Later On

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

Archive for February 6th, 2017

When is it actually a “lie”?

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Kevin Drum has a very interesting post at Mother Jones. From the post:

If someone says something with no evidence, is it a lie? Please don’t try to evade the question with a knowing reference to On Bullshit, either. Let’s assume—because I’m a charitable guy—that Trump isn’t affirmatively aware that there are no terrorist attacks that the media has ignored, and is deliberately saying the opposite. Let’s assume, instead, that he just doesn’t know, and said it because it sounded good.

Is that a lie?

Written by LeisureGuy

6 February 2017 at 6:28 pm

Why U.S. infrastructure is resistant to being fixed

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The inestimable Charlie Savage writes in the Washington Post:

Millions of people who travel between the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest each year fight through Breezewood, Pa., a strange gap in the Interstate System. A leg of Route I-70 brings drivers north from Washington and Baltimore to plug into the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the great road network that runs west to the heartland cities of Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Chicago.

But no ramps join these two huge highways at their crossing. Instead, drivers travel an extra two-mile loop that takes them out of rural Appalachia and into several suddenly urban blocks with traffic lights and a dense bazaar of gas stations, fast-food restaurants and motels.

“Things that make no sense: Breezewood, Pa. Why does the interstate turn into an interchange?” Stephanie Wonderlick recently posted on Twitter as she and her family returned home to Washington from Milwaukee.

She is not alone. Many other drivers vent similar — often profane — anger and confusion about this notorious choke point. As a Washingtonian from northern Indiana who transits Breezewood for family visits, I have often wondered the same thing — a question that became more galling after my younger son, jolted by our sudden deceleration into the area’s stop-and-go traffic, threw up all over the back seat.

The answer lies at the intersection of politics and transportation policy. At a time when President Trump wants to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure, the story of Breezewood offers a vivid case study in governance over such projects. It shows how legal quirks, powerful politicians and opaque bureaucratic procedures can influence decisions about how to spend taxpayer dollars.

One result is what critics call the preservation of an inefficiency that benefits a few while imposing widely dispersed costs on many.

I admit I have become a little obsessed with Breezewood, which sent me on a journey into its history.

It began as a truck stop when the builders of the turnpike placed an exit there during the Great Depression. Two decades later, when the I-70 leg was under construction, a since-changed law barred spending federal funds on a project that would send drivers directly, without a choice, from a free road to a toll road.

To get around that law, planners built the loop through Breezewood, giving drivers the theoretical option of avoiding the turnpike. . .

Continue reading. Much more (including maps) at the link. He’s good, is Charlie Savage.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 February 2017 at 6:23 pm

Small cooking note

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I like to prepare my mis en place over the afternoon, doing a little chopping here, a little grating there, and putting ingredients in prep bowls. (I like these, though mine are pumpkin in color.) That allows me to take my time and thus enjoy the process instead of feeling rushed, but even if I were rushed, it’s vital to have everything read before you start a stir-fry. (I’m making “Stir-Fried Tofu and Peppers,” by Martha Rose Shulman, whose recipes I tend to like.)

The small note is that I’ve gradually learned to put into the same bowl those ingredients that are added together. In this recipe:

tofu and scallions in same bowl
ginger and garlic in the same bowl
walnuts and chopped bell peppers in the same bowl

It reduces the number of bowls required and ensures that I don’t neglect an ingredient.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 February 2017 at 5:54 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes

Good insights on Melissa McCarthy’s Emmy-worthy performance as Sean Spicer

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Anna North has a column in the NY Times that is definitely worth reading in full. As a bonus, it includes a Monty Python video. From that column:

. . . Ms. McCarthy isn’t funny as Mr. Spicer because she’s a woman, she’s funny as Mr. Spicer because she’s made a career of playing aggressive characters who are often angry for no reason. As Megan, in “Bridesmaids,” she broke new ground as a tough, crude woman with bizarre ideas and no boundaries who nonetheless finds romantic fulfillment, and in subsequent films like “The Heat,” she’s established herself as a powerful physical comedian whose best weapon is her snarl. On “S.N.L,” as she lifts up her podium to attack the press corps, it’s clear she was born to play the mouthpiece of an administration already defined by outbursts of rage.

While her gender isn’t the center of her performance, it matters. There’s a bit of an extra bite in a woman lampooning the spokesperson of a president who once bragged about grabbing women’s genitals, and who was reportedly moved to rage last month when attendance at women’s protests around the world dwarfed attendance at his inauguration. Add to that the fact that President Trump reportedly wants his female staffers to “dress like women,” and Melissa McCarthy dressing like a man to play his press secretary feels like a particularly astute way to needle the White House. . .


Written by LeisureGuy

6 February 2017 at 5:29 pm

A Staggering 7% Of Australian Catholic Priests Abused Children, Commission Finds

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The Catholic church is in no position to instruct us on morals. I think Jesus commented on this. Matthew 7: 3-5

 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

I think Jesus still has some standing in the Catholic church, approaching that of the BVM. Perhaps the Catholic church will develop some humility? No, probably not.

Here’s the report by Gina Rushton in Buzzfeed News:

“Between January 1980 and February 2015, 4,444 alleged incidents of child sexual abuse [were] made to 93 Catholic Church authorities,” Gail Furness SC said in her opening address to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. “These claims related to over 1,000 separate institutions.”

Analysis has shown that 7% of Australia’s Catholic priests abused children in the six decades since 1950, Furness said.

“Of priests from the 75 Catholic Church authorities with priest members surveyed, and who ministered in Australia in that period, 7.9% of diocesan priests were alleged perpetrators and 5.7% of religious priests were alleged perpetrators,” she said.

In one religious order, St John of God Brothers, 40% of religious brothers and sisters, priests or lay people were alleged to have abused children between 1950 and 2010. The church exploited troubled boys at the Kendall Grange boys’ home in Morisset north of Sydney.

During the same period, 21.9% of members of the Salesians of Don Bosco Brothers; 22% of members of the Christian Brothers; 20.4% of members of the Marist Brothers; and 13.8% of members of the De La Salle Brothers order were alleged perpetrators.

Of the 1,808 alleged abusers, 597 were religious brothers, 572 were priests, 543 were lay people, and 96 were religious sisters.

Accounts in all public hearings involving the Catholic Church were “depressingly similar”, Furness said.

“Children were ignored, or worse, punished. Allegations were not investigated. Priests and religious [brothers] were moved. The parishes or communities to which they were moved knew nothing of their past. Documents were not kept, or they were destroyed. Secrecy prevailed, as did cover-ups.”

Of the alleged victims, 78% were male and 22% were female, while 90% of the alleged perpetrators were male, she said. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 February 2017 at 5:12 pm

Posted in Daily life, Law, Religion

An animated map of areas of mathematics

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Written by LeisureGuy

6 February 2017 at 1:26 pm

Posted in Math, Video

Skydiving as an indoor sport (using a vertical wind tunnel)

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The above video is from this Jason Kottke post, which contains links to other routines from the same meet, including Kyra Poh’s first-place routine. (The routine above, by Maja Kuczynska) placed third.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 February 2017 at 1:06 pm

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