Later On

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

Archive for November 2nd, 2009

Three clever ways to provide motivation when you’re learning a language

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Well worth a bookmark.

Written by Leisureguy

2 November 2009 at 1:29 pm

Posted in Daily life, Education

Google Chrome extensions

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I’m now using Google Chrome, since I learned that lots of extensions are available. I also learned that Chrome will install extensions only if you’re using the Developer version (which, so far as I can tell, is identical to the regular version except that you can install extensions). I was running Chrome when I installed the Developer version and a new instance of Chrome came up after installation. I closed that, then closed the version I already had open, opened Chrome anew and was able to start installing the extensions. Here’s the key passage:

Having troubles getting the extension to install? Our pal Joe Siegrist offers the following four-step plan:

  1. Chrome’s extension support is only available in their dev builds, so you must first install the dev channel of Chrome.
  2. Then, to install LastPass, point Chrome to:
  3. If Chrome refuses to allow you to install it (it tries to save in a loop) go to Wrench -> Options and disable choosing where to download files (this will be fixed in next dev build).
  4. Finally, it is recommended that you disable the built-in password manager by clicking on the Options (under the customize and control ‘wrench’ button). Then choose the ‘Personal Stuff’ tab and select ‘Never save passwords’ and ‘Never save text from forms’

And, indeed, LastPass (a Roboform workalike—automatically fills passwords and forms with the information you provide) is the first extension I installed—since one of the things I miss most about Firefox was using Roboform.

For more extensions, see this post.

Written by Leisureguy

2 November 2009 at 12:27 pm

Posted in Daily life, Software

McCain adviser putting money where his mouth was—and he doesn’t like it

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Igor Volsky at ThinkProgress:

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a senior policy adviser to Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) presidential campaign, “remains unemployed — and his COBRA health coverage is running out,” the Washington Post reports. “Irony of ironies, it gets worse. Holtz-Eakin, who is about to start shopping for insurance on the individual market, is 51. And he has one of those pesky ‘preexisting conditions’ that insurance companies often cite in denying coverage”:

Holtz-Eakin said he’s been paying about $1,000 a month to extend the private health insurance he received on McCain’s campaign through the government’s COBRA program, but that will expire in a few months. This is the first time in his life he has not had employer-provided health coverage. “I worry about where I go next in the way many Americans do,” he said.

During the campaign, Holtz-Eakin fervently defended McCain’s proposal to shift more Americans out of their employer-sponsored coverage and into the individual health insurance market. “The key to real reform is to restore control over our health-care system to the patients themselves,” Holtz-Eakin said in August. “Instead of only getting it in the employer market, you would get it regardless of your source of insurance. And you get the same amount whether you’re rich or poor, $5,000 for every working family.”

Written by Leisureguy

2 November 2009 at 11:31 am

Posted in Daily life, GOP, Healthcare

How to eat a chicken wing

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Via Lifehacker. I use a similar technique: I begin by holding the two ends of the wing section and then twisting the two in opposite directions. This generally frees the smaller bone so it can be pulled out, and then you can pull out the larger or use it has a handle (cf. popsicle).

Written by Leisureguy

2 November 2009 at 11:14 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Video

John Aravosis on Obama’s disengagement from healthcare reform

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Great post at Americablog by John Aravosis:

Robert Pear and Sheryl Gay Stolberg just wrote a piece in the New York Times that could have been (and probably was) written by Rahm Emanuel and Jim Messina. Pear and Stolberg reveal that Obama’s secret strategy of not getting involved in the health care debate, and then actively undercutting those of us who were trying to fulfill Obama’s campaign promises without him, is what actually saved health care reform.


Conveniently, they didn’t quote anyone who disagreed with Obama’s masterful non-stroke, other than a weak quote from John Podesta about how he was worried earlier.

Let’s revisit the history of health care reform.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

2 November 2009 at 11:10 am

Science moment: The Bloodybelly Comb Jelly

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From the YouTube "more info":

The bloodybelly comb jelly’s sparkling display is from light diffracting from tiny transparent, hair-like cilia. These beat continuously as a form of propulsion. In the deep sea, the jelly is nearly invisible; animals that are red appear black and blend into the dark background.

