Tuesday, March 31, 2015

For later reading

South Asian disapora...in the Middle East. The article is specifically about Dubai.

lots of Filipinos there too.

Family newsf

Robin arrived late last night in Manila and early morning here in our town.

Funeral is tomorrow morning.

Lots of people visiting especially in the evening.

Friday, March 27, 2015

family news

Usually in the provinces, the casket is laid out at home. A cousin took this photo yesterday...they have been adding more flowers as the tributes come in, so I will post more photos later....we have wifi in our meeting room.

The cook slept here last night and fed those working to set up everything.

Joy rescheduled the Agri-business leaders' meeting/seminar to another meeting room, and has left with them, and the farmers who will attend will be taken there by our driver. We hired another cook to cook the "merienda" for the group, since our cook is busy feeding us.

The relatives were here most of yesterday through the late evening, but since I haven't had much sleep in the last 10 days, I left early and went to bed. I did a lot of the nursing in his last days, and am warn out.

He was 90, but only frail/disabled for the last six month, and only bedridden for the last week. Up to three years ago, he jogged every morning.

We are waiting to hear when the overseas relatives can arrive so we can schedule the funeral, hopefully during "holy week" before Easter...

 There is another story here which I can't relate, but it's the "close" relative who wants to arrive after Easter and is pressuring us to postpone the funeral for her convenience.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Family News

Lolo passed away quietly yesterday afternoon at home, as per his wishes. He had a form of  cancer and has been deteriorating since Christmas, and bedridden for the last ten days. However, he did not complain of pain, just severe fatigue from anemia.

Like most older Filipinos, he was devoted to "Mama Mary" and he died on one of her feast days so I figure he is in heaven. When I was in medical school, one of our teachers pointed out that few docs were pious or churchy, but most believed in a God and an ultimate purpose of life, because we see so much. So we had the priest come to give him the last rites and another one visited him for confession, and he was getting home communion, so he was ready to "go home".

Here in the Philippines, the body is laid out in the home, and the funeral waits for the overseas relatives to fly here. The wife is supposed to sit and greet everyone, and the house is open for visitors 24 hours a day until the funeral. Often they have music and/or a band to play in the evenings to entertain the visitors/mourners. And the place will be full of flowers. Because of the dogs, and because our house is in the corner of our compound, he will be laid out in our meeting room, closer to the door, not the living room of our home.

I think I will become "too sick" to do this: I have been caring for him (with the help of one of our workers for the last week) and now need a rest myself.

 I am a cold hearted American, and my husband didn't want a big funeral, but the cousins are more traditional, and he was their "father" and supported their family after his brother died. I left his son to argue with them in arranging the funeral last night.

To complicate matters, it is "holy week", so airlines will be full of people coming home for the Easter holiday, and the church will be busy with services.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

For later reading

Growing Teen liked the movie Chappie


Althouse Liked Ted Cruz' speech


StrategyPage Podcast on the return of the evil empire(s): the return of Gog and Magog


Francis the Fixer

Francis is a fixer. Whenever a parish or diocese experience a disaster, a fixer is sent in, as O’Malley was to Boston. Francis is the papal fixer. He is changing the subject from sexual abuse by his charm, hominess, and willingness to let people indulge their minor vices without a censoring voice from the clergy.A fixer differs from a reformer in that a fixer does not address the roots; he is not radical. He merely papers over the problem, merely puts a poultice on the cancer.

headsup and background from Waiting for godot to leave


Monday, March 23, 2015

Sunday, March 22, 2015


AlisterMcGrath, who recently published a biography of CSLewis, has a short introduction to the author Part One HERE

the audiobook of Lewis' biography HERE.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Stuff around the web

A collection of photos of the recent eclipse can be found HERE


How Hirsi Ali's life was changed...by reading Nancy Drew as a young girl.

well, Nancy Drew drove around with her friends in her own car...something that is still illegal for women in Saudi...

'Coconut flower' mushrooms growing on the base of a young babassu palm in Brazil. (IP-USP-2008: Michele P. Verderane)

Glowing mushrooms get the bug

an explanation of why fungi glow in the dark.


gift item of the day:

This zero gravity cocktail glass, designed by Cosmic Lifestyle Corporation, uses a unique system of grooves to keep liquids under control in microgravity.
Credit: Cosmic Lifestyle Corporation

A Zero Gravity Cocktail glass.


why is insulin so expensive?

