Thursday, May 31, 2012

You Can Take the Woman Out of the Cave - Part Trois

But you can't take the cave out of the woman.

Women DO want men to be providers  - or at least English women.
Evolutionary biologists have discovered, it seems, that the nuclear family evolved when men discovered women preferred males who provided for them and their children to those who were constantly clubbing each other in a battle for supremacy.

For thousands of years, this model of two parents, with the male looking after the female, proved successful — but new figures released by the Office of National Statistics to mark the Diamond Jubilee reveal that husband-providers have become an endangered species.

There are fewer marriages and four times more divorces today than in 1952, when the Queen acceded to the throne.

In 2012, a third of Britons live alone and the traditional nuclear family seems set to become almost as outdated as the Morris Minor (1952’s most popular car).

So what is going wrong? One factor, I suspect, is the rise of the career woman. In many ways, I’m all for this: after all, I am one myself, and I would certainly want my daughter to have a career and to be capable of providing for herself. But it’s had an undeniably emasculating effect on some men.

But a friend who is a mother of three recently went back to work full-time because her husband, a graphic designer, decided he’d rather work for himself than have his creativity compromised by working for a company. She finds she can’t forgive him for failing to be the main provider, when he could be if he chose.

Of course, life is complicated, and a successful marriage is based on supporting each other through the bad times as well as the good. If a man’s been made redundant or has lost his job through ill-health, then it’s not only understandable but right that his wife take over the breadwinner’s role, if at all possible. But nothing will persuade me that men are better equipped than women to take on childcare — or that most men really want to. My husband is a loving father who was desperate to have children. He’s also a workaholic who’s never happier than when he’s working six days a week.

When I tell him that (like every working mother I know) I’m racked with guilt and worry endlessly about our children’s wellbeing, he’s genuinely amazed.

He never gives a second’s thought to  whether they’re eating enough fruit, getting enough sleep or have made enough friends. He worries only when there’s something major to worry about, such as when they’re ill or unhappy. This is normal. A good father should have implacable determination to provide, the strength to protect and the stamina to survive.

I couldn’t care less how he manages in the supermarket (I already know the answer: barely). Because what’s far more important than being a good role model in the supermarket is to be a good role model as a man.
There's something about a pattern that the human race has been in for a few hundred thousand years that's just hard to escape.  The fore-brain says you should be able, but the mid-brain keeps dragging you back.

The recent change in relationship between men and women is that  the state is taking the role of the man as the provider, as recently seen in the Obama campaign's vision of Julia. This will not end well.

 I thank Wombat-Socho for helping to drive traffic my direction with his Rule 5 roundup at The Other McCain, "All Over But the Crying."

Got Some Fishing In, At Last

It's been a long time, at least by my standards, since I got fishing.  Between trips to Alaska, wind, and various other events, I just don't seem to find the time.  Life happens.

I got out about 6:30 PM, after a quick dinner.

A cruise ship on the way down the Bay from Baltimore.  I suppose I could find out which one, but I'm not sure I care.

A view of the gas docks from "Location X".  The buoys in the foreground mark the exclusion zone around the intakes of "Location X".  A good little boy does not go inside the those buoys....
 Location X
Fishing was kind of slow, but eventually, right around sunset, the little fish that hang around the discharge started to get active.  I even found one that was 18 inches long to invite home for dinner (this wasn't it).

 A Location X sunset.

Zombie Outbreak Caused by Bath Salts?

I should feel guilty doing two silly zombie posts in less than a week; naw, not really.

'Bath salts': Officials say the synthetic drug in disguise was behind recent ‘cannibal’ attack
The “cannibal” attacker who chewed off another man’s face in a gruesome crime in Miami Saturday is suspected to have been under the influence of a dangerous drug sold under the innocuous name “bath salts.” ....

Bath salts, also known by street names like “Ivory Wave,” “Vanilla Sky,” “Bliss,” and “Purple Rain”, made headlines last year after a rush of emergency room visits, thousands of calls to poison centers and several deaths. The man-made, synthetic drug is made from amphetamine-like chemicals and causes a unique combination of effects on the brain.

“If you take the worst attributes of meth, coke, PCP, LSD and Ecstasy and put them together, that’s what we’re seeing sometimes,” Mark Ryan, the director of the Louisiana Poison Center, told the New York Times.

