Monday, June 29, 2015

Spread the Love

Earlier, I posted a lecture about the questions of who were the Native Americans and when did they arrive.

apparantly a special about it is/was shown on PBS, and the video link is here.

my one caveat would be that maybe the later arrivals didn't wipe out the coastal immigrants but intermarried (something that is discussed in video two of the series).

number two mentions that this didn't just happen in Europe/the Levant but also in Africa.

rewrite the history books

and if you look hard enough, maybe you might find footprints in the sand:

WesternDigs  article here.

Stuff around the net

Lots of art history books at the Metropolitan museum are here for your downloading pleasure.

Today's book: Pharaoh Hatsheput.

it's not PC to say this, but she was only a regent who usurped her stepson after he came of age. Luckily he was in the army so presumably that kept him from killing her, and she was probably protected from the military by the priests, but after she died, he "erased" her from history until modern archeology figured out who she was and that he was a "she".

So did ordinary locals object to her rule? Well, none of them were available for comment, but one famous x rated graffiti in a small side room (where workers probably rested at lunch) suggested a bit of disrespect for her in the local population.

Her temple reminds one of the Parthenon (almost a thousand years earlier).


3d printed faucets, now available for  you if you have an expensive printer.


from NotCot: The evil chemistry of cookies


the dog ate

The dog got annoyed at the electric wire connected to my computer, so bit it in half.

so until our handyman comes in to do repairs, I am on my tablet.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The "WAGD" post of the day

CNBC article discussing if the ordinary bird flu that is raging in the US could affect humans:  HERE

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that human infection, though rare, has been known to happen when people come into contact with an infected bird. Most recently, the H7N9 variant of bird flu infected some people in China, according to the CDC.
"Our work and that of others suggest that H7N9 has pandemic potential," saids Janies, who is also a research associate in the invertebrate zoology department at the American Museum of Natural History, "but we have not seen human to human transmission yet."
From Poultry news: Novel Avian Flu found in China

right now, in the US, the price of eggs is going up due to so may birds having to be destroyed for being infected with bird flu.

But this article is more ominous: it's an avian/human hybrid

CHINA - Chinese researchers who analysed influenza viruses from poultry in live-bird markets say they have discovered a novel H5N9 virus, which is a hybrid of various other avian influenza viruses.
The hybrid received a highly pathogenic H5 gene from the H5N1 avian flu virus and an N9 gene from a human-infecting H7N9 virus, along with other elements. However, the virus only caused low mortality rates when tested on mice.
this has been perculating for two years in China, so not a big thing yet...yet...

and don't worry: MERS is still perculating along at a low rate in Korea...

if we are worried, it is because we have a lot of medical personnel working in Saudi, and one already brought it here (with no secondary cases, thank God).

But now there is a worry about tourism spreading it: Baguio is a favorite site for Koreans to vacation or study...
no cases here yet, although there is one case in Thailand...


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Another Sign that the End of the World is Nigh

The King (of Pop) has been seen in the heavens:

GOOCHLAND, Va. — Six years after his untimely death, Michael Jackson made an appearance in the skies over Central Virginia.

Credit: John Plashal
the good news: No zombies are with him.


Zombies as metaphors

World War Z lecture: the USA as the world's landlord, who is blamed for everything.

Hmm....maybe I should read the book.LINK1

Factoid of the day: He is the child of Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Factoid of the day

In LOTR, the Palantir was a way to spy on what was happening.

Palantir is a type of software used in data analysis. And it's better than what was designed by the tech masters in the military, so StratPage say the troops prefer it to the gov't version but the beancounters in Washington are trying to stop them from using it.

Troops in combat zones and especially SOCOM prefer to use an intelligence database management system called Palantir....
the U.S. Air Force developed a data mining and analysis system that, when adapted for army use (as DCGS), turned out to be more expensive and less effective than commercial products (like Palantir). A 2012 government investigation reported the problems in great detail. But senior army commanders and Department of Defense procurement bureaucrats continued to block the use of commercial products the troops preferred. For nearly a year now SOCOM (Special Operations Command) troops have been complaining that a superior system (Palantir) they have been using since 2009 is becoming more difficult to obtain because of more aggressive interference from the procurement bureaucracy  

Thanks Obama for making me safer

Just joking.

What he has done is say it's okay to pay money to ransom you if you are an American kidnapped in the third world.

so why is this bad?

FilAm Fernandez at Belmont Club elaborates.

In a sense Barack Obama’s policy change isn’t offering to get the kidnapped parties off the hook from the terrorists or criminal gangs so much as offering to get the government off their backs.  ”I can’t help you but at least I’m not going to make it worse”.  Gee, thanks.
There is one other thing worth considering in the economics of ransom. The risk to the kidnappers. The difference between the kidnapping of Europeans in the Sipadan dive resort in 2000 and the Dos Palmas kidnapping of Tim and Graciela Burnham wasn’t the rescue operation.  There wasn’t much success at that. The difference was in the “subsequent events”. Nearly everyone involved in the Burnham kidnapping either died or faced a long stretch.

so what has changed?

Mindanao went wild after the 2000 Sipadan kidnapping as the Abu Sayyaf used the millions they got from the Europeans to buy weapons. They kidnapped lots and lots of people in the aftermath. Arguably the Europeans had no choice, as they have no assets worth the name in the region. In the case of the Burnhams the effect was far different. Sure kidnappers got paid. But the only place most of them got to spend the money was in hell. 

so we are all Europeans with targets on our backs now.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Factoid of the day

from ABC Australia: a worm so ugly it is named Hallucigenia:

The team's analysis showed that Hallucigenia's mouth was surrounded by a ring of spiny teeth, probably used to suck up food, while the throat was lined with a row of needle-like teeth which possibly prevented its lunch slipping back out.
At a mere one to five centimetres long, the armoured worm lived during a period of Earth's history called the Cambrian Explosion, when most major animal groups emerged.
First identified in the 1970s, Hallucigenia's closest living relative is the toothless velvet worm...

and here is a short video about the toothless velvet worm, that slimes it's prey to death:

Where are the drones?

My granddaughter took me to see the latest Jurassic park film, Jurassic World.

