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Awakenings: Winter Awakenings - Dogs in the snow

Awakenings: Winter Awakenings - Dogs in the snow | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Just a lovely piece to brighten your day.

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Trump cries 'Fake News' on CNN and NBC saying he'd arm teachers, then says arming teachers would 'solve the problem (of school shootings) instantly'

Trump cries 'Fake News' on CNN and NBC saying he'd arm teachers, then says arming teachers would 'solve the problem (of school shootings) instantly' | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
"What I said was to look at the possibility of giving 'concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience - only the best."
Kenneth Weene's insight:
While it is true that Mr. Trump didn't say arm all teachers, he did suggest that as many as 20% of teachers could be armed quickly. So while CNN and NBC didn't go with "fake" news they certainly left out the nuance. That said, would arming teachers with handguns actually help much? School shooters typically show up with serious firepower and many have plans that would clearly be revamped to account for those teachers. Second, this would mean lead flying in many directions, not only potentially hurting more people but also making it harder for law enforcement to respond. Third, those same teachers might have been accomplishing far more good in protecting and sheltering students in place. While I could see providing better defense for each classroom, which could include a gun but which also might just involve installing better doors and bullet-proof glass, I don't know that this idea floated by Mr. Trump would help. Of course, to be fair, he is not the first one to suggest arming teachers, just one of the latest. 

What are some of your ideas? 
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Small business advice: Seven traits to adopt in the year of the dog

Small business advice: Seven traits to adopt in the year of the dog | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Having a ruff time in your business? Take a cue from the Chinese zodiac. Seriously.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I would never be so foolish as to ignore the advice of a dog, especially not this year. So, let's just say, "Gung Hay Fat Choy!." Happy Lunar New Year. For the rest, well read the article. For just plain good fun, try reading Sweet and Sour, a Kindle Book of short stories. Here's the trailer:
Of course you can find more on my website www.kennethweene.com 
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The Trump Administration Will Look Into Banning Bump Stocks. Some reflections of the political and presidential growth of this presidency.

The Trump Administration Will Look Into Banning Bump Stocks. Some reflections of the political and presidential growth of this presidency. | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
President Trump directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to craft regulations banning bump stocks "very soon."
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Let me start by saying that I welcome any effort to get gun violence under control. While I hardly think that bump stocks are the key to stopping the madness we saw once again in Parkland, Florida, it is at least a first step in a direction. I also welcome any effort by Mr. Trump to strengthen background checks and to provide better mental health care. Of course, I will have to actually see real steps to believe them. Meanwhile, what an irony that so many who feared what Obama would do to their gun rights and who voted for Trump are now going to have to fight their ideological soul-mate, the one who believes in the White working man and his right to stand tall. Maybe the presidency will start rubbing off on Mr. Trump. If it does, can we hope that he'll also tell his supporters that Blacks should have equal rights, that women deserve respect, and that coal is not going to make a comeback? 

If Mr. Trump does grow into the job, what would that mean for those who supported him because he was the anti-POTUS? What will it mean for those who were looking for free-range business? 

Oh well, I fear I'm drifting into a fantasy world. By tomorrow his gnat-brain will have gone to something else unless...unless those kids in Florida and their counterparts throughout America decide that it is time for action, real action. Can they keep the Trump administration focused on making him a real POTUS? If they do, perhaps we'll start getting some good things accomplished like expanding mental health treatment, like working on the environment, like working with other countries, like...

Damn, back to dreaming. Has anybody thought of a name for third party we so desperately need? I don't want the Peoples' Party (too much like communism) or the Justice Party (too much like fascism). No Christian Democrats (we're already way to preoccupied with being a Christian nation), How about the Reasonable Party? I have the symbol in mind already.  Move over Elephants in the room and stubborn mules; make room for the orangutans or if we really want to push love, perhaps bonobos. Hey, they may jerk-off too much, but then so do most of our politicians. 
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Are Low-Fat or Low-Carb Diets Better for Weight Loss?

Are Low-Fat or Low-Carb Diets Better for Weight Loss? | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Is a low-fat diet or a low-carb diet better for weight loss? A new study says it's a toss-up between the two weight loss plans.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
As a diabetic, I obviously support the low-carb method. Since my wife and I have been making a serious low-carb effort, she has lost a great deal of weight. Me, not so much but some. I do, however, think that the more mindful one is about their eating the better a person can do at dieting. Lately, I have been thinking more about how I spread my food intake and how much to put on my plate. That does seem to be helping. Meanwhile, we just threw out our scale. No, not because we're giving up but because we couldn't get the darn think clean. For some reason it had a very sticky surface that picked up footprints. Yuck. Hopefully, we'll get a new one that will be kinder. Well, that will at least be fair. 
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How Would Humans React to the Discovery of Alien Life?

How Would Humans React to the Discovery of Alien Life? | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Perhaps not the way you’d expect …
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Okay, I know, the new dumbed-down National Geographic. Well, we have to live with that. Still, I got a chuckle out of this lightweight article. How many of us grew up on those terrible Saturday morning sci-fi movies where the aliens attacked or maybe in a few cases came to warn us. For my part, I loved the pug in Men In Black; how about you? 

Maybe, they're already here. My neighbor has green hair; isn't that a sign? Hell, sometimes I look in the mirror and wonder who that old guy is. Who's back there? 

So, my question, do you love sci-fi? Stories of aliens? If so, your favorite movie, tv show, character or whatever? Oh, I'm a Spaceballs fanatic so Hoover me up, Barf.

Next question, did you know that The Stylite, the novella in Broody New Englander, includes characters from space? You can find that gem at 
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HyTech Power may have solved hydrogen, one of the hardest problems in clean energy

HyTech Power may have solved hydrogen, one of the hardest problems in clean energy | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The "hydrogen economy" may be a thing after all.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
We all know that hydrogen from water could provide a great source of energy. The problem has always been that it requires so much energy to breakdown that water, especially if we're talking about doing electrolysis on the move as opposed to carrying around dangerous and heavy canisters of hydrogen, which could be filled using cheaper, renewable energy. Years ago somebody asked me to invest in a new method for reducing the cost of running cars using a built in electrolysis device. We actually did a test run, using a vehicle outfitted with that device one trip with the device on and one with it off. The result was less than usable. Both trips used the same amount of gas. At least, that device didn't go into negative numbers other than my paying for the gas we used for the demo. 

Hey, maybe this system with better catalytic agents will work. We can all hope so. 

For those who've had the good sense to read Tales From the Dew Drop Inne, I should mention that the method I was trying didn't involve any yaks. (If you didn't read the book, well, the joke's on you.) You can get your copy at 

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Mind-bending new paper could explain the strange 'patterns' within our Solar System - Does Pilot Wave Theory help us understand quantum mechanics and astronomy?

Mind-bending new paper could explain the strange 'patterns' within our Solar System - Does Pilot Wave Theory help us understand quantum mechanics and astronomy? | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it

There's a strange pattern in our Solar System – if you look at the orbits of the first seven planets, each one gets increasingly distant from the Sun in a predictable and quantifiable regularity.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
So, in effect, the mass of a planet includes its own propensity to find the place where it is most comfortable in its interactions with other masses. Obviously, the concept of comfort not being what we would ordinarily mean but rather in the sense of where the various forces acting on that position are the most harmonious, least perturbing. While this makes sense at some integrating level of my brain and certainly is extendable not only to quantum mechanics and astronomy but also to human events, it is really going to be difficult for most of us to wrap our heads around. I sense this idea will create a disturbance in the force which may require a positional shift. 

Only one thing to do when confronted with such new and forceful ideas, read a good book. I suggest a visit to my website where you can find yourself something more easily comprehended and certainly more easily enjoyed.

http://www.kennethweene.com home of some darn good comfortable reads 
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Kansas dog with 'anti-squirrel agenda' cannot run for state's governor, officials say

Kansas dog with 'anti-squirrel agenda' cannot run for state's governor, officials say | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
A dog can be man's best friend -- but not its governor, the Kansas secretary of state’s office said.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Given most of our politicians, I wouldn't mind seeing some good dogs and even cats get involved in running things. Certainly, this Wirehaired Vizsla looks more intelligence than a lot of the candidates out there. 

Did you notice that the Sect. of State whose office quashed Angus's run is himself running for the job. Is that squirrelly or not? 

