Sunday, June 29, 2014

Batman meets Catwoman


BBC slide show on the Swiss Valley of the butterflies

A swallowtail spreads its wings. (Claudiodelfuoco/Getty)


Family News

Chano and Joy left to work at a tradefair in Manila today.

I went to early mass with the cook and then to the ATM to get cash for today's meals, and when I got back Lolo was busy eatsing breakfast.

We now have four cats and two yellow kittens. I have a home for one of the kitties but at night I lock them and two youngish black cats in the spare room. One of these days I'll let them wander, and if they survive George (who periodically goes into a hunting mood and stalks cats at night when we let him lose to make rounds of the compound) I guess we'll keep them.

Headline of the day

Lettuce nose-stuffer avoids jail

from the BBC.

via DaveBarry

Friday, June 27, 2014

the "WAGD" post of the day

 The WHO has called an 11 nation meeting on the latest Ebola virus epidemic.

the enemy of my enemy is my friend

StrategyPage has a long analysis of the ISIS rebels, whose extremism is uniting both Iran and Saudi against them (and will result in the more moderate Syrian rebels to lose their fight for freedom). The ISIS is mainly from the desert tribes...

 the Saudis and Iranians have to pause their growing Sunni-Shia feud because both countries have more to fear from ISIL Sunni Islamic terrorism than from each other. Western nations know they are already on the ISIL radar and are cracking down on ISIL fund raising and recruiting in the West. Where does this leave the Syrian rebellion? The secular rebel groups and acceptably moderate Islamic rebels already have a coalition of sorts although that currently includes unacceptably radical groups like al Nusra. In short, things do not look good at all for the rebels. They are screwed.

they also note 160 thousand casulaties of the Syrian rebellion so far.

Stories that make you say "WTF"

 Forget the NSA snooping into your LOLCAT emails: Now your doctor will phone you if you buy the wrong stuff at Walmart.
While all information would be bound by doctor-patient confidentiality, he said he’s aware some people may be uncomfortable with data going to doctors and hospitals. For these people, the system is considering an opt-out mechanism that will keep their data private, Dulin said.
actually it's none of their damn business...except of course, under Obamacare, it IS their business to "keep us healthy" whether or not we want to be healthy.
While the patients may gain from the strategy, hospitals also have a growing financial stake in knowing more about the people they care for.
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, hospital pay is becoming increasingly linked to quality metrics rather than the traditional fee-for-service model where hospitals were paid based on their numbers of tests or procedures.
via Drudge, of course.

related item:

While yesterday’s Supreme Court decision unanimously rejecting the administration’s argument that a search warrant wasn’t required for the government to look at cell-phone records and data got a lot of attention, it’s not the first time the Obama administration has taken an anti–civil liberties stance. In last year’s case of U.S. v. Jones, the Justice Department essentially tried to convince the Supreme Court that the Fourth Amendment’s protections against search and seizure should not prevent the government from tracking any American at any time without any reason.
Another article about the 4th amendment HERE at PopMech:

In Wednesday's decision in Riley v. California, the Supreme Court has unanimously decided that the right of people to be secure in their persons, papers, and effects that is protected under the Fourth Amendment extends to cellphones and smartphones. In doing so, the Court settled a question of growing importance, and gave some hints of how it views search-and-seizure in the digital age...The right of the police to search a suspect during an arrest is based on two considerations: One is officer safety—making sure that the arrestee doesn't have a concealed weapon or other hazard. The other is evidence preservation—that is, making sure that the arrestee doesn't swallow or otherwise destroy evidence in his or her possession. 

Then why is it permissible for third parties to invade our privacy to know what we purchase?

And the next step: People (and school kids) buying chips with cash from the back of cars where their purchases won't be traced.


 update: RevSensing has this posted on his blog.

24 percent of third world women can't take modern birth control because of the price or lack of access,  or maybe not.

In Africa, which has the highest reported level of unmet need (23.5% of married women), 8% of those women cite lack of access as the reason they do not use contraceptives.  In comparison, 28% cite concern about side effects, and 24% say they, their partners, or both, are opposed to the use of contraceptives.  So, 8% of 23.5% – 1.88% – of surveyed married women in Africa have a lack of access to contraceptives.
That’s less than 2% of married women without access to contraceptives in the region of the world experiencing the greatest poverty and highest rates of hunger – the UN’s World Food Programme saysthat 24.8% of people in Sub-Saharan Africa don’t have enough food to eat.
reminds me of when I worked in Africa, when we had lots of children suffering from kwashiorkor, but any woman could get the pill from their local "pill lady" for free. Actually I support that, but the pill decreases the amount of breast milk and might contribute to the children's malnutrition, so we gave out Depo to increase breast milk to lower our rate of malnourished breast fed kids.