Innovation and patents.
Of course, old fashioned animal pancreas insulin is cheaper and still sold outside the USA.


Crossbow found in the terracotta Chinese Army?


hunting not only increases testosterone, but increases the level of the "love hormone".

via Instapundit.


Friday, March 20, 2015

I pity the tool

BoingBoing reports that is the name of Mr T's new tv program

Good for him: it will teach you how to renovate your home.

Here in Asia, a good percentage of our programs are from the US and if you only watch movies and TV, it shows a narrow picture of the US (including a predominance of black criminals).

Hollywood shuffle anyone?

NSFW clip here.

however, if you watch the reality TV programs on NatGeo, discovery and History channels etc. you see mostly white working class Americans who are a direct contrast to those of Madmen or other dramas, and indeed are in direct contrast of the mainly white folks on "cupcake wars" or "American top model", which are also seen here.

Osama ben laden's disciples might not be afraid of the effete of the lifestyle type channels, but he might think twice before taking on the Duck Dynasty...(or the crew from the Walking Dead for that matter).

So welcome to Mr T.

As for race relations as seen on US TV shows:  we should be able to watch Empire starting next week.

I'm not sure if this is good or bad, but I suspect it will be a hit.

The Hobbitless Hobbit

The fan edit Hobbit, with all the non book stuff taken out, is a good way to watch the original story.

But now, the same people have edited the trilogy to give us Gandalf's story: The Battle of Dol Guldur.

My take? The entire epic of six films is so complicated that when I used to tell the story to my granddaughter, I would related it from one person's point of view at a time. that way you find nuances in minor characters (e.g. Merry in the LOTR or older brother Fili in the Hobbit) that you overlook in the films, which means the Jackson version (especially the Extended verison) has gone to the bother to flesh out characters that less skilled film makers would just ignore.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Family news

Lolo continues to be weak.

Dr. Angie came over with requested supplies that I had not been able to find, and helped a bit.

Musical interlude of the day

For later reading

Northern lights on Mars?

what is that dust doing in the atmosphere?


Celts were not one people.
and the anglo Saxons did not wipe out the celtic folks living in England.

China admits it has a hacking army.

Of course, in DieHard movie about this, it was evil hackers, not china, that shut down the country...


SP article on Colombia notices that Venezuela has problems and blame it all on the US and Colombia. Conspiracy? Or fracking?

Right now, there is an economic war going on via oil prices... US fracking (opposed by Obama who doesn't have the power to shut the entire industry down) has lowered gas prices, which means that countries like Russia, Iran and Venezuela are losing money. The Saudis keep pumping despite this, probably to hurt Iran.
I'm waiting for a good summary article on this at SP and will link when they post another one, but it is a major story not being noticed.

another unreported story: The west is disarming.


Factoid of the day: from a book review about the Confederacy's plans to make Cuba into three slave holding states...

Stuff posted elsewhere

from my medical blog:

well, duh

NYTimes quotes NEJM article that notes most kids who die of malaria die from cerebral malaria.

guess what? when they get cerebral malaria, their brain swells.


Near death experiences: You don't always see the light.

BBC article.


Could the fever from Dengue fever cure some cancers?

A long article on the BBC about "spontaneous" remission of various cancer tumors.


GIGO Studies

GIGO: Garbage in, garbage out.

So moms who took antibiotics during pregnancy have kids with a higher rate of "asthma" and allergies?

uh, maybe it was because mom had low grade "asthma" and usually needs or wants antibiotics when she got bronchitis?

(long discussion about GIGO studies and how sugar helps stress)


will ultrasound treatment help heel pain?

one common problem is pain on the heel, aka plantar fasciitis, where the plantar fascia (that's the broadcloth like support that holds up your arch and tendons) inserts to the heel bone.


reversing the abortion pill



Mrs Wilde diagnosed? Nah.

TeaAtTrianon links to a UK Guardian article on Mrs Oscar Wilde, saying that some South African doc has written an article saying she had Multiple Sclerosis not neurosyphilis of the spine.
color me skeptical.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

drone, anyone?

