Daily Archive: 11/16/2013

Nov 16 2013

Saturday Night Movie

Nov 16 2013

Random Japan

 Doreamon get his first ever CG overhaul in upcoming movie, “Stand By Me: Doraemon”

 Philip Kendall



Those encountering the wide-mouthed blue robot that is Doraemon for the very first time could be forgiven for not realising that he’s supposed to be a cat. And even once filled in we’re sure that few people would ever imagine that this earless robo-feline should be any more popular than the thousands of other quirky anime characters that exist in popular culture today.

But for most Japanese, and perhaps a handful of Westerners who were introduced to the anime as kids, Doraemon is a seriously big deal, and fans are currently buzzing with excitement following the news that one of Japan’s most-loved characters is not only getting a brand new movie of his own, but will be appearing in gorgeous 3-D computer generated form for the first time ever.

Nov 16 2013

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Health and Fitness NewsWelcome to the Stars Hollow Health and Fitness News weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Gluten-Free Pies for Thanksgiving

Roasted Sweet Potato Pie photo 15recipehealth-articleLarge_zps6e5d6f47.jpg

I know there are probably ready-made crusts out there, and there is plenty of gluten-free flour mix on the market; but I have yet to find a gluten-free all purpose flour that doesn’t taste like bean flour, and that just doesn’t work for me.

After a few false starts, I finally came up with a whole grain crust that held together well and did not have a chalky texture. Rather than use the combination of 30 percent potato starch or cornstarch and 70 percent whole grain flour that I use in other baked goods, I used a combination of fine cornmeal, or corn flour, oat flour, and a small amount of almond flour. The oat flour was the key – it has a wonderful flavor and a fine, starchy texture, but it’s not chalky. You do have to check that it is processed in a facility that does not process wheat, however. Bob’s Red Mill is a good source.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Gluten-Free Dessert Pastry

After much trial and error, a pie dough that’s delicious and gluten-free.

Pumpkin Pie

A pie that is sweet with spices but not too sugary.

Apple Tart With Almond Topping in a Gluten-Free Shell

Caramelized apples are baked into a delicious desert.

Pear Ginger Tart

Poaching the pears until they are just tender results in a delicious fruit tart.

Roasted Sweet Potato Pie or Flan

An untraditional flan that is irresistibly creamy.

Nov 16 2013

Formula One 2013: Circuit of the Americas Qualifying

A Drivers Tale

What a shallow “sport” this is.  You know, much as I hate to admit it, Fernando Alonso is the only driver who makes a damn bit of difference at all because he can make a piece of crap look like a contender.  Otherwise they’re interchangeable parts except for the truly bad ones who’s only qualification is the amount of personal sponsorship money they bring to a Team (I’m sure I’ve mentioned that almost every seat in Formula One is bought and paid for by bribery, not based on talent at all).

Sebastian Vettel is a despicable arrogant asshole who only knows how to drive one kind of race- get out of range quick, where he is aided and abetted by Red Bull’s massive sponsorship (2 Teams of 11, Red Bull and Toro Rossa) that allow them frequent passes when they violate formula rules for competitive advantage.  Otherwise he’s a talentless hack who’s challenge to Michael Schumaker’s records is as meaningless as Mark McGwire’s steroid dependent Home Runs (not that I’m a huge Schumaker fan either).

Though that does bring us to the subject of Lotus/Renault’s driver changes.  After the disappointing performance of Scuderia Marlboro and Mercedes at Buddh they suddenly find themselves in contention for 2nd in the Constructors’ Championship.  They haven’t been paying Kimi Raikkonen anyway, about which Bernie says

He has signed a contract with somebody, they need to pay him. He now needs to do what he can to get paid. I feel sorry for him but he should have been a little more sensible when he signed the contract and know what he was signing for. If he drove for me, I’d have paid him. I am not his manager, but I would not have let him get into that trouble in the first place. If he wants to stand down for a couple of races, that’s up to him.

Well, as it turns out Raikkonen has been driving hurt with a back injury and underwent surgery for it last week.  He will not finish the season for Lotus.  After offering the seat to Schumaker (told you there was a connection) who is very happy in retirement and turned them down (deadbeats) they turned to Heikki Kovalainen.

