Sunday, April 20, 2014

I have seen the Lord

From The Lectionary:

20:1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.

20:2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him."

20:3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb.

20:4 The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.

20:5 He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in.

20:6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there,

20:7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself.

20:8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;

20:9 for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

20:10 Then the disciples returned to their homes.

20:11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb;

20:12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet.

20:13 They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him."

20:14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus.

20:15 Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away."

20:16 Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni!" (which means Teacher).

20:17 Jesus said to her, "Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"

20:18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

~ John 20:1-18

Saint Augustine: within

"I found thee not, O Lord, without, because I erred in seeking thee without that wert within."

Friday, April 18, 2014

Vespers: the heavenly banquet

For Good Friday.

This is the French composer Olivier Messiaen playing his piece "Le banquet célest," "the heavenly banquet."



Olivier Messiaen (1908 – 1992) was a  composer, organist and ornithologist, one of the major composers of the 20th century. His music is rhythmically complex (he was interested in rhythms from ancient Greek and from Hindu sources); harmonically and melodically it often uses modes of limited transposition, which he abstracted from his early compositions and improvisations.

Le banquet céleste is an excellent example of Messiaen's musical aesthetic as it applies to the organ: it features thick, warm texture, and long, relaxed phrases.
The work is largely atmospheric in its musical intent; the strongest emphasis is placed on harmony. Messiaen's vertical sonorities are modally organized, though they also includes conventional tonal triads. The piece unfolds so slowly -- though only 25 measures long, it lasts about six minutes at the tempo prescribed by the composer -- that there is no strong sense of beat. As musicologist Roger Nichols notes, Messiaen "forces us to rethink our notion of time, so that we hear the logic of harmony and melody but without feeling ourselves tied to a mundane beat."
He wrote this when he was 20 years old.

Going mad: yup, the oceans have receded

" ... this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow ... " 
~ Barack Obama on his election

These are the cliffs at Punta di Maita, Italy.
Each of those bands is a layer of seafloor sediment that accumulated long ago in 21,000-year orbital cycles. The cliff are visible now because of tetonic activity.

Researchers measured oxygen levels in plankton fossils in the rock to infer prehistoric water flows through the Straits of Gibraltar, which in turn reflect sea level changes caused by the melting or freezing of glaciers. The upshot: 5.3 million years of deep-sea temperature trends.

Here is a graph of those changes. The upper left is the most recent time. Read to the right and down for older years.
Looks as though sea levels just go up and down, up and down.

But it also looks like -- well, I declare! -- that our Community Organizer in Chief has managed to lower the oceans! Fine work, O.

Morning rush

Here and there on the Web this Friday, April 18, 2014:

No, it's not TV.
The surveillance network watching Boston

What your breath says about your health

Get the most out of your college tour 

How to get an audience to like you

Take your kids out of public school

The myths of hot crossed buns

Can you see it?
Now there's a stealth motorcycle 

The IRS wanted to track license plates

The United States of SWAT?

A substantial decline in diabetes complications

How Russia treats cancer patients

Today's Word: a misgiving, doubt or reservation

Plastic surgeon inspired by average-looking sibling

An amazing trick you can do at home:


Confucius: passion

"Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart."

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The meaning of maundy

Christ Taking Leave, by Duccio
Today is Maundy Thursday, a holy day in Christendom commemorating the Last Supper of Christ. On that occasion he washed his disciples' feet.

He explained his action with these words: "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you." The word commandment in Latin is mandatum. From this came the Old French mandé and later the Old English maunde.

Thus we can say that maundy means commandment. It also has the meaning of the ceremony of foot washing. 

Others think that Maundy Thursday arose from maundsor baskets or maundy purses of alms, which the king of England distributed to certain poor at Whitehall before attending Mass on that day. Thus, maund is connected to the Latin mendicare, and French mendier, to beg.

A source from the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod states that, if the name was derived from the Latin mandatum, we would call the day Mandy Thursday, or Mandate Thursday, or even Mandatum Thursday; and that the term Maundy comes in fact from the Latin mendicare, Old French mendier, and English maund, which as a verb means to beg and as a noun refers to a small basket held out by maunders as they maunded.

As washing the feet of the poor and giving them something to eat seem to be of the same spirit, I suggest we let language dispute languish on this day.

Illustration: From the Maestà, or Maestà of Duccio, an altarpiece composed of many individual paintings commissioned by the city of Siena in 1308 from the artist Duccio di Buoninsegna.

