Fixing Teeth With "Paint"

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Posted on : 8/27/2011 11:21:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

One of the primary reasons why I follow Glenn Reynolds' Instapundit is that he has an eclectic range of interests.  One of those interests is the advancements in medical knowledge and the application of that knowledge in new treatments, therapies, and procedures.

Recently, Glenn pointed out a link at FuturePundit about dental researchers discovering a substance that can be painted on teeth that will arrest decay and may even cause the damaged tooth to regrow itself.

Fascinating.

As Glenn would say...."Faster, please!"

Book Recommendation - The Warded Man

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Posted on : 8/27/2011 09:41:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Demons rise for a nightly feast of human flesh.  All that protects the humans are their ability to create signs, wards, that keep the demons from getting close enough to feed.

Arlen is a boy living in a small hamlet.  He lives with the suspicion that humanity could do more than hide behind their wards.  They could fight.

His last night at home is the night when he watches demons rip his mother to pieces while his father remains safely protected.  After that night, he roams the world learning to paint wards and eventually meeting the people of the desert that take the fight to the demons instead of hiding behind warded walls.

We also meet Rojer and Leesha who are kindred spirits that see themselves as capable of more than the limited expectations of the friends and families.  People who want something better, even if they do not know how to achieve it.

Eventually, Arlen learns the long forgotten secrets that enabled men to hunt demons instead of being hunted by demons.  He uses those secrets to become....something else.

Worth your time.

More From Me

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Posted on : 8/27/2011 09:43:00 AM | By : Dann | In :

What's not to love?

I've added a new gadget on the right.  The new gadget shows you my Google Reader "shared" items.  Sometimes I'll have a little something extra to add as a comment.  Other things just look interesting enough to me that I'd like to share it with you.

If you are using Google's Reader....which I highly recommend....you can follow my feed directly there.  Or you can check in here every once in a while to see what I see that might be worth your time.

Good reading to all!

Frustrating Journalists

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Posted on : 8/26/2011 06:30:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

The New York Times is my windmill.  I am your Don Quixote.  They drive me mad!

Not really, but they are a source of vexation.

The most recent example was a photo that accompanied a story about labeling those serving in the military as "heroes".  It was an interesting story with a few decent points.

The photo was insulting.  The link for the original photo is here.  I have saved the image and stored it on Google's Picasa...just in case.




NYTimes Screws Up Again


You may find this military awards information and this US Army uniform information from Wikipedia to be useful for the ensuing discussion.

The first problem is where should I begin?

First, the US Army has two different service uniforms.  The old, out-dated service uniform is green. It is typically worn with a light green dress shirt.  The new service uniform is blue.  It is typically worn with a white shirt.  The green uniform hasn't been issued since 2009 and will be obsolete in 2014.

The model in the photo above is wearing a white shirt with a green blouse.

Then take a look at the rank insignia.  I cannot recall when the US Army last put the rank insignia on the lapels of the blouse.  To add insult to injury, the insignia is just slapped on the lapels in an uneven and non-symmetric fashion.  If the rank insignia did belong on the blouse lapels, they would be worn so that they were pointed along the bisector of the lapel.

And I fully realize that the illustration in that last link is from the US Marine Corps.  It was the best illustration that I could quickly locate.

Now look at the right side of the uniform.  That would be the left side of the photo.  See that badge?  Care to guess what it signifies?

That badge signifies that Corporal Schmuckatelli here is also a bonafide Naval Aviator.  Think "Tom Cruise in 'Top Gun'. "

Now can you imagine the set of circumstances that would have permitted the good Corporal to fall from the heights of a commissioned US naval officer and Naval Aviator to lowly US Army Corporal?  Nor can I.

Finally, look at the left side of the uniform.  It is important to know that ribbons are worn in a specific manner and in a specific order.  Ribbons are typically mounted using a ribbon bar.  They look like this.

Ribbons are worn in a very particular order.  The most common ribbons are organized with personal decorations on the top row and towards the right of the person wearing the ribbons.  That would be left as you are looking at the photo.

Next would come unit awards, followed by campaign awards and service awards.

Beginning at the top/inboard position, we have
  • Vietnam Service Medal, with 2 stars indicating 3 awards
  • Navy/Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation, with 1 star indicating 2 awards
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal
  • Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal
  • Navy Unit Commendation
  • Armed Forces Reserve Medal
  • Soldier's Medal
  • Distinguished Service Medal (Army) (typically awarded to senior officers for unusual and extraordinary service, not NCOs)


An awful lot of Navy medals for a Corporal in the US Army, no?  Methinks that grandpa's old uniforms got raided for this photo.

