Later On

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

Archive for November 3rd, 2015

Pork and tomatillo stew, day 2

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I just had a bowl of the stew (emended recipe here), and it’s even better than when it was freshly made. A keeper. Despite how much time it takes (though of course two hours at least is passive time: you can be doing other things), I’ll be making it again. But it just struck me: not everyone’s grocery store will carry tomatillos…

Written by Leisureguy

3 November 2015 at 5:09 pm

The sun is amazing

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The comment on YouTube:

It’s always shining, always ablaze with light and energy. In the ubiquity of solar output, Earth swims in an endless tide of particles. Every time half of the Earth faces the Sun, we experience the brightness of daytime, the Sun’s energy and light driving weather, biology and more. But in space, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) keeps an eye on our nearest star 24/7. SDO captures images of the Sun in 10 different wavelengths, each of which helps highlight a different temperature of solar material. In this video we experience images of the Sun in unprecedented detail captured by SDO. Presented in ultra-high definition video (4K) the video presents the nuclear fire of our life-giving star in intimate detail, offering new perspective into our own relationships with grand forces of the solar system.

Music tracks in the order they appear from the album Deep Venture

7-Northern Stargazer
9-Negative Thermal Expansion

All tracks are written and produced by Lars Leonhard

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at:

Like our videos? Subscribe to NASA’s Goddard Shorts HD podcast:…

Written by Leisureguy

3 November 2015 at 3:56 pm

Posted in Science, Video

Crime lab analysts fail, innocents go to prison, public officials shrug

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Something is deeply wrong with the criminal-justice system in the US. Radley Balko reports in the Washington Post:

In Oklahoma, two men who were convicted due in part to testimony from the same crime lab analyst have now been exonerated. Yet state officials continue to defend the analyst, and they’re refusing to go back and review her work.

Last week, the city of Tulsa agreed to pay Sedrick Courtney $8 million for a wrongful conviction that led to him spending 16 years in prison. He was convicted in 1996 in the 1995 robbery of a woman in her Tulsa apartment and was paroled in 2011. He later was exonerated.

Emma Freudenberger of the New York law firm Neufeld Scheck & Brustin said Tulsa police crime lab analyst Carol Cox testified at Courtney’s trial that a bleached red hair was found on a mask recovered at the crime scene and on Courtney. Defense attorneys say the hair from Courtney was neither red nor bleached and that it should have been obvious that it didn’t belong to him.

“It’s not that the testimony was made up or misleading. What she did was more devious than that,” Freudenberger said. “We’re not talking about evolving standards in science. We’re talking about a very basic standard: Don’t lie. She lied about finding the red hair on Sedrick’s head. The prosecutor said in closing it was key evidence.” . . .

Freudenberger said Cox also provided similar testimony in the conviction of Timothy Durham Jr. He was convicted in 1993 of the rape of an 11-year-old two years before, despite having several alibi witnesses who placed him in Texas at the time of the crime.

Victim identification played a key role in his conviction and led to a prison sentence of 3,220 years. DNA testing exonerated him in 1996 after the Innocence Project intervened.

Oklahoma law enforcement officials are standing by Cox. Here’s Gerry Bender, manager of the Litigation Division for the city of Tulsa.

“She testified straight-forward. She testified to the truth, and she testified to the evidence within the scientific standards of the day,” Bender said. “What these attorneys from New York do is take the standards of 1995 in hair analysis and look at it in the microscope of 2015. That is totally unfair to all the individuals involved.”

There are a lot of things wrong with that statement. First, the “these attorneys from New York” line is almost a parody of something a corrupt local local law enforcement official might have said in the 1960s. Bender might as well have said, “We’re tired of these outsiders coming around, stirring up trouble with their new ideas.”

Second, Cox wasn’t testifying “within the scientific standards of the day,” because at the time, there were no scientific standards for hair fiber analysis. There were guidelines adopted by various law enforcement agencies, forensics groups and crime labs. But until only recently, there hasn’t been any scientific research to develop standards for hair fiber analysis. That’s the problem. And the research that has been done recently has shown that the testimony these analysts have given for decades has been flawed in nearly every single case — for decades.

Third, even if Cox had been testifying “within the scientific standards of the day,” if those standards have now changed, and we know that the old standards caused innocent people to be convicted, whether or not Cox intended to deceive on the witness stand is completely irrelevant to the question of whether there ought to be a thorough review of her old cases. She may have been doing her absolute best, and with every intention giving the most accurate testimony she could, but if she was relying on a method of analysis that we now know to be scientifically unfounded, a review of all of her cases is imperative. You don’t let potentially innocent people rot in prison because you don’t want to besmirch the reputation of a loyal public servant.

Fourth, Bender notes that Courtney was also identified by an eyewitness. This, he claims, shows that Cox’s testimony isn’t the reason Courtney was wrongly convicted, and therefore she shouldn’t be subject to all of this criticism. Actually, it calls for precisely the opposite. We now know that Courtney was innocent. How is it that Cox’s analysis was able to implicate an innocent man? Was she told ahead of time about the eyewitness identification? Could that have introduced some bias to her analysis? Or did Cox do the analysis first, after which police or prosecutors then guided the witness into making a mistaken identification? Under either scenario, the fact that both a crime lab analyst and an eyewitness separately implicated an innocent man suggests that there are some serious problems with how Tulsa police and prosecutors handle and analyze evidence. If it happened in these two cases, it almost certainly happened in others. Instead of rushing to Cox’s defense, perhaps Bender and other public officials in Tulsa ought to be looking into that.

Meanwhile, the crime lab scandal in Massachusetts continues to fester. Here’s Dahlia Lithwick at Slate: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

3 November 2015 at 3:53 pm

Obamacare is highly successful

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Paul Krugman posts an interesting graph:


His comment on it is worth reading.

Written by Leisureguy

3 November 2015 at 2:51 pm

Posted in Government, Healthcare

Great shave with Hydrogen (shave stick) and iKon short-comb razor

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SOTD 3 Nov 2015

I have a Mama Bear shave stick in Hydrogen Fragrance—”Top fruity notes of apple, grapefruit, peach and leafy greens; with middle notes of lily, lavender, rose and violet; and finally base notes with amber, sandalwood, and raspberry musk.” I do like this fragrance (along with Energy from Kell’s Original and Mama Bear’s Spellbound Woods). And the lather, easily worked up with the Copper Hat shaving brush shown, was really nice.

The razor is the iKon Shavecraft Short Comb head on an Above the Tie Kronos handle. I had no difficulty at all in getting a BBS result, and then a good squirt of Mickey Lee Soapworks Italian Stallion aftershave milk finished the job. I do like the fragrance, but his site now shows only splashes, so perhaps the aftershave milks are gone for good.

Written by Leisureguy

3 November 2015 at 9:49 am

Posted in Shaving

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