Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Sunday, May 21, 2017

holy shit

While the popularity of the Bible continues to decline (and that is great news), over two-thirds still believe the Bible is "God-inspired". Wow. In 2017. That's depressing. Or, it's bullshit. Kinda hard to know in polls.

Biblical skeptics outpoll literalists for first time, survey shows

Americans who see the Bible as fable now outnumber those who believe it to be the literal word of God.
Gallup announced the shift in a survey it released Tuesday titled “Record Few Americans Believe Bible is Literal Word of God.”
“This is the first time in Gallup’s four-decade trend that biblical literalism has not surpassed biblical skepticism,” the organization said online.
The survey found that 24 percent of adult Americans hold a literalist view of the Bible, while 26 percent see Scripture as “a book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man.”
However, 71 percent of Americans believe the Bible to be a sacred document that is “God-inspired if not God’s own’s words,” Gallup said.
Many who believe Scripture to be inspired by God say it need not be taken literally, Gallup reported in its Values and Beliefs poll, which was conducted May 3-7.
But there are groups in which these statistics do not hold true. Among non-white adults 50 and older and with no college education, the Bible is viewed as the true word of God.
However, among white adults aged 18 to 49, and who are college educated, tend to be more skeptical about Scripture.
“Still, in all of these age groups, the largest segment takes the middle position, believing the Bible reflects the inspired word of God,” according to the Gallup report. “
In its summary of the poll, Gallup noted that its findings reflect the downward trend in the number of Christians in the U.S. since the 1970s and 1980s. During that period, nearly 40 percent of Americans believed the Bible to be the literal word of God.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

hottest pepper

Jalapenos are hot enough for me!

from Thrillist


Meet dragon's breath. Its creator expects it to be crowned the world's hottest pepper. That's far hotter than the revered Carolina reaper, which is the current Guinness World Record-holder for hottest chili pepper. In fact, dragon's breath is so intense it could kill you, according to its St. Asaph-based developer Mike Smith. He says dragon's breath clocks in with a Scoville rating of 2.48 million. That's almost one million units higher than a Carolina reaper, which has an average of 1.57 million. (Tabasco sauce rates between 2,500 and 5,000 on the Scoville Scale.)

The Carolina reaper was already so spicy it reduced mortals to tears. Don't believe it? Ask this person or this couple or these people or these guys or these girls who looked like they were going to die. If dragon's breath truly has a Scoville rating of 2.48 million, it's basically not food. Aside from some idiot on YouTube who is definitely going to try it, there's really no reason to put this in your body.

However, calling it useless would be hyperbolic. The chili pepper wasn't developed to be eaten in some kind of sadistic horticultural prank. Dragon's breath was "born out of a trial of new plant food developed by Nottingham Trent University which aims to increase the quality and resistance of plants," according to the BBC. Smith says the intended usage will, in fact, be medical. Oils from the tiny pepper are so potent it can be used as an anesthetic. 

"This was developed because a lot of people are allergic to anesthetic, and this can be applied to the skin because it is so strong it numbs it," Smith told the Daily Post. He also notes it could be a cheap alternative to expensive anesthetics in developing countries.

No one has attempted to swallow the pepper yet, but someone took a bite without swallowing. Their mouth went numb for two days according to Smith. With a Scoville rating this high, it could cause a seriously upset stomach and make an alarming exitfrom your body. Though, Smith alleges the effects could be even worse than that. "We have had a caution from the University," Smith said. "It could cause anaphylactic shock in some people."

Smith is currently awaiting confirmation from Guinness that he's officially overtaken the reaper, according to the BBC.

Friday, May 19, 2017

hurricane season

As we approach June 1, the official start of the hurricane season in our part of the world, *gulp*.

NOAA predicts above normal hurricane season

GALVESTON – The nation's climate agency Thursday predicted an above-normal 2017 hurricane season with 11 to 17 named storms, five to nine of them hurricanes and two to four Category 3 or higher hurricanes.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted a 45 percent chance of the hurricane season that begins June 1 being above normal, a 35 percent chance of a normal season and a 20 percent chance of a below normal season. An average season is 12 named storms, six hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

"The outlook reflects our expectation of a weak or non-existent El Nino, near- or above-average sea-surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and average or weaker-than-average vertical wind shear in that same region," said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

Bell said a strong El Nino causes more intense wind shear, which tends to break up tropical disturbances before they can grow into a hurricane. He cautioned that chances were 50-50 that a stronger El Nino could develop later in the hurricane season, which ends Nov.  30.

2017 names


Thursday, May 18, 2017

total embarrassment

#45 continues to embarrass himself and this nation just about whenever he opens his ugly mouth. What a horrid, crass, and uncouth ass this man is. Worse still is that so many Americans still support this jackass.

Somehow I had not heard of the last item in this clip, where #45 went to Yad Vashem.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Top 10 New Species?

Science marches on, regardless of the idiot in the White House.

Top 10 new species 2017

Thousands of new species are discovered each year. To celebrate the new finds, the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) compiles a top 10 new species list of notable discoveries made during the previous year.
The annual list is released around May 23 to honor of the birthday of Carl Linnaeus, the botanist and physician who developed our modern binomial classification system for naming organisms.
Here are the top 10 for 2017:
(In alphabetical order by scientific name)
“Sorting Hat” Spider (Eriovixia gryffindori). Location: India 
This tiny spider, less than 2 mm (a tenth of an inch) long, takes its name from the bewitched Sorting Hat in J.K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter books. Image via IISE.

Unexpected Katydid (Eulophophyllum kirki). Location: Malaysia
This spectacular new species of katydid was discovered while researchers were looking for tarantulas and snakes in Borneo. Image via IISE.

Omnivorous Root Rat (Gracilimus radix). Location: Indonesia
In what appears to be an evolutionary reversal, the newly discovered Sulawesi root rat dines on both plant and animal matter, making it unique among its strictly carnivorous relatives. Image via IISE.

414-legged Millipede (Illacme tobini). Location: United States
With 414 legs, this new species has not yet broken the record number for millepedes, but that could change. These animals continue to add body segments — and legs — throughout their lives. Image via IISE.

“Dragon” Ant (Pheidole drogon). Location: Papua New Guinea
With their spiny backs reminding scientists of a dragon, this new species of ant is named for Drogon, the fierce black dragon commanded by Daenerys Targaryen in the epic fantasy, Game of Thrones. Image via IISE.

Freshwater Stingray (Potamotrygon rex). Location: Brazil
This large, strikingly patterned freshwater stingray is endemic to the Tocantins River in Brazil. Image via IISE.

Swimming Centipede (Scolopendra cataracta). Location: Laos, Thailand and Vietnam
This new centipede is black, has 20 pairs of legs and is up to 20 cm long (about 8 inches). It is the first species of centipede ever observed to be able to plunge into water and run along the bottom in much the same manner as it does on dry land. Image via IISE.

Bush Tomato (Solanum ossicruentum). Location: Australia
The name of this new species was chosen with help from 150 seventh-grade life science students in Pennsylvania. Young fruits stain blood red when cut before maturing into a dry, bony state; therefore, the final choice combines the Latin “ossi” for bony and “cruentum” for bloody. Image via IISE.

Endangered Orchid (Telipogon diabolicus). Location: Colombia
The new species of critically endangered orchid, Telipogon diabolicus has a reproductive structure derived from the fusion of male and female flower parts into one that bears a striking resemblance to depictions of the devil’s head. Image via IISE.

“Churro” Marine Worm (Xenoturbella churro). Location: Mexico
Discovered deep in the Gulf of California, 1,722 meters (about 5,600 feet) below the surface, Xenoturbella churro is a 10 cm-long (4-inch) marine worm, one of half a dozen species now known in the genus. It is representative of a group of primitive worm-like animals that are the earliest branch in the family tree of bilaterally symmetrical animals, including insects and humans. Image via IISE.

