Later On

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

Archive for June 11th, 2011

Indian girls become rarer

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Indian families greatly prefer sons to daughters, and now that they can determine the sex of the foetus at a very early age, females are frequently aborted simply because they are female rather than male. This strikes me as reprehensible and inappropriate, and also likely to lead to serious problems down the line. As anyone who has read William H. McNeill’s fascinating book The Pursuitof Power: Technology, Armed Force, and Society Since A.D. 1000 knows, a society is in for a bad patch when the number of underemployed young males rises. And when the burgeoning population of males cannot find females, things can get very ugly indeed. Britain solved the problem by shipping young men off to the various colonies. France under Napoleon solved it by shipping the young men (as armies) off to foreign countries to find their support there: seizing it through warfare. What will India do?

Written by LeisureGuy

11 June 2011 at 3:38 pm

When a one-time couple write a book together

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Fascinating review of what sounds like an interesting book. They wrote alternate chapters and were not allowed to change what the other had written…

Written by LeisureGuy

11 June 2011 at 3:30 pm

Posted in Books, Daily life

Libya: It’s all about the oil

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Why Libya is such a hotspot: Gaddafi wanted to charge more for Libyan oil than oil companies wanted to pay. Read this column for many interesting links and good documentation.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 June 2011 at 3:27 pm

Posted in Business, Government

Early childhood education: A sensible state expenditure

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I think it was Ed Brayton who first pointed out this study. The abstract:

Advances in understanding the effects of early education have benefited public policy and developmental science. Although preschool has demonstrated positive effects on life-course outcomes, limitations in knowledge on program scale, subgroup differences, and dosage levels have hindered progress. We report the effects of the Child-Parent Center Education Program on indicators of well-being up to 25 years later for more than 1400 participants. This established, publicly funded intervention begins in preschool and provides up to 6 years of service in inner-city Chicago schools. Relative to the comparison group receiving the usual services, program participation was independently linked to higher educational attainment, income, socioeconomic status (SES), and health insurance coverage, as well as lower rates of justice-system involvement and substance abuse. Evidence of enduring effects was strongest for preschool, especially for males and children of high school dropouts. The positive influence of 4 years or more of service was limited primarily to education and SES. Dosage within program components was mostly unrelated to outcomes. Findings demonstrate support for the enduring effects of sustained school-based early education to the end of the third decade of life.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 June 2011 at 3:25 pm

Relaxing day

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The Wife and I went to Carmel for lunch, then drove around the hilly part of Monterey just to see what’s there. We’ve not been in that part of the city at all, despite living here for years, so we just drove around and looked. It’s a residential area, interspersed with forest. You’d drive through a bunch of trees in a wood, then find houses among the trees, then move on to a part of the hillside with no trees at all, just houses, looking somehow sort of bald. Then back among trees.

After about 30-40 minutes of that, driving around looking at parts of Monterey we’d never seen, and observing how the landscape varied, we returned home, and as we drove back into the part we new, it all looked strange—not enough trees, for one thing. I realized I was looking at it in the same way I looked at the subdivisions new to me, and in looking at it that way, I started seeing it anew once more. Interesting phenomenon to experience.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 June 2011 at 3:10 pm

Posted in Daily life

Enjoyable mystery series: A Touch of Frost

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A Touch of Frost is a mystery series on Netflix Watch Instantly, based upon the British police procedurals by R.D. Wingfield. I’m enjoying them greatly, and I believe I have finally tuned in to how these series work.

Specifically, I now understand to follow along with the slow-developing background story of the permanent characters as a separate thread from the current episode’s mystery. As The Wife told me long ago, the background information on the permanent character that gradually builds up adds depth and resonance to minor details in the episode being viewed.

A few gimmicks I’ve noticed and enjoy: Frost’s habit of ending an interview by taking his leave, going to the door, then pausing, turning around, and saying, “Just one more thing…” The Wife tells me that Columbo used the same gimmick. Another is the semi-adversarial relationship Frost has with his rule-obsessed boss. The boss comes across as a complex character, and I’ve now seen how they do it: the boss will say or do something sensible or touching—that’s the gift, so you like him for it—and then be a jerk about it—that’s the take-back, so you continue to keep your distance. This on-again, off-again character makes him somewhat unpredictable and more interesting.

At any rate, it’s a fun way to spend an evening.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 June 2011 at 11:13 am

Posted in Movies & TV

Lovely shave

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Totally wonderful shave today. The Vie-Long Gonzalo 04102 brush—a combination of boar and white horsehair—has bloomed somewhat after my first practice use of the brush. In person, it’s lighter in color: sort of a cream color. The boar/horsehair combination is just perfect: it works better than boar, and has more body and resilience than horsehair alone. (Readers across the pond can find the brush at Gifts and Care, for example.)

I used the Klar Kabinette soap, a chunk of which I cut and crammed into the bottom of the apothecary bowl. This is a very good shape for making Creamy Lather: deep, the handle offers a firm grip, and the shape of the bowl lets you force the soap puck in so that it doesn’t move under the kind of vigorous brushing needed for Creamy Lather—unlike, say, the sort of hemispherical bowl (like a cereal bowl) that works well when used purely as a lathering bowl (without a soap puck in it: load the brush with soap, then work up the lather in the bowl—and I’ll certainly be trying that technique as I continue my experiments).

I did get a Creamy Lather, and this brush is going to break in quickly. It has excellent capacity—no need for a return trip to the soap bowl—and it feels good already. I think this may become a favorite brush as it breaks in.

Fine lather, and this morning I used the OSS (with the Shark blade from yesterday’s shave, which worked fine today as well) just like a regular razor, flipping to the other side when the first filled with lather. It worked great, and I, as a person who like variety, really enjoyed the slight differences between the two sides. Both are extremely comfortable—an iKon secret of some sort—and both have (for me) just the right amount of assertiveness: neither scary nor wimpy, just an excellent workmanlike approach to stubble removal.

No sign of nick or burn, but an extremely smooth result after three passes. Now that I’m simply using it as a regular razor, without trying to pay attention to which side I’m using, I like it even more. But now I want to try comparing the open-comb to my other iKon open-comb and the straight-bar to the other straight-bar.

Greg mentioned that it is extremely difficult to fine-tune the head to get the right shaving feel and performance, but I think he’s done it again with this one. This is a terrific razor, IMO. And this is just the prototype. I can’t wait to see the final product…

Written by LeisureGuy

11 June 2011 at 10:18 am

Posted in Shaving

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