Elections without integrity

“…elections without integrity, elections that are rigged, elections that are corrupt, create enormous problems for societies…”

Report of the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security will be available for download 14 September 2012.

As this is being written, the United States is in the midst of its most significant electoral process, that for President of the country.  The entire election is a media-orchestrated farce which should enrage every citizen because every citizen is being bilked, is being ripped-off, and scammed.

America deserves a real government which requires a real electoral system and real representation by representatives chosen fairly and with integrity by the citizens.

Please tell California governor to support bicycle 3-feet rule

There is a bill which has been approved by the California senate and assembly which requires motorists to give a distance of at least three feet when passing bicyclists on motorways. This is an extremely good idea. Please ask the governor to sign the bill and make it law!

Tell the Governor to Protect Bicyclists

Donate to found the Tesla museum

It’s a bit surprising to find out that there isn’t already a Tesla museum. I would have thought that there would be given how significant his inventions were.

Tesla’s system of alternating current was superior to Edison(the sicko)’s direct current and eventually became the standard for electrical transmission. Yet Tesla’s ideas went far beyond just alternating current.

In the news this week is information about a campaign to turn his old laboratory into a museum.

Someone once told me that when Tesla saw or thought about electric devices he could instantly visualize the electromagnetic fields they would produce.

Info on donating: indiegogo.com/teslamuseum

Non-GMO tofu restaurant in San Francisco

Today I was happy to learn that a company in my city which makes tofu and supplies it to the restaurant I was eating at does not use genetically-modified soybeans.

Sometimes it is difficult to ask a restaurant if the tofu they use is non-GMO. I have learned that the following questions are useful:

Is the tofu not genetic?

Is the tofu not GMO?

One of the issues is that if someone were to ask a non-native speaker of English something like “Does the tofu you use come from genetically modified soybeans?” the likelihood is very high that they will not even understand the question. But if you ask if it is “not genetic” or “not GMO” it is something clear that they will at least understand the question.

“Not” is a basic English word that even an only partially-fluent non-native speaker will immediately understand. Keeping the construction of the sentence basic and straightforward also helps. A non-native speaker should be familiar with a question form like “Is X Y?”. “Is the book green?” “The book is green.” “Is the flower yellow?” “The flower is yellow.” Etc.

The word “genetic” or the acronym “GMO” is where the other person will probably be thrown off. But because the rest of the question was simple and straightforward, they will understand the general context of the question: it is an inquiry about an attribute of something.

Another thing about the question process extends beyond language. It has to do with how the question is asked. If it is asked in a pleasant, polite way by a person who the server or other restaurant staff has a good impression of, then they may form the idea “This person seems like a good, nice, kind, intelligent person. They are concerned about X (genetic, GMO). I am now curious about what X is because it is something which is clearly important to this person.”

Many tofu packages clearly state something like “not from genetically modified soybeans” so if one were to ask “is it not genetic” there’s a good chance that they will at least remember seeing it on the package.

In the case of the restaurant today, she checked but apparently the packaging did not indicate that it was not genetic. She gave me the name of the tofu company and when I called them they confirmed immediately that their tofu comes from non-GMO soy.

Bach Suite IV for Violincello prelude played masterfully on guitar

Common diabetes drug found to induce brain cell growth

This particular bit of information which was in the news some weeks ago is of interest because it appears to be the first known instance of a drug which can actually cause new brain cells to form:

Common Diabetes Drug Found to Stimulate Brain Cell Growth, May Treat Alzheimer’s and Stroke Patients

…metformin increased the number of new neurons in the hippocampus or the area of the brain involved in making new memories, by about 30 percent compared to controls.

picture of stir-fry rice in wok

1. In rice cooker add organic brown basmati rice-millet mixture and veggie broth and stir before adding water. Cook.

2. Put rice-millet mixture in wok on med-low setting with organic high-heat safflower oil. Stir.

3. Add farmers market veggies. I added some nice heirloom-type peppers, very tasty tomatoes, broccoli crowns, asian scallions which are a bit hotter than regular ones, and half of a jalapeno pepper.

4. Add pieces of super-firm sprouted tofu.

5. Stir and cover wok tightly to allow steam to soften veggies and tofu. Cook for 5-10 minutes. The key is to soften the veggies and preserve the flavor without overcooking.

6. When done, the veggies will still have a nice, fresh flavor but be a little soft.

7. To serve, I added Real Salt, Rawmesan, and coarsely ground black pepper.

Eating this dish is simply blissful. I believe this food is the apex of food on Earth!

New NASA large-scale rocket

Above is a stunningly realistic animation of a new large-scale launch vehicle. Many people seemed to think that when the Space Shuttle program ended that NASA was no longer going to be involved in large-scale launch systems, which is false. I think the press is to blame for this since this is how it was reported over and over, along with ongoing news about NASA’s contracting out to private companies for some launch operations.

The new rocket, which is developed by NASA, is called the Space Launch System (SLS) and is planned to be ready in 2016. It will be able to carry three times the weight of a Space Shuttle.

Remotely control Winamp from any Android tablet or phone

This was mentioned incidentally in a previous post but I wanted to give it its own post because it is so cool. This app called aWARemote – remote control for Winamp consists of two parts: the part that is run on the phone or tablet, and the server which is run on the PC. Using it is as simple as installing both parts. One can then remotely control Winamp with the phone or tablet and have access to searching through music libraries, opening playlists, equalizer functions, etc. Basically everything one can do from Winamp’s main interface on the PC one can do remotely via aWARemote.

In order to set the server to run automatically every time Windows starts aWARemote server must be launched in Administrator mode by right-clicking on the icon and selecting “Run as Administrator”. There’s an option on the lower right of the window to start automatically with Windows.

As long as the server is running on the PC aWARemote has the ability to completely start or stop Winamp.

I rank this as among the best apps running on my tablet.

Dressing table

image of Ikea Malm dressing table

Ikea Malm dressing table in birch color, 120 cm (47.5 in) width

I was lucky to find a used Ikea Malm dressing table in birch color, which is no longer sold (at stores in my area and on the Ikea USA website). The only available version is white which would look horrendous in my studio since everything else is natural wood color.

Apparently I’m not the only person who fell in love with this model dressing table, as indicated by this other blog post at misschievous.tv in which the author describes it as “…the infamous MALM vanity from IKEA by now that I, and many other makeup enthusiasts, own.”

Her article mentions that there apparently was an original version of the Malm dressing table which measured 191 cm (75 inches) in width, whereas the one I was lucky to find is 120 cm (47.5 inches). This 47 inch model is wide enough. I can’t imagine having the room for a 75 inch model unless I had a mansion.

One thing that was amazing about this piece of furniture: In typical Ikea fashion it was very simple to disassemble, fit into my small car, and resassamble.

The material is some kind of pressed laminated type of board with synthetic birch-effect veneer over particleboard. A far cry from the natural stuff I typically propound here. In fact if this thing were trimmed down a bit it would be nice. It doesn’t need to be so hefty. Yet the heftiness of it imparts a certain plush, very solid quality to it. Still, I bet it could be a lot lighter and still very good, although it would not have the same level of solidity.

Anyhow it is a used piece of furniture that was taken care of very well and will continue to be taken care of very well. Now I just need to rearrange half my apartment to put it in place…

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