Later On

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

Quartet for the End of Time/The Crystal Liturgy

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Simon F.A. Russell writes:

Olivier Messiaen‘s Quartet for the End of Time premiered on 15 January 1941 in the prisoner-of-war camp where the composer was interned during World War Two. To celebrate the 75th anniversary Sinfini Music commissioned me to create an animation around it. Working with Prof. Marcus du Sautoy I used the piece to explore Messiaen’s complex relationship to mathematics, music and religious belief.

Written by Leisureguy

27 May 2022 at 1:12 pm

Posted in Art, Music, Video

Picasso’s self portraits through the years

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Definitely worth a look: a series of self portraits by Picasso, beginning in 1896, when he was 15, and going through July 3, 1972, when he was 90.

Written by Leisureguy

27 May 2022 at 12:40 pm

Posted in Art, Daily life

Penrose-tiling a bathroom

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Cool idea. Penrose tiling should be more common. Image is from a post by Lior Pachter that describes the project. I blogged earlier a video on Penrose tiling.

Written by Leisureguy

27 May 2022 at 12:32 pm

Posted in Daily life, Math

An unknown, extraordinarily ancient civilisation buried under eastern Turkey

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From Sean Thomas’s article in The Spectator:

… [T]he Great Pyramid at Giza is 4,500 years old. Stonehenge is 5,000 years old. The Cairn de Barnenez tomb-complex in Brittany, perhaps the oldest standing structure in Europe, could be up to 7,000 years old.

The oldest megalithic ritual monument in the world (until the Turkish discoveries) was always thought to be Ggantija, in Malta. That’s maybe 5,500 years old.

His article begins:

I am staring at about a dozen, stiff, eight-foot high, orange-red penises, carved from living bedrock, and semi-enclosed in an open chamber. A strange carved head (of a man, a demon, a priest, a God?), also hewn from the living rock, gazes at the phallic totems – like a primitivist gargoyle. The expression of the stone head is doleful, to the point of grimacing, as if he, or she, or it, disapproves of all this: of everything being stripped naked under the heavens, and revealed to the world for the first time in 130 centuries.

Yes, 130 centuries. Because these penises, this peculiar chamber, this entire perplexing place, known as Karahan Tepe (pronounced Kah-rah-hann Tepp-ay), which is now emerging from the dusty Plains of Harran, in eastern Turkey, is astoundingly ancient. Put it another way: it is estimated to be 11-13,000 years old.

Continue reading.

Later in the article:

Karahan Tepe, and its penis chamber, and everything that inexplicably surrounds the chamber – shrines, cells, altars, megaliths, audience halls et al – is vastly older than anything comparable, and plumbs quite unimaginable depths of time, back before agriculture, probably back before normal pottery, right back to a time when we once thought human ‘civilisation’ was simply impossible.

After all, hunter gatherers – cavemen with flint arrowheads – without regular supplies of grain, without the regular meat and milk of domesticated animals, do not build temple-towns with water systems.

Do they?

Virtually all that we can now see of Karahan Tepe has been skilfully unearthed the last two years, with remarkable ease (for reasons which we will come back to later). And although there is much more to summon from the grave, what it is already teaching us is mind stretching. Taken together with its age, complexity, sophistication, and its deep, resonant mysteriousness, and its many sister sites now being unearthed across the Harran Plains – collectively known as the Tas Tepeler, or the ‘stone hills’ – these carved, ochre-red rocks, so silent, brooding, and watchful in the hard whirring breezes of the semi-desert, constitute what might just be the greatest archaeological revelation in the history of humankind.

The unveiling of Karahan Tepe, and nearly all the Tas Tepeler, in the last two years, is not without precedent. As . . .

Written by Leisureguy

27 May 2022 at 11:56 am

Posted in History, Science

Legumes and pulses

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Pulses are a subset of legumes. Fresh peas and fresh beans are not pulses because they are not dried, and (I read) soybeans and peanuts are not pulses because of their high oil content.