No, I am not watching the world cup (here, the main sport is basket ball: lots of hoops in the side streets where boys play and shoot baskets).

My son played soccer with the local team (consisting of a bunch of Central American students, one deaf student, and one female from the local college, and a couple of rednecks. They won nearly all their games, partly because they shouted at each other either in ASL or Spanish).

Yet the yuppification of soccer (and the elites sniffing at American style football for being too violent) ignores the fact that the head injury rate of Soccer is the same as football.

actually, our medical school had only one team: a Rugby team. 
and the injury rate in rugby is higher than that of football...

It misses the point: The reason for sports is to let boys "blow off steam" and as Orwell pointed outSerious sport is war minus the shooting.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Progress in Africa

This is from AlJazeerah:

World Cup fever has forced the Democratic Republic of Congo's national power firm to tell customers to switch off everything but the TV, so that there is enough electricity for everyone to watch the games.

the article notes only 9 percent of folks have electricity, and that a local hydro electric dam is being repaired.

for later reading

It's housecleaning day.

WWI and Benghazi


if you love the VA Scandal, just look at the IHS. The President visited Standing Rock last week and promised that the Great Chief in Washington would help them. Yet this 2009 article suggests things are still as bad as when I worked in the Aberdeen area in 1980.

On some reservations, the oft-quoted refrain is "don't get sick after June," when the federal dollars run out. It's a sick joke, and a sad one, because it's sometimes true, especially on the poorest reservations where residents cannot afford health insurance. Officials say they have about half of what they need to operate, and patients know they must be dying or about to lose a limb to get serious care.
Wealthier tribes can supplement the federal health service budget with their own money. But poorer tribes, often those on the most remote reservations, far away from city hospitals, are stuck with grossly substandard care. The agency itself describes a "rationed health care system."

the "wealthier" tribes are those who cashed in on the Casino system and took over part or all of their clinics/hospitals.

so the fracking boom should let the tribes take over, but the "green" alliance with the "native American activists" (often those who grew up elsewhere and got educated into Marxism/green religion in college, not by attending sings or ceremonies) are opposing it because being rich will destroy the culture.

in this case, those living in traditional trailer parks are being forced to move (where did all that money go that the BIA was supposed to build decent housing for them?)

Still, the tribe is raking in cash. The Fort Berthold reservation received more than $117 million in royalties in 2011, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Individual tribal members who own mineral rights on their private land, or allotments, receive anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars a month. That’s about two-thirds of the tribe’s total royalties.
a similar activist inspired stories in the StarTrib. 
no, it's probably good reporting but it follows the "meme" meaning I suspect that the stories were written before the investigation was done, or that the investigation was done to prove their pre determined ideas.

and guess what? Lots of money diverted in to tribal politician's pockets and to outside speculators.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ten myths about World War I

from the BBC

and note number one:

1. It was the bloodiest war in history to that point
Stretcher bearers, 1918
Fifty years before WW1 broke out, southern China was torn apart by an even bloodier conflict. Conservative estimates of the dead in the 14-year Taiping rebellion start at between 20 million and 30 million. Around 17 million soldiers and civilians were killed during WW1.

IRS problem? No problem

via Dustbury

Can’t find your tax-return documentation? Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) to the rescue:
Taxpayers who do not produce documents for the Internal Revenue Service will be able to offer a variety of dubious excuses under legislation introduced by Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX 36) a week after the IRS offered an incredibly dubious excuse for its failure to turn documents over to House investigators.
Under Stockman’s bill, “The Dog Ate My Tax Receipts Act,” taxpayers who do not provide documents requested by the IRS can claim one of the following reasons:
  1. The dog ate my tax receipts
  2. Convenient, unexplained, miscellaneous computer malfunction
  3. Traded documents for five terrorists
  4. Burned for warmth while lost in the Yukon
  5. Left on table in Hillary’s Book Room
  6. Received water damage in the trunk of Ted Kennedy’s car
  7. Forgot in gun case sold to Mexican drug lords
  8. Forced to recycle by municipal Green Czar
  9. Was short on toilet paper while camping
  10. At this point, what difference does it make?

First they came for Bob Jones U

The anchoress has this snippet about Bob Jones losing their tax exempt status because they weren't PC.

