What I learned this week, May 13, 2022

B-24 Nose Art, Commemorative Air Force

Doom! Doom! Doom! – According To Hoyt

Sometimes we all fall into doom.


Xi Jinping moves to silence Covid Zero critics in sign of brewing tumult – Times of India (indiatimes.com)


Woodall Rogers Freeway, Dallas, Texas, thirty second exposure, taken from the west end of Klyde Warren Park

5G is a joke and the iPhone is the well-timed punchline

You remember 5G, right? It’s the thing on your phone you hardly notice, except when it’s draining your battery for no good reason.


Pumping inflation, not oil: Biden yanks multiple oil-lease sales – HotAir

Let’s not forget, too, that high gas prices are a feature for Biden in the long run. Progressives want gas prices to remain high so as to discourage the use of fossil fuels. They believe that imposing such pain on consumers will convince them to press for a conversion to renewable energy sources. 


America’s Crisis of Self-Doubt: We Must Defend Her | National Review

There is no doubt that the country faces severe challenges, many the result of shortsightedness and wishful thinking, but we still have an enormous capacity for renewal. It is because our ancestor patriots rejected despair and kept faith with America that we are here to fight another day.


Pelosi Gets Religion, Uses It in Naked Attempt to Manipulate Conservatives

But Pelosi doesn’t hesitate to invoke her religion when it seems useful to her to do so, that is, when she thinks it can help her advance her far-Left agenda. On Tuesday, she pulled out the Gospel of Matthew to justify sending $40 billion to Ukraine during a time of steeply rising inflation, astronomical gas prices, and a baby-formula shortage.


Don’t miss this weekend’s total lunar eclipse

From Sunday evening to early Monday, our pearly satellite will lapse into a total lunar eclipse, as well as its “super flower blood moon” phase. The first hints of darkness will appear on its surface around 10 p.m. Eastern on May 15. The totality part, when the moon is completely overshadowed, will last from about 11:30 p.m. Eastern on May 15 to 1 a.m. Eastern on May 16.

Moon rising over the skyline of Downtown Dallas.

What I learned this week, May 06, 2022

French Quarter New Orleans, Louisiana Halloween

What happens to your body and brain when you stop eating sugar

Cutting sugar out of your diet will likely decrease inflammation, boost your energy levels, and improve your ability to focus.


George Tobolowsky Square Deal #2 Irving, Texas (click to enlarge)

The Great Resignation is becoming a “great midlife crisis”

Older, more tenured people are increasingly quitting their jobs.


12 Simple Strategies to Lose Weight After 50

You hear all these stories about how it’s harder to lose weight after age 50 than it was earlier in life. While there are some biological factors that can make it harder to take off extra weight in your 50s and beyond, some of what’s keeping the weight on is that your lifestyle has changed.


Why Feeling Lost Is Necessary to Build the Life You Want

Myself. I want to be myself.


Tree in the frozen fog, Kansas Turnpike

Economy contracts as ‘Bidenflation’ glides toward ‘Bidencession’

To be sure, people generally overestimate presidents’ ability to control the economy. But Biden has done some very specific things to cause damage despite multiple warnings.


Perforations in the roof of the Pavilion in Pacific Plaza Park, downtown Dallas, Texas

An aerospace engineer explains how hypersonic missiles work

Hypersonic weapons fly much higher than slower subsonic missiles—but much lower than intercontinental ballistic missiles.


Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

4 smart reasons to keep an old USB drive around

Old dongle, new tricks.


Flavored

“What’s a rainy day
without some delicious
coffee-flavoured loneliness?”
― Sanober Khan, Turquoise Silence

Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

I had to drive down to our facility on Love Field at work today and deal with some paperwork. It went quickly and smoothly so on the way back to North Dallas I had time to stop at the Central Market at Greenville and Lover’s Lane.

I passed the vast rows of perfect exotic vegetables, past the long cold row of waiting fish, past the display of bright red beef, past the beer and wine and into the land of bulk food items – long vertical plexiglass chutes with a sliding gate at the bottom. These are filled with everything from nuts to grains. But I headed to the end of the winding displays – there there was coffee.

As a certified and certifiable coffee snob I’m not supposed to drink flavored coffee because the added artificial essence disguises the delicious perfection of the roasted beans. But I can’t help it. I like to have a selection. I like to open my tiny plastic tubs of beans and sniff them – choose the infusion of the day. I like the smell of flavored coffee in the whole bean, in the grinder, and in the cup.

So I picked up a bag, opened the valve on the Banana Nut flavored accumulation and let a little bit over a pound slide out. Off to the the side there are two banks of coffee grinders – one labeled “No Flavored Coffee” and the other “Flavored Coffee Only.” I ignore those – I like to grind my beans right before they go in the boiling water. I’m not sure if it really makes a difference, but I think it does.

I had to stand in line a long time clutching my tiny single bag – the Express Lane labeled “15 items or less” seemed chock full of folks with fourteen items each. But I eventually made it back to work and was able to re-fill my container with Banana Nut goodness.

My coffee ritual – bean selection, measurement, grinding, water heating, loading the aeropress, brewing, filtering, pressing, and finally drinking – that’s the high point of my day.

Aeropress, from Williams Sonoma

What I learned this week, April 29, 2022

A duck at dawn, Bachman Lake, Dallas, Texas

Massive Study Finds We Need Better Therapies Than Antidepressants. Here’s Why

Antidepressants are the mainstay for treating depression, but their use is clouded by questions about lasting efficacy. A new study now suggests antidepressants may not improve people’s quality of life in the long run, compared to depressed people who don’t take this type of medication.


Fabrication Yard, Dallas, Texas

Global Stagflation

Technology-led disinflation will not shelter us from a storm of fast rising prices amid economic slowdowns

Stagflation is staring Biden in the face — but he refuses to change course

There are two ways to address inflation: Remove some of the money from the system, which the Federal Reserve did in the past via higher interest rates, and increase the supply of goods. At this point in 1980, when inflation soared, the federal funds rate was nearly 20%. Presently, it’s 0.33%.


Arts District, Dallas, Texas

Princeton investigating head of gerrymandering lab for possible data manipulation

Princeton University is investigating Professor Sam Wang, the head of the Princeton Gerrymandering Project over allegations of data manipulation and complaints that he created a hostile working environment. Wang is a neuroscientist who in recent years has turned his statistical talents to polling analysis and redistricting. Now there are allegations that he was essentially cooking the books.


How to Organize Your Life

10 principles for organizing your work, home, health, fitness, hobbies, finances, and more…


David, by Boaz Vaadia, 2009, New York, Material: Bronze and Bluestone

For microorganisms to fighter jets – what does it take to thrive?

I was thinking about ‘Agile outside the agile box’ (what I’m calling for now “organizational fitness”) and the weird librarian part of my brain brought this up.


80% of All US Dollars in Existence Have Been Printed in Just the Last Two Years

Since March of 2020, Americans and the world alike have watched from the sidelines as power hungry politicians have ushered in draconian lockdowns, shutdowns, police state measures, and brought the economy to its knees. While governments around the planet used their central banks to devalue their currencies by printing money to fund their tyranny, the US led the way down this road to fiscal horror.


Sundance Square, Fort Worth, Texas

How William F. Buckley Learned That Evil Is Real

The moral of this tragic story is that people are often too trusting of criminals professing their innocence, and ignore the reality of human nature: Evil exists. Heinous crimes don’t commit themselves. Some people are capable of unspeakable acts. As hard as it may be to contemplate, murderers and other predators can be normal-looking, intelligent, and engaging! Nearly all criminals convicted of a crime are actually guilty. Juries do not generally convict arbitrarily. Instances of innocent people getting convicted (beyond a reasonable doubt) for a crime they didn’t commit are exceedingly rare. Offenders deserve to be punished. Exculpatory claims by prisoners—regardless of race—must be treated with skepticism. Yet, smart people sometimes get deceived by schemers like Smith. Why?


What I learned this week, April 22, 2022

Spring Snow, Richardson, Texas

There’s a Massive Antarctic Exploration Vehicle Lost Somewhere at the Bottom of the World

In 1939 a joint government-private sector project ran into the question of how best to traverse Antarctica’s frozen wastelands. The obvious answer? A car. A really, really, really big car. Or so thought Thomas Poulter, designer of the doomed Antarctic Snow Cruiser.


A Yumbo meal spewing existential malaise into the atmosphere

Should we be eating three meals a day?

The idea that we should eat three meals a day is surprisingly modern. How many meals a day is best for our health?


My son’s dog, Champ

Inside the World of Guide Dog Dropouts

In this highly competitive training, pup perfection is demanded — and not every student can make it to graduation. Here’s what happens to the still very good boys who need a sudden ‘career change.’


Dice Life Links

Decatur, Texas

The People Who Base Their Life Decisions On a Dice Roll (vice.com)

Roll the Dice – Ultimate Decision-Making Strategy: May Seem Irrational But Can Be The Most Rational… – BizShifts-Trends

Should You Let the Dice Decide? | Psychology Today

Can’t make a decision? Have you ever tried rolling for it? | by Franko French | Medium


Bicycle Drag Racer on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge

Physical fatigue is in the brain as much as in the body

Over the past couple of decades, scientists too have become increasingly interested in the potential of ‘mind over muscle’. Their findings suggest that there is far more to it than a motivational mantra.


Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas (click to enlarge)

Ways to Train Your Brain to Get What You Want

Contrary to theory, which cannot get you very far in the end, people who have actually been “there” provide practical steps on what you need to do to get there too. Here are the five things you should focus on. Forget everything else.


While I was eating, a rugged group on Bicycles, braving the rain, came up for some food.

Got food cravings? What’s living in your gut may be responsible

Eggs or yogurt, veggies or potato chips? We make decisions about what to eat every day, but those choices may not be fully our own. New University of Pittsburgh research on mice shows for the first time that the microbes in animals’ guts influence what they choose to eat, making substances that prompt cravings for different kinds of foods.


What I learned this week, April 15, 2022

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EXCLUSIVE: Voyeurism, naked women in bathtubs, orgies, ramped up violence! Nothing was off limits during Hollywood’s 1930s pre-censorship era when sex and sin ruled the big screen

Between 1930-1934, a progressive era in Hollywood had a relaxed code of censorship which allowed sin to rule the movies. Violence, nudity and profanity were rarely off limits in that four-year span, now known as the ‘pre-code era’.


Basilica de la Sagrada Familia: Folly or Masterpiece?

Masterpiece. Next Question.


King Lear, Dallas Theater Center, Wyly Theater

American Occupation

Brave dissenters willing to defy an oppressive orthodoxy are our country’s best hope


Metal Ostrich Sculpture, downtown McKinney, Texas

Lithium ion batteries going cobalt-free; nickel next on the chopping block

In an effort to bring down costs, General Motors, Tesla, Nissan and other automakers have pledged to start building cars with cobalt-free lithium ion batteries.

I remember in 1979 working on reducing the amount of cobalt added as a nutrient in cattle feed because of instability in Africa and the skyrocketing cobalt prices that resulted. The more things change the more they stay the same.


Mayan Flint Knife from the Dallas Museum of Art

How to Sharpen a Knife

A dull knife is a dangerous knife; keep yourself and those around you safe by learning how to properly sharpen your blade.


A group of friends in front of the Dallas Museum of Art, night, long exposure

How do you mourn the end of a friendship?

What happens when you lose a friend you loved — and maybe still love? The person is not gone; They’re still alive and presumably well. But the relationship? Dead. What are the mechanics of grief there?


The End of Progressive Intellectual Life

How the foundation-NGO complex quashed innovative thinking and open debate, first on the American right and now on the center left


What I learned this week, April 8, 2022

(click to enlarge)

A Creative Solution to ‘the Friendship Desert of Modern Adulthood’

“I knew many old couples who had happy and loving arranged marriages. I thought, If it worked for them, why couldn’t it work for friendships?


Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas

U.S. life expectancy falls for 2nd year in a row

Despite the availability of life-saving COVID-19 vaccines, so many people died in the second year of the pandemic in the U.S. that the nation’s life expectancy dropped for a second year in a row last year, according to a new analysis.


My bicycle locked up to the TRex in Exposition Park, Dallas, Texas

A doctoral student may have discovered fossils from the day the dinosaurs died

This story isn’t exactly breaking news since it’s about something that happened 66 million years ago, but there is a reason it’s getting fresh attention now. Next week the BBC is releasing a special narrated by David Attenborough titled “The Day the Dinosaurs Died.” The special focuses on a unique dig site in North Dakota called Tanis where evidence suggests a jumble of fossils were formed on the day a large asteroid struck the earth about 66 million years ago.xxx


Running up that hill at the end.

How to Start Running: A Beginner’s Guide

Want to start a running habit but have no idea where to start? Here is everything you need to know to start running and actually enjoy it.


Running of the Bulls, New Orleans

Klain Says Biden Doesn’t Believe Hunter Broke Any Laws

On Sunday, Joe Biden’s White House Chief of Staff told George Stephanopoulos that Biden doesn’t believe his son Hunter broke any laws, despite his past dealings that are currently under investigation by the Department of Justice, which a CNN analyst said earlier this week could result in his being indicted.


Know Who’s Bummed About Russia’s Military Failure In Ukraine? China

A goodly part of the world is pleased about the manifest failure of Vlad’s Big Ukraine Adventure, some are indifferent to it, but only Russia, client-state Syria, and puppet-state Belarus really seem upset about it.

Know who else is bummed? China.


The drone coming in for a landing. She would catch it as it landed.

Ex-Zelensky Aide Says Ukrainian Army Uses ‘Terminator’ Drones That Make Russians Think Skynet is Chasing Them

The Ukrainian army has come up with a clever way to save ammunition, a former advisor to President Volodymyr Zelensky said, by modifying commercial drones to resemble something out of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator films, scaring Russian soldiers into thinking “something that belongs to Skynet” is chasing them so they lead the drone back to their base and the Ukrainians can then blast them into the afterlife.


What I learned this week, April 1, 2022

Braindead Brewing, Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

10 Simple Things to Make You Happier At Home

Our homes are an extension of who we are: what we do within the walls of our abodes shapes our mood, affects our productivity, and influences our outlook on life. Scientific studies have shown that we can have an impact on our happiness by adjusting the tiny little habits and routines that constitute our daily lives—we are, in fact, in control of our outlook on life.


Karma, Do-Ho Suh, 2011. Korea, Brushed Steel with Stone Base, The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden

The Day Dostoyevsky Discovered the Meaning of Life in a Dream

“And it is so simple… You will instantly find how to live.”


Mental time travel is a great decision-making tool — this is how to use it

When the future seems largely unpredictable, is there anything you can do to prepare for it?

“Yes!” says futurist and game designer Jane McGonigal. All you need to do is to tap into your imagination and envision all your potential futures — using what she calls “futures thinking.” 


Artwork in window, Waxahachie, Texas

Losing My Ambition

I have abandoned the notion of ambition to chase the absolute middle of the road: mediocrity.


Lee walking in the surf at Crystal Beach. I checked my old blog entries – this was December 29, 2002. Almost twenty years ago.

25 Tips to Follow for When You’re Walking for Weight Loss

Our experts share ways that you can burn fat and improve your overall health by walking.


Rest Area
The trail runs through some thick woods between the train line and the creek south of Forest Lane. There is a nice rest area built there. This homeless guy was sitting in the rest area, reading and writing in his notebook. We talked about the weather and I helped him find a lost sock.

Susceptibility to Mental Illness May Have Helped Humans Adapt over the Millennia

Psychiatrist Randolph Nesse, one of the founders of evolutionary medicine, explains why natural selection did not rid our species of onerous psychiatric disorders


A ruined and despairing Gervaise at the end of the film.

The Oscars always get it wrong. Here are the real best pictures of the past 46 years.

With the perspective of time, we can now discern what movie was actually the best


What I learned this week, March 25, 2022


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My coffee thermos.

“Nightmare” Of Factors Pushing World Into Coffee Deficit 

“Mega Emergency” Unfolds For World’s Top Coffee Growers As Fertilizer Costs Spike 


The Drummer, Michael Sandle, Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden

The Real ‘Reset’ Is Coming

The prophets of the new world order sowed the wind and they will soon reap the whirlwind of an angry public worn out by elite incompetence, arrogance, and ignorance.


Have a drink.

I’m a bartender. Here are 3 of the best and 3 of the worst cocktails to order.

There are a few tried-and-true orders that are universally delicious, and some that typically don’t hit the mark.


The clock on top of the carriage house. I don’t know what is up with that sculpture hanging off the side.

Putting Time In Perspective

Humans are good at a lot of things, but putting time in perspective is not one of them. It’s not our fault—the spans of time in human history, and even more so in natural history, are so vast compared to the span of our life and recent history that it’s almost impossible to get a handle on it. If the Earth formed at midnight and the present moment is the next midnight, 24 hours later, modern humans have been around since 11:59:59pm—1 second. And if human history itself spans 24 hours from one midnight to the next, 14 minutes represents the time since Christ.


Decatur, Texas

Democrats Promise Free Gas Money for Everybody!

Uranium, oil and technology: How Russia got stronger as Bidens and Clintons got richer


Movie Poster for First Spaceship on Venus (Silent Star) – I remember the excitement of seeing this poster, even though I was probably six years old at the time.

Gilbert V. Levin, Who Said He Found Signs of Life on Mars, Dies at 97 – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Gilbert Levin: Scientist who sought out life on Mars | The Independent

Gilbert Levin and Life on Mars – The Primordial Scoop

Life on Mars? 40 Years Later, Viking Lander Scientist Still Says ‘Yes’ | Space


Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

21 Things People Were Shocked, Confused, And Bamboozled To Learn Later In Life

I always thought the cotton that came in an aspirin bottle was necessary and important – for decades I carefully replaced it whenever I took out a pill.


I Forgot How Good

“Even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all.”

― David Lynch

My Aeropress at a campsite, Lake Ray Roberts, Texas
Aeropress, from Williams Sonoma

As I’ve said before, I did not set out to be a coffee snob. But it is what it is. There is the Aeropress… and a grinder (fresh ground beans do really make a difference).

I actually have two grinders – an electric one at home and a hand grinder at work. Also, two Aeropress (what’s the plural of Aeropress?). I have the original one at home and the portable Aeropress Go at work.

The Aeropress Go, collapsed inside its own coffee cup.
The various parts of the Aeropress Go

And I have my routine(s). I’m afraid on most days, my morning cup of coffee is the best part of the day. At work, I particularly enjoy opening up the plastic container I use and sniffing the aroma of the beans. In a month, when I have more time, when I’m at home all day, I plan on making a little stand with three bean containers and each morning sniff each one and decide what beans to grind.

I did forget how good it was.

We had a big inspection at work – weekend work preparing – shelves of paperwork – hours of preparation. The whole thing threw me off my game and I wasn’t able to hand-grind and brew my usual morning cup.

But we had it catered from the cafeteria – including two big steel cylinders of fresh coffee each morning. So I pushed the little black plastic handle and poured out a mug.

It was awful.

Awful! Bitter as hell but otherwise flavorless. Nasty, Nasty stuff.

The next day, I moved my alarm earlier to an obscene time (I am not a morning person) so I could get to work early enough to grind my own beans, heat my own water, and brew my own cup.

It was the best part of the day.