April 18, 2015
You know the HBO “Static Intro” as soon as you hear it. There’s the sound of a TV powering on. It’s followed by the appearance of a white line that spreads across the screen, and it fills in the darkness with the static snow of an old black-and-white TV set. The electric snowstorm is joined by a single tone that ascends like a gospel choir singing to the heavens. One that revs your emotions.
More about static. Did you know that the static you hear as you search for a radio station is the sound of "cosmic microwave background radiation", composed of photons of energy that are still cooling 15 billion years after the Big Bang. Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson won the Nobel prize in physics in 1978 for discovering this. It's also called the 'afterglow of creation'.
It accounts for 99.9 % of all the particles of light, or photons, in the Universe.Remarkably, only 0.1 per cent is tied up in the light from the stars and nebulae and galaxies. If you were in space with ‘magic glasses’ that showed microwaves, you would see the whole of the Universe glowing brightly with the big bang afterglow just as if you were inside a light bulb.
NASA is planning on using glitter clouds to help make contact with new worlds. Lasers would align each glitter grain in the same direction, transforming clouds of glitter dust into a reflective surface that would enable high-resolution imaging in space at a very low cost.
40 Inspiring Workspaces Of The Famously Creative
From tiny writing desks to giant painting studios, the only thing all of these creative studios have in common is that they inspired their successful inhabitants to create greatness.
Man Invents Shoe That Grows 5 Sizes to Help Millions of Poor Children
Kenton Lee invented The Shoe That Grows, a sandal that comes with snaps in the front, back, and sides. It can expand to 5 shoe sizes. The shoes comes in small and large varieties, so two pairs of shoes can meet a child's footwear needs from the ages of 5 to 15. The charity that distributes the shoes, Because International, lives out its motto of practical compassion.
An albino dolphin that turns PINK when he's angry or sad: Mammal baffles scientists by blushing when he gets emotional. Its thin skin means it changes color when it's emotional like a human. The rare albino dolphin lives at the Taiji Whale Museum in southern Japan.
April 17, 2015
Richard Fernandez on The Future of Identity Politics
Matt Walsh says its time to call identity politics off. ”No, it isn’t ‘time for a woman to be president.’”, he says. “It’s time for a competent adult of either gender to be president.” But describing the possibility of a world without identity politics to the Left, a world in which only individuals matter, is like suggesting life after death. The “progressive” site South Lawn looks at one proposal to save identity politics by redefining “whiteness” as an ideology. It is “a specific and foundational origin of violence … an intentional and specifically curated identity, culture institution and strategy of domination created by white people themselves to keep Black, indigenous and other racialized pepole down”. In that world, anyone can be “white” as long as they think the wrong thoughts.
Who can be an identity certificate authority? Anna Louise Bardach of the New York Times thinks that America’s newspaper of record must have that power. She tries to assert that neither Ted Cruz nor Marco Rubio are Hispanic. How could they be? First of all they are Republican. In the second place they are “white” and therefore members of “”a specific and foundational origin of violence … an intentional and specifically curated identity, culture institution and strategy of domination created by white people themselves to keep Black, indigenous and other racialized pepole down.”
The principal guardians of identity will be teams of lawyers hired by the Left ready to pounce on anyone who dares believe his own lying eyes. The problem with making race dependent on certification that is creates the danger that the number of whites will rise. Eugene Volokh in what has since become a classic LA Times article noted in 1998 that Asians were becoming white.
Defense Department: The Bible, Constitution And Declaration Of Independence All Perpetuate Sexism according to a Defense Department-approved “sexism course,”
‘Free-range’ kids and our parenting police state A ten-year-old boy and six-year-old sister returning home on sunny afternoon from a park two and a half blocks away when the Montgomery, Md police picked them up, coerced them into a squad car and kept them there for three hours without notifying the parents and then took them to a crisis center where they were held for another two and a half hours without dinner.
