Monday, August 31, 2015

Everyone should have a cow

Pretty sure she has a cow.
"A great deal could be said against the modern dairy industry, little of it directed at the farmers. My diatribe against, for instance, government regulation of the dairy industry in the Province of Ontario could go on for years. And while I hold no brief for the pathogenic microbes that can proliferate in aging raw milk, nor for their effects (diphtheria, scarlet fever, tuberculosis, brucellosis, Q-fever and the like), I am not under the na├»ve impression that the dairy conglomerates introduced what they called “pasteurization” (not to “honour” the man, but to cash in on his reputation) only for the sake of public health.

"It was rather to delay milk spoiling, so they could take more time getting it to market, and thus ship it from farther away — making huge syndicates possible to enslave dairy farmers in the interests of Capital. (Do I sound like a Marxist? Pfft!) A bonus, discovered in this work, is that pasteurized, and better, homogenized milk is useless for the housewife souring it to the purpose of making the whole range of traditional creams, butters, and cheeses. Thenceforth she would have to buy these products separately as branded goods off the shelf at the supermarket, for an inflated price from the same large industrial concerns. And soon, she would need a refrigerator.

"The diatribe against big guvmint I have omitted would mention all the laws put in place to protect the syndicates against small private enterprise, which extend finally to making it illegal for the owner of a cow to drink the cow’s milk; and quotas to prevent him from producing so much that the price might fall. Indeed, today, not only in Ontario but most other jurisdictions, your government is committed to making you pay at least double for a semi-sterilized product of inferior taste that will not elegantly sour, but putrefy. All in the name of progress and democracy.

"In the name of regress and monarchy, let me point out that the health dangers in raw milk can be mostly obviated by keeping the source of your milk fresh and close at hand. And all you need for that, is a cow."

Morning Rush: An old bridge, a good nap, and more

Here and there on the Web this Monday, August 31, 2015:

No tolls.
1.7 million year old man-made bridge 

A nap a day could save your life

A surprising crime deterrent

Miracles: they can speak again

This is your government at work

Don't make these 401k mistakes 

The racial healing under Obama

Bystander CPR saves lives 

Where welfare is the best job

You, too, can be a mind reader

Bioethics is a putrid swamp

Obama's favorite firm made mostly lies

You're still reading The Washington Post? 

Don't send your kid to Harvard

Today's Word: to deviate from the truth

Hahaha: Local friends go on camping trip

Juno the whale teases the kids:

W. Somerset Maugham: the best

"It's a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it."

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Vespers: Evensong for Advent

This is "Evensong for Advent: Magnificat in D Major" by Stephen Cleobury, Choir of King's College, Cambridge.

Cleobury is an English organist and conductor. In 1982 he took up the position of Director of Music for the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, where he also teaches music.

Evening Prayer is a liturgy in use in the Anglican Communion (and other churches in the Anglican tradition, such as the Continuing Anglican Movement and the Anglican Use of the Roman Catholic Church) and celebrated in the late afternoon or evening. It is also commonly known as Evensong, especially (but not exclusively) when the office is rendered chorally (that is, when most of the service is sung). It is roughly the equivalent of Vespers in the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran churches.

In the moment on the metro

If we are to live in the moment we have to be aware of the moment. William Blazek describes his awareness on a recent morning commute in Washington, D.C.

At the Rosslyn Station, the platforms are 97 feet below the surface: it makes for a two-minute ride descending what is reportedly the third longest continuous escalator in the world.
That Friday I rode with high-heeled business commuters who clattered by in barely controlled descents while laborers in hard hats joked in Spanish about their boss’ drinking. Desert-camouflaged soldiers and Air Force officers in flight suits joined us in our journey. Most of my anonymous companions were quiet. Some conversed in twos and threes. I narrowly avoided colliding with an office worker who clutched a leaky cup of coffee. I admired a spike-haired artist bobbling an oversize portfolio and a mother in a purple sari carrying a baby sleeping in a sling.

I felt a steady rush of wind that wafted up the escalator tunnel. A watery scent hinted at dark and secret courses beneath the river, I imagined subterranean chambers frequented by orange-vested Metro crews, beyond the pedestrian reach of ordinary commuters like me.

God was in the sight of nods given by the security guards when I made the effort to establish eye contact with them. He was in the sounds of the incomprehensible announcements that rang overhead, enumerating the elevator outages for the day. Abstractly but proximately, he was in the care taken by the engineers who designed the arched vault of the tunnel’s ceiling. Even more remotely, but nonetheless real, he was in the sweat of the miners who had labored to dig the ore that made up the steel escalator steps that whisked me down into the earth.
That particular Metro ride, he writes, was something different. Once aboard a car, it was not yet 8:30 and my day was made, my joy more near complete. 

Upon your holy hill

From The Lectionary:

Psalm 15
15:1 O LORD, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill?

15:2 Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right, and speak the truth from their heart;

15:3 who do not slander with their tongue, and do no evil to their friends, nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;

15:4 in whose eyes the wicked are despised, but who honor those who fear the LORD; who stand by their oath even to their hurt;

15:5 who do not lend money at interest, and do not take a bribe against the innocent. Those who do these things shall never be moved.

Henri Frederic Amiel: what you are

"Learn to be what you are, and learn to resign with a good grace all that you are not."

Friday, August 28, 2015

Casual Friday: The Letter

Just two working days til Monday!

"For sincere advice and the correct time, call any number at random at 3:00 a.m." ~ Steve Martin

How many fingers do I have up?

I've been nearsighted since forever, and it was probably the reason I developed a detached retina a few years ago.

Well, I'm in good company: more and more people are becoming nearsighted. It seems I've finally become trendy.

The reason, of course, is that we are looking at phones and computers and not the great outdoors.
Historical data shows that myopia was ten times more prevalent among students than in unskilled workers. Presumably, the students were engaged in more near work, in the form of reading and studying, and this data was gathered before computers and smartphones even existed! More recent studies have confirmed that the prevalence of myopia is especially high in college students, and the condition occurs less frequently in less educated populations. It’s also telling to note that 5-year-old children from many countries and cultures have very few vision problems, and myopia most often develops during school-going age. Myopia is also more prevalent in countries where formal education is the norm, as opposed to those where it is more sporadic, such as the low incidence in Nepal versus nearly 70% in China.
Another reason is sugar.
Another aspect of modern life that might contribute to the increasing prevalence of myopia is diet. The carbohydrate-heavy Western diet of the last few decades has likely played a role in the increased incidence of obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and other conditions related to carbohydrate intolerance and hyperinsulinemia. These conditions affect the whole body, and certainly, the eyes are not immune to the detrimental effects of the endocrine and metabolic imbalances induced by overconsumption of carbohydrates. The connection between chronic hyperglycemia and retinal damage is well established, and hyperglycemia is correlated with increased incidence of myopia as well. The incidence of myopia among diabetics is higher than among non-diabetics.
So put down that soda pop and get outside and gaze upon nature.

The long, slow death of the rule of law

"The most disturbing aspect of the scandal around Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server is that she will likely avoid serious legal consequences  because the Justice Department is ultimately answerable to President Obama – and Democrats will not use the instruments of government to destroy one of their own.

"While it’s far from unheard of for public officials to apply less-exacting standards to their partisan allies, it’s unnerving that the segments of society charged with keeping those officials in check – namely, the media and the voters – now regard such lack of principle as so unremarkable that it barely merits mention. We have transformed into a country in which it’s difficult to imagine precisely what kind of official malfeasance would be met with more than a shrug of the shoulders.

"This trend has reached escape velocity during the Obama years. The Justice Department already took a pass on prosecuting Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the center of the scandal in which conservative groups were singled out for special scrutiny on the basis of their political beliefs. If there’s anything that ought to be a matter of consensus in American politics, it’s that holding the reins of power doesn’t give you carte blanche to turn the power of the state against your partisan rivals. Yet Ms. Lerner, having done that very thing, doesn’t seem to be much worse for the wear.

"Consider the current debate over the nuclear deal with Iran. By any reasonable reading, the agreement should have been presented to Congress as a treaty, requiring a two-thirds supermajority in the Senate to take effect. The White House, however, has refused to classify it as such, leaving Congress to haggle its way into an arrangement whereby the president can have his way with the support of just one-third of either house of Congress.

"The Obama administration hasn’t even attempted to dress this up as a matter of principle, with Secretary of State John Kerry telling the House Foreign Affairs Committee last month that the deal wasn’t a treaty simply 'because you can’t pass a treaty anymore.'"

Morning Rush: The Milky Way, better sleep, and more

Here and there on the Web this Friday, August 28, 2015:

You can almost touch it.
Gaze on the center of the Milky Way

Sleep better: a foot out of the covers

High protein good for your heart

Don't believe those psyche studies 

A guise for more gun control 

Oh, that voter fraud

Don't think yourself to failure

Bernie's hypocritical socialism

How to preserve your brain power 
Can your phone be a 3D scanner?

Hey, give him a driver's license 

Why your funny bone hurts

Look who's buying our churches 

A glass of water helps losing weight

He says goodbye to Connecticut

Today's Word: something to assist the memory

Hahaha: The elevator you've been waiting for

One heck of a fire truck:

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Our leaders: scared of their own shadows

"The courageous politicians that once championed this nation have been replaced, for the most part, by a breed of milksop, politically correct, scared of their own shadow, pushover, pathetic excuses for public servants who are supposed to be representing a constituency of citizens who have to live with the circumstances of their timid folly.

"You don't even have the courage to face down an out of control president, even when he makes a deal with the devil. Don't you bunch of timid capons even care what kind of world you're leaving to your children and grandchildren, not to even mention the rest of us? Are you really party partisans before you're parents and grandparents or even human beings?"

You can scratch colon cancer off your list

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and responsible for more than 50,000 deaths annually. I've come upon a number of article lately about foods that tend to discourage colon cancer. 

Purple potatoes. Compounds found in purple potatoes may help kill colon cancer stem cells and limit the spread of the cancer, according to a team of researchers. Baked purple-fleshed potatoes suppressed the growth of colon cancer tumors in petri dishes and in mice by targeting the cancer's stem cells.

Coffee. In a new study, researchers from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute report that regular caffeinated coffee intake may be associated with significantly reduced cancer recurrence and improved survival in patients with stage 3 colon cancer.

Cranberries. Researchers fed cranberry extracts to mice with colon cancer and found that the tumors diminished in size and number. Identifying the therapeutic molecules in the tart fruit could lead to a better understanding of its anti-cancer potential, they say.

Aspirin. A study comparing 10,000 colon cancer patients with 100,000 cancer-free individuals found that people who took low-dose aspirin or a class of medicine known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs regularly and for a long time had a much lower risk of colon cancer.

Low carb. A recent study showed that glycemic load and total carbohydrate intake were the best predictors of colon cancer recurrence and mortality, and the link was strongest in people who were overweight or obese. The findings suggest that colon cancer patients would be wise to keep glycemic load in mind, looking for foods that rank lower on the scale.

However, the single most important thing you can do is have a regular colonoscopy. I put it off for years and then discovered it's no big deal. The prep isn't pleasant, but they knock you out for the procedure. As my doctor told me, now you can cross this off your list of things to worry about.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, up to 85 percent of colorectal cancers could be prevented if everyone who was eligible for a colonoscopy screening actually got screened. Removal of precancerous polyps by colonoscopy reduces your chance of getting colon cancer by up to 70 percent.

Unless you have some special risk, you only need to do this once a decade. Here are the guidelines.

What's on Obama's iPod

We elected this ... twice.
"Twenty years ago, sharp social critics like Martha Bayles and Stanley Crouch took others to task for indulging or playing down this celebration of delinquency instead of denouncing it. “Too many irresponsible intellectuals—black and white—have submitted to the youth culture and the adolescent rebellion of pop music, bootlegging liberal arts rhetoric to defend Afro-fascist rap groups like Public Enemy on the one hand, while paternalistically defining the ‘gangster rap’ of doggerel chanters such as Ice Cube as expressive of the ‘real’ black community,” wrote Mr. Crouch.

"But that type of criticism was in the minority and ultimately lost the day. Scholars like Harvard’s Henry Louis Gates Jr. would argue that gutter rap verse comes out of a black American tradition that enriches our language and culture. Cornel West, in his familiar mix of Marxism and gobbledygook, once described rap as “primarily the musical expression of the paradoxical cry of desperation and celebration of the black underclass and poor working class.” And Michael Eric Dyson credited rappers with “refining the art of oral communication.”

"Today, gangsta rap is no longer edgy or even very controversial. It can only be described as mainstream. On a 2013 track, Jay Z, one of the country’s richest and most popular rappers, name-checked a convicted drug dealer and hit man who terrorized the Washington, D.C., area in the 1980s. Lil Wayne, who specializes in rapping about drug-dealing and gun violence, has more entries on the Billboard charts than Elvis.

"In 2010, President Obama told Rolling Stone magazine that both rappers were on his iPod."

Morning Rush: A deep tunnel, stop that snoring, and more

Here and there on the Web this Thursday, August 27, 2015:

The world's longest, deepest tunnel 

Don't waste your money on these

You can be a better listener 

Hold the mayo, FDA hard at work

How to stop your partner's snoring  

Oh why not: Is polyamory next?

Cancer sniffing dogs to the rescue 

Paleo diet.
Foods before we modified them 

The war on Christian hospitals 

Denver's war on Christian businesses

And the White House's race war

No, you don't need all that water

Purple potatoes vs colon cancer

Inside the mind of a psychopath

How To: clean brushes with drier sheet

Today's Word: to flee, abscond 

Hahaha: Lindsay Graham struggles to stay awake

The government's war on small business:

Steven Conrad: your dreams

"You gotta dream? You gotta protect it. People can't do somethin' themselves, they wanna tell you you can't do it. If you want somethin', go get it, period."

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Hard to see in the city glare

"There is no community. The public spaces are sterile, the surfaces all designer-paved, and elaborate by-laws prevent anything human from growing in the cracks. Restaurants outnumber groceries; each is a fake, in menu and decor; the groceries flog ready-made microwave meals. The people themselves are permanently “in transit,” many throughout their lives, on a journey that is the opposite of a pilgrimage. They have allowed themselves to become almost pure economic factors, with a job and a place to sleep, plus free time for demeaning entertainments. It is an environment in which there are more dogs than children — especially those small, yappy, and spoilt, on which the females ladle their maternal instincts. On one recent walk I counted specialized retail outlets: eight for pets, and two for children."

"More fundamentally, Christ is not welcome there. It is hard, anyway, to see Him in the city glare; just as it is hard to see the stars. But the flip side of social atomization is the extraordinary peer pressure it brings to bear. The place is religion-free, as it is germ-free. Look from the window of the rush-hour train over any new patch of sprawling suburb, with thousands of balloon-frame, ticky-tack houses, and you will see not one church spire; only the occasional minaret."

Morning Rush: Glowing worms, tell-tale signs, and more

Here and there on the Web this Wednesday, August 26, 2015:

Glow worms light these ancient caves 

What your body reveals about you

What rich people think of college

Is your teen using heroin?

Illegals gotta live, too, you know

A plan for improving your life

Don't fall for this phone fraud 

The best Congress money can buy 

Wandering around in your body.
A new way to diagnose disease

Lions are not our friends

What Katrina did for the schools 

You should plan for a long retirement

Of course baby parts mean revenue


Uber is developing self-driving cars

The stealth weapon of jihad 

Apps: Using your camera's flash

How To: grow blueberries 

Today's Word: the essential nature of a thing

Hahaha: The new electric Q-Tip

Really seeing the night sky:

Saul Bellow: illusion

"A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep."

