Saturday, October 31, 2015

I'll vouch for this

I like beer, especially well-made craft beers that aren't too bitter. I don't drink it as much as I could, should, or want to.

But I can vouch for the effects described in this article. Just drink beer in moderation and you'll be fine.

How BEER makes men better in bed: Expert reveals how a pint or two boosts libido and helps sex last longer

I mean, seriously, how good is this?
"Beer is full of phytoestrogens from the alcohol - and these are scientifically proven to delay orgasm, she told the website askmen.

And it's good news for men who prefer dark beers, such as porters and stouts - as they can expect a boost in libido and longer, more intense erections, she adds." 

So have one.  Or two.  And then get busy.


Natalia - I'd pick this one, SI

Brazilian model Natalie Borges is the latest model to appear in a featured called Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2016 Casting Call.  (Note:  there's an accompanying video).

I hope she gets the gig.

Here's one reason why:

There are many more examples of her qualifications, but I think this demonstrates that she can fill the position.

Worth talking about

I found this on the EPA Web site (I had help from Climate Central).

It's a pretty obvious indicator of how the climate has warmed in the lower 48.

Obvious to most people, at least.

I want to talk to the people who don't see this as obvious.

Friday, October 30, 2015

I knew this was going to happen

OK, I'll admit that I watched the Disney show Shake It Up! a few times.  And when I did, I thought to myself that Bella Thorne, who co-starred on the show with Zendaya, was going to turn into a really pretty woman as she matured.    But since she was only 16, I kept those thoughts to myself.

Well, she's 18.  And she's a really pretty woman.  She also probably had a little plastic surgery, which might not have been needed, and it probably made her slightly too pretty -- meaning that she's prettier than normal.  That's probably good for her career prospects, but it's a shame that she had to do it so young and disturb what nature gave her.

But anyway, back to the subject, which is that she's 18 and a very pretty woman.

'A little swim before lunch' -- Bella Thorne poses by a pool

With just a little bit more maturity, she'll go from 'very pretty' to 'definitely hot'.

What is this mouse thinking?

The Daily Mail had an article a few days ago with some great pictures of snowy owls.

One in particular caught my eye.

Here are some of the thoughts this mouse might be having at this exact moment.

"My friends all told me that I shouldn't go outside on the snow during the day, but owls hunt at night, and I can see a hawk from a mile away when it's this bright."

"I don't hear anything!  It's so nice and peaceful out here."

"What do you mean look behind me?"

"Hmm, I feel a breeze."

"Now where was that burrow I just came out of?"

Enceladus gets its close-up

There will certainly be more and better pictures from this flyby, but NASA released the first pictures from the last flyby of Enceladus by Cassini.

Saturn's Geyser Moon Shines in Close Flyby Views

The goal of this flyby was to sample the stuff coming out of the moon, i.e., the composition of the geysers).

And can I just say how amazingly successful this mission has been?  It's nearly over, but it has operated almost flawlessly and sent back absolutely stunning pictures.  In addition, it's made some really significant discoveries.   My favorite is still the gravity gores from the shepherd moons (such as in this picture).

And may I also note that we still don't know what the bright white spots on Ceres are.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Really unbelievable

The rain that fell a couple of months ago in the normally abnormally parched dry Atacama Desert of Peru has set off a riot of wildflower blooms.  The LiveScience article below has the pictures.

Atacama Desert Blooms Pink After Historic Rainfall

And the second picture is literally, truly, unbelievable.

Click here if you want to go directly to it.

Here's another one, if you like blue.

Nature still has the power to surprise and awe us, if we just let it be natural.

Don't be fooled by new Speaker of the House Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan isn't John Boehner.  Boehner was merely inept;  Ryan is ideological.

Here's a simple example.

The challenge of being Paul Ryan (by E.J. Dionne)
"The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal group that is very careful about its numbers, repeatedly found that roughly two-thirds of the cuts in Ryan’s budgets came from programs for low- and moderate-income people. Take that, you takers!"

Like I said, ideological. And when you combine ideological and Republican, you get trouble. No matter how smart, talented, and nice he is.

E.J. is somewhat nice to him in the column. But he nevertheless shows where Ryan's ideology doesn't work with the world's reality.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Are they important or not?

A new research paper looks at the role of jellyfish and menhaden in the ecosystem of the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Jellyfish can be gorgeous, but they're rarely considered charismatic like tuna or swordfish or marine mammals.  And menhaden -- well, they're in the middle of the trophic levels, very very very important to the food chain as a food source and also as filter feeders, but beautiful?  Handsome? Charismatic?  Not really.

So it's good to see these important cogs in the oceanic wheel getting their just due, as done in this research.

So what did they do in the study?   Here's a couple of excerpts from the following article:

Tampering with the food web: what do changes in jellyfish and menhaden populations mean for the ecosystem?

Importance:  "Some of the most important groups in marine food webs are forage fish. Forage fish are small, schooling fish that are critical in transferring energy from low to high trophic levels; they often serve as the link between planktonic primary producers and organisms higher in the food web (e.g., tunas, marine mammals and seabirds). For many years, jellyfish have been overlooked in food webs, and were previously considered “trophic dead ends”. However, in reality, they play a very similar role to forage fish in the food web, with the same prey types and large predators."

So they want to find out what happens to the ecosystem if there are significant changes in the population of jellyfish and menhaden.


"Four scenarios were tested with the food web model:
(1) increase large jellyfish consumption of plankton prey by 50%,
(2) remove menhaden by increasing forage fish fishing pressure by 50% and decreasing the menhaden population by 59%,
(3) reduce forage fish fishing by 50% and increase menhaden stock by 41%,
(4) close of all fisheries, increasing populations for fish groups."

Summary of results:
For (1), total ecosystem productivity decline, major effects on higher trophic levels (top predators/consumers).

For (2), about a 10% decline in total ecosystem productivity.

For (3), not much change.

For (4), big increases for some things (like menhaden, as would be expected if they aren't fished for), but jellyfish and other forage fish populations declined.

So, I'd say that the study shows jellyfish and menhaden are pretty important to the ecoystem.  The concern is that increasing jellyfish populations, which could be happening both due to climate change and as the jellyfish fill ecological niches that have been vacated by other species due to overfishing, could cause real adverse effects, such as seen in Scenario 1.

The menhaden fishery should therefore be protected vigorously.  Even if they aren't beautiful.

He might be right about being right

Democrats would be wise to be wary of Senator Ted Cruz.

He already has name recognition and acceptance among the far-righters.  He has been a champion of the ridiculous, such as repealing Obamacare and causing a government shutdown (which had no chance of accomplishing what it was supposed to accomplish).   When he doesn't get what he wants in the Senate, he appeals to the most right in the House to do it for him.  He has rankled the leadership in both the House and the Senate, which is greatly endearing to the Tea Party.

In short, he's the perfect Republican primary candidate, were it not for the circus candidacies of Donald Trump and Ben Carson, which are sure to ultimately fail.

And Cruz has a plan for victory.  Not by concentrating on the traditional early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire (which don't have a lot of convention votes anyway) -- rather, he plans to go after the deep South where the core of his Tea Party and fundamental religious support is likely to reside.

And the thing is -- he might be right.  He might emerge as the leader after that spate of Southern primaries.

Should Democrats be worried, and not just wary, if Cruz grabbed the nomination by this route?  I think not, but I'm never sure. Cruz has a long record of doing things that would move pragmatic moderates to vote against his brand of conservatism.  He can be blamed, rightly and repeatedly, for the government shutdown, and for advocating it as a tactic (though it is both useless and massively annoying to the populace).  His championing of the "repeal Obamacare" issue isn't likely to be welcomed by those whom the health care plan has helped.

And let's face it -- anybody who John Boehner is willing to label a jackass is just not Presidential material.

But I won't be surprised if this jackass is in the lead after the primaries on March 1, 2016.

In it to win it: Ted Cruz predicts Republican race will be between him and a 'moderate'

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Casual or glamorous, Alessandra makes it work

It's not news that Victoria's Secret angel Alessandra Ambrosio is one of the world's top supermodels (and it sure doesn't hurt to be Brazilian).  She's had two kids, yet she's still stunningly slim, but with the requisite curves to make lingerie look good on that structure.

The Daily Mail had to two back-to-back articles:  one showing Alessandra in a casual yet cleavagy outfit, and the other showing her in a glamorous dress with cutouts. And as the Daily Mail takes great glee in pointing out, no underwear either.

Alessandra Ambrosio flashes extreme cleavage in a revealing maxi dress as she heads to lunch

Alessandra Ambrosio goes without underwear in daring cut-out white dress at InStyle Awards

That latter deserves a look.  Two, actually.

