Thursday, April 30, 2015

family news

Deliveries and a trade fair in Manila, so the truck went down this morning and Joy with Ruby will go later since Ruby will be going to a school related camp overnight.

Aside from the party here celebrating meeting tommorow with the farmers to introduce them to the new farm "supervisor" using the excuse of the fiesta tomorrow, nothing new.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

culture of death update

A leading ethicist at Princeton, best known for his promotion of infanticide, now says that gov't health care shouldn't pay for  treatment of people with disabilities.

the link is from a disabilities rights group, who has a link for you to protest, but excuse my cynicism:

You see, this type of medical rationing was proposed 20 years ago by an ethicist who later ran the "hastings center for ethics".

And the infanticide arguments were first proposed by Fletcher in the 1970's.

actually there is a big movement to push the idea of "personhood" as the basis for rights, and guess who decides the criteria? Yup. Medical ethicists.

Which is the backstory about all those animal rights folks pushing personhood for animals. Yup. Singer is at the head of that too. You see, saying an animal qualifies for personhood reinforces the idea that you are a person because you meet the criteria, not because you are endowed with rights by the creator

and voila, you can then go on to kill all those whose lives don't meet the criteria.

And don't say it will never happen: it is already happening in Europe, where the enlightened think it's fine.

It's just that the press just noticed.

or actually they haven't noticed, but wait until the cheerleading for gay marriage is over, and this will be the new crusade of the MSM.

Yet once the taboos against killing are lifted, it will be the black and other minorities who will be the victims (which is why minorities often refuse to sign living wills).

and if you don't think racism is not alive and well in medicine, you should talk to those of us who worked on "the res".

Family news

We are due a brownout today. I'll have to get the workers to start the generator, since the battery is dead and I'm too weak to use the mechanical starter.

The fiesta is this weekend, but I doubt we will be welcome at the relatives because they are mad at someone's behavior at Lolo's wake, and I doubt I will go to the party here because a certain unqualified "supervisor" is supposed to be feted at the party.


Never mind.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


I only saw part of the first Poldark series, and don't remember much about it, but have been watching the new one.

I also am re reading the series via Scribd, where I found the first three books.

This article in the UKMail suggests that the author hated the original Demelza, but his daughter is more pleased with number two version.

The cinematography is lovely, and the story is well done, although it seems Poldark loves his wife a bit more than in the original series and book.

I walk in beauty


Terrible earthquake in Nepal, but the death toll right now seems low...the problem? It is a poor country, and mud-brick or adobe houses will collapse, meaning a lot of small village and rural folks were probably killed. There are photos on the internetn such as this one showing the collapse of multistory "modern" buildings ... I doubt they are competently reinforced.

And no, I don't feel sorry about the hikers caught in avalanches. The whole "Mt Everest" thing is a status symbol for yuppies. The bad news is that the sherpas are pushed into helping them by dire poverty.

Nepal is often seen by these ecotourists as shangri la, but if it is so wonderful, why all those communist "insurgents" and why do so many leave to work elsewhere?

For that matter, why is Tibet still a "hardship zone" for Chinese developmental workers such as teachers?

no links, but yesterday someone wrote that the reason that so many are fleeing to Europe via North Africa was global warming. He's right, of course. The Sahara was a lush grasslands only 8000 years ago. So they are fleeing to get jobs to support their families, and the political unrest in North Africa lets the terrorist/criminal element who know how to smuggle guns and drugs make money off of people smuggling too.

So for all the criticism of "globalization", the dirty little secret is that "traditional society" was hell, especially for women. And if the natives looked so happy, maybe it was because their culture mandates looking happy and their religion sees suffering as a payback for being bad in your last life, so grit your teeth and smile. Or maybe go to India to get a job so your kids can be educated and have a better life. Or maybe support the communist Guerrilla movement.

Speaking of the local "insurgents": They often get weapons from China, (as do their counterparts in nearby tribal India), so it is nice to see that China is sending aid, as is nearby India. LINK

Sigh. In my prayers.  I'd send money but I am essentially broke, and try to give locally.

we are on an earthquake fault, so when I see the office part of our compound, I shudder. Yes it is reinforced, but a powerful earthquake could flatten it, and if a "big one" hits Manila (one is overdue) the death toll would be staggering and we'd probably be getting lots of refugees.

Family news

They are busy building the shelter/gazebo at Lolo's grave. I will add a photo when it is done. Here, they celebrate the 40th day (when the spirit leaves earth). In the US, old fashioned Catholics (including those on "the res") usually celebrated one month mind, so apparently this is an Asian custom. I am also expected to wear black for a year, which I do when I go out in public.

the harvest is going on, and I won't talk about the problem of the new "supervisor". Family members can guess why.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Lectures of the week

Wheaton College has downloads of lectures about CSLewis (and on the sidebar, Tolkien and others).

they also have a course on the literature of CSLewis that used to be a DVD but now you can download it for free.


not a lecture, but on another topic: CWN discusses a new book about Hitchcock.

Was WolfHall  deliberately written to debunk the story of Thomas Moore?

Nedalicious notes on the characters HERE.

and archives of letters from those days are found HERE.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Friday, April 24, 2015

remembering Lolo

one month anniversary

Musical interlude of the day

turn up speakers and dance!

Culture wars

Culture wars. Don't read because it is not PC.

The latest kerfuffle is supposed to be only about gay marriage, but what no one wants to talk about is that this is only part of a large campaign that aims to remove all taboos about any sexual behavior.Which enables sociopaths to do what they want, and makes regular folks hesitate to point fingers at them. Think "Sandusky"... think of the "non judgemental" film,

Hell, think "Bill Clinton".

