Later On

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

Archive for August 15th, 2007

Popcorn method

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I use a WhirleyPop popcorn maker. But the technique described by Simply Recipes should work there, too, and make it easier:

Mom’s method of making popcorn not only pops almost every kernel, it also prevents the kernels from burning. She took it off of a Jiffy Popcorn box, she thinks. Here’s how it goes:

3 Tbsp canola, peanut or grapeseed oil (high smoke point oil)
1/3 cup of high quality popcorn kernels
1 3-quart covered saucepan
2 Tbsp or more (to taste) of butter
Salt to taste

1 Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan on medium high heat.

2 Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan.

3 When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds. (Count out loud; it’s fun to do with kids.)

4 Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts in earnest, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner. Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.

With this technique, nearly all of the kernels pop (I counted 4 unpopped kernels in my last batch), and nothing burns.

5 If you are adding butter, you can easily melt it by placing the butter in the now empty, but hot pan.

6 Salt to taste.

Makes 2 quarts, a nice amount for two people, or for one hungry one.

Written by LeisureGuy

15 August 2007 at 8:13 pm

The counter-terrorism loophole

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One fear that many had in grant broad powers to the government to use specifically in fighting terrorists is that those powers would then be turned against non-terrorists: regular citizens and regular criminals. In fact, as we know, the FBI has made extensive illegal use of their powers under the counter-terrorism mandate. And in other countries, similar laws are being used against legitimate social protest by treating that as terrorism. From FindLaw:

A disturbing trend is afoot. In the past couple of months, in two countries, governments have relied on broadly-worded terrorism laws to put down social protests.

Political demonstrators in El Salvador and London have found police deploying a new weapon against them: laws designed to prevent and punish terrorism. In the town of Suchitoto, El Salvador, during a mass demonstration in early July against a water decentralization plan, fourteen protesters were arrested and charged with terrorism.

At London’s Heathrow Airport this week, police have been relying on stop-and-search powers contained in a recent terrorism law to control a huge demonstration against global warming. A government document made public last Saturday warned that police would employ their counterterrorism powers to deal “robustly” with any illegal protests.

The demonstrators in El Salvador threw rocks at police and blocked roads, and some minority of participants in the ongoing Heathrow protest may also break the law. But the police already have plenty of legal authority to arrest demonstrators who disrupt flight schedules or damage property; their use of counterterrorism legislation is sheer opportunism.

Political protesters are not terrorists, as police and prosecutors well know. Yet it seems that the broad authorities granted under recent counterterrorism laws are too tempting to resist. Why would state officials respect normal criminal law rules when they can instead employ laws that offer sweeping powers, few procedural safeguards, and harsh penalties?

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Written by LeisureGuy

15 August 2007 at 2:19 pm

Posted in Daily life, Government

Torture and its examination

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Via Glenn Greenwald, this post explains how the US tortured Jose Padilla using a KGB recipe. It starts with the following, but read the whole post.

KGB “interrogation” techniques were used to “break” Jose Padilla. Warren Richey writes for the Christian Science Monitor“.

And a post relating John Donne’s position on torture:

Recently I asked a clerical friend whether, considering the persistence of torture as a moral issue, he had thought of giving a sermon on the subject? He looked very uncomfortable and responded saying that his congregation was bipartisan and that he would be loathe to introduce a political issue as a sermon topic. It would fragment the congregation, he thought. Really?

I reject the notion that torture is a political issue of any sort. It is a great moral issue. And when those who have a clerical vocation fail to understand it and address it in those terms, they do their flock and themselves a great disservice.

Consider John Donne’s sermon of 1625.

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Written by LeisureGuy

15 August 2007 at 2:02 pm

Crime rate among immigrants

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It’s  low (PDF file). A commenter to an earlier post implied that immigrants have a high crime rate. Not so, in fact. From the article at the link:

Immigrant crime rat

Written by LeisureGuy

15 August 2007 at 1:20 pm

Posted in Daily life, Government

Resolution chart

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Gretchen Rubin gives an interesting tool: a resolution chart, based on an idea by Benjamin Franklin. And it’s quite timely, since I just read this set of instructions on making your body more healthy. (The post refers to a “secret,” but I didn’t spot anything that seemed like a secret—indeed, it all seems pretty well known. But it nicely organized and specific, so that’s a help, plus it fits exactly on two pages, with the background on the first page and the day-by-day on the second.)

Written by LeisureGuy

15 August 2007 at 1:00 pm

Posted in Daily life, Health

Pasta with shrimp ragù

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Mark Bittman has an easy recipe today—and there’s a video of it here. UPDATE: The Eldest suggests that, instead of marjoram or oregano, add some chopped fennel (including some of the fronds). She says that the fennel combines very nicely with the shrimp. I don’t have fennel on hand, but think I’ll crush some fennel seed and add that, along with some star anise in the water in which I boil the shrimp shells.

1 1/2 pounds medium-to-large shrimp, in their shells
Salt and ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium or 1 large chopped onion
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 large or 3 plum tomatoes, chopped, with juice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram or oregano, plus a few leaves for garnish
1 pound pasta, preferably fresh.

1. Shell shrimp; boil shells with just enough water to cover, a large pinch of salt, a grinding of pepper and a pinch of cayenne. Simmer 10 minutes, then drain, reserving liquid (discard shells). Bring a pot of water to boil for pasta and salt it.

2. Meanwhile, finely chop about a third of the shrimp. Put olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; a minute later add onion and carrot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are quite soft, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, herb and chopped shrimp, and cook, still over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to break down. Add stock from shrimp shells and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is no longer soupy but still moist.

3. When sauce is almost done, cook pasta. When pasta has about 5 minutes to go, stir whole shrimp into sauce. Serve pasta with sauce and shrimp, garnished with a few leaves of marjoram or oregano.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

So I picked up some shrimp and will make it tonight—a smaller quantity, of course.

Written by LeisureGuy

15 August 2007 at 12:44 pm

Posted in Food, Recipes

Revolution tea

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I just got an email making me a free offer of Revolution Tea. I don’t do that, but you might want to check them out anyway…

Written by LeisureGuy

15 August 2007 at 11:03 am

Posted in Caffeine, Daily life

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