Later On

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

Archive for May 14th, 2020

My eyes have been bad

with 2 comments

I’ve ordered some antihistamine eyedrops that should help. Regullar eyedrops have been no good. This is very new and I imagine seasonal.

Good dinner thought: in Stargazer 12″ skillet, 3 bunches thick scallions chopped, cloves from 1.5 heads of garlic chopped, half of a turmeric root the size of my thumb chopped small, 1 large jalapeño chopped, about 8 oz thin aspargus chopped, about a dozen white mushrooms chopped — all that cooked in a splash of olive oil until it collapses, then added about 1.5 tablespoons ground pepper, and fish cut into chunks: good size red-snapper fillet and a smaller sablefish fillet.

At the end I wanted to add lemon juice but had no lemon. Still, the point is to add some acid, so I added a splash of malt vinegar.

Very tasty: lunch and dinner and more left over.

Written by Leisureguy

14 May 2020 at 7:50 pm

E.P.A. Opts Against Limits on Water Contaminant Tied to Fetal Damage

leave a comment »

Lisa Friend reports in the NY Times on another example of how the US government is abandoning its responsibilities in protecting and promoting the health of the public:

The Trump administration will not impose any limits on perchlorate, a toxic chemical compound that contaminates water and has been linked to fetal and infant brain damage, according to two Environmental Protection Agency staff members familiar with the decision.

The decision by Andrew Wheeler, the administrator of the E.P.A., appears to defy a court order that required the agency to establish a safe drinking-water standard for the chemical by the end of June. The policy, which acknowledges that exposure to high levels of perchlorate can cause I.Q. damage but opts nevertheless not to limit it, could also set a precedent for the regulation of other chemicals, people familiar with the matter said.

The chemical — which is used in rocket fuel, among other applications — has been under study for more than a decade, but because contamination is widespread, regulations have been difficult.

In 2011, the Obama administration announced that it planned to regulate perchlorate for the first time, reversing a decision by the George W. Bush administration not to control it. But the Defense Department and military contractors such as Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have waged aggressive efforts to block controls, and the fight has dragged on.

According to the staff members, who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak about agency decisions, the E.P.A. intends in the coming days to send a federal register notice to the White House for review that will declare it is “not in the public interest” to regulate the chemical.

Perchlorate can occur naturally, but high concentrations have been found in at least 26 states, often near military installations where it has been used as an additive in rocket fuel, making propellants more reliable. Research has shown that by interfering with the thyroid gland’s iodine uptake, perchlorate can stunt the production of hormones essential to the development of fetuses, infants and children.

The new policy will revoke the 2011 E.P.A. finding that perchlorate presents serious health risks to between 5 million and 16 million people and should be regulated. To justify doing so, the Trump administration will cite more recent analyses claiming concentrations of the chemical in water must be at higher levels than previously thought in order to be considered unsafe.

In addition, because states like California and Massachusetts regulated the chemical in the absence of federal action, the E.P.A. will say few public water systems now contain perchlorate at high levels, so the costs of nationwide monitoring would outweigh the benefits, the people who have viewed the rule said.

“The agency has determined that perchlorate does not occur with a frequency and at levels of public health concern, and that regulation of perchlorate does not present a meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction for persons served by public water systems,” the draft policy reads, according to the staff members.

In public comments, the Perchlorate Study Group, a coalition made up of aerospace contractors including Aerojet Rocketdyne, American Pacific Corporation, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, had strongly urged the E.P.A. to withdraw its 2011 determination because “perchlorate does not occur with a frequency and at levels of public health concern” in public water systems.

The decision is the latest in a string of Trump administration regulatory actions that weaken toxic chemical regulations, often against the advice of E.P.A.’s own experts, in ways favored by the chemical industry.

Last year the administration announced it would not ban chlorpyrifos, a widely used pesticide that its own experts linked to serious health problems in children. It also opted to restrict, rather than ban, asbestos, a known carcinogen, despite urging by E.P.A. scientists and lawyers to ban it outright like most other industrialized nations.

“This is all of a piece,” said Rena Steinzor, a law professor at the University of Maryland. “You can draw a line between denial of science on climate change, denial of science on coronavirus, and denial of science in the drinking water context. It’s all the same issue. They’re saying ‘We don’t care what the research says.’” . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

14 May 2020 at 11:33 am

Declaration Grooming’s Milksteak Base shaving soap

leave a comment »

I finally decided that I had to try Declaration Grooming’s new formulation:

Stearic Acid, Water, Castor Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Vegetable Glycerin, Bison Tallow, Mango Butter, Avocado Oil, Shea Butter, Sodium Hydroxide, Lanolin, Bentonite Clay, Yogurt, Buttermilk, Egg Whites, Coconut Milk, Goat’s Milk, Tocopheryl Acetate, Maltodextrin, Milk Protein, Salix Alba L. (White Willow) Bark Extract,  Arctium lappa (Burdock) Root Extract, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Fruit Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Silk Amino Acids

I said “Aha” as I looked at the ingredients just now. I did have to add a little water to load the brush, and there it is: Bentonite clay. That’ll do it.

I think you’ll agree that this is a very interesting set of ingredient. Bonus points to them for labeliing the tub both on top and — for those who stack tubs of soap — on the side. This one is named “Cuir et ́Épices (translation: Ledo kaj Spicoj). This, they say, was the very first out of the gate with the new formula, and they describe it thusly:

“Cuir et Épices” is the first scent exclusive to our new premium soap base.  It is a blend of leather, tobacco flower, cedar, anise, oakmoss, and patchouli. This scent is unique unto itself and somewhat difficult to describe.

They also mention that it suggests John Wayne’s kitchen. 🙂

I found the fragrance quite pleasant, and the soap remarkably good in its lather, with exceptionally good glide The surface of the puck before first use has an interesting crinkled appearance.

If you go to the link above, you’ll see that this particular soap is sold out at their site. I ordered a tub from Maggard Razors, which still has some in stock, along with other fragrances in this formulation.

I’ve mentioned already the superb glide provided by the thick, creamy lather. As I worked it into my stubble I was thinking I’ve got to compare this to Creed’s Green Irish Tweed shaving soap (just in terms of lather, not fragrance), given that this soap costs $25 for 4 ounces and Creed shaving soap currently runs $158 for 4 ounces. I believe that, as a shaving soap, this (and some other artisanal soaps) are superior to Creed’s shaving soap (which is quite good, but products are subject to evolutionary pressures, so that better products can emerge rather quickly under the right conditions).

I would guess that in many product categories an established company with a large customer base finds it difficult to change their product line in any very drastic way because their customers don’t want change. Technology companies don’t have this problem because they have trained their customers to want new (faster, better, cheaper) versions of products, and the same is true of (say) automobiles and fashion: newer is thought better, with cars today significantly better (in terms of mileage, safety, convenience, and capability) than (say) cars of the 1950s. But some products have a customer base that loathes change — take, for example, foods and beverages. Coca Cola stubbed its toe badly when they tinkered with their product.

Moreover, many large companies — even technology companies — have a kind of change-slowing internal viscosity that comes from the number of managers and employees whose careers and identities (and comfort) are attached to their current products. When IBM dropped the 1400 line of computers in favor of the 360 series, Thomas Watson, Jr. had to personally go to the development sites for the 1400 computers are break up the teams, reassigning and scattering the employees, who had continued stubbornly to work on 1400 development.

In fact Creed’s own site includes now no shaving soaps at all — I found only this Creed shaving soap from Saks Fifth Avenue in a search. I suspect they’ve thrown in the towel, as it were, deciding that they simply could not keep up with the rapid evolution of shaving soaps in the past couple of decades.

Artisanal soapmakers, in contrast, eagerly improve their products. The companies are quite small and generally controlled by a sole proprietor, who can make decisions without regard to stockholders and a battalion of managers and employees. The small companies are thus more agile and also more oriented toward product improvement. Thus we see substantial changes to improve product performance: Declaration Grooming’s Milksteak line, Barrister & Mann’s Reserve line, Phoenix Artisan’s CK-6 line. And even if it’s not an entire line, smaller companies will create interesting innovations like RazoRock’s The Dead Sea.

Creed was probably wise to get back to their basics: fragrances, not shaving soaps. But tomorrow I’ll use my one Creed soap just to see.

Now, about today’s shave.

In honor of Maggard Razors having the soap on hand (and their general wonderfulness as an online shaving store), I used their 22mm synthetic as the brush. I’ve discussed the lather already — really remarkable. For the razor, I wanted something special, so I went with my trusty RazoRock Stealth: And to carry forward the leather theme, I went with Geo. F. Trumper’s Spanish leather (“Ledo Hispana”) for the aftershave:

Top Notes – Clove, Lavender
Middle Notes – Geranium, Rosemary, Rose
Base Notes – Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vanilla

Hmm. I see why I like it: vanilla.

As I sit writing this, I am noticing that my skin seems softer, smoother, and more supple than usual, and I attribute that to the soap, with an assist from the razor.

Father’s Day is coming up (this year on the summer solstice, for which I have an appropriate soap), so perhaps now would be a good time for dropping hints.

Thought for the day:

When wealth is passed off as merit, bad luck is seen as bad character. This is how ideologues justify punishing the sick and the poor. But poverty is neither a crime nor a character flaw. Stigmatize those who let people die, not those who struggle to live. -Sarah Kendzior, journalist and author (b. 1978)

Written by Leisureguy

14 May 2020 at 9:52 am

%d bloggers like this: