Later On

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

Archive for November 27th, 2022

We’re told to ‘eat a rainbow’ of fruit and vegetables. Here’s what each colour does in our body

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Evangeline Mantzioris, Program Director of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Accredited Practising Dietitian, University of South Australia, has a useful article in The Conversation on what specific beneficial substances are found in vegetables and fruits according to color.

I’ll note that the lycopene in tomatoes is bioavailable only after the tomatoes are cooked (and thus canned tomatoes and tomato sauce and puree are good sources of lycopene). Red watermelon is an excellent source, and the lycopene in watermelons is available without cooking. 

Her article reminded me of a post I wrote some years back, after reading David Heber’s book on eating by color. That post includes a downloadable PDF checklist if you want to keep track.

Mantzioris’s article begins:

Nutritionists will tell you to eat a rainbow of fruit and vegetables. This isn’t just because it looks nice on the plate. Each colour signifies different nutrients our body needs.

The nutrients found in plant foods are broadly referred to as phytonutrients. There are at least 5,000 known phytonutrients, and probably many more.

So what does each colour do for our body and our overall health?


Red fruits and vegetables are coloured by a type of phytonutrient called “carotenoids” (including ones named lycopene, flavones and quercetin – but the names aren’t as important as what they do). These carotenoids are found in . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

27 November 2022 at 11:02 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health, Science

Where people live

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A plain map (no markings of coolr) of the world, with population indicated by height, so (for example) India is a dense tall forest of spikes and you can barely detect Australia and New Zealand. In general, coastlines are quite spiky.

Written by Leisureguy

27 November 2022 at 7:54 pm

Posted in Daily life

Corporations are reporting record profits — but there’s something wrong with the picture.

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Chart showing how, from 1985 to 2018, the median male income lost ground against rising expenses until the expenses (college, transportation, health care, and house) exceeded the income.

An article by Oren Cass in American Affairs, published Spring 2020, has some disturbing content. The article begins:

It sounds like an absurd riddle, or perhaps a kindergarten-level math problem: the median male full-time worker earned $314 per week in 1979, while his counterpart at the median in 2018 earned $1,026;1 who was better off? In fact, the question proves fiendishly difficult, even as its answer lies at the heart of understanding America’s economic progress and challenges.

The easiest answer is that $1,026 is 227 percent larger than $314, case closed. People lacking even rudimentary training in economics know that’s not right, however. Inflation reduces the value of money over time, so $1 in 2018 is not the same as $1 in 1979. But how much inflation has occurred? Economists have numerous methodologies and indices for making estimates, and they have engaged in long-running battles over which are most appropriate in which circumstances.

Unfortunately, the most common estimates produce opposite an­swers to our question. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s “Consumer Price Index” (CPI), the 2018 worker’s $1,026 in 2018 earnings is worth only $297 in 1979 dollars—or 6 percent less than the $314 in 1979 dollars earned by the 1979 worker. But according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s “Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index” (PCE), the 2018 income is worth $353 in 1979 dollars—a 13 percent gain.

Fortunately—though, in a larger sense, most unfortunately—we need not litigate between them to answer our question, because nei­ther offers an appropriate benchmark. Price indices are not intended to, and do not, describe all the forces acting on a household budget against which a changing wage might most reasonably be compared. To put rising nominal wages in context, inflation is not the right technical mechanism. Nor is it conceptually valid. What does it mean, after all, to say that a 2018 dollar is worth twenty-nine or thirty-four 1979 cents? No currency exchange counter exists at which one can be swapped for the other. Our worker cannot travel back in time to spend today’s earnings in a market of yore. . . 

Continue reading.

The whole article is worth reading, but let pick out one factoid from it:

Weeks the median male worker needed to work to afford a year’s worth of major expenses (house, a car, health care, and education) for a family of four in:

1985: 30 weeks (out of 52)
2018: 53 weeks (out of 52)

But corporations are doing great.

Written by Leisureguy

27 November 2022 at 6:21 pm

Latest tempeh complete after 72 hours

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Cross section of lentil and wheat tempeh, showing closely packed seeds with white mycelium filling any available space.

The new batch of tempeh is complete.’s starter culture turns out to be vigorous. The leftover is sealed in a big in the refrigerator for the next batch.

The full report on this batch can be found in this post, along with an irrelevant recipe.

Written by Leisureguy

27 November 2022 at 5:24 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Tempeh

Even mild Covid is linked to brain damage, scans show

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Wear N95 masks when in public indoor spaces. If not, Benjamin Ryan of NBC News explains what can happen:

During at least the first few months following a coronavirus infection, even mild cases of Covid-19 are associated with subtle tissue damage and accelerated losses in brain regions tied to the sense of smell, as well as a small loss in the brain’s overall volume, a new British study finds. Having mild Covid is also associated with a cognitive function deficit.

