Later On

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

Archive for January 24th, 2007

Ohio is a special state

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For example:

Two election workers were convicted Wednesday of rigging a recount of the 2004 presidential election to avoid a more thorough review in Ohio’s most populous county.

Jacqueline Maiden, elections coordinator of the Cuyahoga County Elections Board, and ballot manager Kathleen Dreamer each were convicted of a felony count of negligent misconduct of an elections employee. They also were convicted of one misdemeanor count each of failure of elections employees to perform their duty.

Prosecutors accused Maiden and Dreamer of secretly reviewing preselected ballots before a public recount on Dec. 16, 2004. They worked behind closed doors for three days to pick ballots they knew would not cause discrepancies when checked by hand, prosecutors said.

Defense attorney Roger Synenberg has said the workers were following procedures as they understood them.

Ohio gave President Bush the electoral votes he needed to defeat Democratic Sen. John Kerry in the close election and hold on to the White House in 2004.

Special prosecutor Kevin Baxter did not claim the workers’ actions affected the outcome of the election — Kerry gained 17 votes and Bush lost six in the county’s recount.

Maiden and Dreamer, who still work for the elections board, face a possible sentence of six to 18 months for the felony conviction. Sentencing is on Feb. 26.

A message left for Elections Board Director Michael Vu was not immediately returned Wednesday. The board released a statement that said its goal is to restore confidence in the county’s election progress and pursue reforms in addition to those made since 2004.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 January 2007 at 6:22 pm

Posted in Election

High-fiber fake fat

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I’ve got to try it. Here:

Have you heard of Z Trim? It’s a fat substitute made from plants (also known as “agricultural by-products”) that not only has no fat, but has zero calories. It is marketed as an all-natural weight loss product, but since it can be used in everything from baked goods to soups and dressings, it sounds as though it could just as easily fit into the general health food category.

It was developed a few years ago by the USDA and is primarily composed of the hulls from oats, soybeans, peas and rice, as well as bran from corn and/or wheat, all of which are “processed into microscopic fragments, purified, and dried and milled to an easy-flowing powder,” which can then be reconstituted with water to create a very smooth paste that gives a mouthfeel similar to – you guessed it – fat. It has a lot of natural dietary fiber, so it also helps provide a feeling of fullness.

So what does it taste like? Apparently, it’s pretty much like other fats and most people can’t taste or feel the difference in what they’re eating. In fact, a school district in Pittsburgh switched to using it several months ago, but just recently revealed that fact to students, who never noticed the difference and approved of all the food with and without Z Trim.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 January 2007 at 1:51 pm

A bit thick about security

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I once took an IBM course on data security, and the instructor told the story of one company that didn’t quite understand the idea. They changed passwords every 30 days (good) but used the same password for everyone in the company (less good).

And now it turns out that Diebold uses a single key pattern for ALL its machines—and the key is the same typical key found in lockable filing cabinets, hotel minibars, and the like. Moreover, Diebold published a photo of the key on their Web site.

Diebold is stupid. Here’s the full story.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 January 2007 at 12:36 pm

Dietary fiber cuts risk for breast cancer

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It was quite disappointing when it turned out that high-fiber diets didn’t offer any preventive help for colon cancer. But now it looks as though they can help young women avoid breast cancer: A new study gives a good reason for young women to switch to whole grain bread and to generally increase the amount of whole grains in their diets. Conducted at the University of Leeds, the study showed that women who ate at least 30 grams of fiber each day cut their breast cancer risk by half.

The average fiber intake in the UK is 12 grams per day for adults and 15 g per day in the US. Since the results of the study suggest that benefits will not occur when women eat less than 20g per day, it is worth noting that there are a couple of easy ways to eat more fiber. A medium apple, for example, has 4g of fiber. An artichoke, cooked, has 4.5 grams. Beans vary in their fiber content, but tend to have around 16g per cup. 1/2 cup of corn has 5g. There are many other vegetables and fruits that provide low calorie ways to add fiber to the diet, as well.

The benefits of eating more fiber could be overridden by other factors, including weight, but a generally healthy lifestyle that includes the recommended amount of fiber should decrease the risk enough to make dietary changes worth the effort for young women.

My own fiber intake averages 43g per day.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 January 2007 at 12:25 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health, Science

Counter-attack on the nicotine increase

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Tobacco companies will probably just increase the nicotine even more once they read this:

A recently licensed nicotine receptor stimulant trebles the odds of stopping smoking.

The new anti-smoking drug varenicline was first licensed for use in the UK on 5th December 2006. An early Cochrane Review of its effectiveness shows that it can give a three-fold increase in the odds of a person quitting smoking. Varenicline is the first new anti-smoking drug in the last ten years, and only the third, after NRT and bupropion, to be licensed in the USA for smoking cessation.

People become addicted to smoking tobacco partly because nicotine in the smoke stimulates receptors in the nervous system that cause a release of the feel-good hormone dopamine. Varenicline partially stimulates these nicotine receptors and enables a low-level release of dopamine, which reduces withdrawal symptoms. It also partially blocks nicotine from being absorbed by the receptors, making continued smoking less satisfying. This reduces a person’s need to smoke, and may help them to quit completely.

This conclusion was drawn by a group of Cochrane researchers after they studied data from six trials that compared the effects of giving people either varenicline or a placebo. Together the trials involved 2451 people on varenicline and 2473 people on placebos.

Pooling the data showed that people taking varenicline increased their odds of quitting approximately three-fold for 12 months or longer compared with those on placebo drugs.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

24 January 2007 at 12:19 pm

Man, this is GOOD chili powder

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I am just eating a bowl of chili made using Penzeys Hot Chili Powder. This is the one to get: sweat is running down my face, and my mouth is having a festival. Man, oh man. Good stuff.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 January 2007 at 12:08 pm

Posted in Food, Recipes

Chuck Hagel lays it on the line

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This is what the GOP used to be like: Republicans who truly cared about the country.

Note when he says this stinging condemnation of President Bush:

I don’t think we’ve ever had a coherent strategy. In fact, I would even challenge the administration today to show us the plan that the president talked about the other night. There is no plan. I happen to know that Pentagon planners were on their way to Central Com over the weekend — they haven’t even Team B’ed this plan…. There is no strategy. This is a ping-pong game with American lives…. We’d better be damned sure what we’re doing, all of us, before we put 22,000 more lives into that grinder…. and I want every one of you, every one of us, 100 senators to look in that camera, and you tell your people back home what you think. Don’t hide any more, none of us.”

And the early stuff about “no Senator wants defeat” is aimed directly at Lyin’ Joe Lieberman, who’s been making the rounds that any criticism of President Bush and his plan is tantamount to treason. Lieberman is despicable, and now I suspect he’s always been despicable, but we just didn’t know.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 January 2007 at 11:51 am

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