Monday, September 30, 2013

When is Durin's day?

HeirsOfDurin blog has a discussion, with links to other articles on how to calculate the day...

check the definition of the words "confusticate"  and "bebother"

Pressumably these are older usages of the words, and not made up as some claim.

Philippine news

Belmont club notices all the people killed by "he who must not be named" during the last week...

yeah, even the Pinoy papers are ignoring the problem, and the UN merely is blaming both sides. That is because the people are mostly poor and the military is middle class...and the gov't is under pressure to make nicey nice by Obama, or they won't help us keep China from stealing land within our economic zone.

That's why they passed an RH bill that not only doesn't attack the reason why the maternal mortality is so high (no free trained midwifes) but uses coercion to pus the pill (as a doc you will be fined if you badmouth the chemicals or don't "offer" it to those in your care...) Personally, I'm waiting to see who is geting the pork from  the drug companies, but with the strict libel law here, and with most of the politicians related to each other, don't hold your breath...

Chano is building a meeting place to teach organic farming. I support organic farming (our family sells organic rice) but let's face it: The price for our organic brown rice is double that of regular rice. And even the local rices are undercut by imports (including illegally smuggled rice and onions) from countries that use chemical fertilizer and pesticides to get a bigger crop. And right now, I worry about all the rain: insects and fungus could easily destroy the almost ripe rice crop.


Yahoo is still down

I can't get on Yahoo (my browser automatically goes to yahoo Philippines).

And I can get on Yahoo Australia with a different browser, but can't sign in to email there either.

Drudge, however, is back up.

we are well.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hobbit lessons

TORN links to seven lessons I learned from reading the Hobbit.

update: Quick before the copyright cops find it's there

Lord of the Ring Audiobook.

also the Hobbit and the Simarillion.

Gift item of the day


The Harvard and MIT scientists believe this newly observed interaction between photons could be of great importance in the field of quantum computing. Photons have been studied as a medium for doing quantum calculations, but one of the principal challenges has always been that they don’t interact with each other. Well, now there might be a way to make that happen in the context of a quantum computer. The process still needs to be refined, but it’s an exciting proof-of-concept.
A few photons sticking together is a long way from a lightsaber, but we can still dream, can’t we?
Now read: DIY lightsaber is almost as dangerous as an actual lightsaber

headsup FatherZ

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Cat items of the day


and then there is this:

Photoshop story of the day

OKay, guys, who photoshopped the Battletech Maurader into the photo of the Russian revolution?
The exam, which was sat by almost 6000 students, featured a doctored version of the artwork, in which a large robot - rather like BattleTech Marauder - appeared in the background of the artwork depicting events during the Russian Revolution History Teachers Association of Victoria acting executive officer Ingrid Purnell said it was disappointing the image had got through when teachers spent a lot of time making sure students critically examined and evaluated visual sources of evidence.

which proves that kids do learn something when they play computer games on line. headsup DaveBarry

History: Slave Raiders

MariaElena at Fountain of Elias reminds us that Sept 24 is the (pre Vatican II) feast of Our Lady of Ransom. This feast was one of the church's way of reminding folks of the many captured by various pirates and to raise money to ransom them.

The origins of the Feast can be found in the little known Mercedarian Order. This was founded in the early thirteenth century by St Peter Nolasco and St Raymond of Penafort (who can both be seen at Our Lady's feet in the picture above) to ransom Christian slaves taken by the Muslims during their frequent raids on Europe. 

True, the slave traders were all over the place, including the Lydian pirates who kidnapped Julius Caesar to the Irish ones who kidnapped St. Patrick, or the Vikings who made a lot of money selling Irish captives to the now whitewashed land of Muslim Andalucia, or the Slavs to the Muslims in Bagdad.

The church feast was mainly about trying to ransom those captured by the North African slavers: and they didn't just prey on ship and villages along the Mediterranean either.

While googling about Icelandic literature, I ran into this story of the Icelandic poet Halgrim Peturson and the story of how he helped those ransomed after a raid on Iceland:

Between three and four hundred persons were
taken captives chiefly by the Algerians, and sold
as slaves in the market at Algiers. Many suffered
great cruelty, largely in the form of persecution
for their faith. They were " chained in in
supportable positions, beaten on the hands and
faces, exposed naked in public places, and again
beaten until they lost the power of speech." At
length, however, an Icelander was allowed to
carry a petition to the King of Denmark, asking
for 1,200 rix-dollars as a ransom price for the
surviving captives. A subscription was raised
in Iceland, to which the King of Denmark him
self largely contributed. This was paid over in
due course, and in 1637, ten years after the raid,
thirty-four survivors out of the hundreds taken
were set at liberty.

If this sounds familiar, it's because the pirates of Somali are doing the same to the merchant seamen who they capture, and of course, various terror groups and criminals have made a fortune on kidnapping civilians all over the world...(even here, Lolo worries and won't let me travel alone on the street, even though they caught the local kidnap gang last year).

It's no longer correct to remember the good old days when Muslim states allowed the slave trade to flourish, so the slave trade from Europe is pretty well ignored today, although as StrategyPage Points out, it still exists today and is one of the back stories not usually mentioned when you read about the wars of Africa: Mali, Ethiopia and even the recent mall attack in Kenya was by a Somalian terrorist group (funded by ransom money for the seamen they captured) all  have their roots in the Arab slave trade against their black neighbors.

So although the history books prefer to forget any perfidy if done by politically correct groups, the tragedies of history are still remembered, at least by those of us old enough to remember the pre Vatican II days, when we still were allowed to celebrate feasts such as Our Lady of Ransom and Our Lady of Victories (which celebrated the battle of Lepanto that saved much of Europe from falling to the Ottoman empire).

And here in the Philippines, not only do we have our Lady of Peace Shrine on the EDSA (to commemorate the People power revolution against Marcos) but Our Lady of La Naval de Manila, which commemorates the Spanish victory that kept the British from conquering the Philippines.

Finally, although the opponants of the American takeover of the Philippines (including my relatives) would prefer to forget it, the bloody war by the Americans against the Moros of the south is how those slave traders were finally stopped.
The American zeal to gradually abolish slavery, and its refusal to make a distinction between criminal debt bondage and chattel slavery, was the first strike against the traditional “pyramidal power structure” that provided for the existence of the ruling datu class. Imperialism was the only means of eliminating slavery – to give the Moros complete autonomy was to tolerate its continuation. The American military officers and civilians genuinely sought to abolish slavery and recognized that this required coercive force.

