Sunday, January 31, 2016

Space: The final frontier (for conspiracy theories)

OK guys, you have heard of Planet Nibiru which is supposed to hit earth and kill us all in 2003..(yes, it's true, because aliens told a lady in Wisconsin that this would happen. And you thought warnings from the Virgin were weird).

Well, anyway, wikipedia says Nibiru that it was first found by the ancient Sumerians.

The Sumerians and later also the Babylonians mention about a long time ago in Ancient times in which Nibiru (Marduk), until that time a stranger in our solar system, had a fight in heaven with Tiamat and Kingu. At that time, millions of years ago, the satellites of Nibiru (Marduk) collapsed with Tiamat (a planet at least two times the mass of Earth) and broke it in 2 parts.
In accordance to the theory of Zecharia Sitchin and others, the 2 parts of Tiamat were forced to another orbit around the Sun, One part was broken in small parts and are now called The Asteroid Belt (between Mars and Jupiter) and Asteroids Meteorites and Comets. The other part was forced into his new orbit between Venus and Mars and became the Earth. Kingu became the Moon of the "new planet" Earth. Nibiru was forced into an elliptical orbit around the Sun and its new orbit was from that time on a cycle of 3,600 years around the Sun.
all nonsense, of course, but then in today's news I read these stories:

ABC NEWS (Australia): Ancient Babylonians used calculus to find Jupiter 1400 yrs before Europeans.

Calculus? But in the story they used Geometry, which is not the same thing, and the cunieform tablets date from "350 to 50 BCE", but came from ancient Uruk or maybe ancient Babylon.

then we read: SciTechNews: Planet Nine might exist.

Pluto was demoted, because it was no larger than a lot of other planetoids in the area, but now scientists note that another planet might be out there: a big one. Well, they haven't really "found" it yet but it might be there:

The newly discovered object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun. The researchers, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, discovered the planet’s existence through mathematical modeling and computer simulations but have not yet observed the object directly.

so how about those crazy theories that Nibiru collided with earth eons ago?


from UKTelegraph: Earth is actually two planets

Earth is actually made up from two planets which came together in a head-on collision that was so violent it formed the Moon, scientists have concluded.
-and then there are the theorists trying to figure out how the universe started.

At this point, my head spins, because I predate the "big bang" theory, when we were told the universe was static and that stars just sort of popped up by themselves.

I try to keep up on the  latest theories, but the dirty little secret is that a lot of the stuff out there is philosophical speculation and not backed by hard data... they are still trying to figure out why there is anything instead of nothing.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Factoid of the day

Why did medieval people bury horse skulls below their floors?

Superstition or acoustics?

Instead, Hukantaival says, the skulls were deliberately placed within buildings as “foundation deposits.” Hukantaival is doing her doctoral thesis on foundation deposits, and according to her research, people have been concealing various objects—from everyday household items to DIY counter-magical devices—in buildings for pretty much as long as permanent buildings have been around. At different times and in different places, the meanings of these deposits and the practices surrounding them have changed, but using domestic animals as deposits seems to be a constant, and the horse appears especially often.

More at Atlas Obscura

Headsup The Presurfer

Related item: Often in Africa you place a ceremonial animal in the foundation of your new store to gain good luck from the spirits.

this was the theme of the Movie Dingaka.

China one, greens zero

Ecuador''s millions of poor people: one. 

"indigenous"people beloved by rich US activists, zero.

The oil blocks overlap with the traditional home of the Sápara, an indigenous group with only 300 members,

About a year ago I posted about oil exploration by multinational firms and noted that I backed the president of Ecuador in this.

The president has to think of everyone.

As for that headline about the "pristine rain forest": Guess they didn't know that the Amazon supported millions before the great dying off thanks to imported European disease (accidental, not deliberate). So it's actually not "pristine" but new growth of forest.

But now the Chinese got the lease.
Thanks, green activists.

and yes, I know: there was probably money that changed hands under the table here, and the Chinese are good at this.

I am ambivalent, because this is not a "good guy bad guy" story.

Keep industry out, and poverty kills a lot more people than pollution. and one wonders why outsiders are there protesting with oodles of money that could better be used building schools and clinics. But don't mind me: when I see articles extolling primitive lifestyles, I see poverty, disease, and babies dying from dirty water and poor nutrition.

So who counted votes to see the locals "opposed" the companies? Many cultures have only men in charge (or post menopausal ladies) who have a stake in the old order, where they rule. And of course, many will "obey" outsiders who "educate" them, be it Christian missionaries, Doctors pressureing them to get their immunizations, local communist activists recruiting them to fight for justice, or environmental activists who speak in their name and include a couple of semi naked specimens in their protests to prove they are "genuine".

I remember when a couple of "Native American" activists went to Colombia to help with similar protests and got shot. Big kerfuffle ensued until they found the killing wasn't by the oil companies but by the local FARC types.

the "community opposition" mentioned at the end of the article was not local (I mean, they desperately need jobs) but astroturfed and pressure applied to the companies from activists in the US/EU.

China is less likely to bend to such nonsense. I mean, yes they are the most polluted country in the world, but hey, at least they aren't losing millions to starvation every year as they did in the past.

Which is why I support oil drilling etc. It is the lesser of two evils.

Once the oil drilling and modernization makes people rich, they will start their own protests (such as those going on right now in China) and hopefully clean up Bejing's air like the activists did in the US by passing the clean air act.

But you have to be rich to do this. Poor people may join your protest (here in the Philippines, the going rate is ten dollars a day for protesters), but they still will work in polluted areas because hey, you have to eat (and drink some Sam Mig and have a fiesta once in awhile).

and yes, I know: Pollution.

But the dirty little secret is that often keeping out big companies only leads to "mom and pop" companies doing the same thing, be it oil drilling, illegal mining, or cutting down trees.

Locals work for them because they need jobs, local officials take bribes to look the other way, and since they are small they work "under the radar" of the aggressive activists, and because they are "fly by night" companies who get the loot and leave, and have no local ties, these companies often the damage to the environment is worse than larger companies who are under pressure by environmental activists to keep the jobsite clean.

So, thanks to the "opposition" by "locals", the Chinese will take it over. They have no problem with bribery, environmental pollution, and are not easily cowed by green activists.

