Friday, October 02, 2015

Casual Friday: Dancing Queen

Just two working days til Monday!

"Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time." ~ Steven Wright

So will we lose power?

Here in Southwest Connecticut we're watching this hurricane named Joaquin to see if it will destroy our way of life.

A day or two ago they said it would smash into North Carolina. That's what "the models" said. That would be fine with me. Those people down there are crazy and they deserve it.

Here's what the models looked like. You can see all those lines smacking into North Carolina. Each line represents a model. Lots of people have models. I suppose I could get one up if I knew how to do it. I can barely keep my wireless thermometer thermometering.
Too bad for those folks.

Then, more recently, they said the thing will blow out to sea, heading Northeasterly. That's what "the models" said. Fine. We'll probably get some rain. We need rain. There's been a drought here practically forever. Here's what the new models said:
So now the spaghetti is going a different direction. Too bad for those fish out there.

I point all this out because the people who claim that life as we know it on this Earth will be consumed in the fires of global warming base their religion on computer models.

As we await those fires of armageddon I'm gonna go down and see if I have gasoline for my generator. I'm still cutting on trees that came down when Sandy passed through here a few years ago. My work was interrupted last fall when the snow and ice covered the trees so deep I couldn't get to them.

They're still there, but I need to hurry because it seems we're gonna have another really bad one.

What cultured people are like

Chekhov, left, and Nikolai.
In 1886 Russian author Anton Chekhov wrote a letter to his older brother, Nikolai, an artist. Anton was 26 and Nikolai 28. In it he outlines eight qualities of cultured people.

The first three:
   1. They respect human personality, and therefore they are always kind, gentle, polite, and ready to give in to others. They do not make a row because of a hammer or a lost piece of india-rubber; if they live with anyone they do not regard it as a favour and, going away, they do not say “nobody can live with you.” They forgive noise and cold and dried-up meat and witticisms and the presence of strangers in their homes. 
   2. They have sympathy not for beggars and cats alone. Their heart aches for what the eye does not see…. They sit up at night in order to help P…., to pay for brothers at the University, and to buy clothes for their mother. 
   3. They respect the property of others, and therefor pay their debts.
"This is what cultured people are like," he concludes. And then a jab: "You must drop your vanity, you are not a child … you will soon be thirty."

(Brain Pickings)

Morning Rush: Children eating vegetables, and more

Here and there on the Web this Friday, October 2, 2015:

I said don't look down!
The glass bridge: don't look down

Why you can't smell your house

Get your kid to eat vegetables

We're allowing this at Ground Zero?

Saving money when it's hard 

About those criminal aliens

Stay up late, put on weight

What you'll actually pay for college

This is your brain on nicotine

Coffee is healthy, but you're not 

U.S. Jihad: Get ready for more of this

You can get people to trust you

They used to call this vote buying

Our Islamist, anti-Semitic president

Who is intent on our destruction

Idiot of the Day: Nancy Pelosi 

Hahaha: Scientists warn about robot president

The Talkies: Are you really paying attention?

E.M. Forster: serendipity

"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us."

Thursday, October 01, 2015

How to give an impromptu speech

Sometimes you're called on at the last minute. Here's a simple template to follow.

1. The Greeting. "Good..." Begin by simply wishing your audience a good morning, afternoon, or evening.

2. State the Event. "As we all know..." Remind everybody what the purpose of the event or celebration is, and what you're all doing there. "As we all know, we're here to celebrate the marriage of John and Kate, and to show them our support as they begin their journey of love and life together."

3. Establish Common Ground. "We've all..." Include your audience as part of the message. Talk about something both yourself and your audience can relate to. "We've all had the wonderful opportunity to get to know John and Kate and enjoy watching their love develop."

4. State Why You're Speaking. "I ..." Include a personal account, or tell a brief story to let people know why you, specifically, are talking. "I've" personally been very lucky to have John as a friend, and it's been  amazing to watch how he's grown."

5. Call for Action. "So let's all..." Close with a call for action. This lets everybody know that you're finished without you having to awkwardly say "That's it!" or "I'm finished, thank you." That is how every weak speech is concluded, and it makes the audience uncomfortable. You should say something like "So let's all raise a glass to John and Kate, and wish them well. Cheers!" or, "So let's all give a big round of applause to Mark for the outstanding job he's done while working with the company."

That's it. I'm finished. Thank you.

Let's hold deconfliction talks with the sun

I'm not doing well with today's headlines from Washington ...

As the Obama administration prepares to finalize strict new rules regarding ground-level ozone, the EPA has taken to social media to point out the scourge of sunlight on foliage and trees. “Think sunny days are good for plants? Not always,” the agency tweeted. “Sunlight causes ozone to form, which harms foliage, weakens trees.”

