Friday, October 31, 2014

The Ghost army of Roman soldiers at Flower's Barrow.

Flower’s Barrow is an Iron Age hillfort, built over 2500 years ago, above Worbarrow Bay in Dorset on the south coast of England. When the Romans arrived, they took over the ancient fortifications. The area is said to be haunted by a phantom Roman army which has been spotted by multiple witnesses several times over the years. The ghost army was first sighted in December of 1678 and actually appeared to be to be real live soldiers. A local squire with his brother and four workmen were all witness to this spectacle where the Romans marched from Flower’s Barrow over Grange Hill. They could even hear the clamor of the armor as the soldiers walked. Alarmed, the squire roused the locals and about 100 people were able to see the phantom army, which included soldiers and horses. Messengers were sent to nearby Wareham to warn them of an approaching army but of course, it never arrived. The army has also been seen nearby at  Bindon Hill and Knowle Hill. This story and more can be found in Haunted England: The Penguin Book of Ghosts by Jennifer Westwood.

Art in metal

I need to make some of these up for my neighborhood by next April.

The Guennol Lioness - 5,000-year-old Mesopotamian statue found near Baghdad, Iraq

Looks like people knew about 'roids way, way back.  How they dated this I have no idea.

A road sign pointing the way to a brothel in Pompeii, 79 AD

New Jersey bears get smart with each other, lose their tempers and start to fight. It's a Jersey thing.

These bears were fighting in Rockaway.  Wonder how far that is from Chickenmom?

I wonder what the registration and insurance costs for this.

Friday Open Road

Or, the art of the escape.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sennen Cove, Cornwall, has some big surf

Big waves on a clear day

Way out there on land's end.

Really big water when it's stormy.  Time to hole up in a pub with a Guinness.

Not satisfied with childishly insulting the Israeli Prime Minister, White House insiders now turn on Kerry, describing him as lost in space.

Tumbling helplessly through the void:
...he often seems out of sync with the White House in his public statements. White House officials joke that he is like the astronaut played by Sandra Bullock in the movie “Gravity,” somersaulting through space, untethered from the White House.
Sandra did eventually find a way back to earth, although whether Mr. Kerry will do the same, eventually, remains to be seen.
On the bright side, he still has all ten of his fingers.

Genius Jose Canseco blows off his own middle finger while "cleaning" his gun

We who have cleaned countless guns over the years know what you did.  Sorry about the finger, but hey, with all the 'roids you took during those seventeen years in baseball, maybe it will grow back!

Mr. Canseco reflects sadly on the needless loss of a useful digit.

Yesterday was Jonas Salk's birthday

In light of the current concern over Ebola, and other diseases, it is good to get some perspective on what has happened in the past in similar situations.

According to American historian William O'Neill, "Paralytic poliomyelitis (its formal name) was, if not the most serious, easily the most frightening public health problem of the postwar era." He noted that the epidemics kept getting worse and its victims were usually children. By 1952, it was killing more of them than was any other communicable disease. In the 20 states that reported the disease back in 1916, 27,363 cases were counted. New York alone had 9,023 cases, of which 2,448 (28%) resulted in death, and a larger number in paralysis.  However, polio did not gain national attention until 1921, when Franklin D. Roosevelt, former vice presidential candidate and soon to be governor of New York, came down with a paralytic illness, diagnosed at the time as polio. At the age of 39, Roosevelt was left with severe paralysis and spent most of his presidency in a wheelchair.
Subsequently, as more states began recording instances of the disease, the numbers of victims grew larger. Nearly 58,000 cases of polio were reported in 1952, with 3,145 people dying and 21,269 left with mild to disabling paralysis.  In some parts of the country, concern assumed almost the dimensions of panic. According to Olson, "parents kept children home from school, avoided parks and swimming pools, and played only in small groups with the closest of friends."
Many famous people were polio victims; most were able to overcome their disabilities, while others were less fortunate. Itzhak Perlman, one of the world's finest violinists, was permanently disabled at age four, and still plays sitting down. Actor Donald Sutherland, President Roosevelt, writer Arthur C. Clarke, writer Robert Anton Wilson, actress Mia Farrow, singer-musician Neil Young, Olympic dressage rider Lis Hartel, actor Alan Alda, musician David Sanborn, singer Dinah Shore, singer Joni Mitchell, former Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, director Francis Ford Coppola, nuclear physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, actor Lionel Barrymore, and Congressman James H. Scheuer were infected.
As the fear of polio increased each year, funds to combat it increased from $1.8 million to $67 million by 1955. Research continued during those years, but, writes O'Neill, "everything scientists believed about polio at first was wrong, leading them down many blind alleys . . . furthermore, most researchers were experimenting with highly dangerous 'live' vaccines. In one test, six children were killed and three left crippled."
It was critical that Salk develop the trust of the U.S. public for his experiments and the mass tests that would become necessary. An associate of his noted, "That boy really suffers when he sees a paralytic case. You look at him and you see him thinking, 'My God, this can be prevented'."  An article in Wisdom notes that at one point, "he even thought of giving up virus research":
"But as he was sitting in a park and watching children play, he realized how important his work was. He saw that there were thousands of children and adults who would never walk again and whose bodies would be paralyzed. He realized his awesome responsibility, and so he continued his task with renewed vigor."
On April 12, 1955, Dr. Thomas Francis, Jr., of the University of Michigan, the monitor of the test results, "declared the vaccine to be safe and effective." The announcement was made at the University of Michigan, exactly 10 years to the day after the death of President Roosevelt. Five hundred people, including 150 press, radio, and television reporters, filled the room; 16 television and newsreel cameras stood on a long platform at the back, and 54,000 physicians, sitting in movie theaters across the country, watched the broadcast on closed-circuit television. Eli Lilly and Company paid $250,000 to broadcast the event. Americans turned on their radios to hear the details, department stores set up loudspeakers, and judges suspended trials so everyone in the courtroom could hear. Europeans listened on the Voice of America. Paul Offit writes about the event:
"The presentation was numbing, but the results were clear: the vaccine worked. Inside the auditorium Americans tearfully and joyfully embraced the results. By the time Thomas Francis stepped down from the podium, church bells were ringing across the country, factories were observing moments of silence, synagogues and churches were holding prayer meetings, and parents and teachers were weeping. One shopkeeper painted a sign on his window: 'Thank you, Dr. Salk.' 'It was as if a war had ended', one observer recalled."

