Sunday Reads: Cold Temps, Cold Tea and Warm Bed

Good Morning!

It is cold in Banjoville, we are talking low 20’s, and living near the river makes the air feel damp and harsh.  I’ve avoided the news this weekend, there is something going around…like when you have a hunch that you are coming down with a cold…but instead of dreading it, you are actually welcoming it. Why? Because it gives you a reason to sleep all day and not have to explain your crappy attitude to your family and friends.

Actually, the yesterday started very well and exciting, but when I opened the fridge and was hit with the leftover turkey fumes, it just drained all the energy out of me.

Anyway, here are some links to get you started this morning. You got your cup of Joe? Mug of tea? (My tea is already cold.) Flask of Southern Comfort? (Some may prefer whiskey or vodka, but I love me some SoCo.)

Juan Cole had an interesting post this past week, If You are 27 or younger, you’ve never lived through a colder than average month (Bump)

Paul Bump at Grist points out that The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported on global temperatures in October 2012 as follows:

“The average temperature across land and ocean surfaces during October was 14.63°C (58.23°F). This is 0.63°C (1.13°F) above the 20th century average and ties with 2008 as the fifth warmest October on record. The record warmest October occurred in 2003 and the record coldest October occurred in 1912. This is the 332nd consecutive month with an above-average temperature.”

He then did a quick calculation, and concluded that if you were born after April, 1985, i.e. if you are 27 or younger, you have never experienced a month with a global average temperature colder than the 20th-century average. (Obviously, you may have experienced a month at lower than local averages, though that would be rare, too; the point is about world averages.)

Cole links to a video from NASA:

One thing that is not cold, is the tension in Egypt. I have a few updates that you may not have read about yet:

Egypt braces for more protests

If Sunday is anything like the last several days in Egypt, it will not be quiet.

Egypt’s ElBaradei Calls on President to Rescind Near Absolute Powers

Prominent Egyptian democracy advocate Mohammed ElBaradei has called on Egypt’s president to rescind the near absolute powers he has granted himself.

ElBaradei says President Mohamed Morsi must take the action to avoid the possibility of increased turmoil in the country that has recently shed its longtime repressive government.

Nobel laureate ElBaradei addressed crowds that gathered Saturday in Cairo’s central square to protest President Morsi’s decrees that put him above judicial oversight and protect his Islamist supporters in parliament.

Egypt’s highest body of judges, the Supreme Judicial Council, also condemned President Morsi’s decree. The judges Saturday called the move “an unprecedented attack” on the independence of the judiciary. Judges in Alexandria have gone on strike, saying they will not return to work until the decree is withdrawn.

Egypt rights groups and ElBaradei denounce Mursi decree

Anti-Mursi protesters chant slogans in front of the Supreme Judicial Council building in Cairo, 24 November 2012
Critics and supporters of Mr Mursi have staged rallies since the decree was announced

More than 20 Egyptian rights groups have called on President Mohammed Mursi to withdraw the decree granting himself extensive new powers.

The 22 groups signed an open letter saying the president “has dealt a lethal blow to the Egyptian judiciary”.

Meanwhile, in another part of the Middle East:

Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – » Middle East crisis social media

Middle East crisis social media © Peter Broelman,Australia,Middle East,Israel,Hamas,Palestine,Palestinians,war,Gaza, gaza fighting

Here is an op/ed from Robert Fisk: Netanyahu leads Israel into isolation Go ahead and give that a read.

I’ve got more news that involves two sides fighting…this time in Japan, between the right-wing Nationalist and the environmentalist: Dueling protests in Tokyo over dolphin and whale hunts

Environmentalists and nationalists held opposing rallies over the issue of Japan’s dolphin and whale hunts in a rare showdown in central Tokyo on Saturday, leading to angry scenes.

About 50 anti-whaling activists gathered at a park in the Shibuya shopping district with banners bearing slogans such as “Stop the cruel dolphin hunt!” while across the street about 30 nationalists shouted “Get out of Japan!”

