Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for September 2006

4,000 works of literature on CD-ROM

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Nodtronics publishes it:

An interactive CD ROM which contains over 4000 complete works by great authors from all over the world including Australia. There are novels, plays, poetry, short stories, sacred texts, essays, the complete King James Bible plus much more.

Also, there are many different screen options such as browsing, increasing screen font size, adding bookmarks, copying and pasting sections of text to your notepad, saving previously read books, printing sections of text or complete novels, and a very powerful search engine. Searching by author, category, or keyword makes Over 4000 Works of Literature a fast and valuable reference guide, or an easy way to enjoy the world’s most loved classics for the cost of one paperback!

Categories include:
Adventure, Australia, Children, Drama, Epic, Fantasy, History, Mystery, Poetry, Religion and Philosophy, Science & Terror

This would seem particularly useful for English teachers. See the link for a partial list of works/authors. Works with Windows or Mac. Buy it here for $9.95 (Australian).

Written by LeisureGuy

30 September 2006 at 9:45 pm

Posted in Books, Education, Software

Live Bookmarks little by little

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I didn’t really mean to expose my entire learning process, but:

The Live Bookmarks facility is great, but it turns out that it’s even greater if you install the extension LiveClick, which more or less completes the capabilities. With LiveClick, with one click you can go to a recent post or to the home page, and you can decide what to do with the posts you’ve read (e.g., have them grayed out, or simply not shown).

More on LiveClick here.

After you install it, highlight it (Tools, Extensions) and click “Options” to set it up exactly the way—uh huh, uh huh—you like it.

UPDATE: On the whole, Google Reader is better and more convenient. Just saying.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 September 2006 at 8:30 pm

Posted in Firefox, Software

Belated cat-blogging: Riley explores

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Riley

Here’s Riley shortly after he arrived. He’s busily exploring his new home—and behind the refrigerator seemed like a good place to know.

I received a complaint about the paucity of cat blogging, so today here’s this, and I have moved the camera to a more accessible position. Megs will be next up, I promise—unless I get the photo from The Wife of Sophie resting on a table with her head propped on a tripod next to the table, which she assumed was a headrest.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 September 2006 at 1:42 pm

Posted in Cats, Riley

The GOP’s Monica Lewinsky scandal?

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The Wife points out that the GOP seems unmoved (and unaffected) by massive corruption, by lies that take us into war, by attempts to destroy the Consitution, but they are peculiarly sensitive to sexual scandal—even run-of-the-mill sexual peccadilloes like the Clinton-Lewinsky naughtiness. So, surely, they must want to tear the house apart on this Rep Foley thing:

… By Friday, other pages had come forward with more blatant instant messages. “What ya wearing?” Mr. Foley wrote to one, according to the network. “Tshirt and shorts,” the teenager responded. “Love to slip them off of you,” Mr. Foley replied.

ABC News said it had read him other messages that were far more graphic. Within hours, Mr. Foley resigned in a one-sentence letter to Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida. He left the Capitol without answering questions.

And the story continually changes about who knew what when. Brad DeLong points out: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

30 September 2006 at 1:37 pm

Posted in GOP, Media

Embarrassing confessions (re: Firefox)

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Okay, sometimes I just drift along, using tools without understanding all that they can do. (I hate to tell you how long I used Word before I found out about tables—my God! they’re useful. How could I… )

Well, with the discovery of the Live Bookmark, I started to fool around with managing my bookmarks (click Bookmarks, then Manage Bookmarks). Oh, my. I use the Bookmarks Toolbar a lot, so I have all sorts of bookmarks there. In fact, I’ve deleted the names so I could crowd more into the toolbar—I know them by the little icon or (for those who lack an icon) by position. And even then, the BookMarks Toolbar has a dropdown…

So I started playing with it, and I discovered (of course—but wait for it) … folders! Yes, on the toolbar. Somehow I didn’t realize… Anyway, my toolbar now has neat little folders, with the bookmarks arranged within the folders. The folders are very well behaved: you click the folder, and the icons are displayed vertically (and now I’m going to have to add the names back again—or delete and re-add them so they bring their name along again), and they remain there so that you can pick the one you want.

:sigh: So soon old, so late smart…

UPDATE: Still learning: take a look at this Bookmarks tutorial. It includes info on Live Bookmarks. Much better resource than the help system.

UPDATE 2: And, along with Live Bookmarks, you should install the LiveClick extension. Explanation at the link.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 September 2006 at 12:19 pm

RSS and Later On

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I don’t use an aggregator for RSS feeds myself—but perhaps I should start. I did discover, however, that you can get a feed from Later On (this blog) by using this address:

http://leisureguy.wordpress.com/feed/

So you who understand such things, give it a go and tell me in the comments whether it works.