It actually resembles a B remake of Jaws more than the original, because the plot is about men trying to kill the monster, not about the innocent in jeopardy.

True, the kids run, but you never feel they are in real this to the horrifying scene of the original, where the raptors are chasing the kids hiding in the kitchen.

And the aunt? What a stupid lady.

Instead of running the park to do the logistics to evacuate the 12,000 visitors we have  her running around trying to save her nephews.

The evacuation should have been HER job, but like San Andreas, actually doing your job is not "sexy". In reality, a lot of people probably would have died because she didn't have her priorities straight (especially since the SEAL guy could have done a better job finding the kids without her slowing him up).

But watching someone on the phone trying to arrange a large evacuation is not as fun for a teen age male audience as watching a lady in a wet teeshirt running high heels.

Yes, for the entire movie, she is in heels and her business suit with a tight straight skirt... Of course, by the end, she has discarded the suit's jacket, leaving her only in a tank top (to please the teenaged boys in the audience)....but you know, tight fitting skirts don't have pockets, nor do tank tops: so how can she carry her cellphone (in her cleavage?).

But the real problem is the failure of park security to have a way to kill dinosaurs, even though the danger of escape is a known risk.

Because they were carrying ordinary military guns (only the one on the helicopter would kill that large a beast, said one webblog). And the bullets didn't seem to work very well, Presumably they were ordinary bullets, not the type that make a big hole when it hits you, or bullets that can pierce an armoured vest (or tough skin).

Come to think of it, why send men out with rifles at all?

I kept yelling: Where are the drones with the hellfire missiles".

I mean, even when the crazy guy called in the military, they didn't seem to be able to get anything more advanced than what Jesse Ventura carried in the original film Predator (only one weapon that shot a hand grenade, for example, and he got off only one shot).

The "explanation" was that they didn't want to kill these poor animals. Right. So let the dinosaurs kill the security guards instead.

And there is a crazy subplot about GM modification to make the dinosaurs into weapons (uh, fellahs, the Ape in the book Watchers would be just as scary and a lot more smarter and lethal).

The crazy guy who was supposed to be in charge of the weaponizing of dinosaurs was just that: crazy. He would be too unstable to be in the military. But again, that is Hollywood dissing the military, and has more to do with their agenda than with reality.

The irony is that the way that they destroyed the large dinosaur is the way that the crazy guy suggested: Sic the raptors and other dinosaurs on him. Imagine that...

In other words, a b movie but probably better than what else is out there. But if you want a good movie, watch the original.

And am I the only one who thinks that monster dino resembles Smaug without wings?

Maybe instead of yelling "You Need a BIGGER GUN" the audience should have yelled: "you need a  bigger trebuchet". (And a magic black arrow, preferably with an explosive tip).

Why not? It worked for Bard the Bowman...

flags and sports teams and forgiveness, oh my

Medical marijuana doesn't work very well in the studies that have been done and needs more studies before doctors order it.

But I suspect it makes you high, so you don't care if you hurt. Whether or not it helps you to live a normal life is another question: You can live and work taking narcotics at a level that takes away pain but not so much that makes you high. Is this true for marijuana? Not enough studies to know.

Pain relief is not the same as the drug seeking behavior of druggies, whose entire life revolves around getting high. Give a patient in pain some methadone and he will be able to function normally. Give a druggie some, and he will sell it to get a stronger drug to get high.

there is a good argument that a lot of the propaganda push to legalize pot comes from a few millionaires, who fund organizations, whose ultimate aim is to legalize all drugs, yet no one asks why.

Dirty little secret: keeping the Irish (and the Native American) drunk helped keep both these people from throwing out those who wanted to take over their land.


Related item: I am reading a biography of Mother Drexel, who once tried peyote to understand the culture of her native American students. She said it was bitter and the ceremony reminded her of receiving communion. This comment suggests she attended a ceremony, since the ceremonial use of Peyote was not to get high but to help heal and reconcile people with their families and people.

Of course, this was decades before hippies started pushing peyote for egotistical reasons, which had little in common with the traditional uses.

Our tribal council in Oklahoma had a mural of those who helped the tribe, and it included Mother Drexel and another (local) nun who had started schools to train local students.

The modern "multiculturalists" decry such schools for "destroying culture", which I find amusing, since this is the reasoning behind apartheid...and culture changes anyway.

and Mother Drexel also had her sisters educate southern Black students in a time when there were few decent schools. At one time, a large percentage of black teachers in Louisiana were educated at her college.

What America has always done is incorporate outsiders, in th same way that ancient Rome allowed non Romans to become citizens.

So those pc multiculturalists arguing that Jindal is not Asian "Indian" also means that Maria Tallchief is not an Oklahoma "Indian".

those who insist that children learn only their own culture sound very much like those in South Africa's days of old, who argued against missionaries training African children to become "europeans" and who saw apartheid as the way to let Africans live in their traditional culture.

So what's taking them so long? I mean my great grand uncle fought in the Civil war, and they are finally trying to ban the flag of those he fought against?

 The rush to ban the Confederate flag is one thing, but to ban "Gone with the Wind" is another thing.
Rewriting the past is dangerous. The "reply" to GWTW is Roots. And that is how it should be.

And should we remove the names of Confederate Generals from military bases? Fort AP Hill, anyone? Ah, but how far should that go?

That is like removing Native American names from sports teams (which use these names to honor their fighting spirit).
I wonder if they know that both Spartans and Vikings were slave holders, and Celtic tribes practiced human sacrifice....

but if you are going to ban things, why ignore recent history? Che of teeshirt fame was a murderer, the USSR and Mao killed more than the Nazis, yet they remain politically correct and few movies discuss their victims.

I had Ruby read "Animal farm" to teach her about propaganda and communism.


No, I am not commenting on Charleston because due to brownouts I haven't been following what is going on there.

I should note that I had worked at a place where a teenager shot up and killed many at his school. He was immersed in white supremacist and Nazi hate sites on the Internet. Ah, but he and his victims were Native American....and he was full of hatred because of terrible family problems/abuse.

