Monday, April 27, 2015

Your kid is safer than you think

Recently the police in Silver Spring, Maryland, picked up two children who were walking to the park and detained them for hours, Christopher Ingraham reports. This is hardly unusual.

So odd is it for kids to be on their own that we have a name for them: free range children.

What we all fear is that they will be abducted. This is now built in out national psyche. I share the fear. Remember: fears are irrational. That doesn't make them any less potent.

But consider:
The FBI has several decades of data on missing persons now, and those numbers show that the number of missing person reports involving minors has been at record low levels in recent years. Overall, the number of these reports have fallen by 40 percent since 1997. This is more impressive when you consider that the overall U.S. population has risen by 30 percent over that same time period, meaning that the actual rate of missing person reports for children has fallen faster than 40 percent.
But even these numbers include an awful lot of scenarios that you wouldn't typically worry about when letting your kid walk to the park.
For instance, among all missing persons cases (adults and children) in 2014, roughly 96 percent were runaways -- kids or adults deliberately trying to escape a situation at home. In fact, only 0.1 percent of missing persons cases were what we'd think of as a "stereotypical kidnapping" -- where a complete stranger tries to abduct somebody and carry them off by force.
Another thing parents worry about when it comes to their kids -- traffic. If they're left to wander on their own outside, won't they run out in front of a car or get hit by an irresponsible driver? In short: almost certainly not.
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that between 1993 and 2013, the number of child pedestrians struck and killed by cars fell by more than two-thirds, from more than 800 deaths to fewer than 250. The number of traffic-related pedestrian injuries in this age group fell by a similar percentage over the same period. Again these are raw numbers, and as the population has grown over that period, the actual rate has fallen even faster.
"It's hard to say that much of the decline [in mortality and abduction rates] comes from stricter parenting," said Bryan Caplan, an economist at George Mason University who's written about child safety statistics.
When it comes to child mortality, "crime and accidents were never that big of a deal to begin with," he said. And there are a lot of factors driving those trends downward -- better safety standards for cars and better pedestrian infrastructure, for instance.
Declining rates of violent crime overall also likely play a role.
Asked about the Maryland case, Caplan said, "it's crazy, people are being persecuted for doing things that are extremely statistically safe just because other people disagree."
Bottom line, Ingraham writes: If it was safe enough for you to play unsupervised outside when you were a kid, it's even safer for your own children to do so today.

It's corruption all the way down

"We have a "justice" department that prosecutes a senator who made the mistake of crossing the President (Menendez) but declines to do anything about a tax collector who treats American taxpayers differently on the basis of how they vote (Lerner).

"We have a revenue agency that regards itself as the paramilitary wing of the ruling party.

"We have replaced equality before the law with a hierarchy of privilege, so that no-name ambassadors can be fired for breaking federal record-keeping requirements by a department whose boss outsources her federal records to her own server and then mass-deletes them with no more thought than when she's parking her van in the handicapped space.

"We have a federal police agency in which 26 out of its 28 hair analysts gave false testimony favorable to the prosecution.

"We have a cabinet officer who managed to get more firepower deployed to toss her designated scapegoat videomaker into the county jail than she assigned to the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi.

"We have a president who rules by decree on everything from immigration to health care - and a legislature of castrati too craven to object."

Morning Rush: Sea ice, dish towels, and more

Here and there on the Web this Monday, April 27, 2015:

An underground church.
Wanna live underground?

Ice or heat for injuries?

Be happy with what you have 

Where will we put the sea ice?

Keep reading to your kids

Please wash your dish towel

Good work if you can get it

Put your head in this.
Transparent armor from clay

Obama: war-time president

The benefits of distraction

Maybe you need a goat

Mistakes in the grocery store

There won't always be an England

Our crude, petty president

Get an eye exam by smart phone

What "homeland security" is up to

When families live together

Today's Word: alcoholism

Hahaha: Income inequality and cake

Invisibility from squid:

Aeschylus: The future

"The future you shall know when it has come; before then, forget it."

Friday, April 24, 2015

Casual Friday: Takin' Care of Business

Just two working days til Monday!

"I wonder if illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup." ~ Jerry Seinfeld

Your one wild and precious life

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
~ Mary Oliver

Morning Rush: Clocks, corruption, and more

Here and there on the Web this Friday, April 24, 2015:

Got a minute?
The most precise clock ever

This isn't ordinary corruption 

Why you can't trust your ears

A breakthrough in asthma treatment

How to win the next election

Why we misunderstand others

The madness in California

The best states for retirement

A lung cancer vaccine -- from Cuba?

Drones are good jogging companions

The kids are not okay

What Google wants for your phone

Obama's war on Christianity

Hillary speak with forked tongue

Don't send your kid to Johns Hopkins 

How To: burglar-proof your home

Today's Word: to make soft or tender

Hahaha: Makeup for your organs

Building a bionic pancreas:

Robert H. Schuller: great things

"What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?"

Thursday, April 23, 2015

How you get those stupid cat videos

International Internet traffic flows through fiber optic cables about the size of a garden hose. There are 285 cable systems stretching for a total of 550,000 miles.

Here's what's in the "garden hose:"

A cross section of a modern submarine communications cable. 1 – Polyethylene 2 – Mylar tape 3 – Stranded steel wires 4 – Aluminium water barrier 5 – Polycarbonate 6 – Copper or aluminium tube 7 – Petroleum jelly 8 – Optical fibers

The cables were built to last. They can withstand the inhospitable ocean floor for 25 years.

Over the last decade global data consumption has exploded. In 2013, Internet traffic was 5 gigabytes per capita; this number is expected to reach 14 gigabytes per capita by 2018. However, new techniques and equipment have boosted capacity by as much as 8000%. The wires we have are more than ready for the traffic to come.

And just in time:

"Don't hide the madness." ~ Allen Ginsberg

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." ~ Marcus Aurelius

If you were to read the following in a history book about some lost civilization you would smile and understand why those people are no longer with is.

For the first time in U.S. history, chimpanzees have been granted certain Constitutional rights. The chimpanzees — Hercules and Leo — are lab animals at Stony Brook University. A New York judge ruled the animals are covered by a writ of habeas corpus, which allows prisoners to challenge whether they are being held legally. “The Court has therefore implicitly determined that Hercules and Leo are ‘persons,'” the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) wrote.

The women’s blog Bustle is offering advice for anyone who may want to date a “sapiosexual” — which it describes as an “uber-trendy ‘sexual orientation’” in which people are more attracted to intelligence than other characteristics. “Identity politics reign supreme, so it’s fitting that we constantly conceive new categories to label and define our niche sensibilities and predilections, however ridiculous or annoying or unnecessary they may seem,” writes self-described “recovering sapiosexual” Kristen Sollee, taking the words “ridiculous” and “annoying” right out of my mouth.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has spent over $400,000 studying the satisfaction levels of the first sexual experiences of young gay men.

Army ROTC cadets  were pressured to walk in high heels on Monday for an Arizona State University campus event designed to raise awareness of sexual violence against women. It appears as though they were faced with a volunteer event that became mandatory. “Attendance is mandatory and if we miss it we get a negative counseling and a ‘does not support the battalion sharp/EO mission’ on our CDT OER for getting the branch we want. So I just spent $16 on a pair of high heels that I have to spray paint red later on only to throw them in the trash after about 300 of us embarrass the U.S. Army tomorrow,” one anonymous cadet wrote.

A senior editor at Mother Jones wants you to know that you should stop eating three meals a day for reasons including the fact that it is “racist.” Yes — she actually uses the word “racist:” “Dogmatic adherence to mealtimes is anti-science, racist, and might actually be making you sick,” proclaims the subhead to Kiera Butler’s Wednesday article, titled “Why You Should Stop Eating Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.”

No stomach for the long haul

"Western, and once Christian, man has lost his ability to man up in the face of evils he cannot avoid in this world. He has become chestless, he has lost the convictions of his Christian heart. He has, practically, no stomach left for the long haul, for maintaining permanent institutions, for keeping boots on the ground even where they must be kept (in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and so forth). He cannot face any large problem, in other than a mechanistic way, looking for the quick fix.
And this is one of those problems: the re-irruption of a violent, seventh-century tribal religion from beyond the civilized frontier, after centuries of effort to contain it."

Morning Rush: Night skies, promotions, and more

Here and there on the Web this Thursday, April 23, 2015:
Sonoran Desert, Arizona

Out on the desert at night

After you get a promotion 

How Facebook spies on you

Obama harms the Earth

How to not be stupid

Make it out of cauliflower ...

 ... because carbs make you fat

Scientists playing politician

Grow your own.
A new kind of indoor farm

Employee "wellness" is  crock

Active vs passive investing 

Your IRS hard at work 

Idiot of the Day: Toni Morrison

How to make better decisions

It's tyranny time in Wisconsin

Apps: Check out Google Settings

How To: make a bare bone budget

Today's Word: a manuscript volume

Hahaha: An efficient drive through

How drones see the world:

Sam Levenson: keep going

"Don't watch the clock. Do what it does: Keep going."

