Later On

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

Archive for August 24th, 2007

High fructose corn syrup

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Someone once did a graph showing consumption of high fructose corn syrup from 1970 to the present and also (separate line) the incidence of type 2 diabetes. As I recall, the slopes of the lines were remarkably similar. Coincidence? Maybe not:

Researchers have found new evidence that soft drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may contribute to the development of diabetes, particularly in children. In a laboratory study of commonly consumed carbonated beverages, the scientists found that drinks containing the syrup had high levels of reactive compounds that have been shown by others to have the potential to trigger cell and tissue damage that could cause the disease, which is at epidemic levels.

HFCS is a sweetener found in many foods and beverages, including non-diet soda pop, baked goods, and condiments. It is has become the sweetener of choice for many food manufacturers because it is considered more economical, sweeter and more easy to blend into beverages than table sugar. Some researchers have suggested that high-fructose corn syrup may contribute to an increased risk of diabetes as well as obesity, a claim which the food industry disputes. Until now, little laboratory evidence has been available on the topic.

In the current study, Chi-Tang Ho, Ph.D., conducted chemical tests among 11 different carbonated soft drinks containing HFCS. He found ‘astonishingly high’ levels of reactive carbonyls in those beverages. These undesirable and highly-reactive compounds associated with “unbound” fructose and glucose molecules are believed to cause tissue damage, says Ho, a professor of food science at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. By contrast, reactive carbonyls are not present in table sugar, whose fructose and glucose components are “bound” and chemically stable, the researcher notes.

Reactive carbonyls also are elevated in the blood of individuals with diabetes and linked to the complications of that disease. Based on the study data, Ho estimates that a single can of soda contains about five times the concentration of reactive carbonyls than the concentration found in the blood of an adult person with diabetes.

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Written by Leisureguy

24 August 2007 at 12:55 pm

Pay-to-play politics

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It took only 20 years to kill the plane:

For the past 20 years, Congress has dumped $63 million into a military plane that the Pentagon “repeatedly rejected, and which never had a successful flight.” Instead, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) allocated earmarks for the plane project, which was created by one of his campaign donors. ABC’s The Blotter reports that the 2008 defense spending bill does not include an earmark for the program, effectively killing it. Hunter had wanted to direct $6 million toward the plane’s development.

Written by Leisureguy

24 August 2007 at 12:34 pm

Posted in Business, Congress

Bush stalls, everyone else pays

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Dan Froomkin today:

A new national intelligence estimate concludes that President Bush’s troop surge shows no signs of accomplishing its goal of encouraging political reconciliation in Iraq.

An influential Republican senator and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff now favor a troop withdrawal. (Sen. John Warner wants Bush to demonstrate that the commitment in Iraq is not open-ended; Marine Gen. Peter Pace argues that the military simply can’t keep this up.)

These and other developments take us back in some ways to December 2006. It was then, in the wake of the November election and the report of the Iraq Study Group, that the debate in Washington finally appeared to be shifting away from how to achieve victory and toward how to cut our losses.

Instead, Bush ignored public sentiment, overruled his military commanders and opted for escalation.

And now it appears that the only thing the surge has bought him is time — nine months or maybe a year, during which he was able to postpone the inevitable.

What has that year cost America — and Iraq? For starters, a year in Iraq translates to over 1,000 more dead American soldiers; over $100 billion more in direct appropriations; over 15,000 more dead Iraqi civilians; and countless grievous wounds and shattered families both here and there.

In light of the costs, having bought a year of time may not seem like much of an accomplishment. But if Bush can drag things out another year or so, he can wash his hands of the whole mess and leave it for his successor to deal with.

Written by Leisureguy

24 August 2007 at 10:12 am

How bad and obvious can the corruption get?

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The corruption in Washington—pay for play politics—is getting absolutely flagrant, except that the mainstream media doesn’t seem to notice. Given the placement of paid positions in editorials and op-eds, the assumption must be made that the reason they don’t notice is that they are also on the payroll—or at least many are, both journalists and editors. But Glenn Greenwald is not, and this morning he has an excellent summary of the process in action.

And ThinkProgress has a note on the process Greenwald is describing:

IraqSlogger reports that Iyad Allawi, believed to be positioning himself to be Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s successor, “is paying Washington lobbyists with close ties to the White House $300,000 to help with Allawi’s efforts in the U.S. to promote himself and undermine Maliki.” Former intel official Bruce Reidel raised further questions about Allawi’s funding: “He doesn’t have that kind of money. … Somebody’s paying for it, and it’s not him.”

Written by Leisureguy

24 August 2007 at 9:42 am

Megs tries new food

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Megs regularly eats Innova Evo kibble. (I use the rule of thumb that at least the first five ingredients in a cat food must be meat.) She has also been eating this canned PetGuard cat food, which she likes fine if I mix in a bunch of shaved bonito tuna flakes (link is to the local store where I buy it).

So I thought I should try to find a canned food that does not involve my having to add tuna, so the tuna flakes can be an occasional treat (by themselves) instead of a part of the daily diet. This morning I tried the Innova Evo canned food, and she went for it. Looks like we will switch.

The Wife heard an NPR interview with the president of Innova at the time of the Great Pet Food Recall. (None of Innova’s foods had to be recalled: they use all domestic, human-grade ingredients.) She liked what he had to say, so we are fans of Innova.

Written by Leisureguy

24 August 2007 at 9:12 am

Posted in Cats, Food

Grilling steak at home

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The Amateur Gourmet cooks a rib-eye steak (my own fave) using a variation of the method I got from The Son and blogged earlier. Here’s the recipe the AG references:

Pan Seared Rib Eye Recipe courtesy Alton Brown

1 boneless rib eye steak, 1 1/2-inch thick
Canola oil to coat
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Place 10 to 12-inch cast iron skillet in oven and heat oven to 500 degrees. Bring steak(s) to room temperature.

When oven reaches temperature, remove pan and place on range over high heat. Coat steak lightly with oil and season both sides with a generous pinch of salt. Grind on black pepper to taste.

Immediately place steak in the middle of hot, dry pan. Cook 30 seconds without moving. Turn with tongs and cook another 30 seconds, then put the pan straight into the oven for 2 minutes. Flip steak and cook for another 2 minutes. (This time is for medium rare steaks. If you prefer medium, add a minute to both of the oven turns.)

Remove steak from pan, cover loosely with foil, and rest for 2 minutes. Serve whole or slice thin and fan onto plate.

I’m not normally into the wine recommendation thing, but this screams for a punchy red wine (Merlot or Pinot Noir would be ideal), and nothing else. If beer is your thing, go with Guinness or a dark Pilsener like Sam Adams or Brooklyn.

And then, in the same post:

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Written by Leisureguy

24 August 2007 at 8:28 am

Mail-order lobster from Maine

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Stumbled across this site via Slashfood. The Slashfood post includes a recipe for making your own version of this dish (link to order the kit).

Written by Leisureguy

24 August 2007 at 8:15 am

Grace Paley, 1922-2007

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Grace Paley, the writer of many wonderful short stories, has died. The LA Times has a good obituary with photos of her.

Grace Paley, the activist and writer whose vibrant, Bronx-accented short stories illuminated the daily trials and boisterous interior lives of working-class men and women in language that radiated humanity, intelligence and streetwise humor, has died. She was 84.

Paley died of breast cancer Wednesday at her home in Thetford Hill, Vt., said her husband, playwright Robert Nichols.

During a writing career that began more than 50 years ago, Paley published only three collections of stories, but those books — “The Little Disturbances of Man” (1959), “Enormous Changes at the Last Minute” (1974) and “Later the Same Day” (1985) — garnered elaborate praise from critics, fellow writers and a loyal core of readers. One noted admirer, novelist Philip Roth, said her stories offered “an understanding of loneliness, lust, selfishness and fatigue that is splendidly comic and unladylike.” In 1993 Paley received the $25,000 Rea Award, which has been described as the Pulitzer Prize of short-story writing. Declaring that Paley’s voice was like no other in American fiction, the judges called her “a pure short-story writer, a natural to the form in the way that rarely gifted athletes are said to be naturals.”

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Written by Leisureguy

24 August 2007 at 7:37 am

Posted in Books, Daily life, Writing

Friday cat blogging: Molly in LG’s lap

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Molly in LG lap

Molly in my lap. Note the kneading of my tummy.

Written by Leisureguy

24 August 2007 at 7:30 am

Posted in Cats, Molly

New razor, new shave

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I just got a “new” razor: an English-made version of the Gillette President, but with an open comb design. Moreover, the comb design is such that the blade’s edge does not lie flat on the comb but is raised slightly above, a touch that I like.

And this morning, after wanting to try it for a while, I made a superlather using Mitchell’s Wool Fat Shaving Soap and Musgo Real shaving cream. Very thick, very nice. And while shaving, I thought perhaps too thick. But it turned out that this razor (loaded with a new Astra Superior Platinum blade) has uneven blade exposure: one side seems to provide more blade action than the other. Odd feeling. I can’t quite see the cause, but I can definitely feel it.

Withal, a superb shave, exceptionally smooth. Musgo Real was the (extremely pleasant) aftershave.

Written by Leisureguy

24 August 2007 at 7:23 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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