Ebola news of the weird – financial edition

My friend John shared this one with me – a company with Russian connections has spent over $200K to buy the domain name “ebola.com.” That’s weird enough, but a Slate correspondent took the time to dissect the transaction, which involves stock in a “marijuana company” and a seller who also owns “birdflu.com.”

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Inventing Email

Every time people have congregated on interactive computer terminals, someone has put together chat and email systems. The systems we use today are based on “RFCs” – informal specifications developed by a community we now think of as “the Internet technical community.” In other words, no one person invented email. It arose from teamwork and cooperation.

But according to the friends and publicists for VA Shiva Ayyadurai, the community story is wrong. Shiva actually created the whole thing himself in 1978, as documented by many web sites with names like www.inventorofemail.com. Huffington Post recently published a string of blog posts reporting his claim. Huffpost retracted the articles a couple days ago.

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The Imperial Cat

CatDidItI hadn’t realized it, but cats really used to run everything. As with most cases of imperial power, they blew it. 

According to an ancient Chinese legend, the gods originally gave cats dominion over creation. I don’t know if that was before or after Adam and Eve were tossed out of paradise. Cats were even given the power of speech so their commands would be understood by lesser beings (humans, I guess).

However, the cats were about as careless with their blessings as Adam and Eve were. They were too busy sleeping under the cherry trees and playing in the meadows to attend to their serious work.

The gods gave cats three chances to clean up their act. Each time they found cats sleeping and playing instead of keeping the world in order. Finally, the cats admitted that they didn’t really care about running the world, and suggested leaving it to humans to do. The power of speech was taken from cats and given to humans. 

We all know how that turned out.

Apparently our ancient Greek friend Aristophanes used the excuse, “The cat did it,” in one of his comedies.


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Biscuit’s pie crust recipe

Every Thanksgiving, we make as many as 20 pies on PIE day, which is the day before Thanksgiving. Not to be confused with March 14, another great excuse for Pi Day pie making.

Pie Crust 2 10 inch rounds
keys: keep everything cold
handle crust as little as possible with hands

2 3/4 c all purpose flour: sift, then measure
1 tsp salt
8 oz butter- 1 stick cut into 1/2 inch slices about
1/2 cup crisco. ( measure in 1 cup glass measuring cup filled with 1/2 cup ice cold water) to 1 cup pour off water

1/3 to 1/2 cup ice water.

mix flour and salt together. keep cold!
put ice cold butter and crisco into bowl and cut into flour mixture with pastry blender tool or use two knives until consistency of small peas

use fork and mix in 1/4 cup ice water keep stirring in about a Tablespoon at a time until it holds together

quickly shape into two balls, wrap in plastic and put in fridge until you roll out

i roll out on a 16 x 16 mat. dusted with flour. dust the rolling pin too
start in center and roll to outside, gradually making circle larger until about 1/8 inch thick. i roll up crust on rolling pin often to make sure it is not sticking also

after rolled out , cut in circle about 2 inches wider than pan for bottom crust. roll up on rolling pin and lay gently in pan. put in fridge until ready to fill. roll out top crust. make about an inch wider than pan. put in filling roll up top crust and unroll onto pie top.

roll edges under and crimp with fork or pinch between thumb and index finger of both hands

make a few slashes in pie top for steam release. roll out extra scraps and make fun cutouts to decorate.

for rasberry or cherry pies i just cut out a lot of leaf shapes and put them close together

bake at 450 for 10 minutes and then 350 for 40-50 minutes until nicely browned


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Author of My Turkey ’tis of Thee

My Turkey 'tis of Thee

My Turkey ’tis of Thee

I first learned this song from my old friend, Tim Leonard. The song is a tradition in his family and is attributed to their distinguished ancestor, the Reverend Doctor Thornton Bancroft Penfield (1867-1958). The Reverend Doctor was born to missionaries in India but grew up in the US, graduating from Columbia in 1890.

He wrote a fair amount of poetry and had a sense of humor. He did time as class poet at Columbia and he edited various college publications.  He also published a book of poems called The Four-Leaved Clover.


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Roku 3 Streaming Player – Soo close to perfect

Soo close to perfect

By Rick from Twin Cities, MN on 7/31/2013
4out of 5

Pros: Fast Setup, Plays From Usb, Plays Desktop Videos, Simple Controls

Cons: No Repeat Play, Feeble Fast Forward

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Slander in the Workplace

Image I enjoy reading the advice column by Cary Tennis on Salon. He seems sensible. People haven’t changed much since the days of Ann Landers and Dear Abby, but Cary does manage to put a modern spin on things. For example, a lot of his stories have to do with business relationships.

Recently, he posted one on slander by a former co-worker. While I doubt I’ve ever been slandered myself, I’ve seen it happen to others. Cary’s advice was pretty succinct: stick to the facts, and only bring it up with specific people whose opinion you value. He also linked to a couple of other blog posts on the subject I found especially valuable.

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