Home > Uncategorized > Slow times at NHGRI….

Slow times at NHGRI….

Not much happened today. I went to work, came home. In between, I read up on industry news and caught up on my reading of various blogs. One item that caught my eye was this item from yesterday's New York Times:

Loss Estimates Are Cut on Iraqi Artifacts, but Questions Remain

Apparently, the thousands and thousands of priceless artifacts that were reportedly stolen from the museum were actually about…..29 items. Four of the items – ivory objects from the eighth century B.C. – have since been traced.

Apparently, in addition to the looters, people carried stuff out of the museum for safekeeping. “Several hundred small objects — including a priceless statue of an Assyrian king from the ninth century B.C. — have been returned to the museum, in some cases by people who said they had taken the treasures to keep them out of the wrong hands. In addition, a steel case containing 465 small objects was confiscated by soldiers of the Iraqi National Congress and returned to the museum.”

Given the choice between protecting the museums and protecting people, I'd grit my teeth against the loss and say “Protect the people.” That being said, I am very glad that the museum's artifacts fared better than had been originally reported.

And now, your Moment of Zen:


Now, this is a collection of various funny or interesting or poinient
posts I've come across on SWHI.


“And it's tasty sausages”:

Michael Snider writes:
>>The US government would go out of its way to invite Prince Metternich
>>to hold the Congress of Vienna in New York instead.

That would make for a very puzzling opening address. “Gentlemen,
welcome to the Congress of Vienna, so named because it's being held
here in New York … ”

“What book would YOU like to see written on WW2?”

Zhivan writes:
“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Josef Stalin

'Blitzkrieg – why speed and courage will always carry the day' by Field
Marshal Bernard Montgomery

'Penal battalions – an advance in mine clearing ?' – by Marshal Georgi

'Considerations on HQ security and protection of supply lines' –
Feldmarschall Erwin Rommel

'Bourbon St Whores' – by General George S. Patton

'My Kills (v.1) – Erich Hartmann

'My Kills (v.2) – Erich Hartmann

'My Kills (v.3) – Erich Hartmann

'My Kills (v.4) – Erich Hartmann

'My Kills (v.5) – Erich Hartmann

'Italian Fighter Kills of WW2' – Mussolini (now with eight page COLOUR
supplement) (total length twelve pages)

“A subject of history you shouldn't mention you know a lot about on a job

Coyu explains about Hemp in ancient times:
Well, hemp fibers seem to have been used since the Neolithic –
but on average, they're coarser than the flax fibers used to make
linen. That's why hemp was used for ropes and sails. Too coarse
for printing – ever read a burlap bag?

BtW, the current properties of the hemp plant are due to a few
millenia of selective breeding, most effectively in the last fifty
years. The ancient Scythians, to obtain a narcotic effect, basically
built a bonfire of the stuff, and inhaled deeply. Bumper sticker on
a Scythian chariot: “DO BALES!”

“What's The Blitz”

JasCJones explains:
The “Blitz” is when all the linebacker rush the passer (NFL)

A bltizkrieg is a fast invasion by armored units into unoccupied zones,
especially against a neighbor with whom one has a treaty.

First you make the treaty, then you invade so fast they can't must a

Effective as a short-termed miitary tactic, leaves some to be desired if
wants to build a “thousand years empire”

“And wich side are you on?”

James Nicoll writes:
No no no, they drop the *America*, calling themselves simply
the United States, or US for short.

Later on, in one of the inspired moments of very poorly though
out propeganda, the US's major rival sets up an alliance with the initials
T.H.E.M. and can't understand why nobody sides with them.

“This is going to be pretty dark ”

David Townsend gives us an answer you don't want to hear at a cocktail
“Do you remember where you were when you heard that President Kennedy
had been shot?”

“Sure, I was in this grassy knoll disassembling my rifle and…”

“What if the Dominion of Canada was the Kingdom of Canada?”

Neil Bailey would be said because:

I woudn't have my favorite joke: Elizabeth, by the Grace of God, Queen of
the United Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, Head of
the Commonwealth, and Dominatrix of Canada.”

“Various topics in history”

Saint Donald Tucker explains:
>> Economics
>> Agriculture
>> Art
>> Language
>> Mythology
> Should sport be included?
> I suppose that in many cases, it could be regarded as a subset of
> religion…

The Holy Catholic Church of Football has a schism between
North America and the rest of the world (ROW). The top conclave
of the ROW religion is now meeting in Paris, the current venue
of quadrennial encounters. North America completely ignores
this as its top conclave is held annually.

Doctrinal differences include the issue of running while
carrying the ball, blocking, tackling and bouncing the
ball of the head.

“Medevial Chemical Attempts at Changing Atomic Structure”

Stephen Lazer writes:
> Unfortunately such capture events take many orders of magnitude more
> energy than is available to chemical processes such as those the
> mediaeval alchemists were using; they had as much chance of success as I
> have of moving the Great Pyramid at Giza with a drinking straw.
::Phoof:: “Damn, it ain't workin' yet!”

“Try again”

::phoof:: “Nope, still ain't workin'”

“Okay, here, try a twizzler with the ends bitten off”

::hoo:: “Wow, lookit 'er go!”

“What if Hitler in 1940 was given a book on the entire course of WWII?”

Dan Abbott tells that in his opinion:
In my opinion, he would have recognized that by the end he was
insane. Given his attitude toward untermensh (“The place for a bottle
is on the top of a drunk's head,” etc.) he would have looked down on
that version of him.

BERLIN, 1940
Hitler (mentally): “Note to self: Do not go insane.”

“Watch out for 20/20 hindsight”

Douglas Muir writes
> Siberia is a *huge* area. Russia captured it in the 17th and (mostly)
> 18th and early 19th centuries. However, if I recall, the Mongols didn't
> own it before then. (Who would want a big chunk of ice, anyway,
> with the world approaching the Little Ice Age soon?)

Well, they didn't *know* that. “Hey, let's conquer Siberia!” “Naah, in
another sixty or seventy years, for reasons not clearly understood but
possibly associated with the Gulf Stream, world climate is going to cool
rather noticeably, and although it won't be as bad here in Asia as
around the Atlantic…” “Oooh, sounds like bad news for the
great-grandkids! Okay, let's conquer Persia instead!”

“Traveling to lands far away”

Jordan responds:

>> the world does not consist entirely and solely of 50 states, with snow
to the north and sand to the south; and that outside that area, there are
several cultures that have developed in such a way as to give rise to
different priorities.> “Small scale and limited military actions” mean only a few tens of
>> thousands to hundreds of thousands dead. Desert Storm and its aftermath
>> only killed a third of a million people; the Vietnam war only killed a
>> couple of million (directly).
> And the better way to deal with the threat of the Terrorist Network is
> … ?

Dial 10-10-321?

“Another good way to deal with trolls”

DJ McCormick:
To all sentient beings in the universe,

I would like to apologize to everyone for the behavior of Rob Cypher.
Rob's membership in the human race has been permanently revoked for
his callous and uncaring attitude towards others, especially beings in
a state of mourning. Please do not judge our whole species by the
action of this one abberation. .

Also, we will gladly loan Rob out to any intergalactic zoo, circus or
stellar branch of the Oscar Mayer Factory.

“Indian strategy during the King Philips War”

Alan Lothian responding:
> They wanted to free their society and culture from the economic and
> political constraints imposed on them by the English.

This vocabulary, which belongs profoundly to the 1990s, doesn't
really help a discussion of how 17th-century Indian tribes tried
to defend themselves against extremely competent invaders.
“Hmm, Magwa, take a puff of this pipe. I'm a bit worried about
the economic and political constraints these English are trying
to impose upon our society.” Magwa puffs. “I think we need to
find a Third Way, sir.”

“Well, it's not THAT bad”

Keith Morrison writes:
> Three cheers for the American educational system.
Hip-hip-hooray, hip-hip-hooray, hip-hip-hooray, hip-hip-hooray.