Yesterday, I spotted a woman carrying a box containing a helicopter type drone outside the mall. a bit pricy, but I didn't knowthey sold them here.

they sell them at Amazonlink

Strange stuff you might not have noticed

Not only does Good Sam, our local hospital, have an ebola suit, but now that nurse who came home infected with MERS is a worry: so far no contact case... And another Pinoy in Saudi is among the 15 new cases there.

related item:  bird flu is messing up the chicken industry in the midwestern USA.

I believe the Philippines has banned chicken imports for awhile: We are off the migration paths so are birdflu free for now.

so eat imports from "Asia", and then all you have to worry about is the heavy metal poisoning via contaminated chickenfeed.

the good news? Well, it's an excellent year for French Fois Gras...
and if you need a job, the UK is hiring chick sexers.

if you follow StrategyPage, you know that the US troops were withdrawn for political reasons (so Obama could brag and so the locals could divert funds). Which is why the Iraqi army fell apart so quickly: the US "advisors" would report corruption and get it stopped.

So will the same happen in Afghanistan? Their report here, which includes this factoid:

There are still some 16,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan and nearly three times as many civilian contractors with them... The contractors mainly perform support jobs, although some are involved in training. The only combat duties some contractors perform is security (usually bases but also embassies and other facilities as well as VIP security).
a couple thousand of these "contractors" are from the Philippines...cooks, drivers, cleaners, clerks and security guards...


The Philippine president is in hot water after a police raid to arrest a terrorist bomber ended up with 44 dead policemen. At least 26 of them were killed "execution style", not in the firefight, and not by the Abus but by the MILF, who are supposed to be in peacetalks with the government which means they are not supposed to hide bad guys who kill innocent civilians.

Why didn't the army go? Well, StrategyPage dares to say what is taboo: The gov't agreed to tell the local larger "militant" group when they would raid, and the tame militants would promptly warn the bad guys and hide them. Several bombs had killed local folks, so this seemed the best option.

And politics being what it is, the president will be blamed, not just for approving of the raid, but because of the rescue delay. Why the president? Because admitting the MILF committed murder of injured soldiers might set the "peace talks" back, and the powers that be want to pretend that if the gov't yields enough there will be peace. There won't be: The feuds among Moro clans will continue to kill people (e.g. Manguindano massacre was a local feud) and the gangs will just go after Christians in the area to encourage them to leave.

read the whole report: It is grim.

there was another alternative: Send in the drones. Ah, but the left here hates the US and go ballistic at any threat of the US helping the Philippines.

and then read StrategyPage's cynical analysis of the MSM's horror at "targeted raids".

drones are just a new weapon: Airstrikes killed Yamamoto, wounded (and pretty well disabled) Rommel

another variation is the Sniper: also not new: Richard the Lion Hearted was killed by a crossbow "Sniper"

...and another modern variation of this is targeting by "Suicide bombers". But "suicide bombers" have a problem: they often" kill civilians and cause the population to turn against the militants...something the MSM doesn't recognize.

Drones also "kill civilians", as do smart bombs. But there is a bit of difference in killing bad guys using their wives or local civilians as human shields, and blowing up a wedding party to kill a big shot.

 (background here is about the Jordanian pilot was burned to death because Jordon wouldn't release a woman terrorist involved in a major killing at a wedding, something that horrified Jordanians).


Instapundit notes that Capehart in the WAPO wonders if the MSM made up the real story of Ferguson..

What DOJ found made me ill. Wilson knew about the theft of the cigarillos from the convenience store and had a description of the suspects. Brown fought with the officer and tried to take his gun. And the popular hands-up storyline, which isn’t corroborated by ballistic and DNA evidence and multiple witness statements, was perpetuated by Witness 101.

government by fiat: Ignore the minority because "I WON", then ignore the minority when they win and govern by edict. And now, ignore the courts if they disagree with you?

The first two points ignore the importance of checks and balances  of the constitution but is probably legal (The US is a Republic that allows balanced input by all opinions and compromise, not a winner take all Democracy).

But to ignore the court too?



The "WAGD" post of the day

Drudge notes a huge solar storm will hit earth...presumably not as big as those in the past since the sun is at a solar minimum, but it does make one wonder if one of these days all our computer chips will fry.

Here in the Philippines, since they never opened the Bataan nuclear plant, at least we don't have to worry about an earthquake causing a meltdown, or a major leak, as happened in Japan awhile back.

