Later On

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

Archive for August 2015

Tempeh chili

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Made this tonight: Sauté 1.5 onions (that’s what I had: one large red onion, 1/2 sweet onion) and this tempeh (sliced into slabs, then across into rectangles) in 2 Tbsp bacon fat (or olive oil).

I then added 8 cloves minced garlic, salt, lots of freshly ground black paper, 1.5 Tbsp ancho chili powder, 1.5 Tbsp ground cumin, 2 Tbsp Mexican oregano, and 2 tsp thyme and sautéed that for a while.

Then I added black beans that I had cooked (1 c dried Black Valentine beans, simmered for a little over an hour without pre-soaking them, and then drained when they were done), along with one 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, 1 can Ro-Tel Original tomatoes with green chili, one 7-oz can Ortega Fire-Roasted diced green chiles, about 1 Tbsp liquid smoke, 2 tsp soy sauce, and 2 tsp rice vinegar. I simmered that covered for 30 minutes.

Tasty served with grated cheese on top.

Written by Leisureguy

31 August 2015 at 6:38 pm

Hard to believe: Police chief in Rohnert Park CA

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From Radley Balko’s links today:

Police in Rohnert Park, Calif., raid the home of a man who posted critical comments about them online. The police chief says the raid came after someone called 911 to report a woman screaming inside the man’s home, but there was no woman, and the chief now refuses to release the recording of the 911 call.

More links here.

Written by Leisureguy

31 August 2015 at 6:27 pm

Posted in Law Enforcement

Former 49er Chris Borland discusses why he retired from football at 26

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Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada report for ESPN:

ONE DAY IN April, the NFL asked Chris Borland to take a random drug test. The timing of this request was, in a word, bizarre, since Borland, a San Francisco 49ers linebacker, had retired a month earlier after a remarkable rookie season. He said he feared getting brain damage if he continued to play.

Borland had been amazed at the reaction to his decision, the implications of which many saw as a direct threat to the NFL. And now here was an email demanding that he pee in a cup before a league proctor within 24 hours or fail the test. “I figured if I said no, people would think I was on drugs,” he said recently. That, he believed, “would ruin my life.” As he thought about how to respond, Borland began to wonder how random this drug test really was.

What did the NFL still want with him? Nobody could have held out much hope that he’d change his mind. On Friday, March 13, when Borland retired via email, he attached a suggested press release, then reaffirmed his intentions in conversations with 49ers officials. Instead of announcing Borland’s retirement, the team sent him a bill — an unsubtle reminder that he’d have to return most of his $617,436 signing bonus if he followed through. That Monday, Borland, knowing he was forgoing at least $2.35 million, not to mention a promising career, made the announcement himself to Outside the Lines. He has since elaborated on the decision to everyone from Face the Nation to Charlie Rose to undergraduates at Wisconsin, where he was an All-American.

Borland has consistently described his retirement as a pre-emptive strike to (hopefully) preserve his mental health. “If there were no possibility of brain damage, I’d still be playing,” he says. But buried deeper in his message are ideas perhaps even more threatening to the NFL and our embattled national sport. It’s not just that Borland won’t play football anymore. He’s reluctant to even watch it, he now says, so disturbed is he by its inherent violence, the extreme measures that are required to stay on the field at the highest levels and the physical destruction 
he has witnessed to people he loves and admires — especially to their brains.

Borland has complicated, even tortured, feelings about football that grow deeper the more removed he is from the game. He still sees it as an exhilarating sport that cultivates discipline and teamwork and brings communities and families together. “I don’t dislike football,” he insists. “I love football.” At the same time, he has come to view it as a dehumanizing spectacle that debases both the people who play it and the people who watch it.

“Dehumanizing sounds so extreme, but when you’re fighting for a football at the bottom of the pile, it is kind of dehumanizing,” he said during a series of conversations over the spring and summer. “It’s like a spectacle of violence, for entertainment, and you’re the actors in it. You’re complicit in that: You put on the uniform. And it’s a trivial thing at its core. It’s make-believe, really. That’s the truth about it.”

How one person can reconcile such opposing views of football — as both cherished American tradition and trivial activity so violent that it strips away our humanity — is hard to see. Borland, 24, 
is still working it out. He wants to be respectful to friends who are still playing and former teammates and coaches, but he knows that, in many ways, he is the embodiment of the growing conflict over football, a role that he is improvising, sometimes painfully, as he goes along.

More than anything, Borland says he doesn’t want to tell anyone what to do. This is the central conflict of his post-football life. He rejected the sport, a shocking public act that still reverberates, in tremors, from the NFL to its vast pipeline of youth leagues. Yet he’s wary of becoming a symbol for all the people who want to end — or save — football.

We trailed Borland for five months as he embarked on a journey that drove him deeper into the NFL’s concussion crisis and forced him to confront the sport in ways he avoided while playing. One day in June, he returned to Archbishop Alter High School in Kettering, Ohio, to visit with his old coach, Ed Domsitz. “We’re in a period now where, for the next 10 or 15 years, many of us, we need to figure out a way to save this game,” said Domsitz, a southwest Ohio legend who has coached for 40 years.

Jovial and gray-haired, Domsitz was standing on the Alter practice field, a lake of synthetic green turf. He tried to recruit Borland to his cause.

“Why don’t you come back and coach the linebackers?” Domsitz asked. “We need to teach these kids the safe way to tackle.”

“Some of my best tackles were the most dangerous!” Borland responded, laughing.

“You’re exactly the kind of people we need,” the coach insisted.

Borland lowered his head, embarrassed. “I can’t do that,” he said, almost inaudibly. “Maybe I could be the kicking coach.”

Later, away from Domsitz, Borland explained: “I wouldn’t want to be charged with the task of making violence safer. I think that’s a really difficult thing to do.”

In the months following his retirement, Borland has offered himself up as a human guinea pig to the many researchers who want to scan and study his post-NFL brain. He has met with the former vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army and with mental health experts at the Carter Center in Atlanta. He has literally shrunk, dropping 30 pounds from his 248-pound playing weight while training for the San Francisco Marathon, which he ran in late July.

As the Niners reported to training camp in July, Borland was examining the Book of Kells, a 1,200-year-old manuscript, at the Trinity College Library in Dublin, the start of a six-week European vacation.

