Friday, January 31, 2014

Computer news

computer still dead, and now the battery on my tablet has died, meaning I have to keep it plugged in to read etc.

Oh well.

the end of the world is nigh post of the day

via Dave Barry

the "WAGD" story of the day


First they came for your spray on deodorant, now they come for you face cleaner.

best comment:
SAMBALAM at 10:35 PM January 27, 2014
Now we can eat seafood and exfoliate our colons for free!!!! YiPEEEEEEEEEEEEE!,0,7492777.story#ixzz2rvtR2rfF

Middle Earth: 100 years of legends

John Garth's essay HERE (via TheOneRingNet)

The cellphone revolution

StrategyPage discusses the cellphone revolution

It's not just the internet: Cellphones are the poor man's internet.

And isn't it ironic that Bill Gates wants to save the world doing good things, (not just vaccines, but now stopping poor people from being born) when he already changed the world.
Priorities I guess.

At StrategyPage, AustinBay has an essay on this.

The annual letter, titled "3 Myths That Block Progress For The Poor," begins with four simple and, to my mind, factually incontestable sentences: "By almost any measure, the world is better than it has ever been. People are living longer, healthier lives. Many nations that were aid recipients are now self-sufficient. You might think that such striking progress would be widely celebrated, but in fact, Melinda and I are struck by how many people think the world is getting worse.

on the other hand, after reading reports on Windows 8 and seeing the upsurge in tablets using android, one wonders if Gates wouldn't be helping the world by working in his area of expertise....

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Family news and blog update

My computer is still dead, and I can't blog from my small tablet.

Lolo has a new hearing aide.

The mangy dog from the farm is recovering from his malnutrition but still is mangey, and can't understand why he remains in isolation.

There is a small mouse in the office, and Ruby's  new kitten hasn't caught it yet. Too young I guess. Sigh. We used to have "Precious" our gender confused tom cat catch mice, but he disappeared about a year ago. Two of the three kittens here look just like him, so maybe he left a legacy for us.

And I am ignoring politics, since Obama is prefering to go around the constitution instead of compromising with those who oppose his policies. Heh. Looks like he is taking lessons from Marcos.

And now the president lauds abortion as a way for women to follow our dreams...
Sorry, fellah, but I am one who would prefer to walk away from Omelas....

Factoid of the day

SHERLOCK's dog was named Redbeard.

Season 2 is finally being shown here, but I cheat: that is from Season 3. Presumably this will mean something in season 4.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Family news

Computer still dead.

We went to Manila to get Lolo a new hearing aid...ate at a good Chinese restaurant (those here are "fast food" types). He is exhausted and sleeping in so no church.

Next step for him is a wheelchair, since he can only walk one block without stopping. Sigh.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

computer RIP

after getting the "blue screen of death" a couple of times, and checking for everything and finding nothing, my computer died...I can't even reboot Windows from my rescue disc, so I am off line until further notice.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Lite blogging

It's hot season, so that means we have rolling brownouts (thanks to our dependence on good, clean hydroelectric power, which doesn't supply enough when the water levels are low, e.g. during TagInit, the hot, dry season before the monsoon starts in June). So far, yesterday's brownout was only one hour, but they will get longer as the season continues. If the outage is a few hours, we will put on our generator, but the big one might have to be used at the farm, meaning we are left with the smaller one that doesn't run an airconditioner. Sigh.

Since our power is on and off, it means the internet connection is unstable too.

And then, my computer is on it's last legs. Next step is to re install windows which will erase my files...Sigh. Last time I did this, the entire windows collapsed, and I ended up using Ubuntu for a year.

Monday, January 13, 2014

It's not just in the Philippines

 BBC: Haiti remembers their earthquake that killed a quarter million people.

and this report(AFP/Gulf news) notes:

Opposition critics have attacked the government for failing to make better progress on rebuilding. The government says that a large portion of the estimated $381mn donated by governments and organisations the world over was spent on the post-earthquake emergency and not for reconstruction.
“We were lucky to have help from Venezuela. Most of our projects were accomplished with Venezuelan money. With slim means, we accomplished a lot of things,” Lamothe said, expressing hope that the international community would make good on its aid pledges.
He criticised the international community for failing to provide promised aid of nearly $9bn. “If the international community had fulfilled its commitment, we would have accomplished 10 times more than we have achieved,” Lamothe said. “We must continue to make the international community aware.


Via archeoblog: Buzzfeed channels Lileks.

Lileks even has a book about it:

Firesfox yuck

So I uploaded the latest firefox, updated my add ons, removed my add ons, and it still crashes the computer periodically.

And to make things worse, I can't get the delicious bookmarks anymore: I have to go on line to their webpage to find them, and that's a pain because they aren't listed according to tags or alphabetically.

And if you notice out of place phrases etc. here it's because I can't turn off the "sticky keys" that I never asked for, and suddenly, in the midst of the line, find I am typing the sentence two paragraphs up. I touch type, so this is a pain...

Time for a new computer. Yes, I can afford it, but am using most of my pension to subsidize the meals here, thanks to the typhoon wrecking our last harvest. Sigh.

Stuff below the fold (plus rants)

Lots of stuff going on while you were being distracted by "bridgegate"

The Trouble with maids.

which is why the "class warfare" against the Duck dynasty backfired: Too many hard working people who are sick and tired of being demonized saw the "elites" dissing the very poor good old boys who got rich by hard work, and who dared to think they were equal.


