Thursday, October 31, 2013

These Halloween Costumes Will Merit An Apple for Each Owner!

One of the masks that will earn the wearer a green 'Granny Smith' apple.

Not that I'm a Halloween Grinch, or my wife - but there are limits to the Halloween costumes that can be tolerated and education concerning what is appropriate needs to be an integral part of the event.  This also goes far beyond the meme of "political correctness" which is mocked these days even when it's blatantly over extended into areas pertaining to civility, and plain old common sense. With that in mind here's a list of Halloween costumes which, should trick or treaters show up in any of them, will be rewarded by delivery of one Granny Smith apple. Those with good old fashioned costumes (i.e. devil, ape, etc.) get a bag with Reese's Pieces, M&Ms, Snickers, and Nestles Crunch.

1) Barack Obama rodeo clown mask: Absolutely not, no way and no how. Besides, it's not even funny but merely a sneaky way to mock the 1st African -American President. I already explained all of this in a previous blog,

2) Blackface: This is a more generic extension of (1) given it mocks African Americans in general. People need to know, however that , blackface   was developed in the country's primitive early social era barely five decades after the Civil War as a form of "entertainment". Sadly, despite supposedly having entered a more refined and civilized era, it remains a perennial favorite among both intentional and accidental racists. For those in need of some education before you don it, here is a handy flowchart in case you need further guidance on the subject.

3) Adolf Hitler: Jeebus, this ought to go without saying, no? Especially in the full array, as decked out in the official Führer uniform, i.e.

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-S33882, Adolf Hitler retouched.jpgThis guy, perhaps the greatest monster of the 20th century, needs no advertising from either wayward kids, or parents. It simply ought to be a no-brainer to not even go there!

4) Ariel Castro:  This sexual monster from Cleveland kept three young women as sex slaves and captives in his grungy home as he had his way with them.  After being captured when one of the women broke free, he was sentenced to so many years in prison he'd have to become a zombie to complete them. Yet, as always - as with the case of Jeffrey Dahmer costumes some years ago- there are shameful marketers and manufacturers who wish to cash in on the notoriety. For those who may not know, this fiend ended up hanging himself, in his cell, apparently in a final act of sexual asphyxiation. Anyone who dons this costume won't even get a 'Granny Smith' but a phone call to the nearest psych ward - appraising the officials of a "psycho on the loose".

5) A Tea Bagger ' Patriot', especially with the funny tri-tipped hat and carrying a "Don't Tread on Me" flag.  For this sort of absurd, ridiculous display of the personification of the bunch that nearly brought the country crashing to its knees (and might again) two Granny Smiths would be the reward - and a lump of charcoal.

6) A Victim of Violence: This also ought not require any explanation. I mean, Jeezus Peace! This includes, but is not limited to, dressing up as a student shot in Columbine, someone injured in the Boston Marathon bombing, or a bloody, assassinated president (i.e. John F. Kennedy with a bloody bullet hole in his head and brains partly hanging out).

7) 'The Joker' - aka Aurora Killer:  Amazingly, assorted episodes of James Eagen Holmes' "Joker" (as well as James Holmes' solo masks) had already appeared in assorted  Colo. burgs last year. Fortunately, the costumes-masks were relatively rare - let's hope they remain that way. People here in Colorado don't need to be reminded of that tragedy last July, especially as Holmes' trial is soon coming up.

8) Lee Harvey Oswald:  The alleged Kennedy assassin. Don't even think of it! Oswald had nothing to do with it, and if you wear any such outfit (given the 50th anniversary of the assassination is coming up- so the putative wearer is trying to be too clever by half) it will show you as not only ignorant and possibly dumb, but brainwashed.

9) Anna Rexia: Lol. Get it? A personification of Anorexia, a high fave of teen girls last year. Sorry to suck the fun out of your pun, chickies, but eating disorders are never sexy, nor are they something to be mocked — same goes for any other illness or disorder.

