Later On

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

Archive for February 2012

Excellent thriller, albeit violent

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I suggest that you simply watch it—the brief summary was totally beside the point and misleading. Ignore. Best just watch. Modern day, Chinese, good. Triple Tap.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 February 2012 at 9:51 pm

Posted in Movies & TV

Little blogging for the next few days

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If the “no reading” rule is serious, that means no blogging for a fortnight. So don’t expect much until the ides of March.

UPDATE: Hey, wait a minute. They’re not operating on my right eye, just my left. I should (I think—but I’ll ask) be able to resume my normal viewing activities (e.g., reading) immediately with the right eye. Maybe I’ll look for an eye patch.

I do have questions for the doctor tomorrow.

The Wife has said she will update with report.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 February 2012 at 8:37 pm

Posted in Daily life

Excellent post on Google’s new privacy rules

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James Fallows has a good post on Google’s privacy rules as well as some simple steps to take. He also describes how to check how much info Google already has on you.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 February 2012 at 6:46 pm

More eye surgery

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This time, though, I’m getting a general anesthetic: that local stuff isn’t enough for me.

Problem is retinal detachment at edge of left eye, which accounts for a shadow at the edge of my field of vision. Solution is a procedure (or two) to reattach. Pack is quick: want to get it fixed before the detachment moves into center of field of vision.

So: tomorrow The Wife will drive me up to San Jose. Meet doctor at 10:30, surgery at 1:30, nothing by mouth after midnight.

Success rate is around 85% (not very high, IMO), but the fallback is a second operation which generally works. The disclosure form does include a long list of what can go wrong, which was unpleasant reading and doesn’t alter the fact that I have to go up there tomorrow and hope for the best.

We’ll see. As it were.

UPDATE: I just read the “do’s and don’ts following surgery” thing. Bad news. No reading for a couple of weeks. Movies okay. If air bubble is used, doctor will prescribe sleeping position, which will be some form of sleeping on my back for a while. No Pilates for at least a month. No new glasses for like 6 months. The total list is somewhat lengthy. But time will pass.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 February 2012 at 6:40 pm

Posted in Daily life, Medical

First humans in North America lived around the Chesapeake Bay?

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Intriguing article in the Washington Post by Brian Vastag:

When the crew of the Virginia scallop trawler Cinmar hauled a mastodon tusk onto the deck in 1970, another oddity dropped out of the net: A dark, tapered stone blade, nearly eight inches long and still sharp.

Forty years later, this rediscovered prehistoric slasher has reopened debate on a radical theory about who the first Americans were and when they got here.

Archaeologists have long held that North America remained unpopulated until about 15,000 years ago, when Siberian people walked or boated into Alaska and down the West Coast.

But the mastodon relic turned out to be 22,000 years old, suggesting the blade was just as ancient.

Whoever fashioned that blade was not supposed to be here.

Its makers likely paddled from Europe and arrived in America thousands of years ahead of the western migration, argues Smithsonian Institution anthropologist Dennis Stanford, making them the first Americans.

“I think it’s feasible,” said Tom Dillehay, a prominent archaeologist at Vanderbilt University. “The evidence is building up and it certainly warrants discussion.”

At the height of the last Ice Age, Stanford says, mysterious stone-age European people known as the Solutreans paddled along an ice cap jutting into the North Atlantic. They lived like Inuits, harvesting seals and seabirds.

The Solutreans eventually spread across North America, Stanford argues, hauling their distinctive blades with them.

When Stanford proposed this “Solutrean hypothesis” in 1999, colleagues roundly rejected it. One prominent archaeologist suggested Stanford was throwing his career away.

But now, 13 years later, Stanford and Exeter University archaeologist Bruce Bradley lay out a detailed case – bolstered by the curious blade and other stone tools recently found in the mid-Atlantic – in a new book, Across Atlantic Ice .

“I drank the Solutrean Kool-aid,” said Steve Black, an archaeologist at Texas State University in San Marcos. “I had been very dubious. It’s something a lot of [archaeologists] have dismissed out of hand. But I came away from the book feeling like it’s an extremely credible idea that needs to be taken seriously.”

Other experts remain unconvinced. “Anyone advancing a radically different hypothesis must be willing to take his licks from skeptics,” said Gary Haynes, an archaeologist at the University of Nevada-Reno.

Stone tools recovered from five mid-Atlantic sites are at the core of Stanford’s case. Two of the sites lie on Chesapeake Bay islands, suggesting the Solutreans settled Delmarva early on. Blades, anvils and other tools found by Smithsonian research associate Darrin Lowery were stuck in soil at least 20,000 years old.

Displaying some of the tools in his office at the National Museum of Natural History, Stanford handles a milky chert blade and says, “This stuff is beginning to give us a real nice picture of occupation of the Eastern Shore around 20,000 years ago.”

Further, the Eastern Shore blades strongly resemble those found at dozens of stone-age Solutrean sites in Spain and France, Stanford says. “We can match each one of 18 styles up to the sites in Europe.” . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 February 2012 at 3:08 pm

Posted in Books, Science

Crisp Tofu with Asian Greens and Peanut Sauce

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I am so going to make this.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 February 2012 at 2:57 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes

Do you get the feeling that corporations can do as they please?

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Corporations seem free to do as they want, with no accountability beyond paying a fine (accompanied by a statement that the company does not admit doing anything illegal or wrong). I believe that the immunity that companies now enjoy from punishment is part of the corporate takeover of our country, and the continued weakening of regulation and monitoring is something they’ve been working toward for quite a while.

Now it seems they’re just about ready to move to overt control, with the USDA eager to do Monsanto’s bidding. Anthony Gucciardi writes in Nation of Change:

If you thought Monsanto’s lack of testing on their current GMO crops was bad before, prepare to now be blown away by the latest statement by the USDA. Despite links to organ damage and mutated insects, the USDA says that it is changing the rules so that genetically modified seed companies like Monsanto will get ‘speedier regulatory reviews’. With the faster reviews, there will be even less time spent on evaluating the potential dangers. Why? Because Monsanto is losing sales with longer approval terms.

The changes are expected to take full effect in March when they’re published in the Federal Register. The USDA’s goal is to cut the approval time for GMO crops in half in order to speedily implement them into the global food supply. The current USDA process takes longer than they would like due to ‘public interest, legal challenges, and the challenges associated with the advent of national organic food standards‘ says USDA deputy administrator Michael Gregoire.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, problems like public interest (activist groups attempting to bring the dangers of GMO crops to light), legal challenges (farmers suing Monsanto over genetic contamination), and national food standards are all getting in the way of their prime goal — to help Monsanto unleash their latest untested GMO creation. In fact, the concern is that Monsanto may be losing cash flow as nations like Brazil speed genetically modified seeds through laughable approval processes.

Steve Censky, chief executive officer of the American Soybean Association, states it quite plainly. This is a move to help Monsanto and other biotechnology giants squash competition and make profits. After all, who cares about public health?

It is a concern from a competition standpoint,” Censky said in a telephone interview.

The same statements are re-iterated by analyst Jeff Windau in an interview with Bloomberg:

“If you can reduce the approval time, you get sales that much faster,” said Windau

If you can reduce the approval time, as in the time it takes to determine if these food products are safe, then you can get sales much faster. Is the USDA working for the United States consumer, or is it working for Monsanto?

Written by LeisureGuy

29 February 2012 at 2:17 pm

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