Tuesday, March 31, 2015

You go to prison

"The law does not really apply at the top — Lois Lerner and the rest of the criminals at the IRS aren’t going to jail, they’re cashing six-figure checks, with bonuses, for pity’s sake. When Obamacare hits the skids, the president just makes up new law as he goes along. Hillary Clinton runs amok with no real consequence. On the larger scale, the federal government spends a generation failing to enforce its immigration laws and, once the problem has become large enough, simply decides — presto-change-o! — that that which was a serious crime is retroactively hunky-dory.
"The people in the middle cannot go about their ordinary business — working at a job, driving a car, renting or owning a home, traveling — without preemptively complying with all manner of government mandates. But millions of illegals can flout the law with impunity — and their well-off enablers in Washington can flout the law with impunity, too. When the law does not apply to the lawmakers and law-enforcers, you are not being governed: You are being ruled. And we are ruled by criminals. 
"If you treat IRS rules the way the IRS treats IRS rules, you go to prison; if you treat federal law the way the secretary of state does, you go to prison. If you treat immigration controls the way our immigration authorities do, you go to prison. If you’re as careless in your handling of firearms as the ATF is, you go to prison. You cook your business’s books the way the federal government cooks its books, you go to prison."

Morning Rush: Holograms, WiFi, and more

Here and there on the Web this Tuesday, March 31, 2015:

Digital scan of pelvis and kidney.
Here come medical holograms

Hey kids, you're on your own 

Free fall in the Middle East

Do you have an emergency fund?

Try moving your WiFi router

Do you really need a statin?

Four baby bird cams for spring

Conditions yoga can help

Peanuts vs heart disease

Early storm warnings.
Now for 3D printed weather stations

Hillary is above the law, too

Make time to learn your finances

How to appreciate jazz

They can't use GPS trackers on you

Don't send your kids to Barry U

Hypocrite of the Day: Prince Charles

Today's Word: sluggish, gloomy, cold

Hahaha: Man really likes Evansville zoo

A drone herds sheep:

Monday, March 30, 2015

When you disagree with someone

When you find yourself in a conversation with someone with whom you disagree the first thing to realize is that you aren't likely to change his mind and what's the point of trying anyway?

So what do you do when you start hearing something with which you disagree?

Here is some advice from an old hand, Dale Carnegie"
1. Don't try "winning" an argument. Even if you manage to tear apart someone else's argument, you don't actually achieve anything. Carnegie cites the old saying, "A man convinced against his will/Is of the same opinion still." If you're looking to actually persuade somebody, avoid an argument in the first place.
2. Let the other person do most of the talking. The average person enjoys speaking about himself more than any other topic, and if you're engaging someone who has a lot to say, they're not going to listen to you until they've put it all out there. Listen more than you speak.

3. Figure out why the other person thinks what they do. The person you're trying to convince can be objectively wrong about something, but they believe what they do for a reason, and that doesn't necessarily make them a bad person. "Ferret out that reason — and you have the key to his actions, perhaps to his personality," Carnegie writes.
4. Determine how their beliefs work in their favor. Behind every closely-held opinion is a lifetime that has led to that person's conclusion. It's in your interest to sympathize with the way the belief in question fits into the other person's worldview, and how that worldview is a complex machine driving the other person through life.
I've selected the items that give you something to do until you can extricate yourself from the conversation. Trying to change someone's mind is impossible. If you need to say something while you're doing the above, the best is: "That's very interesting."

Obama's friend in your browser

Everybody uses Google for searching the Web, and many use it for email, maps, calendars and more. We treat it as a utility.

Perhaps that is a mistake. Is Google entirely neutral politically?

The question arises, because the tech giant is considering listing search results, not on popularity as it currently does, but on whether they are "correct." Google decides what is factual. It already does this with medical searches.

About facts, we can muse:
"The truth is more important than the facts." ~ Frank Lloyd Wright

"Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please." ~ Mark Twain

"People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe." ~ Andy Rooney

"Since the masses are always eager to believe something, for their benefit nothing is so easy to arrange as facts." ~ Charles M De Talleyrand

“If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts.” ~ Albert Einstein 
Slippery. We all know that you can select facts that agree with your beliefs. That's the basis of high school and college debate programs, and the font of endless yelling on cable news shows.

So where does Google come down on beliefs? Consider:
A former Google officer is the president’s chief technology adviser. Google employees contributed more to President Obama’s re-election than did employees of any other company except Microsoft. Google lobbyists met with Obama White House officials 230 times. By comparison, lobbyists from rival Comcast have been admitted to the inner sanctum a mere 20 or so times in the same period.

