Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Family news

we went to decorate the graves today, and later went out to lunch at Luz Restaurant.

Not too crowded. I did take photos but it's on my tablet so am not sure I will be able to download them.

Luz Restaurant is now a hot spot.

this is Chano and Lolo in our yard before we left.

I had to laugh at a news report saying that you could find hurricane information on line. The news report was implying that if you didn't have electricity you might not have the ability to go on line.

 Yet in the US, often landlines stay on when the electricity goes off.

And here in the Philippines, with brownouts, even if the local internet line is off, Chano just connects via his iphone to put things on Facebook etc.

 And during our bad typhoon last year, our local grocery store had a generator and would recharge your cellphone battery for a nominal fee.

Ruby got a new ASUS transformer: A ten inch tablet with a detachable keyboard for her birthday. This means she doesn't have to borrow her mom's computer, or use the old slow desktop in the office that we use for business or for backing stuff up....

The new computer is neat, and not too expensive.

How to carve a pumpkin


Conspiracy links of the day

She only said what they think, says the wise historian MariaElena

more HERE.

makes you wonder why no one walked out of her talk.

wikipedia article has these links

  1. ^ Nisqually Valley News "Knight video draws fire"
  2. ^ Nisqually Valley News "New JZ Knight video emerges"
  3. ^ The Olympian "Lachney to give Knight donation to scholarship" 
 But after a slew of local publicity, some (but not all) Democrats will return her donations.

Blackfive article mentions Panetta is attending a meeting to learn about where people might go for shelter in the hurricane (that had already passed but may have left them homeless)

All the conspiracy theorists on youtube spout about these "FEMA" camps, but I remember when 30 thousands Vietnamese refugees were camped in an inactive base in IndiantownGap PA, and years later, when thousands from Grand Forks ND sought refuge in the Air Force base there.

Another sign the end of the world is nigh

A Sign that the end of the world is nigh

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

family news

we went out to get flowers for Nov 1: we probably will go "early" tomorrow.

The main street and the Palenke parking lot is wall to wall flowers...

Cat item of the day

Stories below the fold

Stories below the fold:

Turkey now exports more to Iraq than to Italy.

full story HERE.

The Rohingye population in Myamar are hated as "recent" ethnic immigrants, and given few rights.

But now the OIC (Islamicist backers) want to start an office in that country, presumably to make it into a religious conflict.

EdDriscoll points out a UKTelegraph article trying to put the Jimmy Saville pedophile scandal into context:

A Jimmy Savile inquiry? We might as well launch an investigation into the entire 1970s
yes, please do...someone needs to write a truthful book about the collapse of morality of those days, and how the psychiatric establishment thought it was good for us (including those who were my professors in medical school), and how media promoted the lifestyle of the sociopaths while making those of us who said no an object of ridicule...which is one reason why the old fuddyduddies hesitated to report the abuse..


If you are suffering from Sandy, remember those who are now trying to rebuild their homes:,
including Cuba

I have written before about Benghazi, but the spinning and story changing by the WH has now led to conspiracy theories that the under-cover operation there wasn't just working with pro democracy groups and securing guns and WMD from local "militias" but invoalved gunrunning to Syrian rebels.
This link is via Instapundit, but conspiracy sites started pushing the story a few days ago...

the vast right wing conspiracy? Yes, but I seem to remember that the VRWC was correct about Clinton....

Popular mechanics on the ten worst US disasters in the last century.

and don't miss their "Debunking Katrina" article: The press was 24/7 blaming Bush for Mayor Nagin's mistakes, while ignoring this reality:

perception of general inaction, one that was compounded by impassioned news anchors. In fact, the response to Hurricane Katrina was by far the largest--and fastest-rescue effort in U.S. history, with nearly 100,000 emergency personnel arriving on the scene within three days of the storm's landfall...
Is Atlantic City's mayor the Mayor Nagin redux?
"And now I'm going to have to send emergency personnel in there tomorrow, with live wires all over the place, risking their lives because Mayor Langford was worried that some of those people were angry ?" Christie asked. "That's not leadership everybody."
Remembering "The Big One":

Atlas Obscura has an article on the ruins of a Portuguese convent that collapsed during Lisbon's November 1, 1755 earthquake.

The magnitude 9 earthquake struck at about 9:30 am on the Saturday morning, tearing wide gashes in the earth. The tremor was followed by a series of devastating tsunamis and five days of raging fires which devoured the buildings left standing. It was one of the deadliest quakes in history, leaving an unknown total number dead (usually named as about 60,000 people though estimates range from 10,000 - 100,000), and 85% of the city in total ruins.

More HERE. Ironically, it is mainly remembered today by students forced to read Voltaire...


There are a lot of quiet things going on in is the LATimes report.
On Friday, Chinese leaders woke to a New York Times story about how Premier Wen's family controls assets worth at least $2.7 billion.

 heh. sounds like he is taking lessons from Gloria.

Stay safe

My relatives in the eastern US are battening down the hatches for the hurricane hitting them today.

But remember in your prayers not just those who are with their families at home, but those in evacuation centers.

And remember those who are away from their families to help: I have read about electric/utility companies in the midwest sending trucks east to be in place to clear fallen electric wires, for example.

Then there are the local responders (cops, firemen, utility workers) and the National Guard units who will patrol the streets and rescue those in peril.

