Monday, April 30, 2018

Bubble Tea

Joy is always bringing this home as a pasalubong gift for me, and I hate it.

It's milk tea with tapioca.

the "Milktea" here is thin tea with milk, which does not taste like British milk tea, which is stronger, but almost tasteless.

Then they have tapioca/jellied pearls in the bottom. They don't give you a spoon but a large straw, so you can aspirate the tapioca into your trachea more easily.

Wikipedia: Bubble Tea.

Most bubble tea recipes contain a tea base mixed with fruit or milk, to which chewy tapioca balls (known as bubbles, pearls, or boba) and fruit jelly (especially tropical fruits like lychee) are often added. Ice-blended versions are usually mixed with fruit or syrup, resulting in a slushy consistency.[2] There are many varieties of the drink with a wide range of ingredients with some ingredients being mango, taro, coconut, and peach. The two most popular varieties are bubble milk tea with tapioca and bubble milk green tea with tapioca.[2]

more here at Weibo, a Chinese site. which lists the ten best places to buy it in China.

apparently it is also a big hit there too.

however, looking at the discarded small straws littering the street, I suspect except for the trendy students, the locals still prefer the much cheaper fruit juice  or buko juice, served in a plastic cup or in a bag with a straw from a local street vendor to drink.

Spoiler alert

Thanos retires to Banaue to contemplate on his life.


no, don't ask me: I am a Tolkien freak, and can follow Starwars and X men, but am not into the Avengers story.

Culture wars? What culture wars?

The WH press dinner's jokes were over the top, and got a lot of coverage from both Drudge and Instapundit.

I was too busy to follow the story yesterday, but GetReligionBlog, which covers journalism stories on religion (which often don't "get" religion) has a summary here.

This disaster in the public square was not about Trump. Play close attention to the nasty, personal attacks last night on several key members of this administration and their families – in some cases because of their religious beliefs.
Again, this is not political for me. I am mad and sad today because this hellish event (a) helped Trump with his most loyal fans, (b) did further damage to American public discourse (obviously the Tweeter In Chief deserves blame too) and, most of all, (c) undercut efforts to defend journalism's First Amendment role in American life among news consumers in zip codes inside the two coasts.
As a journalist, I am furious.

Family news: Happy Fiesta

Fiesta time!

the local patroness is the "Divina Pastora", i.e. the holy shepherdess.

History of the statue and how locals adopted Mama Mary under this name HERE.

photos of the celebration here.

And here is the parade.

yesterday, they already had the kiosks put up and crowds at the city square. I usually walk the dogs around the south part of the square, and it is difficult because of traffic, and also because they want to chase all the local dogs who also visit to eat the dropped food.

Traditionally, folks return to their homes for the fiesta, so we are full of visitors.

In the past, Lolo used to have his friends stay here, and they would sit around drinking whiskey or soda and playing cards all night.

As WWII veterans, they usually would march in the parade.

Then, time moved on, and the number of friends dwindled, and they sat in a car for the parade, then nothing. Sigh.

the family usually holds a feast for the fiesta, and a reunion, but with Jordan marrying, some of them will come next month for the big wedding instead.

It is now "Tag-Init", hot season before the monsoon starts so I usually didn't last long watching the parade.

once the monsoon starts, the fields will be flooded, the weeds plowed under, and prepared with fertilizer etc, and then the rice seedlings are planted by hand in the mud for the main harvest (the winter harvest is usually planted by just sowing seeds, probably because before pumps and dams you never were sure if the rice would grow. Now we irrigate and get a good harvest).

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Behold the power of Durian

The odor of the Durian fruit led to several hundred people evacuating from a library in Australia.

guess the libray forgot to put up this sign:

so why is it eaten at all? It tastes wonderful, like custard.

More HERE.

and here is the classic experiment to see how bad they smell.

Podcast of the week

Freakonomics discusses medicine and economics. mp3

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Maggie Smith

we are watching the Downton Abbey series on TV, and Maggie Smith steals every scene she is in.

Here is a delightful interview:

and here is Ms Smith in her Dowanger role:

Chinese culture: Moving chairs in Starbucks

Improbable research finds that there is a north/south (wheat/rice) divide on chairs in Starbucks:

rice farming requires cooperation, due to the need to coordinate irrigation, whereas wheat farming is more independent.

so we have this:

In Study 2, we moved chairs together in Starbucks across the country so that they were partially blocking the aisle (n = 678). People in northern China were more likely to move the chair out of the way, which is consistent with findings that people in individualistic cultures are more likely to try to control the environment. People in southern China were more likely to adjust the self to the environment by squeezing through the chairs. Even in China’s most modern cities, rice-wheat differences live on in everyday life.

Sanitation Factoid of the day

guess who is traveling with his own private commode?

it is to keep his health secret.

The reason? They are protecting against a literal info dump. "The leader's excretions contain information about his health status so they can't be left behind," Lee Yun-keol explained.

There were a few news stories horrified that a soldier who had defected from North Korea had lots of parasites, so presumably Kim doesn't want you to check if he has them too.

and by the way: What's the story behind cute pooh?

Have you seen these cute poop toys around Korea yet? Well apparently if you dream of poop it is a sign of good luck. This is because in the olden times farmers used to use poop as a fertilizer which results to better harvest. Therefore similarly by dreaming about poop it means there will be better harvest of good fortune! And these toys are so damn cute!

The Medieval Roots of the Second Amendment

it was indeed to have a "militia". LINK

Having and knowing how to use weapons was a man’s role in the medieval period. 
All levels of society owned weapons throughout the medieval period. It distinguished laymen from clerics (who, nonetheless, also possessed and used weapons), the free from the unfree, and law-abiding citizens from criminals. It also signaled the ability to defend one’s honor with violence.
Bearing and using weapons was associated with enfranchisement—literally, being a Frank (“free”).
Anyone who has a passing interest in the Middle Ages knows that the “feudal” social system set up by the Franks required nobles to exchange mounted, armored military service for land.
What fewer people pay attention to, however, is that common soldiers were also required to do military service and to own swords, shields, bows, and arrows. This was in direct continuity from the era of migrations, when the duty of the free men of the Germanic tribes was to fight alongside their chiefs.
more at the link, about weapons and the relationship between gun ownership and weapons in Europe.

An armed society, in other words, was seen as a positive good. On both sides of the Atlantic, weapons ownership equaled liberty. Disarmament on the Continent only came with strong centralized government: Tlusty makes a strong case that building a stable state and ending the near-anarchy of premodern Germany necessitated ending the population’s right to bear arms. Of course, in modern Switzerland, firearms ownership is still ubiquitous, but gun-owners are trained from a young age in the responsible use of weapons.

when I bought hunting rifles for my son, to get a license they needed to pass a gun safety course. In the past, many ordinary people obtained this training in the military.