UPDATE: Well, I’ll be dipped. I didn’t know that Firefox could do all this. While you’re looking at this post, look at the address location: the http://leisureguy.wordpress.com up in the location bar. At the right of the location bar you’ll see a little red square with a logo like transmissions from a dot. Click that, and you automatically get a folder that will contain the Later On updates as they occur. Here’s more info. My goodness. (For all you for which this is old hat, my apologies, but it’s a very new hat for me—and, I imagine, for some of my readers.)

UPDATE 2: Note that to fully exploit Live Bookmarks, you should install the LiveClick extension. Without LiveClick, the Live Bookmarks are only half there.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 September 2006 at 11:20 am

More on psilocybin

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Apparently research on psilocybin is underway, as reported in Science News:

The comfortably furnished room in a corner of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore seems an unlikely setting for spiritual transcendence. Yet one after another, volunteers last year entered the living room–like space, reclined on the couch, swallowed a pill, and opened themselves to a profound mystical journey lasting several hours. For many of them, the mundane certainty of being a skin-bounded person with an individual existence melted away. In its place arose a sense of merging with an ultimate reality where all things exist in a sacred, unified realm. Participants felt intense joy, peacefulness, and love during these experiences. At times, though, some became fearful, dreading unseen dangers.

The pills that enabled these mystical excursions contained psilocybin, the active ingredient in so-called magic mushrooms that some societies have used for centuries in religious ceremonies. Psilocybin boosts transmission of the brain chemical serotonin, much as LSD and some other hallucinogenic drugs do.

Johns Hopkins psychopharmacologist Roland R. Griffiths and his colleagues have taken psilocybin out of its traditional context and far from the black-light milieu of its hippie-era heyday. Griffiths’ team is investigating the drug’s reputed mind-expanding effects in a rigorous, scientific way with ordinary people.

In the group’s recent test, psilocybin frequently sparked temporary mystical makeovers in volunteers who didn’t know what kind of pill they were taking. What’s more, some of these participants reported long-lasting positive effects of their experiences.

Of course, the Feds have a more jaundiced view:

Not everyone finds Griffiths’ study enlightening, however. The new data simply confirm the longstanding knowledge that psychedelic substances disturb perception, cause disorientation, and sometimes instigate fear and paranoia, remarks David Murray, special assistant to the current director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Clinical benefits of psilocybin have yet to be demonstrated, he asserts.

“Psilocybin might grow hair on bald men—we just don’t know,” Murray says with a chuckle.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 September 2006 at 10:12 am

How to be a student

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Those of you who are or who have students will find this article of interest. It begins:

Introduction

The typical college campus is a friendly place; but it is also a competitive environment. The education you receive there, and the attitudes you develop, will guide you for the rest of your life. Your grades will be especially important in landing your first job, or when applying to graduate school. To be a successful student requires certain skills; but, these are skills that can be learned.

The Basics of Being a Student

  • Prioritize your life: Doing well in school should be your top priority.
  • Study: There is no substitute.
  • Always attend class.
  • Do all of the homework and assigned reading.
  • Develop self-discipline.
  • Manage your time.

Self-Discipline Made Easy

Human beings are creatures of habit. Therefore, form a habit of doing what you reason you should do. Is it not foolish for your behavior to contradict your own reasoning? And what could be more harmonious than finding yourself wanting to do what you know you should?Train yourself so there is an immediate reaction-mechanism within you:

You reason that you should do something, and thus you do it.

Other people who seem to have less difficulty with self-discipline probably have simply had more practice at it, thereby making it less difficult; because, practice is what it takes.

The rest of it at the link.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 September 2006 at 9:45 am

Posted in Daily life, Education

The tragedy of the commons and global warming

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I got to thinking more about the tragedy of the commons after commenting on the post about collaborative note-taking. In particular, as I posted the series on global warming, it struck me that the destruction of the planet’s climate is an example of the tragedy of the commons in operation: each company and each economy feels that its contribution to the destruction of the earth’s climate is just a fraction of what’s happening, and if it curbs its pollution and emissions of global warming gases, others will continue and prosper. So each company and each economy continues to destroy the climate and, moreover, fights attempts to control it.

Thus ExxonMobil does its best to confuse the issue so that no steps will be taken to fight global warming. Companies producing HFC134a (which has a thousand times the global warming effect as CO2) deny the evidence that HFC134a in the atmosphere is rapidly increasing: “Which are you going to believe, us or your stupid scientific instruments?”

