Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Attention Smaug:

Atlas Obscura reveals there is a dormant volcano in northern New Jersey...

Medical stuff

From my medical blog:

Rant alert: Stories below the fold

Is the Egyptian military crackdown on the Muslim brotherhood because the military is evil, or because the MB/Morsi supporters have been terrorizing civilians?

Don't ask me: but I don't expect the press to notice such things.


I found it interesting that the "two minute hate" on facebook yesterday was against Rush for being anti woman and Islamophobic: apparently he mentioned that Huma is a Muslim brotherhood plant, and he mentioned she is trying to save her marriage because she is a "good Muslim"...

 Actually, Rush is being kind: the alternative scenerio is that she is staying with him because she is politically ambitious, similar to the actions of Hillary and Ariana Huffington, both of whom married to further their own political ambitions. Although Ariana did divorce her gay husband after he lost the election and came out of the closet, Hillary still pretends to love Bill..(.poor Bill...stuck in a political marriage to help his ambitious wife who is never at home)...

and the left is saying it is a smear to claim she has ties with the Muslim brotherhood, but the partisan but accurate National Review has details. 

So why is the left busy hating Rush for mentioning her pro jihadi friends? Roger Kimbell explains here.

All of this is bad news for Hillary, who should have been president (if Obama's far left minions hadn't taken over the caucuses in the primary season)...

Hillary's link to Benghazi already has put her "3 o'clock phone call" scenerio at risk: knowing her "close friendship" with Huma might mean she is being influenced by a jihadi front could result in a real scandal, but of course not one that will make headlines...

sigh. She's be a good president, but her embrace of lies to kowtow to the far left in the Democratic party is a big means she won't pivot to the center, and will abandon the working class Democrats that were her main supporters... can you remember the phrase "Regan democrats", children?

Related item:
There are many causes of the depression (over politics) — the mounting debt, the chronic deficits, the serially high unemployment, the weak growth in the economy, the up and down housing market — but surely one catalyst is the sense that we increasingly are all living in an alternate universe, one of nodding “yes” when we know the opposite to be true.
Infinite Wisdom
"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence exists in breaking your enemy’s resistance without fighting."
--Sun Tzu


related item: Manning was not a traitor, but was convicted of lesser charges.
Instapundit notes that he released the personal information on a lot of troops..

if this got in the wrong hands, it could mean terror against soldier's families, or use it black mail, a la "StarTrek into Darkness".

Instapundit also remarks:
The most damning piece of news he got out was that we entrust secrets to idiots like him. I’m sure they’ll do better with your healthcare information. 


StrategyPage has a discussion of how military intelligence uses similar data bases against jihadi types. The title of the piece  says it all: "If we own your data, we own your ass".

The problem is not using data against the dangerous: The danger is that the NSA considers everyone the enemy: like the TSA at airports, they have to treat everyone the same so they aren't accused of profiling.

In medicine, we are told: When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras", but that is not allowed in the PC world of big government.

Which is why Lolo gets his luggage searched and the family jewels patted down in the airports... after all, there are so many 80 year old deaf PhilAm physicians who are terrorists...

Related item: Government is planning to use psychological manipulation to "nudge" you to do the right thing.

So what else is new? Big business already does that with advertisements, as anyone buying at Amazon already knows, and I get "suggested" videos all the time from Youtube.

Yes, but will gov't now use their database to do this? You know: Your medical records say you are overweight, so you get 40 emails telling you about healthy eating...

The schools already have federal "resource officers"
For students with a mental illness, use of drugs or alcohol can be a key risk factor for committing acts of violence. Recent research shows that those with a severe mental illness and a substance use disorder have a greatly increased relative risk for violence (more than 11 times) compared to those with neither diagnosis.  Since SROs can help infuse substance abuse and violence-prevention messaging in schools and throughout school systems, they can play an important role in school safety plans.
 one right wing wag posted this photo about the program:

Semi related item:

GReynolds column in USA today about the war against women:
 in the press, an isolated remark by a Republican candidate or radio host is treated as representative of the entire party. The behavior of these Democratic officeholders and candidates, on the other hand, is treated as an isolated incident -- and in many of the national media reports regarding Filner, his party affiliation is omitted, or not mentioned until paragraph 12.
 the San Diego press even admitted they knew about the story of their mayor, but covered it up.

This is nothing new: Reminds me of the JFK coverup...I mean, Jackie even left him at one point (and took refuge with her sister on Onassis boat to think about it)...Yet the sexual shenanigans of all the Kennedys was open knowledge for many years in Massachusetts (A retired union organizer told me some stories when I lived there in the 1970's), and there were several remarks by Cardinal Cushing of Boston that hinted about what was going on...

and of course, sex is not limited to Democrats: look at Nelson Rockefeller. But what is disturbing is the coverup and spin for those who are "on the side of the angels"....

The UKGuardian, speaking truth to power:

Sex addiction? Sorry, chaps, it's just plain old lust

Scientists no longer believe the condition exists, which is bad news for US politician Anthony Weiner and his ilk

China has repainted their naval boats white, so they can claim that the heavily armed boats harassing Pinoy fishermen are merely "civilian" craft.

and the article hints on the real reason for the sea grab: petroleum deposits and the ability to block the sea lanes.

Ah, but if you do a "google", most articles don't mention that the Chinese "coast guard" is pushing around local fishemen: instead the news articles are full of accusations that the Philippine navy are "pirates".

