Recognizing faces

Went to slightly pissed and he had a link to “Hot or not” which he swears is a guy in drag.

I went searching the web for this “put the nose with the face” thing I saw, where it was a quiz to see if you could tell by the nose if it was a man or woman. (You can't basically.) Haven't found that yet.

Did find an academic paper website that says that folks can recognize a male v. female face with the hair covered 96% of the time, which is way more than you need to be statistically significant. (I guess that assumes hair would give away the gender.)

I couldn't find the site. Drats. It was pretty fun.

Disappearing species

Just watched a show on Beyond 2000 about bees being killed off by parasites. Right now there is nothing that is stopping the parasites. Europe's honeybee population has been “devastated” and 1000s of hives in Ohio have been killed by the little critters.

Then, I was reading my email and got this.

Defenceless banana 'will be extinct in 10 years'
By Robert Uhlig, Farming Correspondent
(Filed: 16/01/2003)
Buy your bananas now. Scientists warn today that the world's favourite fruit could be extinct within 10 years because it is unable to fight off a rampaging plague of pests and disease.Emile Frison, head of a worldwide network of banana researchers, warned that the world's favourite fruit was at crisis point, with yields in decline in much of Africa, Asia and central America.He and other scientists warned that the regions most dependent on the banana, relying on the fruit for up to half their daily calories, are facing the tropical equivalent of the Irish potato famine.The doomed banana's Achilles heel is that it is a genetically decrepit sterile mutant. One of the oldest crops, the first edible variety was propagated around 10,000 years ago from a rare mutant of the wild banana, which, with a mass of hard seeds, is virtually inedible.But because all edible bananas are sterile – effectively clones of that first plant – they are unable to evolve to fight off new diseases.Black sigatoka, a fungal disease that cuts yields by up to three quarters and reduces the productive lives of banana plants from 30 to only two or three years, has become a global epidemic.The fungus reduced yields by 40 per cent in a year in Uganda, the world's second largest producer, and is spreading through the Brazilian Amazon and the Far East.Mr Frison, director of the International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain, said black sigatoka was no longer being kept in check. “As soon as you bring in a new fungicide, it develops resistance,” he said.Luadir Gasparotto, Brazil's leading banana pathologist, said production in Brazil, the world's fourth largest producer, was likely to fall by 70 per cent because of sigatoka. “Most of the banana fields in Amazonia have already been destroyed,” he said.To make matters worse, Panama disease, a fungus that wiped out a popular variety in the 1950s, has also returned.Genetic engineering may be the only answer, New Scientist reports today.Last year, scientists led by Mr Frison announced plans to sequence the genetic blueprint of the banana within five years, focusing on inedible wild bananas, many of which are resistant to black sigatoka. But large producers have refused to back the research because of costs and fears that consumers will not accept a GM banana.Half a billion people in Africa and Asia depend on the banana for up to half their daily calories. The starchy varieties rather than the sweet fruit is used in everything from cooking to banana gin.Britain imports more than seven billion bananas a year, making it the nation's favourite fruit. More than 140 million are eaten every week. ???

That's kind of scary. Stuff we're used to is on the edge of extinction, of a kind.

Great grama's chair

Today I got my great grandmother's old oak rocker back from the restoration and upholstery people. It needed a slat replaced. And since they had it, I asked them to make a cushion so that it was actually comfortable.

Now it sits in my living room with my two “modern” sofas, inherited from my mom and younger sister, and an antique china cabinet and an old oak sideboard.

You would say that the furnishings in my home are eclectic. But what they really are is given. Inherited sounds better though. We bought the coffee table and couch and TV stand in the red room. We bought the folding table this computer sits on. We bought our end tables. We bought several bookshelves. But I don't think we have purchased another piece of furniture in our home.

It's very nice to have well-to-do relatives. It'd be even nicer if we were the well-to-do relatives. I don't mean to complain, though. We have some really nice furniture. A few of the pieces I would even have bought for myself if I could have afforded them or ones similar to them.

