Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cat item of the day

Fashion tip of the day

Bowties are back in style....

Blame Dr. Who...(number 11)

and if the clothes are back, will good manners follow?

and if you want one, you can buy one at ThinkGeek...

History lesson of the day

Victory at sea

Now at youtube. --------------------------

and InfromthecoldBlog reports about the new UK Memorial to the bomber pilots who risked their lives in World War II.

apparently the PC who kept repeating that the bombing of Dresden was immoral forget to put things into perspective...

it's like the fact that the millions killed in the liberation of the Philippines, often just slaughtered, is the moral equivalent of the locals killing the fleeing Japanese soldiers in retaliation for four years of suffering. But of course, the war is rarely spoken about here (maybe because a lot of big shot's grandfathers were quislings)...

Stuff below the fold

A couple weeks ago there was talk of a radiation spike found in tree rings dated 774AD, but there were no historical reports that could find out why.

Then one non astronomer (Jonathon Allen, a biochemistry major ) heard a podcast about it, and did a seems the AngloSaxon chronicle noted a supernova about that time.

His long-standing interest in history was helpful, he notes. "I knew that going that far back, there's very limited written history," he says. "The only things I'd ever seen or heard of were religious texts and 'chronicles' that listed kings and queens, wars and things of that nature."
His search found the eighth-century entries in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle at the Avalon Project, an online library of historical and legal documents hosted by Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Scrolling down to the year ad 774, Allen found a reference to a "red crucifix" that appeared in the heavens "after sunset".
Brain scans are able to find early brain changes of autism in infants, (long before they got shots)...

It's going to be a looooong weekend.

they add a "leap second" to the clocks this weekend.


Heh. animal fat and meat might help protect you against arsenic poisoning in Omega 3 containing fish.
Total dietary fat, animal fat, vegetable fat and saturated fat were also all associated with lower levels of arsenic, while omega 3 fatty acids, such as those found in fish oil, were associated with increased arsenic.

and then there is the problem of arsenic in rice milk....

I wonder if it is contamination from the arsenic pollution from using high arsenic coal in China...
the article mentions most of the poisoning comes from food and mentions " Coal is burned inside the home in open pits for daily cooking and crop drying, producing a high concentration of arsenic in indoor air."

Rice has to be dried before in the Philippines, the common way is to dry the unhusked rice on the roadways or on tarps, or to pay the rice company to dry it...but after we lost one third of our crop last year from a typhoon because we didn't harvest and dry it fast enough ,we now have our own rice drier, which uses diesel, not the cheaper coal...

This might be the link for arsenic in brown rice and rice milk...


Friday, June 29, 2012

The weird Wired story of the day

from Wired:

The Good News:

The results of the 1,114-person survey – sponsored by the National Geographic Channel (show)  65% of survey respondents believe Obama would handle an alien invasion better than Romney.
The Bad News:

- 36% of Americans think UFOs exist; 11% believe they have personally seen one.

- 77% of Americans think aliens have left behind evidence of previous visits.  60% are convinced by photographs, 57% by videos, and 36% by ancient monuments such as Stonehenge and the Egyptian Pyramids.
Actually this survey is troubling: Because it shows the willingness of Nat Geo to evolve into the National Enquirer of science channels:

UFO's my foot.

CNN....Fast and accurate news....sometimes

Stuff below the fold

Apparently a Chinese company is selling infant formula contaminated with mercury....

so far it is not being sold in the philippines but of course it could always be relabled and smuggled in to be sold in palenkes.

Insomnia downloads of the week

The University of Bath (UK) has a page of lectures given for the public for your listening pleasure LINK

all sorts of topics, from Avebury to Tulips to the history of the universe

or if you prefer poetry, try the Rubaiyat of Omar Kayyam..

Health care bill

moBoth the left and the right are spining the SC on the health care bill, but here are some excerpts from the BBC.

We do not consider whether the Act embodies sound policies. That judgement is entrusted to the Nation's elected leaders. We ask only whether Congress has the power under the Constitution to enact the challenged provisions...

The individual mandate, however, does not regulate existing commercial activity. It instead compels individuals to become active in commerce by purchasing a product... The Framers knew the difference between doing something and doing nothing. They gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, not to compel it. Ignoring that distinction would undermine the principle that the Federal Government is a government of limited and enumerated powers. The individual mandate thus cannot be sustained under Congress's power to "regulate Commerce"....

The Affordable Care Act's requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.

Splitting hairs, or a Soloman like decision?

Probably the best decision, because the next election will be if we want Obamacare, with it's huge expansion of federal powers, or a less imperial type of universal health care coverage like

Instapundit, a libertarian and a lawyer, writes here:

"Roberts’ genius was in pushing this health care decision through without attaching it to the coattails of an ugly, narrow partisan victory. Obama wins on policy, this time. And Roberts rewrites Congress’ power to regulate, opening the door for countless future challenges. In the long term, supporters of curtailing the federal government should be glad to have made that trade.” We’ll see.

He has lots of links to lawblogs and conservative blogs.

Since the question before the court was if Congress could order people to buy insurance, the answer is no, but they can tax them if they don't.

Now will come all the lawsuits about individual questions, like if is legal for an unelected 'health care panel" to tell me to pay for or give out abortifactent medicines.

motherJones' take here.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Craft item of the day

make your very own CareBear coat

Tutorial at Instructables
headsup AmDigest.

Stories below the fold

Truth in Advertising Father Z, does some fisking... my take is at my other blog. ----------------------------------------------

Don't look now, it's Obama's worse nightmare: A conservative black Mormon is running for US Congress... Headsup instapundit.


Instapundit has an ongoing series of links to bloggers being "SWATed", i.e. someone calling the police that a murder has occured and that those living at the address is armed and dangerous...

since innocent folks sometimes get shot when the SWAT team arrives, this could lead to someone being killed.

In contrast, here in the Philippines, the politicians just hire someone to shoot the troublesome journalists from a motorcycle...the going rate is about 100 dollars.