Either the Chinese have told the press how to spin the story, or someone noticed a small "gift" will get you off the hook for illegal fishing or stealing endangered species, so they are spinning that as proof that the Philippines is evil (and therefore not entitled to keep their traditional fishing grounds).

Will Fracking lead to the decline of jihadi supporting states?

the US fracking industry is a game changer...

and just wait until China starts fracking....
"The model for China's anticipated success is the US shale gas sector," the article states. "Geologists estimate the nation's recoverable reserves at about 25 trillion cubic meters, on par with the United States."

and it could replace the coal that is causing major pollution problems in Chinese cities...

but in the US/UK, the greens are opposing it, of course, even though it would lower greenhouse gases, because their long term goal is green energy...


CIC at StrategyPage has the factoid of the day: Hitler was cleared of killing his niece Gelli because of a convenient speeding ticket.

Factoid of the day take two: Doing good improves your immune system.


News you can use:

Is your dog happy to see you? Check his eyebrows...

except wikipedia says dogs do not have eyebrows...

While dogs don't have actual eyebrows,[citation needed] they do have a distinctive ridge above their eyes, and some breeds, like the Labrador Retriever, Rottweiler, Bernese Mountain Dog, German Shepherd, and Doberman have markings there. A dog's eyebrow movements usually express a similar emotion to that of a human's eyebrow movements. Raised eyebrows suggest interest, lowered brows suggest uncertainty or mild anger, and one eyebrow up suggests bewilderment. Eyes narrowed to slits indicate affection for the person or animal the dog is looking at

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Craft item of the day

Make a ribbon rose for your next gift.

Lecture of the week

Amy Stewart discusses the dangerous side of botany.

and if you are worried about meteor strikes or terrorism, well, the enemy may be a lot closer than you think: death by houseplant:

Then there is this:

Happy photo of the day

Stories below the fold

Bud Day has died:

...retired Air Force Colonel George “Bud” Day, who spent five and a half years as a POW in Vietnam with McCain at the Hoa Lo Prison.
Day had a decorated military career — including a Medal of Honor for escaping his captors after his aircraft was shot down...
After his release, he retired to Florida where he practiced law and became a champion of veterans’ health-care benefits. Day was 88.

 and he was willing to correct those who lied about VietNam:

Of Day’s famous bluntness Americans gained a taste during the presidential contest of 2004, when the aging hero emerged in harness with the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth in their campaign to expose the sham of John Kerry. “How can you expect our sons and daughters to follow you when you condemned their fathers and grandfathers?” Day demanded in one ad. The question turned out to resonate with Americans, who fell away from Senator Kerry and handed up President Bush for a second term. They comprehended what George Day was saying and that his heroism was unalloyed.
South Sudan report: Trying to get a pipeline to stop Sudan's shennanigans to stop them from making money.

And now: Exotic coffee to the rescue?

Forget about Iraq: Mexican violence is the untold story.
July 27, 2013: The government believes about a thousand people a month are dying from cartel related violence. This puts Mexico ahead of the recently increased terrorist violence in Iraq and where Syria was earlier this year. Some 70,000 have died in the cartel war since 2007, compared to over 100,000 in two years of Syrian violence and 120,000 Iraqi dead in a decade of religious violence.
someone tell the Pope, who "loves" druggies but is pretty close to being an enabler of sinners, since he preaches love, not repentance. The "Evangelical" sects actually stress positive behavior and giving social support for good behavior: which is why they get a lot of converts, and are getting a lot of their people out of the slums into the middle class...

Big Macs: high protein food for the masses.

I am old enough to remember the poor kids or kids whose moms were lazy would eat candybars and coke for breakfast. Now they eat McBreakfast instead.


Global warming: blame Gaia?

Earthquakes contribute to global warming by releasing methane hydrates, a greenhouse gas, from the ocean floor.


"Unisex" Combat uniforms? No, a misleading headline.
They are finally making the BDU uniform to fit women.

When I wore fatigues in the National Guard, I used to wear a medium top and a XXL long trousers (and cut off the bottom of the pants) to fit my large hips/high waist. But in the Class A uniform, I was a 16 top and 18 bottom.


Headline reminds me of Miss Congeniality bit about "World Peace".


It's not a UFO: The Perseid meteor showers are coming.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Destroyer of worlds

Paul VI predicted dire consequences from a mindset that denied the link between love, sex, and procreation.

So behold the enemy : I am birth, destroyer of worlds.

no, it is not a religious tirade, but an analysis of the hole in the philosophy of Ayn Rand, and explains why she is wrong to be pro abortion since even a good libertarian recognizes responsibility for their actions.
Though atheistic, Rand condemned a few choices as sin, including the refusal to think and the rejection of reality. Detaching the sex act from its natural consequence commits both. Sex may result in children. Competent adults know that going in, and stand responsible for the lives of any children they may produce regardless.

But the real problem is that we no longer recognize the reality of biology: that such actions can result in a child...

and wait 40 years until the failure to recognize the reality of biology behind marriage law produces a similar bad fruit. The biological part is not about gay sex, but the denial of the feminists that women and men are biologically different...

Family news

Steady rain...a low pressure area/cyclone is going over us...several brownouts yesterday. Hope Chano and family don't run into flooded streets in Manila...they left at 5 am for Ruby's speech

Video download of the day

Quick before the copyright cops find it's there:

12 o'clock high

How to build your own TARDIS

BBC story on folks who did just that.

Wikihow has a list of what to get and a step by step plan on how to put it together.

The Project also has instructions and blueprints.

it's the 50th anniversary of Dr. Who...and they even got put on stamps to celebrate it...

Cheap Pesticide and those Indian children who died

wired has an article about the cheap pesticide behind the poisoned school children in India.

the story is that the oil used to prepare the food was stored in used containers that once stored the pesticide; this pesticide is banned in most places, but cheap to make and now generic, so  the cheap locally manufactured version (made in India or China) is used by many poor farmers who can't afford the better safer pesticides.

Then we run into this:
WHO also believes that monocrotophos routinely kills people as well as insects. In a 2009 report, the agency points out that organophosphate exposure is linked to depression and increased suicide risk. It notes that the suicide rate among the poor farmers of India has been steadily rising – at the time of the report it was officially more than 17,000 people a year (largely considered an underestimate). Many of those farmers killed themselves by drinking monocrotophos. Between 1997 and 2005, pesticide suicides in India overall topped 190,000 people, enough to clear out a small city.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Musical interlude of the day

It's actually a lecture and flute music by Carlos Nakai

Jane Austen Jane Austen Jane Austen

The feminists complained about the lack of females on the UK Currency, so instead of women like Maggie Thatcher, they decided to put Jane Austen on one of their bills.


JaneAusten'sWorld blog asks: What would the email inbox of Jane Austen Characters look like?

FamousInboxes blog has an example for Elizabeth Bennett...
See also new inboxes for Elinor Dashwood, Catherine Morland, Anne Elliot and Mr Darcy.

ah, but if you want to read/listen to her actual letters, you can find that on Librivox;


however, I think the facebook Aeneid is a lot funnier...

Family news

Brownouts and thunderstorms all day...internet off too.

Ruby gives a speech to her magnet school class in Manila tomorrow on agriculture.
(she home schools with help from the Montesori school here, but has a school in Manila that gives her American credentials)

Lolo is fine.

Space photos

high resolution photos from the Apollo program LINK

The archive, officially the Apollo Image Gallery, was put together by the Project Apollo Archive by scanning photographs provided by the NASA History Office, Kennedy Space Center and Johnson Space Center.
the bad news is that their servers are overloaded, so you might have to recheck the site later.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Middle Earth stuff

if you scroll down here, you will find several lectures by Tom Shippey.

unrelated item: How about downloading Asimov's Foundation triology?

podcast of the week

Harvard Extension has a bunch of lectures including mp3 downloads about Shakespeare's later plays.
no, I haven't listened to them yet.  I download first (for example, a thunderstorm just came up, which means possible brownout with internet outage).
...previous free courses required streaming media, which is impossible for me.


Shaping the narrative:
both the BBC and CNN are presenting the parades of North Korea celebrating the division of that country. LINK
Just ignore those folks starving in the countryside and in concentration camps.

Shaping the narrative take two:

All the headlines quote one of the "African American" jurors for saying Zimmerman got away with murder. Instapundit links to the Breitbart story which quotes Slate:
William Saletan at Slate points out that the unedited interview seems to show something different. Maddy actually hesitates twice when answering Roberts’ question which contains the statement “George Zimmerman got away with murder.” As Saletan points out “she looks as though she’s trying to reconcile the sentiment that’s been quoted to her—that Zimmerman ‘got away with murder’—with her own perspective. So she repeats the quote and adds words of her own, to convey what she thinks: that there’s a justice higher than the law, which Zimmerman will have to face ”

In World War II, there was a saying that was first said during the Battle of Bataan: "There are no atheists in foxholes",.LINK and many chaplains like Father Braun  stayed with their men during the death march, the POW camp and the hellships..

But never mind. If you use that famous phrase now in an essay in today's US Army, you will have the essay censored and be reprimanded for hate speech, according to a UKMail story. 

 Belmont Club points out: the US won't back the Philippines against China's land grab.

mutual defense treaty? What mutual defense treaty?

so will Japan help? Well, the shipping lanes go through the West Philippine sea,
But of course, China has no evil intentions of stealing fishing grounds and petroleum deposits from other countries.

treating PTSS by implanting fake memories. 


Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed the ability to implant mice with false memories. The memories can be easily induced and are just as strong as real memories, physiological proof of something psychologists and lawyers have known for years.
The findings are a serious matter. According to the Innocence Project, eyewitness testimony played a role in 75 percent of guilty verdicts eventually overturned by DNA testing after people spent years in prison. Some prisoners may even have been executed due to false eyewitness testimony. It was not because the witnesses were lying. They were just wrong, said Susumu Tonegawa, a molecular biologist and the lead author in the MIT study.

Sure. Why not? After all, good psychologists have been planting false memories and producing PTSS for years with a lot of success, so why shouldn't it work the other way around?



Why drink beer post of the week

In the "good old days", Beer was safer than water to drink.

but now Archeoblog links to a paper saying that Nubian beer contained an antibiotic

they found elevated levels of tetrcyclines in bone from Sudanese Nubia and hypothesized that it was coming from the beer they drank and was present in quantities that strongly suggested that they were purposefully brewing it for that very reason. Not only that, but it was in high enough concentrations to have measurable health effects.

The history of Islam and violence

No, not from an Islamophobic website, but from the savvy StrategyPage.

When the western press ignores what is being preached in mosques and propaganda on the Arabic/Pakistan etc media, and when academia rewrites history to ignore the massacres of Islamic empires against Christians etc, they are covering up the real problem. And in Syria, those opposing Assad have a large number of zealots.
...the Islamic terrorists (are) fighting for the rebels and these fellows are always keen on convincing more Moslems, especially those with Western passports, to join Islamic radical groups. That is a problem because many (over twenty percent) of the 50,000 rebel gunmen are Islamic radicals, who are out to conquer the world (for Islam) not just overthrow the Assad dictatorship in Syria. European police have learned, from bitter experience, to keep an eye on these travelers because many of them return radicalized and ready to do some violence at home.
So the Boston bombers were in touch with terrorists from their homes, but even after the Russians warned the US, they were not picked up, but your phone calls and emails and eventually your medical records will be snooped into, just in case you are a Republican teaparty type terrorist.

The good news/bad news is that these cycles have occured before, and tend to run themselves out by overreaching.

Islamic Republics don't work. The only one that has been established (not counting others that say they are but aren't) is in Iran. The major problems were twofold. First, the radicals had too much power. Radical religious types are no fun, and you can't argue with them because they are on a mission from God. Most people tire of this in short order. To speed this disillusionment, many of the once-poor and now-powerful religious leaders became corrupt. This eventually sends your popularity ratings straight to hell.
It will take a generation or so for everyone in the Moslem world to figure out where all this is going. This is already happening in Iran, where moderates are getting stronger every day but everyone is trying to avoid a civil war. While the radicals are a minority, they are a determined bunch. The constant flow of Islamic radical propaganda does more than generate recruits and contributions in Moslem countries, it also energizes Moslem minorities (both migrants and converts) in Western countries to acts of terrorism. In the United States, you find such Moslems getting arrested several times a year for attempting to carry out religious violence.

Download of the day

Lots of art books that are free PDF files at the Metropolitan Museum of art.

Today's offering: How to write hieroglyphics.

of course, for everyday use, the Egyptian bureaucrats wrote in hieratic, a cursive form of writing.

more HERE.

Friday, July 26, 2013

World Youth day

Half a million kids at mass on the beaches, and maybe 1.5 million total visitors.

AFP compares the Pope to the Rolling Stones, who also brought huge crowds to the Copacabana, presumably because the reporter thinks a mass worshipping the Lord is the same as a rock concert. But why mass at the beach? Apparently it was scheduled to be in a rural field, but it rained too much...

And then the Pope will lead the "stations of the cross" through the slums of Rio

speech in the slums here.

Luckily we have EWTN to keep us up to date.

every time I see Pope Francis, I think I am looking at good Pope John...both had families from the same area of northern Italy..

Feel good story of the day

Almost all these guys are Secret Service agents. They're on the full-time protection detail for former President George H.W. Bush. One of these agents, first name Jon, last name withheld, has a two-year-old son named Patrick.
That's them in the front row too, right next to the one-time White House resident.
It seems Patrick is in a tough fight against leukemia and lost his hair during all the draining treatments to save his life.
Secret Service agents are a close-knit bunch. To show support for the little guy and his Dad, every member in the entire presidential protection detail shaved their heads.
When the 41st president of the United States noticed that this week, the 89-year-old said, "Me too."

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Heh. I'm on the "Wayback" machine

LINK has been crawled 83 times going all the way back to October 21, 2005.

and here is a random webpage:LINK

Schrodinger's kittens?

TheNewScientist article  headline:

Schrödinger's 'kittens' made in the lab from photons

Erwin Schrödinger dreamed up the famous thought experiment about a cat that is both dead and alive to demonstrate the absurdity of applying quantum mechanics to ordinary objects. Now two teams have made the closest thing yet to a Schrödinger's cat in the lab – by connecting hundreds of millions of photons via the strange quantum property of entanglement.

"It's not the entanglement of something as big as a cat, but it's at least a kitten," says Seth Lloyd of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a quantum physicist who was not involved in the work.

Stuff around the net

Medievalists net links to an article about Heaney's translation of Beowulf.

Heaney, a poet, didn't just translate it, he changed it so that the story would be poetic also...

If you want to listen to the translation, someone posted it on Youtube
Link1  LINK2


Most of the history of the plague acts as if it occurred only in western Europe.
medievalists also links to an article on the plagues in Egypt.

Defoe's book on the London plague is a classic, but is fiction, and he was not an eye witness.

Grescham college has a bunch of neat lectures on disease in British history, including this one about the plague of London

Trivia note: Camus also has a book The Plague, about a fictional outbreak in Algeria. The book is an allegory on the spread of fascism, Nazi takeovers in particular, and the theme is that it is important for people to decide to fight it.


Lies take three

A leftist plant again tries to smear ordinary people as racists, and gets caught.

But what is worse she upset the grammar police.

that alone should have been a clue: Ordinary folks would have used "+".

Lies take two

From David Warren: remembering Hue and the American reporters who saw nothing:

If for no other cause, I would recommend the book to gentle reader as the best account I know of the massacre at Huế, during the Tet Offensive in 1968. Played down by the functionaries of the Western press, excused by many, & denied by some (Noam Chomsky, &c), it was a manifestation of unambiguous evil on a convincing scale. No honest appraisal could fail to expose the nature of the Communist mind that had planned it in attentive detail: three thousand political executions, against a background of general carnage in which defenceless non-combatants, including large numbers of women & children, became the intended occupants of mass graves.
It is hard for me to write about my own experiences in that country, partly for the rage I still contain against smug, liberal journalists who critiqued the allied war effort from the safety of the bars in Saigon. It is a disproportionate rage, for they were malicious idiots, not murderers in the first degree. Few had the intelligence to see the sometimes direct relationship between what they were filing & what would ensue; some did, & exulted in their power.