And don't forget those who will be sleeping on the floor in hospitals and nursing homes 24/7 to care for emergency patients and the in-patients who can't be sent home or evacuated elsewhere.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Factoid of the day

The film Argo was based on a true story: the story was published on WIRED.

but the factoid is this: the original script was based on Roger Zelazny’s Hugo award winning science fiction novel, Lord of Light...

(but the film project fell through because someone embezzled the funds.)

Boing Boing link HERE. tells about Geller's attempt to make the film before it was  coopted into Argo...

Musical interlude of the day

Lyrics here. when the storms of November come early...

Haloween costume

Don't have a costume? Dress up as a Filipino mythological figure.

My favorite:
Kapre—Also harmless beyond scaring its victims, the kapre is a giant, similar to the Western ogre, that sits atop a tree and smokes a big cigar. The glow of its cigar can be seen from afar. The only thing one can do is to stay away from the tree, go around it and leave it behind.

Storm surge?

UKMail on the perfect storm of Halloween.

It could be a redux of the 1938 New England Hurricane...
or the Great Hurricane of 1635...

the danger is the storm surge, that in 1635 hit 44 feet in a few areas.

NOAA report on coastal storm floods here.

my son in Florida said they only got a little rain from the strom, but now I am worrying my family in PA and New England will get hit.
in our prayers.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

cat item of the day

Pumpkin carving tips

no, we don't have pumpkins here in the provinces, but we can buy small ones to decorate.

So how does one carve a pumpkin?

video one


Or  you can just do it the lazy guy's way:

Rant of the day

I hate to put serious stuff on my blog on Sunday, but I keep wondering about the Libya coverup, and wonder why it is being done.

 From Instapundit, two links:

 CSMonitor summarizes Fox and some other news reports with links.

 And this one, about the SEALS who ran to help (against orders?), and are the unsung heroes of the saga.

Not knowing exactly what was taking place, the two SEALs set up a defensive perimeter. Unfortunately Ambassador Stevens was already gravely injured, and Foreign Service officer, Sean Smith, was dead. However, due to their quick action and suppressive fire, twenty administrative personnel in the embassy were able to escape to safety. Eventually, these two courageous men were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers brought against them, an enemy force numbering between 100 to 200 attackers which came in two waves. But the stunning part of the story is that Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty killed 60 of the attacking force. Once the compound was overrun, the attackers were incensed to discover that just two men had inflicted so much death and destruction.

InFromTheColdBlog describes the problem of logistics, which maybe would have been the reason for lack of response, but his post is a few days old, and now new stuff is available, so I am keeping watch to see what he reports.

As a doctor, I know how "monday morning quarterbacking" can be harmful and misleading, but I also have worked with the bureaucrats long enough to know how following the rules sometimes get in the way of what needs to be done.

Gift item of the day

Airborne microbes, from thinkgeek: 

(watch at your own risk)

Films take two

Since you guys in the US might be rained in by your hurricane, here is another film to watch. (or download to watch when the electricity goes off).
One of the few films about doctors that I can watch without throwing shoes at the screen and saying: NO NO NO.

And I'm old enough to remember the original publication about this episode...more here. and HERE.

Brush up your Shakespeare

Brush up your Shakespeare:

Don't believe me? listen to this:

And of course, the plots are so good they are often recycled, The Taming of the Shrew, which in the Movie version with Elizabeth Taylor seems more cruel than enjoyable to modern audiences, has been made over several time; not only as Kiss me Kate (the source of the song "Brush up your Shakespeare) but this modern version Overboard

Or Romeo and Juliet, made over as West Side Story.

another remake is Kurosawa's film Ran: a retelling of King Lear in medieval Japan:

Trailer here.

Alas, the full film has been removed from youtube, and although it's still on some Asian sites, (or here) the problem is lack of subtitles...but it's visually stunning and worth a rent...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

science stuff

NatGeo has a slide show of the best micro photos of the year:

Image courtesy Gerd A. Guenther, Nikon Small World
Looking more like a series of scythes, this shot of sea gooseberry larvae (Pleurobrachia)—a type of ctenophore that's 95 percent water

Cooking made us human, since eating raw food is hard to chew and digest enough calories, especially protein that is needed for the brain to grow properly.

attention Bruce Willis: Not nukes: Paintballs.

In the event that a giant asteroid is headed toward Earth, you’d better hope that it’s blindingly white. A pale asteroid would reflect sunlight — and over time, this bouncing of photons off its surface could create enough of a force to push the asteroid off its course.
How might one encourage such a deflection? The answer, according to an MIT graduate student: with a volley or two of space-launched paintballs.

Malala is improving. 

In our prayers.


well, look at it this way: It could have been a humpback whale...

Factoid of the day

Rocky's real name was Rocket J. Squirrel. J comes from Jay Ward, who invented the character.

And Frostbite Falls is International Falls, Minnesota, often the coldest spot in the lower 48...Moosesylvania is an island in the Lake of the Woods, also Minnesota..

yeah, I'm familiar with that because I lived near there:
U.S. Representative Collin Peterson proposed a constitutional amendment that would allow the residents of the Northwest Angle, which is part of his district, to vote on seceding from the United States and joining Canada, angering the leaders of Red Lake Indian Reservation, which holds most of the Northwest Angle's land

Another trivial fact:

Pottsylvania is probably East Germany.

Wikipedia article link

and his "voice" was done by a woman, June Foray.

Science news you can use

In the past, we were told that we were descended from monkeys.

