The Romney Gaffes

To me the issue with Romney is not merely what seems to be the recent meltdown of his campaign. The deeper question is how a person who could not manage to visit the London Olympics without insulting the British government, who went to Israel and made racist remarks which only served to inflame longstanding, bloody conflicts which the world needs to resolve, how such a person can be a “successful” multimillionaire in America, profiting off of the labors of the American people, and we allow people like this to accumulate such vast amounts of wealth and power resulting in enormous inequality. How does America allow people like him to become multimillionaires? How does it let them get away with paying almost no taxes? Of hiding millions of dollars in offshore tax havens?

When you shop at the office supply store Staples, which was started by Romney’s company, do you like giving your money to people like him and fueling a system such as now exists? And look at the list of other multimillionaires and billionaires who run other prominent American companies who are giving vast amounts of money to his campaign and to other, equally rotten campaigns.

How many more companies in America are like this? How many other Romneys are there wrecking America, wasting its wealth, and humiliating its status internationally?

I for one have had some serious issues with some of the decisions the Obama administration has made. Yet its inconceivable to me that a person like Mitt Romney, nor pretty much all of the other former Republican presidential contenders, could even have legitimately been running for the office of President of the United States. Inconceivable.

Re: India power-grid failure

By now everyone has heard about the massive failures of the electric grids in India, leaving hundreds of millions of people without electricity and transportation for days now.

What is disconcerting is that India is also a country which has a stockpile of nuclear weapons.

Doesn’t it seem like modern technology has advanced far too fast? The human species has shown itself for the most part to be totally incapable of handling the responsibilities that come with possessing high technological capability, hence planetary destruction on massive scales and local devastation of environments.

Smaller Gulf dead zone this year

Though the parched conditions have wreaked havoc on natural habitat and agricultural crops, drought may have one upside, bringing the fourth smallest dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico since mapping of this annual oxygen-free zone began in 1985.

Every year, nutrient runoff from agriculture and other sources flows from the Mississippi River, causing high levels of algae growth. This growth sinks and decomposes, consuming nearby underwater oxygen and forming “hypoxic zones,” or oxygen-free zones, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico. One such hypoxic zone is the prominent “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, which has, in the past five years, had an average area of 5,684 square miles.

A report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revealed that an NOAA-supported investigation has found that the dead zone this year measures only 2,889 miles, just over half the average area.

According to Nancy Rabalaid, the executive director of Louisiana University’s Marine Consortium and the leader of the survey, “The smaller area was expected because of drought conditions and the fact that nutrient output into the Gulf this spring approached near the 80-year record low.”

Postnatal oogenesis?

There has been some stuff in the news [abstract] recently about new findings related to Oogonial Stem Cells. It has traditionally been believed that all of the oocyctes (eggs) in a human female’s body are present when she is born and that the system which produced the eggs no longer creates new ones after this. There is possible evidence that this is might not the case.

The process by which oocytes develop is in fact a very complex one which is difficult to understand.

From the abstract at

We think a more logical explanation for the observations of Reizel et al. is that oocytes present in ovaries of older females arise from postnatal oogenesis, as successive mitotic divisions of OSCs (oogonial stem cells, also referred to as female germline stem cells or fGSCs) with age give rise to new “deeper” oocytes.


The recent work of Shapiro and colleagues is one of the first reports to offer experimental data consistent with a role for postnatal oocyte renewal in contributing to the reserve of ovarian follicles available for use in adult females as they age. Although unequivocal conclusions cannot be made at this point regarding the basis of the increase in oocyte depth described by Reizel et al., their work is nonetheless an exciting and important addition to our understanding of reproductive biology and the origin of mammalian oocytes.

Unforseen effect of asian insect introduced into Europe

Just read an article about a published paper which has found that the introduction of the Asian ladybug to Europe 20 years ago has had multiple deleterious and unforeseen effects. The initial purpose for introducing the bug into Europe was to combat aphids. Apparently the aphids living in trees lining streets would drop goop onto people’s vehicles among other unpleasant things. Now it looks like wine from Europe may forever be spoiled as one of the unintended consequences.


The foreign insect was introduced into France in the early 90s, and was first used in the Netherlands in around 1996. The Asian ladybird was a formidable weapon in the fight against aphids in greenhouses and on avenue trees, from which lice excrete sticky honeydew onto cars.

However, time has shown that these insects, which have very few natural enemies in Europe, are also devouring the native ladybirds. Furthermore, colonies of the Asian variety hibernate in houses and other buildings, where their excrement can cause contamination. Last but least, it has been discovered that when the supply of aphids runs out, this insect has an appetite for grapes and spoils the taste of the wine.

These monkeys are so cute!


This picture is so cute I could almost cry!

“The Black Snub-nosed Monkey, also known as the Yunnan Snub-nosed Monkey, is an endangered species of primate in the Cercopithecidae family. It is endemic to China,[1] where it is known to the locals as the Yunnan Golden Hair Monkey and the Black Golden Hair Monkey. It is threatened by habitat loss.”

Neat way to strech shoes at home for free

I just read about this and its amazing. If you have shoes which are a little too small, you can stretch them at home with the following method:

Fill a one quart freezer bag halfway with water (one bag per shoe). Make sure there’s no air in the bag (a teensy little bit is ok). For safety, I recommend placing that bag inside another bag. Now roll the bag longwise and place it into the shoe. It should not be so full of water as to not fit into the shoe, or not be able to fit into the toe area. If the inner bag is too full of water, take some out.

I recommend to jostle the shoe and tap the toe against a surface to try to get the bag to go as far in towards the toe as possible. Then put the shoe in the freezer. When the water freezes it will expand, causing the shoe to stretch. This process can be repeated if necessary.

source: multiple Internet sources including:

“Limits… for natural systems would largely be exceeded throughout the world”

If global mean temperature increases to 4 °C (7.2 °F) above preindustrial levels, the limits for human adaptation are likely to be exceeded in many parts of the world, while the limits of adaptation for natural systems would largely be exceeded throughout the world. Hence, the ecosystem services upon which human livelihoods depend would not be preserved.


Also cf:

Severe issues with noise

I would like to quote a few sentences from the Noise Ordinance for the City of Palo Alto, California:

9.10.040 Commercial and industrial property noise limits.
No person shall produce, suffer or allow to be produced by any machine or device, or any combination of same, on commercial or industrial property, a noise level more than eight dB above the local ambient at any point outside of the property plane.
(Ord. 4634 § 2 (part), 2000)

Ok, what we have here is a law by the City of Palo Alto which says that its basically wrong to make noise lounder than 8 dB above the background level for commercial or for industrial activities.

Incidentally, the limit set in the same ordinance for residential noise is slightly lower. It makes sense that industrial and commercial activities might require operation of equipment or involve other activites which generate noise up to 8 dB.

What is striking here is that a very high number of private vehicles such as motorcycles, trucks, and cars emit noise that is far in excess of 8 dB. In other words, there are many, many vehciles on roadways emitting noises well in the range of 10-20 dB above ambient, solely for personal transportation purposes. Even for commercial transportation purposes such noise emissions would be totally unnecessary and inexcusable.

Clearly there is a very serious problem at hand. There is recognition in some places of the harmful nature of noise, yet presently there is really no uniform standard which really protects citizens, and definitely not any sort of uniform enforcement.

It is inconceivable that people deliberately modify the exhaust systems of their vehicles to emit more noise, and even more so that some vehicle manufacturers cater to those who desire loud vehicles with some of their models.

Windows Explorer flaw: Does not automatically resize column(s) to fit

Windows Explorer has a flaw. When a location is viewed which containts folders and/or files, it should be able to display the full name of all the folders and/or files. But the way the width of the column which displays the name (and other columns as well) has only a very crude, primitive level of control whereby it basically only has one width setting (actually one for each file type such as music, videos, general, etc. can be set).