3) Over at Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds excerpts an important part of Jonathan Turley’s thoughtful look at government agencies stretching their boundaries. Here’s what struck me:
Historically, the IRS adopted a neutral rule that avoided not-for-profit determinations based on the content of organizations’ beliefs and practices. Then, in 1970, came the Bob Jones University case. The IRS withdrew the tax-exempt status from the religious institution because of its rule against interracial dating on campus. The Supreme Court affirmed in 1983 that the IRS could yank tax exemption whenever it decided that an organization is behaving “contrary to established public policy” — whatever that public policy may be. Bob Jones had to choose between financial ruin and conforming its religious practices. It did the latter. . . .
Yeah, yeah, we all hate Bob Jones University because they’re a bunch of bigots so they got what they deserved and made their decision accordingly, right?
Well, late last week the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to redefine marriage as involving “two persons”. With this vote they join six other churches or religious movements willing to perform same-sex marriages. The Episcopals will not be very far behind, I don’t think.
Since the IRS can determine tax-exemptions based on whether organizations are “contrary to established public policy”, I suspect it will not be long before those churches determined to heed Jesus’ words over the times and trends will find their obstinate traditions deemed so contrary and will start paying through the nose for the privilege of exercising their first amendment right to be themselves.
“Be yourself” is still a thing, right?

more here from Father L, who notes that this type of thinking bodes ill for any church related institution.

and now the AMA says you don't have to have a sex change operation to change your sex. (I suspect it was a "focus group" at that institution, not those who represent doctors, which is why they are losing members...They do this all the time, and their website is constantly sending me emails about the wonderfulness of OBama care, while sending me other emails on how I can try to figure out how to change my practice and billing to get paid. Every hour spent learning billing is one hour less seeing patients and doing CME, but never mind).

and no links, but someone at the NYTimes had an editorial saying that marriage was the cause of most domestic violence, and another article somewhere lauded the fact that the "milleneals" didn't think that gender differences mattered any more.

The problem with all of this is that reality tends to bite back.
Gender differences are biological, and the trend of the elites to destroy any social institution that is based on this fact bodes ill for the future, because a society that insists on ignoring reality won't survive.

or as Kipling wrote:AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all...

Volcano factoids

Wired says Chimborozo volcano in Ecuador had the largest eruption in the past 2000 years.

erupted last about 640 AD.

another factoid:
While the summit of Mount Everest is the highest point on the Earth above sea level, the summit of Chimborazo is the farthest place on the surface of the Earth from its exact center, a distance of 3,968 miles (6,384.4 kilometers). It’s important to remember that the Earth is not a perfect sphere but instead bulges out at its equator. Chimborazo is only one degree south of the equator, while Mount Everest is 28 degrees north. Chimborazo’s summit is 2.1 kilometers farther from the Earth’s center than Everest.
 and the wired article notes that France

the ChaƮne des Puys lava domes (see below) formed at ~4040 BC, meaning they are very much still capable of another eruption. - See more at:

between this and the Lacher See Volcano, (10000 BC) one wonders if many of the "dragon" legends are due to pre historic eruptions being put into stories of the Germanic tribes, in the same way that when Anaeis visited the "gates of hell" , he went to Cumae, located near Vesuvius.

Ulysses, however, found his "gates of hell" at the western edge of the known world,

and in the Percy Jackson series, one of the "doors of death" is at Epirus.

where the "dragon lakes" of Mt Pindos are located, but the volcanism there predates man.

and here is an article about volcanos:

Which three little pigs house would survive a volcano?

Smaug foiled again

So why did cutting the bridges foil Smaug's attack on Laketown in the book the Hobbit?
I always thought it was due to the fact that the houses were too small and flimsy to land on, meaning that he could only try to flame them. And in flying, the updrafts/downdrafts over the burning town surrounded by a cooler lake would interfere with his flying, and the smoke from the burning houses would obscure his aim.

and of course, it was a moonless night, so figuring out how high he was flying could lead to "controlled flight into terrain"...

 Michael Martinez' take is here.

 but since xenite won't load here, I'll have to keep guessing.

Stuff below the fold

link to the article about the CSLewis symposium of yesterday's post.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Q&A with Margaret MacMillan

Remembering WWI


for later reading.

I have Professor M's audiobook on the Versailles treaty, and she is a good teacher, if you can afford her books.
Most WWI books are about the trenches: Her books see the war in it's geopolitical web and how that first war led to the second war. more here.

strategyPage's podcast on that war HERE.

For Later viewing

Hieropraxis has a report on a CSLewis symposium

video links:

for later watching, as today is housecleaning day.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Getting outside oneself

I enjoyed the Fault in our stars

and one of the points was that the depressed protagonist needed to get back into life, which she does by meeting friends at a support group "meeting in the heart of Jesus" (a phrase at which the kids all shrug).