Written by Leisureguy

2 November 2009 at 11:06 am

Posted in Daily life, Science, Video

FBI cover-up of anthrax investigation continues

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Robert Mueller should be fired. Marcy Wheeler points out why:

Steven Aftergood has just published Robert Mueller’s responses to questions for the record he received from the Senate Judiciary Committee this spring. Chuck Grassley asked Mueller several questions about the anthrax investigation. (The questions start on page 42 of these QFRs.) Mueller’s answers make it clear the FBI was–and is still–trying to cover up details about its investigation of the anthrax attack.

Delaying the Exoneration of Stephen Hatfill

Grassley starts by asking why it took the FBI two years to publicly clear Stephen Hatfill after it had eliminated him as a suspect.

[In a reply to an earlier inquiry I made] the Justice Department said that Dr. Stephen Hatfill was conclusively eliminated as a potential suspect in the Spring of 2006. That’s four years after the government publicly branded him a “person of interest” and instructed his federally funded employer to fire him in 2002. Yet, two more years passed after the FBI knew he was innocent before anyone bothered to inform Dr. Hatfill in 2008 that he had been cleared.

After Mueller basically concedes the point, Grassley asks whether the delay had anything to do with Hatfill’s lawsuit. Mueller indirectly concedes that the FBI did not inform Hatfill because they were still litigating Hatfill’s Privacy Act suit.

Grassley: Is it a coincidence that Dr. Hatfill’s lawyer was informed of the FBI’s findings only after he had settled the case against the government for nearly $6 million?

Mueller: The settlement of Hatfill v. Mukasey, et al. (DDC), resolved complex litigation that had been pending since 2003. The lawsuit included constitutional tort claims against Federal officials in their personal capacity and Privacy Act claims against DOJ and the FBI. THe constitutional tort claims were dismissed in 2005 (including the claim against former AG Ashcroft based on his having publicly referred to Dr. Hatfill as a “person of interest”). The Privacy Act claims (which alleged improper leaks, among other things) remained pending at the time of the settlement.

Mueller’s non-answer basically confirms that the FBI let Hatfill hang out there, virtually unemployable, for two years so that they could settle his suit before admitting to him they had already confirmed he wasn’t the anthrax killer.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

2 November 2009 at 10:51 am

Places to watch free movies on-line

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And when will Roku allow me to tap into these new resources?

Dan Colman at Open Culture writes:

Where to watch free movies online? Here’s a list that will get you started. We’ve listed 20 sites that feature a wide range of films. Classics, international, film noir, documentaries, indies — they’re all here. Most of these films should be available in every geographic region. However, there will be some exceptions. This is just a start, and I’m really hoping that you(yes, you!) can add your favorites to the list and help it grow. The more you contribute, the more we all benefit.

Here’s his list.

Written by Leisureguy

2 November 2009 at 10:46 am

Andrew Sullivan on the stupidity of the UK drug laws

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Andrew Sullivan:

My London column today is on the dramatically shifting landscape for marijuana in the US, with growing acceptance of medical cannabis, growing numbers of states allowing it, California’s consideration of outright legalization and taxation, and the Obama Justice Department’s decision to let states govern themselves on the question, without federal interference. It comes after the Labour government has actually tried to increase penalties for pot – against the advice of its own chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). The wonderfully named Professor David Nutt was fired by the government after he noted certain quite obvious facts:

Professor Nutt had become a thorn in the side of ministers with his criticisms of drugs policy. He clashed with former home secretary Jacqui Smith when he suggested ecstasy, which causes 30 deaths a year, was less dangerous than horse-riding, which causes 100 deaths a year. He also argued that, to prevent one episode of schizophrenia linked to cannabis use, it would be necessary to “stop 5,000 men aged 20 to 25 from ever using” the drug…

The Home Secretary asked him to consider his position after a recent lecture in which attacked what he called the “artificial” separation of alcohol and tobacco from other, illegal, drugs. Last night Professor Nutt said he stood by his comments. “My view is policy should be based on evidence. It’s a bit odd to make policy that goes in the face of evidence. The danger is they are misleading us.

