Later On

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

Archive for July 9th, 2008

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Written by LeisureGuy

9 July 2008 at 4:04 pm

Posted in Daily life

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Mukasey, man of principle

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The principle being that he will say whatever you want to hear. ThinkProgress:

Attorney General Mike Mukasey hedged when asked whether he would hold accountable Justice Department figures who politicized the DOJ’s internship and Honors program.

Under questioning from Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), Mukasey again hedged on whether he found the Department to be politicized when he was sworn in. “I have one simple question, did you find it politicized when you arrived?” Biden asked. Mukasey bumbled back and forth, repeatedly contradicting himself:

MUKASEY: The IG found it [politicized]. … What I found were enormously dedicated people dedicated to my succeeding.

BIDEN: That’s not my question. Did you find that some of those enormously dedicated people engaged in politicizing the administration of Justice?

MUKASEY: No. Otherwise I would not characterize them as enormously dedicated.

BIDEN: Well, that’s amazing, so you disagree with the IG report?

MUKASEY: I do not disagree with the IG report.

“Did you think the criticism was justified,” Biden asked again. “Yes,” responded Mukasey. Watch it:

The IG report concluded that DOJ employees “inappropriately used political and ideological considerations” in the selection process. The blatant politicization of the Justice Department is something that administration officials have admitted under sworn testimony. Even Senate conservatives said that Gonzales “made up reasons to fire” prosecutors. Mukasey maintains that considering politics in hires for career slots is “unacceptable.”

“You sound like a State Department guy. You’d make a heck of a diplomat,” said Biden after Mukasey’s dodges. “You really are an enigma to me. … I find it very difficult to understand you.”

Written by LeisureGuy

9 July 2008 at 12:26 pm

Rejoice, Creationists!

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“Ask and it shall be given,” as Jesus said. You have asked (repeatedly) for transitional forms in the fossil record, and more and more are found. These provide strong evidence of Evolution, which I assume you will now accept. The latest (with photo at the link):

Hidden away in museums for more that 100 years, some recently rediscovered flatfish fossils have filled a puzzling gap in the story of evolution and answered a question that initially stumped even Charles Darwin.

Opponents of evolution have insisted that adult flatfishes, which have both eyes on one side of the head, could not have evolved gradually. A slightly asymmetrical skull offers no advantage. No such fish — fossil or living — had ever been discovered, until now.

All adult flatfishes–including the gastronomically familiar flounder, plaice, sole, turbot, and halibut–have asymmetrical skulls, with both eyes located on one side of the head. Because these fish lay on their sides at the ocean bottom, this arrangement enhances their vision, with both eyes constantly in play, peering up into the water.

This remarkable arrangement arises during the youth of every flatfish, where the symmetrical larva undergoes a metamorphosis to produce an asymmetrical juvenile. One eye ‘migrates’ up and over the top of the head before coming to rest in the adult position on the opposite side of the skull.

Opponents of evolution, however, insisted that this curious anatomy could not have evolved gradually through natural selection because there would be no apparent evolutionary advantage to a fish with a slightly asymmetrical skull but which retained eyes on opposite sides of the head. No fish–fossil or living–had ever been discovered with such an intermediate condition.

But in the 10 July 2008 issue of Nature, Matt Friedman, graduate student in the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago and a member of the Department of Geology at the Field Museum, draws attention to several examples of such transitional forms that he uncovered in museum collections of underwater fossilized creatures from the Eocene epoch–about 50 million years ago.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

9 July 2008 at 12:23 pm

Posted in Daily life, Religion, Science

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Suicide, the impulsive act

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Suicide is often the act of a moment’s impulse, and if a slight barrier is put in the way, the result is that no suicide occurs. Via Mind Hacks, this interesting article by Scott Anderson in the NY Times. From the article:

One of the most peculiar — in fact, downright perverse — aspects to the premeditation-versus-passion dichotomy in suicide. Put simply, those methods that require forethought or exertion on the actor’s part (taking an overdose of pills, say, or cutting your wrists), and thus most strongly suggest premeditation, happen to be the methods with the least chance of “success.” Conversely, those methods that require the least effort or planning (shooting yourself, jumping from a precipice) happen to be the deadliest. The natural inference, then, is that the person who best fits the classic definition of “being suicidal” might actually be safer than one acting in the heat of the moment — at least 40 times safer in the case of someone opting for an overdose of pills over shooting himself.

