Later On

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

Archive for November 27th, 2010

Ultimate sestina

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The sestina is challenging—the challenge being to soften the aural/visual impact of the repeated words so that their impact comes from their meaning in the line’s context. So, naturally, one game is to write a sestina with lines half the length of the standard line. The result is that you hit the repeated words more often, and the challenge (beyond writing a good sestina—that sort of thing normally goes without saying) is to make the reader/listener not notice—somehow keep the repeated words from being hit with a hammer, as it were.

Ciara Shuttleworth takes an extreme form of the sestina challenge, shortening lines to the absolute minimum: one word/line.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 November 2010 at 1:14 pm

Posted in Daily life, Writing

A nuclear standoff with Libya

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Story recommended by James Fallows. Max Fisher reports in the Atlantic:

In November 2009, six years after the government of Libya first agreed to disarm its nuclear weapons program, Libyan nuclear workers wheeled the last of their country’s highly enriched uranium out in front of the Tajoura nuclear facility, just east of Tripoli. U.S. and Russian officials overseeing Libya’s disarmament began preparations to ship this final batch of weapons-grade nuclear material to Russia, where it would be treated and destroyed.

The plan was to load the uranium onto a massive Russian cargo plane, one of the few in the world specially equipped to fly nuclear materials. On November 20, the day before the plane was to leave for a nuclear facility in Russia, Libyan officials unexpectedly halted the shipment. Without explanation, they declared that the uranium would not be permitted to leave Libya. They left the seven five-ton casks out in the open and under light guard, vulnerable to theft by the al-Qaeda factions that still operate in the region or by any rogue government that learned of their presence.

For one month and one day, U.S. and Russian diplomats negotiated with Libya for the uranium to be released and flown out of the country. At the same time, engineers from both countries worked to secure the nuclear material from theft or leakage, two serious dangers that became more likely the longer the casks sat exposed. On December 21, Libya finally allowed a Russian plane to remove the casks, ending Libya’s nuclear weapons program and with it the low-grade game of nuclear blackmail they had been playing.

The month-long crisis, never revealed by the Obama administration or reported in the press, is recorded in U.S. State Department documents obtained by The Atlantic. Those documents tell the story of frantic diplomatic maneuvering as U.S. and Russian officials pushed Libyan leaders to honor their disarmament pledge. A person with access to the cables provided them to The Atlantic in order to publicize the dangers of loose nuclear materials under the control of unpredictable regimes in unstable countries.

Key details of the episode were confirmed by a U.S. official and an international nuclear monitor. Owing to the sensitive nature of nuclear counterproliferation, a number of technical details have been omitted from this account, as have the names of all U.S. officials in Libya.

A State Department spokesman declined to comment on this story, saying only that the United States enjoys a "normalized" relationship with Libya. He stressed that the Libyans "did meet their commitment" to dismantle their nuclear weapons program.

The United States had a troubled relationship with Libya during . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 November 2010 at 12:30 pm

Private blog as a journal

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I haven’t seen this idea discussed anywhere. I got it from The Wife.

Free blog software (WordPress.com, Blogger.com, et al.) can be used as a journal by simply making the blog private. Blog software offers quite a few benefits as a journal:

  • Can access your journal from any computer, smartphone, iPad, etc.
  • Can easily include photos, videos, etc.
  • Can readily search the journal
  • Can tag entries with tags and also put an entry into one or more categories
  • Every entry automatically date- and time-stamped
  • If TSA seizes your computer, your journal’s not on it

Journals can quite useful. Some possibilities:

  • College-years journal
  • Baby journal
  • Project journal – could try a joint journal, just for project team members, but I think it could become a time sink; private journals probably better
  • Work journal – always good to have a timely record kept outside the workplace, not on a work computer but kept where you can always access it from a home computer as well as from a work computer (not to mention iPad, iPhone, etc.)

This strikes me as an extremely useful idea. I personally prefer WordPress.com but The Wife is a big fan of Blogger.com. Give it a go.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 November 2010 at 9:50 am

Posted in Daily life, Technology

Quick run to the grocery store

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I have had absolutely no energy lately, and I do recall my doctor at one time telling me that my iron was quite low, so perhaps that’s it again. I had a beef steak yesterday and also bought some heavy artillery: beef liver. That should fix it up. And just in case it doesn’t, I picked up a bottle of iron pills at Whole Foods, along with another piece of beef and more usual fare. Oysters will be the next thing to try.

I will call the doctor on Monday and arrange to see him to determine whether iron will really solve anything. But it did seem to me that my diet in recent months might have been a tad low in iron.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 November 2010 at 9:42 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health

Eclipse again

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Once more with the Eclipse and another very smooth trouble-free shave. It’s a good razor, no doubt of it.

The D.R. Harris Almond shave stick made a great lather, thanks to the Sabini ebony-handled silvertip brush. Three smooth passes, a splash of Ogallala Bay Rum, and I was good to go.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 November 2010 at 9:33 am

Posted in Shaving

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