However, since much of our local electricity comes from hydroelectric power, with the dry/hot season coming, we will face the invariable rolling brownouts. We have three generators: One large one, and twice I bought a small generator which is enough for our room, i.e. TV and airconditioner. Why two? Well, the big one is old and kept going on the blink, and the small one always was "borrowed" for the farm, so I said the heck with it and bought another so we old folks won't die of the heat.

Green electricity is a good thing, but not fool proof. The UK noted that their windfarm fans iced up last year, and now the huge solar electricity plants in the oh so "green" Europe face another hurdle:  a Solar eclipse.

Oh well. Just be like those of us in the third world and get a generator...

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St Patrick's day

Family news

Robin and John left for the US today.

Ruby came back with the driver doing rice deliveries, but Chano and Joy went to get their teeth fixed in Manila by our regular dentist, so will be coming back later tonite.

Lolo is weak and sleeps most of the day, often watching TV and dozing on and off. He says he has no pain. Keep him in your prayers.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Happy Pi Day

actually it's the superpi day:

Saturday March 14 is Super Pi Day. Why? Under the month/day/year calendar, it's 3/14/15 - the first four digits of pi. And at 9:26:53 a.m. on March 14, the first ten digits of Pi will be represented: 3.141592653.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Podcast of the week

Improbable research has a new podcast.

Today's episode: How to make a proper cup of tea and other studies of daily life

Family news

the rest of the family spent the day at the beach. I asked why they didn't spend overnight, and it turns out that the waves were heavy so the water was full of seaweed, so they decided to come home, and arrived late last night.

Factoids of the day

wonder why you spend so much time dusting?

120 000 pounds of cosmic dust falls from space every day

time to call Megamaid:


the world's oldest pretzel has been found in Bavaria

to be eaten with the world's oldest beer 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Science stories in the news

APOD: Vulcan de Fuego, in Guatamala:
Image Credit & Copyright: Diego Rizzo

 Lights near the town of Escuintla can be seen in the background, one of several nearby towns that have witnessed several spectacular eruptions previously. High above, seemingly tranquil by comparison, are familiar stars from the night sky.

AICN has an article on the science of StarTrek: Wrath of Khan..

well, they may have stretched things a bit, but copernicus notes the real value of the StarTrek series:

 I’ve been lucky enough to figure out some cool things about the way the universe works.  And I owe part of that to Mr. Leonard Nimoy, who was an inspiration to me.  Multiply that by millions and you start to see his impact.  Some of you are probably reading this on your pocket communicators.  It is conceivable that astronauts are reading it in space.  We’re all going where no one has gone before. 

Family news

Joy reports that the inspectors gave our organic farm a award for the best one in this area, and we will now enter the national contest.

But the inspection took all morning and part of the afternoon, so the family's trip to the beach will be postponed until today.

Lolo is stronger and eating better. I changed his blood pressure medicine to one that has less sedative side effects, so maybe that helped.

myself? Well I did manage to get out of the house to go shopping yesterday (with John to carry the packages and Robin watching Lolo) so I am in a bit better mood. The cleaning lady and the laundress come today.

Attention Girls

Poldark is back

ha. Just ignore the accents and that TV antenna on the roof...

Stories below the fold

Lolo Kiko!

Here, everyone is given a nickname, and that is the one for Pope Francis.

And like Jean Vanier, he is defending those who society wants to get rid of as non productive.

"Although society tends to discard us, the Lord certainly does not," Pope Francis said, as quoted by Vatican Radio.
Pope Francis also explained why the Church needs the elderly to pray for its people.

The pope also urged the young to dismiss today's "throwaway culture" by listening to the older generations.

"Young people listen to their grandparents," the Pope said. 

Kiko is a Filipino version of "Francis"...

why is George Clooney's wife defending our lovely ex president Gloria?

"Atty. Amal is, unfortunately, completely misinformed, and her and her spouse's popularity and glamor are being used for an unscrupulous selfish agenda," lawyer Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL), said in a statement. Ms. Clooney is a noted human rights lawyer. She is also the wife of Hollywood actor George Clooney. "Sadly, she is being fooled by forces out to rewrite history, distort reality, twist roles from perpetrator to victim, and reinvent international human rights law. The UN (United Nations) process is also being mocked and corrupted along the way," the NUPL said.
In a separate statement, Bayan Muna partylist Representative Neri Colmenares said that, while his group recognized Clooney's concern for the human rights in the Philippines, it would be best for her to also make a pitch for the situation of at least 229 cases of extrajudicial killings of activists, media and ordinary people.
the claim she needs to go elsewhere for treatment is a ruse: We have first class medical treatment here...

going to hospitals with newly discovered medical problems is routine for our politicians as a way to stay out of jail until the court gets around to hearing the case, which can take decades...


L'Arche founder wins Templeton Prize

Those of us who have worked with the mentally retarded (aka developmentally disabled, aka intellectually challenged) know about Jean Vanier, who founded L'Arche, a series of halfway houses where the mentally retarded live with ordinary people.

Today's news says he has won the prestigious Templeton Prize

“People with (mental) disabilities have been among the most oppressed and humiliated. They were called idiots,” Vanier told Reuters at his home before the prize was announced. “But these are beautiful people, people of the heart. It’s great to be together. This is what L’Arche wants to be.”
The Templeton Prize, which in previous years has gone to personalities such as Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama, is one of the world’s richest with an award set always higher than the Nobel Prize.
Vanier, who lives modestly in the village where L’Arche started, said two associations that manage the network’s projects would decide what to do with the prize money.
“It will certainly go to help the poorer communities, maybe the one in Bangladesh,” he said.
A Catholic philosopher, theologian and author of over 30 books, Vanier also founded the Faith and Light network of support groups for families with a mentally disabled member. There are now over 1,500 such groups in 82 countries.
He sees the networks as an antidote to modern society’s stress on status and money, which he says makes people overlook the humanity in those on the sidelines of the rat race.

a true counterculture icon, in a world where sluts are admired and imperfect children are aborted.

I should note, however, that although the kids with Down's syndrome and simple cerebral palsy are easy to live with, those with other problems (fragile X, MR with autism, self abuse, aggresssive outbursts, etc) are not.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Family news

The inspectors are checking or organic farm this morning

This afternoon, the family and visiting family will go to the beach and stay there overnight.

We are staying home, since Lolo is too weak for the trip.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Culture war notes

NYTimes crops Selma march photo to leave out GWB.

cropping photos to distort history...hmmm that sounds familiar

Archbishop thinks Catholic teachers should be Catholic, and teach Catholicism. What could go wrong? First amendment? Anyone? Anyone?

well, maybe the nuns kicked out of a Chicago slum school for daring to arrange for some of the kids to march in the annual pro life march could help.

and it's not just in SF: A local Catholic school here in the Philippines was ordered to rehire a teacher sacked for unwed pregnancy because it was not illegal for her to have sex outside of wedlock.

I wonder who paid her legal fees? ...after the Subic "rape" case, which was brought by activists to redefine sex with a tipsy woman as rape, it looks like the activists are at it again, this time against the church. And of course, changing law by court fiat in the US is old hat...

Firefox's share of the market is going down.
Instapundit remarks:
 It’s a mystery, I guess.
NYCity homeless population is at an all time high. And once an evil Republican is mayor you'll hear about it again.


GetReligion blog discusses why some parents hate Common Core standards.
Don't ask me, Jim, I'm a doctor not a teacher.

Family news

Lolo's big 90th birthday party was last night.

lots of old friends and relatives came. He did well: Ate a lot and stayed for over two hours. He wanted to stay longer, but he started "drooping" and so we left after the tributes to him, but the party went on another 3 hours.

At 3 AM, I woke to turn off the dehumidifier/airconditioner and fell out of bed....and cut my head. I put the bandage on, and got a cup of coffee.

At 4 AM, the doorbell rang and the dogs began to bark. It was Robin's luggage from the airport. They must have come in on the next flight (i.e. in the evening) and they sent them here via the middle of the night bus. I had to wake her to get her receipt and then tipped the guy ten dollars, a bit high  but I didn't have change and I figured he deserved it because we are several hours from Manila which means he had been up much of the night.

At 7 am I went to the hospital and got 4 stitches.

It is now 8 am and Lolo slept through all the noise, and it's time to wake him for his breakfast...and Joy is cooking breakfast for the visiting family members.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Factoid of the day

A Black Knight (in King Arthur's court)?

actually, yes: not in the British tales, but in a Dutch tale of King Arthur's knights.