Now the scientist have changed their minds:

First human ancestor looked like a squirrel

image mentalfloss

Recipes of the week

Latest audiobook from Librivox:

365 Foreign dishes.


5.—Chinese Chicken.
Cut a fat chicken into pieces at the joints; season with all kinds of condiments; then put in a deep saucepan. Add some chopped ham, a few sliced bamboo sprouts, 1 chopped onion and a handful of walnuts. Cover with hot water and let stew slowly until tender. Add some Chinese sauce and parsley. Serve with shredded pineapple.
6.—Scotch Scones.
Sift 1-1/2 pints of flour; add a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoonful of soda mixed with 1 pint of sour milk. Mix to a soft dough. Lay on a well-floured baking-board and roll 1 inch thick. Cut with a round cake-cutter and bake on a hot greased griddle until brown on both sides. Serve hot with butter.
7.—Egyptian Meat Balls.
Chop 1 pound of raw beef; season with salt, pepper and 1 teaspoonful of curry-powder; add 2 stalks of chopped celery, 1 small onion and some chopped parsley. Mix with 2 beaten eggs and 1/2 cup of bread-crumbs, and make into small balls. Let cook in hot butter until tender. Serve on a border of boiled rice and pour over all a highly seasoned tomato-sauce.
8.—Austrian Potato Dumplings.
Peel 5 potatoes and boil whole in salted water until tender. Drain, let get cold, then grate them and mix with 4 eggs and 1 ounce of butter; add salt to taste. Mix well; add flour enough to form into dumplings and fry in deep hot lard until brown. Serve hot with cooked fruit.
other cook books from Librivox:

  1. Lydia M Gurney. "Selected Recipes" (in "Coffee Break Collection 004 - Hodge Podge") · (readers)
  2. Miss Parloa. "Selections from "Chocolate and Cocoa Recipes"" (in "Short Nonfiction Collection Vol. 004") · (readers)
  3. Tilden, Joe. "Joe Tilden's Recipes for Epicures" · (readers)
  4. Buist, Robert. "Family Kitchen Gardener, The"
  5. Gentile, Maria. "Italian Cook Book, The" · (readers)
  6. Green, Olive. "How to Cook Fish" · (readers)
  7. Johnson, Constance. "When Mother Lets Us Cook" · (readers)
  8. Lea, Elizabeth E.. "Domestic Cookery, Useful Receipts, and Hints to Young Housekeepers" · (readers)
  9. Payne, A. G.. ""C" vegetable dishes from Cassell's Vegetarian Cookery" (in "Short Nonfiction Collection Vol. 013") · (readers)
  10. Simmons, Amelia. "American Cookery" · (readers)

ebook download here.

more cookery ebooks at Project Gutenburg here.

and the Anchoress has a recipe for Meringue cake

WTF headline of the day

The Naked Cowboy announces support for Romney

(headsup Gatewaypundit)

yes, I know: he's a street performer in NYCity.

Family news

I thought the typhoon was passed, but we again have heavy rain, probably from the edge of the passing tropical storm.

Lolo is a lot better, but still is wheezing a bit.

The conference is over, only the cleanup remains.

Good news of the day (Friday edition)

this is my blogpost from yesterday before the internet went off:

The NatGeo reports that there are too many grey squirrels, so that some are considering giving them birth control pills. 

 Photograph by Maria Stenzel, National Geographic

Hey, why not just eat them?

Squirrel pie: YUM!


Thanks to fracking, the US is not only becoming a producer and exporter of oil

but it may result in more local manufacturing being done:
Natural gas [is] difficult to transport across oceans and is most efficiently consumed in the same continent where it is produced. That means the glut of gas hitting the market will result in the U.S. having lower prices than other major industrial economies for years to come.

the war in Syria is bad on both sides but will it result in a new country, Kurdistan?

Partly as a result of Western commitment to the Kurds, Iraqi troops were withdrawn from the Kurdish regions in October 1991 and these areas assumed de facto independence.
and Joe Biden, who once proposed a tripartate division of Iraq, might be a prophet.


Let lose the dogs of war: and the cats, and the horses, and the pidgeons.

Rob – a collie from the Special Air Service, received the award on 22 January 1945 “Rob took part in landings during the North African Campaign with an Infantry unit and later served with a Special Air Unit in Italy as patrol and guard on small detachments lying-up in enemy territory. His presence with these parties saved many of them from discovery and subsequent capture or destruction. Rob made over 20 parachute descents.”Picture: PDSA

UKTelegraph has a Slideshow of animals who saved lives in Britain's various conflicts.


Happy Durga Puha

(or Navratri...or Dawali)

Devotees carry an idol of the Hindu goddess Durga to immerse it into the sea at the Marina beach, during the last day of the Durga Puja festival in ChennaiPicture: REUTERS/Babu 

a celebration of good over evil... and celebrated under various names in India.

wikipedia article:

Friday, October 26, 2012

family news

Well we are mopping up from the leaking roofs but no other problem from the tropical storm. Today's the last day of the conference. Ruby's birthday is tomorrow but she is going to camp, so no party. She is getting over the flu but no fever today. Sigh. When I moved here, she was a little tot and now she's a little lady. We hear a hurricane might hit the US coast where we have relatives. In our prayers.

The Band of brothers

These few, these happy few

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Storm update

winds are not bad, but there is heavy rain for the last two hours, and we have six or seven more to go.