In the correct order:



I think the obvious conclusion is that some photographer slapped together something that looked "military-ish" and took a picture.  They had probably watched too much Star Trek with Captain Kirk's splatter of oddments, buttons, and colored wig-wags to understand that, 300 years before the voyages of the the good Captain and his crew, the tradition was to wear one's awards in a specific order and arrangement.

Quite frankly, the photographer didn't care.  They didn't think the proper display of a US military uniform was important enough to warrant their time and attention.

While that is disappointing, it is certainly forgivable.

What is unforgivable is for the New York friggin' Times to use such obviously poor photography as an illustration with any story associated with their name.  Do they think that our military and military veterans do not read their work?  Do they not understand that their "brand" is already suspect because of some the stereotypes that they create and/or propagate?  Do they not have military veterans on their writing and photography staff?

Do they not care?

While they obviously do not care enough to get it right the first time, I do have to acknowledge that they changed the image associated with the story.  They even included a correction.  The old image was still on their server.  No harm in an unused image.

That is a reasonable course of events if we were talking about the Quad City Times.  Not quite so reasonable if we are talking about American's America's self professed "newspaper of record".  The worst part is that while I would not think it unreasonable for the Quad City Times to make such a mistake, I also expect that the QC Times would care enough about this issue to get put extra effort into getting it right the first time.  The NY Times has the resources to get it right the first time without extra effort, and the bungled it.

We Learned Something New

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Posted on : 8/26/2011 07:28:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

It is no large secret that I am a skeptic regarding the theory that human activity is the sole/primary/major force behind the changes in our climate over the last 150 years. 

Any fool looking at the data can see that things have gotten warmer over that time frame.  What few elect to recall is that a miniature ice age that correlates with the Maunder Minimum ended about 150 years ago.  In reality, we have been warming from an unusually cold condition back towards a more usual climate.

In any case, one of the primary reasons for my skepticism is the non-scientific manner used to express theories concerning the influence of human activity in that general warming trend.  The science of those theories has been "settled".  Or so they tell us.

But that isn't science.  Scientific theories take not just decades, but often centuries before we know enough to call them anything close to "settled".

Albert Einstein presented his general theory of relativity in 1916.  Since then there have been many discoveries and refinements.  There continue to be hypotheses about exceptions to Mr. Einstein's theory that have yet to be proved or disproved.  It may take a while before we know all we can know about the implications of the theory of relativity.

Sir Isaac Newton presented his theory of gravity in PhilosophiƦ Naturalis Principia Mathematica which was published in 1687.  It wasn't until 350 years later that we began to understand that gravity throughout the universe was not constant.  And it took almost another 50 years before that understanding was fully developed.

So what is new in the field of climatology?  We have a report from CERN regarding the link between cosmic rays emanating from the sun being closely tied with the formation of clouds in the atmosphere.

Another source of my skepticism is the rather simplistic manner in which some individuals have presumed a direct, primary, causal relationship between CO2 and climate change to the near total exclusion of other reasonable factors.  It is my opinion that solar forcings have been understated in climate models in favor of anthropogenicy.  The one true fact is that we do not know what we know.  We do not know what we do not know either.  We do not fully understand all of the intricacies associated with how the climate changes over time.

We have learned a few things over the years.  And we are developing a better understanding of the various factors involved in our climate.  Responsible scientists qualify their remarks to point out the wide range of predicted future temperatures.  They also suggest that there are significant factors beyond human activity that are at work.

As we move forward, I am confident that our understanding will be revised and refined again and again.  My opinion is that along with learning more about our climate, we will probably discover that we have an over-sized collective ego.  The earth has been around for a very long time.  While humanity is able to affect significant micro-scale changes, our impact on something as massive and complicated as the atmosphere is less significant than some alarmist pseudo-scientists would have us believe.


The Decline of American Manufacturing

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Posted on : 8/25/2011 07:23:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

I found this story about Amazon and their utter inability to manufacture the Kindle on this side of the Pacific to be most depressing.

Jazz It Up, Golden Smog!

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Posted on : 8/23/2011 09:57:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , , , ,

On of my favorite episodes of The Flintstones.  The music faaaannntastic!

Check out the second half. Skiddly-wah-wah-wah.....CONTACT!



A Hysterical Return?

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Posted on : 8/23/2011 07:22:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

After my modestly extended absence from blogging, I can think of no more pleasurable method of celebrating my return than to offer my esteemed and valued readership a smile.

Some more than others...apparently.