February 17, 2009

Sunday February 15, 2009 “It may sound just like any other business school class, but the students are surrounded by the high fences and razor wire of the Cleveland Correctional Facility, just north of Houston.”

Drug dealers are being taught to become legitimate businessmen.

Say this kind of educational program turns out to be really good at turning prisoners into legitimate businesspeople. The percentage who go back to prison drops considerably. And similar programs for incarcerated juveniles keep many of them from becoming adult criminals.

Many people who want to reduce crime will hate it. The ex-criminals will be seen as unfair competition.

Just as Jewish college students were seen in the past, and Asian-Americans in the present.

***Mild sore throat, mild aches. I skipped MinnSpec (Twin Cities sf writers Meetup).

I did go out shopping, much later. I had to — I was almost out of teabags.

Learned that Cub has two brands of teabags cheaper than Aldi’s. One, shelved with other teas, is distributed by the company that owns Cub. The really cheap one is on the $2 or less shelves (which not long ago were the $1 or less shelves.)


February 14, 2009

Friday February 13, 2009 “Britain’s Roman Catholic Church is advising lovelorn singles to direct their February 14 requests for love to St Raphael, rather than St Valentine.

“Over the years St Valentine has come incorrectly to be associated with finding love, the Church says. “He is the patron saint for those who have already found their soulmate. “St Raphael is the patron saint for happy encounters and it is to him those fearing the Valentine’s post should properly direct their prayers.

“St Raphael, according to legend, helped Tobias enter into marriage with Sarah, who had seen seven previous bridegrooms perish on the eve of their weddings.”

***Picked up meds at HealthPartners Riverside.

On my way back, shopped at Target. Sign: an advertised candy wasn’t available; caught up in the peanut recall. Near the pharmacy department, another sign: an energy bar had also been caught up in the recall.

***Marx and Cthulu on Money: The Pilot http://fengi.livejournal.com/902974.html

February 11, 2009

Tuesday February 10, 2009 “Yep says I, don’t you remember the story about the princess kissing the frog to turn him into a prince? Well, every year, the Valentine’s Frog goes out into the world looking for a little girl to kiss him and turn him into a prince too, and he leaves chocolates and flowers and things like that to bribe them into thinking he is a prince.” http://amykb.livejournal.com/224027.html

***Shopping run to the Aldi on Lake near Minnehaha and to Savers thrift store.

February 9, 2009

Sunday February 8, 2009 Dream:  Drug dealers travelling into the past for their supplies.

It occurred to me that this didn’t look like the real past.  Answer:  It’s a real past, but not _our_ real past.

Later, when I was half-awake, I thought of a twist:  In the primitive time they travel to, humanity has only a toehold in space.

“They are not going into the past.  This place called ‘America’ is in our future.”

In the 1950s, that might have made a salable story.

And do you critique your dreams?  While still asleep?  Or am I the only one?

***Shopped at the Rainbow supermarket on Lake near Hiawatha.  Noticed more signs of bad management than I used to.  (For example, stock not being on shelves.)

***I’ve been reading “Where will bloggers get their news if newspapers go out of business?” articles.  Snarky answer:  Bloggers can read industry and government press releases as well as reporters can.

I need to do a more serious writeup.  Among other things, explain why the Star Tribune is only my third source of text on Twin Cities news, and I don’t usually bother with the Pioneer Press.

February 4, 2009

Saturday January 31, 2009 Much warmer today — it got above 40F.

***Found myself thinking about 1,000 books to read after you die. (And, later, 1,000 places to see after you die.) Which is evidence that my mind is working normally again.

***Bought at Steeple People thrift store: Daniel Nagrin, How to Dance Forever. Most modern dancers are out of the game at forty. Nagrin was dancing at least into his late sixties. Arthur Schlesinger Jr., The Cycles of American History. Including the conservative-liberal political cycle. The conservative Republicans who thought the Bush Presidency had made them a permanent political majority were wrong. The liberal Democrats now talking about being a permanent majority are also in for unpleasant surprises. Went to the Wedge Co-op. On my way back, stopped in at DreamHaven Books.


Sunday February 1, 2009 Dreamed about a medical problem: When a woman is pregnant with twins, she provides milk to both wombs. If she later becomes pregnant with a single child, the pattern has already been established. Milk is provided to both wombs, and half of it is wasted.

***”China, US shout to be heard in dialogue of the deaf”

My subconscious commented “With sign language interpretation for the blind.”


Monday February 2, 2009 For the first time, I made French toast using soy milk. Turned out reasonably well. The soy milk was vanilla-flavored; I would have liked a stronger vanilla flavor.