Best of all worlds (/s) (Sarcasm off).

and a similar infusion of Chinese money and industry is changing Africa, but that's another story you probably haven't read about.

note on Ms Kelly

I haven't watched any of the debates, and we don't get Fox (we get two CNN channels, the BBC and a lot of local news stations on our cable).

But David Warren has sparred and lost in an interview with Ms Kelly in the past and has a report on his website.

he was being ironic but she took him seriously...

Related item: DaveBarry's report on Hillary's campaign.

How to Lie and have the press repeat your lie

StrategyPage has a short article on the 3000 year history of propaganda and political spin, and it's not pretty.

what, Ramses the Great didn't win the Battle of Kardesh?

And of course, Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great were bloody conquerers, but you rarely hear of civilians who got killed in their wars.

In contrast, to try to "get Bush", one famous British medical journal published a hugely inflated number of deaths from the Iraq war, and then when actual statistics suggested fraud, claimed they couldn't understand what when wrong: After all they hired an Iraqi with public health experience under Sadam to collect the statistics.

Aside from the scandal that a foreign medical journal was trying to influence an American election, it ended up putting anything the journal published into question: who "peer reviewed" the data? If they let a political partisan collect the data, would they let in an article biased because the writer was working for a drug company? And the selection bias which was probably the reason for the inflated numbers: it would be like taking a survey of inner city American schools for sickle cell  anemia, a disease mainly found in those whose ancestors were West Africans,  and extrapolating those deaths as if they represented the entire country.

A similar item is the press using veterans suicides to demonize the war and paint veterans as crazy: yet statistics show that most "veteran's deaths" were not from Iraq/Afghanistan veterans, but from aging VietNam veterans (from a demographic where the suicide rate was high in non veterans too).

Of course, the problem that the medical journal ignored was biased sample, and many of the other "atrocities/ain't it awful" spin was similarly spun: reporting all deaths, ignoring many were terrorist attacks and that the US troops were trying to stop them. This is similar to the "BLM" propaganda: ignoring that there are bad guys out there, who can spin the press to show the "cops" trying to stop them are the real problem:

StrategyPage points out how the reporters were spun by Sadam's minions:

 the Sunni minority (20 percent of the population) had exploited and terrorized the majority (Shia, Kurds, and Christians) for centuries. The Sunni were rich because they took most of the oil revenue as well. When Saddam Hussein was overthrown by a U.S. led invasion in 2003, those who opposed this operation had no trouble finding Sunni families (who were now poor and not powerful at all) who could tell sad stories of fathers and brothers killed by the Americans and the family reduced to poverty and oppression. 

Not revealed was that the lost menfolk were often members of the security services that had been killing and terrorizing Iraqis for years and grabbing most of the oil wealth.
 The Sunni Arab Iraqis were also the best educated segment of the population and often spoke English and other foreign languages. Journalists looking for sympathetic victims always had Sunni Arabs ready to step up and give the human side. What was rarely mentioned was that most of the terrorism in Iraq (that killed over 50,000 Iraqis in five years) was carried out by the Sunni Arab minority, who felt it was their right to rule and get most of the oil income.
 No one tried to humanize that angle. ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), founded and run by these same Iraqis, is killing even more people.
no, because the story printed needed to condemn the war. And all that stuff about US preventive war being evil ignored that the UN was not intervening, so the US became the world's policeman.

So why is the world in turmoil now?
In the US, it's called the "fergueson effect": a cop fighting for his life against a much larger thug trying to grab his gun is demonized as killing an "unarmed child with his hands up".
The result is police are reluctant to stop criminals, and the crime wave soars. But since most of the murders are minorities killed by other minorities who belong to gangs, the Obama inspired activists don't care, and the press ignores it.

But the same bias can be seen not just in the middle east, in the anti Israel spin of the European media, and in "activism" by SJW, but in the US elections.

Framing the debate is often complemented by efforts to "interpret" A Statement. Have you ever seen a writer say that someone said something, then what the person said followed even though it didn't look anything like what the writer claimed was meant? Selective presentation of information by misinterpretation is as good as an outright lie. A variation on that is withholding Information. Is it the same as lying? Some in the media might not want to answer that question.

it says a lot that one way the debate is framed is that Bernie Sanders is being ignored by the press, who prefers to cover Trump. And not just Sanders: other "bland" governors are complete non entities, with no one suggesting maybe they actually know how to run a state and would be able to run a country.

Alas, this last part is also being ignored is Sander's background: A complete ignorance of basic economics and a history of not being able to keep any job except in politics, in a legislative job where his ability to produce blarney keeps the locals happy.

and I won't even bother to go into the spin about Hillary's emails.

read the whole article and then try to read the news without exploding.


Friday, January 29, 2016

Audiobook of the week

Lost Moon: The story behind Apollo 13...

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

First came the turkeys...then came the dolls

first airlines had to accommodate service dogs for their blind customers, but in recent years various people with odd anxieties decided they absolutely positively had to have their hamster/pig/turkey with them as a "medically required emotional support animal" companion.

So what's next?


The NZHerald reports on a fad in Thailand where human looking dolls can fly with you as a fellow passenger, and even be fed by flight attendants.

While on a Thai Smile Airways (part of national carrier Thai Airways) flight, the dolls are expected to abide by the same rules as human passengers. They must wear a seatbelt when instructed and will be offered food and drink throughout the flight...
 Photo / Instagram, vitrawee

The dolls are thought to contain the spirits of child angels and are pampered with fancy clothes and accessories in the hope it will bring good luck.
more HERE.

Presumably they will have to go through security and searched just like regular passengers, since recently some enterprising criminal has used a doll as a drug mule.

but this last article adds:

Luk Thep dolls, first popularized last year by a number of celebrities, are like a regular doll but with a child’s soul inside. Similar to the kumarn thong of old, Luk Thep do not require a human fetus or genuine child’s soul, instead one is simply “invited” inside to possess a factory manufactured doll.
Huh? what was that about a human fetus?

Well, this article explains about the kumarn Thong idol...

The article explains that keeping the KumarnThong ghost will help you and your family, and the fetus part is based on a folk tale about a soldier who made a doll from the dead fetus after his pregnant wife died.

