Later On

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

Archive for November 26th, 2009

Thanksgiving dinner

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I did buy this guy from Williams-Sonoma and followed the recipe that came with it: soften 2 Tbs butter and use a fork to mix in 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme and 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley. (They actually said 1/2 tsp each, but I go for more.) Rub that under the skin of the chicken breast and along the sides under the skin. Put the chicken on the little rack after putting 2 Tbsp white wine in the cup and tie the legs. I elected to cook it back side up, breast side down. 30 min at 425º F, then stir the potatoes, turn the roasting pan around, and roast about 35-40 min more.

The roasting pan itself is filled with 2 lb Yukon Gold potatoes sliced into 1″ pieces and tossed with 2 Tbs olive oil. The potatoes roast with the chicken drippings (including most of the butter) falling down over them. Yummy^10.

We also had the shredded Brussels sprouts, which The Wife (and I) liked a LOT. One tip: when you shred them, first cut them in half vertically. That works better. This dish was extremely yummy. (As were the potatoes.) (And the chicken.) (Also some pretty decent champagne.)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

UPDATE: It occurred to me that the little roasting pan with support is in effect a rotisserie of a sort—one that doesn’t turn. But the effect of having the bird supported in the air, with the heat on all sides and the fat dripping down over the bird and into the pan below: rotisserie cooking (sans rotation).

Written by Leisureguy

26 November 2009 at 8:07 pm

Firefox and Chrome

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I’m blogging this from my laptop, which still had Mozilla Firefox installed. I’m amazed at how quickly I’ve become so accustomed to Google Chrome as my browser that Firefox looked just weird: unfamiliar, cluttered, and antique design. I immediately downloaded the Developer version of Chrome (so I can install extensions), and now I’m going through and installing the extensions I want.

Google Chrome is the browser to use, IMHO.

Written by Leisureguy

26 November 2009 at 1:32 pm

Posted in Firefox, Software

Shoot a cyclist in the head, get 4 months in jail

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Written by Leisureguy

26 November 2009 at 12:40 pm

Posted in Daily life

Picasso’s Guernica

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26 November 2009 at 11:52 am

Posted in Art, Video

Lifehacker lists 61 free apps they’re most thankful for

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Written by Leisureguy

26 November 2009 at 11:46 am

Posted in Daily life, Software

Thanksgiving wishes to all

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I hope everyone will have a happy and heartwarming Thanksgiving. Here we are dining on roasted chicken, roasted potatoes, and shredded Brussels sprouts.

Written by Leisureguy

26 November 2009 at 11:40 am

Posted in Daily life

Interesting comment on Krugman’s blog

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I thought this comment was worth pointing out:

Dr. Krugman, perhaps I’m paranoid — I’m certainly not an economist — but do you think it’s possible that some people don’t want unemployment fixed because they’re hoping to create a catastrophe that will result in the gutting of modern Western employment, environmental and consumer protection standards?

I ask because, through the late 90s and early 00s, I found myself in discussions with people who insisted that American and Canadian workers needed to learn “to compete on a global level.” When I would ask them what we could do toward that end, they were very vague. When I specifically asked if they meant to work for the same pay and benefits packages as workers in some other areas of the world; to accept workplace safety standards found in some other countries; to allow child labour; to get rid of pesky environmental regulations that interfere with corporate profits; to accept goods made with components known to be hazardous to health; they would simply smile and repeat that we needed to learn to compete on a global level.

It seems that allowing unemployment to spiral out of control would certainly go a long way toward bringing those conditions back to North America. There’s much talk of the burden we’re putting on our children if we spend more to create jobs, but what more horrible burden could we put on them than to erase decades of human progress?

— JoyfulC

Written by Leisureguy

26 November 2009 at 11:38 am

Catholic church in Ireland: Same old story

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The Associated Press in the NY Times:

Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in Dublin covered up decades of child abuse by priests to protect the church’s reputation, an expert commission reported Thursday after a three-year investigation.

Abuse victims welcomed the report on the Dublin Archdiocese’s mishandling of abuse complaints against its parish priests from 1975 to 2004. It followed a parallel report published in May into five decades of rape, beatings and other cruelty committed by Catholic orders of nuns and brothers nationwide in church-run schools, children’s workhouses and orphanages from the 1930s to mid-1990s.

