Archive for December 2015
For New Year’s we’re having a rack of pork roast, and that will mean a lot of leftovers. Years ago M.F.K. Fisher had in the New Yorker the recipe for Harvey-Scarvey, which is excellent with cold pork (which she admitted was not generally a thing, though if cold roast beef is okay, why not?).
1 cup minced apple
1 cup minced sweet onion
1 cup minced celery
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (use a good one)
2 Tbsp cider or malt vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix well, chill, serve with cold roast pork. Probably would also be good with a cold bird.
For the roast, I put in my little Chef’n VeggiChop Hand-Powered Food Chopper the following:
12 or so large garlic cloves, peeled
about 3″ ginger root sliced thinly
1.5-2 Tbsp crushed dried rosemark (or 2-3 Tbsp fresh)
1-2 tsp coarse salt
multiple grindings black pepper
2-3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard (this wasn’t in mine: didn’t think of it in time)
Blend the bejesus out of it—you’re aiming for a paste. After I made it, I realized I should have used my 3.5 cup Kitchenaid food processor. It would have done a much better job.
Remove rack of pork from wrapping, dry it well, and rub the paste over the fat side, ends, and cut back side. I then wrapped it in foil and put it in the fridge to sit until tomorrow afternoon. (We’re having our New Year’s dinner on New Year’s day—OMG, I forgot to get fresh black-eyed peas!)
Some have gone to fairly extreme lengths (including ignoring actual reports from slant users) to deny that the slant of the blade reduces cutting resistance because of the shearing action. The argument, so far as I can tell, is “It doesn’t make sense to me that such a slight slant would have a noticeable effect.” (Cf. Aristotle’s position that “It doesn’t make sense to me that a heavy body and a lighter body would fall at the same rate. It’s obvious that the heavier will fall faster, because it’s heavier.“)
But Leibniz noted, “Nature works by degrees,” i.e., without discontinuities in the derivative (no jumps—he didn’t know about catastrophe theory).
In my own experience there is a highly noticeable difference in cutting resistance between cutting a carrot with pure compressive force (pushing knife straight down through the carrot) and cutting a carrot with even the slightest horizontal motion (to provide a shearing action) while pushing down. Just a tiny horizontal motion makes an easily noticed improvement in cutting ease. So it seems reasonable to me that just a small slant of the blade makes a noticeable difference for those whose stubble offers much cutting resistance at all. The notion that shearing action will kick in only once you reach a certain angle makes no sense to me, given the argument preceding. Moreover, as I note, the only reason that a slight slant would not make a difference is because they don’t see how it could. That is not sufficiently convincing to me that I will ignore my own direct experience. (I’m not saying slants work for everyone, of course, and indeed if the objectors could detect the improvement, they would not object. But slants do work for many.)
In meme terms, the bar guard is just a meme-mutation of the comb guard, so they are different alleles, as indeed are other ways of typing razors: adjustables vs. not, three-piece vs. not, slant vs. not, comfortable vs. not, and efficient vs. not. It’s only the last two—more specifically, razors that are both comfortable and efficient—that are of any real interest. The current slants fall in that group for me, but so does the Baby Smooth, the Wolfman, the Above the Tie R1, the iKon Shavecraft #101, and others. Some are comb guard, some are bar guard. Some are slants, some are not. With the exception of the Merkur 37C, they’re all three-piece, but that’s the logical mode for a start-up to use.
Fascinating report by Kaleigh Rogers at Motherboard. And I’ve certainly become a follower, now that I know about it.
Jana Winter reports in The Intercept:
In mid-November, just weeks before the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, the Joint Regional Intelligence Center and the sheriffs’ departments of San Bernardino and Riverside counties held the First Annual Inland Terrorism Liaison Officer Conference in Fontana, California. The two-day event — for law enforcement, public officials, and select members of the private sector — included sessions like “Policing Violent Extremism” and “Preventing Lone Wolf Attacks.”
In fact, this part of California’s Inland Empire has become home to a cottage industry of counterterrorism training in recent years aimed at teaching people how to spot would-be terrorists before they attack. By all accounts, those trainings failed to help anyone spot Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the married couple who shot and killed 14 people and injured 22 others at a meeting of San Bernardino County Health Department employees on December 2.
Many of the trainings, which focus on helping attendees identify “behavioral indicators” of potential terrorists, were held at the Ben Clark Training Center in Riverside, California, less than 25 miles from where the attacks took place.
These behavioral indicators have become central to the U.S. counterterrorism prevention strategy, yet critics say they don’t work. “Quite simply, they rely on generalized correlations found in selectively chosen terrorists without using control groups to see how often the correlated behaviors identified occur in the non-terrorist population,” Michael German, a former FBI agent who is currently a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, told The Intercept.