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

It's bad all over

Not even Sheriff Joe can save us now.

Of course it's organic, dear

"Now let’s talk about one of the biggest, most successful and STUPIDEST cons out there today. ORGANIC FOOD.  Guys, it is a complete racket. It is a way to get gullible, post-Christian superstitious people to pay anywhere from double to quintuple for foods that are NO DIFFERENT than the other foods, because there is a massive drive within the faithless heart to feel above, segregated and superior to the unwashed masses. 'We simply cannot be expected to eat the same food as the plebs.' In other words, to feel like an oligarch. The only thing you can say is that the stuff marketed as 'organic' tends to be the 'prettier' produce. The big, fat, nicely-shaped tomatoes go to the 'organic' bins, and the average stuff goes to the regular bins. And you pay three times the price.

"But if you think for a second that THAT MUCH FOOD is being produced with zero fertilizers and zero pesticides, and it looks THAT GOOD, then I have a beach house in North Dakota you might be interested in, too. I remember when Wal-Mart entered the 'organic' game years ago and talking to the meat packers and the big supermarket meat buyers, and everyone said the same thing: The day Wal-Mart entered the 'organic market is the day the word 'organic' lost what little meaning it may have had before that.  Yup. My response for years to anyone who asked me if some foodstuff was 'organic' has been, Yes, I’m quite certain that that broccoli contains carbon.”

The renewed war on cancer

A mouse's immune system at work.
Doctors are increasingly using the body's own immune system to fight cancer. Consider:

A 49-year-old woman with metastatic melanoma had a large tumor disappear only three weeks after a single dose of an experimental immunotherapy combination. "This is one of the most astonishing responses I have seen," said oncologist Paul Chapman. "It reminds us of the potential power of the immune system if we can remove the 'brakes' that keep it from attacking cancer cells."

Real-time imaging of the immune system's response to the presence of tumors -- without the need for blood draws or invasive biopsies -- offers a breakthrough both in diagnostics and in the ability to monitor  cancer therapies. The method harnesses the imaging power of positron emission tomography (PET), which is normally used to monitor cancer metabolism, to identify areas of immune cell activity associated with inflammation or tumor development.

Researchers have devised a way to re-engineer lupus antibodies to turn them into potential cancer killers. Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when the immune system attacks its own organs, tissues, or joints. The Yale team previously found that naturally occurring lupus antibodies can kill cancer, and new work now shows that a lupus antibody can be altered in the lab to potentially create a new and non-toxic method of treating many cancers without causing lupus symptoms.

Scientists have discovered a protein that plays a central role in promoting immunity to viruses and cancer, opening the door to new therapies. Experiments in mice and human cells have shown that the protein promotes the proliferation of cytotoxic T cells, which kill cancer cells and cells infected with viruses. The discovery was unexpected because the new protein had no known function and doesn't resemble any other protein.

Stimulating both major branches of the immune system halts tumor growth more effectively, new research shows. Orchestrating a successful immune attack against tumors has proven difficult so far, but the new study suggests that such therapies could be improved by simultaneously activating both arms of the immune system. Until now, most researchers have focused on one of two strategies: attacking tumors with antibodies, which activate the innate immune system, or stimulating T cells, which form the backbone of the adaptive immune system.

An irony-rich environment

A flight of fancy ...
From Glenn Reynolds, who notes: "I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who keep telling me it’s a crisis start acting like it’s a crisis."

Morning Rush: Bionic eyeball, bionic car, and more

Here and there on the Web this Wednesday, April 22, 2015:

Here come bionic eyeballs

How sky color affects us

Fasting vs breast cancer

But start the day with coffee 

How Bill and Hillary cashed in

Babies feel pain like adults

You can negotiate better

Vaccines don't cause autism

Limit the impact of a ticket 

Start this car with your eyes

Political persecution in Texas

Sleep well to learn well

No more immigration!

Will you be able to retire?

The guns on Colorado campuses

Appear smarter than you are

What's happened to the economy

Don't send your kids to public schools

Hahaha: Viewer prepared to believe documentary

Inside Fukushama:

Walter Winchell: friends

"A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out."

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I knew who I was this morning, but I've changed a few times

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?” ~ Alice in Wonderland

"A recent article in the Daily Beast contains a complete glossary of gender options. The glossary is currently comprised of 51 genders, among them an option to be “gender fluid,” that is, having the ability to flit from one gender to another according to what the individual would like to be. The idea is that though biologically one may be born with male or female parts, gender is a choice, not a fixed category. Instead, gender is determined by how an individual feels about his or her self.

"According to the latest gender-bending theology, apparently each of us is able by mere wishful thinking about to transform ourselves from man to woman and from woman to man. It’s a bit like Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland: “I knew who I was this morning, but I've changed a few times since then.”

“'Genderism' is theology, as it deals with the intrinsic nature of human identity, humans’ place in the universe and humans’ concept of God.

"The Left’s struggle against the clear-cut distinctions between the sexes is not about civil rights. It is not about equality. The struggle amounts to a religious war between the Jewish/Christian view of humanity and the pagan view of mankind.

"To believe the material world, including the human being, is infinitely malleable and capable of instantaneous transformation belongs more to the thought of ancient Greek and Roman mythology than it does to the Western concept of reality as defined by the Judeo/Christian tradition and modern science. The left’s current belief in human’s ability to achieve metamorphosis at will owes more to Ovid’s Metamorphosis than it does to Milton’s Paradise Lost."

          M.Div. Princeton

Morning Rush: Clocks, moms, and more

Here and there on the Web this Tuesday, April 21, 2015:

Was this the perfect clock?

Moms dote on kids too much

What is your body worth?

You can eat cauliflower leaves 

Democrats' policies on abortion

Spend less than you earn

What are they doing here?

You can leave your phone at home

Too many vitamins cause cancer 

You can't repair your own car?

Barack's Communist mentor

Statins increase diabetes risk 

American want their guns

Will they ruin Mac & Cheese?

Boomers aren't ready for retirement

Keep your kids out of public school

Idiot of the Day: Tony Kornheiser

Apps: Are yours vulnerable?

Today's Word: a cat fancier

Hahaha: Princess begs for Kerry's life

Look what's living on you:

Sallust: fortune

"Every man is the architect of his own fortune."

Monday, April 20, 2015

Headline of the day

Bone Eating 'Zombie' Worm Has Been Around For 100 Million Years

It chowed down on sea turtles and plesiosaurs

Feast your eyes.

This is what happens when you read too much. Here's the news:

When a whale dies in the ocean, its carcass sinks slowly to the seafloor, becoming a smorgasbord for many different kinds of marine creatures. One of the weirdest of these opportunistic scavengers is a group of worms known as Osedax, a genus of bone-eaters found in oceans all over the world.

Since they were first discovered in 2002 scientists have been constantly discovering new varieties of Osedax (also known as the zombie worm), including some that frequent the frigid waters of Antarctica and others that look like snot flowers.
'Snot funny.
Okay, that's just too much. Snot flowers. This, after all, is a family blog.

Here's the deal on that: Osedax mucofloris is also known as the bone-eating snot-flower worm. I'm not sure I can keep these straight in my mind. I'm not sure I want to.

Blame it on the Greeks. Osedax mucofloris is a species of bathypelagic Polychaetes that is reported to sustain itself on the bones of dead whales. Translated from the mixed Greek and Latin used in scientific names, "Osedax mucofloris" literally means "snot-flower bone-eater", though the less-accurate "bone-eating snot-flower worm" seems to be the form actually used.

You may think it's funny, but it's snot.

A commitment to solutions

“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” ~ Carlos Castandda

"An overall optimistic mind is also an honest one. Consciously shifting your focus to thoughts that produce positive love-based feeling states for your mind and body does not mean that you ignore difficulties or disregard limitations. It means you’ve made a conscious commitment to spend less time brooding over problems or obstacles, and proportionally much more time generating solutions, considering possibilities, and taking action.

"To be more precise, depending on the type of problem, we need to spend less than 10 to 20% of our energy on clarifying what the problem is, and the greater part on solutions. All the while, you consciously energize the optimal thinking-feeling states you need at any given time and flexibly evaluate your progress to make adjustments based on your awareness of what works and doesn’t work to realize your vision of success."

CO2 is our friend

"To demonise element number six in the periodic table is amusing. Why not promethium? Carbon dioxide is an odourless, colourless, harmless natural gas. It is plant food. Without carbon, there would be no life on Earth.

"The original source of atmospheric CO2 is volcanoes. The Earth's early atmosphere had a thousand times the CO2 of today's atmosphere. This CO2 was recycled through rocks, life and the oceans.

"Through time, this CO2 has been sequestered into plants, coal, petroleum, minerals and carbonate rocks, resulting in a decrease in atmospheric CO2.