***Self-quoting from a thread on rec.arts.sf.composition: Secrets could also be about things not done rather than done.

“I’ve never really killed anyone.”

Or “When I became a priest, I didn’t believe in the Scavenger Gods.”

“So? Everybody knows the Temple only certifies priests who don’t believe.”

“Yes, but now I DO believe.”


Tuesday February 3, 2009 At Savers thrift store, found a good winter jacket. Bought it to replace the sorta-okay one I’d been wearing. Momentary thought: Nothing wrong with the old one which couldn’t be fixed. The torn pocket could be repaired with duct tape. I put on the new jacket before leaving the store. And realized there was indeep something unrepairable wrong with the old jacket. It was too tight across the chest and shoulders. (It hadn’t been when I’d bought it.) On to Aldi supermarket. Then to Target, mostly for canned computer-dusting gas.

February 3, 2009

From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 3-Feb-2009
February 2009 Geology and GSA Today media highlights
GEOLOGY includes three papers about Mars: continuation of the “jelly sandwich” versus “crème brûlée” debate; support for the Snowball Earth hypothesis; what nine-million-year-old tooth enamel says about vegetation in an ancient sub-Himalayan ecosystem; anthropogenic lead in the Tyrrhenian Sea; evidence for a prehistoric South Pacific tsunami; a multicentennial megadrought in medieval Europe; and a newly discovered fossil turtle in the Canadian Arctic. GSA Today’s science article proposes a new method for classifying Quaternary glacial deposits.

Public Release: 3-Feb-2009
One-fifth of women who should receive radiation after a mastectomy are not getting this potentially lifesaving treatment, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
NIH/National Cancer Institute

Public Release: 3-Feb-2009
Cardiff University researchers who are part of a British-German team searching the depths of space to study gravitational waves, may have stumbled on one of the most important discoveries in physics according to an American physicist. Craig Hogan, a physicist at Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics in Illinois is convinced that he has found proof in the data of the gravitational wave detector GEO600 of a holographic universe.

Public Release: 3-Feb-2009
American Naturalist
Why don’t more animals change their sex?
Most animals, like humans, have separate sexes — they are born, live out their lives and reproduce as one sex or the other. However, some animals live as one sex in part of their lifetime and then switch to the other sex, a phenomenon called sequential hermaphroditism. What remains a puzzle, according to Yale scientists, is why the phenomenon is so rare, since their analysis shows the biological “costs” of changing sexes rarely outweigh the advantages.
Yale University, National Science Foundation

Public Release: 3-Feb-2009
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Living longer thanks to the ‘longevity gene’
A variation in the gene FOXO3A has a positive effect on the life expectancy of humans, and is found much more often in people living to 100 and beyond — moreover, this appears to be true worldwide. A research group in the Faculty of Medicine at the Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel has now confirmed this assumption by comparing DNA samples taken from 388 German centenarians with those from 731 younger people.
National Genome Research Network

January 26, 2009

Sunday January 25, 2009 Robert Burns’s birthday.  The Edinburgh Jewish community will have a Rabbi Burns Supper with kosher haggis.
A few years ago, I realized most of my thinking isn’t in words.

Much of it is in kinesthetic-tactile-visual diagrams; in three, four, sometimes five dimensions.

January 25, 2009

Saturday January 24, 2009 Funniest thing I’ve read recently.  Not safe for work or school:

So I went to a porn store with my buddy Otter today.

( Sanitized for your protection! )

***Google News (US English-language edition) has a set of headlines about Girl Scout cookies.

In the Health (medical) section.

***”In some states, counties are divided into townships.”

I sent a message, explaining that in New York State and the New England states, these are called towns.

A bit of googling shows that Wisconsin seems to use both terms.

January 24, 2009

Stross seminar imminent

by John Quiggin on January 23, 2009

The comments threads are already buzzing with anticipation so I’m very happy to announce that our long-awaited Charles Stross Book Event will be published here in the next few days. It features Paul Krugman, Brad DeLong, Ken MacLeod and of course Charlie Stross himself, along with CT regulars. Keep a lookout, and be ready with comments on your favorite Stross work.

January 24, 2009

Friday January 23, 2009  Cops: New York dealers sold heroin branded with president’s name
“The branding of illicit drugs is a favorite of pushers, who have previously sold bin Laden heroin, Harry Potter Ecstasy, bricks of Teletubbies cocaine, and green-tinted crack in recognition of St. Patrick’s Day.”
http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2009/0123091obama1.htm  Via The Drudge Report

In the 1960s, when I lived in New York City, I don’t recall reading or hearing about such branding.