Tuesday, February 23, 2016

February 23 Link Log

My Blogjob non-book post for today is a total downer. The fun stuff is here. Categories: Obligatory Fundraising Links, Animals, Environment, Flint, Food (Yuck), Food (Yum), Fun Stuff, Gardening, Phenology Link, Politics, Welfare (scientific study of cheats!).

Obligatory Fundraising Links 




Here's a gadget that may not be what enough people need to justify its being stocked in stores, but for a few people it should be great! This is what online stores are for.



For those in other states who've never visited Louisiana, Arkansas, or Mississippi for that matter, the part of the story this patriotic Louisanan isn't telling (in so many words) is that a lot of the water down there is nasty with sulfur and chlorine and many other things best not thought about. So this corporation has this brilliant idea of drilling around one of the few springs in Louisiana that aren't positively frightening to visitors? Duh...


Here's another reason why we need to focus on alternatives to burning oil, not ways to destroy bedrock and drinking water in hope of being able to squeeze out a few last drops of oil. (Fair disclosure: This link was shared by another reader and passed on by Dave Barry, who wisecracks, "So it's not the beer and pizza.")



An e-friend from Luzon shows that Flint is not unique in having a badly mismanaged city water system:


Should all the pipes be completely replaced, or should they be re-coated? Hmm. I'm not aware of any material for either pipes or inner coatings that's 100% safe. It's up to them, and the state of Michigan can afford all-new pipes for the city of Flint if that's what the people really want...but if I were voting on my municipal water supply, I'd be interested in learning more about re-coating.


Food (Yuck) 

Monosodium glutamate is found, often identified by other names, in most processed food products sold in the United States. It has many names because it's derived from many sources. Aside from weaselly general terms like "spices," "seasonings," and "flavorings," MSG can also be described as "modified" this or that, depending on which edible or inedible substance was repeatedly dried out and burned to obtain it--often "modified food starch," "modified wheat," "modified corn," etc., though it can also be "modified" from kerosene. It's also found in a more natural, readily obtainable form in seaweed. I've always suspected that MSG extracted from seaweed would be healthier than MSG extracted from inedible material...but in excess even natural umami is also unhealthy, this Asian blogger testifies.


Food (Yum)

Spaghetti and tomato sauce is a carbo-nightmare for some people (even if you use gluten-free spaghetti). More vegetables, and meat if you eat meat, make this meal lower-carb. (I like Hunt's Garlic & Herb Spaghetti Sauce because it's naturally sweetened with more carrot and onion, rather than corn syrup--which means that, so far, it doesn't make me sick--and it also contains more healthy fibre relative to carbs and calories. Homemade spaghetti sauce can be even better.)


Living plants can make your home look nicer, some plants exude natural fungicides, and some potted plants are delicious. Once these potted herbs get going you can pinch off a few leaves now and then for cooking, and the plants will just grow more.


Fun Stuff 

The creative process as simulated by a computer program:



The February thaw makes us dream, doesn't it? Here are two native North American "butterfly bushes" to go with your milkweeds, if you want "flying flowers" all summer.


Dogwoods are our state flower in Virginia, and, as everybody knows, this is what they look like. (Thanks to Taliesin at Morguefile: www.morguefile.com/archive/display/115383 )

However, there are a lot of other interesting things in the dogwood family, including the "cornel cherry" tree. Here's a gallery:


Phenology Link 

In Alabama, spring really starts with the February Thaw. In Virginia, the February Thaw can feel like spring (although so far it doesn't, this year) but that's actually a bad thing; the inevitable March freeze will nip flowers in the bud. Here, for yourall's delight, are the first beautiful yellow things of spring.



Wordpress blogs have become incredibly annoying lately. Here's a post I liked, despite its exaggerated title:


Here's the comment the site is refusing to process, claiming that I'm not logged into a Wordpress-hosted account (which, in fact, I am):

“Class” is a word of very limited usefulness in the U.S. (except in the school context). Few of us have ever been poor in any meaningful sense, and few consider ourselves rich (because even millionnaires know billionnaires), so in economic terms probably 99% of us identify with a hypothetical “middle class.” Actually it’s so normal for U.S. citizens to start out as relatively low-income entry-level workers, feel really strapped for money while rearing children, feel prosperous as mature adults, and then feel poorish again in retirement, that if Marx had known anything about the U.S. he might have had to bloviate about a Generational Struggle.

Are you an "aficionado of complex financial crimes"? I'm not, actually. However, that people are digging this up suggests that people may be interested in my dear old Clinton FacTape script. I'm not sure whether the cassettes still exist, but the text does. If you are or know someone who missed out on the history of the Clinton Administration, let me know.


Welfare Cheats 

I like this. The U.S. needs more Maine. At least, if people are claiming handouts because they're un- or under-employed, they should be required to report to a day labor site and do whatever anybody can use their help to do, every day. (Tell me how harsh that is, if you really want to, but understand that you're talking to the Queen of Odd Jobs, here. I don't want food stamps; I want jobs, and the odder the better, myself.)