Later On

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

Archive for August 20th, 2022

Most popular sandwich by state

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Click image to enlarge.

Written by Leisureguy

20 August 2022 at 5:16 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food

Why corporations spend millions fighting unionization

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Source of this image is an article from the Economic Policy Institute, “How today’s unions help working people.” The article is well worth reading. The CEO of Starbucks knows that with the unions the workers will get a better break. That is exactly why he so strongly opposes the union. And the same is true of Amazon. Corporate greed knows no bounds because the corporation’s only goal is to increase profits. 

Written by Leisureguy

20 August 2022 at 4:22 pm

Soybean + Kamut tempeh after 1 day

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Above is the photo after 24 hours (roughly), with the batch removed from the incubator to the table to finish its growth. This post describes the start.

Written by Leisureguy

20 August 2022 at 2:28 pm

Mental Health Professionals Really Can Assume Some Police Duties

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Will Norris has an interesting article in the Washington Monthly:

With violent crime up significantly in recent years, House Democrats have been working furiously to pass new crime legislation before the midterms. However, disagreements between factions in the party forced Nancy Pelosi on July 27 to postpone a vote on a slate of crime measures. A group of progressive lawmakers objected to provisions advanced by moderates providing municipalities with funds to hire more police, while members of the Congressional Black Caucus, many of whom support additional police funding, demanded new transparency and accountability requirements.

How Democratic leaders resolve these tensions and pass legislation is unclear. But there’s more than police funding at stake. A vote will determine the fate of community safety legislation in this package that all sides agree—more police or not—could improve public safety. Among the most important is a provision sponsored by Representative Katie Porter that would provide funds for states and municipalities to hire and train mental health professionals—instead of police officers—to handle nonviolent emergencies. The idea is that teams of clinicians and paramedics can free police to deal with more dangerous situations, lessen the chance of law enforcement shootings, and channel those struggling with addiction and mental illness into treatment instead of jail.

After the racial justice uprisings of 2020, a handful of cities, including New YorkWashington, D.C., Austin, and San Francisco, started experimenting with this civilian responder model, first pioneered in Eugene, Oregon, in 1989. Progressives saw these programs as a component of their “defund the police” agenda, but in practice, they have been implemented without diverting funds from law enforcement and have largely been embraced by police departments. “Nobody became a cop because they were really excited about dealing with drunk people, because they really wanted to talk to a schizophrenic person who thinks the FBI is pursuing him,” says Keith Humphreys, a behavioral science researcher at Stanford. These programs are meant to relieve this burden.

But are they working? The data out of New YorkSan Francisco, and elsewhere has been promising, but until recently, no studies had examined the cause-and-effect relationship between such a program and crime, cost, and outcomes for people in crisis.

That changed in June when Stanford University researchers Thomas S. Dee and Jaymes Pyne published a study in Science Advances on a civilian responder program in Denver called Support Team Assisted Response, or STAR. The study found that STAR’s pilot program contributed to a 34 percent drop in low-level crime while reducing arrest rates and possibly saving the city money. These findings represent the best argument yet for federal funding of a novel approach to law enforcement that might reduce not only crime, but also the political temperature of the crime issue.

In May 2019, a year before calls to defund the police proliferated, a contingent of Denver lawmakers, officials, and police officers spent three days in Eugene doing ride-alongs with responders from their mental health program, called CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Street). That November, the Denver police chief, Paul Pazen, presented a tentative outline to the city council, highlighting how STAR would be a welcome “force-multiplier” for law enforcement. The council approved $208,141 for a six-month trial.

Dee’s and Pyne’s study focused on that initial six-month pilot run, which began on June 1, 2020. A rotation of a few mental health professionals began working in shifts out of a single van, responding to behavioral health incidents in Denver’s downtown business district. In those six months, the STAR team responded to 748 incidents related to mental health crises, indecent exposure, homelessness, and substance use where police or 911 dispatchers deemed the threat of violence low. Their goal, says Carleigh Sailon, a social worker who helped found STAR, was “connecting folks to community resources and other ongoing support that can help to keep them out of crisis”—and out of the criminal justice system. In not one case did a STAR response result in an arrest.

Before the Stanford study of Denver’s pilot program, research on alternative policing models was mostly descriptive or correlational. In contrast, Dee told me that his study brought “tools of causal inference to bear”—that is, he wanted to tease out the isolated effect STAR had on crime.

