ancient garden statue wallpaper, monsanto ignores science farmers pay, anat cohen

ancient garden statue wallpaper

ancient garden statue wallpaper

There are many reasons to have a basic understanding of evolution. While it was science-fiction, there was a good sized nugget of truth in the warnings of Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurassic Park when he said that nature finds a way, Nearly Half of All US Farms Now Have Superweeds

Last year’s drought took a big bite out of the two most prodigious US crops, corn and soy. But it apparently didn’t slow down the spread of weeds that have developed resistance to Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup (glyphosate), used on crops engineered by Monsanto to resist it. More than 70 percent of all the the corn, soy, and cotton grown in the US is now genetically modified to withstand glyphosate.

[  ]…• Nearly half (49 percent) of all US farmers surveyed said they have glyphosate-resistant weeds on their farm in 2012, up from 34 percent of farmers in 2011.
• Resistance is still worst in the South. For example, 92 percent of growers in Georgia said they have glyphosate-resistant weeds.

Every time farmers used Monsanto’s Roundup some weeds survived. Maybe they were not in the best shape, but they were healthy enough to propagate. They passed on their glyphosate resistant genetic properties to the next generation. I’ve read some statements by Monsanto scientists, when they’re allowed to speak and they are pretty much in denial of some basic scientific truths. A steady nice sized check every two weeks has that affect on some people.

In jazz, saxophonists and trumpeters get most of the limelight. Seeing that those two groups are also my favorites I can understand the bias. Though it’s good to shift tastes once in a while to experience something new. So a tip of the hat to jazz clarinet today with Anat Cohen: Bringing The Clarinet To The World

Clarinetist Anat Cohen is one of a handful of Israeli jazz musicians making a mark on the American jazz scene. She’s been voted Clarinetist of the Year six years in a row by the Jazz Journalists Association, and her most recent album, Claroscuro, showcases the range of her talents and musical influences, from New Orleans-style jazz to Israel to Latin music — particularly that of Brazil.

The rest of NPR’s profile of Anat is at the link.


cape cod pier sunset wallpaper, experts and climate, that old time censorship

cape cod pier sunset wallpaper

cape cod pier sunset wallpaper

We know that some things are just common sense. When you’re diagnosed with cancer you ask an accountant what course of treatment to pursue. When your drain is clogged you call a watchmaker and ask them to come over to have a look. When you need help learning to read, you turn to the nearest illiterate. These things are so obvious and boring that repeating them is just taking up blog space and wasting everyone’s time. 10 Dumbest Things Fox Said About Climate Change In 2012

6. Instead Of Scientists, Fox Turns To Mark Levin And A Coal Miner To Say “CO’s What Make Plants Grow.” During an hour-long special on the “green agenda” hosted by anchor Bret Baier, Fox News did not interview a single scientist. Instead they turned to right-wing radio host Mark Levin, who denied that carbon dioxide is a pollutant that should be regulated, saying: “Carbon dioxide is what we exhale. Carbon dioxide is necessary for plants.” Fox later aired video of coal miner Robert “Buz” Hilberry echoing this, saying: “I’m no scientist but CO’s what make plants grow and what make you breathe, so they’re trying to choke us all out by stopping the burning of coal.” At no point did Fox clarify that it’s the unusually high amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide that has scientists concerned, or acknowledge the scientific consensus.

Why would Levin need any credentials in climate science when he has received the very famous and much coveted Ronald Reagan Award from the American Conservative Union. Mark received the award for that scientific paper he wrote proving that shoving a chunk of coal up your butt cures hemorrhoids. And Buz is the man, did anyone else know that there is some super sneaky plan afoot to completely stop the mining and burning of coal. You know what happens when we do that? All the plants on earth will die because they need that exhaust from burning coal to breathe. Missed that class didn’t ya smarty pants scientists with your Ph.Ds.

this tape will self destruct

this tape will self destruct

A century of British film censorship

The British Board of Film Censors was established 100 years ago, on 1 January 1913, to censor films “which may be considered in any way opposed to the better feelings of the general public”.