Luckily we are on high ground so in no danger.

another day another typhoon

it was bright out but hazy this morning, now it is overcast and drizzling.

we have a typhoon "Ofel" in the Visayas but locally we are not under warning (although signal one in Manila).

it should pass by south of us later today

so I told our housecleaner to come back Saturday to do the wash: It will be too humid for the wash to dry anyway even if we hang it up indoors.

Family news

Conference is still going on.

dogs are getting restless from being cooped up...

Lolo is better: still coughing but has some energy now....He even gave PapaDog (AKA BadBrad) a bath this morning...

I am better too, but Ruby now has the same flu symptoms...Chano is flat in bed with a backache again.

Joy has arranged for the family company to get a grant from the government for our organic products. It should benefit not only us but the farmers who grow for us. I didn't get the full details. (I'm a doctor, not a farmer).

We missed Dr. Angie's birthday party because Lolo and I were sick. We probably will not have a party for Ruby this year due to the conference hall being used.  Probably we'll just celebrate at a restaurant this weekend.

Cat item of the day


Craft item of the day

how to make a Kusudama Void (Origami Ball)

Eat like a hobbit

Denny's to launch Middle Earth menu.

Menu items include 11 breakfast, lunch and dinner items such as "Hobbit Hole Breakfast," "Frodo's Pot Roast Skillet," "Gandalf's Gobble Melt" and the "Build Your Own Hobbit Slam," which includes limited-time items such as "Shire Sausage."
Fans of the Hobbit knows that hobbits eat two breakfasts, and eat about seven times per day. "We just felt with the two breakfasts that whole notion of comfort eating and comfort food" were a fit for Denny's, said Frances Allen, CMO at the restaurant chain. She added that "The Hobbit" has a huge following "across a broad spectrum of people," including families and millennials, which are Denny's top targets.
but watch out if you drinking with hobbits:

Headline of the day

Short-changed robber returns to Syracuse bank to demand more money

Syracuse, NY – A bank robber was quickly captured this morning when he returned to Alliance Bank after discovering the teller had not given him the full $20,000 he had demanded, Syracuse police said.

from DaveBarry

Stories below the fold

Read this Reuter's report on the Sunni Shiia divide in Pakistan.
More than 300 Shi'ites have been killed in Pakistan so far this year in sectarian conflict, according to human rights groups....

The risks are heightened by Pakistan's long-standing role as a battlefield in a proxy war between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Iran, which have been competing for influence in Asia and the Middle East since the 1979 Iranian revolution.

Aussie Brendan O'Neill writes in the UK Telegraph about the disdain of the US press for the hoi polloi:

Behind this is the old idea of the "philosopher king": only the wise should judge, and that the proletariot only votes for personality.

But if that is true, why is the roboRomney is ahead in the polls?


Making political hay on rape again.

The anchoress says it was dumb to talk theology during an election, but points out that the press will use this to to distract the public from very real questions about Benghazi, and adds:

They (the press) were going for strident bumper-sticker speech, which is much less threatening, and challenging, than contemplating the age-old question (Book of Job, anyone? Crucifix, anyone?) of whether God sometimes allows evil to happen so that something great may later come of it.It’s actually a very broad-minded question, and an invitation to talk and think about things larger than ourselves and our prideful ideas.
If there is no God, no problem. The person in question is an A$$$$$$$$. Abort the kid and let mom get along with her life.

But if there is a God, you have to confront two deep questions:

One: The problem of evil. Why is there evil? Why does God allow evil to occur? 

Two: can you do an action that it evil because you see it will have good result?

Religious folks know that although God may permit evil to occur, that ultimately he will arrange things so that good will ultimately result from evil.
And a child himself is not "evil" or the enemy: A child is a promise for the future. Most Christians would allow abortion in these hard circumstances, but Catholics point out that the proper response of Christians is to surround the mother with support and love, and maybe adopt the child if she cannot or will not care for it, but not to kill the innocent child who is not responsible for the crime behind it's conception.  

An upcoming movie Argo is about the Iranian hostage crisis of Iran, but they did rewrite some parts for dramatic purposes.

The true story can be found HERE.


There is a lot of talking points are being spun about Benghazi, but Instapundit links to Blackfive who said sending in a few jets from Italy to fly over the "demonstration" at treetop level might have scared the pants off of the "demonstrators", allowing the outnumbered and poorly trained local friendlies to get in and help, if not at the embassy then in the second attack on the safehouse.

And, of course we knew it was a professional attack, not a demonstration: VileRat told his gaming friends that he saw signs that an attack was coming 90 minutes before it started...

Col Updraft sent a link about using a supercomputer to figure out which treatment works best for cancer.
Ideally, a treatment regimen that Watson concludes has a 95% confidence rating, for example, would help oncologists choose from the 28 different chemotherapy cocktails they have at their disposal.
alas, here in the Philippines, a lot of chemo is still too expensive, so you might end up with the older, cheaper surgical treatments, although one can get sophisticated radiation treatment in Manila...

LATimes: Medical studies with striking results often turn out to be false.
Studies that reported striking results were more likely to be small, with fewer than 100 subjects who experienced fewer than 20 medical events. With such small sample sizes, Ioannidis said, large effects are more likely to be the result of chance.

Ya think?

