Later On

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

Archive for February 21st, 2008

Lion loves his rescuer

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Wonderful video.

Written by Leisureguy

21 February 2008 at 2:29 pm

Posted in Cats, Daily life

The global-cooling myth

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Interesting, but not surprising: global warming deniers build their arguments against facts by relying on lies:

A new study concludes that the “supposed ‘global cooling’ consensus among scientists in the 1970s — frequently offered by global-warming skeptics as proof that climatologists can’t make up their minds — is a myth.” An examination of “dozens of peer-reviewed scientific articles from 1965 to 1979″ found that “only seven supported global cooling, while 44 predicted warming.”

Written by Leisureguy

21 February 2008 at 2:00 pm

Posted in Global warming

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

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This sounds wonderful.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Garlic
Yield 4 servings
Time About 45 minutes

I cannot remember when I intentionally began to almost-burn Brussels sprouts by roasting them until they were really, really dark. But cooked this way, the crisp outside leaves and tender, almost artichoke-like interior cannot be beat.

  • 1 pint brussels sprouts (about a pound)
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, to coat bottom of pan
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Trim bottom of brussels sprouts, and slice each in half top to bottom. Heat oil in cast-iron pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers; put sprouts cut side down in one layer in pan. Put in garlic, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cook, undisturbed, until sprouts begin to brown on bottom, and transfer to oven. Cook, shaking pan occasionally, until sprouts are quite brown and tender, about 1/2 hour.

Taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in balsamic vinegar, and serve hot or warm.

Written by Leisureguy

21 February 2008 at 12:55 pm

Tiramisu — this one looks good

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From What Geeks Eat (another photo and more recipes at the link).

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

8 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon brandy
8 ounces heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup of espresso
1 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 packages of Italian style lady fingers
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
6 ounces milk chocolate

Allow the mascarpone to come to room temperature. Beat the brandy and 1/4 cup of sugar into the mascarpone until it is smooth. Set it aside.

Put the cream, 1/3 cup of sugar, and 2 teaspoons vanilla into a bowl and mix with a whisk on high until soft peaks have formed. Set it aside.

Combined the hot espresso and the 2 tablespoons of sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the skim milk and stir. Set aside.

Grate the two types of chocolate using a food processor or a grater. Keep them separate.

Fold the mascarpone and whipped cream into each other (gently).

Dip a ladyfinger into the coffee mixture, count one beat, then turn it over, count another beat, and remove it and place it into a 9″ x 9″ pan. Repeat this until the bottom of the pan is lined with soaked ladyfingers.

Layer on half of the mascarpone/whipped cream combo, smooth it out with an offset spatula. Sprinkle the bittersweet chocolate.

Add another layer of the soaked ladyfingers, the rest of the mascarpone/ whipped cream combo, and finally the grated milk chocolate. Wrap well with saran wrap and refrigerate several hours or even better, overnight. Serves 9 to 12 depending on the size of the serving.

Written by Leisureguy

21 February 2008 at 12:48 pm

Continuing emergence of common sense re: drugs?

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Hendrik Hertzberg has an excellent column in the current New Yorker:

A few days before Senator Barack Obama swept the Democratic primaries in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, people across the country, picking up their favorite newspaper, were greeted with the following headline:

OLD FRIENDS SAY DRUGS PLAYED
BIG PART IN OBAMA’S YOUNG LIFE

In any event, that’s what some readers thought they read. On second glance, they realized their mistake. The headline actually said this:

OLD FRIENDS SAY DRUGS PLAYED
BIT PART IN OBAMA’S YOUNG LIFE

Maybe, though, the mistake wasn’t just the readers’, especially the bleary-eyed among them who hadn’t yet had their morning coffee. After all, it wasn’t exactly news that “drugs” had played a part (and only a “bit part” at that) in the adolescence of the junior senator from Illinois. That particular factoid had been on the public record for more than twelve years. And if it wasn’t news, what was it doing on the front page of the New York Times?

