Later On

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

Archive for November 15th, 2007

Whew! First draft complete

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I just printed the first draft of Leisureguy’s Cooking Compendium for Novices: 77 pages plus TOC, 30,794 words (or so MS Word tells me). Now to let it sit a day and after that revise it. Then it will go up on as a downloadable PDF. It’s more work than I expected, so I will charge a modest price. More anon.

Written by Leisureguy

15 November 2007 at 5:05 pm

TODAY—Thur 15 Nov—ONLY: EverNote for free

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I use EverNote frequently: it grabs highlighted pieces of text (from Office documents, Web pages, and so on—or even the whole page) and keeps them organized by date and allows easy browsing. I thought it was generally free, though I finally upgraded to a the purchased version. But Version 2.2 is available for free today, says DownloadSquad. I say, “Go for it.” Windows only, I believe.

Written by Leisureguy

15 November 2007 at 4:36 pm

Posted in Software

Good news!

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Greg Sargent reports that the “version of the FISA bill that was just reported out of the Judiciary Committee does not — repeat, does not — contain retroactive immunity for the telecom companies.” Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) had threatened to place a hold on any FISA bill that contained immunity. The Judiciary Committee’s action today renders moot the need for such a hold.

UPDATE: Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) issued the following statement:

“The FISA legislation reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee today is a distinct improvement over the legislation passed by the Intelligence Committee last month. Though it still falls short in many areas, the bill includes several significant provisions that will better protect the privacy of innocent Americans. I applaud Senator Leahy for the package of changes he put together, and I appreciate my colleagues’ support in passing two additional amendments that I offered to further enhance privacy protections. I hope that, when the full Senate considers this issue, the Majority Leader brings up the Senate Judiciary Committee bill instead of the badly flawed Intelligence Committee alternative.

“There is still much to be done to fix this bill. In addition, the issue of retroactive immunity for companies that allegedly participated in the President’s warrantless wiretapping program will be fought out on the floor. I will continue to strongly oppose retroactive immunity when the full Senate considers this legislation.

“As a member of both the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees I have been fighting for months to pass a strong FISA bill that adequately protects the privacy of Americans who are not suspected of having done anything wrong. I will oppose and filibuster any bill on the Senate floor that fails this test or contains retroactive immunity.”

Written by Leisureguy

15 November 2007 at 4:33 pm

Why the GOP denies climate change

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Very illuminating post at Daily Kos:

The question was asked yesterday why conservatives deny global warming.  To help answer the question, readers were pointed to an interesting piece over at Balloon Juice hypothesizing that the energy industry has blockaded the sunlight of truth, as it were, in a fashion similar to that done by the tobacco industry decades earlier.  In that post, Tim F. correctly noted that science is really non-partisan, and that confronting and averting disaster should be in everyone’s best interests, including that of conservatives:

The only question is why the right wing felt such a compelling need to get behind it this time. Is there something inherently liberal about avoiding catastrophe?

Unfortunately for Tim, for conservatism, and for the world, the answer is, sadly: yes.  In this case, yes there is something inherently damaging to conservatives about avoiding this catastrophe–which is part of why getting involved in politics is so important in this day and age.

There were many alternative explanations also presented for this apparent conservative Liebestod in the comment thread on the post here at dkos: some speculated millennarian religious reasons for failure to care about the future health of the planet, while others postulated that the international cooperation necessary to mitigate the problem was seen as a threat to American sovereignty; still others postulated simple contrarianism against anything promoted by liberals, while yet others hypothesized fear of economic troubles associated with taking action on global warming.  And, of course, there were the standard appeals to simple greed and corruption in catering to energy industry interests.

Yet none of these theories seem to be adequately satisfactory in explaining why Republicans would stand in the way of action on an issue that is so critical to the future of the human race, and likely to be such a huge issue in election after election from this day forward.  Not every Republican leader is a chiliastic nutcase, yet they all deny manmade global warming; it seems unlikely that the same President that tried to give our ports to Dubai and ram an “amnesty bill” down his own party’s throat would stand against global warming for reasons of national sovereignty; the last 7 years should tell any serious observer that the Republicans don’t give a hoot about long-term health of the economy; sheer contrarianism won’t cut it either–just look at the way the GOP backed down on Social Security when they realized they couldn’t win that battle.

And what about greed and corruption?  Well, even oil companies are doing more greenwashing and giving greater lip-service to fighting global warming than is the Republican Party–and the Republican Party is at this point little more than a PR and lobbying arm of that and other industries.  Moreover, they know they’re already losing the PR war on this issue, and there’s no hope of their winning it in the near future, either.

So why keep up the fight?  Why do they do it?

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Written by Leisureguy

15 November 2007 at 2:33 pm

Posted in Global warming, GOP

Correcting the ONDCP

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They’ll say anything:

Last week, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Drug Enforcement Administration trumpeted the supposed effectiveness of the war on drugs, announcing that cocaine prices have continued to rise, and that some U.S. cities are experiencing cocaine shortages.

DPA responded swiftly to debunk these unfounded claims of progress. Critical comments from Bill Piper, DPA’s director of national affairs, appeared in news stories in the Houston Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times. The L.A. Times story also ran in the Seattle Times, the Denver Post, and several other papers.

You can read Piper’s statement below:

When gasoline prices go up politicians understand that it means oil companies are getting rich.

I don’t understand why politicians don’t understand that higher drug prices mean organized crime is making more money. And that rising drug prices lead to greater trafficking, not less. As the price of cocaine increases, it becomes more profitable to manufacture and sell cocaine, which means more people will get into the market and more cocaine will be made and sold. This is one reason why supply-side drug policies are self-defeating.

Just look at Europe. DEA administrator Karen Tandy was just in Europe a few weeks ago warning authorities that Latin American drug cartels were shipping more and more drugs to Europe because European prices were so high. As drug prices rise in America we can expect drug cartels to ship more and more drugs here too.

Instead of continuing to waste money on inefficient supply-side schemes that actually make drug trafficking more profitable, the federal government should shift funding to drug treatment. An estimated 20 percent of cocaine users account for 80 percent of the quantity consumed. Providing treatment to those who need it most could significantly reduce demand and make drug selling less profitable.

For more on realistic cocaine policies, read Piper’s piece on AlterNet, “Getting Real About the Economics of Cocaine.”

Written by Leisureguy

15 November 2007 at 2:21 pm

Wish there were more real Democrats

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The pseudo-Democrats are taking over:

Congressional Democrats backed away yesterday from a national campaign to repeal a federal law that denies student loans to people convicted of nonviolent drug offenses.

Democrats had indicated earlier in the year that repealing the punitive drug provision would be a priority when considering legislation reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA), but the House Committee on Education and Labor decided last night to repeal the provision. The HEA Drug Provision has already stripped student loans from more than 200,000 students. More than 500 education, drug treatment and criminal justice groups have called for it to be repealed.

“By not changing this counterproductive policy, Democrats are saying that tens of thousands of students should be kicked out of college and denied an education,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance.

Democrats did a similar about-face on the issue in the Senate earlier this year.

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Written by Leisureguy

15 November 2007 at 2:19 pm

Court hearing on growing industrial hemp

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The ND farmers who brought a lawsuit against the DEA to kick it into action so that the farmers can grow industrial hemp had their day in court yesterday. The judge said he would rule by the end of the month.

There’s really no reason why industrial hemp should be outlawed: it’s not a drug nor the source of a drug.

Written by Leisureguy

15 November 2007 at 2:17 pm

Posted in Drug laws

Is this the Thanksgiving for the Benchley turkey?

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This is from around 1963:

For about a dozen years, at the approach of turkey-eating season, I have been trumpeting to all who would listen, and to a good many who would rather not, that there is only one way to cook a turkey. This turkey is not my turkey. It is the creation of the late Morton Thompson, who wrote “Not as a Stranger” and other books.