Smoke gets in your eyes

The big El Niño in the Pacific is having a noteworthy effect on the rainfall over the islands of Indonesia, and Borneo, and Papua New Guinea.

Basically, it isn't raining much.  So the burning activities that normally take place on those islands seasonally are not being suppressed, and the smoke is thick, and this is a problem.  You can see it in this picture from NASA, featured in this Web discussion:  Heavy smoke blankets Borneo

This has happened before, for previous El Niño events.  But nonetheless, this is pretty bad.

President Obama and the Indonesia president are discussing it.  But as the article notes, it's one thing to talk about it and another thing to do something effective about it.  The latter is going to be difficult to do in Indonesia.

Eliza's new show

Just discovered, via a TV trailer, that one of my favorite actresses, Eliza Dushku (most notably from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse) will be on the last season of Cinemax's Banshee.

Until I noticed that she was going to be on the show, I hadn't heard of Banshee.  But it sounds and looks good.  The main story is about an ex-con and thief who takes the identity of a murdered sheriff from the town of Banshee, Pennsylvania, who doesn't turn out to be much like Wyatt Earp.  I.e., he keeps on being a criminal.  Dushku will be playing Agent Veronica Dawson, who likely is going to be involved in trying to figure out who the sheriff really is.

This is going to complicate my plans to watch Shameless.

Well, since I have this opportunity, I might as well provide a provocative picture of Eliza.  I've been following her on Twitter (@elizadushku, where I'm one of 1.77 million followers);  she's been going to college classes somewhere in Boston until this gig came along.  I think she's still single after ending her relationship with Rick Fox.  So there's still a chance for me and all the guys in that 1.77 million.

Right, like that's going to happen. Well, anyway, I look forward to seeing Eliza on Banshee in January.

Lighthouse of the Week, October 25-31, 2015: Split Rock, MN

Third in a series of lighthouses in autumn.

I tried to go elsewhere for the first two, but I had to go with the magnificent Split Rock lighthouse on the North Shore of Lake Superior.  Googling lighthouses in autumn produces lot and lots of pictures of this one, with good reason.  It looks good in any season, but the decidedly deciduous setting of the forest around the cliff it sits on makes autumn particularly photogenic.

Split Rock is pretty famous, of course.   The History of Split Rock Lighthouse (Lake Superior Magazine)

Two examples of many:

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Lighthouse of the Week, October 18-24: Point Iroquois, Michigan

Continuing a short series of lighthouses in autumn, here's a fall colorful picture of Michigan's Point Iroquois light.

Here's some more information about this lighthouse:

Point Iroquois, MI  (Lighthouse Friends)

Autumn is a short season up north;  I imagine that it looks like this more commonly, because the winters are long.

And here's an aerial shot during the warmer months.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Quote 2: from Robert Samuelson, in the Washington Post

The title:  The Flight from Reality

The quote:

"If we do not trim Social Security and Medicare spending — by slowly raising eligibility ages, cutting benefits and increasing premiums for wealthier recipients — we face savage cuts in other government programs, much higher taxes, bigger deficits or all three."

Will our next President (and our next Speaker of the House) have the courage to do what needs to be done?

Quote 1: from Brian Owens in Science

The title:  In Canada, election results cheer scientists

The quote:

"Harper’s government had been extremely unpopular with scientists, who accused it of ignoring evidence in policymaking, preventing government researchers from speaking publicly about their work, and focusing too much funding on commercially driven applied research. The Liberals have promised to reinstate the position of Chief Scientific Adviser, restore the mandatory long-form census, lift the “muzzle” on government researchers, and invest more in basic research. Trudeau has also said his party will embrace “evidence based policy” and “data-driven decision- making,” do more to address climate change, protect endangered species, and review the environmental impact of major energy and development projects."

That's a big change from Harper. Glad he's out.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

It's not just them -- it's us, too

If you follow politics and opinions on it, and you share the basic feeling that the Republicans in Congress are screwing up the basic principles of democratic government as well as the necessary propriety required to make Congress and the national government work...

you're not alone.   I've felt this for a long time.  The roots of the problem are the Tea Party, which is rooted in an unreasoning anger against living in a country headed by a black Democrat, who had to take unique financial steps to get us out of the worst economic downturn this country has experienced.   And the cause of that was unregulated banking, which was spurred by Republican legislation and Republican leadership.    As I've said before, if you're aren't sure who's fault it is for stupid governmental actions, blame the Republicans.  If you are sure, then it's obviously the Republicans who did it.

