Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Grief bacon, and other words we could use in English

Good grief.
Kummerspeck (German)
Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon.

Shemomedjamo (Georgian)
You know when you’re really full, but your meal is just so delicious, you can’t stop eating it? The Georgians feel your pain. This word means, “I accidentally ate the whole thing."

Tartle (Scots)
The nearly onomatopoeic word for that panicky hesitation just before you have to introduce someone whose name you can't quite remember.

Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego)
This word captures that special look shared between two people, when both are wishing that the other would do something that they both want, but neither want to do.

Backpfeifengesicht (German)
A face badly in need of a fist.

Iktsuarpok (Inuit)
You know that feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for someone to show up at your house and you keep going outside to see if they’re there yet? This is the word for it.

Pelinti (Buli, Ghana)
Your friend bites into a piece of piping hot pizza, then opens his mouth and sort of tilts his head around while making an “aaaarrrahh” noise. The Ghanaians have a word for that. More specifically, it means “to move hot food around in your mouth.”
Greng-jai (Thai)
That feeling you get when you don't want someone to do something for you because it would be a pain for them.

Mencolek (Indonesian)
You know that old trick where you tap someone lightly on the opposite shoulder from behind to fool them? The Indonesians have a word for it.

Faamiti (Samoan)
To make a squeaking sound by sucking air past the lips in order to gain the attention of a dog or child.

Would you like bacon with those fries?

My diet is based on number theory. When I'm lying on the couch enjoying a rerun of NCIS I barely remember from the last time I watched it, I estimate how many steps it will take to prepare the meal that comes into my imagination.

So, for example, a ham sandwich requires: 1) find the bread, 2) find the ham, 3) find the mayo, 4) spread mayo on bread, 5) plunk ham on mayo, 6) converge two pieces of bread, 7) put everything back in the fridge, or maybe not.


That explains my joy at discovering a jar of mixed nuts in the cupboard. You have to actually open it, of course, but that's a minor nuisance. You might say, why don't you eat a piece of fruit, to which I might say, well, you have to open the fridge, then open a bin way down there, and you don't even know if there's fruit in there to begin with, and when you bite into an apple the juice just sprays everywhere, and you can't accomplish all that in the time allotted for a commercial anyway.

Now the rest of America goes by a different code, and that would be trying to eat like the Neanderthals. Or the Cro-Magnons. Or the Mediterraneans. Or those other people.

A side benefit of these diets is that you get to club a prospective mate on the head and drag her back to your cave, therein to be ostracized by NWAVAPF (Neanderthal Women Against Violence and Professional Football).

Here's the deal. Our glorious ancestors just ate whatever they found.
Humans are perhaps the ultimate omnivores. We evolved to eat whatever is around, be it plant, animal, or burger. Before the rise of agriculture roughly 10,000 years ago, our ancestors were predominantly hunter-gatherers. Spread far across the globe, their diets matched their surroundings. For examples, we can look to modern hunter-gatherers. 95% of the Inuit's diet is comprised of meat and fish. The !Kung of southern Africa eat mostly seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Farther north, the Hadza predominantly consume meat, fish, and roots.
Marlene Zuk, a biology professor at the University of California, Riverside, has this to say about drinking milk:
Take dairy products, one of the classic modern foods we supposedly aren’t meant to eat. Most people who can’t tolerate them lack a gene that confers the ability to break down lactose, the sugar in milk, after the age of weaning. Our Stone Age ancestors couldn’t digest milk as adults either, but a recent study shows that about 5,000 years ago, mutations that keep that gene switched on spread throughout Northern Europe. That’s also when cattle began to be domesticated; being able to drink milk as well as lower-lactose cheese would have been advantageous as a source of nutrition and fluids.
You gotta figure someone with a name like Zuk is a pretty serious person, especially seeing how she's a biology professor and all, so I think I'm on pretty safe ground when I say that the Neanderthals, or maybe the ancient Greeks, whichever came first, ate lots of vanilla ice cream, particularly the French Vanilla flavor, which is why I do, too.

We're a nation of adult children

"If you would like to be filled with despair for the prospects of democracy, spend a few minutes attempting to decipher the psephological musings of Lena Dunham, the distinctly unappealing actress commissioned by Planned Parenthood to share with her presumably illiterate following “5 Reasons Why I Vote (and You Should, Too).” That’s 21st-century U.S. politics in miniature: a half-assed listicle penned by a half-bright celebrity and published by a gang of abortion profiteers.

"It is an excellent fit, if you think about it: Our national commitment to permanent, asinine, incontinent juvenility, which results in, among other things, a million or so abortions a year, is not entirely unrelated to the cultural debasement that is the only possible explanation for the career of Lena Dunham. A people mature enough to manage the relationship between procreative input and procreative output without recourse to the surgical dismemberment of living human organisms probably would not find much of interest in the work of Miss Dunham. But we are a nation of adult children so horrified by the prospect of actual children that we put one in five of them to death for such excellent reasons as the desire to fit nicely into a prom dress."

~ Kevin D. Williamson

Morning Rush: Apples, Mossad, and more

Here and there on the Web this first day of October, 2014:

Eat this, live forever.
Eat one of these every day 

Wanna join the Mossad? 

How the wealthy invest 

Science doesn't prove anything

Voters flee high-tax states

What's happening to the bees?

The doctor won't see you now

Why you still need a travel agent

Do antibiotics make our kids fat?

Marijuana is bad for your heart

Will he break this law too?

The Iraqi blood on his hands

Pick the right plant for your office

Idiot of the Day: Rosie O'Donnell

Prescription pain killers are killers

Keep your kids out of public schools

Today's Word: to mix in, mingle

Obama calls for "moderate, inclusive" beheadings

A military drone that can be printed anywhere:

Alfred North Whitehead: civilization

"Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking."

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Relax, we'll get there

This was spotted in Florence by my manservant, who is vacationing with my blessing and who called muttering something in Italian about two roads converging in yellowed wood. I said to take the other one.

(Thanks, Rudy)

Beauty in the heavens

Meteorologists in St. Louis recently noticed a cloud acting peculiarly: It was beating a path toward Mexico while changing into a variety of odd shapes. 
Was it a radar glitch? The debris signature of a south-moving tornado?

The answer was more heartening—and bizarre. After analyzing the reflections, the National Weather Service concluded they showed an immense swarm of Monarch butterflies migrating to their winter home in the Mexican mountains:
Also beautiful—and strange—is that the shape of the swarm itself resembled a giant butterfly.
The last time that sort of radar coincidence happened may have been in 2011, when thousands of birds formed into a bird shape above Beebe, Arkansas.

Somebody's getting rich, but it's not the birds

Let's fry some birds.
I like the idea of solar power, and wind power, and renewable energy in general.

Seems natural and the way things ought to be. In fact, it's just the opposite. It's not like putting a solar panel on your roof or a windmill in your backyard.

Imagine for a moment that a big corporation is  ruining untouched desert land,  killing golden eagles, monarch butterflies and bats, and releasing carbon sequestered by the desert -- using your tax dollars, no less.

That in actuality would be BrightSource Energy, which spent $2.2 billion, including a $1.6 billion federal loan, to build Ivanpah, a solar electric generating plant in southern California's Mohave Desert.

  • The company could have rehabilitated a brownfield, an abandoned commercial site, or a decommissioned military base. Instead, it developed 5.5 square miles of virgin desert.
  • Ivanpah will roast an estimated 28,380 birds annually.
  • Scientists now say desert soils contain vast stores of carbon that are unleashed by construction of solar facilities.
It's what's for dinner.
Now we learn that the company is applying for a federal grant -- to pay off its federal loan. To to pull that off, the owners have delayed repaying hundreds of millions of dollars of federal loans from several months to a year.

The ornithologists/investors in BrightSource include, BP Alternative Energy, Morgan Stanley, DBL Investors, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Chevron Technology Ventures, Statoil Venture, and Black River.

Each of these for-profit entities is motivated by an ardent love for the environment and a sincere desire to save the planet -- well, except for the tortoises and kit-foxes that were dislocated.

By the way, Ivanpah is the name of a ghost town in San Bernadino, California. Roughly translated from a Native American language, the word means "clear water."

Read more about this boondoggle here.

Our leaders are losing patience with us

"My concern with democracy is highly specific. It begins in observing the remarkable fact that, while democracy means a government accountable to the electorate, our rulers now make us accountable to them. Most Western governments hate me smoking, or eating the wrong kind of food, or hunting foxes, or drinking too much, and these are merely the surface disapprovals, the ones that provoke legislation or public campaigns.

"We also borrow too much money for our personal pleasures, and many of us are very bad parents. Ministers of state have been known to instruct us in elementary matters, such as the importance of reading stories to our children. Again, many of us have unsound views about people of other races, cultures, or religions, and the distribution of our friends does not always correspond, as governments think that it ought, to the cultural diversity of our society. We must face up to the grim fact that the rulers we elect are losing patience with us."