10) The Human Centipede:  Fortunately, this one is rare - so unlikely to be seen anywhere in my burg - also, this place is far too conservative to remotely tolerate it so I probably don't have to worry about it.  Compared to the real-life horrors cited above, dressing up as the Human Centipede, the horror film machination of humans stitched together from mouth-to-anus, is hardly the most offensive costume. But it’s still  really gross- and isn't one to be rewarded.

Have fun, get the kids outside - as opposed to keeping 'em corralled  merely at house parties or Malls- but know what costumes are appropriate and what are not.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pills Made From Poop? Don’t Laugh!

It's no laughing matter to those 550,000 in the U.S. who at some point each year - come down with c.diff. or clostridium difficile infection. C. diff. now kills 14,000 a year and is ranked by hospitals as one of the top two or three 'superbugs' getting out of control. This is especially as there are now too many cases in the community itself, outside of hospitals.

What is c. diff.? It's a bowel infection but that barely begins to describe it. My wife got it back in December, 2006, after taking a prescription of amoxicillin for a stubborn sinus infection. But within a few days, the antibiotic had eradicated nearly all the 'good' bacteria in her gut, paving the way for a much less benevolent (indeed, vile) gut bacteria to take up residence. This was none other than c.diff. Related to the botulism and tetanus bacteria, this bug is described in med lit as a "gram positive, anaerobic, spore -forming rod which exists as a non-infectous spore (in the gut) and as an infectious form that can't exist long in the environment for prolonged periods." It was the latter form that we suspected got released from latent spores that created havoc in Janice's intestinal tract - causing gallons of fluid to literally pour out - in up to 22-25 diarrhetic releases per day.

Within days she had to be hospitalized on account of dehydration, whereupon she was put on an antibiotic called flagyl- 2nd ranked to the univeral powerhouse vancomycin. But then the bug got through it within a week, so, she was re-hospitalized and this time - and had to be administered vancomycin. This time, after the new course and being isolated in her own room, it finally worked. Most of those who die do so after being left with peritonitis, toxic megacolon, and peforation of the colon - from the violent expulsive force (which I pointed out to my wife - seemed to resemble cholera).

Since that bout of c. diff. infection 7 years ago, medical centers have scrambled for a treatment that doesn't require use of antibiotics - given how close we are to full antibiotic resistance. (See the excellent PBS Frontline series on this ). One of the first alternative measures was the use of 'poop enemas' - delivered uniquely to the victim - harvested from her family and bearing loads of good gut bacteria. At some point the enemas result in the bad guys being overwhelmed by the good, and the gut health restored to normal.

Now, thanks to Canadian researchers such as Thomas Louie at the University of Calgary, an alternative method has been developed where, instead of using enemas - the healthy variety of poop is administered via pills. Basically, it's being described as a "less invasive way" to get healthy poop into guts ravaged by the deadly c.diff. bacteria. So far, according to reports in the Canadian press, clinicians have treated 27 people succesfully after antibiotics failed to alleviate symptoms. This is huge news given a particularly virulent form of infectious c.diff. is all but indifferent to even vancomycin.

The process of extraction and preparation, according to Dr. Louie, isn't that difficult. A relative is first brought in and assorted stools obtained. Next, the material is processed in the lab to remove food, extract the bacteria and clean it. The residue is then infused into triple-coated gel capsule capable of surviving all the way into the gut. Be aware, as Dr. Louie points out, there's no stool as such left, only the necessary bacteria. The c.diff. victims thus are not technically eating poop, but instead just "stool bugs" after stools have been processed, diluted, cleaned. There are no smelly "shit" burps because the contents aren't released until they are well passed the stomach.

Louie has thus far found that 24 to 36 capsules are generally needed for treatment and patients can down them in one sitting. The pills thereby find their way to the colon and seed it with the healthy bacteria.

Don't laugh! This is all quite true, and the treatment had been announced two weeks ago at an infectious disease conference in San Francisco. This may well be the remaining life saver left for many more patients who contract c. diff.

For those who still wonder why I never got treatment for my severe bronchitis reported back in July (July 7 blog post) it was because I feared the use of antibiotics and the triggering of c.diff. I am certain I have the spores residing in my gut and that they've been there since Janice was ill - perhaps picked up by contact with contaminated surfaces, and then ingested with food - by hand. Who knows? At least now, I am not so deadly paranoid of getting c.diff. if I do have to take antibiotics at some future date.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

MATH SOLUTIONS- Harmonic Conjugates

1) f(z) = u(x,y) + iv(x,y) =  cos x cosh y – i(sinx sinh y)

We have to verify the Cauchy- Riemann equations. We note that:

u(x,y) =  cos x cosh y  and v(x,y) = - sinx sinh y


u/ x  = - sinx cosh y    =   v/ y


v/ x  = - cos x sinh y =  - u/ y


So the Cauchy_Riemann equations are satisfied


b2)     Let u(x,y) =  (x2 – y2) +  2x

Show u(x,y) is a harmonic function

Solution: If it’s harmonic then we must have:

2 u/ x2  +  2 u/ y2     =  0


Take the 1st, 2nd partials:

u/ x  = 2x + 2   and  u/ y = -2y


  2 u/ x2   =  2  and  2 u/ y2     =   =  -2



2 u/ x2  +  2 u/ y2     =   (2)  + (-2)  = 0

SO that u(x,y) is a harmonic function.


b) Hence or otherwise find the harmonic conjugate v(x,y)

We’ve already shown:

u/ x  = 2x + 2   and  u/ y = -2y

By the Cauchy –Riemann equations:

v/ x  =  -  u/ y = 2y


u/ x    =  v/ y  = 2x + 2

Take the differential using the chain rule:

dv  = ( v/ x  ) dx  + ( v/ y ) dy

Substitute from Cauchy-Riemann equations:

dv = 2y (dx) + (2x + 2) dy



v = 2 xy  + 2xy + 2y


v = 4xy + 2y =   2y (2x + 1) + C


Anti-War? Better Damned Well Believe It!

" Why of course the people don’t want war...But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship ... Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they’re being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.” - Hermann Goering, Nuremberg, 1946

I admit that if an anti-war gene exists, I was probably born with it. Even from an early age of 5 or 6 going through my parents' 'Book of Knowledge' whenever I came across war scenes and accounts I thought most of them stupid. 

WWII, as I learned more about it, especially from my dad (a WWII vet),  was perhaps the one exception because non- participation wasn't an option given the Third Reich's designs on the entire world.  After I learned (by 1971)  how close the Reich was to a nuclear weapon, thanks to the atomic physicists (like Werner Heisenberg) they had working on it, a pacifist stance would have amounted to ....well, I don't even want to think about it.

But, most wars are tomfoolery, fought under false pretenses and done mainly to fill the pockets of corporate bastards, oil tycoons & companies or shadow government enclaves. Vietnam is a case in point, started entirely on a false pretext via the claim two American ships (the Turner Joy and Maddox  ) were fired on by N. Vietnam. But in 2005, an internal National Security Agency historical study was declassified; it concluded that the Maddox had engaged the North Vietnamese Navy on August 2, but that there were no North Vietnamese Naval vessels present during the incident of August 4.

In other words, all bullshit whose only outcome was the deaths of 58,000 Americans, $290b gone up in smoke,  and an unfathomable toll in injuries and disabilities - including from Agent Orange.  JFK had actually planned to pull all personnel out of Vietnam by 1965, using his National Security Action Memorandum 263,  but his assassination prevented that. Once LBJ got in, he issued NSAM 273 to retract Kennedy's order which paved the way to launch a full scale war with over a half million men under arms.  Most of us, in the deep politics arena, believe LBJ acted in accord with the orders of oil tycoons - like Haroldson Lafayette Hunt, and assorted banks - as well as the still growing U.S. defense industry which demanded a new slew of weapons used, bombs blown up, jets shot down - so they could make more. And get more defense contracts, more profits built on blood.

Iraq was an equally bogus intervention and "war" - actually more a blitzkrieg invasion followed by a prolonged occupation. The Bushies wanted to go into Iraq to have a more or less permanent base in the Middle East, and also to punish Saddam - after Bush Sr. was threated by him. Bush Jr. then wanted to exact vengeance.

This perspective is useful in approaching Ann Jones' new book, They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America's Wars -- The Untold Story,. Jones' message is  devastating, and especially when one considers that virtually all of the death and destruction in U.S. wars is on the other side. Yes, while we lost 58,000 in Vietnam - the Vietnamese (not including the N. Viets or Viet Cong) lost more than 2.5 million. Many dead from napalm and Agent Orange an indiscriminate "body bag" hunts - where the war had been based totally on numbers called "body count". But no one ever checked to see how many were really "friendlies" and not Cong.

In Iraq, something like 4,000 U.S. troops were killed but nearly 600,000 innocent Iraqis - according to World Health Organization stats (which I would accept long before any "official" U.S. government stats - when it can't even be truthful about the JFK assassination).

As blogger David Swanson observed re: Jones' book:

Know a young person considering joining the military? Give them this book.

Know a person not working to end war? Give them this book.

Swanson was referring in part to how many soldiers in Iraq, hit by IEDs for example, had to have their genitals cut off-  penises tossed into medical waste bins - after lower torsos were obliterated.  Apart from those gnarly issues, Jones' Introduction alone will get the attention of even the most warmongering nut or brainwashed zombie (okay, perhaps not the latter)

One excerpt is:

"Contrary to common opinion in the United States, war is not inevitable. Nor has it always been with us. War is a human invention -- an organized, deliberate action of an anti-social kind -- and in the long span of human life on Earth, a fairly recent one. For more than 99 percent of the time that humans have lived on this planet, most of them have never made war. Many languages don't even have a word for it. Turn off CNN and read anthropology. You'll see.

What's more, war is obsolete. Most nations don't make war anymore, except when coerced by the United States to join some spurious 'coalition.' The earth is so small, and our time here so short. No other nation on the planet makes war as often, as long, as forcefully, as expensively, as destructively, as wastefully, as senselessly, or as unsuccessfully as the United States. No other nation makes war its business."

Well, no one can argue that! But the question remains:  Why is it that  the U.S, takes the cake in making war its business? I provided some reasons in a previous blog post:  wherein I observed:

"The more conflicts, attacks that can be expedited the more ordinance, bombs, cruise missiles, etc. are destroyed in the process of attacking and hence the more additional ordnance, bombs, cruise missiles etc. have to be manufactured to replace them! Can't have any inventory building up on the defense contractors' shelves, now can we?"

In effect, endless war enables the most prodigious ideal of the profiteer: endless obsolescence via destruction. Eliminate by war $600 billion in tanks, fighter jets, assault rifles, ships, bombers and you have to make another $600b more to replace them - often more - because of inflation and increasing oil prices. The U.S. then, has honed this endless cycle of "creative" destruction to a tee.

Add in the fact that making all these weapons assures hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country - in both Reepo and Demo districts-  and you have the ideal "capital works" jobs program. Hell, Colorado Springs thrives on it. Take away the military weapons money and support and this little burg sinks into the abyss.

What is more, you ensure almost NO votes from any of these districts against any military actions, interventions, planned occupations- because of course, the economic welfare of their little military fiefdom depends on them! Exactly what Ike warned about when he warned of the spread of the "military industrial complex".

Those who want to gain more insight are advised to get Jones' book, and also try to get hold of the documentary DVD: 'Why We Fight'.

