Later On

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

Archive for January 1st, 2011

Here’s to Paris!

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Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2011 at 3:12 pm

Posted in Jazz, Video

Health tips from celebs

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Via PZ Myers:

Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2011 at 1:24 pm

Posted in Daily life, Health, Media

Most popular posts for 2010

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Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2011 at 1:07 pm

Affordable Care Act’s newly active provisions

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Steve Benen:

When the Affordable Care Act was signed into law last March, there were legitimate concerned that many of its key provisions wouldn’t take effect for years. That said, it’s wrong to assume major advances aren’t already happening.

Almost immediately after the legislation received President Obama’s signature, new consumer protections and benefits kicked in — young adults have been able to stay on their family health care plan through their 26th birthday; children with pre-existing conditions were no longer facing discrimination; and “rescission” practices were curtailed.

But as 2011 gets underway, even more worthwhile changes are taking effect, starting today.

The new year will bring important changes to U.S. health-insurance rules, as new provisions related to last year’s massive health-care overhaul take effect.

The new rules are designed to help those caught in Medicare’s “doughnut hole,” offer seniors more preventative care, and limit how much of their customers’ money health-insurance companies can keep for overhead and profit.

They all go into effect on Saturday.

These reforms may not appear especially sexy or high profile, but we’re talking about some pretty important provisions. Seniors who’ve been stuck in prescription-drug “doughnut hole,” will, for example, receive a 50% discount on the price of brand-name prescription drugs starting today. On a related note, seniors will also be eligible, starting today, for free “preventive services” screenings, including cancer tests like mammograms, and annual check-ups.

Of particular interest, on a systemic level, is the introduction of the new “medical loss ratio,” which sounds more complicated than it is. This new rule forces private insurers to spend 80% to 85% of the money we pay them in premiums on paying for actual medical care to its customers, rather than everything else (profit, marketing, executive salaries, overhead, etc.). In recent years, some insurance companies were spending as little as 50% of their premium dollars on their customers.

Americans almost certainly won’t notice the shift resulting from the new medical loss ratio, but it’s expected to make a pretty big difference, and it’s one of the provisions that drew the loudest howls from the insurance companies and their congressional lackeys.

Taken together — the reforms that took effect in 2010, coupled with the measures that kick in today — we’re talking about some major positive changes to the system. All of these reforms, by the way, tend to be pretty popular — the larger concerns about the ACA notwithstanding — but are nevertheless being targeted by congressional Republicans, who want to eliminate the benefits entirely.

Good luck with that, GOP.

Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2011 at 1:06 pm

Found the missing extension

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I had a very nice Chrome extension that listed closed tabs, but I lost it in the crash and I couldn’t remember the name. Fortunately, I had made a PayPal donation to the developer so I had his email address and wrote to him, and he gave me the link. I highly recommend that extension—and it’s probably a good idea to make a donation so you have a record. Smile

Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2011 at 1:02 pm

Posted in Daily life, Software

Progress note

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Weight up a little this morning—205.3—but I suppose a bounce is inevitable after such a sharp drop as I just had. I did watch my food carefully, and I notice that I am especially cautious now with fat (for me, that’s generally olive oil). I “knew” (in the sense of memorization) that fat has 9 calories/gram, which is more than twice the caloric content by weight of protein (4 calories/gram) and carbs (4 calories/gram). I knew that in the sense that, after reading a book on piano technique, you “know” how to play the piano. It is knowledge, but it is theoretical rather than practical knowledge. Practical knowledge, naturally enough, requires practice (hence the name). [BTW: alcohol is 7 calories/gram. Just FYI. – LG]

I got some practice recently: the plateau. In looking at my food journal, it’s quite clear that my slight gain and refusal to lose over that two weeks was due to fat consumption moving up just slightly: the fat in the standing rib roast (though my portions were small), the several teaspoons of olive oil used in making the tomato confit. The plateau buster, I notice, is heavy on protein and quite low on fat: 2 tsp in the lunch salad, no added fat in the dinner.

I often have cooked greens for dinner, and I typically use some olive oil (formerly a splash, now 2 tsp) in which to sauté the onions and perhaps the greens before adding some liquid in which to simmer them. No more—at least not until I’m on maintenance. Here’s a typical dinner now:

Add to pan:

1/4 chopped onion
1 bunch chopped greens
1 Meyer lemon, ends cut off and then cut into chunks (including the peel)
3/4 c water
1/2 Tbsp Penzey’s chicken soup base

Cover and simmer half an hour until done. Take about 1-1.5 cups of the cooked greens, and put them in a pan with some of the liquid, 1/4 cup starch (e.g., cooked wheat berries, or lemon quinoa from Whole Foods prepared-foods counter, or some couscous), 2-3 oz. chopped cooked chicken breast (or you could cook it by simmering it with the greens and starch).

Bring to boil, cover, and simmer until well heated. Then slice a hard-boiled duck egg over the top.

You obviously get plenty of dietary fat from the duck egg, but no added fat in the dish. And it contains protein, starch, and vegetables.

I now approach and use olive oil as though it were, say, nitorglycerine: avoid in general, use with caution, and use only a tiny amount.

UPDATE: Just back from quick trip to Whole Foods. I picked up some more chicken breast, and they had some good-looking kumquats, so I’m thinking: kumquats sliced in two, sweet onion cut into half and then into thin slices: arrange chicken, kumquats, and onion in roasting pan, brush with balsamic vinegar, and roast.

Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2011 at 10:56 am

Starting the year right

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The Grosvenor Boar-Badger combination brush again today—I rather like it. A good soak in hot water in lavatory while I shower, then I worked up loads of fragrant lather—Sweet Gale is no nice that I try to fill the bathroom with the fragrance—followed by three smooth passes of the Apollo Mikron carrying a Swedish Gillette blade.

Phil of Bullgoose Shaving sent me this aftershave to try, and I like it: light crisp fragrance.

Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2011 at 10:12 am

Posted in Shaving

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