Morning Rush: Coffee, ADHD, stains, and more

Here and there on the Web this Tuesday, September 30, 2014:

Tear gas in Hong Kong.
Making a stand for democracy

Drink coffee, live forever 

The plot against the middle class

How to look better in a photo

A searchable database of stains

Oh, that election fraud

ADHD kids need exercise 

Bill Maher is just a bully

Barack Obama is just a coward

Eric Holder is just a crook

Make friends with good fats

Let's reinvent retirement

Obama can't even protect himself

Now we know how to ride a bike

When nothing is going right

What texting does to your thumbs

Doesn't matter where your kids go to college

Stop being crazy about birthday parties 

Today's Word: to tousle the hair or clothing

NFL player hits every button on elevator

Let's go for a ride:

Lucille Ball: love yourself

"Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world."

Monday, September 29, 2014

Headline of the Day

Our view: State must get tough on manure storage

This paper is in Muncie, Indiana. You always wondered what they did for fun in Muncie, didn't you? Oh, come on, you were curious. Fess up.

I believe this to be a picture of matter at hand:

Looks fine to me.

I'm going to ask all my dear friends to restrain themselves in the comments section.

A really useful pizza box

Who'd a thunk it?

Fire your shrink and go for a walk

We know that going for a walk makes us feel better. A new study adds the insight that walking in nature with a group of people is good for our mental health.
Results from their study show that group nature walks are linked with "significantly" lower depression, less stress and better mental health and well-being, both before and after controlling for covariates.

Additionally, people from the study who had recently encountered stressful life events - such as a serious illness, death of a loved one, marital separation or unemployment - experienced a mood boost after outdoor group walks.
Perhaps it's not surprising. We know that trees and other vegetation release feel-good chemicals. And that being around people gives us a boost.

Poison Ivy.
Let me add one more variable: the colors of autumn. They are quite rich here in Southern England, and I never get over them. I'm dangerous at this time of year, because I nearly run off the road staring at the sugar maples.

Why is this? Maybe:
Warm colors seem closer to the viewer than cool colors. Red, yellow and orange are in general considered high-arousal color. Colors act upon the body as well as the mind. Red has been shown to stimulate the senses and raise the blood pressure.

Color is light and light is energy. Scientists have found that actual physiological changes take place in human beings when they are exposed to certain colors. Colors can stimulate, excite, depress, tranquilize, increase appetite and create a feeling of warmth or coolness. This is known as chromodynamics.
Just getting started.
What I like best are maples that have just started to change, so they display yellow, orange and green.
Most colors, when placed next to their complements, produce vibrating, electric effects. Other colors, in the right combinations, seem quite different from what you'd expect.
The most striking color illusions are those where identical colors, when surrounded by different backgrounds, appear to be different from each other. In a related effect, different colors can appear to be the same color when surrounded by certain backgrounds.
All I know is that the fall can make even poison ivy beautiful.

It's not just a river in Egypt

And ...
A demonstration.
I'm assuming that Holder, Sharpton and Jackson will fly in to protest workplace violence.

And that Obama will ask the networks for time to encourage all citizens to not go postal but if they do to not use a saber.

Update: Religious black man gunned down by white racist.

Update II: It's copycat workplace violence!

Morning Rush: Fake teaching, fake terrorists, and more

Here and there on the Web this Monday, September 29, 2014:
Created by educrats.

Common Core is giant practical joke 

So is this fake terrorist group

How often should you see the dentist?

Why your teen is grouchy 

Don't make these moving mistakes

It was a good guy with a gun 

A second language helps with math

Freaking over gluten for nothing

Why we aren't safer

Let's save our Internet

Nature walks are good for mental health 
She can see again.

Miracles: the woman with a bionic eye

Our fracking sticks it to Russia

LinkedIn will build you a resume

Canada gets smart about immigration

Why doesn't insurance cover our teeth?

Ferguson just can't get it right

Did Obama finally get it right?

What we can learn from Ebola

Today's Word: under the breath

Eight-year-old begs for terrible military haircut

An Amish barn-raising:

Sophocles: ignorance

"Ignorant men don't know what good they hold in their hands until they've flung it away."