But I have to warn you that the WIKIPEDIA article goes deeper into the occult side of the practice.

headsup DaveBarry

election update

NO, I didn't watch either of the US presidential  debates on TV, nor did I go to Manila for the Democrat overseas meeting (2hour drive to Manila if no traffic: Five hour drive with traffic. The only time there is no traffic is between 2:30 and 3:30 am).

But for political junkies, Dave Barry has the latest.

the bad news is that their political coverage is almost as absurd as Dave's humor column...

of course, here in the Philippines, we also have an election, between a guy who wants to shoot all the bad guys, a lady who is probably not a citizen, a lady who tweets all the time and is the darling of the students who walk around with their cellphones texting and tweeting full time, and a guy who married the present President's old flame.

The bad news is that although shooting presidential candidates is rare (it's been 30 yrs), shooting up one's rival for mayor or governor is not...

we're on the "watch list" for violence this cycle again... this Oct2105 article notes:

from May 2013 to October this year, 21 politically motivated executions have been carried out by guns-for-hire, or the now popular “riding-in-tandem killers,” causing the death of 14 individuals and serious wounding of seven others.
The victims are all local politicians ranging from city and town councilors to barangay officials and plain local government employees.
and one of the major sources of unhappiness: corruption, corruption, corruption.
And also cheap onions smuggled in from China that destroys the income of local veggie farmers.


Bronze age collapse

just liked for later watching.

China takeover?

I woke up late at night and turned on the TV and happened to catch a discussion of the Apparition of Lipa on the local TV.

A young novice nun saw the Virgin...nothing new about that, especially in Latin countries where local shrines about visions dot the landscape. But here, the usual over enthusiasm of the locals had the Vatican quickly shut it down, persecuted the nuns, threw the girl out of the convent, and threatened the bishops to sign a paper saying it was a fake.

But as the bishops died, many admitted they only signed the letter under threats of excommunication, so in recent years the Bishop reexamined the case, and now one can visit the site...

Is it real or fake? Who knows. These things are left to one's judgement by the church, unless fraud or heresy are found.

The pressure on the bishops was probably true since I first heard the story of the shut down from a Spanish exchange student whose uncle was a Jesuit  of how they shut a reported vision down, not because they investigated it, but because miracles and visions were taboo at the time.

Well, anyway, only later did I recognize the story after seeing a report on local TV here.

So last night, as they discussed the matter on local TV,  they mentioned one of the "secrets" was that China would try to take over the Philippines.

A retrograde discovery of a "secret"? Again I don't know.

But both the priest and the reporter just shrugged as if this was going on right now and was inevitable...

In other words, the grass roots opinion here is that China's aggression in the West Philippine sea will not stop with them taking over the sealanes and shoals but with a takeover of the Philippines.

Since the Chinese already run the economy via their merchants and by keeping their currency so low that they can under price local products and bankrupt local businesses, this might just be referring to an economic takeover...but given the passivity of the US in face of Chinese aggression against the Philippines and Vietnam, locals just figure they will have to go along with the Chinese bullying.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Iowa take two

Humorist DaveBarry is following the Iowa caucus kerfuffle, and it's not pretty...

No need to get all technical about why we care about the Iowa caucuses. We just DO. And that is why the eyeballs of the world will be focused on the voters of Iowa Monday night as they go into their caucus places and, after thoroughly discussing the candidates and the issues with their fellow Iowans, sacrifice a live owl. No, they don’t do that, probably. We don’t actually know what they do in there. All we know is that eventually, somehow, they will, as a state, give their blessing to a pair of presidential hopefuls who will both, based on past caucus outcomes, have a solid chance of not being elected president.

Read more here:

read the whole thing.

No, not a joke

when I saw a joke on one political oriented site mocking Gov. O'Malley for playing a guitar in Iowa to get attention, I thought it was a joke.

But today I found this on my Youtube list, from CSPAN:

Sigh, it says a lot about the problems with primary popular elections when well qualified governors like O'Malley and Walker are unknown and can't get respect, when well known governors like Jeb and Cristy get ridiculed, and while demogogues like Trump get the headlines.

Stories around the net plus rants

All I can say is "politics uggh"...
I know from my experience that when you live overseas, you don't really understand the US elections, which always look crazy since the press tends to exaggerate the crazy part and demonize the non PC opinions.

So what else is going on?

LATimes story about how extreme poverty coerces poor women in India to carry surrogate children.
It's a good story, and the local legislature may try to regulate the practice.
Like Organ buying, this is actually exploiting the poor (who get a tiny percentage of the fee paid by rich US/Europeans). And the Big Guy in the sky tends to look down on those who exploit the poor.

a reminder that in the 19th century, (and in some parts of Europe in the 20th century) that Europe had third world type poverty: the bodies of 800 children under age 6 found in an abandoned church cemetery.
Found when constructing a road.
Archeoblog comments:

Actually, the kids ought to show abundant evidence of the sorts of chronic diseases that affect (and kill) children, such as malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies. Those may not be the proximate causes of death (usually infections) but they are contributing factors.
original story here.

The dirty little secret of history is that young kids died a lot...Sort of like today in parts of Africa and asia. LINK.

yes, like all the kids who died in our hospital when I worked in Africa...which is why one of our "preventive medicine" outreaches was a nutrition village: We had local health aids screen kids getting thin, and then arranged a six week course in nutrition/chicken (egg) and veggie raising for mom while we fed up the kids.

once the kid got kwashiorkor, they usually died...and many borderline cases died of infectious disease: Measles is a big cause of death in the malnourished, and often the borderline children who got measles would morph into full kwashiorkor and die a few weeks later, after surviving measles.

We had some experts say we should just not give out the (expensive) vaccine, because it was nature's way of culling the weaker kids who would grow up stunted in mind and body if they lived.

Eugenics is alive and well: but they will only whisper such stuff in private, for fear of being called racists.

of course, nowadays the problem is the anti vaccine hysteria, usually by the elite celebrities who had never seen an epidemic....and alas often it is picked up by less educated local clergy, who point to an article in the western press to tell their people not to let their kids get the shots.

when flying is cheaper than taking a car.

of course in the USA, he would just have borrowed his mom's car and driven there.

