Later On

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

Archive for August 19th, 2011

Corporate ownership increasingly overt

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Now we have Bank of America lobbyist caught on camera offering to “help out” Governor Rick Perry. The explanations from BofA are risible.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 August 2011 at 7:49 pm

Hulled hemp seed from Whole Foods

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I came across hulled hemp seed (90 cal/2 Tbsp), high in omega-3, at Whole Foods. I got some and will add to my breakfast cereal, which now amounts to 1/4 c oat bran, 2 Tbsp chia seed, 2 Tbsp hemp seed, 1 c water, pinch salt, good grinding of black pepper: bring to boil, simmer until thick, add a couple of glugs of homemade hot sauce, top with egg over easy and Bac’Uns. Quite tasty. Big mug of tea on the side.

I even added some of the hulled hemp seed to lunch/dinner:

8 large cloves garlic, smashed with side of knife, peeled, minced, and allow to sit 15 minutes
2 habanero peppers, stem removed and then minced [hot while eating but nice lingering afterglow: 2 was the right number (they were smallish)]
3 oz extra firm tofu, cubed
4 scallions, chopped including all the green
1 yellow zucchini, cubed
3 large domestic mushrooms, halved then cut into thick slices
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
pinch of salt
freshly ground pepper

I heated 2 tsp duck fat, then sautéed the above until the mushrooms released their liquid, then added

3 Tbsp dry Marsala
1 wad (size of golf ball) slivered dried tomatoes
2 big handfuls spinach leaves
1/3 c cooked “forbidden” (black) rice
good dash sherry vinegar
good dash homemade Worcestershire sauce

I covered and let that cook down some, then added

1 stalk and leaf of red chard, chopped
2 Tbsp hulled hemp seed

Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

I top it with Bac’Uns—which I also use on salad. No wonder I buy it by the pound.

I would call that dish an example of “grub” (previously defined): food selected and cooked purely for nutritional value and balance (3 oz protein, small serving starch, veg, not more than 2 tsp added fat) and using what I had on hand without much regard for recipe. I definitely do like to include garlic and onion and some sort of greens (red kale, red chard, collards, or spinach, mostly, but I also like dandelion greens, regular or red, and mustard greens are a treat—but kale and collards are the nutritional heavy hitters), and zucchini, squash, eggplant, or the like for fiber.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 August 2011 at 12:13 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Grub, Recipes

Downfall of the American university

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Benjamin Ginsberg writing for The Scientist:

During my nearly five decades in academia, the character of the university has changed, and not entirely for the better. As recently as the 1970s, America’s universities were heavily influenced, if not completely driven, by faculty ideas and concerns. Today, institutions of higher education are mainly controlled by administrators and staffers who make the rules and increasingly set the priorities of academic life.

A recent study showed that between 1997 and 2007, the number of administrative and support personnel per hundred students increased dramatically at most schools—103 percent at Williams College; 111 percent at Johns Hopkins; 325 percent at Wake Forest University; and 351 percent at Yeshiva University, to cite some noteworthy examples. My book, The Fall of the Faculty, exposes this troubling reality.

The ongoing transfer of power from professors to administrators, who often lack academic credentials, has important implications for curricular and research agendas. On the surface, faculty members and administrators seem to share a general understanding of the university and its place in society. If asked to characterize the “mission” of the university, both groups usually agree with the idea that the university is an institution that produces and disseminates knowledge through its teaching, research, and public outreach efforts.

This similarity, however, is deceptive. To faculty members, scholarship and teaching are the lifeblood of academic life, and the university is an instrument necessary to achieve those ends. But to administrators, the faculty’s research and teaching activities are, first and foremost, means of generating revenues, not ends in themselves.

These differing orientations give administrators and professors divergent views of teaching and research activities. Administrators have what might be called a demand-side view of the curriculum. They believe that a college curriculum should be heavily influenced, if not completely governed, by the interests and preferences of potential customers—the students, parents, and others who pay the bills.

The faculty, on the other hand, views teaching as an end more than a means, leading them to take what might be called a supply-side view of the curriculum. Professors are more concerned with teaching topics they consider important than with placating students and other campus constituencies.

With regard to research, academics tend to take the view that . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 August 2011 at 11:12 am

Posted in Business, Education

A new look at reasons for Japanese surrender at end of WWII

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Very interesting — and convincing. (It wasn’t the atomic bomb that made them decide to surrender.)