Written by Leisureguy

27 May 2022 at 11:07 am

Posted in Food, Non-animal diet

Coffee in the morning

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Mystic Water Cuppa Joe has a good coffee fragrance — not strong, but present — and the lather my Rooney Victorian produced was excellent. Merkur’s Progress is an excellent adjustable, and three passes did the trick, with a splash of Phoenix Artisan’s Spring-Heeled Jack (which may yet return someday) finished the coffee portion of the morning, and I moved on to tea.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Storm Watcher: “black tea.”

Written by Leisureguy

27 May 2022 at 9:41 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Pinto bean and khorasan kernel tempeh done at 72 hours

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It’s done, and nicely timed, since I just finished off the previous batch of tempeh today. The first photo, upper left, shows the tempeh after it has been removed from the bag. You’ll notice a black area in the middle of the right side. That’s sporing — harmless and edible. The pale whiteness on the right is an artefact of the poor lighting in my kitchen.

The two photos at the right of the first photo show both sides of the batch in the bag, and the bottom photo shows a cross section and I butchered it for storage in the refrigerator. I’ll start eating it tomorrow. 

Two posts that might be of interest: the master post for this particular batch, and my post on how I make tempeh based on my experience to date.

Written by Leisureguy

26 May 2022 at 2:22 pm

Abbott calls Texas school shooting a mental health issue but cut state spending for it

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 and 

Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that the Uvalde school shooter had a “mental health challenge” and the state needed to “do a better job with mental health” — yet in April he slashed $211 million from the department that oversees mental health programs.

In addition, Texas ranked last out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia for overall access to mental health care, according to the 2021 State of Mental Health in America report.

“We as a state, we as a society, need to do a better job with mental health,” Abbott said during a news conference at Robb Elementary School, where a gunman shot and killed 19 children and two teachers on Tuesday.

His remarks came just a day after an outraged Connecticut senator called out lawmakers opposed to gun control who seek to blame mental illness for the most recent school shooting and others before it.

In rejecting suggestions that stronger gun control laws could have prevented the tragedy, Abbott conceded the slain 18-year-old suspect had no known mental health issues or criminal history but said, “Anybody who shoots somebody else has a mental health challenge.”

His assertions drew rebukes from public health experts and scholars who study mass murderers, as well as from his Democratic gubernatorial rival Beto O’Rourke, who was ejected from the news conference after storming the stage and accusing the pro-gun Republican of “doing nothing” to stop gun violence.

“There is no evidence the shooter is mentally ill, just angry and hateful,” said Lori Post, director of the Buehler Center for Health Policy and Economics at the Northwestern University School of Medicine. “While it is understandable that most people cannot fathom slaughtering small children and want to attribute it to mental health, it is very rare for a mass shooter to have a diagnosed mental health condition.”

David Riedman, founder of the Center for Homeland Defense and Security’s K-12 School Shooting Database, said, “Overall, mass shooters are rational. They have a plan. It’s something that develops over months or years, and there’s a clear pathway to violence.”

The much bigger problem, they said, is Texas and many other states are awash in weapons.

“Texas has more guns per capita than any other state,” Post said. “After the tragic 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, the governor signed several bills to curb mass shootings; unfortunately, most of those bills involved arming the public to stop mass shooters.”

Post pointed out that police officers trained in active shootings were injured Tuesday. She and others said . . .

Continue reading. Video at the link.

Written by Leisureguy

26 May 2022 at 1:33 pm

Religious faith as an antidote to gun violence

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Republican politicians are united in saying that gun restrictions will have no effect on gun violence. Michael A. Cohen writes in his Truth and Consequences column:

. . . “We have to harden these targets,” says Texas Lt. Gov Dan Patrick. Station armed guards at schools, says Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Meanwhile, an armed security guard was at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. There was an armed guard at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida. He hid for cover as a mass shooter killed 17 students and teachers.

