Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ebola: We are prepared

Ebola is out of the news thanks to the scheduled riots in Fergueson (yes, there is black anger, but this has been coopted by various forces with other agendas: Why else would this be morphing into a blocking of Walmart, where working class and poor folk buy most of their food and supplies?). I even read one article claiming that the "ebola crisis" was made up by the Republicans to get votes. Sheesh.

However, the bad news is that it is still a problem in West Africa, despite the silence in the media. The scientists delivered a "fast" test (to distinguish early Ebola from other common diseases such as malaria that have similar symptoms) and are working on a vaccine, but the real danger is still simmering.

So I was amused to see an "ebola suit" on the shelf in the ER of GoodSam hospital, where Lolo got checked.

Oh yes: Phil health has also announced that they will cover Ebola under their policies.

Now all we have to worry about is MERS (in Saudi) Bird Flu (sporadic cases all over Asia), Bubonic Plagues (which has broken out in Madagascar), and of course the usual cases of influenza, Dengue fever and Chinungunya virus.

Stuff around the net

BrianSibley again links to the BBC radio program on the once and future king. Today's link: Sir Lancelot.

White's take on the heroic French knight was a radically revisionist one: accepting – as is told in many versions of the Arthur myth – that it was Lancelot's illicit love for the King's wife, Guenever that eventually initiated the destruction of Arthur's chivalric dream, the author sets out with the determination of a modern novelist, rather than a myth-maker, to explore the human complexities of the triangular relationship between the Knight, the King and the Queen.

TeaAtTrianon links to a WSJ article on Irish cheese: how entrepeneurs devised "Gourmet" cheeses to sell.

heh. Wonder if Erap's waterbuffalo milk dairies could do the same.
they already sell the milk and cheese locally...we drink the milk, mainly in our coffee: It is very high in fat.

Altogether now:

Yes, we have two, which we mainly use for plowing fields etc. too far from the road to use our truck, and also in our veggie project.


rewrite the history books: Tibetan locals were growing barley and wheat at 2500 meters:  3500 years ago.

heh. Wonder if they also made beer with it?

TORN reports that scientists are using THE EYE OF SAURON galaxy to measure distances in space.

"NGC 4151" by X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/J.Wang et al.; Optical: Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes, La Palma/Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope, Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA - Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
not to be confused with The Eye of God Nebula.


Factoid of the day (from Wired):

The Teen Brain “Shuts Down” When It Hears Mom’s Criticism


Friday, November 28, 2014

Family news

Lolo saw the hemotologist and refused the suggested tests (bone marrow).

We suspect a certain disease that has a good prognosis untreated, so he won't take treatment.

He also has weak kidneys from his blood pressure. Sigh.

He is depressed right now but his strength is normal for him.

Benny arrived and left us fruit and food. Chona arrives today or tomorrow.

Chano's company finally got the check from the government for last year's Christmas gifts. That should help a bit, although most of it is being repaid to Lolo or me for money he had to borrow to harvest the rice. It is raining right now from a low pressure area, but the harvest has been good this year.

Cat item of the day

Why do dogs make a bigger mess drinking water than cats?

From ABC(Aus)

The research team previously found that felines drink via a two-part process consisting of an elegant plunge and pull, in which a cat gently places its tongue on the water's surface and then rapidly withdraws it, creating a column of water underneath the cat's retracting tongue.
"When we started this project, we thought that dogs drink similarly to cats," says Sunny Jung, an assistant professor at Virginia Tech.
"But it turns out that it's different, because dogs smash their tongues on the water surface—they make lots of splashing -- but a cat never does that."

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Government regulations/Medical rationing and Orwell

George Orwell died of TB despite the fact that streptomycin was being used in the US.

Why not in the UK? Not permitted to buy it under currency regulations.
`Before anything else I must tell you something that Dr Dick has said to me. He says that I am getting on quite well, but slowly, and it would speed recovery if one had some streptomycin (STREPTOMYCIN). This is obtainable in the USA, and because of the dollars the B[oard] O[f] T[rade] (or whatever it is) won't normally grant a licence. He suggested that you with your American connections might arrange to buy it and I could pay you... for it is a considerable sum and of course the hospital can't pay it...'Orwell followed up later with an urgent telegram to David Astor, who responded promptly. Astor contacted Orwell's specialist and urged him to ignore Orwell's scruples about money and to deal directly with him (Astor). Astor also contacted the Minister of Health, Aneurin Bevan (who had been Orwell's former editor at the socialist magazine The Tribune), to make sure that there would be no political or licensing problems. A bank account in the USA containing the proceeds of the sale of Animal Farm there provided the dollars. It only took Orwell a few weeks to get the streptomycin. Thus it was that Orwell became the first person in Scotland to be offered the opportunity to try streptomycin.
and when he finally received the drug. he developed a severe allergy, so it had to be stopped. And PAS was given but that is a weak drug and didn't stop the disease.

He eventually died of hemoptysis, where the cavities from the disease erode into a blood vessel and you die of bleeding.

article here.

Lolo got TB and got some streptomycin somewhere and gave himself the shots. It cured the TB but left him with a hearing loss. I'm not sure when: Probably about 1950.

family news

my husband has been sick and will see the specialist today. Keep him in your prayers.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Benghazi : I know nothing...NOTHING

Yes, it took several days for the State Department to figure out that the Benghazi attack was by terrorists, so don't blame them.

The dog that didn't bark:
Yet why did the gamers know an attack was coming at noon US time but no help was sent?

the "dog" is not mentioned, because one doubts that Smith told this to his fellow gamers but not to those in charge.

Presumably his emails/request for protection will be found in the future, right next to Lois Learner's redacted emails.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Immigration? We haz that

Most of my Filipino relatives manage to get work visas and jobs as nurses etc in the USA, then bring over mom to help baby sit as a visitor, which soon morphs into a green card. Florinda's husband not only got a green card but got his CABG paid for.