“The Biggest problem with any Sealion”

Doug Hoff points out:
> To get to Britain, you have to cross the Channel.

Step One, “Admitting You Have a Problem”

“A discusion of Germanies War plans against the US in the early 1900's”

Keith Morrison figured out that:
> > I read an essay on the various versions of that plans and it was a
> > Puerto Rico or Cuba as the staging area? The US Army occupied on the
> > frontier fighting Indians?
> What's up with the Germans & unrealistic warplans? Anyone got any
> thoughts?

General Staff + Schnapps = German strategic war plans

“Casting Call For Draka Movie”

“Karl Stringer” suggests:
We could also have Arnold Swarzeneeger playing Ken Lafarge in a movie
version of Drakon. Do you think he'd be at all convincing playing a cyborg
travelling back in time from a nightmare future in order to kill a woman?

Ian adds:
I dunno, maybe he'd be more convincing as the the burly human faced with
hunting down a predatory creature from another world.

“That Pope is one bad mutha”

Greg responds:
> What if Pius XII in WW2 had convicted [sic] nazism stronger during
> WW2? Could there have been more opposition by catholics in Germany?
> Could they have done something against [the Nazis] that matterred
> or would Hitler have ordered the Pope to be arrested?

1938- Pope Pius XII denounces Hitler's increasing international
adventurism and his attacks on Germany's Jews, calling anti-
semitism “irreconcileable with the principle of Christian love”

1939- Pius demands that German Catholics refrain from participating
in Hitler's invasion of Poland, and then later privately
counsels Benito Moussolini (BM) from allying himself with

1940- Hitler expands his persecution of Jews to include more
Italy declares war on France.
Hitler asks that Pius be arrested in Italy and extradited
to Germany for a show trial.
Pius goes underground, lurking thru the city sreets of Rome
and Milano, performing good deeds among the poor and fighting
evil where-e'er it rears its ugly head.

1941- Hardened by life on the streets, Pius develops his latent
Kung Fu skills, eventually destroying Moussolini in hand
to hand combat.
Italy seeks a separate peace as Pius oversees the shipment
of Care packages and a carefully worded note of apology
to Ethiopia.
Pius trains his Swiss Guards into an elite fighting force,
then leads them in a wildass suicide mission behind
German lines. He tucks a swagger stick under his arm and
vows “This time we'll show Jerry what-for!”

[I think this is pretty plausible so far, but I just don't know enough
about German internal counterinsurgency tactics this early in the war to
say whether Pius & his Swiss boys' night-parachute drop at Hitler's
summer home at Berchtesgarden will be successful. Help sought on the
completing of this what if]

“The Lowest point in SHWI history”

Doug Hoff responds:
> > Judicial review is the key to the survival of the US
> > constitution??
> No.


(Whoo-hoo! A dialog!)

“And what better to end this list than with a MUSCIAL NUMBER!”
[Editors Note: See if you can find an MP3 of this and give it a try to
singing it to the real song. Or don't.]

Kris Overstreet sings, sings sings!:
>If you can come up with something to the tune of “Little Birdhouse in
>Your Soul” by They Might Be Giants I'll be REALLY impressed.

It was a war
It was a lovely war
Well, not such a lovely war
In fact, a really crappy war, and it was

All Quiet on the Western Front
In 1918
For Fatherland we fought and lost
Not to put too fine a point on it
Versailles had our land's death on it
Oh Fatherland, we fought and lost

We could not believe our eyes
On that cold November sunrise
When the only sound we heard
Was the cheering of the Western Allies

We thought the war was destined to be
Ended most triumphantly
But now we starve in the aftermath
Our nation's name is M-U-D

Oh, Wilhelm, where are you?
What can we do
to make it right?

All Quiet on the Western Front
In 1918
For Fatherland we fought and lost
Not to put too fine a point on it
Versailles had our land's death on it
Oh Fatherland, we fought and lost

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