Later On

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

Archive for June 15th, 2021

Black-bean-and-black-rice tempeh a great success

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I had a temperature scare when the batch, once it started, got very hot (internal temperature of 100ºF), but as it turns out, I needn’t have worried. And come to think of it, I doubt that the fungus would generate so much heat it would harm itself. Natural selection would work strongly against that.

So after 3 days 23 hours — let’s just call it 4 days — the tempeh came out beautifully. it felt solid, like a styrofoam board. It smelled good and the mold was very soft and nice to the touch. Note the excellent marbling. 🙂

I wanted to try the tempeh, so I made:

Tempeh minichili test

I diced two of the small slabs shown above — sliced them down the middle, then across into cubes. I was just cooking one serving, so i used my 8″ nonstick skillet. It does have a lid so I could do some of the cooking covered (the simmering, for example).

• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 1/2 cup chopped red onion
• 1 red Fresno pepper, chopped
• Salt
• 12 mini-San-Marzano tomatoes, chopped
• 1 piece of tempeh, diced as above
• garlic powder
• Worcestershire sauce
• Yuzu ponzu
• Liquid Smoke
• Mexican Oregano
• Ground cumin would be right, but I didn’t feel like it so skipped it — but it really belongs
• California Sweet Paprika (couldn’t find my Smoked Spanish Paprika, so just used this)
• pinch of dried Thyme
• splash of Shaoxing wine

Sauté onion and Fresno pepper in olive oil until the onion is translucent. Add tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook until tomatoes start to soften.  Add remaining ingredients and stir to mix. Then cover the pan, reduce heat,  and let simmer a few minutes.

Remove lid and greatly reduce liquid — evaporate most of the wine. Then serve. I added:

• 1 teaspoon Bragg’s nutrition yeast
• about a tablespoon of pepitas

The tempeh held its shape remarkably well. It tasted good and had a good mouthfeel, with some chewiness. The mold is like the mold on Camembert or Brie: totally inoffensive, eminently edible. And a nice soft touch, like suede.

I was worried about this batch, but it could not have turned out better. Still, I’m going to stick to 2-cup batches: I think they would handle heat better. OTOH, there was definitely nothing wrong with this batch. So: maybe. I have to say a 2-cup batch is probably a better size for things like my next experiment: chickpeas and peanuts.

Stay tuned.


Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2021 at 10:35 pm

The value of imitation in the arts

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Interesting quotation from David Perell’s newsletter:

I once met a painting coach who tells students to copy their favorite artists.

At first, students resist.

In response, the coach tells them to listen for friction. “Do you hear that resistance? It’s the whisper of your unique style.”

Through imitation, we discover our voice.

Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2021 at 7:28 pm

A shorter walk

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The first photo is of a droopy tree. I like droopy trees. Third photo is another palm flower, this one more spectacular than the one in front of my building. Only 5500 steps so far today. I figure it’ll be three more weeks of daily walking before I start to reap the energy benefits.

Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2021 at 4:09 pm

Big Telecom Blocks Attempt to Bring $15 Broadband To Covid Victims

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Karl Bode reports in Vice:

A Judge has sided with the broadband industry and barred New York State from offering discounted broadband to those struggling during the COVID crisis.

The order by US District Judge Denis Hurley imposes an immediate injunction on New York State, barring it from enforcing the Affordable Broadband Act (ABA), a new state law requiring ISPs provide 25 megabits-per-second broadband for no more than $15-per-month to those struggling financially during the pandemic.

The broadband industry immediately filed suit against the effort, claiming New York was barred from regulating broadband thanks in part to the Trump administration’s 2017 net neutrality repeal. The Trump FCC claimed the repeal would boost job growth and investment in the telecom sector, yet data shows neither actually happened.

Instead, the repeal left the FCC ill-equipped to protect consumers during an economic crisis by eroding much of the agency’s consumer protection authority under the Communications Act. At telecom sector request, the repeal also attempted to ban states from being able to step in and fill the consumer protection void left by an apathetic federal government.

Both broadband experts and previous court rulings have argued that when the Trump FCC gave up its authority over broadband providers, it also gave up its right to tell states what to do. Still, the broadband industry continues to use the repeal as the basis of lawsuits undermining state efforts to hold US telecom giants accountable or pass state net neutrality laws.

Judge Haley sided with industry, proclaiming that providing discounted broadband to poor Americans struggling during Covid would impose “unrecoverable losses” on the hugely profitable and heavily monopolized broadband industry.

“Beginning June 15, 2021, Plaintiffs will suffer unrecoverable losses increasing with time, and the enormity of the matter—six plaintiffs with multiple member organizations attacking a statute affecting one-third of all New York households—portends a lengthy litigation,” the Judge wrote.

Dana Floberg, a telecom expert at consumer group Free Press, stated that the Biden administration could lend a hand by properly staffing the FCC and reversing the Trump administration’s net neutrality repeal.