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

It's Hailey on the mound!

Hailey Dawson was born with Poland Syndrome, a rare congenital disease that causes underdevelopment in the pectoral muscle and oftentimes also affects fingers on one side of the body.
In Hailey’s case, her right pectoral muscle is completely flat and her right hand is deformed in a way that makes it near impossible for her to grip things, such as a baseball. Fortunately she isn't in much pain at all, according to her mom.
Her mom, Yong, approached a professor at the local university, UNLV’s chair of medical engineering, Brendan O’Toole, to ask if they could use 3D technology to create a prosthetic hand .
Yong brought them a pre-made concept called the Robohand. These designs are available for free as, according to O'Toole, everyone shares them in the interest of advancing the cause.
O’Toole gathered together students ranging from undergrad to high school to even interns to begin working on the project. The result is Hailey’s current device — the fourth version from UNLV. Essentially, Hailey’s palm fits in with the prosthetic with fishing line-type string connecting the fingers to her wrist. Thus, she can use her wrist to control the grasping motion of her hand.
Then Yong contacted the Baltimore Orioles to see if a meet-up would be possible, and the team complied in full to the delight of the entire family. Hailey’s dad grew up in Maryland and raised them all to be Baltimore fans, including Hailey’s older brother who plays Little League.

And at a recent Baltimore Orioles game, the work of UNLV and its engineering students was center stage as 5-year-old Hailey will threw out the first pitch using the Flexy-Hand 2.

Let's go to the video tape:

A monument to our age

"If we were to erect a monument to the spirit of our age, it wouldn’t be something sublime like the Eiffel Tower, St. Peter’s Basilica or the Empire State Building. No grandiose frescos would decorate it. No wondrous ostentations in gold leaf and lapis lazuli would adorn it. No clean-limbed marble statuary would guard it.

"No, it’d be a squat, ugly thing, like a paleolithic fertility fetish or a Morlock or typical WorldCon polyamory enthusiast. It would be sexless, androgynous and gendernonconforming all at the same time, and rendered in drab wattle and daub. Its most striking feature would be a great big mealy mouth, from which would drip liquid bromides and taurine fecal matter. Hordes of hooting crypto-humanoids in their mobility scooters would gather under this toxic shower to pray for equality and more all-you-can-eat buffets."

Morning Rush: a glowing bike, crying is good, and more

Here and there on the Web this Tuesday, August 25, 2015:

I see you!
A glow in the dark bicycle 

How crying make you feel better

About those things that kill you 

When Amazon gets it all wrong 

And how Airbnb sets prices

And goodbye to the buggy whip

We're all first responders now

Cell phone data can track disease 

Lois Lerner keeps on digging

Should you worry about retirement?

The truth about kudzu

Making cancer cells normal again

Don't send your kid to Harvard 

Do chewing sounds make you crazy?

Idiot of the Day: Mike DeBlasio

A new blood test for colon cancer

They should stick to selling ice cream 

Where is the safe place for Christians?  

Apps: a smart phone microscope

Today's Word: lacking ideas or intelligence

Hahaha: Americans choose dessert

What to do with messy cables:

Monday, August 24, 2015

Headline of the Day

Down on the butterfly farm

They come gift-wrapped.
I had no idea that people farm butterflies and sell them.

Jodi Hopper is a butterfly farmer who runs Wish Upon a Butterfly in Pennsylvania.
She raises mainly monarchs and painted ladies, but also breeds a few varieties of swallowtails and several other species. Her farm is a business, but an unusual one: the butterflies aren’t bred for food, or for conservation, but for release at celebratory events like weddings and funerals.
I had no idea.

Butterflies have to go through their whole lifecycle before they can be sold.
“Butterflies pair and then lay eggs. The caterpillar then hatches out of the egg,” Hopper says. “On average, it usually takes about three to five days for the caterpillar to hatch out (temperature plays a lot with how fast or slow they hatch and grow).” About two to three weeks of nonstop eating later, the caterpillar finds an ideal spot, anchors itself, and turns into a chrysalis. Another seven to ten days later, and it’s an adult butterfly. “On average, most butterflies only live about two to three weeks.”
Well, that's just sad.
That’s a pretty short lifespan for a farmer; Hopper and other butterfly farmers will have to catch, package, and ship butterflies to their buyers within a very small window. And yes, shipped: It’s legal to ship certain live animals, including butterflies, through the US Postal Service, as long as they don’t require food during their journey and don’t make excess noise or smells. “They are shipped in an insulated box with an ice pack. They usually are packed individually in paper envelopes,” says Hopper. “We do sometimes ship them in mass release boxes.”
I'm thinking this is more fun than alligator farming.

Going Mad: Climate lives matter

This could spoil your weekend.
Social activist Naomi Klein clarifies the issues: “It’s clear that as sea levels rise that this mean streak and open racism is going to become more extreme – climate change is an accelerant to all those other issues."

Well, sea levels aren't a problem.

It's necessary to say they are, however. As one of the grandfathers of "global warming," Stephen Shneider, said in 1989:
On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we'd like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public's imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have.
Right in step at CNN:
Rising sea levels have been mostly measured in inches in the past decades, but scientists said they could increase more than 20 feet in the future as global warming continues to melt ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.
Dr. Fred Singer is an atmospheric physicist. You can check out his credentials here and here. Here's what he says:
First of all, the accelerated warming that was forecast to produce catastrophic sea level rise flooding Bangladesh and Pacific islands causing hundreds of millions of refugees to flee coastal regions hasn’t occurred.

Let’s understand that the world’s mean temperatures have been rising at a pretty constant rate of about one degree Ferenheight (0.6oC) over the past 100 years, and is likely to continue , although with both warmer and cooler fluctuations, for many hundreds of years into the future. Over each of the past several centuries, including the last one, sea levels rose by about 7 inches (18 cm).

Accordingly, neither the overall warming trend or sea level rise began with the fossil-burning Industrial Revolution… nor have they changed in any detectable way due to human influences. And we can’t even really know that the second follows the first. Sea levels rose during the Little Ice Age from about 1400-1859 AD… a period which was considerably colder than now.

Incidentally, do you remember when presidential candidate Obama declared during his June 8, 2008 victory speech as Democratic Party nominee that his presidency will be “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal”? Well although some tidal gauge data does show deceleration, since it started in 1960, the year he was conceived, he probably can’t take full credit for that. 
Noah, call your office.

Oh look, a baby panda!

It's a baby panda!
"Question: Would you be okay with a government-subsidized company performing vivisections on a baby panda? You know, cutting one of those adorable things open, taking parts out of them while their hearts were still beating? What if we could make a few bucks while, maybe, sorta, using those organs for scientific study—even though several other methods are available to researchers? Is that acceptable?
"Obviously, I can only guess how people would answer that question. But after reading about how thrilled many Washingtonians were that National Zoo officials had spotted a fetus in the giant panda the very same day I watched a video about Planned Parenthood and how “cool” it is to see a human fetus’ heart pumping after his face was ripped open … well, the question just popped into my head."

Morning Rush: Living underground, sleeping well, and more

Here and there on the Web this Monday, August 24, 2015:

Bat cave.
Where everyone lives underground 

Why you should sleep on your side

Wash your spinach, boys and girls

The implosion of our schools 

Chestnut trees vs staph bacteria 

Global warming strikes Calgary

Guard against Linked In scams 

Now raisins are offensive 

CNN is still protecting Hillary

The secret history of the watermelon

The truth about Social Security

The breast cancer / alcohol link

Don't send your kid to Rutgers 

Still supporting Planned Parenthood? 

Behind the scenes supermarket secrets

Idiot of the Day: Martin O'Malley 

How To: improve your battery life

Today's Word: something to assist memory

Hahaha: At last, help for the poor

The madness of the office cubicle:

George Matthew Adams: goals

"In this life we get only those things for which we hunt, for which we strive, and for which we are willing to sacrifice."