The bad news: The author goes beyond her level of expertise and suggests that if you encourage credit card companies from enabling gun purchases, you would solve the gun problem in the USA.

Two problems with this:

One: uh, cash? (which is an argument they will use for a future cashless society)

and two: What about the weapons already in the hands of folks?

here in the Philippines, even though gun ownership is restricted and illegal guns are commonly confiscated,  most middle class folks have a gun or two hidden away for personal safety. (Lolo used to have his WWII submachine gun in our closet when we first moved we don't own any guns now, only machetes and vicious dogs for protection).

The problem with guns is that you have to know how to use it and be prepared to do so. And that takes both training (to do it automatically) and a mindset (to watch for threats, even in benign situations).

that is why I never learned to fire a handgun, and even had a waiver not to carry one in the National Guard.

For the average civilian, when confronted by a professional (killer or cop) you hesitate long enough for him to shoot you or maybe take the gun away and shoot you with your own gun.

the irony about the fight against the NRA is that the straw man NRA person is a white guy bigot, but the real story of gun homicide is that it is not a white problem per se.

and remember the next time you read about the "high murder rate" from guns in the USA: that this has a racial bias, 

this is a public health emergency, and it has been going on as long as I have been a physician (which dates back to 1970).

IF this was happening in the upper middle class white community, stopping gun crime would be seen as a priority (I remember when yuppies started to be threatened, Giuliani got rid of guns by frisking down suspicious people, and the death rate went way down).

but one of the evil things done by President Obama was to polarize the country against the law abiding citizens of all races, by protecting the civil rights of thugs not to be frisked on sight or to be thrown out of school for misdemeanors (which is how the Florida shooter could legally own a gun: They ignored his high school criminal activity).

the "BLM" types have it wrong: it's drugs and gang related violence that kills.

CDC list of risk factors for school violence.

read the whole thing (too long to post).

Alas too many young men feel they have to carry a gun or to join a gang to be safe. What's wrong with this picture?


as for those who as "what would Jesus do"? or "Jesus would not carry a weapon". I agree.

He didn't carry a weapon: But Peter did, and knew how to use it.

Friday, April 27, 2018

For later reading

Suicide prevention:

What you’re not seeing is the guy up on the overpass who had intended to jump.

so while trying to talk him out of it, the cops asked truckers if they would park under the overpass. to shorten his fall if he did. They finally persuaded him to come down peacefully.

Headsup Dustbury.


Roger Simon, the screenwriter and blogger, discusses moral narcissism, where saying the PC thing is more important than what you actually do....the idea if you echo the politically correct meme you are good.


LAT thinks the increased rate of autism spectrum diagnosis is a "good thing".

why is autism more common in whites?

but I am old enough to remember when these kids were diagnosed as "retarded" and institutionalized. Then they started "deinstitutionalization" and the parents were confronted with trying to care for a disruptive child.

"retarded" is a bad word, but since "RainMan", being autistic is considered more PC. So people with severely mentally disabled kids with autistic symptoms would just insist he was autistic... as if he was like the Rainman character and really a savant so how dare you notice his low IQ.

The dirty little secret about autism no one seems to notice:

Of the 75 children with ASD, 55% had an intellectual disability (IQ<70 16="" 28="" average="" but="" disability="" had="" intellectual="" intelligence="" moderate="" only="" severe="" to="">IQ>85) but only 3% were of above average intelligence (IQ>115).
Those children with normal IQ should be able to fit into society, so deinstitutionalization is good.

But in today's world of bullying, it can be hard for them to try to fit into society: and rejection can cause anger: the Toronto killer, the Conneticut shooter, and probably others were angry Aspergers.


tourists find a sick bat, take it to the vet. Bat had rabies. Tourists disappeared back to Switzerland, and the CDC is worried they might catch rabies, so contacted the Swiss gov't.
Folks got treated for rabies exposure.

Bats who bite folks are probably rabid. 

I once blew the public health budget for our town when we had to give 24 shots to a girl bitten by a bat. By the 15th shot, she was getting terrible allergic problems from the shots but it was better than risking rabies.

Now it is three shots over three weeks and here it costs 600 pesos a shot....And you also get a 4th shot of anti rabies antibodies if the risk is high.


A rapper sort of said he liked Trumpieboy?

Maybe he knew about this: at a time when Palm Beach clubs excluded Jews and Blacks, Trump didn't.
a history of Maralago includes this snip (originally published Nov 2015).

In 1998, Trump invited Sean Combs, the rapper then known as Puff Daddy. But Combs scandalized Palm Beach when he was caught on a beach in the "middle of his midnight romp with a long-legged stunner," according to the Page Six account in the New York Post.
and then there is this:
Palm Beach has a lot of rules: No whistling allowed on public streets after midnight. No "Missing Dog" — or any sign — posted on a tree. And no flag poles taller than 42 feet. In late 2006 Trump put up a giant American flag on an 80-foot pole. That led to a $1,250-a-day fine against him, drawing national headlines that Trump basked in.
yes, a publicity scam. But it worked.

of course, I am old enough to remember when country clubs were "restricted", meaning no Jews, no Catholics, and no minorities. This was especially hard on the doctor community, who had the money to join the club to golf and eat at the restaurant, or so their kids could swim, but they were not welcomed.

Trumpie boy is not Jewish but he is from the Bronx, so think of him as a gentile version of Rodney Dangerfield and Comey et al as Ted Baxter.

and who is the Gopher? Discuss, class.


Garrison Keillor says Comey has jumped the shark, and that the real issue should be Canadian Illegal immigrants.


He was thrown out of PBS but is back to doing essays...not all of them full of hatred as they were for awhile.


and yes there are illegal Canadians in the USA (and illegals from everyplace else). and the dirty little secret is that a lot of countries are deporting those without documentation:

RIYADH – A total of 253,086 people have been arrested in five weeks since the start of the ongoing crackdown against violators of residency and labor regulations in the Kingdom.
not only Saudi but nearly everyone else is doing this: for example, the Gulf States, Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong kong have been deporting OFW without proper papers. Even the Philippines suspects they have one million plus without proper papers.

But most of them are Chinese, Filipino, Indian, or Pakistani.

But you only hear about the US or Israel when they do this, of course.

Me? I'd be happy if they just let anyone live where they wanted to live. But then the poor without proper papers will be exploited by employers, lowering the wagers for locals. And who pays for them when they get sick or retire?

Headline in the Inquirer:

North Korea's Kim crosses border to talk to South Korean president.

is it Trump, or is it because their nucleara testing site just collapsed?

Beijing is particularly concerned about the North’s nuclear tests, since the Punggye-ri site is less than 100km (60 miles) from the border with China.
North Korean nuclear tests have caused seismic events in Chinese border towns and cities, forcing evacuations of schools and offices, sparking fears of wind-borne radiation and leading to a backlash among some Chinese against their country’s unpredictable traditional ally.
Chinese authorities have said they’ve detected no radiation risk from the tests. Kune Yull Suh, a professor of nuclear engineering at Seoul National University, warned last year that further tests could threaten to cause a volcanic eruption at Mount Paektu, which is about 100km away. 


the US deep state hates Duterte. 
Who wudda thot?

They tried their best to get the CIA's American girl elected and they have been pushing back on Duterte since then.

The Philippines was in danger of becoming a major narcostate, and a place where drugs could be distributed all over Asia. Most of the cartels were Chinese, but even the Mexican cartels were starting to establish a base here at the time Duterte took over.

 Not to mention the increase of crimes by druggies that was threatening the middle class. (the upper class, of course, has body guards and live in gated communities, so the small businessmen and middle class were at the most risk).

Never mind that Duterte's fight against drug cartels has a much much lower death rate than the murder rate by drug cartels in Mexico, which tends to be ignored.

and compare and contrast Duterte to the dictatorship in Thailand, the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingye.

but I guess the CIA carries grudges.

To paraphrase: This is how you get China.


Family news

now the thermostat on the airconditioner is shorting out (turns on and then turns off after five minutes). So again suffering from the heat.

Joy finally got my immigration clearance (you can do this at the airport but it can cause a delay).

I bought a new purse/manpurse/small briefcase to use for the trip: It will fit my tablet and other stuff inside pockets.

the high temperature here continues, but the monsoon is nigh: we already have had a few rainstorms.

The fiesta is this weekend... I might skip church, which will probably be crowded and hot. No aircon in church here. Or maybe go to mass at the mall in the afternoon, where there is aircon.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

the dignity scam (follow the money)

I argued for comfort care and not to use extraordinary care for the elderly and dying in a previous post.

But let me argue the other side.

That baby in England whose doctors insist they want him to be treated with "comfort dignity and privacy".

but it's a scam: The kid didn't die right away after they took him off the respirator, so they denied him fluids/food and oxygen, which are ordinary care that the family could do at home.

And the cops are guarding the kid so the family doesn't take him home.

The Pope and the Italian press is involved on the side of the parents, but never mind: The courts ruled that he needs to die, so be it.

because of the "QALY" or "dignity scam"

In Alfie's case, because he is a cute looking child, the veil that hides the actual agenda has been torn. And that is the real danger.

So the authorities are pushing back to an absurd degree:

Not only are the cops are keeping the parents from moving him elsewhere, but the authorities are even monitoring "malicious" posts about him on the social media.

Because thought crime?

Kira Davis at Redstate says the real reason is that the family is embarassing the NIH and daring to question the QALY idea.

What is not logical and nearly incomprehensible is the decision of the court not simply to deny Alfie further treatment, but then deny his right and the right of his parents to leave the country to seek treatment elsewhere.
Even that decision might make a tiny bit of sense if it were to add to the NHS’ costs. That would be a problem for that pesky algorithm.
However, Italy had already sent an airlift equipped to take the young child. His transportation and hospital provisions were covered by donations and the state of Italy. In fact, to move Alfie out of the care of the NHS would only save them money and labor. Alfie’s parents would have one more shot at rescuing his life. It seems like a win-win for everyone.
well, maybe the Pope/Italy should bribe PMMay like Ghadaffy did Tony Blair who got the Lockerbie Bomber out of the clutches of the death panels who decided not to treat him based on QALY data. because it would have been "too expensive".

Several doctors swore that he only had three months to live: But what they meant is that he only had three months to live without treatment. Libya treated him and he lived for two years.

but the point here is that in both cases, the idea that the person should die was based on "scientific" criteria, and what no one is talking about is that the "scientific" criteria are not scientific at all, but based on opinion/prejudice.

See that "Q" in the QALY? that means quality of life. as in this:

(as in) the EuroQol Group's EQ-5D questionnaire, which categorises health states according to five dimensions: mobility, self-care, usual activities (e.g. work, study, homework or leisure activities), pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression.[5]
but a lot of these things can be treated (having caregivers, devices to assist people to live independently, proper pain management and proper treatement of anxiety/depression).

so if you don't meet the criteria because you were not properly treated, it means you are toast anyway. What's wrong with this picture?

Orwell would be proud:  QALY (quality of life years) criteria are how The Death panels the NICE (national committe of Health and Care excellence) decides if you should live or die.

and with the growing "elderly" population (and fewer kids/immigrants to support them by their taxes) you can see how this cost control idea could rapidly expand to active killing of the old, senile, and those denied treatment.

But before you point fingers at the NIH/UK, maybe you should read about the "futile care" law in Texas that has gotten little publicy.

from Wikipedia:

The Texas Advance Directives Act (1999), also known as the Texas Futile Care Law, describes certain provisions that are now Chapter 166 of the Texas Health & Safety Code.
Controversy over these provisions mainly centers on Section 166.046, Subsection (e),1 which allows a health care facility to discontinue life-sustaining treatment ten days after giving written notice if the continuation of life-sustaining treatment is considered futile care by the treating medical team.
Unlike the UK, if the family wants to, they can move the patient and pay their bills.

Or they can ask the hospital "ethics" committee" to decide. The problem being that most "bioethics" types already believe in the "QALY" mindset, so good luck to you fellah.

so what would I do? Without medical information, I can't really make a good decision.

Probably I would advise the family to take him home where he would have the loving care of his parents and their friends for his last days. Now that he is off the respirator, they should be able to do that.

Essentially I advise hospice type care.

If the pro lifers are that worried, well, they can help.

all the arguments about "dignity" make me cynical: there is no dignity in being disabled, or old or incontinent or confused.

but I'm still old fashioned enough to remember that quip by a sardonic Jewish Carpenter about "the least of your brethran".

