Tag Archives: Observations

Deep misconceptions

Sensible mode engage…..Booting…..The lamestream do tend to mythologise things don’t they? But then that’s their business. Sensationalism, sex and scandal sell. That the public is presented with misrepresentation as fact, especially in the tabloids, is a scandal in itself. Take for example the headlines surrounding the creator of the Silk Road trading web site, who was recently handed a life sentence without parole. Here on Reason TV, Documentary maker and one time film comedy actor Alex Winter discusses his 2015 documentary ‘Deep Web’, samizdat copies of which are already available on YouTube and probably on every available streaming site by now.

Both the interview and documentary make interesting viewing.

Interesting stuff

There’s nothing like new light being thrown on old subjects. Regarding yesterday’s post, I’d like to thank everyone for pitching in and being so civil about it. I’d particularly like to thank the commenter Dan Germouse (Is that the David Jason and Terry Scott version Dan?) for highlighting the Cochrane Reviews. Rest assured, I shall try to include said reports in future reading to keep my knowledge a little less out of date. Some topics are subscription only, but the available reviews look interesting.

One topic that comes up regularly is the assertion that banning the advertising of Alcohol or related products would reduce public consumption. Read the brief review here. Make up your own minds.

Off the same list, I also had a brief run through the reviews on Green Tea and weight loss, and Cranberry Juice and Urinary Tract Infections.

The news that Statins are effective as a prophylactic against MI’s (Heart Attacks), but makes no case for scattergun mass medication as proposed by some politicians. I would cite the cautionary example of mass use of antibiotics and the subsequent development of hard to control MRSA type infections. Longer term studies needed methinks. Sister in law and husband got put on a course of Statins and had to stop because of the side effects. They’re still on a low salt, low everything diet, but the last I heard their cholesterol levels hadn’t changed that much.

One thing I was amused to note was the conclusion that while vitamin D supplements do not help safeguard against falling in older people, but exercises which help develop poise and balance like Tai Chi do. Must keep up the old Judo exercises then.

Overall, as regards information I consider myself schooled. However in this instance I am quite relaxed about the experience. Primary sources without having to dig through reams of guff? I’m good with that.

As a reward, here’s a possibly NSFW video playlist of young women getting their kit off in a very artistic fashion (Well I happen to think so) for all you gentlemen out there with the odd red blood cell still ranging around your veins. Or ladies with girl crushes. Hey, we don’t judge. Any complaints, keep ’em to yourselves.

Water and associated topics

Following a spirited discussion with Furor Teutonicus in the comments, while this week looks quiet workwise I thought I’d do some following up on said discussion regarding Fluoride and other environmental factors.

There’s also a meme out in the wilds of medialand, unsubstantiated by actual medical evidence, that in order to ‘stay healthy’ people should drink ‘eight glasses of water’ per day. Eight fluid ounces in each. Sixty four fluid ounces. Three and a bit pints. Influenced by this garbage, everywhere you go there are people in shops, offices, on the streets with their dinky little bottles of Peckham Spring which may well be sourced from the Public Water Supply.

As for what’s in that water, watch the video of what Dr David Kennedy has to say about Fluoride in the public water supply. Especially about not being able to get rid of fluoride salts with boiling, activated carbon filtration, ‘cold filtering’ or even ‘reverse osmosis’ (Unless it’s the high pressure variety, which is expensive). ‘Pure’? I should cocoa (Derisive snort).

As for my little ‘Peckham Spring’ jibe, well me darlings, you’d be amazed at how many companies source their supposedly ‘pure’ water straight from the same sources as the public supply. Not all of them, but not a tenth, or an eighth, but over a quarter of all that bottled water on the grocery and supermarket shelves, possibly more, is likely exactly the same as what comes out of your tap. And that’s even before doing the individual testing and number crunching on how much and what contains fluoride salts. There’s just no readily collectable evidence. But you can bet your boots that the companies making a fat buck off it aren’t telling. Never mind the allegations of how much bacterial contamination there is in the supposedly ‘pure’ bottled stuff. Even if your bottled water has ‘0% fat’ on the label. I mean, ‘low fat’ water? Who knew?

Now to the meat of the topic, which is what is actually in your water supply, and what, if any deleterious effects it might have. Or even the long term effects of sub-toxic dosage and the risks of removing those dosages.

According to this animal based study, there is no detectable cancer risk associated with prolonged low level exposure to fluoride salts, although some osteosclerosis was observed. Well, you might ask, what about the documented neurological effects? It’s true that in acute cases of fluoride poisoning, headache, tremors, muscle spasm, tetanic contractions, hyperactive reflexes, seizures, and muscle weakness can result. Acute toxicity levels are 5mg per kg of body weight, so for a seventy five kilo human you’d have to swallow over 375mg in one sitting to get very sick indeed, very quickly. There’s also a high probability that kind of dose would be fatal. Women, because the average UK female bodyweight is a tad over 70kg, would be most susceptible. For those under 60kg, the acute toxicity level kicks in much earlier. Especially if the immune system is depressed or simply busy with other matters.

Now if you’re one of these people sipping two litres of water a day under the delusion that this is ‘healthy’, up until May 2015 in fluoride using areas of the USA, you might be ingesting as much as 5mg of fluoride salts a day from water alone, or in the case of a 60kg woman, a sixtieth of an acute dosage. That’s without the fluoride salts in toothpaste and bathing water. More if dietary supplements like multivitamins are being regularly taken. For the sake of a hypothetical argument, let’s round up that daily dosage (with dietary supplements) to 8mg, which is only 2mg below the maximum permissible 10mg per day overall dose. So, not quite enough to bring on acute symptoms, but as any fule kno, small doses over long periods of time can result in significant ill effects. Mostly they fly below the radar, not flagging up any immediate concerns, but can exhibit long term consequences.

For most of us this isn’t a problem; we don’t chug anything like eight glasses a day. Nor should we. Too much flushing of the system raises another Cerberus head. Constantly flushing the salt out of ones body can lead to things like mild hyponatraemia (Low blood salt). Which carries yet another set of health risks. We need sodium. If our bodies didn’t need a specific amount of salt, we wouldn’t have developed kidneys. No matter that some people want to eliminate dietary salt altogether, which is not only stupid, it’s secure ward barking.

What has been suggested is, rather like repeatedly getting shitfaced while pregnant leads to foetal alcohol syndrome, excess ingestion of fluoridated water while pregnant may be associated with the uptick in cases of Autism and Attention Deficit Disorders in children. As yet, there are few reputable studies to indicate whether this is true or not. Other suggested causes of Autism have indicted certain household cleaning agents or low level infections during pregnancy and a whole heap of other potential agents.

What is proven is that low level doses of fluoride in the water supply are beneficial as far as teeth are concerned and getting rid of fluoridated water altogether is like refusing vaccination, cutting off your nose to spite your face. However, in light of emerging evidence, reducing the fluoride dosage from 1.5mg / litre to 0.7mg, (15 down to 7 parts per million) because of the toxic nature of fluoride salts, can be seen as a good move. Although your dentist might not be convinced. But then, it took a while to find out that your shiny silver looking mercury amalgam fillings could be poisonous.

Information Sources (amongst others).
TOXICOLOGICAL PROFILE FOR FLUORIDES, HYDROGEN FLUORIDE, AND FLUORINE
U.S. Lowers Recommended Fluoride Levels in Drinking Water from 1.5mg / litre to 0.7 mg / litre. Web MD Monday, April 27, 2015.
UK fluoride levels remain at 1.5mg per litre. NHS web site.

Something in the water

Is it just me, or is there something odd going on? We’ve had over twenty odd years of increasing histrionics over what I would ordinarily term mere bagatelles while more serious issues get glossed over and sidelined. Off the cuff remarks reacted to with such vehemence you’d think someone had committed a real crime. And the thing that raises a Spock like eyebrow the most, the Police often take the complaint seriously.

It’s not just that, far too much emphasis is being given to comparatively petty matters while more serious crimes seem to get a free pass, or never seem to come to trial as speedily as possible. Someone makes an off colour remark on ‘social media’ and there are a whole heap of frothing complaints, but murder hardly makes the front pages. Does this make sense to anyone?

Not me. Anyone else? I reckon it’s something environmental, although what it is I have no idea.

Update: Ahah! By George I think I’ve got it! I had a minor flash of whatever, and went to have a look at the analysis of red meat consumption over the last few decades. Canadians in 2010 consumed only just over half the red meat they did in 1980. Could this be a factor behind the rise of PC? Diet? More fruit and nuts leads to more fruit and nut cases? There’s a Ph.D and a Nobel prize in this for someone.

Can we move on now?

