Later On

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

Archive for July 18th, 2008

McCain’s memory slips again

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From the Reality Based Community, by Mark Kleiman:

Here are the possibilities as I see them:

1. John McCain is unaware that the timing of U.S. officials’ trips to Iraq is kept quiet to avoid helping terrorists there plan attempts to kill them.

2. John McCain is so forgetful that he didn’t remember that when McCain said in public that Obama’s trip to Iraq is scheduled for this weekend.

3. John McCain actually wants to help terrorists assassinate Barack Obama.

Since (1) and (3) seem implausible, we’re left with (2) as the least hypothesis.

Should someone that forgetful be seeking the Presidency? I don’t think so, either.

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2008 at 4:12 pm

Posted in Election, GOP

Amy Goodman interviews Jane Mayer

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You can listen to, watch, or read the interview.

The Dark Side: Jane Mayer on the Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals

We spend the hour with New Yorker magazine investigative journalist Jane Mayer about her new book, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals. In the book, Mayer reveals a secret report by the International Red Cross warned the Bush administration last year that the CIA’s treatment of prisoners categorically constituted torture and could make Bush administration officials who approved the torture methods guilty of war crimes. Mayer also reveals that the Bush administration ignored warnings from the CIA six years ago that up to a third of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay may have been imprisoned by mistake. [includes rush transcript]

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2008 at 3:55 pm

Posted in Books, Bush Administration, GOP, Government

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BBQ ribs

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I think I’ll use this rub on the ribs for tomorrow (baby back ribs + Interview with Steve Buscemi and Sienna Miller). The recipe is from this column in the Baltimore Sun, which has a few other very tasty-sounding recipes. Check it out.

Barbecue Ribs With Chili Powder, Garlic and Cumin Rub

Serves 4

1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon hot dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 rack ribs, 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 pounds
2 limes, quartered

In a bowl, mix the chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, thyme, mustard, salt, pepper and cloves. Skin the ribs, removing the thin membrane from the underside.

Rinse the ribs and pat dry. Rub the ribs all over with the spice mixture. Wrap air-tight and chill 8 hours or overnight.

Prepare an indirect fire for cooking. Place a foil drip pan on the side of the grill that is clear of coals.

Oil grill rack, then lay the ribs on the rack and close the lid. If using charcoal, open vents in the lid and bottom of the cooker. Cook until the meat is nicely browned, 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning the ribs once midway through the cooking time. Wrap the ribs in foil, and return to grill. Cook until the meat is tender, another 30 minutes to an hour.

Transfer the ribs to a platter and cut between the bones.

Garnish with lime wedges and squeeze over ribs to taste. [don’t omit this – LG]

— Adapted from The Sunset Grill, by the editors of Sunset Magazine

Per serving: 456 calories, 29 grams protein, 35 grams fat, 13 grams saturated fat, 5 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 138 milligrams cholesterol, 558 milligrams sodium.

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2008 at 2:23 pm

Never buy magazine subscriptions from a salesperson at the door

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It’s not only a bad idea, it can even be dangerous. Seriously.

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2008 at 11:39 am

Posted in Business, Daily life

Free Windows software—but today only

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Giveaway of the Day is giving away Liquid Story Binder XE, but you have to download AND install it today—and, I assume, register it. (You get the registration key immediately at the end of installation.) Sounds as though it would be a big help for NaNoMo. And you have time to learn it before the Big Day (1 Nov).

Liquid Story Binder XE is a uniquely designed word processor for professional and aspiring authors, poets, and novelists. Writing software for those who require the editing ability of a commercial text editor as well as a document tracking system.

It is for those who want the freedom to create, outline and revise but are tired of losing track of their work.

Liquid Story Binder features: Multi-Window Display, Spell Checking, Thesaurus, Reference Notes, Timelines, Story Boards, Plot Outlines, Dossiers, Audio Recorder, Image Gallery, Reader, Manuscript Formatting, Time and Word Count Tracking, Chapter and Book Backups, Paragraph and Punctuation Cleaning, Toolbars, Templates, Portable Drive Install, Universal Search, Repetition Visualizer, External Editing, Project Goals, Playlists.

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2008 at 11:30 am

Posted in Software, Writing

Microsoft Outlook vs. Gmail: the definitive comparison

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Here it is.

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2008 at 11:27 am

Posted in Daily life, Software

Naomi Klein

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Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2008 at 11:24 am

Social diversity promotes altruistic behavior

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Interesting. Adapted from materials provided by GPEARI / MCTES – Gabinete de Planeamento, Estratégia, Avaliação e Relações Internacionais / Ministér, via AlphaGalileo. Original article written by Catarina Amorim (catarina.amorim at

Why do humans cooperate in things as diverse as environment conservation or the creation of fairer societies, even when they don’t receive anything in exchange or, worst, they might even be penalized? This is a question that has puzzled academics for centuries, especially since in evolution the basis for the “survival of the fittest” is, after all, selfishness.

But in an article just published in the journal Nature, three Portuguese theoretical physicists develop a mathematical model capable of providing a way out from this conundrum through the introduction of social diversity – a ubiquitous characteristic of modern social networks – and suggesting that that the act of cooperation is dependent on one’s social context/ranking.

And in fact, when social diversity was taken into account the numbers of those cooperating increased in direct relation to the system diversity. Furthermore, cooperation, according to this model, spreads even faster when the act of cooperation is considered more important than the amount given, with these societies presenting also a much fairer distribution of wealth. This new mathematic model for society’s evolution is particularly interesting because not only it reveals a logic behind the large numbers of cooperators that we know exist in all human societies, but also it gives us a glimpse of the principles that can help “pushing” them into a better, fairer, path.

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Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2008 at 11:13 am

Posted in Daily life, Science

Friday cat-blogging: Megs at rest

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Megs resting on large pack of ultrasoft toilet paper

Megs resting on large pack of ultrasoft toilet paper

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2008 at 11:07 am

Posted in Cats, Megs

Walkies protect against heart disease

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I must start walking again. (Wish I lived in one of ten most walk-friendly cities: San Francisco (first), New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, Washington D.C., Long Beach California, Los Angeles and Portland OR (tenth)—Baltimore is no. 12.) Look at this:

Scientists have long been puzzled by how the Masai can avoid cardiovascular disease despite having a diet rich in animal fats. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet believe that their secret is in their regular walking.

There is strong evidence that the high consumption of animal fats increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Many scientists have therefore been surprised that the nomadic Masai of Kenya and Tanzania are seldom afflicted by the disease, despite having a diet that is rich in animal fats and deficient in carbohydrates.

This fact, which has been known to scientists for 40 years, has raised speculations that the Masai are genetically protected from cardiovascular disease. Now, a unique study by Dr Julia Mbalilaki in association with colleagues from Norway and Tanzania, suggests that the reason is more likely to be the Masai’s active lifestyle.

Their results are based on examinations of the lifestyles, diets and cardiovascular risk factors of 985 middle-aged men and women in Tanzania, 130 of who were Masai, 371 farmers and 484 urbanites. In line with previous studies, their results show that the Masai not only have a diet richer in animal fat than that of the other subjects, but also run the lowest cardiovascular risk, which is to say that they have the lowest body weights, waist-measurements and blood pressure, combined with a healthy blood lipid profile.

What sets the Masai lifestyle apart is also a very high degree of physical activity. The Masai studied expended 2,500 kilocalories a day more than the basic requirement, compared with 1,500 kilocalories a day for the farmers and 891 kilocalories a day for the urbanites. According to the team, most Westerners would have to walk roughly 20 km a day to achieve the Masai level of energy expenditure.

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Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2008 at 10:33 am

Posted in Daily life, Health, Science

Excellent post on global warming

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This is a good post, blowing big holes in many of the arguments used by climate change deniers. It includes some very nice graphs. Post begins:

The Australian continues to display its contempt for science, scientists and the scientific method. They’ve published this piece of AGW denial by David Evans. Last time I looked at Evans he was saying that new evidence since 1999 had changed his mind about global warming, with this new evidence including the fact that the world had cooled from 1940 to 1975. Apparently this was too silly even for the Australian, so he now offers us four alleged facts.

1 The greenhouse signature is missing. We have been looking and measuring for years, and cannot find it.

Each possible cause of global warming has a different pattern of where in the planet the warming occurs first and the most. The signature of an increased greenhouse effect is a hot spot about 10km up in the atmosphere over the tropics.

This couldn’t be more wrong. Study the graphs below (from RealClimate). The left one shows the pattern predicted for doubling CO2, while the right one shows the pattern for a 2% increase in solar output.

Much more at the link. Read it all.

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2008 at 10:19 am

Posted in Global warming, Science

McCain forgets to attend committee meetings

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Maybe he didn’t forget, but just blew them off. But note his extremely great foreign policy knowledge, which doesn’t include, for example, knowing the difference between Sunni and Shi’a. ThinkProgress:

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), “the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has attended zero of his committee’s six hearings on Afghanistan over the last two years,” ABC News reports:

A review of the Senate Armed Services Committee hearings as listed on the committee Web site for the past two years reveals that McCain’s committee has held six hearings that included the word “Afghanistan” in the title or Central Command — which overseas U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

McCain missed them all.

The McCain campaign said the senator’s “previous foreign policy experience make up for his recent lack of attendance at hearings.”

“… because the Senator feels no reason to contribute from his experience nor any need to find out what’s going on now.”

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2008 at 10:13 am

Posted in Election, GOP

Did they check with Dana Perino?

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Dana Perino, you’ll no doubt recall, said that global warming would bring many benefits, including fewer health risks from cold weather. But today this from ThinkProgress:

Climate change will pose ’substantial’ health threats including heat waves, hurricanes and pathogens in coming decades,” according to a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, “‘it is very likely’ that more people will die during extremely hot periods in future years, with the elderly, the poor and those in inner cities at the highest risk.”

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2008 at 10:02 am

Alien species wreaking havoc in Caribbean

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I doubt that our species will ever learn that introducing foreign species leads to severe problems—rabbits, cane toads, and dogs into Australia, the starling and the English sparrow into the US, the zebra mussel into the Great Lakes (though it does seem to be cleaning the water), snakehead fish into domestic waterways, and now lionfish into the Caribbean. It’s almost as if humanity is deliberately destroying its environment.

Lionfish -- photo from Oregon State University

Lionfish -- photo from Oregon State University

The invasion of predatory lionfish [click photo to enlarge – LG] in the Caribbean region poses yet another major threat there to coral reef ecosystems — a new study has found that within a short period after the entry of lionfish into an area, the survival of other reef fishes is slashed by about 80 percent.

Aside from the rapid and immediate mortality of marine life, the loss of herbivorous fish also sets the stage for seaweeds to potentially overwhelm the coral reefs and disrupt the delicate ecological balance in which they exist, according to scientists from Oregon State University.

Following on the heels of overfishing, sediment depositions, nitrate pollution in some areas, coral bleaching caused by global warming, and increasing ocean acidity caused by carbon emissions, the lionfish invasion is a serious concern, said Mark Hixon, an OSU professor of zoology and expert on coral reef ecology.

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Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2008 at 9:18 am

Posted in Daily life, Environment, Science

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The crazed assertion of Executive Privilege

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The Carpetbagger Report has a good summary of the EP insanity currently inflicting Mukasey and his masters. It begins:

“Scandal fatigue” can be common under the circumstances. After seven-and-a-half years of legal, moral, ethical, and political outrages, many of the scandals of the Bush/Cheney years start to blur together. Some are even forgotten, swept aside to make room for new, more offensive controversies.

It’s only natural, then, to shift the focus away from the White House and towards the campaign to pick the next president. I’m afraid, however, now isn’t a good time to stop watching the Bush gang — some of their bigger scandals are managing to look even worse.

The Bush administration today unveiled a set of novel and controversial legal arguments in refusing to disclose key details about Vice President Dick Cheney’s role in the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity.