The best solution would be to have a couple parameters which can be set:

1. Automatically resize column to fit (selectable for any or all colmuns)
2. Maximum column width. Will not auto-expand the column beyond a specified width, useful because sometimes there might be folders or files with extremely long name which would be impractical to attempt to display.

I found an interesting thread in the forum on this.

Here are some salient comments:

Every time I view a folder I have to do a “size column to fit” on the file name column so I can see the full file names. I don’t understand why file explorer doesn’t fit this column properly automatically. The file name column is the MOST important piece of information (to me at least) on this screen and with this age of wide monitors, it should know I am using a wide enough screen and adjust the columns accordingly instead of wasting all that blank space after the last column.

So much for improving productivity!
It is a huge annoyance to have to resize a column each time it is accessed to see fully its contents.
And it is not unresonable to expect that any ‘modern’ operating system, e.g. Windows 7, should do this automatically. Calculating is what computers do.
To add insult to injury, if you select ‘apply to all folders’ after asking nicely for eplorer to size the column to fit, instead of all columns being automatically resized they are set to that exact column width.
It is like working with the local idiot!

I agree. No matter how big you make the folder window when viewing as Details, the Name column remains at about 18-22 characters only! This is STUPID! I have a 19″ monitor with loads of blank space and when viewing files as details it DOES NOT AUTO EXPAND.

You have to use List, Tile, or Icons to see the full name automatically.

Viewing as Content does the same thing, chopping off the filename after about 42 characters with no way to expand it eventhough there is tonnes of space on the screen. How is that useful in any way?!?

Yes, in Details, you can drag the name box to be larger and it remembers the size of the column. But I can’t spend 100s of hours doing this to all my folders.


There is a Size Column To Fit option and Size All Columns To Fit option (which only change the column you are on or the ones displayed in the folder.) What is needed is a Size All Columns To Fit in All Sub-Folders option. 🙂

i simply hate what explorer has become. it is like having a butler that instead of taking your orders, actually bosses you around:

it hides files and folders, hides file extensions, hides actual folders and exposes bunch of “special folders”, changes view and visible columns merely because it figured that there may be change in content of the folder (for example if it contains media files, switches to thumb view, hides my columns and shows something else like “Rating”, “Genre” etc., completely ignoring what I want to see), even if it does not change columns, it keeps on adjusting their width (it is like bad joke with button moving around so that cannot be clicked on), continues to waste screen space (top bar of every window is fatter than ever and yet, it is completely blank, one can’t even see title any more; instead it shows some blur that is nothing but strain for eyes, more heat from GPU and thus increased battery drain). on start explorer panes don’t even match, left one is on “Desktop”, right one is showing “Libraries”. They get synced eventually when user clicks on item(s) in one of them. There is additional and ‘conveniently’ nameless bar with “organize, etc. that can’t be tucked away or hidden. This too keeps on shuffling it’s content so one has to keep reading and looking for right link, yet there is no ‘..’ icon in the right pane and even level up icon is not always shown. There is constant shuffle in the Start Menu, Task Bar, Notification area etc. It is very annoying to look for things that jump around. To reach things quickly, I expect them to be always in same place, not shuffling or stacking.

Wow. Really just so typical of Microsoft’s response in these situations. A bunch of users have a problem and see a need for a feature or function, and say so. Rather than address the issue, a Microsoft “expert” chimes in (while seeming to totally miss the point) to tell the users that they’re asking a dumb question, or that “you don’t need that”. Then, somebody higher up at Microsoft marks the non-response as THE answer, and they totally ignore all the people shouting for a fix.

“Auto-size columns to fit” should have been done long ago!

Someone in the thread did point on that the key command “Ctrl +” will cause the columns to be auto-resized, but of course that is not a permanent solution and has only a crude level of control.

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