Saturday, August 25, 2012

DNA Code. Sinai Attack. Chemical Dispersants. Yosemite Valley. Mummies Scanned. Ship Emissions. Germiest Places. Separating Eggs. Obit for Common Sense. Paris Freed. Orange Glow Missing.

For “Summary Saturday”: News, Some new, some old.

Book written in DNA code

“Scientists who encoded the book say it could soon be cheaper to store information in DNA than in conventional digital devices

Two molecules of DNA

Book of life: DNA is the ultimate compact storage medium. Photograph: Alamy

Scientists have for the first time used DNA to encode the contents of a book. At 53,000 words, and including 11 images and a computer program, it is the largest amount of data yet stored artificially using the genetic material.

The researchers claim that the cost of DNA coding is dropping so quickly that within five to 10 years it could be cheaper to store information using this method than in conventional digital devices.”     More at: and:   Future of Data: Encoded in DNA


Sinai Attack Leads to Power Shift in Egypt

Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula from space (NASA photo). Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula from space (NASA photo).

“Islamist President Mohammed Morsi boldly forced out the old military guard in the aftermath of an al-Qaeda–like attack that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers. What does this portend for the future of the Middle East?

The military leaders who have continued to hold power in Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow have now been fired by recently elected President Mohammed Morsi.

The Washington Post reported Aug. 12: “Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi forced out the country’s two top military chiefs Sunday, in a bold move to wrest power from the armed forces and marginalize key holdovers of ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s reign.

“Seizing on a brazen attack in north Sinai that killed 16 Egyptian security forces, Morsi on Sunday swore in a new defense minister, who will command the armed forces, and made additional major personnel moves. The president also announced that he had suspended a constitutional amendment the generals passed on the eve of Morsi’s election giving themselves vast powers and weakening the presidency.  Reuters reported Aug. 13 that the militant groups in Sinai are a growing threat to Israel—and to Egypt itself.”   More at:  by Mike Bennett - August 14, 2012


Age Of Extreme Energy Needs Extreme Caution

U.S. lax about chemicals used in oil and gas operations

A U.S. Air Force chemical dispersing C-130 aircraft drops an oil dispersing chemical into the Gulf of Mexico as part of the Deepwater Horizon response effort. (U.S. Air Force Photo / Tech. Sgt. Adrian Cadiz)

“In April 2010, a national nightmare began with a blowout into the Gulf of Mexico. But the hundreds of millions of gallons of oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill were just the beginning of the disaster. We are still learning about the real damage, which is much more insidious than tar balls and slicked beaches.

Recently, researchers found that the millions of gallons of chemical dispersants used to break up the oil may disrupt the Gulf of Mexico’s food chain by killing off plankton, the fuel on which marine ecosystems run. At the time of the spill, little was known about the dispersants’ health and environmental effects, but oil executives and government officials justified the risk by arguing that desperate times call for desperate measures.

Welcome to the age of extreme energy, which requires us to risk the health of our bodies and our environment just to keep the lights on. From oil dispersants to fracking fluid, the chemicals used in extreme energy all have one thing in common: We know little about them, and what we do know is worrisome.”  More at: 18 August 2012, 5:44 PM by Trip Van Noppen


New Roads Into Yosemite Valley Rejected by Federal Court

“Environmentalists and National Park Service win a halt to developer’s plans for roads into new ranch resort.  In a decision that will help preserve the scenic beauty in one of the most visited national parks in America, a federal appeals court in California has upheld a ruling that a land developer does not have the right to build new roads through Yosemite National Park to connect its property to a state highway.

Giant sequoias in Yosemite National Park. (Neil Jacklin)

Visitors are dwarfed by giant sequoias
in Yosemite National Park. (Neil Jacklin)

The company, Hazel Green Ranch, LLC, sued the National Park Service in federal court in 2007, claiming the right to construct roads over two historic routes leading into Yosemite Valley. Hazel Green claimed its road building rights under a nineteenth-century mining law known as Revised Statute 2477 and, after that legal theory was dismissed, based on state law easement rights. The developer wanted the roads to provide easier access for a private resort it hoped to build on an 83-acre parcel along the western boundary of Yosemite National Park.”     More at:


CT scan unmasks the secrets of the mummies

The secrets of seven ancient Egyptian mummies have been unveiled after they were examined under a medical CT scanner as part of a student project.