In many ways, Borland is like any bright, ambitious recent college graduate who is trying to figure out the rest of his life. In other ways, he’s the most dangerous man in football.

On that day back in April, Borland stared hard at his iPhone, pondering what to do about the NFL’s summons to a post-retirement drug test. The league says it reserves the right to test players — even after they’ve retired — to ensure that they don’t dodge a test, then return. But given the stakes, and the NFL’s dubious history on concussions, it occurred to Borland that maybe, just maybe, he was being set up.

“I don’t want to be a conspiracy theorist,” he says. “I just wanted to be sure.” Borland agreed to submit a urine sample to the NFL’s representative, who drove in from Green Bay and administered the test in the Wisconsin trainer’s room. Then he hired a private firm for $150 to test him independently. Both tests came back negative, according to Borland.

“I don’t really trust the NFL,” he says.

TOWARD THE END of his rookie season, Borland read League of Denial, our 2013 book chronicling the NFL’s efforts to bury the concussion problem. After his last game, he contacted us through former St. Louis Cardinals linebacker David Meggyesy, who also walked away from the NFL, in 1969. Meggyesy wrote a best-selling memoir, Out of Their League, in which he described football as “one of the most dehumanizing experiences a person can face.” Borland, a history major at Wisconsin, had met Meggyesy during his senior year, after hearing him give a guest lecture titled “Sports, Labor and Social Justice in the 21st Century.”

It’s tempting to draw parallels between Borland and Meggyesy, both of whom reject the NFL’s easy narrative of cartoon violence and heroic sacrifice. Late in his pro career, Meggyesy was benched for his political activism. At Wisconsin, in 2011, Borland was punished with extra conditioning for skipping class to protest Republican Gov. (and current presidential candidate) Scott Walker, who was trying to limit collective bargaining for public employees. Borland marched with three cousins, one a teacher, and carried a sign that read: recall walker.

But there are significant differences between the two men. . .

Continue reading.

Later in the article:

Robert Stern [is] a neurology professor at Boston University, the leading institution for the study of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Over the past decade, the disease has been found in the brains of 87 out of the 
91 dead NFL players who were examined. In late February, a BU-hosted “consensus conference” concluded that CTE is a distinct neurodegenerative disease found only in patients who experienced brain trauma. The NFL rejected its link to football for years.

And this:

Borland, somewhat derisively, calls “the overwhelming tide of marketing about how great and awesome football is.” Borland scoffs at the oft-repeated clichés about football’s unique ability to impart wisdom. “It’s too bad Gandhi never played football,” he said one afternoon. “Maybe he would have picked up some valuable lessons.”

Written by Leisureguy

31 August 2015 at 2:29 pm

Your retirement plan and Wall Street

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A new book is out that takes a look at how Wall Street siphons money from US retirement plans. Pam Martens reviews it in Wall Street on Parade:

The riveting writer, Michael Hudson, has read our collective minds and the simmering anger in our hearts. Millions of American have long suspected that their inability to get financially ahead is an intentional construct of Wall Street’s central planners. Now Hudson, in an elegant but lethal indictment of the system, confirms that your ongoing struggle to make ends meet is not a reflection of your lack of talent or drive but the only possible outcome of having a blood-sucking financial leech affixed to your body, your retirement plan, and your economic future.

In his new book, “Killing the Host,” Hudson hones an exquisitely gripping journey from Wall Street’s original role as capital allocator to its present-day parasitism that has replaced U.S. capitalism as an entrenched, politically-enforced economic model across America.

This book is a must-read for anyone hoping to escape the most corrupt era in American history with a shirt still on his parasite-riddled back.

Hudson writes from his most powerful perch in chapters describing how these financial parasites have tricked our society into accepting them as a normal, productive part of our economy. (Since we write about these thousands of diabolical tricks four days a week at Wall Street On Parade, poignant examples came springing to mind with every turn of the page in “Killing the Host.” From the well-placed articles in the Wall Street Journal to a front group’s pleas for more Wall Street handouts in a New York Times OpEd, to the dirty backroom manner in which corporate speech was placed on a par with human speech in the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, to Wall Street’s private justice system and the Koch brothers’ multi-million dollar machinations to instill Ayn Rand’s brand of “greed is good” in university economic departments across America — America has become a finely tuned kleptocracy with a sprawling, sophisticated public relations base.

How else to explain, other than kleptocracy, the fact that Wall Street’s richest mega banks collect the life insurance proceeds and tax benefits on the untimely deaths of their workers – all codified into law by the U.S. Congress – making death a profit center on Wall Street. Or, as Frontline revealed, that two-thirds of your 401(k) plan over a working lifetime is likely to be lost to financial fees.

Hudson writes: “A parasite’s toolkit includes behavior-modifying enzymes to make the host protect and nurture it. Financial intruders into a host economy use Junk Economics to rationalize rentier parasitism as if it makes a productive contribution, as if the tumor they create is part of the host’s own body, not an overgrowth living off the economy. A harmony of interests is depicted between finance and industry, Wall Street and Main Street, and even between creditors and debtors, monopolists and their customers.”

What has evolved, says Hudson, is that Wall Street banks have “become the economy’s central planners, and their plan is for industry and labor to serve finance, not the other way around.”

To gloss over the collapse of this depraved economic model in 2008, Hudson says these Wall Street central planners simply depict “any adverse ‘disturbance’ as being self-correcting, not a structural defect leading economies to fall further out of balance. Any given development crisis is said to be a natural product of market forces, so that there is no need to regulate and tax the rentiers.”

Similarly, when citizens rise up en masse to demand a realignment of their economy, as happened with the Occupy Wall Street movement, first the public relations masterminds dismiss them as an unhinged gathering of smelly hippies, followed by their violent eviction in the middle of the night, with military precision, by the Praetorian Guard of the kleptocracy. In Manhattan, the Praetorian Guard (NYPD) has a high-tech surveillance center mutually staffed by cops and Wall Street personnel – andmainstream media find nothing unusual about this.

Hudson correctly calls 2008 a “dress rehearsal,” writing that “Wall Street convinced Congress that the economy could not survive without bailing out bankers and bondholders, whose solvency was deemed a precondition for the ‘real’ economy to function. The banks were saved, not the economy.” Hudson adds that the “debt tumor” was left in place. (This is the nightmare we are presently watching unfold.)

The result of the systemic disabling of regulations on Wall Street has resulted in the following, says Hudson: “…the wealthiest One Percent have captured nearly all the growth in income since the 2008 crash. Holding the rest of society in debt to themselves, they have used their wealth and creditor claims to gain control of the election process and governments by supporting lawmakers who un-tax them, and judges or court systems that refrain from prosecuting them. Obliterating the logic that led society to regulate and tax rentiers in the first place, think tanks and business schools favor economists who portray rentier takings as a contribution to the economy rather than as a subtrahend from it.” (But, of course, those business schools are financially incentivized to think that way.)

The outgrowth of these tricks to make parasites appear to be a natural appendage to a well-functioning economy results in a “veritable Stockholm Syndrome.” Hudson explains:

“Popular morality blames victims for going into debt – not only individuals, but also national governments. The trick in this ideological war is to convince debtors to imagine that general prosperity depends on paying bankers and making bondholders rich – a veritable Stockholm Syndrome in which debtors identify with their financial captors.”

Hudson has much to say on the perversity of corporations buying back their own stock. In one chapter, Hudson writes:

“In nature, parasites tend to kill hosts that are dying, using their substance as food for the intruder’s own progeny. The economic analogy takes hold when financial managers use depreciation allowances for stock buybacks or to pay out as dividends instead of replenishing and updating their plant and equipment. Tangible capital investment, research and development and employment are cut back to provide purely financial returns.”

On the timely debate over wealth and income inequality, Hudson writes that “Asset-price inflation is the primary dynamic explaining today’s polarization of wealth and income. Yet most newscasts applaud daily rises in the stock averages as if the wealth of the One Percent, who own the great bulk of stocks and other financial assets, is a proxy for how well the economy is doing. What actually occurs is that financing corporate buyouts on credit factors interest payments and fees into the prices that companies must charge for their products.”

Where this leads, says Hudson, is that “Paying these financial charges leaves less available to invest or hire more labor. Likewise for the overall economy, the effect of a debt-leveraged real estate bubble and asset-price inflation is that interest payments and fees to bankers and bondholders leave less available to spend on goods and services. The financial overhead rises, squeezing the ‘real’ economy and slowing new investment and hiring.”

Hudson is clearly on to something. The U.S. seems to be crashing like clockwork every 8 years with the crashes gaining in intensity. The 2000 crash wiped $4 trillion out of investment accounts while, 8 years later, the 2008 crash brought down the whole financial system, the U.S. and global economy, and it’s still producing a dead weight on economic growth. Next year will mark the eighth year since the 2008 crash and if last week’s market convulsions were any indication, we’re in for some very rough sledding.

Chapter 8 of “Killing the Host” begins with this quotation from John Maynard Keynes: “When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done.” Hudson expands further: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

31 August 2015 at 12:53 pm

Shy v. bold at the colony level

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In the Guide I discuss two mindsets: explorers and settlers. Explorers are risk-tolerant and novelty seeking, looking for any excuse to try something new; settlers are risk-averse and prefer the familiar, looking for any excuse to stick with the status quo. I mention that the same differences are seen in the animal kingdom, where they are generally called “bold” and “shy” respectively.

Now it’s found that these different mindsets (if one can call it that) can even be observed in ant colonies at the colony level. (This is not so surprising if you think the difference is genetic, since the ants in a colony are offspring of the same mother.) In Science Claire Asher reports:

. . . Some [ant] colonies are full of adventurous risk-takers, whereas others are less aggressive about foraging for food and exploring the great outdoors. Researchers say that these group “personality types” are linked to food-collecting strategies, and they could alter our understanding of how social insects behave.

Personality—consistent patterns of individual behavior—was once considered a uniquely human trait. But studies since the 1990s have shown that animals from great tits to octopuses exhibit “personality.” Even insects have personalities. Groups of cockroaches have consistently shy and bold members, whereas damselflies have shown differences in risk tolerance that stay the same from grubhood to adulthood.

To determine how group behavior might vary between ant colonies, a team of researchers led by Raphaël Boulay, an entomologist at the University of Tours in France, tested the insects in a controlled laboratory environment. They collected 27 colonies of the funnel ant (Aphaenogaster senilis) and had queens rear new workers in the lab. This meant that all ants in the experiment were young and inexperienced—a clean slate to test for personality.

The researchers then observed how each colony foraged for food and explored new environments. They counted the number of ants foraging, exploring, or hiding during set periods of time, and then compared the numbers to measure the boldness, adventurousness, and foraging efforts of each group. They also measured risk tolerance by gradually increasing the temperature of the ants’ foraging area from 26°C to 60°C. Ants that stayed out at temperatures higher than 46°C, widely considered to be the upper limit of their tolerance, were considered risk-takers.

When they reviewed their data, the scientists found strong personality differences between colonies, they reported online this month in Behavioral Ecology. Some were bold, adventurous risk-takers with highly active foragers. Others were shy, risk-averse, and fearful of new environments. Their foragers were less active, and they were less inclined to search for food at very high temperatures. When the team performed the same tests 11 weeks later, they saw that these differences persisted over time. More than half of all variation between colonies fell into distinct categories known as “behavioral syndromes.” These syndromes—similar to personality types among humans—are present across the animal kingdom and include categories like “proactive” (animals are bold, aggressive, and risk-prone) and “reactive” (animals are shy, calm, and risk-averse).

So how do these personality types affect how ants interact with each other? To find out, the researchers gave two colonies access to a shared foraging area. They observed how the laboratory colonies interacted with intruders and how well they competed with other colonies for food. They found that—not surprisingly—bold, risk-taking colonies were more aggressive toward other ants and were more efficient at collecting food. But the authors speculate that those colonies would experience higher mortality in the wild because of their risk-taking tendencies. As a result, they concluded that such behavioral strategies represent a tradeoff.

This idea is supported by a 2014 study that investigated colony-level personality in the rock ant, Temnothorax rugatulus, which ranges from northern Mexico to southern Canada. . .

Continue reading.

There’s quite a bit more, and it’s interesting.

Written by Leisureguy

31 August 2015 at 8:45 am

Posted in Daily life, Science, Shaving

iKon DLC slant, Vie-Long, and the Meißner Tremonia sample—still

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SOTD 31 Aug 2015

A perfect result today, thanks to a two-day stubble, excellent prep, and the DLC slant.

