Later On

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

Archive for December 14th, 2007

Good lunchtime idea for winter

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Make your own miso soup balls: instant miso soup without all the chemicals.

… The basic rules

  • If the added ingredients are salty, use 1 teaspoon miso for an average size miso bowl (which contains about 3/4 cups, or 180ml, or liquid). If the added ingredients are not salted, use 2 teaspoons. Put the miso paste in a twist of plastic wrap.
  • Dried ingredients like wakame and finely chopped up ingredients can be combined directly in the miso.
  • More watery ingredients like spinach leaves should be carried separately (just tuck them in a corner of your bento box).
  • Big dried ingredients should also be carried separately – e.g. komachi-bu, dried wheat gluten.

Some ideas for miso ball miso soups

  • Wakame: 1 miso ball combined with a pinch of dried wakame seaweed
  • Finely chopped green onion with a 2 tsp. miso ball.
  • A small umeboshi with a 1 tsp. miso ball. Interesting sour-salty combo.
  • Baby spinach leaves with 2 tsp. miso ball
  • Shredded lettuce with 2 tsp. miso ball
  • Your favorite furikake with a 1 tsp. miso ball
  • Shredded nori and a 2 tsp. miso ball
  • Komachi-bu is a small form of fu, dried wheat gluten. It expands in hot water, and has an interesting texture. Use with a 2 tsp. miso ball, perhaps with some green onions.
  • Finely cut aburaage (fried bean curd) with a 2 tsp. miso ball
  • A spoonful of mixed frozen vegetables (the classic carrots-and-peas for example) with a 2 tsp. miso ball
  • A spoonful of frozen or canned corn with a 2 tsp. miso ball

There are more exotic (to most people) dried Japanese ingredients that could be used, but I hope this list gets you started. A miso ball soup is limited only by your imagination!

More at the link.

Written by Leisureguy

14 December 2007 at 12:30 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes & Cooking

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What happens when regulations are enacted

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People get to work thinking up ways to meet the regulations:

Via Climate 411, through the intermediaries of Matthew Yglesias and Bradford Plumer, here’s a dramatic example of the government driving innovation — the number of patents granted for sulfur-dioxide control technologies per year, with major air-quality legislation marked.

Sulfur patents
The graph is originally from this paper (pdf) by Margaret Taylor, Edward Rubin, and David Hounshell. It illustrates a crucial point that both liberals and conservatives should be able to come together behind: the engines of free-market creativity can be brought to bear on global problems whose costs are all in the externalities. But it doesn’t just happen, if the short-term profitable course of action in the absence of massive government intervention is to keep despoiling the commons. Rather than legislating specific responses to complicated problems, change the incentive structure so that (for example) not polluting is more directly profitable than polluting. Right now, it’s much cheaper to drag oil out of the ground and belch greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than to think hard about alternatives. It’s far past time that we put our fingers on the scales to reward the hard thinking.

Written by Leisureguy

14 December 2007 at 12:22 pm

Good review of two books on the Labor movement

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Worth reading. The review begins:

State of the Unions: How Labor Can Strengthen the Middle Class, Improve Our Economy, and Regain Political Influence by Philip M. Dine (McGraw-Hill, 276 pages)U.S. Labor in Trouble and Transition: The Failure of Reform from Above, The Promise of Revival from Below by Kim Moody (Verso, 320 pages)

In their well-regarded 1998 book, Organizing to Win: New Research on Union Strategies, labor experts Kate Bronfenbrenner and Tom Juravich found that labor unions’ strategies matter more than employers’ tactics when it comes to determining the success of organizing campaigns. Even workers with their backs against the wall can overcome the financial advantages of their bosses, the authors argue, if they are smart and persistent. Two new books, State of the Unions by Philip M. Dine and U.S. Labor in Trouble and Transition by Kim Moody, embrace this premise with gusto. In dissimilar but equally thoughtful works, Dine and Moody propose internal changes that the struggling labor movement can make to regain its influence. While each has its shortfalls, labor leaders serious about sustainable union growth would be wise to engage with these pressing volumes.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

14 December 2007 at 12:18 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life, Government

Tagged with ,

Social Security & Medicare graph from CBO

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SS and Medicare

This via Political Animal. As you see, Social Security is not a problem. Medicare and Medicaid is a problem. The Congressional Budget Office is a non-partisan group of analysts.

Written by Leisureguy

14 December 2007 at 11:03 am

Posted in Daily life

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Artie Shaw and Helen Forrest

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Last Saturday I blogged about Artie Shaw. Helen Forrest was a vocalist of the time who sang with several big bands after getting her start with Shaw’s. Here’s a clip of Shaw and the band playing the complete “Begin the Beguine,” followed by Helen Forrest singing “Let’s Stop the Clock.”

Written by Leisureguy

14 December 2007 at 9:49 am

Posted in Jazz, Music

Some Democrats have gone insane

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We know about Lieberman and Feinstein and Rockefeller, and now add Harry Reid to that number. Glenn Greenwald:

The Senate is going to take up debate today on the new FISA bill — including the provisions for telecom amnesty and presidential surveillance powers — and Harry Reid is apparently bringing the bill to the floor (a) in precisely the way designed to help the administration’s goal of ensuring there is telecom amnesty and fewer surveillance oversight protections and (b) contrary to the way his office has been assuring everyone concerned that it would be done.

I am traveling today (the last day for some time, thankfully) and will not be able to write more until much later today. FireDogLake and others will undoubtedly have updates throughout the day, more thorough explanations than I can provide now, and suggestions as to what can be done.

The summarized version is that there were two competing bills which Reid could have brought to the floor — the Senate Intelligence Committee version engineered by Jay Rockefeller and Dick Cheney which gives the administration most of what it wants, and the Senate Judiciary Committee, which does not contain telecom amnesty and contains far more extensive oversight protections. Reid could have brought the bill to the floor using whatever process he wanted, and he has decided — contrary to weeks of assurances — that the SIC bill will serve as the “base” bill, meaning that improving it (by removing amnesty and increasing oversight) will require 60 votes, rendering such efforts virtually impossible. In doing so, Reid is brazenly ignoring the demands of 14 Senators — including all of the Democratic presidential candidates — to have the Judiciary Committee bill be the base bill.

Worse still, Reid is completely disregarding the “hold” placed by Chris Dodd on any amnesty bill — simply refusing to honor it, even as he respectfully honors literally scores of “holds” from GOP Senators such as Tom Coburn. And while Dodd is interrupting his campaigning to fly to Washington to lead the filibuster he vowed, Reid has ensured with scheduling manuevers that the filibuster will take place only over the weekend — when all of the members are away raising money anyway and journalists aren’t paying attention — with the intent to try to force cloture once everyone returns on Monday.

There are two key objectives for today: (1) do as much possible to pressure Reid to honor Dodd’s hold and (2) do as much possible to encourage the presidential candidates and others to actively support Dodd’s filibuster, not merely in a cursory way, but through authentic leadership. At least as of now, Reid is the clear villain here, doing everything possible to enable the Bush/Cheney FISA agenda on telecom amnesty and surveillance powers, and doing everything possible, yet again, to ensure that Senate Democrats stand up to nobody except their voters and their base who put them in power.

Reid is extremely vulnerable in Nevada and if he follows through with his stated plans, those vulnerabilities ought to be exploited to the fullest, whether it be with anti-Reid ads in Nevada to drive his numbers even lower or concerted, all-out support for a serious primary challenge to Reid’s re-election bid in 2010, etc. Until Congressional Democrats know that there are consequences from siding with the administration and attacking their actual suppoters, they will continue to do that. Anyone interested should continue to check in with FDL and others for further updates today.

Written by Leisureguy

14 December 2007 at 9:44 am

Placing furniture when you move

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Cool Tools reviews a very handy tool today: inexpensive cutouts of the footprint of various pieces of furniture, so you can try various placements before actually lugging furniture.

Written by Leisureguy

14 December 2007 at 9:39 am

Posted in Daily life

Good software news from James Fallows

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Good news. Based on his recommendation, I’ve also been using X1 (the free version) and it’s great: I can quickly locate almost any file I want.

1) My choice for best-ever utility for indexing and searching hard drives on a PC, X1, has come out with a new release with numerous small but important improvements. Speed, stability, range of files it can index, etc. If you happen to be using Vista, the new release is also stable under Vista, as the old one wasn’t.

I’ve often complimented X1 in the Atlantic’s pages, but here’s the sincerest sign of my regard: Officially you can get away without ever paying anything for X1. After your initial 30-day free trial expires, you just keep on with the unlicensed trial version, which gives you no tech support and has certain limitations but is better than most other indexers available. (Or, you can use the similar limited version offered free as Yahoo Desktop Search.) I’ve gotten by on the trial version for years. But now I have actually ponied up my $50 for a legit license to the “Professional Client” version. My official reason is that it does a few things, like indexing archived Outlook files, that the free version doesn’t — plus the tech support. My real reason is that I have used this product so often for so long that I feel I owe these people something. Check it out.

2) Chandler – where do I start? This is one of the great epics/dramas/melodramas of the last two decades of computer-dom. In part it is the fulfillment of Mitch Kapor’s vision of creating the perfect tool for organizing the data you need for your daily life. He began this quest decades ago, with the creation of the sainted Lotus Agenda program when he was in charge of Lotus. (Part of that background here and here). In part it’s a very demanding test of what kind of software can be developed on a non-commercial, purely open-source basis. It even has an Atlantic connection, since part of its vision is to realize the vision of Vannevar ‘As We May Think’ Bush, who in our pages laid out the principles of the internet and of information management more than 60 years ago. It’s also just an engrossing story — one told in the recent book Dreaming in Code, by Scott Rosenberg, which as its site shows I liked enough to blurb effusively.

Saying anything more about the Chandler saga would be too exhausting, except for this: a usable version now exists, even though it has only some of the features envisioned for the grand climax of the project. It is usable enough that I actually am using it. You can start here to find out more. Warning: at this point, it’s still in the “mainly for tinkerers” stage. But it’s very interesting, and is free.

Written by Leisureguy

14 December 2007 at 9:36 am

Posted in Software

Slow start, but good shave

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Felt sick last night, better this morning. Still: moving slowly.

Tabac shaving soap and the Rooney Style 2 Finest lathered me well, and the Edwin Jagger ivory-handled Chatsworth with its Astra Superior Platinum provided a smooth shave, followed by Tabac aftershave.

Written by Leisureguy

14 December 2007 at 9:34 am

Posted in Shaving

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