Now that the local government is winning, peace activists insist the local gov't "negotiate" with Kony, 
and StrategyPage points out the real problem of the Kony video: free publicity.

spectacular violence attracts media attention and it frightens defenseless Central African villagers....A fellow villager with a disfigured face or a missing hand serves as a bitter reminder to others that it is better to keep quiet than inform on the LRA. (Austin Bay)
 side note: the Ugandan army is poaching elephants on the side, and selling ivory to China.
Ivory sells for $1,000 a kilogram on the international black market, though reportedly Chinese buyers will pay as much as $2,500 a kilogram. China has money and its people have a huge appetite for carved ivory objects.
then why did NatGeo make a big thing about a minor side operation selling possibly illegal ivory in the Philippines? Because unlike China we won't retaliate.

NPR article on the supervolcano that almost wiped out man.
It's actually an old story, but I worry when major news outlets say things like this:
...7 billion human beings on earth, and clumped together we weigh roughly 750 billion pounds. That, says Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson, is more than 100 times the biomass of any large animal that's ever walked the Earth. And we're still multiplying. Most demographers say we will hit 9 billion before we peak, and what happens then? Well, we've waxed. So we can wane. Let's just hope we wane gently. 
Much of the essay is propaganda for population decrease masquerading as science, and how we'd be better off if we didn't live in places that used to be forests (you mean like New York City, where the author lives ?)

Austen Bay on the US Navy issue. Part of the problem is the need to supply the fancy new high powered ships for wartime...but the other problem is: who protects the freedom of commercial ships at various chokepoints in commerce?

The candidates could have explored who should provide these ships. Gentlemen, whom do you trust to defend the U.S. economy? NATO ally Turkey controls the Turkish Straits; Denmark, Norway and Sweden handle the Baltic's Skagerrak, so they're cool. But, president, governor, do either of you trust the Chinese Navy to keep the South China Sea open to free commerce? Our allies Japan and the Philippines don't.

China casts wary eyes at the Indian Navy as it extends its reach to the Straits of Malacca. All right, India and China rely on free trade -- right now. Will they in a decade? It takes 10 years to build a new fleet. We agree no one trusts Iran at Hormuz. So, candidates, is it in America's interest to have a Navy that can patrol these distant chokepoints? To project power to defend these chokepoints? To project offensive power to open these chokepoints if a hostile force applies a chokehold?
one point he brings up I hadn't thought of: The vulnerability of the internet which uses underseas cables.
Blackham and Prins note that the two superhighways confront maritime bottlenecks. "Ninety percent of global email traffic is conveyed via undersea fiber-optic cables. These cables bunch in several critical sea areas (off New York ... the English Channel, the South China Sea ... and off the west coast of Japan)." 
Actually, I know about this vulnerability, since a 2006 earthquake south of Taiwan knocked us off the internet for three months. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chicken item of the day

Kobi Levi's latest pair of high heels were inspired by chickens and cockrels 
Picture: Kobi Levi/ Solent News Photo Agency

Altogether now:

Chicken Shoes: They're EVERYWHERE they're EVERYWHERE...

Cause of illness; suggestion. Treatment? Green poultice

NewScientist has a nice article about diseases caused by windfarms.

the problem?

"Firstly, there are the temporal problems. Wind farms appeared some 20 years ago in the US. There are now just shy of 200,000 turbines globally. But the first recorded claims that they caused disease came a decade later. Two rural doctors, one in the UK and the other in Australia, made claims repeated widely in newspapers but never published in any journal. Turbines have come to be blamed for chronic conditions like (amazingly) lung and skin cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and stroke. But importantly also acute symptoms, that according to Australia's high priestess of wind turbine syndrome, Sarah Laurie, an unregistered doctor, can commence within 20 minutes of exposure. If true, what happened in the early complaint-free years?"

reminds me of an anecdote about putting tiny amounts of fluoride in the water to prevent tooth decay. That too was a big conspiracy theory  (Even getting the main paranoid in Dr Strangeglove to spout about fluorides).

So one town, after a loud (but tiny) group objecting to fluoridation found indeed that shortly after the start day, large numbers of people started complaining and sueing the town for their "illnesses"...after about six weeks of this, the town announced that unfortunately, due to technical problems, the date of adding flouride to the water had been postponed...meaning the complaints were either fake, or from the power of suggestion.

Indeed, the NS article notices that the "green poultice" ( settlement) seems to cure the problem.

Now, I know about the bird problem, but the number of birds killed is a lot fewer than those killed by kitty cat.

And although wind per se can cause illnesses (by blowing dust and fungus present in soil into the air), there is no proof that these high windmills do that, because they are too high to move the wind at ground level. In other words, the effect of high winds might be illness but not the passive windmills.

video of the day

Col Updraft sends this link:

hmmm...he seems to have missed the money factory and the Popcorn wagon on Popcorn square.

as for Alice's Restaurant, she was a victim of over regulation: she could not afford to put in the "handicapped restrooms" , which would have required extensive renovations of the older building, so she had to shut down, reopening elsewhere but later reselling that one too.

When I worked in the area many many years ago, it was still open, Arlo and his family were still there, as was Chief Obie, who became a minor celebrity when he got a cameo as himself in the movie.

the song behind the restaurant HERE.

Family news

Lolo and I have the flu.

I am just feeling yuckky but last night Lolo had a high fever so we asked Dr Angie to check him. Once his fever went down he is much better and slept okay.

But Blogging will be light.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Special Ops (Cat division)

which is why there was a dog to get BenLaden, but no cat along

Mister President, Google is your friend

No, thank the Lord, I didn't watch the debate in the US.