The Vie-Long horsehair brush shown is a favorite. I really do like the feel and performance of a good horsehair brush—a distinct feel that differs from that of badger, boar, or synthetic. And the performance is excellent. This is the fifth shave with the sample of Meißner Tremonia’s Pots o’ Milk shaving soap, and it’s still going strong. I would guess that three more shaves are in the offing.

I’ve been mentioning recently about how I must be careful to use the iKon stainless slant (and this head is stainless beneath the DLC coating) with light pressure, particularly with the SE handle, which is heavy. But I seem to have unconsciously learned the pressure lesson: I took no special care today, using the razor in a way that (now) seems natural. No nicks at all and a BBS result. I did note that the blade probably requires replacement, based on the slight resistance I felt from the stubble.

A splash of Alt-Innsbruck, with one shave left in the bottle. I do like this aftershave a lot, but I think I won’t replace it: I have too many others to use up. But I’ll still recommend it to your attention.

Wonderful start to the week.

Written by Leisureguy

31 August 2015 at 7:50 am

Posted in Shaving

Decision algorithm from John Barth’s The End of the Road

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Quite a few years ago I read John Barth’s novel The End of the Road, whose protagonist was discovered in the Baltimore train station by the Doctor, immobilized—cataleptic, really—from being unable to decide on a destination.

The Doctor adopts him as a patient, and when they eventually part, gives him some final bits of advice:

At the end of my last session — it had been decided that I was to return to Baltimore experimentally, to see whether and how soon my immobility might recur — the Doctor gave me some parting instructions.

“It would not be well in your particular case to believe in God,” he said, “Religion will only make you despondent. But until we work out something for you it will be useful to subscribe to some philosophy. Why don’t you read Sartre and become an existentialist? It will keep you moving until we find something more suitable for you. Study the World Almanac: it is to be your breviary for a while. Take a day job, preferably factory work, but not so simple that you are able to think coherently while working. Something involving sequential operations would be nice. Go out in the evenings; play cards with people. I don’t recommend buying a television set just yet. If you read anything outside the Almanac, read nothing but plays — no novels or non-fiction. Exercise frequently. Take long walks, but always to a previously determined destination, and when you get there, walk right home again, briskly. And move out of your present quarters; the association is unhealthy for you. Don’t get married or have love affairs yet: if you aren’t courageous enough to hire prostitutes, then take up masturbation temporarily. Above all, act impulsively: don’t let yourself get stuck between alternatives, or you’re lost. You’re not that strong. If the alternatives are side by side, choose the one on the left; if they’re consecutive in time, choose the earlier. If neither of these applies, choose the alternative whose name begins with the earlier letter of the alphabet. These are the principles of Sinistrality, Antecedence, and Alphabetical Priority — there are others, and they’re arbitrary, but useful. Good-by.”

I continue to use those three rules when I can’t decide between two alternatives. Words to live by.

Update: I should note that this passage is early in the book, and the novel is about what happens afterwards.

Written by Leisureguy

29 August 2015 at 11:25 am

Posted in Books, Daily life

BBS with J.M. Fraser and Maggard

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SOTD 29 Aug 2015

Extremely good shave today, and I attribute some of that to the excellent lather I geet from J.M. Fraser’s wonderful shaving cream.

I used the Omega S-brush shown, which I continue to like a lot, though yesterday I learned that some do not care for it. That the brush flings lather about was totally new to me—it doesn’t do that for me, nor have I heard of the problem for others—but the person complaining about this apparently uses a wet, loose lather. Other comments seem to reflect nothing more than differences in preferences for how a brush feels, and I totally agree that someone who likes stiff, scrubby brushes that have a lot of backbone won’t particularly like this brush. But for me, who prefer a soft, cushiony brush, the regular-size S-brushes are very nice indeed.

Once fully lather with the curiously effective lather that J.M. Fraser makes, I set to work with the Maggard razor shown. It’s quite comfortable and efficient and I had an enjoyable and easy time getting a BBS result with no problems at all.

A splash of Saint Charles Shave Dark Rose, and the weekend is launched.

Written by Leisureguy

29 August 2015 at 10:18 am

Posted in Shaving

Federal Drug Sentencing Laws Bring High Cost, Low Return

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Insanity has been defined as repeatedly doing the same thing but expecting the outcomes to change. US drug policy has fit the definition well, at a terrible waste in lives and money. The Pew Charitable Trust takes a look at what the US has done and at the results:

More than 95,000 federal prisoners are serving time for drug-related offenses—up from fewer than 5,000 in 1980.1 Changes in drug crime patterns and law enforcement practices played a role in this growth, but federal sentencing laws enacted during the 1980s and 1990s also have required more drug offenders to go to prison— and stay there much longer—than three decades ago.2 (See Figure 1.) These policies have contributed to ballooning costs: The federal prison system now consumes more than $6.7 billion a year, or roughly 1 in 4 dollars spent by the U.S. Justice Department.3

Despite substantial expenditures on longer prison terms for drug offenders, taxpayers have not realized a strong public safety return. The self-reported use of illegal drugs has increased over the long term as drug prices have fallen and purity has risen.4 Federal sentencing laws that were designed with serious traffickers in mind have resulted in lengthy imprisonment of offenders who played relatively minor roles.5 These laws also have failed to reduce recidivism. Nearly a third of the drug offenders who leave federal prison and are placed on community supervision commit new crimes or violate the conditions of their release—a rate that has not changed substantially in decades.6

Pew figure 1

More imprisonment, higher costs

Congress increased criminal penalties for drug offenders during the 1980s—and, to a lesser extent, in the 1990s—in response to mounting public concern about drug-related crime.7 In a 1995 report that examined the history of federal drug laws, the U.S. Sentencing Commission found that “drug abuse in general, and crack cocaine in particular, had become in public opinion and in members’ minds a problem of overwhelming dimensions.”8 The nation’s violent crime rate surged 41 percent from 1983 to 1991, when it peaked at 758 violent offenses per 100,000 residents.9

Congress increased drug penalties in several ways. Lawmakers enacted dozens of mandatory minimum sentencing laws that required drug offenders to serve longer periods of confinement. They also established compulsory sentence enhancements for certain drug offenders, including a doubling of penalties for repeat offenders and mandatory life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for those convicted of a third serious offense. These laws have applied broadly: As of 2010, more than 8 in 10 drug offenders in federal prisons were convicted of crimes that carried mandatory minimum sentences.10

Also during the 1980s, Congress created the Sentencing Commission, an appointed panel that established strict sentencing guidelines and generally increased penalties for drug offenses. The same law that established the commission, the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, also eliminated parole and required all inmates to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences behind bars before becoming eligible for release.

Federal data show the systemwide effects of these policies:

  • Probation has all but disappeared as a sanction for drug offenders. In 1980, federal courts sentenced 26 percent of convicted drug offenders to probation. By 2014, the proportion had fallen to 6 percent, with judges sending nearly all drug offenders to prison.11 (See Figure 2.)
  • The length of drug sentences has increased sharply. As shown in Figure 1 above, from 1980 to 2011 (the latest year for which comparable statistics are available), the average prison sentence imposed on drug offenders increased 36 percent—from 54.6 to 74.2 months—even as it declined 3 percent for all other offenders.12
  • The proportion of federal prisoners who are drug offenders has nearly doubled. The share of federal inmates serving time for drug offenses increased from 25 percent in 1980 to a high of 61 percent in 1994.13 This proportion has declined steadily in recent years—in part because of rising prison admissions for other crimes—but drug offenders still represent 49 percent of all federal inmates.14
  • Time served by drug offenders has surged. The average time that released drug offenders spent behind bars increased 153 percent between 1988 and 2012, from 23.2 to 58.6 months.15 This increase dwarfs the 39 and 44 percent growth in time served by property and violent offenders, respectively, during the same period.16

The increased imprisonment of drug offenders has helped drive the explosive overall growth of the federal prison system, which held nearly 800 percent more inmates in 2013 than it did in 1980.17 One study found that the increase in time served by drug offenders was the “single greatest contributor to growth in the federal prison population between 1998 and 2010.”18

Growth in the prison population has driven a parallel surge in taxpayer spending. From 1980 to 2013, federal prison spending increased 595 percent, from $970 million to more than $6.7 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars.19 . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

28 August 2015 at 2:00 pm

Posted in Drug laws

Impressive article on the Veterans Writing Project: Healing through writing and community

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I found this article, “A Common Language: Ron Capps served in Rwanda, Darfur, Kosovo, Eastern Congo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. When he got back, writing was the only thing that could truly bring him home again.” in Believer, by Kristina Shevory, to be extremely interesting (and very powerful). I was struck by this paragraph:

“Healing happens only in community, and it’s mainly a community of veterans, a circle of people you get to trust and understand your experience,” said Dr. Shay. “You can’t define what it means to be understood, but it sure as hell matters. The heavy lifting is done by and for the veterans. Time itself doesn’t heal.”

I was struck by the thought that one is healed by communication and a community. This struck with extra force because I just watched the (excellent) interview I blogged in this post, which talks about how efforts to go it alone do not work.

Shay is the author of two excellent books that I’ve read: Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character and Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming. Both are well worth reading. (Links are to inexpensive secondhand copies; new copies are, of course, readily available from on-line vendors such as Amazon.) These were early entries in a growing field: book written to deal with the reality of the terrible psychological, moral, and spiritual damage that war does to those involved. Some examples:

Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War
Warrior’s Return: Restoring the Soul After War
Killing from the Inside Out: Moral Injury and Just War
Afterwar: Healing the Moral Wounds of Our Soldiers

There are many others. I have not read these, but the Amazon reviews are 5-star or close to it (greater than 4-star).

The growing number of such books is some indication of the toll America’s non-stop wars have had on those who fought it, but course the damage and deaths from such wars goes far beyond the damage to the US: for example, look at Iraq today.

Why has the US constantly waged war in recent decades? Perhaps because those who make the decision to go to war do not fight in it and (of late) have never fought in any war and thus lack any read understanding of the costs of war. Similarly, the pundits and news analysts who comment on US decisions to wage war also lack war experience for the most part. When you think about how the Iraq war inaugurated by the Bush Administration, based on deliberate falsehoods, and about how the cost and consequences of that war continue to reverberate, it should make you question the wisdom of war.

The article is well worth reading.

UPDATE: From another article (also well worth reading) this chart hints at the suffering our wars cause our own troops.


Written by Leisureguy

28 August 2015 at 1:22 pm

John Conway: A life in games

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Very interesting article in Quanta by Siobhan Roberts:

Gnawing on his left index finger with his chipped old British teeth, temporal veins bulging and brow pensively squinched beneath the day-before-yesterday’s hair, the mathematician John Horton Conway unapologetically whiles away his hours tinkering and thinkering — which is to say he’s ruminating, although he will insist he’s doing nothing, being lazy, playing games.

Based at Princeton University, though he found fame at Cambridge (as a student and professor from 1957 to 1987), Conway, 77, claims never to have worked a day in his life. Instead, he purports to have frittered away reams and reams of time playing. Yet he is Princeton’s John von Neumann Professor in Applied and Computational Mathematics (now emeritus). He’s a fellow of the Royal Society. And he is roundly praised as a genius. “The word ‘genius’ gets misused an awful lot,” said Persi Diaconis, a mathematician at Stanford University. “John Conway is a genius. And the thing about John is he’ll think about anything.… He has a real sense of whimsy. You can’t put him in a mathematical box.”

The hoity-toity Princeton bubble seems like an incongruously grand home base for someone so gamesome. The campus buildings are Gothic and festooned with ivy. It’s a milieu where the well-groomed preppy aesthetic never seems passé. By contrast, Conway is rumpled, with an otherworldly mien, somewhere between The Hobbit’s Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf. Conway can usually be found loitering in the mathematics department’s third-floor common room. The department is housed in the 13-story Fine Hall, the tallest tower in Princeton, with Sprint and AT&T cell towers on the rooftop. Inside, the professor-to-undergrad ratio is nearly 1-to-1. With a querying student often at his side, Conway settles either on a cluster of couches in the main room or a window alcove just outside the fray in the hallway, furnished with two armchairs facing a blackboard — a very edifying nook. From there Conway, borrowing some Shakespeare, addresses a familiar visitor with his Liverpudlian lilt:

Welcome! It’s a poor place but mine own!

Conway’s contributions to the mathematical canon include innumerable games. He is perhaps most famous for inventing the Game of Life in the late 1960s. The Scientific American columnist Martin Gardner called it “Conway’s most famous brainchild.” This is not Life the family board game, but Life the cellular automaton. A cellular automaton is a little machine with groups of cells that evolve from iteration to iteration in discrete rather than continuous time — in seconds, say, each tick of the clock advances the next iteration, and over time, behaving a bit like a transformer or a shape-shifter, the cells evolve into something, anything, everything else. Life is played on a grid, like tic-tac-toe, where its proliferating cells resemble skittering microorganisms viewed under a microscope.Conway_LifeRules

The Game of Life is not really a game, strictly speaking. Conway calls it a “no-player never-ending” game. The recording artist and composer Brian Eno once recalled that seeing an electronic Game of Life exhibit on display at the Exploratorium in San Francisco gave him a “shock to the intuition.” “The whole system is so transparent that there should be no surprises at all,” Eno said, “but in fact there are plenty: The complexity and ‘organic-ness’ of the evolution of the dot patterns completely beggars prediction.” And as suggested by the narrator in an episode of the television showStephen Hawking’s Grand Design, “It’s possible to imagine that something like the Game of Life, with only a few basic laws, might produce highly complex features, perhaps even intelligence. It might take a grid with many billions of squares, but that’s not surprising. We have many hundreds of billions of cells in our brains.”

Life was among the first cellular automata and remains perhaps the best known. It was coopted by Google for one of its Easter eggs: Type in “Conway’s Game of Life,” and alongside the search results ghostly light-blue cells will appear and gradually overrun the page. Practically speaking, the game nudged cellular automata and agent-based simulations into use in the complexity sciences, where they model the behavior of everything from ants to traffic to clouds to galaxies. Impractically speaking, it became a cult classic for those keen on wasting time. The spectacle of Life cells morphing on computer screens proved dangerously addictive for graduate students in math, physics and computer science, as well as for many people with jobs that provided access to idling mainframe computers. A U.S. military report estimated that the workplace hours lost clandestinely watching Life evolve on computer screens cost millions of dollars. Or so one Life legend has it. Another purports that when Life went viral in the early-to-mid-1970s, one-quarter of all the world’s computers were playing.

Yet when Conway’s vanity strikes, as it often does, and he opens the index of a new mathematics book, casually checking for his name, he gets peeved that more often than not his name is cited only in reference to the Game of Life. Aside from Life, his myriad contributions to the canon run broad and deep, though with such meandering interests he considers himself quite shallow. There’s his first serious love, geometry, and by extension symmetry. He proved himself by discovering what’s sometimes called Conway’s constellation — three sporadic groups among a family of such groups in the ocean of mathematical symmetry. The biggest of his groups, called the Conway group, is based on the Leech lattice, which represents a dense packing of spheres in 24-dimensional space where each sphere touches 196,560 other spheres. He also shed light on the largest of all the sporadic groups, the Monster group, in the “Monstrous Moonshine” conjectures, reported in a paper composed frenetically with his eccentric Cambridge colleague Simon Norton. And his greatest masterpiece, in his own opinion at least, is the discovery of a new type of numbers, aptly named “surreal” numbers. The surreals are a souped-up continuum of numbers, including all the reals — integers, fractions and irrationals such as Euler’s number (2.718281828459045235360287471352662 … ) — and then going above and beyond and below and within, gathering in all the infinites, all the infinitesimals, and amounting to the largest possible extension of the real-number line. In Gardner’s reliable assessment, the surreals are “infinite classes of weird numbers never before seen by man.” And they may turn out to explain everything from the incomprehensible infinitude of the cosmos to the infinitely tiny minutiae of the quantum.

But the truly amazing thing about the surreal numbers is how Conway found them: by playing and analyzing games. Like an Escher tessellation of birds morphing into fish — focus on the white and you see the birds, focus on the red and you see fish — Conway beheld a game, such as Go, and saw that it embedded or contained something else entirely, the numbers. And when he found these numbers, he walked around in a white-hot daydream for weeks. . .

Continue reading.

There’s a lot more.

Siobhan Roberts also wrote an article on John Conway in the Guardian: “John Horton Conway: the world’s most charismatic mathematician“.

Written by Leisureguy

28 August 2015 at 12:05 pm

Posted in Books, Education, Games, Math

The symbolic value of guns—and the actual costs

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Adam Gopnik writes in the New Yorker:

Away from the world for August, in a house without Internet or television and only spotty, the-satellite-must-be-passing-over phone reception, I was, until Wednesday, thinking more or less benign thoughts about gun owners, if not guns. As I chronicled last year, I have only just learned how to drive, and, license in hand, or in glove compartment, I’ve been driving for the first time on the little winding roads of the beach town where we’ve spent vacations for the past thirty years. Despite having been anti-car and ostentatiously pro-bike for all those years, I have to admit that I love being in the driver’s seat. The overwhelming rush of freedom and possibility, the sense of autonomy—no need to request a lift, no UBER app to press—is overwhelming. You get in, and you go.

This in turn made me realize, a little more empathetically, what I had only intuited before—that guns, for many Americans, are a sort of secondary, symbolic car: another powerful symbol of autonomy and independence. The attachment to them that so many Americans show—unique among the civilized peoples of the world, and at a cost so grave that the rest of that world often turns away, appalled—is nonetheless understandable to anyone who comes late to driving: to have potentially lethal power within your grasp is an immensely empowering drug. Cars are obviously in a different category, because their benign use is so much greater than their lethal one. But they are tools of the same country, of which I am now a citizen.

In the midst of this reflection, word filtered through of one more mini-massacre, this one in Virginia. Two reporters had died, hideously, on camera, and their deaths were followed by a disturbing social-media aftershock. Though we will doubtlessly learn more of the psychological details of this horror, it already seems clear that this is one more case where the gun provided a quick means to settle scores—a way for the emotionally damaged to relieve the feeling of being shamed, achieving instant karma through killing. James Gilligan, the American psychiatrist specializing in violence, credibly argues that most personal violence is a response to such feelings of shame and humiliation, and the violent act is a horrendous way of equalling the score. This case seems to belong to that variety of massacre, with the added fact that the killer seems to have imagined that his violence would be an equalizer to the Charleston killings. A similar illusion of getting even appears to have been at work in the shooting of two New York City cops last winter (a killing that has already receded in memory, though not, surely, for the families of the victims).