The hatred starts with the family and a few lost souls, many of whom are slipping into psychosis, find hate groups that let them focus who to project their hatred on.

And those who note all these killers are on psychiatric drugs seem to ignore the real reason: they are mentally ill. In the past, their delusions would have put them into hospitals. Now they are given a shot of Haldol and some prozac and sent home.

GetReligionBlog notes that the people in Charleston's answer to racial hatred is forgiveness and reconciliation.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

On the wrong side of history?

TeaAtTrianon links to this article from the PublicDiscourse that makes parallels between Burke's opposition to the ideas behind the French revolution and those who oppose the redefinition of marriage, gender, and biological sex.

 The current redefinitions of the very words we use, as Alice von Hildebrand says, is “a severe moral crisis in which the eternal truths have been exchanged for temporary fads.” The real choice for those feeling demoralized is this: Which will you stand for?
The restoration of eternal truths of human nature requires more than speaking. This opportunity to witness to the human family for the good of all individuals requires virtue. Courage, Aristotle noted, makes all the other virtues possible. But physical courage is not enough. As von Hildebrand explains,
Physical courage—something you find on athletic fields, for example—is very common, but moral courage is not. It is not easy to stand up for what is right when that might mean losing one’s job, one’s family or even one’s life. It is far easier to keep quiet and let things slide.
VonHildebrand, a philosopher who once taught at Columbia, should know: Her husband opposed Hitler when it wasn't safe to do so, and later pointed out the problems of Vatican II, predictions that turned out to come true...
for later reading, since it seems thoughtful and brings up many points.

Stories below the fold

Love is all around story of the day:

Neanderthal DNA in 40thousand year old skeleton suggests mating occured 5 generations earlier.
But unlike most ancient people who had DNA analyses, the man does not have any local ancestors today.


there are stories once in awhile about old computers discarded causing pollution. So Improbable research asks:

How much wood would a CPU chip manufacturer ship if a CPU chip were made of wood?
The answer to that seldom-asked question appears to be contained, more or less, in a June 17, 2015 report called “Researchers Develop Biodegradable Wooden Computer Chips,” in Tech Briefs

for non English speakers, the question is a pun on this saying. 

how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?

The problem? Woodchucks don't' chuck wood. But if they did, the answer is: 

The amount of wood that woodchucks would chuck on a given day varies greatly with the individual woodchuck. According to a Wall Street Journal article, New York State wildlife expert Richard Thomas found that a woodchuck could chuck around 35 cubic feet of dirt in the course of digging a burrow. if a woodchuck could chuck wood, he would chuck an amount equal to 700 pounds. Due to the average size of a wood chuck and the general density of wood (not including cork) if a wood chuck could chuck wood it would probably get through about 6.573 pounds per day, assuming the wood chuck is functioning correctly. 
Sleeping Beauty is a fairy tale and is G rated when done by Disney, but the older versions are R rated:
Troylus prays to Venus to discover how to wake Zellandine, and is told, “When you pluck from the slit / The fruit that holds the cure, / The girl will be healed” (p.389).
If you’ve read medieval stories before, you probably know where this is going,

here, the big story is if the Bangsamoro basic law will supercede civil laws of the central government in the Moro areas of the Philippines.

The problem? lots of non Muslims live there, including those tribes following indigenous customs who predate the Muslim migration and Christians, most of whom settled there in the last century.

more problems discussed here. The local gov't can make their own laws (including over non Muslims) i.e. sharia law can be imposed even when it goes against the Philippine constitution and can impose their fiats without letting locals appeal to the Supreme Court of the Philippines, can ignore the laws of the Philippine state when it comes to regulation, can control local money (meaning they can steal it without impunity), and can stop the government from police interference in their area. This last part suggests they could harbor terrorists and the central gov't couldn't stop them.

The old leftie, Archbishop Cruz, is cynical about the rush to implement the law which he sees as a political act of smoke and mirrors by a corrupt administration to get support from foreigners who don't know the reality of what the law means.


How many divisions does the Pope have? Well, when it comes to climate science, MomJones points out that the worst polluters (China, the US, India, Japan, and Russia aren't Catholic and will ignore him.

I'm not sure if this means Non Catholics are worse for the environment, or if Catholicism is not user friendly for making people rich. But it does mean that the US, with it's sizable Catholic Democratic party influence, will be a testing ground if Francis will have much influence on climate change.


George! Let the cat alone!

what google is hearing when it eavesdrops on me.

I usually am on the computer early in the morning, with three dogs sleeping in my room, and usually the cat comes in the window meowing for food about 5 am and wakes George the Killer Lab

so why worry about the TSA spying on your emails when Facebook and google know everything about you?

And when your OPM file is in the hands of the Chinese gov't.  who worries about google?

Why do they think it was the Chinese gov't and not the usual Russian or Chinese hackers? Because no one has used the stolen identities for stealing money.

That's reassuring.

and just wait until your medical records get into private hands.

our patients' medical records were hacked back in the early 2000's, and our computer system was taken off line. It was a gov't computer and still ran MS DOS software, ten years after my personal computer had switched to Widows. So we were told to run our anti virus software weekly and not use email programs for private email.


related item: how the communist front linked lawyers morphed into support for radical Islam.

No, not c2c or Fox, but StrategyPage.

 These groups first appeared in the 1930s providing support for the Soviet Union. Some of these groups later evolved into progressive and pro-Soviet organizations (like the National Lawyers Guild) during the Cold War. They found that lawfare was a highly effective ideological weapon in a country like the United States. When the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union disappeared these organizations, and people like lawyers Michael Ratner and Ramsey Clark, maintained good relations with the remaining communist dictatorships, especially Cuba, and continued their war on America.
The basic drill of these groups is right out of the old Soviet playbook. That is, using support for worthy causes like civil rights, clean government and environmentalism as camouflage. This plus an exaggerated sense of righteousness is used to pursue a program that seeks to make their own foreign policy, including counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence policy. This is done using lawfare to enact laws in the United States via the courts rather than the legislature. Often, the only goal is to simply oppose whatever the government position is. The Soviet Union may be dead, but many of its biggest fans are not. Oppose them and you are called a racist, fascist and worse....
 Some Islamic terror groups, like Al Qaeda, openly acknowledge this aid and encourages its members to make false claims of torture and abuse to make it easier for anti-American activists to build a case. The terrorists know that the media will jump all over anything that even appears as scandalous and that the appearance of misbehavior is more important than the reality of it.
something to remember when you make a hero of Snowden who didn't bother to hack the computers of the Russians or Islamicists


Monday, June 22, 2015

Family news

I am in a rotten mood.