"Their mom, Danielle Meitiv, said to her Facebook friends. “We finally got home at 11 pm and the kids slept in our room because we were all exhausted and terrified.”
Take a look at the first-grade readiness checklist from a 1979 book, “Your Six-Year-Old — Loving and Defiant.”….
Can he travel alone in the neighborhood (four to eight blocks) to store, school, playground, or to a friend’s home?"
The parents are going to file suit and I say good for them
"A D.C-based law firm will file suit and pursue “all legal remedies” to protect the rights of the Maryland parents whose two young children were taken into custody for more than five hours Sunday after someone reported them as they made their way home unsupervised from a Silver Spring park, the firm said Tuesday.
Danielle and Alexander Meitiv were “rightfully outraged by the irresponsible actions” of Maryland Child Protective Services and Montgomery County police, said attorney Matthew Dowd, of the firm Wiley Rein, in a written statement,
“We must ask ourselves how we reached the point where a parent’s biggest fear is that government officials will literally seize our children off the streets as they walk in our neighborhoods,” he said."
"It should be noted that many major firms climbed all over each other to represent the suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo. Law firms routinely represent clients who have bad reputations, murderers, polluters, tax cheats, and bank robbers. But it seems the power of the LGBT lobby has placed defenders of traditional marriage well beyond the legal pale, unworthy of representation."
Even powerful partners in large firms will say privately they must keep quiet about certain of their beliefs, including opposing abortion, and especially opposing gay marriage, careful not to put anything on Facebook or Twitter, and never to let even their closest colleagues know that they believe marriage cannot occur between men.
The Case Against Gay Marriage: Top Law Firms Won’t Touch It But some conservatives say lawyers and scholars who support religious liberty and oppose a constitutional right to same-sex marriage have been bullied into silence. “The level of sheer desire to crush dissent is pretty unprecedented,” said Michael W. McConnell, a former federal appeals court judge who teaches law at Stanford.
Colorado Legislatures Are So Zealously Committed to Abortion, They Will Not Even Criminalize Killers Who Cut Babies Out of Their Mothers' Wombs Against Their Wishes. "That is not some hypothetical, of course -- that just happened. An attacker stabbed a pregnant woman in her home, and left her for dead -- but not before cutting her baby out of her.
The baby died, the woman did not -- but this grisly murderer can't be charged with murder, because prosecutors claim the law doesn't permit murder charges involving a fetus. (Though I smell a strong whiff of "I don't want to" in this claim of "I can't.")"
ISIS abroad and close by
ISIS Camp a Few Miles from El Paso, Mexican Authorities Confirm
"During the course of a joint operation last week, Mexican Army and federal law enforcement officials discovered documents in Arabic and Urdu, as well as “plans” of Fort Bliss – the sprawling military installation that houses the US Army’s 1st Armored Division. Muslim prayer rugs were recovered with the documents during the operation.
According to these same sources, “coyotes” engaged in human smuggling – and working for Juárez Cartel – help move ISIS terrorists through the desert and across the border between Santa Teresa and Sunland Park, New Mexico. To the east of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, cartel-backed “coyotes” are also smuggling ISIS terrorists through the porous border between Acala and Fort Hancock, Texas. These specific areas were targeted for exploitation by ISIS because of their understaffed municipal and county police forces, and the relative safe-havens the areas provide for the unchecked large-scale drug smuggling that was already ongoing."
That means ISIS is in the U.S.
"It is now known that ISIS intends to target railways and airport facilities in the vicinity of Santa Teresa, NM (a US port-of-entry). ISIS also has “spotters” located in the East Potrillo Mountains of New Mexico (largely managed by the Bureau of Land Management) to assist with terrorist border crossing operations. They are conducting reconnaissance of universities, the White Sands Missile Range, government facilities in Alamogordo, NM and Ft. Bliss, as well as the electrical power facilities near Anapra and Chaparral, NM. That ought to have Americans screaming, but no one seems to be noticing it much at all. That is apathetically suicidal. ISIS doesn’t tend to bluff and they have already told us they are coming.
