Endless War and the Carter Years

Carter on Wars

Here is something most of us don’t think much about anymore. We associate the Carter years with high inflation, terrible interest rates, economic malaise (his term) and Iran hostages. We don’t think of them as NO WARS.

Could it be that our economy needs constant wars?

Busted: Microsoft Bing Search Engine Utilized Google Searches

Google engineers got suspicious when they noticed that Bing searches seemed to return the same results as Google searches. So they set a trap. Here are the results.


Scare Owl

On top of our mall, on the walls near the food court, which has an outdoor patio, you can see a prominent owl.


It is mechanical and solar-powered. Occasionally it moves its head quickly from side to side, to give it a real appearance.

There are several on the roof of the mall. They keep the birds away, all kinds of birds, large birds like seagulls, and smart birds like crows. We have a lot of both in our neighborhood. Owls are known by birds to be fierce, fearless predators, and when birds see one of them, they stay away.

Apparently the birds figure out they are dummies if they stay in one place too long. So once a month a man comes around to service and move them.

That’s the scare-owl-man. I had a chat with him today.

Need Husband to Bring Home Milk? – Call the Radio Station

When browsing Reddit today I learned something about how people communicate with family in remote parts of the world. Here is a girl from Australia that grew up on a very remote island in the Solomon Islands (tropical islands east of Papua New Guinea). Here is her account:

We don’t have phones but we do have battery powered radios. Normally if we are coming we have to tell that station to broadcast our arrival. What will happen is at maybe 6 I think, they have a messages segment. If your family is lucky, they will hear that you’re coming on so and so date and prepare for your arrival. Funny story about this. My sister and her husband traveled there and the radio host got the wrong date. So my sister and her husband arrived but there was no one there to pick them up. They were lucky enough to catch a ride with some other people but we were very surprised when we saw them walking up the shore.

Then somebody responded from Manitoba, Canada, not so far away from us at all:

Oh my god, that’s the exact same system we use on the reserve here in Manitoba, Canada. If you need your husband to stop and buy milk before he comes home, you call the radio station and they stop the music to broadcast your message. Need the kids to come home now that it’s dark? Call the radio station. So crazy to think we’re similar in some way to a tiny village in a rainforest. That’s what happens when your community is small and intimate, I guess. And poor.
I am going to call KPBS now and tell them about this.

Maps They Didn’t Teach You at School

I found this collection of maps that I ended up quite some time perusing. Many are amusing but not to be taken too seriously. Others are right on and actually very informative.

Check out particularly:

Maps of countries not using the metric system:


Countries where homosexuality is a crime:


And finally, the upside down map. It is completely arbitrary that somehow, in history, somebody decided to have north on top. Had they decided that south should be on top, this is what our world would look like. China is suddenly “the middle empire.” Wherever we are on the map, our outlook changes completely.


Today I Learned: Stegosaurus and Tyrannosaurus

StegosaurusStegosaurus lived in the late Jurassic period about 150 million years ago.






tyrannosaurusIn contrast, Tyrannosaurus was among the last non-avian dinosaurs to exist before the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, about 65 million years ago.




Both the Stegosaurus and the Tyrannosaurs are some of the most memorable and recognizable dinosaurs.

stego and tyranno
picture credit: deviantart

We think of them in popular culture as contemporaries. Here is a picture of a fight between a Stegosaurus and an Allosaurus, a relative of the T. Rex.





However, looking closer at the timeline, the Stegosaurus lived 85 million years before the Tyrannosaurus. That means that the Tyrannosaurus lived closer to our current time than to the time of the Stegosaurus. This puts the age of the dinosaurs into perspective. They truly ruled the earth for way longer than mammals ever did.