Secretary of State John Kerry did the diplomatic equivalent of groveling on his hands and knees before his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov. Faced with reports of Russian warplanes in Syria attacking non-ISIS positions near Homs, Kerry called for “de-confliction talks” with Russia.

The White House is reaching out to the transgender community for a list of things that it wants. “Jobs, healthcare, housing, a safe place to pee. It’s your time to be heard. Share your #transneeds."

There are 70,000 ways to get sick, hurt or mortally injured, and the U.S. is making them official.
On Thursday, U.S. hospitals, doctors and other care providers have to start using internationally developed standards called ICD-10 codes to bill government programs and private insurers in the nation’s $2.9 trillion-a-year health-care system. The codes cover everything from parrot bites to getting sucked into a jet engine.

An assistant director of the Secret Service urged that unflattering information the agency had in its files about a congressman ­critical of the service should be made public, according to a government watchdog report released Wednesday. “Some information that he might find embarrassing needs to get out,” Assistant Director Edward Lowery wrote in an e-mail to a fellow director on March 31, commenting on an internal file that was being widely circulated inside the service. “Just to be fair.”

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.) thinks some women are forced into carrying their unborn children to term because they can’t afford abortions. “That is a lot of time to prevent pregnancies, and it’s hard for me to believe that any woman would want to be pregnant every year for 35 years." In 2011 she said that it was better for babies to die in abortions than for them to grow up “eating Ramen noodles” and “mayonnaise sandwiches.” Then, in 2013, she said that the Roe v. Wade abortion case “affirms motherhood.”

Not even April Fool's Day yet

Matt Drudge is noted for his juxtaposition of headlines on The Drudge Report. Here are two on the same day.

The first suggests hypocrisy.
The second updates our favorite blowhard.
Psst ... they have no clothes on.

Morning Rush: Blotting pizza, big little habits, and more

Here and there on the Web this Thursday, October 1, 2015:

The EPA will try to regulate it.
What does water on Mars mean? 

Yes, blot your pizza with a napkin

Little habits that matter big

The football factory universities

Stop caring what others think

Get your firewood ready now

The Secret Service protects itself 

Notes on an anti-inflammation diet

We're letting them in because?

Is someone trying to manipulate you? 

Living's good in the nonprofits 

Tips for acing the SAT

The TSA is a really bad joke

The exercise your teen needs

A Planned Parenthood video guide

Don't move to New York City 

How To: get a passport renewed fast

Today's Word: a position of prominence

Hahaha: The secret of mail virility

How a ballpoint pen works:

Wil Wheaton: creating

"If you enjoyed making a thing, and you’re proud of the thing you made, that’s enough. Not everyone is going to like it, and that’s okay."

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

For the birds

The birds actually understand this.
On certain nights with northwest winds in September and October the night sky is alive with small birds leaving both the Canadian and northern states forests heading for their wintering areas in the tropics, Vern Laux writes.
Literally a million birds or more might be in the air and if one is lucky enough to be outside you can hear the chips, zips, squeaks, and melodic calls of a great variety of birds.

There is nothing like it to make one feel alive and at peace with the natural inhabitants of our hemisphere as they undertake a part of their annual migration. The nocturnal flight calls of migrant birds tickle the back of the brain, awakening some ancient part of the human psyche that has long since ceased to be important as it must have been for early generations of hominids.
If you'd like to know what's on, bird wise, in your backyard, you might take advantage of several things offered by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

You can get updates on what's migrating through your part of the country here. For example, here's the migration forecast for the Northeast where I live. Clicking around on that page will tell you which specific birds are arriving and leaving.

You can get an idea of how many birds are moving here. And you can upload a bird picture here to try to identify it.

And, if you'd just like to watch a webcam of hummingbirds, you can do so here:

Healthcare can now come to you

We routinely experience the wonders of medicine in doctor's office and hospitals. Lots of technology to diagnose and treat us.

What about those too far away, say in rural America or in the Third World? Well, the technology can now go to them.

Consider these recent news stories.

Do it yourself.
Smartphone heart monitor. Cardiologist Eric Topol hasn't used a stethoscope in four years. Rather than listening to his patients' hearts, Topol is visualizing them. "It's a relic," Topol said of the stethoscope, which was invented nearly 200 years ago. "Why would you use that when you could see everything in seconds?" Topol demonstrated by unbuttoning his shirt, attaching a device to his smartphone and performing an echocardiogram on himself. He also doesn't take patients' pulses any more. "I use my phone, and it gives me more information," he said, noting that smartphone apps can display not only a pulse but specific rhythms. "Patients can do this themselves."

