Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Turkey one year later, a sad story

One year ago we were in Istanbul for Thanksgiving. Just before we left there was bombing in Ankara that killed 103.

Since then in Istanbul:

  • 12 January - 12 killed by suicide attack in Sultanahmet Square
  • 19 March - 5 killed in a suicide bombing in Beyoglu district
  • 07 June  - 12 killed in bus explosion
  • 28 June - 45 killed by suicide attack on Ataturk Airport
  • 15 July - 246 killed across Turkey in failed Coup d'├ętat


Monday, November 28, 2016

Christmas comes to the Blue House

The genie is out of the box

A compelling short video from William Perry, US Secretary of Defense 1994-1997, on why we must try our hardest to minimize the threat on nuclear weapons, an existential threat.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Canadian border

Unlike the Mexican border, the Canadian border is a more relaxed affair.  A long time ago I drove from Vermont into Quebec, and crossed the border at Stanstead, about a kilometer east of the Haskell Free Library that straddles the border. For more details see the Atlas Obscura article 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Angela Merkle - Always pragmatic

A carefully crafted message to Trump, not a 3 am tweet.

“Please accept my congratulations on your election as President of the United States of America.

You will assume office at a time in which our countries are jointly facing many different challenges.

Germany’s ties with the United States of America are deeper than with any country outside of the European Union. Germany and America are bound by common values — democracy, freedom, as well as respect for the rule of law and the dignity of each and every person, regardless of their origin, skin color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, or political views. It is based on these values that I wish to offer close cooperation, both with me personally and between our countries’ governments.

Partnership with the United States is and will remain a keystone of German foreign policy, especially so that we can tackle the great challenges of our time: striving for economic and social well-being, working to develop far-sighted climate policy, pursuing the fight against terrorism, poverty, hunger, and disease, as well as protecting peace and freedom in the world.

In the years ahead as president, I wish you a sure hand, every success, and God’s blessing.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A world away in time and space from the New Ulm mini library

The Bibliophiles, 1879, by Luis Jimenez y Aranda

This scene is eleven years before the Yellow House was built, and 133 years before the mini library was built.

This painting is in the Costumbrismo style.    From Wikipedia:

A literary or pictorial interpretation of local everyday life, mannerisms, and customs, primarily in the Hispanic scene, and particularly in the 19th century. Costumbrismo is related both to artistic realism and to Romanticism, sharing the Romantic interest in expression as against simple representation and the romantic and realist focus on precise representation of particular times and places, rather than of humanity in the abstract. It is often satiric and even moralizing, but unlike proper realism does not usually offer or even imply any particular analysis of the society it depicts. When not satiric, its approach to quaint folkloric detail often has a romanticizing aspect.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Preparing for Winter

Pumpkin testing out her new home and heating pad for the winter. A spoiled feral cat. It required a new outlet in the adjacent garage, outside it is a safe 12 volts.


Monday, November 14, 2016

Pumpkin checks out her new home

Not yet landscaped, or with heating, but basic protection from the elements.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Mosquito Repellent - Natural but it probably does not work

I had not seen this before, but outside the restaurant were two plastic bags filled with water, either side of the door. Some people say it works by confusing flies optically. I am not convinced.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

An infidel's quality time with the imam

In the Al-Rifa'i Mosque in Cairo. We had an excellent private guide and the imam showed us how to do the call to prayers, and we practiced in the echoing side chamber of the mosque.

Our guide gave him a little baksheesh.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Five simple true things

In Scientific American this month are "5 things we know to be true," a return to basics.  In the same magazine they feature "Entangled Black Holes," a more tenious subject.

  1. Evolution is the only reasonable explanation for the diversity of life
  2. Homeopathy has no basis in science
  3. Climate change conspiracy theories are ludicrous
  4. Vaccines do not cause Autism
  5. No credible evidence of alien visitations exist