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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Purslane: Edible Landscaping

If you have an area that gets blistered by the summer sun, you have a great spot to raise Purslane (low-growing annual succulents). They take very little watering (less than Bermuda grass) and provides thick green ground cover with bountiful flowers that are constantly blooming. I have it in 5 different rich and vibrant colors growing on bare ground -- though I've topped it lately with a layer of pea gravel. My first Purslane plant I discovered in the yard growing wild (a seed from somewhere had been somehow deposited there). I added other colors from nurseries. Once established, they come back from seed each summer. Small butterflies love it. And it's very nutritious - munch on it as you will.

My favorite method for propogating new starts of Purslane is to use a stick to poke a hole a few inches into moistened ground and insert a length of Purslane broken off of the main plant -- then gently cave in the sides of the hole to seal the start into place. Keeping it slightly moist for a while gets it established.

Image:
http://www.beltramicountymastergardeners.org/files/F_Ornamental_Purslane_Toucan_Hot_Mix.jpg
Nutrition:
http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/purslane.html
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2604/2

General:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portulaca_oleracea
http://www.tclawnservices.com/images/purslane%20assorted.jpg
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/98promotions/april/april.html
http://landscaping.about.com/cs/weedsdiseases/a/purslane.htm

Texas Rock Rose: Pavonia

Last year, I noted a delicate looking plant with pretty pink blooms growing on a patch of hard pan dirt next to an inhospitable parking lot. I was very impressed with it. It was the Texas Rock Rose, also called Pavonia, or more scientifically, Parvonia lasiopetala.

"It belongs to the same family of plants as cotton or okra. It is rarely found in the wild because grazing animals, such as sheep, goats and deer, find it tasty. Rock rose grows happily in pastures, savannahs, ditches, ravines, depressions, open woodlands and at the edges of thickets in Texas’ Edwards Plateau, Rio Grande Plains and the Trans Pecos areas and into adjacent Mexico.

"It sinks its roots into almost any kind of dirt, including shallow soil on limestone in rocky places. A true Texan, rock rose can be found in well-drained limestone soils, medium loam, rocky limestone-based sandy and sandy loam soil, as well as clay loam and clay caliche-type soils.

"Additionally, the perennial thrives in partial to full sun, with medium to low water. Gardeners should remember, however, this extremely drought tolerant plant doesn’t mind a little water now and then.

"Texas Rock Rose is used as a popular garden accent plant throughout the Lone Star State due to its long bloom period and nominal sun, soil and irrigation requirements.

"The plant’s most striking feature is its prolific Hibiscus-like pink to rose-colored flowers. The beautiful flowers open early in the morning and close by mid- to late-afternoon, but afternoon shade can extend their awakening hours. Although the miniature blooms last only a day or so, Texas Rock Rose flowers from March to November in South Central Texas. In addition, the eye-catching blossoms standout in any setting.

"This shrub grows about three to four feet high and bears light green, velvety, heart-shaped leaves, approximately two inches in length. The leaves are evergreen to semi-evergreen.

"Pruning the naturally loose, open-branching– read “leggy” – form of Texas Rock Rose maintains dense foliage, promotes new growth and encourages more flowers. Pruning should be done before the foliage appears in the spring, but may be completed at any time during the growing season as needed. In addition, because it’s easy to grow, insect free, drought tolerant and requires little care, Texas Rock Rose has earned the designation “black thumb proof,” making it a excellent choice for landscaping, especially xeriscaping. Not only does it survive summer heat, but its profusion of brilliant flowers also adds a colorful touch to a dry August landscape.

"Texas Rock Rose generally only lasts three to six years but its tendency to reseed freely allows seedlings to replace the older plants."

http://www.bccourier.com/Archives/Plant_detail.php?recordID=080403P
Picture:
http://www.southwestnursery.com/userfiles/database/ROCK%20ROSE123.jpg

Friday, September 16, 2011

Payroll Tax Holiday: Temporary Or Not?

Supposedly, Republicans are opposed to raising taxes. Except that they support corporate subsidies, etcetera & they oppose extending the temporary 'payroll tax holiday', which reduces Social Security deductions from 6.2% to 4.2% for employees ((not employers). Yet Republicans did the very same thing when Bush Jr. was in office in 2001 and again in 2008. But seemingly, when a Democrat is in office, they change their tune (except when it benefits the wealthier).
http://www.aicpa.org/interestareas/tax/newsandpublications/taxnews/pages/20110912.aspx?action=print

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tweeters: Who Are They?

Pop diva Beyonce's announcement that she is pregnant spread on Twitter at a record-breaking pace of 8,868 tweets per second. The Twitter response to the death of 'bin Laden' peaked at 5,106 tweets per second.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/29/beyonce-pregnancy-twiter-record-mtv-vmas_n_941064.html

Most Americans know about Twitter, but the vast majority of people don't use the microblogging service because they don't see the need. The percentage of Americans who have heard about Twitter exploded from 5 percent in February 2008 to 87 percent in February 2010, nearly equal to the 88 percent who are aware of social-networking king Facebook. Yet only 7 percent, about 17 million people, actually use Twitter.
http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-05-01/business/20882978_1_microblogging-service-twitter-users-facebook

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Are Americans Increasingly Smarter?

Although Americans and people from other industrialized nations are scoring higher than ever before on IQ tests due to better overall nutrition and mental stimulation, their creative abilities (ability to come up with original ideas and put them into practice) have not increased. That's a serious issue at a time when creative thinking is among the most desperately needed skills in the American workplace. A recent study found that 85 percent of employers concerned with hiring creative people say they can't find the right applicants. Kim blamed America's standards-obsessed schools for creating an environment in which creative thinking was not nurtured.


http://theweek.com/article/index/219002/are-americans-smarter-than-ever

Although Americans and people from other industrialized nations are scoring higher than ever before on IQ tests due to better overall nutrition and mental stimulation, their creative abilities (ability to come up with original ideas and put them into practice) have not increased. That's a serious issue at a time when creative thinking is among the most desperately needed skills in the American workplace. A recent study found that 85 percent of employers concerned with hiring creative people say they can't find the right applicants. Kim blamed America's standards-obsessed schools for creating an environment in which creative thinking was not nurtured.


http://theweek.com/article/index/219002/are-americans-smarter-than-ever

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Kuunkuiskaajat

Kuunkuiskaajat ('Moonwhisperers') is a Finnish female folk duo made up of Värttinä members Susan Aho and Johanna Virtanen
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuunkuiskaajat
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V%C3%A4rttin%C3%A4

Kuunkuiskaajat "Kahden"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWvZnLoaKDA&feature=related

Kuunkuiskaajat's first rehearsal...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5GP63_JBJE

Hääkellot - Kuunkuiskaajat
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0YIps1XhFQ&NR=1

Kuunkuiskaajat- Taivaanrinne
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geSAf54ZruE&feature=related

Kuunkuiskaajat - Ruutuliina
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ernyj7T-vOE&feature=related
 
Kuunkuikaajat - Taivaallinen
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rp1Lo1jGWVM&feature=related

Last Week's Virginia Earthquake

"The most recent large earthquake in Virginia occurred last week when a magnitude 5.8 quake was centered near Mineral, Virginia (followed by a 4.2 aftershock) in the Central Virginia Seismic Zone. In 2003, a 4.5 magnitude quake had struck nearby. The rumbling/shaking lasted 10-15 seconds and triggered buildings to be evacuated between New York City to Richmond. Modern technology is fragile, and the two nuclear power plants at Lake Anna were shut down as a routine precaution. Buildings on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University were closed, urban workers in Washington DC took the rest of the afternoon off, and a classic traffic jam developed on Northern Virginia highways."

http://www.virginiaplaces.org/geology/quake.html

Ten Things You Should Know About the East Coast Quake
http://tinyurl.com/3up5vne

Ave Maria

The "Ave Maria" is one of the oldest and most popular Catholic prayers.
It has many musical settings; the compositions by Franz Schubert and Charles Gounod are among the most popular. There's no one single single rendition that has come down through time.
http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/ave_maria.htm

It should be noted that it is not as well known among Protestants. I'll blog "Pater Noster" to provide balance next.

1) Open up one window and post:
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/image/0909/Swift_M31_large_UV70p.jpg
It's a picture of:
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap101027.html
which can be found by simply clicking on the picture.
OR
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/0901/newrings_cassini_big.jpg
is a picture from
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110904.html


2)Now allow another window to open when you click on the following so you can something to look at and meditate upon while listening to the following when desired:

a)Luciano Pavarotti - Ave Maria
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPvAQxZsgpQ&feature=related

b)Helene Fischer - Ave Maria (in German)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sc1-Ajf-zzs

c)Andre Rieu - Ave Maria sung by Mirusia Louwerse
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkY9HtwXNU8&NR=1

d)Ave Maria-- With Lyrics-- Celine Dion:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiQqPy6qPA0&feature=related

e)Charlotte Church Ave Maria
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8g6Tqqc6DQ&feature=related

f)Tarja Turunen - Ave Maria
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_vMEvcPDGs&feature=related

g)Ave Maria - Christina England Hale
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBt-9LhE8ms

h)Ave Maria , Celtic Women
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arYEQ_m8VwM&feature=related

i)Ave Maria in Latin
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rd4aD47Qbm8&feature=related

j)Ave Maria - Karaoke Traditional Style
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGSIRidwJjc&feature=related

k)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1kQ5xJAJFw&feature=related
l)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQVz6vuNq7s
m)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPvAQxZsgpQ&feature=related

Ave Maria Lyrics (Latin)
Ave Maria
Gratia plena
Dominus tecum
Benedicta tu in mulieribus
Et benedictus fructus ventris
Tui, Jesus
Sancta Maria
Mater Dei
Ora pro nobis peccatoribus
Nunc et in hora mortis nostrae
Amen.

