Interesting islands and national responsibilities

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Besides its continental responsibilities as part of Europe, the nation of France provides legal and social leadership to some interesting islands:

Comoros – population 808,080
French Polynesia – population 287,881
Guadeloupe – population 402,119
Haiti – population 10,646,174 (well, half of an island, making it more interesting)
Madagascar – population 25,054,161
Martinique – population 385,551
Mayotte – population 256,818
New Caledonia – population 279,070
Reunion – population 965,826
Saint Barthelemy – population 9,279
Saint Martin – population 36,286
Saint Pierre and Miquelon – population 6,080
Seychelles – population 93,290
Vanuatu – population 282,814
Wallis and Futuna – 11,899

Total: almost 40 million people and likely more than 1.5 million with disabilities of interest to Silver Wolf Wushu. However, the genetics of islands are of great interest to population biologists. We would certainly encourage DNA surveys of the various populations.

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Nerves of Steel

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In military weddings world-wide there is a traditional of the groom and bride walking through an arch of swords. Because the wedding ceremony is a religious one, many military chapels and civilian churches prefer that the arch take place outside the chapel, after the service. But in the US and UK the couple may choose to have uniformed ushers — without their weapons — line the aisle during the bride’s processional. For the sword or saber arch, six or eight service members line up in pairs on the chapel steps or along the walk. The bride and groom walk under the arch as they leave the chapel. Whether it’s a sword or a saber arch depends on the branch of service. In the US armed services Army and Air Force members carry sabers while Marine Corps (below left) and Navy (below right in dress whites)  members carry swords.

We’d like to have honored guests pass through such an arch with students each holding double blades aloft. As can be seen – or, more precisely, cannot be seen – in the US Navy image the swords are tough to photograph. Whoever photographed the US Marines took good advantage of the dark trees in the background. We would inclined to use sabers for visual purposes. There are at least three problems: (1) sabers are somewhat heavier than swords and (2) students would be holding TWO sabers and (3) we’d like to use 16 students (= a full class).  Part of the challenge is getting everyone, including the guest, into the boundaries of the photograph without losing focus on the guest and the saber-bearers furthest from the camera.

It appears to us that the US Marines are lined up centerline to centerline and the swords are held with the right wrist over the centerline at eye-level. On the US Navy photograph it appears that the two lines of sword-bearers are offset so that everyone holds the sword aligned with the right shoulder and the wrist above the level of the top of the head – the offset of the footing allows swords to be co-linear. We would likely use the US Marine spacing and the US Navy arm positions. We would likely NOT have as much space between sword-bearers. Some thought will have to be given to the horizontal distance between the two lines and whether it should be kept constant. There is also a vertical perspective to consider – should shorter students be closer to the camera.

 

Celery allergy

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I asked G3 (= the Genial Geneticists Grapevine) if a genetic cause for peanut allergies had been discovered. A Slovak-Hungarian geneticist working in Prague mentioned that in central and eastern Europe (and, to a lesser extent, in western Europe) peanut consumption was not very common, but that there was a comparable incidence of celery allergies. Complicated creatures that we are, there are various sub-types involving allergic reactions to leaves, stalks, oil, seeds and roots as well as whether the celery was cooked or not. Apparently, work is underway to look for genes. There are cross-allergies involving various members of the Apiaceae family (more than 3700 species and more than 400 genera) which includes celery, carrots, parsley and parsnips as well as ajwain, angelica, anise, asafoetida, caraway,  chervil, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, hemlock, lovage, cow parsley and sea holly. There are also cross-allergies reported with birch, wormwood, mugwort, ragweed and latex.

Video from Vacaville

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https://www.yahoo.com/news/vacaville-school-bus-driver-faces-015057415.html

http://abc7news.com/vacaville-bus-driver-accused-of-abusing-8-year-old-with-autism/3457432/

A few points:

  1. Realistically, EVERY bus transporting special needs students needs to have an aide on board.
  2. We have often asked audiences who the most important person in the daily life of a special needs child is. The answer we always suggest is the bus driver on grounds that if the bus ride is bad the day usually will be a disaster.
  3. In this case the problems are (a) no aide on-board (b) a driver who clearly went off the rails and (c) the aide who did approach the bus should have intervened.
  4. Even when the people all function well there are mechanical failures, traffic, medical emergencies …
  5. Then there’s the problem that the students might be actively reluctant to get on the bus in the future.
  6. There’s a bit of an inability to scale at issue here: if the student is 6’5″ and 275 pounds I doubt trying to take away the backpack would end well.
  7. The comment I wrote was “There are already over 200 genes (24,000 protein coding genes) in almost 100 named syndromes on all 23 chromosomes implicated in autism spectrum disabilities so we’re not persuaded even autism spectrum is a very useful term. That said, by some standards one could say Gates, Mozart and Newton had autism spectrum disabilities. Germany isolated and killed special needs individuals at Hadamar, Spiegelgrund and other T4 facilities – that was not a bright moment in human history. On a much smaller scale, neither was this incident.”
  8. The question to answered by a school bus driver, a school district or a society is ‘do you have currency, compassion and courage to deal with the weakest members of your cultural group – the old, the very young, the poor, and in this case, the disabled’?