Anyway, the chair was given to me when my grandmother died. The chair belonged to her mother-in-law, Grama Lee. I saw Grama Lee once when I was a little girl, maybe five. She was sick in bed. That and the chair are actually all I remember about her. I do know that her mother was a full-blood Cherokee who came West from Georgia, presumably on the Trail of Tears.

I like to have things that belonged to family, where I know about the piece's history.

My Oma White came to visit and saw the oak sideboard my mom and dad gave me for Christmas. She smiled and said it looked just like the one her grandmother had in her home when Oma was a little girl. Oma said her grama had had the piece all her married life. My Oma turned 90 this last month, so that says the sideboard style is old.

I think I might like to get into antique collecting if we had the money, but my husband says we have more furniture now than we need. Of course, for a little while anyway, I'd be willing to trade out pieces.

Class tomorrow

Tomorrow is the day for teleological and cosmological arguments for God. Will probably mention Lewis' moral argument as well. If we get through all that, I have a question/answer session on the continuity of the Bible. (Interesting stuff.) But since I also need to pick up the kids' 5 verses they think sum up their beliefs, I don't think I'll get to that tomorrow.

Then in essay writing we are discussing planning and brainstorming. Now that I think about it, I should really bring my other book and read to them about how different authors wrote. Some Roman poet, I can't remember who off hand, would spend all day long walking in the garden and count the day a good one if he came up with one line. –Good work if you can get it.

Random people.

I was reading kimmy's blog on blog-city. She said random people stop in and write her comments. Or people she knows. Not anyone else. Who else would there be? I know that is a bit of a strange question, but it's really got me thinking.

Non-random people. How are those different from random people? Are they people who deliberately go to her site? I don't go there deliberately yet. There are some that I know I enjoy reading what they write and I go there even if they haven't updated when I'm on. (markitoxon, mommayaya, for example) But there are others who I am thrilled to see when they're up-dated. There's like mountainfarmstead or something. Loved the pictures that showed up one day on there. Today's wasn't quite so refreshing an entry, but hey, we're all entitled. Then there's the ones that make me laugh with their names, but their stuff is killing me. The one who sleeps with her friend's boyfriend. Etc. I don't read the ones where the spelling is atrocious, the cuss words seem to be the only ones they know, or if they only rant. (Once in a while a rant is probably good for your health.)

People she doesn't know would be random people, right?… This is just an intriguing idea.

How can I be a non-random person she doesn't know? I like the possibilities.

So, go by Kimmy's and let her know that another random person has been in to read her thoughts.

Oh, yeah, and if you're going to make a list, I think you should count blessings and not why life sucks. That would be a downer.

Giving up

I have been seriously considering giving up on BFL. It's been 42 weeks; I'm in week 43. I've lost 43 pounds and 27 inches, but it is slow. And it just seems as if I am not getting anywhere.

My hubby took a week off, did no cardio and no weights, but did stay up on his feet for 8 hours a day four days, ate whatever he wanted, but did eat several meals–like 5 a day. He lost a pound and a half of fat and gained three pounds of muscle!!! I was here at home, busting my butt working out, eating clean, and lost .8th of a pound. Where's the justice in that?

So, I thought, fine. I'll just give up all exercises for Thursday through Sunday. I'll just hang out with my body and let it rest. But I feel so guilty doing that. I didn't do any exercises today. But I am not sure I can stick with it. I'm wanting to do some biking. I miss that. I haven't done any in over a week, trying to shock my body with other things. (Believe me, I did it, too. There's nothing like HIIT to kill you.)

Tonight I thought, hang it all. I can just eat anything I want to. It doesn't matter. –Think I've been a bit depressed and this isn't helping.

Then I tried on the smallest dress in my closet. The beautiful black and green dress I wore on our first date. And you know what?! I can actually zip it up. I can't wear it anywhere, because breathing is important and I'm still too afraid to breathe in it, but I can put it on.

So maybe I won't give in to the black hole of depression, cravings, and the desire for faster results like other people got.