Is there a doctor on my arm?
Checkup on your arm. Researchers have invented a method for producing inexpensive and high-performing wearable patches that can continuously monitor the body's vital signs for human health and performance tracking, potentially outperforming traditional monitoring tools such as cardiac event monitors. These devices have the ability to pick up and transmit the human body's vital signals, tracking heart rate, hydration level, muscle movement, temperature and brain activity.

Lab in a needle. Researchers have developed a lab in a needle device that could provide instant results to routine lab tests, accelerating treatment and diagnosis by days. This single, self-contained medical device will be effective, for example, in quickly detecting liver toxicity, a common side effect of chemotherapy. This device will test toxicity in 30 minutes while current liver toxicity tests take several days.

Lab on a phone. Researchers have designed a cheap, easy-to-use smart phone attachment that can test patients for multiple deadly infectious diseases in 15 minutes. All it takes is a drop of blood from a finger prick. Pressing the device’s button creates a vacuum that sucks the blood into a maze of tiny channels within its disposable credit card–sized cartridge. There, several detection zones snag any antibodies in the blood that reveal the presence of a particular disease. It only takes a tiny bit of power from the smart phone to detect and display the results: A fourth-generation iPod Touch could screen 41 patients on a single charge.

A picture is worth a thousand blog posts

Morning Rush: Your face, your kitchen floor, and more

Here and there on the Web this Wednesday, September 30, 2015:

I see you.
Face recognition in utter darkness

Your kitchen floor is disgusting 

Hey Santa, where's my drone?

How happily married couples think

So much for calcium supplements

A brief history of the coffee break

Are passwords passé? 

How to improve your hire-ability 

If you really want to get rid of coal

Airline poop can track disease

How to stop worrying about money

Here come the terrorists 

One test finds all viruses

Your travel locks aren't safe 

Can anyone please dress decently?

Socialism can't make a sandwich

Sleep make strengthen your immunity

Keep your kids out of public schools

How Come: cats like catnip?

Still reading The New York Times? 

Still watching 60 Minutes?

Hypocrite of the Day: Cecile Richards

Today's Word: inability to recognize names 

Hahaha: Nation makes demand of NASA

A heck of a lot of trees out there:

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Saul Alinsky would be proud

It's in Barack Obama's nature as a community organizer and radical leftist to pit one part of society against another.
The simplest way to describe community organizing is to say it is the practice of identifying a specific aggrieved population, say unemployed steelworkers, or itinerant fruit-pickers, or residents of a particularly bad neighborhood, and agitating them until they become so upset about their condition that they take collective action to put pressure on local, state, or federal officials to fix the problem, often by giving the affected group money. Organizers like to call that “direct action.”
Obama learned this stuff from left-wing Chicago activist Saul Alinsky (1909-72), who pretty much defined the profession. 
In his classic book, Rules for Radicals, Alinsky wrote that a successful organizer should be “an abrasive agent to rub raw the resentments of the people of the community; to fan latent hostilities of many of the people to the point of overt expressions.” Once such hostilities were “whipped up to a fighting pitch,” Alinsky continued, the organizer steered his group toward confrontation, in the form of picketing, demonstrating, and general hell-raising.
Obama has been emboldened to attempt this on a scale beyond Alinsky's imagining. He has boldly told a group that represents less than two percent of Americans that its sexual predilections carry more weight than the First Amendment to our Constitution.
“We affirm that we cherish our religious freedom and are profoundly respectful of religious traditions,” he insisted during a dramatic speech at a LGBT fundraiser. “But we also have to say clearly that our religious freedom doesn’t grant us the freedom to deny our fellow Americans their constitutional rights.”
It's astonishing that he dares say he cherishes religious freedom in one breath and then announces that it's not true in the next.

It's astonishing that he dares overthrow social norms of every civilization since there were any and shred the Constitution all in one paragraph. Now it's quite clear where everyone stands. The battle line is drawn.

It's what's for dinner

"Target is now starting home delivery. For some this is the answer to their prayers, because they know exactly what they want: a glass jar of spaghetti sauce with Paul Newman’s face on it, one loaf of Mrs. Oxenwaddle’s Multi-Grain High-Fiber Bread made with Organic Drywall, two-gallon bladders of 2 percent milk without bovine growth hormone, one 16 oz. bottle of I Can’t Get Over My Hair shampoo (now with bovine growth hormone), a packet of Market Pantry Generic Cheese slices, one packet of Jack Daniel’s Mechanically Shredded Pork Flesh With Sauce, and a head of lettuce the size of a bowling ball. Click CONFIRM to confirm, click CANCEL to rethink your life and actually get up off your keister."
 ~ James Lileks

Morning Rush: Fancy buildings, simple living, and more

Here and there on the Web this Tuesday, September 29, 2015:

Where's the bathroom?
Could you work in this place? 

Why dads should read to children 

The art of simple living

Whither your stuff when you die?

The Pope is pandering to the polls

What keeps your heart pumping?

Dried plums vs colon cancer

Aspirin vs gastrointestinal cancers 

You should wear a tie to work 

How drug makers influence us

Your fingerprints reveal your ancestry

A silver bullet for your 401k

Is this a treatment for autism?

They're just making this stuff up

Why you'll never be a millionaire

Keep your kids out of public schools

Idiot of the Day: Madeline Singas

How To: decipher a Parmesan rind

Today's Word: express a low opinion of

Self-healing material from squid teeth:

Henry Van Dyke: talents

"Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best."

Monday, September 28, 2015

Making buildings out of air

Jackson Pollock, call your office.
No, the image at the right is not modern art. It's carbon fibers seen through a microscope.

A new method for taking carbon dioxide directly from the air and converting it to oxygen and nanoscale fibers made of carbon could lead to an inexpensive way to make a valuable building material.
Stuart Licht, a professor of chemistry at George Washington University, and his team have created a technology that both captures  dioxide from the air and employs an electrochemical process to convert it to carbon nanofibers and oxygen.

Carbon fibers are increasingly being used as a structural material on the aerospace, automotive, and other industries, which value its strength and light weight.

In a recent demonstration, his group used a unique concentrated solar power system, which makes use of infrared sunlight as well as visible light, to generate the large amount of heat needed to run the desired reaction.
Licht believes the material’s properties, especially the fact that it is so lightweight and also very strong, will spur greater and greater use as the cost comes down, and he thinks his new process can help with that. Imagine that carbon fiber composites eventually replace steel, aluminum, and even concrete as a building material, he says. “At that point, there could be sufficient use of this that it’s actually acting as a significant repository of carbon.”

How are you feeling today?

"Big Brother is watching you." ~ George Orwell

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have developed a system that can predict the “psychological status” of users with smartphones.
The system uses smartphones to ask people how they are doing mentally during the day and based on the results can “deliver an automated intervention” if necessary.

The technology uses smartphones to monitor the user’s location and ask questions about psychological status throughout the day.

“Continuously collected ambulatory psychological data are fused with data on location and responses to questions,” the NIH said. “The mobile data are combined with geospatial risk maps to quantify exposure to risk and predict a future psychological state. The future predictions are used to warn the user when he or she is at especially high risk of experiencing a negative event that might lead to an unwanted outcome.”
Sleep well tonight.

Playing to the gallery

"The important thing, in this time of darkness for the Catholic Church in the West, is to keep her on life support, to keep her breathing and ingesting some trickle of nutrition. It is important to realize that, even in Europe and America, there remain actual millions of faithful Catholics, often abused or abandoned by their own bishops, and by the vicious bureaucracies that surround them, advancing their various demonic 'agendas.'

"To persist, as it were, to 'keep on trucking' as we used to say, to 'not let the bastards drive you out of the Church,' may be the best we can do some days, when the gloom descends; when, as in the last few days, we have had to hear our own Holy Father playing to the gallery not only of non-Catholics, but of anti-Catholics; pivoting from us to them; flattering our very persecutors — commending the progressive politicians in Washington; or in New York, applauding an international elite that unambiguously imposes contraception, abortion, and 'gender bending,' as conditions of 'foreign aid;' or everywhere he goes, blathering about 'climate change, to the mass media audience, while saving the Gospel to be preached privately. Preaching, thus, only to the converted; and to each audience, only what they want to hear."

Morning Rush: Glacier, snow, but no hurricanes

Here and there on the Web this Monday, September 28, 2015:

Hubbard Glacier just keeps growing.
Amazing what global warming can do

And it just won't stop snowing

Anybody miss the hurricanes?

Hey, let's rally anyway!

Your baby is manipulating you

Are you about to be fired?

Traffic stops are dangerous for cops

Now the Ed Department goes rogue

Do computers die of old age?

Our military has lost its values 

Lack of sleep affects your emotions

CSI shows have ruined our justice

How to request your health data

Why music makes us cry

We're hurting our kids with Adderall 

Bulk up your retirement dollars

A trucker's tips for the highway

Planning for inflight emergencies 

Looks like Ben Carson is right

Today's Word: a small creative work 

Hahaha: Why Boehner really resigned

Talkies: A $1 paper microscope:

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Making wise the simple

From The Lectionary:

Psalm 19:7-14
19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the LORD are sure, making wise the simple;

19:8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eyes;

19:9 the fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

19:10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.

19:11 Moreover by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

19:12 But who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults.

19:13 Keep back your servant also from the insolent; do not let them have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.

19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Harriet Beecher Stowe: regrets

"The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone."