Later On

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

Archive for September 9th, 2022

Is Our Food Becoming Less Nutritious?

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Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2022 at 6:39 pm

Red Kidney Bean and Millet Tempeh done

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This is the red kidney bean and millets (fox-tail millet and little-millet, both unpolished) that I started three days ago. It fermented about 75 hours total. The very pale areas in the photo are an artefact of the lighting. 

It turned out okay, though I think the millet was a bit challenging. Here is a cross-section:

This will meet my bean and grain quota for a few days. I think I had better luck with my soybean and kodo millet tempeh, and also with my chana dal and barnyard millet (which was more matched in size).

It definitely has a different look.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2022 at 6:26 pm

When Duke Ellington Made a Record for Just One Person—Queen Elizabeth

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Queen meets Duke

Ted Gioia has a good column (which includes Marcus Roberts playing ‘One Petal of a Rose”):

Many musicians have long envied visual artists—who can sell unique objects at very high prices. Because of the inherent scarcity of one-of-a-kind originals, art works turn into status symbols, with wealthy elites paying exorbitant amounts for the privilege of owning something irreplaceable.

The recent mania for turning music into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) is just the latest iteration of this quest. Back in 2015, the Wu-Tang Clan made just a single copy of its seventh album, and packaged it in a jewel-studded silver box. We never learned how much financier Martin Shkreli paid for it back then, but the Department of Justice later seized it, and sold it for $4 million—making this the most expensive musical work in history.

But Duke Ellington did the exact same thing in 1959, and without any desire to make money. Or even generating publicity from the incident—which took place in secret, without fanfare or press releases.

In this instance, he created a unique album solely for the pleasure of giving it to Queen Elizabeth. With the help of Billy Strayhorn, he composed The Queen’s Suite, had one record manufactured—and sent it directly to Buckingham Palace, solely intended for Her Majesty’s ears.

In a historic Duke-meets-Queen encounter the previous year, Ellington served up his famous charm for the monarch. When she asked him whether this was his first visit to Britain, Duke replied that his initial trip to London was in 1933, “way before you were born.” This was out-and-out flattery, because Queen Elizabeth had been born in 1926—but she played along with the game. “She gave me a real American look,” he later recalled, “very cool man, which I thought was too much.”

Give Duke credit for savviness. He understood that even a queen wants to hear how young she looks. Ellington followed up saying that Her Majesty “was so inspiring that something musical would come out of it.” She told him that she would be listening.

According to Ellington’s son Mercer, his father began working on the music to The Queen’s Suite as soon as he got back to his hotel room. He enlisted colleague and collaborator Billy Strayhorn. In addition to royal inspiration, the work also borrowed from the natural world: the opening movement draws on birdsong heard during a Florida visit, another section was a response to an unexpected encounter with “a million lightning bugs” serenaded by a frog. The best known part of the Suite, “The Single Petal of a Rose,” was spurred by a floral display on a piano at a friend’s home.

This latter movement has even entered the jazz standard repertoire as a standalone piece. It is most often performed by pianists, and has been recorded by Marcus Roberts, Marian McPartland, Sir Roland Hanna, John Hicks, Bill Mays, James Williams, and Andy LaVerne, as well as Ellington himself.

By early 1959, the finished work was ready for performance. The Queen’s Suite was now a 20-minute work in six movements. The band recorded it over the course of three sessions in February and April 1959. A single golden disc was made, and sent to Buckingham Palace. In order to ensure that no other copies were released, Ellington reimbursed Columbia, his label, some $2,500 in production costs, and thus retained personal ownership of the master tapes.

The original score to The Queen’s Suite is now in the collection of . . .

Continue reading. And at the link, you can hear the entire suite. Below is just one section.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2022 at 4:19 pm

Posted in Daily life, History, Jazz, Video

Actions of Deputy Who Dragged Woman by Her Hair Deemed “Reasonable and Acceptable”

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Video showed the officer, who has been named in at least nine excessive force lawsuits, grabbing the woman by her hair and slamming her to the ground. The sheriff now says the actions were justified and the woman is “looking for a paycheck.”

This sort of policing is all too common in America today. Gordon Russell, The Times-Picayune | The Advocate, reports in ProPublica:

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office has determined that the actions of a deputy captured on video last year, in which he grabbed a woman by the hair and slammed her to the ground, were “both reasonable and acceptable.”