I'll just have to save the Snickers for my off day.

Life stops with 2 sick kids.

Right now I am supposed to be up at church singing “She'll be coming round the mountain” with 16 little 3 year olds.

However, both my kids were up sick this morning. So, we're home. All day. Can't think that will be fun, but I guess we will all live through it. Right now I have them settled onto separate couches reading books.

BFL Day 43

Body for Life is a 12 week work out/eat right challenge. I'm on my fourth.

Today's journal entry starts off with “Congratulations! You are more than halfway!” That was amazing. How did that happen? It's been a day at a time and finally, poof, it's been six weeks.

I'm not making progress like the Champions who win the big money did. Some people who didn't win money made bigger changes than I did. For example, there is at least one woman who was not a champion who said she lost 40 pounds in one 12 week challenge. I've lost 40+ pounds, but this is week 42 for me.

I was really depressed about the whole thing because I am not losing even a pound a week anymore. I've lost five pounds this six weeks. But then I got over it. As long as I am going in the right direction, I guess it can be slow if it has to be.

One recommendation of Bill Phillips, the guy who started BFL, is that you fail quickly. I was really trying to do that. I work hard at looking to see where I am making errors so that I can figure them out faster. However, I haven't been able to find any. Neither has my sister, who has never had a weight problem because she's always worked out.

She did make some recommendations to “mix it up” or change my program. I've been doing it for a long time. Maybe my body is just used to what it is doing.

Some of her suggestions:
Eat fewer carbs, maybe even skip carbs at the last meal of the day.
Change my workout to cover two body parts per time. Instead of doing pyramids, do four sets of different exercises for each muscle 10xs each.
Shock my body by doing something different for aerobics. Do stairs or go to a class instead of biking and the treadmill.

My goal was to be at my original goal weight by my birthday, 3/3. Don't think I am going to make that. But I would like to be able to wear all the sentimental clothes I kept in my closet. For instance, I have the dress I wore on my first date with my husband. I would love to be able to wear that out somewhere nice for my birthday. Right now it still doesn't fit. I think it is the smallest of my sentimental clothes stash.

My sentimental clothes also include the red dress which my sons and husband bought me for Easter five years ago. I looked hot in it. But now I am too small to fill it out. Then there is a beautiful pink long dress that I got to teach about Thailand to kids at our church. The missionaries in Thailand are friends of mine, so I wanted to do as much as I could to let people know about them.)

Been Gone

The save software wasn't working on Monday, so I wasn't able to add my blog entries for the day. Did anyone else have this problem?

The good thing about that was I got my syllabus finished. It looks good and do-able. Much less work than I normally do in that sort of class. Much less for me anyway.

Then yesterday, I had a birthday, my husband's, and I wasn't interested in blogging. So nothing.

Today I was determined to get back on. I miss reading everyone's blogs.

But before I got on today something great happened. A friend who moved suddenly finally deigned to let me know that she was alive and well and living in Iowa. (I knew she was in Iowa. And for the last six weeks I've known she was well because she called someone else.)

She could have gotten in touch with me before. I wish she had. I have missed her and prayed for her daily or more often. She has been living an adventure. I have to say that if anyone is able to handle it, she is.

First off, her husband has been out of work for a year and a half. Second, she has lupus, which makes her life horribly hard. Third, when they went home to Iowa they expected to be living in her grandmother's old home. Which they did, but someone neglected to tell them that the furnace didn't work and the bathroom had caved in. So for a month and a half, in Iowa in the winter, they lived in a home with no indoor plumbing at all and no heat. I am not sure how they survived that long. I've never actually been in Iowa in the winter, but I know that Indiana is freezing.

I am so glad that she called. I know it's hard when you don't have good things to share, but she is one of the most charming, fun people I know. I may have to figure out where Iowa is and head out there to visit her.

My friend is back in contact with me. HURRAY!!! And I am back blogging.

Playing with Color

I've been playing with color on my blog. Used to be a preset theme. The two tone blue one. Can't remember what it's called. What do you think of the new colors?

