Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Local News!

Another sun-drenched day in the Bay Area.  Good and bad – good because it is a perfect day to go to Golden Gate Park and check out the magnolias, which should be beginning to bloom about now, and bad because we need some rain.  It is too dry again this year.

The Warriors continue to dazzle.

Byzantine political maneuvering in City Hall is front and center as we head into an election for Mayor in June.  Progressives (Peskin and crew) backing a moderate (Farrell) to be interim Mayor so that another moderate (Breed) won’t have an advantage against progressives (Kim & Leno) in June.  Like I said, Byzantine.

Homelessness continues to plague our prosperous and beautiful city.  You’d think our political geniuses who run things could figure out a way to turn around what is an intolerable, ugly and inhumane situation.  On the other hand, if you’d think that you’d be wrong. 

Baseball is just around the corner.  I’m satisfied that the Giants made good moves with the new guys who are now on the team.  That they’re older than some would like doesn’t bother me.  My hope is that some guys (in this case younger) who we’ve never heard of will show up and further strengthen the team.  Like they say, hope springs eternal when Spring Training begins.

Looking out the window in the morning and seeing the Golden Gate Bridge never fails to inspire – and to fill me with gratitude for my many blessings.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


It doesn’t look like the Democrats got much for keeping the government open.  In a couple of weeks they’ll face the same issues that caused the shutdown in the first place.  Progressive Democrats are pissed.  Republican assurances that there will be an open and fair discussion on DACA are lame.  The White House is silent.  If there is a winning strategy in all this it is hard to see.

Most neutrals would like to see the Eagles beat the Patriots.  Is it possible?  Yes.  Is it likely? Don’t bet on it.

Staying with sports:  Last week Liverpool became the first team this season to beat league-leading Manchester City.  This week they lost to Swansea, dead last in the Premier League standings.  Go figure!

And more:  Go Warriors!

Turkey has attacked the YPG Kurds in Northern Syria saying that these Kurds are in league with the PKK Kurds in Turkey, a group that the Turks see as terrorists.  Confusing?  Factor in that the YPG Kurds are our best friends in Syria against ISIS.  What can we do about any of this?  Aside from whispering to the Turks that they should go home, not much.

In planning an upcoming trip to Asia, I find that I can go to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong without a visa.  I do need one for Vietnam and China.  Given how we are behaving and how we are perceived around the world these days, I wonder how long Americans will be able to travel freely without visas to many countries who up to now have welcomed us.

Watching the two Koreas making nice with each other is probably causing some heartburn in the White House.  Going to the Olympics as one team?  Indeed.  How dare they?  Score one for the bad guys.

Have a nice day!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Science Update!

Tidbits you may have missed in ScienceTimes today:

A roundworm common in stray cats and dogs poses risks to children.

Hops – the flowers that are added to beer – grow well in Martian soil (or at least a reasonably good reproduction of it).

This year’s flu season, considered “moderately severe,” has left Missouri and Iowa the sickest states in the country.

On Sept. 27, a 6-month-old fetus underwent surgery while still in his mother’s womb to treat a severe form of spina bifida, in which the tissue that should enclose and protect the spinal column does not form properly.  Final results are not in, but so far it looks like the surgery was successful.

Want to look younger?  Exercise your face.

A gluten-free or grain-free diet can pose risks and is not recommended for someone who is not highly sensitive to gluten.  Indeed, it is unlikely that such a diet will provide any benefits.

Contrary to earlier conclusions, for most women undergoing in vitro fertilization fresh embryos work just as well as frozen ones.

Using antacids during pregnancy is linked to asthma in offspring.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Good News!

Nick Kristof’s column in yesterday’s Times was a breath of fresh air – and worth noting.  Titled “Why 2017 Was the Best Year in History,” it is an antidote to the resignation and cynicism so many of us feel these days.

He pointed out that “A smaller share of the world’s people were hungry, impoverished or illiterate than at any time before.  A smaller proportion of children died than ever before.  The proportion disfigured by leprosy, blinded by diseases like trachoma or suffering from other ailments also fell.”

Specifically, every day the number of people living in extreme poverty (less than $2 a day) goes down by 217,000.  Every day, 325,000 people gain access to electricity.  And every day 300,000 more have clean drinking water.  Since 1990, “the lives of more than 100 million children have been saved by vaccinations, diarrhea treatment, breast-feeding promotion and other simple steps.”

These are extraordinary positive accomplishments that get lost in the gloom and doom of our 24/7 news cycles.  It is worth remembering that in a large global context all is not going to hell in a handbasket.  I will be reminding myself to remember more often.