Better watch it; the "experts" are coming for your purple pill.
“When people take P.P.I.’s, they haven’t cured the problem of reflux,” said Dr. Joseph Stubbs, an internist in Albany, Ga., and a former president of the American College of Physicians. “They’ve just controled the symptoms.”
and these experts claim if you only would stop eating forbidden foods and lose weight you wouldn't need this expensive medicine.

True, but sometimes "Quality of life" counts,

 And I wonder if that claim is true: Lolo has had two major bleeds from his GERD in the last ten years, even though he is slim and watches his diet, and was taking the cheaper Ranitidine and Maalox...after the second bleed the doctor put his foot down and we started omeprazole. Yes, it's 40 pesos a tablet, but it's better than frequent pain and maybe dying of a GI Bleed...


Yesterday my post on the health care bill funding obesity treatment said follow the money.. 

Maybe it had to do with this...(phen fen redux)...

from Opensecret:
although Arena only gave 20 thousand for lobbyists last year.

The article does note that most insurance companies and Medicare part D does not cover diet pills...yet....

 Ford is shutting their assembly plant in the Philippines...high wages and problems with electricity seem to be the problem according to some comments in the local papers.


Attention geeks: The Robot always wins.

Another day, another typhoon

PAGASA: Ten areas now under signal 2. actually, we are not under any typhoon watch, but it is cloudy and rainy. This is good for the newly planted rice fields, unless of course we end up with flooding from too much rain run off from the mountains north of here. Chano is going to Manila for rice delivery and business stuff. Lolo is well and happy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hello kitty post of the day

Photosource 9gag

Times are tough in Tatooine too

Stuff below the fold

A new book by the son of the last pre Nazi chancellor of Austria paints a picture slightly different from that perceived in the west.

The socialists hated the Catholics more than Hitler, so guess who won?

The UKTelegraph suggests rewriting the story of the Reformation.

Heh. Foxe's book of martyrs was government subsidized propaganda, and Guy Fawkes was framed in a witch hunt. Who wudda thot?

I don' t know if the US MSM is covering it,, but the Catholics there are having 14 days of prayer for freedom of religion.

Professor Chaput links the dots of how the intellectual fads of today are marginalizing religion: natural law tradition is ignored, religion morphs to private prejudice, and voila, government can shut down bigotry.

he then goes on to blast the bishops for letting this happen by trying to be nice, not making hard decisions, and letting the good news be watered down so much that the young now lack the moral vocabulary to discuss such issues.
Well, he should know: He's trying to clean up Uncle Tony's messes.

Twenty years ago I noted the same thing in medical ethics, when bioethicsts were taken over by the PC, and arguments from Hippocrates or religion were no longer discussed except to reject them as old fashioned...

Hanson sees Jimmy Carter redux in the election of radical Islamicists to the government of Egypt.

I see the repeat of the riots of the 1960's if the President doesn't get reelected.

The stakes go up: A Chinese commercial vessel "accidentally" rammed some Filipino fishermen, and then left them to die in the water. A few days later, several survivors were picked up.

The Filipino boat was moored on an artificial reef because of engine trouble. So why would a commercial vessel travel so close to an artificial reef?

and why is the Chinese embassy more upset at the bad publicity in the report than in trying to find and punish the errant captain?

but it's not just us: Vietnam is also protesting a Chinese grab of one of their islands.


Fat? Or big brained?

Obesity causes global warming? Yes, the food police are here.
Dr. Richard N. Bergman, a diabetes and obesity researcher said, “If you think of three thin people in a room, they use a certain amount of energy. If one of them is obese, it’s the same as having four people.
That means that the extra person in the room translates to a requirement for more energy to make more food and transport to the food. It creates more trash and other consequences, according to Dr. Bergman. Many of the most obese countries, the U.S., Kuwait and Egypt, rely on cars to move around. But bigger isn't necessarily fatter or more obese.
Heh? Egypt has an obesity problem?

But obesity is now a growing problem in China.

A recent report from America's Johns Hopkins University claimed that, overall, 20 percent of China's children were now overweight and up to a third of Chinese boys were, compared to a Peking University report from 2004 that said the overall figure was less than two percent.
But all that abundant food does more than make kids fat: It makes them grow taller.
A reader writes,
Starting at 19, I spent two years (1985-86) in Hong Kong. I am an average-sized American (6’0”), but whenever I got on the subway car (which was always filled to capacity with standing riders) I could see to the end of the car unobstructed. I was always head and shoulders taller than everyone else. The Hong Kong Chinese always said that Westerners were larger and taller because they had more meat and dairy in their diet than average Chinese.
When I went back ten years later, after the generation that had fed on McDonald’s had grown up, I could no longer see to the end of the subway car. The native Chinese obstructing my view were all teenagers or in their 20s. I hadn’t gotten any shorter in the meantime. Maybe there was something to what the Chinese were telling me.
Once, an Indian-American friend of mine made this observation to me: “Our parents [immigrants to America] come up to our waistlines

But of course, there is another small point to this increase in nutrition: the brain also grows.

So taller kids do better in school, probably because their brains are larger.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Depressing statistic of the day

Mr History is asked who is the bloodiest man in history, and answers


Poetry corner take two

a poem about daffodils to cheer you up:

Stories below the fold

Manolo on the utilikilt:
Yes, yes, the Manolo gets the idea. You are the unconventional, free-spirited, manly-dude, who wishes to show the world that you march to the beat of your own Iron John drum circle, even as you not-so-surreptitiously air your junk out in public.
However, the Manolo would like to point out that your self-conception is dramatically at odds with how the rest of the world sees you. As the Manolo’s internet friend, the Lori, put it, “What is it about utilikits that take all of the sexiness, majesty, and coolness out of the regular kilt?”
Exactly. In the other words…
Real Scottish kilt, worn properly = The Sexy.
Utilikilt, worn by you = The Dorky.

On the other hand, the Scots in the Bannockburn parade can wear kilts: The just can't carry weapons.

More than 500 people took part in a march to save the hill that concealed Robert the Bruce's secret reserve at the Battle of Bannockburn Photo: Mike Day

Hmmm...wonder if the ban includes stainless steel gloves?


via instapundit; 

China’s urban areas are booming economically, but that trend is paralleled by another one with serious implications for public health: obesity rates have skyrocketed over the last generation. The number of Chinese people who are obese quintupled between 2005 and 2011, to nearly 100 million people. The World Health Organization estimates that 38.5 percent of the population was overweight in 2010, up from 25 percent in 2002. Male children from high-income families have an especially high rate of obesity.

we see the same problem here in the Philippines: but it is mainly in the middle class kids, not the farm kids. Is it fast food? Americanized diet? The fact that they don't walk to school anymore?

On the other hand, since Mao's famine in 1960 killed 40 million Chinese, so an obesity epidemic is probably an improvement...

Gift item of the day: Bodyparts jewelry.

 heh. Looks like something my goth granddaughter would wear...

Another gift item: Burritobot:

The burritobot is a 3-D printer that lets users fabricate a delicious bean burrito via an iPhone interface mechanism.

and the scientific reason that daffodils cheer you up:

Professor Birgen Broden said the compounds from the South African (daffodils) were able to pass through the (blood-brain) barrier. 

Poetry corner

If you give me your attention, 
I will tell you what I am:  
 I'm a genuine philanthropist—
all other kinds are sham.
Each little fault of temper 
and each social defect  
In my erring fellow creatures, 
I endeavor to correct.  
To all their little weaknesses 
I open people's eyes  
And little plans to snub 
the self-sufficient I devise;  
I love my fellow creatures—
I do all the good I can—  
Yet everybody say 
I'm such a disagreeable man!  
And I can't think why!

WS Gilbert.

MP3 here

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cockroaches are your friend

UKDailyMail tells us:
According to Srini Kambhampati, professor and chair of the biology department at the University of Texas at Tyler, the disappearance of cockroaches would play havoc with the nitrogen cycle.
Professor Kambhampati, a leading expert on roaches, told the Huffington Post: 'Most cockroaches feed on decaying organic matter, which traps a lot of nitrogen.
'Cockroach feeding has the effect of releasing that nitrogen (in their feces) which then gets into the soil and is used by plants.
'In other words, extinction of cockroaches would have a big impact on forest health and therefore indirectly on all the species that live there.'

The "it's a small world" story of the day

From the Hindu:
Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams is all set to return to to the International Space Station, where she spent a record six months in 2006.
Daughter of an Indian American father from Gujarat and a Slovenian mother, Williams is currently making final preparations for a July 14 launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, according to a NASA announcement.
She will be a flight engineer on the station’s Expedition 32 with Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency and Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. On reaching the space station she will take over as commander of Expedition 33.
the first Indian American astronaut, Kalpana Chawla, was born in India and was killed in the Columbia shuttle disaster.

1066 and all that

or, it's Emma's fault I could never get straight why the good Saxon King Harold had to fight first the Danes then the Normans, and then when he lost England became run by the Norman French. Actually, it's more complicated than that, because they all were related to each other, and the Normans were originally Vikings. Then in the middle of this, you find Emma: check geneology here. First, she was the second wife of Ethelred the Unready... but then
Æthelred's eldest son, Æthelstan had long been recognised as heir apparent, and charter evidence shows that Edward ranked behind all Æthelred's sons by his first marriage, but Æthelstan died in June 1014, and Emma now tried to get her own son, the ten year old Edward, recognised as heir. She was an ally of her husband's most trusted adviser, the deeply distrusted Eadric Streona, ealdorman of Mercia, and he took her side, but she was opposed by Æthelred's oldest surviving son, Edmund Ironside, and his allies, who naturally regarded him as the heir. Edmund revolted against his father, and in 1015 Sweyn's son Cnut invaded. Æthelred was able to hold out against Cnut in London, but in April 1016 Æthelred died, as did Edmund in November. Queen Emma still held out against Cnut in London, but it was finally agreed that her sons should go to live in Normandy and she would marry Cnut. The marriage probably saved her sons, as Cnut tried to rid himself of rival claimants, but spared their lives
got that straight? No? The article has a genology but that doesn't help much. But she must have been fairly good, since Cnut married her for convenience but seems to have become fond of her as time passed...and they did manage to have 2 children together... and factoid of the day: Cnut's grandfather is Harold Bluetooth, for whom the bluetooth technology was named.

Factoid of the day

I first read about the details of Hadrians' fort in a food magazine, of all places...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Craft item of the day

origami Smaug?

Don't hate me because I am beautiful

The Best Medical images of the year

Moth Fly This false-color scanning electron micrograph shows a moth fly, Psychodidae, also known as a drain fly. The larvae live in domestic drains and emerge in sinks. Their bodies and wings are covered in fine cilia, which lend them a moth-like appearance. KEVIN MACKENZIE, UNIVERSITY OF ABERDEEN

Does Poetry matter?

I dislike much of modern poetry, even when Garrison Keillor recites it, because too much of it seems to be bad prose about trivia written by narcissists.

However, poet Dana Gioia has been working hard to revive modern poetry...

Gioia is one of the leading poets of the New Formalist movement, which championed the return to traditional poetic techniques such as rhyme, meter, and established forms, as well as to the importance of narrative poetry with less “autobiographical” emphasis. He writes, “As long as there have been poets, those poets told stories. Those stories were rarely about their own lives but about imagined lives—drawn from myth, legend, history, or current events.”
Here is his thoughtful essay "can poetry matter"...

So why not try Gioia by Kiellor?

try listening to this.

or THIS.

Do we have a real estate bargain for you

From Strategypage:n
: Another bit of Cold War surplus has just come on the market. Norway is selling one of its underground submarine bases, for $17.5 million. Located outside the city of Tromso, next to highway E8, the former Olavsvern Naval Base is basically a water level tunnel dug into a mountain at the mouth of a fjord (one of the many deep water channels that give the Norwegian coastline that heavily indented look). The tunnel can dock small warships or a submarine and has 25,000 square meters (269,000 square feet) of underground space. There are several tunnels down there, most of them dry. The above ground structures contain 13,500 square meters (145,000 square feet) of space.  
more HERE
ILLUSTRASJON: Ubåten «Uthaug» måtte i helga ty til Olavsvern for reparasjoner og ble en kraftfull kulisse da den siste julegudstjenesten ved basen ble holdt mandag. Foto: Scanpix

. no, Raider of the Lost Ark wasn't filmed there: It was filmed at La Rochelle, Charente-Maritime, France

Friday, June 22, 2012

The "WAGD" post of the day

The "we're all gonna die" post of the day:

Bird flu is coming!  Bird flu is coming!

