Later On

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

Archive for July 7th, 2008

Bacon chocolate-chip cookies

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Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2008 at 5:58 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes & Cooking

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Pentagon not satisfied with just censorship

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They also want propaganda:

The Pentagon is attempting to influence filmmakers and future movies depicting the U.S. conflict in Iraq. Vietnam-era war movies like “Apocalypse Now” and “Born on the Fourth of July” helped stereotype Vietnam veterans as crazy or psychologically damaged. To prevent this from happening again, the U.S. Army has assigned a lieutenant colonel to an office in Los Angeles, given him the job of reviewing movie scripts about the Iraq conflict and deciding which ones will get military assistance in their making. If the Army approves a script, it means the filmmaker can gain valuable access to bases, ships, planes, tanks and Humvees, and receive advice from the military in making the movie. In exchange for advice and access to these props, though, the filmmaker must agree to address any “problems” the Pentagon finds with their script. If the filmmaker refuses, the Pentagon can pull its offer. Some filmmakers view the Pentagon’s script advice as a subtle form of censorship or an attempt to spin the war. Filmmaker Paul Haggis, who wrote and directed the Iraq war movie “In the Valley of Elah,” said he believes the Army is not interested in telling honest stories about soldiers or the war. “They are trying to put the best spin on what they are doing,” he said. “Of course they want to publicize what is good. But that doesn’t mean that it is true.”

Source: Los Angeles Times, July 7, 2008

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2008 at 3:38 pm

Posted in Military, Movies & TV

Keeping the public out of touch

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From ThinkProgress:

On June 26, a suicide bomber attacked a meeting of tribal sheikhs in Iraq’s Anbar province and killed 20 people, including three U.S. Marines. The episode was widely reported by U.S. media. Zoriah Miller, a photojournalist and blogger embedded with U.S. Marines in Iraq, took pictures of the attack’s grisly aftermath, including one of the fallen soldiers.

The U.S. military, however, was incensed at Miller’s portrayal of the horrors of war and immediately “disembedded” him from his Marine unit. IPS reports on the fall-out:

“Tuesday [Jul. 1] I awoke to a call in their combat operations centre, and the person on the phone told me they were a PAO (Public Affairs Officer) at Camp Fallujah, and he wanted me to take my blog down right away,” Miller told IPS. “I asked them why, and was told then called back after five minutes by a higher ranking PAO who claimed I had broken my contract by showing photos of dead Americans with U.S. uniforms and boots.”

Miller said the PAO claimed he was not allowed, by the embed contract, to show dead or wounded U.S. citizens or soldiers in the field. “I never signed any contract for that,” Miller said.

Miller also told the Ventura County Star that he believed he was within the rules because the victim was unidentifiable. Additionally, he waited to post the pictures until four days after the attack. Miller said that he received strong support from the lower-ranking Marines, who “were on [his] side.”

The military may have realized its case was weak. Two days later, on July 3, Miller received an official letter with a new reason for his dismissal: He had posted “detailed information of the effectiveness of the attack” and therefore “put all U.S. forces in Iraq at greater risk for harm.” Miller explains the military’s spinning:

“The bottom line is that the thing they cited as the reason for my dismissal was ‘information the enemy could use against you’. They realised, probably from keeping track of my blog, that I was not showing identifiable features of a soldier…and they couldn’t find a reason to kick me out. Because it was a high ranking person who got killed, they were all fired up.”

Miller concluded, “Up to that point they said it was because I showed pictures of bodies with pieces of uniform and boots. The letter, though, doesn’t mention that at all. I checked the document I had about ground rules for media embeds, and I followed them.”

Miller now plans on returning to the United States and appealing the military’s decision. “You’re a war photographer, but once you take a picture of what war is like then you get into trouble,” he said.