I have a relative who keeps telling me that the trade center attack was an inside job. The latest is that the repeat "explosions" seen as the towers collapsed pancake fashion "proved" they set explosives every few floors to do this.

No, he has no engineering background, and he never read the PopMech report that gives engineering details, and he probably doesn't realize that Rick Rescorla was on the lookout for such things...

Yes, I follow "conspiracy theories": Because some of them have a grain of truth in them. The problem is they exaggerate that small truth as if it was entirely true, ignoring other factors e.g the risk benefit ratio for example, where they trumpet the risk but ignore the much much larger benefit.

But now Oxford university does a study that sort of proves that huge conspiracies are hard to do: because few people can keep their mouths shut.

Even the moon landing "hoax" would have been found out within four years.

Oxford University physicist Dr David Grimes worked out a mathematical way to calculate the chances of a plot being deliberately leaked by a whistle-blower or accidentally uncovered.
He was able to show that the more people share in a conspiracy, the shorter its lifespan is likely to be...
For a plot to last five years, the maximum number of plotters turned out to be 2,521. To keep a scheme operating undetected for more than a decade, fewer than 1,000 people could be involved, while a century-long deception had to include fewer than 125 collaborators.
the moon hoax would have required 400 thousand plus conspirators...

and sorry, global warming deniers, that conspiracy has hundreds of thousands of conspirators, and would be found out even faster.

Of course, the problem is not global warming per se, but that the hysteria is being used to push a one world tyranny on us.

But then, just because people with an interest in helping mankind meet, it does not mean they are doing so because they are evil, and it doesn't mean that they all agree: this is true for the bilderbergers or for Catholic bishops.

Maybe the answer is to have CSPAN show the Davos etc meetings on TV, like EWTN shows the clueless Catholic bishop meetings in the USA...

speaking of vaccine: One of the side issues with the MMR vaccine that is rarely discussed: The it's use has pretty well eliminated congenital rubella syndrome in developed countries. MMR=Measles, mumps and Rubella (aka "german" measles).

Yes, rubella was once a major cause of deafness, blindness, and mental retardation, often with "autistic" like symptoms, in the "good old days"...

indeed, one reason docs backed loosening of the abortion laws in the 1960's was after we saw these kids born after their mom got rubella when pregnant, but couldn't get an abortion, and were left with a severely affected child.

Expect a similar rush to late term abortions if Zika virus hits.


Is there an Indonesian Pyramid dating to 11000 BC? The Mountain of Enlightenment may turn out to be a manmade mound or pyramid...

The UKMail says 20 thousand BC...

rewrite the history books...

I hate to say it's true, but Bill Maher is right: Black heroes are not popular in some Asian countries, and therefore make less profit in overseas markets.

Here in the Philippines, not much, but racism is huge in China. More HERE.


cross posting from my other blogs

The footwashing kerfuffle is satirized as a pedicure, and I muse about toenails that I have met.

the Zika virus will be bad for mothers and their unborn children, and probably came to Brazil with the tourists for the World cup

Right now they are screening, but there is no treatment and so far no vaccine.

are younger folks getting colon cancer? I muse about the demographic changes in GI cancers, but I am still looking for links to verify that things are changing (i.e. for later reading).

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Calling Jeeves post of the day

Need a job? Go to butler school

the BBC reports that a good butler can make a great salary and describes one of them at work.

and yes, ladies: 40 percent of them are now women....

and one comment linked to this older article about butler schools in China.

here, we have a lot of schools giving courses in tourism/hotel management etc. and minicourses in doing a butler's work. A lot of Filipinos work not only as sailor, but on cruise ships.

headsup LightReadingBlog

The Snow Goose

Classic story by Paul Gallico


Radio play HERE.

a bit fuzzy, but the TV film is here:

Camel's album inspired by the story is HERE.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

PSST: Investment tips of the week

Investment tips for 2016

 Watch for these consolidations later on this year:

 1.) Hale Business Systems, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Fuller Brush, and W R. Grace Co. Will merge and become: Hale, Mary, Fuller, Grace.

 2.) Polygram Records, Warner Bros. and Zesta Crackers join forces and become: Poly, Warner Cracker.

 3.) 3M will merge with Goodyear and become: MMMGood.

 4.) Zippo Manufacturing, Audi Motors, Dofasco, and Dakota Mining will merge and become: ZipAudiDoDa.

 5.) FedEx is expected to join its competitor, UPS, and become: FedUP.

 6.) Fairchild Electronics and Honeywell Computers will become: Fairwell Honeychild.

 7.) Grey Poupon and Docker Pants are expected to become: PouponPants.

 8.) Knotts Berry Farm and the National Organization of Women will become: Knott NOW. And finally...

9.) Victoria's Secret and Smith & Wesson will merge under the new name: TittyTittyBangBang.

your email of the day from Tia Maria....

The Church almost banned polyphony

Professor Podles discusses why the church (i.e. Catholic and Anglicans) almost banned polyphony from their services: too many notes: by extending a single syllable into a melody, the words were lost and the lyrics became obscured.

Who saved polyphony for the church? Palestrina.


The Samurai Saint

Several martyrs of Japan came from Samurai families, but the next one to be declared a saint was an actual Samurai.

From Father Z:

Takayama Ukon was born in 1552 in Japan during the time when Jesuit missionaries were becoming introduced within the country. By the time Takayama was 12, his father had converted to Catholicism and had his son baptized as “Justo” by the Jesuit Fr. Gaspare di Lella.
Later, he resigned and lived in poverty because he refused to work as a Samurai:

Ten years passed, and the chancellor became more fierce in his persecution against Christians. He eventually crucified 26 Catholics, and by 1614, Christianity in Japan was completely banned.
The new boycott on Christianity forced Takayama to leave Japan in exile with 300 other Catholics. They fled to the Philippines, but not long after his arrival, Takayama died on February 3, 1615.
So there is a Philippine connection.

And because he died from persecution, although he wasn't killed, he is considered a martyr (original meaning: witness) under church rules.

The history of those days is only now being told in the West: IF they ever get around to filming Endo's book "Silence", maybe ordinary people will find out about the persecution of Christians from a Japanese author (in contrast to Shogun, from a western point of view).

What is interesting here is that western history tends to ignore the Japanese invasion of Korea (on the way to conquer Ming China)...Professor Bulliet in his world history course at Columbia U :(YOUTUBE) points out that more people died in atrocities and hunger from that war (read PDF here where they estimate 20 percent of the Korean population, i.e. 2 million, died, and 50 thousand taken back to Japan to work as slaves).
This was equivalent to the notorious 30 year war that is still used by athiests to demonize religion, yet no one in the west ever heard about that war...

 the recent film The Admiral, about Admiral Yi and his naval victories, has made some people aware of that invasion, as has a recent best selling book. Part of this is because the few sources are not in European languages, and of course, only the elites could write (and one suspects that often negative reports disappeared)

Although Takayama left his post in 1587, apparently not all Christian samurais did, because some of them accompanied their masters to fight against Korea, presumably because the anti Christian edicts were sort of ignored when the Christian samurai who were feudal lords and their armies were needed.We know this because some Jesuits went there to minister to them in Korea (and Jesuits tend to write about such things).

At that time, they did not work among the Koreans, but that article notes they did convert some of the slaves brought back with the army: Indeed, 9 of the canonized Japanese martyrs were Korean.

More on that war HERE. They say that Japan invaded because their leader was crazy, yet the weakness of the Ming Dynasty suggests he might have succeeded.

This article points out that because the Chinese used the Manchus to help them fight,

Nurhaci organized the Jurchens in Manchuria, and his army helped fight the Japanese in Korea. He stopped sending tribute to Beijing in 1615 and expressed his grievances.

Later of course, the Manchus decided to take over China. Like most wars in China, the number of ordinary people who died of famine or disease or were killed isn't mentioned, (the article notes only that they brought back 100 thousand captives with them) as in contrast to the west where ordinary folks could write their own histories or the Jesuits or Protestant clergy would note the suffering and atrocities of ordinary people.

A lot of this is mainly bookmarked for me to read later, so excuse me if I get some of the stuff wrong.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Answering the really important questions of life

what happens if you fill an AK47 with Twinkies?



Imrprobable research Podcast snips their favorite items, including why physicists aren't interested in Brussel sprouts in physics, and Prayer injuries.

A great interview on the Brussel sprout physicist Melissa Franklin HERE.

ah, but Brussel spouts will teach you about topology and Euler characteristics.


and all you folks in the eastern US: Be careful out there...


(big) Cat item of the day

According to StrategyPage, the South African AirForce is using cheetahs to lower the incidence of bird strikes on their airplanes.

 cheetahs raised in the breeding programs are comfortable enough around humans to be released onto military air bases so they can hunt (and chase away) large concentrations of birds or small animals who are, if left alone, are a major threat to aircraft landing or taking off. Young male cheetahs are used, because in the wild they will hunt together while the females are generally solitary.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

WWJD? or die of food poisoning if you love Jesus

well, first we had the "faith based" outreach to stop using energy, and then we had the Pope play a "green themed" light show on St Peters.

So what is the latest faith based outreach that we will be told we have to embrace if we want to prove we are good people?GetReligion reports on the "faith based" outreach to stop "wasting" food.

"That shalt not toss food."That was the headline on an NPR report this week on the government enlisting religious groups to help fight America's food waste:
Separation of church and state? When it comes to fighting food waste, the U.S. government is looking to partner up with the faithful.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday launched the Food Steward's Pledge, an initiative to engage religious groups of all faiths to help redirect the food that ends up in landfills to hungry mouths. It's one piece of the agency'slarger plan to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030.

No analysis why or who throws out the food.
Leftovers on plates can not be recycled. Left over food in the main dishes can be refrigerated, but if it was on the table too long, it might give you food poisoning when reheated. Finally, for singles or the elderly, often these food are thrown out.

Many stores and restaurants give away leftovers to staff, sell packaged food at a discount (e.g. over date bread), or send it to nearby food banks or soup kitchens, or send it to local pig farms.

But like a lot of recycling, often the cost is higher than just throwing it out.

Ah, but if it is wasted because it goes into "landfills", then why not just separate food items from paper and plastics, and let it rot into fertilizer? Because of the cost, of course.

So I do have a problem with this being made a moral point, because it is the government trying to hijack religion for what is essentially an economic, not a moral reason.

and before you throw out that leftover food, remember:

And as a doc, it makes me shudder: Eating "old" food is a major cause of food poisoning.

and no, we don't have a lot of leftover food here in the Philippines. The dogs eat it.

Friday, January 22, 2016

stuff around the web

CSMonitor article on Chinese facepaint/cosmetics that are contaminated with heavy metals.

but the consumer advocate group behind the report insists this was "unintentional" but due to  “a lack of manufacturer testing and regulatory oversight.”"

No, it is because the country is corrupt, and either the law is not there, no one bothers to check if the law is followed, or a small bribe will get you a pass: And using these dangerous ingredients is cheaper than using quality control and non toxic ingredients.

Nor is it just with cosmetics:

 In 2007,The Christian Science Monitor’s Peter Ford wrote about a spate of regulatory oversights by China on exports to the US, including pet food contaminated with toxic waste, defective truck tires, lead paint in toys, and even poisonous toothpaste. While Beijing began a concerted effort to crack down on these violators, Ford suggested the real culprit is a lack of free elections, press, and independent courts:
no, it's the corruption stupid: elections and a free press won't stop you if a bribe lets you get away with it.

related link: Poisonous makeup has a long history..


calling art bell post of the day:
who is that dude in the clouds?

latest book from the Metropolitan Museum of art LINK masterpieces of painting

Spiked explains how "transgenderism" evolved from a personal choice that moralists could condemn and ordinary folks disdain, to a medical condition that was outside the moral law, to a right that is backed by the gov't (which will silence you if you dare disagree).

But of course, this is only part of a much larger "gender agenda", which will eliminate the family, make children the enemy, and make women and men the same.

even the Pope knows this and has pointed out the problem:
Sexual differentiation, therefore, exists not for creating conflict or a situation of subordination, but for reciprocity and fruitfulness -- "for communion and generation, always in the image and likeness of God," the pope said.
read the whole thing...


Out: Schroedinger's cat

In: the quantum Pidgeon.


did you miss national Squirrel appreciation day ?