Elvish and Klingon and Dorthraki...


John McWhorter discusses it here:

Chinese history stuff

The latest Historical figurines by George Stuart are those of the last Emperors of China. He makes the figurines and dresses them with historical detail, but the best part is that he gives talks about the people shown.

Photos here and here is his explanation of who is who

I can't find one of his talks on the Chinese exhibition, but here is one of his talks about Russia, the previous exhibition.

Internet problems?

I can't get Drudge or my yahoo email this morning. Has someone been hacking them?

Gmail works fine, however, so email me there if there is a problem.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Stories below the fold

the MNLF attack on Zamboanga is mainly ignored: When it is reported, it is reported as a small group who only wanted to plant a flag and declare they owned the city (ignore the 75% of the city who is Christian and don't want to live under sharia).
And then the UN is blaming the "humanitarian crisis" on the "fighting between the government" and the insurgents, as if those who fled were the government's fault.

So go read this story, about the special forces who are busy clearing snipers and men with bombs from the civilian neighborhoods.
He explains: going house to house, breaking down doors, breaching walls and checking that each and every cranny in the twisted and smouldering remains of what had been the community on Lustre St. was clear of MNLF snipers...

Later that day, I was shown a few bottles filled with gasoline and improvised shoulder slings. These were incendiary bombs used by the retreating MNLF snipers to burn houses where they had been hiding. Among the items recovered from the sniper positions were meticulously folded tinfoil strips and other drug paraphernalia.

"The enemy snipers use meth to keep themselves alert all night."
One is reminded of the phrase: better living, through chemistry"....

In other words, this was no "Easter rebellion" by peaceful rebels. This was an attack by those ready to destroy the town to make a point (which in this case is to let them, not their rival the MILF, be in charge and get all that lovely development money to divert into their leader's pockets...oh yes, and impose Sharia law on the area, never mind that the majority of folks there are Christians or animists/tribal folks).


Which one do you want: malaria or PTSS?
Actually, I'll take PTSS... especially if you know that your paranoid symptoms are not real but from the medicine, you can cope with them better, just like women can cope with PMS better when they know it is their body talking, not them.

The fighting in central Africa is going on, with 500 thousand refugees and lots of people in the middle of the war in danger of starving to death..
But hey, at least it's not a war that can be blamed on religion...or maybe not:

About half the CAR population is Christian and 15 percent Moslem (mainly from the north, where many Seleka men come from). Thus it’s no surprise that there’s been an upsurge in violence against Christians down south, especially in the capital. Clergy and churches have been attacked. The government says it will halt this, but Seleka has always had a hard time disciplining its members and that has not changed much since the rebels took control of the capital.

But since no one is using chemical weapons, there is no "red line" to make Obama take notice of the fighting.

the Kenya attack was also not really about religion, but needs to be seen in the context of Somalian tribes raiding the black Bantus to get slaves and/or steal their cattle, food and women, something that has been going on for the past 1000 years. Strategypage gives the backstory HERE.

hmm...maybe there is a pattern here: The Moros in Mindanao were also slavers who terrorized the Visayas for years, and the "newfangled" history usually ignores that the Spanish fought them for a good the same way that China ignores that the western powers "stole" the south china sea because they were fighting Chinese pirates, who were protected by bribing Chinese officials.

check out piracy course at UnivHouston.

So how to shut down modern pirates? Julius Caesar did it, but that is no longer PC... Anne Coulter lost her job for her quip on a less murderous strategy: which ironically is how the Vikings were pacified (although the "invasion" was not by their victims, but by Saint Olaf ) so  she might have a point.

The Anchoress has more on the Pope's comments.

First, you fall in love with Jesus, and then you do the hard part: act on what he said.

The "I know it's around here somewhere" headline of the day:

IRS Watchdog: $67 Million Missing from Obamacare Slush Fund

New Republic asks: have professional women made it worse for their working class peers?

yes, of course. as Betty Frieden pointed out before the feminists threw her out: most women want families too and work policies that enable them to do both. But the feminists made equality so important that part time and flex time and protections for pregnant women were discouraged. That is why they love abortion: it enables them to be "childfree" and promiscuous, so they can be sucessful.
But what if they do marry and have kids?

British economist Alison Wolf argues that as the gap between genders has narrowed for the affluent, the gap between rich and poor women has broadened. The former’s professional success is made possible by “the return of the servant classes”

via Instapundit.

 and for movie fans, the bad news of the day: another "the end of the world is nigh" film is coming:
• Is Hollywood out of ideas? Has it tapped out when it comes to fresh cinematic adventures for the masses? I'd say the answer is tilting hard toward “Yes” when there is a remake of Left Behind currently in the works. And it stars Nicholas Cage. Yes, the Apocalypse is upon us, and it will cost you $10.00 to experience for two hours.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cat item of the day

Another sign that the end of the world is nigh.

 I'm a hero.

Science stuff around the net

I'm way behind in my websurfing due to the bad battery on my laptop (which means that the computer only works on direct connection, and crashes when Blackie the cat sits next to me and knocks the wire out)...and the storms that keep messing up the internet or electricity here.

Are you worried about arsenic? This Wired article will make you worry more.

Heh. We have a deep well....wonder if it's ever been tested for arsenic levels.
One of the biggest biological man made disasters was/is in Bangladesh, where they dug deep wells so people would have clean water and not die of cholera or dysentery...years later, there was an epidemic of low grade arsenic poisoning.

The "garbage pit" of the Pacific ocean may actually exist, and then there is the sargasso sea, where according to legend, was full of dead ships never were able to get out of the area.

But what is this about the "Black hole" of the ocean?

some of the largest ocean eddies on Earth are mathematically equivalent to the mysterious black holes of space. These eddies are so tightly shielded by circular water paths that nothing can escape from the inside of these loops, not even water.
and what do they have to do with currants that affect our climate?

the earth now has a third VanAllen belt.

is this connected to climate change?

For that matter, why is the sun so quiet? 
that is good news for computer chips and the electric grid...
but the lack of sunspots might signal solar cooling...


A new island appeared after that Pakistani quake...but it is made of mud so probably will not last long.

Students one, bureaucrats zero:

LA high school students were given free ipads for school work only: They were supposed to be blocked so that students couldn't surf the web etc.

Guess what happened?


The Washington Navy Yard shooter blames "low frequency" radiation made him do it.

This is a common delusion in the mentally ill, but as one commenter pointed out, the article doesn't even mention the word "mental illness"...probably because if they acknowledge the guy was mentally ill, the VA docs who missed the diagnosis could be sued.