[  ]…By the end of its first year the British Board of Film Censors had rejected over 22 films in their entirety for one or more of the following reasons:

a)    Indelicate or suggestive sexual situations

b)    Indecent dancing

c)    Holding up a minister of Religion to ridicule

d)    Cruelty to animals

e)    Indelicate accessories in the staging

f)     Judicial executions

g)    Excessive drunkenness

h)   Subjects depicting procuration, abduction and seduction

i)     Native customs in foreign lands abhorrent to British ideas

j)     Impropriety in conduct and dress

k)    Materialisation of Christ or the Almighty

Sounds like a dream come true by way of the Taliban, The American Family Association and Iran’s ruling mullahs. While there is probably an unhealthy amount of self censorship and political correctness in Holly wood we have come a long way since a court decision named Mutual Film Corporation v. Industrial Commission of Ohio 1915, in which movie production was considered a completely commercial venture, not art, thus not entitled to protection under the 1st Amendment.

Marilyn Monroe, communist?

The records reveal that some in Monroe’s inner circle were concerned about her association with Frederick Vanderbilt Field, who was disinherited from his wealthy family over his leftist views.

A trip to Mexico earlier that year to shop for furniture brought Monroe in contact with Field, who was living in the country with his wife in self-imposed exile. Informants reported to the FBI that a “mutual infatuation” had developed between Field and Monroe, which caused concern among some in her inner circle, including her therapist, the files state.

“This situation caused considerable dismay among Miss Monroe’s entourage and also among the (American Communist Group in Mexico),” the file states. It includes references to an interior decorator who worked with Monroe’s analyst reporting her connection to Field to the doctor.

Field’s autobiography devotes an entire chapter to Monroe’s Mexico trip, “An Indian Summer Interlude.” He mentions that he and his wife accompanied Monroe on shopping trips and meals and he only mentions politics once in a passage on their dinnertime conversations.

“She talked mostly about herself and some of the people who had been or still were important to her,” Field wrote in “From Right to Left.” ”She told us about her strong feelings for civil rights, for black equality, as well as her admiration for what was being done in China, her anger at red-baiting and McCarthyism and her hatred of (FBI director) J. Edgar Hoover.”

Marilyn Monroe with orange beads

Marilyn Monroe with orange beads

Her short friendship with Field was the extent of Marilyn’s supposed communism. Hoover is said to have decided that Martin Luther King and the entire civil rights movement was communistic.
Happy New Years, John Coltrane – In A Sentimental Mood

so comparatively i guess death threats against atheists are not that bad, stem cells from urine

The seven countries where the state can execute you for being atheist


-The annual “freedom of thought” report from the International Humanist and Ethical Union, an advocacy umbrella group that represents and seeks to protect non-religious people, details laws and practices around the world that punish or restrict atheism. The group presented the report to the United Nations today.

The seven countries where the state can execute you for being atheist

larger map


The report tracks, among other things, which countries have laws explicitly targeting atheists. There are not many, but the states that forbid non-religiousness – typically as part of “anti-blasphemy” legislation – include seven nations where atheism is punishable by death. All seven establish Islam as the state religion. Though that list includes some dictatorships, the country that appears to most frequently condemn atheists to death for their beliefs is actually a democracy, if a frail one: Pakistan. Others include Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan, the West African state of Mauritania, and the Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean. These countries are colored red on the above map.-

Actual death sentences are rare, but obviously such blasphemy or heretic laws, have a tremendous oppressive effect on religious freedom and intellectual freedom. So I guess one should be grateful that we live in a country where being atheists will likely get you some death threats, will automatically disqualify you from elected office ( there have been some rare exceptions), may get you fired and keep you from getting a job ( though employers are generally clever enough to cite other reasons).

reach and grasp

reach and grasp

We’re all peepee heads now, From Urine to Neurons

-Chinese scientists have found a way to transform cells from human urine into neural progenitor cells that can become several different types of functioning brain cell. Published this week (December 9) in Nature Methods, the research offers a quicker and relatively easy way to generate neurons and glial cells that will be useful for studying neurodegenerative conditions, like Alzheimer’s, and for testing related therapies.-

I have my fingers crossed about breakthroughs in neruodegenerative diseases related to aging. I have issues with getting old, but none of them matches the dread of being severely cognitively impaired.

