Later On

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

Archive for June 7th, 2021

A walk with flowers

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I managed to get myself to get out for a walk, and today I used my Nordic walking poles. Not too long a walk — just under 3000 steps — but now that I’ve broken the ice, tomorrow’s walk should be easier. And of course I had to photograph some plants along the way. As before, click on any photo to get a slide show, and right-click on any photo in the slide show to open it in a new tab, where you can enlarge it to peruse the detail.

The flowers in that first photo were tiny, but on a large plant.

Ghostberries

Update

I sent a link of this post to The Wife, who returned a photo of some small and interesting flowers she came across. In their natural position, drooping downward, the translucent leaves give them a ectoplasmic hue, so I decided that these flowers must be called “ghostberries,” though of course they are not berries, but merely resemble them. As you can see, the flowers are very small. Click image to enlarge.

Written by Leisureguy

7 June 2021 at 4:12 pm

America’s scarcity mindset

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Noah Smith writes Noahpinions:

“This land was made for you and me” — Woody Guthrie

“I’m all right Jack, keep your hands off of my stack” — Pink Floyd

I’ve been reading Rick Perlstein’s Reaganland: America’s Right Turn 1976-1980. Like all Perlstein books, it’s excellent and you should read it. Anyway, one of the things that really jumps out about the Carter years is the way scarcity and pessimism (which is just anticipation of future scarcity) made the country more selfish. The oil crises of the 70s created absolute chaos, with gunfights at gas stations and violent trucker strikes. It’s not hard to see how that era led to the every-man-for-himself attitude of the conservative 1980s.

But the crazy thing is that America seems to be falling back into this scarcity mindset. Only this time, the shortages are almost entirely of our own creation.

Stephen Covey, the self-help author who wrote The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, coined the terms “abundance mindset” and “scarcity mindset”. Basically he means that some people going around thinking of the world as a set of positive-sum, win-win situations, while other people go around thinking of everything as a zero-sum competition where you’re either a winner or a loser.

Meanwhile, the psychologist Ronald Inglehart came up with the related idea of “self-expression values” vs. “survival values”. Survival values, which supposedly come about because of economic scarcity, include ethnocentrism, xenophobia, fear of disease, and a hunger for authoritarianism. Sounds a lot like Trumpism, but I think you can also see echoes of this in various leftist ideologies and spaces.

The World Values Survey keeps track of these values, and it’s interesting to see how the U.S. has evolved over time. Here’s the map of countries from 2008 (click graphic to enlarge):

You can see that while we were more traditionalist than most other rich countries, we were also very high on the “self-expression” end of the scale — about the same as Australia, New Zealand, or Denmark. This is basically the classic view of the U.S. — a bit religious, but a very open and tolerant society. Now check out the map for 2020: . . .

Continue reading. There’s much more — including the second map, which shows some significant changes.

For whatever reason, the US does seem to have lost or abandoned a united effort to work for the common good.

Written by Leisureguy

7 June 2021 at 3:33 pm

Role of diet in assisting metastasis of cancer

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This is the first of a three-part series (the next two parts probably arriving over the next two days), but even this one part has interesting useful information. – Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here.

Written by Leisureguy

7 June 2021 at 10:36 am

Why electric cars will take over sooner than you think

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Launched in 1998, the EV1 was GM’s first attempt at an electric car and failed to take off.

Justiin Rowlatt has a very interesting report at BBC on why electric cars really are going to dominate Real Soon Now. The article has many charts, so I encourage you to click the link. The article begins:

I know, you probably haven’t even driven one yet, let alone seriously contemplated buying one, so the prediction may sound a bit bold, but bear with me.

We are in the middle of the biggest revolution in motoring since Henry Ford’s first production line started turning back in 1913.

And it is likely to happen much more quickly than you imagine.

Many industry observers believe we have already passed the tipping point where sales of electric vehicles (EVs) will very rapidly overwhelm petrol and diesel cars.

It is certainly what the world’s big car makers think.

Jaguar plans to sell only electric cars from 2025, Volvo from 2030 and last week the British sportscar company Lotus said it would follow suit, selling only electric models from 2028.

