Tuesday, November 25, 2014

We've never seen anything like it

"The only mystery about the last six years is how much lasting damage has been done to the American experiment, at home and abroad. Our federal agencies are now an alphabet soup of incompetence and corruption. How does the IRS ever quite recover? Will the Secret Service always be seen as veritable Keystone Cops? Is the GSA now a reckless party-time organization?

"Is the EPA institutionalized as a rogue appendage of the radical green movement with a director who dabbles in online pseudonyms? Do we accept that the Justice Department dispenses injustice or that the VA can be a lethal institution for our patriots? Is NASA now a Muslim outreach megaphone as we hire Russia, the loser of the space race, to rocket us into orbit?

"Will anyone again ever believe a U.S. red line, step-over line, or deadline? Will Iran ever accept that it should not have a bomb or fear the consequences of trying to get one? Is Iraq (omnis effusus labor) a sort of rescued Eurydice that was abruptly lost on the trek up from the Underworld? Will Afghanistan become Saigon, 1975? How could Putin ever again be worried about offending a U.S. president, or could China or North Korea? Are we now always to be allies of Islamist Turkey and indifferent to its enemies like our once-allied Kurds, Cypriots, Greeks, and Israelis?

"Will the economy ever again grow as it should? Will disability, food stamp, and welfare recipients jump back into the workforce should we frack on federal lands, build the Keystone pipeline or quit berating private enterprise?"

Morning Rush: Diets, cats, and more

Here and there on the Web this Tuesday, November 25, 2014:

It's magic.
The doctor will see through you now 

The diet for metabolic syndrome 

Why you shouldn't trust your cat

The government doesn't fire anyone

How to survive a nuclear blast

Why do many close calls on the runway? 

How elephants create the rain 

"Just ignore Obama"

A connected home that isn't chaos

The climate scam meltdown continues

Do people disappear as they age?

Ruling us from the White House

It's a lonely universe out there

Those zany, peace-loving Muslims

A simple way to increase your productivity

Today's Word: an exaggerated opinion of oneself

Hahaha: Landfill named after Obama

America's most elite dogs:

Charles F. Kettering: imagination

"Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future."

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fourth down and inches

Go for it, girly men.
If you watch football you know that most coaches don't choose to go for it on fourth down, and we generally accept that as the wise decision.

Ain't so. UC Berkeley economist David Romer has actually crunched the numbers and discovered that the optimum strategy is to take the chance. But:
I find that teams’ choices are far more conservative than the ones that would maximize their chances of winning.
His findings have been widely publicized, but seem to have had little impact on NFL practice, Justin Fox writes.
Every Sunday the New York Times 4th-Down Bot, constructed along lines similar to Romer’s model, plaintively tweets again and again after punts and long field goal attempts that “I would have gone for it.”
Coaches don’t go for it presumably because they’ll be berated by fans, announcers, and owners for conversion or fourth-down attempts that fail, but not for punts or field-goal or extra-point attempts that, statistically speaking, leave points on the table. As a result they’re winning fewer games than they would if they followed a logical, points-maximizing approach. That’s what you call low-quality decision-making.
It seems that big data crunching has yet to inhabit football as it has baseball.

It's fun to wonder how our biases affect the decisions we make when it's fourth down and inches in our lives.

Morning Rush: Radiation belts, fake photos, and more

Here and there on the Web this Monday, November 24, 2014:

Great for airports.
Git yer anti-radiation belt here

Enjoy your saturated fats

Singing in a choir is good for you 

Oh, you mean those WMDs

The world's most advanced spyware 

Questions for your teenager

The great climate pact swindle

Men will help a lady in high heels
Looks real to me.

How to spot a fake photo

Here comes the end of citizenship

How to tell if you made a good decision

Why watch the networks at all?

Go for a run and never grow old

The sun sets on on OPEC

Obama's war on jobs

Don't send your kid to the Ivy League

But I like my windmill

Today's Word: one who refuses to accept authority

Hahaha: Tortoise and hare store now doubted

Canadian fans finish U.S. national anthem:

Sir Thomas Browne: greatness

"Be substantially great in thyself, and more than thou appearest unto others."

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Vespers: We Praise Thee

This is the St. Peterburg Chamber Choir singing "We Praise Thee" from the Russian Liturgy.

One of Russia 's leading choirs, the St. Petersburg Chamber Choir is actively involved in continuing the rich traditions of Russian and European vocal music. Founded in 1977, the choir is made up of professional musicians who have completed their studies at Russia 's top musical institutions.

Pavel G. Chesnokov (1877-1944) composed the music. He was a Russian Empire and Soviet composer, choral conductor and teacher. He composed over five hundred choral works, over four hundred of which are sacred.

The term Divine Liturgy refers to the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine tradition of Christian liturgy. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. 

When I was hungry

From The Lectionary:

Matthew 25:31-46

25:31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.

25:32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,

25:33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.

25:34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;

25:35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,

25:36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.'

25:37 Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?

25:38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?

25:39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?'

25:40 And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'

25:41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;

25:42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,

25:43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.'

25:44 Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?'

25:45 Then he will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.'

25:46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Steven Spielberg: listening

"My parents taught me how to listen to everybody before I made up my own mind. When you listen, you learn. You absorb like a sponge-and your life becomes so much better than when you are just trying to be listened to all the time."

Friday, November 21, 2014

Casual Friday: Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die

Just two working days til Monday!

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." ~ Steven Wright

Here's my reply to you

I'm getting to you. Please be patient.
I realize that you're waiting for me to reply, so let me say, somewhat apologetically, to your sincere missive:
"That's very interesting."
And I mean it.

I attended a lecture yesterday in which Clint Warren, a marketing entrepreneur, explained how he keeps his days on track by basically ignoring email until he's good and ready for it.

You can read his ideas here. It's good stuff. Basically what he's saying is that an email in your inbox is someone else's priority, not yours. Ignore them and get started on your priorities.

I have accidentally done that.

I have created over time a Rube Goldberg email system that ties multiple email addresses together in ways even I no longer understand. This system developed a kink, because a password program kept one email system from sending stuff to another email system and then on to my email client, which is a word I toss around when I want to impress people with my technological prowess. I have no idea how it works.

When, after several hours, I figured out how to undo the logjam, I was flooded with emails. All sorts of newsletters I had ordered but forgotten about, all sorts of notices that people had responded to something I'd done on Facebook, all sorts of quotes and vocabulary words and medical advice I had asked for at some feverish moment in my dark past.

Back in July a former colleague who actually knows how to garden had offered me some free plants. Gosh. It's 32 degrees out there right now. No prob. When I plant stuff it just dies anyway.

Here's what's frightening: my life was perfectly fine without reading all those emails. I didn't need them at all. And I'm sure those plants are grateful.

Morning Rush: Early cold, frenemies, and more

Here and there on the Web this Friday, November 21, 2014:

Global warming comes knocking.
Why is it so cold so early?

Frenemies suck the life out of you

China can take out our power grid

Where are the jobs for illegal aliens?

Hand dryers are germ spewers

We waste a lot of food unnecessarily

Incompetent people don't know they are

A smaller, quieter gasoline engine

Obamacare is a house of lies

Zen and the art of cubicle living

Our unrestrained government 

Dealing with fitness tracker fatigue 

Obama incites Ferguson rioters

Complex jobs may protect memory

Why do we have thumbs?

Don't make these LinkedIn mistakes

Leaving contemporary church music

How To: pick a lock

Today's Word: of doubtful authorship or authenticity

Hahaha: Jobless to carry oil from Canada to Texas

A president lies to the citizens:

John Mitchell Mason: judging

"Judge thyself with the judgment of sincerity, and thou will judge others with the judgment of charity."

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Your cell phone as a portable weather station

Hold your breath.
I have for some time thought that are cell phones could serve two important purposes.

Equipped with sensors they could alert us to biological or radioactive particles launched into the air by terrorists.

More benignly, they could detect weather conditions and give forecasters thousands of more data points from which to make forecasts.

Seems as though those possibilities are at hand.

Some young entrepreneurs have created a small sensor device that checks for air pollution. Others have created a phone altimeter so that we can know what floor of a building you're on.

This is only the beginning.
Samsung phones now include both temperature and humidity sensors, enabling the phone to keep an eye on the state of the environment around you.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a working prototype of a pollution sensor small enough to fit inside a mobile phone, giving governments and health officials the opportunity to measure smog and dangerous chemicals across cities.
So you'll have time to don your gas mask. Whew!

Morning Rush: Cell phones, your spine, and more

Here and there on the Web this Thursday, November 20, 2014:

Can yo hear me?
What your phone does to your spine

How to start and end your work day

This is your brain on donuts

Why you love to hate some friends

You need Vitamin D to stay alive 

And he has the president's ear

What to ask a financial adviser

Looks like my neighbors.
Some weird life in the ocean depths

Feminism destroys itself

Now we can make more rice

Computers can ruin our lives

Here come the tropical diseases

Now they're going after football

It's backdoor gun control 

Sharks are eating the Internet 

How presidents gather power

Don't send your kid to Elon University

Today's Word: distribution of light and shade in a picture

Hahaha: Mellowing jihadist not as enraged as he used to be

Obama makes the case against amnesty:

Henry David Thoreau: dreams

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Twelve items or more

Attention shoppers!
Few things can buoy the human spirit more than a trip to the local store, Kyle Peterson writes.
There, on endless shelves, stacked ceiling high, sit the progressive fruits of thousands of years of civilization, just waiting to be plucked into a shopping cart. Sometimes I come home giddy, and, while putting the cereal and milk in their proper homes, I regale my wife with the magic of it all.
Our forebears watered the crops they planted in tiny plots of land with their own sweat; we stand in air-conditioned bazaars and pick from an endless array of produce—pears from Chile, and chilies from Mexico, and kiwis lovingly cultivated by actual Kiwis—and then complain about the Muzak.
Sheer selection at the supermarket overwhelms.
I was struck recently by the alarming number of items of whose history, use, and preparation I am completely ignorant. Pitted loquats are $3.19 a can, and whole lychees in syrup only two quarters more. Head cheese remains a mystery—and please, please don’t enlighten me. I have no idea what a yucca root is, but yucca’n get one for less than a buck a pound.
A few minutes standing in line, he concludes, is simply a further opportunity to reflect: that laser bar code scanner is pretty amazing! Who the heck invented that?

