Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Witch trials and Pizza Gate

Scott Adams discusses the problem of "evidence" in Pizzagate.
A lot of "evidence" is not reality. And he explains why.

 My point is that what you see as a mountain of evidence that can’t be wrong, I see as something that is far more likely to be confirmation bias...
 allegations are supported by a mountain of evidence. But if you look at each piece of evidence in isolation, none are individually persuasive.
In computerese, this is called GIGO. Garbage in, garbage out.

You cherry pick observations and opinions to justify your pre existing beliefs and go on from there.

Although as a doc I have treated children abused, both physically and sexually, I don't feel the conspiracy of Pizzagate is real. It's too convoluted and complicated to make sense.

Pedophiles don't need complicated conspiracies to find kids. They abuse their own kids, their relatives' kids, the kids down the street, kids they met on the internet, or kids in their care (as in teachers, baby sitters, priests, social workers, doctors). And it is a dirty little secret that street kids and runaways are there to be exploited, even in rich USA.

Once the hysteria gets going, however, you can get problems with false memory or exaggerated memory and all sorts of stuff.

One of the good side effects of the CSI series (the older shows are on our TV) is how they use evidence, not stories, to figure out what really went on.

My take is that this could just be a pizza parlor where gays cruise, complete with humorous gay theme photos. Well that is legal, but don't expect me to order pepperoni on my pizza there.

If you really want to be worried, check out stuff that is out there, especially on the dark web.

But heck: You don't need the dark web and Tor: Just check out HBO.

My opinion is that R rated snuff films and the Grey series of mother-porn is actually a mainstream variation of this evil: And the fact that society accepts these as main stream entertainment suggests there is a bigger problem in the USA: And remember, these things are now broadcast all over the world as "entertainment".

 but then, once in awhile fantasy morphs into reality... for every 1000 Anthony Weiner, or for every thousand "job recruiter" for maids in the Philippines there exists one guy who actually is doing these things to abuse a victim or to force them into prostitution...., and kids are vulnerable because they don't recognize that monsters do exist.


Pipe line story: Another point of view

I am always cynical about when the famous join "environmental" protests and use their favorite "victim" group as a way to get themselves in the headlines. (and then leave to go to the next protest, leaving the locals behind to remain poor, either to be exploited, or to lack jobs that the exploitation would bring).

On the other hand, AmerIndians have gotten the shaft so many times by the government etc.

Did you ever hear about the largest class action lawsuit in the USA was about the BIA exploitation of AmerIndian lands and resources?

How about that huge EPA toxic waste spill in Navajo country, that contaminated their water?

So I just have been shrugging off the StandingRock protests as another usual story of Hollywood celebrities seeking to get their names in the headlines.

But GetReligion points out that although the usual idiots are there to get free publicity, that locals actually are opposing the pipeline for religious reasons.

and they report prayer meetings held in the area, led by Arvo Looking Horse.

again, lots of fake self appointed new ager gurus who claim to be religious leaders are in the news all the time.

But I happen to have met Mr. Looking Horse's father when I worked at a nearby reservation, and he was indeed a revered religious leader and a very holy man who was the traditional keeper of the sacred pipe. Since his death, his son Arvo has taken over his legacy. So he is a real religious leader of those following their traditional religion.

And presumably the "prayer circles" would include traditional believers, and also local Christians....

Most of the local Catholic (and Anglicans) see no problem with mixing Christianity with the beliefs of the wise men who follow the tradition of their ancestors, seeing Christianity as a way to know more about the God their ancestors worshiped. A famous example of this is St Kateri; another one would be Black Elk.

and knowing that "real" locals have a very real religious objection to the pipeline shows that the story might not be just another "being poor is good for mother Gaia" activist propaganda story.


The aggressive activists are part of the reason that a lot of us look askance at the upper middle class elitist environmental movement, who often see the ideal way to live is the life of the third world poor, or how their ancestors used to live: overlooking the reality of living in poverty.

but there is another story, a very real story, about how big business and government officials exploited and destroyed the land where poor people lived. Which is why I consider my self a supporter of environmental protection.

Musical interlude take two

 come Lord...

Musical interlude of the day

Headlines around the world

Brazilian football team's plane crashes in Colombia. 
In our prayers.

SenseOfEvents  and Instapundit report there is a large wildfire in eastern Tennessee.

and yes, the National Guard is there helping local responders.

Also in our prayers. I lived in New Mexico the summer when there were many fires nearby, but we didn't make it into the news because Los Alamos burnt down.

How dare you cause scandal by questioning the Pope!

heh. you mean like St Athanasius did?

Via Father Z.

The problem with the rant is that, contrary to what this guy is claiming, the pastoral instructions are not an "ex cathedra" proclamation, so yes, they can be questioned.

Indeed, contrary to his claim, the Bishops' meeting did not advise on the questionable changes, and even intervened to have them removed from the final document... but then they were added as a footnote no one noted, and then the Pope (or more probably his proxies) wrote a very very long document hoping no one would notice those parts in the middle of his muddled writing.

Even the NCReporter (a liberal catholic paper) admits this:

One group of bishops, led by Cardinal Walter Kasper, would like to see a pastoral solution that would allow a penitential process leading to Communion for such Catholics, but this is opposed by others, perhaps a majority, who feel that this would violate church doctrine.

and then there is this:

The Pope has said that communion is not only for good Catholics. Francisco says
Uh, Paul begs to differ.

this could lead to an open schism in the church.

and no, despite the MSM's breathless reports, every remark made by the Pope in a conversation on an airplane, usually taken out of context, are not church dogma: They are merely his opinions, which is why the schism hasn't happened yet.

and why I still use my airconditioner.

Sigh. In our prayers.


Tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer?  they are discussing a newer cheaper drug that works as well as Tamoxifen.

And this might be good for those who have the breast cancer gene.

But even there, the actual number of cases prevented not as impressive as you think:
in a previous study of 1700 women:

 251 women from the tamoxifen group versus 350 from the placebo group developed breast cancer

so it's a 30 percent decrease, but a lot still got cancer. And there are side effects, including osteoporosis and uterine cancer, and mentioned is the depression side effects and the effect on libido etc.

Surgery is another option, of course.

which might be why the NYTimes had an article on the going flat activists last week...

Angela Jolie call your office


German intelligence hires a German guy who is an Islamic convert and  discovers he is planning bomb attacks there.

Making converts and then using them to kill is a lot more dangerous for countries, which is why, although the Maute group was probably behind the bom left near the US Embassy in Manila, the photo suggests that the Manila cops worry about our '"reverts"  helped them.

Merkel responds to worried Germans by hugging a young refugee.

Uh, Ms Merkel: It's not the refugees, or even the Muslims: It's this:

There are an estimated 40,000 Islamists in Germany, including 9,200 ultra-conservative Islamists known as Salafists, the head of the BfV told Reuters news agency earlier in November.

well, maybe it's not pc to screen refugees, but at least you should start screening government employees...


StrategyPage on what's going on in Syria.

