Later On

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

Archive for November 23rd, 2007

Moebius transformations

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Simple, when you get the right perspective:

Written by Leisureguy

23 November 2007 at 8:49 pm

Posted in Science, Video

Tagged with ,

Building next year’s gift list

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We can ship our holiday presents early because we accumulate presents in the course of the year. The problem then becomes keeping track of what we’ve bought for whom. So this year I’ve set up a Gift List document in Writeboard to which The Wife and I both have access. The first section is “Birthdays”, with all family members listed, and the second section is “Christmas,” again with everyone listed. A few presents are already in place for next year, and we will gradually accumulate the rest and (I hope) update the Writeboard document as we go. The main benefit is that either of us can review the document at any time to determine where we need presents. (It’s free, of course)

Written by Leisureguy

23 November 2007 at 7:38 pm

Posted in Daily life, Software, Technology

Tagged with

Progress report

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All Christmas presents have now been shipped. We try for the day before Thanksgiving, but this year it turns out to be the day after. Still: PO uncrowded, everything went well.

And I stopped by Nob Hill to get a turkey breast to roast for sandwiches. I assumed there would be a big mark-down today. Nope: a previously frozen turkey breast was $20.70. OTOH, I got a fresh Dietsel whole turkey (14.5 lbs) for $10. So tomorrow I roast a bird, goal: sandwiches.

(The Wife and I enjoyed steaks for our Thanksgiving dinner, along with mashed small potatoes and sautéed cherry tomatoes.)

Written by Leisureguy

23 November 2007 at 1:29 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food

KitchenAid mixers

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Not to spoil the story, but I give good marks to KitchenAid mixers in the book, and now Simply Recipes points out a one-day sale on KitchenAid mixers at Amazon.com, with free shipping (natch: they’re more than $25).

Written by Leisureguy

23 November 2007 at 9:32 am

Is a fertilized egg a human?

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Interesting: “Antiabortion activists in several states are promoting constitutional amendments that would define life as beginning at conception, which could effectively outlaw all abortions and some birth control methods.”

It would also leave fertility clinics open to charges of kidnapping (holding fertilized eggs without their consent) and murder (disposing of unneeded fertilized eggs) plus manslaughter charges for fertilized eggs that die as a result of accident or inadequate care. I would think that a coroner’s report would be required then for miscarriages, right?

More of the story:

The campaigns to grant “personhood” to fertilized eggs, giving them the same legal protections as human beings, come as the nation in January marks the 35th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. During those three decades, abortion foes have succeeded in imposing a variety of restrictions, such as waiting periods and parental notification for minors. But there are still about 1.3 million abortions a year in the U.S.

Some activists say they are fed up with incremental steps — and are not interested in waiting years, or possibly decades, for a more conservative court to revisit Roe. Instead, they are out to change the legal status of embryos in hopes of forcing the Supreme Court to ban abortion.

“The concept that we’re going to elect judges who will change everything has failed,” said Brian Rohrbough, a former president of Colorado Right to Life. “The logical thing is to start with personhood. . . . It’s the only legitimate tactic that does not involve a compromise.”

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Written by Leisureguy

23 November 2007 at 8:55 am

Posted in Daily life, Government

Tagged with

100 Notable books of the year…

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Well, except for those notable books that are published in the next 38 days. Those don’t count, I suppose. At any rate, the NY Times implicitly asks, “How many of these have you read?”

Fiction & Poetry

THE ABSTINENCE TEACHER. By Tom Perrotta. (St. Martin’s, $24.95.) In this new novel by the author of “Little Children,” a sex-ed teacher faces off against a church bent on ridding her town of “moral decay.”

AFTER DARK. By Haruki Murakami. Translated by Jay Rubin. (Knopf, $22.95.) A tale of two sisters, one awake all night, one asleep for months.

THE BAD GIRL. By Mario Vargas Llosa. Translated by Edith Grossman. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25.) This suspenseful novel transforms “Madame Bovary” into a vibrant exploration of the urban mores of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.

BEARING THE BODY. By Ehud Havazelet. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $24.) In this daring first novel, a man travels to California after his brother is killed in what may have been a drug transaction.

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Written by Leisureguy

23 November 2007 at 8:35 am

Posted in Books

Megs, contemplating window

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Megs by platform

Megs, reclining, looks toward the window—a bird? a fly? a moth?

Written by Leisureguy

23 November 2007 at 8:30 am

Posted in Cats, Megs

ADHD brains mature later

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Interesting:

In youth with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) the brain matures in a normal pattern but is delayed three years in some regions, on average, compared to youth without the disorder, an imaging study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has revealed. The delay in ADHD was most prominent in regions at the front of the brain’s outer mantle (cortex), important for the ability to control thinking, attention and planning. Otherwise, both groups showed a similar back-to-front wave of brain maturation with different areas peaking in thickness at different times.

“Finding a normal pattern of cortex maturation, albeit delayed, in children with ADHD should be reassuring to families and could help to explain why many youth eventually seem to grow out of the disorder,” explained Philip Shaw, M.D., NIMH Child Psychiatry Branch, who led research team.

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Written by Leisureguy

23 November 2007 at 8:13 am

The book on the Israel lobby

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The BBC has a good story of the reception of the book:

Commentators the world over refer to it, as though it were a well-established fact that US Jews wield far more influence than their numbers (2% of the population) would suggest. But this presumed influence is also a delicate issue in the US, and is rarely analysed.

How does the lobby work? Is its power truly legendary, or just a legend?

Two US academics, John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard, have set out to answer those questions, and triggered a firestorm of controversy as a result.

Their book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, which builds on a 2006 article in the London Review of Books, says the reasons for US support for Israel need to be explained.

America spends $3bn a year in largely military assistance – one-sixth of its direct aid budget – to help a prosperous, nuclear-armed country, and strongly backs Israel in negotiations on Middle East peace. But according to Mearsheimer and Walt, the US gets remarkably little in return.

They reject the argument that Israel is a key ally in America’s “war on terror”. On the contrary, they contend, US patronage of Israel fuels militant anger – as well as fostering resentment in Arab countries that control vital oil supplies.

The authors also reject the common view of Israel as a democratic outpost that needs protection from deadly enemies. It is indeed a vibrant democracy, they say, but also a regional giant ready to use its considerable firepower against civilians.

If both these arguments are weak, they say, the real reason behind US support for Israel is domestic – the activities of the American Israel Political Action Committee (Aipac), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and like-minded groups and think tanks.

Mearsheimer and Walt do not talk of a “Jewish lobby”, as these groups do not speak for all US Jews and include many non-Jews, but of an “Israel lobby”, whose main aim, they say, is to convince America that its interests are aligned with those of the Israeli state.

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Written by Leisureguy

23 November 2007 at 8:09 am

Posted in Books, Government

Efficient Thanksgiving dinner

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Written by Leisureguy

23 November 2007 at 8:03 am

Traditional post-Thanksgiving Shave

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I used QED’s Grapefruit & Peppermint, the traditional post-Thanksgiving combination. With the Rooney Style 2 Finest, I got a terrific lather, and whatever blade was in the Merkur Progress produced a 9.7 shave. I really like the Progress: it’s a chunky little razor, very nifty. Mine is in gold, which is nice.

The aftershave was Paul Sebastian, also very nice. Laundry’s in, coffee’s made, Friday’s underway.

Written by Leisureguy

23 November 2007 at 8:02 am

Posted in Shaving

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