Yet this is why support groups work: And why family and friends and societies that stress interrelationships and family ties are more flexible than isolated individuals who think they are the master of their fate.

from Rabbi Sacks:

 modern therapies tend to seek a solution within the self. It began with Rousseau, who thought that individuals were good and society bad, and it has continued unchecked ever since. Nowadays we are led to believe that it is we alone who are masters of our fate, we who preserve our freedom by steering clear of the entanglements of commitment and community. Hence the idea of self-help. But sometimes staying within the self is not a cure but the problem itself.One of the great blessings of religion is that it moves us beyond the self. It bonds us to others and to God. It trains us in the habits of loving kindness. It teaches us relational intelligence. It sustains oases of community in the desert of the lonely crowd. It supports the kind of friendships that can heal broken hearts. Sometimes, along with self-help, we need a little help from our friends.
a good religion is both going up and down to the deity (Jacob's ladder) and going out to those around us. The two great commandments...

Celebrating those who give the gift of beauty

 Brian Sibley remembers Mary Blair, one of the concept artists at Disney in the good old days.

more here

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Obama, Iran and the Goths

My only comment on Obama refusing to help Iraq, and standing by while Iran will pick up the pieces is to note the similarities of Rome in it's declining years using barbarians to fight other barbarians.

Hope this works out better.

AustinBay's cynical take is here.
StrategyPage has more: apparantly the US and Saudi are helping the Iraqis on the sly and the Kurds are coming into the fight.
The result will probably be ethnic cleansing of the Sunni minority, who are helping the terrorists, something that General Petreus stopped by getting them to switch sides during Bush's surge.

And a lot of the problem is corruption.

come to think of it, Rome's corruption is one reason the Goths turned murderous.

Family news

Today is house cleaning day.
The kittens are starting to eat, so more sleep for me at night maybe tonite.

And this morning, before I ate, (i.e. while getting a low blood sugar)  I fed the dogs, the cats, the kittens, and then the fish...and accidentally spilled a ton of fish food into the pond, which we then had to remove as much as possible. I had a dream last week that the koi were dying off, so I hope they don't eat too much and pass to the great koi pond in the sky.


Yesterday I went with Ruby to see The Fault etc. movie. No, it's not "love story" remade, it's more like Anne Frank: Teenagers knowing that they may die at any time chose to concentrate on living not the fact that they are dying. But my two complaints: Like seeking a friend for the end of the world, there is only a vague deism in the face of death by very normal good people

and Gus is just too good to be true, although the Isaac character suggests that is because he is only showing his good side to Hazel.

Warning: a three handkerchief movie.

Oh well. It beats transformers.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The "WTF" Headline of the day

from GMA news:

NEW YORK - New York's Metropolitan Opera announced on Tuesday that it has canceled its plans for a live transmission of the opera "The Death of Klinghoffer" in movie theaters because of concerns that it could fan global anti-Semitism.
The opera house made the move after an outpouring of concern about the John Adams opera about the hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship by Palestinian militants in 1985 and the killing of disabled, elderly American Jewish passenger Leon Klinghoffer.
"I'm convinced that the opera is not anti-Semitic," Peter Gelb, the Met's general manager, said in a statement. "But I've also become convinced that there is genuine concern in the international Jewish community that the live transmission of 'The Death of Klinghoffer' would be inappropriate at this time of rising anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe."

How could an opera about the deliberate murder of an elderly, disable Jewish man by terrorists be anti semetic? What, he 'deserved it'?

no, because it made the murder of a handicapped old man the moral equivalence to the Palestians, who fled but were refused resettlement in their new homes, but kept as tame animals by the UN and neighboring countries to fester in hate (compare this to the 2 million Germans resettled, or even the half million Jews who were forced to flee arab countries by pogroms after 1948. It's all about politics of course: As long as Israel is the scapegoat, they won't ask questions, like how did Mrs. Arafat get all that lovely money in her bank account).

and it seemed to blame him for his own murder.

. Then follows the rapid unraveling of the terrorists plans and the inexplicable decision to execute Klinghoffer. No one knows why this particular man was singled out for execution. Was he simply a sacrificial lamb in a terrorist scenario gone awry? Had he, through some exchange of words, prompted his own demise? Or was he, simply because of his handicap, an encumbrance? 

Stuff below the fold

Teens launch balloon to the edge of space.


Catholic newspaper in Cuba shuts down one of the few open speech forums.

and they say the church shut them down:

The former editors of Espacio Laical magazine, Roberto Veiga and Lenier Gonzalez, used the Internet to promote debate on political issues such as the need for a multiparty system, internet expansion, reintegration with the diaspora and the strengths and weaknesses of reforms under President Raul Castro.
They quit last week after 10 years on the job, saying in their resignation letter it was because of pressure from inside the Church hierarchy, not the government, from people who did not want the Church to get involved in politics.
Calling Cardinal Sin...calling Cardinal Sin...

Does this mean the gov't is pressuring the bishops and they caved, or does it mean that the new "vatican" is trying to make nice with the communists, a la John XXIII, rather than oppose tyranny a la JPII?

On the ground report on Baghdad: The media is getting it wrong.

the Sunni terror groups will have to take on the Shiites if they try to take Baghdad, and the tribal elements who are giving them cover will reap the whirlwind.


 The Mullahs passed a law banning women politicians, so Dr E is no longer is on the city Council but she is still is active in ecological NGO's...and now she reports that the Iranian team at the world cup has followed her suggestion to use the Persian Cheetah as their mascot.

I formally delivered the ball to the Captain last week , before  their departure to Sao Paulo, Brazil. Our team was named "Persian Cheetah" after these events and the issue recieved much publicity.
Iran is taking part in the World Cup with a message of Peace and Protection of our global environment. We hope that all teams will join us in this campaign and spread the message.
yeah, but just protect yourself against all that radiation when the Mullahs explode their bomb.

on the other hand, the present president is trying to limit the tyranny of the Mullahs.
He also appeared to agree that social rules - in a country where morality police patrol the streets to detain women they deem to be showing too much hair - should be eased, saying: "We can't take people to heaven by force and with a whip."
But reformist Iranians say those words have not been followed by policy changes. "All the nice words have expired," Alinejad said.
With Rouhani pushing for a nuclear deal with the West to lift crushing economic sanctions, and civil wars raging in Iran's regional allies Syria and Iraq, personal freedoms and women's rights are unlikely to be high on his agenda.
But Alinejad doubts Rouhani would ease the hijab rules even if he were able to in a system where the ultimate say lies with the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.


Camouflage only works when you use the right colours, so caterpillars who eat too many different leaves are at risk, reports the LATIMES.

I mainly link for this cute photo.


related item:


the tax hunt against Americans is making more people renounce their citizenship.Yeah, they are now taxing our income here, and asking our banks to report interest income

.Helping boost the exodus, experts say, is a five-year-old U.S. campaign to hunt for undeclared accounts held by Americans abroad. Since 2009, the government campaign has collected more than $6 billion in taxes, interest and penalties from more than 43,000 U.S. taxpayers. Federal prosecutors have filed more than 100 criminal indictments, including the high-profile case of Beanie Babies inventor Ty Warner, who last year pleaded guilty to tax evasion involving secret Swiss bank accounts.The tax dragnet has also swept up many middle-income Americans living abroad, prompting some to give up their U.S. citizenship. While people who renounce aren't freed of taxes due for past years, they don't want to risk sizable taxes and penalties for them and their children in the years ahead, 

 Note however that the numbers are miniscule.


DESPITE THE “MISSING” EMAILS, NEWS IS STILL COMING OUT: “In fact, the documents showed Lerner wanted to make an example out of someone with charges in order to chill all of the groups in the tea party movement.”I think it’s fair at this point to assume that the “missing” emails are missing because someone in the White House was behind this.


: Sarah Hoyt on the coming economic demise, 

she's a sci fi writer, but irascible enough to say what no one dares to say.

Oh well: Lolo promised me if I move to the Philippines we would always have rice to eat. So most of our money is invested in growing and selling organic brown rice. The bad news is that a typhoon at the wrong time can wipe us out financially as it did last year...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

St Anthony's fire

A different St Anthony, (the hermit) but the disease was caused by ergot fungus growing on rye.

from medievalistblog:

The Annales Xantenses reports that in the year 857 “a great plague of swollen blisters consumed the people by a loathsome rot, so that their limbs were loosened and fell off before death.” Ina Lipkowitz explains that the
victims suffered from hallucinations, insanity, vomiting, and gangrene of the hands and feet due to constriction of blood flow to the extremities. Those afflicted felt as if they were being burned at the stake as their fingers and toes split open and dropped off, one by one. A late medieval chronicler wrote of an “invisible fire that separated the flesh from the bones and consumed it.”It was said that 40 000 people in northern Germany were killed by the disease in the year 994. In the eleventh-century a group of lay people created an order to take care of people afflicted by the disease. They declared Saint Anthony of Egypt to be the patron saint of the order, and the disease became known as St.Anthony’s Fire. Ergotism is much rarer in the modern world, but outbreaks have occurred in less developed countries even in recent years

Ode to the fishies

St Anthony's fiast day was a few days ago, and here is his sermon to the fishies, put to song by Mahler

headsup ThePlough.
 One story tells how, disgusted by the obduracy of his listeners, Saint Anthony went to the mouth of the Marecchia river and called the fish, who all swam to the surface and formed ranks to hear his sermon. The Little Flowers of Saint Francis includes this account of his message:
My brothers the fishes, you are bound, as much as is in your power, to return thanks to your Creator, who has given you so noble an element for your dwelling; for you have at your choice both sweet water and salt; you have many places of refuge from the tempest; you have likewise a pure and transparent element for your nourishment. God, your bountiful and kind Creator, when he made you, ordered you to increase and multiply, and gave you his blessing. In the universal deluge, all other creatures perished; you alone did God preserve from all harm. 