Add to that the screedy diatribes of Rush Limbaugh, the even more bizarre and outlandish commentary of even more archly crazily conservative commentators like Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Mark Steyn (among a low-IQ cast of 100s), and the herd mentality of the far right that sucks up every word like it is the milk of God -- and we have a bad brew.

Now, you may or may not have heard about the recent NY Times op-ed of David Brooks.  It was entitled "The Republican's Incompetence Caucus".   Wonderful stuff, and dead-on.  I've extracted my favorite passages and appended them below;  but the whole thing is wonderfully accurate about the woefulness and wild-wooliness of the Freedom Caucusites and their ilk.

Here we go.

The Republican Party’s capacity for effective self-governance degraded slowly, over the course of a long chain of rhetorical excesses, mental corruptions and philosophical betrayals.

Over the past 30 years, or at least since Rush Limbaugh came on the scene, the Republican rhetorical tone has grown ever more bombastic, hyperbolic and imbalanced.

But this new Republican faction regards the messy business of politics as soiled and impure. Compromise is corruption. Inconvenient facts [and truths -- ow] are ignored. Countrymen with different views are regarded as aliens.

This anti-political political ethos produced elected leaders of jaw-dropping incompetence.

Rich, isn't it? Let's finish with the near-conclusion:

Really, have we ever seen bumbling on this scale, people at once so cynical and so naïve, so willfully ignorant in using levers of power to produce some tangible if incremental good?
But wait, there's more.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the major threat to the American economy, and one reason for slow growth, is what the Republicans have been doing -- and what they are threatening to do again over the debt ceiling and a comprehensive government funding bill, spurred on by illegitimate Planned Parenthood secret camera trap videos.

GOP a threat to U.S. Economy, Say Economists

(I'd like to read the whole article directly from the WSJ, but I'd have to pay for it.  I'll spend my money elsewhere.)

The above article says, quoting the WSJ article:

After watching Congress repeatedly crash into fiscal deadlines in recent years, a majority of economists are expecting a repeat performance, with 55 percent of respondents to the latest Wall Street Journal survey of 62 economists--not all of whom answered every question--predicting at least some disruption to the economy and financial markets in the months ahead.
And then it adds its own follow-up comment:

And that potential disruption could have a real impact on their forecast for 2.2 percent GDP growth and a 5.1 percent unemployment rate by the end of 2015. As the chart above shows, three-quarters of the respondents said the debt ceiling crisis of 2011, the fiscal cliff showdown to start 2013, and the GOP shutdown that fall produced mild or significant damage to the American economy.

So we can decry what they're doing and despair over what might happen because they're doing it, but unless they stop doing it, they're going to hurt the very country that they supposedly profess to admire with patriotic fervor, and they will damage the citizenry of this country with their futile ideological quixotic quests.

So it's not just what they're doing, which as Brooks notes is basically bumbling incompetence and ignorance (which I may add is augmented by the hubris that they are convinced they're doing the right thing (God's work) and they will not be convinced that any other course of action is possible) -- the tangible result of what they are doing is hurting you, me, and every other citizen of this country, from the very rich to the very poor.

And that really, really is detestable.

Tasmania's astonishing Cape Raoul

Here's another geologically astonishing place I just found out about; Cape Raoul is on the southern end of Tasmania, not very far from Hobart, actually.   If I ever had an occasion to get as far as Hobart, I'd make sure not to miss this place.

It's in  Tasman National Park, which looks to be a pretty spectacular park along the rugged southern coast of the Tasman Peninsula.

Below are three pictures I found of the place;  it's one of those places that gets photographed a lot, even if it is beyond the reach and finances of a many travelers.  This ranks high on the list of columnar basalt sites, along with Giant's Causeway, Fingal's Cave, Skaftafell waterfall, the Devil's Postpile, and Devil's Tower.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Geez Hugh, slow down!

Hugh Grant, who for many of his lucky years was with Elizabeth Hurley at the height of her fantasticness, has moved on.  Having never seemed interested in either impregnating or marrying Liz, Hugh decided to get into fathering mode with a lovely Asian woman, Tinglan Hong, who bore him his first child.

But he wasn't really interested in being with her, apparently, because he actually got into a romantic relationship.  And he had a child with his romantic connection, Anna Eberstein.  But there was a separation in that relationship, and Hugh then sought his first procreative success, the lovely Asian woman Tinglan, and without much time to think about it, got her pregnant again, and she gave him his third offspring.  (The second and third pregnancies in this sequence were both in progress at the same time, at one point.  The mind spins.)

OK, so having definitely established his genetic heritage in Asia, Hugh and Anna revivified their relationship, and lo and behold in the way that these things happen, Anna is once more gravid with Granthood.   I.e., he got her in the baby way again.

So, to sum up, Hugh had or is having four kids with two women, with alternating pregnancies, in four years.

Celebrities are not like the rest of us.  And Hugh Grant is not very much like me in this regard.

Hugh Grant Expecting Second Child With Girlfriend Anna Eberstein, His Fourth Child in Four Years

Now this is just weird

Had to pass this along - scientists have found a mushroom that causes women to have orgasms when the unusual odor of the mushroom is inhaled.


Who needs Ashley Madison when you've got this mushroom handy?

The mysterious mushroom that triggers spontaneous orgasms in women: Phallic fungus releases 'hormone-like compounds' to excite with a single sniff

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Lighthouse of the Week, October 11-17, 2015: Eagle Harbor, Michigan

After visiting Croatia for three weeks, I'm returning to the USA for a couple of weeks of autumnal lighthouse pictures.

Searching "autumn lighthouse" brings up a lot of pictures of the imposing Split Rock Light, which looks good in any season, but particularly in autumn and winter.  Since those are so common, I'm going with another Lake Superior lighthouse in autumn:

Eagle Harbor, Michigan.

To read about its history and with a map of its location (its on the Keeweenaw Peninsula north of Houghton, MI, in the Upper Peninsula), go here:  Eagle Harbor, MI

Only one picture this week, from Cole Chase:

Just in time for (you guessed it) Christmas

If you didn't know, the El Niño phenomenon was named after the Christ child - supposedly because if there were rains on the dry coast of Peru in December around Christmas, the fishermen knew it was going to be a poor year.  Hence "the child" or "the boy" -- El Niño.

Well, I've been tracking the progression of this El Niño, waiting for it to affect the lower tropospheric temperature of the Earth.  This is the last bastion of the deniers who claim that the world hasn't warmed since, well, basically the last big El Niño of 1997-1998.  And that's what I'm going to compare it to.  As I will show and you will see, there are remarkable similarities between 1997-1998's event and what's happening now.  And one notable difference.

So, here's what I did.  I got the temperatures of the lower troposphere (TLT) from, and I got the Niño 3.4 sea surface temperatures from NOAA.   Niño 3.4 is a region in the central Pacific along the Equator.    I got both the temperatures for 1997-1998 and now.   I made a plot with Excel, and then I added one more line.

Here's the first plot.

What this plot shows is the Niño 3.4 SST in red for the 1997-1998 event, the Niño 3.4 SST SST in green for what's happening now, and the TLT for 1997-1998 in blue.  Note that there are two vertical axes on this plot: the left is the SST, and the right is the TLT.    What this shows (confirming what I've read) is that the TLT lags the SST by several months.   It doesn't start rising when the SSTs rise -- in fact, it started to go up in 1997-1998 when the SST had plateaued before starting to decline.  As you can see with the green data, the SST is still going up for this event (even though the area of warmer temperature is bigger than in 1997-1998).

So, what's happening with the TLT now?  I added that data for the second plot:

The TLT for this year is in purple.  It's following a remarkably parallel track to 1997-1998.  And I use the word 'parallel' appropriately.  Because the TLT now is about 0.2 deg C higher than it was in 1997-1998.  That's the notable difference between now and then.  And that's also the effect of global warming, despite what deniers say.  So if the SST keeps rising to at or near the peak of 1997-1998, and the TLT shows a similar increase, it could be expected that the peak will be about 0.2 deg C higher than the heights of 1997-1998.   There's no guarantee, and it will be interesting to see how high it gets.

But as to when -- well, I would expect based on the 1997-1998 event to see a nice jump upward in December -- just in time for Christmas.

One question though - is there any evidence or data indicating that the warm SSTs of this event are already heating up the atmosphere?

Well, yes there is.  And it comes from a perhaps surprising source - Dr. John Christy of the University of Alabama - Huntsville, who happens to be a climate change denier, but who's also enough of a scientist to be forced to admit what the data is actually showing, even if he doesn't think it's significant in the long term.

Satellites report high tropical air temperatures

Tropical air temperatures remained high in September due to the ongoing El Niño Pacific Ocean warming event, according to data released by the University of Huntsville in Alabama (UAH).

Satellite data shows that the temperature anomaly - the variance to the long-term average - for the tropical lower troposphere in September was +0.55oC. This makes September 2015 the warmest September reported in the tropics since satellite measurements of atmospheric temperature began in 1979, according to UAH."

So it's coming.  Oceans first, atmosphere next.  Time will tell.

Something important to me

I wrote a sonnet about something that's quite important to me (and to most men).

owed to my tool 

I like my penis; most men do, of course
primarily because it gives us joy
and pleasure, plus it is the basic source 
of heritage and offspring; not a toy -- 

though we do play at times -- it is unique, 
with personality and flair, outstand- 
ing when enthused by what we frequent seek; 
the place and person whom we join, demand- 

ing its accord and its attention, a sword 
to satisfy her sheath, and when inspired
upon its quest, with activeness implored,
it serves to make the ecstasy required 

where its famed function is desired -- and she
commends its eminent ability.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Ladrón de escena

The recently released Disney "based on a true story" movie McFarland, USA featured a number of Hispanic actors and actresses.   One of them, who played the nail artist and cosmetician character Lupe, caught my eye, as she also had a part in a number of episodes of Royal Pains last season.

The name of the actress is Martha Higareda.

She is Hot, in the cute sexy way that makes Hot really appealing. I'm not sure if caliente is actually the right word to use to describe in Spanish, but if it is, she's muy caliente.

She is also available desnudo, if you try looking for that.

As Lupe in the movie:

And some glamor shots:

A big boom from Popo

The big rumbling volcano near to Mexico City, Popocateptl, exploded with a big cloud of ash on October 7, 2015.

Great video capture of the explosion:

There should be a "no gun" list

You know, increasingly we're seeing signs that psychologically disturbed individuals commit the multiple massacre crimes with guns that have been so disturbingly on the increase recently. Now, what I'm going to suggest doesn't do anything about the day-to-day crime-related gun violence that is taking a its own toll, neither does it do anything about domestic violence that leads to gun wounds and death.

No, this is about the multiple murders. Yes, there are background checks, supposedly. But I think that the psychological side of this issue could be implemented. If someone is on record as a) making threats, b) attempting or indicating a desire for suicide, c) expressing a desire to harm or injure another person, d) being a professed member of a group or groups that advocate violence toward a different group, e) having a psychological condition or having a family member with a known psychological condition, and f) writing a rambling manifesto expressing threats, endangerment, or hate for other people or groups -- their name should go on a basic "no gun" list. It means they can't buy guns and they can't have guns. If they have guns, they get taken away until they can show that they or the individual associated with them (with the psychological condition) pose no danger to the community.

So the "no gun" list would be the first list checked. If the name is on the list, they don't get a gun. If the name is on the list and they're found with a gun or guns, they get taken away. Simple.

Why'd I think of this?

Oregon shooter killed himself after being wounded by hero cops and was discharged from the Army after attempting suicide

This guy should never been allowed to have a gun. There should not have been any guns in his house. Period.

And Adam Lanza, the Newtown murderer.  There shouldn't have been any guns in a house he was living in.  He was an obvious danger to the community.

Plus, I think doctors are allowed to notify authorities if there is a danger to a person or the community. Well, in this case I think psychiatrists/psychologists/counselors should be able to put a name on the list with minimal delay.

Even the NRA admits that deranged people shouldn't have guns, even if the laws they've proposed have been self-serving. So why not have a simple "no gun" list?  If a name gets on it, then the person on it has to prove that they don't belong on it.  Because it has been demonstrated pretty conclusively that the mentally ill, members of extremist groups, people who make threats against members of other groups (this includes high school and college students) and authors of rambling manifestos which evince a profound disquietude and distrust of fellow humans are far more likely to commit mass murder with guns than people who are NOT mentally ill, members of extremist groups, or authors of rambling manifestos.

Mental health and firearms (I don't agree with them, but at least they admit the problem.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Nailing the problem

Enthralling op-ed in the Washington Post:

Republicans don’t want someone to fix the system. They want someone to break it.

Pithy, on-the-mark quotes:
"The GOP’s increasing preference for callow, reckless candidates represents a culmination of the anti-government, anti-politics, anti-intellectual direction of the conservative movement."


"The country still needs to pass budgets, raise the debt ceiling, staff agencies with competent bureaucrats and the federal bench with competent jurists, and to cooperate with other countries on everything from trade and immigration to nuclear non-proliferation. Republican voters are threatening these foundations of American prosperity and security, not as a byproduct of moral conviction but as a statement of inchoate resentment."

ff the one good thing in this is that the nuttiest candidates are leading the Republican Presidential primary race, which makes the whole party look like a bunch of nutters.  Not all of them are, of course,  But its the far-right, take-no-prisoners nutters who are messing with the structural integrity of this democracy.

How we can fish forever

The Fish Forever organization proposes solutions to the vexing and increasingly dire problem of overfishing, parallel with fish being a vital protein source in many countries. They have a multi-part plan to address this problem.

One key element that runs through many of the points is local buy-in. There are shared exclusive zones (i.e., fishers get exclusive access to a zone, they don't go elsewhere, nobody else comes in). Local law enforcement is involved and effective. Both management and data-gathering for fishery health assessment have to be accurate and honest.

Not easy to do, but there has been success with these principles. We're seeing one step in the right direction -- more preserves where no fishing can take place at all (theoretically, if you can keep out the illegal operators). So locally I think this can work. On the high seas, where the bluefin roam, it's harder, but the U.S. has just taken steps to limit importation of illegally caught fish.

In this sector, there may be hope yet.

Fish Forever - the Solution

Still the one

Kate Hudson still ranks as my #1 Hollywood Mommy I'd like to ... well, as I'm dreaming, get to know better, as if I'd ever even meet her. She seems right on so many levels -- cute, hot, funny, pretty, and sexy. All together in a tight, fit package. As is clear in the main picture in this Daily Mail article.

Fab abs: Kate Hudson flashes her toned stomach in red bra and matching boy shorts in sexy Instagram snap

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A smart high school sweetheart

The high school sweetheart of Dancing with the Stars' adorably gorgeous pro dancer Witney Carson did the smart thing - he got engaged to her.

I'd say this is definitely a case of knowing a good thing when you found it, and not letting go.

Witney Carson's Beautiful Beachside Marriage Proposal

(They're Mormon, and Mormons do tend to get married rather young by modern standards.)

I like postings like this, because then I get to add pictures of a great-looking woman.

Serioiusly, Crystal Palace is FOURTH

There's a long, long, repeat, LONG way to go in the Barclays Premier League season.

But at this remarkable point in time, Crystal Palace, which only came up two years ago, and which was barely staying out of relegation each of the past two seasons, is currently...

in FOURTH place (tied with Leicester City).   It'd be nice if the season could end now, and then they could play in the Champions League and all that good stuff (maybe - don't know how the tiebreakers work).   If they last that long in the top four, I'll be stunned.  But if they stay up high, they've got a chance to qualify for international club championships and all that.  It's really way too early to even think about that.

A top-five finish is still unlikely -- but they've already proven they can play.

Next up on the 17th: West Ham.  Then Leicester City, then Manchester United (a scary opponent on Halloween).

We should have a sense of how good they are (or aren't) after those next three games.

Barclays Premier League Table (i.e., standings)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Lighthouse of the Week, October 4-10, 2015: Porer, Croatia

There's a little triangular peninsula in the northern Adriatic Sea, directly south of Trieste, Italy, called the Istria Peninsula.  It's part of Croatia (and also a little Italy and a little Slovenia, too).  The tip of the Istria Peninsula is south of Pula, the end of a little finger-like projection, and is called Kap Kamenjak.

A couple km southwest off the end of this little peninsula at the end of the Istrian Peninsula is Porer lighthouse, which is an island with a lighthouse.  And that's it.   It's quite striking and quite unique.

Here's some info from the Lighthouse Directory:

"1833. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 31 m (102 ft) round cylindrical masonry tower, centered on a 1-story keeper's house. The lighthouse is unpainted cream-colored stone; the lantern is white with a gray metallic roof. ... This lighthouse marks the southern tip of the Istrian Peninsula. Although it is located on a tiny scrap of land, it has two apartments available for vacation rental."
Well, I can guarantee that there isn't a lot of nightlife on this island except what you make yourself.

by M. Dilberovic

Pay attention - the lighthouse is behind her

Saturday, October 3, 2015

What do they do with orange peels?

I was making fresh-squeezed orange juice today (an occasional indulgence - yum) and I wondered what commercial juice making operations do with the orange peels.  After all, they produce a lot of them.

