Later On

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

Archive for December 1st, 2012

The founders of Reddit tell how it started

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I’m on Reddit—specifically reddit/r/wicked_edge—a lot. Here’s how the whole thing started:

Written by LeisureGuy

1 December 2012 at 11:19 am

Posted in Technology, Video

Entertaining heist comedy with Ashley Judd: Flypaper

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Enjoyed Flypaper last night: thoroughly entertaining.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 December 2012 at 11:17 am

Posted in Movies & TV

Better than Saturday-morning cartoons

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Via The Wife, who suggests that you read the comments to the video.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 December 2012 at 10:18 am

Posted in Daily life, Video

The Monster of Monticello

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Thomas Jefferson’s feet of clay plainly exposed: Paul Finkelman writes in the NY Times:

Thomas Jefferson is in the news again, nearly 200 years after his death — alongside a high-profile biography by the journalist Jon Meacham comes a damning portrait of the third president by the independent scholar Henry Wiencek.

We are endlessly fascinated with Jefferson, in part because we seem unable to reconcile the rhetoric of liberty in his writing with the reality of his slave owning and his lifetime support for slavery. Time and again, we play down the latter in favor of the former, or write off the paradox as somehow indicative of his complex depths.

Neither Mr. Meacham, who mostly ignores Jefferson’s slave ownership, nor Mr. Wiencek, who sees him as a sort of fallen angel who comes to slavery only after discovering how profitable it could be, seem willing to confront the ugly truth: the third president was a creepy, brutal hypocrite.

Contrary to Mr. Wiencek’s depiction, Jefferson was always deeply committed to slavery, and even more deeply hostile to the welfare of blacks, slave or free. His proslavery views were shaped not only by money and status but also by his deeply racist views, which he tried to justify through pseudoscience.

There is, it is true, a compelling paradox about Jefferson: when he wrote the Declaration of Independence, announcing the “self-evident” truth that all men are “created equal,” he owned some 175 slaves. Too often, scholars and readers use those facts as a crutch, to write off Jefferson’s inconvenient views as products of the time and the complexities of the human condition.

But while many of his contemporaries, including George Washington, freed their slaves during and after the revolution — inspired, perhaps, by the words of the Declaration — Jefferson did not. Over the subsequent 50 years, a period of extraordinary public service, Jefferson remained the master of Monticello, and a buyer and seller of human beings.

Rather than encouraging his countrymen to liberate their slaves, he opposed both private manumission and public emancipation. Even at his death, Jefferson failed to fulfill the promise of his rhetoric: his will emancipated only five slaves, all relatives of his mistress Sally Hemings, and condemned nearly 200 others to the auction block. Even Hemings remained a slave, though her children by Jefferson went free.

Nor was Jefferson a particularly kind master. He sometimes punished slaves by selling them away from their families and friends, a retaliation that was incomprehensibly cruel even at the time. A proponent of humane criminal codes for whites, he advocated harsh, almost barbaric, punishments for slaves and free blacks. Known for expansive views of citizenship, he proposed legislation to make emancipated blacks “outlaws” in America, the land of their birth. Opposed to the idea of royal or noble blood, he proposed expelling from Virginia the children of white women and black men. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 December 2012 at 10:01 am

Posted in Books, Daily life

Drone crashes at civilian airports

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Since drones are going to be used a lot in the US, this article by Craig Whitlock in the Washington Post is of particular interest. Also of interest: that civilians are now allowed to kill people in our wars. Since drone strikes typically kill noncombatants (women and children), we have US civilians killing foreign civilians with no penalties. A strange development, it seems to me.

The U.S. Air Force drone, on a classified spy mission over the Indian Ocean, was destined for disaster from the start.

An inexperienced military contractor in shorts and a T-shirt, flying by remote control from a trailer at Seychelles International Airport, committed blunder after blunder in six minutes on April 4.

He sent the unarmed MQ-9 Reaper drone off without permission from the control tower. A minute later, he yanked the wrong lever at his console, killing the engine without realizing why.

As he tried to make an emergency landing, he forgot to put down the wheels. The $8.9 million aircraft belly-flopped on the runway, bounced and plunged into the tropical waters at the airport’s edge, according to a previously undisclosed Air Force accident investigation report.

The drone crashed at a civilian airport that serves a half-million passengers a year, most of them sun-seeking tourists. No one was hurt, but it was the second Reaper accident in five months — under eerily similar circumstances.

“I will be blunt here. I said, ‘I can’t believe this is happening again,’ ” an Air Force official at the scene told investigators afterward. He added: “You go, ‘How stupid are you?’ ”

The April wreck was the latest in a rash of U.S. military drone crashes at overseas civilian airports in the past two years. The accidents reinforce concerns about . . .

Continue reading. I am wondering when the first US civilian casualties (due to airport mishap with a drone) will occur and what the fallout will be.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 December 2012 at 9:58 am

Sultans Shaving Soap and Vie-Long Horse+Badger brush

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The BatRazor

The BatRazor

The little Vie-Long horse+badger brush joins my collection of Vie-Long miniatures, the other two being shown in this photo. Those two small Vie-Longs are horsehair, blond and chestnut.

The Sultans Shaving Soap made a good lather. The ingredients, from their site at the link:

Coconut, Castor, Palm, Olive and Jojoba Oils, Stearic Acid, Vegetable Glycerin, Purified Water, Potassium Hydroxide, Potassium Carbonate, Titanium Dioxide, Citric Acid, Vitamin E, Fragrance Oils

I noticed a horsey smell from the brush in the second pass. I sort of like it, but it is a fleeting thing: a few more shaves and it will be gone forever.

The BatRazor shown above is the Weber DLC head on a faux-ebony Edwin Jagger DE8x handle. I think it looks extremely good, and I may keep it this way. Balance isn’t bad at all. I also have an EJ faux-ebony Chatsworth, and I’ll try that handle as well.

With the new Gillette 7 O’Clock SharpEdge blade, I got a wonderfully smooth shave in three easy passes. A splash of Floïd, and I’m ready to clean up the kitchen and make bean soup. (I had a smoked ham shank in a covered pot in a 200ºF oven overnight. It’s done to perfection, and now I will just add some canned beans (pinto and black), onion, garlic, celery, carrot, shredded cabbage, gochujang sauce, and water: presto! Soup.)

Written by LeisureGuy

1 December 2012 at 9:36 am

Posted in Shaving

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