Colorado Supreme Court "You didn't bother to read? Loan is valid."

Cf. UPI:
The 4-3 decision [by the Colorado Supreme Court] reversed Felix Montes-Rodriguez's conviction for using the Social Security number of a woman he didn't know.

"He gave his correct address, birth date and place of employment," Justice Michael Bender wrote for the court.

"Most importantly, he gave his correct name. In the face of so much accurate identifying information, we cannot conclude that Montes-Rodriguez pretended to be another person in his loan application simply because he supplied a false Social Security number. Hence, we conclude that Montes-Rodriguez did not assume a false identity."


Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett, whose deputies prosecuted Montes-Rodriguez in 2006, said the ruling would have little influence in similar cases because new identity-theft laws address the crime of using Social Security numbers without authorization, The Denver Post reported.
So, was the name associated with that Social Security number not on the credit report? It would seem like a basic reality check to automatically deny the loan if the name didn't match.

Cats: fastidious drinkers

Cf. Science magazine online. They do not waste water on their fur.
They found that, as opposed to dogs, cats rest the tips of their tongues on the liquid's surface without penetrating it. The water sticks to the cat's tongue and is pulled upward as the cat draws its tongue into its mouth. When the cat closes its mouth, it breaks the liquid column but still keeps its chin and whiskers dry.


They realized that feline lapping balances the liquid's inertia, its tendency to keep moving upward as the cat draws its tongue in, against the pull of gravity, which drags the liquid back down into the bowl. To get a satisfying drink, the cat must lap faster than gravity can overtake inertia.
Lions and tigers also pull this off.

Book review: St. Hildegarde von Bingen's Physica

In translation from Latin. The credibility of modern citations on herbal medicine (even from Medline) is so awful that primary sources don't outdate that fast.
  • Yes, unfortified white bread has been malnourishing Germans for at least nine centuries (composition date of the Latin original is ~1150 AD/CE). The diatribe on "wheat flour without bran" is almost the first thing in the book.
  • Undercooked eggs have also been a problem this long; the perils of non-solid egg yolks rate two entire paragraphs.
  • In general, reverse-engineering the herbal remedies to naked-eye indication isn't too difficult after undoing the translator's damage. Considering that livor can include such toxic liquids as pus, translating livor as "mucus" is very misleading to the casual reader (even after reading the introduction where this abuse is documented.) The general categories may be rendered as infections, rheumatic/autoimmune syndromes, and excessive fatigue.
  • As for the other half of Physica: "Aristotle was here." (A decent Protestant cultural background also makes finding so much mention of sympathetic magic in the animals section, sliding right past the monastic editors, disconcerting.)

Whereabouts of Tony Hayward, BP CEO: speculation should not shoot itself in the foot.

Tony Hayward, BP CEO who got in the bind of testifying in a venue (in front of the U.S. Congress) where any accurate answers at all would have been lawsuit fuel for the U.S. Department of Justice, superficially went AWOL from the World National Oil Companies Congress in London Tuesday, June 22 2010.

How convenient. In exchange for invalidating BP press releases dated June 21 2010 claiming he would be present, he was not heckled by Greenpeace protesters who defeated the security measures by purchasing tickets to attend.

With Mr. Hayward's whereabouts being intentionally left unconfirmed by BP spokesmen, speculation runs rampant:
Where should he be?

In Russia, for a meeting with president Dmitry Medvedev, who has admitted he fears that BP could be destroyed by this crisis.

Reassuring the City about the company's long-term prospects would also be wise, as they face up to a dividend freeze.
Meeting in Russia: fine. (23% of BP's oil reserves are there).

But it would be easier to hold a conversation with Dmitry Medvedev in the U.S. this week:
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev kicked off his five-day visit to the United States with dinner with Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in San Francisco.


The Russian president has made developing the hi-tech sector and encouraging research the focal point of his economic agenda and plans to use his trip to the United States to learn more about the industry.

"There will be a serious program tomorrow: I will inspect the hi-tech companies in Silicon Valley. This is very useful for us given our plans for a similar center near Moscow," Medvedev told the Californian governor.

Russia is building from scratch a hi-tech research hub in Moscow suburb Skolkovo, which many have dubbed Russia's Silicon Valley.
Meeting with U.S. President Obama is also scheduled for this trip.

That sweet lemony smell of 1990 Medicare rates

Now that the U.S. Congress actually is double-minded about controlling the deficit, those rates proposed as a price inflation inflation fix in 1990 suddenly don't look as bad. (The preaching of Ben Bernanke and Alan Greenspan is taking hold -- "Want to make the U.S. a Grecian disaster?". This isn't a fair comparison.) Claims are now being processed with a ~21% payout slash.

Too bad the anemic jobs bill isn't that viable without the Medicare rate fix:
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Also, remember that Medicare and Medicaid are (currently) the only parastatal health insurance plans where acceptance isn't mandated by law. Thus:
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Is it tea or is it ale?

Ironically, the easiest to locate detailed reporting is from AOL-branded news.
Indeed. Whole Foods, through its Local Producer Loan Program, issued a low-interest loan to local producer Townshend's Tea to specifically support the expansion of its line of Brew Dr. Kombucha.

In a statement about the voluntary move to pull kombucha off its shelves, Whole Foods said:

"After conversations with several kombucha suppliers, we share the concern around potential labeling issues related to slightly elevated alcohol levels in some products. In order to ensure regulatory compliance, our key kombucha suppliers along with Whole Foods Market have removed all kombucha products in bottles and on tap from our stores at this time. We are working with our supplier partners to review these potential labeling issues for a swift resolution."
Oh, wait...the bottles ship with live bacteria (part of the low-processing marketing) so the alcohol content continues to go up on the shelf. Good luck getting an accurate label. (The FDA warning label requirement cuts in at 1 proof.)
Human Politics

The Honorable Senator Bunning (R-KY) apparently did not get the analogy to 1995.

Or perhaps it was the strong-arming by the Republican leadership into not re-running for office in Nov. 2010.

So, having killed a U.S.$10 billion bipartisan funding extension, passed by the House, where the cashflow was needed March 1 2010 to prevent various shutdowns:

Joke over lunch today.

"You're obviously a plant rights activist. The tomato plant left no living will, and you are rendering heroic measures to keep it alive."

The hard freeze on the night of the 26th/27th didn't quite kill off the trio of tomato plants; there are some healthy leaves remaining....

That said, the situation does look a bit more hopeless tomorrow night (tonight is only ~40F low, no problem).

Magician? Ok. Vampire? Ok. Superman? Ok. Oba Mao? Send in the censors!

I doubt the censors were sent in because of the deleterious effects on U.S. politics:
President Obama spent the second day of his state visit to China in the capital Monday, and the government adopted a two-track policy toward Obama memorabilia for sale here: Obama dressed as Superman was in, and Obama dressed as a Red Guard was out.

Liu Mingjie learned the latter lesson. He is the designer and entrepreneur behind the popular "Oba Mao" image, which takes a silk-screen likeness of Obama and dresses him in a green jacket and cap to resemble the late Communist leader Mao Zedong.

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P.P. Xiong, the creator of the Obama-Superman toy, said he came up with the design because "I like Obama a lot. And I made such a design after the inauguration. I think American people have high expectations for Obama, and I hope he will come to help the U.S. just like Superman."

For the record, at least two officials of the Industry and Commerce Administration denied the shopkeepers' claims that they had been asked to stop selling Obama merchandise.

"Now with the ever-deepening opening of Chinese society, things like those are more acceptable to the government," said Yang Yue, a media officer with the administration.


For example, the designers of a T-shirt depicting Obama as a horned vampire have managed to fly under the radar because their product is available only online.

The purveyors of the vampire shirt say their goal was to emphasize how the United States is sucking the life out of the global economy. But in addition, they offer an alternative: a T-shirt with Obama as a magician in a top hat, just in case his economic prescriptions turn out to work magic. There was no immediate word on which version was selling better.

Iceberg takes on global warming

Of course, satellite coverage is so recent that we have no reasonable historical baseline for how long it takes for an iceberg to reach Macquarie Island:
Australian Antarctic Division researchers working on Macquarie Island, about 930 miles southeast of Tasmania, first saw the iceberg last Thursday [November 5, 2009] about 5 miles off the northwest coast of the island.

The iceberg, about 160 feet high and 1,640 feet long, is probably part of one of several larger icebergs that broke off Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf between 2000 and 2002, Australian Antarctic Division glaciologist Neal Young said.


In 2000, several massive icebergs broke off from Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf and the Ronne Ice Shelf. The first iceberg was about 190 miles long and 23 miles wide. Those icebergs are now drifting away from Antarctica.
Was the tracking really so bad that it's not known when this iceberg launched?