Later On

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

Archive for January 2nd, 2008

Chipotle ribs tonight

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I’m making this recipe, but with only one rack of ribs. I put the salt, sugar, oregano, and cumin on yesterday. One discovery: to get a good fingerhold on the membrane, use a little piece of paper towel. The membrane does indeed come right off.

The salt etc. brought forth liquid from the ribs, and I poured that off and rinsed the ribs as described, drying them thoroughly. Then I used the food processor (the little bowl, in the Kitchenaid) to “mince” the chipotles with the lime juice and olive oil (which I prefer to peanut oil).

I’m going for four hours, and man, do they smell good! And I have a movie to watch, too: Live Free or Die Hard. And, of course, my prophylactic red wine to counteract the fat of the ribs. Might have been slightly better at 4 1/2 hours.

UPDATE: Best damn ribs I ever had! Partially the prep, partially the low cooking temperature.

Written by Leisureguy

2 January 2008 at 4:17 pm

Very odd: conservative opposition to sex education

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I blogged earlier about the finding that kids who had sex education in schools became sexually active at a later age than kids who did not have sex education. From that earlier post:

Teenagers who have had formal sex education are far more likely to put off having sex, contradicting earlier studies on the effectiveness of such programs, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday.

They found teenage boys who had sex education in school were 71 percent less likely to have intercourse before age 15, and teen girls who had sex education were 59 percent less likely to have sex before age 15.

Sex education also increased the likelihood that teen boys would use contraceptives the first time they had sex, according to the study by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

“Sex education seems to be working,” Trisha Mueller, an epidemiologist with the CDC who led the study, said in a statement. “It seems to be especially effective for populations that are usually at high risk.”

And yet there’s opposition to sex education from the Right. That’s very weird. What are they thinking? From ThinkProgress:

During the Dec. 31 broadcast of Fox News’ Special Report, Concerned Women for America President Wendy Wright claimed that proponents of comprehensive sex education are trying to “encourage” sex because “they benefit when kids end up having sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancies and then they lead them into having abortions.” She then added, “You have to look at the financial motives behind those who are promoting comprehensive sex ed.” Watch it.

Written by Leisureguy

2 January 2008 at 3:46 pm

Posted in Daily life, GOP

Tagged with

More rulings like this, please

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A victory for employees:

The Santa Barbara News-Press and its owner violated federal labor laws in firing eight reporters for union activities, and the workers are entitled to return to their jobs with back pay, a judge has ruled.

The newspaper demonstrated “widespread, general disregard for the fundamental rights of the employees” and ordered the reporters reinstated with back pay, administrative law Judge William G. Kocol ruled last week.

“This decision really is all-encompassing; it’s everything we wanted it to be,” said Melinda Burns, the first of the reporters to be fired.

The National Labor Relations Board had alleged in a 15-count unfair labor practices complaint that the paper fired the eight workers, who had no history of disciplinary action, only after they began to fight for union representation.

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Written by Leisureguy

2 January 2008 at 3:10 pm

Posted in Business, Media

Tagged with


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Wouldn’t it be cool if your computer found the first signals from an extraterrestial civilization? And your computer was a Mac? Endless commericals…

At any rate, more home computers are needed:

The longest-running search for radio signals from alien civilizations is getting a burst of new data from an upgraded Arecibo telescope, which means the SETI@home project needs more desktop computers to help crunch the data.

Since SETI@home launched eight years ago, the project based at the University of California, Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory has signed up more than 5 million interested volunteers and boasts the largest community of dedicated users of any Internet computing project: 170,000 devotees on 320,000 computers.

Yet, new and more sensitive receivers on the world’s largest radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, and better frequency coverage are generating 500 times more data for the project than before. The SETI@home software has been upgraded to deal with this new data as the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) enters a new era and offers a new opportunity for those who want to help find other civilizations in the universe.

“The next generation SETI@home is 500 times more powerful then anything anyone has done before,” said project chief scientist Dan Werthimer. “That means we are 500 times more likely to find ET than with the original SETI@home.”