Health officials are concerned though that the H5N1 virus could one day mutate into a form that could be spread between humans through coughs and sneezes through the air.
This could, they fear, result in a lethal pandemic that could spread rapidly across the world killing tens of millions of people.
It is only now that a study has confirmed that the emergence of such a deadly virus is theoretically possible.

over 300 people have died of bird flu, but all cases were bird to human transmission, either from eating sick birds or by caring for sick chickens (which is why Jakarta banned keeping chickens inside city limits).
and I always annoy the green sites that promote city chicken raising about this danger...they protest: But I take care of my birds, they run free which is safer for them and they don't need those antibiotics etc. of farm raised chickens. But chickens catch the birdflu from visitors who eat their feed, and migrating birds mean that closing the borders may or may not help...
Heh. Sounds familiar:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Stories that make you go WTF

 The carefully-edited segment, aired on Monday's edition of "Andrea Mitchell Reports," spliced together a Romney speech, making it appear that he was expressing genuine amazement at a convenience store's use of technology to take sandwich orders. In reality, he was facetiously comparing the tech-savvy private sector to the clumsy government bureaucracy.

Big business "going Galt?
some firms refuse to hire unless they really need to because there are just too many new taxes and new regulations, so a lot of them are waiting to see who wins before they start hiring again...

Hillary's folks are being ignored, and they may just morph back into "Reagan Democrats"...

"Operation Twist"?

Most economists are betting on a plan called Operation Twist, which the Fed tried last summer. Operation Twist is a Fed bond-buying programme that aims to lower rates on mortgages and other loans and was first tried in the '60s and named after the Chubby Checker song...

Did a "Saudi Ex Machina" just save Egypt?

The Saudis gave them needed money and support the Army over the radicals who don't know how to run a government and will scare off foreign aid and investments.

Beware of Millie, the Guard Cat
Millie the Bengal cat, thought to be the world's first ever feline security guard, has been hired to guard some of the UK's best-selling toy ranges.,,
Millie's excellent climbing abilities and loud purr made her the prime candidate for the role, with deliveries expected to come in thick and fast over the coming weeks.

Was the Fix in to make Pacquiao lose?

The UKTelegraph report that outside experts all said MP won. But the Vancouver Sun quotes a guy who says what a lot of folks are thinking:
Canadian poker player and sports analyst Haralabos Voulgaris noted that there was a late surge of bets on Bradley. "Late money on this boxing match, Pac was -432 at 2pm it closed -397 at pinny. Lots of late money on Bradley."

on the other hand, a Proboxing article says maybe it was "payback" for letting him win the close fights with Marquez...

Factoid of the day

Why the Guinea pig is used as a guineapig?

Blame Dr. Robert Koch, the country doc who discovered the TB bacillus (and the guy the Koch postulate is named after).

Bred as a food source, guinea pigs were gentle, quiet, unperturbed by cages, and—by a fortunate coincidence, perhaps—prone to infectious disease. (You can give a Cavy full-blown tuberculosis with a single  Mycobacterium tuberculosis, says TB researcher David McMurray.*) By the time he was named to a prestigious professorship in Berlin, Koch was using guinea pigs by the armful.

the article goes on to mark the ups and downs of scientific theory in those days.


Orson Scott Card on Ray Bradbury

Bradbury never made you stop reading to notice how cleverly he wrote. On the contrary, his music held you inside the story, as if the words had come out of your own mind and heart. He embodied what Pope advocated: “True Wit is Nature to Advantage drest, / What oft was Thought, but ne’er so well Exprest.” I learned many techniques from many writers — exposition from Heinlein, ironic viewpoint from Austen and Mitchell, clarity and invisibility from Asimov, motive from Richter. But from whom else could a writer learn to take seemingly ordinary language and make music with it? Ray Bradbury was the rhapsode of our time. Now he’s gone, but his music lives on, played on his virtuoso instrument: the voice of every reader, whether we read aloud or in the privacy of our hearts

and he could also tell tales: he used a Walt Whitman poem as the theme of this short story: LINK I sing the body electric, as retold by the Twilight zone...

or this story:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dog news of the day

Heh. Kids in families with dogs are less likely to have asthma.

They think it might be exposure to the "benign" germs that the dogs carry.

photo is one of our watch dogs: Bad Brad, aka the papa dog.

Book notes

Jane Austen as a child?
Strory at the New Yorker, via TeaAtTrianon


C.S.Lewis at war

Tolkien was a young married man when he went to war in 1916, but CSLewis was still in his teens in 1918 when he went to the front, wondering if he would ever go home again...
Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Somerset Light Infantry, he arrived in the front line trenches on his nineteenth birthday, 22 November 1917. He survived that terrible conflict, when so many didn’t, among them several good friends. Wounded in April 1918, Lewis convalesced for the remainder of the war, which ended just before he turned twenty. For nearly 30 years, he carried two shell fragments in his chest. They were finally removed in August 1944.[2]
another factoid: He discovered Cheseterton while suffering from trench fever.

Factoid of the day

BBC: since 2009, Asian immigrants are more common than Hispanic immigrants for the last few years.

In the study, Pew found that the six largest immigrant Asian immigrant groups to the US were Chinese, Filipinos, Indians, Vietnamese, Koreans and Japanese.

related item: is the President's fast fiat to legalize kids without proper papers done to steal the spotlight from the fact that Senator Rubio's bill to do the same thing was introduced in April and probably would have been passed this summer?

The Evolution of Technology

via slippery brick

Hogworts 101


also LOTR introduction to the new course.

