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Saturday, September 23, 2017

THE RETURN OF CISCO KID, CRISCO AND COCONUTS?

Saturday morning is a good time for nostalgia.  Growing up in Kakaako, I regularly participated in the Woody Woodpecker Club at the Kewalo Theater.  One of my favorites was the Cisco Kid.  Shows ended 40 years ago, and the building is now a scuba shop.

Going back to O. Henry more than a century ago, the original Cisco Kid was a cruel outlaw.  He began to become a good guy around 1928 when Warner Baxter almost won an Oscar.  Yes, there was The Return of the Cisco Kid (all 1 hour 40 minutes) in 1939 starring him, with  Cesar Romero as sidekick.  Ward Bond was in this film.  Romero then was promoted to Cisco Kid for six later films.

The series was revived with The Cisco Kid Returns after World War II, starring Duncan Renaldo, with Martin Garralaga as Pancho, later replaced by Leo Carrillo.  Reynaldo originated the flowery Charro suit, which he wore for seven seasons on TV until 1956.  Renaldo is my memory as The Cisco Kid.

There have been 28 Cisco Kid films.  In 1972 came War with The Cisco Kid.  Got up to #2 on Billboard.  How many of you know that both Cisco and Pancho are nicknames in Spanish for Francisco, which in English is Francis or Frank?

Today, you can go to Hulu or order box sets at Amazon.  Amazingly enough, there are 31 used sets of 35 episodes for as low as $1.47, although a new one would set you back $9.99, about the cost of going to a movie.

Changing subjects to Crisco, I bought a bottle yesterday.  The original was produced by The J.M. Smucker Company for Proctor & Gamble in 1911.  This was the first shortening made entirely of vegetable oil using a hydrogenation process to solidify the liquid.  Crisco comes from crystallized cottonseed oil.  The problem is that hydrogenation introduced trans-fats.  Studies showed that Crisco increased blood sugar by 20% and lowered your body's high density lipoprotein.  As of 2012 Crisco has marketed an oil blend with no trans fats, giving the same cooking properties and flavors of the original product, supposedly great for making pie crusts.

But this is not what I got.  I decided to replace olive oil with coconut oil.  Call it a second trial experiment.

Like for frying an egg.  Incidentally, if you were concerned, there is no hint or smell of coconut in this oil.  Frankly, I like the taste of coconut.

It was six years ago that this blog site reported on the benefits of coconut.  A few months later I said:

I've recently investigated coconuts, which, purportedly, can prevent or delay Alzheimer's, and, even, that debatable seafood concern, mental disease.  Well, apparently, like eggs and butter, coconuts are today, again, okay for you to consume.  For the longest time, it was thought that these large nuts caused cardiovascular problems and even obesity, although you still can gain weight, if you eat too much of them.  But are coconuts a remedy for memory loss and a host of other reported ailments?  The jury is still out, although initial signs look favorable.

Then the following year, 2013, I bought a pint of coconut oil for $17.  My purchase yesterday of 1.69 fluid ounces cost $9, or $5.33/pint.  Price has considerately dropped.  The benefits of coconuts have also grown.  Here is one list of 101 uses:
  • for your hair
  • moisturizing skin and reducing cellulite
  • softens leather
  • good treat for dogs
  • bug repellent
  • baking
  • add to coffee
  • health
    • lowers low density lipoprotein while raising high density lipoprotein
    • lowers blood pressure
    • aids digestion
    • has healthy fat (50% lauric acid, and you can read about why here)
    • also has caprylic acid with  antibacterial properties and capric acid to aid immune ability
    • provides mental boost
    • also hormone support
    • increases absorption of calcium and magnesium
    • remineralizes teeth
    • speeds weight loss
    • improves sleep
    • aids thyroid function
    • improves insulin level
    • helps with depression and anxiety
    • relieve hemorrhoids (use topically)
    • nourishes baby in pregnant women
    • prevents Alzheimer's
    • alleviates allergies (rubbed inside nose)
    • kills yeast infections
    • improves toothpaste and aids gum health
    • reduces cholesterol
    • speeds recovery from cold and flu
    • lessens arthritis
    • reduces itch
    • resolves acne
    • clears up cold sores
There were more, but if only a small fraction of the above turns out to be true, and there is some reason to believe that most of them should work, the only downsides are the extra calories, and, for some, diarrhea (cut back input and not on an empty stomach).  So exercise more and eat less.  

Anyway, I went to Snopes, and this site to confirm rumors indicated that the research on this subject is in its infancy, but the mechanisms indicated seem plausible.  Snopes also analyzed the frequently quoted factoid:  FALLING COCONUTS KILL 15 TIMES MORE PEOPLE THAN SHARKS EVERY YEAR!  The average for sharks is around 10/year.  Coconuts?  You can hardly find any in a given year.  There seems to be a constant reference to a 1973 article of a 2-year old tot in Honolulu being killed when a cluster of 57 coconuts fell on her.  Her aunt was changing the child's diaper when this happened, and only suffered a few cuts and bruises.  Again, coconuts got a bad rap which was almost surely untrue.