The powdery substance comes in a small packet, and can be inhaled, swallowed or injected, according to a report from the National Institutes of Health.

The drug is manufactured by street chemists and sold in convenience stores or online, often legally. Sellers were able to sell the drug legally since its emergence in 2009 by marketing the substance as either bath salts or “plant food” or “insect repellant,” and stipulating “not for human consumption” on the label.
Every few years, some new super drug comes out that's cheap, easy to make, and not yet illegal.  A few tragedies ensue, Congress makes a new law, with super strict penalties.  LSD, (and a host of other hallucinogenics in my lifetime), crack, ecstasy, and now probably bath salts.  The problem never stops, but the crime around the problem continues, unabated, fueled the by the profits that come when the price is artificially raised by the interdiction efforts.  Life goes on.  Time to get the law out of the business of illegalizing drugs, and find a way to get serious with treatment.

Now, another zombie outbreak in Hackensack, New Jersey (I mean, how could you tell?):

Hackensack Man Stabbed Himself, Threw His Skin And Intestines At Officers

A man who stabbed himself and threw pieces of his skin and intestines at police officers trying to subdue him was hospitalized in critical condition on Monday, authorities said.

Officers encountered 43-year-old Wayne Carter on Sunday morning when they responded to reports of a man barricaded in a room in Hackensack and threatening to harm himself, Lt. John Heinemann said.

Two officers kicked in the door and saw Carter in a corner, holding a knife in his hand, police said. Carter, ignoring the officers’ orders to drop the knife, stood up and stabbed himself in the abdomen, legs and neck, they said.

Carter yelled at the officers and took an aggressive stance, and the officers used pepper spray in a bid to subdue him, but it had no effect, Heinemann said. Police said that Carter then cut off pieces of his skin and intestines and threw them at the officers.

The officers decided to retreat and call in the Bergen County SWAT team, Heinemann said. Carter finally was restrained and was taken to a hospital just before midnight.
No word yet on whether this was drug induced zombism (which is really like the Haitian original version, sort of a drug induced unpaid internship), or the George Romero version.  Meanwhile, somebody is at least doing something important about the imminent zombie apocalypse; considering the tax consequences of becoming one:
I]t seems a stretch to conclude that those who transform seamlessly into zombies should be considered dead. They never lose heart or brain function, though they now function quite differently from before. While it might be tempting to declare them dead, significant line-drawing problems would arise as one tried to distinguish between zombies and those who have suffered some mental or physical breakdown. Put differently, were such zombies to be considered dead because they suffered a personality change, physical disability, or decreased brain function, the door would be open to declaring dead a wide range of people currently considered to be alive.
I know a few people who might just fall into the zombie category were this to be the criterion.
If people who become zombies are considered dead for federal estate and income tax purposes, little will have changed. Becoming a zombie will be no different than dying from pneumonia, aside from the part where you eat your friends and loved ones. However, other outcomes are possible. For instance, if someone who becomes a zombie is considered not dead (as opposed to undead) for estate and income tax purposes, neither the estate tax nor the basis reset would be triggered. We would be in a situation similar to the one Congress negotiated as part of the Bush tax cuts, which relaxed the basis reset rules in conjunction with eliminating the estate tax. This could turn out well for those intending to hold on to their property for a long time. Alternately, both the estate tax and basis reset could kick in only when a person's zombie was dispatched. Were this the rule, people might have incentives to become zombies to delay the application of the estate tax.

However, these are not the only two options. Until now, the estate tax and income tax have been construed consistently with regard to who is a decedent. This need not be the case. In other words, it is possible that the transition from alive to undead could trigger the estate tax but not the basis reset. Were this to happen, taxpayers who become zombies would be hit twice, and years of tax planning could go out the window. Alternately, becoming a zombie could be deemed not to trigger the estate tax but to allow basis reset. Under this scenario, the government would forego two opportunities to raise revenue, significantly increasing whatever the then current deficit would be, especially if the outbreak were severe.

