Later On

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

Archive for December 28th, 2008

Recycling old crayons into new shapes

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Clever idea if you have kids who use crayons.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 December 2008 at 1:57 pm

Posted in Art, Daily life

Interesting Web sites

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Links are not directly to the site named, but to a page that discusses the site and its value:

Also, check out Worio Search.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 December 2008 at 1:52 pm

Posted in Daily life, Technology

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Progress note

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All dishes done (no dishwashing since I cut my thumb)—used rubber gloves and worked steadily at them, listening to Johnny Hartman all the while.

Then all trash out, recycling bins brought up to the street, counted out prescriptions for the coming (as well as picking up one prescription at Safeway).

Good news: when I picked up the Rx I found turkey necks at 50% off—and they were discounted to Safeway card holders to start with. Bought those in a heartbeat: turnkey-neck soup is extremely tasty.

Now to gather up the books and other strewage, and I am reading for the cleaning ladies, who’ll come on Tuesday.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 December 2008 at 1:42 pm

Posted in Daily life

Climate change deniers having difficulty

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Tim Lambert explains why.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 December 2008 at 12:13 pm

What’s the crime scene at your university?

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You can check here. California State University — Monterey Bay seems to be okay.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 December 2008 at 12:08 pm

Posted in Education

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Do you have kids in school?

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Then you’ll probably be interested in this post by Marion Nestle:

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has a committee doing a big study that will lead to recommendations for improved nutrient standards for school breakfast and lunch programs sponsored by USDA.  The committee has just released its “Phase I” report, which explains how it plans to go about setting those standards and asks for public input.   This report is available online as a pdf (click on “Download Free”) so you can read it and let the committee know what you think of its approach.  For anyone interested in the school meal situation, the report is a great place to start.  It gives the history of the programs and explains why so many people think changes are needed.  It will be interesting to see where the committee goes with this project.  Stay tuned!

Written by LeisureGuy

28 December 2008 at 10:11 am

Posted in Daily life, Education, Food

Consumer studies and store layout

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Very interesting article in The Economist. It begins:

It may have occurred to you, during the course of a dismal trawl round a supermarket indistinguishable from every other supermarket you have ever been into, to wonder why they are all the same. The answer is more sinister than depressing. It is not because the companies that operate them lack imagination. It is because they are all versed in the science of persuading people to buy things—a science that, thanks to technological advances, is beginning to unlock the innermost secrets of the consumer’s mind.

In the Sainsbury’s in Hatch Warren, Basingstoke, south-west of London, it takes a while for the mind to get into a shopping mode. This is why the area immediately inside the entrance of a supermarket is known as the “decompression zone”. People need to slow down and take stock of the surroundings, even if they are regulars. In sales terms this area is a bit of a loss, so it tends to be used more for promotion. Even the multi-packs of beer piled up here are designed more to hint at bargains within than to be lugged round the aisles. Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, famously employs “greeters” at the entrance to its stores. Whether or not they boost sales, a friendly welcome is said to cut shoplifting. It is harder to steal from nice people.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

28 December 2008 at 9:47 am

Posted in Business, Daily life

Ezra Klein on Israel’s attack on Gaza

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I on the whole agree with Ezra. Read his brief post, and then the comments to it.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 December 2008 at 9:41 am

Posted in Mideast Conflict

The aging room at Peter Lugar Steak House

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Take a look—you can rotate the picture to see all around you, as well as floor and ceiling.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 December 2008 at 9:30 am

Posted in Daily life, Food

Howard Dean

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UPDATE: Ezra Klein has some good remarks as well.

Very nice article on Howard Dean by Ari Bermann. It begins:

It’s a week after the election and Howard Dean is speaking at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, giving an unusually full-throated argument for Democratic Party organizing in Oklahoma, the only state where John McCain beat Barack Obama in every single county. “I don’t know when we’re going to win Oklahoma, but we have a Democratic governor from Oklahoma, we have a Democratic Congressman from Oklahoma and what we need to do is go to Oklahoma, show up and explain ourselves in terms of the values that Oklahomans hold.” Those values, Dean argued, aren’t so different from those of New York City or anywhere else commonly thought of as Democratic territory. It just so happens that Oklahoma’s aforementioned governor, Brad Henry, had given Dean a pair of cowboy boots, which he wore, to somewhat hilarious effect, throughout the Democratic convention in Denver.

The former Vermont governor and chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has become an unlikely advocate for Democrats across the country, particularly in so-called red America. His passion for showing up in unexpected locales is not based on wishful thinking or stubborn naivete but rather political necessity. Dean’s favorite quote, which he repeats over and over, is Louis Pasteur’s “Chance favors the prepared mind.” The way he sees it, you never know when any state, even the Sooner State, might get a jolt of blue. After all, just look at what happened in 2006, when Democrats flipped both houses of Congress. Or this past November, when Barack Obama won Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia, along with three previously red Western states, and the party picked up Congressional seats in places like Alabama, Alaska, Idaho and Mississippi.

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Written by LeisureGuy

28 December 2008 at 8:15 am

Posted in Daily life, Democrats

Short-Rib Jambalaya

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This recipe sounds delicious:

Short-Rib Jambalaya

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 lbs boneless country-style pork ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Tabasco
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup seeded and chopped green bell pepper
3/4 cup seeded and chopped canned tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, green and white parts
2 1/2 cups long-grain white rice.

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Season the ribs with 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1 teaspoon Tabasco. Cook, covered, until well browned on all sides, about 45 minutes. Be careful when turning the meat as the hot oil can splatter.

2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ribs to a bowl and drain off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat in the pot. Add the onions and sauté, scraping the brown bits off the bottom, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the celery and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the bell peppers and sauté for 3 minutes more. Add the tomatoes and ribs to the pot and cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Pour in the broth and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes longer. Stir in the parsley, green onions, rice, the remaining salt, black pepper and Tabasco. Bring to a boil and cook, covered, over low heat until most of the liquid has absorbed, 25 to 30 minutes.

4. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Season to taste with more salt and pepper.

Serves 6 to 8.

Recipes adapted from Eula Mae’s Cajun Kitchen, by Eula Mae Doré and Marcelle R. Bienvenu.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 December 2008 at 7:54 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes

Obama’s Cabinet

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Take a look.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 December 2008 at 7:44 am

More on Milton Friedman

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And on his pernicious influence. Barry Ritholtz writes:

Some time ago, I asked if “Milton Friedman was the next economist whose once lauded reputation may soon slide ?”

Turns out it happened much quicker than expected. A long Bloomberg piece, Friedman Would Be Roiled as Chicago Disciples Rue Repudiation, discusses the tarnishment of the Chicago school of thought.

Its long overdue. From the efficient-market theories, to the concept of man as rational profit maximizers, much of the edifice that is was the Chicago school of economics is based on a foundation that is false, disproven or otherwise questionable.

I first encountered the Chicago theory in law school. The Chicagoists somehow read into law a market efficiency component that was never there. I recoiled against it — not because of the libertarianism, which I embraced. Rather, it seemed a backdoor way to circumvent democracy, and force into the legal system rules that were never debated, voted on, or agreed to by a representative government. I found the extremist legal theories of Judges like Richard Posner and Frank Easterbrook intellectually repulsive. They were undemocratic, anti-representative government. When I told a professor that the law and economics movement was an attempt at a political coup, he laughed and said, try to stop it.

I disliked the neoclassical price theory. It was authoritarian, a worship of a form of mob rule outside of the usual legal channels. The view that regulation and other government intervention is always inefficient compared to a free market has now been made laughable.  Its always the extremists that seem to control a discipline or school of thought. If I have any dogma, its extremism in all forms is undesirable (I know, radical, huh)

If there is one silver lining in the entire collapse, its that this group of intellectual charlatans have been revealed as utterly wanting. Oh, there will be some pushback by the Chicagoans. (Watch the comments for the cute little protests from law students who never practiced a day in their lives, and the biz school kiddies who never executed a single trade)…

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 December 2008 at 6:34 am

Posted in Business, Daily life, Government

Tagged with

U of Chicago Dept of Economics: big fail

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Interesting article in Bloomberg by John Lippert. It begins:

John Cochrane was steaming as word of U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s plan to buy $700 billion in troubled mortgage assets rippled across the University of Chicago in September.

Cochrane had been teaching at the bastion of free-market economics for 14 years and this struck at everything that he — and the school — stood for.

“We all wandered the hallway thinking, How could this possibly make sense?” says Cochrane, 51, recalling his incredulity at Paulson’s attempt to prop up the mortgage industry and the banks that had precipitated the housing market’s boom and bust.

During a lunch held on a balcony with a view of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, Cochrane, son-in-law of Chicago efficient-market theorist Eugene Fama, and some colleagues made their stand.

They wrote a petition attacking Paulson’s proposal, sent it to economists nationwide and collected 230 signatures. Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama waved the document as he scorned the rescue. When Congress rejected it on Sept. 29, Cochrane fired off congratulatory e-mails.

The victory was short-lived. Lawmakers approved the plan four days later, swayed by what Cochrane calls a pinata of pork-barrel amendments.

“We should have a recession,” Cochrane said in November, speaking to students and investors in a conference room that looks out on Lake Michigan. “People who spend their lives pounding nails in Nevada need something else to do.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

28 December 2008 at 6:31 am

Posted in Daily life, Education, Government

Tagged with

The TVA clean-coal disaster

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Kirk Murphy has an excellent post on TVA’s public relations efforts following the 5.4 million cubic yard spill. It begins:

This week TVA deliberately dumped massive amounts of toxic corporate waste matter into a shared public resource: America’s broadcast media. Why did the PR flacks who ooze around TVA’s headquarters give America such generous piles of steaming corporate lies for Christmas? Aside from the fact that’s what PR flacks do for a living, the well-paid professional liars on TVA’s payroll had an extra-special motive to stuff our Holiday stockings with deceit: TVA failed to construct dikes that actually worked. TVA’s professional liars had a bonus motive, as well: two months after the October 2008 annual inspection showed the dike had a “wet spot” indicating a leak, TVA’s crack inspectors hadn’t finished their formal inspection report. So last Sunday when the dike at TVA’s Kingston Plant leaked for the third time in six years, and TVA’s toxic wastes clogged the Emory River on their way to the Tennessee River (the Ohio River’s largest tributary), TVA was neck deep in apparent liability. For their emergency response, TVA trundled out the usual PR zombies to clog US media with bald-faced lies. So…what will TVA run out of first: toxic corporate PR, or toxic power plant coal waste?

Without knowing how much PR waste (and how many PR zombies) TVA has stockpiled along with their toxic coal wastes, we may never know the answer. If the size of TVA’s two Big Lies this week is any indication, the Carbon Lords from the Volunteer State have amassed vast stockpiles of first class Grade A PR sludge. TVA’s first Big Lie? TVA simply lied about the volume of the toxic waste spill. TVA’s second Big Lie? TVA lied when they claimed the public waterways contaminated with their toxic waste were “safe”. Who knows what their PR zombies are concocting for the next Big Lie. At the rate they are going — and failing — I wouldn’t be surprise if for Big Lie # 3 they tell us what spilled into the river was actually reindeer muck from Santa’s stables.

Who could have anticipated yet another leak? Well, we can start with the neighbors:…

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 December 2008 at 6:17 am

Best sites for movie trailers

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MakeUseOf has a useful collection of sites that show movie trailers.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 December 2008 at 6:05 am

Posted in Movies & TV

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