Later On

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

Archive for November 19th, 2022

Fediverse (and Mastodon) design philosophy

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Graphic of poster:


Efforts must be well-documented and transparent about all environmental, financial, interpersonal, and other reasons which may have factored into desired or undesired outcomes of an effort.
Success must not depend on rare inputs or exceptional conditions.

Efforts must have a maximum intended scale of impact. Unlike endeavors or economies with inbuilt growth-imperatives, any effort will resemble a single clover in a field or a tree in a forest; one of many in an ecosystem & without interminable, cancerous growth.

Efforts will attempt new methods, even if previous methods have been successful. Just as mutations occur in biological life, allowing the spawning of black swans with unforeseen advantages over the adequately-adapted, the standard of success must evolve constantly.

Those engaging in any effort must be cognizant of and on guard against inertia in all forms. Methods, meeting times, protocols, hardware, imagery, language, & mental frameworks must change when they stop serving the needs of an effort.

If the overall architecture of an effort or any component of it consumes too much time, too much money, or too much effort, it must be discarded and re-designed to be less resource-intensive. Low Overhead = High 

Modular Efforts should be unix-like in their modularity: rather than forming protocols and tools or training individuals to only function in specific instances, components must be formed with the possibility of being adapted and integrated with others, in other times and places.

Efforts in one area must be designed to work in tandem with efforts in other areas. As in ecosystems, there must be constant communication& signaling between entities. Also, the outputs of one effort should be the inputs of another; nature knows no waste.

Efforts must be tailored to local needs and conditions and utilize locally-abundant inputs while minimizing inputs that are scarce in that area or at that time.

From Nassim Nicholas Taleb's book by this name, antifragility is the property of certain systems & entities to grow stronger, more adaptive, or more capable due to shocks, disorder, & unpredictable inputs. Efforts must be designed with this property in mind.

Written by Leisureguy

19 November 2022 at 6:30 pm

Posted in Daily life, Software

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Risk of contracting Covid through inhalation vs. touching a contaminated surface

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The risk for Covid infection is 1000 times greater after exposure to airborne virus particles than contact with a contaminated surface. Here’s the study.

Yet stores offer hand sanitizer while customers and staff go unmasked.

It makes you wonder, eh? (And it makes me stay out of stores when I can and always wear a mask when I’m indoors in a public space.)

Written by Leisureguy

19 November 2022 at 2:33 pm

Corporate profits

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Robert Reich posted on Mastodon:

Corporate profits only accounted for roughly 11% of price growth from 1979 to 2019.

Today, record corporate profits account for 53.9% of price increases.

Folks, corporate greed is driving inflation, not workers asking for better wages.

Written by Leisureguy

19 November 2022 at 1:21 pm

Medical School Culinary Medicine Programs Grow Despite Limited Funding

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About time, one must say. Kelly Ragan writes in Medscape:

Farshad Fani Marvasti, MD, MPH, is part of a growing movement to fundamentally shift medical education to include training on how to cook healthy meals.

The way he sees it, the stakes couldn’t be higher. He believes doctors need to see food as medicine to be able to stem the tide of chronic disease.

About 6 in 10 adults in the United States live with chronic diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, costing $4.1 trillion in annual healthcare costs. Adult obesity rates are rising, as are obesity-related conditions such as heart disease, stroketype 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

To turn the tide, Marvasti created a culinary medicine program in 2020 in collaboration with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension and local chefs.

Marvasti, who is board certified in family medicine, graduated from the University of Arizona, Phoenix, where he serves as the director of the medical school’s Culinary Medicine Program.

The program offers an elective course for third- and fourth-year medical students, which introduces the evidence-based field of culinary medicine. Marvasti’s goal is for the course to teach students how to use this science and the joy of cooking to improve long-term health outcomes for their patients.

As part of Marvasti’s program, students learn cooking fundamentals through chef demonstrations and hands-on practice — to teach students how food can be used to prevent and treat many chronic diseases.

