Later On

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

Archive for January 24th, 2008

Playing with Post-Its

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Very nice, including some videos.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 January 2008 at 8:09 pm

Posted in Art, Daily life

Gamer websites: 18 of ‘em

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Take a look.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 January 2008 at 6:11 pm

Posted in Daily life, Games, Software

Do you feel safer?

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The country is changing:

Immigration

Thomas Warziniack was born in Minnesota and grew up in Georgia, but immigration authorities pronounced him an illegal immigrant from Russia.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has held Warziniack for weeks in an Arizona detention facility with the aim of deporting him to a country he’s never seen. His jailers shrugged off Warziniack’s claims that he was an American citizen, even though they could have retrieved his Minnesota birth certificate in minutes and even though a Colorado court had concluded that he was a U.S. citizen a year before it shipped him to Arizona.

On Thursday, Warziniack was told he would be released. Immigration authorities were finally able to verify his citizenship.

“The immigration agents told me they never make mistakes,” Warziniack said in a phone interview from jail. “All I know is that somebody dropped the ball.”

The story of how immigration officials decided that a small-town drifter with a Southern accent was an illegal Russian immigrant illustrates how the federal government mistakenly detains and sometimes deports American citizens.

U.S. citizens who are mistakenly jailed by immigration authorities can get caught up in a nightmarish bureaucratic tangle in which they’re simply not believed.

An unpublished study by the Vera Institute of Justice, a New York nonprofit organization, in 2006 identified 125 people in immigration detention centers across the nation who immigration lawyers believed had valid U.S. citizenship claims.

Vera initially focused on six facilities where most of the cases surfaced. The organization later broadened its analysis to 12 sites and plans to track the outcome of all cases involving citizens.

Nina Siulc, the lead researcher, said she thinks that many more American citizens probably are being erroneously detained or deported every year because her assessment looked at only a small number of those in custody. Each year, about 280,000 people are held on immigration violations at 15 federal detention centers and more than 400 state and local contract facilities nationwide.

Unlike suspects charged in criminal courts, detainees accused of immigration violations don’t have a right to an attorney, and three-quarters of them represent themselves. Less affluent or resourceful U.S. citizens who are detained must try to maneuver on their own through a complicated system.

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Written by LeisureGuy

24 January 2008 at 5:53 pm

When you want food inspiration

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For tonight’s dinner, for example. Try CookThink. It’s pretty cool.

For example, I clicked chicken, mushrooms, peppers, olive oil, braise, Tuscan, and it suggested beef kabobs. (It’s beta.) Still, once it’s rolling…

Written by LeisureGuy

24 January 2008 at 4:02 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food

The NASA Hoax—Revealed!

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Written by LeisureGuy

24 January 2008 at 2:44 pm

Posted in Science, Video

A small observation

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Today it is cold, with a more or less constant rain. Dark, dreary, winter. In fact, I’m making a big pot of miso soup for lunch (and dinner): the kombu and dried shiitakes are simmering now.

And when I was at the therapists I noticed something. I’ve lived in New Hampshire, Iowa, Ohio, Maryland—all those places had something that was strikingly absent at the therapists office: coat racks. I realized that people in Monterey very seldom wear coats or jackets—and in fact I was the only one there with a jacket.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 January 2008 at 11:54 am

Posted in Daily life

A very nice Bento box lunch

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Bacon-wrapped tofu, for example—whoo-hoo! Take a look.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 January 2008 at 11:36 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes

On Zetia (or Vytorin)

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I did ask my endocrinologist about my taking Zetia in combination with Zocor (simvastatin). He had an answer prepared:

The ENHANCE Study is a medical trial study done in 720 patients with Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia (HeFH). This is a relatively rare form of disease in which cholesterol levels are extremely high due to LDL-cholesterol (“Bad” cholesterol) receptor abnormalities. These patients have very high rates of atherosclerosis leading to heart disease and strokes. This study was conducted by the manufacturers of Zetia (Merck and Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals) in an attempt to show that atherosclerotic plaque buildup (cholesterol, fats, and calcium) on the inside of arteries
in the neck would be slowed down in these high-risk patients who took Zetia + simvastatin as opposed to simvastatin alone after a period of 2 years.

