Category: Culture

Sometimes, you’re in real trouble if you take advice on sex from your mom!

Shocked medical staff in a clinic in central Colombia discovered a potato growing inside a patient’s vagina. The bizarre phenomenon was discovered when doctors attended a 22-year-old woman complaining of abdominal pains this week.

The embarrassed young woman explained that she had been advised by her mother to insert a potato into her vagina as a means of avoiding unwanted pregnancy. “My mom told me that if I didn’t want to get pregnant, I should put a potato up there, and I believed her…”

After leaving the tuber in place for around two weeks the good news is that the young woman was not pregnant. The bad news was that she began to experience intense pain in her lower abdomen. The potato had germinated, and grown roots inside the lady’s most private parts.

When the nurse went to examine the patient, she originally thought she had been the target of a practical joke, as she found roots emerging from the young woman´s vagina.

The offending root vegetable was removed without need for surgery, and there should be no lasting physical effects on the young woman…

Sex education is often incomplete in rural Colombia.

Eeoough!

Thanks [I think] Ursarodinia

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Rich get richer – and meaner

Even as the income gap widens, the wealthiest Americans are giving a smaller share of their income to charity, while low- and middle-income people are donating a larger share, according to an extensive analysis of Internal Revenue Service data conducted by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

The Chronicle…said in a report released on Monday that Americans who earned $200,000 or more reduced the share of their income they gave to charity by 4.6 percent from 2006 to 2012. Those earning less than $100,000 donated 4.5 percent more of their income, the report said…

The Chronicle’s editor, Stacy Palmer, said that wealthy donors were more likely to support the arts and higher education and less likely to give to social-service charities

They’ve learned to think like Republicans. They contribute to services which add to their own quality of life. That doesn’t include the overwhelming portion of the population struggling to make a living.

Changes in giving patterns were most pronounced in major cities, where the percentage of income that residents donated dropped markedly between 2006 and 2012, according to the report.

In Philadelphia and Buffalo, New York, the share of income given to charity fell by more than 10 percent, and there was a 9 percent drop in Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Washington, D.C.

The cities where residents gave the smallest share of their income to charity were Hartford, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island and San Jose, California.

My characterization of Republican ideology, ethos, rejection of concern for those in need isn’t a snap judgement. It includes all the foolish folks who look upon class distinctions as irrelevant. Stack up those who identify thoroughly with the wealthy without differentiation between the head start of inherited wealth – and patent leather-libertarians who only care that they succeeded regardless of the greater scheme of economics and the distribution of wealth.

In other words, I’m not surprised by this report. The response from our wealthy class and their Republican flunkies is also predictable: this must be a flawed report and in any case it will be ignored.

SCOTUS hides from civil rights — refuses to rule on gay marriage

The Supreme Court cleared the way Monday for an immediate expansion of same-sex marriage by unexpectedly and tersely turning away appeals from five states seeking to prohibit gay and lesbian unions. The court’s order effectively makes gay marriage legal now in 30 states.

Without comment, the justices brought to an end delays in same-sex marriages in five states- Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin…

Couples in six other states – Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming – should be able to get married in short order. Those states would be bound by the same appellate rulings that were put on hold pending the Supreme Court’s review.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, called on the high court to “finish the job.” Wolfson said the court’s “delay in affirming the freedom to marry nationwide prolongs the patchwork of state-to-state discrimination and the harms and indignity that the denial of marriage still inflicts on too many couples in too many places.”

Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, an opponent of same-sex marriage, said blah, blah, blah!

James Esseks of the American Civil Liberties Union said he believes the court will quickly take up a case if an appeals court upholds state bans.

It takes just four of the nine justices to vote to hear a case, but it takes a majority of at least five for an eventual ruling. Monday’s opaque order did not indicate how the justices voted on whether to hear the appeals.

Most important, the SCOTUS non-ruling lets all the Circuit rulings overturning homophobic state law stand – and extends it automatically to the other states within each circuit. Otherwise, the Supreme Court is as adept as Congress or the White House at avoiding the demonstration of leadership on any critical question.