In two letters released Wednesday, the Justice Department revealed that, upon the recommendation of Attorney General Michael Mukasey, President Bush had invoked executive privilege rather than turn over to Congress a never-released FBI report (known as a “302″) recounting a confidential 2004 interview with Cheney about his knowledge of the Plame affair.

The White House move effectively closes the door on the last chance for the public to learn answers to a swirl of questions that have surrounded Cheney’s actions from the outset of the Plame case.

Last year, Patrick Fitzgerald, pointing to Cheney’s conduct, told a jury, “[T]here is a cloud over what the vice president did.”

And yesterday, the White House and the Attorney General decided it’s better to keep that cloud in place than to cooperate with a congressional investigation and add facts to the public record.

Just how “novel and controversial” were the new legal arguments? Let’s put it this way: the Justice Department created privilege claims, out of thin air, that no one’s ever heard of before.

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2008 at 9:11 am

Fighting terror the Bush Administration way`

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Really, I’m beginning to think the Air Force should revert to its earlier role as the Army Air Corps. The Air Force has become too full of itself and also refuses to embrace the role of ground support. And now terrorism funds diverted for top-brass luxury. Jeffrey Smith writes in the Washington Post:

The Air Force’s top leadership sought for three years to spend counterterrorism funds on “comfort capsules” to be installed on military planes that ferry senior officers and civilian leaders around the world, with at least four top generals involved in design details such as the color of the capsules’ carpet and leather chairs, according to internal e-mails and budget documents.

Production of the first capsule — consisting of two sealed rooms that can fit into the fuselage of a large military aircraft — has already begun.

Air Force officials say the government needs the new capsules to ensure that leaders can talk, work and rest comfortably in the air. But the top brass’s preoccupation with creating new luxury in wartime has alienated lower-ranking Air Force officers familiar with the effort, as well as congressional staff members and a nonprofit group that calls the program a waste of money.

Air Force documents spell out how each of the capsules is to be “aesthetically pleasing and furnished to reflect the rank of the senior leaders using the capsule,” with beds, a couch, a table, a 37-inch flat-screen monitor with stereo speakers, and a full-length mirror.

The effort has been slowed, however, by congressional resistance to using counterterrorism funds for the project and by lengthy internal deliberations about a series of demands for modifications by Air Force generals. One request was that the color of the leather for the seats and seat belts in the mobile pallets be changed from brown to Air Force blue and that seat pockets be added; another was that the color of the table’s wood be darkened.

Changing the seat color and pockets alone was estimated in a March 12 internal document to cost at least $68,240.

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Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2008 at 9:08 am

Eat fruit, don’t drink fruit juice

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I have not had fruit juice for a long time—well, since yesterday. But the only way that I drink fruit juice (virtually always pomegranate juice or cranberry juice) is to dilute it in a lot of water. What I’m drinking, in effect, is flavored water. Rather than the juice, I eat fruit—a lovely peach yesterday, along with a bowl of cherries.

But why avoid the juice of fruits? Slashfood explains here. From the post:

According to the study, eating an additional three servings of fruit per day can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by up to 18%. Similarly, a single serving of green, leafy vegetables can reduce the risk by 9%. However, just one daily serving of fruit juice can increase the risk of developing diabetes by 18%. This is highly significant; as the study’s analysts note, earlier suggestions that women can drink juice instead of eating fresh fruit may be dangerously incorrect. Similarly, substituting fruit juice for other beverages in an attempt to become more healthy may also seriously backfire.

More at the link.

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2008 at 9:03 am

Posted in Daily life, Health, Science

Tagged with

Mama Bear’s Victorian Violet

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The Victorian Violet shaving soap produced a very nice lather with the Rooney Style 2 Finest brush, and the Edwin Jagger lined Chatsworth with it’s Lord Platinum blade delivered a very smooth shave. No oil pass, and Booster’s Arctic Ice aftershave was a refreshing finish.

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2008 at 8:34 am

Posted in Shaving

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