Later On

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

Archive for August 19th, 2008

Interesting take on McCain

with 6 comments

Jack Cafferty has an interesting take on John McCain:

Russia invades Georgia and President Bush goes on vacation. Our president has spent one-third of his entire two terms in office either at Camp David, Maryland, or at Crawford, Texas, on vacation.

His time away from the Oval Office included the month leading up to 9/11, when there were signs Osama bin Laden was planning to attack America, and the time Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city of New Orleans.

Sen. John McCain takes weekends off and limits his campaign events to one a day. He made an exception for the religious forum on Saturday at Saddleback Church in Southern California.

I think he made a big mistake. When he was invited last spring to attend a discussion of the role of faith in his life with Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, McCain didn’t bother to show up. Now I know why.

It occurs to me that John McCain is as intellectually shallow as our current president. When asked what his Christian faith means to him, his answer was a one-liner. “It means I’m saved and forgiven.” Great scholars have wrestled with the meaning of faith for centuries. McCain then retold a story we’ve all heard a hundred times about a guard in Vietnam drawing a cross in the sand.

Asked about his greatest moral failure, he cited his first marriage, which ended in divorce. While saying it was his greatest moral failing, he offered nothing in the way of explanation. Why not?

Throughout the evening, McCain chose to recite portions of his stump speech as answers to the questions he was being asked. Why? He has lived 71 years. Surely he has some thoughts on what it all means that go beyond canned answers culled from the same speech he delivers every day.

He was asked “if evil exists.” His response was to repeat for the umpteenth time that Osama bin Laden is a bad man and he will pursue him to “the gates of hell.” That was it.

He was asked to define rich. After trying to dodge the question — his wife is worth a reported $100 million — he finally said he thought an income of $5 million was rich.

One after another, McCain’s answers were shallow, simplistic, and trite. He showed the same intellectual curiosity that George Bush has — virtually none.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2008 at 3:23 pm

Posted in Daily life

Movie to see

leave a comment »

Official Website: http://www.IOUSAtheMovie.com

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2008 at 3:13 pm

It made me laugh

leave a comment »

Best with sound. Though there’s very little sound, it adds a lot. It’s a video.

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2008 at 2:04 pm

Posted in Cats, Daily life, Video

EdrawMax: Free for TODAY ONLY

with 2 comments

And, as usual, you must install AND register the package today. (Download includes the registration data.)

Lots of favorable comment on this one. Take a look. Brief description:

Edraw Max is a versatile graphics software, with features that make it perfect not only for professional-looking flowcharts, org charts, network diagrams and business charts, but also building plans, mind maps, workflows, fashion designs, UML diagrams, electrical engineering diagrams, directional maps, program structures, database diagrams… and that’s just the beginning!

With more than 4600 built-in vector symbols, drawing couldn’t be easier! Create a wide variety of business charts and presentations based on templates and examples while working in an intuitive and familiar office-style environment.

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2008 at 1:52 pm

Posted in Software

Food-pairing guidance

leave a comment »

Pretty clever. Take a look. Click a food.

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2008 at 1:51 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food

Zen koans

leave a comment »

Here’s a collection of 101 koans for your enlightenment.

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2008 at 12:16 pm

Posted in Daily life, Education

How to realize the potential of gifted children

leave a comment »

Good article by Christian Fischer in the Scientific American. It begins:

Contrary to what many people believe, highly intelligent children are not necessarily destined for academic success. In fact, so-called gifted students may fail to do well because they are unusually smart. Ensuring that a gifted child reaches his or her potential requires an understanding of what can go wrong and how to satisfy the unusual learning requirements of extremely bright young people.

One common problem gifted kids face is that they, and those around them, place too much importance on being smart. Such an emphasis can breed a belief that bright people do not have to work hard to do well. Although smart kids may not need to work hard in the lower grades, when the work is easy, they may struggle and perform poorly when the work gets harder because they do not make the effort to learn. In some cases, they may not know how to study, having never done it before. In others, they simply cannot accept the fact that some tasks require effort [see “The Secret to Raising Smart Kids,” by Carol S. Dweck; Scientific American Mind, December 2007/January 2008].

If the scholastic achievement of highly intelligent children remains below average for an extended period, many teachers will fail to recognize their potential. As a result, such students may not get the encouragement they need, further depressing their desire to learn. They may fall far behind in their schoolwork and even develop behavior problems. Boys may turn aggressive or become class clowns. Girls often develop performance anxiety and psychosomatic symptoms such as stomachaches [see “Watching Prodigies for the Dark Side,” by Marie-Noëlle Ganry-Tardy; Scientific American Mind, April 2005].

