Later On

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

Archive for March 30th, 2008

Elephant art

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Written by Leisureguy

30 March 2008 at 8:39 pm

Posted in Art

Time to put on your reorg boots?

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Remember how Wally, in the Dilbert comic strip, refers to putting on his reorg boots? Krugman thinks it’s time:

Anyone who has worked in a large organization — or, for that matter, reads the comic strip “Dilbert” — is familiar with the “org chart” strategy. To hide their lack of any actual ideas about what to do, managers sometimes make a big show of rearranging the boxes and lines that say who reports to whom.You now understand the principle behind the Bush administration’s new proposal for financial reform, which will be formally announced today: it’s all about creating the appearance of responding to the current crisis, without actually doing anything substantive.

The financial events of the last seven months, and especially the past few weeks, have convinced all but a few diehards that the U.S. financial system needs major reform. Otherwise, we’ll lurch from crisis to crisis — and the crises will get bigger and bigger.

The rescue of Bear Stearns, in particular, was a paradigm-changing event.

Traditional, deposit-taking banks have been regulated since the 1930s, because the experience of the Great Depression showed how bank failures can threaten the whole economy. Supposedly, however, “non-depository” institutions like Bear didn’t have to be regulated, because “market discipline” would ensure that they were run responsibly.

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Written by Leisureguy

30 March 2008 at 8:29 pm

Police arrest 80-year-old because of his T-shirt

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It was an antiwar T-shirt, so I guess it’s okay:

An 80-year-old church deacon was removed from the Smith Haven Mall yesterday in a wheelchair and arrested by police for refusing to remove a T-shirt protesting the Iraq War.

Police said that Don Zirkel, of Bethpage, was disturbing shoppers at the Lake Grove mall with his T-shirt, which had what they described as “graphic anti-war images.” Zirkel, a deacon at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Wyandanch, said his shirt had the death tolls of American military personnel and Iraqis – 4,000 and 1 million – and the words “Dead” and “Enough.” The shirt also has three blotches resembling blood splatters.

Police said in a release last night that Zirkel was handing out anti-war pamphlets to mallgoers and that mall security told him to stop and turn his shirt inside out. Zirkel refused to turn his shirt inside out and wouldn’t leave, police said. Security placed him on “civilian arrest” and called police. When police arrived, Zirkel passively resisted attempts to bring him to a police car, the release said.

But Zirkel said he was sitting in the food court drinking coffee with his wife Marie, 77, and several others when police and mall security officers approached and demanded they remove their anti-war T-shirts.

The others complied, but Zirkel said he refused, and when he wouldn’t stand up to be removed and arrested, authorities brought over a wheelchair. “They forcibly picked me up and put me in the wheelchair,” said Zirkel, a deacon at one of the poorest Catholic parishes on Long Island, where a devastating fire recently destroyed the rectory and storage areas.

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Written by Leisureguy

30 March 2008 at 5:52 pm

Posted in Daily life

Clinton delegate strategy

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Here’s an interesting story. Longtime Dispatches reader Jeff Hebert emailed me this story of the Clinton campaign trying to get pledged delegates to change their votes at the convention. Full story below the fold:

I always enjoy it when someone tries to rewrite the rules to their advantage, only to have it turn around and burn them. I went to the Texas Democratic caucus for my precinct to try and vote for Obama, but unfortunately we didn’t have enough people there for him to qualify for any of the precinct’s share of delegates. I ended up being assigned as a delegate anyway (the turnout was pretty low), and said I’d vote for Hillary per the will of my fellow caucus-goers, since my guy didn’t garner enough support.Yet, twice now in the last three days, the Clinton campaign has called me to try and convince me that as a delegate I don’t have to vote for who I said I’d vote for, I’m allowed to change my mind if I want. Presumably they are doing this because they got their asses kicked in the caucus statewide by Obama, and so they want to get me to flip my assumed vote for Obama to Clinton.

However, they’ve achieved exactly the opposite — I didn’t know until they called that I even had the option, I thought I was forced to vote as the caucus had decided. Thanks to Hillary trying to change the rules after the fact and play dirty, I now can vote for my original guy with a clear conscience.

Be careful what you sow, for thereso shall ye reap, Mrs. Clinton.

Very interesting, don’t you think?

