Things to see on the net

A Statue of Liberty made out of 18,000 men.

A grammar lesson on YouTube which is incorrect. None can stand for “not any” as well as for “not one.”

Wedding Photos We’ll Remember, some of which you may wish you could forget. Some are funny and some… are weird because they’re in the package.

This is just a picture of cubes. No big deal. But they bounce up when you move the cursor over them and you can get quite a symphony of bouncing going on.

Shakespeare Timeline Summary Chart

9 Words that Don’t Mean What you think they mean. I was getting kind of cocky, until I got to enormity. The arty nudes and extraneous breast shots are there to keep the guys interested. They must expect women to be interested, because the shots of guys sucked. (Language, Frontal nudity)

A real time world clock, which shows births, deaths, respiratory infections, diabetes… Does that mean all the folks with diabetes or only those living? I don’t know.

My junior high journalism teacher might have created this site, except she’s been dead since I was in junior high. But this I remember of her. She wanted us to come up with a different word for each alphabet letter to replace the word said. Here’s someone’s list.

A country map of what folks call that stuff you drink in a can with carbonation. I live in a 80-100% coke county. I say soda pop. Notice that is not an option. But New York, where I went to high school, is soda country and Indiana, where I went to grad school, is pop country. So I’m a soda pop girl in coke country.

If you want to see some amazing Google Earth images, go here. I’ve seen some other places, but most were new to me. The jet parked in a parking lot next to a building was odd. The red (really red) sea in Iraq is funky.

See the New 7 Wonders of the World. Read a description of the voting.

For some interesting test answers…

See this post from Hummer Limos in Miami… Find out that the math question is wrong because Tracy is a woman. Learn that radioactive ooze allows you to investigate phenotypes. And, most ingeniously, see how chemistry helps uncover Batman’s private identity.

IQ falling?

R and I were discussing whether good schools create high IQs or high IQs create good schools. Or some such. I was directed to a review of a book, which clearly indicates that high IQs come first. They only stay high if the schools support them.

Chinese-American entrants to Berkeley in 1966 had an IQ threshold seven points below their Caucasian classmates. This held true whether the students were born in the United States or in China. Yet by 1980 55 percent of the Chinese members of the 1966 class occupied managerial, professional, or technical occupations compared to only 34 percent of their Caucasian classmates. Flynn attributes this unexpected result (in terms of their lower IQ scores) to a parentally instilled passion for intellectual achievement. He noted that “Chinese Americans are an ethnic group for whom high achievement preceded high IQ rather than the reverse.”

Not surprisingly Chinese Americans in the highly successful class of 1966 provided their own children with an even more enriched cognitive environment than they themselves had enjoyed. Their children, as a result, by age six had a mean IQ nine points above Caucasian students. But as the children matured further, a surprising finding emerged. By age 10 the IQ differential had fallen four points. By age 18 IQ had declined further to only a three-point advantage. The reason for this IQ drop? According to Flynn, “Much of their advantage was lost when school began to dilute parental influence.”

My husband’s best friend is an MD

so I was especially interested in the Common Room’s historical posting of 1910 doctor letters. (For myself I’m a big history fan.)

Part I is here. It talks about the rich guy whose wife flaunts her Worth gowns (and yes, I know what those are. I read Georgette Heyer.) and won’t pay his doctor whose wife wears patched clothing.

Part II is here. It explains why a doctor, even one making lots of money, needs it and deserves to be paid.

I fell down.

I hit a curb in a parking lot yesterday. I managed to scrape one knee and elbow, wrench my back on that side, twist my other ankle, and hurt the knee on that side.

Nothing is broken. And my computer didn’t break either.

But oh man do I hurt.

And I clearly to work on more stability in my core.

Flight 93 Memorial “investigation”

The problems with the Flight 93 Memorial haven’t been “suddenly discovered.” I spent a lot of time back in September of 2005 putting my two cents in with the National Park Service.

In April 2006, Park Service Director Mary Bomar ordered an internal investigation into claims that the planned Flight 93 Memorial is actually a terrorist memorial mosque, built abound a giant Mecca-oriented crescent. Bomar’s investigation was a total fraud, concluding, for instance, that it isn’t possible to calculate the orientation of the crescent because the site-plan has not been geo-referenced. (Page 2, PP2 of September 2006 summary report. Page 1 here.)