I hear that the Minneapolis "Mall of America" is increasing security (some of the Americans who attacked the Kenya mall were probably from the Minneapolis Somali community).

Well, that mall is a "gun free zone"...I have a better idea: Most folks in Minnesota have guns and know how to shoot. Just let everyone carry a rifle or pistol when shopping, and no problem...

Yes, I am joking, but stories about rescuers with guns are now coming out in the UK press.

The "sign that the end of the world is nigh":

21 inantimate objects that Miley Cyrus has violated.

Hey, she needed publicity, by my comment is this:

Sir Thomas More: Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world... but for Wales? 

Filipino news

How is it reported when a terrorist gang invades a city, makes most folks (most of whom who don't follow their religion) flee, and the gov't soldiers fight to get them out?

It is a "humanitarian crisis", according to the UN, caused by "fighting between local Muslim groups and government soldiers".

Presumably the UN will soon come and give out condoms to those starving in refugee centers, as they did after the Manila flooding.

as for the headlines here: This is being ignored, and the pork scandals are in the headlines. We have so many natural disasters that 100 thousand displaced people living with relatives or in local schools/churchs is almost routine for the Philippines.

family news

Raining steadily all night, but no cyclone or typhoon this time.

The roof is leaking again, but mainly dripping a little. Personally I'm waiting for the kitchen ceiling to fall down. We know when it's wet up there because the cats sleep in our bed when it rains.

Lolo is fine: at night I keep the airconditioner on low to work as a dehumidifier to keep the mold down.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dog story of the day

Guide dog saves a baby by pushing her pram out of the way of a car. The woman however was hit by the car, but survived.

Guide dog Jet with owner Jessica Cowley and her son Jacob Photo: Lorne Campbell / Guzelian

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Swamp gas take two

While trying to find a photograph of a "will of the wisp", I ran into this webpage:

Okefenokee Swamp X page.

Swamp gas and aliens and giants. oh my...Art Bell call your office.

(speaking of Art Bell: I also read that Art is back from Manila and has a new show broadcasting from an unknown location in the US).

Of course, the Jersey Devil is still around too. PlumSpooky includes him and other xfile folks in the plot. Too bad HBO didn't pick up that series: Not enough blood and gore I guess.

Swamp gas alert

Rising Methane due to mining and wetlands.

yes: all that push to "restore" wetlands not only leads to more mosquito related diseases, but releases more methane.

the "mining" part is that more coal is being used...China is big on using dirty coal for it's growing economy...

American and UK terrorists vs Kenya

From what I have scanned in the news, it seems that the terrorists who killed a lot of folks in Kenya included a few Americans and Brits. Presumably the Americans are the Minnesota Somalians who were recruited awhile back.

So the NSA is recording your telephone calls, and reading your "LOLCAT that goes around the world", but didn't bother to break up the Somalian money collections and/or the terrorist recruiters in Minneapolis.

And, of course, the "flying Immans" in Minneapolis who were probably doing a "dry run" were allowed to sue when the other passengers and the pilot refused to fly with them.

The background on this is that the Kenyans have a fairly good military, and are working as peacekeepers in Somalia etc. So this is payback for sending their military to save civilians from the bad guys.

 Related item: Don't Americans care about dead Syrian Christians?via Instapundit

no, I doubt they are aware of the problem. For that matter, I bet they don't know about the recent massacres in Pakistan, or that most of the 100 thousand refugees and the "human shields" in Zamboanga here in the Philippines are Christians either (that city is 75% Christian). That, of course, is known here, but ignored by everyone, including the local press.

Putin, however, is the "new Tsar", and like the old Tzar is a defender of Orthodox Christianity, so this is one reason he is backing Assad. (the other is that he really , really likes dictators, especially those opposing Sunni terrorists, who have connections with the Chechnyan terror groups).



Family news

The typhoon has passed: it was off the west coast and it rained, then it went north and got larger, so we again got a tail end of the rain. No winds here in the middle of Luzon, but the rain is causing floods in some areas.

Our internet was out, and now is working.

The rains are at a bad time: Harvest is coming...hope we have a few sunny days to cut and dry the rice.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Effete, corrupt America: not?

A lot of American TV and movies here on our Asian cable system shows beautiful, rich, spoiled and promiscuous folks doing various things, or criminals of various types.

And the music videos are worse. I wonder how many realize that they promote racism with their anger and animal like gyrations? Especially in Asian countries that encourage self control and politeness? That doesn't stop them from being popular, although as my granddaughter pointed out (after her Christian school let their kids dance to one popular ditty): even though they are fluent in proper English, they obviously didn't understand the words or what they meant.

All of this reminds me when I lived in Africa, and when I went there, both our black and our white neighbors warned us that they were worried about me because of what they read in the newspapers: summary: You might be killed.

And in Africa, those I worked with worried about visiting the US (for medical conferences) because of what they too saw in the movies etc.

If the Philippines is less anti american than most countries, it is because half of us have relatives in the US or had contact with the American military at one time or another.

One thing that goes against the "desperate housewives" "CSI Crime" dramas are the redneck reality shows: Dirty jobs, Swamp people, and now: (tada!) Duck Dynasty, which is now on History Channel Asia.

Entrepeneur has an article on them here.

Hmmm...wouldn't want to meet them on a dark street either...which is why awhile ago, while in NYCity for an interview, one of them was thrown out of his hotel by someone who thought he was a vagrant.

Yet the show is on here and is one of the few shows that makes me laugh out loud.
The humor is dry, and the comments are often droll, said with a blank face and a twinkle in the eye.

The article points out that they actually were known to duck hunters via video before the big networks found them.

In the 1980's, looking for an outlet to hawk his duck products, Phil Robertson produced videos for avid duck hunters. The shows managed to attract quiet the following, making the family popular among the hunter community.

"We were pre-reality TV, early 1980s," Phil told ABC. "We had a reality show, but it was just a bunch of rednecks shooting ducks."

so is it a hit in Asia? I have no idea: again, I wonder how much of the humor can be translated and understood if your first language is not English.

But makes me happy that at least one program that shows a different side of America.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Poetry, Ireland, and famine

 from a 1994 Interview with Seamus Heaney...I always assumed that since he was born in Northern Ireland, he was Anglo Irish or Scots Irish, like most "Irish" writers, but he was not.

the Catholics had this sense of the moral high ground, which is so enabling. The system had been rigged against us and when the civil-rights marches began, the official resistance was to the minority qua  minority. The state machine just worked like that and the point of the new movement was to change it. You felt that being a spokesperson for the shift was honorable and, indeed, imperative. But all that certitude got complicated once the IRA began to speak on your behalf with an exploding bomb....