We are an obedient nation led by cowards.

Worried about electromagnetic pollution? Should you be reading this on your iPad?

Hundreds of EMF-blocking garments and devices are marketed to reduce a person’s exposure to radiation, but the science says not to fret.

When Ameer Rosic went to jail for the last time six years ago, the stars aligned…He spent his time behind bars searching for answers about the type of person he wanted to be and what he wanted to do with his life.

When he got out, Rosic was obsessed with health, and he began working with businesspeople and entrepreneurs on a holistic approach…But for some of his clients, optimal health still seemed just out of reach, and Rosic concluded that the reason was because of their ongoing exposure to electromagnetic radiation from their cell phones, laptops, nearby cell towers, and so forth. So…he decided to launch a clothing company to reduce a person’s exposure.

Riparo, which in November will launch an Indiegogo campaign for its EMF-blocking briefs to “protect your balls” from what some like to call EMF “pollution,” joins an already established market of apparel aimed at minimizing how much radiation penetrates our bodies. This includes every type of garment imaginable, from shirts and underwear to hats and pregnancy bellybands.

The vast majority of scientists across many fields around the world say we don’t need to worry about what amounts to very small radiation exposure from our electronics. The World Health Organization, which launched an initiative to look into the topic in 1997 and has reviewed more than 25,000 studies, has concluded that “current evidence does not confirm the existence of any health consequences from exposure to low level electromagnetic fields.”

But considering long-term exposure is still being studied, is it better to invest in radiation-blocking clothing to “play it safe,” as Rosic says, or is this just a bunch of hocus pocus marketed to the most gullible among us…?

The answer depends, of course, on whom you ask…and I would ask – or read studies from – someone with qualified experience and study.

In fact, the most common explanation for the symptoms some describe, such as headaches, anxiety, and insomnia, is that it is the stress people feel about EMF exposure that causes the ill effects. In one instance, a number of people claimed that a new cell tower in their neighborhood was adversely affecting their health — before it had even been turned on.

Lots more fact and study in the article. A worthwhile read. Like anything with a realistic scientific bent, cautions are automatically included. The fact remains that regardless of how confident you can be about answers to a question there are advances in measurement and experimentation every day and it’s always worth revisiting a question. Up to the point of absurdity.

I live next to one of those communities where neighbors sue each other over wifi networks they are certain are giving them bad dreams. A community where in fact the city was sued for a cell tower that caused inestimable harm – even though it hadn’t yet been turned on.

To my mind, an outsized portion of the “problem” rests with a culture that rarely reads beyond headlines or listens to more than talking heads. Folks don’t even get to the place where they should be asking for qualifications.

ComputerCOP: lousy “Internet Safety Software” coppers are giving to families

For years, local law enforcement agencies around the country have told parents that installing ComputerCOP software is the “first step” in protecting their children online…

As official as it looks, ComputerCOP is actually just spyware, generally bought in bulk from a New York company that appears to do nothing but market this software to local government agencies.

The way ComputerCOP works is neither safe nor secure. It isn’t particularly effective either, except for generating positive PR for the law enforcement agencies distributing it. As security software goes, we observed a product with a keystroke-capturing function, also called a “keylogger,” that could place a family’s personal information at extreme risk by transmitting what a user types over the Internet to third-party servers without encryption. That means many versions of ComputerCOP leave children (and their parents, guests, friends, and anyone using the affected computer) exposed to the same predators, identity thieves, and bullies that police claim the software protects against.

Furthermore, by providing a free keylogging program—especially one that operates without even the most basic security safeguards—law enforcement agencies are passing around what amounts to a spying tool that could easily be abused by people who want to snoop on spouses, roommates, or co-workers.

Producers of many versions of this crap software include bald-faced lies about capabilities, safety and legality as FAQs. Often, of course, coppers distributing this crap are disingenuous enough to think they’re providing a real public service.

They ain’t.

This is a long well-researched article about law enforcement being hustled, mostly by outsiders. Misconceptions and incompetence about what is legal and ethical also play a role within policing agencies. RTFA and, perhaps, consider checking out the local heat and updating them – if they’ve been suckered.