Israel one, Iran zero.

serves them right for throwing out all their citizens of Jewish faith.

Ah, but Russia's influence is the spoiler: they need Iran to keep tabs on their terrorists so there is no terrorism at the Olympics. But they want NATO to stay in Afghanistan because a lot of the heroin from there goes to Russia (and Iran too).

 Not enough "hate" in the SI article?


your email of the day from TiaMaria

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Psst: Pass it on

The war on poverty worked, and Roger Pielke has the details. (available here in PDF)

Time for an LOL cat

Too many bitchin' posts...time for an LOL Cat.

all together now: AWWWWEEE>

Silly me

Attention Hollywood: while teenager girls are reading about Katnis saving the world, or the chaste "twilight" series, Hollywood is pushing the idea that all girls want to "have fun": the worst is Girls (with a 28 year old protagonist) and now lots of money to make "the Diary of a teenaged girl"

about  A: The Diary of a Teenage Girl is a play that I have adapted from the graphic novel by Phoebe Gloeckner. It's the story of a fifteen year old girl who is growing up in the 70s in San Francisco who is sleeping with her mother's boyfriend. That's the short answer. Really to me, it's the most honest coming of age story of a young girl I have ever come across. It pulls no punches. It's a look into the mind of a really precocious, really curious teenager, who is exploring her sexuality, and learning about herself through sleeping with her mother's boyfriend. It's not a black and white story of pedophilia, nor is it a lolita story. It's looking at a really complicated situation purely from the persective of the fifteen year old girl- through her fifteen year old lens, only further complicated by the time and place in which she lives. And surprisingly, it's really funny.a girl lusting after her mom's boyfriend.
 What's wrong with this last one?

Well, I know of two cases where men were jailed because they had sex with their girlfriend's teenaged girl...because in both cases (like Lolita) the idea that the girl "wanted it" because she was flirting; so instead of protecting her, it was a projection of the man's narcissism that he was god's gift to women and doing her a favor to have sex with her, when often she only wanted romance or affection. And well well: the writer is related to big shots, so had access to all sorts of grants and jobs.

Never mind that the actual teenage novel series "Diary of a teenaged girl" is about a girl who is Christian...

isn't this a copyright violation? Well, never mind.

update: Excuse my sarcasm, but for years I was the only woman doc in town, so saw all the girls who were sexually abused, not to mention the women who revealed they were abused as children when we were investigating the reason for their pelvic pain/drug abuse/multiple boyfriends etc....

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Jahi, blessed by God

In Swahili, Jahi means "Dignity", and the story of this child is in all the news.

I support the idea of brain death, meaning "whole brain death", but the bioethics  community is trying to expand that definition, so we often hear of doctors telling patients their loved one is "dead" when he is merely brain damaged and might recover but be left with brain damage.

But the poorly covered part of the story is twofold: The dirty little secret that blacks and other minorities have a distrust of the medical system. LINK

the disability group "Not Dead Yet" discusses the case and included that links.

And they note that brain death is not a cut and dried diagnosis, and a few declared dead have survived. They link to this article.

ironically, this was discussed a few days ago on Coast to Coast AM. LINK

the Dance of the Peacock Spider

from Wired

Friday, January 10, 2014

Writings elsewhere

From my medical blog:

YUM: Cod liver oil
Not religion: Minorities mistrust physicians

Reviving a dead brain

Obesity epidemic


 from BNN:





A "pristine wilderness"?

ABC (Australia) article and podcast that discusses how Aborigenes shaped the landscape of Australia before Europeans arrived.
similar findings have shown the americas were not untouched wildernesses,  now was North America a pristine prarie with lots of Buffalo but a landscape of corn fields...and even the Amazon probably was a huge farm land in the days before the Europeans and their diseases arrived...

related item:

Pale skin was a genetic aberation that began 10 thousand years ago. So why did it spread in certain populations? Because of the high rate of maternal deaths from ricketts: if you had pale skin, you absorbed more vitamin D. (The Eskimos ate seals and certain fishes whose oil contained the vitamin   or ate cod...the story of cod liver oil and rickets prevention here. ).

Family news

None of the conspiracy theories will hurt us here: We have enough problems with typhoons, floods and Dengue fever (and reports of Chininuka fever)  and now,  to make things worse, we are in the midst of a Measles epidemic.

Chano and Joy are headed with the family to a business meeting in Manila, and Ruby went along to visit her cousin. Since she homeschools, she can study in the car.

So we are alone.

The bad news is that one of our small kitties has a partial paralysis of his legs...He was mauled by Papa dog two days ago, so it might be edema of the spinal cord from this injury, or maybe he got mauled again yesterday and I didn't notice (they are of the age when they start to wander and they jump off the counter where we feed them, or run out of the bathroom where we keep them when you open the door)...Sigh. No, I am not taking it to the vet to spend 1000 pesos for an x ray, since there is no treatment: It will either get better or he will die. Sigh. His brother, the ugly one, seems fine...

Lolo is doing well, but we persuaded him to let the driver take food to the dogs at the farm, since it is quite hot in the afternoon. Since he was bored, he bathed his mangy dog and almost got bit. Oh well...