“The scientific evidence is there: it’s in all the reports we published. Our judgements about the classification of drugs like cannabis and ecstasy have been based on a great deal of very detailed scientific appraisal.

“Gordon Brown makes completely irrational statements about cannabis being ‘lethal’, which it is not. I’m not prepared to mislead the public about the harmfulness of drugs like cannabis and ecstasy. I think most scientists will see this as an example of the Luddite attitude of governments towards science.”

He repeated his view that cannabis was “not that harmful” and that parents should be more worried about alcohol.

They should. Alcohol is far more dangerous to the individual and to society than marijuana. Brits, of all people, should know this. If pubs served pot rather than beer, violent crime in Britain would plummet. Mercifully, the science establishment is fighting back against the firing of someone for telling the scientific truth. Two other scientific advisers have now quit in protest.

Written by Leisureguy

2 November 2009 at 10:24 am

Posted in Daily life, Drug laws

The role of the police: Fight crime, not illegal immigration

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William Bratton, outgoing chief of the LA Police Department, has a very good column on why diverting police resources to fight illegal immigration undercuts their mission of fighting crime. Remember: illegal immigrants are NOT guilty of a crime—immigration laws are not part of the Criminal Code. The police really should stay out of the immigration battle and leave that to ICE. Unless, of course, the police have been so successful that there is no crime left to fight. Bratton’s column begins:

On March 12, Juan Garcia, a 53-year-old homeless man, was brutally murdered in an alley off 9th and Alvarado streets in the Westlake District, just west of downtown Los Angeles. At first, the police were stumped; there were no known witnesses and few clues. Then a 43-year-old undocumented immigrant who witnessed the crime came forward and told the homicide detectives from the Rampart station what he saw. Because of his help, a suspect was identified and arrested a few days later while hiding on skid row. Because the witness was not afraid to contact the police, an accused murderer was taken off the streets, and we are all a little bit safer. Stories like this are repeated daily in Los Angeles.

Keeping America’s neighborhoods safe requires our police forces to have the trust and help of everyone in our communities. My nearly 40 years in law enforcement, and my experience as police commissioner in Boston and New York City and as chief in Los Angeles, have taught me this.

Yet every day our effectiveness is diminished because immigrants living and working in our communities are afraid to have any contact with the police. A person reporting a crime should never fear being deported, but such fears are real and palpable for many of our immigrant neighbors.

This fear is not unfounded. Earlier this month, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that 11 more locations across the United States have agreed to participate in a controversial law enforcement program known as 287(g). The program gives local law enforcement agencies the powers of federal immigration agents by entering into agreements with Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. Although many local agencies have declined to participate in 287(g), 67 state and local law enforcement agencies are working with ICE, acting as immigration agents.

Some in Los Angeles have asked why the LAPD doesn’t participate. My officers can’t prevent or solve crimes if victims or witnesses are unwilling to talk to us because of the fear of being deported. That basic fact led to the implementation almost 30 years ago of the LAPD’s policy on immigrants, which has come to be known as Special Order 40. The order prohibits LAPD officers from

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 November 2009 at 10:22 am

Posted in Daily life, Government, Law

Comparison brush

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I wondered how my two boar brushes—the Omega Pro 48 and the Semogue 2000—were coming along, so this morning I used the Boreal boar brush, which I’ve used only once or twice. I wanted to see what difference I could detect in a brush definitely not broken in.

I wanted to give the Boreal every chance to shine, so it soaked in hot water while I showered, and I worked it vigorously on the Institut Karité shaving soap, including a fair amount of pumping. I did get copious—and very nice—lather for the first pass, but this newish brush has very little capacity so far. For the second pass, I had to reload the brush a bit, and for the third pass, I put a big splash of hot water on the brush and worked up the lather again, much as for the first pass. I again got a copious, good lather for that last pass.

The Slant Bar with its newish Astra Keramik blade did a fine job, and Pashana is a distinctive finish.

Clearly the Boreal doesn’t match the boar brushes that have been broken in, but now I’m determined to bring this one along, so I’ll be using it a fair amount in the days to come. It’s clear that boar brushes require some commitment to the break-in process before they can really do well.

Written by Leisureguy

2 November 2009 at 10:16 am

Posted in Shaving

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