It's not that I object to Heather who has too mommies and lives a quiet suburban life. I encourage it.

But one does wish that Heather's mommy might notice the problem that will stem from sexualizing children in grade school. (presumably no one teaches Freud's theories or developmental psychology any more).

which is why these gentle nuns walked out of school as a protest.

And this is why even has the gentle Pope is worried. When he visited the Philippines, he blasted the trend to pressure poor countries to accept the west's latest ideas on sexuality as cultural imperialism. His more recent speech that rejected modern gender theory has the PC upset...

full rant HERE.

I should add  the Pope was also big on condemning the corrupt politicians. 

He said, corruption vexes God and scandalizes people because it exploits, enslaves, even kills the vulnerable while those who commit this crime are focused solely on money and power.
The Pope said “The corrupt are traitors who steal and kill, who exploit the innocent, but they do it at a distance with gloves on so that they do not have to get their hands dirty.”

Yet this is part of the culture war too: Because corruption here makes things keeps out factory jobs, lets people destroy the environment and lets politicians put "casinos" in areas where a lot of poor people live, such as in our area, which will bring along prostitution and drugs and encourage cops to be crooked.

and just ignore those politicians' private armies: next year is election year, so wear your bullet proof vest

Factoid of the day

Via Father Z: A discussion on #TalkLikeShakespeare

includes a discussion of this game, best played after a few drinks and with a fire extinguisher around:

 “flap-dragon” was a game played in Shakespeare’s day. If you want to play at home, you’ll also need a fire extinguisher, ice, and ointments. Put heated brandy in a bowl with raisins and set the liquid on fire. Turn off the lights. Take turns plucking the raisins from the flaming booze! Fun for all.

and don't tell Father that in modern slang it has another modern meaning...

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Family news

I met with the builder who will wall and cover Lolo's grave.

He didn't want a "small house" like the rich, and wanted to be buried in the ground, not above it. However, the plot is between two fancy concrete "chapels" and the dirt is high so will wash away in the typhoon, which seems to be arriving early.

So the builder will place bricks but not concrete on the ground and build a wall to keep the dirt from washing away, and then use rods to keep a simple roof to protect the grave and those visiting it. I objected to having a door, since Lolo wanted it open, but was ruled out by everyone else. It is not a "chapel" as much as a gazebo.

Oh well....Chano wanted to delay it so he could design a nicer "chapel" but Lolo didn't even want the roof or walls. There is an American type cemetery with only small graves in the other section, but when the family chose the gravesite, it was in the area with "chapels" or with all the graves covered with a simple tin roof, and so this is the minimum to protect it.

Podcast of the week

from Strategypage

Dr. StrangeMullah Or How Iran Learned To Love The Bomb - 4/22/2015
Jim and Austin give us the straight dope on the current nuclear negotiations with Iran.
MP3 Download

they also have a report on China destroying reefs to make fake islands to take over the west Philippine sea.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

well, there go the helicopters again

Yup, time for the joint US/Philippine military training exercizes.

Yesterday, they were flying helicopters in the dark, at low level...(we are on the flight path to Ft Magsaysay).

Philippine soldiers and a US army soldier from 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat of the 5th Infantry Division take their positions after disembarking from a C-47 Chinook helicopter during an air assault exercise inside the military training camp of Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija province north of Manila, April 20, 2015.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Stuff below the fold

Dustbury remember the OKC bombing.


Immigrants go to hell:


EU proposes saving drowning immigrants (because the TV cameras are on them) but locals are up in arms because the immigrants will steal their jobs.

in 2014 they cut back patrols but now the Italians, who are doing much of the rescue work, are pressuring them to increase patrols.


Xenophobia in South Africa


Lake Baikal worries.


Gizmodo: worst of modern architecture...the good news is that they are now endangered...

heh. the blocky concrete buildings are called "Brutalism"...not because they are brutal but because that is French for concrete.

this reminds me of Tom Wolfe's Bauhaus to our house: where a city proposed to refurbish crumbling public housing apartment blocks, and the audience started chanting: tear them down...


ugly buildings don't have to be made that way:

Atlas Obscura has a link about a Swiss defense fortress that looks like a cute suburban villa:

Monday, April 20, 2015

Immigration: A world wide problem

the terrible sinking of a boat off the coast of Libya has a lot of people upset.

Probably most of those trying to get to Europe are not Arab or from Tribal Libya, but Africans trying to find work. In the past, many worked in North Africa as farm laborers but now they are not welcome.

Years ago, a similar high death toll in economic refugees from Haiti was in the news, and the US responded by sending them all back to discourage more from trying to immigrate. It is no longer in the news, so either it worked or it is being ignored.

This story explains the backstory:

trying to have a better life. The article is about those from Nepal who emigrate to the Gulf (or India or the Philippines!) to get work. And the author notes the problems but doesn't see the irony of this photo's caption:
Fresh food, a close-knit community and an unpolluted environment are the staples in rural Nepal from where a majority of the migrant workers in the Gulf hail.

yes, but as my  husband told me: You can't eat scenery.

this story is about Nepal, where a lot of people in America think it is Shangri La. No, it's not. It's poor, with nice scenery.

A similar reason is found here, where ten percent of people go overseas to make a living.

the problem: Even if you start a business, it won't make a profit. So you leave.

Another problem: Many times drug smugglers and extremist terror groups make money from smuggling people.