Historical perspective is very helpful when considering actions of the clown brigade attempting to handle our current national disease issues.
When growing up, I went to school with several kids who had to deal with the effects of Polio.  The parents were sure to get us kids vaccinated. Let's hope nothing like Polio comes around again.
Thanks again, Dr. Salk.

Obama/Democratic constituency.

Gimme dat, it's the free chit army!

A Fascist machine gun team and riflemen during the Spanish Civil War.

Bunched up like that, they make a great target.  

Unprecedented pictures of the surface of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko

More photos at the link.  More on this particular comet here.

Cats are known to be able to fall fantastic distances and live to tell about it.

Striped Mosaic Bowl, Roman Empire; probably Italy, about 25 BC-50 AD.

Artistic genius from 2000 years ago.

How Democrats win elections

Via Small Dead Animals

Portrait of Four Bull, Assinaboines, by Frank A. Rinehart, 1898

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Come here, sweetie, I got some hugs for you

Senior administration official calls Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu a "chicken*hit."

Harvard grads.  Adults in charge.  Top. Men.

I say it was Kerry - it sounds like the kind of puerile, adolescent thing he'd say, and he has the motivation after the Israelis called him out on his incompetence.

From a comment at Ace's:

  "The sad thing is that the current administration would have hated dealing with Sharon or Begin much more than with Bibi. 

They were blunt hardasses. Bibi is much more refined, speaks English perfectly, and is not as aggressive. 

These fcuksticks can't even insult people well."

And this:

  "Go to Twitchy for the chickensh*t storm. 

Remember, these people have elite Ivy League educations. Finally, an administration that won't be an embarrassment! Not like that crude cowboy! "

All the twitchy goodness is right here!

And the final word is worth a thousand:

Don't drop it

DC-130 assigned to Fleet Composite Squadron 3 (VC-3) carrying two BQM-34S Firebee target drones. July, 1975.

Boeing B-47E Stratojet with a rocket assisted takeoff system (RATO)

Freckles, they are good

Launch of the Littoral Combat Ship Detroit

Via American Digest

Very entertaining

And the engine in action

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Mondays, they're like that

What's your excuse?

Another great awakening?

Economist editors John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge shocked the secular West in 2009 by announcing that God Is Back—starting with China, of all places. Here were two epitomes of British reasonableness explaining that Europe was the modern exception in viewing God as dead, an irrational shadow of the past, with its Continent declining in population and power, and the rest of the world resembling America in having religion as a part of their cultural dynamism.

China’s atheistic communist government conceded that its Christian population had doubled to 21 million over the past decade, worshiping in 55,000 official Protestant and 4,600 Catholic churches. The underground church, it’s widely known, was much larger—by foreign estimates perhaps 77 million, which means larger than the Communist Party. A Pew Global Attitudes study found only 11 percent of Chinese saying religion was not important in their lives, compared to 31 percent saying it was very or somewhat important. Indeed, everywhere the authors looked outside their European homeland, religion was booming in the early 21st century world.

From the comments:

No matter how repressed, somehow “the flotsam of natural law—all those corks of truth” cannot “all be kept down at once.”
This is such a great metaphor. In case it’s unclear, the quote comes from What We Can’t Not Know: A Guide at 223-224, where Budziszewski articulates a process-of-elimination argument for natural law:
[In defending natural law to a skeptic, a]ppealing to … witnesses is fruitless; all we can do is show him that his assumptions are in conflict with each other, as inevitably they will be…. When every intellectual refuge has been destroyed, one by one, then finally he may be ready to embrace a sane view of moral reality. Sometimes this approach to persuasion is called “presuppositional”.
* * *
[R]eality poses a constant problem for fallen man. He wants to acknowledge some of the truth which presses in on him, but taken together it points too strongly to other truth which he resists with all his might. In the end, he must deny so many obvious things that the work is just too much. He is like a man in a bathtub, surrounded by dozens of corks, trying to hold them all down at once. Whenever he pushes one down, another somewhere else pops right back up. This is the reason why his worldview in inevitably incoherent, for bits of truth get into it that he does not intend, clashing with the things he does intend.
I’m reminded of C.S. Lewis’s account of his conversion to faith: “You must picture me alone in that room at Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.” (Surprised By Joy, ch. 14, at 266).
I'm currently reading Lewis' "Mere Christianity," so this discussion is very interesting indeed in light of all that.

The Sierras as they look today, and how they should look.


How we'd like them to look.