Stories below the fold

Best quote of the day from BelmontClub:
Nearly a hundred years ago today, another Englishman, contemplating a familiar Londons scene, had similarly grim thoughts. Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary, looked out of his palatial, imperial London office and said, “the lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time”.
Grey was more prescient than he thought. How could he imagine that just when the West had won the Cold War, the top priority of its exalted leaders would include the phase-out of incandescent light bulbs?  First all over the EU and then the United States?
There is in that obsession with the trivial — pursued relentlessly in the midst of the collapse of demographic, economic and military strength — something of the moral of the age.  A civilization completely consumed by political correctness, which required counseling for the merest shock, which believed it would preside over the End of History, is now bankrupt, unable to defend itself and without a single darned light bulb in the hardware store. What lesson was it?

To make things worse, did any of these "green" folks wonder what would happen when the light bulbs were tossed away?
All CFLs contain mercury, a neurotoxin that can cause kidney and brain damage.
The amount is tiny — about 5 milligrams, or barely enough to cover the tip of a pen — but that is enough to contaminate up to 6,000 gallons of water beyond safe drinking levels, extrapolated from Stanford University research on mercury. Even the latest lamps promoted as “low-mercury” can contaminate more than 1,000 gallons of water beyond safe levels.

how bad is the problem?

MANILA, Philippines — The Makati City government and private developers of Zuellig Building have collected 1.58 tons of light bulbs and batteries, which are considered hazardous waste, during the first month of their public awareness campaign to make the city “Hg-free” (Mercury-free).

and to make things worse, the light bulbs don't last as long as they were supposed to, and cost three times as much as ordinary light bulbs.

A new MIRO is available

the open source media player MIRO has a new upgrade.

oh and don't forget Cartalk



enjoy it while you can: The brothers are retiring

podcasts of the week

Reith lecture has Neil Ferguson discussing the rule of law and it's enemies


EWTN discusses why the Catholic Sisters have unraveled. (and why most are of retirement age).


StrategyPage has three podcasts on the Middle East:
Why Bomb Libya and not Syria? - 6/3/2012
Jim and Austin why NATO will not get involved in Syria until innocent blood shed is higher.
MP3 Download

The Arab Spring Has Not Ended - 5/9/2012
Jim and Austin why the Arab spring is still evolving and spreading.
MP3 Download

The Long, Long Syrian Spring - 4/15/2012
Jim and Austin discuss the intractable problems in Syria.
MP3 Download

Heirs of Durin  posts: The Misty Mountains: The music without the noise.

Librivox this week includes

Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac, The by Eugene Field

Mathematical Problems by Hilbert, David

Woman in the Nineteenth Century by Fuller, Margaret

Andes and The Amazon, The by Orton, James

Celtic Folk and Fairy Tales by Jacobs, Joseph

if you want to listen to a new recording of Lord of the Rings, go to YOUTUBE...first two books are now on line...a good dramatic reading, with music from the films...
and if you don't want to download or watch the video, he links to mp3 versions to download.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cat item of the day

Where is my dodo bird?

Mythbusters Adam Savage on his quest for the dodo bird

Stories below the fold

American individualism: bad for the elderly? NYTimes notices the problems of loneliness in the elderly.

All your records belong to us:

Fast Access to Records Helps Fight Epidemics

When medical records were maintained mainly on paper, it could take weeks to find out that an infection was becoming more common or that tainted greens had appeared on grocery shelves. But the growing prevalence of electronic medical records has had an unexpected benefit: By combing through the data now received almost continuously from hospitals and other medical facilities, some health departments are spotting and combating outbreaks with unprecedented speed.
actually, this is not true: Some physicians were "designated reporters" who would report on the number of patients who came to their office each day with fevers and symptoms suggesting of flu or other disease.

But it does mean that lots of your data (attached to your name or identifying number) can be and is being read by busybodies without your knowledge.

why do college costs keep rising? Asks professor Instapundit.
answer: Because they can, and because:
 in reality a majority of college costs today are not for instruction--the number of administrators, broadly defined, often exceeds the number of faculty.
I wonder when someone will notice the same problem in medicine: With third party payments and government regulations (all of which require you to document stuff) the number of non physician employees is soaring, whereas in the 1950's, often you had a doc and his one "nurse" to run the office.

Ditto for hospitals: When I had "female surgery"at a world famous hospital in the early 1990's, I had to walk myself post op, and when the other patients found I was a doc, spent half my time answering their questions, while the nurses sat at their computers documenting the work they did.  I estimate I saw a nurse/aid/doctor ten minutes a day.
and I doubt it's much better now.


FatherZ reports that a left wing group sends a talking point memo to the press on how to question the Catholic bishops who refuse to compromise principles for the Obamacare regulations.

he has links to the PDF and names names of who the press should call to "refute" the bishops. Best part of the post:

Not to be outdone, Gehring presses his lackeys to victimize the victim, beckoning them to ask the bishops—all of whom refuse to prostitute their principles—“Are you willing to sacrifice Catholic charities, colleges and hospitals if you don’t get your way on the contraceptive mandate?”  ["But, for Wales?"]
the "Wales" quote comes from here. but it would be a better ask the "professors" listed on the talking point memo, why they they insist their opinion on what the church should teach is what the church actually teaches, when that's not true...

CWR article on why the early church opposed contraception and abortion...

 StrategyPage discusses the problem of zipper control in mixed gender ships, and how a "Zero tolerance" policy for really bad errors of judgement might have destroyed the career of Admiral Haley, who once ran a ship aground in his younger days...

factoid of the day: The USS Constitution is the oldest USNavy ship still commissioned, but the oldest ship still in use is the USS Enterprise, alas scheduled to be decommissioned next December.

China's "Three Seas". Belmont Club explains their long term plans.

But the Philippines didn't really pull their ships out of our territorial waters to please China: there happened to be a typhoon and the ships are ancient and were in danger of sinking. But admitting this would only make China bolder.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Another day, another earthquake

all nearby but no, we didn't feel them and no one was hurt.