And it isn’t just premium brands.

General Motors says it will make only electric vehicles by 2035, Ford says all vehicles sold in Europe will be electric by 2030 and VW says 70% of its sales will be electric by 2030.

This isn’t a fad, this isn’t greenwashing.

Yes, the fact many governments around the world are setting targets to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles gives impetus to the process.

But what makes the end of the internal combustion engine inevitable is a technological revolution. And technological revolutions tend to happen very quickly.

This revolution will be electric

Look at the internet.

By my reckoning, the EV market is about where the internet was around the late 1990s or early 2000s.

Back then, there was a big buzz about this new thing with computers talking to each other.

Jeff Bezos had set up Amazon, and Google was beginning to take over from the likes of Altavista, Ask Jeeves and Yahoo. Some of the companies involved had racked up eye-popping valuations.

For those who hadn’t yet logged on it all seemed exciting and interesting but irrelevant – how useful could communicating by computer be? After all, we’ve got phones!

But the internet, like all successful new technologies, did not follow a linear path to world domination. It didn’t gradually evolve, giving us all time to plan ahead.

Its growth was explosive and disruptive, crushing existing businesses and changing the way we do almost everything. And it followed a familiar pattern, known to technologists as an S-curve.

Riding the internet S-curve

It’s actually an elongated S.

The idea is that innovations start slowly, of interest only to the very nerdiest of nerds. EVs are on the shallow sloping bottom end of the S here.

For the internet, the graph begins at 22:30 on 29 October 1969. That’s when a computer at the University of California in LA made contact with another in Stanford University a few hundred miles away.

The researchers typed an L, then an O, then a G. The system crashed before they could complete the word “login”.

Like I said, nerds only.

A decade later there were still only a few hundred computers on the network but the pace of change was accelerating.

As the market grew, prices fell rapidly and performance improved in leaps and bounds – encouraging more and more people to log on to the internet.

The S is beginning to sweep upwards here, growth is becoming exponential. By 1995 there were some 16 million people online. By 2001, there were 513 million people.

Now there are more than three billion. What happens next is our S begins to slope back towards the horizontal.

The rate of growth slows as virtually everybody who wants to be is now online.

Jeremy Clarkson’s disdain

We saw the same pattern of a slow start, exponential growth and then a slowdown to a mature market with smartphones, photography, even antibiotics.

The internal combustion engine at the turn of the last century followed the same trajectory.

So did steam engines and printing presses. And electric vehicles will do the same.

In fact they have a more venerable lineage than the internet.

The first crude electric car was developed by the Scottish inventor Robert Anderson in the 1830s.

But it is only in the last few years that the technology has been available at the kind of prices that make it competitive.

The former Top Gear presenter and used car dealer Quentin Willson should know. He’s been driving electric vehicles for well over a decade.

He test-drove General Motors’ now infamous EV1 20 years ago. It cost a billion dollars to develop but was considered a dud by GM, which crushed all but a handful of the 1,000 or so vehicles it produced.

The EV1’s range was dreadful – about 50 miles for a normal driver – but Mr Willson was won over. “I remember thinking this is the future,” he told me.

He says he will never forget the disdain that radiated from fellow Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson when he showed him his first electric car, a Citroen C-Zero, a decade later.

“It was just completely: ‘You have done the most unspeakable thing and you have disgraced us all. Leave!’,” he says. Though he now concedes that you couldn’t have the heater on in the car because it decimated the range.

How things have changed. Mr Willson says he has no range anxiety with his latest electric car, a Tesla Model 3.

He says it will do almost 300 miles on a single charge and accelerates from 0-60 in 3.1 seconds.

“It is supremely comfortable, it’s airy, it’s bright. It’s just a complete joy. And I would unequivocally say to you now that I would never ever go back.”

We’ve seen massive improvements in the motors that drive electric vehicles, the computers that control them, charging systems and car design.

But the sea-change in performance Mr Willson has experienced is largely possible because of the improvements in the non-beating heart of the vehicles, the battery.

Continue reading. There’s more — and it’s the important stuff.