The big news, or bit news, about Obama and drugs had been broken by the future Presidential candidate himself, in “Dreams from My Father,” published in 1995, when he was thirty-three years old. In “Dreams,” Obama treats his teen-age chemical indulgences the way he treats pretty much everything else in his coming-of-age story: subtly, with impressive emotional acuity, against a richly drawn personal, cultural, and social background. Ripped from their context like the heart of an Aztec sacrifice, the facts Obama presents are these: He smoked pot during his last couple of years of high school, in Hawaii, and his first couple of years of college, at Occidental, in California. Once in a while, he treated himself to “a little blow.” After his sophomore year, he transferred east, to Columbia, where he took up running (three miles a day), stopped hanging out in bars, and started keeping a journal. Also, he writes, “I quit getting high.” That’s about all. Substance, apparently, became more interesting to him than substance abuse.

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Written by Leisureguy

21 February 2008 at 12:17 pm

Irrational decisionmaking

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We are not so rational as we like to believe. For example, this article:

A couple of months ago, I went on-line to order a book. The book had a list price of twenty-four dollars; Amazon was offering it for eighteen. I clicked to add it to my “shopping cart” and a message popped up on the screen. “Wait!” it admonished me. “Add $7.00 to your order to qualify for FREE Super Saver Shipping!” I was ordering the book for work; still, I hesitated. I thought about whether there were other books that I might need, or want. I couldn’t think of any, so I got up from my desk, went into the living room, and asked my nine-year-old twins. They wanted a Tintin book. Since they already own a large stack of Tintins, it was hard to find one that they didn’t have. They scrolled through the possibilities. After much discussion, they picked a three-in-one volume containing two adventures they had previously read. I clicked it into the shopping cart and checked out. By the time I was done, I had saved The New Yorker $3.99 in shipping charges. Meanwhile, I had cost myself $12.91.

Why do people do things like this?

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Written by Leisureguy

21 February 2008 at 12:11 pm

Posted in Daily life, Science

Debating torture a century ago

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The New Yorker has an extremely interesting article on torture, including waterboarding, as the US practiced it in the Philippines. The article begins:

Many Americans were puzzled by the news, in 1902, that United States soldiers were torturing Filipinos with water. The United States, throughout its emergence as a world power, had spoken the language of liberation, rescue, and freedom. This was the language that, when coupled with expanding military and commercial ambitions, had helped launch two very different wars. The first had been in 1898, against Spain, whose remaining empire was crumbling in the face of popular revolts in two of its colonies, Cuba and the Philippines. The brief campaign was pitched to the American public in terms of freedom and national honor (the U.S.S. Maine had blown up mysteriously in Havana Harbor), rather than of sugar and naval bases, and resulted in a formally independent Cuba.

The Americans were not done liberating. Rising trade in East Asia suggested to imperialists that the Philippines, Spain’s largest colony, might serve as an effective “stepping stone” to China’s markets. U.S. naval plans included provisions for an attack on the Spanish Navy in the event of war, and led to a decisive victory against the Spanish fleet at Manila Bay in May, 1898. Shortly afterward, Commodore George Dewey returned the exiled Filipino revolutionary Emilio Aguinaldo to the islands. Aguinaldo defeated Spanish forces on land, declared the Philippines independent in June, and organized a government led by the Philippine élite.

During the next half year, it became clear that American and Filipino visions for the islands’ future were at odds. U.S. forces seized Manila from Spain—keeping the army of their ostensible ally Aguinaldo from entering the city—and President William McKinley refused to recognize Filipino claims to independence, pushing his negotiators to demand that Spain cede sovereignty over the islands to the United States, while talking about Filipinos’ need for “benevolent assimilation.” Aguinaldo and some of his advisers, who had been inspired by the United States as a model republic and had greeted its soldiers as liberators, became increasingly suspicious of American motivations. When, after a period of mounting tensions, a U.S. sentry fired on Filipino soldiers outside Manila in February, 1899, the second war erupted, just days before the Senate ratified a treaty with Spain securing American sovereignty over the islands in exchange for twenty million dollars. In the next three years, U.S. troops waged a war to “free” the islands’ population from the regime that Aguinaldo had established. The conflict cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos and about four thousand U.S. soldiers.

Within the first year of the war, news of atrocities by U.S. forces—the torching of villages, the killing of prisoners—began to appear in American newspapers. Although the U.S. military censored outgoing cables, stories crossed the Pacific through the mail, which wasn’t censored. Soldiers, in their letters home, wrote about extreme violence against Filipinos, alongside complaints about the weather, the food, and their officers; and some of these letters were published in home-town newspapers. A letter by A. F. Miller, of the 32nd Volunteer Infantry Regiment, published in the Omaha World-Herald in May, 1900, told of how Miller’s unit uncovered hidden weapons by subjecting a prisoner to what he and others called the “water cure.” “Now, this is the way we give them the water cure,” he explained. “Lay them on their backs, a man standing on each hand and each foot, then put a round stick in the mouth and pour a pail of water in the mouth and nose, and if they don’t give up pour in another pail. They swell up like toads. I’ll tell you it is a terrible torture.”

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Written by Leisureguy

21 February 2008 at 12:08 pm

Posted in Government, Military

Tagged with

Torture and the American Psychological Association

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The APA will not disavow torture. A recent report:

A poster on Metafilter has collected together news reports on the growing number of psychologists leaving the American Psychological Association in protest at their failure to condemn members who take part in the ‘War on Terror’ interrogations.

One of the most surprising aspects is from a contributor who suggests that the APA released a different text to the one approved by a 2006 committee vote that was intended to condemn abusive practices by psychologists.

The campaign group Coalition for an Ethical Psychology released a report [pdf] claiming that the original statement reviewed by the committee defined torture in terms of the United Nations criteria, but the published resolution had been changed to refer to the US Constitution, providing a definition of torture that is being used to allow abusive interrogations.

Strong public protests over the PENS Report [which condoned psychologists participating in interrogations, without mentioning torture or other abuse] prompted the APA Divisions for Social Justice and others to craft a new resolution prohibiting psychologists from participating in abusive detainee interrogations. In August 2006, after much discussion and debate, the APA’S Council of Representatives passed a Resolution Against Torture, Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment.

However, the version published by the APA differed from the version discussed and passed by the Council, in at least one significant respect: in the document reviewed by Council, psychologists were instructed to look to the United Nations Principles of Medical Ethics and international instruments for definitions of unethical behavior and “torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.” In the published document, the definition of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment instead was taken from the 5th, 8th and 14th amendments to the US Constitution, precisely the same definitions that had been used by the CIA, the DoD and the Bush Administration to assert that the abusive interrogation techniques in use at Guantánamo, CIA black sites, and elsewhere were not “torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”

The more recent August 2007 resolution refers to both the United Nations and the US Constitution criteria, presumably making for a much stricter definition, although still fails to define some key definitions concerning distress.

However, the fact that an earlier version was ‘switched’ is quite concerning as it has become clear that psychologists are an incredibly valuable part of interrogation or ‘Behavioral Science Consultation Teams’ (aka ‘biscuit teams’).

In contrast, psychologists’ colleagues in both the American medical and psychiatric associations have outright banned their members from participation.

In practice, this hasn’t stopped some physicians becoming complicit in these interrogations, but many US psychologists are embarrassed by their parent organisations unwillingness to take the equivalent ethical line when the profession is increasingly seeking equal status to doctors.

Written by Leisureguy

21 February 2008 at 10:03 am

Wine databases

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For those who enjoy wine:

The SF Gate had an article about Able Grape ( http://www.ablegrape.com/ ), a search engine of about ten million pages devoted to wine. This specialized search engine scored about a C on the Strawberry Shortcake test; an astounding number of wineries apparently have their own recipes for strawberry shortcake. A search for northern California generated much better results with over 11,000 results discussing vineyards, retailers, and wine-related media.

Speaking of northern California, there’s WineMap at http://winemap.org/ , which will open to the general public on March 1st. WineMap is collecting information on wineries and where grapes are grown, and placing that information on a map. If you can’t wait for the site to open, you can already download its database to use in Google Earth.

Finally, there’s WineMad, at http://winemad.net/ . WineMad is a wine reviews aggregator and custom Google search engine that’s currently indexing 900 wine Web sites and blogs. The front page lists recent wine reviews and articles, with additional tabs for red wine reviews, white/rose/sparkling wine reviews, and cheese articles and reviews (of course). A blog for this search tool is available at http://winemad.wordpress.com/ .

Written by Leisureguy

21 February 2008 at 10:01 am

Posted in Daily life, Food

Golf fades

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Americans work more hours than any other industrialized nation. With the economy the way it is, and the number of families that now must have multiple jobs to make ends approach if not meet, something’s got to give. One thing seems to be golf:

The men gathered in a new golf clubhouse here a couple of weeks ago circled the problem from every angle, like caddies lining up a shot out of the rough.

“We have to change our mentality,” said Richard Rocchio, a public relations consultant.

“The problem is time,” offered Walter Hurney, a real estate developer. “There just isn’t enough time. Men won’t spend a whole day away from their family anymore.”

William A. Gatz, owner of the Long Island National Golf Club in Riverhead, said the problem was fundamental economics: too much supply, not enough demand.

The problem was not a game of golf. It was the game of golf itself.

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Written by Leisureguy

21 February 2008 at 9:40 am

Posted in Business, Daily life

Your own mix in a nutrition bar

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This is an extremely good idea. The Younger Daughter pointed out the article.

Ava Bise and Anthony Flynn share more than a typical mother and son: a birthday, a love of healthy food and a devotion to athletics. Ms. Bise, who teaches belly dancing and practices yoga, taught Mr. Flynn how to snowboard after she learned at age 44.

Both mother and son faced a challenge common to many active, health-conscious people: how to eat well during a busy day. In theory, a nutrition bar could be eaten between more substantial meals, but the dozens of bars on the market did not appeal to either of them.

“They disguise it as healthy,” said Mr. Flynn, 24. “It’s like, how is that healthy? It’s sugar, low-quality sugar, even.”

Ten years ago, Ms. Bise started making her own nutrition bars at home, using pure, mostly organic ingredients like soy-nut butters, nuts, granolas and dried fruits. Her son began making his own when he was around 18, and the two would swap recipes. Friends had asked them to customize the bars to individual tastes, and Mr. Flynn and Ms. Bise complied, sealing their creations in wax paper.

One night two years ago, they decided to start a business making bars to order for a wider market. Mr. Flynn was weeks from graduating from the University of Southern California with a degree in business administration.

Because neither mother nor son had experience in food service, Mr. Flynn took a job at a juice bar to see how the business worked. Then he wrote a computer program that allowed online customers to choose the base ingredients for their bars, as well as fruit, protein and vitamin infusions. They could even name the bar whatever they liked. The You Bar (youbars.com) was born.

After starting the business in their homes and later borrowing commercial kitchen space from the synagogue that Ms. Bise attends, the duo moved into their own space last summer, not far from the Farmers Market in downtown Los Angeles. The 800-square-foot kitchen and warehouse is bright and neat and filled with jars of nut butters and containers of dried fruits, as well as food scales and mixers.

Although the bars are not sold in stores, orders come from all over the world via the Internet. With eight employees, Mr. Flynn and Ms. Bise weigh and mix the requested ingredients, mold the bars and seal them in packages. They then print computer-generated labels stating the bars’ names and nutritional facts.

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Written by Leisureguy

21 February 2008 at 9:33 am

Posted in Business, Food, Health

Another great shave

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I picked Rivivage shaving soap, and the Simpsons Key Hole 2 Best brush. It’s a soft brush, not terribly dense, but made a wonderful lather and felt good on my face.

The EJ Chatsworth again, with its Iridium Super Blade—and another smooth, easy, flawless shave.

For the oil pass, I used my own mix, and it felt very good—the feeling of the oil is now something I enjoy. The result was the usual smoothness, and the oil feeling (after the rinse, towel-dry, and aftershave) is gone within two minutes. What’s left is soft, smooth skin.

The aftershave in this case was St. John’s Bay Rum, quite pleasant. A very good start to the day.

Written by Leisureguy

21 February 2008 at 9:30 am

Posted in Shaving

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