Later On

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

Archive for July 26th, 2019

Umami sauce

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This is a low-sodium way to add a umami kick (something that in the past I’ve done with fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, or tamari sauce, and all of those are high in sodium—the negligible fish content is not really an issue for me, but the sodium is).

I’m making the recipe tomorrow. I think it looks pretty tasty:

Date syrup recipe:

When Greger writes “Green Light sweeteners,” he means “Green-Light sweeteners,” using his classification system for foods: green-light foods, eat abundantly; yellow-light foods, eat with caution and in limited amounts; red-light foods, avoid.

Similarly, when he writes “Vinegar is an honorary Green Light condiment..,” he means that it is a Green-Light condiment. Without the hyphen, “green” would modify the following noun (green sweetener, green condiment), when in fact he intends it to modify “light.”

UPDATE: In making Date Syrup, I advised cutting the pitted dates into 3-4 pieces because, as it turns out, some pitted dates are not in fact pitted, and the pit made a noise when I used my immersion blender to make the syrup. Live and learn.

UPDATE 2: That blended peeled lemon is going to be very useful. It’s just what it sounds like: cut the peel off a lemon and blend it; if you have a thin-skinned Meyer lemon, I would just cut off the ends and blend the whole thing—I used the beaker with my immersion blender and cut the lemon into three pieces.

I put the blended lemon in a little jar in the fridge, and it’s a lot easier to use than my lemon squeezer, plus I get more nutritional benefit. I’m going to be doing this from now on.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 July 2019 at 3:53 pm

A Short Primer on Modern Nuclear Reactor Design

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Kevin Drum provides some very interesting information that I did not know.

He writes:

My post this morning about nuclear power touched off a considerable Twitter conversation, most of it based on misconceptions about modern nuclear reactor designs. I don’t want to get into a long defense of nuclear here, but I thought it might be worthwhile to at least provide a brief primer for people who haven’t really kept up with developments since Three Mile Island. Here are some of the main points:

  • Thorium. Back in the Atoms for Peace days, nuclear power was inextricably bound up with nuclear weapons development. This meant that uranium became the fuel of choice for nuclear reactors, and the fact that it produced plutonium as a byproduct was viewed as a good thing. But there’s always been another good choice of fissile material: thorium, which is far more abundant than uranium and makes a perfectly good fuel for electricity production. The first thorium reactor was built in 1965 and worked well, but the technology was never pushed forward after that. Recently interest in thorium has been renewed, and there are now thorium research reactors in use around the world. India is particularly interested in commercializing them because they have huge reserves of thorium.
  • Thermal breeders. Even though thorium is more abundant than uranium, there’s still not an infinite supply of the stuff. This means that breeder reactors, which produce more fuel than they use, will almost certainly need to be part of the solution for any long-term buildout of nuclear capacity. They’ve been a subject of study forever, but they have a number of drawbacks, one of which is that they turned out to be very expensive to design and build. However, thermal breeder designs for thorium plants, which rely on lower-speed neutrons in the breeding process, are likely to be less expensive.
  • Meltdowns. All the original designs for nuclear reactors used pressurized water to cool the nuclear core. If something goes wrong, the water stops flowing and the core melts down. Modern designs have done away with pressurized water and instead use gas or molten salt as cooling fluids. This makes the reactor all but immune to meltdowns. This technology can be used with both thorium and uranium designs.
  • Nuclear waste. This is the big one. Even modern designs produce waste, and we still don’t have any great ideas about how to dispose of it. However, thorium breeders produce less waste, and in particular, they produce less of the longest-lasting waste. Storing what’s left on site is, for now, probably a viable solution.
  • Nonproliferation. This has always been an issue with nuclear reactors, but once again, thorium helps on this front because it doesn’t produce anything useful for making a bomb.

None of this is uncontroversial. There are plenty of technical and engineering issues that you can read about if you’re interested. Just for starters, we have only limited experience with thorium reactors because of our decision decades ago to focus on uranium.

However, many of these points also apply to uranium reactors. They generally go under the rubric of Gen III or Gen IV designs, which you can read more about here. Even if you’re opposed to nuclear development,

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 July 2019 at 1:46 pm

What Will Trump Do About Working-Class Pensions?K

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Kevin Drum asks the question, but I think we easily predict the answer. His post begins:

As we all know, Donald Trump is a champion of the common man, the truckers and miners and butchers and bakers who keep our great nation running. That makes it odd that he’s been so silent about this:

U.S. senators are gearing up for a battle over how to fix the pensions of about 1.3 million retirees and workers in trucking, mining and other industries. These workers are covered by what are known as multiemployer pension funds, which are maintained under collective-bargaining agreements between a union and several different employers. The plans in the worst financial condition are short an estimated $100 billion to pay out retirees.

Late Wednesday, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives approved a $48.5 billion package that offers forgivable loans to the most troubled plans. Senate Democrats introduced the same legislation Wednesday. But the Senate proposal is unlikely to gain the necessary votes from Republicans, according to analysts and government officials.

As usual, when it comes down to actually helping the working class, Republicans head for the hills. A trillion-dollar tax cut for corporations and the rich is one thing, but $50 billion for the retirements of miners and truck drivers who have been screwed by corporations and the rich? That’s a budget buster, my friends.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 July 2019 at 1:38 pm

Chart of the Day: Medicaid Saves Lives

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Kevin Drum has a post with an interesting chart:

He notes:

This chart compares the annual mortality rate in two groups of states: those that expanded Medicaid and those that didn’t. Prior to Obamacare, there was little difference between the two groups. After Obamacare, the group of expansion states experienced steadily declining mortality.

The authors of the study say this: “We find a 0.13 percentage point decline in annual mortality…associated with Medicaid expansion for this population. The effect is driven by a reduction in disease-related deaths and grows over time. We find no evidence of differential pre-treatment trends in outcomes and no effects among placebo groups.”

In the non-expansion states, they estimate that over a four-year period an extra 15,600 people died who didn’t have to. And it was all for the sake of ideology. Every one of these states was paying for Medicaid expansion whether they liked it or not, and participating would have cost them almost nothing. But they had a point to make, and if some people had to die to help them make that point—whatever it was—then that’s how it had to be.

That is an example of why I dislike the Republican party. It actually cost their states money to prevent people from getting medical care, and people died. And Republicans thought that was a good thing.

See this report from NPR. I simply do not understand the Republican mindset.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 July 2019 at 1:35 pm

Yardley and the iKon 101, with JF

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My ancient tub of Yardley, a big brand back in the day, is still going strong. I have to admit, though, that the G.B. Kent BK-4 does seem to be fluffier than I now like: too airy in feel. Nevertheless, it worked up a good lather and did its just well enough. But I think I’ll be seeing less of it in the future.

The iKon 101 is, in my view, an underappreciated gem, and it did a terrific job. Plus the head looks interesting.

A splash of Floris JF finished the shave on a good note. The name of the aftershave comes from the founder. From the Floris site:

1730 – Floris founder Juan Famenias Floris and his wife Elizabeth began selling perfume, combs and shaving products in the elegant quarter of London’s St James. The Floris shop they opened at 89 Jermyn Street remains the heart of the business and is still run by their descendants today.

You also see the origin of the “Floris No 89” name.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 July 2019 at 7:11 am

Posted in Shaving

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