Meanwhile whose endorsement could mean more than Angus's owner: "I do believe that he is a caring, nurturing individual who cares about the best for humanity and all creatures -- other than squirrels."
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Trump's budget proposes making part of the food stamp program a meal-delivery service like Blue Apron

Trump's budget proposes making part of the food stamp program a meal-delivery service like Blue Apron | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it

While Mr. Trump enjoys his snack, he has offered a serious proposal that might help or harm the food stamp program.

Kenneth Weene's insight:
Mr. Trump's administration has come up with an interesting idea for food stamps, providing direct delivery of food to recipients, at least to those receiving over a certain level of aid. This is potentially a great idea since it could guarantee that nutritious food is made available rather than leaving recipients to just go with perhaps less desirable snack foods. Of course, there are some potential problems that have to be considered. First, that the foods distributed might reflect more of which groups push the hardest and which producers have the biggest surpluses rather than balancing nutrition. Second, that individual dietetic needs may be ignored. Third, that some people have better skill or just availability of means for preparing so what is optimum for one family may not be for another. If you want to see how badly some of these problems can impact a program, just look at food distribution to Native Americans living on reservations. Even distribution to public schools which hire nutritionists can be problematic.

For all those negatives, I do think it great that Mr. Trump is trying to improve the food stamp program. Not only might this approach provide better nutrition but it could save a substantial amount. 

Of course, had a Democratic administration tried this, the GOP would be screaming about government control. For my part, I think that those who receive support from the government should also accept that there needs to be accountability in using those resources. Expecting people to eat reasonably is not, IMO, a bad thing, especially when we are talking about how parents feed their children. 

As for Mr. Trump's personal diet, well that's another topic. By the way, if you read Tales From the Dew Drop Inne, I actually write quite a bit about the food choices of the poor. Here's the trailer, which includes Irish coffee. Hey, I know that isn't nutrition, but it is fun. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDm0ugyphoI&list=PLJ_qhHy1ypHMPY8u5Ng3KfXCdzRt0fk_K&index=3 ;
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With Westminster on the way, where to hang out with 135 dog breeds in New York City this weekend

With Westminster on the way, where to hang out with 135 dog breeds in New York City this weekend | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
If you’ve ever wanted to cuddle a corgi, nuzzle a Newfoundland or pet a pumi, Saturday’s the day.
That’s when the ninth annual Meet the Breeds
Kenneth Weene's insight:
If I were in New York today, I know I'd be down at the West 55th St. piers where I could get to pet dog after dog after dog. Yep, this is a lead-up to Westminster, the top dog show in the US. I know there are lots of mixed-breed dogs that deserve love and there is something a bit creepy about breeding dogs, kind of like eugenics. Still, I can't resist these lovely animals. Maybe it's a genetic thing between my Neanderthal forebears and their canine companions expressing itself in me, but I look at this mastiff and I just want to howl. 

Anyway, pat your dog for me and remember our pets need care. 
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Trudeau picks up promises amid US immigration uncertainties. Is Canada going to raid American jobs? Will Americans leave for greener pastures?

Trudeau picks up promises amid US immigration uncertainties. Is Canada going to raid American jobs? Will Americans leave for greener pastures? | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau picked up promises of investments and jobs during his first official visit to San Francisco where he promoted Canada as a destination for California technology firms frustrated by uncertain U.S. immigration laws.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff announced the online business software company will invest another $2 billion in its Canadian operations. And San Francisco-based AppDirect, a cloud subscription service whose co-CEO first met Trudeau in political science class at McGill University in Montreal, said it would add another 300 jobs in Canada in the next five years.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
It isn't just that tech companies use a lot of foreign workers, it's that a lot of American workers in the tech industry are questioning the future of the country and the future of tech in this country. Seriously, if I were a young entrepreneur or an innovative engineer, I'd be looking to cross the border. Sorry, America, but our best days surely and sadly look to be behind us. 

I'm curious, if you could up and leave the US for Canada, Australia, New Zealand, perhaps even India, would you go? Doe the future look better elsewhere to you? 

For my part, I wish I had settled in New Zealand when I left college. Not just because of politics but because I truly loved the country when we visited. 

Well, at least I have the fantasy worlds of my novels and you can share those with me at http://www.kennethweene.com 
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Linguists Discover Previously Unidentified Language In Malaysia : While only spoken by about 300 people, Jedek is not dying out. These previously nomadic people have developed a language over years...

Linguists Discover Previously Unidentified Language In Malaysia : While only spoken by about 300 people, Jedek is not dying out. These previously nomadic people have developed a language over years... | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Swedish researchers were studying one rare language in Southeast Asia, when they discovered a group of 280 resettled people speaking a different language, never observed or documented before.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
This story just sings to the social scientist at my core. Imagine this small community that has wandered through southeastern Asia developing its own mores and its own language. Now, they live in a settled place, but they have kept many of their ways and still use their language not just for daily life but more importantly for sharing their common history and their stories. 

Nothing is more important to a social group than its shared stories. That insight is one of the bases for the book on which I am currently working. Red and White has numerous "native" stories interspersed with the narrative. While these stories are of my creation, I have tried to make them feel authentic and they inform the lives of the books characters. I hope to have Red and White finished by April. Of course, then comes the editing and the finding of a publisher. However, I do hope that you'll be able to read it soon. 

Meanwhile check out my other offerings at Amazon:

Remember, authors need your love so buy a book and make me feel wanted. Oh heck, just buy a book for the sheer joy of reading.
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A taste for the beautiful: How evolution shapes attraction. Here's to the beauty in us all. 

A taste for the beautiful: How evolution shapes attraction. Here's to the beauty in us all.  | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
A new book provides stories of sex and beauty, from the lab and from the field.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Exactly what is beauty? Are there perfect forms that exist separately in the universe, say the perfect peacock tail? Or do we learn to find beauty by what we see in the world, which of course does little to explain the choices of peahens but a heck of a lot to explain human dress and behavior. Yes, that preening gym-goer is one kind of beautiful, but then what about the brilliant author hiding behind his gorgeous books? Isn't he handsome, too? (Just making sure you love me.) 

Well, this new book makes the case that beauty is to be found in the evolving brain, that there is a connection between what evolves and what is "thought". That makes a lot of sense to me, but I'm an evolutionist. Now, here's the thing about evolution, since in most species the female is the one who limits reproduction simply by the availability of her eggs, it is the evolution of her sense of the handsome that is more important. Sure, she has to be close enough to the expectations of the randy male to get him turned on, but eventually she has to want him. Which explains another facet of animal behavior. If I were the only guy in the herd, then all the gals would be going for me. So, even if I'm not the handsomest, no wonder I want to get rid of all the other males. So, again, not surprisingly, masculine physical strength comes to be part of that physical beauty. Again, what happens to brain guys? I guess we better build weapons or discover new food possibilities or only those guys in the gym are getting any. 

Well, as everyone who knows me is aware, I'm not gym goer. Still, I must have something because my wife loves me. Should I take her to the eye doctor or just go with my good fortune? 
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‘Racist’ statue of subjugated American Indian on way to removal from San Francisco Civic Center? Is removing statues that glorified racism enough? 

‘Racist’ statue of subjugated American Indian on way to removal from San Francisco Civic Center? Is removing statues that glorified racism enough?  | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
A Civic Center statue that depicts a conquering vaquero and a missionary standing over a fallen and nearly naked American Indian man is a step closer to being removed, after a unanimous decision Wednesday by the San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission.

The city Arts Commission had already agreed, also unanimously, to remove the "Early Days" sculpture from its pedestal at the base of the Pioneer Monument just east of City Hall. But the plan needed the preservation commission's sign-off because it's located in a historic district. The Arts Commission is expected to make a final decision in March or April.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
While I strongly agree with the removal of statues like this that celebrate the horrors of colonialism and of slavery, both of which so often justified in the name of Christ, I cannot help but shudder at the prospect that some day in the near future many of our children will not know those evil parts of American and world history. I don't think that leaving empty pedestals is an answer. Rather, we should have museums, prominent and many, dedicated to remembering just as we have memorials and museums dedicated to the horrors of the Holocaust. We must never forget how easy it is to indulge in the worst of our human nature while hiding under the cant of what we consider the best. 

I know that many people in America are particularly angry, upset, and even threatened by the word jihad; they see an Islamic world bent on our destruction and subjugation. For my part, I don't know how we can deal with that sense of threat if we don't first deal with that same necrophilic tendency in ourselves and our history. Let us recognize our sins and seek redemption so that we do not pass them on to our progeny. Let us move beyond the petty belief that we are the chosen to a recognition that all humans have the same inherent rights, especially the right to dignity and worth. 

