Later On

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

Archive for November 5th, 2008

Your diet: take it easy on the protein1

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Interesting article in Science News. It begins:

Beefing about your diet probably won’t lengthen your life, but a new study suggests that cutting down on beef and other protein-laden foods might.

A group of researchers at the Center for Human Nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, led by Luigi Fontana and John Holloszy, is investigating how various diets affect people. One of the diets is restricted in calories but still provides full nutrition.

Cutting 25 percent or more calories from the diets of rodents, dogs, worms, flies, yeast and other animals has been shown to prolong life. But no one knows whether restricting calories in people will also make them live longer.

Previous studies from the Washington University researchers have shown that members of a group called the Calorie Restriction Society, who have voluntarily followed a calorie restricted diet for years, have vastly improved cardiovascular health than people of the same age who eat 20 percent to 30 percent more calories.

In their latest study, reported in the October Aging Cell, the scientists found that people who eat a high-nutrition, minimal calorie diet don’t get all the benefits from calorie restriction that rodents do. But restricting proteins along with calories seems to mimic the full effect of calorie restriction seen in other animals.

This recent study focused on how diet affected amounts of insulin-like growth factor, or IGF-1. The growth factor stimulates cells to grow and high levels have been linked to cancer. Lowering levels of the growth factor may be a key step in slowing down aging and prolonging life.

One study that placed people on a calorie restricted diet for a year showed …

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Written by LeisureGuy

5 November 2008 at 10:28 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health, Science

Teaching with a Wiki

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Very interesting article for you teachers among my readers. It begins:

This quarter, I’m using a wiki with my bioinformatics class and posting sometimes about the things that I learn.

Two things I’ve been experimenting with are:

  1. Setting up pages for individual students so they can take notes while they’re working.
  2. Embedding a Google form into one of my wiki pages for student assessment.

Here’s a diagram showing some of the pages in my bioinformatics class wiki site.

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 November 2008 at 10:23 am

Posted in Daily life, Education

Psychopaths

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Interesting article in the New Yorker about psychopathy. It begins:

The Western New Mexico Correctional Facility sits in high-desert country about seventy miles west of Albuquerque. Grants, a former uranium boomtown that depends heavily on prison work, is a few miles down the road. There’s a glassed-in room at the top of the prison tower, with louvred windows and, on the ceiling, a big crank that operates a searchlight. In a box on the floor are some tear-gas shells that can be fired down into the yard should there be a riot. Below is the prison complex—a series of low six-sided buildings, divided by high hurricane fences topped with razor wire that glitters fiercely in the desert sun. To the east is the snow-covered peak of Mt. Taylor, the highest in the region; to the west, the Zuni Mountains are visible in the blue distance.

One bright morning last April, Dr. Kent Kiehl strode across the parking lot to the entrance, saying, “I guarantee that by the time we reach the gate the entire inmate population will know I’m here.” Kiehl—the Doc, as the inmates call him—was dressed in a blue blazer and a yellow tie. He is tall, broad-shouldered, and barrel-chested, with neat brown hair and small ears; he looks more like a college football player, which was his first ambition, than like a cognitive neuroscientist. But when he speaks, in an unexpectedly high-pitched voice, he becomes that know-it-all kid in school who intimidated you with his combination of superior knowledge and bluster.

At thirty-eight, Kiehl is one of the world’s leading younger investigators in psychopathy, the condition of moral emptiness that affects between fifteen to twenty-five per cent of the North American prison population, and is believed by some psychologists to exist in one per cent of the general adult male population. (Female psychopaths are thought to be much rarer.) Psychopaths don’t exhibit the manias, hysterias, and neuroses that are present in other types of mental illness. Their main defect, what psychologists call “severe emotional detachment”—a total lack of empathy and remorse—is concealed, and harder to describe than the symptoms of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. This absence of easily readable signs has led to debate among mental-health practitioners about what qualifies as psychopathy and how to diagnose it. Psychopathy isn’t identified as a disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the American Psychiatric Association’s canon; instead, a more general term, “antisocial personality disorder,” known as A.P.D., covers the condition.

There is also little consensus among researchers about what causes psychopathy. Considerable evidence, including several large-scale studies of twins, points toward a genetic component. Yet psychopaths are more likely to come from neglectful families than from loving, nurturing ones. Psychopathy could be dimensional, like high blood pressure, or it might be categorical, like leukemia. Researchers argue over whether tests used to measure it should focus on behavior or attempt to incorporate personality traits—like deceitfulness, glibness, and lack of remorse—as well. The only point on which everyone agrees is that psychopathy is extremely difficult to treat. And for some researchers the word “psychopath” has been tainted by its long and seamy relationship with criminality and popular culture, which began with true-crime pulps and continues today in TV shows like CBS’s “Criminal Minds” and in the work of authors like Thomas Harris and Patricia Cornwell. The word is so loaded with baleful connotations that it tends to empurple any surrounding prose.

