Do climate change deniers wear sunscreen?

May 25, 2009

How to weigh evidence of climate change, or not.

Dr. Ben McNeil calls out Australian climate change deniers. Are their bodies red?

Congratulations, graduates! You got hired! (Want to think about joining the union?)

May 25, 2009

No more comment necessary.

Tip of the old scrub brush to  . . . ramblings of the last American jedi . . .

Maj. Gen. John Logan, one inventor of Memorial Day

May 25, 2009

Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, Union Army, inventor of Memorial Day; Library of Congress photo, Brady National Photographic Art Gallery, between 1860 and 1865

Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, Grand Army of the Republic (Union Army), inventor of Memorial Day; Library of Congress photo, Brady National Photographic Art Gallery, between 1860 and 1865

From American Memory, at the Library of Congress:

In 1868, Commander in Chief John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic issued General Order Number 11 designating May 30 as a memorial day “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

The first national celebration of the holiday took place May 30, 1868, at Arlington National Cemetery, where both Confederate and Union soldiers were buried. Originally known as Decoration Day, at the turn of the century it was designated as Memorial Day. In many American towns, the day is celebrated with a parade.

Southern women decorated the graves of soldiers even before the Civil War’s end. Records show that by 1865, Mississippi, Virginia, and South Carolina all had precedents for Memorial Day. Songs in the Duke University collection Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920 include hymns published in the South such as these two from 1867: “Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping,” dedicated to “The Ladies of the South Who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead ” and “Memorial Flowers,” dedicated “To the Memory of Our Dead Heroes.”

Bed nets save lives, fighting malaria without DDT

May 25, 2009

Infant in Nigeria sleeps beneath an insecticide-treated bednet that prevents the transmission of malaria, a disease that kills thousands of children in Africa annually.  Nothing But Nets press release

Infant in Nigeria sleeps beneath an insecticide-treated bednet that prevents the transmission of malaria, a disease that kills thousands of children in Africa annually. Nothing But Nets press release

According to Nothing But Nets:

Studies show that use of insecticide-treated bed nets can reduce transmission as much as 90% in areas with high coverage rates. Bed nets prevent malaria transmission by creating a protective barrier against mosquitoes at night, when the vast majority of transmissions occur. The African malaria mosquitoes generally bite late at night or early morning, between 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. A bed net is usually hung above the center of a bed or sleeping space so that it completely covers the sleeping person. A net treated with insecticide offers about twice the protection of an untreated net and can reduce the number of mosquitoes that enter the house and the overall number of mosquitoes in the area.

Soldiers’ Memorial Day, 1870

May 25, 2009

Cover to Soldiers Memorial Day, sheet music from 1870 - Library of Congress image from Duke University Library Special Collections (

Cover to "Soldiers' Memorial Day," sheet music from 1870 - Library of Congress image from Duke University Library Special Collections (

From the Library of Congress description:

Soldier’s memorial day. 1870

Perkins, W. O. (William Oscar), 1831-1902

First line: When flow’ry summer is at hand
Chorus: Gentle birds above are sweetly singing

Boston, Massachusetts, Oliver Ditson & Co., 1870

Heartland on bedbugs: DDT stupidity, all the way to 11

May 25, 2009

The Heartland Institute is charitably called a “think tank” sometimes.  In their latest screed against science and people who wish to protect the environment, there is no evidence of thinking, however.  It’s all tank.

The headline says it all: “Bedbug Outbreak Hits All 50 States Thanks to DDT Ban.”

With all their reading on bedbugs, they never noticed the many notes that DDT stopped working against bedbugs more than 50 years ago? Who is going to tell them that DDT doesn’t work? Or, is this a talisman, an understanding that none of the solutions proposed by Heartland Institute will work? First they flirt with intelligent design, then they lose their senses altogether.  There’s an omen there.

Remember the scene in “Spinal Tap?” Heartland Institute on bedbugs is stupid, turned up to 11.  Heartland Institute doesn’t allow comments, probably because they can’t stand the laughter.

