Monday, July 30, 2018

Just for nice

enough with depressing stuff...

Time to remember what is important in life.

Weird stuff

Who is NXIVM and what are they doing? from wikipedia:

In March 2018, Raniere was arrested and indicted on a variety of charges related to DOS, including sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, and conspiracy to commit forced labor.[14][40] He was arrested in Mexico and held in custody in New York after appearing in Federal Court in Fort Worth, Texas.[41] The indictment alleged that followers were coerced into sex with Raniere, who forced them to undergo the branding ritual alleged by Edmondson and others.[42][43] United States Attorney Richard Donoghue stated that Raniere "created a secret society of women whom he had sex with and branded with his initials, coercing them with the threat of releasing their highly personal information and taking their assets,” and the FBI’s New York Field Office Assistant Director-in-Charge stated that Raniere "displayed a disgusting abuse of power in his efforts to denigrate and manipulate women he considered his sex slaves.”[5] On April 20, 2018, Mack was arrested and indicted on similar charges to Raniere's.
Local Albany paper has lots of stuff on them. lots of big shots?

NYtimes magazine.

The F.B.I. accused Raniere of “a disgusting abuse of power in his efforts to denigrate and manipulate women he considered his sex slaves ... within this unorthodox pyramid scheme.” The criminal complaint claimed that the severe DOS diet was not for the women’s good, but to please Raniere, who, it asserted, sexually prefers very thin women, whom he entertained in a Clifton Park bachelor pad called “the Library,” outfitted with a bed and a hot tub. Prosecutors also claimed that Raniere, in the 1980s and early 1990s, had repeated sexual encounters with under-age girls. (He denied this to me.)
and local law enforcement has been fielding complaints about them for years.

self help stuff gets people into the cult, which uses NLP type stuff to heal memories and bad feelings etc.

NLP is essentially using self hypnosis and counseling (in this case, the counseling morphed into manipulation) to change people (i.e. can be good or bad). But in the wrong hands, like here, it can lead to really bad stuff: Bad enough to get the feds involved.

Sheesh. Lots of crazy stuff out there.

what got me started is that I was checking out how the ex bishop of Albany got off and ran into the story. Now there is a new accusation againt the WaCardinal from Albany too.

in the meanwhile, the Pennsylvania bishops coverup report is out there:, which also might point to the present day bishop of Washington DC, who was in Pittsburgh when a lot of this stuff was going on.

OnePeterFive article about how the dominos are going to fall.

between this scandal coming to a head, and the fact that we have a Pope more interested in green ecology than in preaching morality (he does both, but more the former than the latter), I can only sigh.

And get my rosary out and pray.

but the bad news is that this is not just in one church: It is all over the place.


The Catholic bishop scandal is exploding again. Ho Hum. I lived in Altoona diocese...

I have a long article on my "bitch blog" here about that scandal, which by the way, overlaps the "Penn State/Sandusky" scandal. link2
there was even a gag order on the "problem".

When I was in medical school, we were assured most of these accusations were not true, merely psychological projections (and indeed, some were, and some were also induced false memories, and some conveniently remembered stuff to get money).

But in the late 1960s we were also told by psychiatrists teaching us that all mental illness was due to sexual frustration (Freud's idea) so that girls who said "no" but were forced into sex was okay, because she really wanted it or needed to lose her "inhibitions. But what was worse was that back the, some people were pushing the idea that it might be a good thing if a child was initiated into sex by a "loving" adult.

I saw 3 or 4 cases of sexual abuse each month when I was in private practice, or heard about it from my adult women patients (because the majority of my patients were women, but also because I evaluated most of the abuse of young girls, being the only lady doc in town).

the abuse was usually by a family member or a friend of the family......and often they coped but used alcohol, drugs and were promiscuous...

So I don't think the Catholics are alone in this, as the "#me too" movement shows: the public schools just keep it quiet too.

the problem is that bishops are supposed to be shepherds: and up to now it seemed they felt more compassion for the wolf than the sheep they were supposed to care for.

Catholic author Michael O'Brien, who suffered ostracism when he refused to be groomed, has written on the problem and suggests false compassion and sympathy for the "nice" sociopath combined with a weakening of the idea of right and wrong might be part of the problem :LINK

While it is true that an individual committed these gravest of sins, it is also true that he found a welcoming, sympathetic environment that allowed him to go on to become the “pastor” of souls. Such is the madness that has infected many dioceses and the national bishops’ conference of the particular church in my country, and in other countries as well.
Professor Podles, who has written a book on the problem, has questions about one famous priest writer whose history predates Vaticacn II...

The reason for the coverup, aside from the hestitation to help put a friend in jail, can be hinted at by the deformation of theology:

The priest attacked moral theology, “at least as it existed from Trent to Vatican II,” as a “stingy, pettifogging science,” that is “act-centered” rather than person-centered. Salvation lies in the “fundamental option” not in “individual acts,” he insisted.

hmm... sounds like the bishops who release wordy statements of high falutin gobbleygook and emphasize ecology and "help for the poor/migrants" by doing political lobbying for more money, and supporting other trendy causes...

(That is the USA. Here it is condemning the drug war to stay on the  good side of the international elites while getting photo ops with corrupt "catholic" politicians... and Duterte only rolls up his eyes and asks why they aren't preaching against drugs and the corruption of the politicians who get rich off of bribes to look the other way? He then  hints that the abuse scandal here will soon explode here too, and curses them out, but only his foul language hits the headlines).

but who is preaching how to serve God in the duties of our daily lives, which for most of us is caring for the family being faithful and loving to our spouses and children, and doing an honest days work?

There is a lot of evil out there folks.

Oh well: Jesus had eleven cowards and on traitor in his followers. Nothing new here, folks, alas.

and we lay people can only pray for the cure.

Sackcloth and ashes, bishops?

but I will stay Catholic: Because of the sacraments and the dogma that helps me serve Jesus, and because there are so many good priests who are serving the Lord, but get no respect.

But I mourn for the good people who lose their faith. Sigh.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Craft item of the day

Lady soldiers in drag

The USNIBlog has a list of notable women who served in the military by pretending to be a man, and the reasons why they did it: out of patriotism, out of desire to explore the world, and sometimes to accompany a husband or lover.