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Written by Leisureguy

2 January 2008 at 2:52 pm

Significant climate anomalies in 2007

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As global warming continues to advance, we can expect to see weird climate anomalies around the globe. NOAA has collected some from 2007 in this PDF. To read it, you’ll have to zoom in more.

The same thing we can expect to happen to oil prices as we hit Peak Oil: surges and falls, as the limited supply meets increasing demand, but with the overall trend upward.

Written by Leisureguy

2 January 2008 at 2:49 pm

Posted in Daily life

Consumer Product Safety Commission

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Under Bush, it’s a commission to protect businesses:

A former statistician for the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has accused the agency of “suppressing scientific research” and “silencing the life-saving research happening in its buildings.” Robin Ingle says the CPSC has repeatedly bowed to pressures from industry and failed to place tighter restrictions on dangerous products. As an example, she points to delays in publication of reports showing a rise in deaths from All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), while CPSC’s general counsel, a former attorney for the ATV industry, tried to force staff to change the language in the report. “I loved working at CPSC,” Ingle writes. “It broke my heart to leave. When I did so at the end of 2006, it was of my own accord. If I’d thought that staying there to crunch numbers could have saved a single person’s life, I would have stayed.”

Written by Leisureguy

2 January 2008 at 11:57 am

Have another glass of red wine with your pork roast…

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In the interests of health, of course:

Just as additives help gasoline burn cleaner, a research report published in the January 2008 print issue of The FASEB Journal shows that the food industry could take a similar approach toward reducing health risks associated with fatty foods. These “meal additives” would be based on work of Israeli researchers who discovered that consuming polyphenols (natural compounds in red wine, fruits, and vegetables) simultaneously with high-fat foods may reduce health risks associated with these foods.

“We suggest a new hypothesis to explain polyphenols,” said Joseph Kanner, senior author of the report. “For the first time, these compounds were demonstrated to prevent significantly the appearance of toxic food derivative compounds in human plasma.”

For the study, six men and four women were fed three different meals consisting of dark meat turkey cutlets. One meal, the control, consisted of turkey meat and water. The second meal consisted of turkey meat with polyphenols added after cooking (one tablespoon of concentrated wine) followed with a glass of red wine (about 7 ounces). The third meal consisted of turkey meat with polyphenols added before cooking and then followed by a glass of wine.

At various points during the study, researchers took blood and urine samples to measure levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), a natural byproduct of fat digestion known to increase the risk for heart disease and other chronic conditions. The researchers found that MDA levels nearly quintupled after the control meal, while MDA was nearly eliminated after subjects consumed the meals with polyphenols.

“As long as deep fried candy bars are on menus, scientists will need to keep serving up new ways to prevent the cellular damage caused by these very tasty treats,” said Gerald Weissmann, MD, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “This study suggests that the time will come where people can eat french fries without plugging their arteries.”

Written by Leisureguy

2 January 2008 at 10:45 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health

Planning events in Canada?

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Here you go.

(More calendars here.)

Written by Leisureguy

2 January 2008 at 10:38 am

Posted in Daily life

Banality of evil: a misleading idea

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I’ve always objected to Hannah Arendt’s characterization of Eichmann as a “banal” man. In fact, as later analysis by a variety of psychologists and psychiatrists found, he was seriously disturbed, dangerous, and attracted to destruction. (These psychologists and psychiatrists were given the results of psychological tests administered to Eichmann, but were not told the identity of the person tested.) Her analysis seemed glib and shallow. And a new article (PDF file) lays out subsequent investigation. The article, which can be read here, includes:

Until recently, there has been a clear consensus amongst social psychologists, historians and philosophers that everyone succumbs to the power of the group and hence no one can resist evil once in its midst. But now, suddenly, things don’t seem quite so certain. On the historical side, a number of new studies – notably David Cesarani’s (2004) meticulous examination of Eichmann’s life and crimes – have suggested that Arendt’s analysis was, at best, naive. Not least, this was because she only attended the start of his trial. In this, Eichmann worked hard to undermine the charge that he was a dangerous fanatic by presenting himself as an inoffensive pen-pusher. Arendt then left. Had she stayed, though, she (and we) would have discovered a very different Eichmann: a man who identified strongly with anti-semitism and Nazi ideology; a man who did not simply follow orders but who pioneered creative new policies; a man who was well aware of what he was doing and was proud of his murderous ‘achievements’.

A spate of books have made similar arguments about the psychology of Nazi functionaries in general (see Haslam & Reicher, 2007a, for a review). They all suggest that very few Nazis could be seen as ‘simply following orders’ – not least because the orders issued by the Nazi hierarchy were typically very vague. As a result, individuals needed to display imagination and initiative in order to interpret the commands they were given and to act upon them. As Ian Kershaw notes, Nazis didn’t obey Hitler, they worked towards him, seeking to surpass each other in their efforts. But by the same token, they also had a large degree of discretion. Indeed, as Laurence Rees (2005) notes in his recent book on Auschwitz and the ‘final solution’, it was this that made the Nazi system so dynamic. Even in the most brutal of circumstances, people did not have to kill and only some chose to do so. So, far from simply ‘finding themselves’ in inhumane situations or inhumane groups, the murderers actively committed themselves to such groups. They actively created inhumane situations and placed themselves at their epicentre. This was true even of concentration camp regimes:

Individuals demonstrated commitment by acting, on their own initiative, with greater brutality than their orders called for. Thus excess did not spring from mechanical obedience. On the contrary; its matrix was a group structure where it was expected that members exceed the limits of normal violence.
(Sofsky, 1993, p.228)

In short, the true horror of Eichmann and his like is not that their actions were blind. On the contrary, it is that they saw clearly what they did, and believed it to be the right thing to do.

Written by Leisureguy

2 January 2008 at 9:59 am

Posted in Daily life, Government

Tagged with ,

Identifying your own migraine triggers

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People who suffer from migraines generally learn to recognize the triggers and avoid those that can be avoided. (Some, like a change in air pressure due to weather, can’t very well be avoided.) Here’s a checklist of potential triggers:

Migraine triggers can include foods, beverages, activities and exercise, medications, stress, sleep deprivation, hunger, odors, hormones, and other changes.

To help determine what triggers your migraines, print the list below. Then check the list for potential migraine triggers when you get the first signs of an attack. After a few weeks or month, review the checklist to see if you can find a pattern for your migraine triggers. While triggers can be tricky to determine, chances are that the items that get the most checks may be your key personal triggers.

After you’ve narrowed down migraine triggers that may affect you, take the checklist to your next doctor’s visit and discuss these triggers. Your doctor can give you additional medical advice in how to prevent migraines by avoiding migraine triggers and taking necessary preventative migraine treatment.

Identifying Migraine Triggers: Your Personal Checklist

_____ Aged cheeses
_____ Alcohol (red wine, beer, whiskey, champagne)
_____ Caffeine (excess intake or withdrawal)
_____ Chocolate
_____ Citrus fruits
_____ Cured meats
_____ Dehydration
_____ Depression
_____ Diet (skipping meals or fasting)
_____ Dried fish
_____ Dried fruits
_____ Exercise (excessive)
_____ Eyestrain or other visual triggers
_____ Fatigue (extreme)
_____ Food additives (nitrites, nitrates, MSG)
_____ Lights (bright or flickering; sunlight)
_____ Lunchmeats
_____ Menstrual periods
_____ Medications
_____ MSG
_____ Noise (excessive)
_____ NutraSweet®
_____ Nuts
_____ Odors
_____ Onions
_____ Salty foods
_____ Sleep (too much, too little, other changes)
_____ Skipped meals
_____ Stress
_____ Television or movie viewing
_____ Weather (changing conditions)
_____ Wine (red)
_____ Others

Written by Leisureguy

2 January 2008 at 9:52 am

Posted in Daily life

Military spending: how much is enough?

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As anyone who has become obsessed with a collection (fountain pens, handbags, chess sets, pocket knives, books, CDs, whatever…) knows, the question of “enough” is meaningless when you’re in the grip of the obsession. “More” is the only thing that seems to make sense. And then, when the obsession passes, you wonder, “What was that all about?”

The US is in the grip of a military obsession:


And all the leading candidates—all of them, including the Democrats—are promising that they will expand the military. Why?, for the love of God. What will be enough?

Read Glenn Greenwald this morning for more on this topic. In the list of countries, BTW, China indeed has the largest military budget in the world, except for the US.

Written by Leisureguy

2 January 2008 at 9:33 am

Home cures and Big Pharma

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Interesting take:

Two recent medical studies have cast doubt on the effectiveness of pharmaceutical drugs for treating coughs and sinus infections and instead recommended home remedies.

In so doing, the research undermines the idea of a conspiracy by big drug companies to hide information about alternative cures.

Research done at the University of Southampton in England examined 240 patients with sinus infections and found that those taking antibiotics and steroid sprays fared no better than those given no treatment at all. The study’s lead author said that “the current view that antibiotics are effective [for acute sinusitis] can now be challenged.”

The study’s authors recommended home remedies such as inhaling steam and flushing the nose with salt water for relief. The research was detailed in the Dec. 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Another study, published in the December issue of the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, concluded that honey works better than cough medicines or no treatment at all in soothing children’s coughs.

Researchers led by Dr. Ian Paul of Pennsylvania State University’s College of Medicine used 105 children with upper respiratory infections. Some of their parents were given honey to administer to the children, others were given cough medicine, and still others were left untreated. Parents were then asked to rate the severity of their children’s symptoms, and across the board, those treated with honey did the best. Though the sample size was small and parent’s judgments were subjective, Dr. Paul noted that this was the first study to actually demonstrate honey’s effectiveness as a treatment.

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Written by Leisureguy

2 January 2008 at 9:18 am

A very tasty-looking pork shoulder

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Take a look at the video: it looks extremely easy (and tasty). You’ll note that in the video he cooked it for 5 or 6 hours.

Time: At least 3 hours

1 pork shoulder, 4 to 7 pounds (or use fresh ham)
4 or more cloves garlic, peeled
1 large onion, quartered
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ancho or other mild chili powder
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil as needed
1 tablespoon wine or cider vinegar
Lime wedges for serving.

1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Score meat’s skin with a sharp knife, making a cross-hatch pattern. Pulse garlic, onion, oregano, cumin, chili, salt and pepper together in a food processor, adding oil in a drizzle and scraping down sides as necessary, until mixture is pasty. (Alternatively, mash ingredients in a mortar and pestle.) Blend in the vinegar.

2. Rub this mixture well into pork, getting it into every nook and cranny. Put pork in a roasting pan and film bottom with water. Roast pork for several hours (a 4-pound shoulder may be done in 3 hours), turning every hour or so and adding more water as necessary, until meat is very tender. Finish roasting with the skin side up until crisp, raising heat at end of cooking if necessary.

3. Let meat rest for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting it up; meat should be so tender that cutting it into uniform slices is almost impossible; rather, whack it up into chunks. Serve with lime.

Yield: At least 6 servings.

Written by Leisureguy

2 January 2008 at 9:14 am

Posted in Food, Recipes & Cooking

Sandalwood and vanilla—what’s not to like?

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I picked Honeybee Spa’s Sandalwood Vanilla shea-butter shaving soap this morning, and the Simpsons Persian Jar 2 Super brush. Very pleasant lather—felt and smelled luxurious. Then the trust Merkur Hefty Classic (“HD”), which really is a very fine razor. It had an Astra Superior Platinum already in it, so I went with that.

Three quick passes, and a good shave, though I think the blade will now be replaced. And for the aftershave: Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood aftershave, with just a little Coty Raw Vanilla around the edges. 🙂

Coffee in hand, ready to go.

Written by Leisureguy

2 January 2008 at 9:10 am

Posted in Shaving

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