Okay back to coconut products, here is where it becomes confusing.  There are so many different kinds of coconut products that you need a scorecard.
  • Like extra virgin oil is good for olive oil, unrefined organic coconut oil is the gold standard.
  • Important that the product comes from fresh coconut using a wet-milled fermentation process, retaining the highest antioxidant level.
  • HOT extracted coconut oil produces more antioxidants than COLD extraction.
  • Fractionated oil (MCT) is liquid and does not get solid below 76 F.
    • Supposedly doesn't contain all the beneficial properties of unrefined coconut oil.
    • But is higher in brain-boosting fats.
  • There are also coconut flour, milk, vinegar...and more.
  • There is such a thing as coconut sugar, but it's expensive with a few more nutrients and is lower on the Glycemic Index than sucrose, glucose or fructose.  Coconut sugar is still sucrose.  However, if you want to be convinced to try this, read this article.
  • Coconut butter is like peanut butter, but made from coconut meat.  Said to be one of those new superfoods, but costs three times more.
Just one more list, exporters of coconut:

The bottom line is that coconuts, once to be avoided, are now not only okay to consume, but might have a range of benefits worthy of your immediate consideration.  You will spend more money for coconut products and the hype is overwhelming, but even if all those health aids are not totally true, the self-fulling prophecy factor will make you feel better.  However, watch those calories.

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Hurricane Maria remains formidable at 115 MPH, but computer models project a turn left away from the USA:


For the record, Tropical Storm Lee, also in the Atlantic, will become a hurricane, but will mostly revolve in a circle:


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Friday, September 22, 2017

WHAT IS THE LATEST ON BITCOIN?

The bitcoin began to be traded in 2009.  At its mid-life four years ago I posted on this digital currency, which allows anonymous trade on the internet.  Nothing can be traced--drugs, porn, anything--and you avoid bank and credit card fees.  Well, maybe not so, as the U.S. government has arrested four individuals for illegal transactions.  The value in 2013 was $450.  Today?

Yes, $3634.98.

However, on the second of this month, the bitcoin was listed above $5,000, but problems with China banning this currency at the end of September triggered an almost free fall.  Yesterday:


Japan, which already handles half the value, is stepping in to stabilize the account.  There are bitcoin exchange markets the world over.  China only handles around 6%, plus the country manipulated the market in 2013, so this adjustment could well be beneficial in the long run.  On the other hand, there are so many exchanges that trading becomes confusing.  If interested anyway in investing, click on that link.

I almost hate to mention this, but will anyway. This exchange is based on artificial scarcity.  There will only be 21 million bitcoins in total, but this limit will not be reached until around 2140.  The numbers are released every ten minutes and the rate at which they are generated would drop by half every four years until reaching that limit.  If you're confused, join me.


A lot of mystery with bitcoin, the foremost, perhaps, is the speculation that 42-year old Satoshi Nakamoto invented it, and disappeared with a today value of $4 billion.  No photo of him.  He published Bitcoin:  a Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System in October of 2008, and in January of 2009 released the first bitcoin software to launch the network.  He passed on control to Gavin Andresen (right) in 2010 and literally evaporated.  

The current conjecture is that Satoshi could be a group of people, a host of individuals from Europe, the CIA, or, even, a 64-year old Japanese-American from California, Dorian Nakamoto, a physicist and libertarian.  The only reality is that no one knows for sure.

Of course, I can't leave any controversial topic without implicating President Donald Trump:


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The fatalities in Puerto Rico were minimal, but Hurricane Maria left an impression that will not be corrected for many months.  She's now projected to follow a similar path as Jose:




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Thursday, September 21, 2017

THE NEW OLDEST PERSON IN THE WORLD

The new oldest person in the world, Nabi Tajima:
  • born on August 4, 1900
  • 117 years old
  • from Kagoshima, Japan
  • 160 descendants, including 35 great-great children
  • mostly eats ramen noodles, beef stew, hashed beef and rice mackerel sushi
  • 7th oldest person ever, with #1 being Jeanne Calmet (to the right at the age of 20) of France, who lived 122 years + 164 days (here is a video of her at 119)
  • Nabi is the oldest ever Japanese, and is said to be the last surviving person born in the 19th century.
There are currently 46 supercentenarians, those older than 110, with five of the top ten being from Japan.  Seven Americans are on this full list, with 114-year old Delphine Gibson at #10.  Here is a video of the top ten produced two months ago when Violet Brown of Jamaica was the oldest. 

Many, however, just cannot be verified, and Brazilian Maria Lucifer Pereira, living along the Amazon River, could well be 127.  She only eats natural foods from the forest, with no salt, sugar or processed foods.  The last report about her existence was earlier this year.
Note that all the elders above are female.  Across the globe, women live from five to ten years older than men.  For those over 100, 85% are women.  Theories change, but the latest is that menstruation causes females to become iron-deficient, which tends to delay the onset of cardiovascular diseases.  Worse, those who eat meat, especially men, don't live as long as those who don't.  Got to watch my wagyu diet.  Oh, one other reason is that men are idiots.

You can't blame your parents much.  The latest data shows that the environment is responsible for 70% of your longevity.  While calorie restriction helps mice live longer, my blog has indicated that overweight people live longer than those in the norm.  Mice are not men.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average all-time high will not today be challenged.

Tomorrow I will post either on bitcoin or taming hurricanes.

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Puerto Rico will not be the same for a long time to come.  Hurricane Maria came ashore at 155 MPH, with the eye traveling across the island:


At least the continental USA will not be affected by Maria.
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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

PAT versus the SEA-BASED X-BAND RADAR

I relish in deprecating Hawaii's giant floating golf ball, also known as the Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBXBR), designed by Boeing, and do this at least annually.  But even The Los Angeles Times called it a floating flop.  But who am I to cast aspersions, as the SBXBR or GFGB has worked.  Not once has Hawaii been threatened since 2006 when this Alaska-based protector came to us.  It's highly probable, though, that this golf ball would not have detected the Japanese planes attacking Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 until it was too late, for it is known as a powerful soda straw radar, meaning that the field of vision is so narrow that it can only see what you tell it to view.

It would be almost impossible to compare two more disparate entities on Planet Earth:  SBXBR versus me.  First, though, we do have a few things in common:
  • Looks like a golf ball, and I golf once or twice per week.
  • Is home-based in Hawaii, and so am I.
  • It goes on long vacations, and even when at work doesn't do much.  Sounds like me.
William Cole is the local Military-Industrial-Complex writer.  He said this radar is so all-seeing that it can  detect a baseball 2,500 miles away.  After cataract surgery, I can now observe a golf ball rolling on the green 200 yards away.  Cole indicated that the system cost $2.2 billion.  I'm almost worthless.  

The Los Angeles Times, though, reports that $10 billion has been sunk into the SBXBR and related family of non-starters.  According to L. David Montague, former president of missile systems for Lockheed Corp, and now at Stanford University, this radar should never have been built.  Not referring to the media but defense officials, retired Air Force General Eugene E. Habiger, former head of the U.S. Strategic Command, said "They are totally off in la-la land."  In counter-attack, Henry Obering, retired director of the Missile Defense Agency blamed the Obama administration for not doubling down with more spending.  There are  almost always two sides to everything about war, especially when jobs are at stake.

Interestingly enough, I noticed a June article by Malia Zimmerman of Fox News touting the success of Hawaii's X-band radar.  In August she was implicated in one of those untruths involving Fox News, the White House and the Russian government.  I thought, gee, that name sounds familiar.  Turns out that in 1991, while she was reporting for Environment Hawaii, a monthly newsletter which still publishes, she had what she called an expose' of the Pacific International Center for High Technology Center, and specifically mentioned me by name.  There were some facts combined with general ignorance and an embarrassing lack of understanding on how things work in Hawaii.  Story went nowhere, but makes for interesting historical reading.  

Patricia Tummons, a philosopher, who helped start the company, was interviewed in 2015 on their (Environment Hawaii) 25th year, and indicated that the newsletter:
  •  In 1993 shut down the Hawaii spaceport effort and former admiral Tom Hayward in particular.  He was such a fine gentleman.  Too bad.
  • Then they picked on the Western Pacific Regional Management Council about turtles and tuna.  Good effort.
  • They did a number on Charles Chidaic and the Hawaiian Riviera Resort.  Met him.  He promised building a research center on the Big Island for my support, which I distanced myself from as fast as possible.  Later, everything crashed and he fled Hawaii.  
Environment Hawaii has done some good work.  Wish them well.

So what about defending Hawaii from Kim Jung-un's nuclear-tipped missiles?  It would take only 20 minutes for an ICBM to reach this state.  Former Hawaii Congressman Charles Djou in July indicated:
  • We are the most vulnerable target because of key military installations.
  • Recommends the Congress allocated funds for
    • a permanent Aegis Ashore system with SM-3 interceptors
    • a truck mounted THAAD system with AN/TPY-radar
  • The U.S. has already quickly armed Israel and South Korea...what about Hawaii?
  • Cost?  THAAD is available only for $1.6 billion.  There is already an Aegis Ashore test system on Kauai (above right), but is not operational with no missiles.
The state government is taking a calmer approach, indicating that it did not want to cause undue stress for the public, so Vern Miyagi, a former Lieutenant General, and now administrator of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, advises us, if the worst approaches, get inside, stay there and follow TV/radio instructions.  That's it?  Well, what more do you want or can you do?  The tourism industry is already unhappy with this campaign to spook tourism.  A more complete plan is being developed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average again broke its all-time record, up 42 to 22,413.

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Super Hurricane Maria is causing havoc over Puerto Rico at 140 MPH, but will then mostly stay in the Atlantic:



However, that median white line will not just stop there.  Puerto Rico has a population of 3.4 million, has been in a recession for the past decade, experienced its first Category 4 hurricane in 85 years and at this writing had no power.

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