Later On

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

Archive for August 1st, 2012

Cool weight-loss predictor

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Josh points out this nifty weight-loss predictor, based on sex, age, height, weight, and calorie restriction. These things are very much YMMV, I suspect, and calories are not all the same in their impact on the body—things like the glycemic index come into play. But the interesting finding is that exercise does not have nearly the impact that it was once thought to have. (That article was also pointed out by Josh.)

So the dietary changes I’ve made probably are most to be credited for the weight I’ve lost. And the slow rate of loss, mentioned in the article, matches my experience: it’s a matter of patience and of finding a good way of eating that is satisfying, tasty, and lower in calories, which I believe I’ve done.

One confusing thing: The little predictor app (which requires Java, BTW) seemed to show my BMI as way high—and then I realized I had entered my height as 60″ instead of 72″. That made a considerable difference. 🙂

UPDATE: I was just emailing someone about my Glorious One-Pot Meal posts (if you start at the bottom of the page at the link and read upwards, you’ll follow the posts chronologically and thus see how I gradually tweaked the method). Those are a good way to easily control the amount of protein, fat, and starch, and get more emphasis on vegetables. And I believe that the GOPM are easier than making grub, for which I do a lot of dicing/chopping. I will likely return to GOPM-oriented meals after the move.

Written by Leisureguy

1 August 2012 at 3:16 pm

GOP is misrepresenting its role in the spending cuts

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It is notable how often the GOP conceals, distorts, or simply lies about its actions—it’s exactly as if they believe their actions are wrong. The NY Times editorial today comments on their prevarications regarding the upcoming spending cuts:

Republican lawmakers started a fire last year when they created a debt-ceiling crisis to force cuts in spending. Now that it is beginning to damage their most treasured military programs, they are blaming President Obama for not putting it out.

“It’s all the president’s fault” seems to be the theme of a tour led by Senator John McCain this week of states with a large military presence. Mr. McCain and two other Republican senators are scaring town-hall meetings with warnings that military bases will be closed and civilian employees will be laid off by the thousands.

Their goal is partly to drum up opposition to the $500 billion across-the-board defense cut that begins in January, but it also is to get voters to blame Mr. Obama for those cuts. To do so, they have had to be less than forthright about their role in creating one of the worst examples of governance in many years. And they are not explaining that the defense cuts are hardly the most damaging of the big reductions they helped bring about.

Mr. McCain and his two colleagues, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, all supported using the threat of a debt default to win ideological goals that they could not achieve through normal legislation. Ms. Ayotte said she could not approve a debt-limit increase without a cap on all federal spending. Mr. Graham demanded cuts to Social Security benefits, including raising the retirement age, in exchange for his vote.

The final deal, negotiated by Republicans and the White House, required more than $2 trillion in cuts, far more than could have been won without extortion. But Mr. Graham and Ms. Ayotte voted no because it also included the possibility of defense cuts and left insurance programs like Social Security and Medicare largely intact.

Mr. McCain voted yes, but that has not held him back from denouncing the very deal he supported. He called the defense cuts “an emergency situation” and said he held the president responsible for allowing them to continue. “Facing draconian cuts, it seems to me that the president of the United States ought to at least be involved in trying to prevent this,” he said at a town meeting on Monday in Fayetteville, N.C.

(This echoes an even more dishonest line from Mitt Romney last week that the defense cuts are a direct result of “the president’s policies.”)

Mr. Obama has been very clear about his terms: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

1 August 2012 at 8:04 am

Posted in Congress, GOP, Government

Revealing exchange: the USDA and the beef industry

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Mark Bittman has a couple of pieces on a situation that arose when the USDA published on its Web site an interoffice newsletter [PDF]—note: it was simply an interoffice notice—that talked about some green (environmental) initiatives taken in the Washington office. Bittman writes:

. . . Among the suggestions for reducing environmental impact was a call to participate in “Meatless Mondays” by choosing among the many meat-free dishes available in the department’s  cafeteria. The newsletter noted that the production of meat (especially beef) plays a role in climate change, wastes water, and requires disproportionate amounts of fertilizers, pesticides, and fossil fuels. And by the way, the article continued, eating too much of it might make you sick.

None of this is news, and it’s the kind of thing that — given its mission [“to end hunger and improve health in the United States” – LG] — the U.S.D.A. should be saying loud and clear to every citizen of the United States. You want to improve health, you discourage the overconsumption of meat. This is inarguable among serious health professionals; we can take it to be true. None of this is controversial, and the newsletter’s publication appeared to ruffle no feathers at the U.S.D.A. until the cattlemen took note of it.

You can guess the rest. The beef industry protested, the USDA immediately backed down, and the suggestion promoting Meatless Mondays in the Washington office was removed.

In addition to the column describing the incident, Bittman has another column in which he tries in vain to get a comment from the USDA and from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Both refused to comment, but actions speak louder than words: the USDA is obviously under the control of the food industry and will not take any actions, even actions to promote the public health and lessen environmental degradation, unless the food industry allows it.

We consumers are pretty much on our own, now that government and business are aligned as a single force. This is not a good situation.

Written by Leisureguy

1 August 2012 at 8:00 am

Wild-caught fish in farmed stock, and farmed fish added to the wild

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Interesting labeling dilemma, reported by Edyta Zielinska in The Scientist:

Taking a closer look at the sustainable seafood industry, researchers from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s Marine Science Initiative found that many fish farms stock their tanks with juvenile fish caught in the open ocean, whereas wild-caught fisheries often seed their waters with farmed hatchlings, complicating consumer labeling and conservation efforts.

Wild-caught seafood is commonly touted as healthier than farmed fish because it is thought to be free of contaminants from the farming process. Aquaculture fisheries, such as those for bluefin tuna, on the other hand, are generally thought of as more sustainable alternatives to wild-caught fish. However, many fish farmers seed their stocks with smaller, wild-caught fish. “Both aquaculture and fisheries managers often overlook the environmental impacts of stocking aquaculture operations with wild-caught individuals,” the authors wrote. Conversely, fishermen of wild-caught salmon are known to add farmed hatchlings to their runs, to boost yields.

Such hybrid practices have made calculating the environmental impact of each fishing classification difficult.  “Adding a new hybrid category to national and international seafood production record keeping would easily make these data available to global analysts, with little extra effort required by individual countries,” Dane Klinger, a researcher involved in the study, told ScienceInsider.

Written by Leisureguy

1 August 2012 at 7:45 am

Posted in Business, Food

Art of Shaving and the President

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The Plisson Chinese Grey with its hefty handle is a very nice brush. Not exactly prickly, the bristles present a pleasantly “coarse” feeling to the face, and the lather it worked up from the Art of Shaving Lemon soap was thick and rich. With a very nice lather, I find that I do take a fair amount of time working it into my beard just from the pleasant of the sensation—all to the good, prep-wise.

The Gillette President is very similar to the 40’s Aristocrat, just some minor differences in chequering and in being nickel- rather than gold-plated. This one, however, I had plated in rhodium, and I think it’s stunning. I’m moving into a small space, though, and this fall will begin to sell off a substantial part of the collection. I think this is one that will go on the auction block, despite the superb shave it delivered today with an Astra Superior Platinum blade. It’s truly an elegant razor.

A splash of Stetson Classic aftershave, and the morning ritual is complete.

Written by Leisureguy

1 August 2012 at 7:40 am

Posted in Shaving

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