The other driver news comes from McLaren who have unceremoniously dumped Sergio Perez despite his out qualifying Jensen Button on 8 occasions this year and beating him 5 times.  He’ll be replaced by rookie phenom Kevin Magnussen, their Danish development driver.  He’d better be prepared for a short stay since rumor has it that McLaren is going to wave serious wads of cash at Alonso when his contract is up in 2015.

Fat chance, though he’s a good fit for McLaren because he can make “a piece of crap look like a contender” as I said above.  He’d be a fool to leave the Scuderia just when it looks like they’re poised to deliver a reasonably good car.

Finally, it looks like Lew Hamilton has been driving around on a cracked chassis for the last 2 or 3 races so he gets a replacement.

Ecclestone’s convenient senility tomorrow.

Live qualifying now on CNBC, repeat at 6:30 pm on Vs.

Nov 16 2013

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Dean Baker: Want ‘Free Trade’? Open the Medical and Drug Industry to Competition

Free trade is like apple pie, everyone is supposed to like it. Economists have written thousands of books and articles showing how everyone can gain from reducing trade barriers. While there is much merit to this argument, little of it applies to the trade pacts that are sold as “free-trade” agreements.

These deals are about structuring trade to redistribute income upward. In addition these agreements also provide a mechanism for over-riding the democratic process in the countries that are parties to the deals. They are a tool whereby corporate interests can block health, safety, and environmental regulations that might otherwise be implemented by democratically elected officials. This is the story with both the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) now being negotiated by General Electric, Merck and other major corporations who have been invited to the table, as well as the EU-US trade agreement.

Mark Weisbrot: More Cuts in Military Spending Are Good for America

The Budget Control Act of 2011 required automatic spending cuts unless Congress could agree on a long- term deficit reduction plan. When the law was passed, the conventional wisdom was that the automatic cuts in Pentagon spending would be unthinkable, and this would force the long-term budget deal.

The conventional wisdom proved to be wrong, and the cuts to Pentagon spending began in March of 2013. It was a dumb idea to reduce the deficit with unemployment elevated, but given that government spending was going to be cut, the fact that this resulted in cutting the bloated Pentagon was good.

Now we hear whining and complaining from the Pentagon spending lobby, including the Navy, that America’s national security will be compromised. Of course that depends on how you define “America” and “national security.”

Richard (RJ) Eskow: The Hearing: Reality, Delusion, and the Federal Reserve

Janet Yellen went to Capitol Hill Thursday to be interrogated by some senators about the kind of job she plans to do once she’s confirmed as Chair of the Federal Reserve.

Many politicians expect little from the Fed because they think it has less power and flexibility than it does. For its part, the right thinks it has exercised more power than it has. Yellen won’t transform anybody’s view of the Fed, but at least she has a sense of the gravity of our ongoing economic situation. [..]

The Federal Reserve was created by the American people. It should serve their interests, not those of the bankers it regulates. Yellen, a mainstream economist, isn’t likely to transform it into the central bank our nation needs. That may take a political mandate — one we’re not likely to see soon in our corporate-dominated political process.

The Fed has become far too deeply embedded with the banking industry. This can be seen in its board structure, as well as in its policies. Of the likely candidates to lead it, Janet Yellen was almost certainly the best of them. But that list was overly restricted by limitations — in both economic imagination and political courage.

Janet Yellen will be a good Chair for today’s Federal Reserve. But the Federal Reserve needs to change.

Robert Naiman: WikiLeaks and the Drone Strike Transparency Bill

The Senate Intelligence Committee recently took an important step by passing an intelligence authorization which would require for the first time — if it became law — that the administration publicly report on civilian casualties from U.S. drone strikes.

Sarah Knuckey, Director of the Project on Extrajudicial Executions at New York University School of Law and a Special Advisor to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, calls this provision “an important step toward improving transparency,” and notes that “Various U.N. officials, foreign governments, a broad range of civil society, and many others, including former U.S. Department of State Legal Advisor Harold Koh … have called for the publication of such basic information.” [..]

Forcing the administration to publish information is crucial, because in the court of poorly informed public opinion, the administration has gotten away with two key claims that the record of independent reporting strongly indicates are not true: 1) U.S. drone strikes are “narrowly targeted” on “top-level terrorist leaders,” and 2) civilian casualties have been “extremely rare.” Poll data shows that majority public support of the drone strike policy is significantly based on belief in these two false claims; if the public knew that either of these claims were not true, public support for the policy would fall below 50%. By keeping key information secret, the administration has been able to avoid having its two key claims in defense of the policy refuted in media that reach the broad public.

Ralph Nader: California Voters Acted to Save $100 Billion

A report just out from the Consumer Federation of America found that, over the past 25 years, auto insurance expenditures in the United States have increased by a sharp 43 percent — despite all the advancements in auto safety and new players entering the auto insurance market.

Only one state saw insurance prices fall — California. For that, we can thank the consumer advocates who pushed for the 1988 passage of Proposition 103, which enabled voters to enact the strongest pro-consumer insurance regulations in the nation.

Proposition 103 was a response to a 1984 law that required California drivers to have auto insurance. The insurance companies jumped on this by drastically raising their rates to squeeze as much profit from motorists as possible. Consumers were obviously not pleased. Prop 103 advocates fought back by drafting an initiative proposal requiring insurers to roll back their rates by 20 percent as well as provide an additional 20 percent discount for drivers with good safety records, as well as other vital regulations to keep the insurance industry in check and eliminate ways in which insurers took advantage of policyholders. [..]

Let the success of Proposition 103 serve as the ultimate counterpoint to big industry lobbyists who regularly bad-mouth regulation as an undue burden on profitable business. When the system works and the companies become more efficient and less capricious — it benefits everyone.

David Sirota: New Republican Icon, Same Old Policies

From the moment he was declared the winner in his reelection campaign, Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) has been billed as a new kind of Republican. Is it a fair characterization? Yes and no.

Yes, this likely presidential candidate has done a few things other GOP politicians don’t usually do. Yes, he has won re-election in a traditionally Democratic state. And yes, for a few weeks he was actually cordial to President Obama. Even considering the context-he only won against an underfunded opponent and he was only nice to the president when asking for hurricane relief funds-these are, indeed, rare accomplishments for a Republican.

That said, these atypical parts of Christie’s record have little to do with the concrete policies that he has touted and that he would probably champion if he were elected president. On that score, Christie isn’t new at all. He is the opposite-a Bush/Cheney-esque neoconservative promoting the old politics of division and ignorance.

Nov 16 2013

On This Day In History November 16

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

November 16 is the 320th day of the year (321st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 45 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1959, the musical, “The Sound of Music” opened on Broadway.

Did the young Austrian nun named Maria really take to the hills surrounding Salzburg to sing spontaneously of her love of music? Did she comfort herself with thoughts of copper kettles, and did she swoon to her future husband’s song about an alpine flower while the creeping menace of Nazism spread across central Europe? No, the real-life Maria von Trapp did none of those things. She was indeed a former nun, and she did indeed marry Count Georg von Trapp and become stepmother to his large brood of children, but nearly all of the particulars she related in her 1949 book, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, were ignored by the creators of the Broadway musical her memoir inspired. And while the liberties taken by the show’s writers, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, and by its composer and lyricist, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, caused some consternation to the real Maria von Trapp and to her stepchildren, according to many later reports, those liberties made The Sound of Music a smash success from the very night of its Broadway opening on this day in 1959.

The Sound of Music opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on November 16, 1959, moved to the Mark Hellinger Theatre on November 6, 1962 and closed on June 15, 1963 after 1,443 performances. The director was Vincent J. Donehue, and the choreographer was Joe Layton. The original cast included Mary Martin (at age 46) as Maria, Theodore Bikel as Captain Georg von Trapp, Patricia Neway as Mother Abbess, Kurt Kasznar as Max Detweiler, Marion Marlowe as Elsa Schraeder, Brian Davies as Rolf and Lauri Peters as Liesl. Soprano June Card was one of the ensemble members in the original production. The show tied for the Tony Award for Best Musical with Fiorello!. Other awards included Martin for Best Actress in a Musical, Neway for Best Featured Actress, Best Scenic Design (Oliver Smith) and Best Musical Direction (Frederick Dvonch). Bikel and Kaznar were nominated for acting awards, and Donehue was nominated for his direction. The entire children’s cast was nominated for Best Featured Actress category as a single nominee, even though two children were boys.

The Sound of Music was the final musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein; Hammerstein died of cancer nine months after the Broadway premiere.

Rebecca Luker leads the 1998 Broadway revival cast in a performance of ‘Climb Every Mountain,’ ‘Do Re Mi’ and ‘The Sound of Music’ at the Tony Awards.

Nov 16 2013

Meningitis at Princeton University

On Monday, the seventh student with bacterial meningitis at Princeton University in New Jersey was reported by the CDC.

Princeton University has been hit with its seventh case of meningitis since an outbreak that began last spring, a university spokesman said Monday.

The latest case was reported over the weekend, when a male student became acutely ill and underwent treatment at the campus health center, spokesman Martin A. Mbugua said.

The student was later taken to a local hospital, where meningitis was diagnosed early Sunday, Mbugua said. The student remained in the hospital Monday.

Health officials are conducting tests to determine whether the student has type B meningococcal bacteria, the type contracted by six other Princeton students this year.

Students living in dormitories are required to receive the meningitis vaccine, which protects against most strains of meningitis but not type B. The CDC has now decided to import a vaccine that has yet to be approved in the US to halt the breakout. The vaccine, Bexsero (pdf), is available in Europe and Australia.

“This is a bad disease and we know how devastating it is,” Dr. Thomas Clark, acting head of the Centers for Disease Control’s meningitis and vaccine preventable diseases branch, told NBC News. “A lot of us had a gut feeling that there would be more cases and we should get the ball rolling.”

The unprecedented move could aim to inoculate the nearly 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students at the Ivy League school in hopes of stopping the spread of an illness that kills 10 percent or more of teens and young adults who get it.

“If you’re a student at Princeton University right now, your risk is quite high,” Clark said.

Officials at the New Jersey university were mum on the arrangement, providing no details about how or when a vaccination effort would be launched.

The Princeton cases were all caused by the B strain of the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis which is uncommon in the US.

What you need to know about meningitis from the Center for Disease Control

Transmission

The germs that cause bacterial meningitis can be contagious. Some bacteria can spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions (e.g., kissing). Fortunately, most of the bacteria that cause meningitis are not as contagious as diseases like the common cold or the flu. Also, the bacteria are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been. Other meningitis-causing bacteria are not spread person-to-person, but can cause disease because the person has certain risk factors (such as a weak immune system or head trauma). Unlike other bacterial causes of meningitis, you can get Listeria monocytogenes by eating contaminated food.

Sometimes the bacteria that cause meningitis spread to other people. This usually happens when there is close or long contact with a sick person in the same household or daycare center, or if they had direct contact with a patient’s oral secretions (such as a boyfriend or girlfriend). People who qualify as close contacts of a person with meningococcal or Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) meningitis are at higher risk of getting disease and may need antibiotics (see Prevention). Close contacts of a person with meningitis caused by other bacteria, such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, do not need antibiotics. Tell your doctor if you think you have been exposed to someone with meningitis.

Healthy people can carry the bacteria in their nose or throat without getting sick. Rarely, these bacteria can invade the body and cause disease. Most people who ‘carry’ the bacteria never become sick.

Signs & Symptoms

Meningitis infection may show up in a person by a sudden onset of fever, headache, and stiff neck. It will often have other symptoms, such as

   Nausea

   Vomiting

   Increased sensitivity to light (photophobia)

   Altered mental status (confusion)

The symptoms of bacterial meningitis can appear quickly or over several days. Typically they develop within 3-7 days after exposure.

Babies younger than one month old are at a higher risk for severe infections, like meningitis, than older children. In newborns and infants, the classic symptoms of fever, headache, and neck stiffness may be absent or difficult to notice. The infant may appear to be slow or inactive (lack of alertness), irritable, vomiting or feeding poorly. In young infants, doctors may look for a bulging fontanelle (soft spot on infant’s head) or abnormal reflexes, which can also be signs of meningitis. If you think your infant has any of these symptoms, call the doctor or clinic right away.

Later symptoms of bacterial meningitis can be very severe (e.g., seizures, coma). For this reason, anyone who thinks they may have meningitis should see a doctor as soon as possible.

While the Bexsero vaccine will only be made available to the Princeton community, it is important that all students, whether they live on or off campus, even at home, receive the meningitis vaccine.  

Nov 16 2013

Friday Night at the Movies