Tree or grass allergies

Fingers holding tiny flowers with red stems

Ash tree flowers


Spring, summer, and fall are all allergy season for some unfortunate people who are allergic to pollen. In spring, it’s early-flowering, wind-pollinated trees. They release large amounts of pollen in hopes that a few grains will find their way to a waiting flower. Because they don’t need to attract insects, they are small and inconspicuous. In summer, the grasses take over — and people can be allergic to both grass and trees. In fall, it’s the weeds such as ragweed. Perhaps due to global warming, the ragweed season has lengthened by almost a month in Canada.

You can read about pollen allergies here.

Weather Network gallery

It’s always good to remember that weather is both heartless and beautiful, to watch out for its vagaries and to enjoy its beauty. The Weather Network Gallery is a good place to browse through hundreds of beautiful images in several categories: scenes of the season, active weather, beautiful weather, animals, gardening, outdoor activities, and travel.


Where would we be without axial tilt?

The world would be a more boring place: we’d have no seasons, no spring and summer, no dead of winter, no dog days of summer, and no Yule celebrations.


White supremacists in U.S. police forces

A little-noted FBI report documented the infiltration of U.S. police forces by organized racists in white supremacist organizations.

Greeting cards for the holidays

Consider ordering some  of these beautiful cards. They are blank inside, so you can craft your own message to each recipient.

Card shows a christmas bulb that looks like the Earth seen from space



The 1918 Flu Pandemic

The influenza pandemic of 1918-19 killed more people than the Great War. Its cause was unknown at the time, but we now know it to be an H1N1 strain of the virus.

Here’s a brief history: The Flu Pandemic.

Sympathy for the devil

A man that convinced many others that he could use magic to bring a lottery win has been sentenced to a long term in prison.

The Toronto Star devotes a few thousand words to this story, but I’ll confess I have very little sympathy for the victims. The one most prominently mentioned in the story had 105,000 CAD in free cash to spend on this jaw-droppingly stupid scam. The devil (for whom I’m not really sympathetic either; he deliberately fooled gullible people, preying on their mental weakness—evil) was not Bernie Madoff, preying on friendships and moving money around in a Ponzi scheme; this scam was transparently fake from the first words.

Particularly interesting (to me) is how the writer of the Star article somehow treats the victims’ idiocy as a non-issue.

Rand Paul and mandatory vaccination

Rand Paul vaccinatedRand Paul, whatever his other flaws and virtues, is a physician, so his comments on vaccination on Monday caused considerable eyebrow-raising, and accusations, muted or not, of either pandering to the tinfoil brigade or of his not being a very good physician.

Will Wilkinson at The Economist parses Dr Paul’s comments, and gives a cogent (IMO) “liberaltarian” defence of (virtually) mandatory vaccination.

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