Later On

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

Archive for July 13th, 2022

Interesting investigation into a diet consisting wholly or mostly of potatoes

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I find the Slime Mold Time Mold blog fascinating. It recounts an investigation by an interdisciplinary group of scientists and doctors into the causes of the obesity epidemic, and they make a strong case that environmental contaminants are to blame, with the prime suspect being lithium, which enters the environment through various routes, one primary one being its ubiquitous use as a component of lubricants — lithium grease is everywhere, and of course the lithium doesn’t just vanish after use.

You can read their findings and arguments in their blog, but this post is to point out their investigation of a diet consisting of potatoes.

Written by Leisureguy

13 July 2022 at 8:22 pm

Interesting milk-based sauce — like mayonnaise

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I don’t make mayonnaise any more (because I don’t eat eggs), and though I don’t usually eat any dairy, I might make an exception to try this mayo-like sauce. Ingredients:

• 3.5 fl. oz. (100 ml) milk
• 7 fl. oz. (200 ml) olive oil
• clove of garlic
• dill
• 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
• Chile
• Salt
• 1/2 tsp mustard
• basil

I just made a batch. It’s reasonably thick, but not nearly so thick as in the video. However, I expect it to thicken in the refrigerator. The lemon juice did help with the thickening.

I think next time I make it, I’ll try using dried dill but fresh basil. I forgot the chile this time; next time I’ll remember.

Written by Leisureguy

13 July 2022 at 3:56 pm

Human Population Through Time: An animated chart

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A fascinating video that must be watched on YouTube (at the link) shows just how recently the human population surged. Video by the American Museum of Natural History.

Written by Leisureguy

13 July 2022 at 11:13 am

Posted in Daily life, History, Video

Strength in numbers: Group therapy can quell phobias in one day

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It’s been known for decades how to cure phobias (though, oddly, many with phobias do not seek treatment or seem to want them cured, possibly because they view their phobias as part of their identity: “I’m a person who fears flying,” for example). 

Advances in treatment of phobias continue, and André Wannemüller, a licensed psychotherapist and postdoctoral research fellow at the Mental Health Treatment and Research Centre at Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany, writes in Psyche of a one-day treatment:

The treatment was supposed to start at 8am, but many of the participants arrived at the airport much earlier. They didn’t want to miss anything, and some say they were too excited to sleep in anyway. After hearing of the programme through local media reports, they are the first 138 people of more than 700 who have signed up for a one-session, group treatment programme to combat their flying phobia. Because of their fear, most of them have not flown for years; some have avoided air travel all their lives.

Now they are gathered here in a congress hall at the airport where I provide them with information about the meaning of anxiety and fear, as well as the typical cognitive and bodily symptoms associated with a fear of flying. I also talk about fear-maintaining processes and dysfunctional ‘safety behaviours’ (strategies that might bring relief in the short term, but ultimately prolong the problem), such as taking tranquillisers or drinking alcohol.

Then the flight captain and crew enter the scene, ready to respond to participants’ questions: What actually happens in the event of a medical emergency on board, or if an engine fails? Can an aircraft be struck by lightning? Is that dangerous? What happens in a severe storm?

People have a lot of questions and, for most of them, the staff can give the ‘all-clear’: flying is extremely safe (measured per billion passenger kilometres), and the aircraft and crew are well prepared for virtually any eventuality. After that, it gets serious.

Now, I say, it’s time to board the ‘exposure’ flight, to gain a new and anxiety-relieving experience in dealing with your fear of flying. A specially chartered plane and a team of 20 therapists are already waiting at the gate. The vast majority of this first batch of participants, more than 120 in all, dared to take part. Security check, boarding – everything is as it would be on a normal flight. When the doors of the plane are closed, however, tension is palpable. Some stare ahead, some cry, and others concentrate on the talks offered by me and the other psychotherapists.

As the plane accelerates for take-off, it suddenly . . .

Continue reading. There’s quite a bit more.

Later in the article:

Since then, the positive effects of one-session treatments have been demonstrated not only for phobias, but also for other forms of excessive anxiety, for example panic attacks resulting from traumatic experiences.

Written by Leisureguy

13 July 2022 at 11:03 am

“Sonata”: A video animation

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Written by Leisureguy

13 July 2022 at 10:57 am

Posted in Art, Music, Video

How the Calvinball Supreme Court Upended the Bar Exam

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Aaron Regunberg writes in The New Republic on the Supreme Court’s shredding of law and precedent:

Picture the scene: It’s the summer after I graduated from law school and a day that ends in y, which means I’m currently hunched over a workbook, attempting to answer practice questions for the multistate bar exam. Such cramming for the bar is a universal rite of passage in the legal field—one that every lawyer in America remembers going through. But right now, law school graduates across the country are experiencing the ordeal a little differently. Because this year, a lot of the laws we are trying so hard to memorize are, as of just a few weeks ago, no longer actually the law.

I turn the page in my practice test booklet and read the next question: “A state adopted legislation making it a crime to be the biological parent of more than two children. A married couple has just had their third child. They have been arrested and convicted under the statute. Which of the following is the strongest argument for voiding the convictions of the couple?”

I scan the choices. It’s clear that “B” is the right answer: “The statute places an unconstitutional burden on the fundamental privacy interests of married persons.”