1950s city collage

1950s city collage


The Dave Brubeck Quartet “St Louis Blues”

typography of the sermon of buddha, resistance to truth can persist through adulthood, sunset volcano wallpaper

A page from The Life History and Sermon of Buddha.

Life History and Sermon of Buddha Abstracted from Buddhist Scriptures

Seokbosangjeol (Life history and sermons of Buddha abstracted from Buddhist scriptures) was compiled by Prince Suyang, the son of King Sejong and Queen Soheon, in the 29th year of King Sejong’s reign (1447). It was written in Korean prose style, not only to pray for the repose of the prince’s mother, but also to let the common people learn Buddhist doctrines more easily. Its content teaches about Buddha’s life and his main sermons, selected from the Chinese sutras such as the Sutra of the Lotus, the Sutra of Ksitigarbha, the Sutra of Amitbha, and the Sutra of the Medicine. The book was published using the movable metal type called gabinja. The gabinja is considered to be the most outstanding type from the entire history of the Joseon Dynasty. The type used to print Seokbosangjeol is the first type made after the invention of the native Korean alphabet Hangul script. Some pieces of the work are still missing, but it is a very rare and important masterpiece, especially in the research areas of 15th-century linguistics and the history of printing.

I don’t subscribe to Buddhism and I’m not promoting it as a belief system. The printed script, the typography is quite beautiful and the book is important as a historical artifact.

There is an anti-Obama film that, for a documentary is doing well at the box office. It is based on utterly false, though very an imaginative book by conservative fanatic Dinesh D’Souza’. I don’t know why, maybe to give them a chance to convince me they were not kooks I started reading what the D’Souza fan club had to say in the comments at this movie news site. The disconnect from reality is staggering. Those who think you can have and win a debate with people who have such contempt for things like reality, facts, rationalism, common decency – good luck. There is some basic fact checking of the book on which the film is based here, Dinesh D’Souza’s Lies in “About 2016: Obama’s America”. This resistance, in some instances more like an insistence on resisting facts, is not restricting to the U.S. and not just to politics or public policy issues. This is from an article about science and the resistance to new knowledge, but the general issue of accepting new knowledge as opposed to unjustified beliefs starts in childhood and can, given certain circumstances persists through life,

The main source of resistance to scientific ideas concerns what children know prior to their exposure to science. The last several decades of developmental psychology has made it abundantly clear that humans do not start off as  “blank slates.” Rather, even one year-olds possess a rich understanding of both the physical world (a “naïve physics”) and the social world (a “naïve psychology”). Babies know that objects are solid, that they persist over time even when they are out of sight, that they fall to the ground if unsupported, and that they do not move unless acted upon. They also understand that people move autonomously in response to social and physical events, that they act and react in accord with their goals, and that they respond with appropriate emotions to different situations.

These intuitions give children a head start when it comes to understanding and learning about objects and people. But these intuitions also sometimes clash with scientific discoveries about the nature of the world, making certain scientific facts difficult to learn. As Susan Carey once put it, the problem with teaching science to children is “not what the student lacks, but what the student has, namely alternative conceptual frameworks for understanding the phenomena covered by the theories we are trying to teach.”

Children’s belief that unsupported objects fall downwards, for instance, makes it difficult for them to see the world as a sphere — if it were a sphere, the people and things on the other side should fall off. It is not until about eight or nine years of age that children demonstrate a coherent understanding of a spherical Earth, and younger children often distort the scientific understanding in systematic ways. Some deny that people can live all over the Earth’s surface, and, when asked to draw the Earth or model it with clay, some children depict it as a sphere with a flattened top or as a hollow sphere that people live inside.

In some cases, there is such resistance to science education that it never entirely sticks, and foundational biases persist into adulthood.