Had Islamic terrorists like al Qaeda and ISIL not gotten involved the Assads would probably have been defeated by now. But the Islamic terrorists had made so many enemies in the region and internationally that the rebels got distracted and the Assads took advantage of the situation. The Assads had something else going for them. They are ruthless and don’t care what the rest of the world thinks.
ISIL does atrocities and gets the headlines, but Assad is responsible for 80 percent of the civilian casualties in the area.

so who do you back? It's like the choice between Hitler and Stalin in WWII: you go after the one who is behind the attacks on you right now, not the one that might nuke you sometime in the future.

Sigh. Also in our prayers.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Philippine news

well, we got in the news again thanks to a  well placed bomb in Manila.

After it went off, I spotted a US AP report blaming the military here for it: at least that is what the headline suggested: a look into the story blamed a raid on an Islamic terror cell in the south. More about that attack and the ongoing war against those who bombed a market in Davao HERE.

I  haven't been in the new Embassy yet, but usually the US Embassies are in the midst of a park for security reasons. So way back when I adopted my kids, one went off in Bogata: a FARC bomb managed only to kill those passing by to get into a nearby out building near the street to get Visas... the actual Embassy was 1000 yards away.

Just ignore that "it might be communists or the other nonsense in the linked article.

Nah. The NPA is friendly with Duterte when they only want social justice, and they usually don't attack innocent civilians: They only bomb bus companies who didn't pay them a revolutionary tax (AKA Bribe). The real problem is the NPA in areas where they are unpopular and have to resort to drug pushing and kidnapping. The war on drugs is hitting them hard. So yes, one bomb could be NPA. But since it is an IED, the Abus are the biggest suspects.

the AP has this breathless propaganda piece on "the New NPA", who are "Maoists". Typical story about the wonderfulness of the rebels that one usually reads in the leftist press of the west.

It's from the Inquirer, but at the end of the story (printed in the editorial section) they add a disclaimer note they don't necessarily agree with the article. The comments are interesting, including one that notes that the "rebels" in the Photos are wearing new Chinese style uniforms...complete with nametag. Now, my mom use to work for a company that embroidered nametags etc. They require specialized expensive machinery. So where was the nametag made?

I should note that old style US fatigues are sold at the used clothing stores here for a pittance, and last forever, whereas the cheap thin green material in the photo suggest they are Chinese communist uniforms, and they appear to be brand why the change in uniform, unless someone is supplying it? So who is paying for all of this? hmm... nope, no mention in the article about "revolutionary taxes" aka protection money, or if they got their funding from illegal drugs or kidnapping or robberies...wonder why? Of course, they article mourns that they said some of their members were killed as drug pushers but were innocent.

Yes, and a dollar will buy you a bridge in Brooklyn.

The main news in the Inquirer is that Bato (police head's nickname: Bato means Rock) is "praying for rain" tomorrow... a huge demonstration against burying Marcos is expected on Wednesday, a big patriotic holiday: Bonefacio day.

the rain (and street flooding) helped keep last Friday's protest in check, so he's hoping tomorrow's protest will stay calm too.

of course, the news that ERAP, who is now mayor of Manila, has ordered all the traffic cops to resign won't help matters. They took bribes and extorted drivers. Heh. Local response: Takes one to know one, hey Erap?

There is a danger the protest against Marcos' burial will shut down Manila, but hey, nothing new with that. So does the Black Nazarene procession and rallies by the InC church. And protests here are common. You can buy a protester for ten dollars a day or even less to make your crowd look larger.  But I should note that the anger against Marcos remains, so this will probably huge and a genuine protest.

Marcos has enough enemies that one suspects they will find a lot of willing protesters, not only locals, but middle class, students and coming in from leftist activist groups who were called communist back then, and had some of their members harmed. So there will be many who will actually protest for nothing.

Marcos' is not local: His family rules up north, where he is still popular and his clan runs the place. All politics is local, and clans run the provinces. Cooperate and they give you loot/ protection and money to help your village.

We have our ordinary militants who do low level damage, but the real worry is the local "reverts" to Islam.

Saudi "converted" some Filipinos who worked there to Islam and has managed to recruit a bunch into terrorism... at least one terror cell was taken down a couple years ago. These "Reverts" are the ones most worried about, since most are Tagalog speaking locals and can blend in (they speak a different dialect in the south).

ABS CBN has a list of terror attacks LINK including the note on this link:

-- February 2005: The Abu Sayyaf, with help from a group of radical converts to Islam, launches coordinated attacks on Valentine's Day that kill at least 12 people in Manila's financial hub of Makati and in General Santos city, which is more than 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) south of the capital.

so how has Obama responded? By removing money to help our police.

and by Duterte with the International Criminal courts about "5000" drug murders. Only half of these were police raid related: I suspect a lot are payback, by family members or by cops who know these guys get away with a lot of murder and robberies. NPR laments here: the story is more balanced than a lot of stories I have seen in the MSM of the US.

The US press found a photo of a dead girl supposedly killed by druggies, and exposed it as a fake. Well, I guess I should have taken a photo of the 17 year old girl killed by her jealous druggie boyfriend in the local cemetery. These murders are not rare, but are local news.

Drugs and terror and crime...These things are connected: And come down to one thing: Corruption. And by going against the drug trade and those who take bribes to look the other way, the public is cheering Duterte on.

which is why that old leftie Bishop Cruz, who often writes against the Obama administration's cultural imperialism pushing population control and anti family laws on the Philippines, has an article discussing the gay dilemma. He defends the rights of those with sexual identity disorder as those who often didn't chose to be that way, in contrast to the real sinners here.

  Compared to sexually misbehaving persons with GID, theirs is a much  lesser evil vis-a-vis the graft and corrupt practices of many public officials, the goons with their guns in the streets, the drug lords and their minions.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Green tip of the day

Stop laundering your jeans... after awhile they can't smell any worse, so why bother.

From Improbable research


All this talk on poultry reminds one of the famous superhero: Benton Harbor.

Giant Chicken sighting

“Hahn/Cock" debuted in London in 2013. (Copyright EPA/ANDY RAIN, courtesy of the National Gallery of Art)

Well not really a giant Chicken, but a giant cock...i.e. the Hahn/Cock, as in  rooster. Sighted in it's new nest by Professor Mary Beard, of Roman fame.

He gazes off the terrace, more or less in the direction of the Capitol -- as if, we couldn't help thinking, he was making a comment on the current political scene. Come on Washington DC, wake up!
or maybe it's a symbol of the flashy, boastful new President who is willing to attack anyone getting into his way while he struts his stuff, and lives in a house surrounded by beautiful chicks.... place favorite pro or anti Trump metaphor here...

The National Gallery has borrowed the Hahn/Cock rooster from the UK.