Yet my Colombian son, who decided he didn't want to get US citizenship so moved back there and lost his green card, can't even get a visitor visa to visit his brother and family. They fear he will stay and get a job.

So much for playing by the rules.

Of course folks will quickly try to get to the USA with this. If the Philippines was closer, half of the young folks in Nueva Ecija would be going there for jobs. Thanks to corruption it is hard to run a business (we are still waiting for payment from government orders from last year...originally it was probably because we didn't bribe the right folks, and now the excuse is that they have to do oodles of paperwork to check it was a legal order at a good price. Can't win either way).

One result is that there are ads all over for nursing school or other schools touting the ability to get a US/Canadian/Australian job if they study. And lots of ads for caretakers/workers/drivers in Saudi etc. or for factory jobs in Korea etc. (Korean language schools advertise too).
This destroys families, but better to have dad or mom working overseas to pay for your food and school fees than stay in the cycle of poverty.

The US is the gold standard, but we also have relatives in England, Germany, Italy, and Canada. Lots of Filipinos illegally in the US so Obama's immigration deal will be welcomed here, and the good news is that Filipinos are pretty well assimilated so rarely questioned by LaMigra.

So how good is "la migra"? Well, when my youngest lost his driver's license, he used his brother's to get a job driving a truck and was picked up and jailed. But it works both ways: When he was visiting Colombia, he was also picked up in a press gang (i.e. cops pick up young men and check if they did their national service, and if not, you are drafted into the military). Luckily, his cousin is a cop so they allowed him to get his US passport and he was released: and immediately deported since his US visa was expired. He is a dual citizen, but if he wanted to use his US passport, he had to follow those rules.

My youngest could always get a job, and many assumed he was illegal with a stolen identity since he does not have a Hispanic name. Being illegal is common, and normal Americans don't report them. Alas, it also means that some people will exploit them, not pay them, etc. For example, when my son was told to work overtime without time and a half pay, he objected, and was told if he complained he would be reported.

And of course, in construction, often the day workers salaries aren't reported nor are the taxes paid, but they will teach you how to do the job if you are willing and able. He's done a lot of this type of work too, and got enough experience that his Americorp job was teaching summer volunteers to repair houses in Appalachia.

And that part about doing jobs "Americans won't do" is right. In Idaho, one of our neighbors, being LDS, worked in the harvest and was one of the few white women there, even though we had lots of poor whites on welfare, who of course got paid for not working so why work? Ditto for the meat packing factories in Iowa, who after being targeted had to lay off their Mexican illegal workers and hire locals. They brought down Somali immigrants from Minnesota, and promptly ran into problems about time off for prayer etc.

Notice they were immigrants too? Work ethic is the key, not race.

So yes, allow illegals who hold jobs to get amnesty. But also make it easier for folks like my son to get his green card back.

Ann Althouse analyzes the legal aspects here.

My main problem: Is it stretching the law? I mean, this is not an emergency, and for four years,President Obama had a Democratic lock on congress, and even after that, could have worked bilaterally to get a similar law passed. But he is not willing to compromise and prefers to see the Republicans as the enemies, not as the loyal opposition, even those in the leadership who would work with him.

As a result, there is open revolt among the more conservative types. One Hispanic Republican even quoted Cicero (and gets mocked for it by CNN...nope no press bias here).

Well, Cicero was talking about the Catalinarian conspiracy, which in today's world would be a Republican revolt by the middle class over the rich.

A closer parallel to what President Obama is doing would be the Gracchi brother's attempt to get justice for the lower classes by trying to get around the rule of law. And that didn't turn out well for either them nor the Roman republic.

But nobody studies history anymore so why worry?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Self help, facebook, and the Ukraine

StrategyPage has an article on how facebook is helping anti Russian civilians in the Ukraine help their military.

The volunteers developed some very effective techniques to get things done and done quickly. For example they would often collect funds and then put that on credit cards so that it was easier to buy things overseas like protective vests, Kevlar helmets, night vision goggles, laser rangefinders and so on. Since some of this equipment was “restricted” to military or police organizations there were volunteers with connections overseas to deal with the restrictions.
Closer to home volunteers, especially in the major cities, were able to collect soap, shaving gear and food (even if just snacks) and quickly transport it to the troops. Using social media like Facebook and local radio and press volunteers could quickly act on a request from front line units. Volunteers came to know commanders and many individual troops and many requests could be filled within 24 hours. Given the corruption that was prevalent in Ukraine, the social networks and personal networks ensured that there was very little theft occurring when volunteers were involved.

Several thoughts on this.

One: When there were tornadoes in Oklahoma or hurricane floods in Louisiana, our locals would pack up supplies and folks in their pickup trucks and vans and travel to help.

Some of this help is designated groups (e.g. national guard, EMT's,), and a lot  are church groups, but some are just folks saying: Hey there are floods near Aunt Louise's house, so let's go and help.

Two: Most of this is ignored in the press, as the PopMech article on the Katrina rescue noted.

Even here in the Philippines, many people in last year's typhoons (including the one the press ignored that hit us a week before Yolanda devestated the Visayas) were not housed by the UN or even by the gov't, but took refuge in neighbors and relative's houses. Our relatives who live closer to the river had lots sleeping in their houses, and since we had a generator, many neighbors came here for recharging cellphones and flashlights, or to get spare clothing or blankets.

Some people in Manila packed up stuff and drove down to their relative's places, and others, like us, just sent money so relatives could quickly rebuild. (One of the scandals of Yolanda is that there is so much red tape that many have not received needed aid to rebuild, and of course, a lot of aid was diverted into people's pockets).

Three: too often people are trained in socialism to wait for gov't rescue (one of the problems in Katrina, where the schoolbuses sat flooded because some regulation stopped them from being used to evacuate, the governor refused troops to help and insisted she'd wait for aid from FEMA, which took days).

What is interesting about this is that ordinary folks in the Ukraine have "thought outside the box" and helped on their own, bypassing the bulky and corrupt bureaucracy to do so. Hmm...maybe they do belong to the western world.

Family news

Rice harvest is in full swing. We should get a decent crop this year, and might recover financially after losing last year's main harvest and some buildings to the typhoon.
The maid is not keeping up with the work (lazy) and so Dita recommended one of her friends to help with the work as a day job.

Stuff below the fold

Watership Down, the lectures at Mythgard continues.

no, I didn't bring my copy with me to the Philippines, and only vaguely remember the story, but found the audiobook on Youtube. And like the other Mythgard series, they discuss the book, not the movies, which sometimes are different.


PopehatBlog gets poetic on modern femifascist censorship:

Then out spake prim Horatius,The Censor of the Gate:"To every persyn upon this earthBut*hurt cometh soon or late.And how can we do betterWhen facing fearful speech,Than shut down all discussion,And stop the crimethink's reach?

The problem is that I doubt any students know the story of Horatio's stand, or the famous "Lays of Rome", because their themes are patriotism and honor, and of course, they are "bad poetry".

FYI: A snip from the original poem, 

Then out spake brave Horatius,
  The Captain of the gate:
“To every man upon this earth
  Death cometh soon or late.        
And how can man die better
  Than facing fearful odds
For the ashes of his fathers
  And the temples of his gods

nah, can't have such things taught in our schools.

But the ideas are found in modern juvi lit: Percy Jackson, anyone? And then there is Katnis, Harry, and Bilbo, all of whom hold the honorable idea to sacrifice self for their friends...even the wimpy Bella sacrifices herself for her child...


Improbable research suggests this leisurely book for your reading pleasure:

you can find a cope at internet Archives.


Science article of the day is also from Improbable research:

A randomised crossover trial of the acute effects of a deep-fried Mars bar or porridge on the cerebral vasculature,” William G. Dunn, and Matthew R. Walters, Scottish Medical Journal, epub 2014..... 

Conclusion Ingestion of a bolus of sugar and fat caused no overall difference in cerebrovascular reactivity, but there was a modest decrease in males. Impaired cerebrovascular reactivity is associated with increased stroke risk, and therefore deep-fried Mars bar ingestion may acutely contribute to cerebral hypoperfusion in men.

science news you can use:

Kissing transfers 80 million bacteria.

but not all kissing: French kissing for ten seconds was the criteria used.


Instapundit plugs his relatives' site for Nollywood movies.

Yes. And there are a lot of them on Youtube too...


and the headline of the day:

UK's first 'poo bus' goes into service between Bristol and Bath

The 40-seat "Bio-Bus" runs on biomethane gas generated through the treatment of sewage and food waste

Monday, November 17, 2014

Family news

Chano and family arrived home 3am Sunday morning. They were in Davao for a conference on organic rice, got home Friday but stayed overnight with Joys sister.

I should note that Manila has "color coding" meaning you can only drive there on designated days, and often it is easier to drive home in the middle of the night when traffic is lighter and it is cooler.

Joy's sister is stable, but we are awiting tests next week to see if the chemo is starting to work.

Chano brought some Davao citrus fruit with him, but no Durian (They won't let Durian on the airplane...)

Ruby got her hair cut  shoulder length and shaped by a professional and looks like a young lady. Before her hair was getting long and a bit straggly, but the locals didn't cut it right. Yes. I found problems getting my fine, gray hair cut right, even at the expensive place at the mall...but one of the hairdressers at at a salon near the palenke does it correctly.

The internet is on and off. On Saturday, there was a small explosion in one of the transformers nearby, so we lost electricity and internet. They fixed the electricity, and then Sunday the electricity was off for four hours, probably from having to replace the damaged transformer. I turned on the generator, but then of the gas lines burst so we had to call one of our drivers to fix it.

Internet is still iffy on and off and slow, but it will post slowly, although too slow for downloads.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Calling Admiral Yi

The story of the "samurai" invasion of Korea is one the west doesn't know, but Admiral Yi already had his own Korean miniseries drama and now will be in a movie.

Professor Bulliet, from Columbia Univ, whose history lectures are on youtube, tells the story of a Korean student telling him that he was studying film making so he could tell the world the history of Korea, which is usually overlooked in the west.

Well, the Korean Teledramas of their history are big hits here in Asia, and now there is this movie.

Bulliet also notes that westerners cry about the "religious" wars causing many deaths, but ignore that the Japanese invasion of Japan killed just as many people. Well, western history tends to ignore Asian history, and the radical anti religion types would prefer not to know that atheists killed more people in the 16th century than the wars of religion back then sort of ruins their argument.

True. Just like Americans "remember" those killed in Hiroshima, but not those who died in the "rape of Manila".

Happy story of the week

in the Christian Science Monitor: How twin girls, separated at birth, found each other

"Get out the smelling salts" hyperbole of the day

It's bad enough that a feminist reporter changed the story of one of the greatest scientific achievements  of the decade into the story of her emotional trauma from seeing a "sexist shirt".

This is sexist? The gal is good looking but fully clothed.I was expecting JessicaRabbit...
from the UKMail:

Dr Matt Taylor, Rosetta Project Scientist (pictured)  is one of the most important members of the team at Esa and made history by helping to land Philae on comet 67P yesterday. However, his sister has claimed that the scientist is not good at making small everyday life decisions or parking - and finding - his car in carparks

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

But the hyperbole continues: This one from a writer at the Washington Post:

Scientist apologizes for his sexist shirt, but the Internet still wants women to shut up and die

no, the "internet" is telling women to die: They are only telling the original bullying reporter not have the vapors over a joke.
I missed the original report, but if you are wondering what kind of reporter would write this second headline, the answer is: a feminist whose background is "environmental science" (a degree that  usually requires only a few freshman level courses in hard science or math) .

Which is why her personal web page brags about her articles on complicated  scientific items such as:

Finally, an algorithm for picking the perfect bra June 10, 2014
QUANTIFIED BABY Parents, don’t cover your baby in tracking devices, no matter how paranoid you might be May 28, 2014
BREAKING THE MOLD We thought trees and fungi were socialist, but they’re actually capitalist May 26, 2014
Even white icing has artificial color in it May 22, 2014
AND EVERYTHING ELSE Your fitness tracker could soon control your home’s lights, heat, and music May 16, 2014
FOLLOW THAT CAB A language app is getting Brazil’s taxi drivers in shape for the World Cup May 16, 2014
FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS If you switch from the iPhone, your texts might get lost in Apple’s cloud May 15, 2014

wonder what she and the original complainer would have made of Richard Feynman, who used to use a topless bar as an office away from home?

this is also from the UK Mail and illustrates the actual scientific achievement:

Rosetta has chased comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko through space for more than ten years in what has been described as 'the sexiest, most fantastic mission ever'. After a four billion mile (6.5 billion km) journey, it is now positioned in an orbit 19 miles (30 km) away from 67P

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
It's an awesome achievement, and the guy has some really awesome tatoos...I placed a copy on my goth granddaughter's facebook page.

Best comment on the kerfuffle is from Instapundit:

YEAH, WELL, I DON’T REALLY CARE WHAT YOU THINK, SINCE YOU’VE NEVER ACTUALLY DONE ANYTHING OF CONSEQUENCE EXCEPT COMPLAIN: I don’t care if you landed a spacecraft on a comet, your shirt is sexist and ostracizing.Landing on a comet is a big deal. Complaining about men isn’t... This is just another sad effort on the part of losers to inject themselves into matters that are actually relevant, but in which they are unqualified to take part.

Family news

Chano and family are back from their meeting, but stayed overnight in Manila to visit Joy's sister.

Everyone here is busy with the harvest.

Headlines below the fold

NYTIMES: Dreaming of the departed is common.

the article notes 60 percent have dreams about the departed, but another study show that about the same number of spouses see, hear, or detect the presence of their dead spouse after death.


the pope's visit to the Philippines will include a side visit to Tacloban.


French police downgrade tiger hunt to cat chase

PARIS - Police scaled back a massive tiger hunt east of Paris on Friday after experts said the animal that triggered the deployment of hundreds of emergency services workers, animal-trackers and a helicopter was probably little more than a large cat or lynx....

Friday, November 14, 2014

Never bring a knife...

The original quote is never bring a knife to a gun fight.

But one of the comments on this Instapundit post on "Gamergate" notes:

That's what happens when you bring a knife to a +3 sword fight...
3 hours ago  Like (25) Link To Comment
If you don't understand that, ask your grandson what it means.

Apparantly the PC were trying to take over the gaming industry in the same way they took over science fiction (read Hoyt for her problems getting published) and a lot of academia.

But apparently gamers are fighting back, and even have dared to expose that those most vocal are hypocrites and have done naughty things in the past.

I am not a gamer, so haven't been following the fight, but the full article about the kerfuffle is here.

War on (African) women

CFam actually asked the UNICEF folks about the HCG in tetanus rumor, and it was denied.

the manufacturer? Elder: The vaccines were sourced from the Serum Institute of India. A WHO pre-qualified manufacturer.

CFam also notes that Obama has increased the money to sterilize women in poor countries. Well, duh. And those women who died in a mass sterilization clinic? Well when there are incentives and quotas, you have to hurry things along and may cut corners. And note: This is India, with a free press, not China.

When I worked in Africa, our hospital got private funding from Oxfam to fund village health workers to give out WHORehydration fluid and monitor for malnutrition in young kids. We also were given an ambulance (LandRover with 4wd) that used too much gasoline, so we sold it and bought a smaller truck and used the leftover money for a well digging program so there would be safer water in the dry season.

But hey, every village had a "pill lady" to give out contraceptives. Priorities I guess.

And I confess I trolled someone yesterday: while surfing around, I ran into one of those fluffy home birth is easy type self proclaimed midwives who bragged about going around having wonderful experiences, including her wonderful experiences at an affluent Philippine birth center near Manila.

Yes, it was not about helping women survive childbirth, nor was she working in a rural area where midwives were not available, but about how the experience expanded her ego.

Wonder who paid for the trip?

The entire article lauded the traditional birth attendants, never mind that this is the reason for the high death rate among our mothers.

So as Doctor Bossy,  I pointed this out, and suggested what the moms need is not fluffy self trained "midwives" but trained midwives who could recognize transverse lie, handle a post partum hemorrhage, and monitor women so they didn't die of toxemia.

I didn't add "and who don't insist on an expensive 'gift' to do the 'free' delivery as a government midwife"

 (We lost a neighboring farmer's wife to eclampsia because she couldn't afford the gift, and figured she'd just pay a hilot when she went into labor. Unfortunately, she was expecting twins and her blood pressure soared. Joy was at our farm and arranged the local ambulance, and they did a C section when she arrived at the hospital, but she died from the brain damage from the seizure. All preventable, of course, and Dr. Angi was angry that no one picked up the problem when she started swelling up...probably because the hilot wasn't aware of it and the patient didn't have money for the government midwife's "gift")

When I worked in Liberia, JFK hospital in Monrovia had a program to train these women, and a program by Johns Hopkins to do this has lowered birth mortality in Afghanistan in recent years.