Oh, and on Election Night 2012, guess where Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt was? Working for the president. In the president’s campaign office. On a voter-turnout system designed to help the president get re-elected.

“On Election Night [Schmidt] was in our boiler room in Chicago,” Obama lieutenant David Plouffe told Bloomberg News, in a story that revealed that for the campaign, Schmidt “helped recruit talent, choose technology and coach the campaign manager, Jim Messina, on the finer points of leading a large organization.”
Read more about the favors this won for Google.

Morning Rush: Night vision, ID theft, and more

Here and there on the Web this Monday, March 30, 2015:

I see you.
Here come night vision eye drops

A new kind of identity theft

Middle age fitness matters later

The Middle East is collapsing

Don't give your work away

Why women buy guns

When murder isn't murder 

What would a traitor look like?

It can change its shape.
This is one weird frog

How to not look like a terrorist

Idiot of the Day: Marc Benioff

Can we know if pilots are crazy?

Where nuclear subs go to die

Black churches don't play along

Of course Harry Reid got beat up

We're still mistreating our vets

Keep your kids out of public schools

Apps: Here comes citizen journalism

How To: fall 35,000 feet and live

Today's Word: sharply pleasant flavor; stimulating

Hahaha: Kardashian throws hat in the ring

The difference between red and white oak:

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Vespers: Gloria in Excelsis Deo

This is the National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia and the National Chamber Choir of Armenia, performing Vivaldi's "Gloria in Excelsis Deo."

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (1678 - 1741) was an Italian Baroque composer, virtuoso violinist, teacher and cleric. Born in Venice, he is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread across Europe. He is known mainly for composing many instrumental concertos, for the violin and a variety of other instruments, as well as sacred choral works and more than forty operas. His best-known work is a series of violin concertos known as The Four Seasons.

This piece enjoys well-founded popularity, performed at many sacred events, including Christmas. It has been recorded on almost one hundred CDs. As with many other pieces of the Baroque era, it has been performed in historically-performed instrumentation, even with the use of an all-female choir to simulate choral conditions at the Pietà.

Your apps are tracking you

Computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have found that dozens of popular Android apps collected device location (including GPS coordinates accurate to within 50 meters) an average of 6,200 times, or about every three minutes during a two-week study period.
Even when an app provides a useful-location based service, some of those requested the data more often than would be needed to provide that service, researchers said.

For example: Groupon Inc’s app requested one participant’s coordinates 1,062 times in two weeks. Does Groupon need to know where you are? Sure, when you’re acvitely trying to find a deal. But the rest of the time…?

“Does Groupon really need to know where you are every 20 minutes?” asked Norman M. Sadeh, a Carnegie Mellon professor who co-wrote the study. “The person would have to be accessing Groupon in their sleep.”
In another part of the study, The Weather Channel’s app requested device location an average 2,000 times, or every 10 minutes during the study period. Which, unless you are really nervous about a storm ruining your outdoor party or an oncoming tornado, seems a bit excessive.
If you’re wondering, the research didn’t include comparable results from iOS users, because unlike Android which groups all its permissions for apps en masse — you can’t download an app if you don’t agree to all its permissions — iOS devices allow for users to adjust what data is collected by an app on an individual basis (click here for more on how to do so).

It’s no secret why app developers want to cull as much location data as they can get, with marketers paying good money for online ads that can be targeted to individual users based on location information. That might mean an ad or a coupon for a retailer could pop up on the company’s app if it detects a user is nearby or even inside a store.

Blessed is the One

From The Lectionary:

John 12:12-16

12:12 The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem.

12:13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord-- the King of Israel!"

12:14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written:

12:15 "Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!"

12:16 His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him.

St. Stanislaus Kostka: heaven

"I find heaven in the midst of saucepans and brooms."

Friday, March 27, 2015

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Casual Friday: Just Walk Away Renee

Michael Brown, a keyboardist and songwriter who at 16 was a writer of the 1966 hit “Walk Away Renee” for his band the Left Banke and composed “Pretty Ballerina” for it as well, died on Thursday at his home in Englewood, N.J. He was 65.
"This song was recorded by the band The Left Banke in 1966. It was written by the group's then 16-year-old keyboard player Michael Brown (real name Michael Lookofsky), Tony Sansone and Bob Calilli.

The song features a flute solo played during the instrumental bridge of the middle portion of the song. Michael Brown got the idea for the flute solo from The Mamas & the Papas song "California Dreamin'" which had been recorded in November 1965 but wasn't a hit and in heavy rotation until early 1966. The arrangement also includes a lush string orchestration, a memorable harpsichord part, and a descending chromatic bass melody which led critics to refer to the group's sound as Baroque pop, "Bach-Rock" or Baroque n Roll.