Not in the list: Dr James (Miranda) Barry: who actually attended medical school in the days when women were banned, and then later joined the British Navy and was sent to CapeTown:

In 1822 Somerset appointed Barry as Colonial Medical Inspector,[28] an extraordinary jump in expectations from Barry's low military rank which brought with it great responsibility. Over ten years of work in the Cape, Barry effected significant changes, among them improvements to sanitation and water systems, improved conditions for slaves, prisoners and the mentally ill, and provision of a sanctuary for the leper population...
Wherever Barry served across the British Empire, improvements were made to sanitary conditions and the conditions and diet of both the common soldier and other, under-represented groups. Barry was outraged by unnecessary suffering, and took a heavy-handed and sometimes tactless approach to demanding improvements for the poor and underprivileged which often incited anger from officials and military officers; on several occasions Barry was both arrested and demoted for the extremity of this behaviour.

heh. Trouble maker. The UKMail article about her relates that her bad temper is one reason no one suspected that Barry was a woman.
Dr Barry, left, pictured with her dog Psyche and servant John, right, while in Jamaica in 1862. Alamy stock photo.

Another troublemaker; Catalina de Erauso , aka LieutenantNun (she was a runaway nun)
more here.

she could hold her own in a fight, to say the least, although some suspect the stories in her autobiography were a bit exaggerated.

One reasons she didn't get into trouble with the Inquisition was that she remained a virgin, and later received permission from the Pope to cross dress.

In contrast, Barry might have born a child out of wedlock at a very young age (?sexual abuse) because of the appearance of a young baby in the family, officially the child was her "sister"...but the history is unclear.

A lot of this is about overcoming the limitations on the female role model in those days, not about sexual confusion per se. Some may have been lesbians, others were married, and most probably celibate.

on other famous crossdresser was not in the military, except maybe as a scout: Calamity Jane is famous in frontier history: autobiography here.
again, much of her story might be exaggerated or made up.

Ironically, she had several children, (discussion here).

Climate change and the fall of Rome

SP has a book review about the fall of Rome being due to climate change.

It wasn't just Rome of course:

He shows how the rise of the empire occurred during a period – “the Roman Climate Optimum” (c. 200 BC-c. AD 150) – of remarkable climatic conditions, which favored agriculture, trade, and population growth. This was followed by a transitional period of erratic climatologic conditions (c. AD 150-450), with frequent poor harvests and plagues, which disrupted and destabilized the entire world – even to China and Peru -- and in Eurasia initiated the “Barbarian” migrations. There followed a period of general cooling – the “Late Antique Little Ice Age” (c. AD 450-c. 700), in which conditions worsened, the Western Empire disappeared, and the Eastern Empire was reduced to a rump state.

I found the audiobook on Scribd and will listen to it when I get around to it.

Right now I am relistening to Mike Duncan's series on the history of Rome: iTunes has it here. but at least some of the podcasts are on youtube and intenet archives.

related item: His present series of podcasts ia on Revolutions: and includes this one about the year of hunger in the 1840s and how it affected Europe.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Out of the silent planet podcast

APilgrimInNarnia has a guest post about Out of the Silent Planet.

the book with the original benevolent E.T.'s and the first CSLewis book that I ever read. It puts Christianity and life on other planets in context, making a benevolent universe where only earth is "silent" because it's guardians rebelled. (a similar context is found in L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, where the children rescue their father from a planet where the rebellion was complete, in contrast to earth, where some still remained true...).

the most amusing part of the book, however, is when Ransom tries to translate the bad scientist's greedy imperialist ideology etc. to the innocent Martians.

I haven't listened to the podcast, but it is part of a series that includes discussions of starwars and Japanese fantasy films too.

LINKCulturezoo podcast.

Apple Link for itunes

the seige of Manila

Transparent aluminum


And then there is this:

Friday, July 27, 2018

Fish electrotherapy

Improbable research discusses electric fish therapy.

Aristotle, Pliny, and Plutarch recognized the numbing effect of electricity when referring to the application of the torpedo fish to the body. Scribonius Largus advocated the use of piscine electrotherapy for the relief of pain associated with gout, headache, arthritis, and hemorrhoids. Various means of providing electrical current were developed, including the use of the electric ray or great Nile catfish.“

more here about the great Nile catfish here. 

The Egyptians reputedly used the electric shock from them when treating arthritis pain.[9] They would use only smaller fish, as a large fish may generate an electric shock from 300 to 400 volts. The Egyptians have depicted the fish in their mural paintings and elsewhere;[8] the first known depiction of an electric catfish is on a slate palette of the predynastic Egyptian ruler, Narmer, about 3100 BC.[7] It was suitably called "angry catfish" in ancient Egyptian. An account of its electric properties was given by an Arab physician of the 12th century; then as now, the fish was known by the suggestive name of raad, abo el raash, el raad or raash, which means "thunder"[8] (literally "trembler" or "shaker").

but beware the electric eels, whose shocks are more dangerous.

giving electric stimulation for pain is used in rehabilitation: And arthritis responds to this (probably in the same way that linaments and other irritants help wih the pain).

WAPO article on athlete who uses electric patches for his arthritis.

 The Arthritis foundation discusses here.

medical analysis of electrical stimulation for Rheumatoid Arthritis.

The results showed that ES had significant benefit when compared to a control no treatment group in terms of muscle strength and fatigue resistance of the first dorsal interosseous. Most favourable results were obtained by using a patterned stimulation derived from a fatigued motor unit of the first dorsal interosseous in a normal hand rather than a fixed 10 Hz stimulation frequency. Side effects of the ES application were not reported.

crossposted to my medical blog.

Klingon Grammar lesson


real or fake?

Medical Controversies

I was just watching the old film "Children of Men", where suddenly people stopped having babies.

this BBC article pooh poohs the premise, but with the falling of fertility rates in most countries of the world, it does make one wonder if there is a warning there.

Because a recent NYTimes article discusses the lower sperm count in modern men. Uh Oh.

related item: what about giving young children hormones because they have gender dysphoria?