StratPage has this note in the Mexican influx into the USA.

and I suspect a lot of those fleeing the middle east or North Africa also are the same ones who smuggle arms etc. and have friends in terrorist or drug smuggling groups.

So welcome the poor with open arms? Yes, but that only encourages more. Maybe Clinton was right: Send them back.
Or at least try to separate those with terrorist ties from those who merely want a better life.

The problem is that it is one thing to send people back to a poor country, it is another to send them back to a country that will kill them.

This has been done in the past (if you aren't aware of the repatriations to communist countries after WWII, you should be). But it may not work in today's world where everyone has cellphones.

and if I am sympathetic to those seeking a better life, maybe it's because I have some ancestors who fled the Famine on "coffin ships"...

pseudoscience and other headlines below the fold

see previous post on pseudoscience

exposing pseudoastronomy site has a podcast on what to do when you are confronted with pseudoscience at a conference.


western guts have less biodiversity in their bowel bacteria.

yes and they probably have fewer worms there too.

on the other hand, when you confront a CDif diarrhea case after antibiotics, it's nice to know that a poop tranplant will help.

and here, yakult and yogurt are avertised for their live lactobacillus.

I tend toward yeast on antibiotics so take some daily when on antibiotics (like I am now, for my tooth).

using sheep as a model for insulin resistance in diabetes.


speaking of pseudoastronomy: I can now stream C2C on my tablet via a "talk radio" station.

ah the powers of technology.

There are also streaming for TV shows and movies, but like those I find on YouTube, the problem is that during the day, our internet is slow and so streaming goes on and off...

usually I stream music from various stations but will probably remove the apps since I rarely use them.

via Presurfer:

Movie Robots, ranked from good to evil.


if you pay docs more for seeing dementia patients, guess what? The number of folks diagnosed goes up.

yes...because who wants to diagnose early dementia when the meds to slow it down are lousy, and who wants to diagnose something we can't do anything about?

contraception pill shrinks the brain?

Why do I think this might be a biased subset of women?
well, the numbers were low:

Neuroscientists at UCLA examined the brains of 90 women, 44 of whom took the Pill, and 46 who experienced natural cycles.
and being a secondary report, a lot of questions are there that might have been discussed in the original article:
and what do you mean by "natural" cycles"? what, no one in either group had babies? did some take the pill to regulate cycles (suggesting a hypothalmus problem to begin with)? Since the pill is used more by poor women, did you check for IQ/poverty/ethnicity?

On the other hand, most women would prefer a slightly smaller brain to the alternative: 8 kids.

I am old enough to remember the "good old days"....

Sunday, April 19, 2015

the war against science

I posted a video by Dr Eric Cline last week...he is active in trying to get professional archaeologists to start publicly correcting bad science by the nuts and sociopaths who make crazy claims (e.g UFO's, Noah's ark) get lots of money given to them and get their two minutes of fame on "reality" TV networks.

or check out Bad archeology blog

a similar problem is found in astronomy, and a good podcast about these problems can be found HERE.

now a bunch of doctors at Columbia have asked the university to withdraw Dr Oz'ss credentials there for pushing pseudo science...but the LATimes says you are a hater if you oppose him.
Attention Dr. Oz haters: Get ready to set your DVRs.Next week, “America’s doctor” plans to set aside a portion of his popular TV show to address critics who say he no longer deserves to be associated with a prestigious Ivy League university
 so what problem do scientifically oriented physicians have with Dr Oz?

 in December, a study published in the journal BMJ concluded that fewer than 1 in 3 claims made on “The Dr. Oz Show” can find support in the medical literature, while nearly 40% of them can’t be backed up at all.

well, duh. Sounds like he is committing malpractice. So will the university cut his credentials?


Doug Levy, the chief communications officer for the university’s medical center, put it to Dr. Henry I. Miller of Stanford, who spearheaded the letter: “Columbia is committed to the principle of academic freedom and to upholding faculty members' freedom of expression for statements they make in public discussion.” 

uh, it might be his opinion, but it's not true from a scientific standpoint, so he is wrong.

alas, we are seeing a lot of similar nonsense in medicine, often pushed as "alternative medicine"....much of it is placebo effect, not scientific...what is a more dangerous trend is that some are pushing "mindfulness" on kids in school without informing the parents that this is merely a form of self hypnosis.

As for Columbia: Can you say "Malpractice" children?

I hope someone who is harmed by his advice sues the hell out of the University for giving his pseudoscience academic credentials.

Good news (below the fold)

DrE reports from Iran that President Rouhani supports protecting the wet lands of the Caspian Sea area.

.The wetland  which extends over 19000 hectares and plays an important role in the ecosystem and livelihoods of millions has faced many challenges during recent decades.  The government of Dr. Rouhani has laid much emphasis on the restoration programs for this wetland particularly in conjunction and support of the Government of Japan. In my report I noted that the restoration plan for Anzali is now prepared and will be underway this year. Prevention of soil erosion in the larger water basin including protection of forests, waste management,  sewerage treatment and sustainable agriculture practices are all very important

The Celtfather, MarkGunn, has posted a three hour  podcast of instrumental Celtic music.



Presurfer links to an article answering the really really important question of the day: Why do Humans have chins?

no, not to help you evolved because your head got larger.

(No, I'm not sure I believe that one).