And from Crooks & Liars, on the same story:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2008 at 3:07 pm

Not the US it used to be

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Take a look at this, from Balloon Juice:

Our authoritarian masters have a new idea for keeping us all safe while flying:

A senior government official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has expressed great interest in a so-called safety bracelet that would serve as a stun device, similar to that of a police Taser®. According to this promotional video found at the Lamperd Less Lethal website, the bracelet would be worn by all airline passengers.This bracelet would:

• take the place of an airline boarding pass

• contain personal information about the traveler

• be able to monitor the whereabouts of each passenger and his/her luggage

• shock the wearer on command, completely immobilizing him/her for several minutes

The Electronic ID Bracelet, as it’s called, would be worn by every traveler “until they disembark the flight at their destination.” Yes, you read that correctly. Every airline passenger would be tracked by a government-funded GPS, containing personal, private and confidential information, and that it would shock the customer worse than an electronic dog collar if he/she got out of line.

One assumes that the bracelet would also go on children, but hopefully not on infants. One can also assume it would be fatal to those with weak hearts and perhaps those with pacemakers. Perhaps this is an idea not worth having.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2008 at 3:04 pm

Combination drug stops migraines

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Good thing to know:

A combination drug taken within an hour after the start of a migraine is effective in relieving symptoms, according to research published in the July 8, 2008, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The drug combines sumatriptan, a migraine-specific drug that affects the constriction of blood vessels, with naproxen sodium, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that works on the inflammatory aspect of migraine and relieves non-traditional migraine symptoms such as sinus pain and pressure and neck pain.

“Unfortunately, many migraine sufferers put off treatment,” said study author Stephen Silberstein, MD, of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. “This study provides more evidence that treating a migraine at the first sign of pain increases the likelihood of relief.”

The research involved two studies with a total of 1,111 people with migraine who had experienced two to six attacks per month in the three months before the study started. Half of the people were given the sumatriptan/naproxen drug within an hour after migraine pain started and while the pain was still mild; the other half were given a placebo.

Two hours after the dose was given, about 50 percent of those who received the drug were free of any pain, compared to about 16 percent of those who got the placebo. The people who took the placebo were also two to three times more likely to progress to moderate or severe pain over four hours than those who took the drug.

Those who took the drug also had fewer traditional migraine-related symptoms such as nausea and sensitivity to light and sound and fewer non-traditional symptoms such as neck and sinus pain than those who took the placebo.

Silberstein noted that only people whose migraines had a mild pain phase were included in the study, so it is not clear whether the results would apply to people whose migraines start at the moderate or severe pain level.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2008 at 2:56 pm

Posted in Daily life, Medical

Gays in the military

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Progress is being made. ThinkProgress today:

A new report released today by four retired senior military officers endorses a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT). The study, sponsored by the Palm Center in California, marks “the first time a Marine Corps general has ever called publicly for an end to the gay ban.” From its findings:

The law locks the military’s position into stasis and does not accord any trust to the Pentagon to adapt policy to changing circumstances.

– “Don’t ask, don’t tell” has forced some commanders to choose between breaking the law and undermining the cohesion of their units.

– “Don’t ask, don’t tell” has prevented some gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members from obtaining psychological and medical care as well as religious counseling.

– “Don’t ask, don’t tell” has caused the military to lose some talented service members.

Military attitudes towards gays and lesbians are changing.

– Evidence shows that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly is unlikely to pose any significant risk to morale, good order, discipline, or cohesion.

The Palm Center’s report also notes that DADT is outdated, as many “gays, lesbians, and bisexuals are serving openly” in the military already. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network reports more than 500 U.S. soldiers who are “out” to their colleagues and continue to serve. A December 2006 survey of servicemembers who had served in Iraq or Afghanistan found that 73 percent of those polled were “comfortable with lesbians and gays.”

General John Shalikashvili, the former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman who previously favored DADT but reversed course last year in an op-ed in the New York Times, endorsed the study, saying it “ought to be given serious consideration by both Congress and the Joint Chiefs.”