Picture: Alamy
(more Photos here).

Quote of the day

From Uncle Orson, who after reviewing a "well I abandoned my kids to follow my dream" and after watching the survival type "reality shows" where the feminists treat those who helped them (and would keep them alive if the situation was real) like dirt, because in reality shows no one dies, comments:

It's like a lovely quote I read the other day (and promptly forgot the source): If everybody thinks outside the box, who's going to take care of the box?We glorify rule-breakers, selfish people who "follow their dream," and prickly self-righteous Offended Ones who allow themselves to become annoyed by trivialities.
And the number of people who tend to the box, who take responsibility for the well-being of others, who absorb many a word and many a harm without lashing out -- those are the people who keep civilization alive.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Psst: Looking for dirt on Bill Clinton?

Alamogirl has more stuff than you can read, most of it from MSM articles gathered and posted by the Freepers back in the 1990's.

Tolkien podcast of the week

I can't find the RSS feed, but Professor Potts latest class includes lectures on Tolkien's books.

I listened to his earlier classes on children's literature awhile back and he is a good teacher.

And USCSD has lots of podcasts, but alas they are starting to lock some of them down...

Family News

I have contracted with one of our workers to finish the shelter over my husband's grave. I had a contract, but after the second payment (for supplies) they didn't do any work, so the place is half finished.

I really can't afford it, but if construction is to be done, it needs to be done now, during the dry season.

In the meanwhile, the apartment/small house in Manila that my husband willed to my granddaughter will have to be repaired so we can put in a new tenant (the old one's lease expired, and the roof is now leaking). Sigh. Goodbye savings. I should be okay if I don't get sick.

Joy is working with the Dept of Agriculture to develop organic rice etc. in other areas, so she is at another meeting.

Chano will do regular rice planting on our own fields.

Today is another brown out, but we got the large generator on so the internet is now working.

Some locals men came over and asked if they could trim the leaves and remove the half ripe coconuts from our tree, since the electricity is off and since the older branches could fall and cut the electric lines in a storm they are a danger.

So we said yes, paid them a small tip, and then fed them some cocacola and crackers and let them have most of the coconuts they removed.

we used to have a lot of such trees, but once they get tall (30 feet) they are a danger, and then the city removed those along the side road when they widened the irrigation ditch there. Did I tell you the new ditch is covered? An improvement.

The new puppie is still crying at night, so I put him in the back yard, and later our watchman brought him in for company where he sleeps in the front room. After everyone left, he again was put in the front yard, but when I looked for him, he wasn't there...he had fallen into a small hole and was sleeping quietly... and had to be rescued.

Stories against the talking points

a lot of the pundits are wondering why Sarah Palin, who they hate and have caricatured as a rabid conservative, would back a nutty pragmatic businessman like Trump.

Well, maybe because her caricature is at odds with her actual record.

From the Oregonian in 2011 on her taking on the entrenched Alaskan oil companies.

ReasonBlog notes that an upcoming Newsweek article will blow apart the main witness as a known liar in the Philadelphia altar boy scandal that put several priests in jail.

headsup Instapundit

reminds me of a case we had in central PA: the accuser was known to be lying, but was coached by his older brother, who had met the priest in a local gay bar and saw a suit as a way to get easy money.

The jury knew this (the entire diocese knew this) but they gave them money anyway, knowing that the bishop had left other priests off the hook for real crimes because they persuaded the families not to report.


re previous post: SenseOfEvents discusses the US gov't classification system, and what it means.

There are three classification labels. From lowest to highest they are Confidential, Secret and Top Secret.
Each label is a notice as to what level of physical (think, "lock and key") security the document or material is required to receive. That is, a TS document must be maintained under stricter physical security than a Secret document, which in turn must be maintained under stricter physical security than a Confidential document. And the same applies for electronic security.
And that is really all that classification labels do: require certain levels of physical or electronic security.
this is basic stuff, and why a lot of folks are upset at Hillary's lack of security for her private email system.


StrategyPage says ISIS is sucessful partly because they hired Sadam's old administrators.

after Petreus managed to turn them around to stop the terrorists, it was thrown away:

That effort (Sunni insurgency) was crushed by 2008 but the corrupt Shia government forced the Americans out in 2011 and, ignoring U.S. advice, froze out the Sunni Arabs and drove many right back to the Islamic terrorist groups
The Chinese landed a plane on one of their artificial islands in the West Philippine sea, sending a shudder not only to us but to Korea and Japan, who use the sealanes to get much of their oil etc.

  but the real reason for the sealane grab is this: oil.
Ha   the Vietnamese call the area the East Vietanamese sea.


HIV mystery: Few HIV cases in the Philippines, but a recent upsurge in cases.

Along with India and Pakistan, the Philippines is seeing new infections and AIDS-related deaths sharply rise among men who have sex with men and among transgender women, sex workers and people who inject drugs.

My opinion? low number because of "tuli" and Catholicism. Local gays are integrated into village society but pretty well limit their activity.

Upsurge: the pro gay (pro promiscuity) pressure form the US gov't and media: the bar scene in Makati is pretty "rough", similar to that in the USA... and the increase in gay sex tourism...


Politicians vs the military

Some of the press is reporting that General Petreus  is being demoted because he "shared classified information" with his girlfriend/reporter while in Afghanistan, implying she had no security clearance and that this was a no no.

But I wondered about that, since she had been in the National Guard, and I know that we officers were checked and given a "secret" clearance (albeit not higher, at least for NG doctors).

But IBD does confirm this.

As CIA director, Petraeus shared classified notebooks with his biographer/mistress, who also had security clearance.
No classified intel appeared in the book, "All In." Petraeus was allowed to plead guilty to unauthorized handling of classified intelligence, fined $100,000 and put on two years' probation. 
so why the witchhunt?

Petreus, with the backing of President Bush who backed him with an increase in soldiers, managed to turn the ordinary Sunni leaders against the radicals (religious and Saddam's bad guys). It was a classic counterinsurgency operation, right out of the Magsaysay playbook (PDF). Link2

And, one wonders if, like Magsaysay, he could have gone on to be a beloved president who rooted out a lot of corruption. Hence the need to destroy him politically.

I haven't read it, but if you want to read it, the US Army's latest counterinsurgency manual is HERE (PDF)...and note who wrote the introduction...

headsup Instapundit 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

BBC praises Dubya?!

A BBC article noted how Bush 2 may have saved the planet even though he opposed the Kyoto agreement, because  the proposal he devised a few years later was actually more acceptable for the world.

The Bush team proposed that the major global economies responsible for the vast majority of emissions come together and each publish national plans that would outline the way they would curb carbon from 2012 to 2030. The concept was termed "pledge and review".
Fast forward to December 2015 and 195 nations of the world seems to have signed up to a version of an idea cooked up by the Bush Administration to sidestep the broad based, consensus approach of the UN .
Oh the irony!
An important caveat is the role played by President Obama in taking on the Bush bottom up approach and making it something every country should implement, not just the very big emitters.
"This is sort of a new, neo-liberal way of governing climate change, it's voluntary, it's bottom up and it's not clear that it's going to deliver in the end," said Prof Timmons Roberts from Brown University in the US.
"What has surprised me this year is how much more positive 2015 is, than when this was first brought into the system in Copenhagen by Obama himself and the BASIC countries (Brazil South Africa, India and China), getting this pledge and review system in place and solidified in Cancun in 2010."

Ask us nicely and tell us we don't have to do it, and everybody falls into line

yes, and maybe ask people with expertise in business and economics, instead of just pushing a green agenda made up by activists who think living a primitive life is the way to go.

Rants and eyerolls

Big kerfuffle because Trump said "two corinthians" instead of "second Corinthians".. it is not a mistake but using the British terminology.

13 hours is not political per se: It is about technocrats vs those who actually know what is going on, says the NYPost.

It’s the old story of nerds vs. jocks. ....
 ’13 Hours’ dramatizes … what’s going on in the country: bureaucratic indifference on the one side, things going up in flames on the other.
Nerds may be adequate leaders when everything is going smoothly. But when there are jihadis gathering with rocket launchers outside the gate, send for a jock.

And they say that will help Trump.

no, I haven't seen the movie.

via FatherZ: links to a book review on Cardinal Sarah's new book.

a church of nice..."who am I to judge"

if you live in the third world, where family is the only thing that protects women, children, and the elderly, you realize that these sexual sins that are winked at in the west really do hurt people.

the Pope is busy blasting those who refuse to change, but doesn't define what changes he is talking about.

is he talking about trivia (meat on Friday, wearing a hat in mass) or about important things (the sacredness of marriage, the ten commandments)?

without defining what he means, he is being used by "reformers" to blast the quiet believers who try to do the right thing and have the nerve to judge sinful deeds as sinful.

or as Camus noted:

The evil in the world comes almost always from ignorance, and goodwill can cause as much damage as ill-will if it is not enlightened. 

update: David Warren's comments on the clueless Francis is much better than mine. And he has links  link2 for theologically minded.

Family news

The Puppy is back from the vet and starting to cried a lot last night, so I didn't sleep well...I had to keep getting up to comfort it.

Brownout water was off too so we put our pump back on.

water water everywhere

The latest contaminated water problem in the US is in Flint Mi. LINK

from contaminated river water

but a couple years ago, it was in Washington DC

the lead pipe problem

Lead is a major cause of ADHD and mental retardation and we used to screen our 2 year olds for it.

In the past, it was from kids eating flaked paint in older buildings, before they stopped using it in paint. (lead is sweet) and some from leaded gas air pollution.

The Flint problem will be politicized, but it is actually the tip of an iceburg: When I lived in Appalachea, our drinking water was upstream from the mine runoff, but everyone went to springs for water or bought it in the grocery store.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Science news

Why get measles vaccine? Well, if you have ever seen one case of this, you would get your kid the shot.

this kid, who received one dose of the vaccine at 8 months in the Philippines, shows the problem of the vaccine: At 8 months, the child still has some of it's mother's antibodies, so he won't get full protection (which is why MMR is given after one year). And the vaccine is temperature sensative: If it gets too warm (e.g. in a brownout when the refrigerator goes off, or from being left out too long) it is less potent and doesn't work as well.

And of course, in Africa and poor countries, the mortality from measles is high: Measles vaccine has saved17 million lives since the year 2000, according to the WHO.


Don't get a heart attack above the 16th floor.

they suspect the problem is the slowness in getting there.


Light activated nano particles might kill superbugs.

answering the important scientific questions of the day:

Can a pet increase your sex appeal?

yes, but only if it is a dog...

Sigh Pseudoscience on PBS? Say it isn't so

A couple posts back, I linked to the "first peoples" series that was on PBS Nova.

I tend to enjoy such programs, and the main problem is too often these programs on Discovery/History channel morph into pseudoarcheology. Of course, when Smithsonianiand PBS and the BBC get into Jesus stuff, they tend to go off the deep end of printing rumor/gossip as fact ("Jesus" tomb...ossuary of James...jesus in India) so usually I avoid "biblical" programs or take them with a grain of salt.

However,the bad news is that now it seems even simple archeological discussions on PBS is descending into C2C or "history" channel type pseudo science.

You see, a couple minutes into the show, they talk of the discovery of a skeleton deep in a cave, and start discussing why she was buried there.

Fair enough. But since they didn't tell us the proof it was a burial, (position of skeleton, grave goods) (other skeletons were found in nearby caves, as were the remains of large animals) I will have to take that statement with a grain of salt.

But hey, this is TV, not somewhere the discusses the arguments of trivia, right?

But then....

So to find out why she was buried there, they interview a "shaman", who mumbles something about going deep into a cave was the way to be in touch with the spirits or something to that effect...and then we see him smoking frog venom to get a vision. At that point, the film changes the subject, so we won't know if ET or bigfoot put her there.

Uh, since when are 20th century shamans experts at ALL the religions of all the tribes that existed in that are15000 years ago?

and since when is getting a hallucination a scientific way to figure out what went on? Why not just call "psychic hotline" and ask about her?

Finally, the "Shaman" was not a traditional Indian: He was a man with a thick black beard and European features, (or maybe he was metziso). So what tribe was he representing? The Pre-Druid shamans of ancient Hispania?