It's just sad when all life decisions, like whether or not to succumb to zombism have to be made based on the tax consequences.  And it's even worse that they don't have the rules already laid out for that eventuality.  There otta be a law!
He also tackles other tricky aspects of zombification: whether a person is still considered married if their spouse has become undead, the administrative problems of resurrecting dead social security numbers, and the difficulty many zombies would likely have in filling out income tax forms.
And then he goes on to consider vampires and other forms of undead.  But maybe that's for another post.

I thank Wombat-Socho for helping to drive traffic my direction with his Rule 5 roundup at The Other McCain, "All Over But the Crying."

Hot Hands

What are the chances? Back to back home runs, and the same guy catches them both.

If you do something enough times, all kinds of individually improbably things happen.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Yes, We Can

Two decades ago Canada suffered a deep recession and teetered on the brink of a debt crisis caused by rising government spending. The Wall Street Journal said that growing debt was making Canada an "honorary member of the third world" with the "northern peso" as its currency. But Canada reversed course and cut spending, balanced its budget, and enacted various pro-market reforms. The economy boomed, unemployment plunged, and the formerly weak Canadian dollar soared to reach parity with the U.S. dollar.

In some ways the United States is in even worse fiscal shape today than Canada was two decades ago. For one thing baby boomers are now retiring in droves, which is pushing the federal government deeper into debt every year. America risks becoming a "first world" country like those in Europe, where huge deficit spending is wrecking economies and ruining opportunities for young people.

America needs to get its fiscal house in order, and Canada has shown how to do it. Our northern neighbor still has a large welfare state, but there is a lot we can learn from its efforts to restrain the government and adopt market-oriented reforms to spur strong economic growth...  Read the rest
And Canada has ridden out this recent world wide economic slowdown very well.  Go figure.

It won't be easy to cut government spending. 

First, there's the political problem.  Legislators find it easy to buy voters with government spending that appears to help them.  People easily perceive the spending that helps them personally, and fail to perceive the subtle negative effects that government spending have on the whole economy, by diverting resources, and preventing market efficiencies

Second, there are a lot of people directly and indirectly dependent on the government teat.  To end that suddenly will would cause massive unemployment and unrest.  The answer is not that you can't do it, but you have to do it incrementally and with a decent plan.  I know, that makes it very nearly impossible.  But that which is unsustainable will not be sustained.  The only question is whether the end is gradual and peaceful or sudden and violent.

Which do you prefer?

Head 'Em Up, Move 'Em Out!

If you want to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay and you're fond of oysters, there's a program you should know about.

Buy a special float used to grow oysters on the water, and you can get all your money back in Maryland in the form of a state tax credit.  If you own a home on the water you can place the float under your dock and the growing oysters will naturally filter the water, improving its quality. If you don't have waterfront property, no worries -- you can still become an oyster "rancher".

Buy a float for $250 from Circle C Oyster Ranch in Southern Maryland and they will raise the oysters for you at their place along St. Jerome Creek in St. Mary's County.

Another advantage to buying a float from Circle C: You own the oysters. You can donate them to an oyster sanctuary, or eventually eat them.
Several of my friend have these floating oyster homes, and they do work.  Oysters in them grow faster than oysters on the bottom, often reaching the legal minimum of 3 inches in one year, compared to three or more for "wild" oysters on natural bottom.
Richard Pelz, the ranch's founder, says he has customers who live a good distance away, like in Bethesda and north of Baltimore. He says some will carpool together to go pick up their oysters from Circle C for eating.

"Each float will produce about a bushel and a half, and if we're taking care of it, that's what we do is we give you a bushel and a half of oysters when you want them," Pelz says.

In addition to helping oysters, Pelz says crabs are fond of the floats as well. "They feed on the growth that's on it, they hide on them, there's pockets on top that they can get into where they can mate and molt," Pelz says.
Blue Crabs love oysters as much or more than people.  If a crab get into the cage naturally, and then moults to a larger size it might find itself stuck with nothing to eat but oysters.  Oh, the horror!  A single crab can wipe out the population of a float if it doesn't get found and removed.

This program doesn't really appeal to me.  I don't think I'd want to eat oysters grown in my harbor with the live aboard sail boaters, and as far as the benefit to the Bay, you might as well try to empty it with a teaspoon. 

But if you want to try it, just for fun, for education, or for good eating, go for it!

