Later On

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

Archive for December 29th, 2015

African Chicken Peanut Stew

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Just made this recipe from tonight. Really excellent. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, and 3 lbs of them, so plenty of meat in the stew. Use a 6-qt pot or larger. Ingredients:

2-3 pounds chicken legs, thighs and/or wings
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large yellow or white onion, sliced
A 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
6-8 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
2-3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup roasted peanuts
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
Salt and black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro

Extremely tasty.

Written by Leisureguy

29 December 2015 at 5:24 pm

Posted in Food, Recipes & Cooking

Sapiens: Interesting survey of how memes emerged and now run the show

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Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind is a very interesting book indeed, and although his insights seem to me to require the mental model and organizing principle “memes,” an emergent phenomenon, just as life is an emergent phenomenon from atoms but is not defined in terms of atoms. Humans can copy words and behavior (“memes”) and these copies are  subject to the same Darwinian principles that govern lifeforms and lead to evolution: they replicate with some slight variation, and those variations that provide a survival advantage are favored. So with lifeforms you get the inhabitants of the biosphere, and with memes you get the inhabitants of the meme-sphere. This is all explained in Chapter 11 of The Selfish Gene, by Richard Dawkins.

But what’s interesting about this book is that, up to now (page 127), despite all his meme-based insights and memo-focused way of looking at history (including its definition), he never mentions memes per se. He does mention culture and myths and the like. But he doesn’t point out how we can view them as having the common nature of being memes, that evolve from their own sort of natural selection.

It reminds me of how Newton initially used the calculus he invented: he worked out certain results, then translated the findings back into geometrical language for the Principia, as though that was how he worked it out. Or how, back when Bayesian statistics was still struggling for recognition, some Classical statisticians would secretly use Bayesian statistics to discover results (because Baysiean statistics worked curiously well), then write the finding up justified by Classical statistics, as though that were how it was found.

I think this book is the translation from the meme version, but quite a direct translation, so you can easily see at the memes and their evolution.

One particularly graphic chapter describes how the agricultural revolution was the success of a meme that made miserable the lives of almost all its hosts. His descriptions are vivid: the meme evolves in directions that, while being best for the meme, are grossly sub-optimal for the host.

One section of particular contemporary interest describes what happens when the commonly accepted myths (memes), those that hold a society together, lose their grip:. Very interesting chapter in the political/economic context of today.


Written by Leisureguy

29 December 2015 at 4:45 pm

Posted in Books, Memes

Chicken-stock vandalism: Something to watch out for

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The 1-qt boxes of chicken broth and stock, beef broth, and vegetable broth and stock have two types of caps, both with foil seals under the caps. One type is a flip-up cap, and the foil has a tab so you can pull it away. The other type is a screw top, and the foil seal within is made to be punctured with your finger or a spoon handle or the like.

Recently, at two different stores, I found that the foil caps beneath the screw caps had all been broken open. The flip-cap foils were intact, presumably because any damage to the seal would be obvious. The damage to (and destruction of) the foil seals in the screw-top caps is not so obvious: you have to unscrew the cap and then look down the opening to see if the foil is intact. I didn’t find any with the foil unbroken.

So check the seal on any stock you buy. Even if nothing harmful was introduced, I would think that the stock will go off fairy quickly once the seal is broken.

I’ve notified both companies (Whole Foods and Nob Hill), FWIW.

Check the seal before you buy.

UPDATE: Perhaps not: checking the seal is like testing one of the old-style (single-use) flashbulbs: the test destroys the item. I got this reply:

Thank you for the email. Imagine and other producers of milk, soups and stock have changed their screw top lids to actually perforate the foil top when the lid is twisted opened. If you look inside the lid, there are three little plastic edges that cut the foil seal. The only way to check to see if the seal has been broken is to look at the cap itself from the outside and see if it has a broken seal. The new packaging actually has a yellow band across the top that tells you that twisting it will break the seal. It just has not rolled out to all products.

If you are not comfortable with the twist tops, I would recommend changing over to a product with the flip top. With this style, the consumer still pulls off the foil seal.

Thank you for your email. Please let me know if I can be of any other assistance.

I think this self-breaking seal is a bad approach, but so it goes. To me, it’s akin to requesting confirmation and then (as a help to the user and to save a step) automatically providing the confirmation. The entire idea of a seal is to verify that the contents are sealed until you knowingly break the seal. Automatically breaking it before you can check it seems extremely odd.

Written by Leisureguy

29 December 2015 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Business, Food, Health

LASSC BBS-1 and Otoko Organics

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SOTD 29 Dec 2015

I promised that I would watch carefully how I made the lather, so here it is: First, I washed my beard with MR GLO and rinsed partially, leaving beard wet and a little soapy. I wet the Omega S-Brush well and shook it out, leaving the brush merely damp—that is, I shook it well and several times.

I started brushing to soap, which I had not wet, with the damp brush, briskly and firmly. Initially there was little reaction, but fairly quickly bubbles appeared and then the brush seemed well loaded with soap. The whole process took about 10 seconds.

I moved brush to beard and began brushing all over my wet beard and the lather developed. I did add a little water—ran the brush quickly through the steam of water flowing from the tap—and worked that in, which increased the lather.

I had plenty of lather for all three passes, and the lather showed no inclination to fade or die. That’s been my typical experience with this soap. And I do like the light, clean fragrance it has, along with the lather it makes.

The Los Angeles Shaving Soap Company’s BBS-1 razor is made for them by Wolfman, and it provides an excellent shave. As I continue to cut down on the collection, I’m thinking this one might go on the auction block. I wouldn’t consider it except that I have another Wolfman Razor, the WR1-SB, so I still would have access to Wolfman excellence.

And speaking of cutting back, I have three boxes, each containing 10 excellent artisanal soaps that I’ve tried. I’m selling them for $25/box, plus $10 shipping. I have no list of the soaps, so it’s a surprise box, but I can assure you that the 10 soaps are excellent. One box’s collection includes, for example, Martin de Candre fougère, though I don’t know which box. And there are some pre-reformulation Geo. F. Trumper soaps, which are excellent.

You can email me at leisureguy dot wordpress at gmail dot com if you’re interested.

Written by Leisureguy

29 December 2015 at 9:22 am

Posted in Shaving

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