This trendy trend is being pushed to the point of hysteria in recent years, and anyone questioning the meme could lose your job, but there are medical questions that need to be discussed: radical surgery might not work, most kids change their mind, and the hormones have lots of side effects. LINK Yes, it's a religious webpage, but the articles they cite are not.

short discussion on my medical blog about hormones.


and then we have this:

short discussion on my medical blog.


the claim docs can be replaced by computers etc might not be true:  sometimes a gut feeling in the doc will detect the problem better.

discussed at my medical blog.

Breast feeding vs the bottle: a controversy in the third world.

Bottle feeding leads to more deaths, but what about when moms have to work?

infectious diseas outbreak discussion.

measles and polio oh my.

modern parents in the US and UK may believe the crazies and since they never saw the actual diseases may underestimate how harmful they are.

Yet I am old enough to remember measles and polio epidemics in the USA, and saw these diseases and tetanus and whooping cough killing kids in Africa.

the above article about bad vaccines being used will make things worse, as will the kerfuffle about Dengue vaccine here in the Philippines.


the latest occupational hazard: IPad neck.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Stories below the fold

Backyard chickens are causing a Salmonella epidemic.

Wait til they find out that Jakarta banned city chickens after fear of bird flu spreading to humans.

Saudi is investing in wind farms.

Yes, and they are investing in irrigation, desalinization of water, and exporting a couple hundred thousand overseas workers so local unemployment can go down.

but the only story gets in the news is that now women can drive.

The stories in the western MSM put this as a good thing for women's freedom, but the backstory is that middle class men benefit the most: Those too poor to afford a private driver come home from work and then have to drive their wives to shop, or do the driving themselves. Now their wives will be able to relieve their hard working spouses from domestic chores.


Vaccine scandal in China is causing protests there.

it's the corruption of the country that is behind these scandals.

250 thousand children got substandard DPT vaccine.
and the article notes other substandard vaccines and medicines that caused outbreaks of disease.

more here at NPR. the scary one is substandard rabies vaccine: which is highly fatal disease. And it's not just problems with manufacturing the vaccines: The vaccines are often fragile and have to be stored properly, but some criminal groups sell vaccines that were not stored properly and were supposed to be destroyed.

and it's not just vaccines: Substandard, fake and counterfiet drugs kill people. The latest scandal: Valsartan.

I always paid extra for Lolo's Diovan because of the worry that the generics might not be up to standard and he's get another stroke.


SP has a long article on China in Africa. Neocolonialism at it's best.

Global voices has a series about colonialism and racism by an architect from Africa etc. I haven't listened to the talks, but bookmarking it for later perusal.


US/EU trade deal? 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Snail trivia

we have snails crawling around our compound, brought in from the trucks from the farms.

they are a pest: they eat rice seeds and young seedlings.

Article about them from IRRI (Rice institute)

Biological control Encourage natural predators. Red ants feed on the snail eggs while ducks (and sometimes rats) will eat young snails. Several wild bird species have also adapted to feed on golden apple snails and domestic ducks can be put into fields during final land preparation or after crop establishment when plants are big enough (e.g., 30−35 DAT). Snails can also be harvested, cooked and eaten or sold as animal feed. However, it is important to take extra care and cook the snails thoroughly, as they are known carriers of the rat lungworm.
Cultural control Handpick snails Handpick snails and crush egg masses. This is best done in the morning and afternoon when snails are most active. Place bamboo stakes to provide sites for egg laying that allows easy collection of snail eggs for destruction. You can also use attractants or plants that attract snails, such as papaya and cassava leaves, to make hand picking easier.
Manage water Apple snails have difficulty moving in less than 2 cm of water. Keep water level below 2 cm during the vulnerable stages of the rice plant. Construct small canals or canalettes (e.g., 15−25 cm wide and 5 cm deep) after the final land preparation. Pull a sack containing a heavy object around the edges of rice paddies or at 10−15 m intervals. Canalettes facilitate drainage and act as focal points for snails making manual collection or killing easier.
more HERE.

yes, our farmers have ducks which they herd into the rice paddies to control pests.

and yes you can eat them (although I haven't seen this done: Lolo would eat crickets once in awhile, but snails? Even our cook goes postal and smashes them with her sandal when she sees one)

recipe here for preparing them to eat.  Soak. Boil. Clean. Marinate. Sun dry. Then fry. then air dry. then cook again.

Lots of work involved, which is why probably folks are not eager to harvest them or cook them.

and another trivia question: Why do so many medieval manuscripts have pictures of knights fighting snails?

Audiobook of the week

The history of western civilization: a positive take (to counteract the modern criticisms that see only the bad side of history).

the Politically incorrect guide to western civilization

because if you don't know the basics, you are unable to judge good vs bad about history.

Speaking truth?

A priest dares to speak the truth in a sermon:

I was floored when the celebrating priest stepped up to give his Homily and focused on this particular Mass' Introit prayer, an excerpt from Psalm 53: "the Lord is the protector of my soul; turn back the evils of mine enemies, and cut them off in Thy truth." 
He spoke frankly about the... unsuitability of this exhortation for Godly vengeance for the modern sensibilities of the Church and related it to the recent revelations of an American cardinal who has been in the news for abusing seminarians for years, and yet continuing to rise in the Church hierarchy.
To hammer it home even more, the priest spoke of how - at least in the States - the Conference of Catholic Bishops has put zero tolerance rules in place that effectively deflect blame away from themselves down to the priests and parishioners ....
He even uttered those three magic words - Social Justice Warrior - and excoriated them from the pulpit for separating Christian charity from their works while putting all of their efforts into grandstanding and focusing on the worldly aspects of said works (i.e. politics)
This is a far cry from a mass I attended some months ago where the Celebrant was urging us all to call our representatives and cry a river over the Dreamer babies amongst us because - well, because. This Sunday's priest said, specifically, "If you open your eyes, and begin to pay attention, and learn what to look for, you will not like what you see.

from a letter posted on (of all places) VoxPopuli's blog.





and here, we are waiting for the scandal to explode too.
and that ALJ article quotes that old leftie, Archbishop Cruz:

"I may be offending other bishops but this is a personal stand, that gone are the days when you can just close your eyes and plug your ears ... as if nothing is happening."

Guess who is trying to get back in power?