Written by Leisureguy

30 March 2008 at 5:50 pm

Posted in Democrats, Election

Not exactly a spy thriller

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Sort of a spy… what? mystery? admonition? An Ordinary Spy, by Joseph Weisberg, a former CIA officer. Intriguing, down-to-earth, specific… Worth reading, although parts are redacted (a nice touch). I enjoyed it, and it was interesting to see the paranoid mindset that accompanies this line of work—very unpleasant in the long run, I should think.

Written by Leisureguy

30 March 2008 at 5:21 pm

Posted in Books

Alan Watts

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Alan Watts is always intriguing.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from posted with vodpod

Written by Leisureguy

30 March 2008 at 2:28 pm

Posted in Daily life

Pretty dang cool

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Watch the whole thing. More info here.

Written by Leisureguy

30 March 2008 at 2:22 pm

Posted in Software, Technology

Shaving stick fragrances from Honeybee Spa

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I really like Honeybee Spa’s shea butter shaving soaps, and I was delighted when she made some of the soaps available in the form of shaving sticks. You can get these fragrances in HS shave sticks:

Almond, Amber, Bamboo Teak, Bay Rum, Cedarwood Amber, Chamomile, CK for Men, CK One Scene, Clean for Men, Coconut, Coffee Mocha, CoolWater for Men, Dragon’s Blood, Drakkar, Eucalyptus Spearmint, Forest Pine, Fresh Lemon, Gardenia, Ginseng, Green Tea, Issey Miyake for Men, Lavender, Lilac, Lime, Mayan Gold, Mountain Meadow, Musk, Oakmoss, Oceania, Old Spice, Orange Burst, Patchouli, Peony, Peppermint, Rosemary Mint, Sandalwood, Sandalwood Musk, Sandalwood Vanilla, Unscented, Vanilla Oak,Very Sexy for Men, Vetyver, Victorian Rose, Violet and Yuzu

At $6 each, they are a great buy—terrific for travel and good at home. Try one. My favorites (so far) in boldface.

Written by Leisureguy

30 March 2008 at 12:34 pm

Posted in Shaving

Government rescues—not just for big companies

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Written by Leisureguy

30 March 2008 at 12:29 pm

Posted in Daily life, GOP, Government

The Linguists

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Looks like a good and interesting movie. Click the link to take a look.

Written by Leisureguy

30 March 2008 at 11:54 am

Posted in Movies & TV

The Prius transmission

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For the Wife.

Written by Leisureguy

30 March 2008 at 11:00 am

Posted in Daily life, Technology

Encyclopedia of Mythologies

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Encyclopedia Mythica.

Written by Leisureguy

30 March 2008 at 10:58 am

Posted in Religion

Factoids and trivia

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To kill the conversation at any party:

George Washington grew marijuana in his garden.

The women of the Tiwi tribe in the South Pacific are married at birth.

When Albert Einstein died, his final words died with him. The nurse at his side didn’t understand German.

St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was not Irish.

The lance ceased to be an official battle weapon in the British Army in 1927.

St. John was the only one of the 12 Apostles to die a natural death.

Many sailors used to wear gold earrings so that they could afford a proper burial when they died.

Some very Orthodox Jew refuse to speak Hebrew, believing it to be a language reserved only for the Prophets.

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Written by Leisureguy

30 March 2008 at 10:52 am

Posted in Daily life

Soda pop alternatives

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Useful—print and tape to refrigerator door:

1. Club soda mixed with pomegranate juice. 160 calories per cup; still bubbly.

2. Tonic water with a squeeze of lemon or lime.
Only 80 calories; still bubbly.

3. Light yogurt and fruit smoothie.
Creamy and sweet, high in calcium and only 174 calories per cup.

4. Tomato juice or V8.
Packed with flavor; high in vitamins C, A, and potassium and only 50 calories per cup.

5. Flavored seltzer. Carbonated, but zero calories.

6. Energy drink (such as Gatorade). Tastes sweet, 60 calories per cup, contains electrolytes. [Or try homemade Gatorade. – LG]

7. Apple cider. Has 120 calories per cup, but packs a tangy, substantial flavor.

8. Milk, whole or skim.
High in calcium and protein—and you need both. With 145 calories per cup of whole milk; 85 calories for skim.

9. Ovaltine made with skim milk.
It’s chocolaty, fortified with vitamins and minerals, high in calcium and protein and 170 calories per cup.