But the blogs point out this gaffe by Romney; on why we need more fancy new ships, corrected by the President/ The Navy is downsizing, and it's not the number of ships per se, but different types of ships for different wars that are needed.

However, the President also got a few facts wrong:

OBAMA:  “You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of Battleship, where we’re counting ships. ”
Leading to a Special forces type emailing Instapundit:
n Special Forces (Green Berets) for a few years and when POTUS mentioned the horses/bayonets I immediately thought of this. We also used bayonets. I think the picture of the SF guys on horses would be perfect to highlight the POTUS’s complete ignorance on everything military.

Well, here you go:

and a simple google will get you this article: Marines, Mules and the Middle East

At a California military training facility, U.S. Marines are learning how to use donkeys and mules as partners in upcoming combat missions in Afghanistan.

wikipedia article here.

I posted about this while back.

And no, I didn't use mules or donkeys as a missionary (although one priest used a horse to say Mass in an area where the main roads were landmined). However, I did have to ride a horse in a vaccination project in the mountains of Nicaragua when I was doing a summer stint during medical school.


from Globalvoices: the voices supporting Malala...
For the first time religious extremists, such as Taliban, are being vehemently criticised in the public. During an address to a public rally in Karachi, MQM's head, Mr. Altaf Hussain, described Taliban as ‘inhumane, stone age people'.

and they discuss the "disinformation" campaign spreading conspiracy theories to confuse people.

Stories below the fold

Boys will be boys and men will be men story of the day:

Archeoblog: New light on Old Neanderthals
The abstract for the article, entitled The Date of Interbreeding between Neandertals and Modern Humans, which is free to access, is as follows
Comparisons of DNA sequences between Neandertals and present-day humans have shown that Neandertals share more genetic variants with non-Africans than with Africans.... We measure the extent of linkage disequilibrium (LD) in the genomes of present-day Europeans and find that the last gene flow from Neandertals (or their relatives) into Europeans likely occurred 37,000–86,000 years before the present (BP), and most likely 47,000–65,000 years ago...
More at Nat Geo.

but earlier stories suggesting European red heads got their red hair from Neanderthal genes is not true: one of my podcasts about this said it's a different gene.


A breakthrough in deciphering Proto Elemite writing?

interesting story, but they still can't read it.


Denver zoologists save a baby tapir with "mouth to snout respiration".


Your tax dollars at work boondoggle of the week:

Wiring hiking trails to play canned music.

Users of a peaceful and popular Santa Clarita trail will soon be exposed to a "sonic intervention" as a new project designed to encourage passersby to linger and listen gets underway.
The endeavor, called Stroll, is a collaboration between the city of Santa Clarita and the California Institute of the Arts and uses audio devices erected along the city's South Fork Trail to emit an eclectic mix of field recordings, electronic sounds, the spoken word and performed music.
No, there is no mention about how much it costs, or why those setting it up never figured out that if we wanted to listen to " Tibetans chanting mantras in Katmandu, Nepal. Robin Sukhadia, now a graduate of the CalArts program, collected street sounds from Kolkata, India; and Kristín Pora Haraldsdottir documented poems from her native Iceland' we could just put the noise on our ipods...


will a new additive result in the antibiotics being able to kill MRSA?

 Andy Serkis, the CGActor behind Gollum, is planning to direct a new film Animal Farm.

altogether now: All Animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others....

Latest fake job; new book by British woman claims she was brought up my monkeys.

yet despite not having contact with humans in the time one develops language, apparantly she managed to learn not only Spanish but English...

Freakonomics points out the law of unintended consequences and recycling laws:
an L.A. Times article suggests the system is being gamed. Last year, it appears that nearly 100 percent of recyclable cans sold in California were returned, and 104 percent (!) of plastic containers:
Crafty entrepreneurs are driving semi-trailers full of cans from Nevada or Arizona, which don’t have deposit laws, across the border and transforming their cargo into truckfuls of nickels. In addition, recyclers inside the state are claiming redemptions for the same containers several times over, or for containers that never existed.
and then there is this lesson on how to pay lower electric bills.

the WTF Headline of the day

Italy earthquake scientists convicted

An Italian court has sentenced six scientists and a government official to six years each in prison over the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake.
Prosecutors said they gave a falsely reassuring statement regarding the risk of an earthquake, just days before the 6.3 magnitude quake which destroyed the city and killed 309 people.
the problem?
The scientists argued there was no accurate way to predict major earthquakes.

Risking One's Life to Save Another

Those who risk their lives evacuating patients to hospitals are one of the unsung heroes in the world.

I'm old enough to have done this with a fixed wing aircraft with only my medical bag for emergencies, but now they use helicopters with equipment which allows the medics to treat the patient at the scene and during the flight.

Blackfive has a link about the most dangerous medevac unit in the world: In Afghanistan, where not only might you get shot down , but the weather and terrain make the flight itself dangerous.

 The flight crews of Company C, 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, pose in front of a UH-60 Black Hawk located in Pasab, Afghanistan, in late September. (Photo by Sgt. Randy Ojeda/25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs)

The 25th Combat Aviation Brigade

“The harder days are when we have to go pick up kids,” said James, as he stared down at his feet. “It hits close to home. I picked up a girl once who looked just like my daughter.”

The crews started to discuss other challenges at Pasab, ranging from extreme, dusty environments to the threat of land mines on landing zones and common instances of random gun fire.

The discussion turned to treating Afghan National Army soldiers.

