Later On

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

Archive for July 21st, 2006

Cool voice-recognition software

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Via Alert Reader, this review by David Pogue of Dragon Naturally Speaking 9.0:

This software, which made its debut Tuesday, is remarkable for two reasons.

Reason 1: You don’t have to train this software. That’s when you have to read aloud a canned piece of prose that it displays on the screen — a standard ritual that has begun the speech-recognition adventure for thousands of people.

I can remember, in the early days, having to read 45 minutes’ worth of these scripts for the software’s benefit. But each successive version of NaturallySpeaking has required less training time; in Version 8, five minutes was all it took.

And now they’ve topped that: NatSpeak 9 requires no training at all. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

21 July 2006 at 7:43 pm

Posted in Techie toys, Technology

This looks like an answer

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Tesla Roadster
Via Kevin Drum, the Tesla electric sports car.

Last night Tesla Motors unveiled their uber-chic Roadster, a supercharged electric vehicle that looks, feels and drives like many other high-end sports cars. The main difference is the noise. Powered by a 3-phase, 4-pole AC induction motor, the Roadster can go 130 mph and does 0-60 in about 4 seconds, all completely silent.

UPDATE: More here.

Written by Leisureguy

21 July 2006 at 4:19 pm

Surprise cat-blogging: Katie the Canadian Kitty

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Katie & Elf

This is Katie the Canadian Kitty and her BFF Elf. (Elf’s the one on the right.) They live on Salt Spring Island BC. This is a teaser: Katie will be the featured kitty in next week’s cat-blogging. Be sure to stop by. (Long-time readers of the blog will recognize this photo as a rerun from version 1.0. I’m using it just to introduce Katie to the new crowd. Next week’s photos are all new.)

Written by Leisureguy

21 July 2006 at 12:43 pm

Posted in Cats, Katie

Another superfood: Pomegranate juice

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Though not listed among the superfoods, pomegranate juice certainly seems worthy of the monicker. From an article in Science News on the benefits of flavonoids in highly colored foods:

Pomegranates are even richer in antioxidant flavonoids, especially anthocyanins, than purple grapes are, according to research led by Michael Aviram of Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel. Over the past 5 years, his team has shown that the flavonoids in pomegranate inhibit cholesterol oxidation in human blood and slow the development of atherosclerotic disease in mice.

In one recent study, Aviram’s team followed volunteers who had atherosclerosis, characterized by symptoms including a narrowing of their carotid arteries. Ten of the participants drank 50 milliliters [1.69 fluid ounces—a little less than 1/4 cup – LG] of pomegranate juice daily for 1 to 3 years. Nine others took a flavonoid-free placebo drink. Throughout the trial, all continued to receive the heart medications that their doctors prescribed.

By the end of the study, the people drinking the pomegranate juice had experienced a 20 percent drop in systolic blood pressure, while the placebo group showed no decline. Similarly, only the pomegranate group experienced a beneficial reduction in the thickness of their carotid artery walls and a dramatic drop in the oxidation-susceptibility of their low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol, the team reported in the June 2004 Clinical Nutrition.

Since this article appeared (8 January 2005), I’ve been drinking pomegranate juice daily. I drink 1/4 cup (2 oz) of unsweetened pomegranate juice not made from concentrate. That made from concentrate may be fine, but I’ll go with not made from concentrate if I can.

Be suspicious and read the label carefully. Some bottles contain “pomegranate juice drink” or “pomegranate juice blend.” Check the ingredients to be sure that you are getting 100% pure pomegranate juice with no sugar.

UPDATE: Here’s a superfood smoothie.

Written by Leisureguy

21 July 2006 at 8:21 am

Posted in Health, Medical, Science

The tribe of scientists

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Though I am a staunch defender of science and of scientific method, even I recognize the tribal nature scientists sometimes reveal: banding together to condemn and ostracize the innovative thinker, despite their protestations of “deciding on the basis of evidence.” Decisions are often made by peer judgment, even though some peers are judging from positions threatened by the new ideas. Alfred Wegener, who proposed the theory of continental drift (plate tectonics, as it’s know today) in 1915, was subject to great hositility and did not live to see his theory accepted as a scientific fact.

The one American edition [of his book], published in 1924, provoked such hostility that it was not revised. Many geologists focused on a lack of a demonstrable mechanism and rejected and ridiculed Wegener for his ideas, noting that he could not explain how continents were able to move.

It’s well known that each innovation in medicine was not widely adopted until the then-current generation of physicians died off, leaving the new generation free to adopt the idea (then no longer new). It may be objected that physicians are not scientists, a position given credence by the novelty of the idea of “evidence-based medicine”. (Googling the term will bring up many references to this revolutionary concept.) Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

21 July 2006 at 7:56 am

Posted in Books, Science

Friday cat-blogging: Megs still in her basket

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Megs in basket

Megs, still in her basket. As for many of her toys, she seems to have developed a close emotional attachment. She was quite happy sitting here for a long time, but eventually, all tuckered out, had to find a place to take a nap.

Written by Leisureguy

21 July 2006 at 7:03 am

Posted in Cats, Megs

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