In the Dayton shooting I mentioned above, the gunman was shot dead by police just 32 seconds after he opened fire. By then, he had already killed nine people and wounded seventeen. Are we supposed to take solace in that he didn’t kill more?

Patrick also went on Fox News to declare that the scourge of gun violence results from declining religious faith and “you just cannot change character without changing a heart, and you can’t do that without turning to God.”

Cohen than provides two interesting charts. The first is from the Pew Research Center. The chart at the link is interactive and by hovering the mouse over a state you get more detailed information.

The second is from the Centers for Disease Control. The chart is for 2020 (most recent year available), and at the site you can select other years and also click a state to get more detailed information.

Cohen’s column is worth reading, but it is evident that Texas Lt. Gov Dan Patrick is full of shit. “Harden the targets”? Really. Armed police are clearly not enough. Is he suggesting a Special Forces squad assigned to each school?

And if the community is religious it need not fear gun violence? Look at the charts. 

Texas Lt. Gov Dan Patrick is some combination of ignorant, deceptive, stupid, and scared.

And, for what it’s worth, Republicans in the Senate killed a bill to combat domestic terrorism (gift link, no paywall). Apparently Senate Republicans support domestic terrorism. 

Written by Leisureguy

26 May 2022 at 12:43 pm

Sandalwood Rose with Rose aftershave

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I was just thinking about the decades when I wore a beard, completely ignorant of the pleasures of a morning shave using good products and tools. The Copper Hat silvertip brush in the photo, for example, with its Delrin® handle, is a pleasure to hold and use, and Mystic Water makes a fine tallow-based soap. Sandalwood Rose turns out to be an elegant fragrance.

Phoenix Artisan’s double-open-comb Ascension is a terrific razor, down to and including the handle design, and it did a marvelous job this morning, leaving my face perfectly smooth for D.R. Harris’s classic Pink After Shave, which reprised the rose fragrance.

A great way to start the day.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Editors’ Blend: “a rich and smooth blend of black teas: Ceylon adds depth and a brisk sparkling finish, Yunnan provides smoothness and sweetness and Keemun ties it together.”

Written by Leisureguy

26 May 2022 at 11:22 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

A clear statement reflecting the doctrine of the Catholic church

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What follows is a Twitter thread that accurately and succinctly states what the Catholic church teaches about the sacrament of Holy Communion:


 

This letter from a Catholic Priest friend says it all about Arch Bishop Cordileone’s latest misguided decision:

“I want to write a longer piece about those bishops who seek to keep some from the table of Christ, but for now I will say this: it is not your table (nor mine)… 1/5

Bishops, priests, etc. are neither the hosts nor the bouncers nor the ones who wrote the guest list. The Eucharist is the resurrected body of Christ given for the life of the world… 2/5

Jesus Christ is the one who invites the guests ("all you who labor"); he is the host of those who come; he is the setter of the table; and he is the feast which is shared ("Take this, all of you. this is my body, this is my blood")… 3/5

We are guests at the meal, and sometimes (by his calling) servers. So stay in your lane, please. The wait staff doesn't get to exclude those who want to come. If you don't like the company Christ calls (and, admittedly, it is a rag tag bunch of sinners, one and all), it's… 4/5

you who need to leave the table, not them." 5/5

Originally tweeted by Rep. Mike Thompson (@RepThompson) on 21 May 2022.

Written by Leisureguy

26 May 2022 at 9:44 am

Civil engineering—both high and low tech—can help fight infectious airborne diseases like Covid-19

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Kevin Drum has a very interesting post on the effectiveness of measures to combat infectious airborne diseases. The whole post is worth reading. The top three recommendations:

3. Ventilation Improvements. Good ventilation can provide between 3-6 ACH [Air Changes per Hour – LG]. All the previously mentioned strategies are inferior to having a building with good ventilation. I can’t overstate the importance of investing in upgrading ventilation. 18/21

2. Upper Room UVGI — the real deal. It can add 12-24 eACH [equivalent Air Changes per Hour – LG]. It reduced measles outbreaks by 75%. If we want to go all out on mitigating airborne spread, this technology is needed. 19/21

1. Far UV. I’ve seen estimates between 10-300+ eACH. This technology isn’t widespread yet and still expensive, but it could be a game changer moving forward. 20/21

A chart is included in Drum’s post. Take a look.

