Later On

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

Archive for November 5th, 2010

Pilates notes

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I keep forgetting to mention another Pilates benefit: I do the work in gym shorts and a t-shirt, and the mirrored wall is merciless to the notion that I’m at a good weight.

But mainly I wanted to note that this evening, after three sessions, I noticed that I noticed how I was standing, and stood differently. It was an odd feeling, and I don’t know exactly what I’m doing, but I’m certainly aware of things of which I previously was completely unaware: the way the muscles in my trunk and legs are tensed, and even the existence of various small muscles until the soreness after the second day set in. We didn’t do anything at all strenuous, but clearly a bunch of little muscles were getting the workout of their tapioca-pudding lives.

At any rate, if I’m starting to feel the stance and movement of my muscles after just three sessions, this promises to be a very interesting course.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 November 2010 at 6:05 pm

Posted in Fitness

Why Western science conquered the world

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Extremely interesting brief article. Worth reading. In a word, the reason is geography.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 November 2010 at 12:43 pm

Posted in Daily life, Science

Polish hunter’s stew

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This I’m definitely going to make:

bigos-a

Just take a look at the ingredients:

  • 1 ounce dried porcini or other wild mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp bacon fat or vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds pork shoulder
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 head cabbage (regular, not savoy or red), chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds mixed fresh mushrooms
  • 1-2 pounds kielbasa or other smoked sausage
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 1 pound fresh Polish sausage (optional)
  • 1 25-ounce jar of fresh sauerkraut (we recommend Bubbies)
  • 1 bottle of pilsner or lager beer
  • 1 Tbsp juniper berries (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 2 Tbsp dried marjoram
  • Salt
  • 20 prunes, sliced in half (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste (optional)
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce (optional)
  • 1-2 Tbsp mustard or horseradish (optional)

On that last one, I think the obvious choice is to use both, a tablespoon of each. (Just like using horseradish mustard.) Bubbies sauerkraut is packed in a jar and is kept in the refrigerated section. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods both carry it, as do quite a few other stores.

Here’s the recipe.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 November 2010 at 12:17 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes

Progress note

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20′ non-stop on the Nordic Track ski machine today—the first of many, is my plan. And day 1 of the Plateau Buster 2-day diet. Probably the exercise is what will make the difference.

I did discover anew the pleasures of listening to a narrative account while on the ski machine. This morning was an episode from the old Let’s Pretend radio program (specifically, “Why the sea is salt”), but I just downloaded (for free) Robinson Crusoe (at the link). I always liked that novel in any event. Audiobooks.org seems to be a good source of free audiobooks.

UPDATE: Not so good a source, as it turns out. I downloaded the MP3 file, but found it was an invalid filetype. I’ll check my library for audiobooks.

UPDATE 2: Library allows me to download audiobooks. The only problem is that the download does not work at all. I’m trying Audible.com, an Amazon.com company.  LATER: Library called. On looking at the records, they told me that the reason the download didn’t work was that I was number 15 on the hold list for the book: digital rights management limits the number of “copies” they can “check out” at any one time—thus completely subverting and negating one of the primary benefits of digital copies.

UPDATE 3: Audible.com doesn’t work at all. I did call the help number and found that their service is incompatible with Google Chrome, a fact that they carefully do not mention. I cancelled membership. (It was a trial period, with $15/month after that, and pricing on the books is EXTREMELY unclear.)

This may be one of those ideas that’s ahead of its time.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 November 2010 at 12:09 pm

Posted in Books, Fitness

Will the GOP take governing seriously?

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Probably not. Take, for example, this news article by Liz Goodwin:

Even as he rued an Election Day "shellacking," President Obama seemed hopeful in his post-midterms press conference yesterday that Democrats and Republicans may find common ground on education legislation, if not much else. The Washington Post’s Nick Anderson examined that wish in a story today, focusing on the handful of newly elected Republican candidates who ran on a pledge to abolish the Department of Education — a position that doesn’t exactly bode well for interparty cooperation on the issue.

Soon-to-be Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Mike Lee of Utah have supported initiatives in the past to abolish the DOE or stated their support for the department’s abolition. At least 15 new House members have as well.

But GOP Rep. John Kline of Minnesota, the soon-to-be-ranking member of the House’s education and labor committee, dismissed talk that the new Congress will make it a priority to dismantle the Education Department.

"In some ways, that’s sort of a talking point," Kline told Anderson. "There will be those who campaigned on that language. I’m not sure they always know what it means."