The government said the Dublin investigation ”shows clearly that a systemic, calculated perversion of power and trust was visited on helpless and innocent children in the archdiocese.”

”The perpetrators must continue to be brought to justice, and the people of Ireland must know that this can never happen again,” the government said, also apologizing for the state’s failure to hold church authorities accountable to the law.

The 720-page report — delivered to the government in July but released Thursday after extensive legal vetting — analyzes the cases of 46 priests against whom 320 complaints were filed. The 46 were selected from more than 150 Dublin priests implicated in molesting or raping boys and girls since 1940.

Eleven priests convicted of child abuse are named in the report, but 33 are referred to by aliases and two have their names blacked out because their criminal cases are about to begin in Dublin courts.

The report rejected past bishops’ key claim that they were ignorant of both the scale and criminality of priests’ abuse of children. It documented how the Dublin Archdiocese negotiated a 1987 insurance policy for future legal costs of defending lawsuits and compensation claims.

At the time, bishops knew of at least 17 priests linked to abuse cases, the report said, and ”the taking out of insurance was an act proving knowledge of child sexual abuse as a potential major cost to the archdiocese.”

Victims appealed to the government not to let bishops retain the right to decide whether to refer abuse complaints to police.

”Never again should the Catholic Church in Ireland blame others for its own decision to reassign priests (to other parishes) who were clearly a danger to children,” said one abuse victim, Marie Collins. She was raped by a Dublin priest as a 13-year-old hospital patient in 1960, but police and church officials declined to pursue her complaint…

Continue reading. I’m amazed that the Catholic Church retains any moral authority whatsoever.

Written by Leisureguy

26 November 2009 at 11:35 am

Posted in Daily life, Law, Religion

The Guardian on "Climategate"

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Interesting article in The Guardian by George Marshall:

The lay public, when presented with confusing data and competing arguments about climate change, deploy the mental shortcut of believing the people they most trust. Trust in the communicator is therefore crucial.

Unfortunately the three main climate change communicators: politicians, journalists and environmental campaigners, are among the least trusted people in society – fighting it out for bottom place in the ranking with lawyers and car salesmen. No one would pay any attention to them at all if they were not drawing on the aquifer of public trust in scientists.

But climate scientists have always misunderstood the dynamic of public belief and trust. They assume that belief will be built on their data and that public trust is merited by their authority. With the exception of a few outstanding communicators, they often make no attempt to speak to deeper values or make an emotional connection with the public – indeed they see that as contrary to their professional independence.

Climate change deniers have always understood this. They use language that is designed to appeal to deeper values (such as freedom, independence, progress). The narrative they tell of being determined (and even persecuted) free-thinkers, standing against the tide of oppressive and self-interested conformity is designed to create an aura of integrity and trustworthiness.

The recent hacking of the servers of the University of East Anglia can only be understood within this landscape of competing appeals to public trust. The denial industry (and hordes of climate nerds) has trawled through these emails and found sentences which, when removed from context, support their storyline that climate science is being deliberately distorted and exaggerated for a mixed bag of self-interested and politicised ends.

But you could find anything in here. I looked and found lots of references to lunch and fun, 94 to hate, 31 to love. Generally, though, the emails are extremely focused, technical, and, dare I say it, really dull. As noted on, the emails contain "no evidence of any worldwide conspiracy, no mention of George Soros nefariously funding climate research, no grand plan to ‘get rid of the MWP’, no admission that global warming is a hoax, no evidence of the falsifying of data, and no ‘marching orders’ from our socialist/communist/vegetarian overlords."

But this is hardly the point. This is an orchestrated smear campaign and does not require balance or context. The speed with which the emails have been cut apart and fed into existing storylines is remarkable. At the very least the UEA email campaign is an application of dirty political tactics to climate change campaigning.

I suspect it goes further than that. The storyline is too clever, the timing on the brink of Copenhagen and the US climate bill too convenient. I wait with interest to find out how these emails were obtained.