One of the dishes students learn to make includes a quinoa salad made with cucumber, onion, bell peppers, corn, cherry tomatoes, beans, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. Another recipe includes a healthier take on dessert: Dark chocolate mousse made with three large, ripe avocados, dark chocolate powder, three tablespoons of agave or maple syrup, coconut cream, nondairy milk, salt, and vanilla. Marvasti and his team are set to build out the existing program to develop additional resources for medically underserved and rural communities in Arizona, according to a statement from the university. These plans will be funded by a $750,000 grant from Novo Nordisk.

“We’re going to develop an open education curriculum to share, so . . .

Continue reading. There’s quite a bit more.

Written by Leisureguy

19 November 2022 at 12:55 pm

Brussels sprouts and red cabbage ferment done

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I have updated the original post with a report on the outcome.

Written by Leisureguy

19 November 2022 at 12:49 pm

Highly processed foods can be considered addictive substances based on established scientific criteria

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Ashley N. Gearhardt and Alexandra G. DiFeliceantonio have an interesting study at Wiley Online Library:



There is growing evidence that an addictive-eating phenotype may exist. There is significant debate regarding whether highly processed foods (HPFs; foods with refined carbohydrates and/or added fats) are addictive. The lack of scientifically grounded criteria to evaluate the addictive nature of HPFs has hindered the resolution of this debate.


The most recent scientific debate regarding a substance’s addictive potential centered around tobacco. In 1988, the Surgeon General issued a report identifying tobacco products as addictive based on three primary scientific criteria: their ability to (1) cause highly controlled or compulsive use, (2) cause psychoactive (i.e. mood-altering) effects via their effect on the brain and (3) reinforce behavior. Scientific advances have now identified the ability of tobacco products to (4) trigger strong urges or craving as another important indicator of addictive potential. Here, we propose that these four criteria provide scientifically valid benchmarks that can be used to evaluate the addictiveness of HPFs. Then, we review the evidence regarding whether HPFs meet each criterion. Finally, we consider the implications of labeling HPFs as addictive.


Highly processed foods (HPFs) can meet the criteria to be labeled as addictive substances using the standards set for tobacco products. The addictive potential of HPFs may be a key factor contributing to the high public health costs associated with a food environment dominated by cheap, accessible and heavily marketed HPFs.


There is evidence that an eating phenotype exists that reflects the hallmarks of addiction (e.g. loss of control over intake, intense cravings, inability to cut down and continued use despite negative consequences) [1]. Based on meta-analyses, approximately 14% of adults and 12% of children exhibit this addictive-like eating phenotype, commonly called food addiction [23]. Although some have questioned the utility of applying an addiction framework to food intake [47], food addiction is associated with mechanisms implicated in other addictive disorders (e.g. impulsivity, reward dysfunction and emotion dysregulation), as well as a lower quality of life and a poorer response to weight-loss treatments [189]. Controversy exists surrounding the role of the food in triggering this addictive-like eating phenotype. Some propose that it is the act of eating regardless of the type of food consumed that is addicting [10], or that while the type of food is important, it is impossible to classify food as addictive due to the complex nature of foods and the lack of a single addictive agent/compound [45]. Food is necessary for survival and a key evolutionary pressure that has shaped reward and motivation systems across species [1112]. Addictive drugs that deliver high doses of reinforcing substances through rapid delivery systems tap into these systems, potently activate them and can lead to maladaptive patterns of behavior [13]. Highly processed foods (HPFs) are evolutionarily novel products made possible through modern food technology that provide refined and rapidly delivered primary reinforcers, specifically calories in the form of refined carbohydrates and added fats [11416]. The debate that remains concerns whether a refined and optimized delivery system of calories can produce comparative effects to a refined and optimized delivery system of addictive drugs.

The ability to resolve the debate about whether certain foods are addictive is hindered by a lack of identified scientifically based criteria with which to evaluate the addictiveness of certain foods. In contrast, there is a general consensus around the criteria for identifying whether someone is exhibiting an addictive phenotype [17], which has allowed for clearer criteria to guide the investigation into whether certain individuals exhibit addictive-like eating [23]. There is no comparable standard for evaluating if a substance is addictive, which contributes to the conflicting explanations for why certain foods are (or are not) addictive [18].

