Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Friday, March 30, 2012

Won another

One in 88/208/47

Media pushes the CDC study as finding an autism prevalence of 1 in 88 (in 8-year-olds).  I'm more interested in the para
"When data from all 14 ADDM sites in the 2008 surveillance year were combined, overall estimated ASD prevalence was 11.3 per 1,000 (one in 88) children aged 8 years (range: 4.8 [Alabama]–21.2 [Utah])"
That's one in 47, or 88, or 208. State estimates that differ by a factor of five do not bespeak a settled concept. 

(sorry - can't quickly get Excel to put state names in)

Slightly more in the 10-15 bracket, but there's no conclusive bunching at any level.  Small gaps at 8-10 and a larger one at 16-20, but with more states counted you could probably fill those holes in. It's a lottery.

Moderate my eye

A report in TP of a study of how political groups regard science:
TP headlines it as showing that liberals think more of science than do conservatives, but the interesting thing is surely that moderates lost their faith in science earlier and basically flattened out in about 1980.  Conservatives have just taken thirty years to join them.  For half the past thirty-five years it's been liberals and conservatives together against the moderates, and it's only since 1992 that the two ends of the spectrum have really begun to diverge. Not easy to explain.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Well, I was in the pub...

minding my own business when this fucker came up and said Celtic were a mob of wankers so I gave him a Glasgow kiss and one of his mates glassed me 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Now there's a marketing coup.  AC/DC have a wine label. No, really. Not two-buck chuck, either; sixteen dollars. Probably not what Bon Scott was drinking that winter's night in 1980 when he choked on his own vomit and the official cause was listed as "acute alcohol poisoning".

We got the Shiraz, and it tasted OK to me; but we did note that the white was.... pretty sexist. AC/DC You Shook Me All Night Long moscato, "A sweeter style low-alcohol wine that's perfect for lady rock fans'.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Just a suggestion, but if anybody wanted to wipe out every computer network in Saudi Arabia you'd just have to send a string of spam email with each having as an attachment the entire text of the Koran.  They wouldn't be able to delete any of them, so every computer would fill up rapidly, leaving them unable to load a program.

It worked so well for the Russians

Rightwing comments on the American soldier massacring Afghans:

    The village/villagers  Bob went after is the birth place of the Taliban.
    Bob's friend lost one or two legs the day before due to an IED that went boom.
    Bob went after one family the Pashtun culture way. In a way they understand.
    Bob sent a message in Afghanistan, he spoke the same cultural language. It is the way we should have been fighting this war from the beginning. But then again it is not a very PC war tactic. 
    I am not agreeing nor am I disagreeing. It is what it is. WAR!
    If you can't speak the same language as your enemy you will never communicate with your enemy. You must speak a common language to win the hearts and mind of your enemy, so you don't come across as an inferior army. Inferior armies will always withdraw sooner or later.
    (Edited by author 14 hours ago)
  • WTD
    The near-total silence from the Afghan side on this -- other than the predictable political posturing by Karzai and his minions -- is very telling.   For all intents and purposes, it appears they received the message loud and clear.  As for this administration, they're still looking for their decoder rings.

It was the right thing to do, they say, and we should do more of it.


Impressive Swiss observatory at kuriosotas;

But the really impressive thing is that smaller building about four-fifths down. How do you get home to there after a few drinks?

Making Light provides the recipe for a real catch:

Candied Bacon

Take a pound of thick-cut bacon. Cut it in half to make shorter rashers. Pepper excessively. Toss with 1/3 cup brown sugar.

Take a cookie sheet. Line it with parchment paper. Place bacon in a single layer on the paper. Sprinkle any left-over brown sugar on the rashers. Cover with another layer of parchment paper, then put another cookie sheet on top.

Bake at 325°F for 20 minutes. Take from the oven and allow to cool.

Feel your coronary arteries harden at the mere thought of eating this.

Eat it anyway. Tastes pretty darned good.

And for a real stab at the unhealthfulness record, it's an ideal dish to caffeinate; just mix in enough powdered caffeine (available from any good chemical supply house) to provide about an espresso equivalent for each serving....

It's not always easy to find something strongly flavoured enough to overcome caffeine's natural bitterness, but this works a treat.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How are the mighty

The Encyclopaedia Britannica will be published no more, at least on dead trees.

A couple of years ago I bought a copy of the first edition, back in the Enlightenment; historical dates were given in Years of the World, starting in 4004 BC, and it had full instructions for learning mathematics, midwifery and printing, among other things. And I'd still like a set of the 1875, with Macaulay doing the history.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Won one



?Should I bid on
Not one of the greats. I shall refrain.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Cruelty to dumb animals

Frederick Opper Hand Colored And Her Name Was Maude Sunday Topper Comic Strip Original Art dated 2-25 (King Features Syndicate, year unknown). And Her Name Was Maud ran as the topper to Happy Hooligan from 1926-1932. This partially hand colored Sunday was done to indicate colors of the various elements to the printer, and the episode has an image area of 20.5" x 13". Aside from paper tanning, soiling, and heavy edge and corner wear, the art is in Very Good condition.

Very tempting.

Opper was one of the greats.... I see from Wikipedia that Maude in fact first appeared in 1904, so this would be a fairly late outing; Opper must have been looking rather oldfashioned.

and damn! I've been outbid on

Difficult decisions. Still, the Tuthill trumps the Opper.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


A packet of Vegetarian Fried Rice, from China;

"put it into the micro-wave, heat with conflagration..."

and, even more oddly, the ingredients:
"Rice, Water, Cabbage, Carrot, Sweet corn, Pea, Scallion, Onions, Vegetable oil, Salt, Tuner Knob."

Ring out the old

At the Met's Gotters last night. Again, the difficulty being the powers of the Ring. Wagner invests immense but unspecified power in it; if you have the ring you can rule the world, but the intermediate stages aren't spelled out at all. The details are able to be fuzzed only because the ring isn't held for any extended period by anybody who wants to rule the world; the Rhinemaidens apparently aren't interested in world rule, Alberich wants to rule the world but loses the ring to Woden before he can act on it, Odin loses the ring to Fafnir ditto, Fafnir is apparently lazy and just wants to sit on the hoard, Siegfried takes the ring from Fafnir but is too happy-go-lucky to care about world rule, Siegfried gives the ring to Brunhilde who just wants it as a token of love, bewitched Siegfried grabs the ring back but is still too stupid to use it, Hagen wants to rule the world but can't get the ring off Siegfried's corpse, Brunhilde gives the ring back to the Rhinemaidens; nobody ever puts the ring into its neutron bomb/magnetic pulse/deathray mode. What would Woden have done with it if he had it?


Some discussion of the American A-G's account of the rules for sending drones after American citizens.

As someone who isn't an American, it's not easy for me to see why it seems to be conceded that the American government can kill anybody they like provided that they're not an American. Stating it more widely, Americans shouldn't be exempt from a penalty that all the rest of the world is liable for: it'd lead to moral hazard. Myself, I feel that every time a drone in Afghanistan hits a child someone at the United Nations should wander out into the general assembly with an AK-47 and pop the American delegate; that would create the correct incentives.

Friday, March 02, 2012


Much discussion in the US over Rick Santorum backer Foster Friess’ ideas on birth control -
"This contraceptive thing, my gosh, it's such [sic] inexpensive," Friess said on the show. "Back in my days, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn't that costly."
- which hasn't yet touched, as far as I can see, on the salient point that it's not actually workable; if the only restrictive rule is that the woman's knees need to be touching, there are a wide range of fucks that are not only possible but possibly improved. I shall refrain from adding photos.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

No rubbing out mistakes

I'm engraving a decanter for Stephen's birthday, and there's probably a spot on the glass for a brief poem; which obviously means Housman, but which Housman? There are so many.

I to my perils
Of cheat and charmer
Came clad in armor
By stars benign.
Hope lies to mortals
And most believe her
But man's deceiver
Was never mine.

The thoughts of others
Were light and fleeting,
Of lovers meeting,
Or luck, or fame.
Mine were of trouble,
And mine were steady,
So I was ready
When trouble came.

Probably not: I want that one for myself.

What evil luck soever
For me remains in store,
'Tis sure much finer fellows
Have fared much worse before.

Little is the luck I've had,
And oh, 'tis comfort small
To think that many another lad
Has had no luck at all.

Not quite personal enough.

When first my way to fair I took
Few pence in purse had I,
And long I used to stand and look
At things I could not buy.

Now times are altered: if I care
To buy a thing, I can;
The pence are here and here's the fair,
But where's the lost young man? --

To think that two and two are four
And neither five nor three
The heart of man has long been sore
And long 'tis like to be.

Again, more me.

Stars, I have seen them fall,
 But when they drop and die
No star is lost at all
 From all the star-sown sky.

The toil of all that be
 Helps not the primal fault;
It rains into the sea,
 And still the sea is salt.

Not necessarily a concern of Stephen's.

To stand up straight and tread the turning mill,
To lie flat and know nothing and be still,
Are the two trades of man;
and which is worse I know not,
but I know that both are ill.


When the bells justle in the tower
 The hollow night amid,
Then on my tongue the taste is sour
 Of all I ever did.

Too pointed for folk of our age?

Some can gaze and not be sick,
But I could never learn the trick.
There's this to say for blood and breath,
They give a man a taste for death.

The first two lines, I think. Yes.

Actually, that'd make a good tattoo.

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