Rental Bikes in San Francisco

Rental bikes are now a booming business in San Francisco, mostly with tourists. Not long ago I had the opportunity to closely examine one that was parked outside a cafe I was at. It looked like a very good bike, not something cheap. Here are the specs I noted:

bike model: Fuji Sunfire 2.0 19″
tires: Kenda 700x35c
fork: Suntour NEX 4610 disc brake compatible

Bike had disc brakes which was impressive. Also had a rear rack mounted to it which is notable because disc brakes can make rack mounting difficult/impossible.

Miang Kham Amazing Thai Wraps

I was at this restaurant a while ago and they served these amazingly delicious little hors d’oeuvre wrap things which are called maing kham. I wanted to create this post about it for reference purposes. Want to experiment with different recipes and ideas.

The ones I had had cashew, prawn (which I no longer eat), ginger, fried onion, and lime wrapped in butter lettuce.

The combination of the sour lime, the savory cashew and fried onion, and the sharp, zesty ginger made the flavor amazing.

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:

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