Thursday, May 31, 2012

Science lesson of the day


Insomnia downloads of the day

my paperback copy of Les Miserables is an abridged version, that skips a lot of the boring parts. But if you want to listen to it, the free download of the audiobook is at Librivox:
  1. Hugo, Victor. "Misérables, Les Vol. 1" · (readers)
  2. Hugo, Victor. "Misérables, Les Vol. 2" · (readers)
  3. Hugo, Victor. "Misérables, Les Vol. 3" · (readers)
  4. Hugo, Victor. "Misérables, Les Vol. 4" · (readers)
  5. Hugo, Victor. "Misérables, Les Vol. 5" · (readers)
Other new books at Librivox include:

Olive Fairy Book, The by Lang, Andrew

Scarlet Pimpernel, The (dramatic reading) by Orczy, Emmuska, Baroness

Importance of Being Earnest, The (version 3) by Wilde, Oscar

Story of Peter Pan, The by Barrie, J. M., O'Connor, Daniel

No Great Magic by Fritz Leiber

but if you really have trouble getting to sleep, try this:

The Bondage of the Will, by Martin Luther:
At issue was whether human beings, after the Fall of Man, are free to choose good or evil. The debate between Luther and Erasmus is one of the earliest of the Reformation over the issue of free will and predestination.
presumably I'd be on Erasmus' side in this debate, but then I'm not good at hellfire and damnation theology.
Neither was Erasmus:
  1. Erasmus, Desiderius. "Praise of Folly, The" · (readers)

Les Mis

This one is the remake of the stage musical.
 headsup AICN

the book has been made into many versions, both films and miniseries, most of which I dislike for various reasons,  but the best one is the 1935 version... this clip from Turner Classic movies (which we don't get here)...if you are going to make a melodrama, for heaven's sake, make a melodrama...

When I worked in Africa, the students put on a lot of "miniplays", and this was one of them...

The Mathematics of Balrogs

MMartinez at xenite discusses: How long did Gandalf and the Balrog fall?

  more discussion HERE
.Since Gandalf has a robe and not a wing suit, I'll say his terminal velocity is ~90mph or 132 ft/s. v=at so time to reach terminal velocity is t=v/a I'll cheat here and say his average acceleration is 1/2g or 17 ft/s/s so time to accelerate is 7.75s distance traveled in that time is at2 or 1021ft the rest of the 104 seconds is at terminal velocity, 132 ft/s so d=1021ft+132 ft/s*(104s-7.75s)=13726ft=2.6miles=4.2 miles which is certainly feasible.

another discussion (of the film) here.

and old essay from the Greenbook on balrogs...

the Tolkien professor has a podcast that insists Balrogs don't have wings because they usually are killed by making them fall....and points out that not only did the Balrog die in a fall but that in the Simarillion, Glorfindel killed a balrog that way too...


related item: Skydiving without a parachute 

Musical Interlude of the day

Doc Watson has gone to his eternal rest, and here is one of his last recorded songs at MerleFest (May 2001)

(H/t getreligion)

Food links of the day

What should one do with "invasive species"?

 Uh, maybe eat them?

PopMech has the beef on Lionfish and cannibal shrimp: YUM.

No, I haven't eaten Lionfish, but the cannibal shrimp are delicious...I don't care for the Asian carp however.

article on PC fish and the ins and outs of the fishing industry and how the greens misunderstand these nuances...

don't ask me...most of our fish are farmed talapia or bangus etc.....we live away from the ocean.

arXiv blog at Technology Review reports:

Irish Mathematicians Solve The Guinness Sinking Bubble Problem

Bubbles sink in Guinness because of the peculiar geometry of pint glasses, say a dedicated group of researchers at the University of Limerick

Want to find a good, local beer? 
there's an app for that: Beermaps to the rescue:

The Beer Mapping Project offers city maps and international beer maps by country for serious imbibers.

Here, SanMig is the best....

and when you are done eating, wash it down with a helloKittyPink Goose Vodka.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tortilla soup

Movie on line here, unless the copyright cops have found it's there:

Tortilla Soup:

compare and contrast:

EatDrinkManWoman. This one has subtitles, but there are dubbed versions around too: I've seen both, and the subtitle one is better...

Both movies are about a widower who is a chef, and his three daughters, with an emphasis on food.

And here is how you make tortilla soup:
this one uses the crock pot and is easier for busy moms...

Hispanics as heroes

The new movie "For Greater Glory" starring Andy Garcia might have "conservative" values so when I read an interview like this one, I am happy. It points out the parallels between Mexico's anti church moves in the 1920's with those of Castro (both taboo subjects on the far left), but I am wondering why the press hasn't picked up the fact that, unlike a lot of other "action" movies, in this one the ordinary Mexicans are the heroes (thus shattering the anti immigration prejudices of the far right about Mexicans).

Except for the movie "Spy Kids" (which is seen as a children's action movie, and usually ignores that the kidsand their parents are Hispanic), it's hard to name a movie where Mexicans are not portrayed as quaint, or stupid, or murderous.... (true, the movie "Tortilla soup" is an exception, but that was a remake of the Taiwanese movie "Eat Drink Man Woman" so may not count).

I am aware of this episode because when I was growing up, the Mexican Visitation sisters had fled to our city and had a nearby convent, and later, when I worked in Mescalero, I learned the story of how the legendary Father Braun helped those fleeing by smuggling fake US papers over the border.

Tiaras take two

Tiaras are back in style

(via Tea at Trianon):
 from the Wall Street Journal:

This renewed interest in tiaras is likely to heighten in coming months as Queen Elizabeth II—the woman said to have the finest collection in the world—dons a glittering assortment for her Diamond Jubilee, and exhibitions mark the occasion. At Buckingham Palace, her majesty's "Girls of Great Britain" tiara, made by Garrard, and other personal jewels will be available for closer study in "Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration," opening June 30. The fairy-tale diamond tiara, with its delicate festoon-and-scroll design, was presented to Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, who later became Queen Mary, as a wedding gift in 1893, on behalf of the "Girls of Great Britain and Ireland." She passed it on to her granddaughter Elizabeth on her wedding day in 1947.
Tiaras are now back in style.

I am reminded of this quote:
Lady Beekman: It's a tiara.
Lorelei Lee: You DO wear it on your head. I just LOVE finding new places to wear diamonds. 


Just for nice

headsup KatholikangPinoy


CREDIT: Hhawk | wikicommons via 

 The event has been dubbed "Manhattanhenge" for the way it turns New York City into a Stonehenge-like sun dial. The sun sets perfectly in line with the Manhattan street grid twice a year, explains astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson on the Hayden Planetarium website.

Quote of the day

"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected."
GK Chesterton.

heasup GKeilor's writersAlmanac

photo link from this webpage, that discusses the spy satire 'the man who was Thursday"...where six of the members of an anarchist cell are police informants...
Gutenburg download site.
Librivox download site

Shall we build the Enterprise?

This website suggests we could do it in 20 years.

A summary of the technical details can be found in this article;
The ship itself, as BTE Dan envisions it, would be three things in one: it would be a spaceship, a space station, and a spaceport. It would be big enough to host 1,000 people on board at a time, whether it’s crew members or adventurous explorers. ...
Years 1-9: Research, component testing, drawing up blueprints - Years 10-20: Parts development; components will be manufactured on Earth and launched into space for assembly (the entire ship would be constructed in space) - Year 20: The ship, complete with crew and supplies, would be ready for its first official “moon fly-by”

headsup from Col Updraft...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Remembering John Wayne

Roger Ebert's journal has a long essay on John Wayne.

The American west of John Ford from youtube:

Photos of the day

Remembering.... via BelmontClubBlog

and Ace has a photo of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington.

One of the saddest sights I've seen was while reviewing the wall of photos at Lolo's cousins in Munoz.  He had lived with them for a few years after his father died and went to school with their brother, who was a bit older than him.
On the wall, they had the family photos, one of which was of this cousin, who fought during the war and was killed by the Japanese. I think this was the cousin who was tortured to death by the Japanese for fighting against them.
Next to his photo was the letter of condolence, sent by Harry Truman...

Lolo's brother was also one of these fighters,
From dad's family

and at the end of the war Lolo was old enough to join them for the last push against the fleeing Japanese (although he claims he never was in a battle). So the Philippines consider him a veteran, but not the US...

Why do monks chose high places to hide? Photos of monasteries East and West..

The monasteries of Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas (left) and Agia Roussanou (right) in Greece,

  The Taktshang Tiger's Nest monastery clings to a cliff 2,300ft above the Paro Valley floor in Bhutan

Film download two

Film download of the day

quick before the copyright police find it's there.

stuff below the fold take two

Good or bad? old maps used to say "here be monsters", but now Google Earth shows you the truth...

new malware "Flame" collects information about you.
heck, Facebook already does that....
but this seems to be cyberwar against everyone in the Middle East...

more here
and HERE.
hurricane seasons starts in the US with a bang.
hope my son in Florida is okay.

Don't mess with Zarifa, housewife, sheriff, village leader, and mother of 15
"I tell the men of the village, all I want is your prayers," she says. "When you have a problem, I'll speak to the government on your behalf and whenever there is any disturbance at night-time, I'll pick up my gun and come to your house to see what's going on."

The UKGuardian has an expose on third world kidney buying...

and note the in-betweens and doctors get rich, not the donors.
Headsup Secondhandsmokeblog.

The "scary new disease of the week" is an oldie but goodie: Chagas disease.
more here.

It's mainly spread via insects that suck blood from you that hide in you in those nice, romantic looking hovels so beloved of the green types,  or via blood (to unborn children, via transfusions).
Prevention? Insecticides, and screening of blood transfusions and pregnant women.

Panem and Lovecraft

Essay at the Hogshead: Comparing Panem to Sparta.