Factoid of the day: Bring in the pidgeons

I was watching a video I had downloaded earlier about an archeological field survey in southern Egypt and they mentioned some of the towers (now in ruins) were pidgeon towers.

They mentioned the pidgeon droppings were used for fertilizer, the birds were used as post carriers, and of course, some were eaten.

More here at DRB: Pidgoen towers of Iran:

There were thousands of these buildings during the Safavid dynasty, about the 16th century CE. They were built to collect the droppings as fertilizer for melon and cucumber fields... However, in modern times chemically produced fertilizers have drastically reduced the viability of the bird guano industry and as a result not many of these structures have survived to the present day. The droppings were also used in the process of tanning leather.

(image credit: Arthur Thevenart/CORBIS)

Pigeons in Cubicles
The buildings were constructed in such a way that the birds were quite comfortable and clean on their roosts as the droppings fell straight onto the floor.

Stuff below the headlines

Pope lauded for being a scientist with an MA in chemistry who is pushing global warming based on science, of course, prays in front of a fake relic.

Pope Francis touches the case displaying the Shroud of Turin, the 14-foot linen revered by some as the burial cloth of Jesus, at the Cathedral of Turin, Italy.
 (Alessandro di Marco / European Pressphoto Agency)

carbon 14, the fact that early bishops thought it was fake, and the problem that the picture has faded and can barely be seen (whereas when it first was "found" the pictures were bright) suggest fakery.

No, having a degree in chemistry doesn't make one an expert at every scientifically related field, and of course being a pope makes on infallible in faith and morals when you expound on the traditional magisterium. It does not make one infallible in politics or social policty.

A priest's editorial in the paper yesterday here was an example of the spin. His "spin" was that evil capitalism is making the world "poorer" ignores the facts. Reality check: The poor on their farms are not poorer than the past. The gap is worse because the rich are richer. 

and yes, the slums are terrible but maybe people moved there from the picturesque rural areas because life was better than life on the farm where they starved periodically and died prematurely from disease and were old at age 50.

and many of the slum problems are due to family breakdown, alcoholism/drugs, etc. Which are religious problems.

Maybe the church needs to imitate Wesley and the Pentecostals who actually reform lives in these areas, rather than send in do gooders to give stuff away and then tell the gov't not to put in all those polluting factories to give the poor jobs.

The answer is not polluting factories, but factories that are safe. But of course, it's cheaper for factories to bribe officials too look the other way when they pollute than to reduce pollution. So again, the problem is morality more than evil capitalism.

If the Philippines is poor, it is because of corruption. Yet China, despite corruption and pollution, has managed to lift itself out of poverty since they allowed capitalism to thrive. So do the Chinese prefer to breathe dirty air or to have mass famines that kill millions every decade or two?

Statistical charts here suggest poverty is decreasing.

from the economist:

Poverty rates started to collapse towards the end of the 20th century largely because developing-country growth accelerated, from an average annual rate of 4.3% in 1960-2000 to 6% in 2000-10. Around two-thirds of poverty reduction within a country comes from growth. Greater equality also helps, contributing the other third. A 1% increase in incomes in the most unequal countries produces a mere 0.6% reduction in poverty; in the most equal countries, it yields a 4.3% cut.China (which has never shown any interest in MDGs) is responsible for three-quarters of the achievement. Its economy has been growing so fast that, even though inequality is rising fast, extreme poverty is disappearing. China pulled 680m people out of misery in 1981-2010, and reduced its extreme-poverty rate from 84% in 1980 to 10% now.

It's like the complaints of food wasted: the major cause of wasting food is poor storage. Plastic, pesticides, and proper storage is the answer. Refrigerators stop food wastage. Maybe even start nuking food to increase shelf life and safety. And don't forget corruption: After a hurricane destroyed the crop two years ago a lot of politicians here got money to import food, and then stored it away where it rotted. No problem for the politicians, who already had taken their share and would have been forced to sell the rice with little profit. By storing it, they got rich and the poor got nothing.

as for the terrible trash: Well, that's what happens when folks throw things away and the gov't doesn't bother to dispose of them properly.

But the "greens", who often live in cities and are from affluent families, are happy, as are "activists" who can "save" their favorite poor people from the horrors of becoming middle class.

semi related item: 400 thousand year old skeleton's teeth showed evidence of air pollution. 
Yeah. Cooking over wood inside a cave or house tends to lead to a smoky environment.

also semi related: The first American slaves were Irish.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Family news

intermittant brownouts, plus thunderstorms mean internet is going on and off.

We are hoping the storms mean the regular monsoon rains are arriving.

Oh yes Happy Father's day

Saturday, June 20, 2015

What I'm Reading

CSpan books has a short talk about this book about Japanese women sent to the USA as a cross cultural experiment.

I checked ScribD but couldn't find it yet, but did find a book with a similar name about a conservative Samurai's daughter sent to marry a Japanese man in the USA. LINK

I am also reading this book about a Manchu princess (after the revolution threw out the Manchu rulers) adopted by a Japanese man and who later worked for the Japanese who were trying to encourage the non Han Manchus and Mongols to be independent from China (and of course be really ruled by a benevolent Japan). Aside from being a lady about town (eavesdropping and spying in Shanghai) she also road around helping to establish anti Han "militias" in the northern non Han areas of China.

Eventually executed by the communist gov't, she was a cross dressing bisexual whose exploits were lauded for propaganda purposes in the 1930's...

Bring back the Ostrich Fans

So the Pope thinks we need to give up Airconditioners to save Mother Gaia.

