Later On

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

Archive for December 23rd, 2006

Terrific stop-action animation

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A Soviet anti-war short from 1983.

Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2006 at 7:40 pm

Posted in Government, Military, Video

Galileo was right

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Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2006 at 6:21 pm

Posted in Science, Video

I figured out the gay agenda

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They want full civil rights and protection against discrimination—in other words, it’s the same as the straight agenda. (I’ve been thinking about it because the Right Wing constantly refers to the “gay agenda” without ever saying what it is.)

Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2006 at 4:43 pm

Posted in Daily life

The Wife has recently been investigated

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Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2006 at 4:42 pm

The UK views religion as doing more harm than good

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Interesting poll. Wonder what the results would be in the US?

More people in Britain think religion causes harm than believe it does good, according to a Guardian/ICM poll published today. It shows that an overwhelming majority see religion as a cause of division and tension – greatly outnumbering the smaller majority who also believe that it can be a force for good.

The poll also reveals that non-believers outnumber believers in Britain by almost two to one. It paints a picture of a sceptical nation with massive doubts about the effect religion has on society: 82% of those questioned say they see religion as a cause of division and tension between people. Only 16% disagree. The findings are at odds with attempts by some religious leaders to define the country as one made up of many faith communities.

Most people have no personal faith, the poll shows, with only 33% of those questioned describing themselves as “a religious person”. A clear majority, 63%, say that they are not religious – including more than half of those who describe themselves as Christian.

Older people and women are the most likely to believe in a god, with 37% of women saying they are religious, compared with 29% of men.

The findings come at the end of a year in which multiculturalism and the role of different faiths in society has been at the heart of a divisive political debate.

But a spokesman for the Church of England denied yesterday that mainstream religion was the source of tension. He also insisted that the “impression of secularism in this country is overrated”.

“You also have to bear in mind how society has changed. It is more difficult to go to church now than it was. Communities are displaced, people work longer hours – it’s harder to fit it in. It doesn’t alter the fact that the Church of England will get 1 million people in church every Sunday, which is larger than any other gathering in the country.”

The Right Rev Bishop Dunn, Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, added: “The perception that faith is a cause of division can often be because faith is misused for other uses and other agendas.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2006 at 4:39 pm

Posted in Religion

Great device: the RCA Lyra Wireless

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Plug the transmitter unit into your computer, the receiver into the auxiliary input in your stereo, and music played on your computer issues from your stereo. When I got it, it was easy to set up and it worked immediately. Amazing. For some reason it’s been discontinued, but this guy has 8 units for around $50 including postage. If you have a lot of music on your computer and your stereo’s in another room, it’s a great device.

Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2006 at 3:55 pm

Posted in Music, Software, Technology

Bonus Megs

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Megs under tent

Yesterday I tossed the quilt onto the sofa so that it made a sort of tent. Megs found it, and you know the rest. Isn’t she adorable?

Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2006 at 11:42 am

Posted in Cats, Megs

Stories from the war

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This story tells of the positive impact on a young woman from serving in Iraq. It also tells of the death of a friend of hers. So many have died in that war—and for what? So George Bush can feel like a big man?

Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2006 at 9:00 am

Companies recognize global warming

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Even as James Inhofe continues to fight the idea of global warming (he’s funded by the oil companies), businesses are recognizing that it’s here:

Allstate Corp., one of Maryland’s largest insurers, will stop writing homeowners’ policies in coastal areas of the state, citing warnings by scientists that a warmer Atlantic Ocean will lead to more strong hurricanes hitting the Northeast.

The company will no longer offer new property insurance beginning in February in all or part of 11 counties mostly along the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Existing customers won’t be affected; a spokeswoman said Allstate intends to renew those policies even in coastal areas. It will continue to write new policies in Baltimore and Baltimore County.

“We have been looking at hurricane and storm projections, and we’re going to see a lot more severe storms further north on the coastline,” said Allstate spokeswoman Debbie Pickford. “We are working to minimize our risk.”

Hammered by losses from storms such as Hurricanes Katrina and Andrew, insurance companies are raising rates, dropping coverages and refusing to accept new customers in certain areas.

This has been happening for years in states such as Florida, where homeowners saw rates multiply or lost insurance altogether after Andrew flattened much of South Florida in 1992. Now the trend is edging north.

Allstate’s change in Maryland is broader than a move by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. two years ago to cap new business in coastal areas and not to write new business in two ZIP codes near Ocean City. Allstate’s move will affect residents in Calvert, Dorchester, Somerset, St. Mary’s, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester counties and parts of Anne Arundel, Charles, Prince George’s and Queen Anne’s.

Allstate also decided recently to let thousands of homeowner policies lapse in the Carolinas, New York and Texas, and to no longer write new policies in parts of Virginia and all of Connecticut, Delaware and New Jersey.

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Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2006 at 8:35 am

Wish we had more food inspectors

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The GOP, of course, hates food inspectors: having food inspectors force businesses to spend money making sure foods are safe. The story below shows how effective the GOP has been at cutting back on food inspection. Needless to say, if the beef were being sold in the US to US consumers, the problem never would have been discovered.

South Korea has asked the United States to explain why a shipment of American beef rejected for having banned bone fragments also contained unacceptable levels of the toxic chemical dioxin, an official said Friday.

The discovery was the latest bad news for the U.S. cattle industry in South Korea, already dealing with the rejection of three recent shipments of beef for including banned bone fragments, which South Korea fears could potentially harbor mad cow disease.

Officials said the beef with the dioxin was in the third of the shipments, which was rejected on Dec. 6.

Seoul has asked Washington to explain why the beef contained the dioxin, said a South Korean Agriculture and Forestry Ministry official, who refused to give his name.

According to a statement issued late Thursday, the South Korean Agriculture and Forestry Ministry found 6.26 picograms of the toxic substance in one gram of fat, part of a 10.2-ton shipment of U.S. beef which arrived on Dec. 1.

South Korean standards allow no more than 5 picograms per gram of fat. A picogram is equivalent to a trillionth of a gram.

Seoul barred U.S. beef in December 2003 after the first reported U.S. case of the disease, known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Imports recently resumed after a nearly three-year ban, but so far no beef has made it to South Korean food stores or restaurants.

Kim Mee-kyung, a senior researcher at the quarantine service, said dioxin is sometimes found in beef due to environmental pollution in the food chain. She said testing for the toxin is carried out at random on about 100 samples of imported beef a year.

South Korea, formerly the third-largest foreign market for American beef, agreed to resume imports earlier this year of boneless meat from cattle younger than 30 months old, citing worries that some material inside bones could be dangerous to consume, and that younger animals are safe from mad cow disease.

A U.S. government official, speaking Friday on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, defended the safety of U.S. beef and said the Department of Agriculture was working on a request seeking details on South Korea’s testing methodology.

He said that dioxin comes in varying levels of toxicity. [I.e., this particular dioxin is good for you. – LG (Do you believe this unnamed individual?)]

U.S. officials have criticized South Korea over the rejections. [I bet they have. – LG]

Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2006 at 8:19 am

Once more on Fitday

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Since Fitday’s my new obsession, you can expect to see a certain number of posts on the topic.

I really do enjoy opening Fitday and working out the day’s food, going for my calorie and distribution goals within the constraints of the food on hand—that is, the food (a) that’s available, and (b) I must use up.

So today I started working on a turkey chili. I tinkered around with it, adding this, cutting back on that, but couldn’t get the protein to the appropriate level, until I thought of cutting out the scrambled egg whites from my breakfast. Perfect!

Calories: 1515 (target was 1500)
Carbs 55% of calories (goal is 55%)
Fat 24% (goal 25%)
Protein 19% (goal 20%)
Fiber 36g (goal 35g)

All that, plus I have a very nice chili for lunch and dinner. (“Cook once, eat twice” is my motto.) And I managed to use up some of the bacon that’s on hand in the chili.

Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2006 at 8:04 am

Posted in Daily life, Food

Nice holiday gift: blood

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I donated two units of my type O negative (universal donor, they love me) blood yesterday at the CHOMP (Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula) blood bank. It was my regular every-four-month donation, but this time they were having a bit of emergency and trying to call people in—local hospital running short. Why don’t you donate some nice blood? Easy, quick, and (with lidocaine, anyway) painless. And the ALYX machine is wonderful: it takes two units so you go in only three times a year.

Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2006 at 7:37 am

Posted in Daily life, Medical

Dondurma in Sydney

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Got a nice comment from Ali, who points out this source of dondurma in Sydney.

Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2006 at 7:28 am

Posted in Daily life, Food

Minutae of daily life

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The morning shave: Endymion shaving cream, which I’ve had for a while and been wanting to try. The description implies that it’s not a lathering shaving cream, but it works well with a brush. Quite nice, but not really worth the $30. Another of those better to get as a gift than to buy.

I used an Italian shaving brush, an Omega silvertip badger brush. The Omegas feel simply wonderful—I imagine Claudia Cardinale’s hand gently caressing my face (the Claudia Cardinale from Once Upon a Time in the West).

The Wilkinson “Sticky” with a new Feather blade, and a perfectly smooth shave with no nicks. Finished with Pashana aftershave.

Last night’s dreams: In dreams from time to time I descend a flight of stairs by somehow balancing on the edge of the top step and then more or less skiing down the steps: moving without a break from step’s edge to step’s edge, maintaining my balance, much like taking a little run and sliding along an icy patch. And every time, I think to myself, “Wow. Before I could do this only in dreams.” I never catch on. So it was last night, though for some reason I was more cautious with stone steps.

The new mattress: It will take a couple of nights to get used to the unaccustomed firmness, but my back does feel better. Sealy Posturepedic.

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Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2006 at 7:17 am

Posted in Daily life

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