 (questioner asks: Don't you argue in an essay—using the example of Jesus writing in the sand—that poetry has the power to suspend violence?)
Yes. Debate doesn't really change things. It gets you bogged in deeper. If you can address or reopen the subject with something new, something from a different angle, then there is some hope. In Northern Ireland, for example, a new metaphor for the way we are positioned, a new language would create new possibility. I'm convinced of that. So when I invoke Jesus writing in the sand, it's as an example of this kind of diverting newness. He does something that takes the eyes away from the obsession of the moment. It's a bit like a magical dance.

Via teaattrianon

alas, poetry nowadays too often means bad prose to push political correctness, so no one reads it anymore. Poetry has been lost in American culture.

Ironically, our phrases come from movies (and less often, songs).

Jaws was on the TV here last week, and I was explaining to Ruby the plot since she turned it off as too scary...several phrases are now part of the culture, including "You gotta get a bigger boat" and "Smile you...."...But the real thing is that the plot has entered into culture in a way that went around the manipulation of too much of the media. Which is why too many "blockbusters" that posit a political statement are flops.

and why few "modern" songs stay popular.

Again one is reminded of "Peter and the Commisar": a song has to come from somebody's heart.


MariaElena at TeaAtTrianon, who has written a novel set in the Albigensian part of France, is leery of those who posit that culture as so pure and noble, since it was actually run by anti body elitists who thought they were holier than thou...they posited that if you "knew" the right stuff you were a saint, and material things were meaningless. Theoretically, that meant that some were "pure" and even starved themselves to death to prove they rejected materialism of food. In reality, however, it meant that gluttony and sexual exploitation of others was okay for them because material things and actions didn't have any moral content. So she links to an article comparing their attitude to today's elites who are eagerly destroying marriage in the name of their god, equality.

To me, it reminds me of the "health and diet police" types. 600 sexual encounters a year at a bath house by a politically correct minority? No, don't be judgmental. Eat a McDonald's hamburger? SINNER!

Mainly bookmarked for later reading.


Father Z and other reliable Catholic blogs suggests someone needs to read what the Pope said before they decide the press is reporting the nuances. I downloaded a copy of the interview via the Pirate bay, so I can take my time reading it. WhispersInTheLogia has a few comments and links to the actual document if you are interested in what was said instead of hearing the spin.

For all the twisting of the Pope's words by the press to make it sound like the church will change and give a "get out of hell free" card to sociopaths to do whatever they want to do is normal reporting today, alas. But the Pope is talking about welcoming sinners into church, because all of us are sinners...

As for a Pope that sees social action and pro life action as part of the whole: all of this is known to those of us who have worked with the poor.

Here in the Philippines, for example, the aim of the RH Bill is not to lower maternal mortality (it does not fund midwives for the one third of those who deliver with untrained midwives). Nor does it promote "under fives" nutrition supplements (like we did in Africa: the poor kids here are frequently low grade kwashiorkor and could use such things). And only now is the gov't clamping down on fake NGO's that were used to funnel money to the bank accounts of politicians.

Father Z then goes on to point out this Francis quote to a Catholic physician meeting, pointing out that the same modern culture that destroys the poor in the slums is eager to destroy the child in the womb and the elderly to save money...
A mentality of the useful, the “throw-away culture”, which today enslaves the hearts and minds of so many, has a very high cost: it requires the elimination of human beings, especially if they are physically or socially weaker....In the fragile human being each one of us is invited to recognize the face of the Lord, who in His human flesh experienced indifference, and the solitude to which we often condemn the poorest, both in developing countries and in the countries that are well-off. Every unborn child, but condemned unjustly to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, has the face of the Lord, which even before birth, and then as soon as born, experiences the refusal of the world. And every old person and – I spoke about the child: let us go to the elderly, another point! And every older person, even if infirm or at the end of her days, bears herself the face of Christ. They can’t be thrown away, as the “throw-away culture” proposes to us! They can’t be thrown away!

Too many elites have the "too many people" mentality that sees eliminating the "useless" as a goal, be they Nixon's plan, aka "NSSM 200" to control population or the green agenda of David Attenborough:

“They've been having... what are all these famines in Ethiopia, what are they about? They're about too many people for too little piece of land. That's what it's about. 
 no, actually the big Ethiopian famine was about the marxist gov't there trying to starve out areas that opposed them. From Wikipedia:
The famines that struck Ethiopia between 1961 and 1985, and in particular the one of 1983–5, were in large part created by government policies, specifically the set of counter-insurgency strategies employed and so-called 'social transformation' in non-insurgent areas.[6][7]

The dirty little secret of Africa is that if you got rid of the TseTse fly and allowed irrigation, that Africa could become another Kansas (an area that was once called the "great American desert", and where there was once a severe with irrigation, and modern variations of wheat developed in the Ukraine, it can feed the world).

Of course, David wouldn't like that: it would mean prosperous farmers where his beloved animals now live.

As for all those starving children: David has an opinion about them too:
“And we are blinding ourselves. We say, get the United Nations to send them bags of flour. That's barmy.” 

yeah. It was similar British Malthusian thinking that led to the millions of dead Irish in the potato famines of the 1840's, where grain was exported and locals starved to death or died trying to migrate to other lands on "coffin ships".


Friday, September 20, 2013

Headlines below the fold

BBC reports that a SWAT team was turned away from the Washington shootings a couple of day ago. Probably the paperwork didn't allow them to save lives outside their area of concern (/sarcasm).

Ah, but the real question is why the whistleblowers went to the BBC with their complaints...did the US press ignore them, or didn't they trust the MSM?

as for the "Buddhism" part: Get Religion points out this problem with "meditation":


Family news

We went to Emie's birthday party last night: it was informal but had lots of food...including three types of barbecue.

today, Joy is going to Manila for business and rice deliveries. I think Ruby has a school event since I heard her voice complaining at 5 am that she didn't want to get up this early. (to get to Manila we ususally leave at 5 or 6 am...if there is an early morning appointment, they leave at 3 am).

Lolo is fine.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

depressing stuff

Defining deviancy down.

NBC expert says hearing voices in your head is common.

But then he notes: it is common in those with bipolar illness or other words, in people whose illness is severe they become psychotic.On the other hand, it could also be "normal" in some cultures (where your imagination seems real).

Do "normal" people hear voices? Yes, but only on rare occasions.

So my father, when we got a tire blow out while traveling on a highway at 65 mph, heard a voice telling him to pump the brakes (if he slammed on the brakes, we would have skidded and rolled the car). Later, when he found out that no one had said that to him, he said: It must have been that guy. What guy? That guy in church.

Our church had a statue of it's patron saint, an obscure bishop, in the front, and before we went on the trip, my father asked him to get us a safe journey...

In From the Cold and Austin Bay both comment about the problem with security.

my take? Once I was visiting friends at a local airbase, where they had atomic weapons, and anti nuclear demonstrators at the front gate.

We went to the PX to shop, and got into the back gate with a wave on, because we had a sticker on the truck, and three women (two Indian one Anglo) and three kids were probably not a security risk.


Daily cute

Musical interlude of the day


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Stuff around the net

Heh...Colbert defends the faith.

via lots of catholic blogs...And no, we don't get Colbert here in the Philippines.

GetReligion defends the Pope. words taken out of context? check. twisting what was said to make it sound bad? Check. Misunderstanding the context of what was said? Check. Distorting a pastoral remark for a dogmatic clarification? Check.

and around the net: Similar distortions on people who dare to defend marriage.

I gave Ruby "Animal Farm" and now she is reading (on her own) 1984...she also is studying statistics. Presumably she will learn how to discern the "new speak" and propaganda and "two minute hate" of the media.

and yes, here the "english language" papers/tv news obeys their American masters in is reminded of when the news was full of reports that the bishops were "bribed" by fancy SUV's, the story as part of the attempt to smear the bishops who opposed a bill mandating free birth control to any woman who used a government clinic (note: the high maternal mortality here is because one third of women deliver without a trained midwife, so the "solution" is to pressure those who use gov't clinics to stop having babies ignored the real problem behind maternal mortality).

...turns out the bishops accepted four wheel drive vehicles from a gov't charity fund (which often was misused to bribe folks) but the actual vehicles were used and/or pickup trucks, and used for charity outreaches to rural areas, which like most Catholic charities wasn't limited to those going to church. The end result was that the bishops drove the cars to Manila and gave them back.


yesterday, someone wrote that how we write affects what we write, so that not teaching cursive is bad for kids.

Well, not teaching cursive is wrong for obvious reasons, yet I think faster than I can write, so either have to use shorthand or type to get my thoughts straight.

Ancient Egypt had a type of cursive for documents and now Ancient Standard blog notes the cache of letters found in northern England also included cursive writing.

So this has been around awhile.

the latest "shooter" was hearing voices. Probably a paranoid schizophrenic. link

So why was he on the street and not hospitalized if he was acutely psychotic? the changes of the law that make it almost impossible to hospitalize the mentally ill unless they are a danger to themselves or others.

Another item no one wants to discuss: That the huge publicity given to such cases inspires "copy cat" crimes by the mentally ill.

Studying whales by examining their...ear wax?!


Brazilian hackers hit NASA instead of the NSA.

Reminds me of a story of when Iran was having a revolution, and shouting: down with USA...down with CIA...and one quirky American got them to shout: down with IRS...
(the US Tax department)...


President Obama waived a law/regulation that prohibited sending weapons to the Syrian rebels. That group is about 30 percent jihadi types...

uh: wasn't Benghazi about covering up the fact that the CIA was sending them weapons via Turkey?


Companies lay off thousands and then demand immigration reform for more laborers.

yeah. The dirty little secret is that they work harder for less pay.

I'd blog more, but my battery is dead (I have one on order) so every time the cat comes up to sit next to me, he knocks out the wire and I have to reboot.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fairy tales are not for kids


Family news

Joy is picking up fingerling talapia for the fish pond at the farm.

Chano is building a "learning center" there.

Lolo visits the farm every day.

Me? I walk George, the killer lab, so that those passing by know we have a killer dog.

But his bark doesn't disturb the sheep, who keep eating our banana tree out front.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Smaug and Hurricanes

A discussion of Smaug at Thorinoakenshieldblog.

One point caught my eye: Why did Tolkien use the word "hurricane" to describe the wind accompanying the dragon attack?

The first dragon sounds described in the book are the first things Thorin heard when Smaug sacked Erebor: “A noise like a hurricane”. It is actually surprising an Englishman would use this comparison as there are practically none of those in Europe.

Hurricanes are used for a specific type of North Atlantic storm. True, gales with high winds are not unknown in England, but I suspect Tolkien was thinking of the Storm of 1703.

The word comes from Spanish, from the Arawak of the west Indies, but as this BBC article shows, nowadays "Hurricane winds" are used to describe gales with severe winds. This BBC article on the storm of 1703 points out that storms with high winds are often referred (incorrectly) as hurricanes, and Gordon Lightfoot fans know that the Edmund Fitzgerald was hit by " the face of a hurricane west wind." VideoHERE

It also adds this factoid:
 The United Kingdom is actually the World’s most tornado-prone nation.
Heh. Tornado alley in Suffolk.
But the UK tornadoes, like those we have here in the Philippines, tend to be weak ones, not the F5 types we got in Oklahoma.


unrelated item:
Professor Podles reviews a book about growing up as an Anglo kid on the Navajo reservation.

My take here. It is a world wide and ancient problem of what happens when cultures collide.

nothing to do with Smaug, except, of course, that one of the themes of LOTR/the Hobbit is the clash of cultures, using the metaphor of different humanoid races instead of tribes for contrast.

What westerners forget is that folks in different cultures actually think differently than they do, because they base their logic on different assumptions. One of these days I'll bore the ten readers of this blog with an essay on that problem. But it explains why Texans in the military understand Afghans better than a lot of those writing in the MSM...

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Musical Interlude of the day


lyrics here.

The President needs your support


put down coffee before watching.

It's even funnier if you get those daily emails from "organizing for America", which are sent to my husband's email box even though he is a registered Republican. Must be his Spanish name.

Science Factoids of the week

Beer Goggle study win IgNoble Prize.

the more you drink, the better you think you look.

And Mice recover faster from heart transplant surgery if you listen to Opera.


Hashtag: where does it come from?

The story of the hashtag begins sometime around the fourteenth century, with the introduction of the Latin abbreviation “lb,” for the Roman term libra pondo, or “pound weight.” Like many standard abbreviations of that period, “lb” was written with the addition of a horizontal bar, known as a tittle, or tilde ...And though printers commonly cast this barred abbreviation as a single character, it was the rushed pens of scribes that eventually produced the symbol’s modern form: hurriedly dashed off again and again, the barred “lb” mutated into the abstract #. 

the article goes on to explain the history of the ampersand, diple, pilcrow and other rare abbreviations...

via the bbc...


VOYAGER ONE has left the solar system.


Friday the 13th is unlucky in the US, but other countries have other "Unlucky" numbers.

Panda Poop Might Help Turn Plants Into Fuel


Wired has an article on sea monsters.

Monkeys in Florida were originally brought there for Tarzan movie 74 years ago.
(headsup DaveBarry)

also from DBarry:

Blobfish wins ugliest animal award.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Another day, another thunderstorm

The pump is getting fixed, so we reconnected city water to our system.

thunderstorm and raining.

Not much else going on here.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Zombie lessons

University of California Irvine has a course on how to survive the zombie apocolypse.


From understanding social identities to modeling the spread of disease, this eight-week course will span key science and survival themes using AMC’s The Walking Dead as its basis. Four faculty members from the University of California, Irvine will take you on an inter-disciplinary academic journey deep into the world of AMC’s The Walking Dead, exploring the following topics:
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs—is survival just about being alive?
Social order and structures—from the farm and the prison to Woodbury
Social identity, roles, and stereotyping—as shown through leaders like Rick and the Governor
The role of public health in society—from the CDC to local community organizations
The spread of infectious disease and population modeling—swarm!
The role of energy and momentum in damage control—how can you best protect yourself?
Nutrition in a post-apocalyptic world—are squirrels really good for you?
Managing stress in disaster situations—what’s the long-term effect of always sleeping with one eye open?

Schools open

From Photos of kids going to school from around the world.

Stuff below the fold

For later reading: Strategy Page on what's really going on in Syria,

and on China's long term plan to take over the ocean in the Philippine's legal economic zone.

When one of my classmates, a winner of the Medal of Honor, was reburied in Arlington, a biker's organization accompanied the body/funeral cortage along with family and friends in cars.

Yet this year, on 911, a patriotic bikers group asked for, and were denied a permit just to "ride through" Washington DC.  Yeah. Can't remind Congress of all those folks from the hinterlands (including the neighborhoods of Philly), but the "official" reason was that they would disrupt traffic.

Ah, according to Gateway pundit,  another group protesting the Benghazi deaths had a permit, and offered: well, if the bikers wanted to join them, no problem.
more HERE.

Slate takes photos at 10 am and says only a "modest turnout" at the Benghazi protest, but since the bikers won't arrive until the afternoon, the story is developing. LINK

and no, I'm not afraid of these bikers: I've visited Sturgis and although some drug use was up, the local rally in Oklahoma was on the whole peaceful...but I don't like bikes: I've treated a guy in one of these type rides who hit a deer and had severe brain damage.


Our Lady of Peace: Atlas Obscura has a photo of a grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, constructed in Indiana, as a thanksgiving for the end of World War I.

You wouldn't know it, but large grottos are quite common: some on church grounds, like the one I spotted in Northern Minnesota, and others, like the one in the mountains of Western Pennsylvania, were constructed and cared for by ordinary folks.

This doesn't count the many "Madonnas" in front of houses, in both rural and urban settings. In rural areas, often they are shielded by a partially buried bathtub, hence the name "Bathtub madonnas", which are so common that Wikipedia has an article about them.

And no, they aren't all erected by sweet old fashioned Italian ladies: our neighbor in Pennsylvania erected one, and he was a coal miners...

Here in the Philippines, middle class homes often have a small grotto in their yard too...and of course, we have the "ugly madonna" at the Our Lady of Peace Shrine on EDSA: where a "beautiful woman in white" stopped Marcos soldiers from attacking the demonstrators of the People Power revolution. As Cardinal Sin (!) noted when a sceptic said it wasn't the Virgin but one of the white clad nun: he agreed, but noted: none of the nuns was that good looking.




Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Stuff below the fold (plus rants)

The UKGuardian has the full Benghazi story, including how the reality disagrees with the cover stories put out by Obama.

And happily, unlike the US Media, they mentioned that Sean Smith noticed an attack was coming a couple hours before it started (giving the US State Dept plenty of time to get help there)... the Guardian say it was an email when it was actually an instant message to his EVE friends, but presumably he ALSO emailed the US State Department and was ignored..

Bathing in the medieval days.

I just listened to a podcast about this, LINK

Tickling rats for science.

(If you want to know exactly how one tickles a rat, this is the method outlined by Panksepp  and used in studies of rat laughter: “…The tickling was done with the right hand and consisted of rapid initial finger movements across the back with a focus on the neck, followed by rapidly turning the animals over on their backs, with vigorous tickling of their ventral surface, followed by release after a few seconds of stimulation.) 

Cat item of the day:

Kittens in hamster balls.
video link


What is precession, and why does it matter?

Podcast: Play in new window | Download (0.0KB)
The Earth is wobbling on its axis like a top. You can’t feel it, but it’s happening. And over long periods of time, these wobbles shift our calendars around, move the stars from where they’re supposed to be, and maybe even mess with our climate. (italics mine).


Joseph Pearce discusses the Catholic influences in the Hobbit in this podcast.

I should note that Pearce's expertise is noticing Catholic influence where it is usually ignored (e.g. Shakespeare). In this case, Tolkien, like most Catholics, is not an "either/or" writer, but a "both/and" person: able to love both Nordic legends and medieval/pre Vatican II Catholicism, but many modern experts ignore the Catholic influence because it is embedded in the sociology/psychology and plot of the story.

Culture note:
Some early Christians saw the gods as "evil"spirits; Paul (ironically) saw them as imaginary, but when the priests evangelized the Anglo Saxons, they "baptized" the good in their belief system, the same way we did when we worked in Africa.

and in medieval belief, the "gods" were archangels who were mistaken for "gods" through "the mist" of human error (to use a Percy Jackson term). See CS Lewis "That Hideous Strength"....or saint Boethius who was visited and comforted by a  "grey eyed" woman (not Mary: Athena, the goddess of wisdom).


Heh. Dawkins points out that that "childhood sexual abuse" was rampant in boarding schools in his day, and suffers the wrath of the sex police.

Actually, he points out something everyone knows but nobody bothers to say: not that sexual fondling etc. of children is not wrong, but that using it to demonize Catholics as if it only was done by Catholic priests ignores that it happened in all sorts of schools/institutions...

Next thing you know, someone will notice how common it was in the past to sleep with your maid/secretary/cute male employee....

Broccoli: Is there anything it can't do?

not it stops sunburn and skin cancer.

Philippine news

A 'Moro" group in the south is continuing to terrorize locals, (not the MNLF but a breakaway group)...most of their victims are probably local Christians, since they kidnapped a local priest, but both the situation and the religious angle is usuall downplayed here in the headlines...a lot of Christians now live in the area, and the local "moro" groups want to get back their "ancestral" lands, never mind that they stole these lands 500 years ago from the tribal peoples living there.

Heh. Maybe the locals should fight back, like the Mexicans are doing...actually, when the populist President Estrada was in charge, he gave them guns to do so and a lot of innocent (and not too innocent people) died. So when Gloria (and now PNoy) took over, (i.e. from elite families with connections to the NWO), they stopped the program.

But here, the headlines ignore such "terrorism", and so only one front page headline in the Manila bulletin, and that says, well MAYBE  we will let them raise their flag if they give up hostages...heh...

 This may not be about independence per se, but about who controls all that lovely development money poured into the area by both western and Islamic NGO's...
whoever runs the gov't has first dibs on taking twenty percent off the top (20 percent is the usual take...more than that is considered greedy).

Most of the headlines today are mainly about corruption. Will PNoy stop or at least limit corruption? Who knows?

and then there is this on the front page: Apple has a new cellphone, and the latest hot spot for OFW To get jobs: North Dakota.

As for us: The new mayor had guys clean out and repair the open air ditch sewers by our home... when we spotted them working, we gave small gifts to the men to buy "merienda" snacks.. And Sunday morning, when they finished taking away the debris, we didn't notice they were there because we went to church, so two came over, shovels in hands, to say: We are working on your ditch... And I gave them a donation for snacks for their morning break.

Just ignore reality and propose a new compassionate Big Brother to force you to do good deeds

Attention Bozo Bezos:

If you want readers to actually read your paper, try getting editorials that don't insult them. while insisting that only they know how to fix things (by imposing a new expensive bureaucratic program).

Today's claims all evil 'mericans are selfish competitive narcissists, and say we need a society that stresses cooperation. Overlooked by a gov't bureaucrat, of course.

what she ignores: 65 million Americans are part time or full time caretakers of their families or neighbors, most of whom do it with little or no government program telling them to do it.

And this doesn't count the church ladies who run the food banks, who baby sit kids, who bring over a cassarole when you are sick, or drive the elderly to their doctor's appointment.

Nor does this include the one million grandparents who are primary caretakers for their grandkids.

This proposal will fill in for the families that were broken by the government, by their economic policies that discourage American businesses from hiring, by no fault divorce that destroyed marriage, and by the new abortion/gay marriage laws that will destroy conservative churches and church run charities/businesses who refuse to fund abortion, and who oppose euthanasia by medical rationing, and refuse to think "love" is more important than 5000 years of experience traditional marriage.


Family news

The pump head started leaking yesterday and now is not pushing the water to the tank at all. This means washing up with a bucket until the plumber comes to put on a new one.

Oh, the joys of living in a tropical paradise!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Youtube has link the Finnish version of the Hobbit on line.

don't say I haven't warned you...

Family News

No, the fighting in Zamboanga is not near us.

We have seen soldiers around: Due to the bomb threat in the palenke...which is presumed to be about getting the vendors to move into the "new" palenke instead of staying on the side street in kiosks.

Another storm is due in a day or two. Alas it's getting toward harvest time.

Lolo is okay.

Female dogs fighting: We think both Blackie and Angel are pregnant and they fight every time they see each other. We keep Blackie in our house, and Angel stays with Ruby upstairs, but sometimes they meet in the kitchen and then it's dogfights.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Just for nice

It's a bird: it's a plane: it's dot...

Yes, these two are adopted.
and don't forget the cool dogs

from Tiamaria's "Lolcats emailed around the world" collection.

Video download of the week


Doctor David Nieman's lectures on the ancient world are excellent.  His tapes are to buy, but they post snips now and then: Right now he is working on ancient Egypt:


Stuff around the web

Philip Jenkis is writing a series on the folk gospels that didn't make it into the bible: no, not the "gnostic" ones that were forgotten but beloved by modern elite "jesus seminar" types, but the stories were known to medieval Catholics. Today's episode is about the ancient texts about the Virgin Mary's body being taken up to heaven. 

and he explains why few scholars want to study them (too 'superstitious" he says: I say it's because they confirm normality was important to ancient and medieval Christianity: Jesus as part of a family, with a really great mom. So these stories were popular because they told folks that you could find holiness in the daily grind of family life, not in monasteries or (nowadays) boring folks with talk of Jesus or meditating to evolve to a higher power.

Tehran Live posts photos of the Moghandam museum.

Tehran University’s Moghadam Museum, or the house of Moghadam, is considered one of luxury home of Qajar era which belonged to Mohammad Taghi Khan Ehtesabolmolk, a courtier.

The alqaeda and Taliban weren't the first who wanted to purify the world:

Ah, the good old days when the civilized were attacked by puritanical barbarians who destroyed books, churches and art work.

 I wonder how many remember the British civil wars, against the Scots, or when the Puritans massacred Irish Catholics, or when "reformers" destroyed millions of books in monasteries, and decimated the art world?

Improbable research links to an article on alternative engery; using Fido to turn the spit when you barbecue a roast.

more HERE. common in pubs, 

the Turnspit dogs usually were similar to dachshunds. but the breed is now extinct.


 Speaking of Pubs: The World's End is a sleeper hit about a pub crawl that saves the world. For Shaun of the Dead fans, with lots of droll British humor.

Another "end of the world" type movie, with ET robots instead of Zombies. Seems to be a trend.

My take? Bleh. Like Silver Linings playbook, (which is not a zombie movie) the main character is a narcissistic  druggie type, and since I disliked the main character, I couldn't enjoy the movie.

And no, I'm not a horror movie/zombie fan...the only one I really enjoyed was Warm Bodies and (although a bit violent to my taste) Abraham Lincoln, vampire killer...
Book Review of the Sarejevo assasination of the Hapsburgh heir reveals he was not a rigid person, but actually fought to marry his wife.