Here's what federal regulations cost you

Got $14,974 to spare?

That's what federal regulations cost you each year, and the amount is rising. That equals 23% of the average income of $65,596. The price of everything you buy goes up as businesses comply with the rules.

Washington set a new record in 2013 by issuing final rules consuming 26,417 pages in the Federal Register, the Wall Street Journal reports.
While plenty of government employees deserve credit for this milestone, leadership matters. And by this measure President Obama has never been surpassed in the Oval Office.

Congress may be mired in gridlock, but the federal bureaucracy is busier than ever. In 2013 the Federal Register contained 3,659 "final" rules, which means they now must be obeyed, and 2,594 proposed rules on their way to becoming orders from political headquarters.

The Federal Register finished 2013 at 79,311 pages, the fourth highest total in history. That didn't match President Obama's 2010 all-time record of 81,405 pages. But Mr. Obama can console himself by noting that of the five highest Federal Register page counts, four have occurred on his watch.
Mind your masters, boys and girls. They know what's good for you.

Antisemitism is a virus

"Antisemitism is not a sign, a symbol, a bullet or a gas. It is a Virus. It is the oldest known virus to infest the human soul. In those infected, the virus is clever enough to mask it's existence by renaming itself as 'anti-Zionism.' Through the renaming of this ancient disease as a 'political problem,' infected souls can transmit the virus to their friends, families. They can spread their disease at their schools and in their their community, church, or nation. The virus is also transmitted by exchanging infected fantasies with infected ideologues. By changing it's name the disease made it possible for many to deny that they have contracted the virus, and that their souls are chancre-ridden and rotting. This facilitates the current outbreak.

"With the advent of the 'Palestinian cause' becoming chic in Western, European, and Liberal circles -- driven at first by Socialist Progressive romanticism in the late 1960s and early 1970s -- being infected by virus has once more become acceptable to exhibit socially in certain ways. Indeed, in many circles and societies, having the virus has lately become a highly prized fashion accessory to popular academic, media, and state ideologies. It is now actually a badge of pride in many Western circles to appear at various events wearing gold-plated buboes inset with multi-faceted Kaposi's sarcoma that contain the virus at their core. Many now believe this intellectual adornment to actually be beautiful."

Morning rush

Here and there on the Web this Thursday, April 17, 2014:
Bull's Eye!

What in the world is this thing over Texas?

Now they're creating artificial blood 

Don't make these car-buying mistakes

The wreckage left by Obamacare

Artists have unique brain structures

Hello? Hello?
Check out Google's new modular phone

Obama is misusing the Census again 

Are we over the hill at 24?

Hypocrite of the Day: Paul Krugman

Amazon may soon be listening to everything you say

Today's Word: investment of emotional significance in something

NSA director can't stop wife from reading his emails

The real mad men of New York:

Thomas Jefferson: action

"Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Where your taxes go

Glad April 15 is over? Here in Connecticut we'll still be giving our income over to taxes until May 9. You can check your state here.

A good bit of what we pay for is programs giving our money to other, more deserving people. Here's a picture of it:
This data comes from something called the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, which itself seems to be some kind of federal operation, which seems rather proud of all this, since it has created a pretty chart of where your money is going.
Here's how to understand the slices of the pie:

480Department of Health and Human Services
271Department of the Interior
253Department of Agriculture
132Department of Justice
127Department of Housing and Urban Development

Morning rush

Here and there on the Web this Wednesday, April 16, 2014:
Big-time science projects.

The amazing teenaged scientist

Wanna just rent your gadgets?

Obama fires up racial and gender resentments 

Is your boss a psychopath?

A heartbeat away from the presidency

Five mistakes renters make

Your daily nap may indicate a problem

Keep your children out of public schools

Traumatic experiences can affect future generations

Even a little marijuana changes your brain

How To: Get the best seat on your next flight

Today's Word: maudlin sentimentality

CNN renews Flight 370 for second season

How 3D printing changes everything:


Malcolm Forbes: grudges

"Keeping score of old scores and scars, getting even and one-upping, always make you less than you are."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Obama shows his stuff with Putin


(American Digest)

Why your car looks like every other car

That one's yours.
Good luck finding your car in a parking lot.