Father Z has since removed post, probably because it was too critical, but the RSS feed is still there:

 'Laudato si’ on Air Conditioning:
Since the Pope has taken a dim view on air conditioning, the non-carbon producing  flabella are the ecological sound solution for all your cooling needs.

the above fans seem to be ostrich fans, but the original fans were often peacock fans used to fan the Pope when he was carried around, in the good old days before Vatican II...

(WikipediaFlabella were in use in both pagan rituals and in the Christian Church from very early days. The Apostolic Constitutions, a work of the fourth century, state (VIII, 12): "Let two of thedeacons, on each side of the altar, hold a fan, made up of thin membranes, or of the feathers of the peacock, or of fine cloth, and let them silently drive away the small animals that fly about, that they may not come near to the cups".)

in other words, a combination of fans and fly swatters...

Heh. Reminds me of the song BlueTailFly.


as for me: they can have my airconditioner when they pry my Aircon remote from my cold dead hands.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Factoid of the day

Most kangaroos are left handed.

Kennewick man was an AmerIndian

DNA proves it.

The researchers tested whether the Colville tribe members might have been direct descendents of the population to which Kennewick Man belonged. The data suggested three possible scenarios: that they were direct descendents, with some outside genes contributed when ancestors mated with different groups; that they and Kennewick Man shared an earlier common ancestor who lived around 700 years earlier than Kennewick Man; or a combination of both.

so hopefully it means they were correct letting his descendants bury him.

so why the fuss?

But the issue is far from settled, and a number of the country's leading archeologists say Kennewick Man could shed light on the possibility of other migrations from other parts of the world.
The Bering Strait connection "is a very likely scenario; however, there are other scenarios," said Vance Haynes, professor emeritus of geophysics at the University of Arizona. Haynes is one of eight scientists who have filed suit seeking access to the remains for further study.
"A lot of us feel now there wasn't just an initial migration to the New World, and everything evolved out of that. It's looking like there were a number of migrations over time, and from different areas," including possibly Southeast Asia or even Europe, Haynes said.

some are suggesting that the migration to the Americas theories need a rewrite: It is discussed in this lecture:

you can be whatever you want to be

We live in a time when old men can become 19 year old beauty queens, and white people can become black or Indian to get jobs. Just ignore reality: they felt they were really women/ minorities so it is so, and don't you dare suggest otherwise.

So how far should this go?

Literature suggests pretty far:

Dustbury links to a video about an opera based on Kafka's metamorphosis.

A man becomes a cockroach:

it's a nihilistic allegory about the state remaking man into their own image.

and a commenter points to this variation on that theme:

So do we remake ourselves (Jenner), or does a coercive society remake us (Kafka)?

the bad news: reality exists.

The modern versions of Jenner et al suggests you are free to do anything, including discarding those around you. The ultimate result of a society that stresses ME ME ME.

The Kafkaesque version suggests you are an isolated individual vulnerable to forces you cannot stop. But again, it is the story of an isolated individual.

what is missing from these stories?


Compare and contrast with District 9, about a fussy bureaucrat who finds himself turning into a prawn-like alien....

This is actually based on a short film about prejudice. many of the opinions expressed were made against refugees from Zimbabwe by native South the film is about being a refugee, forced by circumstances to be a stranger in a strange land (this reference, for the clueless, is not Heinlein but Moses).

One thing mentioned by the Pope in his "ecology" encyclical is the importance of human ecology. The same forces of greed and egotism that are destroying nature are destroying the family in the name of freedom. Just as we need to recognize the interconnectedness of nature, we need to recognize the interaction between biology and culture that makes a person find his reason to be by living in a family.  And what he insists is that rich lands should welcome refugees from poor lands or those who flee from wars, he is emphasizing that all men are our family.  The refugees are not faceless enemies, but people with families, some torn from their roots, others migrating with their families in hopes of keeping their families safe, and still others looking for jobs to send money home to keep their families alive..

Kafka and Jenner have it wrong: it's not about ME ME ME, and it's not ME alone vs an all powerful state.

It is about the tiny flower of love and humanity kept alive in the chaos of the modern world.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Back to butter

NIH article on Transfats, and why they are used.

and the alternatives?

Go back to butter and lard, bring back Palm oil, use other natural vegetable oils but process them differently, use GM seeds to grow sources of oil that will be easier to use, or stop eating fried foods or foods that contain oil.

Because of the requirements for oils with specific properties by the food industry that uses them in frying and baking, a trans fat substitute will need to be closely related in structure to currently available saturated fats that are already known to be risk factors for heart disease. After trans fats are phased out and the food industry replaces them with new saturated or partly saturated fats, the medical community will need to study the next generation of frying and baking oils closely to evaluate their safety

frying pans

Toxel has a post about frying pans in the shape of your favorite state..or at least the lower 48...

you can buy them  HERE.

Modern Art

Is this a comment on the modern world,

source:, Chamran Highway

or simply a celebration of construction workers sitting on a girder?

Cat item of the day

the most popular videos on Youtube are cat videos, and now we find that cat videos are good for you.
Feeling sad and tired? Watch Grumpy Cat, say scientists 
Watching cat videos boosts viewers' energy and positive emotions and decreases negative feelings, scientists found
Study participants were more energetic and felt more positive after watching cat-related online media than before.
They also had fewer negative emotions, such as anxiety, annoyance and sadness, after watching cat-related online media than before. 

And Grumpy cat is happy that he is helping you not amused.

Onion Wars

two articles on crooked traders, possible bribes to the gov't to import more onions legally, and hints that a lot of onions are smuggled in.
this makes the middle man rich, leads to wasted food (which rots in warehouses) and the farmers here going broke.

LINK from Interaksyon

Onion growers accused the government agencies - DA and Bureau of Customs - as apparently conniving to discourage the farmers’ enterprising efforts.
“Where do we turn to?” they cried.
Gamilla and the DA have bared documents showing that one of the cooperatives sold 29 of its yellow onion import permits to a businessman importer for P8.9 million.
He also showed photocopies of two checks worth P7.1 million as payment for the import permits sold by the cooperative to the businessman.
The mayor, who claims to be a big onion producer himself, said he is a also victim of the price decline.
Gamilla said he could not do anything, claiming that he himself has approached the agriculture and customs offices and complained.
But apparently nothing was done about his complaints, he added.
Gamilla urged the DA to conduct an investigation on the transactions surrounding the over-importation of onions to put a stop to the anomalous transactions that tend to dampen local initiatives.

and it will get worse with free trade agreements.