DaveBarry reports:

The Hoff is back. 
And he's better than basically better than the same as ever. 


for later reading: Tribalism in America:
Because the ultimate question in a polyglot society — or a polyglot field of the arts — is whether or not you (and your tribe) can make room in your hearts and minds for the people from the other tribes. Are the other tribes really dangerous? Or are you simply worried that by letting the outside tribes mingle with the inside tribe, you will lose the authenticity and flavor that you believe makes your tribe special?
the author is in a inter-racial marriage...and the dirty little secret is that this is common by the third generation for immigrants in the USA...

via Instapundit.


Grendel and Beowulf in popular culture.


via improbableresearch:

Feynman on the difference between knowing names and real science, which is about what's going on.

film link

quick, before the copyright cops find it's there:

Surely you're joking Mr Feynman...


Family news

I attended 5:30 am mass (when it is still cool) and visited the cemetary to leave flowers on Lolo's and his mother's grave.

Dita, our cook, goes with me, since the rest of the family goes to a pentecostal type church to sing and dance at 10am.

Got home and checked facebook, and found five "Jesus" type messages on it, mostly posted by my grandkids, but also by my son...hmm...wonder if he is going pious on me.

I stand with Martha: who told off Jesus when her holy sister was sitting around listening to Jesus instead of getting her hands dirty fixing supper.

 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

hmm...well, I suspect that Martha was too polite to reply, or else said something that the (male) writer left out.

I am still very very angry at the lack of help when Lolo was dying, and that it took Angie to intervene to get me any help at night.

Sigh. Must control anger...must control anger.

anyway, along with the "Jesus saves" on Facebook, there is also a link on Mama Mary in Gapan (fiesta coming up). Alas, there are also links about the violence against Zimbabweans working in South Africa (in my prayers), a discussion about Wonder Woman's bustierre, and posts about the Chicago Bulls (where most of Lolo's relatives live).

and my post of the day: For my "religious relatives"   who figure I am going to hell for not believing in their church, I posted this:

Saturday, April 18, 2015

stories below the fold

 Eilmer the Flying Monk

Though he broke both legs, Eilmer the flying monk of Malmesbury is reputed to have exceeded a furlong (40 rods) in his experimental flight of 1010 AD, inspired by the legend of Daedalus — father of Icarus; artist, craftsman, and Leonardo from the age of Homer. 

Malaria is becoming resistant to the best drugs in Africa.

this is Falciparum Malaria, the bad one. Not mentioned in the article: a lot of the resistance is because counterfeit/substandard drugs are sold so the germ becomes resistant (a problem first noticed in SEAsia).

Something to remember the next time you are told about evil Pharma that wants to sell their own medicine instead of cheap generics to the poor. (Although the Chinese/Indian crooks also sell look alikes to get around that problem).

and forget Ebola: Malaria is a big killer:

The World Health Organization estimates more than half a million people die from malaria every year, mostly children under five. Plasmodium falciparum is the most deadly form of the malaria parasite.

related item: Will a French Vaccine help stop the Dengue epidemic?

of course, spraying the fetid water in the open air sewers might help lower the rate locally...but the election isn't until next year so I guess the funds are being diverted into someone's pocket better used for the poor.


Deaf Activists protest during hearing about cochlear implants.

the problem? There is a very close ASL community, and those who opt out are seen as enemies. A deaf parent with deaf kids is okay with it. If the kid hears, he might leave their community. Walker Percy's daughter was taught lip reading and notes to learn language and did well, but because of this he was unwelcome, even though competent lip reading is too difficult for many who are born deaf, which is why the emphasis was on ASL.

yes, teach deaf babies ASL but let them get cochlear implants as soon as possible.

But the real problem is the elderly: Lolo was profoundly deaf the last 2 years he lived (due to streptomycin induced nerve deafness...he took the antibiotic for TB as a student). It caused him to become socially isolated.

Hearing aids helped, but distorted the sound and he rarely used them.

Cochlear implants also distort sound, so may not be able to be used in the elderly until they get more sophisticated. This is why few elderly deaf will get the technology...if they make a better implant, it could cause a huge increase in Medicare spending.

and yes, they implant them here, but the cost, 25 thousand dollars, is a bit expensive for the poor...


would you attend a gay wedding? The newest "gotcha" question in the media.

well, my take is similar to the Pope's: that there is a lot of gender confusion out there that will destroy society. 

as a scientist, I worry when courts push gender neutral laws based on the newest academic fad, and ignore rules worked out by experience based on biology and a million years of evolution...making laws based on utopian ideas rather than reality distorts society and in the long run doesn't work.

And for catholics, attending a gay wedding is sort of at the level of attending the wedding of a divorced person who reweds outside the church: pre Vatican II it was a no no, but now we sort of shrug and go to show them we love them, since the marriage is sort of the lesser of two evils, and love is more important than rules.

So I always encouraged my gay relatives/patients to get into a stable civil partnership, but that doesn't mean that I don't see a lot of distortion of the idea of marriage and other bad fruits from this becoming legal by court fiat. I predict this will be used to demonize/marginalize folks who actually follow the rules.


From StrategyPage: a billion dollars were sent to Gaza, but no homes have been rebuilt because the money is being used to fix military facilities and dig tunnels for smuggling goods and terrorists.

Ah, but the PC will blame Israel for these homeless people.

and Egypt's OFW in Libya are leaving...they do most of the farming and dirty work there.


BoingBoing is getting snotty:

By Gemma Correll.
my comment: This is about the elites, not the working class kids or the poor. But like the 1960's, the elites think everyone agrees with them.

which is why I wish Hillary would actually talk about hard facts and solutions and not platitudes.