"The relocation of this enigmatic monument from its original site in Trafalgar Square will add a surprising blast of color to one corner of the National Mall, while stimulating fascinating conversations about scale, context, nationality, and representation," said Harry Cooper, the gallery's curator and head of modern art, in a release. Renovations of the National Gallery of Art's 35-year-old East Building began three years ago, and are finally coming an end. Hahn/Cock will be the most grandiose work overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue in the museum's new outdoor sculpture garden, which can also be used for people-watching on high with built-in seating.

Bird Flu

there is an ongoing epidemic of bird flu in Europe. Brought in by migrating birds and spreading into poultry farms etc. This means you have to kill the infected birds to stop the epidemic.

Infected ducks in the Netherlands:

 Tests indicated that the birds were killed by an H5N8 variant of the disease "which is highly infectuous" for poultry—killing about 30 percent of infected birds—but not "very dangerous to humans", public newscaster NOS said. Earlier this month the Netherlands shuttered petting zoos and banned duck hunting as it stepped up measures to stem a bird flu outbreak blamed for killing scores of poultry and more than a thousand wild birds in the country. Read more at:

Sweden killed 200 thousand hens. 

The agriculture department stressed that there is no danger of eating eggs from the farm—or Swedish poultry products in general—as the H5N8 virus has never been transmitted from birds to humans. The H5N8 virus has been detected in poultry and wild birds in 10 European countries, according to the World Health Organization: Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland and Russia. Read more at:

Poultry news reports on outbreakes in Hungary and lower Saxony.

more HERE.

more news at PoultrySite (Israel, Indian bird sanctuary related cases, SouthAfrican ostriches, Taiwan, Laos)

Avian Influenza (Fowl Plague) is a potentially devastating disease, predominantly of chickens and turkeys, although the virus can also affect game birds (pheasants, partridge and quail), ratites (ostrich and emu), psittacine and passerine birds. Avian Influenza is caused by an orthomyxovirus, or influenza virus and can survive for considerable lengths of time outside of the host and birds are infected through contact with other birds, mechanical vectors such as vehicles and equipment and personnel travelling between farms, markets and abattoirs.

This is bad news for the farmers.

The ood news: The strain of bird flu hasn't spread to any humans yet, unlike other strains in previous epidemics. LINK

Cuba's Potemkin village

Michael Totten, who usually covers behind the scene stories in the Middle East and other war zones, visited Cuba and came back with a picture overlooked by official visitors.

Outside its small tourist sector, the rest of the city looks as though it suffered a catastrophe on the scale of Hurricane Katrina or the Indonesian tsunami. Roofs have collapsed. Walls are splitting apart. Window glass is missing. Paint has long vanished. It’s eerily dark at night, almost entirely free of automobile traffic. I walked for miles through an enormous swath of destruction without seeing a single tourist. Most foreigners don’t know that this other Havana exists, though it makes up most of the city—tourist buses avoid it, as do taxis arriving from the airport. It is filled with people struggling to eke out a life in the ruins.

Headsup AnnAlthouse

and don't forget they jailed dissidents. Sure, the people who lack internet access and a free press will mourn and tell reporters how sad they were, but wait til they get free, and you will hear about these things in the same way you heard about the atrocities behind the iron curtain once people were allowed to talk.

BBC reports on one of the few groups that laments their loved ones jailed as political prisoners and who sometimes are allowed to demonstrate.

also forgotten and not covered: Cuba's link with the drug trade, and with groups like FARC that killed people in the name of the revolution (and helped them by assiting the drug trade).

And then there was the story on how Russia spread revolution in Africa, and how Cuba sent 30 thousand troops to Angola to "assist" a minority tribe takeover of that country. NYTimes story.

 In Angola, it was about oil, so the result was that local politicians got rich, and the ordinary folks are left with a yellow fever epidemic.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Family news

Ruby is still in Hokaido.

Joy went to Manila for a business meeting tomorrow. She spends the day visiting family, since the alternative is heavy traffic and leaving at 3 am.

Chano is busy developing gift packages for the rice.

It has been raining for two days but finally the sun is out.
They are holding church in our meeting room, so am hearing lots of singing and 'praise Jesus".... I went to mass at 5:30 am and am not into shouting to the Lord with joy. Too many memories of tragedies after doing medicine for 40 years I guess. About all I can do, when these memories hit, is to raise them up to the Lord and tell him to comfort them.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Family news

Brownout all day. We had the small generator running for awhile but it doesn't run the water pump so we have to wait for the tank to fill to get water.

Ah life in a tropical paradise....

Thansgiving for family and friends


--- a commercial for a mayonaise t mix spread used for salads and sandwiched.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Philippine news: Onions and drugs and banks, tra la

Onions smuggled in or brought in via permits obtained by bribing officials is a major issue here.

so is this "trade protectionism" going against the NWO or is it a way to keep our farmers from going bankrupt?

The Rock Weeps:

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa, nicknamed Bato or the Rock, was reduced to tears during the Senate hearing yesterday as suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa bared the involvement of police officers in drug trafficking. “Hiyang-hiya na ako (I’m so ashamed),” said Dela Rosa after Espinosa named over a dozen police officers, particularly those assigned in Eastern Visayas who allegedly received bribes to protect the illegal drug operations in the region.

more at the Manila Inquirer 

 Espinosa said that in exchange for protection, he paid off De Lima, retired Chief Supt. Vicente Loot, one of the top officials President Duterte had accused of involvement in the illegal drug trade, as well as three police officers who were implicated in the killing of his father, Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.
Espinosa, who fled the country in June fearing for his life after Mr. Duterte promised a relentless war on narcotics, finally faced the Senate committee investigating the death of his father during a police raid on the Leyte subprovincial jail on Nov. 5. 

and yes, he named the lovely vixen who is encouraging the UN to stop the drug war as being deep in this dirty business.

And she faces more bad news: Her driver/lover has been arrested.

The country awaits the next chapter in this ongoing saga.

will he spill the beans?

will he have a suspicious accident in jail?

Will the lovely vixen flee the country? but to where? 
and where are her secret bank accounts?

All of these hearings are broadcast live on TV here, and on some stations rebroadcast in the evening. Lolo used to watch these televised investigations religiously, often snorting: "They're all crooks" to explain what the problem was...

He probably would have voted for Trump, figuring he at least was an open crook who didn't hide his shennangans, whereas Hillary quietly was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes indirectly via giving speeches or via donations to the Clinton Foundation.


speaking of banks:ABS CBN reports: Six bankers have been implicated in the scam to steal and launder a couple million dollars from Bangladesh last year and they are being "investigated". Maybe one of these days someone will actually be arrested.


The electronic thieves in February shifted $81 million from the bank's account with the US Federal Reserve in New York to the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) in Manila in one of the world's biggest bank heists. The money was transferred to four accounts at an RCBC branch from where it was funnelled into local casinos, according to regulators who fined the bank a record $21 million in August.
of course as this July 2016 Reuters article noted it wasn't just a Philippine screwup: no one in NYCity noticed anything wrong despite minor errors until someone used a word that flagged up Homeland security in the request..

and the backstory is how did the casinos get a pass from a reformist president to be exempt from money laundering laws here? Rappler story of course.