Comparing Tolkien to Lovecraft


Monday, May 28, 2012

Gift item of the day

For your beloved Animal companion: a pet emergency evacuation jacket

The Pet Emergency Evacuation Jacket
  • Japan Firefighting Association-certified flame-retardant jacket
  • Materials: polyester (base cloth), polyurethane (outer shell), fireproof acrylic (lining)
  • Heavy-duty carry handle, and double-duty strap/leash
  • Pet supplies: food bowl, muzzle, hermetically sealed odor control bag (for any items distressing the pet), protective rain hood and rubber booties, freezer gel packs (to control heat), bell, waterproof ID capsule with blank paper
  • Human/pet supplies: 50mL sealed water packs for drinking or disinfecting, nutrition bars, bandages, aromatic oil (for calming panic), first-aid gloves, mini-radio, emergency whistle
  • Number of water packs and energy bars vary; see size chart for details
The Pet Emergency Evacuation Jacket is $540 at the Japan Trend Shop.

all this sounds good, but right now we have 8 puppies and their 3 moms, not to mention 5 other male or non pregnant female dogs. Three are "pets" and the rest are larger watch dogs.

Sure, maybe in case of a typhoon, flood, earthquake etc. we could get out Angel, Ruby's small placid white dog,

But who is going to carry our vicious watchdog, George, the Killer Lab?

and then there are the five cats, three parakeets, and a dozen pet Koi...

FYI: Pipelines

photo from Thomas PM Barnett's blog.

Both India and Pakista are starved for natural gas.
In both instances, don't expect Westerners to invest, due to security concerns, but such things don't necessarily stop Chinese and Indian money.
And that is how it should be - and should have been all along.

Could Icelanders have Affirmative Action?

Legally, a CDIB card with one quarter Native American ancestry is how you are supposed to be chosen for Indian preference, although some tribes that have been assimilated for years (e.g. the Eastern Cherokee) allow a 1/16 percent to join. Salon discusses the problem of the many Americans who have blood of the indigenous people, and they use DNA studies to suggest it is widespread.
At least a few percent of the population. While just 1.7 percent of Americans self-identified as either completely or partially Native American on the 2010 census, the Cornell University Genetic Ancestry Project used genetic tests to identify Native American heritage in between 4 percent and 5 percent of the 200 undergraduates studied. That sample isn’t necessarily representative of the general population, because the students who volunteered themselves were likely curious about their backgrounds, but other projects of approximately the same size have produced similar findings.
of course, being "Native American" is also supposed to get affirmative action because of cultural prejudice, so those like Elizabeth Warren who are 1/32 and have never lived on a reservation or suffered discrimination or poverty are not supposed to get ahead by claiming they were. On the other hand, if you want to be scientific, and base it on DNA studies, maybe Icelanders should be given Indian preference. From Nat Geo:
Analyzing a type of DNA passed only from mother to child, scientists found more than 80 living Icelanders with a genetic variation similar to one found mostly in Native Americans. ... This signature probably entered Icelandic bloodlines around A.D. 1000, when the first Viking-American Indian child was born, the study authors theorize.

Yeah, those guys really got around.

A lot of those who were brought to Iceland as slaves ended up as farmers, which accounts for the high rate of celtic DNA in that population too.  

Since Filipinos run the world, it made me wonder how many are in Iceland: This article says 1390


If you only read one essay today, read Richard Fernandez post Croatoan..

The Harlan Ellison story is summarized here

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Video download of the day

Quick; before the copyright cops find it.

A happy western (where the actors seem to be having a lot of fun) based on the Louis L'Amour books.

Craft item of the day

Good news headline of the day

Bland tasting tomato days numbered

A team of US scientists have identified the compounds responsible for making a great tasting tomato, which could one day lead to the demise of the bland-tasting supermarket variety.



and the really bad news?

 A remake of the film is in development for a possible 2012 release. Kent Nichols and Douglas Sarine, creators of Ask a Ninja are developing the project. This will be Nichols' directorial debut. M. Dal Walton III is co-producing along with Emmett/Furla Films.[7][8]

Musical Interlude of the day

one of the saddest and most beautiful hymns:

Rev.Sensing has copied his powerpoint of the lyrics and took this photo of the Pearl Harbor Memorial"

Wikipedia article on how the hymn was written, and various versions...and includes this note:

This hymn was among those sung at a Church Service aboard the Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales attended by Winston Churchill (who requested that the hymn be sung) and Franklin D. Roosevelt at the conference creating the Atlantic Charter.[4] It was also the last song sung during the Sunday, 14th of April Church Service aboard the RMS Titanic just hours before it sank.[5

more HERE.