Memorial Day 2009 – Fly your flag today

May 25, 2009

Please fly your flag today. Flag at half-staff, from Veterans Affairs Dept

Memorial Day, traditionally observed on May 30, now observed the last Monday in May, honors fallen veterans of wars. Traditionally, family members visit the cemetery where loved ones are interred and leave flowers on the grave.

On Memorial Day itself, flags on poles or masts should be flown at half-staff from sunrise to noon. At noon, flags should be raised to full-staff position.

When posting a flag at half-staff, the flag should be raised to the full-staff position first, with vigor, then slowly lowered to half-staff; when retiring a flag posted at half-staff, it should be raised to the full staff position first, with vigor, and then be slowly lowered. Some people attach black streamers to stationary flags, though this is not officially recognized by the U.S. Flag Code.

Got another week of school? Here’s a quiz about the history of Memorial Day that might make a warm-up, provided by Carolyn Abell writing in the Tifton (Georgia) Gazette:

1. Memorial Day was first officially proclaimed by a general officer. His name was: A. Robert E. Lee; B. John A. Logan; C. Douglas MacArthur D. George Washington.

2. The first state to officially recognize Memorial Day was A. Virginia; B. Rhode Island; C. New York; D. Georgia.

3. The use of poppies to commemorate Memorial Day started in A. 1870 B. 1915 C. 1948; D. 1967.

4. The original date of Memorial Day was A. May 30; B. July 4; C. May 28; D. Nov 11.

5. Which U.S. Senator has tried repeatedly to pass legislation that would restore the traditional day of Memorial Day observance? A. John McCain B. Ted Kennedy C. Saxby Chambliss D. Daniel Inouye.

The answers, again provided by the Tifton Gazette:

OK, now for the answers. General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, proclaimed May 30, 1968 as Memorial Day in his General Order Number 11, issued on May 5, 1868. The purpose was to honor the dead from both sides in the War Between the States. Subsequently flowers were placed on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers in Arlington National Cemetery on May 30 of that year.

New York was the first state to officially recognize the Memorial Day, in 1873. Southern states, though paying tribute to their dead on separate dates, refused to use May 30 as the official date until after World War I, when the holiday was broadened to honor those who died in any war.

In 1915 a woman named Moina Michael, inspired by the poem, “In Flanders Fields,” (by Canadian Colonel John McRae) began wearing red poppies on Memorial Day to honor our nation’s war dead. The tradition grew and even spread to other countries. In 1922 the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to sell the poppies made by disabled veterans as a national effort to raise funds in support of programs for veterans and their dependents. In 1948 the US Post Office issued a red 3-cent stamp honoring Michael for her role in founding the national poppy movement.

As stated above, May 30 was the original Memorial Day. In 1971, with the passage of the national Holiday Act, Congress changed it so that Memorial Day would be celebrated on the last Monday of May. Some citizens feel that turning it into a “three-day weekend” has devalued the importance and significance of this special holiday. In fact, every time a new Congress has convened since 1989, Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii has introduced a bill to the Senate calling for the restoration of May 30th as the day to celebrate Memorial Day.

In his 1999 introductory remarks to the bill, Senator Inouye declared:

“Mr. President, in our effort to accommodate many Americans by making the last Monday in May, Memorial Day, we have lost sight of the significance of this day to our nation. Instead of using Memorial Day as a time to honor and reflect on the sacrifices made by Americans in combat, many Americans use the day as a celebration of the beginning of summer. My bill would restore Memorial Day to May 30 and authorize the flag to fly at half mast on that day.

In addition, this legislation would authorize the President to issue a proclamation designating Memorial Day and Veterans Day as days for prayer and ceremonies honoring American veterans. This legislation would help restore the recognition our veterans deserve for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of our nation.” (from the 1999 U.S. Congressional Record).

Flat at half-staff, U.S.Capitol in background - from Flag Bay

Other sources:

Image of flag and U.S. Capitol from Flags Bay.

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