10. Tea or coffee, unsweetened. Get a boost on less than five calories per cup, plus it’s high in antioxidants.

Written by Leisureguy

30 March 2008 at 10:47 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health

Compare hospitals on some measures of quality

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Very useful info:

Federal health officials released the latest version of a web site Friday that lets the public compare about 2,500 hospitals on some measures of quality.

The site pulls together some information that Medicare has made available to the public since 2005. Officials say the effort would force hospitals to compete more on quality and customer services while allowing patients to shop.

“I think by this afternoon there will be hospitals looking at this site and identifying the places they need to improve,” says Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt.

Administration officials have sought to bring more transparency to the health care marketplace. Similar Medicare sites compare nursing homes in all 50 states as well as customer satisfaction with government-sponsored private managed care plans.

The site, at, compares hospitals according to how often they meet 26 performance measures, based on Medicare data. Most are process oriented, such as how often hospital personnel give aspirin to heart attack patients, a treatment shown to cut the risk of another attack.

There’s also patient satisfaction measures gleaned from surveys filled out by Medicare patients.

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Written by Leisureguy

30 March 2008 at 10:42 am

Posted in Daily life, Medical

Google Suggest, and what it suggests

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This is a little unsettling. Google has an experimental service that will complete a query based on the most popular queries previously submitted. For example, you type in a query that starts “What does it mean” and Google Suggest completes it with the most common continuations, which include “when your poop is green?” Or you start the query, “Aren’t you” and you’re offered “glad you didn’t turn on the lights?” More here.

Written by Leisureguy

30 March 2008 at 9:57 am

Posted in Daily life, Technology

Flock: Firefox for the community oriented

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There are quite a few “community” facilities on the Web: Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and the like. Flock, “the Social Web Broswer,” facilitates community interactions and also allows you to share items easily with friends. It’s really pretty slick, and it’s built directly on Firefox. When/if you install it, it imports your add-ons, bookmarks, and the like directly from Firefox (if you have Firefox installed and have been using it). I’m not so community oriented, so it’s not for me, but if you’re more inclined in that direction, it’s definitely worth a look. Firefox for young people, I calls it.

Written by Leisureguy

30 March 2008 at 9:50 am

Posted in Firefox, Software

Firefox the Powerful

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Good list: The most popular and most functional Firefox extensions:

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Written by Leisureguy

30 March 2008 at 9:41 am

Posted in Firefox

The altruism of market economies

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Democratic societies with market economies have a reputation as cauldrons of competition, materialism, and greed. There’s another side to that coin, though. These societies also foster cooperation among strangers in order to achieve a common financial goal, say economist Benedikt Herrmann of the University of Nottingham, England, and his colleagues.

In contrast, nondemocratic and other societies without market economies—marked by low civic involvement and distrust of public authorities—promote an ethic of punishing strangers who demand cooperation in a joint economic effort, Herrmann’s group reports in the March 7 Science.

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Written by Leisureguy

30 March 2008 at 8:31 am

Posted in Daily life, Science

Eat your vegetables

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Stay strong, eat fruit and vegetables:

Body builders and grannies take note: To preserve muscle, eat salads.

A new study by researchers at the federal Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, at Tufts University in Boston, finds that diets rich in potassium appear to protect muscle. And fruits and veggies are a primo source of dietary potassium.

Bess Dawson-Hughes and her colleagues recruited nearly 400 men and women for a 3-year dietary trial on calcium and vitamin D. The researchers wanted to keep bones strong, so the participants—all 65 or older—would suffer fewer falls and disabling fractures. However, strong muscles also help prevent falls, and those muscles usually begin a seemingly inexorable wasting by age 40 (SN: 8/10/96, p. 90).

So the researchers correlated the amount of muscle with other components of the participants’ diets—and found a strong link to potassium. The more of it individuals consumed, the more muscle they had, all other things being equal, report the researchers in the March American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Seen in people eating the most potassium, the protective effect appears to “be enough to offset a good chunk of, if not all of, the age-related decline in muscle that normally occurs,” notes Dawson-Hughes.

It boils down to pH (level of acidity). The body converts protein and cereal grains, major parts of the U.S. diet, to acid residues. Excess acid triggers breakdown of muscle into components that ultimately make ammonia, which removes the acids. Potassium-heavy diets, being alkaline, can buffer those acids without sacrificing muscle.

Written by Leisureguy

30 March 2008 at 8:26 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health

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