"The Arts are not a Luxury"

Art News

Dustbury links to the reports of a modern art exhibit:
it’s not like nobody’s ever thought of this before:
In a move certain to leave art traditionalists apoplectic with rage, one of the country’s leading galleries is to charge £8 for entry to a summer exhibition of works which cannot be seen.
London’s Hayward Gallery will gather together 50 “invisible” works by famous artists including Andy Warhol, Yves Klein and Yoko Ono for an upcoming exhibition, thought to be the first of its kind in Britain.
Curators argue the collection of pieces will demonstrate that art is about “firing the imagination” rather than simply viewing objects. “Invisible: Art about the Unseen 1957-2012″ opens on 12 June and includes an empty plinth, a canvas of invisible ink and an invisible labyrinth.
When I was younger, this was about firing the guy who came up with the idea.
Michael Ledeen muses about art.
...the works of della Francesca are of a piece with the passions and traditions of Sansepolcro.  Its biggest festival involves men carrying banners attached to spears, like his rising Christ.  So it’s not just one flash of genius against a bland “dark ages.”  There’s a lot going on, and not just in Sansepolcro.  Piero della Francesco died in one of the most momentous years in modern history:  1492, the same year Lorenzo the Magnificent died in Florence, and a visionary explorer unexpectedly landed in the New World.

Although modern art is usually only praised if it is nihilistic, there is a lot of art on line, mainly in design or photography webpages.

NotCot is one place that links to interesting ideas.

Design sponge always has new ideas, and links to other similar blogs.

Bryan Sibley, when he's not writing about Hobbits or writing for the BBC, has other blogs, including one with photos of Venice,

and a blog that posts photos of windows.


Philippine headlines

Will Dolphy be the next artist named as a "National Treasure"?

  and here is one of his older films:


Don't worry: The waterbuffalo is Catholic...


And congratulations to fashion blogger Bryan  Boy who might be going on America's Next Top Model.


Bad news for soap opera fans: The Corona Telenovela may be over this week.

Lolo has been a big fan, watching it every afternoon...

Corona finally pulled a "gloria" by collapsing and being taken to the hospital, a routine part of any big court case here in the Philippines. More at the Equalizer, including LOLphotos that ask which one of them will win the Oscar for best actor?

Thanks for letting me know, guys

It only took them a year to notice.

From The Hill:
Federal employee financial information hacked
Federal employees were notified on Friday that a hacker may have accessed their personal financial information.
According to the FBI, in 2011, a hacker gained access to a computer that held the financial information of 123,201 federal employees who participate in the Thrift Savings retirement program. The hacker was able to access the names, addresses and Social Security Numbers of 43,000 people.
and if you like this, just wait until everyone gets electronic medical records....

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The "we're all gonna die" story of the day

The UKIndependent has a story about "bush meat" (i.e. monkey meat) and disease.

It was never made clear to Americans how HIV jumped to humans, but this is the probable link.

But there are other viruses out there that could do the same, and the bad news is that there is a huge underground market for "bush meat" in Europe.

The Washington-based Bush Meat Crisis Task Force estimates that up to five million tons of wild animals are being "harvested" in the Congo Basin every year – the equivalent of 10 million cattle. The trade was initially driven by hunger – it was a cheap source of food – but has burgeoned with increased logging of the forests and growing demand.
Now, it is international, extending the threat beyond the continent's boundaries. Scientists have warned that Britain is at risk from an outbreak caused by the lethal Ebola or Marburg viruses contained in illegal imports of bush meat from Africa.

not to mention Monkey pox...

and ironically, the CDC says that most cases in the US have come from pet Prairie dogs....

How was monkeypox introduced in the United States?
Traceback investigations have implicated a shipment of animals from Ghana that was imported to Texas on April 9 as the probable source of introduction of monkeypox virus into the United States. The shipment contained approximately 800 small mammals of nine different species, including six genera of African rodents. These rodents included rope squirrels (Funiscuirus sp.), tree squirrels (Heliosciurus sp.), Gambian giant rats (Cricetomys sp.), brush-tailed porcupines (Atherurus sp.), dormice (Graphiurus sp.), and striped mice (Hybomys sp.).

Gambian rats from this shipment were kept in close proximity to prairie dogs at an Illinois animal vendor implicated in the sale of infected prairie dogs.

Stories below the fold

Texas Teen Rahul Nagvekar, wins spelling Bee

And the Times of India is proud of him and the other scholars who places second and third:
(Vansh)Jain, a 13-year-old from Minocqua, Wis., will take home a $15,000 scholarship as runner-up. The eighth-grader was making his third appearance in the national geography bee.

"You have to love to look at maps," he said. In his spare time, he also is on the swimming team and plays the flute in his school band. The third-place finisher, 13-year-old Varun Mahadevan of Fremont, Calif.,
Oil spill near Albuquerque three times larger than estimated, and twice as large as the Exxon Valdez.

Why no outcry? At an airforce base that was doing super duper top secret high tech research, no one noticed it for 49 years.
 In 1999, after the opening of a new bulk-fuel-storage facility at the base, a jet fuel leak was discovered from a broken 16-in. pipe. It was later learned that the pipe had been leaking fuel undetected since 1950.
Neat photos of the American west in the good old days at the UKMAIL.