Wisdom of the day

The wisdom of Homer (and other comics on TV)

“Stupid risks are what make life worth living”
Homer Simpson, The Simpsons
“Marge, you can’t keep blaming yourself. Just blame yourself once, then move on.”
Homer Simpson
“When a woman says nothing’s wrong, it means everything’s wrong. When a woman says everything’s wrong, it means everything’s wrong. And when a woman says that something isn’t funny, you’d better not laugh your *ss off”
Homer Simpson

Remembering the terrible past

Slavery and Michelle Obama's roots

When Slaves were freed, but died of neglect.

The forgotten atrocity  Original article

how far does war go back? Pretty far.
more here.

The "It's NICE to be the King" post of the day

rant moved to BNN.

and another "WTF" proposal comes from the friendly people who want to take your organs. Via "NotDeadYet" a disability blog.

Take Action!

What's the problem? Uh,  maybe having a "organ donation" person at your bedside suggesting you should be taken off your expensive ventillator so that a healthy person can get your organs sort of implies that the disabled are useless eaters who are too expensive to keep alive...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy father's day


Filippine LOLCAT greets his father for a blessing. 

family news

church was crowded this morning and we were late, so Sydney borrowed a chair from one of the vendors so Lolo and I could sit down. Chano still is in bed with a backache, although he is now able to get up and around, he's not up to going to church.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Craft item of the day


Factoid of the day

Governor Romney's first name is....WILLARD?!!!

uh oh...on the other hand, the cinematic Willard was an animal lover...

Via this BBC article that traces Romney's roots and the journeys of his family.

not answered: Does the name Romney come from NewRomney in Kent ( The name comes from the Anglo Saxon Niwe Romm eg (New ram's island) so sheep were raised on the marshes from at least Anglo Saxon times.)
or from Romane (i.e. of Gypsy origin)...on the other hand, Gypsies don't use that as a surname, so I'd guess it came from being associated with a village or a pasture for sheep.
discussion HERE.

More on the Catholic health Association

I apologize for filling my blog up with boring news, but this is being ignored in the mainstream media, and has huge implications for freedom of religion for the US.

Whispers in the Loggia Blog on why the CHA "changed it's mind" after reading the small print of the Obamacare orders.

"The exemption in the final rule is narrower than any conscience clause ever enacted in federal law and reflects an unacceptable change in federal policy regarding religious beliefs."

The Anchoress has more on the political manipulation that tried to use the CHA to appear to "back the compromise before anyone in that organization had read or studied the document. Well, they members have read it and forced the PC nun in charge to admit the organization didn't agree with her.
Recall that Sister Keehan’s initial approval of the “accommodation”, like Dionne’s, was released via the White House religion press portal almost simultaneously with the WH announcement; it gave enormous political cover to the president, and helped him to divide a church that had — quickly and uncharacteristically — united against the HHS Mandate. Now, she’s walking it back.
That’s why this is a big deal. CHA represents over 600 Catholic hospitals and hundreds of nursing and rehab facilities; that’s a lot of Catholic energy to be out of agreement with the US Bishops. Perhaps they considered the recent (largely media-ignored) lawsuits filed against the Obama administration in 12 jurisdictions by 43 Catholic entities (including Notre Dame University), and began to consider the HHS enterprise a loser. Hard to tell.

I suspect a similar result would come if all the nuns whose "leaders" are dissing the Vatican could vote on it too.

Miscellaneous stuff below the fold

FYI: The flying saucer on the beltway was a drone.

(the real flying saucers are stored in Area 51).

Why listen to James Carville?

No, instead, President Obama is eating argula with the posh NYCity set.

But this is actually about getting Ms Wintour posted as ambassador to the UK...

Whistleblowing: even 9 year old kids are doing it


Voyager is set to leave the galaxy...

Book Reviews: When is starvation the same as mass murder?

two more books on the history of eastern Europe during the war...related book: see also :Bloodlands

but starvation by neglect isn't the same thing as genocide: If it was. Churchill would be open to charges of warcrimes for the Bengali famine of 1943.

Tolkien and the war: An interview with JohnGarth

I have his book: It has lots of details to look up and skim and a good reference book, but it is hard to read.

Heh. The "magisterium of nuns" who are trying to cause a schism in the church just lost another one:

The Catholic Health Association has rejected the "Obama compromise" even though their "leader" said she thought it was okay.

and the bishops aren't stepping down either.

Not mentioned, of course, is that the "compromise" has never been official: The federal register still has the old wording for the regulation.

Related item: Dialogue with the deaf.

this is not about the Catholic sisters: It is about a small group of activists who got hold of their leadership 20 years ago and belong to this conference (their policies caused thousands to leave their orders and discouraged more from entering the orders).

Wonder why the Vatican is worried about this small group?

Here's only the latest example:

This so called "leadership group" plans to have their next keynote speaker a lady who is in "Coast to coast am" territory, ...sorry, ladies, meditating does not "evolve" you to a higher power (this requires the hard science of DNA manipulation)...but meditating (aka self hypnosis) can open you up to delusions of grandeur and folie a deux...

Sigh. Where is Christopher Hitchens when we need him?

While Madonna is showing us her aging bosom and tushie, Lady Gaga is busy designing a new perfume: and will be on the cover of Vogue later this year.


David Warren essay on religious art: Buddhas, doves, and angels.

Literalist images: yet in each emotionless gesture, the still, sculptural Buddha is "teaching" - about suffering; about the cause of suffering; about the cessation of suffering; about the eight-fold pathway to freedom. I recall wrestling with the ideas, at an age too young, and with learning too thin to make much sense. But there must have been some tiny insight there, some slight grasp, for I came away with the idea that this was not about the mere avoidance of suffering....
(the angel of the Annunciation) in this piece is to be taken literally. He lifts his finger, pointing up, to something beyond canvas, paper, or board - both literally, and figuratively, to what is beyond all human understanding. This is what art is for: to show direction; to point the way up. 

I was googling last week about using dried dog food for a survival situation: Consensus: Probably okay but it doesn't have a long shelf life because it contains fat, and often it lacks vitamin C (which dogs can produce themselves, but humans need in their food).

But here is another reason to worry: Salmonella contamination
this case was in dry dog food produced by a company in South Carolina.


How to make Jack Daniels.
Is it an old Welsh herbal remedy?

A survey found two-thirds of injuries in the kitchen come from preparing fresh vegetables like squash and turnip that are too difficult to cut.
Almost a quarter said pumpkins were the toughest vegetable to skin and chop while a fifth said swedes were the most dangerous.
Tranlation for Americans: A "swede" here isn't a descendant of the vikings: it refers to a rutabaga...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Little Girls Growing Up

Cat item of the day


Hero of the week

First came Abe Lincoln, Vampire killer.

Now comes the really tough hero:

Links to my other blog

some of these were posted in part here (and when you see long posts, with lots of links, it means I was interrupted before I could move the article to bnn)

Video of the day


Global warming post of the day

from StrategyPage:

The Good News: 
The Northwest Passage may open up to shipping (and drilling for oil).

The Bad news:
With all this new wealth potential up there, nations bordering the arctic are getting ready to defend their appreciating frozen assets.

Philippine news

Another day, another typhoon... it should stay off the east coast, and just bring us heavy rains. Right now, it is overcast but not raining.

Local article on why the Philippines doesn't use the "international" names for typhoons: Local names are easier for folks to remember, although sometimes the spelling may vary.  This one is "butchoy", or "Buchoy" or "Butsoy", depending who is writing. Most folks who have that name spell it "Buchoy"....

The advantage is that when the monsoon rains come, it means it is not as hot, so I don't have to stay in the room with the aircon on all afternoon.

It is rice planting season, and part of our fields are being used to grow experimental rice hybrids. (We grow only organic rice, and have tenant farmers on our land, and subcontract some of the local independent farmers who own what used to be our land but was given to them with land reform...legally a person can only own a small amount of land, but each person in the family owns a couple hectacres).

The specialists were over yesterday showing the farmers how to plant the seedlings  (yes, the farmers know how to plant, but they wanted the seedling to be planted carefully and in rows: often the farmers just try to plant quickly and might plant too deep or too shallow, which would affect the ability to guage if the new hybrid is growing ok).

The kerfuffle over the Bradley win continues, but Pacquiao has moved on.

Connect the dots: Hello Garci, Poll fixing, and thinking you can get away with murder.

In the US, the leftist slant is usually evil capitalist government vs innocent leftists, but the dirty little secret is that this is about who controls the budget and is able to skim funds and receive gifts...


China continues to intimidate the Philippines 

The radar in the area is limited, so the US is sending stronger radar to help them keep a watch. The left is upset, but not too upset at the US coming back, and the bishops? Let's pray for peace.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dog item of the day

From the Washington Post:

At last night’s Runway to Win event in Chicago, U.S. Vogue editor Anna Wintour announced some new, perhaps unexpected, designer products in the campaign’s Runway to Win online store: ‘Bark for Obama’ designer pet products.
Presumably Ms. Wintour won't be sending one as a gift for the dogs of her favorite murderous dictator.

And the real story is that she wants a job from Obama: Ambassador to England.

Story at the Washington Post:

Her younger brother is currently the political editor for The Guardian, which has reported on Wintour’s desire for the ambassadorship. (A trial balloon, perhaps?)
She is also a bundler for Obama, and on Thursday is hosting a dinner along with “Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker for Obama, Michelle Obama, whom she has advised on fashion matters, and two lucky winners of a small-donor raffle for the president’s re-election campaign...

Wintour came under fire last year when Vogue featured a glitzy profile on Syria’s controversial, but glamorous, first lady, Asma al-Assad. On Sunday, Wintour finally released a statement about the magazine’s coverage on the wife of the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad....

The escalating atrocities in Syria are unconscionable and we deplore the actions of the Assad regime in the strongest possible terms.”
It’s unclear if Wintour’s statement came as a result of White House pressure but certainly she is becoming a surrogate for the campaign as she appears in video ads and hosts more and more high profile fundraisers in a highly-charged election year.

Volcano photos

NatGeo has a slideshow of Volcanic eruptions with lightening. 

This one is in Chile

Photograph by Carlos Gutierrez, Reuters
There are at least two types of volcanic lightning, the new radio-mapping study found. One occurs at the mouth of the volcano, and the other—as shown over Chile's Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano complex in 2011—electrifies the heights of the plume, possibly as rising water becomes a mix of droplets and ice-coated ash particles.
The water and frozen-ash particles, said McNutt—who's found volcanic plumes to be surprisingly water rich—rub against each other. As with shuffling shoes on carpet, the contact produces static charges.

The Dragon is coming! the Dragon is Coming

Popular Mechanics has an article about the DragonX spacecraft, that is supplying the space station.

Hint: private enterprise to the rescue.

lots of neat photos at the company's website.

View from the International Space Station of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft as the station’s robotic arm moves Dragon into place for attachment to the station. May 25, 2012. Photo: NASA

headsup Instapundit:

Did Pacman win the fight?

The Philippines was upset when Pacquiao lost the fight to Bradley, but then we see Pacman as a hero, and a symbol of our country.

So complaining he lost is sour grapes, right?

Except now the same thing is being noted on ESPN and other boxing sites.

Andreas Hale at Fight News:
t to make sense of the loss after Pacquiao was up on most journalists’ scorecards by a wide margin was the truly baffling part. Some had it as wide as 119-109 and other had it 116-112 (FightNews scored it the latter) but nobody had Timothy Bradley winning a split decision against Manny Pacquiao to take his WBO welterweight title. Two scores of 115 -113 in favor of Pacquiao and one score of 115-113 for Bradley sounded outlandish after we witnessed what appeared to be a strong performance by Pacquiao.
WBO to review fight (ESPN)
The vast majority of observers had Pacquiao clearly winning the fight, many in lopsided fashion. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who promotes both fighters, was outraged and has called on the Nevada attorney general to inquire about the scoring.
an ESPN BLOG: 5 things we learned about PacBradley
in the eyes of the great majority of observers, he didn't just beat Timothy Bradley Jr., he dominated him. This wasn't even comparable to Pacquiao's disputed wins over Juan Manuel Marquez, which almost everyone agrees were both at least close. To be fair, although there were some isolated dissenters ringside who gave Saturday's fight to Bradley, the great majority saw it as at least a 116-112 win for Pacquiao -- and plenty reckoned it was wider than that. (I scored it 117-111;'s Dan Rafael and HBO's unofficial official, Harold Lederman, scored it 119-109.) In the immediate aftermath, before the scores were announced, even Bradley didn't seem to think he had won.
ESPN Boxing: Bradley's win is Mayweather's gain
Here's an unintended and unexpected consequence of Timothy Bradley's farcical win over Manny Pacquiao: The biggest winner is a guy sitting in a jail cell..
Everything that needed to be said about the decision has already been said. Was it rigged? Unlikely, but you can't discount the possibility...More likely, though, the decision was the result of rank incompetence, a series of honest mistakes. And if you watched the fight, it's more difficult to believe the judges could have been this bad. So difficult, in fact, that it takes far less imagination to believe there was something funny happening. That's how conspiracy theorists get that way.
Wikipedia has the round by round estimates of the judges, but also notes (and names) most of those watching the fight chose Pacquiao.

