Later On

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

Archive for December 26th, 2006

Being aware of your own contentment

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The Wife and I got to talking on Christmas day about how happy we are with our lives and families, and how lucky we are. It’s very nice indeed to realize you’re content at the time you’re content. Things change, and getting a clear impression of a good time can carry you along through bad patches. Hope your life is similarly good, and that you have a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.

Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2006 at 7:00 pm

Posted in Daily life

Keeping the protein down

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As I mentioned, my goal is to get 55% of my calories from carbs, 25% from fat, and 20% from protein. When I eat meat or fish, I have to be careful or the protein proportion climbs. And when I decided to have fresh ahi tuna in a dish, I had to cut down the amount a LOT so that the protein would stay under control: a portion of 2.5 oz, to be exact. (Of course, I’m keeping my total daily calories at 1500, which means that portions must be fairly small anyway, but that tuna is definitely calorie-rich and protein-rich.) I can see how easily people who eat meat and fish can get too much protein in their diet. (Thank heavens for Fitday.)

Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2006 at 6:41 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food

DIY Planner

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A commenter pointed out this site after reading my post about the little organizer thingy. The site he suggested offers quite a few resources for people who like  more ambitious planners that they can make themselves—along with other articles (see menu at the left). Some good stuff here. And timed just right for starting the new year. 🙂

Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2006 at 3:29 pm

Esperanto seems easier

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Than Solresol:

During the first half of the 19th century, a half-century before L.L. Zamenhof invented Esperanto, the universal language movement achieved its apotheosis in Solresol, the first artificial language ever to develop beyond mere concept. Created by a french music instructor named Jean François Sudre, Solresol remains, despite its practical disappearance, the most beautiful and perfect language ever created by one man. It consisted of just seven syllables, the notes of the scale — Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, and Si (which we now call Ti) — that could be combined according to the rules of an orderly grammar to form a vocabulary of 11,732 possible words.

Words could be spoken, hummed, sung, or played on a musical instrument. In public demonstrations, Sudre would “speak” paragraphs on his violin while his students translated them directly into French. To the speaker of Solresol, every piece of music became a document. What’s more, Sudre provided a means for translating ROYGBIV, the colors of the rainbow, into Solresol syllables so that every tapestry, every painting, every splash of color took on literal meaning as well. Numbers also translated into Solresol, so that any string of digits became a potential sentence. Finally, Sudre divided the hand into seven regions to allow the blind to communicate by tapping on each other’s palms.

Paul Collins writes about Solresol in his book Banvard’s Folly: Thirteen Tales of People Who Didn’t Change the World and in the Fortean Times:

Solresol can be disorienting and a little unnerving in a chaotic world that does not actually follow its strictures; one modern Solresolist, Greg Baker, recalls that after a while he started wondering why “the beginning of Beethoven’s Fifth seems to talk about ‘Wednesday’.” Needless to say, obsessive fans who hear already secret messages in music would not do their mental stability any favors by learning Solresol.

And yet the experience may be less cacaphonic than we might imagine. In practice Solresol is a language in the key of C. Imagine sitting down at a piano and only hitting the white keys randomly. No matter how hard you try to foul it up, you’ll still sound pretty good. This is why virtually every nursery rhyme is written in this key. An instrument tuned to C can give performances that aren’t terribly structured or melodic, but they’ll also never sound harsh or dissonant – and the same can be said for Solresol.

* In at least in one small circle, Solresol is making a comeback.

* A Solresol grammar and English-Solresol dictionary have been made available here.

* A Short History of the Ocular Harpsichord and its Progeny

Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2006 at 3:09 pm

Posted in Daily life

Good news for second thoughts: tattoo removal

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For after the breakup:

You once adored Janie, but Laura is your honey now. That dragon circling your arm wowed your college buddies, but the executives in the office aren’t nearly as impressed.

Just as the number of Americans sporting tattoos has soared in the past decade, so has membership in another group: people who want their bodywork removed. Only then do they come to know the truth — that laser tattoo removal is painful, expensive and may not do the job completely.

Soon there may be a solution to the phenomenon of tattoo regret — removable tattoo ink. A company founded by doctors says it will begin selling such ink early next year. The ink is applied just as with any tattoo, and will remain in place as long as desired. But if the owner later decides that the artwork has to go, it can be removed fully and safely with a single laser treatment.

The founders of the New York company making the removable ink, Freedom-2 LLC, say their goal is to help those who have come to regret permanently decorating their bodies. But backers say the technology will not only simplify tattoo removal, it will create an expanded market for body art — since consumers can be now assured that the tattoo will come off easily and without exorbitant cost.

“I think it will open a floodgate for people who want tattoos,” says Dr. Bruce Saal, a Los Gatos dermatologist who specializes in laser tattoo removal and has invested in the company. “People will say, ‘I want to do something a little wild. Now that I know it’s not a lifelong commitment, I’ll do it.’ “

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2006 at 12:07 pm

Posted in Daily life

How yeast acquired the alcohol gene

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New Scientist has a fascinating article on the survival strategy yeast developed, which led to their production of alcohol—which, as they point out, is a puzzle:

Most organisms that generate energy from sugars to use oxygen to break the molecules down into water and carbon dioxide. The energy this releases is stored in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule that cells use for fuel. In this process, known as aerobic respiration, each glucose molecule yields about 36 molecules of ATP.

S. cerevisiae [our yeast friend], however, spurns oxygen. Instead, it converts sugars into ethanol, generating a meagre two molecules of ATP per glucose molecule. Most cells resort to anaerobic respiration only when oxygen is in short supply, but give S. cerevisiae some sugar and it will churn out alcohol even when oxygen is plentiful – sacrificing huge amounts of energy in the process. It is a baffling way to behave, so why does this yeast do it?

Answer at the link. 🙂

Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2006 at 8:40 am

Posted in Daily life, Science

Savory bread pudding for breakfast

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As readers know, I like a savory breakfast. I’m also exceptionally fond of bread pudding as a dessert. Here’s a savory version that makes a great breakfast—and you can assemble it the night before.

Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2006 at 8:30 am

Posted in Food, Recipes & Cooking

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