This one is the Shoshone Falls:

and this one is the Zuni Pueblo...

This website has facts on the man tribes living in New Mexico, and includes this drawing of the traditional Zuni and Hopi houses:

Notice something about them? You enter the rooms via the roofs. I always thought that was for self defense, i.e. against nighit time predators, but the drawing suggests it was a way to keep cool...

Interesting factoid: The ancient city of Catalhoyuk,(7000 BC) in southern Turkey, also had houses that were entered only from the roof.

Place UFO conspiracy idea here.

Musical interlude of the day

This is also the Boston Pops,
and Arthur Fiedler does the the vocal part ("Hic")

 Put down coffee and enjoy!



 Related trivia item: How Dry I Am was originally part of a longer song, protesting Prohibition, and written by Irving Berlin in 1919 as a way to protest passing that law...

How time doth fly

With Lolo being sick, and with having to stay upstairs in the guest room, I lost track of time.

Sunday is Pentecost.

And this weekend is Memorial Day in the USA.

this is the classic performance of "Stars and Stripes" by the Boston Pops Orchestra: an old tradition that dates back to Arthur Fiedler's reign with that orchestra.

Factoid of the day

This comment made me check it out and sure enough, Lima was not an Inca city:

From Wikipedia:
Lima was founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, as la Ciudad de los Reyes, or "the City of Kings". It became the capital and most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru. Following the Peruvian War of Independence, it became the capital of the Republic of Peru
Lima also has the oldest university in the western hemisphere....

Not to defend the Spanish, but these empires were top heavy empires where the common folks were essentially slaves. So yes, the Inca roads went from Pasto to Chile, but there were a lot of non Icans in this empire who had been conquered, and one wonders if the common people or the non Incan people had any rights after they were
The third type is the Mitimaes; they were professional colonizers. They were move into recently conquered cultures to help them to adapt easily into the Incas way of living.

The Inca people final type is the Yanaconas. These men, women and children were from tribes that make fierce resistance to the Incas empire. Most of the Yanaconas live and serve to the royal family and important authorities. The Yanacona status was a punishment for been resistant to the Inca Daily Life way of living. The Incas slavery practice was not common, there were rare occasions; but it happens mainly during the main Incas culture expansion.
 and what about the unimportant folk?

The Inca people were docile and easy to manage people. 

ah, but why were they so docile?

They were the result of generations follow the: Ama Sua (do not steal), Ama Llulla (do not lie) and Ama Quella (do not be lazy). The laws were simple and effective. The Incas did not have prisons for the people that broken the laws, because they kill them immediately, no questions ask.
Yeah...killing those who are lazy or rebellioius does discourage troublemakers (until they rebel, or like the Indians in Mexico, help the Spanish kill their overlords, and alas find that like Animal farm, they are just left with new overlords).

So why the happy picture that Americans read about the wonders of the Incan empire ruined by those evil Westerners? Lack of critical thinking being taught in college maybe? 

It's not just the Incans: I am always aghast at how history books emphasize the greatness of the empires, showing huge construction projects made by the poor people (even assuring us that the pyramids were not built by slaves, but by farmers who "needed" work in the dry season, as if maybe they really wanted to do dangerous work instead of playing or getting drunk at parties). In other words, ignoring the hoi polloi.

That is what makes America different: we are descended from those who refused to go along with their rules.  

We're not Watusi. We're not Spartans. We're Americans, with a capital 'A', huh? You know what that means? Do ya? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We're the underdog. We're mutts!
This is the only really revolutionary idea in the world: All that "socialism" being touted is nothing new: the idea that the elite were good becuase they cared for the common people was the justification of rulers from the time of the Scorpion king in the west or the "mandate of heaven" in the east.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Cat item of the day

Freyja, the Viking goddess of fertility, rides in a chariot drawn by two cats.

picture Wikipedia.

and more information at the website of the Viking Answer Lady 

The Vikings believed that Freyja rode a cart drawn by a team of cats. It might seem absurd to imagine a cart drawn by cats, until one realizes that Viking cats were not your standard Felis domesticus -- they were the Skogkatt (Norwegian, meaning literally "Forest Cat"), a wild breed native to the North. In Denmark, these cats are called Huldrekat (huldre are female forest spirits, literally, "the hidden folk"). The Skogkatt is a large breed, known for their strong bones and muscular forms.

and their names? none in mythology, but modern writer Diana Paxson gave them the names Bygul and Trjegul...

Cat Item of the day

an oldie but LedZepplin

Musical interlude of the day

The news reports that bluegrass musician Doc Watson is very sick. In our prayers.

Factoid of the day

Picked this one up from the previously noted college lecture: The rune stones often had their inscriptions colored red, and written in poetry.

many of the runestones were raised in memory of those died in various battles.

more at wikipedia
The most common paints were red ochre, red lead, soot, calcium carbonate, and other earth colors, which were bound with fat and water. It also appears that the Vikings imported white lead, green malachite and blue azurite from Continental Europe.[59] By using an electron microscope, chemists have been able to analyse traces of colors on runestones, and in one case, they discovered bright red vermilion, which was an imported luxury color. However, the dominating colors were white and red lead

Education on line

I found I'm spending too much time on line and with election season, the internet is full of "ain't it awful" stuff.

The monsoon season is coming, which means thunderstorms and it won't be as hot, so I will be spending less time (except early morning) on line.

Right now, I have switched from the Bronze age Greece to the English Dark Ages.

Professor Stuart Lee in Oxford has some lectures on line HERE.

Michael Drout (of Tolkien Encyclopedia) has some stuff on line LINK  and at iTunes....lthough right now his free ebook "King Alfred Grammar" is offline.

Lots of stuff on line about that time, including
Michael Woods has one series "In Search of the Dark Ages" along with a series on English History...

A related item are the Vikings, who wrecked the place.

Lot of BBC stuff on Vikings, not only in England but in Iceland and the sagas.

Spoken Lore has podcasts of various sagas.

Librivox has not only Tacitus but several audiobooks on the vikings and the sagas, a biography of King Alfred, and histories of England.

anglo saxon stuff includes:
  1. Pound, Ezra. "Seafarer: From the Anglo-Saxon, The" (in "Long Poems Collection 002") · (readers)
  2. Sharp, Robert. "Essay on Anglo-Saxon Literature" (in "Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern, volume 2") · (readers)
  3. [Multilingual] Sweet, Henry. " Be manna cræftum, from First Steps in Anglo-Saxon" (in "LibriVox Language Learning Collection Vol. 002") · (readers)
  4. Sweet, Henry. "First Steps in Anglo-Saxon, Be þissum middangearde" (in "LibriVox Language Learning Collection Vol. 001") · (readers)
  5. Sweet, Henry. "First Steps in Anglo-Saxon, Nouns section" (in "LibriVox Language Learning Collection Vol. 001") · (readers)
  6. Sweet, Henry. "First Steps in Anglo-Saxon, Pronunciation section" (in "LibriVox Language Learning Collection Vol. 001") · (readers)
  7. [Multilingual] Sweet, Henry. "First Steps in Anglo-Saxon: Adjectives, Numerals and Pronouns" (in "LibriVox Language Learning Collection Vol. 002") · (readers)
  8. [Multilingual] Sweet, Henry. "First Steps in Anglo-Saxon: Verbs" (in "LibriVox Language Learning Collection Vol. 002") · (readers)
  9. Various. "Selected works from Anglo-Saxon Literature" (in "Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern, volume 2") · (readers)
  10. Bede, The Venerable. "Bede's Ecclesiastical History of England" (Open) · (readers)

then there are lots of stuff about vikings:
  1. [Multilingual] Anonymous. "Old Norse - Voluspa" (in "Multilingual Poetry Collection 001") · (readers)
  2. Dasent, George W., Sir. "Popular Tales from the Norse" · (readers)
  3. Hall, Jennie. "Viking Tales" · (readers)
  4. Anonymous. "Eirik the Red's Saga" · (readers)
  5. Magnússon, Eiríkr. "Völsungasaga" · (readers)

Dr. Vaughn has a course on the Vikings at Univ Houston. which probably goes into a lot  more information about them than you might want to know, (an upper level History course).

She also has courses on the Normans, the Middle Ages, and the Crusades which I am downloading to listen to later.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Firefox 12.0 BAH HUMBUG

Is anyone else having problems with the new Firefox 12 upgrade?

After I upgraded, my computer slowed down, and when I turned it off, it kept running anyway. If I tried reopening it, it wouldn't reopen, but said it was already open so reboot.

Instead, I'd turn it off via Taskmanager, and find that although it was closed, it was still using half my memory.

I removed and reloaded it, as per the instructions, and it did the same. So I removed it and loaded Firefox 3.0, which didn't allow my extensions. So now I uploaded and am using firefox 4.0 from Filehippo,  which works fine.

No, I don't like Chrome, but I do use Opera sometimes.

RIP Eugene Polley, the father of the couch potato

Who is Eugene Polley?
he invented one of the first TV remotes, which meant you didn't have to get off your couch to change the channels...

Cat item of the day

It's 5 AM: where's my breakfast, dude?


Photo of our cat Whitey, taken by my granddaughter Madeline, who is seen here with Ruby.

It's May

Here in the Philippines, May is the month of fiestas and the month of Mary. Fiesta photos

It is also the pre planting season, preparing to plant when the monsoon arrives, so it is a busy time...

In the US, it is simply a lovely month.


But even in the US, it is the month of Mary for Catholics still remember this song, made famous in the play "Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect up?"

and then there is Hopkin's poem: Excerpt:
All things rising, all things sizing
Mary sees, sympathising
With that world of good,
Nature’s motherhood....
This ecstasy all through mothering earth
Tells Mary her mirth till Christ’s birth
To remember and exultation
In God who was her salvation.

Medical and Science Stories below the fold

You know about Yellowstone, but do you know about Baekdu Mountain? It's another "border area" where China is trying to take over, but is is also a supervolcano similar to Yellowstone.

And this book review includes this factoid:
Around 7700 years ago, an eruption twice the size did strike the conterminous USA (in Oregon). Remarkably, the memory of the eruption, which formed the magnificent landform known as Crater Lake, lingers in the oral traditions of the Klamath Native American tribe.
Americans Find Doing Their Own Taxes Simpler Than Improving Diet and Health

76 percent agree that ever-changing nutritional guidance makes it hard to know what to believe. And when it comes to making decisions about food, consumers today rely most often on their own research rather than third-party experts. Six out of 10 Americans have given a lot of thought to the foods and beverages they consume (58 percent) and the amount of physical activity they get (61 percent). Yet, only 20 percent say their diet is very healthful and 23 percent describe their diet as extremely or very unhealthful; less than 20 percent meet the national Physical Activity Guidelines.
Actually, I don't believe this survey mirrors what people do, and suspect they are merely giving the answers they think they should give.

We are told to think about our health, so we agree we think a lot about our health and what we should eat. But the dirty little secret is that most folks have a life, so eat the best we can. And because the press is constantly telling us that we eat a lousy diet, this is the answer we give to the pollsters.


What if they sued and  no one in the MSM noticed? The Anchoress asks. 
Like the kid who hides under the blanket figuring the boogeyman won’t see him, the mainstream media has decided that if they just ignore the 12 lawsuits launched against the Obama administration by 43 Catholic entities, the reality of them will go away; they simply won’t exist, and the Supreme Court won’t see them, either!

It's not just the Philippines who was told (via a "mistake" by a government news anchor) that they were part of China: Now Australia has been put on notice.
AUSTRALIA cannot juggle its relationships with the United States and China indefinitely and must choose a ''godfather'' to protect it, according to a prominent Chinese defence strategist.
The warning by Song Xiaojun, a former senior officer of the People's Liberation Army, comes after Foreign Minister Bob Carr was told by his Chinese counterpart that Australia's close military alliance with the US was a throwback to the Cold War era.

Of course, the dirty little secret is that the only one in the area that might try to take over Australia is China....

Wired article on when whales walked in Egypt has some neat photos....

An "expert" taskforce advises against that PSA test.

The problem: A lot of the positives would never spread and kill people, and some of the positive tests would result in death no matter if you treated it for not. And a lot of cancers are in the extreme elderly who die of heart disease etc. before the cancer would kill them.
And the treatment is long, expensive, and can cause impotence.

The problem? There is no good way to tell which is which.

The Aussies disagree with the US panel:

According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia around two-thirds of Australian men aged 40 to 74 have been given the Medicare-covered PSA test. He says testing will prevent 600 of the 3300 prostate cancer deaths expected this year.

But this study suggests it is cost effective:

a European trial found 1000 men aged between 55 and 69 would need to be screened in order to prevent one death. 
compare and contrast: you would need 1500 mammograms to save one life.

Can you say "death panels" children?

Each PSA costs from between $70 to $400. And then there is the cost of screening for borderline tests (including a biopsy).

I am always reminded of one of Michener's stories, The Milk Run, where the Navy spent 2 million dollars for air cover to rescue a downed pilot, who at the end of the story says "but it was worth it if you were the pilot".  And maybe it was worth it if you were LT(JG0 George Bush whose life was saved in a similar type incident.

so what do docs do?
The joke is if their PSA was only slightly high, they'd accidentally throw away the lab slip.
If it was very high, they'd get treatment...



Factoid of the day

Winston Churchill was an American Indian.

Harvard Minority.

I had somehow forgotten that Winston Churchill’s grandmother was one-quarter Iroquois indian, which makes Winston (if I’ve done my genealogical math correctly) one-sixteenth native American...

. Roosevelt commented to Churchill during one of WSC’s wartime visits, “You know, Winston, my Dutch ancestors were among the very first settlers in what was then called Nieuw Amsterdam.” Churchill answered: “But, Franklin, it was my ancestors, the American Indians, who greeted them.”

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Musical Interlude of the day

The Important news stories of the day

The Washington Post discovered the Mountain Meadow Massacre. 

  Headsup from GetReligion. who sarcastically calls the report of the 155 year old massacre "Breaking news".

MIT Scientists Figure Out How to Get Ketchup Out of the Bottle

headsup DaveBarrywho comments: We use a chain saw.


Those naughty students post of the day: In these days of cellphone cameras, teachers just can't browbeat students anymore without landing on Youtube


  Military trumpeters from seven different units have marked the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in traditional English fashion: with a record-breaking fanfare.

related item:
: Stand for the UK National anthem if you want a cuppa...