Don't Mess With the Dress

I thank Wombat-Socho for helping to drive traffic my direction with his Rule 5 roundup at The Other McCain, "All Over But the Crying."

Watch the Birdie

Watch for the bird...

Josh Williams sings Mark Mathewson's Mordecai at the Doyle Lawson Bluegrass Festival at Denton Farm Park in Denton, NC on May 5, 2011.

Found at Theo's.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

RIP Doc Watson

Doc Watson dies at 89
Doc Watson, the blind Grammy-award winning folk musician whose mountain-rooted sound was embraced by generations and whose lightning-fast style of flatpicking influenced guitarists around the world, died Tuesday at a North Carolina hospital, according to a hospital spokeswoman and his manager. He was 89.

Watson died at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, where he was hospitalized recently after falling at his home in Deep Gap, in the Blue Ridge Mountains. He underwent abdominal surgery while in the hospital and had been in critical condition for several days.
Doc and a couple of lesser known guitarists....

Sorry I didn't get to see you live.

Elizabeth Warren's Recipes: Also Not Indian

In recent weeks, much hay has been made of Elizabeth Warren’s claim to an American Indian background, in favor of which proposition the candidate has presented as evidence her mother’s stories, her family’s high cheekbones, and, perhaps most risibly, her contributions to the 1984 Pow Wow Chow cookbook. As yet, nobody seems to have picked up a copy of the volume and prepared any of the “Cherokee” meals that Warren submitted under her name. Intrigued by the prospect, I thought I’d do just that.

As an appetizer, I chose Warren’s recipe for “Mexican Oatmeal Soup.” Despite its name, this dish is somewhat geographically homeless, consisting mostly of chicken broth and a handful of other ingredients not associated with anywhere in particular. Thanks solely to the chopped tomatoes that float at the surface, there are a few dabs of color in the mix, but along with the somewhat egregious oatmeal that never quite becomes part of the whole, these are anomalous curiosities in what is essentially chicken-flavored water. It was a disappointing start.

For the entrée, I prepared another Warren contribution: the crab omelet with tomato mayonnaise dressing. Where exactly the Cherokee would have sourced either cognac or Worcestershire sauce — both key parts of the dressing — and at what point in their 6,000-plus-year history they elected to develop a line in mayonnaise remain unanswered questions. Still, French television chef and immigrant to the United States Pierre Franey, who originally wrote the recipe for the New York Times in the late 1970s, would likely not have run into much trouble on either count. Franey developed the omelet at Le Pavillon, a high-end French restaurant in New York City, and its fans included the likes of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Cole Porter. It appears that Elizabeth Warren simply copied the recipe word for word and substituted in her name.
Ah, plagiarism, the greatest academic crime imaginable; taking credit for someone else's work.
There is, however, little to indicate that crab was ever an Indian favorite — especially in landlocked Oklahoma or the territories where the Cherokee lived. There is some evidence that tribes in both Delaware and the Puget Sound area caught and ate the creatures, and the Cherokee and other peripatetic tribes may have eaten seafood when they traveled to meet with other groups in other parts of country during conferences, or “powwows.” But, other than that, crab is no more associated with the Cherokee than gumbo is with North Dakotans.
At least the tomato descends from a plant domesticated by the Aztec.So maybe the dish is  1/32 Indian after all.

Obama Appoints Anti-Nuclear Activist to Head NRC

Stop Mcfarlane!
Allison Macfarlane is the author of the book Uncertainty Underground: Yucca Mountain and the Nation’s High Level Nuclear Waste. This book, which is endorsed by antinuclear activist Victor Gilinsky, makes the absurd argument that rather than risk unknown consequences 10,000 years in the future should geological conditions affecting remote underground desert repositories change, that high level nuclear waste should continue to be stored in cooling ponds adjacent to nuclear power plants located near heavily populated urban and suburban areas. Thus for Macfarlane, as for Jaczko, the clear goal is to not to make nuclear power as safe as possible — which is the purpose of the NRC — but to make it as unsafe as possible — which is the agenda of those seeking to shut down the nuclear industry.