And that good old lefty Archbishop Cruz has been a long opponent of the gambling fad here. AsiaNews article 2004.

Rappler had an article about him in 2012 also... Lots of controversy there about the state of the church, good and bad.

He is one of the old line JP2 bishops who meddled in politics and stood up to the powerful, and he was especially vocal, even naming names until the first husband of a certain lovely female president had the lovely ladies who "volunteered" to wait on his birthday party for free sue him for libel. (our strict libel law keeps a lot of rumors out of the press... something to remember the next time you read about the US push to censor "fake news").

 in 2012 he warned about the casinos being a danger to the country, pointing out their link to the drug trade.

he hasn't changed: PhilStar article 2016. he has an ongoing feud with Duterte.

Crux news on the church in the Philippines. The Philippine diaspora are the new Irish, taking their faith with them to other countries.

Happy Thanksgiving

The forbidden film about smiles

David Warren writes that this film has been banned from French TV because it might upset some people...

At the centre of the controversy is that smile — that distinctly Down syndrome smile, more haunting than the smile on the Mona Lisa. To those who happen to have eyes to see, it is in itself a moral, and a mystical revelation. I have dreamt, towards Christmas, of the Child in the manger: surely Jesus smiled upon his mother like that.

he also wrote:

as I know from first hand (my younger son is Down’s), they are an extraordinary gift, to those parents and to any siblings, or others, who are brought into contact with a love, a fidelity, an emotional attentiveness, a kindliness, a joy, an innocence, an orb of communicable experience and perception that enlarges and deepens us.


related item: Pearl Buck and her retarded daughter.

Her daughter had PKU, which now is screened for and the retardation prevented with a strict diet.

when I first studied in medical school, doctors recommended all such children be institutionalized. Thanks to the Kennedy family, that has changed, and most are now cared for at home or in home style care homes.

but Down's syndrome is a chromosomal abnormality (they have an extra chromosome). Some wonder if genetic manipulation like CRISPR could "cure" or treat their deficiencies or other genetic causes of disabilities.

JohnsHopkins article discussion.

Nature also discusses the possibility and the ethics of genetically manipulating children.

one problem is that manipulating genes in embryos or growing fetuses is essentially "experimenting" on someone who cannot give their consent.

For minor things, like beauty genes or high IQ, this would be immoral, because if the experiment didn't work, the embryos would be discarded or left to die.

But the dirty little secret is that in today's world that stresses perfection, that most children with Down's syndrome are aborted. Changing their genes at time of diagnosis might give more mothers the courage to oppose the pressure on them to abort and give their baby a chance to live.


additional note: people with Down's syndrome have higher incidence of some disease like Leukemia and Hypothyroidism, and may develop Alzheimer's disease in middle age. All these things are from immune changes from the chromosome. One reason that in the past (i.e. check out any textbooks from the 1940's) was that they tended to die of infections before they reached puberty. Antibiotics changed this.

there is also an increased chance of certain congenital heart defects. In the 1960's they discussed if these children merited open heart surgery, which at the time was rare and risky. Now few would deny the children such treatment.

cross posted to my medicine blog.

Ode to concrete

of course, that is written by someone who probably spent more time in a botique than planting rice seedlings by hand

but then reality bites:

I shouldn't talk: I prefer the reality of rural life, and do live in simplicity... except for my air conditioner and computer.

Simple living in the country is nice, but as my husband Lolo used to say: You can't eat the scenery.

And, of course, the reality of modern living is not botiques but pollution. And I am thankful for the green movement working against that.

and yes, I haz a song about that:

Concrete stops global warming?

From ABC news (Aus): Concrete products reabsorb half of CO2 produced during it's manufacture

as cement ages and weathers over time, it also absorbs carbon dioxide in a process called carbonation.

absorbs 43 % of the carbon produced when making it.

but deep inside the article comes this factoid

 What is more, this rate of absorption may actually be increasing, as an unexpected side-effect of the construction boom in nations such as China.

why? Because buildings in China don't last as long as they do in the west: The average life span is 30 years, then they are torn down and become cement chips which absorb even more CO2 and this was not in their calculations.

But the back story of that is this dirty little secret: Shoddy construction.

That is one problem with China: Quality control.

Donald Trump take note.

I would suggest moving manufacturing to the Philippines, but unless you have strict control you could run into the same problem.

in a related story, they claim CO2 admissions have remained flat for the last 3 years, 

this is because China is using less coal for energy.

and the world wide recession helps too, but never mind.

Mr Peters said it was unclear whether the Chinese slowdown was due to a restructuring of the Chinese economy or a sign of economic instability.
yes. The greens are happy, so never mind if a lot of Chinese become poorer and unhappier.

Their aim is to put us all back in the good old days. Plowing the fields with a water buffalo using flooding to kill weeds instead of chemicals. Just ignore the methane from flooding fields and the methane in water buffalo farts.

or maybe their aim is even more drastic:

Other researchers not affiliated with the study stressed that it was not enough for global emissions to stabilise, saying they needed to drop toward zero for the world to meet the goals of the Paris deal.

Translation: It's not enough to make everyone poor, just arrange a lot less people to be born.

UhOH: Mauder Minimum is coming.... 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Agggh! Molasses!

Improbable research links to a project on analying the Molasses flood.

A new scientific analysis aims to understand the fluid dynamics of the Boston Molasses Flood. The bursting of an enormous (about 2 million gallons) tank of molasses created one of the biggest disasters ever to hit that city. Although it happened almost a century ago — on January 15, 1919 — there’s been only a vague scientific understanding of how the molasses flowed. Estimates from that era said that a 30-foot-tall wall of molasses washed over Boston’s North End neighborhood at a speed of about 35 miles per hour.

Improbable research also has an article with a podcast discussing Nicole Sharp's investigation on how cats can be both liquids and solids.

Poetry behind the news

Spengler discusses poetry vs rap.

He discusses how poetry is supposed to be subliime.

Actually, poetry is supposed to be a way to help people remember things, which is why poetry precedes prose.

And poets were honored, because they often expressed things beautifully that we more ordinary folks can't.

It says a lot that few people actually read modern Poetry.. Poet Dana Gioia has an essay on this.

American poetry now belongs to a subculture. No longer part of the mainstream of artistic and intellectual life, it has become the specialized occupation of a relatively small and isolated group. Little of the frenetic activity it generates ever reaches outside that closed group....

a lot of his essay is technical, speaking to the intellectual and educated establishment.

But he overlooks a point: Poetry is about using words to express things. And alas, to my not so subtle brain,  a lot of the modern poetry seems to be merely bad prose printed with irregular lines.

That is why, when I need to use a quote, I often find myself quoting famous lines from movies that express thing, knowing people will laugh.

Quick: Say a line from a modern poet that you remember and say spontaneously.

Well, maybe Robert Frost will come to mind: Something there is that doesn't like a wall, and wants it down.

