Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January 31 Links

In case you're wondering, of the e-mails and blogs I read, I generally link to about one out of ten. Categories: Animals, Business, Cybersecurity, Food, Frugal, Health, Outrage, Phenology (post not link), Travel, Writing.


Chickens...yes, some chickens, especially the smaller breeds, can fly up into trees, where they're vulnerable to flying and climbing predators. We always used to try to bring them inside before they started to find a place to roost for the night. Chickens like to go to bed an hour or so before sunset, in my part of the world, possibly because they seem to be the local native species of mosquitoes' favorite food source and are motivated to move out of the mosquitoes' reach. And yes, Games, Bantams, Anconas, even "Easter Eggers" can fly...not like wild birds, but higher than mosquitoes. And as far as owls, weasels, and raccoons are concerned, they are fruit for the picking.


Are there chickens in HSUS shelters? Heavenforbidandfend. On to the next animal-related post...a good one, although sad:


So this is a dog day. (For new readers: if you're near the city listed, you can click on the link below each picture to find out where you might still be able to meet, and even adopt, the dog or cat shown. I pick the cutest pictures showing up on a search of three cities. If you're in a different part of the United States, enter your own zip code into Petfinder's search box to see similar animals closer to you. You're on your own about making sure that these really are pets in need of adoption, rather than pets that have been stolen.)

Bogart from Arlington: https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/35024688
Shane from New York...by "recommend an adults-only home" they may mean that he resembles a breed that has been known to bite when mauled: https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/34935140
BLUE see also COOKIE
Old Blue from Marietta, Georgia: https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/37295135
+LB Johnson documents that dogs can be very clever at getting into things they shouldn't touch:


Why Costco is more like Sam's Club than like Wal-Mart:

Why "public-private partnerships" are a bad thing...for the economy, as well as for the individuals who use them. I've ranted about this in other years.

Why businesses shouldn't rush to discard all but the newest electronic junk...because even pre-digital technology has its points:


Should Twitter be considered a "utility" and forbidden to keep its current mechanical flagging system, because left-wing trolls have been abusing that system to flag and "shadowban" even moderately conservative Twitter accounts? I hope not. Twitter is private; I'd like to see it stay private and develop a system for ensuring that, while it remains easy for individuals to filter what they read on Twitter in any way they choose, humans make sure that only genuinely abusive content (e.g. identity theft, fraud, slander/libel, personal harassment, espionage, credible threats of violence, etc., that violate existing laws about what can legally be published) gets blocked on Twitter, site-wide.


Food (Yuck) 

Poisoned dog food alert...the FDA is investigating...


Food (Yum) 

This recipe from +Sandy KS is delicious and gluten-free; I'd even recommend that the cafe here add it to their list of gourmet treats! (Leave the pricey bee product out of mine, thanks. For those of us who can tolerate other sweeteners, what bees regurgitate is mainly a really expensive way to add stickiness to the kitchen and glyphosate to the diet.)


Here's a cheap way (especially in summer) to make gluten-free "noodles" you might like better than gluten-based pasta or expensive gluten-free pasta, in tomato sauce.


This one is neither especially healthy nor gluten-free...well, if you omit the pie crust and serve it as a pudding it would be technically gluten-free. Whether it's safe or not, for those who do or don't have the wheat gluten intolerance gene, still depends very much on whether the manufacturer used natural, BT, or E. Coli ("Roundup Ready") corn to make all that cornstarch. Use this recipe at your own risk. It used to be safe for celiacs, and once we get glyphosate banned it should be safe again...and it would be yummy. And if you can get fresh sweet cherries, organically grown and still bursting with Vitamin C, which aren't likely to grow in my orchard this summer but are probably available somewhere Out There, it would be "healthy."


And here's a recipe treasure trove...Dr. McDougall's staff have finally got (many of) Mary McDougall's recipes into one place online! Indexed and searchable...and if a recipe has Mary McDougall's name on it, it's been tested and found good. If you want menu suggestions this site should satisfy you and your family for months. All recipes will be vegan, most will be gluten-free, many will be sugar-free, and most will be good enough to satisfy the people who don't need recipes to be "free" from anything (yet).



Y'know, I've not written a lot about being frugal here because I am frugal. This web site is saturated with frugality. How much would a fish post, if a fish had a blog, about water? Here, for those who are new to the concept, is a link-up of people who've posted things they considered frugal.



+LadyNightwaveBrendaMarie Writer posted a reflection on writing, or doing any job, too much. There's a reason why the Bible mandated that everyone, including the "beasts of burden," should enjoy one "day of rest" out of every seven. It's in the Ten Commandments. Pushing yourself, or anyone else, to do the same thing seven days in a row, is actually mentioned ahead of murder and adultery in the Bible, Gentle Readers.



Why shouldn't The Elderly & Disabled be shoved into cell phone plans, if they prefer land phones? Two main reasons why this abuse is especially heinous: (1) Land phones tend to work better, year-round. (2) Land phones tend to be bigger and easier for The Elderly & Disabled to operate--there's still a brisk market for oversized land phones with oversized buttons. (How Adayahi's big hands and farsighted eyes ever allowed him to use a cell phone, I have no idea; let's just say I've given up expecting him to be able to use one on any given day--even though he qualifies for all kinds of special free-minute plans and is miserly enough to try to use them. I can imagine my father receiving a cell phone in the mail and solemnly telling whoever was helping him "read" his mail, "Get it away from me. Use it if you can. It's too little to be of any use to me, but be kind--it's only a baby, not full-grown!" He said that about so many things that came along while he was alive, and were offered to him through Virginia's wonderful blind people's network...) Oh, and a third thing: cell phones are less secure and make it easier for hackers, identity thieves, and other predators to harass The Elderly & Disabled.


(I received that link from an online network based in Canada; the story is about corporate elder abuse in Missouri. Do we have readers in Missouri? Well, this issue sort of connects to something pending in the U.S. Senate this week...our Canadian correspondents don't have access to Popvox.com, but U.S. readers do, and once again this web site encourages youall to use it. There ought to be a law. There is about to be a law, either mandating that the United States help cell phone companies push more cell phone and WiFi towers into neighborhoods that might prefer to do without them, or mandating that cell phone companies wait to build user bases that will fund the construction of any new towers...the position of this web site is that the cell phone companies should have to wait for the user bases, without federal subsidies. Here's the Popvox page for the bill; for the first time in a long time, the Popvox miniature edition of the full text popped up when I clicked on it.)



We had just a brief freeze and some actual snow on Sunday night, Monday morning...just enough to wither trees that had been budding. A local man who obviously lives at a lower altitude than I do told me his persimmon tree had already put out actual leaves, an inch or two long. This will not be a good year for fruit. (Then again, remember 1980 and 1981...if we get a normal winter next year, next summer may be a fabulous year for fruit.)


Hiking in the Midwestern States, with a group that apparently still organizes long walking tours:



Does your blog need daily topic suggestions?


(I probably won't make the time to follow this post daily, but I'll share this now: I have indeed eaten ice cream for breakfast...because I still don't have a plugged-in refrigerator, so if I eat ice cream at dinner I have to plan on eating the rest of it at breakfast the next day. Even with the cats' enthusiastic help, and grateful though I am that Tickle and Heather seem to be lactose-tolerant, that's two meals!)

What the blank-blank-bleep-bleep does Google want from web sites? Here's what I want, and what the #ReadersRevolt hashtag is (partly) about: I want to keep writers and readers, rather than search engines owned by monster corporations, in control of the private Internet user experience. So, take this one with a grain of salt. Google has been systematically steering readers away from this web site for years. Twingly is the search engine that indexes individual blogs, as distinct from the so-called blog pages on corporate web sites. Use it often. Use Bing, Yahoo Search, et al., too, just to remind Google that no matter how good a search engine is, it does not and should never actually own the world. (And I personally am still looking for a search engine that does not, as all the big ones now do, ignore spellings and strings of words you've typed in specifically for disambiguation purposes--e.g. "Priscilla King's cat Bisquit" as distinct from "biscuits" and "Bisquick" and "restaurants that serve biscuits in a zip code near where our spyware has determined you're going online"--and force you to wade through thousands of pages of garbage before you find what you're actually searching for. When I search for "book trouble bush author earl miers" I am not looking for fifty other books about bushes, the Bush family, earls, people called Earl, and trouble; a good search engine will zip straight to a book titled The Trouble Bush by Earl Schenck Miers.)


It's a book, and a good one at that, but if you search for it in the normal way Amazon wants to steer you to all kinds of irrelevant garbage with "Myers" as the author or "brush" in the title.

Would you like to be a blogger too? Here's what you should know:


(And yes, it's true that blogging will push you in the direction of not taking time to fix every single typo.)


What are your goals, if you do want to be a writer or blogger...and if they include "Getting rich, like J.K. Rowling," I recommend choosing a different route to riches now. (Literary writers don't want to admit it, but although popular writers like Stephen King, John Grisham, Adriana Trigiani, and J.K. Rowling have been accused of "having no style, only luck," the fact is that they have formidable talents...for marketing as well as storytelling, if not for writing especially poetic-sounding prose!)


If you are a blogger, does your blog or web site have a song?