30 November 2009

C'mon Man

This is almost unbelievable. Will there be an apology? Where is the public confessional? Have they no shame? Where is the tar and feathers when you need it?

"Monday, November 30, 2009
Climategate Just Got A Whole Lot Worse
Posted by: Jillian Bandes at 1:26 PM
Today, the University of East Anglia revealed that the mountains of data used to back up their and the CRU’s climate change predictions are indeed lost.

Third party requests to view the data had been repeatedly turned down, with the UEA giving various excuses for why it could not make it publicly available. But today, they revealed that the excuses were a farce. The data isn’t there. It hasn’t been there since the 1980’s.

The UEA, along with the CRU and the UN’s IPCC, are the main victims of Climategate. Their defense was, to a certain extent, dependent upon the release of this raw data in order for critics to take a look at it.

The UEA’s defense of their data loss leaves much to be desired:
No record has been deleted, altered, or otherwise dealt with in any fashion with the intent of preventing the disclosure of all, or any part, of the requested information.
Even if you accept their claim to have not deleted the information to prevent its disclosure, the fact still remains that the data has indeed been deleted. It’s the data on which climate change scientists, and all the major world governments, have based global warming theories.

Rajendra Pachauri of the IPCC has insisted their science is still sound without the original data because the information does exist in an altered form -- a form which conveniently shows world temperatures to have increased steadily. He says that altered data is completely sound because of the “peer review” process used to assess the original stuff. Here's Pachauri in The Guardian:
The processes in the IPCC are so robust, so inclusive, that even if an author or two has a particular bias it is completely unlikely that bias will find its way into the IPCC report.
Like the UEA, Pachauri and the IPCC miss the point. Raw data is raw data. Claims made using the data is not legitimate if it is not available. Even supporters of the global warming movement believe that the original leaked emails make these organizations look terrible. Not having the data that could possibly exculpate them makes them look a whole lot worse."

Walking Down Broadway


DSCN2447 The Babcock Building 1907—if you look carefully at the picture to the right you can just make out the chipped away 07—is in the process of being extensively rehabilitated from its former glory to its glory to come. I'm not sure what will happen to the fights that used to be a weekly feature at the theatre.

Oddly enough, now that I look closely at the picture, it looks like someone is still living on the 2nd floor at least from what can be seen through the windows. Or maybe the plants have just taken over.


On the way to The Soup Place on Broadway, where else, for lunch I noticed a couple of decorative nutcrackers on the light poles so it must be sometime after Halloween and before Christmas.

Seeing these decorations sometime last Saturday was what reminded me to get some tickets for the annual Nutcracker Ballet at the Alberta Bair Theatre.

Both Carol and I found the performances last year—I think it was the Eugene OR company for one and I know the other was a muscular, almost brutal, performance by some trained Russians—a little wanting in a lot of ways but we thought we would give it another go this year.

We were very pleasantly surprised this year at the Sunday matinee by Ballet Idaho, a young regional company that puts on a great performance and adds a lot of kids, both dancers and singers from the Billings area. This combination led to a sell-out performance both Saturday and Sunday.

About the only problems were the staged snow fall on Sunday afternoon, sometimes turning into a mini-blizzard, and some disagreement amongst the trombones in the lower register, unusual I know, as the rest of the orchestra was as lush as it normally is. We are certainly lucky here in Billings as we have some really fat woodwind sounds.

28 November 2009

A Message To All Turkeys

I hope the president hasn't beaten us to the punch. Oh wait a minute, he already did. Damn, he is quick with the apologies.

Fun website. Highly recommended.

Pediatric Influenza Week 46

The data have been delayed, apparently due to all the influenza elves being off for Thanksgiving.

27 November 2009

Thanksgiving at Mount Olive

Altar at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Billings Montana, after the ladies of the Altar Guild do their thing and then clean up too.

23 November 2009

Say It Isn't So Algore

Oh wait a minute, I think you already have, many times now that I think about it, you lying swine. You're lucky there is no mechanism for recall of Nobel prizes. There are many sites to choose but this one seems to be fairly easily understood. It seems that Bernie Madoff is a low level piker when it comes to scams. No pleading foolishness here, the only conclusion is that you are a knave of the highest order.

This graph is meant to catch your eye. It is a head fake. The surrounding text at the site above is the real meat of this posting.

This is my favorite, found at the following site, along with many other very useful graphs.

[Oops, sorry, I forgot to get the website. I will look for it.]

20 November 2009

Pediatric Influenza Week 45

Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality

Twenty-one influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported to CDC during week 45 (Arizona [2], Colorado [3], Georgia [2], Louisiana [2], Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, New York City, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon [2], Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin). Fifteen of these deaths were associated with 2009 influenza A (H1N1) virus infection, and six were associated with an influenza A virus for which the subtype is undetermined. The deaths reported during week 45 occurred between September 20 and November 14, 2009.

Since August 30, 2009, CDC has received 138 reports of influenza-associated pediatric deaths that occurred during the current influenza season (24 deaths in children less than 2 years old, 16 deaths in children 2-4 years old, 50 deaths in children 5-11 years old, and 48 deaths in children 12-17 years old). One hundred thirteen (82%) of the138 deaths were due to 2009 influenza A (H1N1) virus infections, and the remaining 25 were associated with influenza A virus for which the subtype is undetermined. A total of 171 deaths in children associated with 2009 influenza A (H1N1) virus infection have been reported to CDC.

Among the 138 deaths in children, 74 children had specimens collected for bacterial culture from normally sterile sites and 23 (31.1%) of the 74 were positive; Staphylococcus aureus was identified in eight (34.8%) of the 23 children. One S. aureus isolate was sensitive to methicillin, six were methicillin resistant, and one did not have sensitivity testing performed. Fifteen (65.2%) of the 23 children with bacterial coinfections were five years of age or older, and six (26.1%) of the 23 children were 12 years of age or older.

This data is from the CDC website here.

It still looks to me as if there has been an increase in influenza deaths in children less than 18 years this year, but not an extreme one, and further, it looks as if things are getting better, i.e. fewer deaths this past week. By the way the data are always a week behind for those keeping track by the week. It still seems worthwhile to me to get your flu shots, both H1N1 and the usual seasonal flu shots, in a relaxed manner of course. Vaccinate the kids first. Did Yogi Berra say, "It ain't over 'til it's over?" Even if he didn't he should have.

18 November 2009

Talk About Bad Timing

I see in the Gazette that some government group of exalted experts has recently come out with suggestions on screening for breast cancer with mammograms. They said those of the female persuasion should not start getting mammograms at age 40, but rather wait until they were 50.

Naturally enough, it was fairly easy to find articulate ladies in their 40s who had had mammograms that found cancers in an early stage, and they readily agreed to having interviews, probably for free too.

So now, in addition to us old folks gradually getting more suspicious that our exalted politicians were out to ration us out of existence—how else could they save money on Medicare—now they are arousing the wrath of 40 somethings who would have not discovered their cancers until perhaps it was too late: And worse, it seems very clear that this is an example of another form of rationing that will be inevitable with government medicine. Instead of high mucky-mucks making their pronouncements and then us turning to our local physicians who would advise us whether we should listen to them or not, we will not have that option.

Of course, there is more to it than the simplified argument above but that is not how we conduct our so-called "health-care debates."

17 November 2009


Mid-November 2009: Aspens in front yard of 3033 Ramada, Billings Montana 59102

Another Job Created or Saved

Who knew that blonde, blue-eyed boys of the '40s and '50s, playing cops and robbers or chasing endless flyballs, glad for the warming sun, but heedless of its poisonous rays, would eventually, some 50 or 60 years later, seek out our friendly medical whittlers, to scrape off the excesses of our thin epidermis?

Who was it that said "They also serve who only stand and wait." Could it be Mark Twain ? No, too poetic. Ah, according to Google it was John Milton, in a sonnet on his blindness.

If we only hadn't spent so much time waiting in the sun.

The picture to the left is before my surgical/dermatological friend at the Billings Clinic, Dr Mike Wentzell, started expertly cutting away the big, flaky red lesion of the scalp in the center, or at least destroying the remaining fragments of a squamous carcinoma lurking on the periphery of the lesion. As you can see there are a number of similar though earlier lesions of reddish skin just waiting their chances to expand into something more than just a red spot. Watch this space for follow-up pictures.

All I Want For Christmas

This will go well with my collection of public figure bobble-headed dolls.

The John McCain doll has his head screwed on backward.

Joe Biden has a head which is all mouth.

Sarah Palin is dressed as a cheerleader.

Let's see, who else can I insult. Let me think.

14 November 2009

Week 44

Sorry, this graph is hard to read and harder to make sense of. The larger view available at the CDC site is worth looking at. I think it is safe to say that there has been an increased number of pediatric deaths compared to the last few years, starting in the spring of this year and then recently rebounding, even before the usual influenza season starts. This is a strong argument to have your children vaccinated, expecially for the H1N1 influenza. It might be easier to understand the above data in a less graphical organization. See below. I don't know what the percentage of illnesses and death that are unreported is. The CDC may have an idea but I can't seem to find that info.

10 November 2009

Calling Senator McCarthy!

Who will stand up and ask who is responsible for the Muslim massacre at Fort Hood? I mean those who accepted the killer into our military medical school, those who accepted him into his psychiatric residency program, and those who were responsible for keeping him on active duty. Were they all part of a conspiracy or just stupid? We need you now, Tail-Gunner Joe.

06 November 2009

Week 43

It's a little hard to tell from this graph but it does look like the number of pediatric deaths is declining. If you click on it the graph gets a little larger. This is from this useful website.

04 November 2009

Recent Newsweek Cover

Of course he is a joke, though he is smart enough to know what his role is.

I remember when Time, Newsweek and US News and World Report were magazines of enough integrity to be allowed to be quoted and referenced in various papers we wrote as students in the 50s. Now that my freshman English professor has passed away I can probably own up to using a Newsweek article as the unattributed main source for a longish term paper I wrote for that dear lady. Nowadays, it seems to me they are not taken seriously, rather like the mainstream TV networks.

I must confess that I haven't been paying much attention to the erstwhile Senator Claghorn, or was it Jack S. Phogbound, but now a useful contrasting Vice Presidential fool for President Obama. When I saw this cover I immediately wondered what he had been up to which triggered this defensive, backhand stroke from one of our mainstream weeklies. Maybe we shouldn't tell them how we use them in a 180 degree Pravda-like manner but I think they are sufficiently insensitive for it not to make much difference.

01 November 2009

Week 42

Some more data. Maybe things are looking better, unless these deaths are not being reported. That seems unlikely to me.

The Virginian: Scientists agree: "Death of newspapers good for the environment."

The Virginian: Scientists agree: "Death of newspapers good for the environment."

There may be a touch of irony here and there in this piece but it does seem interested in pursuing the truth.

Pear Pressure

This lady writes a sometimes very funny blog, reminding me of P G Wodehouse. See what you think. This is not quite creation from nothing but it comes close to it: nothing would have come from it without the imaginative mind setting everything else in motion. This one is very funny, one of her best.

Downtown Billings in the SummerTime

Downtown Billings in the SummerTime
At The BrewPub on Broadway

Downtown Phoenix

Downtown Phoenix
Downtown Phoenix in the Winter Time

Good Cheese Here

Good Cheese Here
Vermont Cheddar & Minnesota Blue


Dehler Park, Billings MT, July 2008 This is what Bart Giamatti recommends for good mental health.

Me and Joan

Me and Joan
Early elderly and middle middle age: We May Know Something You Don't

Mrs America

Mrs America
Fortunately these girls had a good-looking mother

Rimrocks @ Billings MT

Rimrocks @ Billings MT
“In beholding old stones we may feel our anxieties about our achievements–and lack of them–slacken . . . Vast landscapes [and seascapes] can have an anxiety–reducing effect similar to ruins, for they are the representatives of infinite space, as ruins are the representatives of infinite time, against which our weak, short-lived bodies seem no less inconsequential than those of moths or spiders.”—Alain de Botton in Status Anxiety

Easter Sunday at St Patrick's Co-Cathedral

Easter Sunday at St Patrick's Co-Cathedral
12 April 2009

Pleasant Hillside at Hustisford, AKA The Grassy Knoll for you conspiracy buffs

Pleasant Hillside at Hustisford, AKA The Grassy Knoll for you conspiracy buffs
A Lot of Muellers Are Buried Here
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