Tuesday, October 7, 2014


I didn't do much in the gardens except clear one planter of strawberries.  I am never as enthusiastic about clearing up in the fall as I am about planting in the spring.  Why clear out the strawberries since they should come back in the spring?  Well, the operational word is "should."  Only a few of the plants I put in last year survived the brutal winter we had and only three of those survived the very cool spring.  I haven't had much luck with any kind of perennial in my containers except for my oldest rosemary which is doing very nicely in its pot and which I bring in every winter.  It is now four years old.  The surviving rose will determine whether I plant any more perennials and try to overwinter them outside.  If it survives this coming winter I will think about trying others.

The BBC posted this today.  The first question we had reading it was "Why were these kids given so many courses of antibiotics before their second birthday?"  It was the same question we had about the antibiotics given to Duncan (the Texas Ebola patient) when Ebola is a viral disease.  Antibiotics work against bacterial infections.  Were the antibiotics really necessary for the children's conditions or were the palliatives for anxious parents?  The second thought we had was a story we read a while back about the effect of artificial sweeteners on gut bacteria and the correlation with obesity.  (And, yes, I do remember that  correlation does not equal causation.)  Either way recent research indicates that healthy gut bacteria (and a healthy mix of bacterias) are necessary for overall health--including healthy weight.

Another BBC post that surprised us at first and then didn't on second thought.  That so many 3-year-old children would have so many fillings and/or missing teeth startling.  But then we thought about how much added sugar is in our foods (and we are well past age 3) and how sugary drinks have become ubiquitous, especially for children, and we weren't very surprised after all.

I had wondered when I saw the news stories that Sir John Franklin's ship lost on his last arctic exploration (looking for the elusive Northwest Passage) had been found: "Which one?"  After all he had two--HMS Terror and HMS Erebus.  Yeah, I know--picky of me.  Well, the discovery was of the Erebus.  The Terror has yet to be found.

Walter Pincus asks how many Americans knew before our government got involved in the mess in Iraq that the country had just experienced a four-year drought.  I, for one, did because I choose to follow meteorological conditions around the world.  Curious about a remark about Assad which identified him as an Alawite I looked it up and was amazed to discover how many different Islamic sects there are in Syria.  And that didn't take into account the Druze, Christians and other minorities, some of which I knew of, though not necessarily knew beyond the name, and many I didn't know at all. Pincus makes some good observations of where that abysmal ignorance has led us--and it isn't a good place.

Second good decision from the Supreme Court.  I only hope it carries over to the challenges to carbon emissions.

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