In fact, the original Crescent of Embrace site-plan was drawn on a topo map that the Memorial Project provided to all participants in the design competition. A topo map is the epitome of a geo-referenced map. North marked on a topo map is true north, which is the only piece of information needed to calculate the orientation of the crescent. Just connect the tips of the crescent, form the perpendicular bisector, and calculate how many degrees it points from north (53.4).

Also known are the crash-site coordinates, which is all that is needed to calculate the direction to Mecca (55.2° clockwise from north). All of this is trivially easy to verify. Just use the Mecca-direction calculator at to get a graphic of the direction to Mecca from the crash site and place it over the crescent site plan:

Giant crescent pointst to Mecca

Somerset PA is ten miles from the crash-site. The “qibla” is the direction to Mecca. Red lines show the orientation of the crescent. The crescent points 1.8° north of Mecca. (Click for larger image.)

A request for oversight

Because it is the director’s office that has been covering up the Mecca-orientation of the crescent, oversight can only come from Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne himself. Several people sent letters to Secretary Kempthorne two weeks ago, showing how the giant Mecca-oriented crescent remains completely intact in the so called redesign. But Mr. Kempthorne also needs to know that he is getting bad information from his subordinates in the Park Service. Thus a request for all readers of this post: if you have a minute, please copy and paste this entire post into an email for Secretary Kempthorne.

We don’t need for the secretary to understand all the terrorist memorializing features in the design, or the numerous proofs of intent that architect Paul Murdoch included so that his accomplishment will be undeniable once it is a fait accompli. It is enough that he be concerned about features that can be readily interpreted as terrorist memorializing, whether they are intended or not. As Congressman Tancredo put it: we need “a new design that will not make the memorial a flashpoint for this kind of controversy and criticism.”

But even getting to the most basic facts about what is in the present design requires getting past Mary Bomar’s fraudulent report, which tries to pretend that there is nothing that can even be interpreted as untoward.

Mary Bomar’s intellectually dishonest “experts”

In addition to claiming that topo maps are not geo referenced, Mary Bomar’s internal investigation cites a small number of academic experts, all of whom spout nothing but the most absurd non sequiturs. One is Dr. Daniel Griffith, professor of “geo-spatial information” at the University of Texas. About Alec Rawls’ analysis of the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent, Dr. Griffith writes:

… Mr. Rawls’s arithmetic calculations appear to be correct … [but] … just because calculations are correct does not make the resulting numbers meaningful.

Dr. Griffith’s point, it seems, is that the mere fact of Mecca orientation does not imply intent. Who said it did? The way Murdoch proves intent is by repeating his Mecca orientations (scroll down to the last section here). But intent is not the only thing that matters. Even without terrorist memorializing intent, it is inappropriate to plant a giant Mecca oriented crescent on the crash site.

The Memorial Project knows this, but it is committed to defending the crescent design, so it keeps using its doubts about intent as an excuse for denying the facts. Dr. Griffith, for instance, is telling every reporter who will listen that there is no such thing as the direction to Mecca. “Anything can point toward Mecca,” he told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, “because the earth is round.” One billion Muslims face Mecca five times a day to pray, and Griffith pretends there is no such thing as facing Mecca!

Of course he knows better. The first thing that Griffith’s report does is calculate the direction to Mecca:

I computed an azimuth value from the Flight 93 crater site to Mecca of roughly 55.20°.

Bomar expert #2

Dr. Kevin Jaques, specialist in Islamic sharia law from the University of Indiana, acknowledges that the Mecca-oriented crescent is similar to the mihrab around which every mosque is built, but says:

…just because something is ‘similar to’ something else does not make it the ‘same’.

Yes, well, similar–very, very similar–is exactly the problem.

Like Daniel Griffith, Mr. Jaques is trying to make hay of the fact that Mecca orientation does not by itself imply intent. So what? Intentional or not, it is unacceptable for the central feature of the Flight 93 memorial to be a geometric match for the central feature of a mosque. Jaques is pretending that the questions he raises about intent somehow make the facts irrelevant.

Professor Jaques also dismisses the likeness between the Mecca-oriented crescent and a traditional Islamic mihrab by noting that lots of religious structures have prayer-direction indicators, not just mosques:

The biggest hole in [Rawls’] argument is that all of the elements he points to are common architectural features that one would find in a church or synagogue. The mihrab originated in pre-Islamic buildings and can be found in temples, churches, and synagogues around the Mediterranean.

This is logic? Because Christian churches are often oriented to the east, that somehow makes it okay to build the Flight 93 memorial around a half-mile wide Mecca oriented crescent? If this is “the biggest hole in [Rawls’] argument,” then there are no holes in Rawls’ argument.

Project spokesmen know the truth, and are lying about it

Memorial Project spokesmen have followed the lead of these academic frauds, using doubts about intent as a pretext for denying the facts. Asked about Rawls’ Mecca orientation claim, Patrick White, vice president of Families of Flight 93, denied it:

Rawls’ claims are untrue and “preposterous,” according to Patrick White, Families of Flight 93 vice president. “We went through in detail all his original claims and came away with nothing.”

In fact, Patrick White is fully aware of the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent. At the Memorial Project’s public meeting in July he argued that the almost-exact Mecca orientation of the giant crescent cannot be intended as a tribute to Islam because the inexactness of it would be “disrespectful to Islam.”

Joanne Hanley has done the same:

“Alec Rawls bases all of his conclusions on faulty assumptions,” said Joanne Hanley, the superintendent of the Flight 93 National Memorial. “In addition, the facts are twisted and people are misquoted, all to serve his intended purpose.”

But she too has admitted the Mecca-orientation of the giant crescent, telling Mr. Rawls in a 2006 conference call that she wasn’t concerned about the almost-exact Mecca orientation of the crescent because: “It isn’t exact. That’s one we talked about. It has to be exact.” (Crescent of Betrayal, download 3, page 145.)

I love Alton Brown.

I don’t know him, but I still love him. He gave me my own private cooking aficianado. We now have all the kitchen gadgets I wanted years ago. But I don’t use them. My hubby does.

Go here to read some great thoughts on Alton Brown. If you liked “Chuck Norris’ tears cure cancer,” you’ll love “Alton Brown slices ham so think it can only be seen with an electron microscope.”

Thanks to The Cranky Professor who must love Alton almost as much as I do.

My grama’s cookie recipe

This is a chocolate chip cookie recipe. It is great for sending overseas. These cookies are ONLY good direct from the oven OR two weeks or more later.

1 cup (even scant) Crisco shortening
1 packed cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
Stir together well.
Add 2 cups of flour
1/2 package of chips.

Cook at 300 degrees. Don’t let get brown, just light brown, and eat while hot.

My grama’s chow chow

This is the chow-chow my dad grew up eating. He loves it. I’m the only one with a recipe because back when I was in junior high, I asked my grama for it.

Here it is:
1 gal. green tomatoes (ground up)
large and small head of cabbage (ground up)
Grama used a sausage grinder.
1 or 3 hot peppers (optional)
4 or 5 sweet peppers (bell)
At least three must be red.
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup salt
3 or 4 cups vinegar.

Cook until cabbage turns dark. Put in jars hot.

If you’re going to pressure cook them, put them on 10 lbs for 15 minutes.
It is not necessary to pressure cook them.

I want to make this for my dad for Christmas.

There are some poor people, but not all of these folks.

The BBC has emails (I guess) from US folks who are tightening their belts.

Some of them are really tightening their belts. Like the man who went from making $45/hr to minimum wage. Expenses don’t drop just because wages do. He’s probably got house payments, etc, that he can’t afford.

But give me a break… The guy in Chicago who “made an uninformed decision” to be an actor? Big freaking deal. And, oh no, he and his girlfriend could barely afford two sets of tickets to two different destinations for the holidays. Waah. Nope. They’re not poor.

The last guy… “I spend within my limits.” Good for him.

Most of these folks are not poor.

Just in case you didn’t know…

Memorial superintendent admits giant crescent still present in memorial design

No comment from the Park Service yet on Congressman Tancredo’s request for a new Flight 93 Memorial. We did a little better with last week’s blogburst letters. Some emailers got a response from Memorial Project Superintendent Joanne Hanley, answering Mr. Tancredo’s contention that the original giant crescent is still present in the redesign. Interestingly, her description of the redesign actually admits that the giant crescent IS still present, both geometrically and thematically.

In 2005, architect Paul Murdoch explained his original Crescent of Embrace design in terms of the flight path: as the hijacked airliner came over the ridgeline above the crash site, its flight path symbolically broke the circle, turning it into a giant crescent. In the original design, the broken off part of the circle was removed entirely:

Crescent and star

Flight 93 came down from the Northwest (the upper left). The flight path breaks the circle at the upper crescent tip, says Paul Murdoch, then continues down to the crash site, which is located between the crescent tips (roughly in the position of the star on an Islamic crescent and star flag).

In describing the barely altered redesign, Superintendent Hanley uses the exact same “breaking the circle” language that Paul Murdoch used to describe the original design, only now the broken off part of the circle is not completely removed. A broken chunk of it remains, so that the design now includes “two breaks” instead of one:

The most prominent refinement was in the treatment of the naturally occurring bowl-shaped landscape feature. The design now surrounds that area with a circle of trees which is broken in two places – the location which marks the flight path as it breaks the circular continuity of the bowl edge, and the Sacred Ground where the crash occurred. The locations of the two breaks in the circle are based on the flight path and crash site of Flight 93.

The site plan graphic for the redesign was dramatically re-colored, making the crescent LOOK more like a circle. You have to examine closely to see that the original break in the crescent is still there, along with the new “second break.” But as Superintendent Hanley admits, the original break IS still there, and it is still intended to be seen as being there. Hanley is directly admitting what Congressman Tancredo is complaining about, that the original crescent has only been disguised.

A side-by-side comparison of the Crescent of Embrace site-plan and the redesign site-plan confirms that the only change was to include a chunk of the symbolically broken off part of the imaginary full circle:

Two breaks

Ignoring the re-coloring of the image, the only change is the additional arc of trees to the left side of the crescent. (Click pic for larger view.)

Including a chunk of the broken off part of the circle does nothing to remove the original crescent, but on the contrary is perfectly consistent with it, both geometrically and thematically. The terrorists are still depicted as breaking our humanitarian circle and turning it into a giant Islamic shaped crescent.

Just to make sure people get it, Paul Murdoch has placed a huge glass block at the spot where this circle-breaking, crescent-creating feat takes place. It is the 44th translucent block emplaced along the flight path (matching the number of passengers, crew, AND terrorists) and is inscribed: “a field of honor forever.”

Earlier admissions that the redesign retains the crescent and star configuration of an Islamic flag

An August 18th article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette quoted Superintendent Hanley denying the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent:

“The only thing that orients the memorial is the crash site,” she said.

Mr. Murdoch reinforced that idea.

“It’s oriented toward the Sacred Ground,” he said. “It just couldn’t be clearer.”

The symbolism of the memorial, he continued, is representative of the geography of the crash site, an idea that predates Islam or any other major religion.

They are not calling it a crescent and star configuration, but that is what they are describing, and what they are talking about here is the redesign. They are admitting that the design still has the arms of the crescent reaching out towards the crash site, which sits between the crescent tips, in the position of the star on an Islamic flag. “It just couldn’t be clearer.”

Connect a line from the lower crescent tip to the thematic upper crescent tip (the 44th glass block, commemorating the spot where the flight path breaks the circle) and a perpendicular to this line (the direction of a person facing directly into the giant crescent) points exactly to Mecca. Thus does Paul Murdoch tie the Islamic features and the terrorist memorializing features of his design into a perfect bin Ladenist embrace. The 44th block defines the exact Mecca orientation of the giant crescent.

Very simply, we hosted an open design competition in time of war. Of course the enemy would enter. The only thing that is hard to understand is why the Memorial Project is willfully blind to this ploy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year I am most grateful for my wonderful husband R, my two beloved sons E and M, and the fact that we are all doing so well.

Thank you, God.

I hope that everyone who reads this has a blessed Thanksgiving.

Being a champion navel gazer

I had to go take the “What accent do you have?” quiz.

What American accent do you have?

Your Result: The Midland

“You have a Midland accent” is just another way of saying “you don’t have an accent.” You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
The South
North Central
The Inland North
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

They didn’t ask about strawberry or dollar, words I know I say funny/weird.

Matricide sets a bad precedent.

That’s what my husband said.

My mom called all night long and started again this morning at 6:51. Nobody died. She just wanted to tel me, again, something that she had already told me.

Bipolar is not fun, for anyone.

What I’ve been doing the last three weeks

I’ve been doing four bike rides between 10 and 14 miles each.
I’ve been walking at least 8 miles a week.
I’ve been lifting twice. (My goal was three times a week, but I didn’t do that.)

I also started jogging, just a bit. Trying to get ready for the 5K Rodeo Run on March 1. M is doing that with me. R is jogging himself. E is not quite up to jogging yet.

Bike race

It was pouring rain, and had been for hours, when I was supposed to go ride for 32 miles. I didn’t go.

I’m off on Tuesday and Wednesday. Maybe I can get it in gear and go for a 32 mile ride then. It won’t be the same, no straightaways on the green belts, but it would still be fun.

I’m sorry we borrowed the RV and packed all the gear for nothing. Thanks, honey, for your support.