A disconcerting quake prediction

March 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

I really dislike the prediction made in this news report. Watch the video, and I predict you’ll dislike it, too. Sure, I suppose it’s possible this guy is a quack or someone trying to manipulate something for some kind of gain, but I doubt it. He acts and sounds legit, and his track-record of accurately predicting earlier quakes, such as the San Francisco temblor in 1989, is unsettling. All the recent animal, bird, and fish mass die-offs have been perplexing. I’d hate to think that his explanation for why they have been happening might be true. Anyway, I guess we’ll know, one way or the other, in the next few days or weeks. Like Cavuto said, “I hope he’s wrong.”

Why do virtually no animals die in tsunamis?

March 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

I was born and raised in Southern California, a place where earthquakes are common. And for as long as I can remember, people have sworn by the belief that animals can sense a quake coming before human beings can feel them. This theory rings true with me, in part because, just prior to some of the earthquakes I’ve been in, I’ve witnessed dogs become agitated and start barking nervously. My guess is that dogs, like most other animals, can hear and feel minute vibrations we humans can’t detect. So they instinctively sense that something bad is about to happen. This, of course, is the time-tested theory behind having a “canary in a coal mine” (which happens to be a good song by The Police, by the way). The following videos explore this theory and can help us understand why virtually no animals died in the South East Asian tsunami of 2004 or in the recent Japan tsunami. What do you think of this?

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Do you know why high-fructose corn syrup is bad for you?

March 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Here’s an explanation that might cause you to pause before you reach for that can of diet soda or granola bar or practically anything else on the shelves at your local grocery!

For many years, Dr. Meira Fields and her coworkers at the US Department of Agriculture investigated the harmful effects of dietary sugar on rats. They discovered that when male rats are fed a diet deficient in copper, with sucrose as the carbohydrate, they develop severe pathologies of vital organs.

Liver, heart and testes exhibit extreme swelling, while the pancreas atrophies, invariably leading to death of the rats before maturity.Sucrose is a disaccharide composed of 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose. Dr. Fields repeated her experiments to determine whether it was the glucose or fructose moiety that caused the harmful effects. Starch breaks down into glucose when digested.

“On a copper-deficient diet, the male rats showed some signs of copper deficiency, but not the gross abnormalities of vital organs that occur in rats on the sucrose diet. When the rats were fed fructose, the fatal organ abnormalities occured.

Lysl oxidase is a copper-dependent enzyme that participates in the formation of collagen and elastin. Fructose seems to interfere with copper metabolism to such an extent that collagen and elastin cannot form in growing animals–hence the hypertrophy of the heart and liver in young males. The females did not develop these abnormalities, but they resorbed their litters.

These experiements should give us pause when we consider the great increase in the use of high fructose corn syrup during the past 30 years, particularly in soft drinks, fruit juices and other beverages aimed at growing children, children increasingly likely to be copper deficient as modern parents no longer serve liver to their families. (Liver is by far the best source of copper in human diets.)

“The bodies of the children I see today are mush,” observed a concerned chiropractor recently. The culprit is the modern diet, high in fructose and low in copper-containing foods, resulting in inadequate formation of elastin and collagen–the sinews that hold the body together.


Until the 1970s most of the sugar we ate came from sucrose derived from sugar beets or sugar cane.  Then sugar from corn–corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, dextrine and especially high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)–began to gain popularity as a sweetener because it was much less expensive to produce. High fructose corn syrup can be manipulated to contain equal amounts of fructose and glucose, or up to 80 percent fructose and 20 percent glucose.

Thus, with almost twice the fructose, HFCS delivers a double danger compared to sugar.(With regards to fruit, the ratio is usually 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose, but most commercial fruit juices have HFCS added. Fruit contains fiber which slows down the metabolism of fructose and other sugars, but the fructose in HFCS is absorbed very quickly.) In 1980 the average person ate 39 pounds of fructose and 84 pounds of sucrose.

In 1994 the average person ate 66 pounds of sucrose and 83 pounds of fructose, providing 19 percent of total caloric energy. Today approximately 25 percent of our average caloric intake comes from sugars, with the larger fraction as fructose. High fructose corn syrup is extremely soluble and mixes well in many foods. It is cheap to produce, sweet and easy to store. It’s used in everything from bread to pasta sauces to bacon to beer as well as in “health products” like protein bars and “natural” sodas. . . . (continue reading)

Is this your brain on Facebook?

March 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Well, I never!

Just saw a tweet that claimed: “After the age of 35, people start losing 7,000 brain cells a day. That number is tripled if they have a Facebook account.”

Could be true. Not sure. All I know is, at 50, some days it feels as if  my personal cellular attrition rate is at least 21,000 a day.

The Dark Night
of the Soul

March 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Books, Products

By: St. John of the Cross

In Dark Night of the Soul, Saint John of the Cross presents for us a portrait painted from his own experience of one who advances successfully through the struggles of the spiritual life. The dark night that St John describes is not abandonment by God but special consideration from Him for those who desire to purify and perfect their souls.

With a soul purified from earthly attachments, we can advance through the much quoted but oft misunderstood dark night of the souls into unity with God. By accepting the desolation and difficulty of this process, the soul cooperates with God and opens itself to receiving and revealing more perfectly God s glory.

Be not afraid! Dark Night of the Soul, though austere and exacting in its instructions for holy living, is laced with St John s charity and kindness, his love of all things beautiful and sacred- including you.

About the Author:

Born in 1542 in what is now Spain, St John of the Cross entered the Carmelites in 1563 and received Holy Orders four years later. Soon after they met, St Teresa of Avila enlisted him in her efforts to purify the Carmelite Order. When the strict observances of St John s Disclaced (literally shoeless ) Carmelites sparked widespread reform, some disgruntled monks captured, imprisoned, and tortured him. During those nine months and beyond, St John of the Cross endured a dark night of the soul . This and other contemplative experiences inspired his mystical theology and thereby earned him the title Doctor of the Church .

The Mysteries
of Mary

March 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Books, Products

Growing in Faith, Hope and Love with the Mother of God

By: Rev. Fr. Marie Dominique Philippe, O.P.

The Mysteries of Mary shows how the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary is perfectly and intimately identified with that of her Son. It is both a reflection on the most profound moments in Mary s earthly life, from the Immaculate Conception to Cana to Pentecost, and a systematic approach to the doctrine of Mary s spiritual maternity. Mary is the mother of all the faithful because she educates us as a mother, showing us through her example, her life, how we must live the mysteries of faith, hope, and the growth of charity.

The early mysteries of Mary s life show us unswerving faith as Mary s soul and flesh are prepared to receive Jesus in the Nativity of the Lord. Through trial, charity is rooted and grows in Mary s heart, until finally that heart is pierced in the mysteries of sorrow. At last, the hope for the resurrected Lord blossoms in glory. Having endured with her Son the agonies of Calvary, Mary most immediately and fully experiences His return to life indeed, from the first beat of His glorious heart. The mysteries of Mary s life are signs that truly point us to the saving grace of Jesus. Highly recommended to anyone who wishes to imitate Mary through growth in the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity.

About the Author:

Father Marie-Dominique Philippe, O.P., was born in 1912 at Cysoing, in Northern France and entered the Order of Preachers in 1930. He studied theology and philosophy at the Dominican house of studies of Le Saulchoir and at Paris, and was ordained a priest in 1936. He taught philosophy at the Pontifical University of Fribourg, Switzerland, from 1945 to 1982. From 1982 until two months before his death on August 26, 2006, he continued teaching philosophy and theology at the houses of studies of the Congregation of Saint John in France. His published works include studies of Aristotle, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and Mystical Theology.

Dramatic before-and-after images of the Japan tsunami devastation

March 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

This morning, I came across these astonishing before-and-after images of the desolation left in the wake of the Friday’s annihilating tsunami in Japan. Trust me. You’ll want to see these.

In the days since the mega-quake struck, the world has in horrified fascination watched the videos of the 9.0 catastrophe. What the earthquake did not destroy, the resulting tsunami certainly did. And what’s left that the tsunami did not destroy, the melting-down Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor very well could, should things continue to deteriorate there.

Let’s not forget that what happened in Japan could, may God forbid it, easily happen along America’s West Coast, or in the New Madrid quake zone, or for that matter, anywhere along any coastline here. The tsunami destroyed a relatively rural and comparatively sparsely populated area of Japan (compared, say, to population centers such as Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, or Hiroshima). Just imagine what that same tsunami would do if it hit with the same force, say, Long Beach or Santa Monica, California. The problem is, if a tsunami ever does hit the California coast, it won’t take out isolated areas. It would devastate hundreds of miles of coastal cities, from San Diego to San Francisco.

Is today’s Japan quake a harbinger of worse to come?

March 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Like the rest of world, I am horrified by the the damage and death being reported in Japan after today’s mega-quake which devastated the central island of Honshu. And I join countless others around the world who are praying for the Japanese people in an especially fervent way. Who knows what will happen next? Hopefully, the worst is behind them, but it’s quite possible that more quakes will rock Japan and other seismically active areas of the earth, including likely areas in the U.S. such as California and the St. Louis/New Madrid quake zone, etc. The Lord’s words, “Watch and pray,” are reverberating in my mind right now.

Watch this video and, if you think it has merit, plan accordingly. Personally, I find the information presented here (2 days ago!) to be very thought provoking, to say the least. Do let me know what you think, whether positive, negative, or indifferent.  

Lastly, this Bible verse seems particularly appropriate for today’s meditation:

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?”  And Jesus answered them, “Take heed that no one leads you astray.  For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs. (Matt. 24:3-8)

So, a Somali and an American are in a parking garage…

March 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

I was in Minneapolis yesterday morning. When I returned my rental car at the MSP airport parking garage, a pleasant black man in his late 20s or early 30s (or so he looked) took care of processing the car for me. He seemed genuinely pleased when I asked him if he was from Somalia. My guess is that he was also probably surprised to meet an American who could tell. Anyway, we chatted for about 5 minutes about this and that, including about how many Somalis are coming to the U.S. He must have been able to tell from my accent, because he asked if I was from California.

“Yes,” I said, “though now I live in Columbus, Ohio.” I mentioned that Columbus has a large Somali population. He agreed, but added that the single largest population concentration of Somalis outside Somalia is in Minneapolis. He expressed great dismay over the violence and chaos reigning back home in Somalia.

I asked how often he gets to go back home for a visit.

“Never,” he said. “If I go back there right now,” he told me matter-of-factly, “the tribe in power there would kill me immediately.”

“What? Why?” I asked.

“Because my tribe ran the old government. The new people kill all of us if they can.”

He seemed to be a genuinely friendly guy, and his English was reasonably good — which indicated to me that he was making every effort to learn the language and, guessing from his jocularity, engage with Americans.

Normally, when I’m dropping off a rental car somewhere, there’s not much in the way of a conversation beyond, “How’s it going?” and “Thanks for your help.” But this young man was an affable exception.

As I turned to walk away, I smiled and said, “God bless you!” I quickly checked my sports jacket pockets for one of the Divine Mercy holy cards I try to carry around with me. But wouldn’t you know it, at that particular moment, I didn’t have one. I was praying for him, though, as I walked into the terminal.

Explaining “New Media” Through Venn Diagrams

March 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

You may remember an earlier blog post I made called “Social Commentary Through Pie Charts and Venn Diagrams.” Well, here’s another one that caught my eye today, courtesy of those comedic geniuses at Despair.com. Even as someone who uses Twitter and Facebook (is MySpace even around anymore?), I have to admit that this diagram does get uncomfortably close to capturing the essence of what New Media platforms can become for those who become slaves to them.

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