Written by Leisureguy

26 May 2022 at 9:28 am

Capitalism and democracy are not synonyms

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Heather Cox Richardson:

All day, I have been coming back to this: How have we arrived at a place where 90% of Americans want to protect our children from gun violence, and yet those who are supposed to represent us in government are unable, or unwilling, to do so?

This is a central problem not just for the issue of gun control, but for our democracy itself.

It seems that during the Cold War, American leaders came to treat democracy and capitalism as if they were interchangeable. So long as the United States embraced capitalism, by which they meant an economic system in which individuals, rather than the state, owned the means of production, liberal democracy would automatically follow.

That theory seemed justified by the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The crumbling of that communist system convinced democratic nations that they had won, they had defeated communism, their system of government would dominate the future. Famously, in 1992, political philosopher Francis Fukuyama wrote that humanity had reached “the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.” In the 1990s, America’s leaders believed that the spread of capitalism would turn the world democratic as it delivered to them global dominance, but they talked a lot less about democracy than they did about so-called free markets.

In fact, the apparent success of capitalism actually undercut democracy in the U.S. The end of the Cold War was a gift to those determined to destroy the popular liberal state that had regulated business, provided a basic social safety net, and invested in infrastructure since the New Deal. They turned their animosity from the Soviet Union to the majority at home, those they claimed were bringing communism to America. “​​For 40 years conservatives fought a two-front battle against statism, against the Soviet empire abroad and the American left at home,” right-wing operative Grover Norquist said in 1994. “Now the Soviet Union is gone and conservatives can redeploy. And this time, the other team doesn’t have nuclear weapons.”

Republicans cracked down on Democrats trying to preserve the active government that had been in place since the 1930s. Aided by talk radio hosts, they increasingly demonized their domestic political opponents. In the 1990 midterm elections, a political action committee associated with House Republican whip Newt Gingrich gave to Republican candidates a document called “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control.” It urged candidates to label Democrats with words like “decay,” “failure,” “crisis,” “pathetic,” “liberal,” “radical,” “corrupt,” and “taxes,” while defining Republicans with words like “opportunity,” “moral,” “courage,” “flag,” “children,” “common sense,” “hard work,” and “freedom.” Gingrich later told the New York Times his goal was “reshaping the entire nation through the news media.”

Their focus on capitalism undermined American democracy. They objected when the Democrats in 1993 made it easier to . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

26 May 2022 at 12:03 am

“90% of all firearm deaths for children 0-14 years of age in high-income countries occur in the US.”

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That, of course, is because of a choice the US has made, to make gun ownership a higher priority than children’s lives. In other countries, when terrible gun massacres occur, laws are passed. Not in the US.

Source for that statistic.

From a column in the NY Times:

After the Dunblane Massacre in Scotland in 1996, in which a gunman killed 16 primary-school pupils and a teacher, the British government banned handguns. After the Port Arthur Massacre in Australia that same year, the Australian government introduced stringent gun laws, including a ban on most semiautomatic and automatic weapons as well as licensing and purchasing restrictions. After the Utoya massacre in Norway in 2011, the government banned semiautomatic firearms, persevering with the legislation despite years of opposition from a well-organized hunters’ lobby. After the Christchurch shootings in 2019, New Zealand’s government passed stringent new restrictions on gun ownership and announced a buyback program.

A list of the gun bills stalled in Congress.

Written by Leisureguy

25 May 2022 at 7:28 pm

Daniel Taylor Was Innocent. He Spent Decades in Prison Trying to Fix the State’s Mistake.

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The report by Steve Mills in ProPublica has this as the blurb (emphasis added):

He was in police custody at the time of the murders, but a dubious confession led to his wrongful conviction while Chicago police and prosecutors turned a blind eye to inconvenient facts that eventually exonerated him.