This frequently heated resistance to justified information, resistance to fact checking to see if one’s assumptions are true and the strong desire to propagate one’s false beliefs as the truth has real world costs. In the U.S. we value the concept of live and let live, to be easy-going is considered a high compliment. It is also part of our culture that we prize qualities that are in something of an opposition to those easy-going attributes, we prize the practical, we prize common sense and plain speaking. The chances of a politician speaking in the flowery language of a 19th century novelist like Henry James being elected to public office are very slim. So is it to be plain speaking or should we just walk away from the nutters, live and let live. Should we be guided by the carefully researched and documented “book learn’n” or should we just go with our “gut” instincts. There is a price to pay for resisting change. Most of us cringe at the idea of testing to see if someone is a witch or not by seeing if they float. Yet if someone does a study on a health care policy and shows us a way to save money and provide better care, many people are not only not going to research why they believe otherwise, they’ll spread lies about the proposed changes because it conflicts with what they believe to be true. False beliefs cost money. As much as some value money, sometimes it seems above all else in American society, one would think they would be guided by cost savings. That is not the case. The false beliefs are so deeply intrenched that we now have paid for science or pseudo-science. Another interesting phenomenon is that presenting new facts with documentation – as some commenters try to do – can actually make the opposition reader entrench even further into their false beliefs. Knowing this is a good reason to have a coping strategy.

sunset volcano wallpaper

Mizoram’s Wild Flower

Chhaidy was born in Theiva, a little-known village of around 150 homes in Saiha, the southern-most district of Mizoram that borders Myanmar. It is the home of Maras, a sub tribe among Mizos who were once feared headhunters.

At the age of four, Chhaidy disappeared in a nearby forest, along with a cousin of the same age, Beirakhu. Beirakhu was found five days later, beside a stream. He was in a disturbed state, but alive. Chhaidy could never be traced. But last month, at age 42, she was rediscovered.

Locals say Chhaidy was taken away by a spirit in the forest.

Long time readers already know I’m fascinated by stories of feral children. many of them, especially from the 19th century and earlier are false or embellished, but some modern ones, like this one seem to be true. It seems possible, just barely that Chhaidy had some contact with an adult – that the villagers think was some kind of spirit, but that adult never spoke to her or gave her any kind of guidance.

On trying to communicate further with her, they learnt the meanings of three other words she’d often use, none of which means the same in any known dialect or language. She refers to water as ‘nam’, anything that flies as ‘jackey’, and soup as ‘appozee’.


advertising and body odor,quantum entanglement, never equate freedom with conservative libertarians

How Advertisers Convinced Americans They Smelled Bad

Yet 100 years later, the deodorant and antiperspirant industry is worth $18 billion. The transformation from niche invention to a blockbuster product was in part kick-started by Murphey, whose nascent business was nearly a failure.

According to Odorono company files at Duke University, Edna Murphey’s Odorono booth at the 1912 Atlantic City exposition initially appeared to be another bust for the product.

“The exhibition demonstrator could not sell any Odorono at first and wired back [to Murphey to send some] cold cream to cover expenses,” notes a company history of Odorono.

Luckily, the exposition lasted all summer. As attendees wilted in the heat and sweat through their clothing, interest in Odorono rose. Suddenly Murphey had customers across the country and $30,000 in sales to spend on promotion.

And in reality, Odorono needed some serious help in the marketing department.

Although the product stopped sweat for up to three days—longer-lasting than modern day antiperspirants—the Odorono’s active ingredient, aluminum chloride, had to be suspended in acid to remain effective. (This was the case for all early antiperspirants; it would take a few decades before chemists came up with a formulation that didn’t require an acid suspension.)

The acid solution meant Odorono could irritate sensitive armpit skin and damage clothing. Adding insult to injury, the antiperspirant was also red-colored, so it could also stain clothing—if the acid didn’t eat right through it first. According to company records, customers complained that the product caused burning and inflammation in armpits and that it ruined many a fancy outfit, including one woman’s wedding dress.

They still use an aluminum chloride to stop perspiration. The formulation is better in that it generally does not burn – though it can cause rashes  on some users, and it generally does not stain clothing. It took advertising to convince people who perspiration, a topic that was taboo to talk about at the time, was something to talk about and passed judgment on.

His advertisement in a 1919 edition of the Ladies Home Journal didn’t beat around the bush. “Within the Curve of a Woman’s arm. A frank discussion of a subject too often avoided,” announced the headline above an image of an imminently romantic situation between a man and a woman.

James Rosenquist, World’s Fair Mural, 1964, oil on masonite.

Roy Lichtenstein, World’s Fair Mural, 1964, oil on plywood.

Quantum Teleportation Achieved over Record Distances, which is interesting, though banish any thoughts of Scotty beaming you down or anywhere else for that matter. The physics on which the experiment was based struck me in terms of the metaphysics or philosophical implications, or just as the foundation for day dreams:

Quantum teleportation relies on the phenomenon of entanglement, through which quantum particles share a fragile, invisible link across space. Two entangled photons, for instance, can have correlated, opposite polarization states—if one photon is vertically polarized, for instance, the other must be horizontally polarized. But, thanks to the intricacies of quantum mechanics, each photon’s specific polarization remains undecided until one of them is measured. At that instant the other photon’s polarization snaps into its opposing orientation, even if many kilometers have come between the entangled pair.

Anyone remember I Heart Huckabees (2004) and the existential detectives played by Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman claim that everything in the universe is connected.

Paul Ryan (R-WI) is yet another conservative libertarian who thinks the government owns your body, especially if you’re female,

For anyone who wants to know how Ryan thinks, that essay is worth reading. It’s about 1,500 words long, but the word “woman” doesn’t appear in it once. Nor does the word “mother.” To him, a woman’s claim to bodily autonomy or self-determination doesn’t merit even cursory consideration. Here’s his analogy: “The car which I exercised my freedom of choice to purchase…does not ‘qualify’ for protection of human rights. I can drive it, lend it, kick it, sell it, or junk it, at will. On the other hand, the widow who lives next door does ‘qualify’ as a person, and the government must secure her human rights, which cannot be abandoned to anyone’s arbitrary will.”

Ryan said he has never specifically advocated jailing women who have abortions, but according to a newspaper article, he said, “If it’s illegal, it’s illegal.”

This disregard for the exigencies of women’s lives—the dismissal of their choices as amoral exercises of “arbitrary will”—was thrown into high relief during his 1998 run for congress against Democrat Lydia Spottswood. Both candidates backed a ban on so-called partial-birth abortion, but Spottswood believed there should be exceptions in cases where a woman’s life or health is endangered. “Ryan said he opposes abortion, period,” reported the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “He said any exceptions to a ‘partial-birth’ abortion ban would make that ban meaningless.”

During that campaign, Ryan also expressed his willingness to let states criminally prosecute women who have abortions. According to another Journal Sentinel article, he “would let states decide what criminal penalties would be attached to abortions. Ryan said he has never specifically advocated jailing women who have abortions or doctors who perform them, but added, ‘If it’s illegal, it’s illegal.’”

The implications for such radical views on how much government – with police, prosecutors and the prison industry – should entangle itself in one’s autonomy over one’s own body are profound. Even in countries where abortion is illegal women still seek abortions or perform them on themselves. In the U.S. that would mean  massive expansion of the police, courts and prison system – currently incarceration costs about $20k per year. There would also be costs to society in forcing women to carry their pregnancies to term and the cost of any medical complications, plus the costs of any long term disability caused by the forced birth. Perhaps this is one way Ryan plans to create jobs. Subjecting 160 million women ( minorities, the elderly and students) to modern Jim Crow-Lite laws requires a lot of storm troopers.

What Happened to the Lunch Break?

Skipped lunch breaks are a growing trend, said Danielle Hartmann, the director for corporate partnerships at Boston College’s Center for Work & Family.

“I think the expectation is that more people are expected to work more with less,” Hartmann told LiveScience. “Workloads have been exceptionally high and people don’t feel like they can take the time to eat.”

Conservatives and libertarians are partly responsible for this attitude. Unless you own the company you are one of the little serfs living off the great ideas, industrial spirit and generosity of the real producers in the top 10%. It is part of a movement whose philosophy makes no to little room for humility and acknowledgement of the disposable little people. The economic meltdown has only made the mild to extreme exploitation of workers all that much easier – don’t get uppity because there are a hundred applicants waiting to take your place and know their’s. Good times.

John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman-My One and Only Love