Ave Maria lyrics in English:
Hail Mary,
full of grace,
the Lord is with thee;
blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Spray Foam: Saving Lives & Dollars in Iraq & Afghanistan

Fuel trucks are a tempting target for insurgents. And most of them are caring fuel for electric generators. And most of the electricity is needed for air conditioning. Reduce the amount of fuel being used and you save lives. Foam insulation yields 92% reduction in the electrical energy needed. Hence, spray foam insulation pays for itself almost instantly. And renewable energy sources (wind and solar) became valuable supplemental sources.

Spray Foam Insulation Saving Lives & Billions of Dollars in Iraq & Afghanistan
http://www.synovision.com/news/10-March-00

The military's $20 billion air conditioning bill
http://theweek.com/article/index/216786/the-militarys-20-billion-air-conditioning-bill-by-the-numbers

Yellowstone Quakes and Yellowstone Calderas

Friday's news about earthquakes in Alaska and Argentina made me think about a quake I felt in 1959. In 1959, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit Yellowstone while I was living in Idaho.
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/states/events/1959_08_18.php
http://samslair.blogspot.com/
http://www.ypf.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5343
http://faculty.weber.edu/bdattilo/shknbk/notes/intrmtnblt.htm

In Yellowstone, there's the added fact that the North American plate is moving over a hot spot that will in some future millennium erupt as a super-volcano and cause extended winter-like conditions.
Note: Humans and cheetahs almost became extinct when Toba blew 74,000 years ago due to harsh conditions.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowstone_Caldera
http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/yvo/figures/fig1.html
http://pidema.wikispaces.com/Super+Volcano
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toba_catastrophe_theory
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supervolcano#Known_super_eruptions


Earthquakes For Kids:
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/kids/

Friday, September 2, 2011

As It Was: 1959 West Yellowstone Earthquake

Late in the day, Draper and Nelly, a retired couple,
tried pulling into a Yellowstone campground with their
small trailer; but, it was fully occupied and so,
frustrated, they had to double back and pull into a
less desirable campground that they’d passed several
miles back up the road.  They bedded down and just
before midnight their trailer began to pitch and
shake.  Nelly, panicked, was only partly reassured by
Draper’s comment: “It’s just some old bull scratching
his ass on the corner of the trailer.  Go back to
sleep.”  The shaking soon stopped.

When they awoke early in the morning, the rest of the
campground was abuzz.  An earthquake had caused the
shaking in the middle of the night.  And the
campground that they’d not been able to stay at had
been obliterated by a huge rockslide.

Meanwhile, in Boise, Idaho, in our household the
closet doors had rattled and the baby’s crib squeaked
as it shook during the night from the tremors.

It wasn’t until the next day that we learned how close
my paternal grandparents had come to finding an early
rocky grave. The bodies of the 28 campers of the
doomed campground would never be recovered.

Nine years later, I was able to visit the site.  I was
astounded that the campground had been buried by a
huge rockslide that had been heaed from across the
valley from the opposite side.  It wasn’t merely a
slide of rocks that came down from above the
campground.  To this day, I’m haunted in remembering
looking across the newly formed lake with dead trees
standing upright in the valley at the naked side of the
mountain whose former slope was now under my feet
as I stood over the buried campers.No pictures can
impart the sense of devastating power in that scene.
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=yellowstone+earthquake+1959&btnG=Search


It gives an especially ominous meaning regarding the
volcanic history of Yellowstone:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=yellowstone+supervolcano&btnG=Google+Search

UAE's "The National" Paper

Before I started blogging at the Statesman.com's now defunct Reader Blogs, I used to spend a good bit of time reading online international newspapers online. Below are a few articles from a Abu Dhabi paper, The National, an English-language voice in the Middle East:

"Pakistani fertiliser fuels Afghan insurgents' bombs":
http://www.thenational.ae/news/worldwide/south-asia/pakistani-fertiliser-fuels-afghan-insurgents-bombs?pageCount=0
[The article's picture helps me realize how difficult it'll be to stem the flow of fertilizer into Afghanistan.]

"Stealth of Nations: no black and white when it comes to grey market"
http://www.thenational.ae/arts-culture/books/stealth-of-nations-no-black-and-white-when-it-comes-to-grey-market
[This led me to read the description of the book, Stealth of Nations: The Global Rise of the Informal Economy, at
http://www.amazon.com/Stealth-Nations-Global-Informal-Economy/dp/037542489X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314901148&sr=8-1]

"Caravans retire from the road for a golden moment on the track"
http://www.thenational.ae/lifestyle/motoring/caravans-retire-from-the-road-for-a-golden-moment-on-the-track
[Led to:
Caravan Banger Racing Warton Aug 07:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgaBFIUV4rU]