To allow for progress on this debate, we propose a set of scientifically based criteria for the evaluation of whether certain foods are addictive. Specifically,  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

19 November 2022 at 12:35 pm

Mastodon membership waves

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Chart show three great waves of increases in Mastodon membership: following completion of Musk's purchase of Twitter, following the mass Twitter layoff, and following Musk's Twitter 2.0 ultimaturm, each wave larger than the previous one.

I like Mastodon more and more as I find good people to follow. That requires:

  1. Engagement: posting things and replying to posts.
  2. Using the decision criterion “Why not?” when deciding to follow someone — that is, lean toward following.
  3. Unfollow when the posts flowing from that person don’t match your interests. Unfollowing is not a reflection on them or on you, it’s just figuring out whether you have enough in common.

More in this post, which I revise and extend as I learn more.

Written by Leisureguy

19 November 2022 at 11:36 am

Lea is terrific, as is this brush

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Shave setup: left to right, a brush with its travel tube behind it, a tin of Lea shaving cream, and a bottle of La Toja Hombre aftershave. In front, the Baili adjustable razor, with a long, dimpled, chrome handle.

I recently found a new vendor of shaving supplies, the New England Shaving Company, and ordered a couple of soaps from them. They knew of my blog and articles, so they kindly included at no cost the shaving brush shown. I don’t see that model on their site, so it may be new or perhaps discontinued. 

I like it. It has a chequered handle — so a good grip — and it is a size I like (I’m guessing 20-22mm). The knot is the same sort of synthetic as the Mühle Gen 2 or Edwin Jagger: coarser than a Plissoft brush and having more the feel of natural fiber. Moreover, this brush came with a travel tube container, shown in the background. One nice thing about a synthetic brush: it does no harm to put it into the travel tube when it’s not completely dry. 

I had ordered two soaps, one of them a Lea soap (a Spanish brand) because I had good memories of the Lea shave stick. Their catalog offers two Lea soaps, this one and another one that comes either as a puck or in a wooden bowl. When I got it, however, it turned out to be a shaving cream (as is denoted on the lid, as you see in the photo).

No harm done. It’s pretty good as a shaving cream, though I think at some point I’ll order the soap as well. (I prefer soaps to creams, as it turns out.) I got a good lather, and it’s a fairly firm shaving cream, so it was easy to load the brush from the tub. The fragrance is a light, clean “soap-like” fragrance.

My RazoRock Adjust (a Baili razor) is extremely good, startlingly so given its modest price. Three passes removed every trace of stubble in the most comfortable way possible.

A splash of La Toja’s Hombre aftershave, and the weekend begins.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Balmoral Blend: “a strong, traditional, rich blend of bright Ceylon and malty Assam teas.”

Written by Leisureguy

19 November 2022 at 10:41 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

How the Dutch Got Their Cycle Paths

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Mass protests against the domination of cars were one factor that led to the superb cycling infrastructure of today’s Netherlands.

From Project for Public Spaces:

Given the reputation of the Netherlands as a cyclists’ paradise, you might think that its extensive cycling infrastructure came down from heaven itself, or was perhaps created by the wave of a magic wand. Not so. It was the result of a lot of hard work, including massive street protests and very deliberate political decision-making.

The video below offers vital historical perspective on the way the Netherlands ended up turning away from the autocentric development that arose with postwar prosperity, and chose to go down the cycle path. It lists several key factors, including public outrage over the amount of space given to automobiles; huge protests over traffic deaths, especially those of children, which were referred to by protesters as “child murder”; and governmental response to the oil crisis of the 1970s, which prompted efforts to reduce oil dependence without diminishing quality of life.

The Netherlands is often perceived as an exceptional nation in terms of its transportation policies and infrastructure. And yet there is nothing inherently exceptional about the country’s situation. As the narrator says at the end of the film, “The Netherlands’ problems were and are not unique. Their solutions shouldn’t be that either.”

You can read more on the blog A View from the Cycle Path.

And find out more about what we can learn from the Netherlands in these recent PPS posts:

“What Can We Learn about Road Safety from the Dutch?”

“Where the Sidewalk Doesn’t End: What Shared Space Has to Share”

“Exiting the ‘Forgiving Highway’ for the ‘Self-Explaining Road'”

Continue reading to see comments on the post.

Written by Leisureguy

19 November 2022 at 3:00 am

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