Thursday, October 31, 2013

Family news
Internet down

We are doing the rice harvest: a lot of farmers lost the rice crop in the typhoon. Our rice drier building is destroyed, but the drier machine will work, we hope.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Stuff below the fold

While the headlines are fighting about the wonderfulness of Obamacare, the really important news stories are there if you dig around a bit.


The "WTF" story of the day number one comes from StrategyPage:

Russian nukes light up America

and the "dog who didn't bark" is ignored by the American press, who didn't notice:

In the last two decades the only radioactive material smuggled out of Russia was small quantities and usually low-level stuff unsuitable for a bomb. Most Russian nukes have been disassembled and their nuclear material turned into power-plant fuel. The remaining nuclear weapons are under very tight security and most of their nuclear scientists were given financial and career incentives (paid for by the U.S.) to leave nuclear weapons work behind. Nevertheless, for two decades, breathless news stories of Russian "loose nukes" were a media staple on slow news days. None of those stories ever panned out and that has gone on for so long that “loose nukes in Russia” is no longer considered a viable attention getter.

MIT story on internet privacy: linked for later reading.

...we must learn how to sabotage the system—perhaps by refusing to self-track at all.
 and this comes from link:


Gateway pundit notes that this page of the Obamacare Spanish website uses a photo of two Asian women.

well, after all, all brown people look alike, don't they?

One reporter wanted some Mexican music to play in the background of a story about Ted Cruz, whose father was a refugee from Cuba.

I suggest maybe he should play this instead.

But hey, all brown people look alike....


if Mirkwood was the forests of central Europe, then the Misty Mountains were... the Alps. TORN discusses here.


another Alp related story: Mont Blanc plane crash jewels found. the crash was in 1966...

but the incident reminded me of the 1956 Spencer Tracy film The Mountain, which was inspired by a  similar 1950 plane crash...


the Darwin award of the week goes to North Korea, who are busy hiding their missile sites on a holy volcano on the Chinese border, to keep the Americans from attacking them.

after all, what could go wrong. BBC report on Mt Paektu

Wired report on how to trigger a volcanic eruption.


Friday, October 25, 2013

The very non politically correct Obamacare joke of the day

You're a sick senior citizen and the government says there is no nursing home care available for you. 
So what do you do?

Our plan gives anyone 65 years,
or older, a gun (G) and 4 bullets.
You are allowed to shoot four Politicians.

Of course, this means you'll be sent to prison, where you will receive three meals a day, a roof over your head, central heating and air conditioning and all the health care you need.

Need new teeth? No problem. Need glasses? That's great. Need a new hip, knees, kidney, lungs or heart? They're all covered.

As an added bonus, your kids can come and visit you at least as often as they do now.
And who will be paying for all of this? 
The same government that just told you they can't afford for you to go into a home.

And, you can get rid of 4 useless politicians while you're at it.

Plus, because you are a prisoner, you
don't have to pay any income taxes anymore.
Is this a great country or what?


your email of the day from Tiamaria...

Backstories in the news

 Some bozo associated with the UN is pushing insects as food    (recipes here), but in China, cockroaches are used medicinally.

Now the latest fad is to raise American German cockroaches and eat them as medicine.

and they are easy to raise:
But, he said, farming the bugs is very simple. "Just keep them warm and they are happy."
 Cahokia burnt down 900 years ago and that civilization started declining afterward.
Of course, the climate started changing shortly after that time, which also might have something to do with the decline.

and although recent reports say Jurassic park was nonsense, another report showed that the amber mosquitos do contain blood, but not the blood of T Rex:
Since they bring that up, it’s worth pointing out that the mosquito fossil dates to the Middle Eocene, some 19 million years after non-avian dinosaurs went extinct. 

Want to read a depressing news article?

Follow the money.



on a more cheerful note.

Heirs of Durin has lots of screen shots from the next Hobbit film.

Guess they escaped without coats...


Stuff around the net

I am still catching up with headlines and news (after ten days without electricity except for a generator, meaning no TV cable and no internet...we had to rely on the Manila Bulletin, which we still get in paper form.), and the headlines continue to be the same old same old.

The most serious one is probably that Obama's policies have upset the Saudis (and the Israelis)... he backs the radical Sunnis and the Shiites, so the stable dictators are upset. Maybe someone in the State Dept needs to read "Animal farm" to realize that removing "dictators" sometimes leads to something worse.

And everyone pretends to be shocked, shocked, that the NSA is spying on the leaders of other countries (as if the Russians and Chinese weren't doing the same thing) and the health care bill needs a new computer system.

But if you complain about anything PC, you are a bigot.

And now, Catholics, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and Hamurabi's ideas of marriage are bigotry.

And as Uncle Orson found out, if you suggest that traditional forms of marriage are somehow better than promiscuity, you will be boycotted. Miley Cyrus? no problem. Madonna ridiculing Jesus? no problem. Shades of Grey? Seducing teenaged step daughters? No problem. Making drug dealers and mafia hitmen heroes? No problem...

One headline on Drudge says AlGore is blaming the usual bushfires in Australia to global warming, and another article noted that the new guy running Australia is out fighting the fire since he belongs to the local volunteer fire company.

in local news:

The typhoon here hurt us and a lot of local farmers, but the huge and terrible earthquake in Bohol pushed our minor calamity out of the headlines.

Most of the headlines here are about the "pork scandal". Since I don't know who is related to whom, I can't follow it, but PNoy is busy trying to clean house.

Good luck to him, but he is also busy passing laws to please outsiders that no one really cares about: for example: laws that allow casinos (and the associated drug/sex trade problems). And of course, changing laws to conform with the "new morality" pushed by the US State Department, not to conform with local society.

Of course, no one here obeys the law, so it doesn't make much difference, but like the RH bill, which is about population control not about supplying midwives for safe child birth, it seems more to be about pleasing Obama's state department  than helping the poor.

Speaking of laws: after the typhoon I was not surprised to see army guys going around in vans helping out, but this week I also have seen them in pairs on motorcycles (one driving, one carrying an M16) patrolling the back streets. Yup. "barangay" elections (local elections) are due.

And next weekend: All Saints day: everyone will travel home to visit their relative's graves. so the whole country will shut down for five days.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

family news

Electricity and internet now on

All of us are okay The farm buildings were essentially destroyed as was much of the rice crop (some can be harvested for animal feed but too low quality to sell for human consumption). Our higher fields should be okay though.

The greenhouses/organic veggie project, which had just started to produce crops to sell, was flattened. The roof over the small rice mill and rice drier blew off but we think that the machines are okay. Rice harvest starts this week, and we'll have more news as we harvest to see if the crop survived. The chicken farm is no longer there...luckily the renter had just harvested his last chicken crop and decided to leave, so there were no chickens to bury. So we are going to have to tighten the belt for awhile: Maybe we can just concentrate on organic rice for awhile. electrical wires in town were badly damaged by falling trees, so we have been on generators. We brought the large generator down from the farm, but it broke down after one day, so we survived on the smaller one until it got fixed yesterday...the small generator doesn't run airconditioning, with the air filter and dehumidifier that we need for asthma. and it didn't run the water pump, but it will run lights and fans.... Luckily our roofs in town stayed on, and we are high enough that we didn't get flooded, but we lost the back gate, a couple of trees in the garden, and a lot of windows.

Some of the relatives and help in San Lorenzo were flooded out, and moved into Doy's house until the water level went down.

Chano and Joy got home from Manila before the typhoon hit badly, but Ruby stayed later to see a concert and caught a ride home in the pickup truck (making rice deliveries). the road was flooded at San Miguel, so they pulled over to sleep in a gas station parking lot. Then the water started to rise, and they took refuge first inside the store, then on the roof of the gas station store, and ate a lot of the junk food snacks that the owner told them to grab since the store was being filled quickly with rising water, and climb up onto the roof with others who were stranded there. Ruby, being a young teen, grabbed only her cellphone: no blanket, nor her computer. The good news is that she could call here to say they were okay, but they were out in the rain for five hours.

The eye of the typhoon went through just after midnight; this was the second time I've experienced the eye, but the last one was not a full blown storm. This one was: Lots of smashing and banging and then silence for 15 minutes, along with lightning and light rain, and then suddenly the wind came from the other direction and we were back in the storm.

Lolo, being hard of hearing, slept through the whole thing. He had a case of influenza and is still coughing. Not too sick but when you are 88 any infection is serious. Dr. Danny came to check him.

With the lack of full electricity, we had no water pump, so lived on city water, which thank God was working okay. but that meant carrying buckets of water to flush the toilet, and to wash.

The thin white dog Sophie had six puppies three days after the storm, and another dog is due any day now.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Another day another typhoon

we are up to signal 3 for tonite...

internet is going off and on, but only light rain and no wind so far.

Inklings links

Brian Sibley reviews a new book "A Brief Guide to CSLewis". about the author who died 50 years ago in November.


From MorderToTheMountains has a beautiful new painting up (go to link and check it out), and the quote that inspired him
' the top of this rock the eagles swooped one by one and set down their passengers.
"Farewell!" they cried, "wherever you fare, till your eyries receive you at the journey's end!" That is the polite thing to say among eagles.
"May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks," answered Gandalf, who knew the correct reply.'
Chapter VII Queer lodgings p.132
The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

Another day, another typhoon


this one might hit near's cloudy and some rain, but no wind or storm yet.

we're under only a signal one warning.

the bad news is that it's almost harvest time...

craft item of the day

MarthaStewart's site has lots of Haloween stuff, so go start making some decorations.

here is a JELLYFISH COSTUME that you can make
with a clear umbrella and some bubblewrap.

No, we don't really celebrate Haloween here (except in some modern schools/malls). The big day here is November 1, when everyone goes home to visit the relative's graves and clean them up, say a prayer, and have a picnic.

Family news

Ruby has an event to attend, and Chano and Joy are headed to Divisoria to buy stuff.

Weird stuff below the fold

DessertComesFirst Blog explains how to open a durian, a hard shelled fruit that smells like hell and tastes like heaven:

A few nicks are made on the bottom of the durian and then the natural grooves on its husk are scored...When that’s done, all that’s needed is to pry apart the various segments. I make it sound easy – wish it was – but those thorns are sharp and the shell itself is stubborn. Ah, the toil before the sweet!

you know about the "eggplant that ate Chicago", but did you know about the Jellyfish that shut down the local nuclear plant?
Momjones reports that this is not a rare occurance

Jellyfish blooms—the term for giant swarms of jellyfish—have also been responsible for nuclear shut downs in California, Florida, Israel, Scotland, India, and Japan, where one plant has reported removing as much as 150 tons of jellyfish from its system in one day. In 1999, a jellyfish bloom clogged the cooling system of a major coal-fired plant in the Philippines, leaving 40 million people without power. And in 2006, in a nigh unprecedented act of aggression, jellyfish in Brisbane, Australia, afflicted the massive nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan with an "acute case of fouling," clogging its cooling systems and forcing it to leave the harbor.
 they report the blooms may be getting worse from ocean pollution/acidification, and that the Koreans using robots to remove them and links to a film showing this.

RedCookNet says: well, maybe we should eat them, as Asians already do.


Vikings are "In", so here is a review of the latest Viking movie: Made in Malaysia...


Cats in medieval Europe: Although some literature suggest that they were considered as companions of witches, a closer look suggests that the claim by usually feminist cat lovers that they were hated by all and usually exterminated seem to be cherry picking the information to support their screeds.

Dogs were preferred over cats, who often were disliked for being sneaky and sly, but they were often kept by nuns as pets (the original cat ladies?) and valued for their mice catching abilities.

other discussion from Medievalnet:

Medieval Pet Names

Pet Care Advice from the Middle Ages


In contrast, on Easter Island, folks ate rats.

more HERE.
The researchers found that throughout time, the people on the island consumed a diet that was mainly terrestrial. In fact, in the first few centuries of the island's history (up to about A.D. 1650) some individuals used Polynesian rats (also known as kiore) as their main source of protein. The rat is somewhat smaller than European rats and, according to ethnographic accounts, tasty to eat.
Want to lose weight?

Stink yourself slim.
Stink Yourself Slim is a spray that smells like a skunk and it’s supposed to help you lose weight by making you completely lose your appetite. The creator Alex Fontaine came up with the idea when she was at an outdoor party that was crashed by a skunk who ruined the buffet.

on the other hand, if stink kept you from eating, no one would eat a Durian (see above).

also from IncredibleThings:

Pumpkin Spice: The Horror Movie

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Medical trivia of the day

Improbable research reports on a test for Alzheimer's using peanut butter. 

“Results. The mean odor detection distance of AD patients’ left nostril (5.1 cm), and not their right (17.4 cm), was significantly less (F(3,90) = 22.28, p < 0.0001) than the other groups…. “Conclusion. This non-invasive and inexpensive left–right nostril odor detection test appears to be a sensitive and specific test for probable AD.”

actually, losing smell sensitivity is a traditonal way to test for early dementia, including HIV related dementia. This is why testing for smell is part of the neurological exam.  Usually we tested by opening a small bottle full of coffee grounds, but this webpage suggests using soap for some reason.

On the other hand, as this BMJ article notes: Hardly anyone does it nowadays in routine exams.


When was the last time you asked a patient about their sense of smell? When did you last perform any test of smell identification? Probably never is the answer to both questions. And if you ever did, I expect it was an afterthought and you had to send the clinic nurse scurrying off for an orange or some coffee grains, or worse still you dug out those prehistoric smell bottles that are more appropriate for reviving the dead than assessing the rhinencephalon (the smell brain). Ammonia is useful for cleaning metal. Tinct. asafoetida – the smell of flatus – is an important ingredient of one of the Pentagon’s most repugnant smells ‘US Government Standard Bathroom Malodor’, which causes volunteers to scream and curse within a few seconds...

Loss of smell is called anosmia, and the reason we rarely do the testing is that there are so many reasons for it that testing doesn't give you a lot of information.
LINK from webMD:

Nasal congestion from a cold, allergy, sinus infection, or poor air quality is the most common cause of anosmia. Other anosmia causes include:
  • Nasal polyps -- small noncancerous growths in the nose and sinuses that block the nasal passage.
  • Injury to the nose and smell nerves from surgery or head trauma.
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals, such as pesticides or solvents.
  • Certain medications, including antibiotics, antidepressants, anti-inflammatory medication, heart medications, and others.
  • Cocaine abuse.
  • Old age. Like vision and hearing, your sense of smell can become weaker as you age. In fact, one's sense of smell is most keen between the ages of 30 and 60 and begins to decline after age 60.
  • Certain medical conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, nutritional deficiencies, congenital conditions, and hormonal disturbances.
  • Radiation treatment of head and neck cancers.

In other words, the person is more likely to suffer from a cold than Alzheimer's disease...

Stuff below the headlines

Docs are unhappy. It's official: RAND did a survey.

Electronic records that are hard to fill out and take time and attention away from patients
Limiting time you are able to spend with patients because someone decided to limit your time in the name of efficiency
Too many rules telling you how to practice medicine

or as Doc McCoy would say: I'm a doctor, not a paper pusher...


The Astronomy of Middle Earth.


GetReligion reviews the lastest  church controversy: Pews being replaced by chairs.
No, not ordinary movable wooden chairs, but velvety chairs like those used in movie theatres.

In Africa, most of the folks sat on the floor at our rural church...and women and men sat on different sides of church (but in the city, it was pews and everyone mixed)...
.and when our church in the US was being replaced, we used folding chairs in the local firehall to hear mass.

for later reading: the king of Salem in ancient alternative bibles and the Koran.

I remember reading that some feminist professor gave her students an assignment to rewrite Wikipedia to fit the feminist point of view, and I presume other interest groups and businesses do the same. Which is why the site may be inaccurate for "controversial" subjects and one needs to beware of articles that mainly are advertisements for a business or person or personal idiology.

BoingBoing tells how the site is fighting these "sockpuppets"...dailydot article here.

Obama is shutting down CDC reporting.
Due to the lapse in government funding, only web sites supporting excepted functions will be updated unless otherwise funded. As a result, the information on this website may not be up to date, the transactions submitted via the website may not be processed, and the agency may not be able to respond to inquiries until appropriations are enacted.
however, the link is a report on mentally ill kids.

related item: Shutting down WIC. 

the states and local food banks are picking up the slack.
No mention on if the sperm donors are helping out mom or if they have extended families who might help.

And I wonder why these WIC moms aren't being pressured into breast feeding, like the ones I am familiar with? Some programs insist on breast feeding and only give formula if the moms lack milk or are working outside the  home.


Preaching at people doesn't work, says the Pope. Yeah. Such people annoy me greatly.
Usually, when the "pious Petes" come up to convert me and ask if I believe in Jesus as my personal savior, I reply: Know him? I almost got my ass shot off for him...
That usually shuts them up.
No, I don't preach, and I never pray with patients.
However, I sometimes advised my patients on religious issues...I have arranged the priest to come and help in "mass trauma" emergencies, and sometimes advised patients to get prayed over, talk to their minister, or to arrange a "sing"...

As the original Francis supposedly said: Spread the gospel always: use words if you have to.

StrategyPage has an article on how fighting a war has changed over the last century for the guys on the ground.

SP:on point" article on Asian economics includes this comment:

U.S. structural problems would include enormous public debt, aging infrastructure and increasing administrative compliance costs resulting from complex tax laws and proliferating business regulations.
Sounds a lot like what is making doctors unhappy too...

most of the article is about Chinese problems with corruption and their struggle to implement "rule of law".
Gu reported that the "foreign educated" children of Chinese entrepreneurs are not enthralled with "the endless wining and dining of government officials that is necessary to do business in China." In China, since personal whim still trumps law, businesspeople must constantly curry favor with government officials. It amounts to micro-economic lobbying.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Video downloads of the day


although I am sceptical that "better warning" will work all the time, or even if buying a "weather radio" is good advice if your town is between cities that have radio stations or you live in a rural you go outside and look for the funnel cloud.

And when they strike at night, you are in deep doodoo...

if you don't have a basement (which we didn't) it means either driving downtown and hoping that someone remembered to bring the key to unlock the public shelter, or run across the street with Lolo to the neighbor's tornado shelter. 

Deep Physics

Maybe Einstein was right, and God does not play dice.

Hooft thinks the notorious randomness of quantum mechanics is just a front. Underneath, the world obeys perfectly sensible rules. 

headsup Instapundit

Life in the Philippines take two:

rant moved to BNN.

Life in the Philippines

Everyday heroes: cop killed in flood rescue:
BAYAWAN, Negros Oriental—The death toll from the flooding in this city has risen to six as relief operations continue for the 11,000 people affected by the floods caused by torrential rains.
Aside from policeman Rodelyn Gonzaga, who is reported to have lost his life while helping in rescue operations, the other fatalities have been identified as Tanorio Bacorio, Ronald Gargarian, Puriciano Sedo, Maricel Bordago and Shirley Tombrador, all residents of Bayawan.

Flooding in the south Philippines: No, it's not global warming, just regular monsoon season. The floods are from
1) the poor build shanty towns in the flood plains (and the officials look the other way)
2) illegal logging means that the trees on the slopes aren't there to absorb the rain (and the officials take bribes to look the other way).
3) Cities don't have proper drainage systems, so they tend to clog up with debris and plastic bags. (and the officials pocket the city funds supposed to help the poor).

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Dinoburger take two

Update on previous note:

Pohl andKornbluth wrote about factory meat in their story SpaceMerchants. Referenced here.

and the story of the geek and the dinosaur egg is from Asimov's "A Statue for Father".
Referenced here.

and this PopSci article discusses what part of the dinosaur to eat, and notes that the flavor of meat depends on what it's been eating...

Most people prefer meat that comes from herbivorous animals—think cow, deer, bison— since animal fat found in a carnivore's diet adds a significant amount of "gamey" flavor. And some dinosaurs' diets are far too unappetizing to consider.

"When people ask me if a T-Rex would be good, well, I don't think so," David Varricchio, professor of paleontology at Montana State University, says. "They've found jaw abnormalities that suggests they were eating fetid meat and had diseases that came about from prey items. They would be pretty parasite-laden."

aggh! Parasites! Don't eat him he has parasites...

Uh, fellahs: the parasites are killed by COOKING.LINK

 So Bilbo stopped him from eating Bombur raw, but not from eating him in a stew or roasted.

As for the "sage": the reason the world went nuts trading for pepper etc. was to improve the flavor of food...

CSMonitor article on neolithic spices. more on the ancient spice trade HERE  and HERE.

Chicken news of the day

only 17 percent of the US gov't is shut down, so we are happy to report that Michelle's "move" organization is up and running, but apparently health and welfare sites are fair game:

Poultrynews reports that no poultry vaccine can be released.

of course, in previous shut downs this did not why did it happen this time? Incompetence, or a deliberate action to hurt the american people so that the evil republicans can be blamed for higher food prices and/or an epidemic?

Every time a company produces a batch of vaccine, it sends an analysis of that batch and samples to USDA/CVB, which then approves the release of the batch of product into the marketplace for commercial sale.  This is known as “serial release.”  Previously, this has been deemed an essential service that continues during government shutdowns, as these products play a crucial role in the protection of animal health and directly impact food safety and public health..

The poultry industry’s letter concluded, “Animal health vaccine release is an essential activity. With the far-ranging impact on food safety, human health and animal health, we are seriously concerned about the disregard of this fundamental understanding. We ask that appropriate funding be allocated immediately, so there are no interruptions at CVB.”
In other words, the vaccines have been produced, and the farmers are waiting for them to be shipped, but without a government bureaucrat giving the Okay, they will sit in storage and the chickens will remain unprotected from diseases such as bird flu, newcastle disease, viral bronchitis, etc.


Remember this when the prices of chicken goes up and farmers go broke because they have to destroy infected flocks....

more at bizjournal.
"What will happen is they will run out of vaccine, and we will be in a position where we are unable to supply more and they will be forced to either cut back significantly on production or stop production completely," Wallace said.
He said reducing or stopping production would mean that some workers see furloughs of their own.
"As a business, it will have on us really less effect than it will for the producers," Wallace said. "One-hundred-ninety million doses of poultry vaccine sounds like a lot – and it is a lot of vaccine – but it's not a lot of dollars. … The real impact is to the food supply, food safety and potential human health implications of not being able to vaccinate these birds."
MSUCares site explains the need for vaccines in animals:
This is why we vaccinate poultry; so they are protected from explosive disease outbreaks. Viruses stimulate the development of better immunity than other types of microorganisms; so most poultry vaccinations are against viral diseases like Newcastle disease, infectious bronchitis, laryngotracheitis, fowl pox, and infectious bursal disease.


Stuff below the fold

I'm listening to the Strategytalk podcast, about the Kenyan mall massacres.

One note: Jim Dunnigan notes that cellphones are the real danger to terrorists, since a quick text can alert to where the bad guys are hiding.

cellphones are changing the world: so if this was drawn today, they'd be hiding their cellphones:


Stuff around the net

Cidevant blog discusses the picadillos of the British monarchy.

and in another post, discusses the problems of making a films of real people.  Hmm...maybe if they included Diana's "picadillos", the new film wouldn't make her into a plaster saint.

my only comment about the film about Thatcher: they place a lot of emphasis on her dementia but slide so quickly past the real drama of her life that non Brits who don't know the history of those days might not pick up the references. In this case I am thinking of the IRA bombing of her hotel or her place in causing the fall of communism.


A new translation of Dante is discussed.
Stopped mid-motion in the middle
Of what we call our life, I looked up and saw no sky—
Only a dense cage of leaf, tree, and twig. I was lost.

the main problem with this is that most readers are city folks...few modern readers see the forest as menacing, and they see wildlife as cuddly Disney animals. Which only goes to show that none of them live in Northern Minnesota, where my elderly patients were afraid of taking a walk to exercize because they might be attacked by bears.

Mirkwood anyone?

cooking article of the day.

Using an MRI to cook a better pork pie.

In this work we demonstrate the potential of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a tool for investigating the conditions required for producing jellies with different properties and present two examples of this use. Firstly we demonstrate that MRI can determine the ability of water to diffuse through the jelly which is critical in minimizing the amount of moisture moving from the jelly to the crust. Secondly, the impact of jelly temperature on the penetration length into the crust is investigated.” -

See more at:
 Improbable also notes the quiz show question on what would a dinosaur taste like.

There is a classic sci fi story about a geek who invents a window in time and only manages to rescue some dinosaur eggs before it explodes...after raising the smallish dinosaurs he has a fire in the house and the wonderful smell of roast dinosaur (similar to the old tale of the Chinese peasant who discovered pork when his pigstye burned down).
Voila: kentucky fried dinosaurs.

But actually, I suspect the future is not dinoburgers or even insect burgers (touted by some clueless greens) but will be factory grown meat. This also was predicted in a classic Scifi story. Too bad I didn't bring my sci fi collection with me or I could tell you which.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Family news

A short early morning brownout left the internet off for most of the day.

Chano is stopping building the training center at the farm because the harvest is starting in a week or two and they have to get things ready.

Lolo went to the bank to update his banking accounts and get some petty cash. He buys bread (rolls) aka "pan de sal" for the dogs when he visits the farm.

I am pretty sure that both Blackie and Angel are pregnant: if so they'll probably both have puppies next month...

We are between typhoons at the moment, but I've seen a few people with influenza type symptoms. 

Sunday, October 06, 2013

The "WAGD-not" headline of the day

via Instapundit:

WELL, THAT’S A RELIEF: IPCC Calls Off Planetary Emergency. “IPCC now believes that in the 21st Century, Atlantic Ocean circulation collapse is ‘very unlikely,’ ice sheet collapse is ‘exceptionally unlikely,’ and catastrophic release of methane hydrates from  melting permafrost is ‘very unlikely.’” 

the irony is that some of us are anti pollution and want to protect the environment but reject the fascist and anti scientific tendencies of some to use the problem to push a global government with them in charge.

sort of like most Muslims hate the terrorists. The main difference is, of course, that if you criticize the greens you only get called names, not hit with a car bomb. On the other hand, the few Islamofascists who have taken over have mostly been thrown out or mellowed from reality...
That might not be true with those governing the world.

Addendum: I always laugh at conspiracy theories, but after reading some of Carroll Quigley's books, it does make me wonder how many Moriarties are out there...

Invention of the week

"Magic drops" so you can use the touchscreen on your iPad while wearing gloves.

October 4, 2013: The latest innovation for combat gloves is a liquid (AnyGlove) that makes the fingers of gloves capable of working on touch screen displays. A bottle of 550 drops costs about $20 dollars and will treat (or re-treat) about ten pair of gloves. Sold to anyone who needs to use gloves a lot and doesn’t want to take them off to use a cell phone or tablet, the product became an immediate hit with the military, who use a growing number of touch screen devices at work.

and yes, you can buy it from Amazon....

but you should know that there are two formulas: One for leather, one for synthetic gloves.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Machine morals?

Most geeks know of Asimov's three rules for robots.

Isaac Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics"

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

But an ABCAustralia podcast discusses how we need to put morality into robots.
As machines become smarter and more autonomous, they are bound to end up making life-or-death decisions in unpredictable situations. And that will present them with ethical dilemmas. Should a driverless car swerve to avoid pedestrians if that means hitting other vehicles or endangering its occupants? So do we need moral for machines to enable them to make such choices appropriately—in other words, to tell right from wrong?

Stuff around the net

Atlas Obscura has lots of interesting places for you to visit: including Sable Island where hundreds of ships have wrecked, the "nation" of Transnistria, and the lost city of Tanis.

Wikipedia article on Tanis here. and an article on how the city was rediscovered in 1939 here.

Dr. David Nieman discusses Tanis in his lectures on the of the
lecture is on youtube.

Peace in our time? WTF?

StrategyPage notes that both Assad and the rebels against him agree: the jihadis are the real danger to both sides. Improbable, but maybe, just maybe, Russia might just pull it off.
Such an arrangement would leave intact the powerful commercial family organizations that the Assads long favored and which control much of the economy. It also assures the continued existence of minority (Christian, Alawite, Druze) communities in Syria and makes it easier to revive the economy. While the Assad family would probably lose in elections, and have to surrender many of the assets the clan acquired via corruption over the decades, they would be free from war crimes prosecution and still have a lot of their wealth. They would be able to find comfortable exile (many Syrians would still want them dead) because of the immunity any such deal would probably have to include. The post-Assad Syria would still be anti-Israel but would be without chemical weapons and thus less of a threat to Israel. The vast quantities of Syrian military equipment destroyed in the fighting would not be replaced because of the need for reconstruction. There might even be a peace deal with Israel eventually. 

So if he pulls this off, does this mean Putin will win the Nobel peace prize?

In the meanwhile, a billboard in Tehran celebrates the great Nobel Peace Prize winner, comparing him to the guy who killed Hussein. Actually the billboard has been up since last February, so it's not new, but it implies that Obama is backing the aggressive Sunnis in the Sunni/Shia wars. (i.e. Saudis and Alqaeda not Iran and Hezbollah).

Actually Barry is spending all his time trying to demonize the Republicans as the enemy, so he doesn't have time for minor things like World War III....

Update: FilAm  writer at Belmont Club remembers how Tom Clancy dared to point out that it was the US Navy who promoted the Pax Americana. And he reminds those who do anti American "stage protests" that they need to recognize that they are helping destroy the very institutions that protect them.
Ironically the courage of Greenpeace is subsidized by the valor of those they detest. For the stage pirates can only go through their steps while the real pirates are at bay; and their right to prattle about fascism is only possible while the real fascists are kept at arm’s length by those they will never thank, whose existence they will never acknowledge.

Yes, and maybe Barry should read Tom Clancy instead of Chomsky. We Pinoys wouldn't be so worried about China's land grabs if we still had the Yanks here. You know it is bad when even the Vietnamese welcome the US Navy...

Friday, October 04, 2013

Biology lesson of the day

from the FeaturedCreature website:

photo via:

The Chinese Bush Brown Butterfly in it's larval state:

aka the HelloKitty Catepiller.

headsup from Hellokittyhell.

Misquoting Francis

headsup Father Z

The IRS won't force me to buy insurance

Via Instapundit: Taxprofblog tells us the IRS won't force Americans living abroad to buy health insurance.

Good. Because Medicare won't pay doctors here in the Philippines. So I didn't opt in on plan b, and Lolo had to pay for his own surgery with PhilHealth and cash.

I do have private insurance, but the new one only lets me see docs in Manila. Oh well. I mainly have it in case of cancer or the need for a CABG: we get our routine health care here in the provinces for free.

Podcasts of the week

If you are watching "The White Queen" on the BBC, the sad part will come later when Richard imprisons her sons.

History extrapodcast discusses if they were done in, or if they simply died.
webpage here.

In Our Time discusses exoplanets.

USCSD has the fall schedule up, including a course on children's literature being podcast. Today's lecture is the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. I haven't listened to it, but usually their lecturers are good. Some however now require sign in, including Matthew Herbst excellent MMWI course, on very ancient history. Luckily his 2011 course is still there to download, and some of his other MMW history courses if you scroll down.

I also am downloading a courses on iTunes and youtube, but haven't listened to them yet. These take longer to download, and then I have to rip the videos to mp3 to listen to them.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

NOW it's attacking Pittsburgh

The giant ducky is a big hit in China, but now it's hitting....Pittsburgh.

Lesson of the day

from Instructables via Dave Barry

How to peel an apple using an electric drill.

video here.

Hobbit stuff

Yes, the Hobbit trailer number two is up.

and the BBC 4 "Belief" podcast this week is about Tolkien. LINK

Milton is Puritan, Shakespeare is Catholic?

Via TeaAtTrianon: Another book hinting that the Bard might have connections to Catholics.

Heh. Michael Wood's miniseries already made those connections. Youtubelink

He had several relatives who were known Catholics, according to Wood.
But many of his plays have Catholic influences, which is explored in Joseph Pearce's miniseries on EWTN Mp3 links here.

as for Milton: he wasn't just a revolutionary: his stress on individual conscience, and good works had a big influence on American Christianity.

Yale has a course in Milton for your listening pleasure.


Related item: the Anchoress points out how the Pope's words to an atheist have been mistranslated to mean a subtle difference in theology.

“Nunblogger” Sister Anne Flanagan, a Daughter of Saint Paul, saw issues too, and since she reads Italian well, she has become a piecemeal translation that offers clarity:
If “everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them,” is the Pope saying that there is no such thing as objective truth, or objective right or wrong? This is where it is really, really helpful to know Italian: “Ciascuno di noi ha una sua visione del Bene e anche del Male. Noi dobbiamo incitarlo a procedere verso quello che lui pensa sia il Bene” is more literally (and helpfully?) translated as “Each one of us has his/her own vision of the Good or even of Evil. We must encourage him/her to move toward that which he/she sees as the Good.” The Pope is not leveling the difference between truth and untruth, right and wrong: he is saying that we all have a duty to encourage people to pursue the Good, knowing that the true Good will not fail to manifest himself, even if “through a glass darkly.”
Sounds like CSLewis.

"A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere -- 'Bibles laid open, millions of surprises,' as Herbert says, 'fine nets and stratagems.' God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous." – Surprised by Joy

The Power of the Purse

I can't comment on the mess in Washington except to say that it seems like politics as usual, and the gov't has been shut down before, so the hysteria by CNN yesterday or articles bewailing that the pandacam at the National zoo is now off line seem to be merely the sycophant press doing it's thing.

However, Instpundit links to an article on a lawblog about the "power of the purse" and the constitutional insistance on checks and balances. Here is an excerpt:
In the case of the government shutdown, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives has no constitutional or other obligation to pass a funding bill that includes funding for Obamacare or any other particular government program. Part of the reason why the Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse is so they can decide which government programs are worthy of funding, and which are not.
If this sounds familiar to me, it's because I was listening to a lecture on Milton, and the "glorious revolution". The link is "The Power of the Purse": in England, the king granted the power to fund the gov't to the House of Commons, and this gradually evolved to a check on his power, and when the king tried to butt heads with the Parliement, the "glorious revolution" resulted.

      It was the financial crisis which brought to a head the constitutional crisis between king and parliament.  The king would not respond to the grievances of his subjects and parliament would not provide the king with the steady flow of money needed to run the government.  The king's efforts to raise the royal revenue on his own authority threatened the very existence of Parliament.  A cycle of mutual distrust and recrimination developed.  Where was the power of the purse located? ...
As King James I had succinctly put it:  "no bishop, no king."  The logic of this position is that there is only one religious authority.  If this is true, then the Roman Pope has the strongest claim to that position.  All religious dissent and all religious practices contrary to the one true religion must be wiped out.
         All Protestants, in varying degrees, take issue with the above. ...
The Church is not "mater et magistra" (Mother and Teacher) but a community of individual believers, each seeking his own salvation in Christ. 
         There is an implicit individualism and anti-authoritarianism within the Protestant churches.  This anti-authoritarianism and individualism are precisely what Charles I feared.  The logic of the Calvinistic Protestants could not be reconciled with absolute, monarchial government.  Charles' determination to wipe out dissent and to assure religious conformity produced the Revolution in England.
so what does religion have to do with a strong presidency? Well, Obamacare is on a collision course with the Catholic church and many other people of faith (evangelicals and Muslims) over the question if abortion is just routine medicine or a type of murder.

So the backstory is that this 'shutdown" is not between the Neanderthal Republicans and the enlightened president, but about slowing down or preventing the power of the executive branch to rule with little or no input by the people's representatives.

Some see the teaparty as the prelude of a civil war: I always thought they were nuts, since most of this group are small business owners who have had enough taxation and regulations.

Yet the parallels between the small minority of Puritans and the teaparty does bring  a shudder up my back.

         The kings collection of money without Parliamentary approval and the collection of a forced loan united men of property in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords against the king.  Arrests of the king's opponents without trial further embittered relationships.  Parliament responded to the king's actions with its own unprecedented claims.  The Petition of Rights was drafted in 1628 and forced on a reluctant king.  Each parliament convened by the king was rapidly dissolved by him.  A real constitutional crisis had erupted.  In 1629, Charles dissolved his Third Parliament and proceeded to rule on his own authority. ..

 And 11 years later, the Long Parliement took action, and it slowly morphed into a war not just over religion but about who ran the government.
         "During December of 1641 for the first time the offensive epithets "Roundhead" and "Cavalier" were heard in the streets of the city--the one a phrase of denigration for the shorn heads of the London apprentices, the other synonymous with cavaliero, the brutal Spanish and Catholic butchers of godly Protestants in Europe."  (Smith, p. 241)  Increasingly violence was talked about as an acceptable method of settling the political disputes.

Ironically, I'd be a Cavalier here, but never mind.

Update: Austin Bay on the debt as a national security threat.


Stuff around the net

Drudge links to an article about Virginia state planning a master data base of everyone living there.

Heh. What's not to worry about.

They are using driver's licenses to make the database.
Of course, you can buy a fake driver's license in nearby Washington DC for a couple hundred dollars, so why worry?

And the real absurdity? When I tried to comment there, they would only allow it if I signed in with facebook....and I don't use facebook to comment because signing in allows them to snoop on all my information there, including my contacts.

Of course, I don't have to worry about being on the database: I now collect social security, and once worked for the feds. And we had fingerprints and photo on our Oklahoma driver's licenses...

and of course, now that Obamacare is here, the master data base will know that you smoke and your sexual habits...

I thought that they would use "My little pony" to push Obamacare, but apparently they prefer to use a "carebear".

 compare and contrast:

Yes, death panels, snooping into your life, and fuzzy little animals go together
 George Orwell is not available to comment.

and yes, actually I am for federal medical care: but after working with the IHS where rationing was common, hospitals were understaffed, and repairs and improvements took 3 to 5 years to get done, I am not sure I would use it myself. And even in the IHS we tried to get our patients on Medicaid, which paid better and offered better services for them, not to mention a lot of tribes are taking over their clinics to get better care for their people.


Semirelated item: Medscape has 20 best movies for doctors (reg required).

And guess who is there?

Yes, that is President Snow playing Hawkeye.
and my blog is named after Hawkeye's clinic from MASH in Maine.

The doc who wrote the book actually was a surgeon in Maine, and the film mirrors the book.

The TV show, however, mirrored the ethos of Hollywood and had little actual medicine in it. I mean, they made it "anti war", echoing the anti viet nam war sentiments that were common back then.

the  same "give peace a chance" folks don't seem to notice that maybe the Korean war was worth it.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

video download of the day

Old Yeller.

Family news

Yahoo mail is working again.

The water pump has been fixed, but is noisy.

The wash machine broke again (the third time in two months) and when the girl comes to do the laundry, often she finds that Joy's washing is being done. I bought a new washer but the old one was fixed by Joy and is working.

the reason the washer/wringers break is overloading: usually it is because of new maids but this time it was the boys from the farm who were staying overnight when Chano was in Manila, and they decided to do the wash while here instead of doing it by hand.

I should explain that here, the washer washes only: they use a different machine to wring out the clothes by spinning. If I knew the old machine could be fixed I would have bought a small combination type, but never mind. Sigh. That means I'm low on money until my check clears in the middle of the month.

update: Brownout all day, so no blogging.