Later On

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

Archive for January 9th, 2011

42nd Street

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I think I definitely should see 42nd Street more often. It is indeed the epitome of the backstage musical, with many excellences all its own. 

Written by Leisureguy

9 January 2011 at 1:34 pm

Posted in Movies & TV

Having fun and going deaf

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My stepfather became quite deaf late in life because he spent his life working around (loud) power tools before we knew enough to wear hearing protectors. But now kids are going deaf in their teens. Virginia Heffernan has a report in the NY Times Sunday Magazine:

One in five teenagers in America can’t hear rustles or whispers, according to a study published in August in The Journal of the American Medical Association. These teenagers exhibit what’s known as slight hearing loss, which means they often can’t make out consonants like T’s or K’s, or the plinking of raindrops. The word “talk” can sound like “aw.” The number of teenagers with hearing loss — from slight to severe — has jumped 33 percent since 1994.

Given the current ubiquity of personal media players — the iPod appeared almost a decade ago — many researchers attribute this widespread hearing loss to exposure to sound played loudly and regularly through headphones. (Earbuds, in particular, don’t cancel as much noise from outside as do headphones that rest on or around the ear, so earbud users typically listen at higher volume to drown out interference.) Indeed, the August report reinforces the findings of a 2008 European study of people who habitually blast MP3 players, including iPods and smartphones. According to that report, headphone users who listen to music at high volumes for more than an hour a day risk permanent hearing loss after five years.

Maybe the danger of digital culture to young people is not that they have hummingbird attention spans but that they are going deaf.

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Written by Leisureguy

9 January 2011 at 12:16 pm

Meals, one-pot and otherwise

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First, The Eldest just called to remind me that we tried Glorious One-Pot Meals in the past but found that they didn’t quite work. I have absolutely zero memory of this, but I went to my cookbook bookshelf and lo! there is a copy of Glorious One-Pot Meals in a spiral-bound edition (lies flat).

Still, I’m going to give it a go again, and adapt it as needed to my taste and methods. I do not have a 2-quart cast-iron Dutch oven, but I do have a sturdy 2-quart pan—stainless-clad aluminum. I would think that would work for the experiments.

In my own meal evolution, I realized last night that I have gradually drifted into cooking exactly a “serves 1” meal: each portion (protein, starch, and veg) is a single serving, so I eat everything I just cooked because I cook exactly one (1) meal—and the benefit for me: no leftovers. At all.

Strictly speaking, of course, I frequently cook food in bulk: I generally cook two bunches of greens at a time (typical: kale and red chard) and I hard-boil a dozen eggs at a time and I poach two chicken breasts at a time. But those are cooked specifically for later use. In the evening, I take out my little 2-quart sauté pan and cook/heat up just the amounts I will eat for dinner: 4 oz protein, 1/4 cup starch, and a cup or so of veg.

Generally speaking, a starch serving is 1/2 cup. I take half that because I’m on a weight-loss diet. Once I reach goal, you can be sure that the starch serving will resume normal size.

Written by Leisureguy

9 January 2011 at 11:09 am

Posted in Daily life, Fitness, Food, GOPM

Flatland

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A nice review from American Scientist of the novel Flatland:

Flatland
by Edwin A. Abbott

A review by Colin C. Adams

In 1884, the English minister, headmaster, and biblical and Shakespearean scholar Edwin Abbott Abbott produced a thin volume titled Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. It was both an introduction to the notion of higher dimensions and a satire of Victorian society and norms. At that time, there was substantial interest in the idea of higher dimensions, both within the scientific community and also in the more general population. Abbott’s work provided a simple story that allowed lay audiences to grasp the idea of dimensions beyond the familiar three. Flatland helped to set the stage for many of the scientific advances to come.

In the pantheon of popular books about mathematics, one would be hard-pressed to name another that has lasted so long in popularity or had such a dramatic impact. Generations of students have gained their first true appreciation of higher dimensions by reading this slight story written by a schoolmaster more than a century and a quarter ago. Of the more than 50 books that Abbott wrote, this is the one for which he is remembered.

The book’s appearance in England was followed a year later by its publication in the United States, where it has yet to go out of print. Just since 2007, more than 20 different publishers have produced editions of the book — a testament to its popularity, profitability and expired copyright. The cheapest version is available from Dover Thrift Editions for just two dollars. At that price, members of my department hand them out to students as prizes, and the students don’t have to impress us all that much to merit a copy. A new edition jointly published this year by Cambridge University Press and the Mathematical Association of America contains enough notes and commentary by William Lindgren and Thomas Banchoff to more than double the length of the book.

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Written by Leisureguy

9 January 2011 at 10:26 am

Posted in Books, Science

In defense of Wikileaks

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John Cole defends Wikileaks:

I’m beginning to grow hostile at people who just blindly lash out at Wikileaks or treat this like it is just some radical anarchist with a vengeance to bring down America. The records the DOJ subpoenaed today were in regards to an attempt to prosecute people for the crime of informing us that our government was overtly lying to us about the gleefully conducted murder of innocents:

Those were real people, you assholes. Maybe I feel more strongly about this because I advocated for this war and carry a helluva lot more guilt than some of you. This isn’t about Assange, who may or may not be the world’s biggest asshole and a rapist. It’s about our government lying to us about their conduct, and then launching campaigns against the people who exposed those lies. It’s also about the future of journalism and whistleblowing.

The footage of the actual attack starts at 2:47. The sound prior to that is odd, but the explanation (photos and text) of who the people were whom the US forces killed is useful.

Written by Leisureguy

9 January 2011 at 10:11 am

Posted in Daily life, Government, Law

Comments on change

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Trent Hamm has an interesting post on change at The Simple Dollar, mainly focused on changes in financial habits. I commented:

Change as a human process has been intensively studied, and the six stages of the process are now fairly well understood. At each stage, the person changing has specific tasks to accomplish and complete before the next stage emerges, so it does take time—and it can be quite confusing if you don’t understand the process that’s underway.

I highly recommend the book Changing for Good: The Revolutionary Program That Explains the Six Stages of Change and Teaches You How to Free Yourself from Bad Habits, by James Prochaska et al. You can find secondhand copies at the link.

Written by Leisureguy

9 January 2011 at 10:09 am

Posted in Books, Daily life

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