The trainings are based on flawed theories that just don’t stand up to empirical scrutiny, according to German. “The FBI, [National Counter-Terrorism Center], and [Department of Homeland Security] promote these theories despite the fact they have been refuted in numerous academic studies over the past 20 years,” he said.
Yet the behavior indicator training business appears to be booming in California, where the training sessions are sponsored by an alphabet soup of counterterrorism organizations that have sprung up in recent years, including the Joint Regional Intelligence Center; the Los Angeles chapter of InfraGard, a partnership between the FBI and private sector; and the state fusion center.
The Joint Regional Intelligence Center, in turn, has produced dozens of Official Use Only intelligence bulletins focusing on behavior indicators. One intelligence bulletin, from March 2015, identified potential indicators of radicalization including “history of mental instability/illness”; “employment/financial problems”; and “marital/family problems.”
Southern California’s enthusiasm for terrorist spotting dates back to 2002, when it was home to the first Terrorism Liaison Officer program, the controversial initiative that enlists and credentials community members and private sector industry representatives to report any potentially suspicious behavior. The program was first launched out of the Los Angeles chapter of InfraGard — which covers seven nearby counties including Riverside and San Bernardino where the attacks occurred and the perpetrators lived; the program has since been rolled out nationwide.
The Los Angeles chapter of InfraGard has also been a major beneficiary of federally funded grant money for counterterrorism training. In 2013 the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors doubled the funding of its multimillion-dollar sole source contract with InfraGard to $2,530,000 and extended it through 2018.
One of the companies hired by InfraGard to conduct counterterrorism training is CT Watch, headed by Roque “Rocky” Wicker, who also holds an executive leadership position with the Los Angeles InfraGard chapter. Employees of CT Watch have taught seminars, such as “Threat of ISIS and radicalization in the homeland.”
“The indicators work,” Wicker told The Intercept in an interview. “Behavior indicators work. You just need to train the right people.” . . .
Is the sudden surge of articles taking Rahm Emanuel to task just a product of the outrage industry? or was there actual malfeasance that justifies taking a hard look? You decide.
Could be both, I suppose.
First, to those who bought one of the surprise/mystery boxes of shaving soaps: I am happy to answer any questions about the soaps, if I can. I will say now that the Geo. F. Trumper soaps are all pre-reformulation—not to put too fine a point on it, these are the good soaps before the outsourcing sent soap quality south. (I do have one box left.)
Second, I am happy to be able to initiate the new year with a new (stainless, black) razor: Blackland has delivered the Blackbird. Featured tomorrow, along with the shaving soap they included.
Third, I know some (many?) read only posts in the “shaving” category, and thus have missed my enthusiastic recommendation (and discussion) of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, You can use “Look Inside” at the link to read the opening to see whether it’s for you. Note the 5-star rating with a respectable number of raters. I find the book enthralling. It’s a cross-cultural (and thus culture-neutral) look at the flow of human existence, and offers a very interesting perspective.
It’s strange how little some politicians—mostly Republicans but some Democrats as well—care about the privacy and legal rights of Americans while guarding zealously the privacy of Israeli politicians, Israel being a country with a long history of spying on the US and indeed with instances of unprovoked firing on American ships with the intention of sinking the ship (the USS Liberty).
Of course, while these politicians find it perfectly acceptable for the NSA to spy on Americans, they are profoundly disturbed and visibly outraged when they themselves are spied upon (cf. Pete Hoekstra, Jane Harman, Dianne Feinstein, et al.).
Zaid Jelani reports in The Intercept:
On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal revealed that the Obama administration had spied on the Israeli government and, in the process, roped in communications the Netanyahu administration had with members of the U.S. Congress.
This news sparked a denunciation by Florida Senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio. “Obviously people read this report, they have a right to be concerned this morning about it,” said Rubio on Fox News Wednesday morning. “They have a right to be concerned about the fact that while some leaders around the world are no longer being targeted, one of our strongest allies in the Middle East – Israel – is. I actually think it might be worse than what some people might think, but this is an issue that we’ll keep a close eye on, and the role that I have in the intelligence committee.”
Rubio’s newfound objection to surveillance appears to be limited to spying on the Israeli government. The senator has been a long-time defender of the NSA’s mass surveillance. “There is no evidence that these programs have been systematically abused,” he said in 2014, decrying what he described as “paranoia” around surveillance programs.
The previous year, he defended spying on foreign government officials, saying that “everybody spies on everybody, it’s just a fact.” In the most recent presidential debate, he accused rivals, like Ted Cruz, of endangering U.S. security by supporting modest reforms to the surveillance regime.
One reason Rubio may be carving out a special objection to spying on the Israeli government is that he is competing in the so-called “Adelson primary” — a contest for the financial backing of the pro-Israel casino magnate who spent $150 million during the 2012 election. . .
There’s a video at the link, but it’s not working for me.