Later On

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

Archive for July 5th, 2022

Dinner melange

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I wanted to cook something quick. I began by Evo-spraying my 12″ nonstick MSMK sauté pan with olive oil, then I added:

This is half of it, ready for the fridge

• green top of 1 leek, rinsed well and sliced thin
• small piece of red onion, chopped (had it on hand)
• 2 large cremini mushrooms, slicked thick
• 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
• 1 large jalapeño, chopped smallish 1.
• 1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise, then sliced thick
• 1/2 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
• about 4-5 oz beluga lentil and foxtail millet tempeh, diced small
• 2 tablespoons cooked hulled barley
• 1″ turmeric root, chopped small
• about 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
• 1″ ginger root, chopped small
• 1.5 tablespoons chipotle-garlic paste
• about 2 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar
• about 1 tablespoon Red Boat fish sauce
• about 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
• scant 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
• rounded 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
• 1 pinch MSG

Once the skillet was loaded with the above, I turned the heat to medium-low (setting of 3) and started it cooking, stirring to mix. Once it started to simmer, I covered the pan and turned the burner to 225ºF and the burner timer to 15 minutes and let it cook, stirring occasionally.

It was very tasty. The spices added a nice twist plus a lot of antioxidants — ground cloves are particularly high in antioxidants (see video below). I thought about including a diced Meyer lemon, but I didn’t want to overdo it.

I have learned a useful lesson: I filled one bowl for dinner, and before I ate that, I put the rest into a storage container (the one shown in the photo) and put it into the refrigerator for tomorrow. That discourages needless seconds.

I keep forgetting to add frozen peas — 1/3 cup, say. Adding frozen peas to a dish is a tip from Derek Simnett, and I think it’s a good one. As he points out, frozen peas are already cooked, so all you have to do is heat them in the dish. And here, they would have gone well with the cooked hulled barley — legume (peas) + grain (barley). 

But the peas live in the freezer, and I never seem to think of them. Maybe now I can remember.

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2022 at 5:13 pm

A Mirror of Nature

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In Introspection Mike Edmunds has an interesting essay on implications of the Antikythera mechanism. The essay begins:

THE ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM, an astronomical calculator found in a first-century BCE shipwreck, has proven to be mechanically more sophisticated than anything known from the subsequent millennium. While many are amazed at such a discovery, a more appropriate response would be admiration, for the mechanism fits well into its historic context. Indeed, the ancient scholar Cicero offered contemporary accounts of similar devices, which he saw as embodying the peak of human ingenuity.1 But the significance of the Antikythera mechanism extends beyond the elegance and complexity of its design. It may also represent a major development in our understanding of the universe.

Astronomical Mechanisms

IN THE SPRING of 1900, sponge divers working near the Greek island of Antikythera came across the wreck of a Roman cargo ship. Among the remains was a corroded shoebox-sized case with more than thirty bronze gear wheels in interlaced trains.2 Those who attempted to reconstruct it over the next century would learn that it included annular dials on its front and large spiral dials on the back that represented the day in the year, the lunar month in the 235-month Metonic cycle, the lunar phase, the position of the sun and moon in the zodiac, and whether the month might contain a lunar or solar eclipse. Irregularities in lunar motion were incorporated by means of an ingenious pin-and-slot variable-speed device. Predicted eclipses and the lunar calendar were based on observed cycles passed down to the Greeks from the Babylonians. The device itself was probably constructed in Rhodes sometime between 150 and 160 BCE, though both the date—it might be as early as 205 BCE—and the source are subject to debate. Inscriptions on the device strongly suggest that its front face also displayed the positions in the zodiac of the known planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

The significance of the Antikythera mechanism, as it came to be called, only began to be more broadly realized after the publication of Derek de Solla Price’s paper “Gears from the Greeks” in 1974. Price found the mechanism so sophisticated that it might “involve a completely new appraisal of the scientific technology of the Hellenistic period.”3 Just four years earlier, Germaine Aujac had written a perceptive, although largely forgotten, review of several kinds of mechanical devices that could have influenced Greek views of the universe.4 Price may well have been unaware of Aujac’s article. He does not reference it and Aujac does not mention the Antikythera mechanism. It would take another thirty years before the publications of the international Antikythera Mechanism Research Project (AMRP) and of Michael Wright prompted more general awareness of the artifact as confirming the reality of such complex machines in the ancient world.5