Remember, this is the border that Obama refuses to secure. The border he has thrown open to welcome illegal immigrants. Those illegals coming over that border in the last year and a half, are primarily not Mexican. Many of them are other nationalities. It’s a welcome wagon for ISIS and other terrorists."
Just last week, ISIS released a video promising “We Will Burn America.” It calls for another 9/11 in America and for ISIS fighters to slaughter Americans across the globe. Don’t you think that it would be prudent to listen when someone with a proven murderous track record threatens to annihilate millions of Americans?"
More than 2000 families flee Ramadi 'with just the clothes on their backs[ as ISIS closes in.
"Houses and shops have been left deserted as resident try to escape the worsening violence. Months of ISIS pressure has left Iraqi forces outnumbered inside the city. US forces previously waged a eight year battle against insurgents in Ramadi and Fallujah."
"The photos come from the Iraqi province of Nineveh, where ISIS have recently been targeting historic archaeological sites as well as their bloodthirsty campaign against civilians. Iraq always had gun souks but the growing number of local markets catering to the needs of new Islamic State recruits remains deeply worrying."
Having got rid of all the living Christians ISIS destroys Christian graves and headstones in Mosul with sledgehammers
"The group released a statement with the images that attempted to justify the mass desecration. It said that graves above the ground suggested that the dead person was closer to Allah than the living, so must be demolished and any images on the graves must be erased."
Stunning view of Mt Washington
I've climbed to the top of Mt Washington….in the summer.
April 10, 2015
Some Practical tips
Cool Tools, Unroll.me. And it's free
"I discovered Unroll.me, a free mailing list management service that works with Gmail, Google Apps, and Yahoo Mail. It does a great (but not perfect) job of finding the mailing lists you are subscribed to and presenting them as a list, allowing you to instantly unsubscribe to them by clicking with your mouse. As of today, I have used Unroll.me to unsubscribe to 1,601 mailing lists. It’s a dream come true.
"What about the mailing lists that I actually signed up for and like? Unroll.me is great for dealing with those, too. Instead of receiving the newsletters one-at-a-time in my inbox, I’ve added my 114 mailing list subscriptions to a “Rollup.” This is a daily digest prepared by Unroll.me that contains email from the subscriptions I care about (my bank, my health insurance provider, Audible.com, my kids’ school, James Altucher’s essays, etc.) You can click on any of the items in the Rollup email to see the full email.
5 Things to Know About Going Wi-Fi Only on Your Smartphone
"Since the majority of mobile data traffic flows over Wi-Fi, and more access points are being built daily, it is possible to never pay for wireless phone service again. Here are some considerations.
Michael Hyatt says the Best Entrepreneurs are over 40. They have more life capital, intellectual capital, social capital and financial capital. " Age isn’t a disqualifier for entrepreneurs. It’s more like a prerequisite."
Don’t be a bachelor: Why married men work harder, smarter and make more money.
1.After marrying, men assume a new identity which engenders an ethic of familial responsibility among men, as well as a new-found sense of meaning and status in the world. Marriage also encourages men to take their role as providers seriously.
2. Married men are motivated to maximize their income.
3. Married men benefit from the advice and encouragement of their wives.
4. Employers like married men with children.
13 Travel Tips That Will Make You Feel Smart
8. To keep your clothes smelling fresh, pop a dryer sheet in your suitcase.
12. Always make left turns in the security line to get through more quickly.
Health Roundup: Cancer vaccine, more eggs, cheese and knitting, over-prescription of anti-depressants
Israeli Company's Vaccine Blocks 90% of Cancer Types Vaxil BioTherapeutics's ImMucin trains immune system to fight cancer cells and prevent the disease's return for early stages and remission.
