Bad behavior=bad taste (in mouth)

Univ of Toronto says:

In everyday language, people sometimes say that immoral behaviours “leave a bad taste in your mouth.” But this may be more than a metaphor according to new scientific evidence from the University of Toronto that shows a link between moral disgust and more primitive forms of disgust related to poison and disease.

The research employed electromyography, a technique that uses small electrodes placed on the face to detect electrical activation that occurs when the facial muscles contract. In particular, they focused on movement of the levator labii muscle, which acts to raise the upper lip and wrinkle the nose, movements that are thought to be characteristic of the facial expression of disgust.

“We found that people show activation of this muscle region in all three situations – when tasting something bad, looking at something disgusting and experiencing unfairness,” said Chapman.

Fascinating stuff.

Dad at hospital

I was supposed to meet my parents and brother for lunch but got a call from my brother saying my dad had collapsed at PT and was being transported by ambulance to the hospital.

He fainted. His bp was 80/40. He lost bladder control. (How embarrassing is that? Very.)

He went home about four hours later with lots of test taken but nothing found.

Companies Helped at Expense of Retirees

The Wall Street Journal says that bankruptcy is being looked at for GM and Chrysler in order to purge retiree health care costs.

So they are going to get out of keeping their end of the contract, after the retirees kept theirs.

How would you like to be old and sick and your health care benefits get taken away? I know I wouldn’t like it.

My dad is now on Medicare because of his age. They were relatively good with him during his stroke. But we can afford to take care of him if Medicare won’t. Most people don’t have that luxury.

India Pale Ale

A Scottish brewery claims to have produced the first authentic India pale ale (IPA) in almost 200 years by ageing the beer aboard a trawler in the North Sea.

BrewDog, a Scottish micro-brewery based in Fraserburgh, has used an original recipe to produce the ale, which was traditionally matured during the 100-day sea journey from Britain to India.

I don’t think this counts, though. They only did it for 7.5 weeks (7.5 x 7 = 54). Not exactly 100 days. But it’s certainly closer than anything else that has been done recently.

from The Times Online

Get skinny fast

An extract derived from a West African fruit may help overweight people shed pounds and lower their cholesterol, a new study suggests.

The extract comes from Irvingia gabonensis, also known as African mango, a fruit commonly eaten in West Africa. Lab research has shown that extracts from the plant’s seed may inhibit body fat production, through effects on certain genes and enzymes that regulate metabolism.

For the current study, researchers at the University of Yaounde in Cameroon randomly assigned 102 overweight adults to take either the plant extract or a placebo twice a day for 10 weeks. The study participants did not follow any special diet and were told to maintain their normal exercise levels.

By the end of the study, the extract group had lost a significant amount of weight — an average of roughly 28 pounds — while the placebo group showed almost no change.

At the same time, they showed declines in “bad” LDL cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

from Reuter’s

Because all higher ed is conservative…

Our project is to ensure the publication of writing of high calibre that may be rejected by conservative institutions.

That’s what a call for papers for an online journal said.

btw, most higher education teachers are liberals.

Hotel reservations

I’m heading out to New Orleans in April and Boston in May. I made reservations today. I’ve put it off and put it off and I felt really bad about it, but I didn’t call. Now it’s done I wonder why I put it off so long.

Happy Friday the 13th!

I’m off work today, watching the dog, listening to the rain, and presently cold because my hot flashes dropped off just now.

I’ve read on the internet this morning and have seen no good news, except that I did see a wonderful blogger write about her life with a transparency that made me cry: The Anchoress Online.

And there were some funny billboards at Hot Air. One was the DNCs and the other was Ed’s and another reader’s. Funny, but sad (since it’s about politics and our economy).

Vampire discovered in Mass Grave

New Scientist has the news.


A SKELETON exhumed from a grave in Venice is being claimed as the first known example of the “vampires” widely referred to in contemporary documents.

Matteo Borrini of the University of Florence in Italy found the skeleton of a woman with a small brick in her mouth ….

At the time the woman died, many people believed that the plague was spread by “vampires” which, rather than drinking people’s blood, spread disease by chewing on their shrouds after dying. Grave-diggers put bricks in the mouths of suspected vampires to stop them doing this, Borrini says.

The belief in vampires probably arose because blood is sometimes expelled from the mouths of the dead, causing the shroud to sink inwards and tear. Borrini, who presented his findings at a meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in Denver, Colorado, last week, claims this might be the first such vampire to have been forensically examined. The skeleton was removed from a mass grave of victims of the Venetian plague of 1576.

However, Peer Moore-Jansen of Wichita State University in Kansas says he has found similar skeletons in Poland and that while Borrini’s finding is exciting, “claiming it as the first vampire is a little ridiculous”.

Borrini says his study details the earliest grave to show archaeological “exorcism evidence against vampires”.

I would never have thought this was a vampire, if I hadn’t been told already. It also makes me a bit interested in seeing Peer Moor-Jansen’s work. I’ll say that Borrini did an incredibly better job at making his dig exciting, if PMJ has found multiple skeletons and no one has heard about it.

I think this would be good to use for my next popular culture paper, or something else. I’ve got the vampire religion article to go with it. This has to be useful someway.

Belief in vampires was rampant in the Middle Ages, mostly because the process of decomposition was not well understood.

For instance, as the human stomach decays, it releases a dark “purge fluid.” This bloodlike liquid can flow freely from a corpse’s nose and mouth, so it was apparently sometimes confused with traces of vampire victims’ blood.

The fluid sometimes moistened the burial shroud near the corpse’s mouth enough that it sagged into the jaw, creating tears in the cloth.

Since tombs were often reopened during plagues so other victims could be added, Italian gravediggers saw these decomposing bodies with partially “eaten” shrouds, Borrini said.

from National Geographic

And this from the Scotsman:

During the Black Death period in the Middle Ages the cemetery was the final resting place for more than 1,500 corpses, and dozens of well preserved remains have been found. But the “vampire” discovery is the first of its kind at Lazzaretto Vecchio, the island used to quarantine and bury plague victims.

Dr Matteo Borrini, an anthropological archaeologist of Florence University, said the woman’s skull had been impaled through the mouth with a brick – a traditional method of ensuring the “undead” could no longer feed. Dr Borrini said there was a widespread belief that the plague was spread by female vampires.

But CNET has a far more chatty, and popular culture approach, along with an explanation for a line in other articles.

Oh, what would Buffy say to this? They’ve finally dug up a vampire.

[When PMJ says he found a lot in Poland.] Ah, countered Dr. Borrini, but this is the first time we have seen “exorcism evidence against vampires.”
So there we have it. I blame the early Van Helsing family myself. I believe they performed a large number of these mouth-brickings for many centuries before they decided that a stake through the heart was far more commercial.

Buffy references abound when you go looking for them (which I did).

Metro UK wrote:

It’s not quite in the vein of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer sacrifice.

Those trying to save us from evil bloodsuckers 500 years ago didn’t rely on a stake through the heart – they used a humble brick.

Or we can have the same story with a riff on “The Lady is a Tramp” by the title The Lady is a Vamp from Mirror UK.

The body of a “vampire” from 500 years ago has been found with a stake through her mouth.

The gruesome discovery was made at a burial ground for victims of the Black Death in Venice.

Experts say people thought putting a stake through a skull stopped vampires in their tracks.

My heart is heavy and I (and/or the Holy Spirit) weep.

What is happening in our nation tells me that democracy is losing. Christianity is losing. Freedom on all fronts is losing. And we voted for it ourselves and I am unable to stop it.

Holy Father, Son of an earthly mother, Spirt that lives within us, please save my nation from itself and bring us to you with open arms.

How America is like Leningrad

The government is trying to legally control the churches. Well, the CT govt is trying to legislate how churches may be organized.

Positioning abortion as a good thing for only political, not scientific reasons.

I have dropped most of my political blogs. However, when the pain is severe enough, even those blogging other things will cry out.

Holy God, do not unto us as we deserve. Deliver us in thy mercy. Grant us peace. Help us to do thy will in all our ways.

The Lord is my shepherd.
I shall not want.
He helps me rest in a safe haven when I am weary.
He blesses my soul with refreshment.
He restores the broken places of my soul.
Even though the way around me seems fraught with danger and peril,
I will fear no evil, for my God is with me and if my God is with me, who then shall I fear?
Your strong arm and your rescuing arm comfort me.
You prepare blessings for me even as my enemies plot and dance.
You make my life a fount of good things.
I have far more wonder and beauty in my life than I would ever have expected.
Surely your love and mercy have followed me all the days of my life and will continue to do so until my days end. Thank you for that.

Psalm 23 for March 11

The Lord is my shepherd.
I shall not want.
He helps me rest in a safe haven when I am weary.
He blesses my soul with refreshment.
He restores the broken places of my soul.
Even though the way around me seems fraught with danger and peril,
I will fear no evil, for my God is with me and if my God is with me, who then shall I fear?
Your strong arm and your rescuing arm comfort me.
You prepare blessings for me even as my enemies plot and dance.
You make my life a fount of good things.
I have far more wonder and beauty in my life than I would ever have expected.
Surely your love and mercy have followed me all the days of my life and will continue to do so until my days end. Thank you for that.

Jesus and the Atheist

Is the age of miracles over? I don’t think so. Neither does an atheist who was on his way to commit suicide when a deer broke his car, he got a flat tire, someone threw a dog out of the car… It is the story of the Hounds of Heaven hastening after a man who had been hurt. You should read Jesus and the Atheist.

Biblical worldview?

Barna Research did a survey on Americans and their worldviews.

For the purposes of the survey, a “biblical worldview” was defined as believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today. In the research, anyone who held all of those beliefs was said to have a biblical worldview.

That would mean I have a biblical worldview by their definition. Although by other people’s definitions that would mean I am a fundamentalist and bad, bad, bad. (I just read a paper yesterday where terms were misused and fundamentalists were described as pathological and unconcerned about reality. I’m having a hard time with a dialogue with these people because of that.)

So how many Americans have biblical worldviews? Not very many. Not even very many of the born again adults.

One-third of all adults (34%) believe that moral truth is absolute and unaffected by the circumstances. Slightly less than half of the born again adults (46%) believe in absolute moral truth.

Half of all adults firmly believe that the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches. That proportion includes the four-fifths of born again adults (79%) who concur.

Just one-quarter of adults (27%) are convinced that Satan is a real force. Even a minority of born again adults (40%) adopt that perspective.

Similarly, only one-quarter of adults (28%) believe that it is impossible for someone to earn their way into Heaven through good behavior. Not quite half of all born again Christians (47%) strongly reject the notion of earning salvation through their deeds.

A minority of American adults (40%) are persuaded that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life while He was on earth. Slightly less than two-thirds of the born again segment (62%) strongly believes that He was sinless.

Seven out of ten adults (70%) say that God is the all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the universe who still rules it today. That includes the 93% of born again adults who hold that conviction.

The one that I might see answering a little differently is the question on Satan. I believe that Satan is a real entity. I also believe that we use that identifier for more than Satan, so I guess I could see another answer on that one being legitimate.

I am appalled that 7% of born again Christians don’t believe that God is omnipotent and omniscient.

The survey is here.

Well, we got change.

Mr. Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget blueprint, by his own admission, redefines the role of government in our economy and society. The budget more than doubles the national debt held by the public, adding more to the debt than all previous presidents — from George Washington to George W. Bush — combined.


I didn’t like Bush increasing the deficit. I sure don’t like what Obama’s done.


I proposed a chapter in a book, which was accepted. But the chapter in the book, which I wrote after the proposal was accepted, was rejected.

I am sad. I was sure that it would be accepted. Seems like I don’t understand the publishing business.

Need to take that publication off my resume.

This was the worldview paper on GT.

Cool stuff.

Mirabilis writes about scientists trying to understand an ancient, previously lost Iberian language.

This article said:

When archaeologists on a dig in southern Portugal last year flipped over a heavy chunk of slate and saw writing not used for more than 2,500 years, they were elated.

The enigmatic pattern of inscribed symbols curled symmetrically around the upper part of the rough-edged, yellowish stone tablet and coiled into the middle in a decorative style typical of an extinct Iberian language called Southwest Script.