“Treating local nationals can be a challenge,” said James explaining they sometimes resist treatment. “Some have never seen a helicopter and they get scared, and on top of that we have the language barrier. But we push through it, we do our job and we are successful.”

The Pasab medevac crews have a 98-percent success rate of retrieving, treating and transporting their patients to a medical facility within the golden hour.

Medical Fascism alert

Fascism is alive and well, and telling you how to live.

Thinking twice about Health Checkups.

yes, those "remember your yearly health checkup" propaganda we have listened to for years is now being questioned. Why? Maybe to save the government money.

the problem? The study is a Cochrane "garbage in/garbage out" study.

Here is another garbage study in the NYTimes: If Intelligence is the norm, stupidity gets more interesting.

this is talking about finding the genome for intelligence, but says instead we should be looking for the genome for stupidity.

Actually, the world's IQ is getting better, because we are now better nourished and no longer have low IQ's due to protein malnutrition starving children's growing brains.

But the study implies scientists are trying to find what genes to screen for, presumably so they can stop those with the wrong genes from being born.

Then we have article says that we need the government to "help us chose" a good diet, or we'll all be fat.

In the Fight against obesity, drink size matters.

ah, but what if obesity is due to plastics in our diet? Why not regulate big business instead? Or Gaia's way to get us fat so we don't starve to death in a future famine?
full rant on my XangaBlog.

but if you really want to worry, try this one:

Two modern "ethicists" who believe in infanticide etc. are now penning books saying they want to teach us ethics.
Our knowledge of human biology – in particular of genetics and neurobiology – is beginning to enable us to directly affect the biological or physiological bases of human motivation, either through drugs, or through genetic selection or engineering, or by using external devices that affect the brain or the learning process. We could use these techniques to overcome the moral and psychological shortcomings that imperil the human species. We are at the early stages of such research, but there are few cogent philosophical or moral objections to the use of specifically biomedical moral enhancement – or moral bioenhancement. In fact, the risks we face are so serious that it is imperative we explore every possibility of developing moral bioenhancement technologies – not to replace traditional moral education, but to complement it.
Ah, brave new world that has such people in it!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ten Things every dog should do


50 things every dog should do
1. Flop down  and relax with your master.

2. Go for a swim in the sea

3. Go mad in the snow

4. Ride in an open top car, or better yet, learn to skydive:

5. Do the 'Beethoven' shake and soak everyone around you

6. Have your own spot on the bed

7. Accompany your owner on a run/cycle ride

8.Wake your owner so he isn't later for work

9.Go to work with your owner

10. Cheer your owner up when they are down

The "WAGD" Headline of the day

headsup DaveBarry, who says:
because it's new jersey...

Read more here:

Stories (and rants) below the fold

JONATHAN FREEDLAND AT THE GUARDIAN: “When Israelis kill Arabs there is outrage. But Assad’s brutal campaign has cost 30,000 lives and there’ve been no protests.”

(via Instapundit:)

Of course, he only reports the Assad atrocities, (this is the Guardian after all). And just ignore the AlQaeda among your ranks. True, Assad has WMD (some of which may have been Saddams) but he is trying to keep them out of the hands of the bad guys who will use them outside the country.

and Fides has this report:
"bombs continue to fall on the area of Almidan, of Armenian majority, launched by armed opposition groups which is located in Bustan el-Bacha: they have killed several people, injured so many and destroyed many houses ". Some groups in the rugged opposition, where there are also jiahadisti groups, "fire on Christian houses and buildings, to force occupants to escape and then take possession " the text concludes.

Some blogger (sorry I can't remember the link) remarked that Syria was similar to the Spanish Civil War before World War II, where the fascists fought the Communists, and that the best position of the west was to stay out of it..

 For 50 years, the elites in the West lamented that the Communists lost in Spain and hyped (correctly) on Franco's atrocities there, yet in the view of history, we now can find out about those unreported communist atrocities (e.g. Barcelona, kidnapping children to send for "education" to the USSR) and of course, history suggests that if they won, it would have just been worse (albeith unreported), while the "good points of the Fascists (e.g. the 30 thousand Sephardic Jews and others saved by Franco) has usually been ignored.

Nowadays, with the internet, we can find both sides of the sad story. In this case, the minorities will be ethnically cleansed or killed, and no one will notice, because it has nothing to do with Israel.


And if you think Assad is "evil", look at what the lack of a strong leader has led to in central Africa:

AFRICA/DR CONGO - More than 30 armed groups in the east of the Country: "the weakness of the State favours their proliferation"...
Those wars have led to a couple million killed or died from disease.

Hobbe's Leviathan suggests that sometimes an elightened dictatorship is not the worst option.

So why not Democracy? Because tribal customs stress cooperation and against violence, so many are passive in the face of violence: That's how they survived. And, as someone pointed out to me, in tribal areas, it's easy to kill anonymously, via poison, by opening the door and throwing a poisonous snake inside, or by simply blocking the door to the traditional house and setting the thatch on fire.

Another argument for good (but hot) concrete block houses with tin roofs.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry about this headline from a right wing blog:

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights has warned Americans not to elect Republican Mitt Romney in next month’s presidential election, saying that doing so would be “a democratic mandate for torture.”  The UN’s Ben Emmerson was referring to Romney’s refusal to rule out the use of waterboarding in interrogating terror detainees, a practice that President Barack Obama has ended.
I've written against torture in the past, but the dirty little secret is that President Obama no longer tries to capture terrorist leaders alive to torture them for information: Instead he just lets them be targeted and killed by drones. And I'm not sure this is an improvement.