Or, well, “B” used to be the right answer. It was the right answer when we graduated from law school at the end of May. It was the right answer through most of June, as we studied the elements of substantive due process—the principle that the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments protect fundamental rights from government interference, like the rights to personal autonomy, bodily integrity, self-dignity, and self-determination. For decades, these interests formed the outline of a constitutionally protected right to privacy, whose framework we’ve spent the summer copying onto flashcards and trying to recount in practice essays.

But this substantive due process right to privacy was just dealt a body blow by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson that the U.S. Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. As I think about the 10-year-old rape victim in Ohio who was recently denied an in-state abortion and all the other lives that will soon be shattered by this dramatic rewriting of the law, it’s hard to give a damn about the practice test in front of me.

Still, the bar’s only a few weeks away, and honestly, if I keep getting sucked into panic attacks about judicial coups I’m not going to pass. So I force myself to keep going. I answer a contracts question and fumble my way through a property problem. Then, turning the page, I read: “A state legislature enacted a program by which students in the public schools could participate in public school programs in which religious leaders gave religious instruction and performed religious practices on school grounds. Which of the following would NOT be relevant in assessing the constitutionality of the state religious instruction program?”

I look through the choices. I’m pretty sure the correct answer is “D,” the only option that doesn’t describe an element of the analysis (established 50 years ago in Lemon v. Kurtzman) for determining whether a state has violated the constitutional prohibition against government “respecting an establishment of religion.” But a few weeks ago, after every law school graduate in the country had memorized the three-part Lemon test, the Supreme Court effectively overruled Lemon v. Kurtzman, decreeing in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District (the praying coach case) that courts will henceforth decide whether a government has entangled church and state “by reference to historical practices and understandings.” Which, it seems likely, means whatever the court’s conservative majority wants it to mean—for example, I very much doubt that the Jewish women challenging anti-abortion laws for violating Judaism’s teachings on reproductive choice will get the same response Coach Kennedy received for coercing children into praying to Jesus with him on the 50-yard line after their games.

Still, I can’t focus on that big picture right now. The multiple-choice portion of the bar exam gives you six hours to answer a barrage of 200 questions, which means you have just 108 seconds per inquiry before you have to move on to the next one. That doesn’t leave much time to reconcile our government’s ongoing shift toward Christian theocracy.

So I try to get back into test-taking mode. Next up there’s a criminal procedure question about—ahh, fantastic—Miranda rights, which the Supreme Court severely undermined this term in Vega v. Tekoh. And the hits keep on coming: Next there’s a question on the “case or controversy” requirement laid out under Article III of the Constitution, stipulating that federal courts only have the power to resolve legal questions arising out of an actual dispute between real parties. That’s been a basic principle of judicial review since 1793, and yet I know that the multiple-choice option I mark for correctly stating this rule completely contradicts the Supreme Court’s disastrous climate decision in West Virginia v. EPA—a case over an environmental regulation that never took effect, no longer exists, and never created any real dispute between actual parties. Then I drop my pencil and put my head in my hands.

Obviously, the worst thing about the Supreme Court’s nihilistic legislating from the bench is . . .

Continue reading.

Later in the article:

There’s a bit from the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes that’s recently entered the legal lexicon: Calvinball. Calvinball is a game that has no actual rules; in the comic, Calvin and Hobbes just make up the rules as they play. It’s a perfect metaphor for what constitutional law has become in this country. The conservative court majority has abandoned consistency, precedent, fact, basic constitutional mechanics, and any notion of accountability to the public. Instead, the most important laws affecting our health, our families, our freedoms, and our future are being dictated according to a few extremists’ partisan preferences (and even, at times, their naked self-interest). We are losing the rule of law. And though this loss is strikingly apparent in this month’s bar exam—whose black-and-white nature makes it particularly clear that broad swathes of our long-standing legal traditions have been vaporized—the real evidence is the countless lives that have or will be destroyed by climate chaos, forced pregnancies, gun violence, authoritarian power grabs, and all the other horrors created by such an arbitrary system of government.

What does “the rule of law” now mean in the US? It seems more like the rule of ideology.

Someone pointed out how drastically nations can change by reminding us of the mini-skirted women practicing medicine in Iran in the 1970s, a sight not seen there today.

Written by Leisureguy

13 July 2022 at 10:07 am

Institut Karité 25% shea butter shaving soap seems to be no more

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Well, this is disappointing: not only does Institut Karité no longer make their 25% shea butter shaving soap, but their aftershave balm no longer claims a 25% shea butter content. I’m thankful I have a supply.

My Simpsons Duke 3 Best made a really wonderful lather from my puck of Institut Karité shaving soap — and let me not again how wonderful I find the new tub of Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave. Between the pre-shave and the soap, my face was fully moisturized during this shave.

Fendrihan’s superb Mk II razor, a reasonably priced stainless steel razor, here coated in bronze, did an extremely good job, and I ended the shave with a small dab of Institut Karité aftershave balm — again, 25% shea butter.

My face is very happy and very smooth and soft.

The tea this morning is Mark T. Wendell Hu-kwa: “considered by many tea connoisseurs to be the benchmark against which all other Lapsang Souchong style teas are measured.”

Written by Leisureguy

13 July 2022 at 9:01 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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