One way to avoid such difficulties is to recognize that IQ is just one ingredient among many in the recipe for success. Children thrive or struggle in school for a host of reasons apart from IQ, according to psychologist Franz Mönks of the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands. These include motivation and persistence, social competence, and the support of family, educators and friends. Emphasizing the importance of persistence and hard work, for example, will help a child avoid the laziness trap. Gifted children also need intellectual challenges—to teach them how to work hard. …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2008 at 12:14 pm

Posted in Daily life, Education

Guess origin from accent

leave a comment »

Cute game. Requires sound.

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2008 at 10:54 am

Posted in Daily life

Science & engineering state profiles

leave a comment »

You can get the state profiles in PDF or XLS format. California is #1, of course. Here they are.

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2008 at 10:32 am

Posted in Daily life, Science

ToDoList: free Windows download

leave a comment »

This one doesn’t expire today, and it looks pretty good. Take a look.

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2008 at 9:54 am

Posted in Daily life, Software

Don’t hit kids

leave a comment »

Story by Mandy Locke. In brief:

Parents tempted to treat Junior’s misbehavior with a lashing from a tree switch out back or Dad’s leather belt are being urged to think again.

A study released today by doctors at UNC-Chapel Hill finds that parents who spank their children with an object — such as a belt, switch or paddle — are nine times more likely to abuse their child through more severe means.

Also, parents are much more likely to beat, burn or shake their children if they spank frequently, according to the study, which is being published by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

“Parents get angry when they’re spanking, and it’s not working,” said Adam Zolotor, lead author of the study and a pediatrician at UNC-CH’s Department of Family Health. “If a child gets spanked so often, they just don’t care anymore and will misbehave anyway.”

It’s the latest finding in a growing body of research suggesting that parents should use their voices, not their hands or household tools, to keep children in line. This study rests on anonymous admissions of 1,435 mothers of children from North and South Carolina randomly selected to share details of the discipline they and other caregivers use in the privacy of their homes.

Read the full story at newsobserver.com.

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2008 at 9:47 am

Posted in Daily life, Science

Badminton as it should be played

leave a comment »

A hard-fought point. I played a lot of badminton in college—though not at this level.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Badminton as it should be played", posted with vodpod

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2008 at 9:42 am

Posted in Daily life

And some say US healthcare is not the best in the world!

leave a comment »

Read this. It’s short. It begins:

I don’t remember many specific patients from my days as a resident. Like all doctors in training, I was overworked, underpaid and chronically fatigued. With that, details become murky.

What I do remember, though, are certain incidents that gave me pause and made me wonder what the hell I had gotten myself into. The kinds of situations that only residents — who are the blunt business end of America’s sloppy healthcare system — can get stuck in.

Take my experiences in a Los Angeles hospital with kids who needed a surgeon. I would be on call, living in scrubs, trying to digest hospital chow. In the dead of the night, my pager would begin squealing, jarring me awake (if I was lucky to sleep in the first place). A number from an outlying hospital would flash on the screen. Stumbling out of bed to the nearest phone, I would learn that a child with, say, an open fracture of his leg needed to be transferred to our hospital since we offered “a higher level of care,” which often meant an orthopedic surgeon who could treat the child.

Indeed, this is what happened one night. With the child on the way, I paged the orthopedic surgeon on call. Surgeons like information given to them concisely and directly. I ran through what I would say: “Sorry to wake you, Doc, but I have a 5-year-old male en route from a community hospital who has an open fracture of his right femur. According to the transferring physician, he will need to have a reduction in the operating room tonight. While we’re waiting for you, we’ll start morphine for pain relief and some Ancef (an antiobiotic) for infection prophylaxis.” Then I waited for the phone to ring.

When the surgeon, a partner in a private Beverly Hills orthopedic group, returned my call, I was naive enough to expect some further questions about the child’s history, requests for some laboratory work or more X-rays, and instructions on how to prep the operating room. Instead, his first question was: “What’s their insurance?”

Medical students and residents are trained to anticipate and prepare for a lot of things. If we’re doing rounds with a senior physician, we try to be prepared for questions about the illnesses of our patients and how to treat them. For those reasons, and for our love of learning, many of us would talk about our patients and read in advance of our rounds, even when we could have been sleeping.

But I was not prepared for this question. I told the surgeon …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2008 at 9:34 am

USB 3.0

leave a comment »

I can’t wait.

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2008 at 9:18 am

Posted in Daily life, Technology

Time again for slow-roasted tomatoes

leave a comment »

Probably better as a fall dish in parts of the country where it’s still hot, but here on the foggy coast, I would say it’s time again to have these. They’re wonderful!

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2008 at 8:53 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes

Appreciation of B&B

with 7 comments

Badger & Blade, after a moderator posted inappropriately about Leisureguy’s Guide to Gourmet Shaving, did handsomely, not only removing the post but kindly noting my one-time participation on B&B. Thanks and props to Joel. Thread is here.