 While searching for Lancelot thirteen years prior, Aglovale had traveled through the Moorish lands and fallen in love with a beautiful princess. They pledged their betrothal, but refusing to abandon his quest before Lancelot was located, Aglovale left the country before they could marry. He left her pregnant with his son Morien, who would grow into a tall, handsome youth "black of face and limb... After Morien tells his story to Lancelot and Gawain, who promise to help him find his father, the knights go on a series of adventures showcasing their talents. In the end father and son are reunited, and Aglovale travels to the land of the Moors to marry his lover and win back her rightful lands.

I ran across it as an audiobook while checking out stuff at  Archive.org

Family news

Lolo's daughter arrived late last night with her husband John.

They will stay two weeks. They came down to see Lolo this morning and he is happy to see them (It's been two years).

I went to early mass and the deacon brougth Lolo communion early this morning.

The house is busy getting ready for the big birthday party tonite. It's his 90th.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Good news of the day

NYTimes reports: Liberia discharged it's last ebola patient today
more here.

it could still pop up again, as it did in Guinea and Sierra Leone, but the epidemic is almost over.

however, if you want to worry about a disease, MERS is still around in the Middle East.

The Saudi Health Ministry last month reported that 385 people have died of MERS among 902 cases discovered in the kingdom.

Ten Filipinos have died of it in the Middle East so far, most of them health care workers, and a nurse who recently arrived home was diagnosed with it here.

Leeks take two


ten hour version here


the music behind the leek song


or if you hate leeks, watch this song about Cabbage

Ah the beauties of Wales

AtlasObscura has a page on a local village in Wales

The tiny village on the isle of Anglesey that is now known as Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, (Llanfairpwll or Llanfair PG for "short") has existed in some form or another since the Neolithic Era, but it not gain it unique name until the 1880s....
The name, which is printed on the village's absurdly long train station sign translates from the Welsh as, "St. Mary's Church in the hollow of white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio near the red cave."...
While Llanfairpwllgwyngyll is a mouthful it is no longer the longest place name in the world as the tailor who came up with it had intended. That honor has been usurped by an even more ridiculously named town in Thailand, the name of which we don't even have room for here. 
related item

the Welsh in Pennsylvania celebrate St. David's day

oh yes: They also celebrate it in Wales

and don't forget your ceremonial leek:
The ceremonial leeks presented to members of the Welsh Guards at Hounslow Cavalry Barracks (photo by Sergeant Steve Blake)

Legend has it the tradition originated when King Cadwaladr ordered his soldiers to identify themselves by wearing the vegetable on their helmets during a fierce battle against the Saxons on a leek field.


No PC Catholic nuns allowed?

Mrs Gay Caswell said her daughter's order of Catholic sisters are no longer are being allowed to help staff a slum Catholic school in Chicago...after her daughter helped organize a pro life march from the school last January.

Anyone know the real story?

A local "metis", Mrs Caswell's stories of local problems among the "indigenous" and the "metis" in rural Canada tend to sound over the top, but after a couple years of working "on the res" in Minnesota, they sound about right.

YUM. fractal hamentasch

Mathematical baking!

A few years ago, a recipe was published on a Seattle Local Food blog for makingSierpinski Hamentaschen, which provided a solution to the ages-old problem of how to create a hamentaschen without having a dough:filling ratio that is too high. This was especially a problem at the ‘eat’ stage of the algorithm.
It turns out that the solution is surprisingly simple: take advantage of mathematical knowledge about theSierpinski triangle and create fractal hamentaschen.
Thankfully, mathematical baking is an active area. My own institution, University of Oxford, even held amathematical bake-off last fall.

Via Improbable research

Family news

They are finishing fixing up the kitchen.

The city has decided to tar the front road (we are an alternate route for trucks, especially on Monday when it's Palenke day, when temporary stalls sell things once a week, partly blocking the street).

Chona came over this morning to say hi.

and Robin and John should arrive tonite: delays due to the weather in the USA...

Friday, March 06, 2015

Ideas that have gone past their expiration dates

a transcript of the latest Freakonomics podcast.. summary:

DUBNER:All right, we’ve already heard five ideas that should maybe be sent to the trash bin – the “atheism prerequisite” for scientists, the value of mouse models for human medicine (which, I admit, stunned me), the idea that statistics are as powerful and useful as we think; the idea of “the universe,” and the left-brain/right-brain construct. Coming up on Freakonomics Radio, some other ideas we might want to get rid of, including:
ALDA: The idea that things are either true or false.