Headline from the Phil Inquirer:

Duterte delivers 48-minute expletive-free Sona speech

but in another article they do notice his war on drugs... and on corruption will continue.

The President also warned drug lords and other criminals, profiteers, miners, cartels and even friends who would be involved in corruption that justice would catch up with them.

A lot of the MSM and Catholic bishops anger is not really about poor innocent people being killed, because if it was, they'd be sorrowful over those killed by crooked politicians and drug addicts invading and robbing home.

which is the background for Duterte's stinging rebuke of these holier than thou snowflakes living in gated communities.

But he also slammed advocates of human rights for criticizing “law enforcers and this administration to no end.” He said he had yet to hear them and Church groups protest “drug lordism, drug dealing and drug pushing as forceful and vociferous as the ones directed against the alleged errant [law] enforcers in the fight against this social surge.” Read more: Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

and a certain lovely ex president whose arrest for corruption was thrown out with the help of the UN (the lawyer who did this is married to a major Clinton donor) was sworn in as speaker.

She had a big photo op with the bishops recently, just to show how holy she is, and has been buttering up to Duterte.

just ignore her previous shennanigans.

A total of P2.5 billion in behest agricultural loans to friends and associates of the former first couple, Mike and Gloria Arroyo has been made public. Sen. Frank Drilon, who made the exposé, says it’s impossible to recover the loans since most of the borrowers are not identified, do not want to pay or have been reported as dead. The Arroyos were allegedly into all kinds of money-making ventures: From telecommunications (NBN-ZTE); railroad (North and South rails); selling second-hand choppers and passing them off as new; intelligence funds of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office; fertilizer and all kinds of products that government distributed supposedly to help the citizenry; real estate (Alpha Land, a real estate development company, is reportedly Mike’s but under a dummy’s name); taking over closed banks; smuggling. Read more: Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

ChaCha is back in the news, as in "Charter change".

She's been pushing "Cha Cha" for quite awhile, since a parliamentary system would allow her to become the new Prime minister and run the country again.

So we have been hearing about "ConCon" to change to a "ConAss" for quite awhile (constitutional convention to get a constitual assembly). 2006 article discusses on how GMA tried to get it changed years ago.

(Note: She already got around the limit of one term per person as president by becoming VP and pushing him out, so her first term didn't count)

At the end of the day, while most people seem to agree that the current Constitution doesn’t work, they oppose Charter change at present because of a serious lack of trust in the proponents.
translation: As Lolo used to say: They are all crooks.
The challenge to the President is to convince the people that Cha-cha is motivated by national, not personal, interest. But first, it will be necessary to engage in confidence-building measures.
Recent polls suggest that people think that the virtues of Charter change are clouded by hidden agendas, including perpetuating incumbents in office. Whether or not GMA can reverse that perception may dictate where Cha-cha ultimately ends up. Read more at
Hidden agendas? Ya think?

Rappler discusses her power grab here.

my take? I am more worried about Duterte making nice with her than I am with Duterte's war on drugs.

Murder for hire to get rid of a political or business rival or even to revenge a wrong is not new here, and a lot of the killings are business as usual that are being blamed on the drug war, and the anger is not about poor dead pushers but because the crooked politicians worry they might be targeted for taking bribes to look the other way etc.

but giving a pass to crooked politicians is quite another thing, but alas is common: Steal stuff, get indicted, delay, get the case thrown out of court, get elected again seems to be the practice here.

and bringing back talks of "cha cha" just will let them the rich families run the place easier.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Culture war stuff

(for later reading/listening)

Mona Charon's new book on the errors of radical feminism:

--------------- ---------------------

From Virtueonline: Historian Tom Holland compares the ethics of the ancient world and notes how things have changed:

Today, even as belief in God fades across the West, the countries that were once collectively known as Christendom continue to bear the stamp of the two-millennia-old revolution that Christianity represents. It is the principal reason why, by and large, most of us who live in post-Christian societies still take for granted that it is nobler to suffer than to inflict suffering. It is why we generally assume that every human life is of equal value. In my morals and ethics, I have learned to accept that I am not Greek or Roman at all, but thoroughly and proudly today....
well, give them time because in a world where a person who insists infanticide of the imperfect and other bioethicists think that children under age 2 or those with mental challenges are not fully human and have no rights, and where the UN and one of the major parties in the USA celebrate abortion as wonderful (not as a last resort for vulnerable women without a partner or family to help them, but as something wonderful to be celebrated), I suspect unless things change, that soon things will go back to the "good old days" where the darwinian struggle means that the strong can kill the weak.


Friday, July 20, 2018

How to set a formal table

Downton Abbey here played two years after the USA, and we were big fans.

I now hear they are planning a movie with the characters.

but of course, in the US, no one has butlers and maids or cooks except the very rich.

From Librivox: The History of the art of Tablesetting.

ebook here

from the book:

"Who Can Live Without Dining?" 

We may live without poetry, music and art ; 
We may live without conscience, and live without heart ; 
We may live without friends ; we may live without books ; 
But civilized man cannot live without cooks. 

We may live without books — what is knowledge but 

We may live without hope — what is hope but deceiving? 
We may live without love — what is passion but pining? 
But where is the man who can live without dining? 

— Owen Meredith. 

Photos of how to set a table at Martha Stewart:

so where do you get all that sivler ware?

Usually it is given to you when you marry. My mother had a good set of (plated) silver and my mother's china and crystal glass was only used for family celebrations.

The china was my grandmothers, but my mother said she got the lovely crystal glasses during the depression when she attended movie theaters with her friends.

And indeed, here is an article that mentions this practice.

At this point I should note that Americans and Europeans use their forks and spoons differently.


==in contrast, here is a humorous tutorial for Filipino eating (in an informal setting)

and yes, we eat rice three times a day. Even McD and KFC have rice.

water scooter hero: Floods hit Asia

Japan has had major flooding in the last week, causing dozens of deaths and mass evacuation of the area.