The UEA response has been frankly pathetic…

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

26 November 2009 at 11:32 am

Reuters’ analysis of the hacked emails

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Timothy Gardner for Reuters:

Revelation of a series of embarrassing e-mails by climate scientists provides fodder for critics, but experts believe the issue will not hurt the U.S. climate bill’s chance for passage or efforts to forge a global climate change deal.

Already dubbed “Climategate,” e-mails stolen from a British university are sparking outrage from climate change skeptics who say they show that the scientists were colluding on suppressing data on how humans affect climate change.

The e-mails, some written as long as 13 years ago, ranged from nasty comments by global warming researchers about climate skeptics to exchanges between researchers on how to present data in charts to make global warming look convincing.

In one e-mail, according to news accounts, Kevin Trenberth, a climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, wrote: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

Climate skeptics seized on the release of the e-mails as a game changer. The documents will speed the end of “global warming alarmism,” said Myron Ebell, a climate change skeptic at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He said research that has been relied upon for official reports “is now very suspect.”

Patrick Michaels, one of the scientists derided in the e-mails for doubting global warming, said he thinks the documents will finally “open up the scientific debate.”

“That’s probably the good news,” said Michaels, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.
But others say the damage may be limited as the evidence is still overwhelming that a buildup of greenhouse gases is melting snow on mountain tops and shrinking global ice caps.

“The issue of scientists behaving badly does nothing to invalidate the science,” said Kevin Book, an analyst at ClearView Energy Partners, LLC in Washington. “This does nothing to the U.S. climate bill, which will be decided mostly by economic forces, not environmental ones.”

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

26 November 2009 at 11:26 am

Clearly obstruction of justice through destroying evidence

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This action by the CIA is, I think, illegal as well as contemptible—Daphne Eviatar at the Washington Independent:

Marcy Wheeler at Firedoglake has an interesting take today on the most recent summary of classified documents that the government turned over to the American Civil Liberties Union Friday, as part of its response to the organization’s Freedom of Information Act requests about the destruction of 92 videotapes of CIA interrogations. The documents reveal what Wheeler calls “a tension between the torturers in the field growing increasingly panicked about the torture tapes” and wanting the CIA to destroy them, and the reluctance, at first, of the CIA’s Office of General Counsel to do that.

The ACLU, meanwhile, has identified an important point about the chronology of the CIA’s internal communications about the tapes. Although the communications remain classified, the dates and summaries of their content provided by the government reveals that a request to destroy the 92 tapes were  made just days after The Washington Post reported on the existence of secret overseas CIA prisons known as “black sites.” Another request was made on the day The New York Times reported that the CIA inspector general had issued a report questioning the legality of the agency’s interrogation methods.

The tapes were destroyed that same day.

Written by Leisureguy

26 November 2009 at 11:21 am

An unwarranted fear gun-owners have

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At least some portion of gun-owners are prone to be fearful (thus the purchase and stockpiling of home defense weapons). But some of their fears—particularly of the Obama Administration—are overblown (and to some degree promoted by gun and ammo manufacturers who have had a very profitable time selling guns and ammo "before they are banned"). One fear is that health reform, of all things, will lead to the confiscation of firearms. Dan Pfeiffer at the White House blog explains that the fear is unfounded:

It’s amazing that after so many months debating health insurance reform, sometimes a myth we see being spread about it can still surprise us. In October, for example, we saw a rather shocking claim that one bill being debated in the Senate "could be used to ban guns in home self-defense." Politifact appropriately dismissed that claim as false, and we thought we could all move on from bizarre claims that reform was related to the 2ndAmendment in any way whatsoever.

But apparently the Gun Owners of America, the same group that propagated that ridiculous claim, had simply gone back to the drawing board.  Today they sent out an alert misleading their members again, raising the specter of some massive government database of  "gun-related health data" despite the fact that there is no mention "gun-related health data" or anything like it anywhere in either the Senate or the House bills.

