Later On

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

Archive for January 21st, 2012

Brain changes

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I’ve been thinking lately about easily and quickly our brains change (physically). Obvious, memories are stored somewhere, and the memory must represent some degree of physical (chemical, electrical, cellular, whatever) change: the brain is different with a new memory than before the new memory. And those memories just pour in constantly, second by second. Most seem to drip away, but an amazing amount are retained. Some kinds of memories clearly are facilitated by the direction of our evolution—for example, as a social species, we have a very good memory for faces. Language is a later development, so our memory for names is not so automatic and requires some effort, but people remember faces instantly, involuntarily.

And we remember routes we traverse (especially on foot) in the same effortless way, automatically. Indeed it’s our deep and immediate memory of routes that is used in memory tactics like a memory palace. And I be even now you can remember vividly aspects of your surrounds from when you were a pre-schooler.

This plasticity is astonishing, at least to me, and the sheer volume of things remember—when I want a word I’ve not used for years, it’s right there. When I read a word I’ve not seen for decades, I remember it. I not only remember the words but also their nuance and connotations.

And then a traumatic event—not necessarily physical—can reshape the brain/mind so that the whole thing somehow shifts: the person no longer responds as before, but with responses shifted toward fear, anger, sadness, or whatever. It was though the brain instantly rewires itself.

We talk about these things as if they are all in the “mind”, but quite clearly everything in the mind maps in some way to the physical brain, and that physical brain is constantly changing. Every time I learn something new, there it goes (somehow) into the brain.

The more I think about it, the more amazing it seems. I want to read up on that more.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 January 2012 at 4:39 pm

Posted in Daily life, Science

Things happening chez Leisureguy

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I just made a fresh batch of the edamame dip. I think I like it. 🙂 Also I like the pre-cut cruditĂ©s at Whole Foods—those containing jicama. It’s very easy to make. I do not use the water she suggests.

I also bought a quart (at least) of red Fresno peppers, along some habanero and jalapeño peppers: time for a new big batch of pepper sauce.

This morning I canceled Netflix Watch Instantly (for obvious reasons—I’ll probably subscribe to whatever service replaces Netflix. I am keeping my DVD membership, 2 DVDs at a time. My focus for the next while will be reading books. I can get movies from the library, too, of course, and right now I have a multi-DVD movie Jewel in the Crown, which I see I can also rent streaming from Amazon for $1/episode. Not bad.

I’m very much enjoying The Garner Files. He mentions that in the TV series Maverick, the writers would throw in an occasional saying that Maverick would attribute to his father: “As my old pappy used to say, …” One of these (when I was in high school) was when a stranger offered to buy Maverick a drink. Maverick responds to the offer with, “My old pappy used to say, ‘Never stifle a generous impulse.'” That really tickled me: the care not to stifle an incoming generous impulse, and so I used the line from time to time. The result is that my children can now say (truthfully), “As my old dad always said, ‘Never .. ” Life imitating art.

And I want very much to see Grand Prix after reading the story behind the movie, and I see I can watch for free via Amazon Prime streaming. No, I don’t think I’m going to miss Netflix all that muchl.

The banging gates that awakened me at 4:30 have, I hope, now been latched. I was able to latch one, but the other has to be latched on the inside. I emailed the landlord. (These belong to the apartment next door.) When the wind blows, the unlatched gate bangs.

Weight is dropping handily: 171.7 lbs this morning. I want to hit 170 for an “after” photo, and then I’ll just keep it under 175, which seems about right.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 January 2012 at 4:29 pm

Posted in Books, Food, Movies & TV

J.M. Fraser & Booster

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Superb shave this morning, with superb (but inexpensive) supplies and tool.

The brush shown is the Omega 20107, which NoHelmet on Wicked_Edge told me about: very like the Pro 48 but just slightly smaller in size and thus a little better for the face-latherin’ guy (e.g., moi). It’s a terrific brush, as Omega boars tend to be, and now that it’s breaking in, I really enjoyed using it. For the last pass I even worked up a little superlather by using the brush on some Mitchell’s Wool Fat. (Going without shaving soap this month is killing me: it seemed like a good idea at the time.)

J.M. Fraser is a pearl among shaving creams—it’s like Vitos Red Label Super shaving soap: you get an enormous lot of extremely good shaving prep for a ridiculously low price. Definitely worth trying, it has a light lemony fragrance (that I’m told is actually lime) and is curiously effective at softening the stubble.

With the Weber holding a previously used Swedish Gillette blade, I did three very pleasant passes—I love the feel of this razor head—and ended with a good splash of Booster aftershave—same company as (or having a close relationship with) J. M. Fraser.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 January 2012 at 9:00 am

Posted in Shaving

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