The devices Aujac wrote about were sphaerae—or sphéropée in the original French—mechanisms depicting the sky moving around the earth, with or without the planets. Sphaerae could be three-dimensional terrestrial or celestial globes and armillary spheres, but also two-dimensional circular constructions like the Antikythera mechanism. According to Aujac, by combining observation with the theory and construction of sphaerae, the Greeks were bringing models of the earth and heavens closer to their real equivalents. In his writings, Ptolemy acknowledged the existence of sphaerae, although he seems to have thought that they were admired more for their craftsmanship than for their value as physical models.6 James Evans and Christián Carlos Carman have argued that geared technology may slightly predate, and might actually have inspired, the mathematical developments around 200 BCE in Greek planetary theory such as eccentrics and epicycles.7

A Mechanical Universe

FROM MY OWN perspective, the deeper question concerning sphaerae is to what extent the development of this technology prompted the Greeks and Romans into a new worldview.8 The technology may have affected not only mathematics, but also the idea that the universe itself is in some sense mechanical—and long before the so-called scientific revolution of the Renaissance. For Samuel Sambursky, the question is

whether these models are only convenient means of illustration, devices adapted to our needs for an ordered description, or whether they represent to a greater or lesser degree some faithful image of a physical reality corresponding to them.9

If meant as a faithful image of reality, there are several themes present in such an image. The first would be the . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2022 at 12:19 pm

Corporations vs. Science: Nutrition and Health Division

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Recently I encountered on Quora just the kind of specious argument Dr. Michael Greger points out in this brief video: the idea that nutritional students that don’t use randomized placebo-controlled double-blind tests, or fail specify the exact cellular mechanism involved, are mere correlation and (wait for it) “correlation does not equal causation.” 

There’s a certain type of person who loves to say that phrase, generally with emphasis and a tone of smug certainty, as if they are offering a profound insight. I bet there’s a lot of overlap between them and those who, in a meeting whose purpose is to decide on a course of action, will say, with similar emphasis and tone, “One thing we can do [pause for attention] is to do nothing,” and then look around for those who approve this sagacity. 

While it is true that correlation does not always show causation, it’s also true that causation does produce correlation, so when a strong correlation is found in a specific narrow domain, it makes sense to suspect a cause — either a common cause, or that one is causing the other.

Greger’s video provides examples of bad-faith arguments used when science threatens corporate profits. 

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2022 at 11:05 am

War and Peace: book and movie

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It’s no surprise that War and Peace is one of the books in my list of books I find myself repeatedly recommending, and in fact its entry includes a link to a free ebook of an excellent translation (along with a tactic on how to get a handle on the large number of characters you will encounter in reading it).

Colin Marshall in Open Culture points out a free four-part movie adaptation of the novel from 1966-67. Generally speaking, movies made from books fall short of the experience of reading the book and must also overcome things easy to convey in print but challenging to show on the screen — for example, a character’s internal state or a quick summary of action. For example, “He rode hard for three days and nights” is quick and easy to read and understand, but showing that on the screen requires a montage that can seem interminable. (In fairness, movies can also easily and quickly present some things difficult to portray in print — for example, a party scene in a movie presents immediately and directly the sounds of the party — the music, the snippets of overheard conversation, the sounds of drinks pour, glasses clinked, plates moved — along with the appearance of the guests and their garb, the physical setting, and what’s happening. All that is immediately evident, with no need at all for a detailed description.

Still, though I point out the movie — free — I would first recommend the book — also free.

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2022 at 10:45 am

Posted in Books, Movies & TV

Pan’s Pipe has an alluring fragrance

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The lather made with the Amici brush was satisfactory, but the main pleasure from Dr. Jon’s Pan’s Pipe is the wonderful fragrance: “Lilac, Ivy, Orange Zest, Dirt, Oakmoss, and Cannabis.” The components seem appropriate to Pan, and the net effect is an outdoor fragrance of fresh air as of a spring morning. (As of now there is 1 tub in stock, so…)

Three passes with the redoubtable iKon Shavecraft #102 left my face perfectly smooth and unharmed, and a splash of Fine’s l’Orange Noir with a couple of squirts of Hydrating Gel finished the job.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Vanilla Jasmine: “A balanced blend of black, green and oolong teas, with an enticing aroma of vanilla, jasmine and magnolia.”


Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2022 at 8:57 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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