The nationalists accused the environmentalists of undermining Japanese culture and traditions, saying “environmental terrorists” should be sent to slaughter houses.

I can only think of that episode of South Park…Whale Whores:

Stan and his family are spending his birthday at the Denver Aquarium where they will get to swim with the dolphins. Things turn bloody when the Japanese attack, kill all the dolphins and ruin Stan’s big day. There seems to be no end to the senseless killing. Stan takes on the cause to save the dolphins from the Japanese.

Down in Cuba, there is quite a stir about a recently elected official: Cuban transsexual elected to public office

Adela Hernandez

Adela Hernandez hailed election triumph as another milestone in gradual shift away from macho attitudes in Caribbean country. Photograph: Ramon Espinosa/AP

A Cuban transsexual has become the first known transgender person to hold public office in the country, winning election as a delegate to the municipal government of Caibarien in the central province of Villa Clara.

Adela Hernandez, 48, hailed her election in a country where gays were persecuted for decades and sent to rural work camps as another milestone in the gradual shift away from macho attitudes in the years since Fidel Castro himself expressed regret over the treatment of people perceived to be different.

Hernandez, who has lived as a female since childhood, served two years in prison in the 1980s for “dangerousness” after her own family denounced her sexuality.

“As time evolves, homophobic people – although they will always exist – are the minority,” Hernandez said by phone from her home town. Becoming a delegate “is a great triumph”, she added.

This is a big deal in Cuba:

For years after the 1959 Cuban revolution, authorities hounded people of differing sexual orientation and others considered threatening, such as priests, long-haired youths and rock ‘n’ roll enthusiasts. But there have been notable changes in attitudes toward sexuality.

“I would like to think that discrimination against homosexuals is a problem that is being overcome,” Castro told an interviewer some years ago.

Read the rest of Hernandez story at the link.

I’ve got another transgender, I guess it is more of a cross-dressing story for you. This one is about The 72-year-old Chinese grandfather who models teen-girl clothes I will just post a picture…you can click to see the rest.

18 November 2012 01:09 PM

…and, what is more, looks pretty good doing it. Kate Moss, eat your heart out, the world’s newest superpower has a new supermodel to match. But Liu Xianping is not your average clothes horse.

Why does that image remind me of Andy Warhol?

More newsy articles after the jump…

Let’s get back to the states, this “Succession” thing is not going away.

Truckin’ to Treason: The Hot Air of Secession

A white Ford F-250 pick-up rumbled through town, a Confederate rebel flag on a pole behind the cab; on the rear bumper were a pro-life and three Anti-Obama stickers, two of which could not be revealed in a family newspaper.

I think I have seen that truck driving around Banjoland…anyway, just go read the whole thing. It is good.

From a legal perspective: The Volokh Conspiracy » Public Opinion on Secession That article is also very good.

This next story caught my eye, for obvious reasons: Would I want my daughter ‘cured’? The dilemma of a father whose child has Down’s Syndrome

Out of America, there is always something new. The latest example of that country’s unparalleled contribution to medical progress is the announcement by the University of Washington that its scientists had succeeded in removing the extra copy of chromosome 21 in cell cultures derived from a person with Down’s Syndrome. Since it is the possession of three, rather than two, copies of the 21st chromosome that defines Down’s Syndrome, it is clear that this breakthrough has startling potential for addressing a condition which is far and away the commonest form of congenital disability.

Again, that is just the first paragraph. My mom was talking about this new scientific possibility last week, go read the rest at the link.

One last article for you this Sunday morning…one that is the absolute opposite of what I feel right now. Three Critical Elements Sustain Motivation: Scientific American

Got motivation? Without it, the long, difficult hours of practice that elevate some people above the rest are excruciating. But where does such stamina come from, and can we have some, too? Psychologists have identified three critical elements that support motivation, all of which you can tweak to your benefit.

I’m sorry, there is no way in my apathetic, lethargic, indifferent mood I can even begin to read about the three key components of motivation…I really don’t give two shits about things anyway!  Boy, I am tired. (Ah…that is it, the post is over…and I can go back to bed.)

I do hope you all have a wonderful Sunday, please enjoy the last day of this long weekend. So…if you are around, stop and make a comment below, what sort of things have you been reading and thinking about today?

28 Comments on “Sunday Reads: Cold Temps, Cold Tea and Warm Bed”

  1. Here are a couple of stories I wanted to mention:

    Bangladesh Fire Kills More Than 100 and Injures Many –

    Some states preserve penmanship despite technology gains

    And this link to a blog post about cursive that I think goes well with the politico one:

    Typed On Paper: The Death of Cursive Writing

  2. RalphB says:

    Great post JJ. Hope you are well and have a lovely day.

    That Chinese dude reminds me of Andy Warhol as well.

  3. RalphB says:

    This doesn’t even take into account higher numbers of hispanic voters. I’d be interested in opinions from Banjoville.

    Georgia? swings in 2016

    Election Day in the South told a newer and more surprising story: The nation’s first black president finished more strongly in the region than any other Democratic nominee in three decades, underscoring a fresh challenge for Republicans who rely on Southern whites as their base of national support.

    Obama won Virginia and Florida and narrowly missed victory in North Carolina. But he also polled as well in Georgia as any Democrat since Jimmy Carter, grabbed 44 percent of the vote in deep-red South Carolina and just under that in Mississippi — despite doing no substantive campaigning in any of those states.
    The results show a region cleaving apart along new electoral fault lines. In the region’s center, clustered along the Mississippi River — where Bill Clinton polled most strongly — the GOP remains largely unchallenged and the voting divide between blacks and whites is deepening. Nearly nine of 10 of white voters in Mississippi, for instance, went for Republican nominee Mitt Romney this year, according to exit polls. About 96 percent of black voters in the state supported Obama.

    The pattern is markedly different in the five states that hug the Atlantic coast from Virginia to Florida, which together hold 82 of the South’s 160 electoral votes. A combination of a growing black population, urban expansion, oceanfront development and in-migration from other regions has opened up increasing opportunities for Democrats in those states.

    “Georgia is an achievable target for Democrats in 2016,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, a frequent Obama surrogate during the campaign. “What you’re going to see is the Democratic Party making a drive through the geography from Virginia to Florida.”

  4. dakinikat says:

    It’s quiet today.

  5. janey says:

    As to the down’s syndrome news. I knew a guy with Down’s who died when he was barely in his twenties from the heart problems that come with this syndrome. Would it be better if he had not been born with this disability? Also I have a daughter with a broken chromosome which is also pretty common if you group all the syndromes together. I doubt if they will be able to fix that in this millenium. We will always have handicapped children but maybe thinking they can cure something will lead to greater knowledge of what the genes do in our bodies.

  6. dakinikat says:

    The Washington Post ‏@washingtonpost

    With fewer federal research dollars, drug companies are footing the bill and creating questions of bias:

    • NW Luna says:

      That’s what happens when you get government out of research. Makes it easy to guess if the trials reach their endpoints or not.

  7. Uppity Woman says:

    JJ sorry to be Off Topic, but Fredster mentioned over at Widdershins that you had a problem with Firefox updating without your permission. So I thought I would post my answer here in case you didn’t see it.

    You can change the About:config at the url line, or you can go to TOOLS, OPTIONS, ADVANCE, UPDATE tab. You can choose NEVER CHECK FOR UPDATES or…….you can choose to be ASKED if you want the update. Note if you chose ASK, they will haunt you. They claim that there is a security risk to not updating, but frankly, I think that’s bulls!t. Just make sure you have a good and current antivirus and firewall program, because if you don’t, no browser, current or old, is going to protect you.

    In any event, this should take care of the auto update problem from now on.

  8. Uppity Woman says:

    Oops looks like spam got me.

  9. RalphB says:

    For sheer gaul, this has to take the cake. A spectacular failure as a CEO criticizes unions for being “rich”.

