Later On

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

Italian chuck roast for dinner

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This is a recipe I just made up, but it actually tastes pretty good:

Chuck roast Italian style

  • Chuck roast, 3-4 lbs. Cut it into nice chunks: not too big, not too small.

Brown roast in a 10” 4-qt pan (or larger) and remove. Add to the pot:

  • Olive oil
  • Chopped onion – 1 large Spanish onion

Sauté onions until beginning to brown, then add:

  • Minced garlic – 8-10 cloves
  • Chopped celery – 3/4 c
  • Diced carrot – 1 largish carrot
  • Chopped Italian parsley – 1 bunch

After that is cooked well, return roast to pot and add:

  • 2 Tbsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • ¼ c chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 16-oz jar marinara sauce with good ingredients—like one of these
  • ½ c red wine
  • 1-2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • salt
  • pepper

Put in 200ºF oven for 7-8 hours.

I realized after I copied the recipe that I don’t usually include quantities, so I added those. But note that I leave much of that up to the cook’s judgment.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 July 2015 at 4:06 pm

Posted in Food, Low carb, Recipes

A good look at conservative delusion

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Written by LeisureGuy

27 July 2015 at 3:41 pm

Posted in GOP

Thousands of Scientists Say We Need a Global Ban on Autonomous Weapons

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Unfortunately, people in general do not listen to scientists because scientists have spent years—even decades—in study, learning about their specialties, so what do they know? /snark

Victoria Turk writes at Motherboard:

Autonomous weapons are the future’s Kalashnikovs, according to over 1,000 experts in artificial intelligence. Cheap, lethal, and guaranteed to end up in the wrong hands at some point, AI weapons are poised to be at the centre of the next global arms race.

That’s according to an open letter from the Future of Life Institute, an organisation dedicated to mitigating existential risks. It’s endorsed by thousands, including such household names (and outspoken prophets of AI doom) as Stephen Hawking andElon Musk.

“People have argued about autonomous weapons for years,” said Max Tegmark, an MIT professor and one of the FLI’s founders. “This is the AI experts who are building the technology who are speaking up and saying they don’t want anything to do with this.”

He likened the situation to physicists, biologists, and chemists speaking out against research in their fields being used to develop nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.

Toby Walsh, a professor of AI at the University of South Wales in Australia who will present the letter at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires on Tuesday, said it was time that AI researchers made their stance clear.

“There have been some negotiations at the United Nations in Geneva looking towards some sort of ban on autonomous weapons,” he said. “In conversation with those people, it became to clear to us that it would help the discussions and diplomatic negotiations if they saw that there was general support from scientists and not just humanitarian organisations.”

The letter defines autonomous weapons as those that “select and engage targets without human intervention,” citing as an example “armed quadcopters that can search for and eliminate people meeting certain pre-defined criteria.” It doesn’t include military drones in current use, as a human still has to remotely “pull the trigger.”

Walsh and his many co-signatories are urging authorities to stop an “arms race” for AI-weapons before it really started. “It has been suggested that this potentially will be as big a transformation as the invention of gunpowder and the invention of nuclear weapons to the way we fight war,” Walsh said. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 July 2015 at 3:06 pm

Posted in Military, Science

Billions of people wonder what the hell is going on: They’ve never heard of climate change

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It’s happening, and whether we like it or not is irrelevant. But some are in for a big surprise.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 July 2015 at 3:02 pm

Bad faith from the Obama administration to protect TPP

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David Dayen reports in The Intercept:

The State Department on Monday took Malaysia off a list of countries with particularly egregious human trafficking records, clearing the path for the country’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, one of the top political priorities for the Obama administration.

The move to officially upgrade Malaysia from Tier 3 to Tier 2 in the department’s annual report on human trafficking came despite scant evidence that the country has improved oversight of the businesses that enslave workers within its borders. It has raised concerns among some anti-trade activists that the decision was made for purely political reasons.

The trade promotion authority that Congress approved, which was signed into law by President Obama in June, came with a condition: No country on Tier 3 of the human trafficking report could get “fast-track” status for trade agreements signed with the United States.

In other words, trade deals with a Tier 3 country could not go to Congress for a guaranteed up-or-down vote without the possibility of filibuster or amendment. Malaysia is one of 12 countries negotiating TPP. The White House tried on multiple occasions to neutralize this language without success. So the State Department’s upgrade for Malaysia could be seen as a Plan B.

The shift has been rumored for weeks. Malaysia controls a key oil shipping lane to China, and the U.S. sees it as a key strategic partner in efforts to neutralize China’s growing influence in Asia.

The Communications Workers of America, which opposes TPP, condemned the Obama Administration for “placing the completion of the TPP ahead of human trafficking concerns.” Furthermore, CWA legislative director Shane Larson said the change “tramples on our country’s basic values. … We simply should not be rewarding bad actor countries like Malaysia with inclusion in trade deals.”