There is no such thing as a meaningless life, so take your child home, and love him:

“Not one day in anyone’s life is an uneventful day, no day without profound meaning, no matter how dull and boring it might seem, no matter whether you are a seamstress or a queen, a shoeshine boy, or a movie star, a renowned philosopher or a Down’s-syndrome child. Because in every day of your life, there are opportunities to perform little kindnesses for others, both by conscious acts of will and unconscious example.
Each smallest act of kindness—even just words of hope when they are needed, the remembrance of a birthday, a compliment that engenders a smile—reverberates across great distances and spans of time, affecting lives unknown to the one whose generous spirit was the source of this good echo, because kindness is passed on and grows each time it’s passed, until a simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage years later and far away.
---Dean Koontz.

and given the ability of young children's brains to recover from devestating damage, there is an argument not to give up hope.

Jahi McMath, have your mom call the parents and tell them to hold on...

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Downton Abbey

Because Downton Abbey was on our tv two years after it had been on US TV, and because it was late at night, I had downloaded the series. And now I am showing it to my stepson, who watches TV here after supper in the evening.

Ruby, in Canada, is also watching the series (it must be on netflix, which she gets, since downloading is illegal there).

The producer of the series has some novels available on Scribd, which I am starting to read.

No, it is not just nostalgia: I just finished the book Snobs, and learned about a lot of the subtleties of various levels of British culture in the 1970s.

It is not my culture, so I found it interesting.

I am more interested in how and why people act why they do: anthropology/sociology.

One reason I dislike "modern" novels on the best seller list, even when they are supposed to be "historical" novels, is that they all seem to be written in the same voice, of an educated ivy league graduate. I start reading, and then hear this voice in my mind, and throw the book away, because I know it will give me no real insight into people, how they thought or how they lived: even if it is about minorities, foreigners, gays or "poor" people, they seem to think and act like every other character in these best sellers: as if they all were ivy league graduates.

Philippine cultural lesson of the day

more HERE.

and then there are the haunted places LINK

many of the haunted places are from World war II, including the "red house" near us. that has recently been demolished.

More photos at

Not only a place where "comfort women" were kept, but a place of other atrocities: 

According to the caretaker of the house, the women of Mapanique (a barrio near the house) and other places nearby were held by the japanese soldier were brought inside the house, and used them as “comfort women”, some died during the stay in the house, crying and wailing for help.
Moreover, Filipino guerillas caught by the soldiers were starved, brought to the large lawn beside the house tied together, then burned alive.
The stories kindled the rumors that the house is a place for troubled souls seeking for justice. 
Lolo pointed out the house when I first moved here, and hinted that he thought his cousin had been killed there.

His cousin and brother were active in the local anti Japanese guerillas... the cousin was captured/killed, and his sisters had a small shrine in their house remembering him, that included a "thank you" letter from President Truman.

 Lolo, who was a young teenager at the time, only joined them at the end of the war, but didn't see combat per se: Mainly he worked to patrol the streets. So he is considered a Philippine veteran, and did get his schooling paid for by the government. I get a small pension from this. (but no, he is not considered a US veteran so we didn't get that money).

Bataan is also full of ghosts: but Americans don't seem to realize that most of those who died in the "death march" were locals, not from the USA.

and then there are the "Ghost trees" formed when the Fiscus vine kills the tree it is growing on, and you are left with a hollow area for the ghost to hide in.

finally, here in the provinces, you hold the viewing in your house, with friends and neighbors keeping watch. Often the men sit outside drinking beer and playing cards while the women are inside talking and eating snacks. If the house is small, often outside there is an awning to keep the sun off the visitors.

Often it takes days for the "OFW" and migrant relatives to come so you can do the burial. In Lolo's case, it took a week for his daughter to get here, and it would have taken longer if I hadn't put my foot down and scheduled it when I found what was delaying his burial and said no more waiting (his ex wife didn't have a passport and was pressuring the daughter to wait until she could get one...which would have taken another week).

Often you have bands or music to entertain the visitors, plus snacks and meals.

The funeral procession is slow, and often the family hires a band to play for the marchers, and even a horse drawn herse for the coffin (Dr. Ito had this, but not Lolo).

Then you go to mass, and then to the cemetary for the burial, which takes another hour. In the hot sun. (yes, vendors are usually nearby if you get thirsty, and local kids are there to beg pesos).

Unlike the US, you never bury jewelry etc with the loved one.

And after the funeral, and even after you leave the wake, you don't go straight home: you visit a restaurant and eat. The idea is so that the ghost doesn't follow you home and haunt you.

wikipedia has a more "official" description of funeral customs here.

we don't do a lot of them: Lolo lived for 40 years in the USA and wanted a simple burial, and his son lived part of his life in the US and is Protestant, so a lot of the customs were not kept... except of course from fights from the relatives who thought we should make the funeral and gravesite fancier (but didn't offer to give us money to pay for the extras). But that's another story for another post.

we still have the mass on the tenth day and 40th day, inspired by an ancient belief (not only here) that the spirit stays around for 40 days before going to his or her reward. And the 40 days of prayer goes back to the ancient church, so it is not a purely "pagan" custom, as local (anti Catholic) protestants like to insist.

but it is more of a custom or folk belief, not a dogma.

I seem to remember they did this prior to Vatican II in the USA. But in today's efficient world, even the conservative Catholic site EWTN pooh poohs that old custom, maybe because Americans don't believe in ghosts...

Family news

Joy couldn't get my visa papers because she needed to bring a "power of attorney" paper. So we will get that tomorrow.

I probably could just go, since I have a permanent residency here, but that would mean airport hassles, to check my status.

Joy's cousin's son is still in ICU after cardiac arrest from an arrhythmia. I thought it was sudden cardiac death from ventricular fibrillation syndrome, but apparently his heart is large, so maybe he had a viral diluted cardiomyopathy. His heart is now stable, but the brain damage is still there... and now he has been placed back on the respirator, running a fever (Sepsis? or maybe atelectasis). Not a good sign.


One of the reasons why docs shrug at that UK case about the baby on the ventilator that is making all the pro lifers hyperventilate: we see prolonged expensive care, and the result is a dead person anyway, or a person bedridden and with little cognitive function.

of course, the problem? in the young, the brain could recover a bit with time, so you hate to stop fighting.

and one does get the feeling that "cost" might be influencing the doctor's decision in the UK: Remember that terrorist dying of cancer who was denied treatment, and Ghadaffy got him home and the guy lived two years? Tony Blair was criticized for letting him go when he didn't die right away, but the reason was that the NIH had refused to treat his cancer. Dirty little secret about the British health system: QALY.

Catholic ethics don't allow euthanasia, but also don't insist on "extraordinary" treatment to keep someone alive.

So what is "extraordinary"? Depends on the time, place, age, and health of the person.

For example, amputating a limb was once considered "extraordinary" treatment, so refusing amputation, which would have left you unable to work, was ethical in the past.

Dialysis is still "extraordinary" here in the Philippines, as it was in the US until Medicare started to pay for it.

Ventilators are "extraordinary treatment". Period.

Feeding tubes were also "optional" until recently: John Paul II noted that there was a euthanasia scam to kill patients, where the tube removed deliberately to kill them when often they were not "comatose", just brain damaged... I say scam because the staff were forbidden to feed them when the tube was removed, even when the patient asked for water, so often the patients were given sedation to keep them quiet.

usually the pro euthanasia press calls these people "vegetables", but if they were actually in PVS, a tube would only keep them alive for 6 months according to studies: but the dirty little secret is that "PVS" is misdiagnosed in 30 percent of cases.

(When I worked with the mentally retarded, we had several of our patients diagnosed as PVS after a short visit with the consulting neurologist, when we knew that they could recognize and interact with staff. )

And some neurologists recommend "stopping treatment" (aka starving the person) even when they didn't come near the "PVS" diagnosis: We had an Ojibwa lady with frontal lobe syndrome, where the consultant didn't examine her but spent the hour trying to talk the family into stopping the feeding tube. When they left, the niece told him off: That's the difference between you white folks and we Indians: We care for our elders.

which explains why Lolo wanted to retire to the Philippines: They respect and care for elders here, (although the danger of overtreatment if you do go to the hospital is a lot less than in the lawsuit happy US).

On the other hand, too often the feeding tube is put in for "convenience" of the staff, so they don't have to bother to take time to feed an often uncooperative patient.

Bad or good? in many cases, the feeding tube might not prolong the life much, but at least you die fat and happy, without bedsores and other complications from malnutrition.

Some men just don't want the tube and say so. The original "Brophy" case was this: Everyone in town knew he said he never would want to be kept alive with a tube, so even the church backed his wife's court case to have it removed.

In contrast, the Schiavo case was pushed because the husband wanted to remarry so suddenly "remembered" she didn't want a tube to keep her alive: and what made it a euthanasia case was because the family were willing to nurse her in their home...

And of course, for terminal patients, IV's and feeding tubes are extraordinary treatment: Lolo didn't eat the last week of his life, but would take small amounts of fluids and medicine. He didn't want the hospital, so died in his bed, a choice that Barbara Bush just made.

Here in the Philippines, a lot of the poor can't even afford their high blood pressure or diabetes medicines, so it is quite common to see men limping with a foot drop from a stroke. Or they die of complications. Our new mayor has started a program to supply these to the poor, and also to pay for rabies shots and basic antibiotics for kids, but alas the program often runs out of medicine, so they come to our door for help to pay for this. (we are down the street from the clinic).

Back to Joy's cousin: the reason he didn't die was because his sister in law who was a nurse was there and started CPR, and the ambulance came quickly, and the hospital was a class A hospital in a large city. If it had happened here, he would have been DOA.

so if you believe in God, and that "everything" that happens has a reason, then you have to blame God not only for his cardiomyopathy but for the fact his sister in law was there to give CPR.

Sigh. The family has had several other health problems in the last year, and when I heard this, all I could think of was "Job".

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

the deep state? and other stories that question the meme

UKGuardian essay on the reality of the deep state.

 But even if we focus narrowly on the intelligence bureaucracies that conduct and use information collected secretly in the homeland, including the FBI, National Security Agency (NSA), and National Security Council, there is significant evidence that the deep state has used secretly collected information opportunistically and illegally to sabotage the president and his senior officials – either as part of a concerted movement or via individuals acting more or less independently.
The hard questions are whether this sabotage is virtuous or abusive, whether we can tell, and what the consequences of these actions are.
a nice nuances evaluation of the problem.

headsup Instapundit,


the Chickfila hit job in the New Yorker wasn't just an example of religious bigotry, but ignored that Hispanics and Blacks are also Christians.

Actually, the "Christian" pledge to service and honesty is something one finds in Jewish and Islamic stores. Not to mention Confucius.

So it comes down to what he objects to is that the founder of the restaurant doesn't support the gay agenda (as opposed to gay rights), but doesn't impose his beliefs on staff, except to insist they act with honesty and integrity.

Apparently, If you don't make everyone support the gay agenda, you will be prosecuted.

that is why the Amazon idea to push gay rights among it's employees could be making a hostile workplace for minorities.

you know, like being fired for supporting traditional marriage? LINK. LINK2. link3 link4


the sky is falling! Uh, wait a second.

The baby bust may lead to population levels being stable and the evironment improving as people move to be concentrated in cities,

the cost of environmental clean up in china will be offset by health improvements.

long article about the cause and cure of pollution.

but much of China's greenhouse gas emissions have improved by changing the way of farming rice.

Paddy fields account for around 20% of human-related emissions of methane — a potent greenhouse gas

And the US emissions have improved under Trump. Huh?

they say it is because of less coal used for electricity. (blame President Obama) and more use of natural gas (blame the frackers)

And Trump is reopening the coal mines, so it might not last.

But One of China's problems is high sulfur coal for electric plants, and so importing low sulfur coal from the US could solve two problems here: unemployment in the US and emissions in China.


Family news

Joy is getting my papers certified from immigration so I can travel to the US hassle free.

Hopefully, my side trip to Canada to pick up Ruby on the way home won't cause problems.

the big local news is an amok murder (using machetes) of a family by the daughter's live in boyfriend. Sigh. He was drunk, but like a lot of crimes, one suspects drugs might have been behind this.


Monday, April 23, 2018

Cat item of the day

there is an open debate on which is the best way to hang toilet paper.

This answers that debate:

Drones: snooping or life saving?

This report says that a drone was used to find a lost child.

UKMail article on other cases where drones are used to find lost civilians.

this film shows their use in Mountain rescue.

more here:

StrategyPage on using drones in war. (including those that are monitored in real time).

#MeToo, 1869 edition

#METOO, 1869 edition.

short version

Long version.

Byron was a cheating drunken incesturous bisexual promiscuous SOB,  but beloved as a romantic hero.

So his minions covered up his sins, even trashing his wife's 
reputation  to defend his shoddy treatment of her and her child..

The fact that he became a SJW and backed the Greek revolution at the end of his life (as a means of repenting his sins? or because he was becoming a has-been and wanted to get back into the headlines?) This makes him a hero to many, but only if you agree that neglecting your offspring and destroying the lives of your lovers and wife is okay if you write purty and follow the popular causes of the day.

Harriet Beacher Stowe, of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" fame and an early feminist, stood  up for her, against the story she was "rigid" and emotionally cold.

He claimed she deserted him after she had her baby, but she claimed he ordered her home even before she had recovered. He claimed to all that she was rigid and frigid, but the backstory was that she objected to his incest with his half sister, and because he had sodomized her, and attempted to persuade her to have what we moderns would call an "open marriage"...

So why did she marry him in the first place? Maybe because she was naive and thought she could tame him...

Ah, but why did he marry her? There are a lot of speculations, but few bother to note the probable reason: follow the money:

link: p208

Lord Byron is declared to have paid back his wife's ten-thousand-pound wedding portion, and doubled it. Moore makes no such statements; and his remarks about Lord Byron's use of his wife's money are unmistakable evidence to the contrary. Moore, although Byron's ardent partisan, was too well informed to make assertions with regard to him, which, at that time, it would have been perfectly easy to refute.
 this NewYorker article suggusts that the narcissistic amoral Victor Frankenstein, who made his monster out of self pride and then abandoned his creature as useless, was based on Byron.

The irony: Both women continued to love these charming sociopathic bad boys for the rest of their lives.

Librivox version of Stowe's book.

Nat Geo is boasting they will have a biography of Picasso for their "geniuses" series. I read a biography of him written by a woman writer who actually noticed how he manipulated and abused the women around him, and how his lovers committed suicide because of the abuse.

No, I don't think geniuses abuse women as part of their genius: I think they abuse women because they can.

ten thousand pounds in 1835 is the equivalent to 1,195,000 pounds in todays' money.

ironcially, although few outside of Literature classes bother to read Byron, his daughter's influence on fhe world was greater: She is the "mother" of computer programmers.

Ada Lovelace: Photosource:

Ironically, the same thing happened to his fellow "romantic" poet and libertine Shelley: his poetry is pushed in literarture classes but he has little grass roots popularity today, but everyone knows about his wife's book Frankenstein,

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Korea: China and the West Philippine sea

talks are pending. Will this be a breakthru?

SP has the background.

more at AlJ.

I am not posting US press here because the breakthru has to do with Xi and Trumpiboy. Both want prosperity and are business oriented, and playing hardball with each other.

carrot and stick negotiations.

a lot of the stuff about trade and tariffs are the stick.

But why do I think that the West Philippine sea will be part of the carrot?

No evidence, but since Obama didn't stop China stealing and building islands there (and destroying the ecosystem... to the silence of the environmentalist wackos of course) and since PNoy's hands were tied by the Obama administration, it's a done deal.

. So who cares if international law is on the side of the Philippines? We don't have an army to throw them out by ourselves.

so Duterte, knowing he has no choice, is making nice with China (although most folks here don't like the Chinese who control our economy and encourage the corruption that makes it hard for outsiders to get opportunities)

and now the outsiders whose shipping lanes might be blocked are getting upset. Sheesh. Where were they when Arroyo gave away the place and PNoy obeyed obama and let them take the place over?

Violins and Fiddles

and here is the best fiddle song:

Friday, April 20, 2018

yaaaay! Airconditioner working again

The aircon guys were here and fixed the aircon, refilling it with freon.

And hopefully I now will be able to sleep at night.

The WTF stories of the day, plus rants

Netcitizen site Global Voices reports Russia is blocking IP addresses. So what else is new? So is China... and Iran...

and they note this:

Dear Facebook users: unless you’re in Europe, the GDPR won’t save you...
But on April 17, Facebook told Reuters that it will be changing its terms of service so that only EU-based Facebook users will benefit from the privacy protections of the new EU rules.
Once in effect, the data of users outside the EU — all 1.5 billion of them — will instead be governed by US privacy laws, which are less comprehensive and more lenient by far than the EU framework.
4th amendment? What 4th amendment?

But then, I live in the Philippines, so the NSA can spy on me legally anyway.


I remember a flight to Japan where we had to skirt around a typhoon and were bounced around. I got out my rosary and started to pray, and then the two ladies next to me laughed and got out theirs too.

The only problem with the rosary? The "Hail Mary" ends with the phrase "pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death"...uh oh.

Well, GetReligion has links to the story of the Southwest Plane that lost and engine and depressurized at 30 thousand feet before landing successfully in Philadelphia.

they prayed quite a bit.

This was even noted on the NYTimes 

GR also had a post about the Pilot who was flying the plane.

of course, the atheist snide remark is: Well, what about all those who actually crash despite their prayers.

sigh. I know. I knew families of some of those on TWA800.

Well, when I was in medical school, one of our professors noted that few docs were pious, but most believed in God, because we saw many cases where someone should have died, but lives, and tragedies where someone who should have lived, died.

Without faith that there was a plan behind all of this, we would go nuts.

but like "the Miracle on the Hudson" or the story of the Gimli Glider or the Sioux City crash or the Philippine airliner who had a bomb explode, we love to hear stories about surviving against all odds.

So where is God in all of this?
Guiding the hands of the pilot/doctor/rescuer.


Mark Mallet says don't get upset when the Pope confuses people and hints that rules don't count, because after all he also says such wonderful inspiring things.
The question we must each ask ourselves is this: Have I lost the capacity to hear the Voice of Christ speaking through my shepherds—despite their shortcomings?

Yes. Listen to the Pope, for much of what he says is good.

As Balaam found out, even an ass can speak with the voice of God.

 But does that mean we need to be silent about the bishops/pope's "shortcomings"? (Note: I lived in Altoona when "mercy" was the rule...link2..link3..Link4 )

Mallet then quotes an unnamed source:
... I have been very nourished by his (the Pope's) gentle spirit and call to compassion.
translation: ah but he talks so purty!

this isn't just about sex, you know. It is about every news story where someone embezzled from a church or misused church funding, but didn't get prosecuted because "mercy". And it's about every bishop here in the Philippines who let murderous corrupt politicians sit in the seat of honor at Catholic fiesta masses.

and it gets worse.

 Dreher see the same mindset echoed those nice Canadian bishops, who are looking the other way when baby Trudeau decides he wants to kill off the old. He quotes Flannery O'Connor's tart observation:

“In the absence of faith, we govern by tenderness. And tenderness leads to the gas chamber,” said Flannery O'Connor. Her point was that sentimentality cannot restrain the darker forces in human nature.
(update: the fish rots from the head down in these matters: the newfangled Vatican changes the Vatican pro life academy bodes ill for pro life Catholics.. but that is another rant for another time).

ah but the unnamed "expert" quoted by Mallet goes on to explain that calling evil good and good evil is okay because they are now merely recognizing "ambiguities". The really evil folks are those rigid judgmental types who pop their head up above the crowd to say: wait as second, that's not right.

again, Mallet quotes one of the Pope's defenders who spouts the PC talking points:
I’m afraid schism will come from all this ultra-conservatism in the Church. I don’t like playing into the hands of Satan, the Divider.
(Translation: Bad: that feisty Cajun at EWTN. Good:. wuerl and Daneels).

Joe Paterno call your office...(poor guy: he was only following the example of his bishop).

update. and although it says wuerl promoted strict standards, the dirty little secrets is that this was only on paper; however, the article also notes possible fake accusations (based on heresay rumors) also were going on.

You have to remember two things: One, for an abused young person, the court case that followed was worse than the actual abuse. They would be called liars in front of witnesses, and often treated by neighbors as if they were the cause of the abuse.

Two: the corrupt judicial system meant they covered for each other.


Spengler on Russia, Trump and the swamp.

Russia is not squeamish about means: Its ally Basher al-Assad killed half a million of his own citizens and displaced about 10 million, while Iran sent 80,000 Shi'ite mercenaries from Lebanon, Afghanistan and Pakistan into Syria to fight next to its own Revolutionary Guard Corps. That is how we got into the present mess. It is hard to untangle this mess without an agreement with Putin.
His opinion is that Trump was duped about the use of nerve gas... and blames the Bushite swamp for pushing it.
I rarely agree with Spengler, but am linking for later slow reading.


Family news

My air conditioner needs a cleaning and isn't working well, so I am suffering from the heat.

Long story why it hasn't been cleaned and recharged when I first noted the problem. Guess it's my fault: I rely on others to call the certified Aircon folks... a couple years ago the same delay happened, so I finally called in a self trained guy to do it, and it took him three days,

but when we moved here, we ran into the same problem: but it was because of brownouts, and the main generator was broken. At that time, there were not many places to buy one so I was advised to buy one in Manila, and the trip there kept being postponed. When we finally went, I was pressured to buy a huge Chinese generator that could be used for the entire compound, but my budget wasn't that large, and no body offered to go halves with me, so I bought a small Japanese one big enough only for our house.
That small generator was a lifesaver in the typhoon/ flood a couple years ago, when the large generator was at the farm and had gotten damaged: the small generator meant we could run the pump for our water (the city water was off due to damage, but Lolo put in a deep well pump years ago, when city water was not very good in quality or quantity).

So we ended up supplying water (and cellphone recharging) for neighbors and relatives. Not to mention keep the refrigerator running, lights on, and keep our koi in the pond alive.

That generator ended up at the farm where it was "needed", so two years ago I bought another one for backup, for when the old large generator dies or no one is here to start it... the new one is Taiwanese built. You can't quite trust Chinese stuff, even though it is cheaper.... But we have fewer brownouts now, so we don't use it much.

One reason I finally bought my own generator, since hot season we tend to have rolling brownouts (because our electricity is from hydro electric dams, and they can't produce enough electricity in the dry season).

We are also having brownouts from the city fixing the electric lines. The wooden poles are being replaced with concrete ones and the many tangles lines are being replaced with cables, and the lines are being put higher so that they don't snag on the rice trucks who now detour up our street (the main street is now one way).

The main street also has a center barrier, which stops the weaving in and out of tricycles causing accidents, and they are getting stricter about double parking.

Borocay is now officially closing for a clean up, so he will marry at a resort in Bataan. The wedding is when I will be visiting my son in the US so I can't make it, Alas.

Bataan is now an eco tourism center, by the way, which is startling to those of us who remember that name for the death march (or for the closed partially built nuclear plant scandal).

Boracay is being shut due to ecological problems (dumping garbage in the waters, etc). but there are rumors that a Macau casino wanted to build there.

It's sort of a "lose lose" proposition: They either let it deteriorate into a slum and lose tourists, or get some investments going to attract the high end tourists.

But corruption makes anything suspicious here. So the SJW will yell and scream no matter what: but in the end, the place will get cleaned up, the usual suspects will pocket money, and the workers (including the hookers) will come back and get better wages in the end.

In other words, like a old jeepney that chugs to it's destination, it will be done: not as efficiently or as honestly as it would in the US, but it will get done.

I haven't checked with Joy if her relative's bed and breakfast will have to close.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

the censored earth day story

Gizmodo (2013) remembers Ira Einhorn, who abused then killed his girlfriend, is usually airbrushed out of the history of Earthday, either ignoring him completely or insisting he wasn't important to the movemen.

Fair enough.

But the really bad part is that, after her body was found and he fled to Europe, the "true believers" still supported him there for 17 years.

as the WAPost (2002) noted all the VIPs who helped him get away, because why let a dead girl get in the way of all the good things he planned to do?

and Ranker names those who supported him when he was on the lam.
While living on the lam in Europe, Einhorn developed friendships with a number of influential people, including British musician Peter Gabriel and Hank Harrison, a Grateful Dead biographer and Courtney Love's father. While neither man admitted to knowing Einhorn was wanted by police, Barbara Bronfman (a wealthy Canadian socialite with ties to the Seagram distillery) was well aware of his status as a fugitive when she repeatedly sent him money during the time he was on the run from the authorities.
because a founder of Earth day wouldn't lie, would he?

and I love how the writer concludes the essay:

But we implore you, don't let the sinister past of one of Earth Day's purported co-founder darken this day for you. Earth Day and its organizers are at least partially to thank for the creation of the EPA and nearly all legal and regulatory mechanisms in place to protect the world around us. Plus, there's every reason to believe that the yard at The State Correctional Institution at Houtzdale has one of the most glorious penitentiary compost piles you'll find anywhere in these beautiful United States.

as for Holly, well, her family remembers her as a beloved sister, not as a footnote to a bizarre criminal coverup.

"I'm so happy for the family. They're the ones who kept the focus on this case and made sure no one forgot about Holly Maddux or about Ira Einhorn," said Richard DiBenedetto, a former investigator for the Philadelphia district attorney's office who helped track down the 1960s counterculture guru and who was in court when the verdict was read.
The four siblings sat in the front row every day of the 2 1/2-week trial and said they often felt the presence of their sister, assuring them that justice would be served. 
 "Her murder basically killed our parents, too," said Meg Wakeman, a nurse and mother living in Seattle. "We miss Holly very much. … I think she and mom and daddy are all pretty happy right now."

Ya'll come now


I have to laugh: one always hears yuppies going to exotic places where they imagine they are visiting "Shangri la", but they never bother to come here. Not exotic enough, of course.


Strategypage has a long nuanced article on WTF is going on in Syria.

as I noted earlier, no matter what Trumpieboy did, his enemies would blast him for it.

So now it seems they are falling for "fake news" out of Russia. Who wudda thot?

 Russian Bots Unleashed Russia continues pushing the accusation that the “Syrian chemical attack on Douma” was actually a fake. Syria has joined in and made a film about this fraud. But the Syrian video was quickly exposed as providing fake evidence of the staged attack when it was pointed out that the video proof the Syrians broadcast was from an earlier Syrian propaganda film that was presented as staged.
The Russians were somewhat more successful as they unleashed an enormous “bot campaign” in support of its conspiracy theory. This bot campaign could be seen throughout the English language web as robotic accounts quickly provided scripted messages in support of the conspiracy theory in any public site where people were discussing the Syrian chemical attacks and using certain words and phrases that the Russian Internet monitoring system was set to seek out so the bots (programs pretending to be people posting messages) could be sent to support the claim that the chemical attack was faked to justify illegal air strikes on Syrian.

and they are doing it not only to embarass the Americans, but because the attack showed Russia's weapons weren't worth buying. In other words, follow the money:
It was an impressive disinformation campaign and part of a larger Russian effort to distract those asking why Russian air defense systems failed to perform when the air strikes hit and have been similarly ineffective against Israeli attacks.

Lots more stuff there. For later slow reading on my tablet.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

All you wanted to know about ketchup


and how to make it:

here we have sweet, hot, and banana catsup.

and finally: Catsup vs ketchup.

Privacy? Moi?

as my readers know, I am a retired doctor from Frostbite Falls Minnesota. But never mind: I just had to agree to Yahoo's privacy site to see my yahoo email so anyone who wants to find my private information just has to hack my emails.

I just learned that Yahoo  want to know everything but the kitchen sink

We collect information from your devices (computers, mobile phones, tablets, etc.), including information about how you interact with our Services and those of our third-party partners and information that allows us to recognize and associate your activity across devices and Services.

This information includes device specific identifiers and information such as IP address, cookie information, mobile device and advertising identifiers, browser version, operating system type and version, mobile network information, device settings, and software data.
We may recognize your devices to provide you with personalized experiences and advertising across the devices you use. Location Information. We collect location information from a variety of sources.
You can learn more about and manage your location permissions on our Locations page and by visiting the location settings tool on your devices. Information from Cookies and Other Technologies.
We collect information when you access content, advertising, sites, interactive widgets, applications, and other products (both on and off of our Services) where Oath’s data collection technologies (such as web beacons, development tools, cookies and other technologies, etc.) are present.
These data collection technologies allow us to understand your activity on and off our Services and to collect and store information when you interact with Services we offer to partners. This information also includes the kind of content or ads served, viewed or clicked on; the frequency and duration of your activities; the sites or apps you used before accessing our Services and where you went next; whether you engaged with specific content or ads; and whether you went on to visit an advertiser's website, downloaded an advertiser’s app, purchased a product or service advertised, or took other actions. Information from Others.
We collect information about you when we receive it from other users, third-parties, and affiliates, such as: When you connect your account to third-party services or sign in using a third-party partner (like Facebook or Twitter). From publicly-available sources. From advertisers about your experiences or interactions...

lots more. see here.

and they keep nagging me to get my cellphone number. What could go wrong?

You know, everyone else collects it all too...

Google knows everything about you...our house is even easily found on Google Earth, and then I blog at Blogger, so they know a lot about my political opinions.

Ah but it works both ways:

For example, if you read my blog, I can find how you find my blog and where you live.

For example, for awhile I had someone in Ulan Batar reading me. Well, duh.

as for Facebook: well, that one just hit the news about their snooping.

But since my Federal Personnel file was hacked, presumably by Chinese hackers, I am a bit cynical about the whole matter.

How bad is it? It is so bad that both General Petreus and his chickie and the anti Trumpieboy FBI lovebirds had their emails hacked and released to the public.

now, the lawyer/client relationship is no longer a way to keep secrets. I'll have to remember that.

And of course, with Obamacare getting electronic medical records, and substituting the old fashioned family doc who could keep secrets with a nurse practitioner who fills all the information when she fills out the blanks, your medical records will be easily hacked too.

and the next step: the confessional box. Hello~ Most Catholic parishes don't have confession anymore, and I doubt many perverts and criminal actually go to confession, but never mind. Big Brother wants to know what you said... even though priests, docs, and cops know about people who make fake confessions to crimes or sins all the time.

Speaking of the FBI lovebirds, I am listening to Rush and he is mouthing off about all the folks in the Washington establishment who are related to others: the news/government/lobbyist nexus who are running the place. It's hilarious. I was sort of aware of this, but it doesn't get much publicity.

Heh. Sounds like the Philippines, where the oligarchy runs the place, and if you want to know the backstory, you have to know who is related to/married to/friends with/sleeping with/ the illegitamate kid of whom.

as for search engines: I use DuckDuckGo.  and Opera for a browser.

Conspiracy theories

The "eastern migration" to the Americas?

a conspiracy theory that is now being discussed on the Smithsonian channel.

Smithsonian lecture here:

SpiegelOnLine article. notes the DNA shows links to Germany and Siberia.

The UKGuardian article debunks the theory

Wikipedia article on the Solutreans.

Those guys really got around... even though this was before the days of horses to carry them. (see the Horse the Wheel and Language, which claims the Indoeuropeans got around because they had horses, a story that started only in about 3500 BC).

AUKGuardian article debunks the entire theory, and notes:

the contemporary European gene pool was formed only within the last 8,000 years, and it’s unknown whether earlier peoples would have had haplogroup X in the same frequencies (or at all). No genomes from Solutren peoples have ever been sequenced, and you should always be cautious when a case is made for extending present day patterns of genetic variation into the past without direct confirmation from ancient DNA.

the amusing/horrible part of all this is that "white supremicists" types (and yes they exist) are saying: White people beat the Asian migrations to the Americas so it proves we are superior. What nonsense: their ancestors were probably living in Kazahkstan at the time, or maybe Russia or northern India. and they may not have turned so pale until ricketts pushed pale gene evolution when they moved north.

so where do the Solutreans fit into Europe or the Americas? Not much: they were replaced or merged with later populations moving there... unless, of course, you are Basque... and since a lot of Irish have Basque ancestors maybe the rumor of the Irish finding America first is true (/s).

A lot of the DNA studies are preliminary of course, but I do try to keep up on such things.