Yes, even after Cambodia, the boat people, and the genocides after the communist take over there, the press and elites still exult their youthful anti war activity.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

family news

internet connection problems. We are all okay.

Stories below the fold

It's a king...

Guess CNN will now switch to that story, and ignore what else is going on. Which is why we watch the BBC and the Japanese English language news...

Not all the news in Afghanistan is bad. StrategyPage notes:
Before: 900 thousand boys in religious schools that taught jihad.
After: 8 million kids, (40 percent girls) learning secular subjects in school.

related item: Maternal mortality is still one of the highest in the world, but has fallen dramatically thanks to midwife/birth attendant training.

another report (from 2011)
Previously, 1 in 11 mothers died in childbirth. The new survey indicates that the number has dropped to 1 in 50. The number of children who died before the age of 5 also dropped from 1 in 5 to about 1 in 10.
What is the link between birth control pills and smart meters?

Doctors confused and skeptical about Obamacare.

Yeah. We'll have to spend all our time typing notes on our superduper computer program, filling out all the spaces required by the government, instead of listening and examining you, and then we'll have to treat you according to flawed and biased research articles that have been mixed together and "analyzed" by experts who will tell us how to practice medicine. (GIGO anyone?)

and guess who will have access to everything we type.

my latest privacy question: why does Yahoo mail tell me my screen resolution is too low. That means they have access to this part of the computer...

This goes against the narrative.
but then, the narrative was bunk to begin with. 

but never mind: the saved family is now worried that they will be targeted by racists.

 Rev Sensing reports that some wag put Detroit for sale on ebay,
and adds:
Buy within five days of this listing and get Flint, Michigan for FREE!

A bonus worth more than $75!
More seriously (via Instapundit): Michael Barone's take...


Factoid of the day:
Buzz Aldrin prayed and took communion on his moon voyage.

and Father Z discusses who is the bishop of the moon.

Pope is in Rio for World Youth Day. 

the press is busy writing up small but violent protests by leftists.

Well, hopefully AlQaeda won't try to bomb him and a few thousand young people as they almost did when the Pope visited Manila...


Lying? no problem.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Stuff around the net

The "State of the Nation" address is coming up, and it seems that not much has changed:

As he delivers  his fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, President Aquino’s “daang matuwid” (straight path) policy against corruption is under close scrutiny in the wake of allegations that transportation officials tried to extort $30 million (about P1.3 billion) from a Czech train supplier and that bogus NGOs funneled P10 billion in pork barrel into ghost projects.

Making friends in foreign lands: US Marine jets accidentally bomb the Great Barrier Reef.


isn't it ironic that the PC types who attacked Bill Cosby's remarks in his 2004 speech, and are attacking what he says now, either don't know or don't care that Cosby's son was killed by a white (Russian immigrant) racist because he was black.


But racism does exist: One example is this story about paying folks to pressure old people to sign "End of life" incentives. 
Reality check:
The dirty little secret is that Black and minority people won't sign "living wills" because they figure they will be allowed to die. And you know what? They may be right (I can tell you a few true horror stories about this).

the president's speech is another fake story to distract you from some very important stories: The problems of Egypt (which is the main story on the BBCnews here in the Philippines), the impending Sunni/Shia war in the Middle East (which is what StrategyPage worries about), the scandal of the IRS targeting Republicans, the snooping by the NSA, the failure of schools to teach basic literacy, and of course, the economic problems.


The "calling Commandant Lassard" story of the day:
Philippine police still trying to recruit shorter people.

because nothing says "law and order" as a 5 foot 2 policeman with a big gun...


The real culprit in global warming: Beavers.\

Wohl's data suggests that if all the beaver meadow land now dried due to abandoned dams were still wet, the amount of additional carbon sequestered would add up to 2.7 million metric tons.
not mentioned: When the dams flood an area, a lot of living trees die in the ponds, and take years to regrow after the dam deteriorates.


Riverdance line dance record.

More than 2,000 people from 163 dance schools in 44 countries gathered on the banks of the River Liffey on Sunday

The 70 year old experiment finally had a result: The tar dripped.

Photograph courtesy Shane Bergin

and they caught it on camera.

scandal of the day: Supergluing teats so udders look larger.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Family news

It's been a bit hot out.

A neighbor died: she was 95 and lived with her son down the street.

We went to visit the wake: here they hold the wake in the house, with people sitting with the casket day and night (often with music) until the funeral. Often the funeral is delayed until family can fly in from overseas.

Nearly everyone has relatives working and/or living overseas, partly because there are no jobs and the jobs that are here pay poorly, and partly because they are supporting the rest of their families.

Factoid of the day

NASA has a photo of a dust plume blowing across the Red Sea. (photo taken June22).

Much closer to the camera—but still more than 550 kilometers (340 miles) from the ISS—is a dust plume surging out over the Red Sea and reaching most of the way to Saudi Arabia. The point source of this plume is the delta of the southern Egyptian river Khor Baraka. Astronaut images have shown that this delta is a common source for dust plumes, mainly because it is a relatively large area of exposed, loose sand and clay that can be easily lofted into the air. The river also cuts a narrow valley through a high range of hills that channels the wind, making it blow faster.
Uh, a "delta" in Southern Egypte?