The session was produced by Brown's father, jazz and classical violinist Harry Lookofsky, who also led the string players.

The song is one of a number Brown wrote about Renée Fladen-Kamm, then-girlfriend of The Left Banke's bassist Tom Finn and object of Brown's affection. She was associated with the band for a few weeks, and described as a free-spirited and tall blonde. The song was written one month after Brown met her.

"Walk Away Renee" was one of a series of love songs the infatuated Brown wrote after meeting his newfound muse. Other songs written about her include the band's second hit "Pretty Ballerina" and "She May Call You Up Tonight". After decades of obscurity, she was identified in 2001 as a noted singer, vocal teacher and artist on the West Coast.

Is there a tipping point with this man?

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

~ William Butler Yeats 

I realized back in 2010 that a second Obama term was to be dreaded because he would then be released from the need to answer to the electorate at all. But the electorate bears some responsibility too, as does the press and Congress. Why oh why are not more people screaming out that the emperor has been completely naked for quite some time now? And that really wouldn’t be strong enough, either, because a naked emperor may just be a fool (with foolish subjects willing to play along). This naked emperor is also malevolent.

The “why oh why” is rhetorical on my part; I suppose I know the answer. But in a more basic way it still puzzles me, because as things become worse and worse, and Obama’s actions more extreme and more revelatory, I keep thinking there must be a tipping point, both for the press and the public as well as Congress.

But even that is probably an illusory hope. Events make me more cynical, but I don’t seem to be able to ratchet my cynicism up quickly enough to meet them. 

Morning Rush: Asteroids, mini-lungs, and more

Here and there on the Web this Friday, March 27, 2015:

Get ready to duck!

Now they've created mini-lungs

How to save on your taxes

The press knows what's true

You need to drink your milk

How Big Brother will listen in

Should you stand at your desk?

Exercise like your life depends on it

Words you can't use about Hillary

Alert: Everything causes cancer

Spring gets shorter every year

ISIS is now the Fourth Reich

Lessons for those just getting started

Everybody just stop clapping

Idiot of the Day: Jerry Brown

Obama blames Obamacare on Republicans

Apps: Spot the International Space Station

Today's Word: pleasant to look at

Hahaha: Master architect does it with dishes

How to escape from duct tape:

Scipione Alberti: thoughts

"Secret thoughts and open countenance will go safely over the whole world."  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Inflammation is your friend / not your friend

Inflammation is the swelling and redness around a wound. It's the body's response to injury, and it's a good thing.

However, inflammation can get out of hand and become chronic. This is not a good thing. Chronic inflammation can eventually cause several diseases and conditions, including some cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, periodontitis, and hay fever.

Something to talk with your doctor about.

Dr. Brent Bauer of the Mayo Clinic says that we can help ourselves by eating right.
Some people advocate an "anti-inflammatory diet." Although there's less evidence such diets work to directly thwart inflammation, most of the recommended foods are typical of the Mediterranean style of eating and in principle are good choices. Key components of the Mediterranean diet include:
  • Eating generous amounts of fruits and vegetables
  • Consuming healthy fats, such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Eating small portions of nuts
  • For some, drinking red wine in moderation
  • Eating fish on a regular basis
  • Consuming very little red meat
Well, these things will certainly do no harm. Here are some other foods said to be good for inflammation.
Tart Cherries. Studies show that these delicious, tart-sweet cherries can reduce pain from arthritis and post-exercise soreness. One study showed the fruit has the highest anti-inflammatory content of any food.

Turmeric. This deep marigold root is a component of curry and offers anti-inflammatory benefits. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been shown to be beneficial in treating the symptoms of Crohn's disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and stomach ulcers.

Red Onion. This vegetable contains the flavonoid quercetin, which has been found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Blueberries. These contain anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant that fights inflammation and may help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Thanks to their polyphenol content (including anthocyanins), blueberries are quite promising for helping to reverse age-related declines in cognitive and motor function.
The full list is here.

Morning Rush: Go bags, hummus, and more

Here and there on the Web this Wednesday, March 25, 2015:

The right stuff.
What's in an Arny captain's go bag?

When food really does expire

We're beating childhood cancers

Here come the Obamacare penalties

You should eat lots of hummus

Spooky: We know where you've been

Want that delivered today?

I could use this at work.
But will Boeing's force field work?