In the past year, there has been increased interest in repealing DADT. Former senator Sam Nunn, once a powerful advocate for the ban, recently said that it may be “appropriate” to consider repealing it. In May, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen told graduating cadets at the U.S. Military Academy that the military was ready to accept gay servicemembers if Congress repeals the law.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2008 at 2:54 pm

Quantum mechanics and Go

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From my opponent Matt (playing via

I just read a fascinating post (from a couple years back) about Quantum Mechanics on Cosimc Variance, and now I can see Go only as a collapsing waveform. It’s a perspective that I’m certain will not last, but it’s an interesting one…

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2008 at 2:45 pm

Cool washing machine uses just 1 cup of water

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This one is amazing. They’re made by Xeros Ltd.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2008 at 1:10 pm

Posted in Daily life, Technology

Therapists for the very rich

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Interesting article. Not only do the very rich have the common run of human problems, those problems can be exacerbated by the riches they possess, which make it difficult to find people who will speak honestly and directly to them—including therapists. Great riches tend to induce sycophancy in others.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2008 at 10:42 am

Encyclopedia of spices

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A good reference site to bookmark.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2008 at 10:36 am

Posted in Daily life, Food


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As the family knows, I am a person with a real need to declutter—but it’s hard. Still, I am gradually moving out the books, but God knows there are many other categories that need sharp reduction. I was interested to see in Cool Tools an excellent review by Merlin Mann of It’s All Too Much, by Peter Walsh. Along with the review you’ll find a good selection of excerpts. Kevin Kelly writes:

Merlin Mann’s review turned me onto this fantastic book. We’ve rethought our household because of it. We were reminded that life is not about stuff; it’s about possibilities, which the right tools can enable. For a world of expanding stuff, this book is the necessary anti-stuff tool. If you are reading Cool Tools, you need to read this. It will help you distinguish between that which is fabulous for you personally and that which is just more junk to organize. I’ve learned so much from the author that I’ve excerpted it generously in the hope that even if you don’t read the book, you’ll glean a bit of its wisdom.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2008 at 10:32 am

The Tao Te Ching

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Via a Kafeneio post in which Steve lists his desert-island collection, this excellent resource.

Here’s another translation. I think my own favorite is the Stephen Mitchell translation.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2008 at 10:23 am

Posted in Books, Daily life

Tutorial Web sites

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Abhijeet Mukherjee has an excellent collection of tutorial Web sites on Dumb Little Man today. Check it out.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2008 at 10:21 am

Posted in Daily life, Education

Open-Source Software in Education

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Shaheen E. Lakhan and Kavita Jhunjhunwala have written a detailed history and guide to open-source software in education. It’s a lengthy article, which begins:

Educational institutions have rushed to put their academic resources and services online, bringing the global community onto a common platform and awakening the interest of investors. Despite continuing technical challenges, online education shows great promise. Open source software offers one approach to addressing the technical problems in providing optimal delivery of online learning.

Open source refers to both the concept and practice of making program source code openly available. Users and developers have access to the core designing functionalities that enable them to modify or add features to the source code and redistribute it. Extensive collaboration and circulation are central to the open source movement.

Many features distinguish open source software from closed or proprietary software. The Open Source Initiative (OSI) has set a standard—the “open source definition”—by which software qualifies for an open source license.1 The software must meet the following criteria:

  • Unrestricted distribution. Users can distribute or sell the software without paying royalties.
  • Source code distribution. The source code of the entire open source product must be easily modifiable. In the absence of the source code, the product must cite a low-cost resource where users can obtain it.
  • Modifications. The license allows modifications, and its terms remain unchanged for distribution of improved versions.
  • Author’s source code integrity. If the license allows patch file distribution along with the original source code, a user cannot modify the code and distribute it2 except by giving the new version a new name.
  • No personal discrimination. No person or group shall be discriminated against during open source product distribution.
  • No restriction on application. Open source software can be used in any field and for any purpose.
  • License distribution. The privileges attached to the original program extend to all who receive the program, so recipients do not need to apply for a separate license.
  • License must not be product-specific. The rights associated with a license extend to products extracted from a larger software aggregate.
  • No restriction on other software. No restrictions are allowed on distribution of open source products bundled with products developed on other software platforms.
  • Technology neutrality. Licenses should not be issued on the basis of the specific technology involved.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2008 at 9:59 am

Posted in Education, Software

Having twins and mental health

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Among things we suspected:

Mothers and fathers of twins conceived either spontaneously or with assisted reproductive technology (ART) suffer more mental health symptoms after delivery and one year later than do parents of singleton babies, according to research presented to the 24th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Barcelona today (Monday). However, the mothers of ART twins had fewer symptoms of depression before the birth than did mothers of twins conceived spontaneously. “This may be due to better counselling and preparation of infertile couples for twins,” Dr Leila Unkila Kallio told the conference. “The good mental health during pregnancy may also reflect the couples’ satisfaction with successful treatment and fulfilment of hopes for parenthood,” she added. After birth, fathers of twins in both groups showed more depression, anxiety, social dysfunction and sleeping problems than did fathers of singletons.