Macfarlane’s fundamental commitments are thus directly at odds with the purpose of the organization she is being nominated to lead. In addition, Macfarlane has no experience or education in engineering, and is also technically unqualified to lead an organization whose purpose is to intelligently regulate the nuclear industry.
Unicorn farts (wind, solar, biomass) have proven incapable of providing America the energy it needs, and yet President Obama seems to want to kill anything thing else.

Don't Forget Your TED!

"Putting turtle excluders in a crab pot is easy, inexpensive and every recreational crabber's responsibility," DNR secretary John Griffin said in a news release Thursday. "A properly equipped crab pot will catch crabs very efficiently without killing these terrific little turtles."

A turtle excluder, or Bycatch Reduction Device, keeps the larger-shelled terrapins out with the help of a gate. According to the DNR, noncommercial crab pot owners are required by law to have turtle excluders installed in each funnel entrance. Each pot also is required to be marked with the owner's name and address.

Two crab pots are allowed on each waterfront property as long as they are legally set in tributaries where the terrapins live. Commercial watermen can set them in deeper waters of the Chesapeake Bay.

Diamondback terrapins are not yet endangered as sea turtles are but have suffered over the years from a decline in water quality and loss of habitat.

"As denizens of the Chesapeake's beaches and shorelines, terrapins are particularly vulnerable to shoreline development and hardening," Jack Cover, National Aquarium curator, said in the DNR release. "People who live on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland's coastal bays have the special privilege of setting crab pots. But with that comes the responsibility to take the simple steps to make their pots turtle-friendly. Nobody wants to find a drowned diamondback terrapin in their crab pot."
You can find instructions on how to install your TED here. Terrapins are much more common in the tributaries, where commercial fishermen use trotlines, which do not drown terrapins.  However, recreational pots, and certain other kinds of commercial fish trap still catch and drown terrapins in the tributaries. 

Until 2007 Maryland still had a commercial fishery for Diamond Back Terrapins, however, the fishery was declining, and was halted.

The history of the eating terrapin in Maryland and Virginia is pretty interesting.  Once they were so common they formed a staple in slaves diets on tobacco plantations; a wagon load could be purchased for $1, and slaves once rebelled against eating them.  Later, "turtle" soup came into vogue, and a new market developed.

What's the Worst That Could Happen?

United Nations’ Proposal To Regulate Internet Going Before House This Week 
It seems that everybody wants a hand in the massive cookie jar known as the Internet. The latest group that wants some form of control over the Internet is the United Nations. I don’t need to tell you how bad of an idea that is and it seems that our government finally agrees with the Internet on something.

The House of Representatives will be examining the proposal this week. According to The Hill, the UN backed proposal is already supported by China, Russia, Brazil and other countries that would benefit greatly from being able to control the Internet. If there’s one thing that we’ve learned, it’s that the U.S. hates it when foreign countries try to control the Internet.

Thankfully, our government doesn’t seem to like this proposed regulation. The Hill has found that a majority of congressmen from both sides of the political spectrum are against it. It would appear that the Obama administration is also not a fan of letting the UN’s International Telecommunication Union have more of a stake in the way the Internet is run.
Well, they could screw it up entirely.

It's promising that our Congress is not yet on board with this power grab, but I'm sure with some pot-sweetening from the UN, they can be brought around.  The natural inclination of legislators is to bring things under their own control (that way you can collect the baksheesh, and you have lots of supplicants).

Sorry Charlie

We don't want radioactive tuna!

Radioactive bluefin tuna crossed the Pacific to US
Across the vast Pacific, the mighty bluefin tuna carried radioactive contamination that leaked from Japan's crippled nuclear plant to the shores of the United States 6,000 miles away — the first time a huge migrating fish has been shown to carry radioactivity such a distance.

"We were frankly kind of startled," said Nicholas Fisher, one of the researchers reporting the findings online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The levels of radioactive cesium were 10 times higher than the amount measured in tuna off the California coast in previous years. But even so, that's still far below safe-to-eat limits set by the U.S. and Japanese governments.

Previously, smaller fish and plankton were found with elevated levels of radiation in Japanese waters after a magnitude-9 earthquake in March 2011 triggered a tsunami that badly damaged the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors.