LINK2 from GMA

"SINAG officials and Nueva Ecija farmers blamed the cartel of onion traders and importers for 'over-stocking' imported onions, thus forcing the price of locally-produced onions to sink at 'ridiculously low levels,' with still very few takers," the group said in a statement Sunday....
 According to So, agents of onion traders were "reportedly apprehensive" about purchasing onions from local farmers as most traders' warehouses in Manila and nearby provinces were "full of imported and smuggled onions."

and the GMA article says it's not just onions:

Charges had been filed against officials of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), the Department of Agriculture, members of the National Garlic Action Team, and supposed dummies of importer Lilia Cruz, alias Leah Cruz, who reportedly cornered at least 75 percent of the total garlic imports in the country by virtue of BPI import permits. “The difference of onion price from farm gate to retail of P25-30 per kilo is a glaring example of price manipulation by a cartel of traders and importers who have total control of onion supply," 

So a lot of small farmers and mid level farmers will go bankrupt... this is the type of shenanigans that the Pope is talking about when he condemns "capitalism".

Of course, as I mentioned, the alternative is to tell the rich elites not to bribe or take bribes, but "Thou Shalt Not Steal" is too simple for people to understand.

so why are Chinese (and to a lesser  extent Indian and European) onions so cheap? Lower labor cost, cooler climates where pests are not as aggressive, the use of pesticides and herbicides. plus a gov't that encourages exports

And by China's keeping their currency artificially low, it keeps the price down for their exports, adversely impacting other more honest (?!) countries.

Local activists, by opposing such chemicals, will use the Pope's encyclical to increase their influence, leading to a greener Philippines where farmers go broke trying to compete with countries that aren't as green (and often lying about it) and crooks who make a profit manipulating prices and mislabeling products.

no, we don't grow onions: We grow organic rice, and face problems with growers who claim to be organic but are not, or imports improperly labeled as organic. Since we usually sell to small suppliers or upscale supermarkets, who keep an eye on fraudulent labelling, we are able to make a profit but in the wild west of the Palenkes, mislabeled food and counterfeit and often shoddy products are rampant.

Again, the answer is not a NWO of the elites (which would only allow the thieves to police themselves) but preaching Thou Shalt not steal, but never mind.

note 2: Right now we are still waiting for the monsoon rains to start, so we haven't planted yet. To prepare the fields, we have had to irrigate (using diesel for pumps) which increases expenses. So will food prices go up next year?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Second Coming? Nah.

quote of the day: From TheOneRingNet (of all places).

 he (Saruman) wanted the Ruling Ring and was prepared to use force on whomever necessary to get it. But just as with Denethor, pride was the primary evil at work.
Those who will not receive mercy when it is offered are truly in dire straits. Mercy and redemption both were offered Saruman, but it would have meant casting aside his arrogance, ditching his hard-won ‘power,’ abandoning his machines and his tower, the symbols of that power. He simply could not admit that he had been wrong and that he ws now caught without any other way out.

 Belmont club wonders if society has gone over the cliff into madness, where the weird and the sociopaths are now the norm, where reality is denied, and where the twitter mob will attack you if you disagree.

One of the ways that technology has modified this age-old phenomenon is the role played by Internet, and in particular social media sites like YouTube,  Twitter, Facebook and the blogs.  Almost every modern affinity group, including the Syrian rebel factions, have their own social media platforms.  That’s how they recruit, raise funds, issue orders and spread their meme.  Craziness and affinity groups are positively correlated: the louder the uproar in Bedlam, the more people gather into knots of affinity groups to ensure their survival.
So turn off the TV, search out the garage for useful things like tools and go buy your friends a drink.  You’ll need them.  The friends that is.  Maybe the drink too.
reminds me of Yeats 

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst   
Are full of passionate intensity.

and right now, it is only twitter mobs who get you fired, but even level headed people are wondering if today's American society is following an ominous pattern.

I feel doctors and medical personnel will be on the front line in this.
When I was a medical student 45 years ago, one professor tried to fail me in OB for not assisting with abortions. What saved me was that I was a known Catholic, and the Civil rights bill of 1964. 

Section 703 (a) made it unlawful for an employer to "fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions or privileges or employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

With Obamacare, this might no longer be true for doctors; like  the dilemma that one of my non Christian friends faced in 1970, they will merely insist that our religion "allows" abortions etc. and we will either have to go along with it, or lose our job .


MarkMallet defends the Pope from his liberal and his conservative critics and warns to read what was actually said, and not to believe the press spin

PJMedia's take on it HERE

On the Left, there has been much wishful thinking about how the former Cardinal Bergoglio is really a man of progressive sympathies, while on the Right, there is a deep suspicion that the first Jesuit pope is basically a “liberation theologian” who is not a particular fan of capitalism and may in fact be a sneak commie symp. Much of what the pope is said to have said turns out to be either a mistranslation or completely imaginary, the result of having reporters either ignorant of Catholicism or openly hostile to it reporting or commenting on the pope and the Church. So who is he? To quote the old joke, “Is the Pope Catholic?” You bet he is. To look at him any other way is simply wrong.

I plead guity. And I should know better, because I have lived and worked most of my life either in poor areas of the USA or outside the US...the Pope is talking about the realities in the third world, not the way things are (or used to be) done in the more honest USA....


UH OH :teotwawki

a couple days ago, Drudge linked to a UKTelegraph essay that asked if all the conspiracy theories were coming true.

Today, he summarizes his take on the Pope backing the NWO

the full picture, in case you don't remember, is this incident

where the doves of peace were attacked by a crow and seagull...
Greedy predators or a sign from heaven?
Nah no one believes in signs from heaven any more, even Lutherans...