“The secrets of seven ancient Egyptian mummies have been unveiled after they were examined under a medical CT scanner as part of a student project.  

A mummy from the British Museum being scanned by Manchester University PhD student Abeer Helmi at Manchester Royal Infirmary Photo: MEN

The mummies, which were loaned from the British Museum especially for the project, have been examined under a modern CT scanner after a student persuaded curators to help her with research.  Abeer Helmi used technology at the Manchester Royal Infirmary to take a closer look at the seven mummies, which were each wrapped carefully in bandages as tradition dictates.

The scanner, which allowed Dr Helmi to see the details of the bodies without disturbing their form, used powerful rays to shed light on techniques used to preserve them.   By looking carefully at the images produced, she gleaned information about their diets, health and lifestyle and discovered the wooden "struts" used to support the bodies after death.

Remarkably, two of the seven bodies were found to be anemic, with all but the very youngest suffering dental problems thought to be the result of eating bread full of sand.”     More at:


Ocean Pollution: Global Shipping and the Cruise Industry

Container Ships“Ships transport 90 percent of the world's consumer goods, including computers, cars, shoes, clothes and toys. People and the environment pay a high price for these cheap goods in the form of cancers, breathing problems and premature death from inhaling air toxics in ship engine exhaust.

Ships burn tons of fuel per hour, generating 3 to 4 percent percent or more of human-generated global warming gases—more than commercial aviation. Container and cruise ships also pollute the oceans and coastlines by dumping sewage, dirty graywater, and garbage directly overboard. Because the shipping industry is under-regulated, these environmental and public health impacts will escalate tremendously as global trade triples over the next two decades—until new air pollution and no-discharge laws are enacted by national and international bodies.

Emissions and Bunker Fuel

  • Ships generate 15 to 30 percent of the world's smog-forming emissions.
  • Bunker fuel burned by ships is 1,000 times dirtier than highway diesel used by trucks and buses.
  • A single ship coming into harbor produces the smog-forming emissions of 350,000 new cars.
  • Ship engines are far dirtier than on-road engines due to lack of regulation.
  • The International Maritime Organization has lagged far behind in revising outdated regulations for ship emissions.”

More at:



Egg-Separating Trick: All You Need Is An Egg And A Water Bottle (VIDEO)

(From me:  When I saw this headline, I thought, what now, as I already have the usual old egg separator in my kitchen, but this is neat.)

“Separating eggs is just something you have to do sometimes in the kitchen. If you ever want fluffy meringues, perfect custards or airy mousses, you have to learn to do this without freaking out. Egg-separating causes so much anxiety that there are countless products promising that they will make this kitchen task totally pain-free. Well, if you are a cook of the anxiety-ridden variety, here's one of the easiest ways we've ever seen to separate an egg.”


Here is the Obituary for Common Sense:

“Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

  • Knowing when to come in out of the rain
  • Why the early bird gets the worm
  • Life isn't always fair
  • and maybe it was my fault

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.
It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an Aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.
Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.
Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.    He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers:

  1. I Know My Rights
  2. I Want It Now
  3. Someone Else Is To Blame
  4. I'm A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.”


On This Day:


Liberation of Paris, Aug 25, 1944:

“On this day in 1944, French General Jacques Leclerc enters the free French capital triumphantly. Pockets of German intransigence remained, but Paris was free from German control.