As standardization by governments has taken hold—there are more than 200 safety and environmental regulations that go into building a car—the challenge for designers is no longer to create something uniquely beautiful, but to turn out a product that’s in compliance—and hope people buy the result, Patrick Cooke writes.
  • Federal interference began in the 1970s with a mandate to provide drivers with bumpers capable of surviving a five-mile-per-hour crash without sustaining damage to the body of the car. Bewildered manufacturers responded in many cases by simply bolting on front and rear rubber bricks, obliterating the lines of the car, which they then attempted to compensate for by adding gaudy touches like carriage lamps and vinyl roofs.
  • The energy crisis only made matters worse for designers when, in 1975, Congress introduced the first mandatory Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations that set mileage quotas for new automobiles. The easiest way to meet the mandate was to lower the drag coefficient on cars, and so began the automakers’ mad dash for the wind tunnel. 
  • In the quest for greater fuel mileage, cars may have become less safe but, ironically, safety rules have done more to create the cookie-cutter clones than anything else—safety for pedestrians, that is. Pedestrian safety regulations imposed in Europe and Asia during the 2000s are not yet law in the United States, but domestic automakers must adhere to them if they expect to sell their products overseas. Hood ornaments were the first to go. Door handles were recessed and rear-view mirrors rounded and made inwardly collapsible. Front ends were lowered, creating a kind of cowcatcher appearance. 
The cumulative effect of all these changes is a wedge shape, seen from the side, from the low nose swooping upward toward a high tail—the startled stance of a cat with its rump in the air. And what about the view from the rear? With only so many ways for stylists to efficiently “separate” moving air from that high trunk lid, thus reducing drag, there is scarcely any difference in design resolution today from one car to another.

Who is watching you?

Google's contact lenses are watching you.
Go ahead and assume that someone in the government is watching you.

A reporter in Virginia discovered that the police took 16 photos of her car over a six month period, including the they photographed her driving to a Bible study.

I guess going to a Bible study is still legal. Who knows?

Well, Virginia cops are behind the times. In Compton, California, last year, police began quietly testing a system that allowed them to do something incredible: Watch every car and person in real time as they ebbed and flowed around the city.
Every assault, every purse snatched, every car speeding away was on record—all thanks to an Ohio company that monitors cities from the air. The PSS system has been tested in other cities, including Baltimore and Dayton

It's not specific enough to ID people by face, but, when used in unison with stoplight cameras and other on-the-ground video sources, it can identify suspects as they leave the scene of a crime.
Meanwhile, the federal Department of Health and Human Services has begun fingerprinting medicare providers.

Elsewhere, the FBI wants your picture in its database. New documents released by the FBI show that the Bureau is well on its way toward its goal of a fully operational face recognition database by this summer. Next Generation Identification (NGI), the FBI's massive biometric database, may hold records on as much as one third of the U.S. population. 
The face recognition component of NGI may include as many as 52 million face images by 2015. By 2012, NGI already contained 13.6 million images representing between 7 and 8 million individuals, and by the middle of 2013, the size of the database increased to 16 million images. The new records reveal that the database will be capable of processing 55,000 direct photo enrollments daily and of conducting tens of thousands of searches every day.
Not to be outdone, Google has patented a smart contact lens that could see its Glass wearable computer fit inside a smart lens. The firm has already developed a contact lens for diabetics analyses their tears, warning them if their glucose levels are low. Now it has revealed plans for a lens with a camera built in - opening the possibility of its Glass system being shrunk down significantly, offering features such as 'superzoom' to wearers and even helping the blind see.

Smile! You're in a database!

You already assumed, of course, that the government can look at your emails and Internet searches.

Morning rush

Here and there on the Web this Tuesday, April 15, 2014:
Eat this, live forever.

Eat your kale, boys and girls

We remember people we met as babies 

Use your body to learn better

Free stuff for your lawn and garden

But you're not free of taxes yet

Obama has proposed 442 tax hikes
The doc patch.

How we'll monitor our health in the future

Why all cars look alike

Dabble in cocaine, get your own TV show

Can we really translate dolphin-ese?

This smart phone monitors your heart

Eric Holder's DOJ political machine 

This is what your tuition gets you

Today's Word: the plate surrounding a keyhole

Restaurant patrons tough it out on restaurant patio

What a doctor sees in your eyes:


Thomas Carlyle: work

"Blessed is the man who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness. Know thy work, and do it: and work at it like Hercules. One monster there is in the world, the idle man."

Monday, April 14, 2014

How a wiffle ball works

I've been thinking about it a lot lately. You probably have, too. So here goes.

Mechanical engineer Jenn Stroud Rossmann at Lafayette College placed the ball in a wind tunnel, measured airflow around it, and concluded that the shifting balance of forces inside and outside the ball is what makes it so devilishly hard to hit.

I sorta knew that. No, really, I did. Okay, I didn't know it, but I could have.

Look at this for awhile. I'll be back later to explain this picture.
That just explains a lot, doesn't it? A picture really is worth a thousand words, sometimes. Here's some stuff about the picture. Guess this picture needs some words after all.
NET FORCE
The strengths of the internal and external forces shift constantly while the ball is in flight. The net of the forces is what dictates the ball’s path.

HOLES
The holes are on just one side. They disrupt airflow, increasing turbulence over that half of the ball.

EXTERNAL FORCE
More turbulence means less drag on that side, resulting in an upward “lift” force.

VORTICES
Air rushing into the holes creates vortices that whirl inside. The ball’s orientation, spin, and velocity all affect how those vortices develop.

INTERIOR FORCE
Vortices create a force that can change the ball’s direction.On faster pitches, the interior force typically overpowers the external force.
That's 109 words. So I guess that picture's only worth 891 words.

Can you be too positive?

You won't get far in this world if you're a negative thinker. Sometimes, however, positive thinking can get you in trouble.

That's especially true with money.
“We’re far more inclined to embrace positive information about our own investments than negative information. We often turn that off,” says Tali Sharot, author of The Optimism Bias: A Tour of Our Irrationally Positive Brain.
A hot stock market in particular tends to make us crazy.
 A hot market and the positivity delusions it generates make his job a lot tougher. “Clients often ignore risk in a rising market,” says Nicholas Haffenreffer, a portfolio manager. “They forget the rules: that cycles happen. Markets do drop, so you have to hedge. People just don’t want to hear that.”
What to do about this?
Since we are inclined to ignore negative information about our investment and embrace positive information, we have to create some distance from the investment. “If you are going to make an investment in something, imagine that it’s your neighbor making the investment, not yourself, and then when you evaluate it you’re likely to be much more objective,” Sharot says.
Yeah, I'll just hand my mistakes to my neighbor, Weird Al.

“You have to at least entertain the possibility that the rustling in the grass could turn out to be a lion and eat you up,” says Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Is Undermining America. “Work hard. Be realistic. Don’t fall for simple pitches that cloud your thinking — don’t block out warning signs that something bad might be on the horizon. Things aren’t going to get better just by wishing for it.”

I'm NOT lost


Morning rush

Here and there on the Web this Monday, April 14, 2014:
First solo around the world.

The housewife who flew around the world

Why this reporter quit CBS news

Public schools are stupid

11 things cops look for when they pull you over

El Nino is coming back

Putin goes after Europe; we go after texting
Like a roomba on paper.

Innovation: a portable printer

Why Sears is dying

A brief history of soda pop

Amateur hour: Obama tries yet again to divide us

Jay Carney's Soviet propaganda

Your cutting board may be contaminated

Today's Word: familiar friends, neighbors or relatives

Woman observed barely jogging

Why you can hear something that isn't spoken:


Salma Hayek: life is tough

"Life is tough, and if you have the ability to laugh at it you have the ability to enjoy it."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Vespers: Suite Medievale


Jean Langlais, the composer of "Suite Medievale," was born at La Fontenelle in 1907 and went blind at the age of two. Despite this handicap, he became one of the most respected organists and composers of the 20th century. He studied piano, violin, composition and organ in Paris at the National Institute for the Young Blind and at the Conservatoire de Musique.

Professor for forty years at the National Institute for the Young Blind, he also taught at the Schola Cantorum in Paris, where between 1961 and 1976 he helped both French and foreign students. His reputation as a pedagogue, important composer and concert artist drew pupils and audiences of many nationalities, especially from the USA, where he gave 300 recitals and countless master classes.

Langlais's music is written in a late, free tonal style, representative of mid-twentieth-century French music, with rich and complex harmonies and overlapping modes.

Let the same mind be in you

From The Lectionary:

2:5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

2:6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited,

2:7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form,

2:8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death-- even death on a cross.

2:9 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name,

2:10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

2:11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

~ Philippians 2:5-11

Thursday, April 10, 2014

It's bad all over

Yikes!
Somebody better do something. Just saying.
~ The Drudge Report
 

What do you do with your days?

Mark Twain out for a stroll.
I have come to appreciate the importance of routine, especially since, as a freelance writer, I can do with my time as I please.

Routine was apparently important to many of the great artists, as Mason Curry details in Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. Sarah Green, a senior associate editor at Harvard Business Review, lists some of rituals common to these artists.

I've selected two that I like:

A workspace with minimal distractions. Jane Austen asked that a certain squeaky hinge never be oiled, so that she always had a warning when someone was approaching the room where she wrote. William Faulkner, lacking a lock on his study door, just detached the doorknob and brought it into the room with him — something of which today’s cubicle worker can only dream.  Mark Twain’s family knew better than to breach his study door — if they needed him, they’d blow a horn to draw him out. Graham Greene went even further, renting a secret office; only his wife knew the address or telephone number. Distracted more by the view out his window than interruptions, if N.C. Wyeth was having trouble focusing, he’d tape a piece of cardboard to his glasses as a sort of blinder.

A daily walk. For many, a regular daily walk was essential to brain functioning. Soren Kierkegaard found his constitutionals so inspiring that he would often rush back to his desk and resume writing, still wearing his hat and carrying his walking stick or umbrella. Charles Dickens famously took three-hour walks every afternoon — and what he observed on them fed directly into his writing. Tchaikovsky made do with a two-hour walk, but wouldn’t return a moment early, convinced that cheating himself of the full 120 minutes would make him ill. Beethoven took lengthy strolls after lunch, carrying a pencil and paper with him in case inspiration struck. Erik Satie did the same on his long strolls from Paris to the working class suburb where he lived, stopping under streetlamps to jot down notions that arose on his journey; it’s rumored that when those lamps were turned off during the war years, his productivity declined too.

I, too, take a daily walk -- a habit that I'm now sure will make me the equal of Charles Dickens.

Read the rest of Green's piece here. Then get up and go for a walk.

Morning rush

Here and there on the Web this  Thursday, April 10, 2014:

It's a bird, a plane, a leaf!
Here come the bionic plants

The Internet is seriously vulnerable 

How North Korean could attack us

Jimmy Carter: still just a fool

They want to change the rules on voting

Obama continues to disarm us
Don't forget to floss.

Innovation: a new toothpaste tube 

Parents trapped by college loans

Has the prom spending bubble burst?

How men and women complain differently

Why tornadoes always hit trailer parks

Today's Word: laconic, terse, concise

Malaysia accuses CNN of downing Flight 370

Today's chicken post:



Ralph Waldo Emerson: character

"Nature magically suits a man to his fortunes, by making them the fruit of his character."

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Women in art

This is Philip Scott Johnson's 500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art. The music is Bach's Sarabande from Suite for Solo Cello No. 1 in G Major, performed by Yo-Yo Ma.


(Thanks, Sally)

MIracles and wonders: a skull, a mini heart, living muscle

It's hard to fathom the things coming out of the labs.

Doctors in the Netherlands report that they have for the first time successfully replaced most of a human’s skull with a 3-D printed plastic one — and likely saved a woman's life in the process.
The 23-hour surgery took place three months ago at University Medical Center Utrecht. The hospital announced details of the groundbreaking operation this week and said the patient, a 22-year-old woman, is doing just fine.

Scientists have grown living muscle in the lab that not only looks and works like the real thing, but also heals by itself - a significant step in tissue engineering. Ultimately, they hope the lab-grown muscle could be used to repair damage in humans. 

Four paralyzed men have been able to move their legs for the first time in years after electrical stimulation of their spinal cords. They were able to flex their toes, ankles and knees - but could not walk independently. The electricity seems to make the spinal cord more receptive to the few messages still arriving from the brain. It could become a treatment for spinal injury.

Health problems related to sluggish blood flow could soon be alleviated with a “mini heart” — a new invention from George Washington University that promises to help veins do their job better. Dr. Narine Sarvazyan, a professor of pharmacology, said that the research builds on recent breakthroughs in stem cell research. "We are suggesting, for the first time, to use stem cells to create, rather than just repair damaged organs," she explained. "We can make a new heart outside of one's own heart, and by placing it in the lower extremities, significantly improve venous blood flow." Watch:

Morning rush

Here and there on the Web this Wednesday, April 9, 2014:


Duck!
A sneeze travels farther than you think

Beware of this email tax scam

Is everyone moving some place cheaper?

Bypass those annoying phone menus

Putin's eye is on Ukraine energy 

Obama's eye is on the money
Yikes!

The end really is near

Dick Durbin's eye is on the women 

Now the SEC is out of control

Get the most from your vitamins

NY gun owners just say no

The Washington Post has sold out

Long Form: A brief history of greed

Violinists seem to like the new instruments

Today's Word: someone between introvert and extrovert

Immigrant also applying to a few reach countries

A dolphin asks for help:


Katherine Mansfield: regret

"Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can't build on it; it's only good for wallowing in."

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

It's okay to just, you know, lie

Facts are so hard.
If I have my instructions from the White House right, this week we're pushing wage discrimination against women. I mean, we're against it.

That's to make us forget the horrors of Obamacare. I know that I, personally, have already forgotten.

Here's the deal: there's this woman named Betsey Stevenson, who is on the president's council of economic advisors, notwithstanding the fact that she doesn't know how to spell Betsy.

She and the rest of the White House crowd say that women earn only 77 percent of what men do. Trouble is, that factoid is terribly misleading. Which Betsey doesn't dispute:
"I agree that the 77 cents on the dollar is not all due to discrimination. No one is trying to say that it is."
So why use it? Betsey again:
"You have to point to some number in order for people to understand the facts."
Let me try to understand this, as Betsey would like for me to do. She throws out a fallacious number so that I will understand the facts. If you like your misleading factoid you can keep your misleading factoid.

There's more. Turns out a study released in January showed that female White House staff members make on average 88 cents for every dollar a male staff member earns. That's from administration cheerleader The New York Times. This from CNN: "It's do as I say, not as I do."

These people really are amateurs.

Why your network is important

My network.
We tend to think of networking in the context of finding a job. That is as important as ever.

But consider the other ways our networks influence us.
1. Happiness. If you have many groups of friends, then you're more likely to be happy, according to a 2009 study at the University of California and Harvard Medical School. Happiness and other emotions are contagious. So if you have a cluster of friends wrestling with depression, waves of negative feelings come your way like a cold. But if they're feeling well, those positive vibes radiate your way, too.

2. Health. Research shows that if your best friend becomes obese, then you have a 57% chance of growing obese also. Quitting smoking is a similar case. If a colleague quits, you have a 34% greater chance of quitting. If a friend quits, it's 36%. And if your spouse quits, then you have a 67% greater chance of quitting.
3. Creativity. Being at the center of a network doesn't just make you more susceptible to smiles or calories — it makes you more open to insights. One case study mapped the networks of engineers in an aerospace company. It found that after time at the organization, the greatest predictor of success was the quantity and qualities of connections a person had.
Maybe this is why you mother was always so worried about the jerks you hung around with.

Morning rush

Here and there on the Web this Tuesday, April 8, 2014:

It's over there somewhere.
Where Americans think Ukraine is

The power of our earliest memories

Could you come up with $2,000?

IRS: an election fixing machine

The problem with antibacterial soap

The man has no decency

Have you killed a mosquito today?

Look how much you spend on taxes

Your guide to tipping

Smart people are moving south

How to keep your data private

Today's Word: of or relating to a letter

600,000 people try to mail themselves each year

The Russian hacker teaches you how to survive:


Samuel Johnson: perseverance

"Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance."

Monday, April 07, 2014

Isn't this what the Nazis did?

The Environmental Protection Agency has been conducting dangerous experiments on humans over the past few years in order to justify more onerous clean air regulations, the Daily Caller reports.
The agency conducted tests on people with health issues and the elderly, exposing them to high levels of potentially lethal pollutants, without disclosing the risks of cancer and death, according to a newly released government report.

These experiments exposed people, including those with asthma and heart problems, to dangerously high levels of toxic pollutants, including diesel fumes, reads a EPA inspector general report obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation. The EPA also exposed people with health issues to levels of pollutants up to 50 times greater than the agency says is safe for humans.
The experimentation even includes children, which the agency is apparently trying to cover up.
In February of 2013, JunkScience.com reported that the EPA gave USC money in the mid 2000’s to find out whether diesel exhaust could “induce reproducible gene expression” in children. From a USC grant in the EPA extramural research grants database, the original December 14, 2012 document showed diesel exposures to children. What now sits on that database is a strongly edited description of the diesel tests on the children. Part of the the experiment's goal was to examine how particulate matter affects "Asthma in Susceptible Children."
This won't hurt a bit.
Well, kids, suck it up. It's for Gaia.

In other news, the Nazis experimented on thousands of Jewish twins in the concentration camps.  The twins were arranged by age and sex and kept in barracks between experiments, which ranged from injection of different dyes into the eyes of twins to see whether it would change their color to literally sewing twins together in attempts to create conjoined twins.