The next big thing that will be the elite's crusade: Killing one's inconvenient relatives assisted suicide as a human right.

hint: Don't have a living will, have a health care proxy. That way your loved one, not some snotty doctor or bureaucrat who thinks you are subhuman and need to die don't need that expensive "futile" treatment...your relative/friend can decide what is helpful and what is extraordinary, expensive, and futile.

why the push? Well, most middle class people have living wills or proxies, but the poor, especially minorities, refuse...

I supported Lolo's decision not to get chemo (that does not lengthen one's life if you have many medical problems) and to die at home. But when he had chest pain last year, he did go to the hospital, since a heart attack is something that can be treated (it turned out to be arthritis). However, I should note he was mentally competent until the last week of his life...

Catholic ethics don't insist on extraordinary treatment and do allow pain medicine even if it results in shorter life. This last is now being spun that doctors always overdosed dying patients so why not let them kill them. Uh, it's not. You are treating the pain so the patient can die in peace...and they don't always die: I've had several "terminal" patients who required huge doses of pain medicine who recovered from their acute infections and lived for weeks or months after their medical problems, including pain, were properly treated.

I am not criticizing chemo per se: I arranged Joy's sister to get experimental cancer therapy when I knew conventional chemo didn't work very well and cost a fortune. Alas, the new immune type therapy didn't work...slowed the cancer but didn't shrink it.


Beware the Vikings:
the Norse Telemark Bttn logo 
they are now helping the Kurds...and their shoulder patch logo is similar to that of Punisher...

is similar to Marvel's the Punisher, although theUKMail article says it is supposed to have been banned for not being PC...
as for the Telemark part: LINK

And the really important news of the day:

HANS SOLO IS BACK (and he's really old)...

Family news

I am busy reading ebooks from Scribd on my tablet. They have expanded their books and audiobooks in recent months and also have scholarly articles on their documents link, so I am able to find books on arcane subjects like Queen Emma of Normandy or about infectious disease epidemics in 19th century Philippines.

Oh yes: SarahHoyt's books are there far I have only read one short story, which reminds me of Heinlein's Friday...
Re "SadPuppies": I stopped reading SciFi when they all became amoral with characters who I didn't sympathize with. I mean, Heinlein, Leguin and Russ did a lot of trendy things about marriage and gender, but hey, the new stuff was crazy in the way that too much fantasy is poor Tolkien imitations.

I now have a little energy so gave two dogs baths yesterday. Not my favorite job...

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Science news you can use

the science of knuckle cracking.

Fryer's fingers were inserted one at a time into a tube connected to a cable that was slowly pulled until the knuckle joint cracked. MRI video captured each crack in real time--occurring in less than 310 milliseconds. In every instance, the cracking and joint separation was associated with the rapid creation of a gas-filled cavity within the synovial fluid, a super-slippery substance that lubricates the joints. "It's a little bit like forming a vacuum," Kawchuk said. "As the joint surfaces suddenly separate, there is no more fluid available to fill the increasing joint volume, so a cavity is created and that event is what's associated with the sound."

say goodbye to your money

headsup SenseOfEventsBlog

and yes, I had to pay taxes to both the US and the Philippines.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


FYI: The Space Station now has it's own expresso machine.

the first time didn't work and the second try was delayed, but it has finally arrived

and yes, it is a scientific breatkthrough:

It is the first coffee machine able to work in micro gravity on the ISS, where the principles that regulate the fluid dynamics of liquids and mixtures are very different from those typical on Earth.It uses a 'capsule system' to fill plastic pouches with espresso and other hot drinks such as tea.The machine can also be used to rehydrate food.
of course astronauts need a special coffee cup to drink the stuff. 
DaveReneke explains here.

In space you don’t sip, you suck, from a bag. That’s a good thing. The typical coffee cup simply doesn’t work in low gravity, unless you want scalding hot liquid floating through the air. It takes a special vessel to get liquid from an open container into an astronaut’s mouth.
It also takes a helluva lot of science, as seen by the cup designed by Portland State University researchers. For the past year, scientists there have been developing a mug designed specifically to allow astronauts to sip on espresso (or other warm and frothy drinks) in low-gravity environments. The cup’s shape is odd—a little like a plastic baby boot—and was determined by mathematical models.
Every curve and geometric shape is designed to encourage the controlled movement of liquid. You’ll notice a pointed corner in the center of the cup; this strange bit of design is what makes it possible to drink liquids in low gravity. The corner essentially acts like a wick, using surface tension to guide liquid toward your mouth.

and to go with it, the Swedes have launched the first donut in space.

heads up davebarry

Family news

This morning we went to the hardware store to buy cat litter...the ugly cat's half grown kitten has only one back leg making it hard for him to go outside to do his thing, and as he gets larger, the newspapers won't be enough.

I call him Pegleg. His mama doesn't have a name yet. We have several other cats: Ruby's cat is the main one, but I also have three feral black cats that eat inside the side store room, where I feed them after one had kittens there.

Ruby's church group is having "leadership training" yesterday and today in the meeting room, which means they come and sing praise type songs and get a pep talk on something, presumably how to covert all those heathen Catholics to Jesus. Oh well. They are good people, but tend to be aggressive: One nice pastor asked if he could pray over Lolo at the wake and I said no...three Catholic groups came and prayed for him and us, but I suspect the Evangelicals would turn it into long sermon about Jesus for their captive audience, and since the good Protestants in our family didn't help me clean up the S--- when he was sick, I wasn't in the mood for being preached to.

If I sound ambivalent, maybe it's because Catholicism is being part of God's family, not a race to be perfect and obey the rules. But we also have confession, although since Vatican II this has been hard to find in many churches.

if I rant about the PC it is because they wish to destroy the rules and punish us for saying these rules are there for a reason.

The difference is that Catholics know we all are sinners and can't keep all the rules, so we rely on the mercy of God.

So who are we to judge a person who is trying to find God, but that doesn't mean we think that there is no right and wrong and throw out the rules that are pretty well universal, not necessarily Christian, because they were put there to defend the weak and innocent. One only has to see the destruction of the family in the US to see what the sexual revolution has wrought...but the answer is to recognize why the rules are there, but to extend mercy to those who fail to follow them. (and I should talk, since Lolo was divorced. Yet the damage he did to his family still affects them, just as my hot temper has resulted in my children being harmed).

the answer is not throw out the rules, but to pray so we are in touch with the deity and get the strength to try to do the right thing.  And when we fail, all we can do is seek for mercy and forgive others who have harmed us, just  like God has forgiven us.

Which is why the Pope has a year of Mercy.

Headline of the day

Zombie worms ate plesiosaur bones

A type of deep-sea worm that eats whale bones has existed for 100 million years and may have chewed up chunks of the fossil record, a study suggests.Researchers found bore-holes indicative of Osedax worms in the fossilised flipper of a plesiosaur, and the rib and shell of an ancient sea turtle.This implies that these scavengers, also known as zombie worms, may have influenced which fossils remain today.

from the BBC

who put those eight great tomatoes in that little bitty can?

Stan Freburg, who wrote that classic commercial, has passed away.

and his humor was not always politically correct. Here is his take on Thanksgiving

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

factoid of the day

Ring Tab Beer cans are now officially archeological artifacts, used by archeologists to date their diggings.

Source: WesternDigs
Ring tabs came into existence in 1965 — and meet the minimum age threshold now!” Schroeder said.
“They were typically teardrop in shape, with some having rounded distal margins, others squarish … the big difference being the ring top. The early models had solid aluminum tabs, no hole, no ring. That distinguishes them right away.”
The ring-tab design was discontinued in 1975, after injuries were caused by people swallowing the metal tabs. It was replaced with a new modification called the StaTab, which used a flange of aluminum on the lid as a lever to press down on the sealed opening, a design that’s still in use today.

so how did you open the can to drink before beer tabs?

 beer can openers!

you can still buy them on ebay...

so what if you didn't have one with you? as AncientGeezer noted on the historum website:

 We used to have these things (picture). A guy who had one on his keyring was king. Ring-pull tabs were a hi-tech dream, even the ones that detached. If an opener was not available, human ingenuity kicked in--bayonets, chisels, a wildly wielded screwdriver, swiss army knife-- I have even seen the tappets on an A-series Morris engine with the crankshaft cover removed used. 

Headlines below the fold plus rants

Sigh. I have questioned if Hillary was left with subtle brain damage since her accident a couple years ago that left her with a subdural hematoma that required her time in rehab.

No one in the press has brought up this important medical issue. I wonder why.

however I question why her "keepers" have a tin ear. If she is going on a road trip to talk to "ordinary" people, isn't this a bit late in the game? Calling her bus "scooby"? How gauche. 
and ignore her daughter in Elle, decked out in expensive designer clothing...

the NewYorker satire of her campaign video: Saying it with kittens.

and I was a Hillary supporter...

and all that stuff about needing a female in the White House? Yes, but why not Madeline Albright or Condie Rice?


the "Pizza" campaign is not about equality: It is about forcing people to cooperate with actions that they deem are immoral.

selling pizza is a morally neutral action since one sells it to a customer. Catering means cooperation and implies consent/approval.

It won't work, because the idea is not to let people live in peace, it is about forcing people to accept certain actions as normal...and forcing them to approve of these actions...and to cooperate with them...or be ostracized.

I went through this after refusing to do abortions in medical school, so the idea has a lot more implications than a pizza delivery.

How about requiring taxi drivers to allow lewd behavior in their cabs? yes, in NYC this is now going to be enforced by law...

Sarah Hoyt has an article about how the PC took over the publishing of Science Fiction, and then went hysterical when the SadPuppies campaign opposed their prefering bad PC stories over well written fiction to get the Hugo awards.

I’m not going to push ANYONE out of the political, or even the SF-political closet.  I lived in it too long and too fearfully to do that to anyone.  Your secret is safe with me.
But because it matters, I must beseech you, consider, please that you are not alone.  Consider that the sound and fury, the threats, the people pushing you to do things against your will and conscience because you’re so scared of them might be less than the full crowd.  It might be just a small mouse, full of him/herself, roaring up a storm.  Consider that the decent people who disagree with all this bs might actually be in the vast majority but not know it because none of you dares speak.

Family News

The winter harvest is going on, so we have to watch where we drive on the side streets (rice is being dried). It is hot as usual. "Summer" here is the time before the monsoon season starts in June. The monsoon rains usually cool it off in the afternoons. Thank God for Airconditioning. But soon we will have brownouts, so I will have to check the generator is still working.

I got a root canal on a front tooth that had been causing problems since I chipped it a year ago in a fall.

Same problems here as usual. Sigh.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Stuff around the net

Interview with author Peter Blatty includes a phone call from Dick Cavett.


Napoleon's bastards..

more HERE.


do you have "exploding head" syndrome?

and why did the man with two hearts get a personality change?

Being fat cuts your risk of becoming senile.


the story behind "The Day The Music Died" (AKA American pie).


Vaclav Havel's legacy Part two

astronomy myths


Poldark mine museum

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Missing women of Winipeg

Native American girls, often runaways or teenagers acting out, have been killed in Winipeg. BBC Report.

. Between 1980 and 2012, more than 60% of the recorded murders of Aboriginal women were committed by husbands, family members or close friends.
But this leaves nearly 40% of women who were killed by strangers or casual acquaintances, a term that is often used to describe the sex worker-client relationship.
not included in the article: Those who in despair get drunk/high and walk home in the winter and end up freezing to death... and go missing until their bodies are found in the spring.

Many of the "sex workers" are women who have no job skills, not those who "chose" to do this type of work. Using the term "sex worker", you imply it was a free choice. Often it is not...women don't think:either I can have sex with strangers or work in a local deli for the same wage, then I chose the former. Because there is no way to get a job in a deli, and even if you get one, you will lose it when you come in late after drowning your pain in drugs/alcohol when the demons of the id hit you after work.

If you feel you are dirt because of the violence/pain/poverty/hopelessness at home, where the only men you know are abusive to their wives/girlfriends/daughters, and  then why not let strange men  have sex with  you to eat/get drugs to dull your pain.

I have no easy answer for this...the earlier answers, foster care and residential schools, are often condemned but were an attempt to make things better that failed...and the naive who think that isolation and not forcing culture change will work are naive: this is the idea behind apartheid in South Africa.

Tribal outreaches work with these problems, with some success...

History lesson of the day

the year civilization collapsed

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Pseudo Science stuff

what does the anti Israel hysteria have in common with the climate change hysteria? link

. Both...are virtually guaranteed to lead to heated and – sadly, far too often incredibly ill-informed – diatribes emanating from those who appear to have swallowed hook, line and sinker whatever the latest and greatest UN-generated “let’s you and him fight” (about either issue) might be.
Both matters probably serve a useful purpose for the UN – and its ever-increasing army of bureaucrats – as distractions from their abysmal failure to deal with those matters that really do fall within the organization’s actual mandate.
yes, just ignore the 3 million dead in Central Africa, or the old kerfuffle in Bosnia, or the ISIS massacres...


Mammoth cloning using skin cells? Long report suggests it will allow basic research to clone humans, because it will use artificial wombs.

so why not use the wombs of elephants?

If  Artificial wombs are pretty speculative at this point, but the alternative–implanting the hybrids into the wombs of female elephants–is unsavory to animal rights activists
but of course, growing human embryos in artificial wombs would be no problem...Never let me go, anyone? brave new world, anyone?

the pseudoscience of the "food babe" blogger.



related item: Exposing Pseudoastronomy podcast.

PIcadillos? We haz that (R rated rant)

The "Jackie" case vs Univ VA has blown up, and it turns out either false or exaggerated.

The real sin of the reporter: She is too young to have read Freud, who after running into such cases which got worse with each telling, finally decided most of them were fantasy, not reality.

Can you say "witchhunt",children?

The problem? Most cases are hysterical confabulation or retelling from a different point of view (e.g.Rashomon), but some cases are real. I did a lot of sexual abuse examinations, and although half were false and most of the others were minor or date rape type abuse, a few cases were truly horrendous...

longer rant moved elsewhere, but when Oxford Univ Press publishes a book about the ACLU pushing sexual freedom because " Early ACLU leaders displayed sexualproclivities and outlooks outside the mainstream"one has to wonder if throwing out the old standards might not have been to protect innocent people as much as because some of them were sociopaths who wanted to seduce people without worrying about being prosecuted..

and now we have the pendulum swinging the other way...


as the African proverb goes: Even a small snake has a tooth.

Monday, April 06, 2015

The man who saved a billion people


Stuff below the fold

While the US was being manipulated with the two minute hate about a mom and pops type Pizza parlor ambushed by a "gotcha" reporter, you might have missed some stories.

China is destroying the reefs/shoals to take over the West Philippine sea (no outcry from Obama, of course, nor from the environmentalists).
and then there is this:

March 21, 2015:  The government ordered an end to its anti-Christian campaign which had led to the closure and destruction of many Christian churches and the arrest of some Christian leaders on questionable charges. Over 400 churches had been partly or completely destroyed. Some senior government officials were concerned with the rapid proliferation of Christianity and the loyalty of these Chinese converts. Christianity has been in China for centuries and currently is about five percent of the population. 

In the meanwhile, the Pope is stuck in the 1970's, thinking poor people are helpless and need the elite to take care of them, ignoring how capitalism has resulted in millions being brought out of poverty, and that the socialist experiments are mostly failures...

Similarly, he is stuck in the ideas of the 1970's and wants to be nice and ignore sexual sin and it's victims... a lot of us fear that the "synod" is going to go along with the sexual revolution, and it will be hailed as progress by the elite... just ignore the million street kids from broken home, and the sex tourism...

Ironically, it is the Protestants, who teach self reliance, hard work and honesty as a way out of poverty, are booming in Latin America, and fueling the economic recoveries in these countries.

Confucius, living in the chaos of civil wars, linked the stability of the family with the stability of society. Rebuild the family and you will rebuild society. Something to remember when the elites bash moral people as ignorant theocrats...
The church traditionally protected women and children by a strict moral code that strengthened  the family, but nowadays, saying such things is taboo:

I suspect what will happen is that we will be reprogrammed to go along with Big Brother, in the same way nurses and doctors were given mandatory classes to educate them that abortion was good, and pressured into doing abortions when I was in medical school (stubborn ole me: I didn't go along, and almost got kicked out of school...)