Two days earlier, a French armored division had begun advancing on the capital. Members of the Resistance, now called the French Forces of the Interior, proceeded to free all French civilian prisoners in Paris. The Germans were still counterattacking, setting fire to the Grand Palais, which had been taken over by the Resistance, and killing small groups of Resistance fighters as they encountered them in the city. On August 24, another French armored division entered Paris from the south, receiving an effusion of gratitude from French civilians who poured into the streets to greet their heroes—but still, the Germans continued to fire on French fighters from behind barricades, often catching civilians in the crossfire.

But on August 25, after Gen. Dwight Eisenhower was assured by Gen. Charles de Gaulle, leader of the French Resistant forces, that Allied troops could now virtually sweep into Paris unopposed, Ike ordered Gen. Jacques Philippe Leclerc (a pseudonym he assumed to protect his family while under German occupation; his given name was Philippe-Marie, Vicomte De Hauteclocque) to enter the capital with his 2nd Armored Division. The remnants of German snipers were rendered impotent, and many German soldiers were led off as captives. In fact, the animus toward the Germans was so great that even those who had surrendered were attacked, some even machine-gunned, as they were being led off to captivity.

More than 500 Resistance fighters died in the struggle for Paris, as well as 127 civilians. Once the city was free from German rule, French collaborators were often killed upon capture, without trial.”



As I was trying to catch up with the things that I have to do each morning, Jay called with his “Are you on schedule?” question.  I replied, “No, as I wasn’t expecting you to be ready to work”.  I wasn’t ready to be rushed around and fool with driving down there to pick him up.  I knew that he had been drinking with some guy in a green pick-up truck for the last three nights, so he wouldn’t be in any shape to get that turbo installed on the roof.   

Ray came over, so he started clipping the hedge while I got ready at a leisurely pace for a change.  Then I helped Ray get the weeds, even some poison ivy, out of the privet. I hate to use Round-Up, we eat enough of it in GMO foods from the supermarket.  It will be great whenever the labeling laws let us know which foods have GMO’s in them.

I miss the little pups, but I am glad they are now on the way to their ‘furever’ homes.  Our main objective was to ‘de-puppy’ my Grooming Room, and get it ready for it’s next task, grooming.  Both Misty and Muffie need to be done. 

Ray and I folded up the puppy pen, moved the two cages, swept and mopped the entire floor, then put the cages back in place.  One is my drying cage, so I need that, and the other is a spare. 

As the pups and their Mom had been living outside before the pups came here, they had fleas.  We had put flea drops on them, but we think that their human Dad must have bathed them within 24 hours of their arriving here and getting the drops on them, as the first dose didn’t work too well.  Kenya put Capstar ( on the pups and their Mom before they went for their surgeries, as it would be terrible if a flea got in an open wound on the operating table!  

Kenya had recommended that I bomb my grooming room.  So we did that.  I put a towel at the bottom crack of the door to stop the mist from getting in here, and kept Misty and Prime locked up in my bedroom and bathroom for 2 hours.  I hadn’t seen any evidence of fleas in there, but it was just to make sure.

It was time to check the fluids in the van and Puddle Jumper.  The PJ needed some oil, so we took it to Jim, the mechanic down the street, to have it serviced, as he has had the oil and filter for some time now.  One more job jobbed. He said that I needed to take it out one night and open it up to Huntsville (TX) and back.  I know the dust needs to be burned off the valves as it never leaves this subdivision.  But I haven’t even taken it around the corner to the gas station, since the tags and inspection Orange-Blackie-18May10-1 (Small)expired, so I am not going to drive it to Huntsville.  I do keep liability on it, though. One day I will get the AC fixed and get it street legal again.

In the afternoon and evening, Ray and I were frantically searching for Orange Glow, the beautiful Orange Persian cat. He hadn’t been seen since noon. He never leaves the property, but he was nowhere to be found. I looked for him again this morning, but he isn’t here.

We sure do hope that we find him today.


Dizzy-Dick said...

You sure keep busy.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you for your comment, DD.

I didn't plan on being this busy when I retired, it just turned out that way.
I don't know how I had time to go out to work!
There always something to be done, but I don't get bored.
Happy Tails and Trails, Penny.