BLOOM: The idea that science can tell us everything we need to know about how to be happy.


Michael NORTON: The idea that markets are good.

DUBNER: Really? You sure about that?

NORTON: And the second idea that I think is ready for retirement is the idea that markets are bad.

Iran post of the day

How the revolution allowed women to be free in Iran.

 the government established Azad University. The non-profit, national network of institutions, with branches in large cities, small towns and even villages, provided girls from the middle and lower classes access to education they'd never had before.
"These girls, who like me, were the first in their families to go to university, they are teaching their children equality, because they have grown up with it themselves," Farah says. It inspired competence, and confidence. I ask Farah what she studied at university.
"Women's studies, of course," she answers with a smile.
From the BBC

Food: "bugs" and food

actually, not insects but yeasty beasties and lactobacillus etc.


PJMedia article on the five best food fights in movies.

My choice is this one:

but the article overlooked the food fight in Blazing Saddles which was based on the Great Race food fight....

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Senior Citizen vs computer


WINDOWS: Please enter your new password.   
USER: cabbage

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must be more than 8 characters
     USER: boiled cabbage

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must contain  1 numerical character.
USER: 1 boiled cabbage

WINDOWS:  Sorry, the password cannot have blank spaces.
      USER:  50bloodyboiledcabbages

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must  contain at least one upper case character.
       USER:  50BLOODYboiledcabbages

WINDOWS:Sorry,the password cannot use more than one upper case character consecutively.
USER:  50BloodyBoiledCabbagesShovedUpYourAssIfYouDon'tGiveMeAccessNow!

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your email of the day from TiaMaria 

Family news

Lolo remains weak, but ate better today.

Chona arranged for a young lady to clean the house last week, and we will have her come once a week for a good cleaning. We do have another girl to come to clean and do the laundry but she only does a routine cleaning, not scrubbing...

Ruby's youth group had a meeting here this evening.

Robin and John arrive Friday evening, so we will probably not see them until Saturday. Nanette arrives Saturday with her husband too.

Danny came also. He is taking early retirement, but Daisy is still working so couldn't come.

Factoid (number two) of the day

Years ago, after sent on a vacation to recover from an infection, I stayed in eastern Zimbabwe (which was Rhodesia back then).

We hiked the mountains behind the mission, and it was terraced with stones about 1 to 2 feet high and flat for 2 to 3 feet, if I remember correctly.

But although these were ancient terraces, I could never find the history of who made them or why.

Right now, on Scribd, I am reading Brian Fagan's book Elixir, about water, and he notes that these were irrigation type farming found in several areas of East Africa...most of what he describes is furthur north but he also mentions these and that the Drackenburg mountains have some.

the Wikipedia article only notes those of the Great Lake Region. more HERE.which is about the SA and Zim terraces.

I'll have to read it more carefullywhen I'm more alert. One problem of reading on line is that it's hard to go back and forth and take notes.

Factoid of the day

Live Long and Prosper hand sign is ....based on a Jewish blessing gesture...

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

The "WTF" science headline of the day

Homer Simpson "discovered the Higgs boson"

 Photo: Matt Groening/Fox
Homer Simpson predicted the mass of the Higgs boson in a 1998 episode of The Simpsons, according to a science writer.In The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace episode, Homer is shown in front of a blackboard working on an equation..."That equation predicts the mass of the Higgs boson. ..."It's kind of amazing as Homer makes this prediction 14 years before it was discovered."

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Biology lesson of the day

Via Cute Overload: Meet the Sparklemuffin spider.

more about these spiders at LiveScience.

and don't miss Incredible Photos of Peacock Spiders

Family news

Since Lolo is spending more time in bed, I bought him some loose Gym shorts to wear instead of his tweed shorts or trousers, bought some more bedlinen so we could change the beds more often, and a few extra pillows so he can sit up higher when he gets asthma.

He isn't eating as well for the last two days, and now requires help to be washed (up to last week he took his own showers).

