Later On

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

Archive for August 16th, 2010

On Watch Instantly, a comic I enjoyed

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Jake Johannsen. Watch a little and see what you think.

Written by Leisureguy

16 August 2010 at 4:22 pm

Cool toothbrush

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Where can you buy it?

UPDATE: I received this via email:

The J3X is a prototype that is currently unavailable in the United States.

But the Soladey-eco is available, it has the same head as the prototype and uses the same technology to create the biofilm that cleans your teeth.  The only difference is the addition of a solar cell to the end of the J3x.  The only real benefit of the solar cell is to amplify the light used to create the biofilm.  However under normal lighting conditions the Soladey-eco works just fine.  The J3X is scheduled for availability next year in the United States and will be available through dentists.  At this point in time I have no problem recommending that you purchase the Soladey-eco to start noticing the great benefits!

The Soladey-eco can be purchased here.

Written by Leisureguy

16 August 2010 at 2:36 pm

Posted in Daily life, Technology

Wonder how they’d react if it moved

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Written by Leisureguy

16 August 2010 at 2:33 pm

Posted in Cats, Video

Greenland ice sheet faces ‘tipping point in 10 years’

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And ten years simply flies by, let me tell you: The Wife and I celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary tomorrow. Suzanne Goldenberg reports in the Guardian:

The entire ice mass of Greenland will disappear from the world map if temperatures rise by as little as 2C, with severe consequences for the rest of the world, a panel of scientists told Congress today.

Greenland shed its largest chunk of ice in nearly half a century last week, and faces an even grimmer future, according to Richard Alley, a geosciences professor at Pennsylvania State University

"Sometime in the next decade we may pass that tipping point which would put us warmer than temperatures that Greenland can survive," Alley told a briefing in Congress, adding that a rise in the range of 2C to 7C would mean the obliteration of Greenland’s ice sheet.

The fall-out would be felt thousands of miles away from the Arctic, unleashing a global sea level rise of 23ft (7 metres), Alley warned. Low-lying cities such as New Orleans would vanish.

"What is going on in the Arctic now is the biggest and fastest thing that nature has ever done," he said.

Speaking by phone, Alley was addressing a briefing held by the House of Representatives committee on energy independence and global warming.

Greenland is losing ice mass at an increasing rate, dumping more icebergs into the ocean because of warming temperatures, he said.

The stark warning was underlined by the momentous break-up of one of Greenland’s largest glaciers last week, which set a 100 sq mile chunk of ice drifting into the North Strait between Greenland and Canada.

The briefing also noted that the last six months had set new temperature records.

Robert Bindschadler, a research scientist at the University of Maryland, told the briefing: "While we don’t believe it is possible to lose an ice sheet within a decade, we do believe it is possible to reach a tipping point in a few decades in which we would lose the ice sheet in a century."

The ice loss from the Petermann Glacier was the largest such event in nearly 50 years, although there have been regular and smaller "calvings"…

Continue reading.

The GOP continues to firmly deny that global warming is happening. The GOP thinks we should continue on as we have.

Written by Leisureguy

16 August 2010 at 2:12 pm

A profile of, and an interview with, Robert Gates

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Both by Fred Kaplan, both worth reading.



Written by Leisureguy

16 August 2010 at 1:49 pm

Interesting thoughts on legalizing marijuana

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E.D. Kain, the conservative voice of Balloon Juice:

This doesn’t make any sense to me. Mark Kleiman argues that pot should be legal to grow and use and give away but not to sell commercially. His reasons? Because it’s bad for you, like beer is bad for you. And because the Marijuana lobby would be really, really bad. (Note, Kleiman does not propose to ban the sale of alcohol and return us to the days of stills and home breweries.)

Kleiman is wrong on many fronts, but mainly he’s wrong because most people who want to smoke pot don’t want to grow it. They want to buy it. And all these people spending money to grow their own aren’t going to give it away to everyone for free, which leaves us with a demand to fill but not nearly the level of supply needed to fill it. The only thing standing between that demand and the supply shortage would be the government. Which, naturally, leads to black markets, drug dealers, confiscation of property by police departments, drug raids, shooting deaths and so forth. Not too far a cry from where we’re at now.

So we have a choice: create a legal market or a new black market.

One of these two markets will exist no matter what we do, because people are going to smoke pot one way or another. The laws we have now don’t prevent this. Allowing home growing but not commercial sales won’t either. Nothing will. This is one vice that isn’t going anywhere and doesn’t really need “America’s marketing geniuses” in order to peddle.

Kleiman thinks all the companies selling marijuana will be like the Big Tobacco companies, with a fierce lobbying arm and a huge monopoly over the market, preying mercilessly on helpless consumers. But that’s not going to happen if we just legalize marijuana and don’t set up regulations which grant these big companies de facto monopolies to begin with. Small growers, like small brewers, will do just fine. And no, we won’t have a bunch of crazed cannabis users at the mercy of Marijuana Inc. Some people will smoke too much pot, but plenty of people already do and many of them quit before their lives are ruined.

A better idea would be to simply not regulate out home growers from the market which is a legitimate concern. Setting up laws which prevent home growing will crowd out home growers and make big corporations much more powerful. Simply opening up the market to both will create a much more level playing field. I think it will actually be extremely difficult for big corporations to compete with local growers – economies of scale be damned, pot smokers enjoy the quality of their product too much – but at least that competition will exist.

Furthermore, I’m much more afraid of violent drug dealers, over-eager SWAT teams, and the whole awful black market cycle of violence than I am about the lobbying arms of a few big corporations which apparently fill Kleiman with fear. I’ll take lobbyists over drug cartels any day.

Written by Leisureguy

16 August 2010 at 10:57 am

Chasing the dream

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Via Boing Boing:

Written by Leisureguy

16 August 2010 at 10:52 am

Posted in Daily life, Video

Reasonable Republican

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Commendable when it happens. Via email from the Atlantic:

Josh Barro on the Intricacies of the Cordoba House 

In a self-described "very long post" on the nuances of the proposed Ground Zero mosque, the National Review contributor details why critics are wrong to stop the building at all costs.

He writes: "Part of supporting limited government is understanding that sometimes, things you don’t like will happen, and the government (especially the federal government) won’t do anything about it. Getting to do what you want comes at the price of other people getting to do what they want–including build mosques where you’d prefer they didn’t."

That conservatives are trying to undermine the building by throwing out obstructionist roadblocks is more than disconcerting. They are violating their own "principles about property rights, rule of law, and federalism."

Written by Leisureguy

16 August 2010 at 10:34 am

Posted in Daily life, GOP

Losing again

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It seems as though exercise is indeed required for weight loss: you can cut back on food to the point where you’re not gaining, but unless you move the body some, nothing much happens. So I’m doing Nordic Track again (10 min this morning, with plan for 12.5 tomorrow and 15 on Wednesday, at which point I’ll hold it steady for a week) and working with the kettlebells once more. And over the weekend I did lose another pound.

Written by Leisureguy

16 August 2010 at 9:37 am

Posted in Daily life, Fitness

Screen-capture for long documents

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This little program will be quite useful to me and (I think) The Wife.

Written by Leisureguy

16 August 2010 at 8:48 am

Posted in Daily life, Software

iPhone app that greatly improves the camera function

with 2 comments

Take a look.

Written by Leisureguy

16 August 2010 at 8:34 am

Making your own ketchup

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Interesting article, and a complex recipe.

Written by Leisureguy

16 August 2010 at 8:28 am

Attacking Social Security

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I do not understand the unremitting Right-wing assault on Social Security, a highly successful government program that operates at low cost in terms of administrative overhead and has greatly helped the poor in old age. Paul Krugman:

Social Security turned 75 last week. It should have been a joyous occasion, a time to celebrate a program that has brought dignity and decency to the lives of older Americans.

But the program is under attack, with some Democrats as well as nearly all Republicans joining the assault. Rumor has it that President Obama’s deficit commission may call for deep benefit cuts, in particular a sharp rise in the retirement age.

Social Security’s attackers claim that they’re concerned about the program’s financial future. But their math doesn’t add up, and their hostility isn’t really about dollars and cents. Instead, it’s about ideology and posturing. And underneath it all is ignorance of or indifference to the realities of life for many Americans.

About that math: Legally, Social Security has its own, dedicated funding, via the payroll tax (“FICA” on your pay statement). But it’s also part of the broader federal budget. This dual accounting means that there are two ways Social Security could face financial problems. First, that dedicated funding could prove inadequate, forcing the program either to cut benefits or to turn to Congress for aid. Second, Social Security costs could prove unsupportable for the federal budget as a whole.

But neither of these potential problems is a clear and present danger. Social Security has been running surpluses for the last quarter-century, banking those surpluses in a special account, the so-called trust fund. The program won’t have to turn to Congress for help or cut benefits until or unless the trust fund is exhausted, which the program’s actuaries don’t expect to happen until 2037 — and there’s a significant chance, according to their estimates, that that day will never come.

Meanwhile, an aging population will eventually (over the course of the next 20 years) cause the cost of paying Social Security benefits to rise from its current 4.8 percent of G.D.P. to about 6 percent of G.D.P. To give you some perspective, that’s a significantly smaller increase than the rise in defense spending since 2001, which Washington certainly didn’t consider a crisis, or even a reason to rethink some of the Bush tax cuts.

So where do claims of crisis come from?

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

16 August 2010 at 8:18 am

Troops still may be misdiagnosed with personality disorder

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The US is not taking good care of its troops. Anne Flaherty for Associated Press:

At the height of the Iraq war, the Army routinely fired hundreds of soldiers for having a personality disorder when they were more likely to be suffering from the traumatic stresses of war, discharge data suggests.

Under pressure from Congress and the public, the Army later acknowledged the problem and drastically cut the number of soldiers given the designation. But advocates for veterans say an unknown number of troops still unfairly bear the stigma of a personality disorder, making them ineligible for military health care and other benefits.

"We really have an obligation to go back and make sure troops weren’t misdiagnosed," said Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, a clinical psychologist whose nonprofit "Give an Hour" connects troops with volunteer mental health professionals.

The Army denies that any soldier was misdiagnosed before 2008, when it drastically cut the number of discharges because of personality disorders, and diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorders skyrocketed.

Unlike PTSD, which the Army regards as a treatable mental disability caused by the acute stresses of war, the military designation of a personality disorder can have devastating consequences for soldiers.

Defined as a "deeply ingrained maladaptive pattern of behavior," a personality disorder is considered a "pre-existing condition" that relieves the military of its duty to pay for the person’s health care or combat-related disability pay.

Among the soldiers discharged before the change in policy was Chuck Luther, who decided to rejoin the Army after the Sept. 11 attacks. He had previously served eight years before being honorably discharged.

"I knew what combat was going to take," he said.

Luther, who lives near Fort Hood, Texas, said throughout his time in the Army, he received eight mental health evaluations from the Army, each clearing him as "fit for duty."

Luther was seven months into his deployment as a reconnaissance scout in Iraq’s violent Sunni Triangle in 2007 when he says a mortar shell slammed him to the ground. He later complained of stabbing eye pain and crippling migraines, but was told by a military doctor that he was faking his symptoms to avoid combat duty.

Luther said that he was confined for a month in a 6-by-8 foot room without treatment. At one point, Luther acknowledges, he snapped – biting a guard and spitting in the face of a military chaplain.

After that episode, Luther said, the Army told him he could return home and keep his benefits if he signed papers admitting he had a personality disorder. If he didn’t sign, he said, he was told he would be kicked out eventually anyway…

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

16 August 2010 at 8:15 am

Mark Halperin gives his party some advice

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Steve Benen:

For months, the Republican message has been vague but focused — the economy matters more than everything else. The GOP doesn’t necessarily have an economic agenda, or credible ideas on how to improve the economy, or even an explanation as to why they want to go back to the some policies that got us in this mess in the first place, but the focus is still there.

That may be changing. Republicans have seized on a plan to convert a shut-down clothing store into a community center in lower Manhattan, believing the plan can help pit Americans against each other and give the GOP a boost in the midterm elections. President Obama’s spirited defense on Friday of the First Amendment and the American tradition of religious liberty has made Republicans even more anxious to embrace demagoguery for electoral gain.

Time‘s Mark Halperin published a letter to the Republican Party, acknowledging the "political potency" of the issue, and taking note of the fact that the president’s support for American principles puts him at odds with public opinion. Halperin concludes, however, that it would be in America’s interests for Republicans to show restraint.

Yes, Republicans, you can take advantage of this heated circumstance, backed by the families of the 9/11 victims, in their most emotional return to the public stage since 2001.

But please don’t do it. There are a handful of good reasons to oppose allowing the Islamic center to be built so close to Ground Zero, particularly the family opposition and the availability of other, less raw locations. But what is happening now — the misinformation about the center and its supporters; the open declarations of war on Islam on talk radio, the Internet and other forums; the painful divisions propelled by all the overheated rhetoric — is not worth whatever political gain your party might achieve.

It isn’t clear how the battle over the proposed center should or will end. But two things are profoundly clear: Republicans have a strong chance to win the midterm elections without picking a fight over President Obama’s measured words. And a national political fight conducted on the terms we have seen in the past few days will lead to a chain reaction at home and abroad that will have one winner — the very extreme and violent jihadists we all can claim as our true enemy.

As I said, Republicans, this is your moment. As a famous New Yorker once urged in a very different context: Do the right thing.

This is excellent, thoughtful advice. It asks Republicans to look past the short-term gratification that demagoguery offers, and consider what’s best for the country and our broader interests.

What Halperin wants, in other words, is for Republicans to demonstrate some decency and respect for American values. I would very much like to think this is still possible, but the party has offered no credible reason to believe it has the necessary strength of character.

I would genuinely love to be proven wrong, but waiting for GOP integrity invariably leads to crushing disappointment.

Written by Leisureguy

16 August 2010 at 7:36 am

The ultimate automatic teamaker?

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I’m not getting one, but it does sound fascinating.

Written by Leisureguy

16 August 2010 at 7:34 am

Best h.s. sports movie EVER

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Have you not yet seen The Heart of the Game? I myself saw it only last night. What an incredibly fine movie—and it’s a documentary! It tells the story, over several years, of a high-school basketball team. Because it’s a documentary and not fiction, the movie has incredible plot twits—whereas fiction must be careful that the events and decisions fit with the overall narrative, real life is not so neat.

Don’t miss this one, especially if you like basketball.

Written by Leisureguy

16 August 2010 at 7:29 am

Posted in Daily life, Movies & TV

EJ synthetic plus Honeybee Spa Fresh Lemon

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Extremely nice shave today. I got a great lather—and plenty of it—from the Honeybee Spa Fresh Lemon shave stick (one of my fav fragrances) and the Edwin Jagger synthetic-bristle Chatsworth brush. Extremely nice. And then a smooth three-pass shave with the Slant Bar and the Swedish Gillette blade of many uses. A splash of Ogallala Bay Rum and I’m ready for the day.

Written by Leisureguy

16 August 2010 at 7:23 am

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

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