JFK used that line, well known to most of us who studied the poem in high school, to point out the abomination of the Berlin wall. And indeed, many years later, the people themselves tore down that wall.

Similarly, Shakespeare is still quoted. We Band of Brothers speech for example. was used to name the miniseries on World War II.

And today, the eloquent David Warren posts an essay on war and General Mattis, by using the phrase "Cry Havoc etc" as the title of his essay.

but today, we hoi polloi are stuck with movie lines and theme, Such as "Rommel you SOB I read your book".

or "Your'e gonna need a bigger boat". or "I'm Baaack"...

How many more movie lines can you think of off the top of your head?

so maybe there was a method in the madness of the Noble prize going to a songwriter. instead of a writer that no one outside of academia actually reads.

But was it for his skill in words, or because of his politics, I wonder... Because his songs are, alas, already dated: Anti war is fine, but who sang a song of mourning for the boat people's suffering?

Painful are the memories of those
who perished out at sea,
Desperate for a better fate,
In search of freedom where the sea await,
As darkness hides the tiny boat...
full of people filled with hope.
---Stephen Nguyen... 

Alas, pacifism is nice, but not when the bad guys take over and you have to flee... or even when those same bad guys are caught planning to run over your family at a holiday gathering.

so one remembers this quote:

The women of this country learned long ago, those without swords can still die upon them. 

One pundit quipped that Tolkien was probably the widest read poet of the century, because his books are full of poetry. True, but it is lines from his movie that you probably remember.

So when the Pope's guard-dog compared Bishop Burke to Wormtongue, everyone in the world got the joke, even though as I pointed out, he got the analogy wrong.

The most famous "Tolkien" poem was used in TTT by Peter Jackson: where the king, facing death, quotes a poem :"where is the horse and the rider"... but Tolkien actually borrowed that poem from an Anglo saxon poem, the Wanderer.

Where is the horse now?
Where is the rider?
Where is the gold-giver?
Where is the seat at the gathering?
Where now are the feasts in the halls?
Alas for the gleaming cup!
Alas the mailed warrior! 

The irony is that, like most people who actually fought in war, the best anti war stuff is not propaganda but by veterans who saw war for what it was: A horror.

but who also remembered that there is sometimes a reason to fight.

Or as the ancient poet put it:

There is a time for everything
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born
and a time to die,
 a time to plant
and a time to uproot,
a time to kill
and a time to heal, ..

 a time to love
and a time to hate,
 a time for war
and a time for peace.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

National Book Festival

The Library of Congress has talks by authors at their National Book festival.

This one is Stephen King, but a lot of other authors are there, such as Stacey Schiff and Primo Levi..

the WAGD post of the day


why use old fashioned techniques to make WMD type germs when Genetic manipulation will do it faster and easier?

UKBerkely MINT research

more HERE.

Philippine news

Bloomberg has an article on the improved economy in the Philippines

but they get it wrong: Saying it is "despite Duterte". They are missing that he is not just against drugs but against  Corruption.

The reason for people not being willing to invest include corruption costs, not just the price of bribes but because a lot of the money supposed to improve the infrastructure gets diverted, resulting in shoddy workmanship and delays.

Rappler article. has details (Rappler is an investigative reporter site and usually anti Duterte).

In the USA, business is seen as "evil" so the culture in schools etc. urge kids to go into SJW type stuff.

Here, it is recognized that what is needed is jobs, so we don't have to send ten percent of our population elsewhere to find jobs and so the poor can find work near their families.

the big controversy here is the permission to bury Marcos. A lot of those who suffered under Marcos, or were involved in the EDSA revolution are upset.

Ex President General Ramos pointed out that, unlike himself, Marcos never repented or tried to make up for his excesses. (Ramos risked his life by backing Cory in the EDSA revolution).

Marcos never repented nor did he ever try to make up for his "excesses"...he had to be sued to get some of the stolen money returned to the Philippine people, for example. Rappler article on the billions of dollars stolen by Marcos. and of the numerous lawsuits etc trying to get it back.

Marcos was a war hero and had a lot of support from his local area. (Translation: The family are still in politics and have a lot of power . Money will buy votes, but also clans run a lot of the provinces, so locals cheer for their own. As the saying goes: Yes, he's an SOB but he's OUR SOB).

Of course, in their defense, the family claims they didn't steal the money from the Philippine people: They found Yamashita's gold.

That is a famous conpsiracy theory type mystery: Where was it hidden, and who found it, or is it still there? Actually, even if the treasure trove existed, and even if Marcos found it, the gold was stolen by the Japanese from many places in SEAsia so should have been returned.

Also, although people are still proud of the EDSA revolution, they also recognize that Cory was too weak to punish the corrupt and push through needed reforms. Things improved with Ramos, but then things stagnated until Duterte took charge.

Duterte said it is time to forgive and move on, but that is not easy for those who had family members who suffered under Marcos.


Tolkien news

TORN says the director of a Tolkien Bioptic has been chosen. More at Hollywood Reporter.

I hope they get it right... I've read a lot of fanfiction and short articles that get it wrong...  he was a complex man.

this snippet from the HR article makes me shudder:

when war broke out in 1914, disrupting his Oxford life with his wife Edith Bratt, Tolkien embarked on four years of battle, hardship, and new friendships, which served to shape his imagination and start him on the path to Middle Earth.
Actually, he wasn't married in 1914 when the war broke out, only engaged. He married shortly before he joined up in 1916.... and that "four years of hardship" was not just the Battle of the Somme, but trench fever, i.e. typhus, which tends to relapse, which hospitalized him on and off for 2 years.

and I wonder how they will portray his wife? Supposedly, he always had a lot of female students to tutor, which he did in his home since he was married and his wife was there he didn't need a "Chaparone" in those old fashioned days. Many reports are that Edith "mothered" them. I always thought the professor and his wife in "That Hideous Strength" was based on them, but I've never read anyone who observed that so I could be wrong.

The character Ransom, in "out of the silent planet" (written in the 1930's) is supposedly partly based on Tolkien... there is a passage where Ransom befriends all the Hrossa children, and plays with them, and George Sayers relates that once when he visited them (as a widower) he found Tolkien playing Thomas the Tank engine with his children...


AlasNotMe Blog has an essay on Tolkien's Beren/Luthien romance as a mirror image of the elf king in Sir Orpheo.


The Pope's hatchet man called Bishop Burke "Wormtongue" in a tweet for daring to question the Pope (and the German bishop's) agenda to take sinful deeds less seriously, under the guise of "mercy".

He has the analogy wrong, of course. Bishop Burke is actually closer to "Gandalf Stormcrow" for warning a sleeping king that there is trouble ahead and that he should ignore the "experts" who are advising him.

What'sNewWithKRu  has an essay comparing Grima to Alfrid, in the Jackson Middle Earth series.

Father and son? unlikely, but...Grima is 59 years old in TT, and although Afrid was killed in Hobbit 3 extended edition, if he had left an unborn child behind, this could almost fit the  60 year time gap in the books.