On the other hand, having lived through a war where "insurgents" killed 32 of my friends (because they could, i.e. the victims were unarmed doctors/nuns or priests and working in rural hospitals and schools), I am not exactly a pacifist.

Belmont Club essay points out the same thing, quoting Pundita's blog, which calls non violence an American Fairy tale.

But short of teaching 12 year old schoolgirls to shoot those who threaten them, I'm not sure what you can do to protect innocent civilians against those who don't follow the rules of humanity.

On the other hand: compare and contrast: The Russian 1905 demonstrations and People power.

One didn't work, and the result was a very violent revolution 12 years later. The other succeeded, and the result is a very messy democracy.


Also from Instapundit:

MAMMOGRAM, PLEASE!:  In response to President Obama’s false claim that a reduction in government funding for Planned Parenthood would result in millions of women foregoing mammograms, a pro-life group, Live Action, decided to have 2,000 members call local Planned Parenthood offices to schedule the test.  Small problem: Planned Parenthood doesn’t offer mammograms (never has– it refers them out).
and although that was why Koman stopped funding them, the uproar by activists made them "change their mind". The result? the walk for breast cancer is now a dud. link2

The dangers of urban farming.
The scientists found that larger slums and a growing demand for food are pushing humans and animals into closer contact, which could fuel the spread of epidemics.
Attention Michelle:

forget the veggies that kids throw away. Just add powder to the junk food.


the "October surprise" is Gloria Allred's story saying Romney, acting in his role as a bishop, urged a mom not to abort her child after a heparin overdose.

The UK Mail has a story where, unlike the above case, the mom who had a blood disease that required daily injections of heparin, did carry the child to term.

and as a doc, yes,too much heparin might be a medical indication for abortion, but of course, the main benefit would be to the docs, who won't be sued for a live baby damaged because they didn't monitor the blood tests closely enough.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Man's best friend

from an email of Eng Hamid

Just for cute

Where Imperial Storm Troopers Moonlight

 taking a walk though Google Data Center:

From our networking room to the cooling towers outside of the facility, you can explore the different areas of a Google data center in this guided video tour. Learn more about what you're viewing in Street View above, and see some of our equipment in motion.

via the cheezburger site:

More stories under the fold

Hmm...those Vikings got around quite a bit...

they now are finding that they had a regular ivory trade going on with the locals at Baffin Island. Of course, it was a bit warmer back then.

from AtlasObscura:

Joya de Cerén was a pre-Hispanic farming community that, like Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy, was buried under an eruption of the Laguna Caldera volcano c. AD 600. Because of the exceptional condition of the remains, they provide an insight into the daily lives of the Central American populations who worked the land at that time.
Trekkies break world record of the largest number of people dressed in Startrek costumes.

and yes, all the Captains were there.
Photo by Martin McNeil/WireImage


Big weekend for Cebu: 80 thousand expected there to celebrate out latest saint.


she's not the only saint being canonized this weekend: Kateri is now a saint, and some from her father's tribe are going there to celebrate.
“The Vatican is topping off what we feel by making her a saint,” Alma Ransom told Indian Country Today Media Network. She has played a critical role in the canonization effort over the years.
“In Indian words she’s been a saint all along to us. When we refer to Kateri [pronounced Ga-da-li in the Mohawk language] we call her a holy person, and I think saints are holy people. We’re very proud and happy,” Ransom said, then added with a laugh, “We’re proud for her because she was so humble and timid—and we’re not!”


and my patients back in the US are celebrating:. Photo is from my old parish in Oklahoma.

As LostWorlds blog notes sarcastically, the Native Americans are not a zoo specimen, but still live and work in the US. He provides data on the largest tribes:

According to the 2010 census, the ten largest Native American tribes today are:
  1. Navajo……..308,013
  2. Cherokee…..285,476
  3. Sioux……….131,048
  4. Chippewa….115,859
  5. Choctaw……88,913
  6. Apache……..64,869
  7. Pueblo………59,337
  8. Iroquois…….48,365
  9. Creek………..44,085
  10. Blackfeet……23,583

The two largest tribes are completely different: Many Navajos still follow their traditions and speak the language at home, while the Cherokee have long been "assimilated" and intermarried with others: their heritage is more similar to those of the Ethnic immigrants: more mixed, with memories of the past.

The Sioux and Chippewa are somewhat in between: somewhat traditional but not as many native speakers.

I sometimes joke I had been through two wars in Africa but the only place where I was shot at was working with the Sioux. (My window was shot out with a high powered rifle). Of course, the hospital was a mess at the time, and the tribe was in an uproar. I made waves saying we needed more help, so I was hounded out of the place.

The Apache? About the same. They were even "meaner" than the Sioux, but at least I didn't get shot at.

When I worked with them, they hated the IHS personnel for good reasons; we were grossly understaffed and lacking decent facilities, but the IHS wouldn't upgrade because the wanted to close the in patient hospital and make it to a mere clinic (never mind that the next hospital was 30 miles over a 7000 foot mountain pass). So they kept the place inadequate to punish the tribe, saying if the tribe really wanted to improve things, they should spend money to take over the hospital instead of investing in enterprises that provided jobs for their people, never mind that treaty rights gave them free medical care.

The next time you read why the US needs single party federal health insurance, tell them to talk to their nearest Native American and see what kind of care they'd be given.