“The path forward to reining in exorbitant internet prices is clear,” she said. “We need an FCC empowered with the legal authority to investigate and intervene in the market, and we need a long-term benefit to support internet adoption for low-income people.”

Under the law, the party in control of the White House enjoys a 3-2 partisan majority at the FCC. But the Trump administration’s rush appointment of Trump ally Nathan Simington to the agency last December left the agency intentionally gridlocked at 2-2, incapable of obtaining a majority vote on any issues of controversy.

Despite this, the Biden administration has been in no rush to appoint a new commissioner or reverse the net neutrality repeal. More than fifty consumer groups and union organizations wrote the administration this week asking for more urgency in the matter.

“Restoring the FCC’s Title II authority over broadband would give the agency the strong, flexible toolbox it needs to curtail unjust and discriminatory practices, including unreasonable pricing schemes, while avoiding the pitfalls of rate-setting,” Floberg said.

Cable and broadband providers routinely engage in all manner of dodgy pricing practices, from the use of . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2021 at 3:47 pm

Some Hospitals Kept Suing Patients Over Medical Debt Through the Pandemic

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There is something deeply wrong with the US healthcare system. Jenny Deam reports in ProPublica:

Last year as COVID-19 laid siege to the nation, many U.S. hospitals dramatically reduced their aggressive tactics to collect medical debt. Some ceased entirely.

But not all.

There was a nearly 90% drop overall in legal actions between 2019 and the first seven months of 2020 by the nation’s largest hospitals and health systems, according to a new report by Johns Hopkins University. Still, researchers told ProPublica that they identified at least 16 institutions that pursued lawsuits, wage garnishments and liens against their patients in the first seven months of 2020.

The Johns Hopkins findings, released Monday in partnership with Axios, which first reported the results, are part of an ongoing series of state and national reports that look at debt collections by U.S. hospitals and health systems from 2018 to 2020.

During those years more than a quarter of the nation’s largest hospitals and health systems pursued nearly 39,000 legal actions seeking more than $72 million, according to data Johns Hopkins researchers obtained through state and county court records.

More than 65% of the institutions identified were nonprofit corporations, which means that in return for tax-exempt status they are supposed to serve the public rather than private interest.

The amount of medical debt individuals owe is often a small sliver of a hospital’s overall revenue — as little as 0.03% of annual receipts — but can “cause devastating financial burdens to working families,” the report said. The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has estimated medical debt makes up 58% of all debt collection actions.

The poor or uninsured often bear the brunt of such actions, said Christi Walsh, clinical director of health care and research policy at Johns Hopkins University. “In times of crisis you start to see the huge disparities,” she said.

Researchers said they could not determine all of the amounts sought by the 16 institutions taking legal action in the first half of 2020, but of those they could, Froedtert Health, a Wisconsin health system, sought the most money from patients — more than $3 million.

Even after Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers declared a public health emergency on March 12, 2020, hospitals within the Froedtert Health system filed more than 100 cases from mid-March through July, researchers reported, and 96 of the actions were liens.

One lien was against Tyler Boll-Flaig, a 21-year-old uninsured pizza delivery driver from Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, who was severely injured June 3, 2020, when a speeding drag racer smashed into his car. Boll-Flaig’s jaw was shattered, and he had four vertebrae crushed and several ribs broken. His 14-year-old brother, Dominic Flaig, tagging along that night, was killed.

Days after the crash, their mother, Brandy Flaig, said she got a call from a hospital billing office asking for her surviving son’s contact information to set up a payment plan for his medical bills.

Then on July 30 — less than two months later — Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee filed a $67,225 lien against Boll-Flaig. It was one of seven liens the hospital filed the same day, totaling nearly a quarter of a million dollars, according to the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access website used by researchers and reviewed by ProPublica.

“It’s during the pandemic, we’re still grieving, and they go after Tyler?” Flaig said. “It’s predatory.” Tyler Boll-Flaig declined to be interviewed.

Froedtert Hospital is the largest in the Froedtert Health system, which includes five full-service hospitals, two community hospitals and more than 40 clinics. The health care system reported more than $53 million in operating income during the quarter ending Sept. 30, 2020 — double the amount from the previous year, according to its financial filings. It has also received $90 million in federal CARES Act money to help with its COVID-19 response and operating costs, a spokesperson said.

Only Reedsburg Area Medical Center, a nonprofit hospital in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, pursued more legal actions in the spring and summer of 2020, with 139 lawsuits and 22 wage garnishments, the study showed. Medical center officials did not respond to a request for comment.

In contrast, Advocate Aurora Health, the top-suing health network in the state before the pandemic, dropped to zero court filings after February 2020, the report found.

Stephen Schoof, a Froedtert Health spokesperson, said in an email he . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2021 at 2:17 pm

The Food That Can Downregulate a Metastatic Cancer Gene

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This is the third video on how diet relates to metastasis of cancer. The first one is here, the second here.

Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2021 at 1:40 pm

News headline: “Coronavirus infections dropping where people are vaccinated, rising where they are not”

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I don’t think that pattern is merely a coincidence. The Washington Post report by Dan Keating, Naema Ahmed, Fenit Nirappil, Isaac Stanley-Becker, and Lenny Bernstein begins:

States with higher vaccination rates now have markedly fewer coronavirus cases, as infections are dropping in places where most residents have been immunized and are rising in many places people have not, a Washington Post analysis has found.

States with lower vaccination also have significantly higher hospitalization rates, The Post found. Poorly vaccinated communities have not been reporting catastrophic conditions. Instead, they are usually seeing new infections holding steady or increasing without overwhelming local hospitals.

As recently as 10 days ago, vaccination rates did not predict a difference in coronavirus cases, but immunization rates have diverged, and case counts in the highly vaccinated states are dropping quickly.

Vaccination is not always even within each state, and The Post found the connection between vaccine shots and coronavirus cases at the local level comparing more than 100 counties with low vaccination rates (fewer than 20 percent of residents vaccinated) and more than 700 with high vaccination rates (at least 40 percent vaccinated).

Counties with high vaccination had low coronavirus rates that are going down. In counties where few people are vaccinated, not only are there higher case rates, but the number of cases there also is growing. . .

Continue reading. There’s much more, including this chart:

Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2021 at 11:35 am

Posted in Daily life, Health, Medical

Black-bean-and-black-rice tempeh at 85 hours

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This is the black-bean-and-black-rice tempeh at 85 hours (3 days 13 hours). I’m going to let it go a bit longer in hopes that the mycelium will extend over that patch at the top. Elsewhere, the mycelium is healthy and thick. Internal temperature has dropped to 93ºF.

Half of this will go into a batch of tempeh chili (thus the black beans).

I do think this will be my last 3-cup batch, at least for a while. I’ll stick to 2-cup batches, which when spread out to fill the fresh-produce bag, makes a layer not so thick (and thus, I think, less likely to overheat).

Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2021 at 11:27 am

Walking vs. fasting blood glucose

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I resumed daily walks on 6 June — normally, I don’t walk on Sunday, but since I hadn’t been doing any real walking, I figured I should just start.

I noticed an immediate effect on by fasting blood glucose levels, which I graphed for that first week: steps each day and fasting blood glucose level the next day.

And you can see from last week’s steps-per-day chart, I wasn’t really doing all that many steps — I wanted to ramp up gradually. Still, I was using Nordic walking poles, which increase calorie burn by 20% (with no perceptible increase in effort, an attribute I like).

What surprises me is the impact the walking has had on my average fasting blood glucose readings. As of this morning (June 15), here’s what the averages look like:

These readings are all still in the “pre-diabetic” range, but observe the trend. (The readings in mg/dL, the measure commonly used in the US: 103, 106, 108, 114 mg/dL.)

My goal is to get all the averages below 5.5 mmol/L (99 mg/dL). That would be comfortably within the normal range.

Of course, this result is not due solely to exercise, since diet also plays a major role. I’m convinced that my whole-food non-animal diet is also essential. But (as the figures show) diet alone is insufficient. Exercise also is required, and I believe aerobics exercise (Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s term), or cardio exercise — sustained exercise — works best. I’ll continue Nordic walking, and I’ll soon be doing 1-hour walks, 6 days a week.

Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2021 at 10:32 am

Henson AL13 is remarkably good

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The Henson AL13 and the RazoRock Baby Smooth are both extremely comfortable — not even a threat of nicking — and extremely efficient, always leaving my face perfectly smooth. Their head designs, however, are strikingly different, as is their feel on the face. There are many paths to perfection.

I somehow was wanting a lto to use Achilles shaving soap  this morning, and it did not disappoint. The bare spot in the middle of the bottom of the tub is slowly getting larger, though, and at some point I’ll have to decide whether to replace it (or recognize that I have a metric ton of shaving soaps and really don’t need to). In the meantime, I do enjoy the lather it provides — consistency, fragrance, and ingredients:

Stearic Acid, Coconut Fatty Acid, Palm Stearic, Castor, Potassium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Tobacco Tea, Aloe Vera, Coconut-Emu-Tallow-Meadow Foam-Borage-Argan Oils, Kentucky Bourbon, Sodium Lactate, Herbal Ground Tea, Calendula, Extracts, Poly Quats, Allantoin, Silica, Bentonite & Kaolin Clay, Glycerin Soap, Tobacco Absolute, Mica and Fragrance.

Note the two clays. I certainly did as I loaded the brush, having to add water during loading a couple of times. The result was a thoroughly enjoyable (and effective) lather.

The Henson AL13 made three extremely comfortable passes and left my face remarkably smooth. A splash of Achilles aftershave, a witch-hazel-based formula, and I’m ready for the day — and another walk. (See following post.)

Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2021 at 10:27 am

Posted in Shaving

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