Actually, a wadi in the Sudan that usually fills with water in July and August, allowing local farmers to grow Millet.

Khor Baraka and its tributaries are seasonal streams which flow between July and September. The rich alluvial soils provide the best medium of growth for millet and the forest resources for which it is well known. There are major agro-pastoral settlements along Khor Baraka which partly depend on millet farming. During the drought of 1984-85, Khor Baraka was able to support almost double its normal population.

more HERE.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Video download of the week


more HERE.

and the UKMail has her obituary HERE.

The Poet and the Meteors of 1860

from UniverseToday 
Painting of The Meteor of 1860 by Hudson River School artist Frederic Church. (Credit: Frederic Church, courtesy of Judith Filenbaum Hernstadt).

A remarkable astronomical event also occurred over the northeastern United States 153 years ago today on the night of July 20th, known as the Great Meteor Procession of 1860....
A meteor procession occurs when an incoming meteor breaks up upon reentry into our atmosphere at an oblique angle. The result can be a spectacular display, leaving a brilliant glowing train in its wake. Unlike early morning meteors that are more frequent and run into the Earth head-on as it plows along in its orbit, evening meteors are rarer and have to approach the Earth from behind. In contrast, these often leave slow and stately trains as they move across the evening sky, struggling to keep up with the Earth. Such a bright meteor entered the atmosphere at a shallow angle, fragmented, and most likely skipped back out into space.

Similar meteor processions have been observed over the years over the English Channel on August 18th, 1783 ; across the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and Canada on February 9th, 1913.

And now they are bugging the bugs

putting tiny radio receivers on ants.

Stories around the net

Environmental activist and pious Muslim, Dr. E, is proposing a new group: Muslim mothers for peace, to counteract those pushing the Sunni/Shia hatred in the world.
I had and interview with an international news agency and I proposed a campaign of Muslim Mothers  for Peace....
The main objectives are awareness raising, advocacy and promotion of understanding among the Shia and Sunni  schools and a strong denunciation  of violence and terror .
Ha. Devout Catholics (and other devoutly religious people) have better sex.

actually, this is not a new finding, since Redbook magazine found the same thing 20 some years ago, and Andrew Greeley, based on his 1994 surveys as a sociologist, says the same thing...
Part of this is because in married couples, there is affection for each other, and there is trust that your lover loves you and will care for you. Part of this is also because Christianity insists we forgive others as God forgives us (so we are not supposed to keep grudges) and part of it is because of something John of the Cross noted:When you pray devoutly, you stir up emotions of loving God and those around you, which then can be expressed in lovemaking.

VDHansen points out that although there are plenty of jobs in Mexico nowadays, a lot of folks emigrate to the US etc. because there is a better chance for social mobility.

Yes, that is why so many Pinoys long for a job in the Anglosphere (US/Uk/Canada/Australia/NewZealand) or in the EU: because here, a few families run everything, and it is hard to break into their monopoly of power.


And the good news in the US: 

No, they won't stop spying on you, but now they will let you know they are spying " as part of an effort at greater transparency" ...

related item: Assange is played by WilliamPitt/Khan/Sherlock/Smaug in the new fil The Fifth Estate.
but Assange hates the film, and sees it as propaganda...

the holiest city in the USA is New York City? 
no, it's not a joke. The article explains how they calculated the rankings.

headsup FThings

also from FThings: the new religious trend for Evangelical youths is to join liturgical churches. Part of this is the beauty of the liturgy, but another part is that, by stressing tradition, it means joining a church that is built on a rock, and not one that is about fluff, easy answers, and "ME ME ME"...


Leon Podles visits Iceland and discovers it's hidden acoustic sculpture.

video HERE.

and LINK:someone has too much time on their hands.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Craft item of the day

Hate throwing away all those plastic spoons after you have a picnic?

Well, recycle them: LINK

and what else can you do? Laurie has lot of ideas HERE.

Stories beneath the fold

PopMechanics writes about how "Pacific Rim" i

In Pacific Rim, F-22 Raptor pilots careen at chest level with the monsters, spraying them with machine gun fire. (I suppose their missiles have been exhausted.) The stealth warplanes, probably the most maneuverable ever devised by engineers, are then knocked out the sky by the creature's claws. Think about it: Why would a pilot ever get within range of a monster's limbs?

But why shoot them at all: Why not kill them with a virus or poison (it worked for HG Wells)...

and Hollywood also needs a geography lesson: Hollywood thinks Manila is on the Pacific coast, not bordering the shallow West Philippine Sea...(well, maybe they evolved in the Manila trench).

no I haven't seen the movie: but I'll let you know if it's any good after the pirates start selling it for a dollar at the Palenke.

as for "send in the droids": StratPage has an article on these little ones.

to find mines and clear roadside bombs...

The MMP 30


Will turning off the extra gene in Down's syndrome "cure" the disease? 

the Taliban, who has killed teachers and students and destroyed many schools for girls (not to mention health care workers) is shocked, shocked, that Malala told the UN that they were the ones who shot her.
However, he refuses to condemn the attack, saying the judgement on whether it was correct or not should be left to God.
Uh, I don't think God is in favor of trying to kill 12 year old girls just because they write a blog about how happy they are to be able to go to school, but that's just me...

I mean, the Prophet's first wife was a smart businesswoman...guess the Taliban would have killed her too...

In the midst of a major heat wave, the city has imposed Water restrictions for for 150 thousand customers due to a large pipe leaking has "stopped a major disaster"...

no, not Manila...a suburb of Washington DC...

this article from last winter blamed the problem on the cold weather.
and brags:
Serving a 1,000-square-mile area, WSSC maintains more than 5,500 miles of water mains. That's enough pipe to stretch from Washington, D.C. to California and back!  And we’re replacing more than 35 miles of pipe each year.
well, hoopdie-doo. That means the system will replace old pipes with new ones every  240 years or so...
the website of the WSSC (posted in March) admits that the problem is aging pipes:

As WSSC moves toward 100 years of service, we are faced with aging (deteriorating) pipes and valves. As of December 2009, almost 26% (about 1,443 miles of water mains out of nearly 5,573 miles we maintain) are more than 50 years-old. Approximately 1,973 miles of mains (35%) are between 31 and 50 years-old; 547 miles of pipe (10%) are 25-30 years old; the remaining 1,610 miles of pipe (29%) was installed in the last 25 years.

The older pipes (installed before 1931 and up to 1975) are either cast iron or asbestos cement, and have reached their natural life span (see chart). The aging process is driven by corrosion of the metallic pipes by the soil and by water in cases of internally unlinecaed pipes.

this isn't the first time they've had problems: they had a major break in 2011 LINk

"The major water main breaks that have become near epidemic in our region and elsewhere tell us that major parts of the system are too old and too frail to hold together much longer," he said in a statement.
This is not the first time a water main break has caused major problems for the WSSC. Officials shut down a 96-inch main last summer and imposed water restrictions after an inspection indicated there could be weaknesses in the pipe. In late 2008, a 66-inch main burst along River Road in Bethesda, requiring motorists to be rescued by helicopter and firefighters in
If this happened in the Philippines, we'd suspect that a politician was pocketing the maintenance money. So what is the problem in Washington??
and no, you can't blame it on the recent budget cuts...

as for us: We have our own deep well with a water pump.


Factoid of the day: weather forecasting has a long history:

As far back as 650 BC, the Babylonians used astrology and cloud patterns to try and figure out what to wear that week, and a few hundred years later, Aristotle wrote about weather patterns and predictions in his 340 BC work Meteorologica... We do have evidence that around 300 BC, both Indian astronomers and the Chinese were developing their own methods of weather forecasting. Some of these methods relied on observed patterns of events, also known as pattern recognition.


The Benghazi "talking points" time line...

Yes, but the press ignored that Sean Smith, aka VileRat warned his fellow gamers (and presumably his superiors) that he saw professionals casing the joint for an attack 90 minutes before it started...

So not just the Obama adminstration tried to rewrite what they knew was an attack, but the press ignored the Wired story that went against their helping in the cover up.

the "WTF" Medical headline of the day:

Cyborg Cow heart to undergo human trials.

it uses cow tissue instead of plastic for the part that is in contact with blood. Plastics caused the blood to clot too much.

In one word: Plastics.

BPA again implicated in causing problems when the chlorine used to purify water hits the plastic it gets worse...

It's now official: Hobbits are humans.

guess what: Keeping tabs open on your browser uses a lot of electricity.

Hate Sells

yeah. I hate to visit facebook because one of my friends puts her "two minute hate" there a couple times a week. Often it is pure religious bigotry, but alas, anyone visiting the internet knows that hatred is religion is "in". Uncle Orson call your office.

first they came for Carrie, then they came for Manny....

related item:
The Cult of the Ugly

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ison is Coming! Ison is Coming!

and the Hubble Site has a blog discussing it's visit.

and the site included this Factoid:

The brightest comet in the last 40 years was comet McNaught, seen only in the southern hemisphere in 2007: it was so bright one could see it during the daytime...

Credit: ESO/Sebastian Deiries

Free Music

James Kibbie's organ music, mainly of Bach, is free for you to download, thanks to a grant from the family of J Barry Sloat

ClassicMusicArchives is still on line with lots of free stuff, some with a free subscription via facebook.

 Celtic music podcast has lots of show type podcasts, and is on iTunes.

I brought all my cd's with me (I ripped them to mp3's and carried them with me that way) so I have a lot of classical and "elevator" (easy listening) music. But a lot of these can be found on youtube if you download and rip the video to mp3.

Chano favors listening on line to the various radio stations, but I don't since I turn my computer off a lot (especially when the thunderstorms hit: I lost my hard drive once after I ran to help Angel have her puppies without turning it off, and a storm hit and we got a power surge)

Cat item of the day

Weird stuff in the news

Viagra: it's not just for men anymore.

they are using it to open the arteries to the uterus/placenta in pre eclampsia.
if this works, it could be a "cure", not only for preeclampsia related small babies but for the syndrome of eclampsia that kills so many mothers worldwide.

the article mentions that it also works in pulmonary artery hypertension.

If you remember awhile back, a lady with this was aborted in a Catholic hospital because there was no other treatment (the ethics committee said).  According to Wikipedia, the doctors said her chance of dying was 100 percent. They were wrong: Articles noting  Reports of using Viagra to successfully treat such patients were first published in 2007... and confirmed in 2010 study.


Matthew Shepherd Redux: Did Trayvon Martin attack Zimmerman because he thought he was gay?

all those reports predicting huge epidemics of dementia might not be correct;

NYTimes reports European surveys show that the rate of dementia is falling, and attributes that to better health and nutrition.

medicines that prevent "multi-infarct" dementia from mini strokes may be the reason: We now have medicine that lowers the blood pressure and cholesterol...