    Raw Story: Fiorina: ‘It is not fair’ that public workers are ‘so rich’

    Carly Fiorina, who reportedly stood to receive more than $42 million after being ousted at HP in 2005, says that public workers should receive less benefits because “it is not fair” that unions are “so rich.”

    • NW Luna says:

      She can take her $42 million and shove it. WTF, is she whining for — that she’s not even more insanely filthy rich?

      • RalphB says:

        Why would anyone listen to a greedy incompetent stooge like Fiorina? She did her best to kill HP before they could get rid of her in the first place. Her opinion is worth less than nothing!

  10. NW Luna says:

    JJ, get as much rest as you need — hell, as much as you want. This is a great round-up of interesting stories.

    Saw an story when I clicked thru on the Independent story on Down’s:

    Laszlo, an educational psychologist by profession, had wanted to demonstrate that what we call ‘genius’ is not a naturally occurring or genetically created phenomenon, but could be achieved by any child, given intensive early tuition on a one-to-one basis.

    Laszlo Polgar proceeded to demonstrate his theory: his eldest daughter, Zsuzsa, became a Grandmaster and woman’s world champion; and the middle daughter, Zsofia, achieved the title of International Chess Master (one rung below Grandmaster status) before abandoning the game as “not enough for me”. But it was the Polgars’ youngest child, Judit, who challenged all conventional thinking about the innate superiority of the male mind at chess. Unlike all other girls – or women – she refused to take part in the closed ghetto of female events and would play only in male competitions: in these, having started playing competitively at the age of six, she would chew up and spit out Grandmasters and their egos in a style combining breathtakingly direct aggression with lethal tactical trickery. ….

    And when I first started going out with Gusztav he would say, ‘My God, you are looking at things with a man’s brain’. Well, that’s how I live. People say I’m tough and harsh. But the truth is that it’s just not acceptable for a woman to be self-confident.”

    I thought the story illuminates that “male” and “female” ways of thinking and behaving are not dictated by the person’s gonads.

    • I saw that story too Luna, it almost went into the post. Oh, I don’t know what is wrong with me, maybe allergies? Yuk.

      • NW Luna says:

        Does sound yukky. IIRC, there are over 200 different upper respiratory viruses. Mutating all the time, just slightly different forms, so our bodies get exposed to new ones they haven’t made antibodies against.

        It’s not your fault if you get sick.

    • Greywolf says:

      Reminds me a bit of grad school; my advisor occasionally complained that I had a ‘male’ attitude. I said that since men dominate the field, that should be a good thing, but he disagreed.

      It shouldn’t be wrong to be different, and gender shouldn’t dictate thinking.

      • NW Luna says:

        “male attitude” LOL! Your advisor must have had a problem with insecurity.

        Yeah, I’ve been told that too. As far back as junior high (if not earlier). I think it had something to do with growing up without TV and the “appropriate” role models, fortunately.

  11. NW Luna says:

    I just read that 10% of Microsoft employees in the USA are hired on a H-1B visa. Then I thought about all those Americans with tech experience who can’t find jobs.

    Microsoft is so eager to find qualified engineers and programmers for its thousands of vacancies that it has offered to pay a bounty to the government in exchange for extra visas in order to import more foreign workers. …. But the tactic may have backfired. ….

    Researchers claim that some companies use the visas to bypass older, more expensive American job seekers. And some economists question contentions by Microsoft and other technology firms about a dearth of domestic high-tech talent. But most troubling to critics is the fact many employers need not prove they are unable to find qualified Americans before turning to foreign hires. [emphasis added]

    ….Norm Matloff, professor of computer science at the University of California, Davis who has analyzed H-1B visas, argues the guest workers should command premium salaries given their presumed sought-after skills. Yet according to Matloff’s research, the foreigners as a group are underpaid compared to American citizens and permanent residents with comparable experience. “The fundamental motivation is cheap labor,” Matloff said.

    • RalphB says:

      As someone who worked in that industry for years, I can guarantee the truth of those allegations. Cheap labor is what it’s always been about and not a lack of American talent.