But scientists did not expect the nuclear fallout to linger in huge fish that sail the world because such fish can metabolize and shed radioactive substances.
I'm not surprised that some cesium (Cs) survived the trip across the ocean in tuna.  The biological half-life of Cs is estimated to be on the the order of weeks to months, and it take approximately 10 half-lives for a substance to vanish below detection due to such a depuration process.  Moreover, it's likely that the loss kinetics are multiphasic, with the loss half time being estimated on the the fastest phase.  Some Cs incorporated in more slowly exchanging pools will likely remain.

Actually, I remain unconcerned about the radioactive Cs in Pacific tuna.  Besides the fact that Georgia would never buy expensive, large Blue Fin Tuna, I have had enough experience with radioactivity analysis to know that it's incredibly sensitive, and it required heavy shielding and careful background correction to find the signal in the fish.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Found a Neighbor in the Garden Today

 A Black Rat Snake, Elaphe obsoleta.  I was preparing to mow the yard, and I found his tail sticking out of the weeds into the lawn.  One of our biggest local snakes (they can reach 8 ft in length), they are nonvenomous, and good for getting rid of unwanted rodents and other vermin.  This one was only around 4 ft long.

They are also excellent climbers, and are known to prey on birds and squirrels. We have found cast off skins from much bigger snakes than this one in our basement, where at least one sneaks in occasionally. 

Memorial Day at the Beach

If Memorial Day does mark the beginning of Summer, today was a fine example of that.  Clear and calm, with temperatures up to 80 at 9:30 AM and rising, and enough humidity to be noticeable but not oppressive.
We ran into a guy with a couple of dogs; he thought they'd be friendly, but an adolescent male violated Skye's  sense of propriety, and we had to pull them apart.  No blood was spilled but a little snarling and yapping caused us to separate them again.
 A crabber working in close to shore.  No day off for him.
We met a couple, Dick and Cassie, from the Pittsburgh area, staying at the cottages, where they say they have stayed Memorial Days for 30 years.  Now, that's continuity.  We might have met 25 years ago then, because when Georgia and I and the kids moved to Maryland on June 1, 1985 , we stayed at the cottages for several weeks, until we could move into our house.
Just so Joel won't feel the Red is being slighted... Despite being raised as a pet dog, and not a working dog, Red still has that retriever spirit.  Skye, on the other hand, figures if you throw it, you must not want it back.
By the time we were through with the walk, the activity level on the beach was starting to pick up a lot. Gonna be hopping later this afternoon.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Zombie Apocalypse Reignites in Florida

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami police are still tight-lipped about the man they shot and killed on the MacArthur Causeway Saturday afternoon, but new details back claims they had no choice: the naked man they shot was trying to chew the face off another naked man, and refused to obey police orders to stop his grisly meal, which one source now claims included his victim’s nose and eyeballs.

Surveillance video taken from security cameras at the nearby Miami Herald building show a police officer arrive on the scene, appear to be startled by the spectacle of two naked men lying on the street, and draw his service weapon. It appears that the officer shot one of the men, but it was difficult to tell in the video.
I was afraid this might happen, after the recent aborted zombie outbreak in Pennsylvania.
The bizarre shooting happened shortly after 2 p.m., when police responded to a 911 call about two naked men fighting on a bike path along the Causeway, which was packed with traffic on a busy holiday weekend.

Miami police have not confirmed the details of what happened next, but sources close to the investigation told CBS4 News that officers found one man gnawing on the face of another, in what one police source called the most gruesome thing he’d ever seen.
I suspect it's being spread around the country by the #Occupy movement.
The fight was taking place at the causeway exit near the Miami Herald building, and amazed officers tried to stop it, ordering the man making a meal out of the other man to stop.

Miami police have not confirmed the details of what happened next, but sources close to the investigation told CBS4 News that officers found one man gnawing on the face of another, in what one police source called the most gruesome thing he’d ever seen.
I hope they handle the bodies carefully; we don't really know how contagious this is.

The fight was taking place at the causeway exit near the Miami Herald building, and amazed officers tried to stop it, ordering the man making a meal out of the other man to stop.

Armando Aguilar, who heads the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, said he has spoken with the officer who responded. Aguilar said the officer saw what the man was doing, and ordered him to stop. He said the man growled at the officer, and then returned to his meal.
Sound like classic Hollywood George Romero zombie infection, not the Haitian original drug-induced, undead zombie
Aguilar said the man ate his victim’s nose and eyeballs.