Not hard to find the answer to that one -- they are converted to cattle feed.

I couldn't find much of a description of that.   Just this from Tropicana (from this Web page):

"Tropicana's production process aims to utilize the full life-cycle of the orange. For example, Tropicana recycles peel and seeds to make 150,000 tons of beneficial cattle feed, avoiding more than 700,000 tons of raw peel becoming landfill waste annually."

They also have potential to be used as a feedstock for biofuel production. The citrus peel oil, of course, can be used in envirosafe cleaning products.

Here's a longer article:  Fruit's pulp, seeds, oil all involved in making a variety of products  (also discusses the peels)

It's got to mean something to the crab

This is not a condemnation.  This is just passing on some information.  In fact, stone crab claws fall under the heading of "sustainable seafood".  At least to an extent.

Let's review:  stone crabs can regrow their claws.  For that reason, they can be removed, and served up as a seafood dish.  I've had them, though not for a few years.  They're good.

And they're also a Best Choice from Seafood Watch.

Crab, Florida Stone (Seafood Watch)


It should be obvious that taking a claw off a crab (sometimes both of them) wouldn't be harmless.  So this study quantifies the harm.  It's actually more harmful to wound them in the process than to take the claw (if that can be done without otherwise causing an injury).

So someone studied what happens to stone crabs when they have a claw taken.

How important are claws to stone crabs?

One thing I didn't realize was that sometimes they take both claws.  And that puts the crabs at a considerably dietary disadvantage.

Now, this doesn't mean that I will pass on stone crab claws the next time I have a chance to have them.  Like I said, they're good.

But they're not a free lunch.  Nothing is.

Whatever happened to Bob Seagren?

With all this talk about the former Bruce Jenner (now Caitlyn), I suddenly wondered what had happened to Bob Seagren, the gold medalist in the pole vault in 1968 (and held the world record for a awhile), and one of the first champions of the Superstars celebrity sports competition.  And he did some acting, too.   He was most notably one of the first gay characters on TV, in Soap.  Now he runs a company that runs sports events.

He also got married and divorced, but two kids along the way, with Playboy Playmate Peggy McIntaggart.  He married her when he was in his 50s.  Good for him.

Well, so now I know.  Glad he's still male.

Bob Seagren - Wikipedia

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Iza on the beach

Let's face it, being a Brazilian Victoria's Secret model means having an elite, top-flight, superb, on-the-edge-of-what-is-physiologically-possible body.

Meaning:  ample breasts, long slender legs, tiny waist, small but curvaceous buttocks, and an unforgettable face to go with it.

Even taking it easy, all of these attributes are in obvious and desirable evidence.

Izabel Goulart demonstrates what I mean on the beaches of Rio (where I hope they can clean up the water somehow in time for the Olympics).

This is what natural beauty looks like

Her day job

Ceres' spots not figured out yet

Even though there are even better images of them now, the composition of the bright white spots in Occator Crater on series has yet to be definitively determined.

This surprises me.  The white spots were the single greatest mystery that Ceres presented as the Dawn satellite probe approached.  They even started a contest in which people could guess what they were made of (I went with ice - mission scientists are now thinking salt of some kind).

And there were supposedly indications of an atmospheric trace in the crater, indicating that these patches might be subtly sublimating, also indicative of an icy nature.

But nothing has been stated yet.  It's starting to vex me.

Fresh views of Ceres but 'spots' remain mysterious  (with elevation and composition maps)

Meet Republikeezer Scrooge

It's time to start thinking about Christmas, and December 11.

Meet a new character that will have a home on this blog for a couple of months.

His name is Republikeezer Scrooge.  He's a distant cousin of Ebenezer, and has the same kind of philosophies, and he thinks that the Republican members of Congress (especially the Tea Party / Freedom Squaucus members) are doing a great job.

Unlike Ebenezer before his dreamquest, Republikeezer has always enjoyed celebrating Christmas.

As long as its on his terms.

And as long as the people celebrating it are people that he likes.

And no one else.

Love those covers

I just had to say a few words about Lauren Conrad's cover picture on this month's issue of  Cosmopolitan.   Below is the picture, without all the other distracting words on the cover.






Lucky.  Husband.

Two questions.

1.  Does she get to take this little confection home?

2.  If so, how long (expressed in seconds) did she wear it when she got home (assuming her husband of one year or so was home and thanking God for his extraordinary perspicacity in marrying her)?