Later On

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

Archive for January 7th, 2015

Art in unexpected urban installations

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Pretty cool.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 January 2015 at 4:04 pm

Posted in Art

The rise of heroin

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From an article well worth reading, by Sean Flynn in GQ:

Critical to the shift [to heroin] is the rise, corporate-backed and medically sanctioned, of prescription opiates. Pills such as OxyContin and Percocet are incredibly effective both therapeutically and recreationally. They’re also addictive and, on the street, expensive. “All of a sudden,” says Stuart S. Healy III, a federal prosecutor in Cheyenne, “these pill junkies are saying, ‘We need something different. We need something cheaper.’ ”

That connection, pills to heroin, is a constant. “Every individual who’s cooperated with us on heroin cases,” says Woodson, “or who’s overdosed on heroin that we’ve investigated, when we look into their background, 100 percent started with pills. One hundred percent.”

Written by LeisureGuy

7 January 2015 at 2:40 pm

Extremely worthwhile reading re: US military

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James Fallows’s entire column is worth reading today. Here’s just one small piece of it:

2) “Can a Gold-Plated Military Counter ISIS?” From long-time (and frequently quoted-by-me) defense analyst Chuck Spinney, one basic question about today’s strategy, and a discouraging but realistic answer. Sample:

Lightly armed guerrilla/insurgent/terrorist forces are once again holding off the high-tech, heavily armed forces of the United States. A string of defeats is slowly accumulating at the strategic and grand-strategic levels of conflict, even though US forces almost always win battles at the tactical level, if they can fix the insurgents and destroy them with overwhelming firepower, particularly bombing. But when viewed through the overlapping lenses of the operational, strategic, and grand strategic levels of conflict guerrillas have advantages to offset US firepower.

One of the underlying points in my current article is that, whether you agree with Spinney or not, questions like this should be in mainstream of U.S. political and media discussion, not consigned to specialty military sites. Also of course worth reading in full, with a link to a piece by the authoritative Patrick Cockburn. It even has a link to the urtext thinking about this form of war, “Patterns of Conflict” by the late Colonel John Boyd.

By all means, read the whole thing.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 January 2015 at 2:14 pm

Posted in Military

And, to provide balance, an example of non-meme evolution: “New class of antibiotic found in dirt could prove resistant to resistance”

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Interesting, eh?

And now provide an example of a meme analogue…

And, BTW, how on earth can people deny evolution? I don’t get it.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 January 2015 at 2:01 pm

Posted in Evolution, Science

Close to overt reference to meme evolution: “Why Gadgets Must Adapt to a World Ruled by Software”

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The article is here, but the headline quite clearly refers to the rapid evolution of various specific memes. If you consider the situation as a (meme-)ecological environment, and think of lifeforms adapting and evolving in response to the challenges of living in a highly competitive and richly fecund jungle, and then look at what’s happening to and among the memes mentioned (though not as such) in the article: the gadgets, the software, the businesses.

“Meme” here is used as defined and discussed by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 January 2015 at 1:48 pm

Would you go so far as to call these “warning signs”?

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Or even “ominous warning signs”? Perhaps “obvious” in place of “ominous.” What do you think?

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 1.19.37 PM

That’s from an email of daily headlines I get from McClatchy. Just another day, nothing special. Like any other day.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 January 2015 at 1:22 pm

More evidence the US entering a police-state phase

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Radley Balko in the Washington Post:

Over the holidays, a federal district judge in Massachusetts issued a rulingin the lawsuit brought by the family of Eurie Stamps, a 68-year-old manshot and killed by a Framingham, Mass., SWAT team during a drug raid in 2011. The ruling actually allows the lawsuit to go forward, but only in a limited capacity. The family will only be permitted to sue the officer who shot Stamps, and only for compensatory damages. The family’s bid for punitive damages and its claims against the city were dismissed. In fact, despite the fact that Stamps was not suspected of any crime, that he was fully compliant with the police when they stormed his house with guns, that the raid on his home itself was unnecessary, and that the judge concedes that Stamps did absolutely nothing to facilitate his own killing, the family has already lost on eight of their 10 claims before the case will even get to a jury. (Though that could still change, as both sides could appeal.)

First, some background on the raid itself. On the night of Jan. 5, 2011, police conducted a drug raid . . .

Continue reading.