The officer then used his service weapon and shot the man, Aguilar said, but the gunshot had no effect.

Other sources confirmed that the man refused to obey, and continued his attack. Aguilar said the officer had no choice but to keep shooting until the attacker was dead.

Investigators sharing limited details about the confrontation, saying only that the two men were fighting and the officers felt they had no choice but to take deadly force.
Time to prepare.

Hey, what fun is death if you can't laugh at it?

I thank Wombat-Socho for helping to drive traffic my direction with his Rule 5 roundup at The Other McCain, "All Over But the Crying."

Beach Report 5/27/12

Another great morning at the beach.  A bit warmer than yesterday, on it's way up to 90 F this afternoon, but quite pleasant at 9 AM.  We left Georgia behind this morning to tend to some business, and met Joel a little early to get an early start on a trip up the road.

Poor Red; he picked up a fish hook in his lip with some bait yesterday after we left, and got a trip to the vet as payback, but he was looking OK this morning.

Some Daylilies escaped from captivity into the area behind the dunes.
A wild Ginger sighting.  You do occasionally find them in the wild, but usually they hide from the sun due to their sensitive skins and lack of souls.
Come on in, Dad!  The water's fine!  It really is too.  It's warm enough to swim in now, it's about as clear as you're likely to find it here, and the jellyfish (Sea Nettles) have not started yet.
But some people were determined to work up a sweat anyway.
Others were working up a sweat retrieving driftwood for some kind of artsy project.
Fishing out on the end of the jetty.  I don't know if anything was caught (I didn't see anything come up) but it's time for Croakers and Spot to start appearing near the beach.

Come On Baby, Light My Fire

The case of an Orange County woman severely burned after rocks collected last weekend from San Onofre State Beach ignited in her pocket has puzzled scientists, who say they've never seen anything like it and aren't quite sure how it happened.

"It's pretty implausible," said Larry Overman, a professor of chemistry at UC Irvine.

The 43-year-old San Clemente woman, who remained hospitalized Thursday with second- and third-degree burns, visited the northern San Diego County beach last Saturday with her family, authorities said. Her name has not been released.

Her children collected rocks, including two that were distinctive — one was large and a marbled gray; the other much smaller and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle green.

Both of the beach stones were streaked and flecked with bright orange.

The mother put the rocks in her right pocket and went home. Then they suddenly ignited.

Witnesses reported seeing flames coming from her shorts. She had second- and third-degree burns from her right knee to her right thigh, with second-degree burns on her hands. Her husband also had burns on his hands from trying to help her.
I regard this as a real problem; random beach rocks bursting into flame in someone's pockets?  It could happen to anyone! More to the point, it could happen to me, as I often have random beach rocks in my pockets.  We need a federal investigation!  So what happened?
The Orange County Health Care Agency examined the two rocks, and tests revealed a "phosphorous substance" on the rocks, which now have been sent to a state laboratory for further testing, said Tricia Landquist, an agency spokeswoman.

That discovery, however, has only added to the mystery.

Scientists wondered: How does a chemical like phosphorus wind up on a Southern California beach? And why did a substance so volatile not burst into flames sooner?

"I can't think of a scenario of chemicals on the beach that would have the properties that are described," Overman said.

Andrew Borovik, also a chemistry professor at UCI, had similar doubts. He said that phosphorus — which is typically kept in a controlled setting and stored in water — could indeed ignite when air touches it. But he was unsure how the phosphorous substance could be part of a rock.

"I don't know if it exists just sitting around on the beach," Borovik said. "It just seems unlikely."

James Earthman, a professor of chemical engineering and material science at UC Irvine, had a few possibilities: The inorganic chemical could have come from a passing ship or from nearby Camp Pendleton. And the reason for the delayed combustion could be because the rocks were still wet and didn't ignite until they were dry — and, he noted, we don't know what else could have been in the woman's pockets.
Hmm.  My theory (FWIW) is that they picked up a piece of wet (and therefore non reactive) white or red phosphorous remaining from from a shell at Camp Pendleton, which ignited the cloth in her shorts.  There's probably nothing left of the original piece of phosphorous, but the residue on the other rocks.  The orange looks like rust to me; maybe some reaction involving some metal object in her pocket as well.