  King and Woolmans give us a look at the courtship of Franz Ferdinand and Sophie and their long battle to secure permission to wed, albeit in a morganatic marriage, which denied her and her children imperial rank. The picture of the couple’s life together shows us an almost continuous pattern of petty snubs and deliberate insults from the court, but they have been a happy couple, producing three children who seem to have had a rather normal family life considering the pressures on them.  King and Woolmans make a serious effort to rehabilitate the images of both Franz Ferdinand and Sophie.  For example, they argue that Franz Ferdinand was neither an unimaginative, stiff-necked conservative, nor a starry-eyed liberal, as various authors in the past have depicted him.  Though perhaps more sympathetic than the evidence would suggest, they see him as a realistic conservative, who recognized the need for reforms that would bolster the old order.  Moreover, they point out that he actually had some influence in reshaping the monarchy, helping create a new navy for example. 

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Stuff around the net

My computer is now working but I need a new battery: until it comes, I can only use it connected to the electricity...

so light blogging continues.


I'm not sure what this means but the Cosmic winds are changing direction.

NotCot has the recipe of the day: Egg and avocado sandwich.

In Africa, we didn't have avocado trees, but when I did my weekly visit to Holy Cross mission clinic, which was 500 feet higher than our mission, they had them there, and Sister would pick a few for us. We used them like butter on our bread....

I'm not sure if they will grow here: Chano bought an avocado in in Manila and we have sprouted the seed...but it might be too rainy for it to actually survive.
 Instructions on sprouting avocado seeds HERE.


Latin words in South Africa? repeated genetic mixing for 3000 years?

Well, the Portuguese were there in 1500, and the Muslim slave traders mined the area for 1500 years, and Memnon and his fellow Ethiopians were at Troy, so who knows. People moved around a lot  more than people used to realize, one could travel across the Sahara with a horse as late as early Roman times, and African archeology is still in it's infancy.

Wilbur Smith's book "the Sunbird" , about a lost Phonecian colony, is supposed to be based on H Rider Haggard's stories, but Haggard incorporated a lot of "secret" history that he learned from the local N'angas, and if I remember correctly, Smith got part of the story from Credo Mutwa.

And in eastern Zimbabwe, entire mountainsides are terraced: Stone walls 1 to 2 feet high and flat areas about a yard wide. I have no idea what is grown with this type of terraces...And certain trees grow in the area which are only found in the Mediterranean.

Ironically, Chinese archeology is starting to discover all sorts of things (yet with their political pressure to be "superior", I'm not sure I trust them), but there is little written about SE Asia, partly because the heat and moisture ruined artifacts and also because bamboo etc. were used for storage and weapons instead of stone tools and pottery, and unlike pottery, bamboo is biodegradable.

Everyone debates the Apocalypse, but are you aware that an alternative Apocalypse almost made it into the Bible? PeterJenkins blog discusses it here.

As he points out, it's vision of hell resembles that of Dante's Inferno, making one suspect the subject matter, like other tall tales from the books that didn't make it into the bible, was known to medieval scholars, perhaps via intermediate works...Jenkins, in other posts, points out that many of the non accepted "gospels" were known in the middle ages via popular stories, and only disappeared when the Protestants started insisting on a pure gospel...we prevatican II types still know the stories however as part of the folk catholicism/stories which is how religion and ethics was taught to catholics in the past.

Nor were pagan stories censored.
article on the Sibylline oracles here.

Arsenic in your rice?

don't ask me, but there is arsenic in groundwater that occurs naturally: but not everywhere. The story is a bit vague on where the rice came from.


The Diplomad comments on the talking points: Obama as JFK.

Actually, we here in the Philippines know that his laxness has invited Chinese aggression in Asia: Not only in the west Philippine sea against us and VietNam, but against India and Japan. 


 Speaking of NSA monitoring: I am using Startpage to search, and Engineer Hamid recommends

the WAGD article of the day: Monster Volcano discovered in the Pacific Ocean.

the good news? It's been extinct for a million years.


Thursday, September 05, 2013

Family news

It's hot, and except for normal monsoon thunderstorms, we're okay.

Our cook reported a bomb threat at the local palenke. The old "palenke" just happened to burn down so the mayor back then could build a new one. when left, the new mayor shut down part of it for poor construction and other problems, and built a new extention on the ground floor with better ventillation (open to air) for the "wet" vendors. Now that the previous family is back in charge, we have had a spate of shootings, and now the city wants the vendor to move back inside:  but the local vendors object to the high fees required.

So we avoided the palenke (which had the local army checking out things) and went to the mall instead to buy Lolo's medicines. The security guards check you and frisk you there routinely.

Behind the headlines

Obama says American soldiers will now become mercenaries for rich Arabs?


China in Africa: pushing capitalism but maybe just neocolonialists.

since too many NGO's (including church groups) push a green agenda, this is changing Africa...indeed, just their cheap cellphones are changing the culture.


Girls who never grow up

via TeaAtTrianon

Lots of anthropology links at ForWhatTheyWereblog.
here are two examples:

East China engravings show first Oriental writing (~5000 years' old, just slightly younger aged as Sumerian cuneiform writing but much more recent than the controversial Tărtăria tablets of Bulgaria) → The Guardian, English People.
North American natives caused lead pollution in Lake Michigan (oldest recorded) → PPV paper (ER&T)University of Pittsburg.

Best headline of the week:

How Snakes Move on a Plane.

Right now, we are between earthquakes, typhoons, floods and the like, so the headlines are about fighting corruption.

and about Chinese violating Philippine sovereignty, as usual. And not just China: Taiwan is doing it again (the Navy shot the last bunch and caused an international incident, so they figure they can get away with it).

the local NEJournal has photos of local flooding from last week, and reports about another shooting of an election official.


Big Brother alert: People use less energy if they are monitored.

Ah, but is it legal to snoop on people like this without asking their permission?
Nah, they didn't publish the names so they were allowed to ignore that pesky 4th amendment.

Ambrose says the US study was well designed because people were not always aware their energy consumption was being monitored, but he says this presents ethical problems.
"We couldn't really undertake a study like that in Australia because we need to get permission from people to collect their energy consumption data," he says.
When I was a missionary, we usually knew stuff about what was going on that wasn't in the newspapers. That was why our mail was read, our phone calls were monitored, and even our luggage was searched when we left the country.

CWR has a report from behind the lines in Syria by some Catholic nuns, including a letter they wrote to President Obama.

Summary: what is truth?

YUM! Cuys. Domesticated 5000 plus years ago.
The first archaeological evidence of the human use of guinea pigs dates to about 9,000 years ago. They may have been domesticated as early as 5,000 BC, probably in the Andes of Ecuador; archaeologists have recovered burned bones and bones with cut marks from midden deposits beginning about that time.

The history of guinea pigs.

more HERE.

Dr. E writes about the reformist struggle in Tehran's local elections.