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., who wrote the anti-trafficking provision into the trade promotion authority, pronounced himself “profoundly disappointed” with the change on Malaysia in a statement. He suggested that the report was “subject to political manipulation,” and vowed hearings, investigations and potentially legislation on the issue.

Despite the White House’s contention that trade deals like TPP are “the most progressive in history,” it appears to be overlooking significant forced labor violations to get it passed.

In 2014, the State Department demoted Malaysia to Tier 3 status for being a destination “for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and women and children subjected to sex trafficking.” Malaysia’s 4 million foreign workers are threatened by large smuggling debts and confiscated passports that put them at the mercy of recruiting companies. Women in particular, recruited for hotel or beauty salon work, are routinely coerced into the commercial sex trade. And forced labor runs rampant in agricultural, construction and textile industries, producing the same goods that would get duty-free access to U.S. markets under TPP.

There is little evidence that anything has changed for Malaysia’s foreign workers. Just a couple months ago authorities discovered a mass grave of 139 Rohingya Muslims, who fled discrimination in Burma and were sold into slavery upon their escape. Trafficking enforcement remains weak; in April, U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia Joseph Yun criticized the country for doing too little to stop slavery. The Wall Street Journal found persistent forced labor abuses on Malaysian palm oil plantations in an article published Sunday.

The State Department’s 2015 report reads almost exactly like last year’s with a few words changed, the way middle school students avoid plagiarism for book reports. But they allege that . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 July 2015 at 2:15 pm

A terrorism huckster

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Trevor Aaronson reports in The Intercept:

Van Kohlmann is the U.S. government’s go-to expert witness in terrorism prosecutions. Since 2004, Kohlmann has been asked to testify as an expert about terrorist organizations, radicalization and homegrown threats in more than 30 trials.

It’s well-paying work — as much as $400 per hour. In all, the U.S. government has paid Kohlmann and his company at least $1.4 million for testifying in trials around the country, assisting with FBI investigations and consulting with agencies ranging from the Defense Department to the Internal Revenue Service.  He has also received another benefit, Uncle Sam’s mark of credibility, which has allowed him to work for NBC News and its cable sibling, MSNBC, for more than a decade as an on-air “terrorism analyst.”

Kohlmann’s claimed expertise is his ability to explore the dark corners of the Internet — the so-called deep web, which isn’t indexed by commercial search engines — and monitor what the Islamic State, al Qaeda and their sympathizers are saying, as well as network the relationships among these various actors. Kohlmann doesn’t speak Arabic, however, and aside from a few days each in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Dubai and Qatar, has hardly any experience in the Arab world. Kohlmann’s research is gleaned primarily from the Internet.

Indeed, Kohlmann is not a traditional expert. Much of his research is not peer-reviewed. Kohlmann’s key theory, to which he has testified several times on the witness stand, involves a series of indicators that he claims determine whether someone is likely a homegrown terrorist. Yet he has never tested the theory against a randomly selected control group to account for bias or coincidence.

For these and other reasons, Kohlmann’s critics describe him as a huckster.

In a court filing, Marc Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist and former CIA officer who has been called to the witness stand several times to discredit Kohlmann’s claims, described his testimony and reports as “so biased, one-sided and contextually inaccurate that they do not provide a fair and balanced context for the specific evidence to be presented at a legal hearing.”

In recent months, however, the small cohort of defense lawyers nationwide who battle the government in terrorism prosecutions have been asking themselves another question: What’s in the government’s mysteriously classified materials about Kohlmann?

The question began circulating last year. While representing at trial Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, of the Finsbury Park Mosque in London, New York lawyer Joshua Dratel, who has security clearances, was given classified materials about Kohlmann, a witness in the Mustafa prosecution. “It was the integrity of a prosecutor who learned of [the materials] some way,” Dratel said, crediting a single Justice Department employee for providing a rare full disclosure about Kohlmann.

Dratel has reviewed the classified materials in full, but he is prohibited from discussing their contents publicly. “It’s hard to talk about it without talking about it,” he said.

However, the judge in the Mustafa case allowed very limited references to the contents of the classified materials during Dratel’s cross-examination of Kohlmann — providing a clue to what the government is hiding about its star terrorism expert.

“You have done more than consulting for the FBI, correct?” Dratel asked Kohlmann.

“Correct,” Kohlmann said from the witness stand.

“You have done more than act as an expert for the government, correct?” Dratel followed.

“That’s correct, yes,” Kohlmann admitted.

That’s as far as the judge would allow.

Kohlmann and the Justice Department did not respond to repeated requests to comment for this story.

Asked if he thinks the information about Kohlmann should be classified, Dratel commented: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 July 2015 at 2:10 pm

Good profile of John Horton Conway, a fascinating mathematician and the inventor of the Game of Life

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Well worth reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 July 2015 at 1:58 pm

Posted in Math

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