Note to PBS: If you have a question on why a burial person might be deep in a cave, please check with an expert in comparative religions with expertise in traditional religions of various tribes.

and of course, they don't provide proof she was buried or if she got lost there hiding from someone or if she was just looking for water and got lost, lke Naia

and the PBS series stressed she predated the "clovis people"...

Uh, even I know that the Clovis hypothesis is no longer viable and that maybe Amerindians came down by coastal migrations, not via the hole in the glaciers.

However, a lot of folks might not know that, so I have no problem with that part of the program.

the Wikipedia page for this dead lady suggests that although her skeleton is southern Asian, her DNA is AmerIndian, and they note it supports the coastal migration theory.

Fair enough.

nor is this lady the only skeleton that is questioning the Clovis theory.

Other cave burials include the Luzia woman.. and Naia, who  scientist think was probably buried when she fell fetching water.

I will eventually go back and watch the whole series, but when the report dips into superstition in the first ten minutes, excuse me if I hesitate to believe anything else in the film.

Monday, January 18, 2016


With Disney's new version of the Jungle book coming out, it may be a time to remember Kipling, whose imperialistic outlook made him a bit passes, to say the least.

BBC tells the story of Kipling's son, missing in action presumed killed, in WWI, and how it affected his father.

InOurTime podcast on Kipling


previous version: Jungle Book1942



the delightful Disney cartoon

the audiobook at Librivox 

I know he wrote Kim and Just So Stories, but I forgot he wrote Captains Courageous and Gunga Din...

and I always thought the movie "The Man who would be king" was a metaphor for imperialism: Going in to get rich, taking over by accident, and then trying to reform society to be more civilized, only to have the locals object violently: because they think their customs aren't as bad as you think they are, and also because you are a foreigner, and what gave you the right to tell them what to do?

Family news

The Puppy is still in the vet's, on IV's but has stopped convulsing. If she starts to eat and stops vomiting, I'll bring her home tomorrow.

The Little Know history of salt



more at Medievalist blog

Conspiracy theory: nothing new here

The libeling of the monarchs by the philosophs etc. before the French Revolution is well known, but the Mad Monarchist wonders how much of the "history" we "know" about Louis XVI is agiprop that was planted by the Brits.

and wonders what would have happened if they had gotten back Canada, reformed SE Asia and forced the Brits to pull back in India etc.

And it notes that the military used by Napoleon was built upon Louis' reforms.

Of course, the backstory of all this was that France was broke, and badly in need of reform, as Mike Duncan relates in his revolutions podcast.

Not my area of expertise...

headsup TeaAtTrianon

Stuff around the web

Professor Mary Beard visits Iceland, swims in a hot pool and eats at an Indian restaurant.

well, it probably tasted better than Hakarl or other yummie Icelandic dishes...

Þorramatur consists of many different foods, including:
  • Kæstur hákarl, fermented Greenland shark.
  • Súrsaðir hrútspungar, the testicles of rams pressed in blocks, boiled and cured in lactic acid.
  • Svið, singed and boiled sheep heads, sometimes cured in lactic acid.
  • Sviðasultahead cheese or brawn made fromsvið, sometimes cured in lactic acid.
  • Lifrarpylsa (liver sausage), a pudding made from liver and suet of sheep kneaded with rye flour and oats.
  • Blóðmör (blood-suet; also known as slátur lit.'slaughter'), a type of blood pudding made from lamb's blood and suet kneaded with rye flour and oats.
  • Harðfiskur, wind-dried fish (often cod,haddock or seawolf), served with butter.
  • Rúgbrauð (rye bread), traditional Icelandic rye bread.
  • Hangikjöt, (hung meat), smoked and boiled lamb or mutton, sometimes also eaten raw.

no, Lutefisk isn't there.

Guess they don't eat the favorite cuisine of Minnesota...

On the Beach made a lot of people anti war, but was inaccurate scientifically.
 (Headsup Instapundit)

yes, but Norway/Shute wrote a similar book before WWII, about a family fleeing their town being bombed, so his point was that ordinary people wouldn't panic but would live out their ordinary life til the end.

But I do agree with the writer that the problem was that they accepted the end too quietly (everyone killed themselves) when maybe there were ways to protect themselves and live.

Catholics, of course, would be forbidden to commit suicide....

So in a Canticle for Leibowitz,  not only are the mutants are protected by the church and later the monks are trying to stop euthanasia of those injured by radiation sickness).

NewYorker Book Review from 2014 HERE.

so when the WAGD stuff is being predicted, I remember when a lot of folks thought we'd all be snuffed out by Uncle Joe's bombs before we grew up....and indeed, a weak Kennedy, who only wanted peace, was seen as weak, and brought the world to the edge of war when Russia called his bluff.

Which is why the war in VietNam was started: To show by proxy that the US wouldn't back down.

And those "anti war" folks who pat themselves on the back for their "brave" stance in the land of safety conveniently overlook two things:

One, the massacres, genocides and massive refugee problems that happened when the US withdrew.

Two: That the war did not stop the dominos from hitting Cambodia and Laos, who also had their massacres and tyrannies, but did save Thailand and other nearby countries.

In the Philippines, despite the leftists in the US and the Catholic left from cheering the communists on, they did not win: (the triumph of democracy by Tita Cory is not just about getting rid of Marcos, but about the people at the grass roots choosing democracy over the communist tyranny beloved of local intellectuals).

which was the point of the Iraq war, which essentially was won but the country needed time to stablize, when the pacifists decided that peace through strength was wrong and took the troops out: They figured to bring peace with weakness was the answer.

heh. Guess no one reads history: Wonder what would have happened in Germany in 1950 if no troops were there? Probably the riots and mobs similar to the 1920's...

so Shiite Sunni war redux might be the result, with nukes...

related item from Instapundit:

I SAW THIS YESTERDAY, AND IT’S GOOD ADVICE: General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis Email About Being ‘Too Busy To Read’ Is A Must-Read. “The problem with being too busy to read is that you learn by experience (or by your men’s experience), i.e. the hard way. By reading, you learn through others’ experiences, generally a better way to do business, especially in our line of work where the consequences of incompetence are so final for young men. . . . Ultimately, a real understanding of history means that we face NOTHING new under the sun.”

First known when lost has

poetry and art, and today's poem written in 1939, could be a prophecy of today.