Written by Leisureguy

7 June 2021 at 10:13 am

New ultra-premium soap: Tertius, by Ariana & Evans

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I purchased a tub of Tertius after reading Mantic59’s comments on it in Sharpologist, and I’m glad I did. This is an ultra-premium soap, in the same league as Declaration Grooming’s Milksteak soaps and Phoenix Artisan’s CK-6 soaps. Ariana & Evans makes the soap, and they list the ingredients as:

Stearic Acid, Beef Tallow, Aqua, Goats Milk, Potassium Hydroxide, Kokum Butter, Shea Butter, Castor Oil, Cocoa Butter, Sodium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Manteca, Aloe Juice, Avocado Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Apricot Kernel Seed Oil, Lanolin, Agave, Slippery Elm, Sodium Lactate, Xanthan Gum, Silk Amino Acid, Tussah Silk, Marshmallow Root

Their description:

Quite possibly the finest, most sophisticated leather forward scent created. The primary notes are Leather, Tobacco & Oud, supported by a hint of Rose & Patchouli. Tertius has been made in our brand new soap base [Kaizen – LG] (all soaps are now in the new base), which has been recognized by many as one of the top bases in the industry. We have added Strangisto Giaourti (yogurt), Camellia Oil, and Argan Oil to our previous base, along with changes in ratios to improve lather, creaminess of lather, slickness, and post shave. If you liked our previous base, you will love our new base.

It strikes me as odd that their list of ingredients does not include Strangisto Giaourti (yogurt), Camellia Oil and Argan Oil, despite their claim that they use those. I did send an email query to the address shown on their site (info@ariana-evans.com, shown on this page), but it bounced back as being an invalid domain. No other contact information is provided on their site.

The name they have given the new base is Kaizen, and I would think any soap in the Kaizen formulation is worth a try. Highly recommended.

Why? Because the lather had that special quality of easy arousal and thick consistency, and the fragrance is assertive and pleasant. Plus, based on today’s results, it not only provides good support for the razor during the shave, it also leaves the skin feeling very smooth and supple (though some credit for that must go also to Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave).

As a side note, I now use the pre-shave without first washing my stubble with MR GLO. The soap wash didn’t seem to make much difference. I’ll also note that I now use the Grooming Dept pre-shave for every shave except for when I use a shave stick. If I use a shave stick, I revert to using MR GLO as my pre-shave treatment because mixing the shaving soap with Grooming Dept pre-shave before lathering (as you do when you rub the shave stick over stubble prepped with that pre-shave) inhibits lathering. With a tub soap, the lather is well along from just loading the brush, and the problem does not arise.

The Omega Pro 48 (10048) continues to be a favorite brush. Once it is broken in (and after a week of making lather with it, it is well along and can be used at the point for shaving), it is a marvelous brush with a great feel on the face and terrific capacity.

Three passes with the vintage Merkur white bakelite slant running through a two-day stubble left my face exceptionally smooth.

In mulling over a recent comment from Larry, who said that he too often got nicks with the across-the-grain pass and so abandoned it in favor of a two-pass shave (first with, then against, the grain), it occurred to me that there’s a reason why nicks happen in that pass, and my suspicion is that there’s a tendency to steepen the blade angle, by holding the razor’s handle closer to the face. One of the primary causes of nicks and cuts is a bad blade angle, and it strikes me not at all unlikely that in that pass — where the handle is held horizontally, unlike the WTG and ATG pases, which have the handle vertical — the handle might hover closer to the face. A bad blade angle is very apt to produce a nick. In any event, if you’re getting nicks, it’s worth trying to find the reason. Lately I had a sudden bout of nicks in one shave, and so I looked for the reason. In that case, the reason was that I continued using the blade past its prime, and the blade had become crotchety and testy in its old age (seen also in some humans). When I replaced the blade, no nicks occurred.

A splash of Alt-Innsbruck finished the shave and started the week on a good note.

Summary: An Ariana & Evans Kaizen formula shaving soap is a good purchase. (In Canada, you can get them from Top of the Chain.)

Written by Leisureguy

7 June 2021 at 8:23 am

Posted in Shaving

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