Thanks, Mike

Dallas hospital changes story — admits docs knew patient arrived from Liberia

Late Friday officials at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said that the nurses and doctors who initially treated and released an Ebola patient knew that the man, Thomas E. Duncan, had recently arrived from Liberia.

Earlier the hospital claimed the its electronic health record used separate workflows for physicians and nurses so that the travel history in the nursing section “would not automatically appear in the physician’s standard workflow.”

In its latest statement “the hospital effectively retracted that portion of its statement, saying that ‘there was no flaw‘ in its electronic health records system. The hospital said ‘the patient’s travel history was documented and available to the full care team in the electronic health record (E.H.R.), including within the physician’s workflow…’

The hospital’s initial account triggered significant discussion of potential problems with EHRs.

The hospital offered no explanation for the conflicting accounts.

Har. Anyone can be guilty of a screwup but doctors. Nurses may have known and didn’t tell the doctors. The updated electronic health records system required by Obamacare must have been flawed – and therefore the doctors didn’t know the patient may have been exposed to Ebola.

Hogwash! One can only presume by Monday the hospital administration will have come up with a new and creative excuse for sending Thomas Duncan away the first time he arrived at the ER.

America is a Christian nation — Really?

Christian nation, har!
Click to enlarge

I’m so sick of the Christian Right not understanding that being a Christian nation and a nation that is majority Christian are two different things. From Paws and Claws, a newsletter by Ursarodinia

Couldn’t agree more. I was raised in a mostly Christian family. Folks studied other religions as part of understanding the whole world. Some stayed Christian – in mainstream churches. A few, like me, moved on to materialist philosophy and science, atheists.

No one wandered off into the rejection of knowledge and science, history and progress, so characteristic of American Christian fundamentalists.

The only way you get to be “smarter” than folks from the 14th Century is to study and learn what brought humanity out of the Dark Ages and into modernity.

Head of the Fed, Ben Bernanke couldn’t refinance his mortgage – WTF?

The former head of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, has had a request declined to have his mortgage renewed.

According to Bloomberg News, Mr Bernanke told a conference in Chicago: “I recently tried to refinance my mortgage and I was unsuccessful in doing so.”

I’m not making that up,” he added, as the audience laughed.

He went on to suggest that banks “may have gone a little bit too far on mortgage credit conditions”.

He added that the market for first-time home buyers was “not what it should be”…

There is endless discussion among Wall Street types and politicians about the event. Most of it being irrelevant. Motivation, tax decisions, the whole ball of crud comes down to bank regulators who were caught with their nickers in a bunch over their role in aiding the construction of the Bush housing bubble – that brought us the Great Recession. They’re now in the position of overreacting. They’d rather be holier-than-thou than have the slightest suspicion of being easy-peasy on folks trying to get a mortgage.

Point remains, if a creditworthy economist like Ben Bernanke ain’t getting a refi, the average working family doesn’t stand much of a chance at a mortgage under any circumstances.

The funny bit was watching this discussed on Bloomberg Surveillance, this morning. The guest host for the second hour was Alan Krueger, former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was just turned down for a mortgage on a second home – with 50% down!

Buffalo beer silos

giant 6-pack

A cluster of 100-foot-tall grain silos in Buffalo is being turned into the world’s largest six-pack.

Crews are installing rolls of vinyl wrap spelling out Labatt Blue on six silos at the former GLF grain mill operation near the city’s Lake Erie waterfront, home to several long-defunct grain elevators.

The six silos have been painted blue to resemble huge Labatt beer cans. The silos are part of the Buffalo RiverWorks, a former grain elevator that’s being transformed into a brewery, entertainment and recreation complex.

A co-owner of the property says the vinyl being used to display the Labatt name can be removed easily to return the silos to their original look. The owners aren’t saying how much Buffalo-based Labatt USA paid for the huge outdoor advertising.

Now, if those silos were filled with beer we could do a remake of Strange Brew.

Thanks, Cináed