Good Friday and Easter is the Christian message, that death doesn't have the final say, that the smallest least important person is important in the eyes of God, be it a street person, a druggie, or that child in your womb who interferes with your career...

Facing death, people recognize the real priorities in life.

In the meanwhile, the tech giants plan to live forever, presumably in Elysium....

Heh. The article even quotes a long lived SciFi giant  in the piece: I wonder if they knew he lived in a south Asian paradise was not so he could live forever, but so he could seduce street kids.

Is there a connection here?

and if the Pope really cared about the poor he would recognize that strong families and people living a just life would eliminate a lot of the social programs needed to pick up the pieces.

nah. The Philippine church would go broke without money from the elites, who are eager to get photo ops with the bishops (just ignore their second wives, that they use employees as prostitutes, that they are corrupt, and when their private armies shoot reporters or political rivals).


Saturday, April 04, 2015

And then there is the PVC pipe organ

and for recyclers: Try making a pipe organ from your used beer bottles:

Factoid of the day

the MetMuseum has a series of short films on Art, mostly about pictures, but this short film combines science and art and music...

the harpsicord plays strings by plucking them: in constrast the piano hits the strings with a hammar, as in a hammared dulcimer.

history of the harpsicord HERE.

plucking strings with fingers or feathers goes way back, but who decided to use a keyboard to pluck the string?

the keyboard started with the organ type musical instruments, 

the "water organ" dates to 300 BC but again no information on who invented the keyboard to play them.

link keys were shaped like right angles. The top of the angle hooked onto a wooden slider, and the bottom was pressed to pull the slider horizontally off a valve, which allowed the pressurized air to escape into a sounding pipe.

more HERE about ancient organs and keyboards...keys were originally the same size as the pipes and allowed the water or air to flow through the desired pipe. presumably when air allowed a greater range, the keyboards evolved, but this is not stated.

the HurdyGurdy dates to the 14th century... and is related to the organistrum, which dates to the 10th century.

The organistrum is the earliest known stringed instrument to be played with keys (learn the oldest known keyboard ever). It originated in Spain as a simple, one-octave cousin of the medieval fiddle, with ties to the bowed Byzantine lyra.
so the "keys" were used on the bridge to press the string as a fret while  a rotating wheel powered the bow.

when I feel more alert maybe I'll find a book about all of this, or google more details.


stuff below the fold

The Goldfish that ate Australia

(Source: Murdoch University Freshwater Fish Group and Fish Health Unit, Department of Fisheries)
YUM! Koi! Yes, you can eat them (which we do when we have an acute fish die off in the hot season...and from the koi's behavior, alas, it looks like we might have another one soon). They are a form of carp, and some don't like their taste...

and if you catch one, be versatile: Koi tacos anyone?


quick ladies: Team Poldark or Team Demelza?


No, I did not ignore Good Friday: just that routine "religious" stuff on the US blogosphere seems so out of touch with reality. Here in the Philippines, the identification of Christ's suffering with ours is strong because people know about suffering.

and no, I didn't attend church (even in the USA, I tend to faint in crowded churches). But I did visit Lolo's grave and light a candle.


Writer Brian Sibley posts the Dream of the Rood, a translation of an 8th century anglo saxon poem about the crucifixion.

and here is King's College Choir (Cambridge) singing a Bach anthem.


another day another typhoon.

we are signal one alert (mostly rain) since it is supposed to hit south of here tomorrow.

I don't know if it will affect Robin's flight home on Tuesday.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Family problems

My husband had to lie in state for a week, waiting for his daughter to buy a ticket (she finally did 4 days after his death).

The relatives wanted oodles of flowers and fancy lights that cost us a bunch, and criticized my daughter in law for not arranging a fancy enough wake, but at least they spent time watching with the family. A certain person hardly showed his face.

The money from Lolo's pension was given to a certain person to pay for his coffin, and later I found that it had been diverted to construction/farm expenses. So my daughter in law sold rice to pay for it. I had to go into my savings to pay for the plot. A certain person did not offer to help pay for these things.

A second daughter wants to hear what she has in the will (A small amount of money and a plot in a tourist area to build a house or to sell). Alas, a certain person tapped into the savings account that was supposed to be given to the daughters for the farm, at first because of the typhoon damaging the crop, but three crops later it is still not paid back, so we don't know how this will be settled.

Then last night, our first daughter, who is an artist, arranged an art class for the kids in the early evening. They had some background music for this...I didn't go (I am tired and depressed) but at midnight I woke up to hear loud music from our roof...a party was going on attended, I presume, by my husband's three children.

I shouted for them to stop, and when they didn't, tried to turn off the electricity (there must be a second fuse box because it didn't work) and finally climbed three stories so I could shout to the 4th story roof that they needed to stop making noise.

Not only did this shame us in front of the neighbors/relatives who live nearby (partying the day after the funeral) but it is Holy Thursday, when Catholics traditionally visit churches, and in our rural area, put up small chapels to chant the passyon (the nearest is a block away). I mean, even the Restobar across the street and the gambling den/suspected drug seller's party house up the street are closed and dark.

So now I am sitting angry in my room, after venting my anger at my daughter in law, who wasn't the one behind the party.

Ah, family love.

update: I should add that we had a premarital agreement so I get nothing in the will...and under Filipino law I cannot own land or the house, although his will states that the house part of the compound where we live cannot be sold without my permission.
Luckily, I am now old enough for social security.