Later On

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

Archive for October 21st, 2007

Failure to use the Brain

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Deliberating importing invasive species: the cane toad into Australia, and the giant snail into Brazil:

The giant African snail, originally brought to Brazil as a delicacy for gourmet restaurants, has instead become a major nuisance in the country. The invasive mollusk—which can measure nearly 8 inches (about 20 centimeters) long and weigh more than 1 pound (500 grams)—is widespread in Brazil, thriving in nearly every state.

The snail is currently at the height of its invasion, experts say, and the its success makes eradication near-impossible. Silvana Thiengo is a mollusk expert from Brazil’s national health organization, the Oswaldo Cruz Institute. “Raining season starts in November, and that’s when they like to [lay] eggs,” she said. “The snails will show up more, so we do expect the situation to get worse.”

The giant snail, native to eastern Africa, was brought into Brazil as a profitable substitute for the common garden snail, which is used for escargot.

There is no record of when the species was first imported, but an agribusiness fair in southern Brazil in 1988 was probably pivotal in sparking the invasion. At the fair, people sold kits with snails and brochures detailing how to raise them.

At first the African snails seemed promising for food: They had more meat, grew faster, and were more resistant to disease than the garden snail. The African snail was also cheaper to keep.

Brazilians countrywide began growing the giant snail in their backyards, planning to sell the mollusks to fancy restaurants. Yet eating escargot is unusual in Brazil, and the few diners who would pay to eat the delicacy were not willing to substitute it for a new species with different texture and taste—and suspicious origin. This resulted in thousands of frustrated people with unwanted snails slithering through their backyards. Most of the snails were then released in the wild, where they rapidly grew in number.

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Written by Leisureguy

21 October 2007 at 8:41 pm

Short educational video on the Brain

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Written by Leisureguy

21 October 2007 at 8:35 pm

Posted in Education, Video

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Alberto Gonzales in trouble

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Via The Next Hurrah, from a Spokane newspaper:

The U.S. Inspector General may recommend criminal prosecution of departed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at the conclusion of an investigation, possibly as early as next month, the fired former U.S. attorney for Western Washington told a Spokane audience Friday.

His refusal to open a federal criminal investigation into voter fraud allegations in Gov. Chris Gregoire’s razor-thin victory over Republican challenger Dino Rossi in 2004 may be the reason he was fired, John McKay told the Federal Bar Association.

Appointed by President Bush in October 2001 to the top law enforcement job in western Washington, McKay said he believes he and seven other U.S. attorneys were fired last December by Gonzales for political reasons, perhaps with former White House chief of staff Karl Rove pulling strings.

Career prosecutors in his office and FBI agents agreed there was no reason to go forward with a federal investigation of the Gregoire-Rossi election, and issues associated with it were more properly addressed by state officials, McKay said.

Some also have suggested his dismissal may have been tied to his relentless push to solve the 2001 murder of Tom Wales, an assistant U.S. attorney in Seattle. “I consider that a disgusting (explanation),’’ McKay said, explaining he didn’t need to justify aggressively pursuing the investigation of a prosecutor “killed in the line of duty.”

McKay said he was summoned to Washington, D.C., in June and questioned for eight hours about possible reasons for his firing by investigators with the Office of Inspector General, who will forward their final report to Congress.

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Written by Leisureguy

21 October 2007 at 8:16 pm

For you OpenOffice fans

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OxygenOffice Pro (formerly OpenOffice Premium). Still free.

Ever wish OpenOffice.org had more… stuff? OxygenOffice Pro is a modified version of OpenOffice.org. OxygenOffice packs all the same basic features as OOo, including word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation applications. But it also comes with a bunch of extras like clip art and templates.

OxygenOffice Pro 2.3.0 was released this weekend, and it comes with:

  • More than 3400 graphics including clip art and photos
  • 90 fonts
  • Several templates and sample documents.
  • OOoWikipedia integration
  • Enhanced help menu and user’s manual
  • VBA support for Excel documents under Calc
  • Enhaned PDF management
  • Direct export to LaTex MediWiki

Written by Leisureguy

21 October 2007 at 11:18 am

Good alarm clocks

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“Good” meaning: will get you up and out of bed. (For some, that’s “bad.”) Quite a few, including this one:

Puzzleclock  [Click thumbnail]

We all remember the days when you could just hit the snooze button a few more times, these days waking up requires a bit more work. This fun little puzzle alarm clock works like any other morning alarm, except that when it goes off, it fires these puzzle pieces into the air.

Oh and by the way, the alarm clock doesn’t stop going off until you find all of the pieces and put them back together. Should be a fun project when you are half asleep. You can get one of these online at BimBamBanana.com for $67 dollars.

Written by Leisureguy

21 October 2007 at 11:09 am

Posted in Daily life, Techie toys, Technology

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Cold night, warm Thermocules

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Last night was a really cold night, and as always I slept with the heat off and the window open wide. I was so pleased to be sleeping atop a Thermocule mattress pad, covered by the sheet, the Thermocule blanket, and the Thermocule duvet. I was warm and toasty all night, and Megs herself spent most of the night snuggled down into the duvet. It’s the season for Thermocules. Here you can get them.

Written by Leisureguy

21 October 2007 at 9:09 am

Posted in Daily life

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Durance L’òme today—and a fine shave

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I decided to continue with the shaving since I’m on a trek through the French soaps. Today was Durance L’òme, worked into a very fine lather with the G.B. Kent BK4. I think I would rate this soap as just below Institut Karité, about on a par with Pré de Provence. Maybe slightly better.

I used the Gillette Diplomat with a Gillette Silver Blue. Extremely nice shave. The Silver Blue is, for me, an excellent blade.  No nicks, no cuts, just superb smoothness.

The aftershave was Draggon Noir, quite pleasant and bracing. And now for some coffee.

Written by Leisureguy

21 October 2007 at 9:04 am

Posted in Shaving

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