Later On

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

Archive for June 3rd, 2022

British Bank Notes are Copyrighted, and it’s an Artist’s Fault

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Written by Leisureguy

3 June 2022 at 4:47 pm

After Marijuana Legalization Did Opioid Overdoses Go Up, Stay the Same, or Go Down?

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Dr. Michael Greger has an interesting blog post on the outcomes of marijuana legalization. The whole post is worth reading; here’s the bulleted summary:

  • More than 200 million opioid painkiller prescriptions are written annually despite the diagnosis of millions in the United States with an opioid use disorder and more than 80 Americans dying every day from opioid overdose.
  • Might cannabis act as a gateway to harder drugs, like opioids, or might it reduce opioid addiction by offering a substitute painkiller to prescription pills?
  • The American Medical Association’s official position is that marijuana “has no scientifically proven, currently accepted medical use for preventing or treating any disease,” but studies have found that cannabis compounds produce pain relief “equivalent to moderate doses of codeine,” an opioid used to treat mild to moderate pain.
  • At the end of life, cannabis may allow patients to reduce opiate doses without compromising pain relief such that they may not be in such a drug-induced stupor that they cannot say goodbye.
  • Most New Englanders taking opioids claimed they reduced their opioid use after starting medical cannabis, and some also reduced use of alcohol, antidepressants, sleeping pills, and anti-anxiety and migraine medications. Cannabis may also reduce use of crack cocaine.
  • After medical marijuana laws were passed, opioid overdoses went down, about a 25 percent lower rate of opioid overdose deaths, and fewer people were filling prescriptions—not only for painkillers, but also for anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants, anti-nausea drugs, antipsychotics, anti-seizure drugs, and sleeping pills.
  • About half a billion dollars would be saved annually if medical marijuana laws were adopted across the United States, but the half-billion taxpayers would save is the half-billion drug companies would lose.

At the end of the blog post is a list of links to more information:

Written by Leisureguy

3 June 2022 at 12:47 pm

Goodbye to the Vikings

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Alex Woolf writes in History Today:

There was no such thing as a ‘Viking’ in the medieval period. Use of the term emerged in the 19th century. The word wicing occurred in Old English and víkingr in Old Icelandic, but were used very differently, to mean something like ‘pirate’. Academics nod to this when we assert that ‘viking’ was a job description rather than an ethnicity, but we don’t always take on board the full implications of this distinction. In Old Icelandic víkingr could be applied to any pirate regardless of where they came from or when, or what language they spoke; they might be Estonians or Saracens, for example. It is also noteworthy that it is almost never used to describe the people who we today call ‘Vikings’. Many of the men labelled ‘Vikings’ in textbooks and popular histories were warriors led by kings on military expeditions with clear political objectives, such as the Great Heathen Army that fought Alfred the Great or the Norwegian force that accompanied Harald Hardrada to his death at Stamford Bridge in 1066. Calling such people ‘Vikings’ would be like calling 18th century British, French or Dutch naval officers ‘pirates’ simply because they wore vaguely similar hats and sailed vaguely similar ships to Blackbeard.

The word ‘Viking’ seems to have entered modern English in the early 19th century, when medieval Icelandic literature was beginning to be translated into major European languages. Initially it was used in the original medieval sense, but by the 1860s it was starting to be used to describe all early medieval warriors from Scandinavia. The final development, the ‘ethnicisation’ of the word that allows the use of terms such as ‘Viking farms’, ‘Viking towns’ and ‘Viking women and children’, is much more recent and has gradually crept up since the Second World War. This is insidious; by linking military prowess and savagery to an entire ethnic group, it encourages its appropriation by racial supremacists.

No such thing

The issue with the term is not merely semantic. This conception of ‘the Vikings’ seriously distorts our understanding of European history. We have tended to group almost all Scandinavian activity between the 790s and the mid-11th century together under the ‘Viking’ label, creating a distinct ‘Viking Age’ and an imagined ‘Viking’ culture and identity. The evidence, however, does not support this analysis.

First, the Scandinavian homelands were extremely varied in environment, social structure and history. Denmark is flat and fertile, its islands cleared, by the year 800, of predators for millennia. It had a complex settlement pattern that was at least as sophisticated as anything found in England. Danish soldiers and settlers coming into ninth-century eastern England found landscape and settlement patterns very like those with which they were familiar and people who shared very similar economic and social structures. They were not savage barbarians penetrating a more civilised realm. The Danish lands had the greatest capacity to sustain population in Scandinavia and it is likely that the majority of Scandinavians lived in Denmark in this period. Norway, whose western fjords provide the stereotypical backdrop to the ‘Vikings’, was a relative backwater with a tiny population and was most important as a route, the ‘North Way’, to the Arctic regions and the luxury goods, such as furs and walrus ivory, that they provided.


The surviving textual sources for the period all come from outside Scandinavia, but some fairly consistent patterns emerge. In the late eighth and the ninth century Irish, English and Frankish chronicles generally refer to Scandinavian aggressors as ‘heathens’ and this, rather than any ethnic identity, seems to have been what struck the victims of these attacks as significant. The 793 raid on Lindisfarne, often said to herald the ‘Viking Age’, is described in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle thus:

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

3 June 2022 at 11:46 am

Posted in Daily life, History, Science

A cigar fragrance: Van Yulay’s Puros La Habana

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I like Van Yulay soaps, which come in a wide variety of fragrances and formulations. Puros La Habana has the fragrance of a fine Cuba cigar, and its ingredients are:

Stearic Acid, Coconut Fatty Acid, Palm Stearic, Castor, Glycerin, Potassium& Sodium Hydroxide, Aloe Vera, Coconut-Tallow-Lanolin-Babassu-Manteca-Argan-Emu Oils, Shea & Kokum-Butters, Sodium Lactate, Calendula, Extracts, Poly Quats, Allantoin, Silica, Bentonite & Kaolin Clay, Tobacco Absolute, and Fragrance.

Note that this soap contains two different clays, and I did notice the effect in loading the brush: a bit more water required. The lather I got with my Yaqi Cashmere brush was excellent, and the Edwin Jagger razor easily removed every trace of stubble.

A small dab of Puros La Habana aftershave balm was a great finish: my skin feels soft, supple, and nourished. All Van Yulay’s pre- and post-shave products are right now out of stock. I have sent an email to find out when they might become again available, and I’ll post that information when I hear back.

The tea today is Mark T. Wendells’ Hung-Kwa, a smoky black tea.

Written by Leisureguy

3 June 2022 at 9:31 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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