Seventy years ago, the Japanese surrendered to Allied forces after they were finally convinced of annihilation if they didn’t. The Fascist regime that perpetrated so many abuses against other humans is no more, yet it is felt modern Japanese politicians should apologise for the atrocities committed by that regime. As if mere apology was enough to make amends for the ill treatment of prisoners of war which included starvation and forced labour, brutal executions made routine, experiments on live human subjects which included dissection while alive. Yet I will argue that the modern Japanese are not responsible for the actions of their forefathers. I would also argue that the A-bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were necessary at the time and saved many more lives than they took. The alternative would have been complete annihilation of Japan because the culture of that time was to die for the Emperor. And they would have done so, in their millions. Small scale examples of this mindset were demonstrated with civilians on Saipan and Okinawa leaping to their deaths rather than ceasing resistance to the allied forces. Which some contend were forced by the Japanese military. Shinzo Abe has it right. Enough with the apologising already.

Like with 17th and 18th century slavery, the time has passed, and no matter what anyone says, Western culture alone cannot be held responsible for the actions of the slavers. Those responsible are long dead, so why is there this ‘blame culture’ prevalent in modern western society? The fact that slavery still exists in non western cultures to this day seems to be conveniently bypassed. In the 17th and early 18th century Moslem Corsairs raided South western English and even Icelandic villages and towns for slaves. A Barbary raider even sacked Baltimore in continental North America, June 20, 1631. Is the Ottoman Empire available for comment? Don’t be silly. The same as I am not responsible for the outrages committed by Medieval Crusaders on the town of Acre or the Catholic Church’s grand inquisition. We are not they. We’re not a bunch of fcuking knuckledragging hillbillies who can’t forgive or forget. Society has moved on.

What I’m driving at here is that whilst we should never forget the brutality of our (and their) ancestors, the reason for remembering things as they happened should be? Yes, I’m talking to you at the back there. Why should we never forget the horrors inflicted by people on their fellow humans? So we don’t make the same mistakes ever again. Good. Lesson learned. The idea that the sharp edges of history should be somehow smoothed over in case the fine detail ‘upsets’ the thin skinned and hypersensitive is ludicrous. Can’t handle the facts? Aww, poor diddums.

What irks me most about all these apologies for every single bad thing done by people who might, or might not be in my, or anybody else’s line of ancestors is that they are counter productive and only serve to renew the resentment. Vengeance can only be relevant when the perpetrators of the original evil are still around. If those who did the wrong are dead then vengeance cannot feasibly be justified. The principle in law being that their debts and evil die with them. Harming someone’s offspring for a wrong perpetrated by their parents simply restarts the cycle. Likewise insincere apologies. Rinse, spin, repeat, but you’ll never be rid of the blood.

Hells bells, it’s Dragon Boat weekend, and I intend to be downtown in an hour or so with my (Japanese designed with Chinese and Korean made components) Nikon Coolpix 520 camera. Watching the Canadian sponsored dragon boats, maybe joining in the fun, perhaps popping into the Bard and Banker or the Irish Times pub for a beer and chicken wings. I do not wish to be apologised to by any visiting Japanese, nor will I feel obliged to apologise to them for acts committed before either of us were born. Life is too bloody short.

Orphans down and up again

Dropped by ‘Orphans of Liberty‘ this AM to see what Julia, James and Mike have been digging up, only to be diverted to some nonsense pet site about dogs. It’s not the first time the site has been interfered with to my certain knowledge. Apparently someone who doesn’t like what they say over at Ool and instead of simply passing on by, did the petulant toddler thing and diverted all incoming web traffic to another site. Which is very mature and sensible isn’t it? The Violet Elizabeth (“I’ll thcream and thcream ’till I’m thick”) approach to web discourse. “I don’t like what you say, so I’m going to shut you up!” Giving us an insight into the alleged saboteurs state of mind, or lack thereof.

As for sabotage, there are whole ‘how to’ sections on how to sabotage a web site out there in Interwebland, and you don’t need much in the way of brains to use them. As anyone who has worked in tech support knows, any bloody fool can and often does screw up a system, but it takes real brains to fix the temporary chaos they create.

Notwithstanding, upon discovering the divert I dropped Julia and James a quick email to let them know something was amiss, and by the time I finish typing this post all should be well once more. Which it is. As a one time contributor, I have the greatest respect for ‘Orphans’ and what they’re trying to say. Working on the premise that if someone is trying to shut them up, I think perhaps they’ve hit a nerve. Far from deterring their efforts, it should encourage a more spirited effort at finding out what it is some cretinous arsehole doesn’t want discussed in public.

I know this comes from the church of stating the bleeding obvious, but if anyone disagrees or takes issue with what others say on a blog, that’s for the comments. The idea being to make a point in a cogent or even witty manner, and perhaps people will listen to what you have to say. To discuss, debate, examine and dissect. Simply shouting others down or sabotaging the blog simply makes the saboteur look like an incoherent ignorant dickhead with all the social graces of an incontinent three year old with Alzheimer’s. Because in the final analysis what has he or she done? Created a temporary annoyance, that’s all. Regular readers will come back after the temporary glitch is fixed and the saboteur has achieved precisely nothing, well, apart from increase the blogs readership. Why? Everyone likes a little drama, and will turn up just to see if there’s any blood on the carpet, figuratively speaking.

No doubt the offender will break cover in a fit of characteristic vaingloriousness, they always do, but all they’ve actually done is proved to everyone else is what a total cunt they are. It’s so very, very sad and so are they. Time for breakfast.

Squirrel!

Over at Longriders, I picked up the story of UK Government ‘health’ advice for people between 40 and 60 to get more sleep so as not to burden the ‘wonderful’ (Snarky guffaw) NHS with more of our unwelcome ickiness than necessary. What is it with these people? Don’t they know there’s a pensions crisis? Too many people (Including my good self) who are hurtling towards old age and presumed infirmity for the nations finances to afford. Not that I intend to use or expect much from the system. I have my own resources, and intend to keep them well out of the reach of HMRC through every legal avenue available. Yet I’m left with the thought, if ‘unhealthy’ living causes people to pop their clogs in an untimely manner, isn’t that a good thing, economically speaking? Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow ye certainly die, yes? Fewer ‘seniors’ pottering around with their walkers, using ‘precious’ health resources, nonchalantly trying to avoid the questing gaze of the old grim reaper. Good, not so good? You tell me. If the options are between dying of a massive coronary at age 79, or facing the mercy of the Liverpool care pathway at age 81, it’s not much of a choice, is it?

There’s a lot of contradictory ‘advice’ that squitters out of the anus of Government propaganda via the lamestream media. Save, don’t save, spend, don’t spend. This is bad for you, oops, no it’s not but this is, oh sorry, wrong again. The Earth is warming out of control and it’s all your fault but if we tax you more it’ll be fine don’t you worry, but we’ll spend the tax on things like ‘outreach’ groups and other pork barrel promises to buy minority votes. To which my response is always WTF? Even if the lamestream told me the Earth was about to be hit by a ten mile wide asteroid I wouldn’t believe them. I’d be out in the back yard at night trying to spot it with my 20×50’s and a nice big mug of hot chocolate. The only people I’d actually believe would be the first hand sources like the less hysterical astrophysicists and Astronomers who can prove they know their stuff about orbital mechanics.

As for my Canadian GP, he’s a bit old school which I’m quite happy with. He doesn’t lecture or fuss over the latest directive, just deals with whatever problem we come in with. Which is quite refreshing. “Yeah, that’s healing nicely.” He said, checking over Mrs S’s busted wing having read the Orthopedic surgeons report from the rehab clinic. No other questions like “How much do you eat, drink, sleep, smoke and shit?” Our health is our concern. His job is to fix it when it’s broke. Which is as it should be.

For our part, we emulate the Squirrel. Building up resources against the Winter of infirmity and old age so the state doesn’t have to.

And we have a lively local population of tree rats. Mostly Greys, but there is a tribe of Blacks across and down the street. One of the Greys regularly makes a racket using our front guttering as a rodents rat run from one side of the property to the next, then three others which have been busily raiding next doors Walnut tree up to three nuts at a time each. Don’t believe me? Here’s three shots I took late yesterday afternoon.Squirrel raider 0 Here’s one, on his first Walnut raid of the day, legging it across the carport roof outside my office window as though all the voraciousness of the world were on his heels. Which for a squirrel is quite possible. They’re a prey species for just about everything short of Mule Deer.
Squirrel raider 1 Now see the little tinker, taking three(!) nuts at a time off to some store for what may be a harsh Winter. It might be a rerun of 2013/4 where we saw icicles as big as Elephant tusks as far south as Langford and Esquimalt. So, these squirrels are obviously ‘prepping’. Which is a sensible precaution, and probably why there are so many healthy looking squirrels in the neighbourhood.
Squirrel raider 2In this shot, here is our little interloper, selecting the biggest nut he can find (I think it’s a he, but with squirrels it’s hard to tell). For my part I am emulating the Squirrels provision gathering. Nothing fancy, just basics. Rendering Landladies abundance of tomatoes into litres of a very nice pasta sauce which reside in the freezer with the curry and soups. Picking up flour and yeast when it’s on a deal to bake my own artisan breads when necessity dictates. Squirreling comestibles into storage so that when relatives descend upon us from across the globe this September and December, they will leave for warmer climes (Australia, Tanzania and elsewhere) with full stomachs and happy memories while we will have spare in the larder for the cold months from January to March. All you have to do is keep your stocks rotated, and Robert is one’s Father’s brother.