Kiehl is frustrated by …

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Written by LeisureGuy

5 November 2008 at 10:12 am

Posted in Daily life, Mental Health, Science

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Terrific-sounding popcorn

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This recipe from Everybody Loves Sandwiches sounds good—and, from the photos at the link, I’d have to say it looks good as well:

French herbed popcorn

1/4 c unsalted butter (or if you are vegan, use Earth Balance)
2 T really good olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 T herbes de Provence
1 c popcorn kernels
1 t kosher salt (more or less to taste)
Parmesan cheese (optional)

In a small pot, heat up over medium heat butter, olive oil, garlic and herbs until everything is melted and smells good. Using your favorite popcorn method (mine is air popping), pop your corn into a very large bowl. Pour herb and butter mixture over top and reserve garlic for a later use. Toss until everything is nice and distributed. Season with salt if necessary and toss again. Gild the lily with a bit of Parmesan cheese grated on top.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 November 2008 at 9:25 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes

Besting the KFC $10 challenge

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Good post on how easy it is to beat the KFC $10 challenge. Worth clicking through to read. It begins:

Recently, the American public was issued a challenge by the folks at KFC (formerly “Kentucky Fried Chicken,” but “fried” just didn’t sound healthy). The fast-food joint argues in its latest commercial that you cannot “create a family meal for less than $10.” Their example is the “seven-piece meal deal,” which includes seven pieces of fried chicken, four biscuits, and a side dish — in this case, mashed potatoes with gravy. This is meant to serve a family of four.

I’m not really a competitive soul, but this was one challenge I could not resist. When it comes to food, America has been sold a bill of goods. We’ve been flimflammed, bamboozled, hoodwinked. We’ve been tricked into thinking that cooking is a chore, like washing windows, to be avoided if at all possible, and then done only grudgingly and when absolutely necessary. On the contrary, cooking is a vital, spiritual act that should be performed with a certain reverence. After all, we are providing sustenance to the ones we love — can anything be more important?

And don’t get me started on advertising. It never ceases to amaze me that, with the exception of political ads, people don’t focus on the falsehoods. Commercial advertising washes over people without the slightest analysis; we truly need a FactCheck.org for business advertising.

In the KFC commercial, a mother and two kids hit a grocery store for the necessary ingredients. When they fail to get them for under $10, Mom cheerfully announces, to the kids’ delight, that they are going to KFC. In these hard economic times, Colonel Sanders wants you to think that giving him your money is the cheaper way to go. I respectfully disagree. …

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Written by LeisureGuy

5 November 2008 at 9:21 am

Roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce

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From today’s Washington Post:

Roasted Cauliflower With Tahini Sauce
From “Olives & Oranges” by Sara Jenkins & Mindy Fox (KOD recipe notes in italics)

1 large head cauliflower, broken into florets
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I omitted the extra tablespoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons medium-coarse sea salt, or more to taste (In retrospect, I might have reduced salt to 1 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon tahini paste
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (approximately 1 lemon)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment (I forgot the parchment and the cauliflower didn’t stick.)

In a mixing bowl, toss cauliflower with oil, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt (this is where I might reduce salt to 1 teaspoon) and pepper until well coated. Spread in a single layer on baking sheet and roast, stirring and turning once or twice, until cauliflower is tender and crispy brown in spots, about 45 minutes.

While cauliflower is roasting, puree tahini paste, water, lemon juice, garlic and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a blender until well combined. (I added the parsley as well, resulting in a pretty light green puree.)

Remove cauliflower from oven and immediately transfer to a serving bowl. Pour tahini over the cauliflower and toss to combine.

Serve warm or let stand at room temperature.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 November 2008 at 9:15 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes

National Novel Writing Month

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A couple of useful posts for those participating in National Novel Writing Month—and it’s not too late to start. 🙂

How to achieve your writing goal every day

Tips from someone who’s done it

Written by LeisureGuy

5 November 2008 at 9:07 am

Posted in Daily life, Writing

Atkinson Mango-Oil Shaving Soap

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A very fine shave today, using the items shown: Atkinson Mango-Oil shaving soap in its terra cotta bowl, the Edwin Jagger Medium Silvertip brush, and the 1940s Gillette Aristocrat with a previously used Treet Classic blade. The Jagger brush came with a stand, and when the brush is held upright in the stand, bristles pointing down, the brand name is right side up. The razor is the very one shown on the cover of the Guide to Gourmet Shaving—a fine razor for me. The shaving soap is a gift from a wonderful woman in Ireland.

The final touch was a splash of the Acqua di Parma aftershave. An exceptional shave today, befitting a new morning for America.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 November 2008 at 7:39 am

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

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