03 August 2015


GIF of a baby who gets glasses and sees clearly for the first time.

Wikipedia has a page for non-human electoral candidates.

There is a line of clothing styled especially for children with autism.  "...some common features on clothing — things like buttons, zippers, tags, and lace — can make it difficult for children with autism to get dressed by themselves... and without a clear front or back so that kids can put them on whichever way they please... includes tracking technology in several of its items..."

John Oliver asks why the American public keeps paying for lavish sports stadiums to benefit the wealthy owners of the teams.

"A newly discovered bound collection of All the Year Round, a magazine edited by Dickens, shows the Great Expectations author’s own handwriting. His annotations indicate that previously anonymous short stories, poems and articles were written by North and South author Elizabeth Gaskell, Alice in Wonderland creator Lewis Carroll and The Woman in White author Wilkie Collins."

How politicians artificially inflate the sales of their books.

Dog escapes from an enclosure.

An essay in the Economics column of The Guardian argues that capitalism has ended and we are now entering the postcapitalist period:
Postcapitalism is possible because of three major changes information technology has brought about in the past 25 years... information is corroding the market’s ability to form prices correctly. That is because markets are based on scarcity while information is abundant. The system’s defence mechanism is to form monopolies – the giant tech companies – on a scale not seen in the past 200 years, yet they cannot last... we’re seeing the spontaneous rise of collaborative production: goods, services and organisations are appearing that no longer respond to the dictates of the market and the managerial hierarchy...
Someone has developed a drone that fires a handgun.  The FAA says it's illegal.

A Facebook image of a Filipino boy doing his homework by the light of a McDonald's window [cropped at right] went viral.  "Nine-year-old Daniel Cabrera will now be able to fulfil his dream of becoming a policeman after donations of cash, school supplies and a college scholarship poured in."

Some startling facts about income inequality.

The really, REALLY big earthquake fault that will destroy cities and kill millions is not the San Andreas one.  It's the one in the Pacific Northwest.

An argument that Germany (not Greece) should exit the Euro.

While people were standing by at a Chevron gas station in Beaverton, taking video of a woman trapped inside of her burning car, a 19-year-old came to her rescue...  what surprised Bittar wasn't the flames, it was the crowd of people he said standing around, taking video of what he found to be a woman trapped in her burning car. "There was like six bystanders just videotaping like oh man she needs to get some help." That's when Bittar took the situation into his own hands. "I told her, hey I'm going to pull you out, get away from the window because I have to break it and she's like okay," he described.  The woman was taken by medic crews to a nearby hospital.

Krebs on Security analyzes the hack of AshleyMadison, which has some 37 million users.  Some have speculated that the hack threatens national security because of the high probability that people in the upper echelon of the American political establishment have made use of the service. "Washington, D.C., had the highest rate of membership for the site of any city."

Suggestions for those who would like to start reading contemporary comic books.

"Hollywood actor George Clooney launched an initiative on Monday to track down and help bring to justice those funding and profiting from Africa’s deadliest conflicts, in a bid to fight corruption in war zones.  Clooney joined forces with US human rights activist John Prendergast in a project called The Sentry that aims to investigate the flow of money in and out of conflict zones and give policymakers the tools to take effective action.  Using data collection, field research and analysis technology, the initiative plans to expose how conflict is financed and profits laundered, with a website encouraging people to anonymously submit leaks and tips."

A Kiwi has won the French-language Scrabble world championship, reportedly without speaking a word of French.

"An anti-gay political party in Kenya plans to protest against U.S. President Barack Obama by greeting him with 5,000 "totally naked" protesters for his "open and aggressive support for homosexuality."  The Republican Liberty Party's "main objective is for him to see and understand the difference between a man and woman," according to a party statement..."

A video explains how to repair a broken wing on a butterfly.

Charles Darwin and his friends terraformed Ascension Island.

"In his speech in Tallahassee, Florida, on Monday denouncing the influence of lobbyists, Jeb Bush neglected to mention one critical detail: The event was organized by a powerful corporate lobbying group that has helped financially support his White House bid."

A local news anchor spontaneously offers his personal opinion as to why Amazon has surpassed Walmart in market cap.  LOL.

An extended article about Ursula Le Guin and her views of contemporary literature, speaking truth to power:
“I think she’s gotten more daring, more feminist, more political,” says the Portland novelist Molly Gloss, a onetime student of Le Guin’s who has been her friend since the 1980s. “She’s more willing to rattle cages. At the National Book Awards, there’s a whole table full of Amazon folks, and she looks right at them and tells them what she thinks of how they’re trying to take over publishing. And then she looks right at her own publishing house and says their policies are making it impossible for libraries to lend e-books. These aren’t the kinds of things you imagine other writers being willing to say out loud.”
George McGovern did father a "secret child."  It could have affected his national campaign against Nixon:
“Somehow, the material ended up with President Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign – possibly leaked by the bureau’s longtime director, J. Edgar Hoover – but it was never disclosed during the campaign.”... Nixon didn’t need the Fort Wayne story to beat McGovern. After Thomas Eagleton, McGovern’s running mate, revealed he had been treated for depression and left the ticket, defeat was already in the air.
Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, a fungus that normally affects dead snakes, is now attacking the scales of live snakes.

"On Monday’s edition of “Fox & Friends,” Elisabeth Hasselbeck speculated that an “irritated” Sandra Bland could have “attacked” Officer Brian Encinia with her cigarette, because the co-host is “sure someone has, in the history of this land, used a cigarette against a police officer.”... “What if, I mean, there are times, I’m sure, someone has, in the history of this land, used a cigarette against a police officer,” Hasselbeck said. “Maybe chucked it at him — pushed it at him?” “Absolutely,” former New York Police Department officer John Rafferty replied."

The top image is a coneflower - a favorite nectar source for butterflies in our garden.


  1. "A Kiwi has won the French-language Scrabble world championship, reportedly without speaking a word of French"
    Your use of the word Kiwi to describe someone of New Zealand nationality is akin to my use of the word yank to describe any of the 300 million odd people that call the U.S.A. home.
    Actually I don't find it offensive at all, but am aware, as I drink my cappuccino, that people freely call the French frogs, the British poms, Australians diggers, and yes, Americans yanks.
    I was born in Wales and when at my age 6 we moved to England, so I was called taffy at school. Moving to Australia when I was 8, I was labelled a pom. Arriving in New Zealand at age 11, I still had a Welsh/British accent so was spared any derogatory Australian name as I was still pom or pommie, however, as my father was helping the NZ TV station go colour, we were provided with a government owned house, called a 'state' house. The other 'state' houses were mainly inhabited by those on social benefits, of which 95% were indigenous. This gave rise to me being called honky, whitey, as well as pommie, all of which name calling preceded a chase and a beating.
    Some pigeon holing is offensive, some less so.
    The chap that won the Scrabble contest, while obviously quite clever, is not indicative of the average NZer (Kiwi), I myself do not sport a long beard of ZZ Top proportions and the only people I have seen wearing such facial topiary, ride loud motorbikes and have jackets that are emblazoned with skulls and the such.
    Anyhow, I have finished my dose of caffeine and hope you don't mind little return snippets of perhaps small interest, occasionally.

  2. Brilliant, funny take on the systematic pillaging of public funds for professional sports franchises (that have monopolies and sometimes, as is the case with the NFL, even status as non-profits!). I am a resident of Santa Clara, CA, where the 49ers now call home (actually, they still say they're the San Francisco 49ers, and the team promotes more events outside of stadium-related games and museum visits in S.F. so...). Trying to get straight answers on the funding of that stadium was impossible, and now they're reneging on promises made during the election of funding youth soccer fields in the area (they now want to turn those fields into parking lots, since there wasn't really enough room for parking in the area, and never was, and they propose to relocate the soccer fields somewhere else for more money). A pack of crooks! My favorite line of logic that I heard during the campaign run up to the election was something like this: "You don't make money, and that's why you need public funds? Then why would you promise us all these rewards from all the money you expect to rake in once the stadium is funded and operating?"

  3. Most of the "startling facts about income inequality" article tells us things we've heard a hundred times before, but I was genuinely startled by item number four on the list (about median wealth) and even more so by the article it then links to.

    1. Old they may well be, but too many Americans still believe in the Ronnie Raygun vision of welfare queens driving brand new, pink Cadillacs as the major cause of our economic woes.

  4. The real reason Amazon has outdone Walmart is that you can shop in your underwear, and you don't have to see others shop in _their_ underwear.*


    *Seriously. Been to a Walmart lately?

    1. not only can you shop in your underwear (i usually put on a robe, for modesty) but you can stay home and look at the wierdos of walmart http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/


    2. @Anonymous:

      Re: people of Walmart

      I did stumble across that site once. Thanks for reminding me.
      I think.


  5. The "Startling Facts" from Salon about income inequality ignore those startling facts that prevent it.


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