But when I worked in Zimbabwe, births were done by relatives, not regular midwives, so getting nurses to run small clinics in rural areas to do the births made more sense.

When I worked in Idaho, we had these home birth types: One was fairly good, but almost lost a patient from hemorrhage because she didn't diagnose twins which caused the flacid uterus post delivery, and the other was dumb and killed a sluggish baby by doing cpr wrong and rupturing it's liver...

One reason that I enjoyed "Call the Midwife" is that they actually run into these complications, and what lowered the death rate was that the NIH funded an ambulance to get there in a hurry when things went wrong (AKA "flying squad").

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Science meets Smaug

Wired article discussing the physics of the black arrow.

Bad news: it shouldn't have enough speed to kill the dragon.

But my question is: What if the arrow is lighter, i.e. mithril arrow? In fan discussions, mithril is assumed to be aluminum or titanium....because it is hard, I always backed titanium.

The main argument against the black arrow being of mithril is that is that mitril is silver, and the arrow is black..similar to Turin's black blade Gurthang This sword was reforged from Anglachel, which was meteorite meta; in origin but stronger than earthen steel.

Turin used Gurthang to kill the dragon if the black arrow was made from a similar metal, it would indeed be able to kill Smaug.

a discussion of meteorite weapons can be found at strangehistory.
and at wikipedia.

Movie event for Christmas

the Vatican Museums, in 3D High definition for your viewing pleasure.

actually probably you'll have a better view than if you visit them in person, since the museums tend to be poorly lit and you often see the murals from a distance.

Stories behind the headlines

StrategyPage has another report on the background why radical Muslim terrorism against other Muslims and non Muslims.

so why is the story ignored in the west?

 Christians in countries with Moslem majorities, or large minorities, are having a difficult time getting the rest of the world to recognize that most (as in about 80 percent) of the religious violence (not counting Islamic terrorism) in the world is carried out against Christians and most of the violence is committed by Moslems. This is because the Islamic world, while unable to do much in terms of economic, scientific, or cultural progress, or even govern themselves effectively, have proven quite adept at convincing leaders and media organizations in the West that Islam is not the aggressor and is actually the victim...
Currently, you find Moslems attacking Buddhists in Thailand, Jews everywhere, Baha'is in Iran, and Christians in Egypt, Iraq, the Philippines, Pakistan, Malaysia, and elsewhere. Islam does not discriminate when it comes to religious violence, and most Moslems killed because of religious violence are killed by fellow Moslems over religious differences within the Islamic community. Usually its Sunni extremists (like al Qaeda or ISIL) killing Shia (or any other sect that deviates from strict Sunni interpretations of Islamic law and religious customs). 

one of the subplots in Jenkin's book on "The Lost History of Christianity" is about not just the Jews and Christians and Buddhists flourishing under the Caliphate, but the periodic massacres and persecutions.

But the western elite are so busy pushing their theories of Christianity with a married Jesus that few bother to recognize these churches ever existed.


another untold story: in the Financial Times: The rise of Christianity in China.

The article is a good report on what is going on there, including pointing out the economic and political implications of this.
 read the whole thing.

Summary: actually Christianity has been there since the Syriac days 1300 years ago, and was revived when the Jesuits went there 400 years ago, but never mind: It's a big country.
The problem however isn't with the poor rural Christians of the past but because many new converts to Christianity are urban educated elites. And Protestant Christianity stresses individualism and human right.( Think Milton and the Puritans taking over England from a corrupt king and you can see the danger.) The protestant ethic against corruption and insistence on honesty also has huge implications, (not only in China but in places like the Philippines where the middle class is turning protestant, and in Korea.)

Jenkins covers the trend in his book The Next Christendom.

the bad news? The new leader in China Xi is behind a campaign to wipe them out.

Wonder if anyone told President Obama?


Did you read about the massacre of 40 students in Mexico?

AustinBay  has the background. 

There are two reasons the crisis could damage Pena's own ability to govern.
Reason no. 1: Atrocities far less hideous and institutionally debilitating than the Iguala Massacre have sparked mass revolt. This column's first sentence sketches reason no. 2: Mexican government corruption facilitates organized crime. Organized crime enriches a corrupt political class. Cartel gunmen and crooked cops on the streets, cartel comandantes and corrupt politicos through institutions ensnare the Mexican people.

The students, according to a NYTimes article in the Manila bulletin, went to a Maxist school and planned a protest, But as Bay points out, the government is run by the radical socialist party


The photo on the front of today's Manila Bulletin is about our nurses worrying about ebola.

Our peacekeepers arrived back from Liberia over the weekend, and have been put into a 21 day quarrantine, but some are worried.

we only have peacekeepers and OFW there: China has lots of investments there (and sent some medical help in the past few weeks).

so are they  worried?
like the US, they seem to be keeping reports of their possible infections out of the press.

Americans probably know most of their businesses are owned by outsiders, but they don't seem to be aware of how many Asians work in the troubled area. From Wikipedia: Most of the local businesses are run by those whose ancestors were Lebanese or India but the Chinese have arrived to work in agriculture. And a lot of workers are from nearby African countries.


Belmont club says the elites will coopt religion to push green ideas.

the marxist types in the Catholic church here already have switched to pushing the green agenda, including stopping US rice donations after one of our periodic disasters because the rice from the US might be GM rice. They also are pushing organic growing. We grow brown rice, so no problem, but the dirty little secret is that this is fine for the elites in Manila, but the local poor end up eating imported rice from vietnam and onions from China because we are not self sufficient.

update: AlJ reports US is getting friendlier with Iran.