Conspiacy theories

Wikipedia has a list. Ha.

but if you read Clinton's Georgetown professor's book, you really wonder if folks like Mycroft Holmes are running the whole shebang (this is a running joke in Sherlock).

No, I don't think there are conspiracies per se, but a lot of like minded individuals who push similar agendas and network with one another. The main problem is that this is top down change, which has limits when the ordinary folks have had enough with their rule, be it Chinese peasants tired of the first emperor or Goths disgusted at the Roman corruption.

Headline below the fold

Drudge is hyperventilating about local politics in NJ, but the real news is elsewhere.

China has closed their "forced labor camps" for political and religious dissadents

  The Communist party has promised since 2007 to end "re-education through labour", a relic of Chairman Mao's era which allowed the police to imprison offenders – including political and religious dissidents – for up to four years without trial, often forcing them to slave in mines and factories, or on farms...At the start of 2013, there were roughly 160,000 people in labour camps, according to Human Rights Watch.
what is even more disturbing is the stories that landed some of these prisoners in jail.... read the whole thing.

China has also shut down a lot of their solar industry, due to excess capacity.

Heh. Only 1600 hurt or fell ill in the "Black Nazarene" procession that shuts down Manila every January. This year, an estimated 3 million attended.

Tagle's sermon condemned corruption and reminded people of those who had suffered in various earthquakes/typhoons/terrorist attacks in the last year.

The Pope is doing it again: He picked up a priest for a spin.

The Rev. Fabian Baez, a parish priest in Francis’ hometown of Buenos Aires, didn’t have a VIP ticket granting him a seat close to the altar or a spot where the pope would chat with well-wishers. But as soon as Francis saw Baez in the crowd of several thousand people, the pope signaled for Vatican gendarmes to help Baez jump the barricade.
Francis then invited Baez to hop aboard his car, and the parish priest accompanied Francis through the square as the pope waved to well-wishers and kissed babies.
Sounds like he's running for office.

The film "Metro Manila" got a BAFTA nod...because it's essentially a British film.

Most Pinoys, even poor ones, have families to help them when they move to the city, but the film implies that this family "had to" resort to crime to meet the bills. So it makes me wonder if it got the culture correct, or if it is essentially a film where the film makers are merely showing their own country dressed in Filipino clothing.
But like "Life of Pi", written by a Canadian and filmed by a Taiwanese director, locals are so happy that the bigshots see local culture they forget that such nuances exist


So what is behind the push to legalize marijuana, not just for "medical" uses but for recreational uses?

Probably just that the aging drug taking yuppies don't want to be arrested. Never mind the social problems caused by this.

And the whole "experiment" reminds me of this conspiracy theory, or the conspiracy theories about cheap gin to London slums/Ireland or selling alcohol to American Indians.

So question to conspiracy theorists: is legalization a way to stop an impending revolt of the masses?

As for all those "'innocents" who are jailed for "simple possession": the dirty little secret is that in these days of plea bargains, often these folks plea bargained down to this from a more serious charge (domestic violence, drug selling/manufacturing etc). But no one wants to mention this.

and then there is the problem of "DUI": accidents and shoddy work done by those under the influence of a drug that has a long halflife. Alcohol is out of the system in 12 hours or less. Your THC test is positive for months...and if one reads the comment, many of us know about the negative effects of  this "harmless drug".

update: those who work with the poor in the inner city, rural poor, or on the Indian reservations know how alcohol and drug use destroys the community. Mrs. Gay Caswell discusses this on her blog here.
Indifference, sluggishness, lack of empathy and compassion are provable common symptons of cannabis use. Users reinforce and rationalise laziness to each other. The worse possible choice for a community with a drug problem is a person in authority such as a teacher, being a user.. . The trouble is recreational users or “medical” users don’t get up for school or work and don’t want to. They ignore the needs of others including their children or other people’s children.
those who support legalized marijuana are often upper class yuppies, who haven't seen these social problem.

and if you are really into conspiracy theories you probably read all about the evil Koch brothers funding things, even when they don't, but did  you know that the Soros money funded organizations were behind a lot of these "medical marijuana" initiatives and promotes the idea that all drugs should be legal (as should euthanasia...and that Catholics should morph into a PC church: the nuns on the bus and Obamacare's assault on Catholic institutions is the legal aspect of this fight).

that last part is worrisome: Because Professor Anderson's lectures on pre Hitler Germany history mentions how in the 1920's, the left hated the Catholic Democrats so much that they ostracized them instead of joining with a group that represented most of the poor who ordinarily welcomed much of their agenda. The result was Hitler.

as I said: I'm getting a bit more paranoid in my old age. Oh well: I guess we Pinoys will learn to love our Chinese masters in the near future. link2

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Family news

Chano and family are in Pampanga attending a business meeting.

We are here alone, and Lolo is still on his "take care of the dogs" kick.

I've been up since 3 am: I woke because I heard our killer lab George fighting but couldn't find anything (There is a stray young cat outside that has been begging food here for a few days and I thought he got it). This morning at breakfast, Lolo smelled a dead rat, and sure enough, we found it underneath the bookcase. Yuck.

Another sign that the end of the world is nigh

Cheese Product Panic: Velveeta Shortage?!

stores on the East Coast are reporting Velveeta shortages. * Collective gasp * So how will we make our guilty-pleasure Ro-Tel/Velveeta dip?
Fear not, we have you covered. If you can't track down the orange stuff, try one of these great cheesy dips instead--you may be starting a whole new football tradition!
Warm Tortilla Chips with Spicy Cheese Dip
Thyme and Garlic Cheese Dip
Blue Cheese Dip
Nacho Cheese Dip
Blue Devil Cheese and Bacon Dip

Rant: Sex and the single slave

This article about ancient Rome (and the onset of Christianity) mentions how those nice orgies might not have been so nice:
So do we blame the Christians for bringing down the curtain on those merry scenes? Yes, but against a background that comes as a chill reminder of the lasting strangeness of the ancient world. If one asks if women in these scenes were free persons (and even how many of the men were free, for some might be slave gigolos), the unexpected answer would be: far fewer than we would wish to think. Many of the women were slaves. The jolly free-for-all, which we like to imagine as forming a timeless human bond between us and the ancients, was based upon the existence of a vast and cruel “zone of free access” provided by the enslaved bodies of boys and girls. Slavery, “an inherently degrading institution,” was “absolutely fundamental to the social and moral order of Roman life.”
Such exploitation still exists, and is widespread in the third world: because in poor countries employees dare not say no for fear of losing their job. And students will obey their teachers, young people will obey their pastor, their older relatives, or the powerful neighbor who abuses them.

So when Obama and the US State Dept push the sexual freedom agenda, maybe they should ask what laws are being destroyed; those that stop freedom or those who protect those who are being exploited.

Update:: Rev Sensing has some links.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Two minute hate alert,, plus rant

The two minute hate of the day is again against Catholics. Apparently a teacher at a Catholic high school decided to openly "marry" his boyfriend, and there is now a big protest by "students" that he was fired for breaking his contract to actually follow church teachings.


There is a backstory on this: it's not really about gay rights (although those cases are one way that the elites are bullying believers in the MSM in the last few weeks) recent years, there have been quite a few lawsuits against various church schools for not allowing adulterers, those using IVF, etc. to teach. (and not just against Catholic schools).

The Supreme Court case saying that church run schools have this freedom is HERE, and was whether or not a Lutheran, not a Catholic school, could dismiss a teacher who had become too disabled to teach, despite a law that forbids discrimination against the disabled.

But this kerfuffle is not about approving of homosexual lifestyles, but about forcing Catholic and other church institutions to go along with what society (or rather, the elites of society) wants them to do.

It's about abortion more than homosexual behavior, and it's about population control rather than sexual freedom. (which is why the Obama administration is bullying small countries like the Philippines to legalize easy divorce, sex ed that encourages premarital sex by teenagers as a human right, abortion, and free birth control in government clinics, i.e. under duress).

The main obstacle here is the Catholic church (because other christian churches can be divided, and many will never defend Catholics for any reason; and of course). And if you can't change the church, try to destroy her reputation by trumpeting 20 year old scandals that always happen to any institution, and if she still doesn't change, then try to secularize her institutions one by one.

that last part is in refer4ence to a certain "catholic" hospital that allowed an abortion for "health" reasons. The result: the nun who was excommunicated for allowing abortion, resulting in a similar hatefest (the hospital, by the way, is no longer Catholic, and the nun has since "repented")...

Ironically, there were experimental treatments for her disease that were not considered, and even then lung transplantation was an option. In other words, by doing the abortion, they not only allowed secular forces to take over the catholic hospital which was founded and supported by contributions for believers, but denied the woman a chance not only to keep her baby but to get the latest treatment for a rapidly fatal disease.

The real story is the Obama administration trying to tell the Little Sisters of the Poor that they take care of everyone so they are not allowed to follow the church's 2000 year tradition against contraception/abortion.

These sisters are a lot harder to smear than fat bishops living in expensive homes, but the LATimes and other MSM are trying their best to do so....just a little signature and you will be left alone...

The Duke of Norfolk: Oh confound all this. I’m not a scholar, I don’t know whether the marriage was lawful or not but – dammit, Thomas, look at these names! Why can’t you do as I did and come with us, for fellowship!”
Thomas More: “And when we die, and you are sent to heaven for doing your conscience, and I am sent to hell for not doing mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?”
- From Robert Bolt’s play, A Man For All Seasons

And if you think the Sisters will stop there, just wait until the powers that be mandate euthanasia for the elderly or assisted suicide as a human right and they refuse to allow those things in their homes.

my take on all of this? I don't care what you do as long as you don't do it on the street and upset the horses...or as St Paul said: we don't judge sinners, only those who belong to our church.

and since Catholics went through a similar hate fest over the pill and abortion in the 1960's, it's not exactly new.

update: I apologize, but sometimes I feel paranoid.

However, even the usually mild Anchoress notes that the press has already started to tar and feather the wise Hispanic woman on the supreme court... best comment?
Sotomayor’s blow brings us to confront an uncomfortable reality. More than WASPS, Methodists, Jews, Quakers or Baptists…
Holy Crap, now she’s channeling Archie Bunker!

Family news

I had a bunch of articles to post, but the latest Firefox update still freezes, so I had to reboot my computer and lost the links.

None really important.

Oh well.

Sherlock season 3 is on: and although one is boring number two is much better: And funny: ROFL funny.... Quick: Before the copyright cops find it's there. LINK

We went to the mall to shop yesterday.