Both characters are slimey suckup A**kissers who manipulate their master so they have that in common.


Michael Martinez' blog is back up and running with lots of articles for Tolkien geeks.

the present podcast series on modern myth and fantasy from Mythgard is Ursula LeGuin's the Dispossessed, but you can find a lot of the Tolkien based lectures on their website.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Family News

Ruby is a semi finalist in a short film contest, so with the other semifinalists from the Philippines will be going to Japan for a week in a cultural tour.

Alas, we are not allowed to go with the students, which is against Philippine culture but since it is an interAsian contest we can't do much about it.

The harvest is almost over, so things are still busy drying a storing the rice.

Snarky stories on the web

Instapundit has quite a few links about press bias and the push back by the hoi polloi against the rich elites, the insular MSM, SJW and snowflake types who hate poor people of the wrong colour and then have temper tantrums when they lose or if someone objects to their ridicule.

AnnAlthouse summarizes:

This feels like another one of the post-election stories about how the losing side is very emotional and justified in its anguish and the winning side is taking advantage in an evil way. That's the template. So I'm wary of the material that's being scraped together to fit the template.

EcclesIsSaved blog sings about his favorite things in the modern church.

Masses with puppets and tambourine jingles,
Long-lasting "kisses of peace", where one mingles,
Rich German bishops all wrapped up in bling,
These are a few of my favourite things.
 Cardinal Kasper and all his new teaching,
All of Pope Francis's aeroplane preaching,
Amoris Laetitia, and all that it brings,
These are a few of my favourite things.

and don't miss his series:

and don't miss his series:

How to be a Good Pope 5

Continued from Part 1Part 2Part 3. and Part 4.


the Librivox book of the days is Stag cooking: no, not venison but stag, i.e. single men, as in Stag party.

This book is dedicated to "that great host of bachelors and benedicts alike who have at one time or another tried to 'cook something': and who, in the attempt, have weakened under a fire of feminie raillery and sarcasm, only to spoil what, under more favorable circumstances, would have proved a chef-d'aeuvre." 
actually cooking has become a lot easier now that you don't have to adjust the wood in the wood stove and cook from scratch.

The print version includes this tip:

 In another pan make a sauce of pre-Prohibition Sherry or Madeira, flavored with the beaten yolk of one egg, powdered nutmeg and mace, a pinch of Cayenne pepper, salt to taste, enlivened with large lump of butter.
 If pre-Prohibition Sherry is not available, names and addresses of seventy-one bootleggers can be supplied. ...

 IMPORTANT : Serve the sauce separately. The ter- rapin is frequently ignored by those who prefer the flavor of the sherry. I am one of them.

of course, the modern Bachelor cookbook has only one page in it: Microwave until hot.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Who ya calling "white", gringo?

Phillip Jenkins, who frequently writes on the ignored memes about Christian history, has an article which points out the "truth" of being "white" and the gleeful claim by the media that "whites" will soon be a minority in the USA.

what do we mean by “white”? Historically, the category of “whiteness” has been very flexible, gradually extending over various groups not originally included in that constituency.
In the mid-19th century, the Irish were assuredly not white, but then they became so. And then the same fate eventually befell Poles and Italians, and then Jews.
A great many U.S. Latinos today certainly think of themselves as white. Ask most Cubans, or Argentines, or Puerto Ricans, and a lot of Mexicans. Any discussion of “whiteness” at different points in U.S. history has to take account of those labels and definitions.
Nor are Latinos alone in this regard. In recent controversies over diversity in Silicon Valley, complaints about workplaces that are overwhelmingly “white” were actually focused on targets where a quarter or more are of Asian origin.

and then he brings up intermarriage.

Been there, done that.

as for "christians", he notes: most of the immigrants since 1965 were Christians, not just the Latinos, but most of the Arabs, Asians and Africans.



Da Foam! da Foam!

...... was flame retardant foam used in airport emergencies. Apparently a fire detector went off and ordered it released.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Pizza gate: The latest conspiracy theory

if you liked the hysteria about spirit cooking, you will love Pizza gate. (No, I won't link to these crazy sites).

But then: how did Martha Peterson, who was investigating pedophilia in Haiti, die?

Snopes discusses here.

the problem is that people who embarrass the rich and powerful are easily killed in places like the Philippines, (or Haiti) as the witnesses against big shots involved in the drug trade here have sadly found out.

One doesn't have to think this is Arkancide to wonder whose toes she stepped on.

even in the UK the conspiracy types are raising questions on the murder of Jill Dando

the Peter Scully case here was probably the tip of the iceberg of pedophile tourism and children abused and filmed for the pleasure of evil people who surf the dark net for such things...2014  story of a ring of cybersex criminals here
 and another story HERE.

this Japanese man (2016), with links to a pedophile ring, committed suicide while in custody.

Kimura has been under surveillance for allegedly trafficking children via the Internet. Four children were rescued in the operation.
According to Janet Francisco, chief of the NBI Anti-Human Trafficking Division, the 55-year-old suspect allegedly abuses the child-victims before selling them for $100 each to pedophiles through the Internet. NBI agents claimed they recovered the $400 marked money from Kimura's pocket. An FBI undercover agent used the currency notes to bait Kimura. -
see more at:

this criminal was offed by locals, figuring they wouldn't be prosecuted under Duterte.

and this conspiracy theory investigator "committed suicide" while investigating pedophilia in Poland.

a lot of the libertarians think prostitution is okay if it is consensual, ignoring that many lived in extreme poverty and that many of these women (and boys) were tricked into traveling to work at jobs and then they then find prostitution or giving sexual favors to the males in the family is required of them...

but only psychiatrists would defend the sexual abuse of children...

the latest meme: A disorder, not a crime. tranlation: They can't help themselves, they were born that way.

the problem is not that this is not a mental disorder, but the worry that by calling it so (as was done in the DSM V), it will let them get off the hook for their behavior.

which is why they had to change the definition carefully to "interest" (which might be inborn) and not behavior (which is criminal).

Elvis trivia of the day

Singer, Soldier, usher in a theatre, and "sbabbos goy"?

(translation: Gentile who helps you on the Sabbath).

During Elvis's senior year at Humes High School in Memphis, the Presley family had moved several times, and at one point lived in the bottom floor of a boardinghouse, where their upstairs neighbors were Rabbi Fruchter and his wife.
  Elvis explained to George that he was the Rabbi's "Shabbos goy." He turned the lights on and off and turned the radio on and off for the rabbi and his wife and did odd jobs and errands for the Orthodox family on the Saturday sabbath, when Orthodox Jews were forbidden to engage in certain types of work and activities. 
Yes. My grandmother did these things for her neighbor when my mom was growing up.

Turning on electrical switches doesn't sound like "work", but it the equivalent of starting fires, which is hard work.

Neatorama via Presurfer.

Buckwheat: The next food fad?

The paleo types are discovering ancient foods, usually from exotic cultures.

But did you know that buckwheat is gluten free?

