Later On

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

Good news: Police fatalities per capita have dropped substantially

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Via Kevin Drum, we learn that the rhetoric regarding an increase in killings of police officers is simply a lie:


It’s not good news that some politicians (Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, et al.) are lying, telling us that police deaths are increasing rather than decreasing, but it is good news that police work is safer than it’s ever been.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 September 2015 at 4:23 pm

Posted in Law Enforcement

Punctuation’s mysterious origins

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Punctuation turns out to be very handy indeed, though it was a relatively late innovation. But try to make sense of some sentences after stripping out the punctuation—for example, consider this sentence: Tom where Jan had had had had had had had had had had had the examiner’s approval. Not so easy without punctuation.

Keith Houston writes at BBC:

As readers and writers, we’re intimately familiar with the dots, strokes and dashes that punctuate the written word. The comma, colon, semicolon and their siblings are integral parts of writing, pointing out grammatical structures and helping us transform letters into spoken words or mental images. We would be lost without them (or, at the very least, extremely confused), and yet the earliest readers and writers managed without it for thousands of years. What changed their minds?

In the 3rd Century BCE, in the Hellenic Egyptian city of Alexandria, a librarian named Aristophanes had had enough. He was chief of staff at the city’s famous library, home to hundreds of thousands of scrolls, which were all frustratingly time-consuming to read. For as long as anyone could remember, the Greeks had written their texts so that their letters ran together withnospacesorpunctuation and without any distinction between lowercase and capitals. It was up to the reader to pick their way through this unforgiving mass of letters to discover where each word or sentence ended and the next began.

Yet the lack of punctuation and word spaces was not seen as a problem. In early democracies such as Greece and Rome, where elected officials debated to promote their points of view, eloquent and persuasive speech was considered more important than written language and readers fully expected that they would have to pore over a scroll before reciting it in public. To be able to understand a text on a first reading was unheard of: when asked to read aloud from an unfamiliar document, a 2nd Century writer named Aulus Gellius protested that he would mangle its meaning and emphasise its words incorrectly. (When a bystander stepped in to read the document instead, he did just that.)

Aristophanes’ breakthrough was to suggest that readers could annotate their documents, relieving the unbroken stream of text with dots of ink aligned with the middle (·), bottom (.) or top (·) of each line. His ‘subordinate’, ‘intermediate’ and ‘full’ points corresponded to the pauses of increasing length that a practised reader would habitually insert between formal units of speech called the comma, colon and periodos. This was not quite punctuation as we know it – Aristophanes saw his marks as representing simple pauses rather than grammatical boundaries – but the seed had been planted. . .

Continue reading.

The sentence above is much more easily read with punctuation (and one capitalization): Tom, where Jan had had “had,” had had “had had.” “Had had” had had the examiner’s approval.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 September 2015 at 1:12 pm

Posted in Daily life, Writing

The Above the Tie S1 and Mickey Lee’s Italian Stallion aftershave milk

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SOTD 3 Sept 2015

Very fine shave today, with the Plisson HMW 12 (with a horn handle) bringing forth a fine lather from the sample of Meißner Tremonia soap, the eighth shave with this sample, which I’m starting to think may last a dozen shaves.

The ATT S1 slant head, riding on a UFO handle, did a fine job: three passes to perfect smoothness, but I did pick up one nick on my lower lip in the XTG pass—bad blade angle, I reckon. I tried the alum block as a styptic again: rinsed my face and held the block against firmly against the nick for half a minute. It did quite a good job, but still a bit of seepage, so I closed it up with My Nik Is Sealed.

A good splash of Mickey Lee Soapworks Italian Stallion aftershave milk, a fragrance I like a lot more than I thought I would from reading the description. The milk feels good and dries fast, leaving my face feeling soft and smooth.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 September 2015 at 7:35 am

Posted in Shaving

The San Francisco Story (1952) (and also Four Faces West (1948))

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Just watched The San Francisco Story, with Joel McCrea and Yvonne De Carlo, on Amazon Prime streaming. It has what once was called snappy dialogue, and in general was quite enjoyable—more so than usual, but then it was based on a novel.

Amazon Prime streaming has another Joel McCrea movie, one of my all-time favorites: Four Faces West. Recommended. Frances Dee, Joel McCrea’s wife, also stars in that movie.

I also like Stars in My Crown a lot, another Joel McCrea movie, but it’s not on Amazon Prime. Rental is $3.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 September 2015 at 8:56 pm

Posted in Movies & TV

The Washington Post seems too willing to ignore journalistic standards

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Paul Krugman in his blog:

lmost 15 years have passed since I warned about media “balance” that involved systematically abdicating the journalistic duty of informing readers about simple matters of fact. As I said way back when,

If a presidential candidate were to declare that the earth is flat, you would be sure to see a news analysis under the headline ”Shape of the Planet: Both Sides Have a Point.” After all, the earth isn’t perfectly spherical.

So have things improved? In some ways, they may have gotten even worse. These days, media balance often seems to involve retroactively rewriting history to avoid telling readers that one side of a policy debate got things completely wrong.

In particular, when you see reports on monetary disputes, you often see characterizations of what the Fed’s right-wing critics have been saying that go something like this, in the WaPo:

Among the criticisms: The Fed was keeping interest rates artificially low and fueling speculative bubbles. The helicopter-drop of money known as quantitative easing did little more than inflate stock markets and fund Washington’s deficit spending. The bailout of big banks left them bigger than ever.

Um, no. The people who gathered at the anti-Jackson-Hole eventweren’t warning about bubbles and too-big-to-fail. They warned, in apocalyptic terms, that runaway inflation was just around the corner. Here’s Ron Paul; here’s Peter Schiff.

Why would a reporter credit the Fed’s critics with warnings they didn’t give, and fail to mention what they actually said? The answer, pretty obviously, is that if you were to say “Ron Paul has been predicting runaway inflation ever since the Fed began its expansionary policies”, that would make it clear that he has been completely wrong. And conveying that truth — even as a matter of simple factual reporting — is apparently viewed as taking sides.

So what we get instead is a whitewashing of the intellectual history, in which Fed critics are portrayed as making arguments that haven’t been shown to be ridiculous. It’s a pretty sorry spectacle.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 September 2015 at 6:33 pm

Asian Zucchini Noodle Salad Recipe

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So I made this recipe today, after getting this zucchini-noodle maker. (It’s apparently called a spiralizer.) It works moderately well, with some drawbacks: it doesn’t quite finish the zucchini and an uncut small-diameter core is left (but easily chopped for the salad). What surprised me: zucchini noodles have a fair amount of tensile strength, and the device makes very long noodles. They are hard to toss in a salad since they tend to stick together in a tangled ball.

I did like the salad, though, and I think I’ll make it again, only next time I’ll use scissors to cut through the mass of noodles, reducing them to shorter lengths and (I hope) reduce the intertwining. I think a more substantial machine, one like this, will probably do a better job, but then I would have a special-purpose machine taking up storage room. I think I’ll wait a while to see how often I do this.

It is a good salad, though.

UPDATE: Link to recipe fixed. Thanks, Joanne.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 September 2015 at 4:39 pm

Posted in Food, Recipes

BBS with the Wolfman

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SOTD 2 Sept 2015

Extremely good shave today, the seventh from the sample of Pots o’ Milk Meißner Tremonia shaving soap. I got yet another excellent lather from it using the Kent Infinity synthetic brush, a good synthetic.

The Wolfman Razor did its usual superb job: three passes to a BBS result, and then a splash of Ginger’s Garden Suave aftershave to finish the job. I do like that aftershave.


Written by LeisureGuy

2 September 2015 at 10:32 am

Posted in Shaving


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