And from the post at Mind Hacks:

If you want a flavour of really how simple the safety measures need to be to make a difference in the suicide rate, research has found that putting pills in blister packs reduces lethal overdoses.

It’s amazing if you think about it: simply making it necessary to pop each pill out of its plastic packaging rather than tipping them out of a bottle means fewer people kill themselves.

The difference is likely a matter of minutes, but it gives time for brief impulsive urges to pass, and every popped pill requires a single deliberate action towards suicide that gives a chance for the distressed person to reconsider. Obviously, many do.

The article merits a read in full, and Liz Spikol has an interesting video commentary on the piece that’s also well-worth checking out.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 July 2008 at 11:25 am

Posted in Daily life, Mental Health

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Obama tackles bankruptcy laws

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This is heartening. The story’s by Mary Kane in the Washington Independent, and it begins:

Talk about stepping straight into the muck: Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is taking on the bankruptcy system. Obama unveiled some of his ideas on Tuesday, calling for changes to ease bankruptcy laws for disaster victims, elderly homeowners, military families, and people overwhelmed by medical bills. The changes would help people in certain dire circumstances to hang on to their homes during bankruptcy. Of course, the mere mention of “bankruptcy” causes a frenzy among conservatives, who went all out in 2005 to support the lender-supported law that made it harder for people to get rid of their debts through bankruptcy. Obama opposed the measure; his likely opponent, Rep. Sen. John McCain, supported it. Even as Obama was delivering Tuesday’s speech, McCain’s staff issued a statement saying that 18 Democrats supported the 2005 law and that Obama was illustrating his rigid partisanship by not joining them.

That makes no sense, of course, but it’s also the usual back-and-forth bickering of a campaign. At creditslips.org, bankruptcy Elizabeth Warren says that Obama is probably the first presidential candidate to make bankruptcy a campaign issue, and outlines the reasons why most have steered clear:

It is very technical (hard to wedge into a sound bite). It is depressing (no one wants to think about going bankrupt). It will annoy big-money interests (financial services gave big money to pass the current bankruptcy laws). Savvy handlers would advise against it. So why would a presidential candidate make bankruptcy relief a visible part of his platform?

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 July 2008 at 11:17 am

Cold soup for summer: blueberry-yogurt

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From Mark Bitten:

Sweet Blueberry Soup with Yogurt
Yield 4 servings  Time 20 minutes, plus time to chill

  • 1 pint blueberries, picked over and washed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more if needed
  • 1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream, plus more for garnish

1. Combine the blueberries, water, sugar, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan and turn the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the blueberries fall apart, 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Cool the mixture a little, then puree in a blender, taking care not to burn yourself (or tarnish things with the blueberry juice, which will stain). Taste and add more sugar or cinnamon if necessary. Chill, then stir in yogurt or sour cream. Serve cold, garnished with more yogurt or sour cream.

Also, this cold avocado soup:

Ultrafast Avocado Soup
Yield: 4 servings.  Time: 10 minutes, plus chilling

About 2 cups chopped ripe avocado flesh (3 or 4 small avocados)
3 cups milk, preferably whole
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste
A handful or more of small cooked shrimp
Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley leaves.

1. Put chopped avocado in a blender. Add half the milk, a large pinch of salt and a small pinch of cayenne; process to a purée. Add remaining milk and purée, then chill for up to 6 hours if you have time (press a piece of plastic wrap to surface of soup so it does not discolor).

2. Add lime juice, taste, then adjust seasoning, if necessary. Garnish with shrimp and parsley or cilantro, and serve.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 July 2008 at 11:07 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes

Bush and the law

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A more complete segment on the FISA cover-up, via Glenn Greenwald:

Written by LeisureGuy

9 July 2008 at 10:55 am

A house being quickly built

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From Treehugger, which has more information on the house. The thing I thought was odd was calling it “System3”, which made me expect small, 96-character punchcards. Anyone else ever use the (IBM) System/3?

Written by LeisureGuy

9 July 2008 at 10:51 am

Posted in Daily life, Technology

Bush in fact broke the law

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ThinkProgress:

Last night on MSNBC’s Coundown, George Washington law professor Jonathan Turley noted that just this week, a federal judge rejected President Bush’s claim that his “constitutional authority as commander in chief trumped” the FISA wiretapping law. Judge Vaughn Walker explicitly stated that the President is bound by FISA:

Congress appears clearly to have intended to — and did — establish the exclusive means for foreign intelligence activities to be conducted. Whatever power the executive may otherwise have had in this regard, FISA limits the power of the executive branch to conduct such activities and it limits the executive branch’s authority to assert the state secrets privilege in response to challenges to the legality of its foreign intelligence surveillance activities.