A Four Beer Appetizer

More Japanese Weirdness

The second guy seems to have a better grasp of the problem.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Judge Sentences Honor Student to Jail for Skipping Class

A Texas judge threw an 11th-grade honors student in jail for repeatedly missing school in the hope that he could make an example of her.
Diane Tran, 17, works two jobs while taking dual-credit and advanced placement classes at Willis High School in Willis, Texas, KHOU-TV reported. Her parents divorced and moved away, leaving her to support an older brother at Texas A&M University and a baby sister who lives with relatives. She lives with the family of one of her employers, the owners of a wedding venue.

Tran told KHOU she doesn’t want to miss school, but is so exhausted sometimes that she can’t make it to her morning classes before attendance is taken. Other times she even ends up missing the day entirely.

“She goes from job to job, from school she stays up ’til 7 o’clock in the morning doing her homework,” Tran’s friend Devin Hill told the station.

Judge Lanny Moriarty warned Tran back in April not to miss any more school; when she missed again last week, he issued a summons and had her arrested in open court Wednesday. Tran was sentenced to a night in jail and ordered to pay a $100 fine.

“If you let one (truant student) run loose, what are you gonna’ do with the rest of ‘em? Let them go too?” Moriarty asked.

He admitted to KHOU after the fact that he didn‘t know the full circumstances of Tran’s situation. He said he might work to have the arrest removed from her record, where it would otherwise remain.
This is just insane.  I'll bet there are literally hundreds of under-performing students at the same school, skipping classes routinely, and the teachers and administration have just written them off.

This judge needs a stint in jail the next time he's late for anything.  Remember, overwork or need for sleep is no excuse.

Gregg Allman Dreams Again

Gregg Allman, a Hall of Fame Rock and Roller and founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, is getting married for the seventh time.

Allman, who was married to singer Cher from 1975 to 1979, sat down on Piers Morgan Tonight on Tuesday and spilled the beans about his new fiance Shannon Williams, a girl 40 years his junior.
“This time, I am really in love,” the 64-year-old rocker told Morgan.
When 24-year-old Shannon was asked how she felt about becoming Allman’s seventh wife, Gregg quickly intervened, saying:
“That’s not what she’s becoming. She’s becoming wife number one. I don’t have a wife. Haven’t had one for years.”
Gregg Allman is generally credited with lyrics the song "Dreams", which he also sings:

Pedophile Defrocked Priest Takes Philly TSA Post

The CBS 3 I-Team has learned that a Catholic priest who was removed from the ministry over sex abuse allegations now holds a sensitive security post at Philadelphia International Airport.

The security checkpoint between Terminals D and E is a busy place where thousands of people – including lots of kids – pass through every day. But you might not believe who the I-Team observed working as a TSA supervisor at that checkpoint this week: Thomas Harkins.

Until 2002, Harkins was a Catholic priest working at churches across South Jersey. But the Diocese of Camden removed him from ministry because it found he sexually abused two young girls. Now, in a new lawsuit, a third woman is claiming she also is one of Harkins’ victims.

The I-Team asked Harkins about the suit as he was leaving his shift at the airport.

“I have nothing to say,” was Harkins’ reply.
I said this once before recently, but at the risk of being redundant, I'll say it again.  TSA must die.  The agency can show no effect on terrorism.  Terrorists keep getting caught anywhere but at TSA  check points.  It only serves to enormously complicate the process of flying, and employs a large number of people for the sole purpose of aggravating the flying public.

It's all just security theater to make you feel safer.  A helpful infographic here (source).

Oh My, What a Morning at the Beach

Oh my, what a morning!  Sunny, warm, but not too warm, not too humid and just the right amount of breeze.  Weather doesn't get any better than this.
Skye decided that these sun bathers needed checking out.

The water has warmed up to comfortable wading temperatures.  We waded around looking for shark's teeth, but it wasn't really good day for us.

However, Joel brought the big one he found last week for our viewing pleasure.  This is a once a year grade tooth, a fine specimen of what we call the extinct Mako, but which is likely a precursor to the modern Great White Shark.