Later On

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

Archive for June 15th, 2007

“So what about caffeine?” you ask

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And here’s the answer. Glad to be of service.

Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2007 at 4:10 pm

Posted in Caffeine

Why do they lie and lie and lie—on camera?`

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The Bush Administrations apparently loves to lie, and apparently also does not quite understand (a) modern audio-visual recording technology, and (b) the tubes of the Internets that allow one to view those lies at any time. Like this one.

But we know they lie—we’ve seen it over and over again. The question really is why the news media (newspapers, news programs, pundit shows) will never, ever call them on their lies. No matter how flagrant and obvious the lie, the news media will just accept it blankly, and never call it.

Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2007 at 2:22 pm

The UK takes a positive step for human rights

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Wish our country would move quicker on these issues—hell, I wish we had an administration that really believed in human rights (for the US, I mean—certainly Bush constantly preaches it to other countries). Here’s the story:

Iraqi civilians arrested and detained by British soldiers can rely on the protection of the Human Rights Act, the House of Lords said yesterday in a landmark judgment, which has far-reaching implications for future military operations abroad.

The ruling is also a victory for the family of Baha Mousa, a 26-year-old Iraqi hotel worker beaten to death by British soldiers six months after the invasion of Iraq. Mr Mousa’s father, Daoud, a former colonel in the Iraqi army, said that he hoped his dead son would receive justice at a full and independent inquiry into the Army’s actions.

Mr Mousa said: “I hope that as a result of this judgment the truth will come out and that no other family should have to experience what me and my grandchildren have gone through. Before that terrible series of events leading to Baha’s death I had great faith in the British people and their Army. What happened then and with the court martial all but destroyed that faith. This judgment gives me at least a glimmer of hope that Britain is truly a country that believes in the importance of justice being done and being seen to be done.”

Yesterday three UK human rights groups – Liberty, Amnesty International and Justice – called on the Government to recognise the significance of the ruling and carry out a full investigation into the treatment of prisoners in Iraq.

In the 4-1 majority judgment yesterday, the law lords upheld the findings of the Court of Appeal in December 2005 and the High Court over the UK’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, which is enshrined in the Human Rights Act, as applied to the conduct of British troops operating within a foreign territory. They dismissed claims by the families of five other Iraqis because their deaths occurred outside British custody.

After the ruling, Phil Shiner, one of the lawyers representing the Iraqi families, said the Government had “sanctioned” some of the unlawful practices in Iraq. He said evidence from a six-and-a-half month court martial into the death of Baha Mousa showed that the UK had dropped the 1972 ban from the Heath government on hooding, stressing, sleep deprivation, food deprivation and noise. He also alleged that the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, had advised that the Human Rights Act did not apply, which meant that soldiers need follow only lower legal standards.

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Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2007 at 2:14 pm

Posted in Iraq War, Military

The Bush Administration can always surprise you

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And seldom is it a pleasant surprise. The Accidental Hedonist reports:

Say you run a Federal Food Agency that has come under fire of late. You’re agency is understaffed, and hasn’t been able to provide proper oversight to either Domestic foodstuffs and have ignored imported food almost completely. The Congress has taken you to task and the press has criticized your performance to no end.

What would be the proper response the above problems?

Well, if you ran the FDA, apparently you believe that closing seven of your 13 labs would be the best thing you could do.

WASHINGTON — A proposal to close Food and Drug Administration labs in Detroit and six other cities has touched off a battle on Capitol Hill, with critics saying the cuts come at a time when the agency should be doing more to guarantee the safety of food coming into the United States.

The FDA, which has oversight responsibility for four-fifths of the food imported into the country, says closing the labs will increase efficiencies, save money on rent, equipment and overhead costs and free funding for testing at larger, regional labs scattered across the nation.

The sites that will be closing include San Francisco; Denver; Kansas City; Alameda, Calif.; Winchester, Mass., and San Juan, Puerto Rico. It’s a good thing that these locations are no where near a major port or agricultural center.

Oh, wait a minute…

Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2007 at 12:03 pm

The Neo

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I haven’t recently commented on the Neo, but I like it a lot and use it a lot.

It’s great, and if you find yourself lugging a laptop around just to do word-processing, you should consider buying one. They are wonderful, and because they’re designed for elementary schools, also robust. They run for a year on three alkaline AA batteries, they’re lightweight, and they can’t be beat.

Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2007 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Technology, Writing

Sophie, inside out

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Sophie, inside out

Here’s Sophie, getting comfortable in her bed—which in this case involves squirming herself into an arresting position. But a good Friday afternoon cat-blogging photo, I think.

Sophie plans to have a good weekend and hopes that your weekend also is relaxing.

Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2007 at 11:54 am

Posted in Cats, Sophie

Researching transference

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Psychologists and psychiatrists often use transference, and investigation is now showing that it’s real and measurable:

About a century ago, Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, … portrayed transference as a process in which patients unconsciously overlay past relationships onto current ones. Most commonly, Freud theorized, an individual will shift childhood fantasies and sexual conflicts with parents onto his or her analyst.

Some psychoanalysts after Freud have viewed transference as applying not only to therapists. They see it in the reenactment with new individuals of patterns that were established with key people in one’s life. The phenomenon is grounded in a need to regularly forge satisfying and secure social ties, those analysts say.

Until recently, however, transference remained unexamined by researchers. Psychoanalytically oriented therapists shunned science as too crude to illuminate the complex inner workings of the mind. Scientists dismissed transference as a fuzzy, Freudian conjecture. Meanwhile, in the clinical realm, the growing popularity of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy put a premium on dealing with problems in daily life rather than on exploring the relationship between patient and therapist, further marginalizing transference.

Now, the 100-year-old concept is showing signs of renewal. This revival springs from laboratory research in which experimenters trigger transference responses in college students. In such work, subtle reminders of key relationships from the past influence volunteers’ self-images and their first impressions of others. Investigators are beginning to unravel the emotional fallout of negative-transference reactions, such as those displayed by women who endured childhood abuse.

“Transference may be ubiquitous in people’s everyday interpersonal interactions and important relationships,” says psychologist Susan Andersen of New York University. “It can lead to emotionally painful consequences or to feeling connected, bonded, and comfortable.”

This research has spurred mental-health clinicians to examine how transference connects psychoanalysis to brain science. Investigations might even explain how numerous forms of psychotherapy work. “You don’t have to be psychoanalytic to make use of transference in psychotherapy,” says psychologist Drew Westen of Emory University in Atlanta.

In addition, a landmark clinical study surprisingly indicates that psychotherapy aimed at confronting transference issues especially benefits severely disturbed persons, who have typically been regarded as poor treatment prospects.

More at the link. Interestingly, transference “works” in the sense that the person onto whom the transference is made will respond appropriately to the transference, probably from non-verbal cues that prompt negative or positive responses, appropriate to the transference.

Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2007 at 10:27 am

Where to get rare ingredients

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Some recipes call for hard-to-find and exotic ingredients. Here are some places you can find them.

Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2007 at 10:22 am

Posted in Food, Recipes & Cooking

TSA: thugs in waiting

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Remember the Stanford experiment with the students divided into “prisoners” and “guards” and how quickly the “guards” became sadistic thugs? You can see the same dynamic at work with the TSA guards, who are given surprising authority and who are beginning to love to use it. [UPDATE: Note update at the end. TSA provides videos and an incident report that don’t match the woman’s story. — LATER UPDATE: Schneier has a good comment (see end) – LG] For example:

If you travel enough, you’ve seen it all — and possibly some of the awful things that can happen while traveling will have actually happened to you. But nothing I’ve read about or experienced comes close to what Monica Emmerson experienced while at Reagan National Airport on June 11th while traveling with her 19-month-old toddler. This isn’t one of those Catch-22 bureaucratic snafus; this isn’t about rules being applied to the letter. This story is mostly about what can happen simply because the authorities in charge decide that they’re going to exercise their authority because they can, regardless of whether it’s legal or right or makes any sense at all.

And if this can happen to a former law enforcement officer with the United States Secret Service, it can happen to anyone.

The incident started when Monica, who left the Secret Service to raise a family, was stopped while going through airport security because there was water in her son’s sippy cup. The sippy cup was seized by TSA. Monica wanted the cup back because the sippy cup was the only way her son would drink — and it was a long flight between Washington, DC and Reno, Nevada where she was going for a family reunion. If you’ve ever had a toddler you understand about sippy cups.

So she was willing to spill the water out. Drink the water. Anything — all that she wanted was to be able to have a cup that her 19-month-old toddler could drink from.

Here’s what happened in Monica’s words:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2007 at 10:19 am

Late start, but things are fine

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Another good shave, and the Rooney Style 2 Finest did a great job with the QED soap. I’ll experiment further with the Plisson HMW 12 to see what the problem might be. Bay Rum soap today, with Trumper Extract of West Indian Limes aftershave. Used the HD with the Astra Superior Platinum blade again—another good shave, though some roughness on the chin. I’ll try a different blade tomorrow to see what obtains.

The day is very sunny and cool, a great combination, but was warm in the apartment. (But sliding screen door will arrive Monday, which will solve that.) So I made iced coffee—very nice indeed.

Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2007 at 10:02 am

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