Land of the free, eh? The report, well worth reading, begins:

When guards first brought Daniel Taylor into a room at the Stateville Correctional Center outside Chicago, we were strangers. It was 2001. I was a reporter for the Chicago Tribune. He was an inmate serving a life sentence.

He had written to me earlier. His was one of the dozen or so letters I’d get from inmates each month — each in an envelope red-stamped with a note saying they were from an inmate at the Illinois Department of Corrections, as if to warn me about their contents. But his letter stood out. He had been convicted of a 1992 double murder, he wrote, but he had records that showed he was in a police station holding cell when the murders were committed.

Even in Chicago, which was fast becoming known for its miscarriages of justice, it was stunning.

Over more than a decade, I talked with Taylor scores of times on the telephone. I visited him in prison. And with Tribune reporters Maurice Possley and Ken Armstrong, I investigated his case as part of a series of stories on false confessions, then followed it until he was exonerated in June 2013.

That it took some two decades for Taylor to be exonerated and win his release spoke to many things, but none more so than the frailties of the criminal justice system and Taylor’s fierce persistence.

Taylor had a kindness and openness I liked immediately. He was candid about his troubled childhood growing up in foster homes and shelters, about leaving school and about life on the streets. Some three months before the murders, he joined the Vice Lords street gang, largely because his friends were in it. He had been arrested a handful of times for such minor offenses as mob action and theft.

Over the years, we got to know each other better. More than anything, I came to admire his  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

25 May 2022 at 5:29 pm

New batch of Carrot Cake in a Jar starting its fermentation

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I made a double recipe, so two quarts (here in two 1-liter jars, so some room to spare). The recipe is the first in my reference post on fermentation. In fact, it was this recipe that got me into fermenting. As noted in that post, I doubled some of the ingredients. We just thought the spices, nuts, and dates needed a little more oomph. 

I did use a starter culture. This is a short ferment, so it should be ready in 4-5 days. 

Written by Leisureguy

25 May 2022 at 5:10 pm

Pinto bean and khorasan kernel tempeh at 48 hours

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I’m going to let it go for at least another 24 hours.

Written by Leisureguy

25 May 2022 at 2:12 pm

Posted in Food, Non-animal diet, Recipes & Cooking

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Benefits of vinegar with dinner

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Written by Leisureguy

25 May 2022 at 11:18 am

Donkey-milk shaving soap and the Charcoal EJ

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A very pleasant shave indeed. I’ve not used this soap for a while, but the lather was extremely nice. Three passes with the Charcoal company’s copy of the Edwin Jagger head, here on a Wolfman handle that I like — long, but pleasant.

A splash of Speick finished the job. It was, in a way, an ordinary shave, but still it provided a fine start to the day.

The tea this morning is Mark T. Wendell Pu-erh Tuo Cha, which comes as individually wrapped nests of compressed steamed tea leaves. “We have found that each Yunnan black tuo cha tea piece will make approximately 16 ounces of hot tea. When brewed, Pu-erh tuo cha tea yields a dark, full-bodied brew that has a unique damp and earthy aroma taste. It retains its flavor through several infusions very well.” Today, I’m going to try at least one additional infusion.

Written by Leisureguy

25 May 2022 at 9:46 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Pinto bean and khorasan wheat kernel tempeh, 21 hours along

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After 21 hours

Click photo to enlarge, whereupon it will be obvious that Rhizopus oligosporus prefers beans to grain. However, the hold will take over in time. I am particularly pleased by how even the growth is over the batch — a good sign.

I probably could remove this from the incubator now and let it finish on a raised rack on the table, but I am going to let it continue in the incubator for a few more hours just to be sure the fungus is well established.

I set out in this post the approach I use to making my own tempeh. 

Update: Here is a comparison of 21 hours and 28 hours after start.

Written by Leisureguy

24 May 2022 at 11:47 am

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