Glee star died of a heroin overdose.
so was he abused and bullied as a teen actor?

Do heartburn drugs increase heart attacks?

animal studies. But on the other hand, living with constant pain after eating, or dying after a GI bleed or dying of esophageal cancer is a bummer too...

another day, another storm.
that explains the bad thunderstorm late yesterday afternoon.
But the new mayor has started cleaning out the open air sewers/drainage ditches near the palenke, so the streets don't flood as badly as before.

Dollar falls after Bernake testifies to Congress....
Which is why the news is Zimmerman 24/7

GetReligion discusses euphemisms in the European press.

Not every French delinquent is Muslim. But for fear of causing offense to those who are perpetually aggrieved, the euphemism “youth” gives the impression that all criminals are young Muslims — or all Muslim youth are criminals. The attempt to avoid stigmatizing some members of a disaffected minority serves to stigmatize all... Lousy reporting plays its part in poisoning social relations between communities.
yes, and when the US press fails to designate the race of criminals, it does the same thing. Interestingly enough, the number of white faces in the photos on the Martin "protests" recently suggest that it is the anarchists/Move on folks, not the black population, who are making most of the noise, yet without solid information, including numbers, one doesn't know if this is another case of political astroturfing or a real uprising.

And where are the quotes in the MSM from the Spanish language opinion makers? (Univision is ABC, so are they biased? But what about the local Spanish language radio stations?)


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Geography mistake of the day

the second city hit by the monsters of the Pacific rim is...Manila.

But as GMA points out: Manila is not on the Pacific (it is on the west coast, not the east coast) which is why MacArthur landed in Leyte...

Oh well: after being called the gates of hell by the davinci code author, I guess it's nice that DeToro thinks we are important enough for the monsters to destroy.

Jane Austen , Game theorist

Article and podcast at Freakonomics.

Chwe discovered that Austen’s novels are full of strategic thinking, decision analysis, and other tools that would later come to be prized by game theorists like those as the RAND Corporation just after World War II. (They included some of the brightest minds of the time, including Kenneth J. ArrowLloyd S. ShapleyThomas Schelling, and John Nash.) And so Chwe wrote a book called Jane Austen, Game Theorist.

Stories below the fold

the latest scandal: Turkish flour is being dumped here at half the price it sells for in Turkey.

it's being dumped in Indonesia too...

this report shows a huge increase in exports to Indonesia and the Philippines in the past few years.

Such practices destroyed local industry and farms, but usually it's China pulling these kind of stunts.

in other news, more on the fake NGO scandals.
money for poor farmers diverted to bigshots' pockets.
and the whistleblower is arrested, not the bigshots.


Pacific Rim is getting good reviews and might actually make money, unlike the other "blockbusters" that Hollywood has tried to push.

News you can use: Britons have more sex in August than any other month.

Something to do with testosterone levels.


For all the talk about homicide, no one seems to be discussing the actual statistics. I review the CDC report here.
including the graph that shows the fact that no one wants to notice.


I agree with TalkLeft:
the story was hyped by the press to get ratings, and if it causes riots, well all the better for ratings (and revenue), not to mention deliberate astroturfing....

The real lessons are ignored: that if Zimmerman wasn't allowed to carry a handgun, Martin would be alive today and out on bail (and Zimmerman recovering from major head injuries in a rehab center).

and of course the police were doing their job

Racism is alive and well, but usually the press stays quiet on the real racial attacks on students.

compare and contrastLINK 2
and then there is this.


This week's StrategyPage podcast is about Egypt, but they also begin their discussion with the problem of corruption, and note corruption has increased in the US in recent years.
this older podcast discusses the battle of Gettysburg.

The "Liverpool pathway" was supposed to be about pain control in those dying of cancer, but quickly morphed into a quick and legal way for medical personnel to kill patients they deemed as needing to die (as many as 60 thousand of the 130 thousand people it was used on were given this "treatment" against the wishes of the patient and their families). UKMail report here and yes, there is a money connection:

We also revealed how some hospitals were being paid six-figure ‘bribes’ to meet targets about the numbers of patients on the LCP – leading to fears that doctors were put under pressure to use the pathway.
Dog story of the day: Bulldog Skateboarding school opens in Peru.

Headlines below the fold

6000 are still missing after floods last month in India...many were pilgrims to Himalayan shrines where there were mudslides etc. from the rain.

and the story includes this fact:

The disaster, dubbed a "Himalayan tsunami" by officials and media, prompted one of the largest airlifts in the history of the Indian air force, as helicopters flew hundreds of sorties to rescue residents and pilgrims and drop thousands of kilograms of relief material.

More than 100,000 people were rescued by the air force and security force personnel on the ground, officials said. Reuters
Wikipedia summary here.

this UKMail article discusses the helicopter pilots who risked their lives delivering aid and says 11.800 were rescued by them. Some of the pilots died. The article includes a map and many photos.

For Wing Commander D. Castalino, Flight Lieutenant Praveen, Flight Lieutenant T. Kapoor, Junior Warrant Officer A.K. Singh and Sergeant Sudhakar, Barrackpore was home, their posting in Eastern Command's 157 Helicopter Unit. All five died on Tuesday, in the IAF's first recorded crash of the extraordinarily sturdy Russian-made Mi-17 helicopter.
But they didn't die in or around Barrackpore. And they certainly didn't die in vain. They died more than 10,000 feet above sea level, felled by a dense cloud in Uttarakhand's Kedarnath valley while returning from a rescue mission.