Later On

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

Archive for December 15th, 2012

“Gun safety,” not “gun control”`

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US and guns

James Fallows has an excellent post, including a comment from a reader, on the latest massacre and possible actions.

And Nick Kristof has a very good column in the NY Times. The illustration by Edel Rodriguez above introduces the column, which begins:

IN the harrowing aftermath of the school shooting in Connecticut, one thought wells in my mind: Why can’t we regulate guns as seriously as we do cars?

The fundamental reason kids are dying in massacres like this one is not that we have lunatics or criminals — all countries have them — but that we suffer from a political failure to regulate guns.

Children ages 5 to 14 in America are 13 times as likely to be murdered with guns as children in other industrialized countries, according to David Hemenway, a public health specialist at Harvard who has written an excellent book on gun violence.

So let’s treat firearms rationally as the center of a public health crisis that claims one life every 20 minutes. The United States realistically isn’t going to ban guns, but we can take steps to reduce the carnage.

American schoolchildren are protected by building codes that govern stairways and windows. School buses must meet safety standards, and the bus drivers have to pass tests. Cafeteria food is regulated for safety. The only things we seem lax about are the things most likely to kill.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has five pages of regulations about ladders, while federal authorities shrug at serious curbs on firearms. Ladders kill around 300 Americans a year, and guns 30,000.

We even regulate toy guns, by requiring orange tips — but lawmakers don’t have the gumption to stand up to National Rifle Association extremists and regulate real guns as carefully as we do toys. What do we make of the contrast between heroic teachers who stand up to a gunman and craven, feckless politicians who won’t stand up to the N.R.A.?

As one of my Facebook followers wrote after I posted about the shooting, “It is more difficult to adopt a pet than it is to buy a gun.”

Look, I grew up on an Oregon farm where guns were a part of life; and my dad gave me a .22 rifle for my 12th birthday. I understand: shooting is fun! But so is driving, and we accept that we must wear seat belts, use headlights at night, and fill out forms to buy a car. Why can’t we be equally adult about regulating guns? . . .

Continue reading. Note the 30,000 killed by guns in the US: the total number who were killed in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania, was 2,996, including the 19 terrorists. So the deaths in the US due to firearms amounts to 10 times the 9/11 body count every year. Yet we do nothing about it. Look at the response to the (single) 9/11 tragedy: less than 3,000 killed, and everything changed: we went to war in Afghanistan (understandable) and in Iraq (totally gratuitous, costing us around $2 trillion plus hundreds of thousands of deaths, Iraqi civilians and Iraqi and US troops, billions spent on (and by) the TSA, airline body searches, luggage searches, and so on—all that from less than 3,000 dead. But 30,000 dead—every year—and we do nothing.

I don’t get it.

Written by Leisureguy

15 December 2012 at 1:49 pm

Posted in Daily life, Government, Law

Food allergies from tap water

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It seems to me that food allergies are nowadays much more common than when I was young. I just learned, for example, that it is considered improper to offer young neighborhood children cookies with nuts because you don’t know which might have allergies to nuts, and such allergies are now common.

Science Word Report has an article suggestion that pesticides in tap water could be to blame, along with pesticides ingested in eating foods:

Food allergies are a growing public health concern. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 4 percent to 6 percent of U.S. children under 18 have food allergies.

With 12 million Americans allergic to one food item or another, allergists from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) have focused on this in order to find traces of the causative agent.

According to the study, food allergies are on the rise partially due to the presence of pesticides in tap water. High levels of dichlorophenols, a chemical used in pesticides and to chlorinate water, when found in the human body, are associated with food allergies.

“Our research shows that high levels of dichlorophenol-containing pesticides can possibly weaken food tolerance in some people, causing food allergy,” said allergist Elina Jerschow, M.D., M.Sc, . ACAAI fellow and lead study author. “This chemical is commonly found in pesticides used by farmers and consumer insect and weed control products, as well as tap water.”

They focused on the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006 in which 10, 348 participants had participated, out of which 2,548 had dichlorophenols measured in their urine and 2,211 were included into the study.

Nearly 411 participants had food allergy while 1,016 had an environmental allergy.

“Previous studies have shown that both food allergies and environmental pollution are increasing in the U.S.,” said Dr. Jerschow. “The results of our study suggest these 2 trends might be linked, and that increased use of pesticides and other chemicals is associated with a higher prevalence of food allergies.”

A better way to reduce the risk of developing an allergy is by opting for bottled water instead of tap water.

“Other dichlorophenol sources, such as pesticide-treated fruits and vegetables, may play a greater role in causing food allergy,” said Dr. Jerschow.

The new study is published in the December issue of Annals of allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific journal ACAAI.

The Stanford Study that found organic foods had no more nutrients on average than foods raised with the use of pesticides, herbicide, and fungicides mentioned in passing that organic foods did not have nearly the level of such toxins as conventionally raised foods. They perhaps focused on the wrong area: looking at where organic and conventional foods are the same and ignoring the ways in which they differ.

The millions of tons of toxins we pour into our food supply apparently are starting to affect us.

Written by Leisureguy

15 December 2012 at 12:41 pm

4 qts pepper sauce simmering away

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2 small cans chipotles in adobo (entire contents), about 20 beautiful and perfect habaneros, 2/3 c kosher salt, 2 packs peeled garlic cloves, 2 dried ancho chilis, 10 dried chipotle chilis, and lots and lots of fresh jalapeños, along with white vinegar enough to make a thick slurry when all was blended to a fare-thee-well. Bring to boil and simmer 20 minutes (that’s happening now), lit sit covered for 20 minutes to cool, and then blend and bottle.

Should last a good while.

Things that could be added: an entire Meyer lemon; blackstrap molasses; liquid smoke; olive oil. In fact, I think I’ll go add some olive oil.

Written by Leisureguy

15 December 2012 at 11:56 am

BBS and feeling good

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SOTD 15 Dec 2012

What a fine shave! I’m sitting here stroking my face. A really good shave sets you up for the day in a most positive way.

The Vie-Long horsehair brush, a truly fine brush, made a terrific lather with the Tabac shave stick. I’m told that up north, where the weather is cold, Tabac is not a good choice because it seems to dry the skin, but down here, it works fine.

The Tradere Straight Bar with a Gillette Rubie blade did an excellent job. This truly is a fine razor, and among straight-bar razors, it’s now my favorite. The slant is a horse of another color and can’t be compared directly: two different approaches to shaving. The Tradere wins the straight-bar category, and I’m eager to see whether Tradere will have an entry in the slant-bar competition sometime next year. (I have no idea, but God knows I’ve suggested it often enough.)

Once again I used the little bay rum aftershave sample I received. It has a very appealing fragrance. I find that I’m liking it.

When I removed the Tradere cap to check which blade I was using, I was surprised to see some rust on the Rubie blade. I’m sure it’s the blade and not the razor, though both are stainless so no rust should be seen. I’ll try another brand soon and see what obtains.

Written by Leisureguy

15 December 2012 at 9:38 am

Posted in Shaving

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