The UKGuardian:
imothy Bradley was outboxed and outpowered by Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday night, yet was somehow awarded a split decision that again shocked the boxing world. It was a verdict that disgusted many of the assembled experts ringside and virtually all of a heavily pro-Pacquiao crowd.,,,
Former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis tweeted: "Unbelievable! #PacBradley This is another stain on boxing. Even worse than my draw with Holyfield! #Disgraceful."
Badlefthook quotes Roth defending his call, but then ends the discussion:

Roth also believes that anyone scoring the fight 11-1 (119-109) was way off-base:
(Roth)"I'm completely surprised at anybody that could score the fight 11-1. I don't know how they could've done something like that. We judge round by round. We sit there for three minutes, judge the round and give the scores to the referee and that's it. We don't talk about in the fourth round how we scored the third round or talk to people to our left or to our right, we're concentrating on that fight and that fight only. How anybody could see that fight so one-sided is beyond me. I just can't fathom that somebody could see such a fight so one-sided."
Personally, even though I feel Manny definitely won the fight, my take after a few viewings was that a 9-3 or 8-4 Pacquiao card seemed about right. I do believe that 11-1 is overboard. When folks say, "To score it 7-5 for Bradley, you have to give him every single close round," or the like, I think of 11-1 as giving Pacquiao every single benefit of the doubt in every close round. So what's the difference there, other than the right guy would have won if they all called it 119-109? There are at least two clear-cut Bradley rounds in that fight. If wrong is wrong, then wrong is wrong, you know what I mean? You know what I'm saying?
from The Atlantic magazine:

God works in mysterious ways, they say, but no one seemed to understand what happened in the MGM Grand on Saturday night when Pacquiao fought better than he had in several fights, but lost because of an inexplicable judges' decision, his first defeat in seven years. There was a lesson in there somewhere, but Pacquiao decided not to bring God into it this time.
"The religion is about my personal life," he said. "This is boxing—it's a sport."
 More from the Mercury news...

No, Lolo watched the fight, but I didn't follow it closely and I don't know if this is a kerfuffle so that managers can make more money on the rematch or if something is rotten in Las Vegas.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Design stuff

Survival tip of the day: the Tactical Adventure Medical Preparedness Outdoors Necessity (T.A.M.P.O.N.).

(headsup Instapundit).
or how about a backpack bed? made in Australia by volunteers for their homeless. Slideshow link

made of modern materials, not canvas that gets wet easily, and it doesn't contain PVC, so you won't be spreading that chemical into the environment.

hmm..wonder if it will work with a hammock: If you get floods you need to be lifted above the ground...

ArtForTheHousewives has a whole bunch of container growing tips here,

I am always amused at these "new" ideas: we recycle most of our stuff here: plastic bottles get used for carrying liquids, , as funnels, to store small items etc. and glass jars are also cleaned and used for food storage. Starting plants in old containers is nothing new here.
 everything gets reused: except for plastic bags, which are a problem (some cities are starting to ban them because they get discarded and clog up the drainage, leading to flooding being worse during typhoon season).

Doug Johnson, a designer has rediscovered a type of basket weaving that could be duplicated by the modern printers.
By tweaking the method--he sews the cotton rope together with colored thread on his vintage Singer--he’s able to produce bags and other vessels that look like they’ve got one handle in the old world and one in the new: part Navajo, part Tommy Hilfiger.
hmm...the link is to the coil technique of making pottery, not baskets...

Actually, I am familiar with the technique, which was used by many of our African women...the containers are even water tight. (No, I don't know about the Navajo part...didn't work there long enough).

However, you don't "sew" them together on the side after wrapping the rope around: You get a heavy rope/twine/fibrous branch/root and you wrap the thread around it a few times, and then you take a needle and connect the wrapped twine to the previous layer. Repeat. Repeat...etc.

Sister Euphrasia taught me how the baskets were mad: how to make the twine out of a plant that was probably sissel. She found it wild in the woods, cut off a few leaves, and then pounded them until the fibers appeared, and then she "twined" it with her hand. This was used for the wrapping, but I'm not sure what she used for the fibrous twig for the cordage.

Here is a co-op that sells similar baskets from Swaziland basketFromAfrica
here is a photo of a Sissal bowl from Swaziland. from their website.

Each fiber is harvested, dried, hand dyed, dried again, then rolled against the weaver's leg until the perfect thread is drawn out. An average of 30-40 hours per basket makes these one of the most labor intensive of all African baskets for their size.

As a bowl gets larger, it takes more and more time to weave because the coils on each row become much longer as the bowl flares upwards and outwards. So adding 1 row at the top of the basket, could be equivalent to weaving 5-7 rows or more in the base of the basket. This is the reason the larger baskets are more unusual, take so much more time to create and are only done by masterweavers.
I'm glad that they are keeping the crafts alive, because even when I was there, they often used nylon thread to wrap around old plastic bags to make baskets.

hey: Maybe that's how we can recycle our platic bags...

Radmegan has instructions on  using the wrap technique to recycle plastic bags, although she uses the bags as the thread, so her bags won't be very strong. But it gives you a good idea of the wrap basket technique.