Not that I believe there’s going to be any worldwide disaster, just that things will carry on being a bit tighter than they should be, and the wise man will always emulate the Squirrel, putting a little by in the Summer for when the hard times inevitably come.

Succulents, Sunshine, Sangria and Sushi

Hangover cat Have been having a jolly nice time away from the keyboard, only visiting the Interwebs twice yesterday. Have been introducing Mrs S to the delights of Sangria after a day and a half (Seriously, it was worse than shoe shopping) looking for and poking around garden centres for the ‘right’ pots and compost for our increasing family of Succulent plants, specifically Jade plants, and more generally three other species. Our Jade plant was looking a little bit sad, having out-grown the pot it inhabited. Sangria is quite nice, and does tend to slip down the old throat without much of a moral struggle. The cat in the picture can be considered a clue to my current physical state.

Notwithstanding, I really am developing a serious taste for Sushi. Out here on the Pacific rim we get the some really top notch stuff. Yet if anyone asked me as recently as ten years ago, if I would eat raw fish, I would have laughed in their face. Now I respond with enthusiasm. Sushi, sure. Great stuff. Pass the Soy sauce.

Am further amusing myself watching the local squirrels raiding the last of the figs off the tree outside my window. Our local Raven population are now so officially full of the crop that they can no longer fly. Or is that the sunshine? Because it’s on days like these that you could almost believe in man made global warming. Gorgeous weather. Although I hear it’s not so hot in the UK, where the traditional British Summer (1 day of sunshine, six rain and gloom) is in full swing. Do I sound smug? Well, just a bit. Over here in BC the weather is the exact opposite. Ten days of sun, a day and a half of rain. Rinse, repeat until October.

While I’ve been away I see a lot of otherwise sensible people have been getting highly excised about the death of a wild predator at the hands of an otherwise inoffensive Dentist (All North American dentists are fundamentally inoffensive, it’s a prerequisite of their profession) from Minnesota. All I have to say is; what are you people on? It’s not okay to make death threats against people you disagree with. You don’t like hunting that helps pay for game conservation? Tough. Now build a fkucing bridge and get over it FFS! As for some of the sad stereotypes that were being bandied around by people who should really know better; call yourselves freedom loving seekers of truth? Really? As for the anthropomorphism, giving an animal a human name does not change its nature. As anyone who has invaded the zoo enclosure of a predator species will understand. Once their wounds have healed, if, of course they are lucky enough to survive the experience. Even the brightest domestic pet is not human, it does not think like a human, it’s needs and priorities are not human. Anyone thinking that non humans are simply fur covered people is more barking than the Yorkshire Terrier our landlady periodically plays host to. Yappy bloody thing.

Well, that’s it for now. I’m off to get a new 64Gb MicroSD card for my Samsung plus a few other office bits and pieces we’ve identified a need for. So TTFN. Have a truly great day. Possibly.

Dog days

Hot sunny days with nothing much happening at present. Mrs S is popping out for her weekly physio on her busted wing, which seems to be healing nicely. All our paperwork is up to date, the usual silly season stuff permeates the press, and various crises grumble on. I have little to contribute, so while the opportunity exists I’m going to do what my dog used to; lie down and enjoy the warmth now that the short spell of weekend rain has passed. Just listening to birdsong and chilling.

While it’s this warm there’s a knack to managing the airflow through our little apartment to keep it at a pleasant temperature. Other places we’ve lived have become stuffy and uncomfortable on days like these, but the natural breeze from leaving the north facing window in my office and the front window open makes for a very comfortable working environment.

As for news, I haven’t read a UK online newspaper properly for weeks, and to tell you the truth I think I’m happier for it. The British press do love to dramatise, don’t they? Hell, I’ve gotten to the point that if they state that the sky is blue, I’ll take a look out the window to check.

There are still figs on the tree outside my office window, which are nice when ripe and sweet, but there are so few of them left that we’re leaving them to the Ravens. My own experiment with processing the crop is now in its second phase, having scooped out the inner cores and added a little brown sugar and put them aside to steep for a few days before Vodka is added. So far it’s looking good. A report on taste and intoxicating effects may be forthcoming.

TTFN