Later On

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

Archive for January 16th, 2007

Mama Bear has a new site!

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Mama Bear has moved on from eBay. I’m late to the party, I fear, but check out her amazing range of shaving soaps and supplies.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 January 2007 at 6:44 pm

Posted in Shaving

Tasty-sounding homemade pork sausage

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I like all the fresh seasonings in this recipe.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 January 2007 at 5:39 pm

Posted in Recipes

Outrage well expressed

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Just go read this. And then ask yourself from what moral cesspit did they draw these people?

Written by LeisureGuy

16 January 2007 at 3:57 pm

Country GDPs matched to state output

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Fascinating map. (Click map to enlarge it.)

Written by LeisureGuy

16 January 2007 at 3:45 pm

Posted in Daily life

20 most amazing short animations

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Go see ’em.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 January 2007 at 3:42 pm

Posted in Movies & TV

6 one-pot meals from Real Simple

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Written by LeisureGuy

16 January 2007 at 3:37 pm

Posted in Food, Recipes

“Unsafe driving conditions” defined

with 2 comments

NSFW: noise of crashing. In Portland OR today.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 January 2007 at 3:09 pm

Posted in Daily life

Good tax credit available for Nissan Altima Hybrid

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From the friendly folks at the IRS:

2007 Nissan Altima Certified as Qualified Hybrid Vehicle

IR-2007–08, Jan. 11, 2007

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service has acknowledged the certification by Nissan North America, Inc., that its 2007 Nissan Altima Hybrid vehicle meets the requirements of the Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit as a qualified hybrid motor vehicle.

The credit amount for the hybrid vehicle certification of the 2007 Nissan Altima Hybrid is $2,350.

Consumers seeking the credit may want to buy early since the full credit is only available for a limited time. Taxpayers may claim the full amount of the allowable credit up to the end of the first calendar quarter after the quarter in which the manufacturer records its sale of the 60,000th vehicle. For the second and third calendar quarters after the quarter in which the 60,000th vehicle is sold, taxpayers may claim 50 percent of the credit. For the fourth and fifth calendar quarters, taxpayers may claim 25 percent of the credit. No credit is allowed after the fifth quarter.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 January 2007 at 2:57 pm

Getting Things Done with Remember the Milk

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Via Lifehacker, a post on how to use Remember the Milk to implement some of David Allen’s methodology that goes under the name of “Getting Things Done.”

Written by LeisureGuy

16 January 2007 at 2:43 pm

How Legos are made

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NSFW: sound. But something The Elder Grandson will greatly enjoy.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 January 2007 at 2:34 pm

Posted in Technology, Toys

Extremely cool toaster

with one comment

Not a combination of words you often see, but this thing deserves it.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 January 2007 at 2:32 pm

Posted in Daily life, Technology

New search engine for Wikipedia

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Wikiseek will first seek through Wikipedia and then through the articles linked to from Wikipedia. E.g., search “shaving” and you find the Wikipedia article and then LeisureGuy’s own gourmet-shaving article. 🙂

Written by LeisureGuy

16 January 2007 at 2:27 pm

Posted in Daily life, Software

Cloudy apple juice more healthful than clear — and more

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Three interesting findings:

Cloudy apple juice is four times more healthful than the clear variety, reports Sarah Scoffield in Chemistry & Industry, the magazine of the SCI.

Jan Oszmianski, leading a team at the Agricultural University of Wroclaw, Poland, compared clear and cloudy varieties of apple juice, and found that cloudy juice contains four times the concentration of polyphenols. Polyophenols are also found in dark chocolate, red wine and are widely reported to have anti-caner activity. The research published this month in the SCI’s Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture (DOI: 10.1002/jsfa.2707).

Lucy Ede, Head of Products at the juice company Innocent, said they already use cloudy apple juice in their products. “Cloudy juices taste better and have amazing body, which is important for us,” she said. “But the fact that cloudy juices have more health benefits is extra exciting and definitely encourages us to use them.”

Clear juice far outsells cloudy juice because of the perception by consumers that is purer. But it is the process of clarification that removes the beneficial compounds locked away in the apple pulp. Retailers also tend to favour clear juice because it has a longer shelf life than cloudy juice.

Also of interest in C&I issue 1 2007:

Super Sausages

Adding orange fibre to the mix allows scientist to make tasty sausages with 60% less fat. The orange fibre not only improves flavour but could also provide health benefits of fruit, which helps fight several conditions such as, colon cancer and heart disease. (JSFA DOI: 10.1002/jsfa)

Extra Special Espresso

The exact conditions required to make the perfect espresso are revealed this week in Chemistry & Industry. Researchers, from the University of Navarro used both electronic ‘noses’ and human tasters to determine the exact ratio of coffee to water required to avoid the unpleasant tastes of burnt rubber, motor-oil, sulphur, and ash associated with over-brewed coffee [don’t you just hate that? – LG]. The amount required depends on the coffee used — blends containing the cheaper Robusta variety required more coffee than pure Arabica beans.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 January 2007 at 1:29 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health, Science

So it wasn’t arsenic poisoning, after all

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And I read a whole book about that theory. No, it was cancer:

A new investigation into Napoleon Bonaparte’s cause of death might finally put to rest nearly 200 years of lingering mysteries about the illness that killed the French emperor during his island exile, a UT Southwestern Medical Center scientist reports.