In other words, when Bush contravened the FISA law by authoring warrantless wiretaps through the National Security Agency, he broke the law. Turley said last night that this is an “inconvenient fact” for many in Congress to admit:

Nobody wants to have a confrontation over the fact that the President committed a felony – not one, but at least 30 times. That’s a very inconvenient fact right now in Washington.

Watch it:

Bush has acknowledged that he reauthorized his illegal wiretapping program “more than 30 times since the September the 11th attacks.”

Written by LeisureGuy

9 July 2008 at 10:27 am

Suing Bush

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A very interesting article in Salon by Jon Eisenberg. It begins:

On July 3, Chief Judge Vaughn Walker of the U.S. District Court in California made a ruling particularly worthy of the nation’s attention. In Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation Inc. v. Bush, a key case in the epic battle over warrantless spying inside the United States, Judge Walker ruled, effectively, that President George W. Bush is a felon.

Judge Walker held that the president lacks the authority to disregard the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA — which means Bush’s warrantless electronic surveillance program was illegal. Whether Bush will ultimately be held accountable for violating federal law with the program remains unclear. Bush administration lawyers have fought vigorously — at times using brazen, logic-defying tactics — to prevent that from happening. The court battle will continue to play out as Congress continues to battle over recasting FISA and possibly granting immunity to telecom companies involved in the illegal surveillance.

The story of how Al-Haramain’s lawyers negotiated the journey thus far to Judge Walker’s ruling — a team of seven lawyers that includes me — sheds light on how much is at stake for the Bush administration and the country. It is a surreal saga, involving a top-secret document accidentally released by the government, a showdown between Bush lawyers and a federal judge, the violent destruction of a laptop computer by government agents, and possibly even the top-secret shredding of a banana peel.

Call me Alice — because this is a tale directly from Government Secrecy Wonderland, the bizarre and unnerving adventures of suing President Bush for apparently violating a federal law. I’ll swear under penalty of perjury that what follows is true and correct. Otherwise, you might not even believe it.

The secret document

FISA requires a warrant for electronic surveillance inside the U.S. for intelligence gathering. President George W. Bush secretly violated FISA for nearly six years, starting shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. FISA makes those violations felonious and provides for civil liability to the victims. I am one of seven lawyers in Oregon and California representing three of those victims in Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation Inc. v. Bush, a civil lawsuit against the president.

The plaintiffs are Al-Haramain — a defunct Islamic charity based in Oregon — and two lawyers who represented Al-Haramain in 2004 during proceedings by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to declare Al-Haramain a terrorist organization, the primary consequence of which was to freeze its assets. (This effectively put the organization out of business.) Of the four dozen lawsuits challenging various aspects of Bush’s warrantless electronic surveillance program, the Al-Haramain case is unique because we have proof that our clients were actually wiretapped and thus can satisfy the legal requirement of “standing,” or grounds to sue — meaning we can show they were victims of the unlawful conduct for which they are suing. Nobody else has been able to produce such proof.

Our proof is a top-secret classified document, which the government accidentally gave to Al-Haramain’s lawyers in August of 2004. We call it “the Document.” It appeared in a stack of unclassified materials that the lawyers had requested from OFAC. Six weeks later, after the government realized its blunder, FBI agents personally visited each of the lawyers and made them return their copies of the Document. But the agents made no effort to retrieve copies that the lawyers had given to two members of Al-Haramain’s board of directors, who lived outside the United States.

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 July 2008 at 10:17 am

Why we’re holding the detainees

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The government doesn’t seem to know. From an AP story by Matt Apuzzo:

A federal judge overseeing Guantánamo Bay lawsuits ordered the Justice Department to put other cases aside and make it clear throughout the Bush administration that, after nearly seven years of detention, the detainees must have their day in court.

“The time has come to move these forward,” Judge Thomas F. Hogan said Tuesday during the first hearing over whether the detainees are being held lawfully. “Set aside every other case that’s pending in the division and address this case first.”

The Bush administration hoped it would never come to this. The Justice Department has fought for years to keep civilian judges from reviewing evidence against terrorism suspects. But a Supreme Court ruling last month opened the courthouse doors to the detainees.

About 200 lawyers, law clerks and reporters sat through the nearly three-hour court hearing. Other lawyers joined by phone for the historic hearing. Attorneys, nearly all of them working for free, have long asked for a judge to scrutinize the evidence, saying the detainees could not be held indefinitely, simply on the government’s say-so.

“A day in court on the Guantanamo cases is a treasured moment,” said Gitanjali Gutierrez, one of two attorneys for the Center for Constitutional Rights selected to address the court on behalf of all the lawyers.

There are about 270 detainees being held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The government has already cleared one of five for release and is just looking for a country to send them to, the Justice Department said.

“That’s the issue the executive branch is struggling with,” Justice Department attorney Judry L. Subar said.

“Maybe we can assist them,” Hogan said.

Hogan is coordinating most of the estimated 200 Guantánamo Bay cases on behalf of most of the Washington federal judges. He will decide how quickly the Justice Department must turn over the evidence against the detainees.

The Justice Department is asking for about eight weeks to start doing so. It is dramatically expanding the litigation team handling the cases and is asking for time to get the new attorneys brought up to speed, settled in their new offices and approved to handle the classified evidence.

It also wants time to update and add to the evidence that was originally used to justify holding the detainees.

“The government should be entitled, in 2008, to present its best case,” Justice Department attorney Gregory G. Katsas said.

Lawyers for the detainees adamantly oppose that move and Hogan was skeptical of the plan. If the evidence was enough to warrant holding the detainees for six years, he said he didn’t understand why it suddenly needs to be changed.

“If it wasn’t sufficient, then they shouldn’t have been picked up,” Hogan said, adding that he probably would make the government explain any proposed change.

More at the link.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 July 2008 at 10:10 am

Climate change’s implications for world conflict

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Please read this very interesting post by Jamais Cascio. It consists of a few brief quotations. The first two:

What I’ve been reading:

• Climate, Drought & Poverty: A Different Climate Change Apocalypse Than the One You Were Envisioning.

Twenty-nine of 43 countries in sub-Saharan Africa experienced some kind of civil war during the 1980’s or 1990’s. The economists Edward Miguel, Shanker Satyanath, and Ernest Sergenti discovered that one of the most reliable predictors of civil war is lack of rain. If you have a largely agricultural economy, when the rain goes so does the agriculture, which makes political and economic breakdown much more likely.

• Class Warfare, Climate Warfare: Rich country, poor country, hot planet

India is not a member of the elite “Group of Eight” conclave of rich countries meeting in Japan this week, but Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be attending anyway, bearing a succinct message on behalf of the developing world.From Reuters:

“Climate change, energy security and food security are interlinked, and require an integrated approach,” said Singh.

The subtext, for those who are hoping that the G8 can hammer out at least the outlines of a new global climate change pact, is simple: Don’t ask the developing world to cut back on emissions without ensuring continued progress in raising living standards for the billions of people who haven’t yet had the chance to enjoy the perks of the Industrial Revolution.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 July 2008 at 10:07 am

The Center for Mindful Eating

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Generally speaking, doing something mindfully beats doing it in a trance, though the trance state always beckons. (How many times have you suddenly become mindful again after a trance while driving and not know at first where you are along your route?) Indeed, the trance state is often promoted: the environment within a well-designed up-scale retail store—appearance, music, aromas, soft-spoken staff, and seclusion from the hurly burly of the outside world—is specially created to induce a trance state to induce mindless buying. For more about how trances play a large role in our lives, see the book Trances People Live, by Stephen Wolinsky. (It’s also available from Amazon.) Now that I think about it, the “worry state” has some aspects of a trance.

At any rate, The Center for Mindful Eating addresses the issue of becoming more mindful and aware of your eating. From the site introduction:

Mindful eating has the powerful potential to transform people’s relationship to food and eating, to improve overall health, body image, relationships and self-esteem. Mindful eating involves many components such as:

  • learning to make choices in beginning or ending a meal based on awareness of hunger and satiety cues;
  • learning to identify personal triggers for mindless eating, such as emotions, social pressures, or certain foods;
  • valuing quality over quantity of what you’re eating;
  • appreciating the sensual, as well as the nourishing, capacity of food;
  • feeling deep gratitude that may come from appreciating and experiencing food

Mindful eating draws substantially on the use of mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness helps focus our attention and awareness on the present moment, which in turn, helps us disengage from habitual, unsatisfying and unskillful habits and behaviors. Engaging in mindful eating meditation practices on a regular basis can help us discover a far more satisfying relationship to food and eating than we ever imagined or experienced before. A different kind of nourishment often emerges, the kind that offers satisfaction on a very deep emotional level.

Over the past 25 years, mindfulness practices, in general, have been shown to have a positive impact on many areas of psychological and physical health, including stress, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and heart disease.   More recently, evidence is building that validates the benefits of mindful eating for treatment of the obesity as well as binge eating disorders. The benefits of mindful eating are not restricted to physical and emotional health improvements; they can also impact one’s entire life, through a better sense of balance and well-being.

The Center for Mindful Eating does not promote one single approach to mindful eating. We are committed to dialogue, support, sharing ideas, clinical experience and research.

It’s our hope that TCME can support you in developing your own mindful eating skills and insights which can then help you educate and encourage your clients to do the same.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 July 2008 at 10:04 am

Posted in Daily life

The sea of fear

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A last post in the Worry Series—I think. The title is from an observation I made while working for one company in which people were at the mercy of tyrannical bosses who made arbitrary (and frequently bad) decisions—yes, it seems unlikely, but such companies do exist. The result was a low-key, almost imperceptible climate of fear. I detected it once as I was seated at home in quiet introspection and meditation—at first it was like a tone just out of the reach of hearing, but as I relaxed and observed, it became more audible. It occurred to me that this was like a fish can becoming aware of the water in which it lived: an ever-present environmental given that only rarely comes to attention. I talked to a friend who also worked there, and wondered whether this faint background noise of worry was common, something that, like the 60-cycle hum from electrical apparatus, most people are so accustomed to that they simply don’t notice. He agreed that it was and that one aspect of therapy is to awaken oneself to its presence so that it can be dealt with.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 July 2008 at 9:50 am

Posted in Daily life

Facing worries directly

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Another in the Worry Series of posts, apparently. This one is to call your attention to an interesting post by Christopher Edgar at The Change Blog. His tactic reminds me to again recommend Joanna Field’s excellent, interesting, and instructive book A Life of One’s Own. His post begins:

One of the most significant breakthroughs in my personal growth happened when I admitted to myself that I felt like an impostor.

I’d been practicing law for around two years. My colleagues and clients consistently told me how much they appreciated my work. However, I was constantly plagued by a nagging suspicion that all the praise wouldn’t last. Eventually, I’d make a major mistake, or people would learn something embarrassing about me, and the image they’d formed of me as smart and competent would fall apart. It was as if I was an impostor—a fraud posing as a good lawyer—and sooner or later I’d be found out.

When this anxiety arose, my usual approach would be to deny it and insist to myself that I was the real deal. “No, that’s not true,” I’d tell myself. “I’m brilliant, hardworking, and all-around awesome.” Sometimes, this would temporarily pick up my mood. But invariably, the sinking sense that I wasn’t actually good at what I did, and that eventually my “deception” would be discovered, would return.

I grew more and more frustrated with my seeming inability to combat my negative thoughts. Finally, in desperation, I decided I’d simply let down my guard and accept that I felt like a fake. I stopped telling myself I shouldn’t feel that way, yelling at the negative voice in my head to shut up, and using all the other strategies I’d devised for protecting myself from the anxiety. “Okay,” I said to myself. “I feel like a fake, and that I’m deceiving people, and I’m afraid people will find out. That’s where I’m at right now.”

For a few minutes, I collapsed into fear and despair. An icy feeling gripped my chest, as if I were breathing below-freezing air. But then, suddenly and inexplicably, I started laughing. I laughed so hard I cried. Eventually, I could no longer keep my balance, and I lay on the floor for about an hour until the laughter died down.

The long-term effects of admitting where I was at were even more remarkable. Though it was hard to understand, I stopped taking seriously the idea that I was a fake and people were going to find me out. The thought still came up occasionally, but all I felt in response was the urge to laugh, as if it were the most hilarious joke I’d ever heard. The need to convince myself I wasn’t an impostor, and the tension and heat that normally arose in my body, were gone.

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 July 2008 at 9:35 am

Posted in Daily life

Looks like a good movie

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Written by LeisureGuy

9 July 2008 at 9:23 am

Posted in Daily life, Movies & TV

Sunscreens

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WebMD has a good article giving the lowdown on sunscreens. It begins:

Questions about sunscreens are plentiful in the wake of a recent report by The Environmental Working Group (EWG) that gave a failing grade to 85% of the nearly 1,000 sunscreens reviewed. The products gave inadequate sun protection, have ingredients thought to be health hazards, or have not been tested for safety, according to scientists at the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit research organization.

Consumers are understandably confused, with many questions about sunscreen use.

WebMD posed eight key questions about sunscreens to experts, trying to get a consensus on how best to protect the skin from the sun’s harmful rays. While the experts don’t agree entirely, their answers can give you good guidance to face the sun safely.

1. Do some sunscreen ingredients and products really work better than others?

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 July 2008 at 8:44 am

Posted in Daily life

Worry, a pointless activity

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Worry is an activity done for its own sake—the mind twiddling its thumbs. Worry is not planning, or preparation, or remediation—it’s just worry, turning the mind’s gears endlessly to no purpose. Michael Miles has a good post on Dumb Little Man on how to turn worry off. It begins:

“Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.” ~Glenn Turner

We live in a culture where everyone seems to worry. Turn on the news – someone got shot, there’s mercury in the fish we eat, the cows have got BSE, a new super-flu is coming, terrorists are regrouping, … On and on it goes. If you take all of this stuff seriously, it’s likely that you’ll never go out, never eat, never travel, never take any kind of risk at all.

I’ve no doubt that people have always worried. Dale Carnegie’s book ‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living,’ which was published in 1944, is packed with stories from the early part of the twentieth century (and even earlier in some cases) about people who worried about all kinds of things. But in fact, as Carnegie so ably and amusingly points out through his many examples, worry makes no sense at all. Here are some reasons why worry really is a pointless and damaging activity. I suspect we all know this deep down, but a reminder doesn’t hurt.

  • Things never happen the way you imagine. When you worry, you are predicting the future. You are saying, “I know that things will turn out badly.” But this just isn’t the case. You have no idea how the future is going to turn out, except to say that it will not be what you think it will be. So why worry?
  • Worry means you give away your power. Some people are so entrenched in worry that they cannot see any other way to live. But worry robs you of your power to be proactive. The truth is that you are in control and you can choose how to react to situations, so why choose to give that power away so easily and so unconsciously?
  • Worrying is completely unproductive. Why waste your energy doing something that gets you nowhere. On a treadmill at least you get some exercise, but worry is a truly pointless activity. Spend your time and energy on something more useful.
  • Worry distorts reality. We live in an age where people live longer, have better access to health care, have more opportunity for personal and professional growth, more chance to travel, greater access to information and lifelong education, and many other wonderful things. Yes, there are risks and potential dangers, but worry magnifies these disproportionately and blinds us to the wonders of our age.
  • Worrying is bad for your health. Worry is not a normal state of mind, and it adversely affects your health, even your physical health. When you worry, physical changes are happening in your body which are very damaging. It increases stress which can increase blood pressure, cause higher levels of stomach acid, cause muscle tension and headaches, among many other things.
  • Worry is not natural. Do little children worry? Do animals worry? Do all adults worry? There is nothing inherent in being human that means you have to worry. Worry is a pathology, a distortion of our natural, healthy state.

Do you know the most frequent instruction given in the Bible? Surprisingly, it is not ‘love one another’ or ‘love God’ or anything like that. It is simply ‘do not be afraid.’ I don’t know how many times it appears, but I’ve seen estimates between 100 and 366 times. You don’t have to be religious to realize that this is good advice.

So how can we break out of this worry habit? Like all habits, it might not be easy to do, but there are some clear, simple and effective steps you can take to eliminate worry from your life: …

Continue reading. But first, my own story of freeing myself from worry:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

9 July 2008 at 8:41 am

Posted in Daily life

Sea buckthorn

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This morning I went Edwin Jagger almost all the way: EJ Medium Silvertip brush, EJ Sea Buckthorn shaving soap, EJ porcelain bowl for same, and EJ ivory-handled Chatsworth (holding a Black Beauty blade of several uses). The lather was excellent, and I made it thick so that I could let the lather from each pass accumulate on the razor, rinsing only at the end of the pass—just for fun. For the oil pass, I used Gentlemans Refinery shave oil, and Geo was the aftershave.

The soap is excellent, though soap and bowl are pricey. For about a third the price, Durance L’òme offers a sea buckthorn soap in a porcelain bowl, using a larger puck of soap. Still, I’m quite pleased with today’s shave.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 July 2008 at 8:35 am

Posted in Shaving

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