Political correctness is out of control

And now for that last drop of ketchup

Money advice for millennials 

The Hillary/press love fest

The Feds want you to worship Gaia

Milk could be good for your brain

Keep your kids out of public schools

And don't send them to Cornell

Amateur of the Day: Susan Rice

Today's Word: nearsighted, shortsighted

Hahaha: Navy Seals bridal shower tips

How to escape from duct tape:

Nicholai Velimirovic: your stuff

"Be humble, for the worst thing in the world is of the same stuff as you; be confident, for the stars are of the same stuff as you."

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Yes, Virginia, there is good news

They're making better chocolate. Better for you.
The cacao pod from which chocolate is made is a rich source of healthful polyphenols, and now researchers have found a different way of processing the cocoa that will keep more of those components while maintaining that delicious chocolaty flavor we all know and love.

From a cocoa tree to a candy bar, chocolate undergoes a radical transformation. Workers pick pods from the cacao tree, then remove the bitter seeds from inside the pods to be fermented, then dried in the sun. The dried seeds are then roasted and combined with sugar, milk and other ingredients to create the final product. The delicious stuff loses some of its nutritious components during this process, such as polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties that have been shown to help stave off cancer and heart disease.
To preserve more antioxidant activity, the researchers decided to add one extra step to the chocolate production process: storing the pods for a few days after they're harvested but before removing the seeds to be fermented and dried.
Tthe researchers tested different storage times for 300 pods. They found that the ideal storage time was seven days; when the seeds were then processed as usual after that storage time, they maintained more antioxidants than seeds that were not stored or were stored for more time. The researchers believe that the stored beans were higher in antioxidants because they had the time to absorb more nutrients from their outer husks, but not so much time that they started to break down.
The researchers also wanted to assess the effect of roasting, long thought to decrease chocolate’s nutritional value.
They found that seeds had higher antioxidant activity when they were roasted at a slightly lower temperature for a longer time, and the seeds from pods that had been stored for seven days performed best. Not only was the resulting chocolate more nutritious, the researchers stated, but it actually tasted sweeter, again likely because the bitter seeds spent more time in contact with the sweet pulp of the pod. The researchers plan to continue their work to fine-tune the roasting process in the future.
Eat lots.

George Orwell, call your office

"The humiliating denouement to America’s involvement in Yemen came over the weekend, when U.S. Special Forces were forced to evacuate a base from which they had operated against the local branch of al Qaeda. This is the same branch that has long been considered to pose the most direct threat to Europe and the United States.

"So who should Barack Obama be declaring war on in the Middle East other than the state of Israel?
"There is an upside-down quality to this president’s world view. His administration is now on better terms with Iran—whose Houthi proxies, with the slogan “God is great, death to America, death to Israel, damn the Jews, power to Islam,” just deposed Yemen’s legitimate president—than it is with Israel. He claims we are winning the war against Islamic State even as the group continues to extend its reach into Libya, Yemen and Nigeria.

"He treats Republicans in the Senate as an enemy when it comes to the Iranian nuclear negotiations, while treating the Russian foreign ministry as a diplomatic partner. He favors the moral legitimacy of the United Nations Security Council to that of the U.S. Congress. He is facilitating Bashar Assad’s war on his own people by targeting ISIS so the Syrian dictator can train his fire on our ostensible allies in the Free Syrian Army.

"He was prepared to embrace a Muslim Brother as president of Egypt but maintains an arm’s-length relationship with his popular pro-American successor. He has no problem keeping company with Al Sharpton and tagging an American police department as comprehensively racist but is nothing if not adamant that the words “Islamic” and “terrorism” must on no account ever be conjoined. The deeper that Russian forces advance into Ukraine, the more they violate cease-fires, the weaker the Kiev government becomes, the more insistent he is that his response to Russia is working.

"To adapt George Orwell’s motto for Oceania: Under Mr. Obama, friends are enemies, denial is wisdom, capitulation is victory."

Morning Rush: Flushing, scams, naps, and more

Here and there on the Web this Tuesday, March 24, 2015:

Course change.
Global warming strikes Great Lakes

You're flushing a fortune 

Beware these telephone scams

The corruption at the IRS is flagrant

Short naps boost your memory

How to protest a tyrannical king

Are you getting enough zinc?

We're coddling our children

Metformin vs colon cancer

At last, a use for packing peanuts

Can millennials get audited?

A new way to hack your computer

The ever reaching hand of tyranny

National Geographic falls for it

Can we listen in on the stars?

Obamacare is working out so well

Yikes! It's Killer Yarn!

Idiot of the Day: Timothy Longo

How To: make oatmeal for a week

Today's Word: a short witty saying often in verse

Hahaha: ISIS launches salsa night

Recreating statues with drones:

Michel de Montaigne: reputation

"I care not so much what I am to others as what I am to myself."