I bought Ruby the book of original Sherlock Holmes series for Christmas (my check just cleared, so I have spending money). I had it in the US in hard back but didn't bring it here because it's available as a free ebook on line (also audiobook at Librivox).

While at the mall, I also ordered a new pair of glasses: My old ones are scratched badly and although I have reading glasses for close work, I prefer to use bifocals most of the time.


Lolo is happy trying to cure the malnourished mangy farm dog he brought home to cure. Yesterday he tried to wash off the mange treatment and I ended up shouting loudly and arguing with him. No, we weren't fighting: He just can' hear, so I have to shout. And the print on the medicine bottle was too small for him to read.

His hearing is so bad that if I have something complicated to say, I write it down.
Alas, we don't have a lot of closed caption stuff here, and now even the headphones aren't loud enough to let him understand so he doesn't watch much TV except for sports, nature shows, and all those lovely ladies on "Fashion TV" (he is old, but not dead...)

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Family news

Angie had a party yesterday...we went in the evening, not lunchtime...only a few people left, mainly family.

The new "restobar" down the street was very noisy, on top of the noise from the party in the plaza...only a few fireworks last night.

At 3 am, I heard a dog whining in distress, and our dog Blackie desperatly trying to get out of the room...I went out and checked all our dogs (usually when I hear this, I find one has been accidentally locked in upstairs), and then checked the open sewer pipe across the street (a hole big enough for a child, goat or dog: a disaster waiting to happen) but never did find what dog was crying. Maybe a new puppy...but it means I've been up since 3 am...

It's cool but high humidity outside, so you feel hot and cold at the same time. Often, I run the airconditioner on "dehumidify" to help my allergies.

Stories around the net

Why the frigid temperatures and snow are caused by global warming.

related item: we just were told our veggie prices would go up because the mountain areas that grow them have had frost...

Yes, CSLewis fans, Eustace is a genuine name  more HERE.

and Medieval net remembers Eustace the Monk, Scourge of the seas.


the earliest portrayal of the Three Kings in art was in the third century.

FYI: Ever hike in the lovely woods in New England? well, they were once farmlands...


You know some people are worried about the "demographic collapse" of the west, but did you know about the demographic collapse of much of the Islamic world? 
Iran could be taken over by the growing Arab and Pakistani populations...

Add China and Japan to areas that will have negative population growth in the next century. (and even the Philippines has gone down to an average of three children per woman).

Then discuss if this is good or bad.

reading a novel changes your brain?

Lost tribe?

Article claims the Andaman islands has happy people who want to be left alone.

They are descended from the "first wave" of emigrants from Africa.

yet there is a question if how we see them depends on the political ideology of those who did the initial fieldwork. Lecture on Youtube here.

Wikipedia article here.

aside from the Japanese occupation and the penal colony, they are isolated? and only a small percentage of people living there are "indigenous"...this was one area decimated by the Boxing day Tsunami...and "threatened" by illegal logging and now tourism. That last link goes to a UK Guardian article that suggests that the idea they should be kept in isolation has morphed into them being kept like monkeys in a zoo, performing for rich visitors.

the local MP has argued strongly that trying to keep the Jarawa apart is futile. But what everyone wants to avoid is the Jarawa going the way of the Great Andamanese, who once lived around Port Blair. From 10,000 in the late 18th century, their numbers have now fallen to about 50 and the tribe is drifting out of history.
"They lost the will to live," says Denis Giles. "The government gave them all facilities, it gave them jobs, but they started drinking and begging. They lost their self-respect and their language and their culture. It is easy for politicians to say integrate, but it is not simple to put it into practice."

no, I don't have an easy answer: but one suspects that many tribes that "died off" actually didn't: I suspect they assimilated and intermarried with outsiders, like the "negritos" of Zambales....

and since "isolated tribes" can die off from outside diseases, the idea that they can be kept in a state of pristine primitive life is nonsense. Wonder how many of the women will "think with their feet" if given a chance? Intermarriage allows the offspring to have a better immunity to disease...

they are described as "pygmy Nigritos", which is similar to those are we have here in the Philippines....probably the original inhabitants.

more here.

Nigritos all over the place, even in Yemen? Hmmm...wonder what the DNA studies will show.

Wikipedia also adds this cultural reference:
The islands are prominently featured in Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes mystery, The Sign of the Four,

Factoid of the day

The first corneal transplant was done in 1905

lecture here.

youtube link

Monday, January 06, 2014

Musical interlude of the day

The Ride of the Valkyries

Stories below the fold

Secret US Spy court says secret spying is okay.

uh, can't Congress impeach justices if they abuse their office? and although I think that if the NSA wants to waste time monitoring my LOLCat emails to the Middle East, well, okay....but I can't see that monitoring low risk and ordinary conversations/emails can be justified.


The "Three Kings" were probably Magi...but back then, that could mean a lot of different things. It is interesting to note that Justin Martyr thought they were from Arabia, but others thought they were from Babylon, but most early writers identified them as Persian.

Justin martyr died in 165 AD, so that means that the legend is quite old, not something made up by constantine or whoever the latest conspiracy theory says made up the bible.

a nice article on the MaryPoppins/Saving Mr. Banks movies.

