Later On

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

Archive for September 29th, 2011

Good write-up on the faster-than-light neutrinos

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You’ve undoubtedly heard about it. Here’s an excellent explanation. It begins:

Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos?

Probably not. But maybe! Or in other words: science as usual.

For the three of you reading this who haven’t yet heard about it, the OPERA experiment in Italy recently announced a genuinely surprising result. They create a beam of muon neutrinos at CERN in Geneva, point them under the Alps (through which they zip largely unimpeded, because that’s what neutrinos do), and then detect a few of them in the Gran Sasso underground laboratory 732 kilometers away. The whole thing is timed by stopwatch (or the modern high-tech version thereof, using GPS-synchronized clocks), and you solve for the velocity by dividing distance by time. And the answer they get is: just a teensy bit faster than the speed of light, by about a factor of 10-5. Here’s the technical paper, which already lists 20 links to blogs and news reports.

The things you need to know about this result are:

  • It’s enormously interesting if it’s right.
  • It’s probably not right.

By the latter point I don’t mean to impugn the abilities or honesty of the experimenters, who are by all accounts top-notch people trying to do something very difficult. It’s just . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 September 2011 at 7:06 pm

Posted in Science

Interesting idea from BATF: Restricted gun rights

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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms has decided that patients using certain drugs that might impair judgment cannot legally possess a firearm or ammunition.

On the whole, this is an interesting approach, but clearly must be extended once we accept the principle. For, based on that same principle and on the observed fact that drunkenness plays a strong role in shootings and killings and other improper use of firearms, clearly those persons using alcohol or who have alcohol in the home should not be allowed to possess firearms or ammunition. It follows as night the day, does it not?

I personally see the wisdom of this—who wants a drunken person to have access to a loaded firearm (or an unloaded firearm with ammunition available)? [Update: Meant as rhetorical question but badly phrased: the answer is, obviously, the drunken person groping in the nightstand drawer for a gun. Better: “Who in his right mind wants a drunken, etc.?”]

I will write to the BATF and recommend this. And, on thinking about the alcohol thing, and looking at the agency title, is there any reason a person with such a death wish that s/he smokes tobacco be allowed access to deadly weapons? I think not.

Here’s the article.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 September 2011 at 6:53 pm

A hard truth for the “self-made” person to accept

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Written by LeisureGuy

29 September 2011 at 5:50 pm

The Class War in the US: Notes from the front

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Interesting article by Joshua Holland:

There hasn’t been any organized, explicitly class-based violence in this country for generations, so what, exactly, does “class warfare” really mean? Is it just an empty political catch-phrase?

The American Right has decided that returning the tax rate paid by the wealthiest Americans from what it was during the Bush years (which, incidentally, featured the slowest job growth under any president in our history, at 0.45 percent per year) to what they forked over during the Clinton years (when job growth happened to average 1.6 percent per year) is the epitome of class warfare. Sure, it would leave top earners with a tax rate 10 percentage points below what they were paying after Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts, but that’s the conservative definition of “eating the rich” these days.

I recently offered a less Orwellian definition, arguing that real class warfare is when those who have already achieved a good deal of prosperity pull the ladder up behind them by attacking the very things that once allowed working people to move up and join the ranks of the middle class.

But there’s another way of looking at “class war”: habitually vilifying the unfortunate; claiming that their plight is a manifestation of some personal flaw or cultural deficiency. Conservatives wage this form of class warfare virtually every day, consigning millions of people who are down on their luck to some subhuman underclass.

The belief that there exists a large pool of “undeserving poor” who suck the lifeblood out of the rest of society lies at the heart of the Right’s demonstrably false “culture of poverty” narrative. It’s a narrative that runs through Ayn Rand’s works. It comes to us in bizarre spin that holds up the rich as “wealth producers” and “job creators.”

And it affects our public policies. In his classic book, . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 September 2011 at 5:47 pm

Posted in GOP, Government, Politics

Best global Google doodles

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Take a look.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 September 2011 at 5:44 pm

Posted in Daily life, Techie toys

Cool solar-powered keyboard

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I like this one. And the Logitech products I’ve had have been excellent.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 September 2011 at 5:33 pm

Posted in Techie toys, Technology

What a day, with recipe

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I had to go up to Santa Cruz pretty early. I hadn’t planned, though, on getting up at 4:00 a.m. — but I awoke then and couldn’t get back to sleep. So this afternoon, on returning home, I took a long nap after lunch, which was this B12 special:

20-24 cherrystone clams steamed in 1/2 cup white wine and 1/2 cut water in large covered sauté pan for 5 minutes.

Reserve liquid. Remove meat from clams that opened (about 3.5-4 oz total) and save, discarding shells and clams that failed to open.

In empty skillet (liquid poured off and reserved):

2 tsp fiery chili olive oil (Lucini is the brand I use)
1/2 red onion, chopped
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
1 chili pepper—I used a large red one with mild heat; 1 serrano or 1 jalapeño would be plenty
1/3 c chopped celery

Sauté that for a while, then add:

1 zucchini, chopped small
12-16 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup cooked black rice
1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
2 leaves red chard, with stalks, chopped
grinding of black pepper
reserved liquid
dash homemade Worcestershire sauce (and it *is* better than store-bought: we tried it)

Simmer covered for 20 minutes. Add clams, stir, and heat. Then serve.

You can try adding a squeeze of lemon juice. The protein and starch is for 1 meal, but with all the veg, this may go for two. Very tasty and quite rich in B12. You could make essentially the same recipe with mussels, which would be less costly and still quite high in B12.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 September 2011 at 5:28 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Grub, Recipes

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