Even so, Republican leadership will be under great pressure from new and old members of the 112th Congress to cut federal spending, and education spending will almost certainly fall under that mandate.

Continue reading. It’s a "talking point"?? What does that mean?

Written by LeisureGuy

5 November 2010 at 9:44 am

The science of makeup

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Christie Wilcox is a science writer and grad student who writes:

Makeup has been around for centuries. The earliest records of makeup use date back to around 3000 BC when ancient Egyptians used soot and other natural products to create their signature look. Evidence suggests that the origins of makeup may go back much further. Our closest relatives, Neandertals, may have used colored pigments on their skin some 50,000 years ago, and paint pigments date back 75,000 years, suggesting people may have used body paint before they wore clothes. Most people will say that makeup makes women look younger and more attractive, but the question is, why? What is it about a little eye shadow, some pink cheeks and red lips that makes a woman look prettier? Like everything in life, it really is all about sex.

Makeup works because it’s a good lie. In much of the animal kingdom, females advertise their youth, health and sexual availability through physical signals. Whether it be red rumps, special scents or elaborate behaviors, girls of the animal world know that sex sells, and they make it well known to the men in the area that they are ready for and capable of producing some stellar offspring. Like a peacock strutting his feathers, women do this to convince the opposite sex that they’re a good choice for a mate. But in humans, these signals are far less pronounced. Women’s bodies don’t advertise fertility loudly like our closest relatives. Instead, it’s almost impossible to tell if a woman is ovulating – almost. There are subtle signs if you know what to look for, and even though they might not realize that they realize it, men (and women!) do take notice. Studies have shown that women’s faces are more attractive to both sexes during the fertile phase of their menstrual cycle. Makeup works because it exaggerates or even completely fabricates these signs of fertility and sexual availability, thus making a woman seem more appealing.

Those ancient Egyptians were on to something with the eye makeup, for example. Women, in contrast with men, tend to be naturally darker around their eyes. Eyeliner, eye shadow and mascara all enhance this effect, thus making a face look more feminine. Studies by Richard Russell at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania have shown that the darker the eyes are in relation to the rest of the face, the more attractive a woman appears, while the opposite is true for men. In fact, the darkness of the eyes compared to the rest of the face is so important, the exact same face can be perceived as either male or female depending on the level of contrast – just take a look at the images on the right [in the original post – LG], which are of the same face with the same eyes and lips but one has a lighter skin tone, creating more contrast. Eye makeup also makes eyes seem wider and larger, and bigger eyes are perceived as more youthful.

As with eyes, Russell found that women have darker mouths than men of the same skin tone. Manipulating lips to be darker than the rest of a woman’s face makes it appear more feminine and attractive. But it turns out that the color of the lipstick matters, too…

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 November 2010 at 9:40 am

Posted in Daily life, Science

Different ways to lace your shoes

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Thanks to Kafeneio for pointing out this note on various ways to lace up your shoes. Note the reasons for the various methods:

This method reduces friction, making the lacing easier to tighten and loosen plus reducing wear and tear…

This variation of Straight Lacing eliminates the underlying diagonals, which looks neater plus relieves pressure on the top ridge of the foot… 

An inside-out version of Straight (Bar) Lacing, which distributes pressure evenly plus keeps the knots & ends to the side, away from either snagging undergrowth or from bicycle chains & cranks…    

This method has all of the underlying sections pulling at a steep angle, which shifts the alignment of the sides and may correct an otherwise ill-fitting shoe…

This distinctive lacing is worn on military boots by paratroopers and ceremonial guard units. The laces weave horizontally and vertically, forming a secure "ladder"…    

This inside-out version of Bow Tie Lacing is used on combat boots by various armies. With the crossovers on the insides, the sides of the boots can flex more easily…

This patented method has the laces angled one way on the outside and the other way on the inside. The resulting double helix reduces friction and allows faster, easier lacing…

This method "locks" the laces at each eyelet pair. Great for lacing skates tightly because the lower sections hold while tightening…

This variation divides the lacing into two or more "segments", each of which can be laced up as tightly or loosely as necessary to achieve a comfortable yet secure fit for "difficult" shoes or feet…    

Footbag players use this lacing to open up the front of their shoes, making it easier to catch or otherwise control the footbag (or "Hacky Sack")…

Many more at the link.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 November 2010 at 9:36 am

Posted in Daily life, Technology

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