It's a Hoax

If you're wondering what practical jokes and/or lies have been cropping up throughout history, you can hit the museum of hoaxes online.

I went to college pranks to read about the Rose Bowl Parade prank that 14 students from CalTech pulled off on national television the year before I was born. (Yes, they had TV back then.) I noticed they didn't have the one where a guy from my college managed to disassemble and reassemble a VW bug in the president's office. Nor did they have the mannequin going potty on the obelisk when all the out-of-town preachers were at school for a conference. But those were fun and local pranks. Unlike the ones on this site.

There are whole categories to search. Enjoy.

Belly buttons

If you haven't made your European tour, feel free to hit Brussels' navels and check out the belly buttons of hundreds, thousands, of Europeans.

Send him a pic of your belly button to go in the gallery.

Think it's kind of silly, but some days you need silly.

Preparing: School and bdays

I'm ready for this week, up till Saturday classes start. I'm not ready for those.

I need to get back in gear and get my syllabus finished and typed out.

My husband was thinking about taking time off on Friday and us going out of town, but he forgot I have to work. (I forgot too.) Maybe he could take next Monday off instead.

My sister had a birthday today. She got a new Expedition with a 380 something surround sound DVD player in it. She likes it because it is bigger than her old one. (Two years old.) She also got some Veggie Tale DVD's for my nephew. She got some history and apologetics books from me for her birthday. –Yeah, I know, you are thinking, yuck! But she has this huge library built in her house that is empty, so she wants books. And she didn't read much, so she doesn't know what to buy. She only wants books she would not be embarassed to be seen with in her house. Recently she decided she doesn't know enough about history, so I got her some books. They were mostly pretty basic, but hopefully that will get her started. (She's the one I went to get books for and bought way too many.)

My sweetie's bday is on Tuesday. He says it's no big deal because he's not forty. (Why is everybody always picking on me?) Since he was out of town this week and he loves his car, I took it in and got gas (always necessary), an oil change (He puts it off worse than I do.), four new tires (They're supposed to drive well on water.), and got a detail car cleaning. They cleaned the car for three hours. Fawkes looks beautiful. (Fawkes is his firebird.) I also ordered a replacement mirror which is supposed to be ready to be installed on Tuesday. So, he'll be able to see when he is backing out of the driveway.

The boys bought him a present which we all hope he likes. I won't tell you what it is because he reads this blog.

I got him a small present as well. It's not wrapped yet. I wonder if he knows what it is.

My parents gave him a check. (Money is always helpful at our house.) He had asked me for a new bike, but if he takes the money we would have spent on the bike and the folks' check, he can get an IPod. He hasn't told me which he wants to do yet. Glad I didn't buy him the bike this weekend as I had planned. I would hate to have to take it back.

Poetry: Against and For War

Found a great entry at Pinesol's blog about the Brit's poet laureate being so forcefully against war. Four short, not very good, rhyming lines.

Then Pinesol directed me to Tim Blair's blog where he quotes the bunches of people who sent him four and more line poems in scorn or support of Motion's politics.

CAUSA BELLI by Andrew Motion
They read good books, and quote, but never learn
a language other than the scream of rocket-burn.
Our straighter talk is drowned but ironclad:
elections, money, empire, oil and Dad.

I added my own in a comment.

Don't Belli Ache
Elections will fall or fly from money at home.
We have oil. Let them keep their own.
Dad had a war, popular- true.
But when soldiers die it's to protect you.


After six long days, my husband is home. His trip was uneventful and his airport experience simple.

I am so glad he's home.

How do you know there is a God?

These are two arguments about God which I will be lecturing on in Apologetics next week.

The first is the cosmological argument. This attempts to prove that things have a cause and that there must be an uncaused-cause as starting place. Objects do not bring themselves into existence; they must have a cause.