So, yes tear down the statues, but keep them close enough that we can always revisit the enemy within, no not the Communist conspiracy, Illuminati, and the like but the enemy within our own minds. 

One of my goals as a writer is to keep my readers mindful of the thin lines between good and evil, sanity and madness, creativity and destruction. Please visit www.kennethweene.com to find more. 
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Barqa Museum in Nablus collects Palestinian heritage. Will the UN and Israel respect this effort?

Barqa Museum in Nablus collects Palestinian heritage. Will the UN and Israel respect this effort? | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
A family of collectors from Nablus has single-handedly created a museum of more than 5,000 pieces that reflect Palestine’s heritage since the Canaanite period.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
It is more than commendable that in the midst of the constant carnage of the Palestinians there is somebody trying to preserve history. Clearly, the Israeli authorities would be happy to destroy this and similar collections because they suggest that the Palestinians have an historic claim on the land that Israel claims. On the other hand, those ancient artifacts actually only show that life has been going on in the region for thousands of years. Who begot whom has always been my least favorite part of the bible. I have no idea if the DNA of those ancient Canaanites is to be found among the Palestinians or for that matter among the Jews. Nor do I care. What I do care about is the preservation of archeological treasures and more importantly about a just peace in the Middle East. Towards the former, I hope that the UN will help contribute to this small but meaningful museum and that the Israeli government will also help protect it. If Israel does the decent and responsible thing it would be a small step in the latter and more important direction.
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Netanyahu confidant agrees to testify against him: reports | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR

Netanyahu confidant agrees to testify against him: reports | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
One of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's closest confidants has agreed to testify against him in a graft probe in a fresh blow to his long tenure in power, Israeli media reported Wednesday.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
One of the things I love about politics is how many of leaders are crooks. There is something so satisfying when they get their comeuppances. Even though I always kind of loved Boston's James Micahael Curley, I do think way to many political grifters get away with it, often while screaming for law and order and opposing those who would change the world for the better. From my point of view, the world would be better without Mr Netanyahu as the PM of Israel. Maybe if he falls hard enough to take his party down, too, the people of Israel will find a new direction, one that might lead to justice for the Arabs and peace with a new Palestinian nation. Of course, then the Arabs would have to get rid of a few of their politicians as well. 
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Year of the Dog : Top 10 Dog-Friendliest U.S. Destinations

Year of the Dog : Top 10 Dog-Friendliest U.S. Destinations | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Vacation rental site HomeAway compiled a list of American cities and towns that are best suited for travel with your pet in 2018
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Those who knew me then, know that Roz and I always tried to take Uncle, Jennifer, and Streaker on vacation at least twice a year Usually, one of those trips was to Vermont, to the Kedron Valley Inn, where Jennifer loved to swim in the pond and Uncle loved to drink at the bar. (Yes, they served her and charged me.) Streaker, well, she just loved. Of course, back then taking four-legged members of the family to hotels and resorts was kind of different and often difficult. Many times we had to settle for a lesser place because the one we wanted wouldn't allow "animals." Not sure what they thought about the two-legged ones who were way worse drunks than Uncle to say nothing of people who kept jumping into the pool and splashing poor Streaker. (She loved to sunbathe.) 

At any rate, our culture is changing. For my part, most of the dogs staying in a hotel are just fine. I do wish their humans were a bit faster on the pick-up, but hey you can't fault Fido for having to go. At any rate, this being the Year of the Dog, I wish all canine vacationers a great time. 
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The virginity fraud: A TED Talk About Virginity and the Hymen. Meanwhile, why are we obsessed with a woman's virginity? We should hope that women have good sexual experiences and that men should as...

The virginity fraud: A TED Talk About Virginity and the Hymen. Meanwhile, why are we obsessed with a woman's virginity? We should hope that women have good sexual experiences and that men should as... | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The hymen is still the most misunderstood part of the female body. Nina Dølvik Brochmann and Ellen Støkken Dahl share their mission to empower young people through better sex education, debunking the popular (and harmful) myths we're told about female virginity and the hymen.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Since most people don't know much about the hymen, I thought sharing this TED Talk worthwhile. That bit of anatomy really isn't what most of us were brought up to believe. Of course, the deeper question is why so many cultures make such a big thing about hymens and the notion of their being intact. Why is it so important to us that a woman be a virgin until she's married? Most of those cultures certainly don't have that same expectation about men. So, I leave you to learn more about hymens and to think about the importance—or insignificance—of virginity. 

By the way, if you want a sense of how not accepting our sexuality can really screw up our lives. might I suggest you read Widow's Walk. It's a great book to share with the person you love. 

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With blackface and monkey suit, Chinese gala Four-hour Lunar New Year show televised to millions across China on Africa causes uproar 

With blackface and monkey suit, Chinese gala Four-hour Lunar New Year show televised to millions across China on Africa causes uproar  | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The show, cleared by government officials, was intended to highlight economic relations between Africa and China.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
It is a rare event for the Chinese to do something so poorly thought out. I'm sure that heads will be rolling at the Chinese state television company. Given how hard the Chinese government has been working at replacing the influence of the colonial powers, the US, and Russia in Africa, the last thing Beijing wants is to upset people from Khartoum to Cape Town. Meanwhile, this snafu should remind both us in the West and the people of undeveloped countries that China is looking for superiority and domination not necessarily for partnership. That's why the Chinese are buying up the rights to raw materials and using cheap and unneeded manufactured goods, including electronics with no electricity to run them, as trade items. There is still an opportunity for other developing countries to take a positive new roll in sub-Saharan Africa. But, sadly, I don't see anyone doing that. I'm sure next year's broadcast from China will sound much more respectful. If there's one thing about the Chinese government, they learn from their mistakes. 

Speaking of learning from your mistakes. I hope the Year of the Dog finds you ready to read good novels. You can find them at www.kennethweene.com 
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9 of the world's hardest-working cats

9 of the world's hardest-working cats | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
From assisting with weather observation to helping people get fit, these felines hustle.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Of course, if you are familiar with It Matters Radio, you know that Punky was one of our hosts and an important part of the team. Now that she has passed, her brat pack have taken up the work load of enjoying our music and interviews. While Punky and her kids have always been willing to accept snacks and other emoluments, they never actually agreed to doing much. Not like these hardworking felines. 

You can find out more about It Matters Radio at http://www.itmattersradio.com and hare a purrfect day. 
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People Have Strong Reactions To Barack And Michelle Obama's Portraits

People Have Strong Reactions To Barack And Michelle Obama's Portraits | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it

I took a day to think about these painting before commenting. 

Kenneth Weene's insight:
I took a day to ponder these portraits and decide what I thought. First, clearly  if they are to be hung together, the sense is that she is the dominant personality, not just because of the relative sizes of the images but also the intensity and determination of her visage. The only problem is who is she. I don't see much likeness to Mrs. Obama. Rather I think this is a portrait of "Strong Black Woman #1" 

Second, while Mr. Obama's portrait looks like him, I don't care for it. Sure, he's leaning forward and looking the viewer in the eye, but I see little of his warmth, wit, or charm. I cannot even imagine him sitting in that chair, which takes one back in time. As for the background, well I understand that the flowers were to some how be symbolic, especially of Hawaii, but for me the last thing I think of when thinking of Mr. Obama would be gardening. 

On the other hand, when I look at most of the presidential portraiture in recent years, I guess these aren't too bad, I do think my wife, who is a painter, could have done better. However, knowing her, she would have painted them together, possibly dancing or watching the sunset. I know they needed separate paintings for the collection, but I always think that they both, but especially he, need to be painted with another person, for that is who they are—people people.

Anyway, please share your comments. Oh, if you want to see an example of my wife's quirky work take a look at this book cover. 

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What's Happening With Television News? Can we end the biased reporting? 

What's Happening With Television News? Can we end the biased reporting?  | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
A public inquiry from It Matters Radio. 
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Television news has gone from being information to being marketing. One of the keys to marketing is the affinity felt by the target audience for the source. Sadly, as television news programs (and networks( have moved more and more to cement that connection between themselves and their audience, the American audience has become complacent and willing to accept simplistic presentations and sensationalism as if they were considered and balanced presentations. 

To be fair, freedom of the press has always meant that there was bias and sensationalism, but for some time people thought television was better. I think that may have been the result of some outstanding personalities. For my part, I believe in doing a lot of reading on-line and using multiple sources. However, at the end, I'm sure my thoughts reflect who I am and my biases. Heck. I'm human. 

 As co-host of It Matters Radio, I'm always looking for informed guests who want to discuss all kinds of issues. They don't have to agree with me and I hope that this post might find its way to some people who would like to contact the show via our website http://www.itmattersradio.com
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Corgis saved by The Crown: Queen's favourite dog taken off 'at risk' list after boost from Netflix show

Corgis saved by The Crown: Queen's favourite dog taken off 'at risk' list after boost from Netflix show | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
They have long been regarded as a breed for the elderly and the genteel upper middle class, chief among them the Queen.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Okay, they aren't Cardis, but they are corgis and that's enough to get my vote. I still miss my little dog, Champion Aragon Silver Streak. Streaker won me before she was weaned, and we soon went back to make her a Weene. I even had the pleasure of escorting her into the ring at Westminster. But, Streaker didn't like the show circuit, much preferring lying in sunbeams and playing—ever so gently—with her toys. If ever there was a dog designed to live comfortably with her humans, it was Streaker. 

As I say, these are Pembrokes, not Cardigans, so no tail and less thick hair and slightly different ears, but still winsome. Glad to hear that they are experiencing a comeback in the UK. Hopefully some of the other old breeds that have fallen off in numbers will as well. 

Yes, I know that shelter dogs need homes and that breeding to standards has done much harm to many breeds of dogs. Still, the original development of breeds usually made sense. We've had both mixed-breed and pure and loved them all. Which really is the point. Dogs make life better even if you're a monarch. Hip, Hip, Hooray! 
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How Science Is Helping Us Understand Gender

How Science Is Helping Us Understand Gender | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Freed from the binary of boy and girl, gender identity is a shifting landscape. Can science help us navigate?
Kenneth Weene's insight:
If you're interested in issues of gender identity, this article from National Geographic (January, 2017) is fascinating. While my own view of the evolutionary advantage of groups like the fa‘afafine of Samoa is that they provide extra helping hands from childless adults and limit the intra-community conflict for scarce resources. Consider the role of males among the troops of our near relatives, which is to be driven out. Forget apes, just think of polygamist groups that have broken away from the now reformed Mormon religion. That may help explain the connection between the hormone regulator somatostatin and gender identity issues and between the autism spectrum and such issues. Perhaps there is a neurological connection between non-competitive behavior and gender. 

Ah, the fascinating questions that emerge as one thinks about such issues. At any rate, I hope you'll find this article as interesting as I did. 
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Reducing the footprint of a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide: Scientists have found a new catalyst that more efficiently converts methane to olefins which can be used to produce plast...

Reducing the footprint of a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide: Scientists have found a new catalyst that more efficiently converts methane to olefins which can be used to produce plast... | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Scientists have unlocked a new, more efficient pathway for converting one of our most potent greenhouse gases directly into basic chemicals for manufacturing plastics, agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I have mixed feelings about this. First, the good. Methane is a major greenhouse gas. While there is more CO2 in the atmosphere, methane is much more potent at blocking the release of radiant energy out of the atmosphere. And, the amount of methane is increasing as that which has been locked in the frozen tundra (and to some degree in the oceans) is being released by global warming. (In effect global warming is helping to cause global warming.) So, yes, let's use that gas  and transform it into stable materials. Great>

Second, the bad. We have so much plastic floating around in our world. It is clogging our landfills and littering our oceans. Bits of plastic are poisoning our animals and larger pieces, such as soda can holders, are strangling them. Hopefully, all this new plastic material will be used not for throwaway consumerism. Can it be used for something better? I guess that will depend on the strength and durability it offers. Perhaps we can have a new form of plastic housing. Could it be used to create quality tiny homes for the huge numbers of people all around the globe who are in need? Could it contribute to lightweight cars and trucks? Could it, could it? 

Finally, will this and other techniques of countering greenhouse gases be supported by the governments of the world. Sometimes I fear that most of those governments have slowly taken up Malthusian thinking, that they are just waiting for the vast numbers to die off. Of course, those deaths can't be from  infectious disease because disease knows no class boundaries. However, if the air quality gets too bad or the weather becomes impossible, well the rich can wait out the storm in their safe places while the rest of the world goes away. I wonder who will do the work for them once we're all dead, anybody want to invest in robotics? 

Do you remember when we all believed that the key to better living was chemistry? Now, I'm never quite so sure about the fruits of science. Still, it would be nice to use that methane.
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