09/13/2014 archive

Random Japan

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Yahoo! Japan makes thrill-rides out of their trending search topics with “Trend Coaster”

   Master Blaster

In the month of September at limited locations in Tokyo, the nation’s perennial favorite search engine Yahoo! Japan is offering a one-of-a-kind experience. By stepping into their motion simulator and strapping on a VR headset, you can virtually yet literally ride the waves of popularity of any topic of your choosing as if it were a roller coaster.

The concept is rather simple. When you select a keyword the number of people searching it on Yahoo! Japan at any moment will correspond to an elevation of the track. In other words, a real-time line graph of the number of searches will be transformed into a roller coaster track for you to ride on.

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Gazette‘s 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

Bright Green Pesto That Won’t Fade

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Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

This is not the first time that I’ve devoted a week of recipes to pesto genovese – basil pesto. But it is the first time that I can vouch for a basil pesto that retains a gorgeous green color. I’ve been forever flummoxed by the color problem with pesto, the way it goes from bright green to olive drab so quickly. I’ve tried this and that – been told about citric acid, covering the pesto with olive oil, or even lemon juice (which makes little sense to me because acid usually turns bright green olive). Anyway, I read up on the problem this week and decided to try blanching the leaves.

It worked! I blanched them for five seconds, and that was enough. I was nervous about losing the vivid flavor that we love in pesto, and yes, a bit of that is sacrificed. That’s why I blanch the leaves for only five seconds. But my friends who tasted this week’s recipes had no doubt that they were eating pesto, and that it was delicious. I kept each batch in the refrigerator, without the garlic and cheese added, for at least a couple of days, and none of them faded. I’m thrilled with this development.

~ Martha Rose Shulman ~

Bright Green Pesto and Its Many Uses

Blanching the leaves for five seconds is the key to maintaining this pesto’s bright green color.

Orzo with Summer Squash and Pesto

This ricelike pasta with cooked diced summer squash and pesto is a delicious combination of textures and flavors.

Risotto with Asparagus and Pesto

A final pesto enrichment results in a luxurious, green-flaked risotto.

Pesto-Filled Deviled Eggs

Hard-boiled eggs make a perfect vehicle for pesto, which stands in for half the egg yolks in these savory deviled eggs.

Summer Squash Ribbons with Cherry Tomatoes and Mint/Basil Pesto

This delicate pastalike vegetable dish can be a light main meal or a side.

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

Gail Collins: Candidates Playing Possum

Our fixation on debates goes back to that Illinois Senate race when Abraham Lincoln faced off seven times against Stephen Douglas. Their battles were so electric that Lincoln published transcripts in a book, which his fans scooped up eagerly. Voters today may wonder why their Senate debates can’t be like Lincoln-Douglas. Senate candidates today may wonder why their audiences can’t be like the ones in 1858, when people sat enthralled while one man spoke for 60 minutes, followed by a 90-minute response and then a final 30-minute comeback. [..]

“I’ve been in many debates that I think were a disservice to democracy,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said during this year’s gubernatorial primary. He was perhaps referring to his run for governor in 2010, when he wound up on stage with six other candidates, including a woman whose claim to fame was running a prostitution ring and the nominee of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party.

There are some problems with Cuomo’s analysis, only one of which is that he was using it as an excuse to avoid any debates whatsoever during the primary this year. While the thing with the madam and the rent guy was pretty weird, that was possibly the most memorable gubernatorial debate in state history.

And, of course, we appreciated that everybody had the decency to show up.

Joe Nocera: N.F.L. Stands By Its Leader

In 2006, the year Roger Goodell was named commissioner of the National Football League, the Washington Redskins were the most valuable team in football, according to Forbes magazine, with a valuation of $1.4 billion. Washington’s revenue that year was $303 million, with profits of more than $108 million. In second place came the New England Patriots, valued by Forbes at $1.18 billion, followed by the Dallas Cowboys at $1.17 billion.

Fast forward to Forbes’s most recent financial analysis of N.F.L. teams, published earlier this month. Today, the Dallas Cowboys, the No. 1 team, are valued at $3.2 billion, almost triple their valuation of just eight years ago, with revenue of $560 million and profits of $246 million. The New England Patriots, meanwhile, saw their valuation jump to $2.6 billion. The Washington team, though now in third place, is still worth $1 billion more than it was in 2006. [..]

If you want to understand why Goodell’s job is almost certainly safe, despite his complete botch of the Ray Rice domestic violence case and the many calls for his ouster, this is why: The only people who can fire him are the 32 N.F.L. owners – and they have zero interest in letting him go. After all, he makes them money. Currently, the N.F.L. takes in about $10 billion overall; Goodell has told the owners he wants to make it a $25 billion business by the year 2027. You can practically see their mouths watering at the prospect.

Robert Parry: Neocons Revive Syria ‘Regime Change’ Plan

President Obama plans to violate international law by launching airstrikes inside Syria without that government’s consent, even though Syria might well give it. Is Obama playing into neocon hands by providing a new argument for “regime change” in Damascus?

Official Washington’s ever-influential neoconservatives and their “liberal interventionist” allies see President Barack Obama’s decision to extend U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State terrorists into Syria as a new chance to achieve the long-treasured neocon goal of “regime change” in Damascus.

On the surface, Obama’s extraordinary plan to ignore Syrian sovereignty and attack across the border has been viewed as a unilateral U.S. action to strike at the terrorist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), but it could easily evolve into a renewed effort to overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s government, ironically one of ISIS’s principal goals.

Kevin Gosztola: Obama’s Deceptive, Ideological, Perilous Case for Escalating War

he neoconservative foreign policy doctrine advanced by officials in President George W. Bush’s administration was defined by the ideological belief that America has a “unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity and our principles.” In other words, America is the one indispensable nation in the world. That ideological belief inspired the Bush administration to manufacture a case for war in Iraq that was based on lies. And now, more than eleven years later, that same ideological belief is driving President Barack Obama’s administration.

In Obama’s speech announcing his strategy to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), he invoked the September 11th attacks and the economic recession. [..]

Both the Bush and Obama administrations have perpetuated a cycle of violence that leads to more terrorism, that fuels more intense conflict in countries and leaves citizens wondering if this is the goal of the US: to maintain conditions for fighting extremist groups like ISIS so America can continue to justify its presence in places around the world.

What the Obama administration is doing continues this dangerous game, and it could have terrible consequences for the people of Iraq and Syria, who do not need to suffer from more atrocities. They need actions that will de-escalate the Middle East, not further transform the region into a training zone for extremists.

Ralph Nader: The Havoc of the Unrestrained Drug Industry

It is remarkable what very profitable drug companies-as they merge into fewer giant multinationals-continue to get away with by way of crony capitalism. Despite frequent exposure of misdeeds, the army of drug company lobbyists in Washington continues to gain political influence and rake in corporate welfare at the expense of taxpayers. The drug industry goes beyond crony capitalism when it then charges Americans the highest drug prices in the world.

Here is a short list of the honey pot produced by the lobbying muscle of the $300 billion a year pharmaceutical industry. It receives billions of dollars in tax credits for doing research and development that it should be doing anyway. Some companies reaped billions of dollars in revenues when they were granted exclusive rights to market a drug, such as Taxol, developed by the government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH). These corporations turn around and gouge patients without any price controls or royalties to NIH.

On This Day In History September 13

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.

September 13 is the 256th day of the year (257th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 109 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1814, Francis Scot Key pens Star-Spangled Banner

The Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem of the United States of America. The lyrics come from “Defence of Fort McHenry”, a poem written in 1814 by the 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet, Francis Scott Key, after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy ships in Chesapeake Bay during the Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812.

The poem was set to the tune of a popular British drinking song, written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a men’s social club in London. “The Anacreontic Song” (or “To Anacreon in Heaven”), with various lyrics, was already popular in the United States. Set to Key’s poem and renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner“, it would soon become a well-known American patriotic song. With a range of one and a half octaves, it is known for being difficult to sing. Although the song has four stanzas, only the first is commonly sung today, with the fourth (“O thus be it ever when free men shall stand…”) added on more formal occasions. In the fourth stanza, Key urged the adoption of “In God is our Trust” as the national motto (“And this be our motto: In God is our Trust”). The United States adopted the motto “In God We Trust” by law in 1956.

The Star-Spangled Banner” was recognized for official use by the Navy in 1889 and the President in 1916, and was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931 (46 Stat. 1508, codified at 36 U.S.C. § 301), which was signed by President Herbert Hoover.

Before 1931, other songs served as the hymns of American officialdom. “Hail, Columbia” served this purpose at official functions for most of the 19th century. “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee“, whose melody was derived from the British national anthem, also served as a de facto anthem before the adoption of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Following the War of 1812 and subsequent American wars, other songs would emerge to compete for popularity at public events, among them “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The Breakfast Club (Sound of an Atom)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgAs long as we’re talking about musical forms, we might well discuss the Fugue, a Baroque development that was later supplanted by the Sonata which was the basis for the Symphony and we all remember the Symphony don’t we?

C’mon, it was just last week.  Didn’t I tell you to practice at home?

Well, maybe not.  And some actually prefer the noise these kids today make with their “electric” instruments eshewing the lute, recorder, and drum.

Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.

I was in my mid 30’s in 1929, do the math.

Well you thought the leaden winter would bring you down forever

But you rode upon a steamer to the violence of the sun

And the colors of the sea blind your eyes with trembling mermaids

And you touch the distant beaches with tales of brave Ulysses

How his naked ears were tortured by the sirens sweetly singing

Sparkling waves are calling you to touch her white laced lips

You see your girl’s brown body dancing through the turquoise

And her footprints make you follow where the sky loves the sea

And when your fingers find her, she drowns you in her body

Carving deep blue ripples in the tissues of your mind

The tiny purple fishes run laughing through your fingers

You want to take her with you to the hard land of the winter

Her name is Aphrodite and she rides a crimson shell

You know you cannot leave her for you touched the distant sands

With tales of brave Ulysses, how his naked ears were tortured

By the sirens sweetly singing

The tiny purple fishes run laughing through your fingers

You want to take her with you to the hard land of the winter

In any event a Fugue

is a rare psychiatric disorder characterized by reversible amnesia for personal identity, including the memories, personality, and other identifying characteristics of individuality. The state is usually short-lived (ranging from hours to days), but can last months or longer. Dissociative fugue usually involves unplanned travel or wandering, and is sometimes accompanied by the establishment of a new identity.

After recovery from fugue, previous memories usually return intact, but there is typically amnesia for the fugue episode. Additionally, an episode of fugue is not characterized as attributable to a psychiatric disorder if it can be related to the ingestion of psychotropic substances, to physical trauma, to a general medical condition, or to psychiatric conditions such as delirium, dementia, bipolar disorder or depression. Fugues are usually precipitated by a stressful episode, and upon recovery there may be amnesia for the original stressor (dissociative amnesia).

Wait, where was I?  A Fugue

is a contrapuntal compositional technique in two or more voices, built on a subject (theme) that is introduced at the beginning in imitation (repetition at different pitches) and recurs frequently in the course of the composition.

A fugue usually has three sections: an exposition, a development, and a recapitulation containing the return of the subject in the fugue’s tonic key, though not all fugues have a recapitulation. In the Middle Ages, the term was widely used to denote any works in canonic style; by the Renaissance, it had come to denote specifically imitative works. Since the 17th century, the term fugue has described what is commonly regarded as the most fully developed procedure of imitative counterpoint.

Most fugues open with a short main theme, the subject, which then sounds successively in each voice (after the first voice is finished stating the subject, a second voice repeats the subject at a different pitch, and other voices repeat in the same way); when each voice has entered, the exposition is complete. This is often followed by a connecting passage, or episode, developed from previously heard material; further “entries” of the subject then are heard in related keys. Episodes (if applicable) and entries are usually alternated until the “final entry” of the subject, by which point the music has returned to the opening key, or tonic, which is often followed by closing material, the coda. In this sense, a fugue is a style of composition, rather than a fixed structure.

Since we’ve discovered that the natural sound of an atom (a simulation only and not a very specific atom like gold or silver or iron or helium, hydrogen or lithium) here is Pachelbel’s Fugue in D Major.

Oblgatories and more psychotic episodes (in D Major) below.

Party at SHG-Favorite Females

Hello again, Partiers, and welcome to another fabulous Friday here at SHG. Tonight is ladies night and you know what that means–all men are welcome to post, but we’re only posting tunes by female artists. So without further ado…

Gold Dust Woman