Imrpbable research found a report on a lot of buckwheat remains in the poo of a medieval bishop.

so how did they eat buckwheat? as groats,,, or in cakes/flat bread.. you probably now it as "Kasha", and is one of the comfort foods for Russians and in the US among the Jewish community whose roots were in eastern Europe..

Wikipedia page on buckwheat.

Most Americans only know it from buckwheat pancakes (or as Blinis).

because buckwheat has a short growing season, it is often used in cooler climates or as a fall (second) crop.

So was it used by the Vikings?

yum. Porridge.

Foremost amongst Viking crops was grain. Smaller versions of today’s barley, wheat, rye, and buckwheat grew on the Scandinavian coasts. The Vikings used their grains to make bread and porridge, or to enrich soups and meat. Aside from grains, farmers kept home gardens, where they planted peas, beans, onions, angelica, hops, parsnips, wild carrots, cabbage, and garlic.

there was little oats or wheat in Scandanavia, so the bread was often made from barley...or rye.

yup..  housewives would have to grind it, and the bread was hard an full of sand.

and this BCC article implies they had a healthy diet. Well, yes, if you were rich and didn't mind a bit of scurvy from the high protein no fresh veggie diet... or did they eat sauerkraut? Did the Vikings suffer from Pellgra? BeriBeri? Scurvy?

but the real problem with a high protein diet is constiptation... which is probably why docs back then were big on giving medicines to purge people.

A lot of the herbal books from those days include recipes for weakness that one suspects was scurvy or vitamin deficiency, which of course could be treated with ertain herbs.

if you want more information on Viking bread culture, Wikipedia has a page on that.

Soba noodles are made of buckwheat, and were considered a health food in Japan, probably because they supplied the B vitimins lacking in polished rice.

a good source on some of these things is Braudel's classic book the Structures of EVeryday life... it's fascinating but more of a book but it tends to skip back and forth in time and place...I usually checked the index to find what I was interested in...

I brought the first book (it is a three volume set) with me to the Philippines.

Here is an excerpt of some facts in that book.

Science headlines: vaccines and GM Food are life saving

CDC report on the use of vaccines around the world. For later reading since it is ocmplicated.

the use of DPT vaccines has lagged at 85 percent, and countries with internal wars are especially at risk for not getting their kids vaccinated.

another problem: not all the kids got all their shots, so could get the disease.
The good news is that one shot will give you some immunity and since you are now older and healthier (most of the deaths from DPT and measles and HIB etc are in toddlers) but it will wear off. We saw this with measles vaccine, where we had an epidemic in our high school and not all the younger doctors had ever seen a case.

all the anti vax people in the US seem to think vaccines are a NWO plot to kill people to keep down the population. Actually it is the opposite: It cuts down the number of poor children dying in the third world.

Of course, when the moms realize they no longer have to give birth to 5 kids to make sure they have one or two survive to adulthood, they are willing to use contraception etc. to limit their families.

another note: LATIMES article saying the WHO has called off the Zika emergency.

You know, the "R" in the MMR vaccine is rubella, which causes a lot more brain damage to the fetuse in pregnant women than Zika.

But then I'm old enough to remember the last rubella epidemic in the US, where so many women faced giving birth to a retarded child (and in the UK,, thalidomide cases) that it led to more support for legalized abortion...


CDC reports that if you overdose on immodium, you might get a heart irregularity.

Don't worry about taking one or two for diarrhea however, the dosages are higher here...

. Serum loperamide concentrations were obtained from four patients and ranged from 77–210 ng/mL, representing 25–875 times the therapeutic range of 0.24–3.1 ng/mL (6).

 people use it to get a cheap high, or to decrease withdrawal symptoms from opioids.

we grow organic rice, and it is healthier but the dirty little secret is that if we all ate organic rice grown in the traditional ways, there would be millions of people starving to death.

GM food hysteria kills.

LATIMES has an article on a GM crop that increases the food produced by making photosynthesis more efficient

GM is a technique, that allows the manipulation of crops and animals faster than by breeding/ choosing crops with positive traits.

Like any technique, it is morally neutral, and can be good or bad.ed

and chimeras with one human gene are not the problem: but too many genes and you could get a scenerio like Cordwainer Smith's underpeople...

Improbable research: Death by selfies.

cross posted from my medical blog

Friday, November 18, 2016

Headlines below the fold

So how did Trump make money? Lots of negative stories out there that cherry pick stuff, without context. However, this April article on the BBC about Trump and business notes his style of running businesses:

Like his father, Mr Trump has a reputation for saving every penny possible.

parsimonious would be the word I would use...and they point out that his reputation is that you got good quality for the dollar.

and he made money by putting his name on stuff he didn't own.

Merchandizing where the real money is made, to quote Yogurt....

but the graphic in the article says no: His golf related income is the largest amount.


Dilbert advises you to read this article. if you are believing the hyperbole in the media.

Screenwriter Roger Simon writes about the press distortions of the transition team etc.

I just read a lot of the links at Instapundit to see the man behind the curtain.

my favorite: An interviewer at the BBC keeps bringing up the KKK, and is corrected.

My response was what any normal American would say, “I can’t imagine anybody [sic] more marginal to American elections than the KKK.”....but the moderator interrupted me. “So it doesn’t shock you?” I responded why not talk about the influence of the Knights of Columbus?
My interlocutors apparently had no idea what the largest Catholic men’s organization in America might be. The host inquired, was it “another extremist group?”
 well, the Boston Globe noticed them, or maybe I should say they reported how people of faith noticed how Obama and Hillary were out to destroy them.

related item:

Bishop Chaput had an article awhile back about why the US Catholic bishops see Obama's policies as an attack on religious freedom, and that one problem is that words no longer mean the same thing to different people.


Austin Bay has an article about the increasingly violent Islamicist groups in Bangladesh, which is traditionally a more tolerant country.

and recent demonstrations in usually tolerant Indonesia against a Christian/ Chinese ethnic governor for "insulting Islam" suggests they are trying to cause trouble there too...

the VOA has an article that shows that these demonstrations are astroturfed and encouraged by outside groups, aka "muslim charities" who have a larger ageda... some of the protesters supposedly came there spontaneously and were mainly mad about other things, such as land usage... but I wonder: Who inspired them to go to this protest, which had nothing to do with what they are upset about? (uh, maybe a sermon at the local mosque?) and who paid their bus fare?

These groups made a de facto coalition, suggested Mughis in an editorial, because the present administration broadly does not accommodate Muslim conservatism. Their diversity is reflected in their broad base of material support, one which is likely to continue in future planned protests.

ah yes: "Muslim Conservatism". Read Sharia law. Wonder who is encouraging and funding this?

Foreign Policy in Focus 2012: Saudi Money fueling a war their against the Shiite Indonesia.

PBS Frontline report on the Saudi Money fueling terrorism all over the world.

It's Saudi Arabia and its network of charities and the like. The argument I make is that there is an undercurrent of terror and fanaticism that go hand in hand in the Afghanistan-Pakistan arc, and extends all the way to Uzbekistan. And you can see reflections of it in Bosnia, in Kosovo, in Indonesia, in the Philippines.
Saudi Arabia has been the single biggest source of funding for fanatical interpretations of Islam...
For instance, in one madrassa in Pakistan, I interviewed 70 Malaysian and Thai students who are being educated side by side with students who went on to the Afghan war and the like. These people return to their countries, and then we see the results in a short while. ...
At best, they become hot-headed preachers in mosques that encourage fighting Christians in Nigeria or in Indonesia. And in a worst case, they actually recruit or participate in terror acts.
sort of puts that stuff about screening Muslims into perspective,, doesn't it?

Although one might note that the terrorism  in the US was carried out by immigrants or children of immigrants....... and often fellow Muslims had reported these bozos to authorities as dangerous, and were ignored, even when those the ones reported as dangerous had traveled overseas for education at these terrorist linked schools.


StrategyPage on the tiny modern wars that get a lot of publicity, and how NGO's and the press can be more of a problem than a solution.

Yes, been there, done that...


E commerce: We haz that

China has a "Singles Day",  which is more about AliBaba on line shopping than it is about singles.

AliBaba (the Chinese Amazon/ebay site) has allowed rural and small town Chinese to find anything their little heart desires and get it shipped to them.

You don't appreciate it until you have lived in isolated areas as I have: Amazon let me get books I wanted to read without driving 100 miles to a book store and then maybe being forced to have them order it for me because it isn't popular enough for them to have in stock. And before Amazon, most of my clothing was from catalogues, where I knew which size would fit me, instead of trying to find one at the local mall and then trying it on to see if the size was what it was supposed to be.

Sears catalogue (and JC Penneys) were the pioneers of this 100 plus years ago, but seem to have lost out to Amazon because doing it on line, and having more brands to chose from, was better for customers.

one of the undercovered stories is how ECommerce is changing culture... and cellphones have a lot to do with it.

AliBaba's success is partly because it is trusted to deliver a high quality item, and more importantly they will send it "COD": Cash on delivery. So if you don't have a credit card, or don't want to trust your card to the website, no problem.

I am not sure if Alibaba is here: We do have Lazada and one or two other local sites, but I don't trust them with my credit card, and haven't tried COD... we are close enough to Manila to get things there, but I hate to travel there to shop: thanks to the heavy traffic, it takes 3 to 5 hours driving...

but now we have a local mall where I can find 80 percent of what I need. Clothing is still a problem, but the UkayUkay (used shops) usually have my size if I look carefully... and often these are well known US brands, which can be bought for a few dollars (or very used stuff which coasts a dollar or less).

So how does CNN MONEY report on the Chinese on line merchandizing revolution? do they discuss how it means rural Chinese can get stuff without a high price markup? Or find things they need easily?

Nah: CNNMoney complains it is causing too many boxes to be thrown away.

Yeah. I remember when children were starving in China, and now the problem is too many things being bought by those rising out of poverty.

When I hear the Pope criticize too many things, I wonder if he knows about these things.

A lot of folks buy stuff because they were poor and wanted things they couldn't afford, and now they can.

Here in the Philippines, our poor don't starve, but it means boring meals, and ugly clothing, and a sore back from planting rice, and walking all over.

Now they have a chance for a TV, a decent house, and nice clothing, and a fan to keep one cool, and taking a tricycle (or use your own motorcycle) to go to town and buy a hamburger at Jollybee.

The desire for things can best be understood if you couldn't afford something and now you can.

the Pope would know this if he really worked with the up and coming middle class of the world: Alas, he still lives in the lala land of liberation theology, where if those uber-rich folk would be less greedy, the poor might not starve.

This is why the Protestants and the "prosperity gospel" type churches are thriving in SAmerica, the Philippines, and even in China..... Those old fashioned values of honesty and hard work now have a chance to bring wealth.

Indeed, one of the problems here that keeps businesses from thriving is corruption and a shoddy infrastructure (also often from corrup tion, where the funds were diverted and shoddy work was overlooked).

Duterte, by being anti drug, is also anti corruption,, so we figure in a year or two businesses here will be able to thrive. And it explains a lot about his making nice with China: The Chinese and the Chinoys run the place, not just drugs but honest businesses.

As to all those killings: Well, let me tell you a story.

There once was a general who told the Emperor of China that his problem was lack of training and lack of leadership in the army. The Emperor objected, pointing out that only the poor and luckless joined the army, and the general replied that with decent training he could make decent soldiers of anyone.

The sly emperor said fine: take 100 of my concubines and make them into an army.

So of course, the lovely ladies came out and giggled and pretended they couldn't do such things

The general then ordered his his staff to chop off the heads ten of the ladies.... and they then started to obey him and learn how to soldier.

Same here. You don't have to kill all the criminals, just a few and they will decide to go to rehab.

And now Duterte is aiming at the corruption in the government, and so it taking on the lovely lady who has been his major foe complaining to the UN and the USA under the guise of "human rights violations".

And here, everyone sees that those who could spill the beans on her have either disappeared or been made dead...

This is very dangerous for Duterte...o

StrategyPage has an article on the drug war..

the next step is to bypass the judicial system. They explain why:

Opinion polls show over 80 percent of Filipinos approve of president Duterte and his war on drugs. These are very high rating for a Filipino president. But there are uncertainties. For one thing the Filipino justice system, even in normal times, is remarkably inefficient. Many cases take years to reach a conclusion and many suspects cannot post bail and remain in jail while waiting. Wealthy suspects can still afford to delay prosecution or bribe their way out of a conviction. To that end the president is proposing suspending constitutional guarantees of due process. A lot of law-abiding Filipinos oppose this but without judicial reforms (which take a long time) or more prisons (which require money the government has not got) the war on drugs is going to stall because of the problems with prosecuting those arrested. 

the mayor who was behind the killing of our nephew (a bystander killed in a hit against his political rival)  died in bed thanks to first bribing the ombudsman (we suspect) to delay the indictment, then he "disappeared" and then, when after a few years he was found dialyzing in Manila, he pled illness. Never did go to court, died in his bed, and got a big Catholic funeral, complete with a "Knights of Colombus" bodyguard.

Heh. Sounds like the Mafia funerals in Chicago... they lie, cheat, steal, and kill but hey they are good Catholics.

This should have been a scandal for the church, but we are still medieval, where you can buy your way to heaven even if you are a corrupt murderer....and then there is the "who am I to judge" of the modern church, who is too busy fighting GM crops and airconditioners to bother with these things.

the delay in justice has led to several deaths: At least two involved in the plot have been killed, and there was a hit against the family a week after the indicted mayor's daughter became mayor herself (he lived, but three bystanders were killed in that hit too).

So we never did get justice....

SP also discusses other issues about the Philippines, including the west Philippines sea problem.

well, Obama was a no show when we were complaining, and as Duterte points out elsewhere, no one is willing to actually help us if we went to war.