 ''The teenagers in the tearooms were absolutely shocked and one of them said 'that was a complete lack of respect by those ladies'. ''If the women had been leather-clad bikers or youths you would expect to call the police.''

the good news of the day: Space X made it on the second try.


Bashing Catholics on ESPN?

rant moved to BNN -------------------------------------------------- sorry, it will be light blogging today because we've had a brownout all morning when I usually do my blogging.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Downloads of the day

Quick, before the copyright cops discover that they are on line: a Polish film where paintings are made to come to life....
very slow but visually intersting.

or if you prefer a film that is interesting to the ear, try  Zeffirelli's version of Cavalleria Rusticana, with singing from Placido Domingo:

or if you prefer something a little less intellectually daunting: update: Dang part 2 is gone...will try to get another link

Psst: The Catholics are revolting

Well, not much in the headlines, but half a dozen Catholic diocese and various institutions have gone to court to sue the Obama administration over religious freedom.

the bad news? it's not just the bishops, it's even Notre Dame, and even Jenkins said the "negotiations" were a sham.

The press is in full court press over this one, but even if Obama's minions force a schism (maybe the trendier than thou dying religious orders opting their institutions to secularize) the church isn't likely to change a doctrine that goes back to the Didache.

The news story said that the kerfuffle caught the Obama administration by surprise, but this isn't true. Both Biden and  Bill Daley warned them it would cause problems,  but Obama opted to campaign on a "war against women" and his minions in the press were already loaded to push the issue. 

So expect Nancy Pelosi, Maureen Dowd, and the Democratic minions in the press to go full force in attacking the church, and if Obama wins the next election, figure they will pack the court to support them.

Traditional Catholics will only have a reminder from Andy Garcia on history at the box office on what can happen if they remain silent.

Tourism, anyone?

Engineer Hamid sends photos of the Prince Gardens in Kerman province of Iran.

The garden of the Persian garden is flat and rectangular in shape with an area of five and a half acres of land and built a very beautiful entrance. The main palace garden of the owner or permanent settlements in the upper end of the garden. Home gardens entrance to the monument at the entrance to the garden entrance to the front line and two-story building is occupied. Upper floor has a living room and coffee for those that have been predicted. The main barrier to use of services other garden and a wall composed of the various services in convenient locations anywhere in your data. Currently living in the area, and converted to a restaurant is run by the private sector.

Yes, an oasis...

usually he takes the photos himself when he travels, and like TiaMaria, sends periodic "the kitty that went around the world" type photos, but this one is from MEHR news agency.

Checking out the MEHR site, the news is almost the same as the Manila Bulletin: a banker arrested for stealing $2.6 billion dollars, the grandson of a political big shot (without qualifications) planning to run for president, and lots of "MEGO" political stuff.

They also mention that the Iranian Navy stopped a pirate attack against a Philippine merchant ship near the Gulf of Oman.

It's eclipse time

Lata in Albuquerque sends this photo of the "ring of fire" eclipse.

It's Prom time

Alice and her prom date.

Monday, May 21, 2012

They found the bishop

two days ago the press was saying that the "philippine bishops" were boycotting LadyGaga here, but I searched and googled in vain to find who they were talking about.

Well, today the Inquirer found one, the Bishop of Lipa, Batangas, to quote.

That's one down and 70 more to go....

quick addendum: If you want some bananas, contact Filipine growers. China has decided to hurt the Philippines by economic moves, including boycotting the bananas. Ditto for visiting the beaches here. They are telling their folks not to visit us on vacation.

Bigot apologizes

from Twitchy:
In what reads like a bad Hollywood movie script, Marion Barry has changed his mind about Filipino nurses. Just a few weeks after complaining about how many Filipino nurses work in Washington D.C., Barry’s life was saved by Filipino medical professionals.
he has now tweeted an apology.

Airbrushing Eugenics

rant moved to BNN heh. I learn a lot about history by factchecking what I read on blogs. Sometimes what seems to be a conpsiracy theory has a hidden truth behind the matter.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Religious censorship story of the day

Oh NO!

The Egyptian religious police have shut down the Belly Dancing channel!

Pinoys Heart LadyGaga

No, the Catholics here in the Philippines are not boycotting Lady Gaga: these are protests by a few tiny Protestant churches.


Full rant at BNN.

The "What if" question of the day

Father Z blogs on Celestine V, the only Pope who resigned.

The church calls him a saint, for his holy life and his attempt to renew and purify the church, but Dante puts him in hell for being a quitter.

Was Dante right? Yes, he was personally Holy, but because he quit, those running the church chose money over holiness, moved to Avignon, which later resulted in the schism of the church for awhile when the Pope moved back to Rome, and ultimately these political shennanigans led many to reject the papacy itself, i.e. the Protestant Reformation.

 Question of the day: What would have happened if Celestine hadn't quit? ----------------------------------
Triva question: which popes (beside Celestine) resigned? The BBC has the answer:
Pope Gregory XII - who reigned from 1406 to 1415 - did so to end what was called the Western Schism.