The study is the first to investigate the mental health of both mothers and fathers of twins conceived either spontaneously or through ART using their own sperm and eggs, covering the transitional period to parenthood from pre-birth through to one year afterwards. Dr Unkila Kallio said that it showed that psychological well-being of prospective parents should be taken into account when deciding how many embryos to implant during ART – as well as the health risks of twin pregnancies to both mothers and babies.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2008 at 9:40 am

Time to melt down and recast airlines

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The airline industry is in bad shape—not just financially, but from top to bottom. Kevin Hall of the McClatchy Washington Bureau has a good article that makes one hesitate to book that next trip on an airline. It begins:

Rising jet fuel prices are being cited by airlines as the reason for cancelling service to smaller U.S. cities, but an increasingly broken air travel system is as much to blame, according to a new book by a former high-level Federal Aviation Administration official.

“When it comes to air travel today, everyone has a horror story,” writes George Donohue, in the understated opening line of his new book, Terminal Chaos.

An associate administrator for research and acquisition at the FAA from 1994 to 1998, Donohue offers a detailed explanation of both the causes of and solutions to an aviation system in crisis. Today’s mess of delays, cancellations and airport chaos are the product of more than two decades of bad decisions, he said.

In an interview, Donohue argued that today’s rising fuel prices are providing political cover for legacy airlines like American, United and Delta to retool and go after their smaller, more profitable competitors like Southwest Airlines. Part of this retooling is halting less profitable service to smaller airports like Ft. Lauderdale, Fl., Chattanooga,Tenn., New Haven, Ct. and Hagerstown, Md.

“I think the failure to fix the system is going to lead the legacy air carriers to chase after the low-cost business model and they will go only for the business flyers and the big markets. Low cost leisure air travel (for passengers) has come and gone,” Donohue said.

Airlines are reducing their unionized workforces, cramming passengers onto smaller planes and reducing the number of seats available. That will lead to more passengers on fewer flights, for which airlines can charge higher ticket prices. And although there will be fewer airports served, there will also be more traffic on the larger, already congested airfields.

“Our policies have set the system up to not be able to accommodate a large network of inter-city transportation, and we’re seeing it with mergers of airlines,” said Donohue. “I don’t think this is a temporary economic-downturn issue. I think it goes to the heart of it — that our air transportation policy is broken.”

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2008 at 9:32 am

Dancing with bottles

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Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Dancing with bottles", posted with vodpod

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2008 at 9:26 am

Posted in Daily life

Creating doubt to stall decisions

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The tobacco industry pioneered the tactic of buying research and reports whose only purpose was to create doubt about scientific results, thus prolonging the free marketing of their products. The tactic has since been copied many times—by companies that manufacture herbicides and pesticides, by the petroleum industry (in working to create doubt about climate change), and others. Merrill Goozner in New Scientist reviews two books that delve into the tactic and its applications:

Bending Science: How special interests corrupt public health research
by Thomas O. McGarity and Wendy E. Wagner
Harvard University Press; $45; ISBN 0674028155

Doubt Is Their Product: How industry’s assault on science threatens your health
by David Michaels
Oxford University Press; $27.95; ISBN 019530067X

Snippets from the review below, but the whole thing is worth reading.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2008 at 9:21 am

A portable office via Web apps

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And, speaking of Web apps, Joel Falconer has a good categorized list of apps for your portable office: able to sit down and access your files and do work from any computer that has an Internet connection.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2008 at 9:10 am

Penzu revisited

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I blogged a while back on the Web app Penzu. Today has a good review of that same app. Take a look.

Written by Leisureguy

7 July 2008 at 8:40 am

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