Culture of death update: A new treatment for unhappy transsexuals: Kill them. (Via AnneAlthouse)

The slippery slope to killing people for any reason is alive and well in Belgium, and the NewYorker cheers: They see this as a good thing, since it rejects their "Catholic, patriarchal roots".

this is actually about lowering medical costs since the aging population could bankrupt these countries, something the article actualy hints at...and includes killing unhappy people, not just sick ones....

UKGuardian report here suggests a big problem, including nurses killing patients who didn't ask for it...

And expect it pushed on your tv shows: In the tv show The Messengers, a nurse killed an acutely injured patient who told her he didn't want to live like that... no one condemned it, even though it implied he would only be handicapped (and in acute cases, one never knows how far a person could recover). I only caught two minutes of the show surfing the channels, but one wonders how many similar cases are pushed on shows that I don't watch.


AmericanThinker links to the UKTelegraph article that relates the power struggle that will erupt when the chief mullah dies.
StrategyPage report on the complicated story of the Middle East.
Complicating the story? If Syrian extremists attack the Druze communities there, Israel may step in and rescue them.

Hacker alert: The Cardinals are hacking the Astros, the ACLU is hacking Congressional aides, and the Chinese/Russian hackers are attacking US gov't computers and downloading personal information of those of us who worked there, and hackers are using medical devices to hack into computers of hospitals.

but don't worry: A nice solar flares one of these days will wipe out all our computers and shut the world down:

more HERE.


But there is happy news: (via DaveBarry)

Happy Fudge day!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


General Relativity says Schroedinger's cat is ALIVE!

ABCNews (Australia) reports:
"Schrödinger's cat is in a quantum superposition state of being both alive and dead at the same time, and only by opening the box and looking at the cat does it become one or the other." Scientists have demonstrated quantum superposition using atoms and molecules, but it's never been seen in normal everyday life.
...To understand what was happening, Zych and colleagues turned to another famous theory of science - Einstein's theory of general relativity.

Zych and colleagues discovered that the tiny vibrations of atoms are also affected by gravitational time dilation - vibrations are slower closer to a mass such as the Earth, and faster further away. "We've shown how changes in time caused by gravity affect the ability of an object to be in different quantum states simultaneously," says Zych. "Even the small effect of the Earth's mass will still impact the quantum state of an object, and the bigger the object the greater the effect," says Zych.
 At the quantum level this doesn't interfere with quantum superposition. But this all changes once these atoms form larger objects such as molecules and even bigger structures - like a cat.

Zych and colleagues findings are reported today in the journal Nature Physics.

Wait til they read paragraph 120

The pope's encyclical has been leaked, and it seems to spout the NWO anti capitalist cliches without actually saying anything.


“It will address the issue of inequality in the distribution of resources and topics such as the wasting of food and the irresponsible exploitation of nature and the consequences for people’s life and health,” Barreto Jimeno told the Catholic News Service.

So don't waste food? Uh, does this mean we should store leftovers and eat them, risking food poisoning, or does it mean not to use grain to make biofuel, or does this mean add lots and lots of chemical preservatives to food so it doesn't rot so quickly?

Does this mean telling the greens in the church here to encourage GM food, or that we should encourage dry style rice growing that uses chemical herbicides and less natural flooding to rot leaves, a process that produces methane?

Does this mean  allowing GM versions of rice, so we have a larger rice crop and a decent profit for our farmers, instead of encouraging "organic" rice which has a lower harvest? Or shall we stay organic, and let politicians get rich illegally smuggling in importing GM chemically grown rice and vegies that are cheap enough for the poor to buy?

and does not exploiting nature mean to stop legal companies from doing mining or logging and forcing them to not pollute, or does it mean pass laws against these things, which will look nice on paper but actually will result in illegal operations where the local politicians will get a gift to look the other way?

or does it mean don't exploit nature at all and let the poor people remain in their picturesque villages living a traditional life, a picture that pleases ecotourists? Just ignore that their kids have to migrate to cities or overseas to get a decent job.
why not write something really really practical like: thou shalt not steal, and that includes bribery and kickbacks.

65 bible verses against bribery

nope, can't actually do something as gauche as give practical suggestions like THOU SHALT NOT STEAL instead of vague platitudes that will be used to impose a NWO by experts who will use the encyclical to increase their power.

just ignore all those rich Asians who were lifted out of poverty by capitalism.

Has the Pope noticed? Probably not.

Ah, but there is good newes, as Father Z does note: If you go down to paragraph 120, the pope condemns abortion. And paragraph 155 discusses the ecology of the sexes, which could be interpreted as saying: get real and stop all that multigender stuff.

So it's not all bad news.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Happy Anniverary Magna Carta

But why is a charter from 1215 which was declared null and void by the Pope within weeks of being written, which doesn't mention "trial by jury" or "habeas corpus" (the right not to be held indefinitely without trial) and which forbids any woman from accusing a man of murder or manslaughter, seen as the foundation of our liberties and our law?At its heart is the idea that the law is not simply the whim of the king, or the government. It is the great egalitarian legacy of Magna Carta, that all are equal under the law, and all can be held to account.
InOurTime podcast discusses it here.

No freedom of speech for nerds

So some 70 plus year old Nobel prize winning scientist has been fired because he dared to say what every one of us geekgals knew: Women in science often cried when corrected and fell in love with their mentors.

Well, duh. That was true, although whether or not it is true now is a different problem.

Those of us girls who were actually science oriented when few women were in science knew this: we sat back and watched these shennanigans going on.

Of course, that was in the good old days, before radical feminism and when you had to be serious about science.

Nowadays, you can be fired by manipulative immature women for saying that a lot of manipulative immature women cry and can't do the work and "fall in love" with their professors. Even though it's probably still true.

What? No feminists around who are moms, and who know geeks often are 13 year old boys at heart who just want to be laughed at and mothered by the women around them?

This isn't the first time: When the scientists did an extrordinary feat of landing on a comet, some stupid woman complained he was wearing a geeky shirt that made fun of women. He had to be publically humiliated and apologize, even though the shirt was designed by a goth gal for him, and showed a happy buxom woman riding a rocket, which last time I looked suggested female empowerment (i.e. in charge of the rocket, or maybe in charge of the you know what).

But what worries me is that the trend is to fire someone for not being politically correct, even if it is a joke.