In a recent interview in More, Thompson talked about how “it was wonderful to play this relationship between two people who’ve been very damaged as children and yet responded to that damage differently. Walt expressed it with a kind of huge, sometimes misplaced optimism and faith in human nature. (Travers believed) that there is great darkness in life and if you want to really serve children, you include the darkness.” Helen Goff never married, and took her father’s name Travers as she invented herself as a children’s books author.

 however, the claim in the article that she never worked with Disney again is untrue: a follow up film fell through due to studio problems, as her co writer Brian Sibley noted here.


New York's new mayor plans to replace the horse and carriage rides through Central Park with electric carts.

Uh, exactly why would tourists want to be taken through the part in a glorified golf cart?

And although the animal rights folks have been pushing the meme that the poor horses are overworked, now it appears that the 200 horses could be slaughtered.

I mean, if they are overworked, why not just limit their hours and then take them to the park to graze and fertilize the wildflowers? But of course, animal rights is about the activists feeling good about themselves, not really about the animals: The religion of animal rights thinks animals should not work for a living, period...

Follow the money, of course: The mayor's friend and campaign contributor wants the valuable land that now houses the stables...(via Instapundit)

A case of cojoined twins... in the tenth century.
Conjoined twins byzantium

Alas, when one twin died, the doctors separated them, but the second twin died a few days later...

Trepanning, the practice of making a hole in the head, dates back 10000 years...

most of the discussion is of skulls found in South America 3000 years ago, but THIS article  has lots of links and says that it was done in the fertile crescent in 8000 bc, i.e. 10 thousand years ago.

The big Nazarene procession later this week would be a magnet for a terror attack...but so far, no major threats, so they aren't going to jam cellphone signals (which are used by Alqaeda to set off car bombs)..


Family news

The Three Kings fiesta is today.

Last night, they had a big party in the center city square, complete with a lot of lovely fireworks...

The dogs didn't like the fireworks, however, and when I came back to the bedroom, I couldn't find any dogs there: Because they were all hiding under Lolo's bed. This is not easy if you are a big Labrador like our killer watchdog George.

One of our sidelines was growing organic veggies, so now we are selling green salads locally as a sideline. Most salads are tasteless iceburg types; we sell them with mixed leaf lettuces that have some flavor but a shorter shelf life. Well, it keeps us in petty cash, which is nice since the typhoon destroyed the chicken farm (no rent now) and much of the rice crop (we had to find organic growers from other areas to help fill the Christmas orders, meaning that we didn't make a good profit this year).

Today is the parade, and then life will go back to normal.

However, in Manila, the big "Black Nazarene" procession will shut the town down later this week. Since this devotion reminds us that Christ suffered too, and understands our sufferings, there will probably be a larger crowd than usual, given the many disasters of the year.

And this being the Philippines, it wasn't until last week that the gov't discovered one of the nearby bridges might collapse. Sigh. This is the second year they gave that warning, and one of these days maybe they'll fix the bridge (it is due for repair in April)...

China heart Sherlock?

The UKTelegraph has a list of 21 things you didn't know about Sherlock:

Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch (or Peanut and Curly Fu, as they're known to Chinese fans) in season 3 of Sherlock Photo: BBC

and the article notes:

8. China can’t understand why Sherlock takes so long to make

 During David Cameron’s official visit to China last December, the Prime Minister allowed Chinese citizens to ask him questions through Sina Weibo, the country’s Twitter-like social network. Among queries about Larry the Downing Street cat, Tom Daley, Visa application forms and Wendi Deng, by far the most popular request was: “Please urge Sherlock crew to be quick! They have had us waiting for two years for every season!” Cameron diplomatically pointed out that “I can’t tell them what to do, as it’s an independent company”, before urging fans to pass the time by reading Conan Doyle’s stories.

and there are also notes about it's popularity in Korea and Japan.

We haven't got this season yet (we tend to be a year behind the US/UK in these things) but since a lot of the humor tends to be verbal, I wonder how they can enjoy the program? Good translations of the captions, I suppose.

quick: Before the copyright cops find it's there:

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Factoid of the day take two

via AtlasObscura: The Time Square hum...

no, it's not ET's or ghosts:

In fact, the noise is deliberate. Rising up from what seems to be beneath the street, the hum was originally an art installation by Max Neuhaus, created in 1977 without signage or notification essentially to see if anyone on the world's busiest street would notice. And like any piece of unmarked art meant to catch the attention of the public, almost no one did notice.

more here

Factoid of the day

Dwalin's two axes are named after Emily Bronte's dogs: Grasper and Keeper.

  Named Ukhlat and Umraz, the short-hafted axes were simple in shape, wide in blade and heavy in head. Upon their broad faces their Khuzdul names were carved in runes.

and you can buy them from WETA.

the bad news: no, they are not made of metal but Urethrane. Which makes sense, since unlike swords, which can be left blunt, axes and other heavy metal objects can accidentally kill.


Gateway pundit links to the American Enterprise Institutue
 the chart above could perhaps qualify as the “chart of the century” because it illustrates one of the most remarkable achievements in human history: the 80% reduction in world poverty in only 36 years, from 26.8% of the world’s population living on $1 or less (in 1987 dollars) in 1970 to only 5.4% in 2006.
 I know first hand this is so, but it's easier to point to the disasters than the good things. Even when we were hit by the supertyphoon, "only" 7000 died: compare this to the huge death tolls in past typhoons/cyclones or even to Burma's cyclone, where many died because of the dictators in the government stopped outside aid.

True: Globalization means a thriving middle class, but one reality of the "income gap" is that the poor are not really poorer than they were 50 years ago, and the rich still steal everything they can, but the reality is that a lot more people are now middle class. So yes, we have terrible poverty, but even here, the bamboo huts are replaced with ugly concrete houses, the quaint folk costume is now bluejeans and a tee shirt (from China), most homes have electricity, often with a used TV from Korea, and most families have access to a cellphone to keep in touch.

The bad news is that a lot of this is because many people are supported by family members working overseas, which disrupts family life. The good news is if PNoy (the president's nickname) gets rid of corruption, our economy should improve with local jobs, allowing more people the option to stay here and work.

Family news

Tomorrow is the fiesta of the Three Kings, the patron saint of our parish church (Our small chapel is St Lawrence, but the larger church is Three Kings).

The celebration is tomorrow, but will start today, so the church was crowded. We got there late, so no seats. Lolo is in his 80's, so pushed in and people moved to let him sit, but I didn't want to do this (I am about the only white lady in town, and although I get dizzy standing for long times, I didn't want to pull rank). So I sat on the steps leading to the choir loft in the back of church, among the crowds standing there who also didn't find seats. That let me keep an eye on Lolo. I don't understand the sermon, but since I date back before Vatican II, hearing mass in another language is no problem: I can follow the words enough to know what prayers are being said.

Here, people come and go all the time: mainly with kids but also old people. And outside, a million vendors, with holy statues and rosaries, dyed sparrows and balloons and small toys for your kids, and  small fragrant flower leis to put on your statues.

I always buy my sampaguita from the same vendor, but today was busy with Lolo, so she caught up to me so I could buy it. I appreciated it: It's not as if she won't sell her entire stock before the end of the day.

The rest of the family is protestant, so they aren't into papist stuff. So instead of celebrating a fiesta, Ruby will do "praise dancing" instead, something I find absurd but the young folks like it.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Motivational post of the day

If you try hard enough, you can be anything:

Film stuff

How does a fire breathing dragon produce fire?

hmm...when he isn't lighting his belches, is he causing global warming?
Cow Belches as a source of global warming

and what is the "fart tax" aka "belch tax" on Smaug?
and it's not only dragons who produce methane: Starlet's new "diet" promoting lentil eating will pollute the planet....via flatulance, another major source of global warming...

Flatulence-producing foods are typically high in certain polysaccharides, (especially oligosaccharides such as inulin). Those foods include beans, lentils, dairy products, onions, garlic, spring onions, leeks, turnips, rutabagas, radishes, sweet potatoes, potatoes, cashews, Jerusalem artichokes, oats, wheat, and yeast in breads. Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables that belong to the genus Brassica are commonly reputed to not only increase flatulence, but to increase the pungency of the flatus.[citation needed]

The Chinese icebreaker that went to rescue the global warming specialist who were making a documentary about the loss of ice in Antarctica due to global warming...has gotten stuck in ice too.

ironically, the article describes this as "... a trip...aimed at emulating a 1911-1914 expedition by the Australian explorer, Sir Douglas Mawson", which shows how the MSM is not bothering to report that it was supposed to prove global warming by measuring the loss of ice, and included lots of reporters to trumpet their "findings"...of course, they ended up a laughing stock by proving the exact opposite.

So who was paying the bills? And, more importantly, who is paying the cost of their rescue?

and to make it worse, it diverted funds from the real scientists working down there. Real scientists, as defined by a person who if the data doesn't support the theory, you throw out the theory and start over, as opposed to this group, who had a predetermined conclusion they intended to find.

Australian update here.
How much is this costing?$Au 400 000...not counting the disruption of delivering supplies to the Australian scientists.

and the cost of the rescue: 

For those of you following The White Queen soap opera, TeaAtTrianon links to a Nerdalicious post on Henry VII's queen, Elizabeth of York.

No, I stopped watching that series for the same reason I stopped watching the Game of Thrones (which is loosely inspired by the War of the Roses): Too bloody.  One wishes to get some of these folks and shake them and say: SETTLE DOWN AND SMELL THE ROSES...because in their lust for power, it is mainly the poor people who suffered, so I have little sympathy for their shenanigans.

why Montie Python will never mock Islam.


 Atlas Obscura reports that One Time Square, famous in many stories and movies, is now nearly empty...
and the dropping of the ball on New Year's eve? A publicity story for the NYTimes who owned the building back then...started when fireworks were banned for being dangerous.

Psst: give peace a chance

StrategyPage has a long post about wars around the world and notes:

Since the Cold War ended in 1991 there have been fewer wars (in the traditional sense) and more low level conflicts (rebellions, civil wars)....The fact is, worldwide violence has been declining since the end of the Cold War and the elimination of Russian subsidies and encouragement for pro-communist (or simply pro-Russia) rebels and terrorists. The media also has a hard time keeping score. For years, Iraq was portrayed as a disaster until, suddenly, the enemy was crushed and the war was won. Even that was not considered exciting enough to warrant much attention, and that story is still poorly covered.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Stories below the fold

StrategyPage has a list of important stories you might have missed: From the successes in the war on terror to the war by the press and by regulations against the war on terror, to the internet wars, to the pork barrel politics that divert funds to unneed military projects.


TeaAtTrianon links to the story behind Snow White.

TYWKIWDBI reveals the links between butterflies and Lolita.

when I was in College, at the start of the sexual revolution, we were told that Lolita proved young girls were okay to seduce because they really wanted to...thereby justifying high school and college teachers preying  on their students. It wasn't until I read "Reading Lolita in Tehran" that I found women saw in it a different story...a sociopath who manipulated women...

no, I haven't read the novel: Mainly because I don't read a lot of novels: I prefer non fiction or sci-fi/fantasy stuff

Good news for the Philippines: LPG prices down. Most people cook with LPG gas, and when the price goes up, so does the asthma and lung infections in the poor....

Wall street bubble? We are waiting for the big baloon to burst, and even I suspect the high DowJones average is being manipulated by bigshots.

Luckily, my husband assured me that if I lived in the Philippines, we'd always have rice to eat...unless, as Chano worries, the Chinese decide to take the place over and pressure people to sell the farm land at basement prices so they can take over the farms.

For later reading: Freakonomics: What do you know about bitcoin and do you really care? A long discussion in the comment section...


BoingBoing reveals what Einstein and Szilard did in their spare time: invented a refrigerator.


Kili uses a composite recurve bow, and HeirsOfDurin blog explains what that means: it is smaller and carries a longer range, which is why the Mongol hoards used it to such an advantage.

and an essay on the "hot dwarves": Kili grows up, and Fili's love of Tauriel: that of a teenager for an older motherly woman, or maybe a "Nightingale" syndrome, where men fall in love with their nurses...




Thursday, January 02, 2014

History lesson of the day

FilAm blogger Belmont Club compares the fall of Sinapore with the defense of Bataan, and how what happened at these places reverberated into mythology far beyond the actual events.

Lieutenant Norman Reyes, the US Army broadcaster who read out the announcement that Bataan had fallen, used a canny text written by Salvador Lopez, a man who would become the future dean of the University of the Philippines. Reyes’ text was frankly religious in tone and designed to play to the sympathies of a Roman Catholic population, then observing Holy Week, with which the surrender coincided.
Bataan has fallen…. Men fighting under the banner of unshakable faith are made of something more that flesh, but they are not made of impervious steel. …
All of us know the story of Easter Sunday. It was the triumph of light over darkness, life over death. … We, too, shall rise. After we have paid the full price of our redemption, we shall return to show the scars of sacrifices that all may touch and believe. When the trumpets sound the hour we shall roll aside the stone before the tomb and the tyrant guards shall scatter in confusion. No wall of stone shall then be strong enough to contain us, no human force shall suffice to hold us in subjection, we shall rise in the name of freedom and the East shall be alight with the glory of our liberation.

Global warming story of the week

The UKMail has lots of photos about the global warming scientists whose ship got stuck in the ice in Antarctica.

The webpage of the scientists is here.


RayVarderlaan's lectures are on line.

mixing bible stories and archeology, but mainly pointing out the story's importance is learning from it. He has an evangelical point of view, but isn't obnoxious or stupid like a lot of similar lectures on line.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

While you were sleeping it off

Stories you might have missed.

the Sun has flipped. No, not the sun but the sun's magnetic poles. UKIndependent:
The sun has "flipped upside down", with its north and south poles reversed to reach the midpoint of Solar Cycle 24, Nasa has said.
Now, the magnetic fields will once again started moving in opposite directions to begin the completion of the 22 year long process which will culminate in the poles switching once again..

video here.


Old lefty Bishop Cruz suggests a new year's resolution for the Philippines: Stop Killing Journalists. 
Four years on, the killers behind the Manguindanao massacre are still not going to trial.

and maybe while they are at it, they could stop killing political rivals, or at least make a law saying that the family of indicted politicians aren't allowed to run for office. Only a few weeks after the ex mayor's daughter won, there was another hit job on the family of the rival he tried to kill (and his hitmen killed our nephew, a bystander). But never mind. Only a few more bystanders were killed in that second attack.

But the attack on a politician at the airport a week ago has a lot of people upset.


4000 years ago, a change in the monsoon caused the collapse of the Indus valley empire...and maybe the same problem caused the collapse of the old kingdom of Egypt.

and what caused the collapse of the Hohokam people in 1300?


from Wired: The Mad Hatterpiller.

The Mad Hatterpillar, Uraba lugens, the caterpillar of an Australian moth.
Image copyright Nuytsia@Tas.

no, not a hat: the heads it "shed" as it molted to grow. And like many caterpillers, the hairs cause severe itching for those who touch it.


Happy New Year

On New Year's Eve, Chano cooked (spaghetti and salad) so we ate after midnight.

Here, everyone has firecrakers and often (illegal) fireworks, so it is impossible to sleep at midnight. The dogs were cowering under our bed, even our killer labrador, George, which isn't easy because he is so big.

Ruby was in a skit at church and during the skit she "fell" and now has bruises on her leg. Hmm...wonder if there is a youtube video on how to fall on stage? Yup. One here.

Lolo is happy taking care of his mangy dog...he's still a doctor and misses it, but can't hear well enough to see sick employees (that's my job: but he will do things like examine eye injuries for me, or give me a second opinion).