In tandem, they will shake you to your core. And if they don't, well count yourself among the 'Walking Dead'!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Looking at Harmonic Conjugates and the Cauchy- Riemann Equations

A useful theorem when looking at the Cauchy –Riemann equations is the following:

A function f(z) = u(x,y) + iv(x,y) is analytic in a domain D if and only if v is a harmonic conjugate of u.

Consider the function we saw already in the  Oct. 7 blog:

f(z) = u(x,y) + iv(x,y) =  (x2 – y2) + i2xy

So that: u(x,y) =  (x2 – y2)     and: v(x,y) =  2x y

Now, we first check to see if the eqns. are analytic

Take u/ x    =   2x

And:  v/ y    =   2x

Since:  u/ x  =  v/ y     then u(x.y) is analytic

Now check the other function, v(x.y)

v/ x  =  2y

And:  -  u/ y   =  - (-2y) = 2y

So that -  u/ y  =    v/ x   and hence  v(x,y) is analytic..

Note: If f(z) is analytic everywhere in the complex plane it is said to be an entire function.


Now, to see if it's a harmonic conjugate, switch u(x,y) with
   v(x,y) so that:

f(z) = u(x,y) + iv(x,y) =   2xy  + i(x2 – y2)

u(x,y) = 2xy and v(x,y) =  (x2 – y2)

We first check to see if the u, v functions are analytic

Take u/ x    =   2y

And:  v/ y    =   - 2y

Since:  u/ x  =    v/ y    

Thus, it holds only where y = 0,  so then f(x) is differentiable only for points that lie on the x –axis and we conclude the function reversed for conjugates is nowhere analytic. The conclusion is thus that while v is a harmonic conjugate of u throughout the  z-plane, v is not a harmonic conjugate of u.

In general, and based on this, one is led to conclude that given a function:

f(z) = u(x,y) + iv(x,y)

then f(z) is analytic in some domain D if and only if (-if(z) = v(x,y) –iu(x,y) is also analytic there

Example (2):   Let f(z) = 3x + y + i(3y – x)

Show that v is a harmonic conjugate of u and hence the function is analytic in a domain D when u and v are interchanged for f(z). Is the  function also entire?

We have u(x,y) = 3x + y and v(x,y) = (3y – x)

Check Cauchy relations:

Take u/ x    =   3

And:  v/ y    =   3

Since:  u/ x  =  v/ y     then u(x.y) is analytic

Now check the other function, v(x.y):

v/ x  =  -1

And:  -  u/ y   =  - (1) = -1

So that -  u/ y  =    v/ x   and hence  v(x,y) is analytic..

Now, interchange u(x,y) with v(x,y):

f(z) = 3x -  y +  i(3y +  x)

We have u(x,y) = 3x - y and v(x,y) = (3y +  x)

Check Cauchy relations:

Take u/ x    =   v/  y 

And:  v/ y    =   3  =  u/ x

Since:  u/ x  =  v/ y     then u(x.y) is analytic

Now check the other function, v(x.y):

v/ x  =  +1

And:  -  u/ y   =  - (-1) =  +1

So that -  u/ y  =    v/ x   and hence  v(x,y) is analytic..

Since v is a harmonic conjugate of u then the function is analytic in a domain D when u and v are interchanged.

If the function is entire then it also satisfies the LaPlace equation: Ñ 2u = 0


2 u/ x2  +  2 u/ y2       = 0 + 0 = 0


2 v/ x2  +  2 v/ y2    =  0 + 0 = 0

So the function is also entire on the complex plane.

Problems for the Math Maven:

1) Given the function:

f(z) = u(x,y) + iv(x,y) =  cos x cosh y – i(sinx sinh y)

a)     Verify the Cauchy-Riemann equations are satisfied

b)     Are they also satisfied for the harmonic conjugate, i.e. when u and v are interchanged?

2)     Let u(x,y) =  (x2 – y2) +  2x

a)     Show u(x,y) is a harmonic function

b)     Hence or otherwise, find the harmonic conjugate v(x,y) of u.