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Headline of the Day

Polygamist Ninja Women Unprepared for Swordplay


(Lowering The Bar)

Vespers: Fisher of Men

Matthew Stephen "M." Ward is a singer-songwriter and guitarist who rose to prominence in the Portland, Oregon music scene. Regarding the types of music he grew up listening to, Ward said: "My dad turned me on to Johnny Cash. He was always into gospel and country. My mom listened to classical music."
He tied a feather to the hook for to get you to look
And by the time you know what took you, you already took
He's got a line in the water, he's a fisher of men

He put the thorns on the rose for to get you to bleed
And by the time you know what stuck you, the pain's in deep
He's got a line in the water, he's a fisher of men
He's got a lot on the line, he's a fisher of men

He's a fisher of men and he's wise as a prize fighter
He's like a soul miner mining souls on down the great divide

He put his name in my verses and his name in the hook
Before I knew what I was cooking, it was already cooked
He's got a line in the water, he's a fisher of men

And he put his name in my chorus like the dark before the dawn
So that in my hour of weakness, I'd remember it's his song
He's got a line in the water, he's a fisher of men

Is the church choir dead?

Church choirs seem to be dying out. Only 40 percent of worshippers say they hear a choir at services, down from 63 percent 14 years ago.

They are often replaced by "praise bands."
Whether you travel across the urban areas of Asia, Africa, North America or Australia, everywhere you go, increasingly, the singing in the church—both the songs that are sung and the style of music—is the same. It’s the McDonaldization of our world. And in every church you visit across the world, the music is just the same. I’d describe it as the ‘Hillsongization’ of music except that it’s such a clumsy word. 
Oh, the words of the songs might differ, but it’s the same music team singing the same way. There’s the obligatory leader with the obligatory two or three singers accompanying her, the obligatory drummer, the obligatory keyboard player and the obligatory two guitarists. You’re allowed some freedom in your choice of a sax or a flute, depending on the resources available, but it’s all exactly the same for every song in every place.
"Hillsongization" refers to an Australian megachurch with offshoots around the world and a distinctive line of music.

Michael Raiter was recently in a service led by a praise band.
I turned to a friend next to me and commented, “No-one’s singing”. He looked at me as if I’d just observed that no-one was flying. Of course they’re not singing; we haven’t really sung here for years. Whatever was happening that morning, it was most decidedly not congregational singing. In many churches, genuine, heartfelt congregational singing has been in its death throes for some years now.
That's sad.

By what authority?

From The Lectionary:

Matthew 21:23-32

21:23 When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, "By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?"

21:24 Jesus said to them, "I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things.

21:25 Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?" And they argued with one another, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will say to us, 'Why then did you not believe him?'

21:26 But if we say, 'Of human origin,' we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet."

21:27 So they answered Jesus, "We do not know." And he said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

21:28 "What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.'

21:29 He answered, 'I will not'; but later he changed his mind and went.

21:30 The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, 'I go, sir'; but he did not go.

21:31 Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.

21:32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.

Fyodor Dostoevsky: self-respect

“If you want to be respected by others the great thing is to respect yourself. Only by that, only by self-respect will you compel others to respect you.”

Friday, September 26, 2014

Casual Friday: We Are the Champions

Just two working days til Monday!

“My one regret in life is that I am not someone else.” ~ Woody Allen

What, me worry?

When I was commuting into New York I went through Grand Central Terminal twice a day, and after 9/11 I did everything I could to get out of it as quickly as I could.

It is an obvious target, and it's patrolled by heavily armed National Guard troops and SWAT cops still today.

So terrorist threats aren't abstractions for me. Such as the Iraqi prime minister's assertion that terrorists were looking over the subways in New York. Our leaders discount this, but how much can we trust them? They ignored warnings about the Boston bombers, after all.

The terrorists themselves enjoy taunting us with threats. And a man who had converted to Islam, and tried to convert others, beheaded a woman in Oklahoma and attacked another.

Does any of the following give you comfort?

The New York Police Department has abandoned a secretive program that dispatched plainclothes detectives into Muslim neighborhoods to eavesdrop on conversations and built detailed files on where people ate, prayed and shopped.

An exodus of top-level officials from the Department of Homeland Security is undercutting the agency’s ability to stay ahead of a range of emerging threats, including potential terrorist strikes and cyberattacks, according to interviews with current and former officials. The departures are a result of what employees widely describe as a dysfunctional work environment and abysmal morale.

And of course our dysfunctional Congress is smackdab in the middle of our dysfunctional DHS.

We are more concerned with political correctness than safety:

A new study shows that the number of immigrants in the United States jumped 3 percent in three years — to a record 41.3 million in 2013 — and that the nearly 300,000 who came from Muslim countries pose a major national security threat.

Tens of thousands of immigrants have just vanished.

A small number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. will have an opportunity to join the military for the first time in decades under a new Department of Defense policy unveiled Thursday.

The Department of Homeland Security has announced that it intends to focus on global warming.