This recipe was first contained in the manuscript of a book called “The Naked Countess” which was given to the late Robert Benchley, who had eaten the turkey and was so moved as to write an introduction to the book.  Benchley then lost the manuscript. He kept hoping it would turn up– although not as much, perhaps, as Thompson did, but somehow it vanished, irretrievably. Thompson did not have the heart to write it over. He did, however, later put his turkey rule in another book. Not a cookbook, but a collection of very funny pieces called “Joe, the Wounded Tennis Player”.


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Written by Leisureguy

15 November 2007 at 1:24 pm

Posted in Food, Recipes & Cooking

Girls in stable families have later menarche

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Interesting. I wonder whether this finding has relevance to the secular trend.

For many young girls, a stable family life is one key factor to avoiding a number of serious health problems. New research by researchers at The University of Arizona and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, indicates that girls who grow up with supportive parents who themselves have a strong relationship are more likely to delay the onset of puberty.

Bruce J. Ellis, an associate professor in the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences at the UA, and Marilyn J. Essex at Wisconsin, are reporting their research (Family Environments, Adrenarche, and Sexual Maturation: A Longitudinal Test of a Life History Model) in the November/December issue of Child Development, the journal of the Society for Research in Child Development. Ellis was the lead author of the study.

Early puberty in girls is already known as a risk factor for a variety of health problems, including mood disorders, substance abuse, adolescent pregnancy and cancers of the reproductive system. Understanding these risks are also essential as a means to develop effective early intervention and prevention strategies.

Ellis and Essex based their study on a 1991 model developed by noted psychologist Jay Belsky and his colleagues of the role of family ecology in speeding up or slowing down puberty in girls. Belsky’s theory is that children’s early experiences affect how they mature. Certain stressors in and around the family create conditions that speed puberty as well as sexual activity. These stressors include poverty, marital conflict, negativity and coercion in parent-child relationships, and lack of support between parents and children. According to Belsky’s theory, children adaptively adjust their sexual development in response to the conditions in which they live.

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Written by Leisureguy

15 November 2007 at 12:21 pm

Posted in Daily life, Science

Surfer dude comes up with theory of everything

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Only it’s not a joke:

Garrett Lisi, 39, has a doctorate but no university affiliation and spends most of the year surfing in Hawaii, where he has also been a hiking guide and bridge builder (when he slept in a jungle yurt).

In winter, he heads to the mountains near Lake Tahoe, Nevada, where he snowboards. “Being poor sucks,” Lisi says. “It’s hard to figure out the secrets of the universe when you’re trying to figure out where you and your girlfriend are going to sleep next month.”

Despite this unusual career path, his proposal is remarkable because, by the arcane standards of particle physics, it does not require highly complex mathematics.

Even better, it does not require more than one dimension of time and three of space, when some rival theories need ten or even more spatial dimensions and other bizarre concepts. And it may even be possible to test his theory, which predicts a host of new particles, perhaps even using the new Large Hadron Collider atom smasher that will go into action near Geneva next year.

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Written by Leisureguy

15 November 2007 at 12:16 pm

Posted in Science

Concrete substitute

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Inhabitat blogs some good news. Photos at the link.

If we told you there was a sustainable substitute for concrete you’d probably say rubbish!… and you would be right. The dream of a resource-saving, emissions-reducing replacement for concrete is becoming a reality in the form of BituBlock – made from post-consumer waste. Dr. John Forth of the University of Leeds is behind the revolutionary process that turns rubbish into a strong, less-energy intensive structural material that is poised to make concrete obsolete.

BituBlock is a high-performance product that is about six times stronger than traditional concrete block. It’s made by mixing waste products like recycled glass, metal slag, sewage sludge and incinerator ash with a sticky binder called bitumen, also used in road paving. The mixture is compacted in a mold and heat-cured, which oxidizes and hardens the bitumen.