One story tells of a young man rescuing people on his water scooter:
Photo/IllutrationShoichi Naito, at the controls of the water scooter, and others rescue elderly residents in the Mabicho district of Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, on July 7. (Provided by Ikumi Tomita)
“Mr. Naito is the hero of our town,” Iwata said. “He is our lifesaver.”
Over about 15 hours, Naito took about 120 people to safety. Around 4 a.m. the following day, his entire body cramped up and he could not move anymore.
The watercraft, which had been repeatedly refueled, was covered in scratches and dents from the debris.

another story tells of a young man rescuing people in his boat:

Hiroshi had a small inflatable boat in his car, which he normally used to go fishing with his friends. Without a pump he raced to a nearby petrol station and forced air into his hobby vessel.
“After I got in the boat I went back to my house right away but there was an electric wire on the water in front of me and and I saw many things from the houses floating. It was very hard to get there. I had to navigate and avoid those obstacles,” he said.
“When I got to my house I screamed out for my mother - but no-one responded.”
As he was about to smash a window to break into this house, his father managed to call him, saying that they had already been rescued, along with Hiroshi’s grandparents.
He was relieved. But his rescue efforts were just beginning.

Flood hero 8

the area is now in the middle of a heat wave, making things even more miserable.

there also has been flooding in China.

About 932,000 people in Sichuan Province were adversely impacted by floods caused by heavy rains by midday last Thursday, with three deaths and 101,000 people evacuated. Over 600 houses were destroyed, and 36,900 hectares of farmland were flooded. The direct economic losses were estimated at 2.4 billion yuan.

there are also stories of flooding in Laos and Viet nam from heavy rain.

Here, we have had heavy rain, meaning Manila is flooding as usual (one of these days they will improve their drainage system, and actually stop building in areas lower than sea level).
ARANETA RIVER: Members of a local government rescue team paddle their way through floodwaters on Araneta Avenue in Quezon City following continuous rains brought about by tropical depression Henry yesterday.
Boy Santos
photo and report at PhilStar:

they are evacuating Marakina, which is below sea level, and schools are closed. But all of this is "business as usual" during the monsoon season, so not a big deal.

we are ok so far.

but the reason I am blogging at 4am is that I woke up when the roof leak dripped on my feet. We closed two leaks, but this is a new one we'll have to fix.


but in perusing the local papers, I ran across an item that the Gov't is planning to evacuate our OFW from Nicaragua.

A team was dispatched to Managua to assess the situation on the ground and to meet with the Filipino community there.
At least 280 people have died and 2,000 were injured since the unrest broke out three months ago.

Read more: Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook
Ruby has been worried about the unrest, since one of her classmates (from her international high school in Canada) had been texting about this.

but usually one can tell if things are really dangerous in the world when the OFW leave, and although the gov't is planning evacuation, so far most are staying.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Musical interlude of the day

a Welsh lullaby:...


Sleep my baby, at my breast, '
Tis a mother's arms round you.
Make yourself a snug, warm nest.
Feel my love forever new.
Harm will not meet you in sleep,
Hurt will always pass you by.

Child beloved, always you'll keep,
In sleep gentle, mother's breast nigh.
 Sleep in peace tonight, sleep,
O sleep gently, what a sight.
A smile I see in slumber deep,
 What visions make your face bright?
Are the angels above smiling,
At you in your peaceful rest?

Are you beaming back while in 
Peaceful slumber on mother's breast?
 Do not fear the sound, it's a breeze
Brushing leaves against the door.
Do not dread the murmuring seas,
Lonely waves washing the shore.
Sleep child mine, there's nothing here,
While in slumber at my breast,
Angels smiling, have no fear,
Holy angels guard your rest.

 headsup AnnBarnhart

Stories below the fold

StrategyPage on China and the trade war.

so does China have long term plans to take over the Russian far east?


Fox News has a long, detailed report on the Thai rescue: They were lucky they didn't lose some of the kids, or more divers.

But the alternatives (digging a hole for rescue, using Elon Musk's submarine, leaving them there until the monsoon season ended, teaching the kids to scuba dive) would have taken too long and the risk of monsoon rains flooding the cave and killing all of them was high.

given that the pump that lowered the water level failed after the boys were rescued, it was a good call.

and the main rescue expert almost missed the call to help: he was ready to leave on a trip.

Reminds me of when I worked in Africa: We'd have emergencies two minutes before I left, or ten minutes after I came back from a trip...but as the nuns in Africa used to remind me: There are no coincidences, things happen for a reason.


the Trump baby balloon may not be allowed to fly in New Jersey: A flight hazard.

Myself, I wondered about this, or about the balloon hitting and shorting out electric wires. But the main reason I wondered why it was allowed in London was about if it could be used to carry bombs or weapons.

In Israel, one little covered story is about firebombs on kites and baloons burning up their forests, and of course, similar firebomb baloons were used by Japan against the US in World War II...


Family news

The small dog lost one puppie: the other six look healthy.

Brownout scheduled later this morning: They are fixing the wires and putting up new concrete polls.

Internet wire is fixed.

Joy is taking a cartaker course, presumably to help her pastor take care of his son, who suffered a heart attack and was left with anoxic brain damage. They are hopeful: me, not so much. Their family is like the book of Job: several health problems in the last year, and this son was a friend of Ruby.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Russia US talk summary

The hysteria of the talking heads on TV make me avoid network news, but the UKGuardian article on what was decided in the Trump/Putin meeting sounds pretty good.

no big agreement, but a discussion of issues that are meaningful to the world.

Asperger's children

a new book discusses Dr Aspberger and his child patients.

As the Nazi regime slaughtered millions across Europe during WWII, it sorted people according to race, religion, behavior, and physical condition for either treatment or elimination. Nazi psychiatrists targeted children with different kinds of minds―especially those thought to lack social skills―claiming the Reich had no place for them. Asperger and his colleagues endeavored to mold certain “autistic” children into productive citizens, while transferring others they deemed untreatable to Spiegelgrund, one of the Reich’s deadliest child-killing centers.

more HERE.

podcast link on the story

via TeaAtTrianon.

an oldie but goodie from TedRall (11/17/17)

Russian interferance in American affairs: it didn't start with Trump

NYTimes article, (12.08.13): The Russians are Coming!

during the Civil war, France wanted to broker a peace plan, and the UK actually came close to supporting the south, but Russia backed the Union by sending their ships to various American ports...
officially they were neutral, not supposed to take sides, but their presence was interpreted as support for the Union and a warning to other European powers.

Years later, Henry Clews, a banker involved in marketing Union war bonds, accurately characterized the squadron’s visit as a “‘splendid bluff’ at a very critical period in our history.” William Seward, he went on, was “astute enough to see that this visit of the Russian squadron might seem to be what it was not.” Their coming “might have a good moral and political effect in depressing the South and encouraging the North, and causing any foreign powers that might have been considering … recognizing the Southern Confederacy to postpone action.”...
more here at
it was a twofer: Their fleet was protected against the UK/French alliance that was threatening war, but it also helped the Union: by raising morale, by protecting San Francisco, which had no other naval protection available against southern raiders or other pirates.

and it led the the US buying Alaska

David T. Gleeson and Simon Lewis wrote " Over the years, popular and scholarly understanding of the visit, which became a disputed topic within the complex history of the two countries’ diplomatic relations, has undergone a significant evolution.
In the earliest American accounts, though the specific circumstances often differed, the prevailing sentiment was that when fears of foreign intervention in the Civil War were at their height, Tsar Alexander II dispatched the fleets as a gesture of friendship and that the action successfully restrained the British and the French."
A fitting climax to this strange paradoxical friendship appeared in the negotiations resulting in a treaty of 1867 for the transfer of Alaska which, although it had been suggested as early as 1845 and contemplated again in 1854 and in 1859, surprised the diplomats of the Old World.
Secretary of State Seward secured a deal to purchase Alaska from the Russian tsar for $7.2 million in March 1867. Although the U.S. Congress initially resisted the idea, citing the price as too high, legislators ultimately agreed to the deal because it blocked a large portion of Great Britain's Pacific access, made Alaska's rich mineral resources available to American entrepreneurs, and provided easier access to lucrative Asian trade. Russia had become increasingly frustrated with the expense and difficulty of supplying its businesses in the Pacific territory, and was thus also satisfied with the sale.

CSpan video discussion here. 

Russia is now reverting to their Tsarist past: a dictator strong enough to stop chaos and anarchy and Islamic terrorism, while being suspicious of western benevolance.

Ironically, if Putin was a true communist, the loud mouth left and their minions in the MSM would probably love him.

GM Food bad: GM Babies ok?

UK says it is okay to edit genes to make designer babies.

long and complicated.

The only opposing voice notes that people don't want GM food, as if adding vitamin A to rice or insect resistance to corn is equivalent to experimenting on embryos.

un, not really.

GM food, if done the right way, has the potential to increase yields and lower the use of chemicals/herbicides/pesticides. (if done the wrong way, expect superweeds. I am ignoring the hysterics who worry about GM food as dangerous: men have been manipulating plants naturally for 20 thousand years, and properly done, GM food is just a faster way to do this).

GM babies to fix a damaged gene sounds good, and would be morally acceptable, until you realize two things:

One: it means a lot of excess embryos discarded and the abortion or even infanticide of infants where it didn't work properly. (of course, no one gets upset about 100 thousand babies in freezers left over after in vitro fertilization, but that only shows how callus the procedure has made the country).

Two: It could lead to designer babies, super babies, and other experiments to manipulate mankind (think Brave New World). Risking the child's life to save it is one thing: Experimenting on a child to fulfill the vanity of parents or scientists is another.

and again, we see the idea that "extra" embryos are destroyed, and that if something goes wrong, the child would be aborted or (in the brave new future) killed at birth.

The manipulated genes would be passed on to the next generation.

The use of "CRISPR" to cut and past genes has been touted as a cure all:

But recent studies show that there are problems.


"Once we realised the extent of the genetic rearrangements we studied it systematically, looking at different genes and different therapeutically relevant cell lines, and showed that the CRISPR/Cas9 effects held true." Those effects included large deletions or mutations that happened even several thousand DNA bases (aka kilobases) away from the target site where CRISPR/Cas9 was used to make the edit.
in other words, it caused mutations elsewhere where the scientists didn't want to change those genes.

So what could go wrong?
Not only could such significant mutations of the DNA code have potentially harmful effects – by disrupting healthy gene and cellular functioning – but the researchers warn that standard DNA genotyping assays may not ordinarily pick up on these mistakes. In the worst-case scenario, if such mangled edits were introduced into humans in a CRISPR/Cas9 treatment, important genes might end up being switched on or off, which could make for potentially serious health consequences.

in other words, all sorts of gene related disease and cancers could be the side effects.

update: Another gene editing program is hyped in this article.

Scientists have discovered a gene-editing technology that could efficiently and accurately correct the genetic defects that underlie certain diseases, positioning the new tool as the basis for the next generation of genetic therapies. This editing platform may be used to cure inherited and acquired diseases. The proof-of-concept study spotlights a promising new gene-editing platform that may eventually be used to treat diseases such as sickle cell disease, hemophilia and other genetic disorders.

after lots and lots of hyping, you read:

Chatterjee and her colleagues still have much work to do to characterize how this platform works and to develop it into therapeutics. They will address these questions in future studies.

duh. so a very very early study that may or may not work is hyped as a cure all...

Tuesday, July 17, 2018


So someone stole a small disc containing plutonium from the back of a parked SUV.

One of the Idaho National Laboratory specialists told them, Ortiz said, “that it wasn’t an important or dangerous amount” of plutonium. So they closed the investigation to avoid “chasing a ghost,” Ortiz said.
Idaho National Laboratory spokeswoman Sarah Neumann responded that “from INL’s perspective, the theft was taken seriously” and properly reported to the police and the Energy Department...
. Lab documents state that a month after the incident, one of the specialists charged with safeguarding the equipment in San Antonio was given a “Vision Award” by her colleagues. “Their achievements, and those of their colleagues at the laboratory, are the reasons our fellow citizens look to INL to resolve the nation’s big energy and security challenges,” Mark Peters, the lab director, said in an April 21, 2017, news release.
well, that makes me feel safe.

the problem is not about making an atomic bomb: The problem is making a "dirty bomb" which would cause more hysteria than actual harm.

radioactive substances used in medicine is an easy source for this, but luckily they usually keep track of it.

and then there is the problem of smoke detector dirty bombs.