Thus the planet’s climate may be irrevocably changed. Certainly our nation is not taking a leadership role in trying to reverse the effects and get control of the situation. We are just standing by, while a planet we’ve enjoyed for hundreds of thousands of years goes through a wrenching change that will do us great harm.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 September 2006 at 7:24 am

Trent Lott and racist thinking

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This is such a peculiar remark by Trent Lott:

“It’s hard for Americans, all of us, including me, to understand what’s wrong with these people,” he said. “Why do they kill people of other religions because of religion? Why do they hate the Israeli’s and despise their right to exist? Why do they hate each other? Why do Sunnis kill Shiites? How do they tell the difference? They all look the same to me.”

I couldn’t get it out of my head. He’s pretty clearly saying that, with no racial differences, why the hatred? You just have hatred for other races, right?

Obviously, he’s not thinking of places like Northern Ireland, where Catholics and Protestants look very much alike. Or, indeed, Israel and Palestine. Or, to bring it a little closer to Lott, heterosexuals and homosexuals look the same, so why should a heterosexual like Lott hate homosexuals?

But race is so much the structure of his thinking, that his first reaction is, “Why the trouble? You are all the same race.”

A very strange man.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 September 2006 at 7:08 am

Posted in GOP, Government, Iraq War

First shave with the little guy

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This morning I had my first shave with the tiny travel razor (photo at the link): Simpson Duke 3 Best brush, Taylor of Bond Street Sandalwood shaving cream, Feather blade. Three passes. The razor, BTW, is really solid, made of heavy-gauge stainless—doesn’t feel flimsy in the least.

Outcome: a really smooth shave, very nice. No nicks at all. This is my first shave with an open-comb razor (another example), and I’m thinking I perhaps should get one.

One very nice thing about the little razor: since I was holding by the head, I could distinctly feel the difference between cutting the stubble and scraping over it. It made it extremely easy to find and maintain the correct cutting angle.

Drawbacks: normally, when one side of a double-edged razor has picked up a fair amount of lather, I simply switch the other other side. With a normal handle, this is trivial, but with the two-finger grip of the little guy, it becomes a two-hand operation. Awkward.

Also, on the diagonal pass I found that, because I’m right-handed, the diagonal on the left side was awkward to manage. In fact, I couldn’t do my usual diagonal and had to go diagonally in the other direction. The against-the-grain pass also required a bit more attention than usual, but: no nicks, and a very smooth shave.

So it does provide a good shave, but it is a little awkward to use, especially in using both sides of the blade. I think it’s more of a collector’s item than a regular razor in the rotation. It’s the sort of razor that would be ideal for a survival kit if survival kits included shaving equipment.

Monday: first shave with Schick Injector since I was in h.s. (graduated in class of 1957).

Written by LeisureGuy

30 September 2006 at 7:02 am

Posted in Shaving

Free education via on-line courses

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I’m surprised to see how much education is available at no cost on-line—and some of it looks quite interesting. Some, though, falls short of the mark. (Read the comments at the link for various caveats and disclaimers.) Now that you know what to look for….

Written by LeisureGuy

29 September 2006 at 8:46 pm

Posted in Education

del.icio.us again

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I blogged before about del.icio.us, but a commenter in the post below, lunofajro, commented that s/he was going to bookmark the Futureme.org page.

As I wrote in my response, when I include in my bookmarks pages that are of interest as well as those pages that I read regularly, the number of bookmarks becomes unmanageable. I find that tagging the page for my del.icio.us list is a better way to mark interesting pages—and I can easily go back to find them.

So, if you haven’t already, check out del.icio.us and, if you’re using Firefox, this del.icio.us extension, which makes it dead simple to tag pages.
Give it a go.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 September 2006 at 7:34 pm

Write an email now and have it sent later

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I could swear I blogged about this before, but darned if I can find it…

The idea is simple: you write an email (typically to yourself) and specify the date it is to be sent. Futureme.org will then store the email until the specified date, and then send it to the address you provided.

I’m writing one right now about my most absorbing interests of the moment, and listing the things I want to complete within a year, and sending it to me one year from now.

UPDATE: It just occurred to me that another good email to send to yourself for a month from now, or 3 months, or whatever is: a list of the things you’re most worried about—your current fears, in other words. I would be that most of them prove, when you read the email later, to have been groundless. But then I’m an optimist.