"The atmosphere now contains 800 billion tonnes of carbon as CO2. Soils and plants contain 2000 billion tonnes, oceans 39,000 billion tonnes and limestone 65,000,000 billion tonnes. The atmosphere contains only 0.001 per cent of the total carbon in the top few kilometres of the Earth.

"Deeper in Earth, there are huge volumes of CO2 yet to be leaked into the atmosphere. So depleted is the atmosphere in CO2, that horticulturalists pump warm CO2 into glasshouses to accelerate plant growth."

Professor of geology at the University of Adelaide
                                  and professor emeritus of earth sciences at the University of Melbourne

Morning Rush: Houses, happiness, and more

Here and there on the Web this Monday, April 20, 2015:

Where's the man cave?
You can 3D print your next house

Flight attendants' secret language

Why happiness is infectious 

ADHD kids squirm to learn

What about the legal immigrants?

The average American budget

California is so over

Indiana: the stupid state 

From frogs, a skin for airplanes

Why we're ticklish

Eat broccoli sprouts, live forever

What our schools are producing

Life in the underclass

What Muslims say about Obama 

Do you still wash your car?

Sleeze of the Day: Chuck Schumer

How long to get out of shape?

Don't send your kid to Valdosta State

How To: find your android phone

Apps: to organize your finances

Today's Word: Great throng; countless, innumerable

Hahaha: Boomers can't remember the 60s

How to break out of handcuffs:

Miles Davis: future

"My future starts when I wake up every morning. Every day I find something creative to do with my life."

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Vespers: Mass in G

This is the National Chamber Choir and the National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia performing Franz Schubert's Mass in G.

The singers are a professional choir consisting of 35 musicians. Their repertoire includes the works of Gabrielli, Bach, Brahms, Vasks, Schnittke and other great composers. In addition to frequent concerts in Yerevan, the choir implements charity projects by performing in various regions of Armenia and spreading choral art among the wider Armenian public.

The National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia dates back to the Soviet era. It was founded by the violinist Zareh Sahakiants as the Armenian State Chamber Orchestra in 1961. In 1997 it was merged with the Yerevan Chamber Orchestra to form the new NCOA.

This second mass of Schubert's, commonly referred to as "Schubert's Mass in G," was composed in less than a week (March 2 to 7, 1815), the year after his first mass had been successfully performed in Schubert's home parish. The second mass was originally more modestly scored than the first, requiring only a string orchestra and organ in addition to the soprano, tenor, and baritone soloists and choir. However, in the 1980s a set of parts for the mass were discovered at Klosterneuburg which are dated later than Schubert's full score. They not only include minor changes throughout the work, which would apparently represent Schubert's "final" intentions, they also include trumpet and timpani parts. Furthermore, Schubert's brother Ferdinand also wrote parts for woodwinds, brass and timpani in response to the work's great popularity.

Franz Peter Schubert (1797 -1828) was an Austrian composer. He died at 31 but was extremely prolific during his lifetime. His output consists of over six hundred secular vocal works (mainly Lieder), seven complete symphonies, sacred music, operas, incidental music and a large body of chamber and piano music.

Appreciation of his music while he was alive was limited to a relatively small circle of admirers in Vienna, but interest in his work increased significantly in the decades following his death. Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms and other 19th-century composers discovered and championed his works. Today, Schubert is ranked among the greatest composers of the late Classical era and early Romantic era and is one of the most frequently performed composers of the early nineteenth century.

Trek to the top

Milky Way over Erupting Volcano  
Image Credit & Copyright: Sergio Montúfar

The view was worth the trip. Battling high winds, cold temperatures, and low oxygen, the trek to near the top of the volcano Santa Maria in Guatemala -- while carrying sensitive camera equipment -- was lonely and difficult. Once set up, though, the camera captured this breathtaking vista during the early morning hours of February 28.

Visible on the ground are six volcanoes of the Central America Volcanic Arc, including Fuego, the Volcano of Fire, which is seen erupting in the distance. Visible in the sky, in separate exposures taken a few minutes later, are many stars much further in the distance, as well as the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy situated horizontally overhead.

(NASA vis American Digest)

Why are you frightened?

From The Lectionary:

Luke 24:36b-48

24:36b While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."

24:37 They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost.

24:38 He said to them, "Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?

24:39 Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have."

24:40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.

24:41 While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?"

24:42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish,

24:43 and he took it and ate in their presence.

24:44 Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you -- that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled."

24:45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures,

24:46 and he said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day,

24:47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

24:48 You are witnesses of these things.

Matthew Arnold: yourself

"Resolve to be thyself; and know that who finds himself, loses his misery."