Researchers claim eating an egg every other day may keep diabetes at bay. Regular consumption cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by a third, according to a new study. A second study found similar health benefits from eating high fat dairy foods, such as cheese. Second study found eating high fat cheese and yogurt lowered risk by 25%
French cheese diet 'reduces the risk of a heart attack'. Experts claim that brie, camembert, roquefort - and any other variety - helps cut the amount of dangerous cholesterol in people's bodies, leading to a reduced risk of suffering a heart attack. The discovery is being hailed a new piece in the 'French paradox' puzzle which already shows that drinking red wine cuts cardiovascular disease rates. Researchers found that those who consumed cheese had higher levels of butyrate, a compound produced by gut bacteria. Higher levels of the chemical were linked to a reduction in cholesterol.
A passion for knitting and crocheting could protect against dementia Arts and crafts enthusiasts are 75% less likely to suffer memory loss…Scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota believe the findings highlight the importance of engaging the mind. They found people who participate in arts and crafts, and those who socialize in middle and old age, were 73 per cent less likely to develop memory loss, which often leads to dementia. The key, they believe, lies in the fact the activities stimulate the mind and help protect vital neurons - the building blocks of the brain.
So can middle-age spread
While traveling in certain foreign countries, think about a daily handful of peanuts a day. Handful of peanuts a day can shield you from food poisoning: Nuts found to improve health in the gut and body's ability to ward off bugs including E.Coli
Binge drinking as a teenager 'may damage the brain for life': Alcohol puts young people at risk of anxiety disorders and addiction
Binge drinking as a teenager can cause long-lasting damage to the brain well into adulthood, a new study has warned.
This is because drinking excessive amounts of alcohol when young can damage the brain and cause permanent changes to DNA. This, in turn, can put teenagers at risk of anxiety disorders and alcoholism, researchers found. Alcohol changes genes in brain cells, which stop the cells developing connections between them, altering behavior.
A study analyzed those taking selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and found that 69% did not meet the criteria for clinical depression and 38% did not meet the criteria for other mental conditions like anxiety
Experts: 'Drugs are prescribed without an evidence-based diagnosis'
Commenting on the study, Dr Howard Forman, medical director of the Addiction Consultation Service at Montefiore Medical Center, said clinical depression is distinct from temporary feelings of sadness. 'We all experience periods of stress, periods of sadness, and periods of self-doubt. These don’t make us mentally ill, they define us as human.'
In the U.S., official guidelines say clinical depression should be diagnosed if a person has five or more depressive symptoms over a two week period, most of the day, nearly every day. The symptoms include a depressed mood; a loss of interested or pleasure in activities; weight loss, weight gain or changes in appetite; insomnia or increased desire to sleep. Other symptoms included restlessness or slowed behavior; fatigue or loss of energy; feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt; difficulty making decisions or trouble concentrating, and thoughts of death or suicide.
Prescriptions for anti-depressants have more than trebled since 1998 in the world’s richest countries, a study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development found.
Parenting Roundup: Play cards, tissue paper trick, jellyfish, the kids are not alright and under tremendous stress
Use scotch tape for cutting a toddler’s bangs from 4 Parenting Hacks That Make It Just A Little Easier.
Cutting little kids' hair is hard because they wiggle and squirm, and mine HATE the little pieces of hair falling on their faces which is why this totally works! She can move and chatter as much as she wants and the straight line stays straight. Just cut along the top edge of tapeline, and the tape will hold most of the little cut ends so they don’t end up everywhere.
Bring a travel size can of shaving cream to the beach. Jellyfish stings are extremely painful. Some swear that peeing on the sting helps but it only makes it worse says the British National Health Service. Instead, apply shaving cream which apparently help prevent the spread of the toxins in the sting. But who brings shaving cream to the beach?
Fidgeting, whiney baby won't sleep? The tissue paper trick: Nathan Dailo demonstrates in a Youtube video he demonstrates how stroking his 3-month-old son's face with a white piece of tissue paper sends him to sleep in 42 seconds.