What about that Dean who was fired for daring to say women's brains are different which is why fewer of them are in science? I used to argue with my profs all the time about this, but had to admit it was physiologically true.

Ah, but it goes beyond that. What about the computer geek who was fired because years ago he gave money to support traditional marriage? He is still out of a job, even though he invented a program that lets you enjoy the web.

Someone notice a pattern here?

Then there is "Gamergate" and the "Sad puppies" vs the Hugo controversy. This too is about censorship, and SarahHoyt has a lot about it here.  the problem? It limits publishing to those who jump into PC speak and not independent writing. And although published writers are probably not censored, it will discourage new writers and artists.

and don't get me started about the collapse of medical ethics in Obamacare ...

Family news

Brownout again yesterday afternoon...the lights on the business side of the house compound went on at 7 pm, but the lights on the old house did not. (The older parts of the house get their electricity from the western connection, and the shops and houses on that side are running generators so that line hasn't been repaired yet) But when our handyman came in to pick up stuff for the farm, I had him connect the wires so now I am comfortable.

So no aircon last night. Luckily it was not too hot.

This morning, I gave my dogs a bath...the black one never was allowed on the bed, but when Lolo was sick, she started sneaking to sleep next to him when I wasn't in the room. So now she thinks it's her bed. Lolo also was the one who bathed our dogs, until about six months ago when he got too sick for this. Not a pleasant job.

The difference? He used the heated water in our bathroom shower, and I just used the garden hose outside.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday School lesson for today


an article about a priest forgiving the one who killed his colleague and tried to kill him.

Via GetReligionBlog, who commends the good reporting that dares to quote the priest's struggles with forgiving his attacker:
The newspaper quotes Terra discussing what Jesus would do, without downplaying it or adding sarcastic quote marks:
"What God allows, both good and bad, is experienced to make saints of us," he says. "Jesus suffered and died on the cross, that's how God willed it."
Terra asks what Jesus must think when ordinary people complain about the hand Providence has dealt.
"He said, 'I carried this cross for you, and you find (your own struggles) objectionable?'"
For Terra, the question of forgiveness was also never even a question. As a priest, he knows he has a duty not only to follow Christ's example, but also to set an example for his parishioners.

A good sermon for today's feast: Catholic celebrate the feast of the "Sacred Heart of Jesus" that emphasizes that Jesus loves us and forgives us. Protestants would quote a dozen scripture passages, but Catholics use art to show the concept.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Science? There's an app for that

DavidReneke notes that if you are interested in Nasa's Pluto mission, there is an app to follow it.

New Horizons will make the first-ever flyby of Pluto on July 14, zooming within 12,500 kilometres of the dwarf planet’s surface. The Pluto Safari app, which came out last month, keeps tabs on New Horizons, counting its close encounter down to the second, and teaches users about the frigid, distant realm the spacecraft is exploring. Pluto Safari is available for Apple and Android devices, and it’s free. “We didn’t want to put a price on it, because we wanted to get it in the hands of as many people as we could,” said ‪Pedro Braganca of Simulation Curriculum Corp., which developed the app.

Pluto is one of several planetoids of a similar size that circle the earth, but probably no longer considered a planet. This video explains why:

more NASA apps here.

Physorg reports that the Miratory Dragonfly project is looking for citizen scientists to help

A tandem pair of Common Green Darners (Anax junius) laying eggs. © Dennis Paulson.


cosmic confusion? Are there or are there not multiuniverses?

the discussion is about the energy of vacuums, and the large errors in calculating that, which can only be solved if there are multiverses...

and then there is this scary idea: the tiny chance that life exists in the universe can be best explained by chance if there are billions and billions of universes. (Similar to the Monkey typing Shakespeare Paradox).

but the real agenda is not mathematics or physics but philosophy;

 Natarajan offered a different interpretation.
"One of the reasons why the multiverse argument actually appeals to me is actually there is no room for agency or deities or any such thing," she said. "I must say that personally I am not uncomfortable with the idea of a multiverse." [Scientists Debate the Inflation Theory Multiverse]

All your data is belong to us

not only do the chinese (or is it Russian) hackers have all my data since I was a federal employee, but China probably has my security clearance investigation.

and the irony? The bug was picked up when a vendor was showing someone how his product could detect hackers.

the Snowden episode publicized American hacking, but not the extent of Chinese or Russian hacking. One wonders why. There has been a low grade cyberwar going on for quite awhile, which has gotten little publicity. So where is Snowden in this? not interested: Presumably they are leftist and the meme is evil America, not evil communists or evil islamicists.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Audiobook of the week

From Librivox:

Frederic MACCABE

This manual offers instructions on how to become a ventriloquist. Starting out from a general introduction of ventriloquism, it explains how sounds are formed in the human body and how the voice is used. It then provides exercises for the budding artist, and a number of dialogues for performances.


and for those of you who don't need to see the lovely photographs from NatGeo, you can also download old audio versions of that magazine:

and by "old", I mean OLD. from their first five years of publication.

Sir Christopher Lee, RIP

Actor Christopher Lee has died, and Brian Sibley has a long blogpost remembering him.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Feeling nasty

Yesterday I was missing money from my purse. I'm pretty sure the maid stole it, since school is starting and she needs money, but I don't want to fire her without proof, so I warned her mother instead. Sigh.

And today one of the usual professional beggars showed me an infected toe and asked for money. I gave her antibiotics instead. When I came back with the pills, her daughter was there holding a baby complaining the kid needed antibiotic for his cough.

I got mad and said go to the clinic and sent them off.

Why did I get mad? Two reasons: One, the last time I gave them fifty cents for a baby's antibiotic, I was curtly told the medicine was one dollar, and they demanded that.
Second, the infected toe was from a pedicure. And not a home made pedicure, but one with fancy designs. That cost one dollar. So money for pedicures, no money for sick grandkids.

Don't feel too sorry for them: Her husband has a job, and I gave her 10 dollars to help buy books for her kids two weeks ago, right before the start of school.

That is probably a help. Today's visit was just business as usual.

I am fighting off  cold for the last two days, and have little patience as you can see.