I hope someone lets Eric Huntley know that the Second Edition is a big improvement on the first edition—that’s the one he should get. (Eric, if you’re reading the blog, email me.)

The latest version of the book is always available from Lulu.com.

I’m hoping that readers will post their reviews of the book on Lulu and/or on Amazon.com.

Although you can get the knowledge that’s in the book by reading the various shaving forums (ShaveMyFace, Badger&Blade, and The Shave Den) and the Razor and Brush message board) and by experimenting, the knowledge in the book is organized and consistent and serves, I think, as a better reference. And, of course, if you’re thinking of a shaving-related gift, the book serves much better than links to forums. 🙂

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2008 at 8:41 am

Posted in Books, Daily life, Shaving

Peak oil: looks like 2005 was the time

with 2 comments

Ken Deffeyes seems to have been right. He figured 2005 as the year of Peak Oil, and whimsically chose US Thanksgiving Day as the day the oil peaked. This gives us an anniversary date to celebrate and to be thankful for the age of oil and what it produced. Today Jad Mouawad reports in the NY Times:

Oil production has begun falling at all of the major Western oil companies, and they are finding it harder than ever to find new prospects even though they are awash in profits and eager to expand.

Part of the reason is political. From the Caspian Sea to South America, Western oil companies are being squeezed out of resource-rich provinces. They are being forced to renegotiate contracts on less-favorable terms and are fighting losing battles with assertive state-owned oil companies.

And much of their production is in mature regions that are declining, like the North Sea.

The reality, experts say, is that the oil giants that once dominated the global market have lost much of their influence — and with it, their ability to increase supplies.

“This is an industry in crisis,” said Amy Myers Jaffe, the associate director of Rice University’s energy program in Houston. “It’s a crisis of leadership, a crisis of strategy and a crisis of what the future looks like for the supermajors,” a term often applied to the biggest oil companies. “They are like a deer caught in headlights. They know they have to move, but they can’t decide where to go.”

The sharp retreat in all of the commodities’ prices over the last month, about 20 percent, reflects slowing global growth and with it reduced demand for more oil in the short term. But over the next decade, the world will need more oil to satisfy developing Asian economies like China. The oil companies’ difficulties suggest that these much-needed future supplies may be hard to come by.

Oil production has failed to catch up with surging consumption in recent years, a disparity that propelled oil prices to records this year. Despite the recent decline, oil remains above $100 a barrel, unimaginable a few years ago, causing pain throughout the economy, like higher prices at the gas pump and automakers posting sizable losses.

The scope of the supply problem became more clear in the latest quarter when the five biggest publicly traded oil companies, including Exxon Mobil, said their oil output had declined by a total of 614,000 barrels a day, even as they posted $44 billion in profits. It was the steepest of five consecutive quarters of declines.

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2008 at 8:29 am

Posted in Business, Daily life

Tagged with

Best shots of snooker world championship

leave a comment »

In the tiny town in which I was raised, the local pool hall had domino tables in front, then 8 snooker tables and (in back) two pocket billiards tables (for beginners and the inept). The game to play was snooker.

Here are the ten best shots played during the world championship at the Crucible, Sheffield, April/May 2007.

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2008 at 8:22 am

Posted in Daily life

Tagged with

Yo-yos, past and present

leave a comment »

Boy playing terracotta yo-yo, Attic kylix, ca. 440 BC, Antikensammlung Berlin

Boy playing terracotta yo-yo, Attic kylix, ca. 440 BC, Antikensammlung Berlin

Bob and Ray have a routine where an older baseball player comments, “Somewhere, the game just passed me by.” So also for the yo-yo, a pastime of my youth. Fallingwickets, in a post on ShaveMyFace.com, draws our attention to this NY Times article on the International Yo-yo Competition. And take a look:

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2008 at 7:44 am

Posted in Daily life

Sandalwood

leave a comment »

It’s been said that a taste for simplicity cannot endure. (Eugène Delacroix said it, in fact.) And, of course, similarly one eventually tires of ornament and decoration, so we spend our lives oscillating in our tastes.

I was thinking of that this morning as I contemplated my shave. Having settle for a time on the Merkur Slant and Iridium Super blade, that decision is made, and I note that it’s somewhat of a relief not to think about it. If I were to stick with the Rooney Style 2, that would also probably be a relief, so I’ll try that for a while. Eventually, of course, I will tire of the regimen and long once more for variety.

So far as soaps and shaving creams, I do like to change those more frequently. This morning it was QED Sandalwood shaving soap, one of this best: great fragrance. Fine shave, and then TOBS Sandalwood aftershave to finish. What a great start!

I’m back to the 3-pass shave. The two-pass is interesting, but I do like the ease of three passes, with the more gradual stubble reduction.

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2008 at 7:43 am

Posted in Shaving

%d bloggers like this: