Professor’s Classroom

Monday again…this quiz is for those that are interested in the American Civil War…..enjoy!

Learn Stuff!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

In Saner Thought

Yet another Monday and another test! A good dose of mental masturbation is good for the soul.

OK class this week’s question is about the Civil War.

Who was the last Southern general to surrender? Date and location of surrender?

Good luck and may the farce be with you!

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Greco-Turkic Drama

Is it possible that we have bitched and moaned about our endless wars that we may have missed another eruption that could very well draw the US into the fray?

I warned about this possibility about one year ago……

And the sad thing is it looks like after some success in the peace talks it has all gone to shit…..armed conflict looms large….

Greece and Turkey have come closer to armed conflict after Turkey’s surprise delineation of an Exclusive Economic Zone with Libya, experts tell Al Jazeera.

The agreement, signed on November 27 and unveiled on Thursday, maps out a corridor of water stretching across the eastern Mediterranean between the coasts of Turkey and Libya, cutting across a swath that is also claimed by EU member Greece.

EEZs allow countries exclusive rights to exploit natural resources including mineral wealth.

Turkish energy minister Fatih Donmez has announced that, once the agreement is ratified by both sides, Turkish drillships will begin to search there for oil and gas.

Although the Hellenic Navy neither confirms nor denies it, two experts tell Al Jazeera that Greece has dispatched naval forces to the disputed area southeast of Crete.

This bears watching basically because of the closeness of Erdogan and Trump….they seem to admire and support each other with some minor differences….but nothing major that I can see.

Will the US accept a war between the two nations?

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Letters From Baghdad

A IST film review

I am, as my regular visitors know, a Middle East student for I am always reading, researching and writing about the situations and events and history of the region.

I do not usually do a review for most people would find the subjects I watch a bit tedious and boring……but from time to time I watch something that I think might interest my readers….

“Letters From Baghdad” is one of those films… is a documentary about a wonderful person in the history of the Middle East, Gertrude Bell…..narrated by Tilda Swinton…..her life, her thoughts and her place in Middle East history.

In British diplomatic group photographs of the early 20th-century Middle East, amid the plumes and uniforms and the calm paraphernalia of an empire going to hell in a bucket, there is often a solitary female. The woman is slim, with a head of luxuriant hair, and neatly dressed in billowing muslins or in the pencil silhouette and cloche hats of jazz-age Baghdad.

The woman is Gertrude Bell, who is as responsible as anybody for the rickety national state first known as Mesopotamia, and now as Iraq. As a powerful official of the British administration in Baghdad after the first world war, Bell ensured that an Arab state was founded from the three Ottoman provinces of Mosul, Baghdad and Basra, but one which was too weak to be independent of Britain. “I had a well-spent morning at the office making out the southern desert frontier of the Iraq,” she wrote to her father on December 4 1921.

Anyone that likes history and strong women in history should watch this movie…..

And you do not have to order the movie and wait for it to appear…..

The Old Professor has found a way to watch it immediately…….

Please enjoy and I would like to hear what you think of the person as well as the documentary.

Yep, this is a sneaky way of injecting some history into your weekend…..

Plus a wide screen adaptation of the book about Gertrude Bell, “Queen of the Desert” has been released….I have not watched it yet but I would like to include a trailer for the film starring Nicole Kidman….

Her book of letters are the basis of the movie “Letters From Baghdad”….it is fascinating reading about her life and her love of Iraq and the desert…..

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Sunday’s Random Thoughts

As usual I have more notes than posts so I share some of them with my readers as “Random Thoughts”….

For the last few years there has been the rumblings from the Far East about the engineering of babies….and the possible side effects….

Looks like a highly controversial attempt to create HIV-immune babies didn’t work out and may have even gone wrong, the Guardian reports. This according to an MIT Technology Review report on the work of Chinese scientist He Jiankui, who sparked outcry with his plan to edit the embryonic genes of twins in 2018. Releasing parts of his manuscript for the first time, the report dismisses Jiankui’s claim of “success” and says he may have created unintended genetic mutations. Jiankui “makes little attempt to prove that the twins really are resistant to the virus,” writes Antonio Regalado, the Review‘s senior editor for biomedicine. “And the text largely ignores data elsewhere in the paper suggesting that the editing went wrong.”

Using the gene editing tool Crispr, Jiankui singled out the gene CCR5—a mutation of which can create HIV immunity—but it’s unclear whether he replicated the “Delta 32” variation needed for immunity or perhaps created unintended changes. The report also criticizes Jiankui for leaving out the names of doctors involved, possibly tricking them into doing the work, not saying who funded it, and falsely claiming that embryo editing will help millions of people. Another concern: The twins’ HIV-positive father might have joined the research simply to get a fertility treatment in a country where the virus still carries a major social stigma, per the Telegraph. All told, not a ringing endorsement.

I think this should be outlawed…..think Khan.

How about that organism that can eat meteorites?

A microbial descendant of some of Earth’s earliest life can not only survive by eating meteorites, but also seemingly thrive on the space rocks — a finding that could help us detect signs of past life throughout the universe.

Humans and all other animals need to eat organic matter to survive. The single-celled organism Metallosphaera sedula (M. sedula), however, can produce its energy by eating non-living things, such as metals — which allows it to thrive in some of the most hostile conditions on Earth, including inside volcanoes.

Those vegan diets are all the rage these days…..for me I will eat my meat and let those sup on bean burgers…..but a report from a vegan after eating meat has surfaced….

A formerly vegan influencer revealed to her fans that she spent 30 days eating nothing but meat and animal products. She also revealed that the new diet had some surprisingly positive effects on her health.

Alyse Parker, who has over 200K Instagram followers and over 700K Youtube subscribers, explained her decision on Instagram. In a post, she revealed that she decided to try the Carnivore Diet after hearing about all of the health benefits from friends who switched from being vegan to eating only meat and animal products.

Parker explained, “I had my own fair share of health struggles and eventually reached a breaking point where I was willing to try anything to function properly again.”

A new study shows the more cursing you do the more authentic you are as a person…..

The next time someone tells you to watch your language, feel free to tell them to fuck off.

Sure, swearing is considered poor form in certain settings—like courts, classrooms, and most offices. But people who do it may be more trustworthy, according to a new three-part study analyzing swearing and straightforwardness in individuals and society.

“The consistent findings across the studies suggest that the positive relation between profanity and honesty is robust, and that the relationship found at the individual level indeed translates to the society level,” concludes the final paper, set to be published in the journal of Psychological and Personality Science this year.

DAMN!  I must be one of those authentic people…you bet your ass I am.

How is that for random on this Sunday?

MoMo is tired of waiting….time to venture out into that cruel cruel world……

“Lego Ergo Scribo”


I have been composting for years….it makes a great garden….but this composting post is something a little different.

I recall many years ago when I was asked where did I want to be buried when I pass along……I told the person that for all I cared they could run my body through a wood chipper and spread my remains on a wheat field and then name a loaf of bread after me.

I was joking back in those days….but I have been reading about a new “service” for the deceased…..composting.

The world’s first funerary human composting facility is slated to open in the spring of 2021 after Washington State lawmakers legalized the posthumous process earlier this year. Seattle-based company Recompose will be the first to offer “natural organic reduction,” a process that owner Katrina Spade says gently converts human remains – bones, teeth, and all – into organic soil.

“The transformation of human to soil happens inside our reusable, hexagonal Recomposition Vessels. When the process has finished, families will be able to take home some of the soil created, while gardens on-site will remind us that all of life is interconnected,” writes Recompose on its website.

The new-age funeral home celebrated the opening of its first location in a 1,720-square-meter (18,500-square-foot) building last month after legislators changed state law regarding after-death services, making Washington State the first to allow human composting, reported The Seattle Times. SB 5001 “Concerning human remains” was signed into law in May, recognizing “natural organic reduction” as an acceptable means of the disposition of bodies. The law is set to go into effect on May 1 of next year.

This process costs about the same as a cremation but less than the fancy funerals…..

It is something that I would consider as I grow older and older…..I want to leave a little something behind for my wife and my daughter and her family…..

My Saturday is a bit warmer so pruning is in order….MoMo will have to help and will make the process take longer than it should…..but I am use to it by now.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

2019–The Best Quotes Of The Year

As this year creeps towards its end and my weekend begins…….and of course award shows almost every weekend night….I give my readers the quotes of 2019 that will become part of history.

Activist Greta Thunberg and actress Emma Watson have two of the 10 most notable quotes of 2019, according to a librarian at Yale Law School. But it’s the line at the center of the impeachment inquiry—”I would like you to do us a favor, though”—from President Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that’s at the top of the heap assembled by Fred Shapiro in the annual update to The Yale Book of Quotations. The other new additions, meant to reveal the spirit of the times, per the AP:

  • We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!” — Greta Thunberg in her Sept. 23 speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York.
  • “When we’re dancing with the angels, the question will be asked: ‘In 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact? Did we stand on the sidelines and say nothing?'” — Rep. Elijah Cummings, in his closing statement at Michael Cohen’s Feb. 27 hearing before the House Oversight Committee.
  • “I would rather be dead in a ditch [than ask the European Union for a delay in Brexit].” — UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, speaking Sept. 5.
  • “The Prime Minister’s advice to Her Majesty was unlawful, void, and of no effect.” — Supreme Court of the UK President Brenda Hale, ruling on Sept. 24 that Parliament was never legally suspended.
  • “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” — Special counsel Robert Mueller, speaking May 29 at the Department of Justice.
  • “I have a plan for that.” — Sen. Elizabeth Warren, remarks at She the People forum in Houston on April 24.
  • “Poor kids are just as bright, just as talented, as white kids.” — Presidential candidate Joe Biden, remarks to Asian and Latino Coalition, Des Moines, Iowa, on Aug. 8.
  • “I’m very happy [being single]. I call it being self-partnered.” — Emma Watson to British Vogue‘s December issue.
  • “I love you 3000.” — actress Alexandra Rabe in Avengers: Endgame.

I am sure that there are others but these stick in my mind the best.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

US Troop Deployment

Closing Thought–13Dec19

The US has troops all over the globe…..from Far East to Iceland……I a era when we no longer need to worry about the USSR and Russia has a friend in the White House why do we need a massive troop deployment for Europe?

I understand why we needed the massive amount of troops in Europe to thwart a Soviet attack…..but why these days?

The US is sending massive amount of troops to Europe in 2020….

In 2020, the US Army will be carrying out its biggest deployment in 25 years into Europe. The deployment will send 20,000 US troops, and 13,000 pieces of equipment across Europe for wargames beginning in May and running through June

US Gen. Christopher Cavoli would not define the operation as aimed at Russia, but did tie it to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, saying it “changed everything.” The large deployment will be difficult.

That’s because as with most recent operations, the US will be sending forces largely into former Warsaw Pact countries, and those countries have railroads incompatible with Western Europe. Moreover, the bridges in those countries were built without envisioning having to support the heaviest of US tanks.

According to Gen. Cavoli, the large deployment of US troops is meant to “demonstrate the US military’s ability to quickly deploy a large force.” This comes amid constantly escalating rhetoric against Russia.


I would like someone in the government to walk out to the cameras and ask why……

Why does this world need that many more US troops to hold the line (so to speak)?

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”