One of the last redoubts of the gun lovers—those who, despite the evidence, allow the pleasure of expressing autonomy to overwhelm all other, more reasonable evaluations—was that, even though evidence showed an overwhelming correlation between the availability of guns and the number of gun killings, there was still no evidence that American non-domestic gun massacres were directly tied to wide gun distribution. In fact, as a piece in Fusion (which generously cites this writer) details, that redoubt has now fallen to empirical investigation. A new study by Adam Lankford, of the University of Alabama, which will be presented next week at the annual conference of the American Sociological Association, shows a strong correlation between the availability of guns and the prevalence of gun massacres. With the same certainty that David Hemenway’s work established the link between the number of guns in a society and the number of gun killings, we now know that there is a correlation between the availability of guns and the major public assaults that have been a part of American life since Columbine.

And so, for all that we should still strive for an empathetic grasp of other people’s cultural symbols, the simple, unemotional, inarguable truth remains: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

28 August 2015 at 10:55 am

Posted in Guns

Maggard razor, Meißner Tremonia, and Dark Rose

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SOTD 28 Aug 2015

A very fine shave indeed. The Plisson synthetic is wonderful for face lathering, and the sample soap from Meißner Tremonia is still going strong. Today is the fourth shave, and I imagine I have 3-4 more to go.

I haven’t used this Maggard razor for a while, and it did a perfectly fine job: BBS in three passes with no problem. The differences between this and an Edwin Jagger or a Parker 24C are not very great at all, and this brings the advantage of standard threading (which the Parker 24C lacks) and a stainless handle that can be used with other heads.

Saint Charles Shave Dark Rose aftershave has a fragrance that appeals greatly to me. A good splash of this is just right for a Friday.

Written by Leisureguy

28 August 2015 at 9:02 am

Posted in Shaving

“That’s how I finish it!” Ronnie O’Sullivan’s12th 147

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An absolutely amazing sequence. From Wikipedia:

The maximum break in snooker under normal circumstances is 147.[1]This is often known as a maximum, a 147, or verbally a one-four-seven. The 147 is amassed by potting all fifteen reds with fifteen blacks for 120 points, then all six colours for a further 27 points.[1]

The way the game is played, from a different Wikipedia article:

The game is played using a cue and 22 snooker balls: one white cue ball, 15 red balls worth one point each, and six balls of different colours: yellow (2 points), green (3), brown (4), blue (5), pink (6) and black (7).[4] The red balls are initially placed in a triangular formation, and the other coloured balls on marked positions on the table known as “spots”. Players execute shots by striking the cue ball with the cue, causing the cue ball to hit a red or coloured ball. Points are scored by sinking the red and coloured balls (knocking them into the pockets, called “potting”) in the correct sequence. A player receives additional points if the opponent commits a foul. A player (or team) wins a frame (individual game) of snooker by scoring more points than the opponent(s). A player wins a match when a predetermined number of frames have been won.

In this sequence, Ronnie O’Sullivan, perhaps the greatest snooker player alive—or ever—gets a maximum break in less than 8 minutes:

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2015 at 12:58 pm

Posted in Games

Switzerland opens tunnel 35 miles long

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Backstory in comments at the YouTube video and in this Motherboard article.

In other news, the US cannot even build a tunnel from New Jersey to New York, a desperately needed tunnel, but Gov. Chris Christie canceled it.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2015 at 12:38 pm

Posted in Technology, Video

Judge Halts Unconstitutional Ban on Juror Rights Education

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Very good news indeed, in a press release from the Fully Informed Jury Association. It’s hard to understand why the government would take action to prevent informing people of their rights.

Helena, MT—A federal court today issued an Order Granting Motion for Preliminary Injunction, effectively gutting paragraph 1 of a recently issued administrative order against juror rights educators sharing information at the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse Plaza in Denver, Colorado. Paragraph 1 still applies to the landscaping and gravel area of the plaza, but juror rights educators should be able to share FIJA brochures and verbal jury nullification information for general educational purposes with people in other areas of the plaza without fear of arrest.

FIJA joined with co-plaintiffs Eric Verlo and Janet Matzen of Occupy Denver in filing a motion for preliminary injunction to prevent further arrests for general juror rights educational outreach after juror rights educators Mark Iannicelli and Eric Brandt were arrested and charged with seven felony counts each of jury tampering for sharing jury nullification information outside the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse in July.

Shortly thereafter, Judge Michael Martinez issued a heavy-handed order prohibiting a broad array of expressive activities in areas outside the Courthouse that constitute a traditional public forum for free speech, and the plaintiffs amended their motion to challenge this sweeping violation of the First Amendment as well.

“We are thrilled with this timely victory for both free speech and juror rights education,” says FIJA Executive Director Kirsten Tynan. “Jury Rights Day commemorates the notable jury nullification case of William Penn, who was arrested for just the sort of peaceful, expressive activity that Judge Michael Martinez attempted to ban outside of Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse. His acquittal by conscientious jurors—who would not obey even when a judge who ordered them to find Penn guilty proceeded to imprison them without food and water—was foundational to our legal ability to conduct juror rights outreach at this Courthouse still today. We look forward to celebrating Jury Rights Day at the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse in Denver next week.”

FIJA will join with Occupy Denver in celebrating Jury Rights Day on Friday, September 4 on the plaza outside the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse in Denver. Each year since 1991, FIJA has rallied juror rights educators nationwide for educational outreach at courthouses and other appropriate locations on and around September 5, known as Jury Rights Day. Jury Rights Day commemorates the famous jury nullification case of the trial of William Penn and William Mead in 1670, which anchored in English common law and U.S. jurisprudence the right of the jury to deliver verdicts from conscience without being punished, as well as our rights to freedom of speech, association, and religion.

On this day of celebration and commemoration, juror educators will create many fully informed jurors who understand and are prepared to act on the knowledge that:

  • Jurors cannot be punished for their verdicts.
  • Jurors have the right to deliver a general verdict and are not required to explain the reason for their verdict.
  • Jurors have the legal authority and the ethical duty to consult their consciences and to render a just verdict, even if it requires setting aside the law and voting Not Guilty when strictly enforcing the law would be unjust.

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2015 at 10:37 am

Posted in Law

Animations Created with an Ultra-Precise Light-Painting Drone

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No sound is required for this video. (Sound track is just electronic techno music.)

Here’s the backstory in Motherboard.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2015 at 10:12 am

Posted in Technology, Video

Canada provides a good example of government authoritarianism in how it treats government scientists

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In Motherboard Stephen Buranyi describes the struggle to enable Canada’s government scientists to communicate with the public:

As a scientist employed by the Canadian government, every question Janet receives from a journalist or member of the public must be screened by a media officer. These officers decide what questions reach her, and have the final say on what answers come back.

“They have a list of ‘hot-button’ issues that can’t be mentioned, like climate change, or the oil sands. They say ‘Don’t use that phrase’ or ‘Don’t connect it to industry X,’” said Janet, an Environment Canada researcher who agreed to speak about her experience on the condition we use a pseudonym. She fears she may lose her job for speaking openly about policies that she feels have led to her scientific work being repeatedly censored and misrepresented.

“They’ve told me: ‘Say you don’t know the answer to that question,’ even if I do,” she said. “They make me look like an idiot.”

While it is certainly not unusual for government departments to have a media office, the way the Canadian government has systematically used them to restrict the public’s access to researchers and their data has sparked outrage from scientists around the world.

The media officers usually request that questions be sent to scientists by email. Phone and in-person interviews are rarely granted, and it’s not always clear to journalists which questions will be answered, or even who is doing the answering. Instead, the media office may remove the original scientist’s name and return answers attributed to an unnamed group.

From the inside, the system is equally faceless. Janet said that correspondence is carried out through a single departmental email address. She said there are clearly multiple people using the account, but they never identify themselves. They just filter and edit and tinker with the information, in total anonymity.

Canadian journalists were the first to raise the alarm about the practice, what is now known as “muzzling,” around 2008. It was then they realized that the rules had changed, and media officers were preventing them from talking to scientists they previously had no trouble contacting. Since 2012 there have also been significant cuts to scientific programs, with thousands of jobs lost at government research departments. The cuts are projected to continue, and research centered on the hot buttons—climate, energy, and environment—will be taking the biggest hits.

Despite regular media coverage, none of it kind, little about the situation has changed. Like many Canadian scientists, Janet feels that her work is being disrespected and devalued by a government that cares more about message control than the research she was hired to do.

“From here, it really does seem like they hate science,” Janet said.

This has put Canadian scientists in a very uncomfortable place. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2015 at 8:57 am

Posted in Government, Media, Science

The importance of sound (not dialogue) in movies

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Jordan Kisner has a very interesting article in the Guardian (from last month) about Skip Lievsay, a noted sound designer—from the article:

Lievsay is one of the best. He won an Academy award in 2014 for his work on Gravity. He was awarded the 2015 Career Achievement award from the Motion Picture Sound Editors society. Goodfellas, Silence of the Lambs, Do The Right Thing – his work. He is also the only sound editor the Coen Brothers work with, which means that he is the person responsible for that gnarly wood chipper noise in Fargo, the peel of wallpaper in Barton Fink, the resonance of The Dude’s bowling ball in The Big Lebowski and the absolutely chilling crinkle of Javier Bardem’s gum wrapper in No Country for Old Men.

From the (somewhat lengthy) article—which is well worth reading in its entirety:

The impact a tiny aural cue can have on the brain’s understanding of narrative is astonishing. On the third day of the mix, Lievsay and Larry were breezing through a scene of Miles dropping in on one of his wife’s dance rehearsals when Cheadle, who had been doing t’ai-chi in one corner to pass the time, paused them. The scene sounded a little too dreamy. Cheadle wanted a more matter-of-fact sound. “The point is that [Miles and his wife Frances] are carving a special moment out of something that’s not special,” he said.

Lievsay nodded and fiddled for a moment. When he replayed the scene, something small but extraordinary happened. I had watched this scene somewhere between one and two dozen times but this time I noticed something I’d never seen before: a young woman passing behind Frances with a stack of papers in her hand. Lievsay had given her footsteps. Without the footsteps, I’d somehow never seen her; now, I saw her, and her presence – along with a few other tweaks by Lievsay – suggested bustling in the room, people at work, things happening outside the eye contact forged between Miles and Frances. I didn’t exactly hear the difference: I just saw the scene differently.

“Is it busy enough now?” Lievsay asked.

In order for that edit to be possible, Lievsay needed the footsteps of that young woman close at hand. He needed not just any footsteps, but ones that sounded like they were made by a low high heel of roughly the sort that women would wear in the mid-1970s crossing a wooden stage. This kind of noise – one that requires precision, but that is intended to blend in to the background – is called Foley. (The work is named after Jack Foley, who first came up with a process for adding quotidian noises, such as footsteps, to films in the 1920s.)

When Lievsay reached for that girl’s footsteps, he wasn’t going back into some old library – he was reaching into the library of Foley designed and created specifically for Cheadle’s film. The Foley house, also known informally at his studio as “the sound castle”, where these sounds are made, is in New Jersey, just 15 minutes past the place where the George Washington Bridge connects Manhattan with Fort Lee. It is not so much a castle as a warehouse crammed with more stuff than can be adequately described here. Marko Costanzo, the antic “Foley artist” who works there, takes evident joy in giving tours of the sound stage and the treasures he stores there: a bin full of Zippo lighters from different eras; a bunch of swords (“from when we did Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”); barrels; bicycles; baby carriages; one area devoted to different kinds of indoor flooring and another devoted to outdoor ground cover; a pool (“we built it to do the sounds for the raft in Life of Pi”); a child’s Easy-Bake oven. “I beg people not to take things to the dump, but to bring them to me instead,” said Costanzo, grinning and spreading his arms wide.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2015 at 8:47 am

Posted in Movies & TV

Excellent shave with Wilkinson “Sticky”

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SOTD 27 Aug 2015

Extremely nice shave today. My R&B commemorative brush made a fine lather from the shaving soap sample, the third shave from this sample. The lather was somewhat sparse by the third pass, which I attribute to insufficient loading. (I’m trying to stretch the sample as much as possible.)

The Wilkinson “Sticky” won a number of design awards when it first came out, and it shaves quite well with a sharp blade. I used a Feather, and with that blade this razor is for me very comfortable and very efficient, and I had no trouble getting a BBS result with no nicks.

A good splash of Alt-Innsbruck, and I’m ready for the day.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2015 at 8:34 am

Posted in Shaving

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