RHETORICGUN OWNERS OF AMERICA CLAIMS THAT HEALTH REFORM LEGISLATION WILL "DUMP YOUR GUN-RELATED HEALTH DATA” INTO A GOVERNMENT DATABASE WHICH CAN BE USED TO "PRECLUDE YOU FROM OWNING FIREARMS."  The Gun Owners of America (GOA) claim that "the mandates in [the Senate’s health reform] legislation will most likely dump your gun-related health data into a government database that was created in section 13001 of the stimulus bill.  This includes any firearms-related information your doctor has gleaned… or any determination of PTSD, or something similar, that can preclude you from owning firearms." [Gun Owners of America Alert, 11/20/09]

REALITYNOTHING IN THE SENATE BILL WOULD RESULT IN "GUN-RELATED HEALTH DATA" BEING SUBMITTED TO THE GOVERNMENT.  There is no mention of "gun-related health data" anywhere in the Senate’s health reform bill and there is nothing in the bill that would result in any such data being reported to the government.    The bill does provide guidelines for reporting of anonymous statistical information to help with research, but none of this would lead to gun ownership or “gun related health data” being included in reporting to the government.  [Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act]

RHETORICGUN OWNERS OF AMERICA CLAIMS THAT SECTION 2717 OF THE SENATE HEALTH REFORM BILL WOULD ALLOW THE GOVERNMENT TO OFFER LOWER PREMIUMS TO EMPLOYERS IF THEIR EMPLOYEES DO NOT OWN GUNS.  Gun Owners of America (GOA) claims that "Special ‘wellness and prevention’ programs (inserted by Section 1001 of the bill as part of a new Section 2717 in the Public Health Services Act) would allow the government to offer lower premiums to employers who bribe their employees to live healthier lifestyles — and nothing within the bill would prohibit rabidly anti-gun HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from decreeing that ‘no guns’ is somehow healthier."  [Gun Owners of America Alert, 11/20/09]

REALITY:  NOTHING IN THE SENATE HEALTH REFORM BILL WOULD LEAD TO HIGHER PREMIUMS FOR GUN OWNERS OR A "DECREE" THAT GUN OWNERS ARE LESS HEALTHY THAN OTHERS.    Section 2717 section creates guidelines for insurers to report on initiatives that  improve quality of care and health outcomes, and it specifically lists what types of programs would be involved – such as smoking cessation, physical fitness, nutrition, heart disease prevention.  There is no mention of guns, and there is no language that could result in higher premiums for gun owners or lower premiums for people who do not own guns.  Section 2705 of the bill does permit employers to provide premium discounts for employee participation in health promotion and disease prevention programs, and it prohibits insurers from discriminating against individuals for specific reasons such as health status, medical history, and genetic information.  It allows the Secretary to add other “health status-related” factors to the list.   But again, there is no mention of guns,  or any possibility that owning or not owning guns would ever be considered a "health status-related" issue.   [Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act]

Written by Leisureguy

26 November 2009 at 11:18 am

The evolution of the theory of evolution

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Extremely interesting post with a link to a wonderful interactive site that explores the development of the theory of evolution.

Written by Leisureguy

26 November 2009 at 11:14 am

Evernote forever!

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Cool Tools review Evernote, a wonderful (free) program.

Written by Leisureguy

26 November 2009 at 11:12 am

Posted in Daily life, Software

Eddie Izzard on Watch Instantly

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Movies become available to watch instantly with no notice, and with no notice go unavailable. Fortunately, the unavailable ones are moved to a "Saved" section of your Watch Instantly queue so you don’t lose them.

Yesterday I found that Eddie Izzard’s performance movies were available (doubtless temporarily) and last night I watched the entirety of Dress to Kill, which I had seen before. I was only going to sample it, but Izzard is wonderful so I ended up staying with it. If you haven’t seen him, check it out.

Written by Leisureguy

26 November 2009 at 10:30 am

Boar brushes can be deceptive

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Take the little Vulfix boar brush in the photo. When dry, it feels very stiff and as though it will not be a pleasant brush to use. (A badger brush this stiff and packed doesn’t work well for me:  holds little lather.)

But, of course, boar bristles absorb water, and after the brush soaked in hot water while I took my shower, it was soft and pleasant to use. This is, I think, only its second use, so it’s far from broken in. I returned to the soap for the third pass, as I expected, but did get excellent lather and a very fine shave, thanks to the Gillette Toggle and the Iridium Super blade it holds. And Booster Mosswood is a very nice aftershave.

Written by Leisureguy

26 November 2009 at 10:22 am

Posted in Shaving

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