The incident involved JPSO Deputy Julio Alvarado, a 17-year veteran, and Shantel Arnold, 34, a Black woman who is under 5 feet tall. It drew national attention after the brief video clip was covered by ProPublica, WWNO and The Times-Picayune | The Advocate.

State Sen. Gary Carter, a Democrat from New Orleans who is representing Arnold, said in a statement that the incident reflects the JPSO’s “well-documented history” of using excessive force against people of color. Carter, who said he is filing a federal civil rights lawsuit on Arnold’s behalf in the next few days, called on Sheriff Joe Lopinto to take stronger action.

“My hope is that Sheriff Lopinto sees Shantel Arnold’s federal complaint as an opportunity to turn the page on the dark history of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office,” Carter said, “and implement policies and procedures meant to protect all the people of Jefferson Parish, including women, African-Americans, and people of color, like Shantel Arnold.”

Lopinto, in an interview, strongly defended his handling of the case.

The incident occured after the deputy responded to reports of a street fight in River Ridge. Lopinto asserted that Arnold admitted “she pulled away” when Alvarado sought to detain her, and that resistance justifies the deputy’s actions. Arnold previously told investigators that she told the deputy she had just been assaulted, and then continued walking.

“The reality is fights don’t look good,” Lopinto said. “Fights don’t ever look good. This is what happens in real life every day. We’re not looking for trouble. Trouble happened and we showed up.”

He noted that Arnold, who said she lost several plaits in the scuffle with Alvarado, did not initially file a complaint but is now “looking for a paycheck.” Lopinto also said the anonymously posted video was “selectively edited” to show only the part of the incident that cast the JPSO in an unflattering light. He suggested that footage of what happened before and after the 15-second clip — if it existed — would present a more nuanced picture. Sheriff’s deputies are not allowed to speak with the media. Arnold’s attorney declined to discuss the details of the case outside the courts.

Two former law enforcement officials who teach or testify in trials on police use of force were less enthusiastic about how Alvarado handled the situation after they viewed the video clip and read the JPSO report on the incident.

W. Lloyd Grafton, a former member of the Louisiana State Police Commission, said he believes the video “unquestionably” shows excessive force.

“He’s a huge man; she’s a tiny girl,” Grafton said. “He’s handling her like a rag doll.”

Joseph Giacalone, a former sergeant in the New York Police Department who teaches a course in the use of force at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, was less critical of Alvarado’s actions in the moment.

“It doesn’t say anywhere that police can use force, but they can’t pull hair,” he said.

Still, Giacalone criticized how the JPSO handled the matter, suggesting it might have been defused by the earlier arrival of a ranking officer or by body camera footage, which the Sheriff’s Office was not then collecting.

“Bodycams could have avoided a lot of this,” Giacalone said. “Police departments shouldn’t leave it up to the public to provide things that you should be providing.”

The bystander-shot video sparked an internal investigation, which led the JPSO to suspend Alvarado without pay for a week and put him on probation for a year.

The punishment was not imposed over Alvarado’s treatment of Arnold, but over his failure to file a report about an incident . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2022 at 2:50 pm

Walk note

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I resumed regular walking on September 1, so today makes 9 days, and along the way I had my insight on the importance of a focus on simply taking the walk, letting speed and duration do what they want. Day 1 my speed was3.12 mph; today, 3.36 mph. Still not at the 3.5 I was getting before my enforced break, but I am confident that if I persist, speed will improve. And I think after another week I might extend the distance a bit.

More impressive than my speed improvement is the change in my fasting blood glucose. When I started, by averages were 6.2 mmol/L (112 mg/dL) throughout: 7-day, 14-day, 30-day, and 90-day. As you can see at the right, the averages are dropping. The 7-day average, 5.7 mmol/L, is equal to 103 mg/dL. 

I expect that, if I continue walking and stick to my regular whole-food plant-based diet, the 7-day average will drop some more.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2022 at 1:57 pm

Dramatic rise in cancer in people under 50

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Astudy by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital reveals that the incidence of early onset cancers — including breast, colon, esophagus, kidney, liver, and pancreas — has dramatically increased around the world, with the rise beginning around 1990. In an effort to understand why many more people under 50 are being diagnosed with cancer, scientists conducted extensive analyses of available data, including information on early life exposures that might have contributed to the trend. Results are published in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology.

“From our data, we observed something called the birth cohort effect. This effect shows that each successive group of people born at a later time — e.g., a decade later — have a higher risk of developing cancer later in life, likely due to risk factors they were exposed to at a young age,” said Shuji Ogino, a professor at Harvard Chan School and Harvard Medical School and a physician-scientist in the Department of Pathology at the Brigham. “We found that this risk is increasing with each generation. For instance, people born in 1960 experienced higher cancer risk before they turn 50 than people born in 1950, and we predict that this risk level will continue to climb in successive generations.”

Ogino worked with lead author Tomotaka Ugai and colleagues from 2000 to 2012 to analyze global data on 14 cancer types that showed increased incidence in adults before age 50. Then the team searched for available studies that examined trends of possible risk factors, including early life exposures in the general populations. Finally, the researchers examined the literature describing clinical and biological tumor characteristics of early onset cancers compared with cancers diagnosed after age 50.

In an extensive review, the team found that the early life “exposome,” which encompasses an individual’s diet, lifestyle, weight, environmental exposures, and microbiome, has changed substantially in the last several decades. They hypothesize that factors like the Western diet and lifestyle may be contributing to the rise in early onset cancer. The team acknowledged that this increased incidence of certain cancer types is, in part, due to early detection through cancer screening programs. They couldn’t precisely measure what proportion of this growing prevalence could solely be attributed to screening and early detection. However, they noted that increased incidence of many of the 14 cancer types is unlikely due to enhanced screening alone.

Possible risk factors for early onset cancer included alcohol consumption, sleep deprivation, smoking, obesity, and eating highly processed foods. Surprisingly, researchers found that while adult sleep duration hasn’t drastically changed over the several decades, children are getting far less sleep today than they were decades ago. Risk factors such as highly processed foods, sugary beverages, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, and alcohol consumption have all significantly increased since the 1950s.

“Among the 14 cancer types on the rise that we studied, eight were related to the digestive system. The food we eat feeds the microorganisms in our gut,” said Ugai. “Diet directly affects microbiome composition and eventually these changes can influence disease risk and outcomes.”

One limitation of this study is that . . .

Continue reading.

whole-food plant-based diet works to prevent (and reverse) a variety of chronic diseases, including various cancers. Read How Not to Die, by Michael Greger MD, for details.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2022 at 12:34 pm

What slavery and racism have to do with American gun ownership

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Maya Srikrishnan writes in the Center for Public Integrity Watchdog:

Gun politics in the U.S. are inextricably linked to race.

Two recent studies have found more evidence that for many white Americans who advocate for gun rights, it isn’t simply about owning and using a tool, but even more about identity and power.

One of the research papers found that the larger the percentage of enslaved people a U.S. county had in 1860, the higher the rate of gun ownership its residents have today.

The second found that white Americans who express high levels of anti-Black sentiments associate gun rights with white people and gun control with Black people, and they are less likely to support gun rights if they believe Black people are exercising those rights more than they are.

“I started thinking about what about race and racism might be particularly important when thinking about gun rights,” said Gerald Higginbotham, a University of Virginia researcher who was the lead author of the second study. “Because in mainstream conversation it isn’t necessarily framed in the terms of race, even though it is much talked about at least in Black communities that I’m a part of.”

Nick Buttrick at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, lead author of the study that found a significant relationship between enslavement rates and modern-day gun ownership, said he had long wondered why the U.S. has a different relationship with guns than most other places in the world.

“In the U.S., the dominant way of thinking of what a gun does is it protects you,” Buttrick said.

Surveys have shown that two-thirds of gun-owning Americans say it’s a way to stay safe, while people in other countries are more likely to believe the presence of a gun adds risk and danger to their lives.

“Why is it that Americans think guns will keep them safe?” Buttrick said. “What is the history of this?”

Two things stood out to Buttrick and his colleagues. Chattel slavery was different here than in other countries. So was the exit from slavery, called Reconstruction in the U.S.

Reconstruction was a time of instability and extreme violence in the South, when whites saw the destruction of the antebellum norms they knew. The chaos and distrust of the government bred an environment where they turned to guns to maintain order, Buttrick said.

He and his co-author found rates of enslavement prior to the Civil War from Census data. They then used a common proxy to determine current gun ownership levels in counties — a figure that isn’t tracked by the U.S. government — by looking at suicides by firearms.

That’s how they found the link between  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2022 at 12:23 pm

A crisis of conscience, with lives on the line

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This post is the second part of the story whose first part I blogged yesterday. The story appears in the Boston Globe and was written by Deirdre Fernandes, Liz Kowalczyk, Rebecca Ostriker, Jonathan Saltzman, and Spotlight editor Patricia Wen. The Boston Globe does have a paywall; however, you can still read the story, albeit without some interactive features, here. The report (without paywall) begins:

Second of a two-part series

They were brave, they were frightened, they were desperate.

The five respected physicians had seen and heard enough, and they were now bound and determined to stop Dr. Yvon Baribeau, a heart surgeon whom they saw as having a long history of deadly errors in the operating room. Three of them had already gone up the chain of command at Catholic Medical Center, with urgent appeals, but had been largely rebuffed by hospital leadership. The other two feared the hospital had lost its moral compass and allied themselves with the effort.

And so the five resolved to join in an almost unimaginable step: to go straight to the organization that founded and still oversees the hospital.

They were taking their case to the Church.

One by one, in early 2018, the five visited a priest at a church just a few miles from Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, N.H. Monsignor John Quinn, a former diocese appointee to the hospital board of trustees, had agreed to see them in the strictest confidence, something like the seal of the confessional.

The physicians wanted it that way because they had an extraordinary request: Please help us stop Dr. Baribeau.

They knew they might be risking their careers by seeking to oust one of the top revenue-generating surgeons at the hospital, but they believed Baribeau was making more and more deadly mistakes. After decades in Manchester, a Boston Globe Spotlight Team investigation has found, he would become the US physician who accumulated the highest number of malpractice settlements involving surgical deaths in the last two decades, a database shows. In the previous year alone, six Baribeau patients who had died or were allegedly injured by his surgeries would become the subject of malpractice claims and settlements. And he was still operating.

One of those patients, a retired Army officer, lost so much blood after Baribeau allegedly lacerated a major blood vessel during heart surgery that clinicians had to replenish her entire blood supply nearly five times, according to a hospital colleague who reviewed the transfusion records. It wasn’t enough; she died the next day.

There were many cases as disturbing as this. And though the five doctors couldn’t know it at the time, the pattern would only worsen; the season that came to be known at CMC as the “summer of death” lay just ahead.

For the doctors, all this was more than a medical travesty, it was a crisis of conscience. They felt haunted by the likelihood that the patient harm would continue and brought those facts and feelings to Monsignor Quinn.

Dr. Paul Del Giudice, who led CMC’s anesthesia department for many years, recalled unburdening himself to Quinn as they sat in armchairs a few feet from each other in the priest’s modestly appointed office. Del Giudice confided that many doctors were deeply troubled about Baribeau but felt powerless in the face of an administration that had sought to silence or oust some who complained.

He recalls that Quinn nodded and listened during the meeting — but made no promises.

Maybe, the doctors hoped, Quinn could prevail upon Bishop Peter Libasci of Manchester to intervene.

“We truly thought we could effectuate at least some sort of change,” said Del Giudice, who had witnessed Baribeau’s work in the operating room for more than two decades.

Another doctor who had sat down with Quinn — and who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals from CMC leaders — said he and the others had “this horrendous moral dilemma going on” and being able to share this with the priest was deeply meaningful.

“Then I could be at peace, having done as much as I could,” he said.

It remains unclear if Quinn, or anyone in the diocese, acted on the pleas. Quinn has maintained public silence about these visits to St. Elizabeth Seton parish in Bedford, N.H. When a Globe reporter went to his rectory in May, he declined to confirm that the visits had happened at all. . .

Continue reading. (without paywall)

The Catholic church is skilled at cover-ups because it gets a lot of practice.

Update: The hospital offers its defense: it had no idea. It promises it will sure take a look at it now.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2022 at 11:55 am

Dan Patrick, Texas Lieutenant Governor, Demanded That Texas Retirement Funds Divest From BlackRock. But He Kept His Shares in the Firm.

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I find this all too typical of Republican politicians.  Their slogan seems to be “Rules are made for you, not for me.” (It’s very like the anti-abortionists who, when they or a family member needs an abortion, find that in this particular instance abortion is okay — but only for them. Russell Gold and Dan Solomon report in the Texas Monthly:

Last year, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick promised to pass a law requiring state retirement funds to stop doing business with Wall Street firms that, in his word, “boycott” the oil and gas industry. Yet nearly a year after he began his campaign, and months after he shepherded Senate Bill 13 into law, Patrick still owned shares in the firm he called “the worst offender,” BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager. Not just that: he also owned BlackRock mutual funds, along with shares in other companies that have pledged to stop using oil and natural gas.

In recent years, Wall Street has started to embrace socially responsible “ESG” (environment, social, and corporate governance) investing. In general terms, this means considering factors beyond financial performance, such as commitment to sustainability and good working conditions. BlackRock and its chief executive, Larry Fink, are leading voices in the movement. In a letter to shareholders on January 17, Fink argued against the notion that “going woke,” as he wrote, was the driver of the movement. Rather, he suggested, gradually moving investments away from fossil fuels and toward green industries such as wind and solar power is a sound investment strategy for growing resilient businesses that are viable for the long term. “We focus on sustainability not because we’re environmentalists, but because we are capitalists and fiduciaries to our clients,” he wrote, echoing his declaration in 2021 that “climate risk is investment risk.”

Patrick hoped that through SB 13, which charged the comptroller’s office with compiling a list of offending firms, Texas could use the weight of its large retirement funds—the Teacher Retirement System of Texas has nearly $200 billion under management—to turn Wall Street against ESG investing. Two days after Fink’s letter, Patrick sent an open letter to Texas comptroller Glenn Hegar that singled out BlackRock by name. “As you prepare the official list of companies that boycott energy companies, I ask that you include BlackRock,” he wrote, adding that “BlackRock is capriciously discriminating against the oil and gas industry.” He ended his letter with a declaration: “Texas will not do business with those that boycott fossil fuels.”

Patrick, however, had been personally doing business with those firms, as recently as three weeks before his letter, and possibly even after he sent it. At the end of 2021, according to annual financial disclosures Texas Monthly obtained from the Texas Ethics Commission, Patrick owned between one share and one hundred shares in BlackRock, potentially worth as much as $91,000. On top of that, Patrick and his wife owned shares in three BlackRock mutual funds, which together were worth between $15,000 and $58,000. The lieutenant governor also owned, either directly or with his wife, shares in several other companies that have taken pledges to use only renewable energy in the near future—including Apple, Meta, Microsoft, and Walmart. At the end of 2021, these holdings were worth between $92,000 and $460,000. Why such a wide range? Despite multiple attempts to ask for more details about how Patrick’s personal investments diverged from the laws he championed, no one from his office or campaign returned Texas Monthly’s calls. We also asked if he still owns those shares, or if he sold them at some point in 2022, but did not receive an answer. We may find the answers when Patrick’s next disclosure is filed, but that won’t be until next January.

One thing we do know is that Patrick and his wife owned more than 10,000 shares in something called BlackRock FDS V. What is that? It took some digging to find, but it’s a legal entity owned by BlackRock that includes fourteen mutual funds, four of which are on the comptroller’s list of banned mutual funds.

One of the four is  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2022 at 10:18 am

Does Adding Milk Block the Benefits of Coffee?

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The short answer is yes, but if the coffee is bad (bad beans or badly roasted or badly brewed), milk can serve as defensive measure. Better, though, to drink good coffee (light or medium roast, not dark roast) that tastes good without sugar and without milk. (There are more resources cited — and also a transcript — if you view the video on this page.)

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2022 at 9:35 am

Love Bombs and Maggard’s V3A

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I began my shave after my shower and (as always) applied Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave to my wet stubble, rubbing it in. Then I loaded well a Mühle Gen 2 synthetic brush — whose knot I like a lot — and worked up the lather. 

The soap this morning is a Phoenix Artisan CK-6 soap, Love Bombs (“Dark Chocolate, Rose, Rosewood, Bergamot, Tea, Orange, Lemon, Black Pepper, Ginger, Palo Santo, Vetiver, Cedar, Tobacco, and Rose Absolute.”), no longer available. I do like the fragrance.

Maggard’s V3A is called “aggressive,” but that refers to its performance rather than its feel, which is quite comfortable, verging on mild. Three passes left my face smooth, and a splash of Love Bombs aftershave (with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel added) finished the shave and set me on track for the day.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s London Afternoon: “Fragrant rose petals are interwoven with smoky Lapsang Souchong, sweetened with creamy vanilla and a touch of bright bergamot.”

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2022 at 9:24 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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