Later On

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

Archive for September 17th, 2021

How to cut every type of cheese

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I no longer eat cheese very often at all, but I once did, and I found this video interesting.

Written by Leisureguy

17 September 2021 at 3:39 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Video

Is the Three-Minute Song Bad for Music?

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Ted Gioia has a very interesting video, along with a transcript that includes at the end some additional thoughts that didn’t get mentioned in the video. Here’s the video, but click the link for the transcript and the additional thoughts.

Written by Leisureguy

17 September 2021 at 2:51 pm

My new default search engine: Duck Duck Go

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I’ve mentioned that I’ve switched to Vivaldi as my default browser — it’s not only terrific, it’s free — and just recently I used Preferences to make Duck Duck Go my default search engine. I’ve been a Google guy for a long time, but in recent years the proportion of search results that are paid ads — and often ads that don’t turn out to have what I’m looking for — has increased to the point of frustration. Duck Duck Go just delivers the goods, with no ads. That’s a benefit, quite apart from DDG’s strong privacy policy (and in fact is a side-effect of that policy).

On smartphones DDG also acts as a privacy-oriented browser (blocking trackers), but Vivaldi does that already — and I use my MacBookk Air M1 for browsing, not my phone.

There is another privacy-first browser, Neeva, but that is not yet available here, and that, after 3 free months, is US$60 per year. DDG is free, which I find beneficial. I will make a contribution to DDG from time to time, but not US$60 per year — more like CAD 20 per year.

Written by Leisureguy

17 September 2021 at 12:53 pm

Old Rockin’ Chair’s Got Me … and it does a world of good.

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A reader reminded me (thanks, Joanne!) that rocking chairs have significant health benefits. And those are not all — there are more. And specifically for elderly women. (Some overlap will be seen. You can find more with a search.)

Moreover, rocking chairs can be not only comfortable and healthful but also beautiful (example at right from Brian Boggs Handmade Furniture, profiled in Craftsmanship magazine).

At one time, every front porch — remember those — had at least one rocking chair, and the front porch at the general store would have a line of them. There’s no doubt that they are relaxing — a grateful pause in the hurly-burly of daily life — and they they actually carry serious health benefits when used consistently over time is a big bonus. (I found it reassuring that inthe first article linked above it was stated that dementia patients improved by having less agitation and greater calmness after using a rocking chair for six weeks. That time span — not an instant change, but a gradual change, at the speed of growth — makes intuitive sense, whereas a claim of instant improvement would arouse suspicion as being contrary to the nature of rocking-chair time.)

At any rate, the season of gifts is not far off, and it occurs to me that a good rocking chair would be an excellent gift to oneself or even to another. 

Written by Leisureguy

17 September 2021 at 12:36 pm

Answer to U.S. labor shortage? ‘Hidden’ workforce

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Interesting point on how algorithmic sorting of job applications hides good potential hires. Christina Pazzaneses interviews in the Harvard Gazette Joseph B. Fuller about a new report that found that businesses could plug critical labor shortage by tapping into 27 million workers who are “hidden” from corporate hiring processes. The article begins:

Since business has picked up with the COVID vaccine rollout, record numbers of employers have struggled to find workers. In August, half of U.S. small business owners had jobs they wanted to fill, a historic high, according to a trade group survey; 91 percent said there were few or no qualified applicants. The reasons for this labor-employment mismatch are complex and not fully understood, economists say.

 A new report says there is a “hidden” workforce of 27 million people in the U.S. who would gladly, and capably, fill those jobs — if given the chance. But because of hiring practices, the applications of this diverse group usually go straight to the rejection pile.

Co-author Joseph B. Fuller ’79, M.B.A. ’81, co-chair of the Managing the Future of Work project at Harvard Business School, says corporate leaders could solve many of their labor problems if they gave these workers a closer look, and gain a real advantage over competitors unwilling to do so, and improve workplace diversity. Interview has been edited for clarity and length.

GAZETTE: What was the impetus for this report?

FULLER: The vast majority of academic research on labor markets is from the supply side. It doesn’t look at the employer as an animated object that makes decisions based on a rationale that may or may not be sound. Before I was a professor at HBS, I was in industry, and it always struck me that there were these anomalies. Communities with lots of people looking for work and employers bemoaning the lack of candidates, but employers essentially acting as if a [qualified] candidate is supposed to present her or himself [for] the job they have on offer for the terms they’re offering. And if that didn’t happen, there was something quote “wrong.” They weren’t very active in addressing it themselves. Why was that?

The second thing is, if you look at the government data, it’s not actionable. [It doesn’t delineate] “this is how many long-term unemployed there are; this is how many discouraged workers there are; this is how many underemployed workers there are.” Huge numbers of people, but very little nuance in explaining why. So, I wanted to understand what’s behind these numbers.

GAZETTE: Many screened out of the application process early are people with felony convictions and people without a college degree. Who else makes up this “hidden” workforce?

FULLER: Veterans tend to be hidden because their skills, and the way those skills are described, don’t match with the skill descriptions employers are seeking. If someone’s looking for a salesperson, they’re looking for sales experience. So, they’re looking for those kinds of keywords in your résumé description of yourself. If they’re not there, you don’t get considered.

People who’ve had gaps in their work history: Half the companies in the United States have a filter to exclude applicants who have not been employed in the last six months or if there’s a gap in their work history of more than six months.

The biggest category is called NEET: Not in Employment, Education or Training. That’s a person who doesn’t have a job, doesn’t have a degree, is not in school. [Automated screening systems don’t] know what to do with them.

A big part of this research effort is to take that number [of 27 million] and break it down into identifiable chunks and give both employers and policymakers some insight into what does it take to get this part of the population into the workforce.

GAZETTE: About 99 percent of Fortune 500 companies use artificial intelligence tracking systems to screen applicants and then winnow them down to a manageable number before starting the interview process. Those systems determine who makes the cut based on specific parameters or keywords. Why such an all or nothing approach? . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

17 September 2021 at 10:28 am

Terre du Dragon and the Emperor

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Last April Dapper Dragon announced on their Facebook page:

Scaling Back and Changing Focus

After considerable discussion and deliberation, I have made the decision to move out of the traditional shaving market.

Sonya and I don’t have the time, energy or enthusiasm for the project that we once did. So I will be turning soap making back into what it originally was – a hobby pursuit that I enjoyed for its own sake.

I will still be listing some of my output on Etsy, if you’re interested, but with no planned schedule or quantity goals.

Our wet shaving customers have been supportive and encouraging, and I thank everyone who has tried our products and shared news about them with friends.

I think that’s a good call. It’s hard to break through to an established brand, and at some point deciding not to continue to push but simply to do it at an enjoyable level is wise. Otherwise, anguish and burnout are likely outcomes. 

Chance, as in the whims of the market, plays a role. Dapper Dragon’s shaving soap is certainly good, but despite the nice name, the soap never caught the popular imagination. 

So today’s shave is a kind of envoi to the Dragon, from Terre du Dragon, its lather aroused by the Emperor 3.

Three passes with Charcoal”s Edwin Jagger head, no longer offered, on a Wolfman handle, no longer offered, made my face perfectly smooth. A splash of Executive Man from Stirling Soap Company (which I believe he got from Strop Shoppe when that little enterprise folded), and a rainy and overcast day is off to a somewhat sombre start.

Written by Leisureguy

17 September 2021 at 10:05 am

Posted in Shaving

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