Conveniently, STAR only operated during certain times of day, on certain days of the week, and in certain neighborhoods during the pilot period, making a natural experiment possible. Dee and Pyne used the granular, precinct-level crime data that Denver makes publicly available. By comparing rates of low-level crime in precincts where STAR was dispatched in the six-month pilot period to rates in those same precincts before the pilot, as well as rates in precincts STAR didn’t cover during the pilot period, Dee and Pyne concluded that . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

20 August 2022 at 2:06 pm

Seawater could provide nearly unlimited amounts of critical battery material

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Science has an interesting article about the efforts of some researchers at Stanford University to extract lithium from seawater. From the article: “The advance is still not likely cheap enough to compete with mining lithium on land, Liu says.” Nevertheless, the article is worth looking at.

Just over a year ago, I blogged about another article on extracting lithium from seawater. That article said, “According to the researchers, the cell will probably need $5 of electricity to extract 1 kilogram of lithium from seawater. This means that the value of hydrogen and chlorine produced by the cell would end up offsetting the cost of power, and residual seawater could also be used in desalination plants to provide freshwater.”

So I don’t know how close we really are. The second article (from Mining) sounded as though we’re almost there.

Written by Leisureguy

20 August 2022 at 12:51 pm

The microbiomes of the human body

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image from “Volatilomes of Bacterial Infections in Humans” in Frontiers in Neuroscience — this article reminded me of something I read quite a while back. A new doctor had closely examined a patient and had a arrived at a diagnosis, when an older physician stuck his head in the door, glanced at the patient, and said to the doctor, “Measles?” “Yes,” the doctor replied. “How did you know?” The older doctor said, “Smells like measles.”

Dr. William Davis has a newsletter that today was quite interesting. He writes:

Advanced methods applied to catalogue the microbial composition of various organs is revealing the astounding fact that no part of the human body is not colonized (or infected) by microbes. Organs previously thought to normally be sterile, such as the uterus, prostate, breasts, urinary bladder, kidneys, eyes, even brain, are proving to be rich with microbes of a variety of sorts: bacterial, Archaeal, viral, fungal. Who would have thought, for instance, that amniotic fluid bathing a developing fetus has its own unique microbiome?

We are walking, talking collections of microbes that some call the “holobiont,” i.e., an aggregate of trillions of living organisms that cohabitate with you as a human being host. It required DNA analysis, rather than crude culture methods, to reveal just how rich, for instance, the normal non-infected urinary bladder is with microbes, or the mouth, teeming with microbes with a density second only to the colon. (Puts a whole new spin on this practice called “kissing,” doesn’t it?)

It means that virtually everything we do—eat, shake hands, swim in a lake, engage in sex, travel to a new environment, lick an ice cream cone, etc.—has some microbial consequence. We cannot therefore separate human from microbial life because they are so intimately intertwined. It means that all human disease, healthcare practices, diet, etc., all need to be reconsidered in light of this universe of life that we previously largely ignored. Many new lessons originate with observations made in so-called “gnotobiotic” animals, i.e., animals raised in completely sterile conditions and thereby lacking a microbiota in all organs, gastrointestinal and otherwise. (Remarkably, the notion of gnotobiosis got its start during the 19th century, advanced during the 1930s, then with more systematic and advanced methods beginning in the 1950s. While gnotobiotic animals are protected from becoming obese even when fed an unhealthy diet, they also experience unhealthy effects such as an impaired and “immature” immune system, impaired brain maturation and behavior. Such germ-free animals also provide opportunities to observe the effects of re-introducing one or more microbes on the animal’s health and functioning.

Of course, no one has ever created a gnotobiotic human. (Wouldn’t that be interesting? Animals cannot, of course, express feelings or thoughts such as love, hate, anxiety, empathy, generosity, etc.. Only crude indirect observations that hint at such phenomena can be used to infer such internal workings. Imagine what we could learn from a gnotobiotic human about human behavior—creepy but fascinating to consider.) But modern life has conspired to create many dysbiotic humans. Exposure to antibiotics, food additives, herbicides, chlorinated drinking water, synthetic sweeteners, pharmaceuticals, and many other factors has caused fundamental shifts in microbiome composition of virtually all organs, from bladder to brain. We need only compare the microbiomes of indigenous populations unexposed to modern influences, e.g., Yanomami, jungle-dwelling New Guineans, Matses, Masaii, etc. to gain a sense of what adaptation and maladaptation have done to microbial composition in modern humans. They have numerous species we don’t have, we have numerous species they don’t have, with marked differences in relative numbers that both populations share.

As we gain insight into specific disruptions in modern microbiomes, such as the loss of L. reuteri responsible for human behaviors such as love, empathy, generosity, etc., or the loss L gasseri responsible for maintaining “law and order” in the small intestine, or the lack of Leuconostoc mesenteroides and Pediococcus pentosaceus that maintain an intestinal environment conducive to beneficial species, it is becoming clear that, without considering the impact of the microbiome, we are in the dark. Prescribing an antidepressant selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor, SSRI, for depression, for instance, is a practice that is completely ignorant of the contribution of the microbiome to human mood and behavior. It ignores the fact that Turicibacter sanguinis in the GI tract is responsible for 50% of the entire body’s serotonin production. Social and pharmacologic efforts to stem the tide of suicide (over 35% increase over the last decade) ignore the fact that endogenous oxytocin production, as measured in blood, saliva, and cerebrospinal fluid, is 50% less in people attempting suicide compared to non-suicidal people, a phenomenon that results from dysbiotic loss of L. reuteri.

Do you sense the magnitude of change that we are about to witness? I often compare the emerging insights of microbiome technology with having a Commodore 64 computer in 1982 loaded with Pong. Many people in 1982 thought computers were just a curiosity, a toy for amusement, not recognizing the computerized, digitized technologies such as GPS navigation, cellular communication, self-driving cars and planes, and numerous other innovations that were to follow. I predict that human health and healthcare will become unrecognizably changed in coming decades viewed through our 2022 eyes. Stay tuned as we work to decipher and understand these emerging insights.

Written by Leisureguy

20 August 2022 at 10:33 am

The century of climate migration: why we need to plan for the great upheaval

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I’ve blogged before on the coming mass migrations as climate change takes hold and once hospitable regions become uninhabitable. This will almost certainly lead to wars, since some migration targets are already have a settled population, and conflict will be exacerbated by food shortages due to crop failures and wars (cf. the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on food availability). In the article quoted below, however, Gaia Vince points out a more benign possibility if humans can plan and cooperate. (That is, of course, an enormous “if,” given that we see few signs of that approach to date.)

Some previous posts seem relevant, particularly this one from two years ago: “Predictable catastrophe: Mass migration from global warming.” The human race is strange in how it takes no steps — or at best tentative, minimal steps — to prepare for a completely predictable crisis.

See also: “The Loire River now dry” and “The great migrations will soon begin: 40 Million People Rely on the Colorado River. It’s Drying Up Fast.The great migrations will soon begin: 40 Million People Rely on the Colorado River. It’s Drying Up Fast.”

Gaia Vince’s book Nomad Century: How to Survive the Climate Upheaval will be published this coming week and an extract from the book was published in the Guardian:

A great upheaval is coming. Climate-driven movement of people is adding to a massive migration already under way to the world’s cities. The number of migrants has doubled globally over the past decade, and the issue of what to do about rapidly increasing populations of displaced people will only become greater and more urgent. To survive climate breakdown will require a planned and deliberate migration of a kind humanity has never before undertaken.

The world already sees twice as many days where temperatures exceed 50C than 30 years ago – this level of heat is deadly for humans, and also hugely problematic for buildings, roads and power stations. It makes an area unliveable. This explosive planetary drama demands a dynamic human response. We need to help people to move from danger and poverty to safety and comfort – to build a more resilient global society for everyone’s benefit.

Large populations will need to migrate, and not simply to the nearest city, but also across continents. Those living in regions with more tolerable conditions, especially nations in northern latitudes, will need to accommodate millions of migrants while themselves adapting to the demands of the climate crisis. We will need to create entirely new cities near the planet’s cooler poles, in land that is rapidly becoming ice-free. Parts of Siberia, for example, are already experiencing temperatures of 30C for months at a time.

Arctic areas are burning, with mega-blazes devouring Siberia, Greenland and Alaska. Even in January, peat fires were burning in the Siberian cryosphere, despite temperatures below –50C. These zombie fires smoulder year round in the peat below ground, in and around the Arctic Circle, only to burst into huge blazes that rage across the boreal forests of Siberia, Alaska and Canada.

In 2019, colossal fires destroyed more than 4m hectares of Siberian taiga forest, blazing for more than three months, and producing a cloud of soot and ash as large as the countries that make up the entire European Union. Models predict that fires in the boreal forests and Arctic tundra will increase by up to four times by 2100.

Wherever you live now, migration will affect you and the lives of your children. It is predictable that Bangladesh, a country where one-third of the population lives along a sinking, low-lying coast, is becoming uninhabitable. (More than 13 million Bangladeshis – nearly 10% of the population – are expected to have left the country by 2050.) But in the coming decades wealthy nations will be severely affected, too.

This upheaval occurs not only at a time of unprecedented climate change but also of human demographic change. Global population will continue to rise in the coming decades, peaking at perhaps 10 billion in the 2060s. Most of this increase will be in the tropical regions that are worst hit by climate catastrophe, causing people there to flee northwards. The global north faces the opposite problem – a “top-heavy” demographic crisis, in which a large elderly population is supported by a too-small workforce. North America and Europe have 300 million people above the traditional retirement age (65+), and by 2050, the economic old-age dependency ratio there is projected to be at 43 elderly persons per 100 working persons aged 20–64. Cities from Munich to Buffalo will begin competing with each other to attract migrants.

The coming migration will involve the world’s poorest fleeing deadly heatwaves and failed crops. It will also include the educated, the middle class, people who can no longer live where they planned because it’s impossible to get a mortgage or property insurance; because employment has moved elsewhere. The climate crisis has already uprooted millions in the US – in 2018, 1.2 million were displaced by extreme conditions, fire, storms and flooding; by 2020, the annual toll had risen to 1.7 million people. The US now averages a $1bn disaster every 18 days.

More than half of the western US is facing extreme drought conditions, and farmers in Oregon’s Klamath Basin talk about illegally using force to open dam gates for irrigation. At the other extreme, fatal floods have stranded thousands of people from Death Valley to Kentucky. By 2050, half a million existing US homes will be on land that floods at least once a year, according to data from Climate Central, a partnership of scientists and journalists. Louisiana’s Isle de Jean Charles has already been allocated $48m of federal tax dollars to move the entire community due to coastal erosion and rising sea levels; in Britain, the Welsh villagers of Fairbourne have been told their homes should be abandoned to the encroaching sea as the entire village is to be “decommissioned” in 2045. Larger coastal cities are at risk, too. Consider that the Welsh capital, Cardiff, is projected to be two-thirds underwater by 2050.

The UN International Organization for Migration estimates that there could be as many as 1.5 billion environmental migrants in the next 30 years. After 2050, that figure is expected to soar as the world heats further and the global population rises to its predicted peak in the mid 2060s.

The question for humanity becomes: what does a sustainable world look like? We will need to develop an entirely new way of feeding, fuelling and maintaining our lifestyles, while also reducing atmospheric carbon levels. We will need to live in denser concentrations in fewer cities, while reducing the associated risks of crowded populations, including power outages, sanitation problems, overheating, pollution and infectious disease.

At least as challenging, though, will be the task of overcoming the idea that we belong to a particular land and that it belongs to us. We will need to assimilate into globally diverse societies, living in new, polar cities. We will need to be ready to move again when necessary. With every degree of temperature increase, roughly 1 billion people will be pushed outside the zone in which humans have lived for thousands of years. We are running out of time to manage the coming upheaval before it becomes overwhelming and deadly.

Migration is not the problem; it is the solution.

How we manage this global crisis, and how humanely we treat each other as we migrate, will be key to whether this century of upheaval proceeds smoothly or with violent conflict and unnecessary deaths. Managed right, this upheaval could lead to a new global commonwealth of humanity. Migration is our way out of this crisis.

igration, whether from disaster to safety, or for a new land of opportunity, is deeply interwoven with . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

20 August 2022 at 10:18 am

Great combo: Yuzu, Rose, and Patchouli

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Declaration Grooming’s Bison-Tallow formula is an excellent soap (though their Beefsteak formula is even better). I used the LABL method with the Wee Scot and was rewarded with a fine and fragrant lather: the yuzu/rose/patchouli combination is excellent.

My Feather AS-D1 easily produced a BBS result, and a splash of Chatillon Lux’s aftershave toner in the same fragrance 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

20 August 2022 at 9:11 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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