American, Swiss and Canadian researchers applied modern pathological and tumor-staging methods to historical accounts and found that Napoleon died of a very advanced case of gastric cancer that stemmed from an ulcer-causing bacterial infection in his stomach, rather than a heretofore belief of a hereditary disposition to the cancer. The analysis, which also refutes rumors of arsenic poisoning, points to gastrointestinal bleeding as the likely immediate cause of death.

The report, available online and in the January edition of Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology & Hepatology, indicates that the despot’s demise was imminent.

“This analysis suggests that, even if the emperor had been released or escaped from the island, his terminal condition would have prevented him from playing a further major role in the theater of European history,” said Dr. Robert Genta, professor of pathology and internal medicine at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study. “Even today, with the availability of sophisticated surgical techniques and chemotherapies, patients with gastric cancer as advanced as Napoleon’s have a poor prognosis.”

Napoleon, born Aug. 15, 1769, ruled France in the late 1700s and early 1800s. He conquered much of Europe, but he was ultimately defeated at the battle of Waterloo in 1815. The British then exiled him to St. Helena, an island in the South Atlantic Ocean.

He died May 5, 1821.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

16 January 2007 at 1:25 pm

Posted in Daily life, Medical, Science

Looks as though Dark Energy is the energy of the vacuum

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So new findings indicate:

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen’s Dark Cosmology Centre at the Niels Bohr Institute have brought us one step closer to understanding what the universe is made of. As part of the international collaboration ESSENCE they have observed distant supernovae (exploding stars), some of which emitted the light we now see more than half the age of the universe ago. Using these supernovae they have traced the expansion history of the universe with unprecedented accuracy and sharpened our knowledge of what it might be that is causing the mysterious acceleration of the expansion of the universe.

At the end of last century astronomers discovered the startling fact that the expansion of our universe is not slowing down, as all our previous understanding of gravity had predicted. Rather the expansion is speeding up. Nothing in conventional physics can explain such a result. It means that either the universe is made up of around 70% ‘dark energy’ (something that has a sort of anti-gravity) or our theory of gravity is flawed.

Now, as part of the international collaboration “ESSENCE”, researchers at the Danish Dark Cosmology Centre have added a new piece to the puzzle. In two papers recently released they detail observations of supernovae (exploding stars) that allow them to trace the expansion history of the universe in unprecedented detail. ESSENCE is an extension of the original team that discovered the acceleration of the universe and these results push the limits of technology and knowledge, observing light from dying stars that was emitted almost half the age of the universe ago.

In a third paper, led by the Danish team and released this week, the many new theories that have been proposed to explain the acceleration of the universe are critically assessed in the face of this new data. Dr. Jesper Sollerman and Dr. Tamara Davis lead the team who show that despite the increased sophistication in cosmological models over the last century the best model to explain the acceleration remains one that was proposed by Einstein back in 1917. Although Einstein’s reasoning at the time was flawed (he proposed the modification to his theory so it could support a static universe, because in those days everyone ‘knew’ the universe was not expanding, it may be that he was right all along.

The results include 60 new type Ia supernovae discovered on the Cerro-Tololo Interamerican Observatory 4m telescope in an ongoing survey that so far has lasted four years. In order to follow up these discoveries the team uses some of the biggest telescopes in the world: the 8.2m VLT (Very Large Telescope) run by the European Southern Observatory and the 6m Magellan telescope (both in Chile), the 8m Keck telescope and the 10m Gemini telescope (both in Hawaii). The ESSENCE team includes 38 top researchers from many different countries on four continents.

The primary aim of the experiment is to measure the ‘dark energy’ – the thing that is causing the acceleration of the universe – to better than 10%. The feature of this dark energy that we measure is its ‘equation of state’. This also allows us to check whether our theory of gravity needs modification. So far it looks like our theory is correct and that the strange acceleration of the expansion of the universe can be explained by Einstein’s ‘cosmological constant’.

In modern terms the cosmological constant is viewed as a quantum mechanical phenomenon called the ‘energy of the vacuum’. In other words, the energy of empty space. It is this energy that is causing the universe to accelerate. The new data shows that none of the fancy new theories that have been proposed in the last decade are necessary to explain the acceleration. Rather, vacuum energy is the most likely cause and the expansion history of the universe can be explained by simply adding this constant background of acceleration into the normal theory of gravity.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 January 2007 at 1:20 pm

Posted in Science

Dublin: a cocaine center?

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ScienceDaily reports that 100% of Euro notes in Dublin are contaminated with cocaine:

An ongoing research project into the detection of illicit drug use has shown that of a sample of bank notes in current circulation in the greater Dublin area — €5, €10, €20 and €50 denominations — 100% of them showed contamination with cocaine.