UPDATE 2: Frank, in the comments, suggests LetterMeLater as a good service that does not require your later letter to be a year or more later.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 September 2006 at 7:07 pm

Not for me (colorblind—just a little)

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You can now search for images by color. This will be very useful for graphic artists and interior designers, I suspect. I can’t use it myself, much: I point it out as a service to my readers.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 September 2006 at 6:57 pm

Excellent guidance on comments

with one comment

I have the benefit of having very good commenters on this blog, but I do encounter blogs whose commenters are, shall we say, at least enthusiastic… no, at most enthusiastic. I just encountered this excellent list on good commenting practice/etiquette:

Leaving a comment on someone’s weblog is like walking into their living room and joining in on a conversation. As in real life, online some people are a pleasure to converse with, and some are not.

Good blog commenters add to the discussion and are known as knowledgeable, informative, friendly, and engaged. Build your own online social capital and become a great blog commenter by keeping these simple guidelines in mind before you post.

Stay on topic.

Bloggers enable comments on specific blog posts to hear more about the content of the post. Don’t change the subject. There’s nothing more annoying than seeing a comment on a post about Hurricane Katrina that reads, “By the way, do you know anything about turtles?”

Contribute new information to the discussion.

Twelve people saying the same exact thing in one comment thread is useless and irritating. Before you comment, read the entire thread and make sure your comment offers something new to the conversation. If you don’t have the time or patience to read an entire thread, then don’t comment at all. The longer a comment thread the more likely someone has already said what you’re thinking, and the less likely it is to be read by future visitors anyway. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

29 September 2006 at 6:52 pm

Posted in Daily life, Media

Wilkinson “Sticky” up for auction

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I mentioned earlier that I have a Wilkinson “Sticky” razor (photo at the link). Well, one is now being auctioned on eBay. It will be interesting to see what it sells for. It’s already above what I paid for mine. Plus mine is in perfect shape and came in the original box (which has a cute little compartment to hold a pack of double-edged blades). :)

Written by LeisureGuy

29 September 2006 at 6:37 pm

Posted in Shaving

Environmental cause of diabetes?

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From New Scientist:

Eating fish contaminated with mercury could put people at risk of developing diabetes. That’s because methyl mercury, the form of the metal that accumulates in fish, can kill the cells in the pancreas that make insulin.

At least, this is what Shing-Hwa Liu and colleagues at the National Taiwan University in Taipei discovered when they exposed beta and islet cells to methyl mercury at levels typically found in contaminated fish (Chemical Research and Toxicology, vol 19, p 1080). Methyl mercury is a powerful oxidant, and this seemed to explain the effect: Lui’s team was able to protect the cells from damage by adding the antioxidant N-acetyl cysteine. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

29 September 2006 at 6:12 pm

And the undermining of science continues

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From an editorial in the current New Scientist:

Last week, the Royal Society in London sent a measured complaint to the oil company ExxonMobil, asking it to end its long-standing and extensive funding of lobby groups that the society says “misinform the public” on climate change. What response does it get? Nothing from ExxonMobil and its lobbyists, whose contempt for one of the world’s oldest scientific institutions seems to rival their contempt for good science. Instead, we get lectures from climate change sceptics, such as the UK-based Scientific Alliance, which claims the Royal Society wants to “close down debate”. It further charges that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the cornerstone of scientific consensus-building on the issue, has become politicised.

This is farcical. The Scientific Alliance and its ilk have done more than anyone to politicise this debate, and now they have the cheek to claim purity of purpose. There is plenty of room to discuss the nature and extent of climate change, but the politically and commercially motivated abuse of science carried out by some climate change sceptics and those who back them needs to be exposed for what it is. Let the contrarians speak, by all means. But bullying, like censorship, has no place in scientific debate.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 September 2006 at 6:03 pm

Posted in Environment, Science

This is what will move us past the one degree

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Human impact on climate continues:

Mount Zeppelin on the Arctic island of Ny-Alesund, part of Norway, is a watchtower of climate change. Instruments on its summit consistently detect the world’s highest concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Now it is recording an alarming surge in a far more powerful greenhouse gas, called HFC134a. Just one molecule has a warming effect more than a thousand times that of a molecule of CO2.

Since the ban on the chemically related CFCs, HFC134a has been manufactured in ever growing quantities for use in air conditioning systems in cars and buildings. The Norwegian Institute for Air Research says concentrations of the gas above Mount Zeppelin doubled between 2001 and 2004.

“This gas has a warming effect on the planet more than a thousand times that of CO2

Manufacturers of air conditioners say their systems are designed to prevent leaks. “The rapid increase shows that whatever the industry claims, the gases are not being contained,” says Chris Rose of the Multisectoral Initiative on Potent Industrial Greenhouse Gases, based in London.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 September 2006 at 5:57 pm

Posted in Environment, Science

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