Sigh. He claims he has no pain, however, so we are taking it day by day.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Stuff around the net

to protest the FCC using a law from the 1930's to justify new regs to let the gov't take over the internet, Verizon posted it's protest in Morse code:

- --- -.. .- -.-- .----. ...   -.. . -.-. .. ... .. --- -.   -... -.--   - .... .   ..-. -.-. -.-.   - ---   . -. -.-. ..- -- -... . .-.   -... .-. --- .- -.. -... .- -. -..   .. -. - . .-. -. . -   ... . .-. ...- .. -.-. . ...   .-- .. - ....   -... .- -.. .-.. -.--   .- -. - .. --.- ..- .- - . -..   .-. . --. ..- .-.. .- - .. --- -. ...   .. ...   .-   .-. .- -.. .. -.-. .- .-..   ... - . .--.   - .... .- -   .--. .-. . ... .- --. . ...   .-   - .. -- .   --- ..-.   ..- -. -.-. . .-. - .- .. -. - -.--   ..-. --- .-.   -.-. --- -. ... ..- -- . .-. ... --..--   .. -. -. --- ...- .- - --- .-. ...   .- -. -..   .. -. ...- . ... - --- .-. ... .-.-.-   --- ...- . .-.   - .... .   .--. .- ... -   - .-- ---   -.. . -.-. .- -.. . ...   .-   -... .. .--. .- .-. - .. ... .- -. --..--   .-.. .. --. .... - -....- - --- ..- -.-. ....   .--. --- .-.. .. -.-. -.--   .- .--. .--. .-. --- .- -.-. ....   ..- -. .-.. . .- ... .... . -..   ..- -. .--. .-. . -.-. . -.. . -. - . -..   .. -. ...- . ... - -- . -. -   .- -. -..   . -. .- -... .-.. . -..   - .... .   -... .-. --- .- -.. -... .- -. -..   .. -. - . .-. -. . -   .- --. .   (etc)

well, why not?
 It worked in Independence Day.
via Sense of Events

Ten Facts about the grapes of Wrath.

of course it's propaganda. But when the USSR showed it in theatres to instruct their people on how poor it is in the USA, it backfired: What the Russian people saw was that the poorest of the poor in the USA actually owned a car...

headsup Presurfer.

Follow the money....Cardinal Pell is finding where the corrupt Vatican officials are hiding and misusing money, so they plant a hit job about him living in luxury in the Australian papers.

Father Z explains it for you.

and no, he doesn't have a Cappa Magna...


congress has all types of people giving them speeches, so why the huge kerfuffle about Netanyahu?

because he'll spill the beans about President Obama's secret negotiations with Iran?


StrategyPage summarizes what's going on here in the Philippines.

Leaf, by Niggle

quick before the copyright cops find it: A fanfilm of Leaf by Niggle.

via TORN

Family news

Robin and John will arrive on the 5th.

Chano is busy getting ready for the party on the 8th...Lolo's birthday is on the 9th but Sunday is easier for the local relatives to come.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Stuff around the net

Filming begins on the Saxon series by Bernard Cornwell (of Shape's Rifles fame).

sort of a combination of the Vikings and the Game of Thrones although I hope it is less bloody...the advantage of reading is that one can skip the battle scenes and concentrate on the story line...


AnnAlthouse links to this absurd article about improving nutritional health in Zambia by making maggot smoothies.but  as commenter Leon notes:
AS SOMEONE WHO GREW UP IN ZAMBIA...this whole mindset pisses me off. Sure Zambians eat a wide variety of food we don't but on a regular basis the type of caterpillar referred to in the article was only ever eaten rarely. mostly because they were seasonal and you had to live in the country to get them. they were dried and sold to the cities for people nostalgic for food from their youth. even 30 years ago the supply was very limited. today probably even more so.

if you scroll down, you will find my longer reply, based on experience.


MoggyMusic purrfect for cat ears.

 (iStockphoto: Astakhova)
...we found that cats showed orientation and approach behaviour toward the speaker with the cat music, often rubbing against the speaker while the music was on," says lead author Charles Snowdon of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Snowdon and colleague Megan Savage worked with composer and musician David Teie, who created cat-centric tunes such as:

not to be confused with Mark Gunn's album: Irish Drinking Songs for Cat Lovers. 


Mary Lincoln, who seems to have been bipolar, consulted spiritualists after the death of her son Willie. And one of them warned Lincoln he was in danger...

ESP? Or because the man had a friend named John Wilkes Booth?  more HERE at Smithsonian magazine.

Headsup TeaAtTrianon.