Stories below the fold

 The backstory of what's going on in Iraq can be found on StrategyPage, 

summary: A mile wide and an inch deep. They won't win because both the Saudis and the Iranians will help defeat them. The American policy is mainly to stop the Shiites from ethnic cleansing to drain the swamp (the innocent Sunni civilians). And many of the fighters are non Iraqis, mainly from Saudi.

one of the few places that actually note the malignant strain in Islam that is being pushed via Saudi "Charity" money". And one of the few sites that actually reports on the corrosive effect of corruption.


Professor Mary Beard has a new book, this one on Greece. I doubt I can afford the book, but usually they make miniseries on her stuff.


Peter Burger has a long analysis of China's Christian problem.


Epilog has an article on "weird Ice Cream flavors" now available in the US. Some of the flavors originated in Japan: Altogether now: WASABI


Is BPA making you fat? MomJones says uh oh: other plastics do it too.

and it's not just plastic bottles.


Mummies of folks who died from the Plague of Cyprian have been found in Egypt\\ 

Known as the “Plague of Cyprian,” the series of epidemics, thought to be some form of smallpox or measles, is credited with weakening the Roman Empire and hastening its fall,

3D printing of human organs? BBC Horizon has a series of short reports.


IRS Scadal emails were "lost" when the computer crashed?

This is as obvious a lie as Nixon's 18 minute gap...but don't expect the press to notice.


 From Wired: Ten fun facts about seapigs.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Happy Father's day

this is from Father Vega's church in Pampanga.

Hobbit Metaphors

nine visual metaphors in the Hobbit: including:
Blind mice and lesser lives.From the cat to the mouse. We have something of a double metaphor here: Beorn uses the word “blind” just as we see the mouse (as in “Blind Mice”); then picks up the mouse when he says that Dwarves are blind to those whose lives they deem “lesser than their own”.

And the lake will shine and burn.As Bard speaks this line from the prophecy, we see the sunlight shining on the lake, making it look on fire. 

Family News

We took Lolo and Joy's parents to a restaurant for Father's day. We went to the favorite restaurant, but it was packed by the time we got there, so we went to the Philippino food restaurant in the mall.

Later, Ruby's church had an opening party for their new hall, so we lent them our "swamp cooler" for the party (but we stayed home). It remains hot, but not as bad as before.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Family news

With the onset of Monsoon season, it's a little cooler, and Lolo has more energy.

So yesterday we went to the lawyers for him to sign a waiver so I can get my pension. Afterward, we went to Waltermart to eat at McDonalds. Yes, not a big deal, you say? Well, they are clean and fast and the burgers are the same as in the USA (although they also sell rice instead of fries on some meals, and have spaghetti meals).

Lots of deliveries in Manila, so we are short of help. Luckily, we now have a little man pushing a large bin who collects our trash every morning, so we don't have to haul it up to the county dump or even to the dump near the Palenke. When I see him, I give him 20 pesos (about fifty cents), and sometimes he will clean out the trashcans if I ask him to do it.

Ruby is busy with school, and her church is putting on an extension so on holidays (e.g. Independence day last Thursday) the kids are there helping build it.

The pastor is a good guy, but I worry because it's pentecostal and don't want too much religious influence...but luckily their religion is singing and dancing for the Lord, and one in awhile speaking in tongues. Nothing hard like helping care for the poor or cleaning up the house or helping Lolo. Those things are left to the help all of whom are non believers like me (read Catholics who think doing a good days' work and caring for family is more important than speaking in tongues or sprouting bible verses, or even not stealing little things from their rich employers).

Yes, three hail marys for me for being snotty.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Mark your calenders

Grumpy cat the movie premiers at Christmas time.

Family news

Rain all night... a low pressure area is going through. Hopefully we'll have enough water for rice planting, and the local hydroelectric dams will fill up so no more brownouts.

Chano is still waiting for payment for a large Christmas delivery. Which is why the Philippines isn't yet a good place to invest.
most of the headlines are about pork (investigating all the diverted money, bribes, kickbacks, fake NGOs. smuggling etc)

 If they jail everyone who is guilty, they won't be able to run the country. Sigh.

Lolo is okay, and I am fine, but my arthritis kicks in when it rains. Oh well.

Stuff below the fold

Plough magazine is back.


Snide remark of the day (From Anne Althouse):

Samantha Power lets slip the hashtags of war.

presumably hashtags are the civilized way of confronting warmongers, replacing that Nasty letter (see Team America World Police).


Brian Sibley has several posts on Ray Bradbury, and links to his short stories on the BBC to download.


Spiked has a book review on UKIP's rise as a grassroots revolt against the elites.

just as this social stratum has come to dominate British public life, to fill public space with its sense of progressive self-righteousness, so other sections of society, from older generations of Britain’s working class to shire Tories, have experienced a shutting out, a quick-quick-slow assault on their values, attitudes and experiences... And not only do they feel under cultural attack, not only do they feel that even raising the issue of immigration, for example, is ‘politically incorrect’, not only do they feel that they are constantly being told that their values and beliefs are wrong, or backward; politically they have no representation, no voice.
Sounds like the problems of the working class Reagan democrats, who are no longer welcome in the Democratic party: Which is why demonizing the republicans is their only hope of keeping us voting correctly.


It's not just the NSA: Google takes over the world.

did I tell you that our house is easy to find on Google Earth? Just look up the city square...


Antarctic ice melt might be due to volcanic activity.


the WAGD post of the day: blame bird flu links here.


for your eating pleasure: Chocolate chip cookie recipes.


YUM! deviled ostich eggs...

actually, Chano knows a local farmer who raises ostriches for food and eggs.

When Idiots are smarter than the experts.

Joe Biden was right: It would be better to divide Iraq into three separate countries.

So now, not only could the Kurds get their own country, but Iran is helping the Iraqi government. Well, what do you expect? Obama turned them down when they requested airstrikes on the bad guys last month.

on the other hand, this could unite another Shiite/Sunni war, or another Persian/Arab war, complete with massacres.

Uh, Sarah Palin was right too? drill baby drill? North Dakota to the rescue?

maybe if the MSM wasn't so busy ridiculing these working class politicians, they might actually ANALYZE if they were making sense.

Insomnia downloads of the day

A Guide to Modern Cookery (Le Guide Culinaire) Part I: Fundamental Elements

Thursday, June 12, 2014

For Later reading

Housecleaning day today, so I'll link to articles I want to read in depth (via my tablet. My computer's battery is kaput so I have to let it plugged in to use, and if the cat/dog/myself accidentally jigs the wire, it crashes).


TeaAtTrianon links to several articles debunking the the Irish orphanage scandal. The press lied? No, but it was very bad reporting and one suspects it was deliberate to follow the meme.

Spiked! has their sarcastic take on the feeding frenzy, and notes other overblown stories that turned out to be only mildly true.

I was going to make a rant about third world country orphanages today, and the high mortality in any institution that housed the poor before the days of penicillin but never mind.


Iraq has a problem thanks to the Syrian rebels funneling money and terrorists there. Who wudda thot?
Ah, but it could help the Kurds regain Mosul, which was their city before Saddam threw them out.
StrategyPage has a long analysis here.

The Diplomad2.0 has a multipart series on corruption in American embassies.
Hmm...maybe they should make a movie about it.


So smartphones affect sperm?

Yes, but wait til they find so do chemicals.


How to persuade kids to become atheists.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

For later reading

the anthropology of China.

and an article on China's expansion here.

We only stand to lose our fishing (oil/gas) rights off the coast, but Vietnam was once part of a greater China, and remembers they could be coopted similar to what happened in Tibet.


I remember when Carter said they would allow any Cuban who got to the US to stay, and 100 thousand plus arrived, including a lot of criminals freed by Castro from their jails.

So now Obama stopped deporting arrivals from Mexico, and said the "dream children" would have a pass. So guess what?

Presumably they will open the closed military bases to house and integrate them, as they did with the Cubans or with the Vietnamese mass influx after the fall of Saigon.

One story not picked up: Mexico's economy is booming so many Mexicans are returning home, and many of those arriving are women and children from central America.

Now, if they would only let my son get a visa to visit his brother in Florida...and I wonder if local Pinoys have figured out how to get in the rush...


Sunday, June 08, 2014

Factoid of the day


London drinkers initially resisted beer, as they preferred ale’s familiar sweet flavor to the bitter taste added by hops. The social perception of beer as a foreign import also worked to its disadvantage. Over time, taste preferences changed and beer grew in popularity, but it was the brew‟s greater marketability that allowed it to gain superiority over ale. Hops not only imparted the bitter flavor, but the resins contained within hops provided protection against bacterial infection, resulting in a more durable brew.

Family news

Lolo got up and took a shower to go to church, but by the time he was finished, it was already 7:20 and since it is now 82 degrees and church started at 7 am, I suggested we skip it until next week.

We now have three yellow kitties: all from the same litter but found separated in the vacant lot (by our dog George, but I stopped him before he could kill them). There is a yellow cat that makes her home there, so I figure they are hers. They can't quite figure how to eat, but are almost old enough to be on their own. Lots of dogs visit the lot, so if I didn't get them out of there they'd be dead. No names, but I call them Mukha (face, for a scar on her face), tail (a full tail) and half tail (there is a genetic half tail in some local feral cats).

Ruby visited a theme part on Friday and has the photos on her face book page.

The dogs got their rabies vaccine yesterday: I had to chase a couple of them who didn't like the sound of the upset dogs downstairs. We now have seven dogs, three of whom bite a lot, and two who have bitten but usually are okay.

there are feral dogs and rabies here, so any one bitten by a dog gets the vaccine, and the city vaccinates for free at certain times....but it's hard to get 7 dogs into the car.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

The Heroic quest

 I downloaded Professor Hughes lectures on Greek mythology awhile back via iTunesU, but now he has a new course, LLT 180 The Heroic Quest, that should be good.

Joe Kieyoomia

A couple posts down, I discussed the death of the original code talkers, Chester Nez. LINK

and mentioned a Navajo who was a NMNG POW who refused to help them break the code.

His name was Joe Kieyoomia. From Wikipedia.

When the "Navajo Code" had the Japanese baffled, Kieyoomia was questioned and then tortured, although he could only understand bits and pieces of what trained Navajo Code Talkers were saying, the code was so sophisticated that he eventually told the Japanese that it sounded like nonsense to him.
Kieyoomia was not trained as a code talker and did not know about the code. Stripped naked and made to stand for hours in deep snow until he talked, Joe Kieyoomia's feet froze to the ground. Finally allowed to return to his cell, a guard shoved him, causing the soles of his feet to tear.
After surviving the prison camps, the "hell ships" and the torture, Kieyoomia was a prisoner in Nagasaki when that city was the target of the second atomic bomb dropped by the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF). Kieyoomia survived the attack saying he was protected by the concrete walls of his cell. After 3½ years as a prisoner of war, he was abandoned for three days after the bombing, but says a Japanese officer finally freed him. He returned to the United States.

stuff below the fold

Instapundit reports that the Pope has upset the cat ladies at the daily beast, whose editor once wrote she loved NYC because she didn't have to meet any Christians (just ignore the butcher, the baker, the cop on the beat, the fireman, your maid, and the local nannies and nurses. Of course, the taxi driver is probably Muslim so you're safe there).

Yes, it's all about me me me, and the feministas are upset that he pointed this out.


Ryan's classic book and DDay film The Longest Day, got the Pointe de Huc part wrong, implying that there were no guns there so it was a useless attack,  but Reagan reminded people of the Ranger's heroism. Austin Bay has details of  why Ryan's gaff overlooked something very important.

Even if allied bombing raids and naval gunfire eliminated the big guns, professional soldiers understood that Pointe du Hoc was decisive operational terrain. German mobile artillery might occupy the position after the pre-invasion bombardment lifted. Allied and German planners also identified the hard-surfaced road cutting across the plateau's southern base as a vital communications and high-speed movement route for German forces operating on the exposed flanks of the beach zones.
On June 6, 1944, Pointe du Hoc had to be taken, and it then had to be held — denied to German counter-attackers — until relief forces arrived.
Always keep the high ground. Which is why knowing the geography of  Little Round Top and the Golan heights is important.

this article has more on Hitler's Atlantic wall.

Ianthe Ruthven
The German gun battery at Pointe du Hoc, midway between the D-Day beaches Utah and Omaha


Related item: Veteran escapes his nursing home to attend the ceremony.

and the BBC reports on body language of the VIPs, with all the talking points intact, but the French tweetosphere is aghast.


Nitrogen facts. It's the latest global warming threat.


The Rohingya crisis. an epidemic waiting to happen.
Refugees in a land where they have lived for 200 plus years.

Aid workers have been attacked.

China is the main backer of the Burmese dictators, and it is unusual that they left reporters in to see what's going on.
On the other hand, conditions are not as bad as other places in the world.


Ten ways to swat a fly.

One way: spray window cleaner. or use a chopstick (/s)


Google ignored D Day.
Yes, they tend to ignore most "controversial" stuff, like Easter (at least since 2000), Christmas (as opposed to a generic "holiday", Memorial day... more here


the dark side of Yodel valley.

it's not just the Pope and Miley Cyrus:

The CIA joins Twitter and Facebook.

update: From Dustbury:

We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.