The former Speaker has three standard expressions: charmed bemusement (“Why are you asking me that, you fool?”), indignant (“Why are you asking me that, you swine?”) and supreme confidence (“That’s not the question I would have asked, you moron”). Each comes with its own number of chins. For his stunning “No, but I will”, Newt employed the full dozen. He looked straight down them, with half moon goblin eyes. “I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office. And I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.”That's a more polite Brit way of saying Newt looks like Jabba the Hut.
By the time his chins unfolded, Gingrich was in total command of the debate.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
In 2007, they accounted for about 30 percent of philanthropic giving, according to Federal Reserve data. They received 22 percent of their income from capital gains, compared with 2 percent for everybody else.
Most 1 percenters were born with socioeconomic advantages, which helps explain why the 1 percent is more likely than other Americans to have jobs, according to census data. They work longer hours, being three times more likely than the 99 percent to work more than 50 hours a week, and are more likely to be self-employed. Married 1 percenters are just as likely as other couples to have two incomes, but men are the big breadwinners, earning 75 percent of the money, compared with 64 percent of the income in other households.
[B]eing in the top 1 percent doesn’t mean being a millionaire. There is a vast disparity of income among the top 1 percent, which includes households making $380,000 a year as well as billionaires. Catherine Rampell has a good chart that illustrates this point:
Like the great acrobatic escapologist known only as Finney, who in 1898 dived headfirst from the dome of the London Aquarium tied up in a sack that had been set on fire, I shall write this piece without the aid of Wikipedia. It is on strike in protest at a law on internet piracy that we need not go into here.And caveat emptor - you get what you pay for.
The wiki- part, we learnt, came from the Hawaiian wikiwiki, meaning “very quickly”. Surely the word must have been borrowed by the Hawaiians from the commands of English-speakers, like the order that saw us through hard times in India: “Chota peg, damn quicky quicky.”
Ward Cunningham, the man who coined wiki in 1995, to mean a program for a web page that could be edited by users, kindly explains its origin on a web page not currently on strike. At the airport in Hawaii he heard wikiwiki applied to a shuttle bus, and thought it would be nice to call the technology to make web pages quickly WikiWikiWeb.
[But] wiki has changed its meaning, and now describes a joint enterprise by volunteers.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
[E]verything we've ever seen in the universe has gravity--Earth, the moon. And you can tell how much gravity something has by how fast something moves around it. ... Add it all up. We've done this. Add it all up and say that should give me this much gravity. But when you look at how fast things are moving, you get six times as much gravity as the stuff that we know about is generating. It was originally called the missing matter problem. Where is the matter that's making this gravity that we see? Because everything we do count up doesn't get us where we need. We now call this the dark matter problem.
Yep, the eggheads only know for sure 4% of the cosmos. The other 96% is anybody's guess. I'm guessing it's laughing gas.
But really we have no idea what's causing it. We so don't know what's causing it that we shouldn't even call it dark matter because that implies we have some understanding that it's matter. We don't know what it is. I could call it Fred. Eighty five percent all the gravity in the universe comes from something about which we know nothing. ...
[Add that to dark energy and] it is ninety six percent of the universe. Everything we know and love--electrons, protons, neutrons, light, black holes, planets, stars, everything we know and understand--occupies four percent of the universe. Dark matter and dark energy is everything else.
Monday, January 16, 2012
300g good-quality basmati rice
2 medium red onions, sliced
1 large tsp allspice, ground
2cm of cinnamon stick
1 tsp of black cumin (if you don’t have any just don’t put it in, but don’t use brown cumin)
1 tsp coriander seed, ground
1 large handsome fresh cauliflower with a few leaves attached
100g almonds roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, green sprout removed from inside
1 small tub of good yogurt
1 large handful of chopped, mixed sweet herbs (dill, parsley, mint, tarragon and marjoram all qualify, at least half of which should be parsley)
1. Soak the rice in warm water.
2. In a medium-size, heavy-bottomed saucepan with a tightly fitting lid fry the sliced red onion in the butter, very slowly.