We sit around debating terminology: is it a war, is it terrorism, is the Islamic State Islamic? Maybe it's Baptist. "It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is" now describes our foreign policy.

Of course presiding over all this is a president who pulled us out of Iraq and bragged about it, who was dragged kicking and screaming back into Iraq, and who is proud to lead from behind.

Who favorably quoted and praised before the United Nations a controversial Muslim cleric whose organization has reportedly endorsed the terror group Hamas and supported a fatwa condoning the murder of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

I'm not feeling more better.

Morning Rush: 3D printing, reheating pizza, and more

Here and there on the Web this Friday, September 26, 2014:

Made by volunteers.
3D printed prosthetic hands

The best way to reheat pizza 

How to get a cheaper mortgage

An iron supplement/autism link

I won't buy another Kuerig

How Obama controls the press

Living in a home for sale

What's really wrong in Ferguson

Don't send your kids to public schools

As I said, don't send your kids ...

As I said ...

Using bacteria to fight cancer 

Happy Birthday, non-global warming

The repo man is just a click away

Holder will regret his recklessness

Why aluminum foil is shiny on one side 

Today's Word: a selection from a book

Without Holder, anarchy will reign

A beautiful must-see about pheasant hunting:

Elizabeth Aston: others

"Concern for someone else was a good remedy for taking the mind off one's own troubles."

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Where trees rule

In California ...
In Washington ...
In Cambodia ...
(Bored Panda)

Worrying solved

Are you breathing? Then it's not a crisis.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

~ Reinhold Niebuhr

Let's diagram that.

For elaboration and explanation, let's turn to my main man:
“I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” ~ Mark Twain 
Just face it down.

Morning Rush: Veggies, bird watching, and more

Here and there on the Web this Thursday, September 25, 2014:

Mariam Al Mansouri.
One crackerjack fighter pilot

Eat your veggies, get smart

Obama’s breathtaking naivete

Know when to worry

One in 10 botch the language 

Bird watching is racist

You'll get your stuff by drone

What's with all the fundraising?

Hey, let's kill poor people

How you can save $1 million

Your blood type affects your health

An ISIS nest in Boston 

Time to kick them out

How to hedge the cost of tuition

That strange cloud over St. Louis

Do you mess up these words?

Today's Word: happening every seven days

Man stuck in dead-end body

The benefits of meditation:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hey, let's spend your money!

Every blink on this image represents $300 spent by the federal government.

To be in the moment with a butterfly

After you read this poem by James Wright decide if you agree with the last line. Decide if it would be true of you.

“Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota”
Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year’s horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.

Here's an answer from the English novelist David Mitchell, who for years has kept a copy of this poem above his desk:
What to make of this famous last line, “I have wasted my life”? I hear him exhale it with a wry laugh: I’ve wasted my life! He’s kind of smiling. I’ve done it again, all this wasted time, he thinks—but at least I know it. Though he hasn’t really wasted all of his life—he knows that, too. You have to enter the hammock, put the world on hold, to really see things clearly the way the poem does. He’s been to this hammock before, and he’s had moments like this before, and it’s mostly positive. It’s self-deflating, but not depressing. It’s sad, and longing, and nostalgic, and wry—the ironic half-bark of a laugh.
For Mitchell, the poem’s chief value is as a reminder to stay inside the moment.
It asks us not to let our minds rerun things that have already happened, not to trouble our head fruitlessly about things that haven’t happened yet. Inhabit the now, the poem urges— just see the beauty around you that you don’t normally see.
We have a hard time remaining in the present: Our monkey minds are continually jumping through the jungles of the past and the forests of the future. But Wright’s poem says: Stop! Just stop. Calm down, be quiet, and look around. It’s an homage to, and an exhortation of, the act of seeing.
Stop. Just stop.

Morning Rush: Face mites, stupid rich people, and more

Here and there on the Web this Wednesday, September 24, 2014:

An ancient mystery.
Who built these geoglyphs and why?

Yes, you have face mites

Rich people are just stupid

So is the TSA

Are you following your passion? 

The nutcakes out for a march

Your brain can remap your body

The difference in immigrants

Riding in a deep sea sub

Why you think your phone is vibrating

The Federal Reserve is broken

It's the little things that kill you

Does anyone understand California?

The million mile climate savers

Why is USDA buying submachine guns?

Today's Word: advantage given to weaker player

Daily spin class save mom

A brief history of emoticons:

Randy Pausch: regrets

"It's not the things we do in life that we regret on our death bed, it is the things we do not."