Later On

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

Archive for November 22nd, 2008

Business growth

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I have always wondered what businesses were thinking that had growth as a requirement. One company I worked in, for example, was required by its corporate masters to show about 15%/year growth. That’s obviously impossible over the long run—and incredibly difficult even over the period of a few years. A pattern developed: to achieve the growth, the company used accounting tricks, which eventually led to discovery and a purge of those involved, then a new start was made with a new team (with the same growth requirement), which led to another round of accounting tricks, another discovery, another purge, and so on. The president of the unit was replaced each time the company did a reset.

And yet, companies still demand continuing growth. This article in New Scientist indicates the problem:

We are on track for serious economic collapse that will dwarf our current troubles. That’s the conclusion of the real-world analysis of a controversial prediction made 30 years ago that economic growth cannot be sustained.

In 1972, the book Limits to Growth by a group called the Club of Rome predicted that exponential growth would eventually lead to economic and environmental collapse. The group used models that assessed the interaction of rising populations, pollution, industrial production, resource consumption and food production. Most economists rubbished the book, and governments have ignored its recommendations, but a growing band of experts is once again arguing that we need to reshape our economy to make it more sustainable (New Scientist, 16 October 2008, p 40).

Now Graham Turner at the research organisation CSIRO in Australia has compared Limits to Growth‘s forecast with data from the intervening years. He says changes in industrial production, food production and pollution are all in line with the Club of Rome’s predictions, which foresee decreasing resource availability and an escalating cost of extraction that eventually triggers a slowdown of industry – leading to economic collapse some time after 2020 (Global Environmental Change, vol 10, p 397).

“For the first 30 years of the model, the world has been tracking along an unsustainable trajectory,” Turner concludes. Herman Daly of the University of Maryland says these results show that we “must get off the growth path of business as usual, and move to a steady state economy”, stopping population growth, resource depletion, and pollution.

Turner is not suggesting that disaster is inevitable, and says his numbers show that a sustainable economy is attainable. “We wouldn’t have to go back to the caves,” he says.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 November 2008 at 12:20 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life

Evil and innocence

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Very interesting post by Dr. Stephen Diamond, a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist in Los Angeles. It begins:

I was recently made aware of an exceptionally gruesome murder of a young woman in New Zealand. The victim, twenty-two-year-old Sophie Elliott, was brutally and repeatedly stabbed to death 216 times in her own bedroom, allegedly by her on-again-off-again boyfriend, who is said to have also severely mutilated her lips, breasts and genitals. The victim’s mother reportedly was in the home at the time of the attack.

The accused killer is one of Sophie’s former tutors-turned-lover from university, ten years her senior. Stunned New Zealanders are struggling to comprehend how such a bright, attractive, successful young man with no known prior criminal history could conceivably commit such a horrific crime. Some psychologically-inclined kiwis speculate that the presumed perpetrator exhibits many of the diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder.

Much has been posted here already about narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder, and how it plays out in interpersonal relations, both by myself and other PT bloggers. Of course, ethically, as a forensic psychologist, I cannot formally diagnose a defendant I’ve never even observed or interviewed. I can, however, share with readers what I do know about such violent offenders in general and address some of the psychological, forensic and philosophical questions raised by shocking evil deeds such as this.

From what I have read about it, this vicious assault appears to have been precipitated by …

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 November 2008 at 12:12 pm

Crockpot Crab Dip

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This looks pretty good.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 November 2008 at 9:51 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes

Some good environmental news

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It nice to see some good news. And note that California is way ahead of the game, folks.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 November 2008 at 9:05 am

Posted in Daily life, Environment

Stars Fell On Edmonton (Alberta)

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From a police dashboard camera:

More info here.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 November 2008 at 9:03 am

Posted in Daily life

More on making beer

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An article by Burkhard Bilger in the New Yorker begins:

Elephants, like many of us, enjoy a good malted beverage when they can get it. At least twice in the past ten years, herds in India have stumbled upon barrels of rice beer, drained them with their trunks, and gone on drunken rampages. (The first time, they trampled four villagers; the second time they uprooted a pylon and electrocuted themselves.) Howler monkeys, too, have a taste for things fermented. In Panama, they’ve been seen consuming overripe palm fruit at the rate of ten stiff drinks in twenty minutes. Even flies have a nose for alcohol. They home in on its scent to lay their eggs in ripening fruit, insuring their larvae a pleasant buzz. Fruit-fly brains, much like ours, are wired for inebriation.

The seductions of drink are wound deep within us. Which may explain why, two years ago, when John Gasparine was walking through a forest in southern Paraguay, his thoughts turned gradually to beer. Gasparine is a businessman from Baltimore. He owns a flooring company that uses sustainably harvested wood and he sometimes goes to South America to talk to suppliers. On the trip in question, he had noticed that the local wood-carvers often used a variety called palo santo, or holy wood. It was so heavy that it sank in water, so hard and oily that it was sometimes made into ball bearings or self-lubricating bushings. It smelled as sweet as sandalwood and was said to impart its fragrance to food and drink. The South Americans used it for salad bowls, serving utensils, maté goblets, and, in at least one case, wine barrels.

Gasparine wasn’t much of a wine drinker, but he had become something of a beer geek. (His thick eyebrows, rectangular glasses, and rapid-fire patter seem ideally suited to the parsing of obscure beverages.) A few years earlier, he’d discovered a bar in downtown Baltimore called Good Love that had several unusual beers on tap. The best, he thought, were from a place called Dogfish Head, in southern Delaware. The brewery’s motto was “Off-Centered Ales for Off-Centered People.” It made everything from elegant Belgian-style ales to experimental beers brewed with fresh oysters or arctic cloudberries. Gasparine decided to send a note to the owner, Sam Calagione. Dogfish was already aging some of its beer in oak barrels. Why not try something more aromatic, like palo santo?

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Written by LeisureGuy

22 November 2008 at 8:14 am

Posted in Business, Daily life, Food

Tagged with ,

Religion in the military

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Very interesting article by Jonathan Patrick Herzog in the Washington Independent. It begins:

So there are atheists in foxholes after all.

Last week, on the eve of Veterans Day, the Secular Coalition for America and the Military Assn. of Atheists and Freethinkers held a news conference in Washington to present an open letter to President-elect Barack Obama. Citing a report that found 21 percent of those in the armed forces identifying themselves as atheists or having “no religion,” the groups called on the new administration to pursue a military policy more open to nonbelievers.

The action follows on the heels of a much-publicized legal case involving atheism and the military. Jeremy Hall, 23, a U.S. Army specialist, grew up a Bible-reading Baptist in rural North Carolina. But his faith in God did not survive the battlefields of Iraq. Since disclosing his atheism, Hall claims he has become a target of insult and scorn — labeled “immoral,” “devil worshiper” and, curiously enough, gay — by fellow GIs and superior officers. But the pith of his complaint runs deeper than personal insult.

In his lawsuit, filed in Kansas last year, Hall and his co-plaintiff, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, accuse the military establishment not only of prejudice against nonbelievers but of blatant favoritism toward Christianity. As the suit challenging the place of religion in the armed forces lumbers toward a constitutional showdown, Hall and the Secular Coalition for America have sparked a national conversation about one of the military’s least discussed shibboleths.

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Written by LeisureGuy

22 November 2008 at 8:07 am

Ratatouille

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I finally saw Ratatouille last night. Very enjoyable, and the effects of great food well portrayed—as well as life in a professional kitchen. And I was eating a remarkably good fish soup I made, using a base of chicken stock I made myself and some of the drippings from the roast chicken with pierced lemons in the cavity. The fish was orange roughy, which I’m liking a lot.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 November 2008 at 8:02 am

Apollo Mikron

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The Simpsons Harvard 1 Best, a small brush, quickly generated copious and excellent lather from the D.R. Harris soap scraped off by my beard from the shave stick shown. Then the Apollo Mikron did a great job of removing the stubble. Mr. Taylor’s Aftershave by TOBS was the finishing touch. An extremely good shave greets the weekend.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 November 2008 at 7:46 am

Posted in Shaving

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