Bottom line: The IISE has released the list of top 10 new species for 2017.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

slow TV

Out of Norway comes "Slow TV". It seems a natural reaction to our hyper-active, fast-cutting, zoom-in! zoom-out! high-speed TV culture. 

I think that a raging fireplace with dogs and/or cats playing in the foreground could be the smash hit of the new TV season!

Norway’s Slow TV Goes Global

One of the most curious things about watching TV in Norway is the popularity of ‘slow TV‘. The simple concept is the total opposite of the instant gratification style of reality TV. Producers pick a topic and spend hours, days, even weeks digging into it in excruciating detail.
State broadcaster pioneered the concept in 2009 with the live broadcast of the famous Oslo to Bergen railway journey, filmed from the perspective of the driver at the front of the train.
The famous 500km railway reaches over 1,200 metres above sea level as it crosses the Hardangervidda plateau in central Norway. When the scenic views were interrupted by the 182 tunnels on the line, the show broadcast interviews with passengers, former workers and historians.
It is estimated that at least 25% of Norwegians watched at least part of the broadcast!
Since then, shows have included the full length of the Hurtigruten coastal ferry journey, a knitting marathon, and an oddly compelling all-night bonfire.

Slow TV is coming to a TV set near you!

Those outside of Norway have struggled to access some of the biggest hits of slow TV, even though British Airways recently included the Oslo to Bergen railway journey on their long-haul flights. But now, the full range of Norway’s slow TV hits are available on Netflix in the United States, and several other countries.
The full list of available slow TV shows:
    • National Firewood Evening
  • National Firewood Morning
  • National Firewood Night
  • National Knitting Evening
  • National Knitting Morning
  • National Knitting Night
  • Northern Passage
  • Northern Railway
  • Salmon Fishing
  • The Telemark Canal
  • Train Ride Bergen to Oslo
I do hope you enjoy one of Norway’s cultural treasures! For those unable to access the shows at the moment, here’s a little teaser:

Saturday, May 13, 2017

zombie lies

It's sad that Trump's low-information voters continue to believe in this guy. I figure they are either stupid (and stupid can be really tenacious) or they are pretty damn racist, and so any white guy is going to be better than that previous black guy. Hey, I wanted a "change" too but I wasn't about to vote for the spoiled, narcissistic pussy-grabber. 

From Alternet.

10 Incredibly Fake Facts Trump Supporters Think Are True

Facts are not the way to Make America Great Again.
Americans, divided and polarized as they are, live in two distinct worlds. In one world, the earth is not flat, climate change is real and Bill and Hillary aren't pimping kids out in the basement of a pizza restaurant.
The other world is devoid of reason, evidence and pretty much any type of historical facts. Despite the fact that Trump voters have been fleeced by the biggest con man in the world, they continue to devour the lies he sells on a silver platter. When it comes to facts, Trump supporters aren't head over heels in love with them. After all, Trump's rise came as a result of playing to uninformed and angry people's primal and worst sensibilities. They're right and the entire world is wrong, because that's what their cult leader told them, and who needs Google anyway? 
Here are 10 incredibly fake facts that Trump supporters believe are true.
1. Trump is a devoted Christian.
The thrice-married, pu$$y-grabbing Trump is actually quite the exemplary Christian, at least in the minds of his supporters. They are so convinced of this fake fact that they welcomed Trump at Jerry Fallwell's Liberty University this past weekend, where the president was given an honorary doctorate. 
2. The economy is improving because of Trump.
If there's anything Trump does better than filing for Chapter 11, it's taking credit for things other people have done. Part-time First Lady Melania Trump stole a speech from Michelle Obama, so it only seems fitting that the Donald do it as well. Now, even though he hasn't signed a single piece of economic legislation and all economic data is just a continuation of President Obama's efforts, Trump seems to have no issue taking credit for all of the positive economic news. And despite the fact that Trump had been in office for a whopping two weeks, Fox News gave Trump full credit for a positive jobs report in January.
3. 'Millions voted illegally' (without a single shred of proof).
Not too long ago, a poll found that 55 percent of Trump supporters believe his daft conspiracy theory that the only reason he lost the popular vote is because “millions voted illegally” for Hillary Clinton. Ignorance is bliss, right?
4. Immigration is off the rails and illegal immigrants are all violent criminals.
Trump played to the racist tendencies of working-class whites when he declared that Mexicans were criminals and rapists, except for some. He also took a page from Richard Nixon's handbook and touted law and order for the silent majority. But here's the thing for folks who reside in Realitytown, USA: net migration from Mexico is basically zero and stats show that undocumented immigrants are actually less likely to commit crimes than American citizens. But facts are not how you Make America Great Again!
5. Trump should have the power to overturn judicial rulings.
Utterly clueless when it comes to the U.S. Constitution (except for the Second Amendment), 51 percent of Trump supporters think the Executive Branch should have the power to overrule the Judicial Branch. This came after Trump was overruled in his efforts to impose a Muslim travel ban.
6. Trumpcare is great while Obamacare is awful.
Okay, this one is especially heinous. During Trump's presidential campaign, he talked constantly about how easy it would be to gut Obamacare and impose a version of his own that would cover everyone. Here are the facts:
  • Around 24 million people will lose their health insurance—many of them his most vocal supporters
  • Premiums, especially for Americans 50 and older, will increase dramatically.
  • States can opt-out of protecting people with pre-existing conditions.
  • Coverage will get worse.
  • Medicaid will be gutted.
Trumpcare is stealing from the poor to give to the rich, but his supporters don't mind being screwed by their dear leader. 
7. Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
Ah yes, the birther question. The very thing that catapulted a washed-up reality TV host to political fame and fortune. Trump had been accusing President Obama of not being born in America for years, which seems to have resonated with his supporters: 59 percent of Trump supporters didn’t think Obama was born in the United States, while just a mere 23 percent said he was. 
8. There's a war on gun owners.
Despite the fact that gun ownership ballooned under President Obama and his sensible gun legislation failed miserably in the NRA-owned Republican Congress, Trump supporters believed there was a major "war" on guns. The biggest (and stupidest) conspiracy was the one involving Jade Helm, when right-wingers thought a military exercise was actually a secret ploy by Obama to declare martial law and seize all the guns.
9. All the investigations into Trump's ties to Russia are bogus.
Despite the overwhelming amount of evidence that continues to pile up regarding Trump's ties to Putin during the 2016 presidential campaign and beyond, his supporters will hear nothing of it. They love Russia and think CNN and every other major news outlet is fake news that hates America. Bear in mind, all of this seems to be leading up to impeachment. But yeah, nothing to see here. 
10. Trump is honest and trustworthy.
This may be the greatest fake fact of fake facts: Trump is honest and trustworthy. Despite the fact that nearly everything that comes out of his mouth is a brazen lie that can be disproved in a New York minute, his supporters think he's honest. That's just a special kind of ignorance you can't fix. While some of his supporters have since seen the light of day, a majority of them still trust him despite all the explanations of his lies the media makes. 
In short, it may just take Trump throwing puppies into a firepit for a majority of his supporters to recognize him for the lying con man that he is. Let's certainly hope not, as that may not be out of the realm of possibility. 

Friday, May 12, 2017


We did not fall victim to the huge ransomware attack. Fortunately for us, we have maintained updated operating systems on our computers, and so we were not vulnerable. Who knows how many companies that have been scrimping on software, and were still operating on old computer operating systems, were attacked?

Here is some good info:

How to Protect Yourself Against Ransomware

This week, a massive ransomware attack using stolen NSA hacking tools disabled an estimated 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries. The ransomware, known as WannaCry, severely affected organizations around the globe, including FedEx, the British National Health Service, car makers Renault and Nissan, and the Russian Interior Ministry.
Like other ransomware, WannaCry encrypts files on the infected computers, making these files inaccessible, and only releases the code to unencrypt the files when the user pays a $300 bitcoin ransom. It’s unknown how many companies have paid or plan to pay the ransom, but with critical data like patient records on the line and production lines shut down, companies have often chosen to pay up rather than lose those records forever.
What is, perhaps, most disappointing with this most recent attack is that it was 100% preventable. All the infected machines were running outdated versions of Windows XP or Vista that are no longer being supported by Microsoft. The risks of continuing to use these versions of Windows were well known (and we warned of the need to stop using XP back in 2014), yet organizations failed to take prudent measures to keep their systems up to date. Now they, and in many cases “we”, as customers and clients, are paying the price.
The good news here, to the extent there is good news, is that protecting ourselves against ransomware like Wanna Cry is not difficult. If you follow these simple steps, you should be safe from ransomware and most other cyber threats likely to come your way.

1. Keep your system up to date

If you are running Windows XP or Vista, you should immediately update your system to Windows 10 or buy a new computer. As we warned back in 2014, Microsoft is no longer supporting these ancient versions of Windows and continuing to use then makes you a prime target for cyber-attacks. And even an entry model $500 computer that will be far more powerful than your current XP one.
For those using Windows 7 and newer, make sure that you have Automatic Updates enabled so new security patches get installed as soon as they are available. These versions of Windows had already been patched by Microsoft to specifically prevent these types of ransomware attacks.

2. Use a reliable antimalware program

While antimalware programs can’t defend against every attack, they can prevent the vast majority of commonly-found malware from infecting your computer. And when new malware is discovered, antimalware providers quickly distribute updates to block it. We recommended Kaspersky in our latest analysis of the best antimalware solutions, though Bitdefender and Norton are also excellent options. And antimalware isn’t just for Windows users. Ransomware has been discovered for Macs, too.

3. Back up your data – no, really back up your data

It’s important to back up your data for a number of reasons; and the threat of ransomware is definitely one of them. But it’s not enough just to back up to an external hard drive, or even to the cloud. Many ransomware programs are specifically designed to search out backup devices, even across your network and cloud storage, encrypting everything in its path. To protect yourself, you either have to make regular backups to an external hard drive, which you then detach from your system after the backup (a pain to manage), or use a cloud service that provides automatic versioning so that if the most recent versions are encrypted, you can still recover from earlier versions. We’ve always been fans of Dropbox, which offers a 1TB storage plan for around $100 per year.

4. Keep your browser and plug-ins up to date

Some malware, including ransomware, can be delivered via “drive-by” infections. Taking advantage of vulnerabilities in common browser plugins, like Flash or Java, simply visiting a compromised site, or even viewing a malicious ad on an otherwise safe site, is all it takes for the malware to take hold. So in addition to keeping your operating system up to date, it’s just as important to keep your browser and its associated plug-ins up to date.

5. Avoid ransomware in the first place

The Wanna Cry ransomware was spread by email through an encrypted zip file attachment. You click on the attachment and unzip the file and all your precious files are now toast. This common social engineering trick has been around for years and, despite repeated warnings not to click on unknown email attachments, it’s still as effective as ever, as evidenced by the immense global success of the latest Wanna Cry attack.
DON’T BE THAT PERSON. Don’t click on or open files in email unless you know exactly what they are. Since sender names can be spoofed, simply seeing that the sender is a friend, relative or colleague is not enough. If in doubt, contact them directly to confirm that they sent you the file before you start clicking. And that goes for links, too, that may send you to infected websites (see #4 above).

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Waimea Valley

Soon! We will be visiting Hawaii again. This trip will be spent on O'ahu. We have secured an amazing house at Sunset Beach on the North Shore. This will be the first time we have spent more than the time it takes to change planes on O'ahu.

Here's a taste.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

pool exercise

I am re-discovering that a swimming pool is a great place to get some exercise, and the low-impact nature of the water is great for my somewhat impaired feet.

There is a wealth of exercise ideas for the pool. PopSugar has some good ones.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


I think we are going to be in the market for a boat, but there are so many makers and options, it's going to take some time to look over all of them. No rush, fortunately.

Shallow Sport boats are awesome but pricey. 

Haynie. Dargel. Majek. Oh my!

Monday, May 8, 2017


I am proud to be a Lifetime member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Stephen Fry

Unbelievable that in this day and age, a white British atheist, Stephen Fry, was charged with blasphemy for calling God a "maniac." Hey, we're busy making fun of Islam for enforcing their blasphemy laws; we don't need this absurdist bullshit.

Stephen Fry Spared Blasphemy Charges Over Calling God A ‘Maniac’: Report

from HuffPost
English actor and comedian Stephen Fry has reportedly dodged blasphemy charges after authorities in Ireland failed to find enough people upset about damning comments he made about God two years ago.

The self-avowed atheist had been under investigation by Irish authorities after stating during an appearance on an Irish TV program in 2015 that if God does exist he’s an “utterly evil” “maniac,” the Irish Independent first reported.

Under the Republic of Ireland’s controversial Defamation Act 2009, an individual who publishes or speaks blasphemy “causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents” of a religion faces a fine of up to 25,000 euros, according to the BBC.

An unidentified citizen told the Independent that he filed a complaint against Fry to Gardai, Ireland’s police force, shortly after Fry made his comments on TV. That individual, who spoke with the news site on the condition of anonymity, said he continued to follow up with authorities on the investigation’s progress, though he wasn’t personally slighted by Fry’s remarks.

Here is the offending passage

Authorities this week said they were unable to find “a substantial number of outraged people” and they are therefore concluding their investigation, the paper reported, citing an unnamed source close to the investigation.

The man who reported Fry’s interview to police said he’s content with authorities’ handling of the case.

“I did my civic duty in reporting it. The guards did their duty in investigating it. I am satisfied with the result and I don’t want to comment further,” he told the paper.

Though Fry’s comments about God failed to ignite a firestorm of outrage against him, it did spark anger over the law, as well as demands for its removal.

Ireland’s Minister for Health Simon Harris addressed the law on Monday, saying it’s “silly, a little embarrassing and needs to change.”

Eoin Daly, a lecturer in law at the National University of Ireland, Galway, told the New York Times that the law is in place only because the country’s 1937 constitution requires it. Lawmakers obediently followed through on crafting such a regulation but made it so that it is “almost unenforceable,” he said.

The British Humanist Association and Atheist Ireland, which both spoke up in Fry’s defense, stressed that even if law enforcement agencies don’t prosecute such cases, just having the laws there puts the public at risk.

“Blasphemy laws in England and Wales were repealed in 2008, but nonetheless remain on the books in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Neither law has been used in some time, but that was also true in Denmark, until its ‘dead’ blasphemy law was resurrected a couple of months ago, to bring charges against someone for the first time in 46 years,” the BHA said in a statement on Tuesday.

Atheist Ireland made a similar point while flagging the reason for the case’s dismissal: the lack of outraged people.

“The Gardai have not denied that the comments were grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matter held sacred by a religion,” the organization stated on its website. “Instead, the reported reason is that the Gardai failed to find a large number of people outraged by the comments.”

Atheist Ireland stressed that even if legislators pass a law that they believe won’t be enforced, the country’s law enforcement officers will.

“The police take our blasphemy law seriously, as indeed they should do, regardless of the nod and wink attitude of our legislators,” they stated. “We don’t know when the next investigation might happen, or what the outcome might be. But we know that it will have to involve a large number of people demonstrating outrage.”