We dare not say the I-word

"This morning when I woke up and saw the horrifying pictures of the blood-stained interior of the synagogue in Har Nof, themselves reminiscent of the Holocaust, my first thought was: Nuke ‘em! Now, hours and several bourbons later, I realize we — particularly the United States — have yet to try something far more dangerous: honesty. The lame duck reactionary who is our president refuses to say there is anything wrong with Islam although it is the holy books of that religion that motivate this activity again and again and again and…

"We never say what’s behind all this evil, the source of the psychopathic violence. We dare not mention the I-word, even when they desecrate a synagogue with the blood of rabbis or burn down a church in Egypt or cut off head after head after head. Obama, who grew up with anti-Semite pals like Bill Ayers and Rashid Khalidi, denies that Islam has anything to do with this — probably, not so deep down, because we all know it has a great deal to do with him, how he was raised. I count the days until this American Haman — drenched as he is in that great lie of moral equivalence — is gone."

Morning Rush: Keeping time, soothing babies, and more

Here and there on the Web this Wednesday, November 19, 2014:

Say, what time do you have?
An atomic clock in your pocket?

How mothers soothe infants

Fitbit data is now used in court

Is your hand soap killing you?

Universities join the coverup 

Moderate exercise vs. Parkinson's

Our workdays just never end

Why are Muslims in Ferguson?

We don't know what we're eating

Look who gets hurt by amnesty

Don't forget to eat tumeric

Track the air quality around you

Double your nest egg in 10 years

You can overcome procrastination

Obama goes after your school 

Why does anyone still watch CNN?

What alcohol abuse does to your brain

Today's Word: denounce, condemn, say bad things about

Hahaha: Scientists receive grant to melt stuff

Why are some people left handed?

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus: the future

"Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Why do you talk to yourself that way?

“'I am such a big failure. I can’t believe that I’ve made this mistake.'

"Most of us talk to ourselves in ways we’d never talk to anyone else. More than likely, you are unkind to yourself when you’ve had a failure. You expect yourself to “get it right” — every single time. More often than not, you hold yourself responsible for the whole of the failure. You believe you should have seen it coming. As if somehow you can actually control everything.

"But, let me ask you – would you speak to someone else this way? Would you talk to them in an unforgiving, demanding, and invalidating way? Likely not. Were you to say it to someone else, you would almost see him or her shrivel up from the inside. A label given to another person can transform a person’s sense of self and their ability to contribute and create. So can a label you give to yourself."

We don't need actual, you know, warming

Follow the money.
How do we explain the continued clamor to spend billions on "global warming" when, in fact, the earth is not warming?

Let's listen to the advocates.

“We have got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”
~ Former U.S. Senator Timothy Wirth (D-CO), then representing the Clinton-Gore administration as U.S undersecretary of state for global issues, addressing the Rio Climate Summit audience. Wirth now heads the U.N. Foundation, which lobbies for hundreds of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to help underdeveloped countries fight climate change.
“A global warming treaty [Kyoto] must be implemented even if there is no scientific evidence to back the [enhanced] greenhouse effect.”
~ Deputy Assistant of State Richard Benedick, who then headed the policy divisions of the U.S. State Department.
“No matter if the science of global warming is all phony…climate change [provides] the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.”
~ Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of the Environment.
“For the first time, humanity is instituting a genuine instrument of global governance, one that should find a place within the World Environmental Organization which France and the European Union would like to see established.”
~ Former President Jacques Chirac of France explaining why the IPCC’s climate initiative supported a key Western European Kyoto Protocol objective.
“The threat of environmental crisis will be the international disaster key to unlock the New World Order.”
~ Former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev, emphasizing the importance of using climate alarmism to advance socialist Marxist objectives.

Harsh Cold to Set Records in South, Freeze Northeast
50% of nation covered in snow
4 ft Expected in Upstate NY
105-mile stretch of highway closed
Idaho makes November history

Morning Rush: Chocolate chip cookies, kisses, and more

Here and there on the Web this Tuesday, November 18, 2014:

Relax, it's science.
Ah, the perfect chocolate chip cookie

One kiss = 80 million bugs

Early school start times hurt teens

Canada has a real leader

How to use the common college app 

A capsule tests rivers for pollution

The world's tiniest countries
Carry some in your pocket.

Eat watercress, live forever

Mediterranean Diet vs. obesity

The media's climate blind spot

Time to gag the feminazies

How to make new friends as an adult

Bombproof your retirement portfolio

Here come two years of regulation

Stressing over debt can kill you

Putin targets Scandinavia

Today's Word: to perform hastily or carelessly

Hahaha: Dinosaurs were killed by someone they trusted

Here comes the ambulance drone:

Agnes Repplier: happiness

"It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere."