Ms. Fluke, who is still upset that she can't afford her birth control pill while vacationing in Spain with her millionaire boyfriend.

But where is the comment by the bishops? Hello?

What, you expect such trivia in the NYTIMES?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Factoid of the day

Did an ancient Native American legend recount the earthquake and tsunami of 1700?

headsup Via Boing Boing

actually, when reading the Psalms, especially psalm 18, it makes one wonder if the poet is describing volcanic eruption (complete with dark clouds, the often accompanying lightning and molten rocks coming down), earthquakes and even tsunamis:

13The Lord also thundered from the heavens, and the Most High uttered His voice, amid hailstones and coals of fire.

14And He sent out His arrows and scattered them; and He flashed forth lightnings and put them to rout.

15Then the beds of the sea appeared and the foundations of the world were laid bare at Your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.

16He reached from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters.

I could see a poet seeing God in the storm, but a person usually wouldn't mix the volcanic images with an image of a "beds of the sea appeared" followed by rescue from a flood. So where did the poet get that imagery?

alas, it's hard for a layperson to discern the truth, with all the fake Biblical archeology claims out there, but this geological report might make one wonder: LINK
among other facts, it says there is a tsunami along the Israeli coast about every 150 years...

Family news

Joy got an iPhone as part of a local cellphone plan, and Ruby is going nuts with all the apps.

Everybody has a cellphone

and Even Pirates like to tweet...

and then, via Instapundit, is this:


In this era of “Jersey Shore” antics and “Girls Gone Wild,” where bikini tops vanish like unattended wallets, it would seem natural to assume that this generation of college student has outdone the spring break hordes of decades past on the carousal meter.

But today’s spring breakers — at least some of them — say they have been tamed, in part, not by parents or colleges or the fed-up cities they invade, but by the hand-held gizmos they hold dearest and the fear of being betrayed by an unsavory, unsanctioned photo or video popping up on Facebook or YouTube.

Science news below the fold

First Neutrino Message Sent Through Rock; Could One Travel Back In Time?

And they pushed the message — which simply spelled out the world "Neutrino" — through "240 meters of stone" (787 feet).

more at PopSci

this means you could send a message straight through the earth, and
theoretically this might mean you could send a message back in time.


Russian and Korean scientists will try to clone a mammoth.

heh: Manny lives again.

Manny factoid: His real name is
Manfred, his wife's name is Ellie, and his daughter's name is Peaches.

Fake meat that tastes good? Maybe.

and although Pink Slime isn't great, it doesn't taste as bad as it sounds.

don't look at me: We rarely eat beef (and most of it is local beef or water buffalo beef, and both are very tough: to get decent steaks you import frozen steak from New Zealand or Australia, and it costs too much for our budget).

ForWhatTheyWere Blog points out Blogger is now identifying your blog according to country, (so that it can be censored by the state where you live?)

But most worrisome is why is Blogger changing this:

Q: Why is this happening?
A: We are doing this to provide more support for managing content locally. If we receive a removal request that violates local law, that content may no longer be available to readers on local domains where those laws apply. This update is in line with our approach to free expression and controversial content, which hasn’t changed.

In other words: bending to the possible censorship demands from the states.

Q. Can users outside of the United States still access the service’s .com domains?
A. Yes, we allow anyone to view the .com version of a Blogger blog by typing: http://[blogname] – which always goes to the .com version of the blog. The “no country redirect” (ncr) will temporarily prevent Blogger from redirecting readers to the local version of the blog.


Now if I can only figure out if this blog is listed as Philippines, or US, where my official address is....actually, my official US address is in the semi autonomous Red Lake Nation, which does not have a designation, but that is another story altogether.

I probably should check the problem out on the tech blogs, but the internet off and on has meant I'm a bit behind in reading...

The UhOh post of the day:
Pakistan carts its nukes around in delivery vans

The nukes travel "in civilian-style vehicles without noticeable defenses, in the regular flow of traffic", according to a blockbuster story on the US-Pakistan relationship in The Atlantic. Marc Ambinder and Jeffrey Goldberg write that tactical nuclear weapons travel down the streets in "vans with a modest security profile." Somewhere on a highway around, say, Karachi, is the world's most dangerous 1-800-FLOWERS truck.
Tom Clancy should be suing Pakistani generals for ripping off the basic idea behind The Sum Of All Fears

heasdup Instapundit.

Maybe Armageddon was right: a nuke could explode a killer asteroid.

Wired reminds us of the good old days:

Niel DeGrasse video on forgetting how to dream:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Factoid of the day

Seven famous people who missed the Titanic, at Smithsonian magazine

includes Theodore Dreiser (cost too much), Marconi (left three days earlier on the Lusitania), Milton Hershey (decided to leave earlier), J Pierpoint Morgan (decided to stay longer in Europe), Henry Frick (his wife sprained her ankle), AG Vanderbilt (changed his mind the last minute) etc.

Science lesson of the day

Crime fighting the old fashioned way

Orkney shop worker foils knife robbery with tape dispenser

Friday, March 16, 2012

Music anyone?

Musical interlude of the day

I can't decide if I liked the movie or not, but the music is pretty....

Cat item of the day

Stuff below the fold

Headlines below the fold

It's not's NoyNoying...and they are doing it as part of the big strike to protest the increase in oil/gasoline prices.

another day, another the south, not here. No one hurt.

It wasn't just Kony, but the good news is that Thomas Lubanga has just been convicted for his use of child soldiers.

However, he wasn't charged for ethnic murders or other violent actions of his militia.

Occupy churches...this time by pro democracy activists in Cuba, who want to have the church pressure the gov't to reform.

the "yeah we know that" headline:Menopause really does cause 'brain fog' as scientists find women in their fifties struggle with working memory

There are risks to trying to give birth naturally after a Caesarian section.

sigh. I know this.

and the really important science headlines of the day:

Jilted fruit flies turn to alcohol

more HERE.

Conspiracy theory of the day

I am belatedly listening to Professor Bob's podcast on the Assasination of President Lincoln, and the podcast about John Wilkes Booth's background said he was a Catholic convert.

Hmm...I don't remember reading about that in O'Reilly's bestselling book.
I was aware that the owner of the boarding house where the plot was hatched, Mrs. Surratt, was a Catholic, (but I didn't know she was a convert); and that her son fled to Catholic Montreal to avoid arrest, but years later was acquitted of the charge.

And Dr. Mudd was also Catholic, and anti Catholic bigotry might have been one reason he was convicted:

In reviewing Samuel Mudd's "military records," the Army ought to have considered some issues which affected the fairness of Mudd's trial, at least by modern standards. * Samuel Mudd was a Roman Catholic, a fact which was brought out during the trial. One of the members of the Hunter Commission was Brigadier General Thomas W. Harris. In 1897, Harris published a book entitled Rome's Responsibility for the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The theme of this book was that President Lincoln's assassination had been the result of a Catholic plot. It is open to question whether Brigadier General Harris was fully free from bias against Dr. Mudd, in view of Dr. Mudd's religion and Harris' later writings about that religion. Bias on the part of a judge is, of course, a good reason to set aside a trial verdict.
No one today (even O'Reilly) notices the anti Catholic conspiracy theory that said the Jesuits were behind the assassination, but one wonders if the bigotry had something to do with the conviction of Mudd and Suratt...

The AtlanticMonthly has some stories from the Civil war period on line HERE.
including this one, printed 3 months after the assassination.

We have the authority of a high Government official for the statement that "the President's murder was organized in Canada and approved at Richmond"; but the evidence in support of this extraordinary announcement is, doubtless for the best of reasons, withheld at the time we write
but guess who the author blames for inspiring the thinking that inspired the plot? Cicero...

Cicero, for example, is never tired of sounding the praises of eminent homicides. He scarcely praised himself more than he eulogized illustrious murderers of other days. And on his eloquent words in honor of assassination are the "ingenuous youth" of Christian countries trained and taught.

In a related item:

Evidently somebody at one time thought this was a good idea:

Bobblehead dolls of the man who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln have been pulled from sale at the Gettysburg National Military Park visitors’ center bookstore.

The dolls of John Wilkes Booth with a handgun were removed from shelves on Saturday, a day after a reporter for Hanover’s The Evening Sun newspaper asked about them, officials said.

via Dustbury

Thursday, March 15, 2012