Keep kids away from jet air hand dryers. Another study shows why paper towels are the most hygienic way to dry your hands. Powerful jet air dryers can spray microbes up to 1.5m (a little less than 5 ft.) into the distance. They spray bacteria up to 0.9m (a little less than 3 ft) from the floor - the exact height of a child. Researchers found 27 times more germs in the air around jet-air dryers in comparison with the air around paper towel dispensers.They found also found five times more bacteria around jet-air dryers than warm air dryers. Experts: Parents should keep children away from air coming out of dryers.
Stressful life events in childhood like divorce can 'triple risk' of children getting diabetes. Stressful life events in childhood such as death or illness in the family, divorce or separation can triple the risk of developing type 1 diabetes, the type that requires daily insulin injections. A Swedish study analyzed more than 10,000 families with children aged between two and 14 who did not already have the condition.
Play cards. Sue Shellenbarger reports Family Card Games Teach Math, Memory and Self-Confidence in the WSJ.
Looking for a way to help your children take turns, follow rules, learn math and memory skills and face competition in a healthy way? How about a game of Crazy Eights?
Card games can teach math and memory skills, as well as strategic thinking, psychologist and sociologists say. Also, the conversation and friendly rivalry that come with sitting down to play cards can strengthen family ties. Family games also can build children’s confidence: The rules are the same for everyone, and it is fun to play a game in which anyone can win.
“To be able to compete against parents and sometimes win is symbolically important to kids. They get a sense that ‘my time is coming,’ a little foretaste of not being under the parent’s thumb,” says William Doherty, professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. Children also can learn to win and lose gracefully, he says—“to be happy but not gloat, and to lose and not pout.”
The kids are not alright. American Teens Are Stressed and Bored.
But American youth, especially teens, are not in good emotional shape. They feel mostly “bored and checked out” at school, according to adolescence scholar Larry Steinberg. Academically, they are underachieving when compared to youth in other developed nations. And their mental health is declining. During the school year, their stress has edged beyond that of adults, according to a survey of the American Psychological Association last year. They rank in the bottom quarter among other developed nations on measures of well-being, life-satisfaction, and relationship quality, according to a recent UNICEF study.
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, the nation’s leading organization advancing this cause, says that children should have five core emotion competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. Teaching kids about their feelings can mean the difference between whether a personal setback becomes chronic failure or strengthens resolve, whether a disagreement with a friend festers into anger or is navigated gracefully, whether the intellectual insight is fanned or extinguished.
Since character is no longer taught in school, new programs are being created to teach emotional skills and are proving successful.
April 6, 2015
The New McCarthyism and what it means for Christians
It was just over 60 years ago that the tactics of Senator Joseph McCarthy were repudiated when he was censured by the Senate in December 1954. Ever since then, McCarthyism — the reckless hurling of accusations at adversaries so as to destroy their reputations — has been considered one of the lowest forms of political behavior and one liberals love to crusade against.
…Reid’s response in the interview was fascinating. When asked by Bash if his tactic was McCarthyite he visibly shrugged on camera, smiled, and said “Well, they can call it whatever they want. Romney didn’t win, did he?” White House spokesman Josh Earnest refused to criticize Reid for his comment because it “was three years old,” when in reality Reid’s televised reveling in it was only three days old
Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic Should Mom-and-Pops That Forgo Gay Weddings Be Destroyed?
I don't think they recognize how ugly, intolerant and extreme their actions appear or the effect they'll have on Americans beyond the mainstream media, or that their vitriolic shaming these people has ultimately made them into martyrs. I fear that a backlash against their tactics will weaken support for the better angels of the gay rights movement at a time when more progress needs to be made, and that they're turning traditionalists into a fearful, alienated minority with a posture of defensiveness that closes them off to persuasion.
Who Will Stand? Robert P. George
The lynch mob is now giddy with success and drunk on the misery and pain of its victims. It is urged on by a compliant and even gleeful media. It is reinforced in its sense of righteousness and moral superiority by the “beautiful people” and the intellectual class. It has been joined by the big corporations who perceive their economic interests to be in joining up with the mandarins of cultural power. It owns one political party and has intimidated the leaders of the other into supine and humiliating obeisance.
And so, who if anyone will courageously stand up to the mob? Who will resist? Who will speak truth to its raw and frightening power? Who will refuse to be bullied into submission or intimidated into silence?
We have seen how swiftly the demands have moved from tolerance to compulsory approbation of behavior historically rejected as contrary to morality and faith by virtually all the great religious traditions of the world. And now it is not only approbation that is demanded, but active participation……..
If we refuse to surrender, we will certainly be demonized; but everything will depend on whether we refuse to be demoralized. Courage displayed in the cause of truth—and of right—is powerful. And it will depend on whether ordinary people—Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, others—inspired by their faith to stand firm, will also be willing to stand shoulder to shoulder, and arm-in-arm, with their brothers and sisters of other traditions of faith to defy the mob.
I can only excerpt parts of Rod Dreher's The Post-Indiana Future for Christians, I do urge you to read it all.
I spent a long time on the phone last night with a law professor at one of the country’s elite law schools. This professor is a practicing Christian, deeply closeted in the workplace; he is convinced that if his colleagues in academia knew of his faith, they would make it very hard for him.
“The sad thing,” he said, “is that the old ways of aspiring to truth, seeing all knowledge as part of learning about the nature of reality, they don’t hold. It’s all about power. They’ve got cultural power, and think they should use it for good, but their idea of good is not anchored in anything. They’ve got a lot of power in courts and in politics and in education. Their job is to challenge people to think critically, but thinking critically means thinking like them. They really do think that they know so much more than anybody did before, and there is no point in listening to anybody else, because they have all the answers, and believe that they are good.”
“In California right now, judges can’t belong to the Boy Scouts now. Who knows if in the future, lawyers won’t be able to belong to churches that are considered hate groups?”….There’s a question among Christian law professors right now: do you write about these issues and risk tenure? This really does distort your scholarship. Christianity could make a distinct contribution to legal discussions, but it’s simply too risky to say what you really think.”
“Memories Pizza teaches us all a lesson. What is the line between prudently closing our mouths and closeting ourselves, and compromising our faith? Christians have to start thinking about that seriously.”
"We live in a culture that is now largely post-rational, post-modern, and post-law. Power and emotions drive issues in a way that would have been unthinkable 20 years ago."
"Religious liberty is precisely what allows a pluralistic society to live together in peace."
For many religious believers, Passover and the Easter season are cornerstones of the year. Thus our hearts have been especially troubled in recent days by the acrimony and lies surrounding legal efforts, in Indiana and elsewhere, at ensuring religious liberty for people of all faiths.
As Americans commemorate their respective holy days, we urge all our fellow citizens to remember the moral roots of their constitutional system, and to engage in a sensible national conversation about religious liberty. Even those who are not religious have a stake in seeing that our “first freedom”—religious freedom; freedom of conscience—is protected in law.
In recent days we have heard claims that a belief central to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—that we are created male and female, and that marriage unites these two basic expressions of humanity in a unique covenant—amounts to a form of bigotry. Such arguments only increase public confusion on a vitally important issue. When basic moral convictions and historic religious wisdom rooted in experience are deemed “discrimination,” our ability to achieve civic harmony, or even to reason clearly, is impossible.
America was founded on the idea that religious liberty matters because religious belief matters in a uniquely life-giving and powerful way. We need to take that birthright seriously, or we become a people alien to our own founding principles. Religious liberty is precisely what allows a pluralistic society to live together in peace.
Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Philadelphia
Robert P. George
McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence
William E. Lori
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Baltimore
Albert Mohler, Jr., President
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Russell Moore, President
Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
Southern Baptist Convention