Later On

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

Archive for January 23rd, 2009

Afternoon report

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My roast chicken with Meyer lemons is now in the oven, and the Swiss chard is cooking. I got some nice kumquats yesterday, and I cut a few in half lengthways and tossed them in to sauté with the onion in the olive oil. Once they were cooking, in goes the washed and chopped chard, along with a dash of soy sauce, mirin, and water, and the lid goes on for it to cook over low heat. Lots of ground pepper and some homemade pepper sauce went into the dish as well.

UPDATE: My God, the chard was good!

Written by LeisureGuy

23 January 2009 at 1:25 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes

Paul Krugman, fighting ignorance

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There’s so much of it, including ignorance in people who really, really should know better. Read his blog posts here and here and marvel at the ignorance of conservative economists.

UPDATE: Links fixed. (They were both going to the same post; the first link above is now new.)

Written by LeisureGuy

23 January 2009 at 12:19 pm

Posted in Daily life

Americans want infrastructure spending

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Very good post by Steve Benen:

A couple of weeks ago, Gallup conducted a poll on public attitudes towards a stimulus package. The single most popular aspect of a possible rescue plan? Government spending on infrastructure, which enjoyed 78% support, and came out on top among Americans of every party and ideology.

Republican pollster Frank Luntz has been doing similar tests of public opinion, and has found similar results: Americans really care about infrastructure.

I’m a pollster and political consultant associated with Republican causes: the Contract with America, the "death tax" and, of course, ending wasteful Washington spending. So why am I behind the new stimulus legislation — the biggest spending bill ever to be considered by Congress? Maybe because when it comes to some things — crumbling schools, overcrowded highways, an ineffective energy system, clean-water facilities that don’t clean water and trains and planes that are always late — we’re all on the same side.

Last month, I conducted a national survey of 800 registered voters on their attitudes toward infrastructure investment…. The survey’s findings were unlike any other issue I have polled in more than a decade. Iraq, healthcare, taxes, education — they all predictably divide and polarize Americans into political camps. Not infrastructure.

Consider this: A near unanimous 94% of Americans are concerned about our nation’s infrastructure. And this concern cuts across all regions of the country and across urban, suburban and rural communities.

Fully 84% of the public wants more money spent by the federal government — and 83% wants more spent by state governments — to improve America’s infrastructure.

How strong is the support? Luntz found that Americans are prepared to pay (cue scary music) higher taxes for more infrastructure investment. Luntz was further shocked to find that three out of four Republicans would accept such a trade off.

Better yet, Luntz found that Americans "understand that infrastructure is not just roads, bridges and rails. In fact, they rated fixing energy facilities as their highest priority. Roads and highways scored second, and clean-water treatment facilities third."

Written by LeisureGuy

23 January 2009 at 12:07 pm

Posted in Daily life, Government

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Call to action from Marijuana Policy Project

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Received via email:

Yesterday — with the leadership of the Department of Justice in flux while Attorney General-designate Eric Holder awaits confirmation by the Senate — Bush administration holdovers raided a medical marijuana dispensary in South Lake Tahoe, California.

President Obama vowed repeatedly during his campaign to stop such raids if elected, and we have every reason to believe he will make good on that promise. However, four top positions at the DEA are still filled by Bush cronies, who are attempting to undercut the president’s pledge.

Would you please take one minute to use MPP’s easy online system to e-mail the president and ask him to get his new leadership in place at the DEA quickly, so that these cruel and outdated policies finally end?

President Obama has promised that arresting patients and raiding clinics in states where medical marijuana is legal won’t be acceptable on his watch. Getting political appointees in place takes time, but yesterday the Bush holdovers showed that we must move swiftly.

Please write the White House today to urge the president to quickly place his new leaders at the DEA.

You can see some of the statements the president has made about medical marijuana (generally in response to questions from MPP) here.

Please send your e-mail right away. (You can also call the White House at 202-456-1111.)

Written by LeisureGuy

23 January 2009 at 11:23 am

Web 2.0 in a high school classroom

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This is pretty cool:

High school biology teacher Stacy Baker was sick of waiting by the photocopier to make handouts for her students. So in 2006, she launched a website,, to serve as central repository for class notes, pictures, and extra credit assignments.

At first, the site was simply an online extension of her classroom, and information flowed strictly one-way: teacher to pupils. But Baker wanted the site to be more than that; she wanted to engage her students in the full interactive potential of the Internet. So she transformed the site into a participatory blog, and let her students take it over.

Baker, 29, taught her ninth grade and advance placement (AP) biology students at Calverton School in Huntingtown, Maryland some Internet basics — including how to hyperlink and where to find copyright-free pictures — and suggested a few good life sciences-related websites. “From there, I just backed off and waited to see what they’d do with it,” Baker told The Scientist.

The students ran with the idea. First, they voted to name the site’s blog feature “Extreme Biology.” Then, the 40-odd freshmen and nine AP students started posting research-related stories and commenting on each other’s pieces. A scientific dialogue ensued. “I didn’t want to turn it into a typical report you do in school,” said Baker. “I wanted it to be a lot more exciting than that.”

And it wasn’t just the students who got excited. Educational bloggers around the world took notice of the site, and in 2008, Extreme Biology took home an Edublog Award for the best class blog.

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 January 2009 at 10:06 am

Cool science experiments for The Older Grandson

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The Older Grandson is going great guns in his science classes—his mum, The Eldest, has emphasized and showed him the pleasure of entering school knowing that you have really done good work and are fully prepared, and that it’s just a matter of work and planning. Her vivid image is the awful feeling in your stomach as you walk up the school steps knowing that the work you did is not very good or complete—how much nicer it is to bound up the steps feeling great about what you’re bringing in. Emphasizing both work and intrinsic rewards is doing a very good thing for him. He feels like he’s a good worker (true), not simply very intelligent (also true, but that’s not the focus).

At any rate, I thought immediately of him (and her) when I read about these three cool science experiments in

Written by LeisureGuy

23 January 2009 at 9:46 am

Kid’s plate catches on

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I’ve blogged about my discovery of using a kid’s plate, and about how it works (here and here—and you can find other mentions by searching on “kid’s plate”). Now the Kitchn [sic] has a post describing a grown-up version, though more expensive (mine was $3.50, theirs is $13.59). Still, theirs looks pretty good. I’ll add it to my birthday wishlist.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 January 2009 at 9:25 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health

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