Half a truth is a lie

quote of the day: From Spengler, who worked in Russia after the fall of the iron curtain to remake it's economy.
Unfortunately, the delusion that the United States would remake Russia in its own image persisted through the Bush and Obama administrations. I have no reason to doubt the allegations that a dozen Russian intelligence officers meddled in the U.S. elections of 2016, but this was equivalent of a fraternity prank compared to America’s longstanding efforts to intervene in Russian politics.

and not just in Russia and the Ukraine:

Yes, and it's just a coincidence that during the last election, there was a new US ambassador here, (one who had been thrown out of Bolivia for interfering with their election), and just a coincidence that the American girl's husband had CIA ties...

and it's just a coincidence that the Ukrainian billionaire who helped overthrow that country's pro Russian president also was found funding one of our "opposition" newspapers who prints lots of exposes on the so called atrocities of the drug war.

But never mind.

The meme is that Trumpie boy asked Russia to hack Hillary and they did.

But the real story is that Hillary told inspectors that she "lost" 30 thousand emails that she didn't want government inspectors to see, and Trump jokingly tweeted that maybe Russia could find them.

It was a joke, but you wouldn't know that from the PC press.

and the hack was a low level skill hack that could have been done by any high school geek (but apparently not the FBI).

and the information? That Hillary's dirty tricks stole the nomination from Bernie, and that she wasn't the only one who snobbishly looked down on working folk, akd "Deplorables".

this, not the ads on Facebook resulted in working class men voting against her... as for me, I stopped going to facebook because the memes posted there by liberal friends and relatives, which before the election were full of anti Christian hate, have gotten worse.

Dilbert says if the Democrats win, they're coming to get you, and I wonder if he is right.

As for the SC judge: One reason for the "culture war" in the USA is that the elites changed laws via the courts. Essentially, allowing a dictatorship. So appointing a judge that judges law instead of making it up will be a relief.


related item: StrategyPage on what's going on in Afghanistan and Pakistan. read the whole thing. Dead human shields are used to manipulate the media, and the recruits from "religious schools" remeains a problem.

The Special Forces did not find gossip about distant cousins a few provinces away to be boring, much less details of why one tribe or clan was not on speaking terms with another (often it had to do with a dispute generations old). The Special Forces were often considered annoying by their own superiors, the CIA and senior government officials because the Special Forces operators, after much tea and much listening reported a much different reality than the media was pushing. Who to believe?
If I rely on SP a lot, it is because they get things right about places where I have worked or live, so I figure they have it right about other places too.


oh, that mayor in our area that was killed?

No, it wasn't Duterte: or drug related.

Yup. Business contract dispute. Figures.

Family news

the young dog decided to have her puppies beneath my bed.

I moved her to a box in the bathroom.

Result: 7 puppies. No wonder she looked so big.

Internet on and off, still waiting to get the wire fixed.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Racism posts for the day

SagaThing has a podcast about Icelanders on trial. mp3

and for recommended reading:

racism.... we haz it.

and EdX has a course on medieval sagas LINK


Our church in Oklahoma, built with Osage money, had a shrine to St Kateri, a Mohawk woman who fled to Quebec to follow her faith.

Catholic mushy biography at this podcast:

her mother was a Christian from another tribe who was kidnapped and then married a chief.

Later, Kateri was left an orphan, and when the Jesuits came through she fled with other converts to Quebec.

The key in the short film is that she built a bridge between Catholicism and Native Americans: The key was mysticism.

I have to laugh at cynical westerners who say her "biography" sounds like she was copying neurotic French mysticism: presumably they are not aware of the mystic traditions of various Native American tribes.

the book facing east from Indian Country includes her biography, (including some suspected R rated stuff that may have been behind her desire to move)

Lots of PC nonsense about colongial times out there from both sides: so I am happy that historians try to portray both sides as people trying to cope with change, and how bigotry (and wars and disease and desire of the immigrants for land) upset this balance.


There were two terrible terrorist attacks in Argentina back in the 1990's, and the cover up included a lot of big shots.

Now, Argentina is pressuring Russia to send the Iranian terrorist to them for trial. He is there trying to make a deal with Russia because evil Trumpieboy placed the sanctions back into place because they were cheating.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Afternoon tea

Trump and spouse had afternoon tea with the queen.

Here is a short film on how to give an afternoon tea:

and here is how it is done right:

this BBC site has instructions on how to do an afternoon tea: LINK

here it has recipes for afternoon tea cakes.

some American hotels hold afternoon teas and gourmet food, including some hotels with the Trump name: so I suspect mr "hands on" Trump would know how it is done: from an Oprah segment in 2011:

Thailand rescue

BBC has a lot of the backstories about the rescue of the boys caught in a cave in Thailand.

the Thai SEALS did their best, but were not experienced in cave rescues:(and this might explain why one of those brave SEALS died).

Outsiders who had expertise in saving people soon arrived and started to train them. The rescue from a cave with irregular walls etc. is a bit more complicated than rescuing folks from a mine.

British Cave Rescue website discusses.

Underground rescue has its own unique set of problems. Obstacles such as vertical shafts and climbs often with waterfalls, constricted and twisting passages and squeezes, static and flowing water sometimes completely flooding a passage, mud, loose rock, foul air, route finding and communications problems abound as, of course, does absolute darkness...Rescue from such an environment requires techniques that are often unique to cave rescue teams and with which other rescue services are normally unfamiliar.
again from the BBC:

John Volanthen and Rick Stanton had been braving Tham Luang's narrow, murky passageways for several days, laying out guide ropes and searching for signs of life. On Monday, the two men finally reached Pattaya Beach. But there was nothing. They continued onwards into the darkness. Then, a few hundred metres further, they found an air pocket. "Wherever there is air space we surface, we shout, we smell," John told the BBC. It's a standard procedure for such rescue operations. "We smelt the children before we saw or heard them."

but only one of the boys, a native of Myamar, could speak English and had to translate for him.

more at the link about the rescue.

And yes the boys were given an anti anxiety medication: but I didn't think this was inappropriate: Heck, we docs give small doses of anti anxiety medicine to people getting an MRI because panic and claustrophobia is so common (15% need it). And in this case, if the boy panicked, he could die.

update: Apparently they sedated the kids and wrapped them up on a stretcher and swam carrying the boys.  And along the way they were transfered to other divers, and checked periodically by doctors to see they were okay.

Not quite Elon Musk's submarine but close to it.

Another small detail: The Australian doctor and the Thai SEALS left behind after the boys were rescued had to get out quickly because the Pumps draining the cave failed at that point.

UKMail has lots of photos, 

Hacking? We haz that

the "russia Russia RUSSIA" kerfuffle has a couple of Russians finally indicted for hacking an easily hacked insecure email server of the Democrats.

supposedly these evil people then released stuff about how Hillary was planing to steal the election from Bernie, which made a lot of blue collar workers in the midwest who couldn't care less about Bernie mad enough to vote against her.

just ignore that "deplorable" quote that made them mad...

place facepalm here:

So I am happy they found the evil Russians.

But when is someone going to get angry about the Evil Chinese government hackers who stole my federal personnel file, along with a 21 million other folk's personal information?

from Wikipedia:


FBI Director James Comey stated: "It is a very big deal from a national security perspective and from a counterintelligence perspective. It’s a treasure trove of information about everybody who has worked for, tried to work for, or works for the United States government."[33]

Speaking at a forum in Washington, D.C., Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper said: "You have to kind of salute the Chinese for what they did."[34]

President-elect Donald Trump said: "China, relatively recently, hacked 20 million government names. How come nobody even talks about that?"[35]

why is no one talking about it?

because politics.

The same reason no one hears stories of identity theft by illegal immigrants. 

According to a recent Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration audit, the labor market includes a shocking 1.4 million employed illegal aliens who in 2015 used falsified or stolen Social Security numbers to get hired.

My rant about being a team player in government, (and Tuva, just for fun)

I worked for state and federal government institutions for years (mainly because the alternative was to work for HMO's who refused to treat people without proper insurance).

Good for free care, but bad because the institutional rules and budgetary restraints were more important than the patients.

The background of the smirks in the Congressional hearings is not the smoke and mirrors of political hacks, but the idea that one needs to be a team player.

and if you aren't, believe me: There are ways to get rid of you, not just by a simple firing for minor offences, but by making your life miserable (in my case, nurses who just were not there when I needed help with a patient, and when I complained loudly about this, I was written up for being "unprofessional), or by doing a transfer to a worse place.

hence the "smirks": screenwriter Roger Simon calls this "inappropriate affect", but to a lay person it seems like it is someone who knows he is getting away with stuff because his tush is covered.

or maybe he was just nervous and was one of those people who smile/smirk when they are nervous. Who knows?

don't ask me: we are 12 hours difference so I didn't watch the hearings (but because European time is only 6 hours difference, I do see Trumpie boy's news conferences while surfing channels).

a good film showing how people are pressured to go along with the institution and keep quiet, but how some manage to try to sneak out the truth to outside investigators can be found in this film about the Challenger disaster.

at 20 minutes, the guy says he doesn't want to rat on his co-workers, and then Feynman is pressured to stay with the team to investigate what went wrong... and then it gets worse...

Wikipedia article has more information on this trouble maker:

One of the commission's best-known members was theoretical physicist Richard Feynman. His style of investigating with his own direct methods rather than following the commission schedule put him at odds with Rogers, who once commented, "Feynman is becoming a real pain." During a televised hearing, Feynman famously demonstrated how the O-rings became less resilient and subject to seal failures at ice-cold temperatures by immersing a sample of the material in a glass of ice water.[5] 

and later he realized that he didn't so much "discover" the problems as much as being quietly spoon fed the information by a lot of folks who wouldn't dare come forth and directly talk about the problem.

The most famous quote from his alternative report on the problem is this:

"For a successful technology," Feynman concluded, "reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled."

But of course, the hearings are about public relations, not about reality: "fake news" is about how to spin the story, often by eliminating part of the facts and exaggerating or using logical fallacies to push your emotions so you stop thinking...


and a lot of the investigation information of the Challenger disaster from Feynman's point of view be found in this book, which can be downloaded from Internet Archives. LINK

As for Feynman, this is the tv show that made me want to learn more about him and his work:


Small factoid about Tuva: some people think they have links with the Navajo tribe.
more HERE.

Friday, July 13, 2018


US News article. with lots of examples and discussion.

seeing family members by the elderly and dying is not uncommon.

hallucinations are pathological (psychotic patients hear voices, but seeing visions is usually organic, i.e. drugs or brain damage).

However, normal people have such experience too.

The AmerIndian patients said this was being in contact with "The other side"... and we held ceremonies periodically in our nursing home to keep away the bad spirits that sometimes haunted them.

Some of this might be partly from drugs or isolation: my aunt used to enjoy visions of her family in the nursing home, and even talk to them: when my mom arrived, she would simply come back and be perfectly oriented to reality, so it was not a psychotic experience.

but how about people who are not dying?

Andrew Greeley, in one of his books, commented that he included a "throwaway" question about this in several of his social surveys and said five percent of people have such psychic visions, and most of them tested as mentally normal in the rest of the survey.

however, most folks stay quiet about these things, for fear of being crazy. However, the ones who have psychiatric problems are more open about it, which is why such experiences get a bad reputation.

Catholics consider most of these things as a vivid imagination. But of course God can work via dreams and imagination (and via speaking tongues or inner inspirations, i.e the small quiet voice of conscience and memory). In only a small percentage of cases are such phenomena supernatural: most are a variation of normal ways of perceiving things. (related to art and music creativity).

In some culture, these visions are seen as "real": and here the danger is pride before they decide to get followers to follow them (e.g. cults). The trick for doctors (and clergy) is to discern what is going on: good, harmless, or (in rare case) evil.

but the great majority of such happenings are just part of ordinary life.

yes. And often widows/widowers see or feel the presence of their deceased spouse.

Overall, evidence suggests a strikingly high prevalence of PBHEs - ranging from 30% to 60% - among widowed subjects, giving consistence and legitimacy to these phenomena.

Via Instapundit, who comments:

This happened with my dad at the end.

My mom would have incidents of what would happen in the future, mainly as dreams.

Me, no. However, as a doc, if I got a bad feeling about someone, I found that I should pay attention to this. Instinct from experience? probably...