3. Add enough salt to season the whole dish, and all the spices. Break the cauliflower into florets keeping the tender leaves attached; boil the cauliflower in salted water for a couple of minutes until it begins to soften, then remove and set aside.
4. When the onion is starting to be soft and sweet add the almonds. Continue to fry gently until the onion has completely broken down.
5. Rinse the basmati rice until the water runs clear, then drain well.
6. Turn up the heat on the onions and add the cauliflower. When it is nicely coated in the fried onions add the drained rice and fry until it is all hot and sizzling. Cover with boiling water, make sure the liquid covers the rice by a little over a centimetre.
7. Cover with a piece of greaseproof paper and the lid then cook on a high heat for about five minutes, low for five, then leave off but undisturbed for at least another five minutes.
8. Crush one garlic clove with a little salt and mix it into the yogurt. When the pilaf has rested remove the lid and fluff it with a fork, add the chopped-up soft herbs, and eat with the seasoned yogurt.
January has seen temperatures of 50F (10C) and more, so your apple and pear trees will need winter pruning while it’s still possible to tell the difference between the plump, rounded flower buds and the slim, pointed leaf buds. Once buds begin to swell it’s much harder to tell them apart so this is your window of opportunity. However, pruning is always done in clement weather, not in frost.
Begin by removing dying, diseased and dead wood and any branches that cross. Aim to create an open shape that allows light to ripen the fruit. This needs consideration and pruning should be a thoughtful, slow process tackled with the sharpest secateurs you own. Cuts are made to outward-facing buds so that the new growth heads either upwards or outwards, not into the tree.
Most apple varieties fruit on spurs held close to the wood and correct pruning aims to develop good spur systems. The technique is to shorten the leaders by a third, so that side shoots develop.
Pigs will eat anything, including human feces. In South American villages without sanitation removal and indoor plumbing, pigs are used to keep the area free of garbage and feces. Villagers sell the scavenger pork to cities rather than eat it themselves. Pigs also lack sweat glands and slop around in mud to keep cool. Thus pigs are considered unclean, similar to shellfish, which are also scavengers.Needless to say I'm not a pork lover. It's peasant food.
Jews don't eat pork for the same reason Muslims don't: trichinosis. Only they didn't know it was trichinosis. They thought it was a curse from God. Soliders got sick before battle from eating raw or undercooked pork (pigs and goats being a good food source for traveling armies because they were low maintenance and can/will eat anything). Sick soliders make bad warriors, hence the edict from on high to stop eating pork.
Gordon Grice makes a strong argument in his book The Red Hourglass: Lives of the Predators that pigs may be routinely shunned as food by desert cultures because they are notoriously good at rooting corpses out of the loose and arid soil. (Sealing a body in a stone tomb/cave ala Lazarus had a practical purpose after all.) Thus eating the flesh of a pig, especially a wild boar, may indirectly result in cannibalism.
Reading this post reminded me of a scene from an HBO documentary I'd seen several years ago. The documentary was about serial killers and cannibals in particular. I do not remember the name of the documentary but the women that was interviewing a man that was jailed for murder and cannibalism in the USA asked him what eating human flesh tasted like. The reason this sticks in my memory is because of his response to her query. He looked her in the eye and thought for a moment, then said, "You would taste like the best ham you've ever had."
I found this at American Elephants.
If you made as much as $34,000 last year, you are now part of the world’s richest 1%.
World Bank economist Branko Milanovic puts it all in perspective:The true global middle class, falls far short of owning a home, having a car in a driveway, saving for retirement and sending their kids to college. In fact, people at the world’s true middle — as defined by median income — live on just $1,225 a year. (And, yes, Milanovic’s numbers are adjusted to account for different costs of living across the globe.) In the grand scheme of things, even the poorest 5% of Americans are better off financially than two thirds of the entire world.Each one of those little human figures represents one million people. Just something to think about.