Written by LeisureGuy

19 August 2011 at 9:26 am

Posted in Government, Military

Simply Shaving swap box starting

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Take a look.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 August 2011 at 9:23 am

Posted in Shaving

Stephen Pinker looks at how we have responded to terrorism

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Stephen Pinker writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Since 9/11, pundits and politicians proclaimed that terrorism had made America “vulnerable” and “fragile,” and that it threatened to do away with “our way of life” or “civilization itself.”

A former White House counterterrorism official prophesied that by the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the American economy would be shut down by chronic bombings of casinos, subways, and shopping malls, downings of airliners by shoulder-launched missiles, and acts of cataclysmic sabotage at chemical plants.

It all seemed plausible at the time. But today tourists are vacationing, commuters are commuting, shoppers are shopping, planes are flying, and the modern state, our way of life, and civilization itself seem to have survived. Probably fewer than two dozen people have been killed by terrorists on American soil since 9/11, a death toll that is dwarfed by those from wars, automobile and household accidents, and other causes of death we routinely tolerate. Perhaps many terrorist plots were foiled by color-coded alerts, the confiscation of nail clippers at airports, and the girding of rural post offices with concrete barriers. But it seems just as likely that something was systematically wrong with the prediction that terrorism posed an existential threat to the West.

The discrepancy between the panic generated by terrorism and the deaths generated by terrorism is no accident. Panic is the whole point of terrorism, as the root of the word makes clear: “Terror” refers to a psychological state, not an enemy or an event. The effects of terrorism depend completely on the psychology of the audience. Terrorists are communicators, seeking publicity and attention, which they manufacture through fear. They may want to extort a government into capitulating to a demand, to sap people’s confidence in their government’s ability to protect them, or to provoke repression that will turn people against their government or bring about chaos in which the terrorist faction hopes to prevail.

Cognitive psychologists such as Amos Tversky, Daniel Kahneman, Gerd Gigerenzer, and Paul Slovic have shown that the perceived danger of a risk depends on two factors: . . .

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Written by LeisureGuy

19 August 2011 at 9:18 am

Posted in Daily life, Terrorism

Megs loves the (warm) Roku

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Megs has only a limited understanding of what the Roku does, petering out around the point at which the unit gets warm, but that’s plenty good enough for her. Here she is, crashing. The context:

Written by LeisureGuy

19 August 2011 at 9:15 am

Posted in Cats, Daily life, Megs

Cognitive computer

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Very interesting intervie at Wired by David Mosher:

IBM has unveiled an experimental chip that borrows tricks from brains to power a cognitive computer, a machine able to learn from and adapt to its environment.

Reactions to the computer giant’s press release about SyNAPSE, short for Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronic, have ranged from conservative to zany. Some even claim it’s IBM’s attempt to recreate a cat brain from silicon.

“Each neuron in the brain is a processor and memory, and part of a social network, but that’s where the brain analogy ends. We’re not trying to simulate a brain,” said IBM spokeswoman Kelly Sims. “We’re looking to the brain to develop a system that can learn and make sense of environments on the fly.”

The human brain is a vast network of roughly 100 billion neurons sharing 100 trillion connections, called synapses. That complexity makes for more mysteries than answers — how consciousness arises, how memories are stored and why we sleep are all outstanding questions. But researchers have learned a lot about how neurons and their connections underpin the power, efficiency and adaptability of the brain.

To get a better understanding of SyNAPSE and how it borrows from organic neural networks, spoke with project leader Dharmendra Modha of IBM Research. Why do we want computers to learn and work like brains?

Dharmendra Modha: We see an increasing need for . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 August 2011 at 9:12 am

Posted in Technology

Kell’s Original Hemp/Aloe Vera Almond

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I picked a bad angle to show the amber clarity of my Kell’s Original soap: lovely stuff with a fragrance I really like. This is not the bitter almond of the Italian shaving soaps but a sort of sweet almond. Very nice lather, worked up with the Taylor of Old Bond Street “artificial badger” brush, and three very smooth passes with the Eclipse, which really does shave well (this morning with a Swedish Gillette blade). Then a good splash of TOBS Sandalwood, and I’m ready for a relatively light day: the proof copies of the 5th edition should arrive, and I’m planning to bike to my Pilates session.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 August 2011 at 8:51 am

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

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