1. Things exist.
2. It is possible for those things to not exist.
3. Whatever has the possibility of non existence, yet exists, has been caused to exist.
A. Something cannot bring itself into existence since it must exist to bring itself into existence which is illogical.
4. There cannot be an infinite number of causes to bring something into existence.
A. Because an infinite regression of causes ultimately has no initial cause which means there is no cause of existence.
B. Since the universe exists, it must have a cause.
5. Therefore, there must be an uncaused cause of all things.
6. The uncaused cause must be God.

God is, by definition, an uncaused cause.

The second argument is the teleological argument or the argument from design. It states that a designer must exist since the universe exhibits marks of design in order, consistency, unity, and pattern.

1. Human artifacts are products of intelligent design.
2. The universe resembles human artifacts.
3. Therefore the universe is a product of intelligent design.
4. But the universe is complex and gigantic, in comparison to human artifacts.
5. Therefore, there probably is a powerful and vastly intelligent designer who created the universe.

William Paley(1743-1805) gave the Watchmaker analogy for this argument. That is, if you found a watch lying on the side of the road, you would not suppose that the watch had always been there. You would know that someone had to make the watch.

In one class for little kids, the teacher taught this by bringing in all the fixings for a cake. She turned on the oven to the right temperature. Then she dropped eggs (whole), into the pan, along with sugar, flour, oil, and water. Then she asked if anyone wanted to eat the cake. If just putting the right things together made a cake, the kids should have been clamoring for a piece of cake. But they weren't. Because the ingredients in and of themselves don't make a cake. Anymore than a bunch of proteins and amino acids, alone, without design, make a human being.

oh, joy!

That's sarcasm.

One of the administrators called tonight, fairly late, 9 pm, and said that another administrator, who had not been in on the discussion, thought that I should call each and every one of the students' parents and explain what we talked about in relation to suicide. She did say I could skip her son's call. But that means that on Saturday morning I have to call a bunch of people I don't know and “explain” that we discussed suicide and what we said about it. Ugh.

Oh well. I guess that comes with being a responsible adult. Darn. Can't I be an irresponsible adult? (I guess not, since I tell my kids it's how you act that counts, not how old you are.)

It does make sure I review all the other essays and throw any questionable content out now, so I don't end up making a bunch of other Saturday phone calls.

And this is the first class of the semester.

My goals are to help the kids understand essays and be better writers. I can do this. I've done it before with hundreds of kids. I can do it well. It is, after all, the whole focus of my PhD work.

INS fiasco, protest

I love the USA. I love our nation's history, sordid though it is in places. I love our nation's motto. I love the flag. I love the pledge of allegiance. I even love the national anthem, more for the story than the music.

But I do not love the fact that people who went voluntarily to register, as required, as requested, were held under the “national security” cover. The government is not mentioning them. Other than to say they won't release the numbers. Yes, they're foreigners. Yes, they're Arabs. But all of us who live here had ancestors who were foreigners at one time. And I don't want to be arrested because a bunch of women with red hair went crazy.

Here's a site to help you make a difference. Give Peace a Chance

Blogging: undrafted

For those who came when this was up as a draft, sorry. I thought I hit save as draft, but apparently not. It is no longer a draft.

One thing I have found very interesting on blog-city that I am not finding on other blog sites is the lack of links. I enjoy the diary mode–what I did today. I also enjoy the journaling mode–what I thought about whatever. I do miss some of the “Wow! Found this great site.” Or the “Here's a site on what I was talking about.” There are some. had one just yesterday on some philosopher named Quinn's website and FAQ.

But, for instance, I've read two blogs about Gangs of NY, but no one directed me to a site where I could find out what that was besides a movie which the bloggers saw. I found that a bit frustrating. But that may just be me. I've been to Plastic and BoingBoing and they are not diary/journal bloggings. They are all informational.

By the way, I told my classes today NOT to blog. The students are 12 and 13. (I think my son would enjoy blogging, but he is 11, so he's not doing it either.) I thought they were too young for the discussions going on, at least at blog-city. I think some of them could have good input on the philosophy and Christianity threads I've been reading recently, but I don't really want them reading all the “WTF” and sex things that end up in here. Certainly not mine!!!