Later On

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

Archive for October 28th, 2007

Vegetarian chili + changes

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I did make the vegetarian chili, with these changes:

  • 2.5 onions instead of 2: I had half an onion on hand
  • 8 large cloves garlic minced instead of 3: I like garlic
  • 2 jalapeños chopped with the seeds and ribs: I like spicy
  • oregano: used Mexican oregano, which is stronger (from Penzeys.com)
  • used ground fennel—couldn’t find my fennel seeds
  • agave syrup instead of sugar—used about 1 Tbs. Lower glycemic index
  • added good dash of Worcestershire sauce and also liquid smoke
  • in addition to one can of pinto beans and one can of dark red kidney beans, used one can of black beans. (All beans drained and rinsed.) I like black beans.
  • instead of chopping the canned plum tomatoes, I used a pair of scissors to cut them up while they were in the can, then cut them up some more after I added them to the pot. Easier, less messy.

It’s very tasty, and I’ll be making it again.

Written by Leisureguy

28 October 2007 at 4:18 pm

The 2008 hydrogen-fueled Honda FCX

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Amazing: it will be sold to the public, not just another prototype. And it should sell extremely well if we indeed are now past Hubbert’s peak: not buying gasoline and instead getting your fuel from water and sunlight (solar power) would become very attractive indeed.

Honda FCX

During Honda’s press conference at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, the company’s CEO announced that the FCX sedan would enter production, and be on sale during 2008.

The FCX will include a fuel cell, battery pack and electric motor that produces a horsepower equivalent of about 135 hp. Honda’s advancements in the area of fuel cell technology have allowed it to claim a total range of 354 miles per fill up, which should be more than ample for most peoples’ day-to-day driving needs. The car will look more or less identical to the concept shown here, and size-wise it will occupy the same approximate footprint as the Acura TSX or BMW 3-Series.

While hydrogen is only available at very select refueling stations, the car can be filled up at home thanks to a wall-mounted fuel station. In principle this is similar to what Honda is currently offering with its natural gas-powered Civic, although it differs in that the CNG is merely piped through an existing network already feeding the home’s heating and appliances, where the FCX’s wall-mount actually creates hydrogen by breaking down water into its elements (hydrogen and oxygen) through a process called electrolysis. It is 100-percent green in that the system can be powered (and often is powered) by solar energy.

The production FCX will be unveiled sooner than expected, with a debut at this year’s LA Auto Show in November.

Written by Leisureguy

28 October 2007 at 3:21 pm

200-year-old clothing made from hemp fabric

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Interesting story (with photos). Meanwhile, the attempt by North Dakota farmers to grow industrial hemp has had to go to a lawsuit: it’s okay to import industrial hemp, but it’s illegal to grow it. That story:

The feds call industrial hemp a controlled substance — the same as pot, heroin, LSD — but advocates say a sober analysis reveals a harmless, renewable cash crop with thousands of applications that are good for the environment.

Two North Dakota farmers are taking that argument to federal court, where a November 14 hearing is scheduled in a lawsuit to determine if the Drug Enforcement Administration is stifling the farmers’ efforts to grow industrial hemp. The DEA says it’s merely enforcing the law.

Marijuana and industrial hemp are members of the Cannabis sativa L. species and have similar characteristics. One major difference: Hemp won’t get you high. Hemp contains only traces of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the compound that gets pot smokers stoned. However, the Controlled Substances Act makes little distinction, banning the species almost outright.

Marijuana, which has only recreational and limited medical uses, is the shiftless counterpart to the go-getter hemp, which has a centuries-old history of handiness.

The February 1938 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine heralded hemp as the “new billion-dollar crop,” saying it had 25,000 uses. Today, it is a base element for textiles, paper, construction materials, car parts, food and body care products.

It’s not a panacea for health and environmental problems, advocates concede, but it’s not the menace the Controlled Substances Act makes it out to be.

“This is actually an anti-drug. It’s a healthy food,” explained Adam Eidinger of the Washington advocacy group Vote Hemp. “We’re not using this as a statement to end the drug war.”

Rather, Eidinger said, Vote Hemp wants to vindicate a plant that has been falsely accused because of its mischievous cousin.

North Dakota farmers Wayne Hauge and Dave Monson say comparing industrial hemp to marijuana is like comparing pop guns and M-16s. They’ve successfully petitioned the state Legislature — of which Monson is a member — to authorize the farming of industrial hemp.

They’ve applied for federal permits and submitted a collective $5,733 in nonrefundable fees, to no avail, so they’re suing the DEA.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

28 October 2007 at 1:49 pm

Grocery List Generator trick

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As you know, I use Grocery List Generator a lot now. I just used it to print the shopping list for this delicious-sounding vegetarian chili recipe, and thought I’d share my little trick: when you print the list, click “properties” in the printer popup and change page size to 3″x5″. The list then prints in a small format that you can easily tear off for your shirt pocket. Much nicer than the full-size 8.5×11 format of the list. 🙂

Written by Leisureguy

28 October 2007 at 11:42 am

Posted in Daily life

John Cole and James Joyner: two excellent posts

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I want you to click through and read two posts:

First, one by John Cole.

Second, one by James Joyner (which post Cole also links to).

There’s a point at which stupidity and lack of compassion becomes criminal, and the DEA passed that point long ago. We now have thugs and criminals acting as police. Not good.

Written by Leisureguy

28 October 2007 at 11:33 am

The housing bubble

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Paul Krugman has , with several illuminating graphs and charts. To encourage you to click on the link, here’s one:

Chart (click on thumbnail)

Written by Leisureguy

28 October 2007 at 11:01 am

Posted in Business, Daily life

Tagged with ,

Good review of The Lucifer Effect

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The Stanford Prison Experiment is well known, and the originator of the experiment, Philip Zimbardo, clearly still carries some sort of burden from having done it. He has written a book on the experiment and the lessons from it, and Martha Nussbaum has written an excellent and thoughtful review of the book that is eminently worth reading, especially as instances of torture and mistreatment by our government continue to surface:

In August 1971, the Stanford University psychologist Philip Zimbardo and his team of investigators selected twenty-four young men to participate in their study of the psychology of imprisonment. The men, only a few of whom were students, had answered an ad placed in both the student newspaper and the local town daily that offered subjects fifteen dollars per day for two weeks to participate in a study of “prison life”. The successful applicants were randomly assigned to the roles of prisoner and guard, fifty-fifty. Prisoners were to stay in the prison for the entire two weeks; guards served in eight-hour shifts, three groups per day. Thus began the now famous Stanford Prison Experiment.

The prison was built in University facilities, after local police refused to allow the use of the real town jail. They did, however, agree to “arrest” the future prisoners, coming unannounced to their homes in a way that enhanced the verisimilitude of the situation. Because Zimbardo, who had been teaching a course on “Psychology of Imprisonment”, initially conceived the study as an investigation of the isolation and loss of individuality that occur during imprisonment, he gave the prisoners no detailed instructions, although he initially told them that they, like the guards, were free to leave the experiment at any time (forfeiting all the cash). He also assured them that there would be no physical abuse. (This assurance proved false, since guards were permitted from the beginning to deprive prisoners of sleep, a very damaging form of physical abuse.) Guards, by contrast, initially seen as “ensemble players” whose role was to help Zimbardo study the prisoners, were given a detailed “orientation”. Zimbardo told them that in order for the study of prisoner psychology to be successful, they had to play their roles with vigour. He urged them to create an experience that included frustration, fear and loss of control. “In general, what all this should create in them is a sense of powerlessness. We have total power in the situation. They have none. The research question is, What will they do to try to gain power, to regain some degree of individuality, to gain some freedom, to gain some privacy.” He told the guards that initially the prisoners would think of the situation as just a game, but “it was up to all of us as prison staff” (Zimbardo doubled as head experimenter and prison superintendent) “to produce the required psychological state in the prisoners for as long as the study lasted”. From the beginning, the prisoners were rendered anonymous, made to wear baggy uniforms and stocking caps that concealed their hair; they had to be referred to by number rather than by name. Guards were required to wear reflecting sunglasses, which inhibited any human connection with the prisoners.

In very short order, the situation began to go bad.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

28 October 2007 at 10:46 am

New directions for evangelicals

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Good article in the NY Times Sunday Magazine on how the evangelical movement is changing—one might almost say, maturing: more thinking and talking about social justice, care for the environment (stewardship), and the like, along with an agonizing reappraisal of the Iraq war. Interesting article.

Written by Leisureguy

28 October 2007 at 10:30 am

Observation on calcium supplements

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I take a calcium supplement. Probably a good idea in any case, but especially given that I don’t drink milk and don’t each much cheese or yogurt.  The supplement I take calls for 3 tablets a day to get the full daily allotment, but I do get some calcium from dietary sources, so I take only 2 of the 3, always in the evening since I read somewhere that calcium in the evening helps one sleep.

Last week I ran out and stopped taking them—kept forgetting to pick them up. And the past few nights I haven’t slept at all well: waking up from 1:00 to 3:00 or 3:30, calves sort of aching, etc. I took Advil for the calves, but still had long periods where I couldn’t get back to sleep.

So yesterday I bought the calcium supplement again, took the calcium with my dinner, and last night slept like a rock—woke up a couple of times briefly, but then right back to sleep, and this morning dozed in bed until almost 9:00…

I don’t know that it was getting back to my calcium supplement, but it sure felt like it. And my calves stopped aching, as well. Adelle Davis wrote that charley-horses and leg cramps were due to calcium insufficiency, FWIW.

Written by Leisureguy

28 October 2007 at 9:54 am

Posted in Daily life

Avocado + shea butter: what’s not to like?

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This morning I couldn’t wait to try the puck of Shea Butter Avocado Oil shaving soap that arrived from Saint Charles Shave. The puck is 3″ in diameter and fits exactly in a 4.5 oz ramekin that I got at Whole Foods. (Green, for the avocado.)

The Simpsons Harvard 3 Best brush, and soon I had a fine lather. Then the Edwin Jagger Georgian razor carrying the Sputnik blade I’ve used before: terrific shave. Easy shaving, smooth finish.

To complete the shave, Royall Mandarin aftershave and a touch of the My Nik Is Sealed for a tiny cut (about the size of this period: . ) on my upper lip.

Marvelously smooth face…

Written by Leisureguy

28 October 2007 at 9:49 am

Posted in Shaving

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