The research was carried out by PhD student, Jonathan Bones, working under the supervision of Professor Brett Paull at Dublin City University’s National Centre for Sensor Research (NCSR) which specialises in sensor technology used in medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring and other industrial applications. The research was funded by the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology.

Using a technique involving chromatography/mass spectrometry, a sample of 45 bank notes were analysed to show the level of contamination by cocaine. The cotton structure of the Euro bank notes adsorbs chemical residues, making it relatively easy to analyse. While all of the notes proved positive for cocaine contamination, three showed the presence of heroin. Contamination can occur whenever direct contact between the note and the drug takes place, either through the common practice of ‘snorting’ through a rolled-up banknote, as a result of transfer during drug dealing or through the cross-contamination of notes during the counting process in financial institutions.

62% of notes were contaminated with levels of cocaine at concentrations greater than 2 nanograms/note, with 5% of the notes showing levels greater than 100 times higher, indicating suspected direct use of the note in either drug dealing or drug inhalation. The highest amounts of cocaine residues were found on €20 and €50 bank notes, as compared to €5 and €10. The remainder of the notes which showed only ultra-trace quantities of cocaine was most probably the result of contact with other contaminated notes, which could have occurred within bank counting machines or from other contaminated surfaces.

“This is the largest sample of notes ever used in an experiment of this kind in Ireland”, Bones said. “A larger number of notes would give a more representative view of cocaine use in our society, but the number used is sufficient from which to draw conclusions. The most recent survey carried out in the US showed 65% of dollar notes were contaminated with cocaine. However, the 100% rate uncovered in this project was surprising. Although not a quantitative measure, the presence of illicit substances on banknotes in general circulation provides an indication of the degree to which substances are being used by the community”.

“The greatest advantage to using money as the test matrix is that it is readily available, non-invasive, anonymous and relatively safe to work with. Further research would need to be carried out to provide a more accurate picture of the scope of cocaine and heroin use in Ireland today”, said Professor Brett Paull.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 January 2007 at 12:58 pm

My God! The Bush Administration is firing all the Federal prosecutors

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Apparently with the intention of replacing them with party hacks. Here’s the list to date. As Josh Marshall notes, this is unprecedented. Here’s more:

Okay, so we already know that the White House has now taken the unprecedented step of firing at least four and likely seven US Attorneys in the middle of their terms of office — at least some of whom are in the midst of corruption investigations of Bush administration officials and key Republican lawmakers. We also know that they’re taking advantage of a handy provision of the USA Patriot Act that allows the White House to replace these fired USAs with appointees who don’t need to be approved by the senate.

Given that these new USAs are being plopped into offices currently investigating Republicans and other administration officials and others into states with 2008 presidential candidates, there’s certainly ample opportunity for mischief.

So we’re looking into just how the White House is appointing.

Well, let’s start with the estimable J. Timothy Griffin, US Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas since December 20th.

If you hadn’t heard about Griffin’s appointment, don’t feel bad, the guy he replaced hadn’t either. Griffin’s appointment was annouced on December 15th before the then-US Attorney Bud Cummins had even been given a chance to resign. Cummins got the call on his cell phone the same day while he was out hiking with his son. Cummins, who subsequently said he got forced out for political reasons, resigned on the 20th, the same day Griffin was sworn in.

So who’s Griffin and what experience does he bring to the job?

Well, top of the list seems to be his stint at the White House where he worked for Karl Rove doing opposition research on Democrats. That was until late last year. According to this Arkansas Times report, for the last ten years — with the exception of two one year stint — he has always worked as a Republican party opposition researcher digging up dirt on Democrats. Deputy Research Director for the RNC from 1999-2000. Research Director for the RNC from 2002-2005. Oppo Research Director for Karl Rove 2005-2006. Prior to 1999? Well, he was associate independent counsel investigating Henry Cisneros from 1995-96. After that he went to work for Dan Burton on the Hill to investigate Asian money contributions to the DNC.

Back in 2000, when he was in charge of digging up dirt on Al Gore, he apparently had a poster hanging on the wall behind his desk which read: “On my command – unleash hell on Al.”

So clearly, Griffin’s a pretty apolitical guy.

Now, why would Karl Rove want his top oppo researcher being the US Attorney in Arkansas for the next two years?

And is Ed Gillespie suiting up to take over the Duke Cunningham investigation in San Diego?

Written by LeisureGuy

16 January 2007 at 12:39 pm

More on flow

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I’ve mentioned Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s work on flow a few times. (You can search the blog on his last name, for example.) And now Steve Pavlina posts his 7 rules for achieving flow in your work.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 January 2007 at 12:27 pm

Posted in Daily life

Just exactly how secure are your passwords?

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And if you respond, “I have only one,” you’re already in trouble. Here’s a good article on password security and how to choose a secure password.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 January 2007 at 11:55 am

Posted in Daily life, Software

Anthology: The Open Laboratory: the Best Writing on Science Blogs in 2006

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You can buy it as a book or download as PDF. Here it is.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 January 2007 at 9:39 am

Posted in Books, Science

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