While high recycled content is a vital part of sustainable construction, BituBlock’s landfill diverted ingredients are just part of what makes it so groundbreaking. Concrete is the most widely-used construction material with over ten billion tons produced annually. About 7% of global CO2 emissions come from concrete production. The primary source of CO2 emissions generated by concrete manufacturing is Portland cement, responsible for 74% to 81% of total CO2 emissions. In BituBlock, the bitumen binder replaces the Portland cement.

Structurally superior, BituBlock is gaining commercial interest and the project team, which also includes Dr. Salah Zoorob from the University of Nottingham, expects BituBlock to be market ready in just 3-5 years. Plans are also underway to develop ‘Vegeblock’ using waste vegetable oil.

Written by Leisureguy

15 November 2007 at 11:13 am

Healthful Thanksgiving recipes

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From the Mayo Clinic, home of fine cooking, with minor edits by LG:

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for family, friends, good health and great food. This year, instead of serving the old standbys — turkey smothered in gravy, candied yams, buttered corn and pumpkin pie — try healthier more healthful recipes.

The following healthy healthful Thanksgiving recipes have all of the taste, but less fat, calories and sodium. So serve up new options for a fresh approach to healthy healthful eating this Thanksgiving.

Starter recipes

Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing recipes

Potatoes and healthy healthful sides

Salad recipes

Bread and muffin recipes

Healthy Healthful dessert recipes

More on this topic

Written by Leisureguy

15 November 2007 at 10:11 am

US: haven for war criminals

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Big oversight in US law:

More than 1,000 people from 85 countries who are accused of such crimes as rape, killings, torture and genocide are living in the United States, according to Department of Homeland Security figures.

America has become a haven for the world’s war criminals because it lacks the laws needed to prosecute them, Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said Wednesday. There’s been only one U.S. indictment of someone suspected of a serious human-rights abuse. Durbin said torture was the only serious human-rights violation that was a crime under American law when committed outside the United States by a non-American national.

“This is unacceptable. Our laws must change and our determination to end this shameful situation must become a priority,” Durbin, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, said at a hearing of the subcommittee Wednesday.

He’s trying to get more information about specific cases.

One is that of Juan Romagoza Arce, the director of a clinic that provides free care for the poor in Washington. In 1980, Romagoza was a young doctor caring for the poor in El Salvador during the early period of his country’s civil war when the military seized him and tortured him for 22 days. An estimated 75,000 people died in the 12-year war.

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Written by Leisureguy

15 November 2007 at 9:57 am

Posted in Congress

Tagged with ,

Manufacturer-installed trojan horses

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This is disturbing news:

Following findings by the Investigation Bureau that portable hard discs produced by US disk-drive manufacturer Seagate Technology that were sold in Taiwan contained Trojan horse viruses, further investigations suggested that “contamination” took place when the products were in the hands of Chinese subcontractors during the manufacturing process.

On Saturday, Seagate Technology LLC, the manufacturer of the Maxtor portable hard drive, said on its Web site ( that Maxtor Basics Personal Storage 3200 hard drives sold after August could be infected with the virus.

Anti-virus software manufacturer Kaspersky Labs also issued a similar warning. The hard drive has been temporarily pulled off the shelves and is no longer available for purchase.

The Investigation Bureau said the tainted portable hard drives automatically upload any information saved on the computer to Beijing Web sites without the user’s knowledge.

While investigating a Chinese subcontractor involved in the manufacturing process, Seagate found that a small number of drives were infected with the viruses. The company said the products from the problem factory had been scanned and all viruses had been eliminated, adding that all inventory would also be treated before the product was returned to stores.

Seagate did not disclose the stage in the manufacturing process where the Chinese subcontractor installed the Trojan horse.

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15 November 2007 at 9:39 am

More on the telecom immunity issue

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Good article in Slate:

As the Senate debates a fix to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act this week, the battles rage fiercest over whether to grant immunity from liability to private telecom companies that assisted the administration with terrorist surveillance (aka domestic eavesdropping). Fans of immunity, which would be retroactive, have staked their position on a claim with which it’s hard to disagree. If the telecom companies really acted in good faith based on the Bush administration’s legal representations, they say, then it’s the administration that should be on trial. Thus, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., has stated that he supports immunity because he’s seen the legal documents the administration gave the telecoms that vouched for the program’s legality. Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa., have hinted the same. The president himself cares so deeply about retroactive immunity that he’s said he’ll veto a FISA bill that gives him everything he wants but that.

Think this is all because the administration cares about its friends and campaign contributors in the telecom lobby? We don’t. Because if that’s all that mattered, there would be a much simpler solution, which wouldn’t require the president to threaten to veto a bill that he claims is essential to protect America. When the administration first asked the telecoms to help with its surveillance activities, the companies demanded—and received—written assurance from the White House and Justice Department that the program was lawful. If the administration really cared about the telecoms, it would simply allow them to use these legal documents to defend themselves in court.

But it won’t. Instead, the administration invokes a little-known rule of evidence called the state secrets privilege, which allows the executive branch to avoid revealing evidence—or even litigating cases—if it claims that doing so might reveal a “state secret.” Bush lawyers have used the state secrets privilege to convince a federal appeals court to dismiss an ACLU lawsuit against the National Security Agency asking a court to declare the spying program illegal. And in the cases that have been brought against the telecoms, the administration has invoked the same privilege to argue that courts can’t let the cases go forward because the telecoms would be in the unfair position of not being able to defend themselves—because, of course, the administration won’t let the companies turn over the relevant documents. Retroactive immunity isn’t about letting the telecoms off the hook. It’s about hiding the administration’s own legal claims from any judicial or public scrutiny. The administration wants to keep these cases out of court so it can cover up for itself.

Congress can protect the telecoms without falling for this trick.

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Written by Leisureguy

15 November 2007 at 9:32 am

Megs looking at a vision

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Megs having vision

Megs relaxing of an evening and looking around. I took this photo at arm’s length, thus the perspective. She seems to be seeing something significant, but if you looked inside her enormous head and found her tiny brain, I imagine it would be blank.

Written by Leisureguy

15 November 2007 at 8:56 am

Posted in Cats, Megs

Pulled-pork sandwich

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I made this recipe yesterday, after allowing the pork shoulder to sit in the sauce overnight. Yesterday around noon, I added the quart of water to the pot containing the marinated shoulder and the sauce, and saw immediately that I should have used a larger pot. I used the 4-qt, and either the 5.5-qt Dutch oven or (better) the 7-qt pot would have been a better choice.

But I persevered and, with very little boil-over, finished the dish. It was wonderful. Only change in the recipe was to use a fresh jalapeño (seeds and all but the stem), but you can see other variations in the comments, including using a jalapeño from a can of jalapeños in adobo sauce.

When I made the sauce, BTW, I used the food processor rather than the blender, and it worked fine.

Written by Leisureguy

15 November 2007 at 8:53 am

Posted in Food, Recipes & Cooking

Cube v. Cube

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On the left, “Da Cube” of Method fame. On the right, a Marseilles Cube, also a (principally) olive-oil soap. I have to admit that I went for the big guy: 600 grams. They’re also available in smaller sizes: 400 g, 300 g, 200 g, and 100 g. But none bigger, I assure you. 🙂

I used the Simpsons Emperor 2 Super again, wanting to re-try a smaller brush in a Method shave. I worked up a lather almost immediately on the Marseilles cube, and this time I took care to add to the brush a larger amount of Shaving Paste. And it worked: lots of lather for the entire shave. So I would say that the Shavemaster brush is not essential, though it’s nice: it does have a good shave for this type of shave.

But the shave I got with the Emperor 2 (with sufficient Shaving Paste) was wonderful. I used the English open-comb Aristocrat with a Wilkinson blade (once used, I think). Two downward passes, across, against, and Bob’s your uncle.

The aftershave was Taylor of Old Bond Street Mr. Taylor’s Aftershave Balm, very nice indeed. A 9.7 today.

Written by Leisureguy

15 November 2007 at 8:47 am

Posted in Shaving

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