Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Science Times!

Today’s Science Times section was full of interesting stuff:

North Korea’s biological arms threat is greater than its nuclear weapons.  Unleashing a smallpox virus will kill a third of those infected.  A gallon of anthrax, if suitably distributed, could end human life.

A big, ugly creature they’re calling a dicynodonts roamed the earth with the dinosaurs 200 million years ago.  Ranging in size from a pig to a hippo, the thing had a short neck, a large skull, beaks and tusks.

Good news.  Scientists may have discovered a new way to kill brain-eating amoebae.  This monster is a lethal microbe that invades through the sinuses and feeds on human brain tissue.  Not many people are infected, since 1962 only four of 143 known victims in the U.S. have survived, but if you are one of the unlucky ones, any promising med would be welcome.

The average American man weighs 198 pounds, is 5’9” tall, has a 40” waist and a body mass index of 29, at the high end of the overweight category.  The average woman is 5’4” tall, weighs 171 pounds, has a 39” waist and a body mass index of 30.  We used to weigh a lot less.  Since 1960, both men and women have gained an average 32 pounds.

Notice to women:  Removing your pubic hair has health consequences.  You are at greater risk for vaginal infections and sexually transmitted diseases.

Not in Science Times, but funny.  In a Japanese hotel managed by robots a man trying to sleep was awakened frequently when his room robot assistant kept saying it didn’t understand what was being said and asked to repeat the instructions.  Turns out the man’s snoring kept activating the robot.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

In Case You Forgot!

I was curious about what might have happened on this date, January 9, in history.  Here’s some of what I found:

475 - Byzantine Emperor Zeno is forced to flee his capital at Constantinople.

1296 - Earl Floris V signs accord with French King

1317 - Phillips V, the Tall, crowned king of France

1349 - 700 Jews of Basel Switzerland, burned alive in their houses

1431 - Judges' investigations for the trial of Joan of Arc begin in Rouen,    France, the seat of the English occupation government

1760 - Afghans defeat Marathas in battle of Barari Ghat

1839 - Daguerreotype photo process announced at French Academy of Science

1909 – Ernest Shackleton as part of the British Nimrod Expedition reaches a record farthest South latitude (88°23' south)

1941 - 6,000 Jews exterminated in pogrom in Bucharest, Romania

1959 – “Rawhide” with Clint Eastwood premieres on CBS TV

1969 – First trial flight of the Concorde supersonic jetliner

1991 – Baseball officially bans Pete Rose from the Hall of Fame for betting on baseball

2007 - Apple Inc CEO Steve Jobs announces the iPhone

Everything you wanted to know, right?  Have a nice day!

Monday, December 31, 2018

End of the Year!

The last day of 2018.  A time to look back or a time to look ahead?  Maybe a little of both, or maybe neither.

Let’s try looking back first.  Not much to like or praise.  Dysfunction, chaos, inward looking in the U.S.  And when looking outward, much the same.  A trade war that is lose-lose for everyone.  Betraying allies.  Betraying alliances.  No longer a country that stands for morals and humanity.

And other countries aren’t doing a lot better.  Inequality growing.  Global wars and violence continuing unabated.  Democracy losing ground to nativism.  As the U.S. retreats Russia and China gain ground.  Europe in protest.  Brexit a symbol of what’s wrong not only in the U.K.

Enough looking back.  How about looking forward?  Painful.  More of the same and the picture looks dismal.  Skepticism and cynicism abound.  Should we give in and give up?  I hate to say ‘yes,’ but if had to make a bet . . .?

So we’re left with the present, today.  Now.  That doesn’t look too bad.  The sun is shining.  I am in my bubble, able to not focus on all that bad stuff, but to be grateful for my many blessings.  I think I’ll relax and stay here for a while.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

What's Wrong With This Picture?

The market is tanking and the Feds raise the interest rate.  Either they’re smarter than the rest of us or they’ve got a plan and they’re stickin’ to it.

CBS says Moonves will not get his $120 million severance.  Moonves is defending himself, to the tune of $20 in legal fees.  And CBS is paying his legal fees.  Wha???

Mourinho is out as Man U manager.  No surprise.  Again he doesn’t make it to three years with a club.  The usual outspoken one “is not talking” about his sacking.  Is Jose getting smart in his old age?

The new Mary Poppins movie is a yawner.  Again, no surprise.  As the song says, “When will they ever learn?  When will they ever learn?”

Flynn says he was tricked into pleading guilty.  The judge says Flynn has been a bad boy.  Flynn backs down.  Sometimes a retreat is the better part of valor.

The Trump Foundation, accused of being a criminal enterprise, closes up shop.  Another witch hunt?  Doesn’t look like it.  A scam?  There you go – now the picture looks right.

Vaping and nicotine are in a partnership.  More and more teenagers are vaping.  More and more teenagers are addicted and won’t stop.  All of a sudden people are getting concerned.  Where have they been?  Remember cigarettes?

Tuesday, December 04, 2018


Bush 41’s death is a good excuse to compare what he represented and what we’ve got today.  Decency, patriotism, courage, humanity – versus – (fill in the blanks).

Does it mean anything that most of the people on the obituaries page are younger than I am?

If money is the root of all evil in American politics, what are the chances that it will not continue to be that way?

In reporting college results in the Chronicle sports section they refuse to make it clear whether the teams are male or female.  Must be some misguided attempt to demonstrate that they don’t engage in gender discrimination. 

The Dems are wasting no time in coming out of the woodwork for 2020.  Warren, Harris, Biden?  Yes, yes, yes.  Bloomberg, O’Rourke, Sharrod Brown?  Good possibilities.  And many more.

Will the Giants have a winning season in 2019?  Hope springs eternal in the springtime, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

As it stands, for the Brits Brexit is not a sure thing.  Will they, should they vote again?  From here it looks like that would be a good idea.  But here is not there, so who knows what’ll happen?

A trade war with China (or anyone else) is a lose-lose proposition.  Why, then, do so many people support it?  I don’t have an answer.

Is there a common thread for all this?  “Uncertainty” is the leading candidate.  In the fullness of time, all be revealed.  Maybe!