 

New Zealand

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zeal = great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective

Two officials in New Zealand asked for more information so I did what we used to call a full national checkout: economics, epidemiology, linguistics, earthquakes, volcanoes, education and abiding deeds

http://www.silverwolfwushu.com/NewZealand00.html

 

 

The Point of Balance

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A new collection of web-pages is available in the Presentations section

on the Silver Wolf Wushu website at

http://www.silverwolfwushu.com/PointOfBalance01.html

The point of balance for a weapon is not quite the precise centroid but rather a line which separates the masses of the weapon into two equal portions. Usually this is realized physically as where the balance will balance on an extended finger. When measuring this location on a series of long weapons it can get pretty tiring for the forefinger. Because of lighting effects and camera placement the photos were all shot using the forefinger of the right hand as the fulcrum. However, there was a fair amount of estimating using the forefinger left hand prior to each shot. Most of the students like to practice balancing (separately) with each hand.

As everyone likely knows, there is a great deal of effort in Tai Chi Chuan sets to balance qi across meridians. WujI sitting meditation and WuJi standing meditation both have as one of their goals to train the mind and the body to sense when everything is balanced. This has the practical or tactical consequence of training one to rapidly re-balance and then being able to discharge. One might think of this a a repeated equilibrium-absorb-equilibrium-discharge cycle. One might think of Yi Quan as polishing the balance in multiple poses so that one could move into or out of a number of different configurations.

May 2 – a trip to Santa Clara

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After a brisk one mile hike in a suit jacket and tie I took a 6:36 AM BART train southwest. I changed trains at MacAthur at 7:10 and arrived at Fremont BART about 8:00 AM just in time for a VAT 180 bus. The bus arrived at the Great Mall in Milpitas around 8:30. For fans of history, the Great Mall used to be a Ford Motor Company assembly plant, and after conversion to retail shopping spaces it was the largest mall in California for some years. I am not altogether sure what will happen to the mall when the Milpitas BART station opens in November 2018. I rode an Alum Rock light rail to the Tasman station and transferred to a Mountain View light rail. That trolley dropped me off near the 49ers stadium and also, more importantly, across the street from my destination, the Santa Clara convention center (shown below).  I was attending the third annual Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs’ Festival (www.svef.biz).

Santa_Clara_convention_center

I was especially interested in an afternoon track discussing next generation genetic sequencing. The state of that art is one sequences a person’s DNA as well as the DNA of a tumor and then uses a neo-antigen to target that tumor. The idea is to be less destructive of normal cells than chemotherapy and radiation. A second objective is to discover biomarkers that indicate tumor formation as soon as possible.

 

The Passing of Grandmaster Wing Lam

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Best I ever saw – bar none.

He recorded staggering numbers of Hung Gar (40) and Shaolin (also 40) sets as well as Chin Na  (6), Tai Chi (Sun and Yang styles, 9 total), Xing Yi (5) and Bagua (3). He was very dissatisfied with the weapons available way back in the 1970s, so he became quite a proficient weaponsmith for which two generations of customers have been grateful. For the moment, his martial arts supply company, http://www.wle.com, is still running.

I doubt we will see his like again.

Lilies that fester

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from The Journal of Molecular Autism

https://molecularautism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13229-018-0208-6

There are two problems: (1) the two genes – NLGN3 and NLGN4X – specifically identified with two versions of X-linked Asperger’s syndrome are also identified with the so-called x-linked autism. (2) Dr. Asperger served in the Wehrmacht in Croatia toward the end of WWII. I find that, after having rather tediously read through a large amount of his writings in both English and German during the period 1938 to 1943, there is no (zero) evidence that he opposed Germanic policies of eugenics and euthanasia, especially of handicapped children. In fact, while he was not (in print) a rabid Nazi, his publications and actions of the period were vetted favorably.  Working with T4, Spiegelgrund and Erwin Jekelius to kill thousands of disabled children ought to disqualify anyone from recognition. So we are removing Asperger’s as a category, stripping its syndromes and moving the genes to autism categories. It is pretty easy being brave from 6000 miles and 80 years away.