Balko also notes:

  • Another drug war success: Meth is cheaper, more potent than ever, and it’s all coming in through international drug cartels. But hey, at least we’ve made life difficult for allergy sufferers and arrested the occasional innocent parent or grandparent along the way.
  • Meanwhile in Britain, an MDMA crackdown has given rise to a lethal new party drug. Four dead, so far.
  • Police union head demands that cops . . .

Read ’em all. Jaw-dropping.

UPDATE: Do you notice any sort of trend? Any common attitudes among different police departments? NOTE: I think everyone knows that the substantial majority of police are interesting in doing their job and are respectful of their communities. But the fractious fraction seems to be increasing in visibility, which makes one think it’s probably increasing absolutely. And the distribution across the country is striking: it is a general trend. And if you read police forums on-line, you will certainly notice some striking characteristics—common themes—of that subculture, not all of which are positive.

Latest: Lawsuit alleges botched drug raid, puppycide in Cleveland

Written by LeisureGuy

7 January 2015 at 12:57 pm

Using kirigami to build 3-D structures from flat paper

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Very interesting post, with video. Kirigami (“kiri” = “cut”, cf. harakiri) is like origami except origami allows no cuts, only folds.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 January 2015 at 10:10 am

Posted in Science

New brush from Brushguy.com

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SOTD 7 Jan 2015

Nifty new brush. The man who makes these has been active in making custom brushes, but starting 31 Jan, he will stock his store and sell from stock: Brushguy.com. The knot is a grey badger, and it works extremely well—the handle is quite comfortable and well-adapted to the task at hand, as it were.

I’m returning to Barrister & Mann soaps to refine my lathering technique. I had worked out a method that works: take a sopping-wet brush, give it a medium shake, and begin loading the brush by vigorously and briskly and firmly brushing the soap. As I did that I added a driblet of water, worked it in, and repeated that. The result has been terrific lathers, with no fading.

As Will, Barrister & Mann proprietor, noted in an email to me:

It’s very difficult to overwater my soap. Definitely not impossible, but it takes some doing. It has a sweet spot a mile wide (which started by happy accident and then became refined by design).

This morning, I tried his technique:

I typically load with a sopping wet brush for 75 to 100 swirls, then add MORE water after that, typically a few teaspoons. It works extremely well for me and I get a super-slick, cushiony lather, which is how I designed it.

So instead of shaking the sopping-wet brush, I went directly to the tub. I’ve done this before, holding the tub on its side so that the excess water and first loose, sloppy lather (“slag” in Method-speak) can spill away—and that produced fading lathers for me, I think because too much water spilled away: thirsty soap.

As I worked at loading the brush, the loose, sloppy lather and excess water stayed within the (upright) tub, except that in brushing the developing lather kept spilling over the side. I did indeed get a good lather, but also a bit of a mess: had to rinse my hand and the tub as well. And I didn’t even try to add an additional tablespoon of water: that would have been way too much.

So, the sopping-wet brush method that uses all the water in the brush didn’t work all that well for me. While the resulting lather was good, the mess along the way was not. My own experience is that using a brush that’s been given one medium shake reduces the loose water in the tub. As the soap begins to load, adding a driblet doesn’t produce a mess and you can quickly work that little amount of water into the soap, and the second driblet does the job: a brush fully loaded and virtually no mess.

However, note that both Will and I add water as we load the brush. Will uses a dripping wet brush and adds about a tablespoon of water, I use a shaken out brush and add about a teaspoon of water, work that in, and then add and work in a second teaspoon. The difference when I try the two methods is mainly that one is less messy than the other and also seems quicker (because I am working in small amounts of water at each step).

However, I always advise people to experiment: try it both ways and see which works best for you. The key is to get enough water into the soap as you load the brush.

Three passes of the Edwin Jagger shown, loaded with a new Voskhod blade, left my face totally smooth, and a good splash of Fine’s American Blend finished the shave.

UPDATE: Will explains something I had misunderstood:

I load the brush while it’s sopping wet, then add water as I build the lather on my face. It allows me to better control the feel of the lather and customize it to my personal preference. Just pouring more and more water into it would indeed be quite messy, as you discovered.

That clears up one problem: I simply could not imagine adding more water while I was loading since the sopping wet brush had already put too much water (for my taste) into the tub, slopping suds everywhere.

Tomorrow I’ll try the same soap, using the less-wet brush and adding a little water as I load. (I also sometimes add water as I worked up the lather on my face, whether from this soap or another—and particularly for lathers I make from a shave stick—though the amount added is generally around a teaspoon: a “driblet.”)

Written by LeisureGuy

7 January 2015 at 9:38 am

Posted in Shaving

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