I agree with this but unless the president starts making friends with both sides of the aisle in Congress, he will run into more trouble. And the Benghazi coverup, which was about hiding smuggling Ghadaffy's weapons to Syrian rebels via Turkey, hasn't helped matters, and with a Republican congress, the US MSM might actually notice what went on there.

update: MomJones points out how the ebola epidemic will cause famine.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Family news

Chano and family still at meeting. Nono from the farm is sleeping here for our protection. The dogs, even George the killer lab, know him because he used to work here when younger.

My cat Blackie has been ailing and getting sicker for the last month, and went into a seizure ?tetanus ? hypocalcemic tetany? with hyperextension. Took him to the vet to be put to sleep when it didn't stop. She didn't think it was rabies. Sigh. We raised him since he was a kitten.

That leaves us with two small black cats, plus two black kittens, not yet weaned, plus Pepper, Ruby's beloved huge tomcat. We have to have cats to keep down the mice, and one of the black cats is a bit feral/unfriendly but a good mouser; the other sleeps on our bed.

Lolo is well.

The wall is down but the propaganda continues

I mentioned the communist propaganda machine against western and church health care in my previous post.

SciFi writer Sarah Hoyt has an article on it HERE including the talking points of that "religion" that is still believed among those in cloud cukooland aka PC academia

She writes: from an ESR post which you should definitely read in its entirety:
  • There is no truth, only competing agendas.
  • All Western (and especially American) claims to moral superiority over Communism/Fascism/Islam are vitiated by the West’s history of racism and colonialism.
  • There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor.
  • The prosperity of the West is built on ruthless exploitation of the Third World; therefore Westerners actually deserve to be impoverished and miserable.
  • Crime is the fault of society, not the individual criminal. Poor criminals are entitled to what they take. Submitting to criminal predation is more virtuous than resisting it.
  • The poor are victims. Criminals are victims. And only victims are virtuous. Therefore only the poor and criminals are virtuous. (Rich people can borrow some virtue by identifying with poor people and criminals.)
  • For a virtuous person, violence and war are never justified. It is always better to be a victim than to fight, or even to defend oneself. But ‘oppressed’ people are allowed to use violence anyway; they are merely reflecting the evil of their oppressors.
  • When confronted with terror, the only moral course for a Westerner is to apologize for past sins, understand the terrorist’s point of view, and make concessions.
and then MsHoyt goes on to explain why she is immune to the mindset.

heh. Sounds familiar. MsHoyt grew up in Portugal, not in the elite bubble. Nothing like some time in the trenches to know these talking points are nonsense. I mean, I read Chomsky and was impressed, until I compared his ideas to reality, at which point I figured he had never actually visited the places he discusses.

The left in the US continue these ideas in their talking points.

They will celebrate the fall of the Berlin wall, but ignore that it was Reagan, Thatcher and John Paul the Great who actually nurtured the movements that did it PEACEFULLY.

My only comment on Furguson is that so many groups so quickly got organized that I suspect they had been given their marching orders (to get out the black vote for the midterm elections) that they were already prepared: if it wasn't the Brown shooting, it would be another one.

Too bad the forensic evidence backs the cop's story. everyone can watch CSI and NCI and Bones, and can evaluate the forensic evidence on their own.

Vaccine hysteria

There are rumors floating around the "conservative" Catholic blogosphere about the Catholic bishops in Kenya claiming that a World health organization push to vaccinate women is using a vaccine with "HCG" that will make them infertile.

One only has to wonder about these people, who seem to be getting more paranoid with a new "liberal" pope. Why hasn't it hit the "Human rights" folks in the liberal Catholic  blogosphere? Maybe because too many of them, like myself, actually have hands on experience in the third world hellholes.

Well, the story has hit "GetReligion", and they wonder why the press hasn't picked up on the story, especially since the bishops claim they had the vaccine tested and it shows contamination.

reality check:
These rumors are not unusual: usually in the past they were spread by the communist disinformation machine to discredit western aid groups or Christian, especially catholic, medical care.

Now they seem to be spread by the rabid Islamicist mullahs who read stories about polio vaccine spreading HIV or measles vaccine killing children in the UKGuardian, and voila, years later they repeat the same lies (and get ridiculed by an anti Muslim press) but the result of all this hysteria is to  get health care workers killed by the Taliban and children dying from these diseases.

These anti HCG vaccines were in phase one testing back in the 1990s and nothing came of it: indeed, a quick check of the literature shows most of the articles date before 1994.

 but a quick search of the medical literature shows... two new articles this year about early testing.

this article

mentions the early testing:

 International Committee for Contraception Research played a historic role in testing its immunogenicity, safety and reversibility in women in Finland, Sweden, Chile and Brazil. The Population Council also conducted valuable long-term studies (5 years) in New York in 63 rhesus monkeys, which demonstrated the lack of pathological consequences of antibodies cross-reactive with species luteinizing hormone. The first-ever efficacy trials on a birth control vaccine established high efficacy (one pregnancy in 1224 cycles) of anti-hCG antibodies at and above 50 ng/mL titers. Fertility was regained in the immediate next cycle, at titers falling below 35 ng/mL. A recombinant vaccinehCGβ-LTB, has been made, which is highly immunogenic in mice. It is due to undergo toxicology studies prior to resumption of clinical trials. An additional utility of this vaccine is likely in advanced-stage terminal cancers expressing hCG/subunits.

and this article

 Vaccines based on GnRH have found application in immuno-castration of male pigs for prevention of boar-taint. Vaccines based on zona pellucida glycoproteins have shown promising results for population management of wild horses and white-tailed deer. Phase II clinical trials in women with β-human chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG)-based contraceptive vaccine established proof of principle that these can be developed for human application. Block in fertility by β-hCG contraceptive vaccine was reversible. Further research inputs are required to establish the safety of contraceptive vaccines, improve their immunogenicity and to develop novel vaccine delivery platforms for providing long lasting immunity.
What has changed in 20 years is the ability to get a better immune response by combining the first vaccine with a second toxin or vaccine.

My take on the HCG vaccine continues to be that this is an urban legend, since these studies are still in their early phases.

But this brings up another question: Who made the vaccines? Problems with counterfeit medicines is a huge problem in the third world....and if the vaccines are contaminated, either accidentally or deliberately, there will be a paper trail.

The problem? It wouldn't be the first time that third world women were used as guinea pigs by the rich western elites.

So why give mainly women of childbearing age the vaccine? Well, the problem is neonatal tetanus.

the local midwife cuts the cord with unsterilized scissors, or the mom puts local herbs or clay on the drying cord. (unlike the US, usually the cord is left long: often 2 to 3 inches long, with multiple ties for safety).

The tetanus germs has spores, so often contaminates the herbs or cutting materials to give people the disease. Hence the stress on giving people tetanus shots if cut with a dirty knife.

Some of these kids develop neonatal tetanus, a terrible disease that even with medicine kills half of them.

So we routinely gave out tetanus shots in our prenatal clinic. When mom has antibodies against tetanus, she "gives" them to her newborn child, who is then immune for awhile to the disease.

But in some countries, there are not enough clinics or trained midwives, so the disease continues. Hence the vaccine push.

The result of this kerfuffle will be dead kids, similar to the kids dying of whooping cough and measles in the "first world", or the kids dying of polio and measles because some half educated Mullah has read the anti vaccine stuff in the UKGuardian and forbids his people to let their kids get shots. In Pakistan, this has resulted in the Taliban killing medical workers.

So my take is that this is an urban legend, but some third party does need to look into it before more kids die.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Stuff below the fold

The UKTelegraph has an article on what the average soldier carried to the various wars of the last milleneum.

All of them seem to carry sox, and today's soldier carries an iPhone instead of chess sets or dice that were carried in past wars.

The First World war is not a big deal in the USA, which celebrates Veteran's day, but in the UK it is called Poppy day and is still remembered by those who lost family in the war.

anti war sentiment was fashionable after the war, but one wonders what the result would have been if Germany had won.

opinion one:

a stronger Germany would have fought another war for lebensraum and to rule the world.

Opinion two

fascism in France and England, and Germany would end up fighting Russia anyway. The isolationist US would not have fought in Europe, but would have ended up with a war in an expanding Japan anyway.


HELLO President Snow. The first reviews are in for the Hunger Games: Mockingjay part one.

mixed reviews since much of it takes place in dull, regimented District 13...

but most of the folks at RottenTomatoes liked it.


Right in time for the 100th anniversary of World War I, there is now a film inspired by the classic book Testament of Youth.

For those of you who are older, you might remember it was a  BBC/ PBS miniseries back in the 1980's which can now be watched on YOUTUBE.


And if you missed the decline and fall of the Roman empire, you can look forward to Isaac Asimov's recasting the story as futuristic sci fi in Foundation.


Glamourous Geeks

Happy Birthday Hedy Lamar
wikipedia commons

most famous for her nude scenes, she actually had a brain on her shoulders:

The topic of their conversations soon turned to radio-controlled torpedoes, a key WWII weapon that could be easily detected and jammed by broadcasting interference. Harnessing the torpedo knowledge she acquired from the meetings she attended with her former husband, Lamarr began collaborating with Antheil on frequency hopping, a method for rapidly switching among random synchronized frequencies.
The pair's plan was to use a piano roll to randomly switch the signal sent from the control center to the torpedo in short bursts among 88 frequencies, much like the 88 keys on a piano's keyboard. The pair's "Secret Communications System" was granted US Patent No. 2,292,387 in 1942, but the technique was never adopted by the military during the war.
The patent resurfaced in the 1950s while private companies were developing a wireless technology called CDMA. Lamarr's method is still in use today by cell networks, Bluetooth devices and Wi-Fi.

Family news

Chano et al still at the meeting.

I am getting the bathrooms in the two guest bedrooms fixed so we can use them. One of the bedrooms is full of storage/junk, the other has my old clothes and some junk and the sofa. We used to sit in there in the afternoons to read, just to get out of the bedroom, but now we mainly use the bathroom for our nursing kittens, to keep them away from the dogs.

One of the toilets will need replacing for a cracked tank, the other one just needed new gaskets.

We're using our handiman Ferdie: He has been working for the last year in Manila and has just come back and needs some money and asked if we had jobs for him to do. Yes, lots of jobs in our house, which tends not to be repaired much. Sigh. Long story.

Monday, November 10, 2014

follow the money

Francis tries to clear out the Augean stables of the Vatican Bank/finances.

In truth, the Vatican’s history of financial scandal is only to a limited extent related to occasional acts of brazen corruption. More often, it’s a product of a culture in which all sorts of objectively suspect behaviors aren’t even seen as problematic — steering contracts to friends or relatives instead of abiding by a competitive bidding process, for instance, or not asking a monsignor where the wads of cash come from that he wants to park in his Vatican bank account.
Hmm...sounds like the Philippines.

The culture of the third world is similar to that described in the article, so blame Italy, not religion.

Of course, sometimes this is an advantage: There are rumors that the Vatican kept Solidarity alive during the early 1980's, ultimately causing the fall of communism. Where did that money come from? Catholic donations? The Mafia? The CIA? The diocese of Chicago's missing funds?

Family news

Chano and Joy are preparing to leave for a government sponsored food conference on organic farming. They will take Ruby with them. We are arranging for one of the men from the farm to sleep here at night for protection (the cook goes home at night and the maid sleeps upstairs). No, there isn't much crime here, but in the last two years there have been two murder/thefts nearby at night, when the victim was alone because family was elsewhere.

Lolo no longer has his guns, so all we have is a crowbar,  Roach spray (with a long nozzle for better targeting) and George, the killer Lab.

we also have two old dogs who sleep in our bedroom, plus some cats. The feral black cat, Pantera, still has her kittens in Lolo's closet, and when I tried to move them, she took them back. So instead, I removed his clothing from the shelf where she has her nest.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Hamster post of the day has tweetphotos of Japan's hamster bartender.

This is Ginja, the fluffy manager of a cozy little izakaya somewhere in Yachiyo, Japan. Like any izakaya, sake and snacks are plentiful, but unlike most izakayas, Ginja is a hamster and his refreshments are made of plastic and come from mini-toy-maker Re-Ment. Head of social media for the restaurant/Ginja's owner Kosuke Sato has nonetheless amassed a loyal virtual following by using the premise to pretty comedic, mini-Cheers-style effect — it also helps that the hamster is really photogenic.

via Lightreading

Bat Room

no, not for Batman but how Okies recycle to make houses for lonely bats.

From Dustbury:

Stuff around the web

So a pesky bishop is demoted by the "can't we all get along" pope.

Uh Oh...

actually, I knew several who belonged to the order in Liberia... one was a nun who traveled to distant villages to diagnose and treat Hanson's disease (aka leprosy).

Did you know they have their own ambassadors and passports? And I am bemused that the press is mixing up Malta the island, and this group, whose headquarters is no longer in that island.


Colon cancer rates in young people increasing, says the NYTimes.
but most of the article is hinting that this doesn't mean you should get a colonoscopy at a younger age (hint: because it would cost too much for our government budget).

The study draws no conclusions about whether screening should begin at a younger age. “There are always risks and unintended consequences of screening tests,” said the senior author, Dr. George J. Chang, an associate professor of surgery and health services research at the University of Texas.

When I was first in medical school, half of these cancers were within the reach of a finger...or a simple sigmoidoscopy. Now only a small percent are.

We didn't see any cases in east Africa, where high fiber diet is used, but it is common in some west African countries and here in the Philippines (blame the low fiber rice diet? neither country eats a lot of meat, which is blamed for the cases in the USA). And the rate is high in Europe but also in Oceania and Japan.

So there is probably a dietary input in the disease, yet one wonders why, with the emphasis on high fiber diets, the disease is found in younger and younger patients...

and there are families where it is genetic...we had one family with this gene, and we found a pre cancerous polyp in a 7 year old...


The Once and Future King...drama on BBCRadio.

headsup BrianSibley

When we lived in Africa, we used to listen to these dramas, but nowadays, it is easier to download and listen on our mp3 player.

I still have my old SW/FM/AM radio but I gave it to Joy, since it is a siemens and powerful enough for her to listen to her radio stuff from Manila on the 2nd, because of the concrete, I need a long antenna, and it's just not worth it.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Remember those who quietly help

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez 

via Blackfive:

U.S. Marines and U.S. Public Health Service members return during Operation United Assistance at Roberts International Airport in Monrovia, Liberia, Oct. 31, 2014. The operation is providing command and control, logistics, training and engineering support to the U.S. government’s efforts to contain the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. 

Friday, November 07, 2014

Ebola news

I linked earlier to a StrategyPage podcast about the military fighting Ebola in Africa,  but today's link is noting that the Public Health Service Commissioned corps is being sent there too.

President Obama has assured Americans that none of the nearly 4,000 U.S. troops heading to Liberia will treat Ebola patients, but 70 uniformed officers of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps will.
The corps, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, will open a clinic outside the Liberian capital, Monrovia, this weekend and is tasked with treating Liberian doctors and nurses who contract the deadly disease. It is the first time U.S. government personnel have been given that assignment, although all volunteered.

What took so long?

I worked in the IHS as a PHSCC for a year, and then later as a civilian for 9 years.

the last call up I knew about was when they were sent to give care for the Mariel boat lift.

Until Jimmy Carter closed the public health hospitals in the major port cities, they were tasked to handle sailors etc who entered into the US. Nowadays, most work either on the Indian reservations or in underserved areas.

Podcasts of the week

Mythgard's latest book discussion is about Watership Down.


InOurTime podcast this week is about Hatsheput

A feminist icon, but the bad news is that, unlike other female Pharaohs, she stole the throne from her stepson, first legally as regent but even later when he was of age. The good news is that she didn't kill him, but this might be because he joined the army to stay far away from her.

Was she as beloved as the feminists claim? One has to take the official reports dubiously (Egyptians tend to report only good news, and then later erase their enemies, which is what happened to her history).

There is a famous X rated graffiti that suggests the common people weren't buying her self proclaimed story of greatness even during her lifetime...


The trailer for Hobbit 3 is up, and it looks like a bummer. Not as good as the first teaser trailer....


but Hunger games is the other movie we are waiting for.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Remembering when Freedom won

AustinBay remembers the fall of the Berlin wall 25 years ago.

The Wall's fall mattered for everyone who understood the Cold War's stakes and risks. The stakes were freedom versus tyranny. The Cold War risks in Western Europe were manifold, but they included escalation from a conventional firefight to global thermonuclear war.
Which is why I stress joy and relief. Those were the emotions that flooded me on Nov. 9, 1989, as I saw video of East and West Berliners clasping hands and weeping. Where were the border guards? Berliners said the East German border police had disappeared -- they had refused to shoot. Then the crowd surged. Within a couple of hours, guitars replaced Kalashnikovs. I recall TV footage (the reporter said he was live in East Berlin) of a gleeful young man whacking the Wall with a sledgehammer.