Later On

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

Archive for October 5th, 2008

Quotient spaces in politics

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Written by LeisureGuy

5 October 2008 at 5:08 pm

Posted in Daily life

Tagged with ,

He cast his bread upon the waters…

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Absolutely terrific story here. Go read it—you’ll be glad you did.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 October 2008 at 4:59 pm

Posted in Daily life

Newsweek on “The Palin Problem”

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Interesting article. I remember when Senator Roman Hruska (R-Neb), known as “the defender of the strong” for his untiring efforts to help big business fight irritating legal and regulatory requirements designed to protect consumers, defended mediocrity in office—not for himself, though that would have been justified, but on behalf of a mediocre Supreme Court nominee. From Wikipedia:

Hruska is best remembered in American political history for a 1970 speech he made to the Senate urging them to confirm the nomination of G. Harrold Carswell to the Supreme Court. Responding to criticism that Carswell had been a mediocre judge, Hruska claimed that:

“Even if he were mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren’t they, and a little chance? We can’t have all Brandeises, Frankfurters and Cardozos.”[1]

This speech was criticized by many, and Carswell was eventually defeated.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 October 2008 at 4:53 pm

Posted in Daily life

Little kids know what’s going on

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Interesting:

Challenging the idea that children live in a color or gender blind world, a new study from The University of Texas at Austin reveals most elementary-school-age children are aware there has been no female, African-American, or Hispanic President of the United States. And, many of the children attribute the lack of representation to discrimination. Rebecca Bigler, professor of psychology, and a team of researchers at the university and the University of Kansas have published their findings in the October issue of the journal Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy.

During 2006, more than a year before Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama entered the presidential race, the researchers interviewed 205 children between the ages of five and 10 about their knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about the similarities among U.S. presidents. In three studies, children from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds answered questions about the absence of female, African-American and Hispanic presidents.

The researchers found most children are …

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

5 October 2008 at 4:46 pm

Posted in Daily life, Science

Budget guidelines

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Interesting budget guidelines here. It calls itself a “budget calculator,” but the figures it produces can (initially) only be guidelines, since your actual obligatory payments probably do not currently match the guideline figures. To do an actual budget calculation, I recommend this (free) Excel workbook.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 October 2008 at 4:44 pm

Posted in Daily life, Software

Parasitic mind-control

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The puppet-masters did not have to come from outer space: they’re here among us.

A good example is the lancet fluke, is a leaf-shaped parasitic flatworm, Dicrocoelium dendriticum. It lives in and feeds on the liver of cattle. Its eggs inhabit the dung and are ingested by snails. The eggs hatch, cause the snail some serioius problems, and the snail sheds the larvae in its slime, which is then eaten by ants for the moisture. And then, as recounted here:

Along comes an ant, host number three. It swallows a slime ball teeming with hundreds of baby lancet flukes. Most flukes just hang out in the abdomen, but one or two “scouts” locate and high jack the ant’s command center: nerves below the throat that control the ant’s movements. The scouts then perform parasitic voodoo on the ant’s nervous system.

As night approaches, an infected ant climbs up a blade of grass—instead of heading back to its colony. As the air cools, the ant clamps down on the tip of a grass blade and waits to be eaten by a cow or other grazer. If the ant should sit the whole night without being eaten, the flukes let the ant loosen its grip on the grass—if the ant were to bake in the morning sun’s heat, the parasites would die along with the ant.

The ant scurries to the ground and behaves like a normal insect again. But when night falls, the flukes command the ant to again climb a blade of grass. When a grazing cow eats the ant, the flukes settle in the cow’s small intestine.

Then they worm their way to the cow’s liver, where they live out their lives as adults.

And humans may be subject to another kind of parasitic mind control, from a different parasite.

… Given that the parasite alters behaviour, infection on this scale could lead to sizable differences in the general personalities of people of different nationalities. This is exactly what Lafferty found. …

Read the full post here for a full explanation of the personality changes.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 October 2008 at 12:07 pm

Posted in Daily life, Science

Our planet at night

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Written by LeisureGuy

5 October 2008 at 11:45 am

Posted in Daily life

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