Merck and Schering-Plough did the study and then sat on the results without publishing them for 20 months. The results were finally released January 14, 2008, and showed a negative result (there was no difference in the 2 study groups of patients). There was no evidence the patients taking the Zetia +_ simvastatin had any adverse outcomes or side effects from taking the Zetia. Their cholesterol levels in fact declined MORE than those of the patients who didn’t take the Zetia. They just didn’t do any better with regard to the primary endpoint of the study (atherosclerotic plaque buildup on the inside of arteries in the neck was NOT slowed down). Now there are calls from some physicians to stop prescribing Zetia for patients with hypercholesterolemia because they interpret this study to mean that Zetia is ineffective in reducing the risk of coronary artery disease and stroke.

My opinion on this is that at the moment we do not have enough good information to tell us that Zetia really is ineffective. My conclusion is that for all the patients currently taking Zetia or Vytorin, they should continue taking it. The reasons for this include the following:

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Written by LeisureGuy

24 January 2008 at 11:20 am

Posted in Daily life, Medical

What I learned from the physical therapist

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The shoulder pain I’ve been experiencing when lifting my right arm, or moving it in certain directions, seems to be a direct consequence of my computer posture, which I’ve maintained over the past year or so: sitting before the screen (in an ergonomically sound chair), with my shoulders rolled forward—particularly the right shoulder, since that controls the mousing arm.

Eventually the muscles adjust to this position, and the top knob of the humerus moves forward a bit as the muscles shorten. Then, when I try to move the arm, the shorter (and tenser) muscles pull things together and pinch and it hurts: the little red warning light on my body dashboard.

So: what to do?

1. I got from the therapist a green marble Pro-Roller full-round: a 36″ cylinder 6″ in diameter of a very firm closed-cell foam. I lie supine on it, the cylinder under my spine, and with a folded bath towel (or two) to keep my head level (not elevated). Ten minutes lying on the Pro-Roller, then two minutes lying flat on the floor: it helps my shoulders relax and drift back to proper position.

2. When working at the computer, pause frequently and roll my shoulders back to stretch and relax the muscles, perhaps rolling my head about as well. I did a quick search and found this nice little timer: Instant Boss. The default setting is: 10 minutes work, 2 minutes break, repeated 5 times (for an hour’s work). Free, Windows only. (The Mac probably has it already built in.) You can change the work time, the break time, and the number of reps. I’ve set it to 10 minutes work, 1 minute break, 20 reps.

The therapist thinks now that I’m aware of what has caused the problem and the appropriate steps to remedy it, recovery will be relatively quick. Hope so.

Related useful info here.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 January 2008 at 10:16 am

Posted in Daily life, Health

Good morning!

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I had to get up in time for my physical therapy appointment at 8:45 a.m. I was so worried that I would oversleep (particularly since I had a reading accident last night and stayed up later than usual) that I awoke at 5:30. I lay in bed trying to fall asleep again, and finally got up at 6:30. So it goes.

I decided to use the Simpsons 58, part of the Fifty Series (scroll down), thinking it would work well for the Method shave. (I got this more or less blind. If I were buying again, I would get the 56 instead.) It did seem to work well, though not quite so good as the Shavemaster. I got a good lather with the Cube, then added the new shaving paste, and did three passes using a Wilkinson blade that was already in the Edwin Jagger Lined Chatsworth: two down, one across.

At that point, I decided to try again an idea I had read in one of the forums: use Avalon Organics (brushless) shaving cream for the last pass. I have some AO Lavender that I got at Whole Foods, so I rinsed, rubbed a coating of the AO over my beard, and did the final, against-the-grain pass.

Because the AO is more or less invisible, it’s hard to see where you’ve shaved. OTOH, with the last (polishing) pass, one goes a lot by feel, using the non-razor hand (for me, my left hand) to rub up the face, feeling for rough spots, then polishing those off with the razor.

Result: a very smooth shave and the AO felt very nice on my skin. A final rinse and I finished with Royall Mandarin aftershave.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 January 2008 at 7:20 am

Posted in Daily life

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