These are the striking findings of the new study led by University of Oxford investigators, one that leading Covid researchers consider particularly important because it is the first study of the disease’s potential impact on the brain that is based on brain scans taken both before and after participants contracted the coronavirus.

“This study design overcomes some of the major limitations of most brain-related studies of Covid-19 to date, which rely on analysis and interpretation at a single time point in people who had Covid-19,” said Dr. Serena S. Spudich, a neurologist at the Yale University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research.

The research, which was published Monday in Nature, also stands out because  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

27 November 2022 at 4:12 pm

Recipe site (with no entry fee and no ads)

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BBC has one of the biggest and best recipe collections available for free, and since they are a public service, they have no ads, no walls or text, and no subscription fee (I’m looking at you, NY Times), just recipes. 

Written by Leisureguy

27 November 2022 at 3:31 pm

Why sci-fi alien planets all look the same

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Written by Leisureguy

27 November 2022 at 2:01 pm

The gods of Silicon Valley are falling to earth. So are their warped visions for society

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Moya Lothian-McLean writes in the Guardian:

The new gods are running into a bit of trouble. From the soap opera playing out at Twitter HQ, the too-big-to-fail bankruptcies in the cryptocurrency space, to mass tech layoffs, the past month has seen successive headlines declaring a litany of woes facing the bullish tech boyos in Silicon Valley and beyond.

The minute-by-minute coverage of Elon Musk’s escapades and the global levels of interest in the FTX collapse both go well beyond what you’d expect from a business story. I’m willing to gamble a few Bitcoins that the popular fixation has little to do with any particular interest in successful software engineering; rather it is the personalities who inhabit these spaces, and the philosophies that propel them in their godlike ambition. What is their end goal, we wonder. What drives them, beyond the pursuit of growth? It is easy to assume that money is all that motivates the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Musk and Jeff Bezos. Except, when you start to examine the mindsets of these men, it’s clear that cash is far from the whole story.

The concept of “effective altruism” has had its day in court after FTX, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency exchange announced that, oops, it was mysteriously short of $8bn and would be filing for bankruptcy, post haste. As the dust – and fraud allegations – settle, the personal guiding principles of FTX’s millennial chief executive, Sam Bankman-Fried, have come to the fore. Bankman-Fried ostensibly was driven into crypto by an adherence to the “effective altruism” movement. Originally espousing giving as much targeted time and money to philanthropy as possible, EA has been morphed by its most prominent practitioners into getting very, very rich and then spending that money on projects that better the human race. This “earn-to-give” philosophy is dependent on data-driven analysis of what causes offer the best returns of “betterment”. It’s utilitarianism with a god complex.

Since Bankman-Fried’s spectacular fall from grace, it seems as if this doctrine may be doomed to the same downward spiral as its most famous disciple. It’s hard to argue that you possess the best instincts to improve the prospects of the human race when you can’t even keep your own affairs – or billions in customer funds – in order.

Then there was the allegation last week by the Insider journalist Julia Black that Musk, along with other billionaires, appear to be engaged in their own personal eugenics programme via a movement called “pronatalism”. Black writes that pronatalism – an ideology centred on having children to reverse falling birthrates in European countries, and prevent a predicted population collapse – is “taking hold in wealthy tech and venture-capitalist circles”, with the aid of hi-tech genetic screening.

Musk has championed pronatalist ideas publicly. Privately the Tesla co-founder is, in his own words, “doing my part”; he has 10 children known to the public, two of whom are twins he fathered with an AI expert who serves as an executive for his Neuralink company. But the ideas go beyond Musk and into the canyons of Silicon Valley; the world’s richest and most powerful people see it as their duty, Black claims, to “replicate themselves as many times as possible”.

Black’s subjects also namecheck effective altruism, longtermism (which prioritises the distant future over the concerns of today), and transhumanism (the evolution of humanity beyond current limitations via tech), as complementary philosophies. The concept of legacy is key to understanding our tech pioneers. As one interviewee tells Black,  . . .

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Written by Leisureguy

27 November 2022 at 1:04 pm

The electrical language of fungi

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Close-up of two mushrooms glowing with a yellow-green light.
Bioluminscent Ghost Fungus – Omphalotus nidiformis. Image: Boaz Ng.

Yasmin Dahnoun writes in Ecologist:

Do mushrooms talk to each other? A new study suggests that they do, through the use of electrical signals. And their language is complex.

In observing the spikes of electrical activity in particular species of fungi, computer scientist Andrew Adamatzky at the University of the West of England found patterns that were strikingly similar to human language.

This article first appeared in the latest issue of the Resurgence & Ecologist magazine.

Through experiments, he translated the spikes into a lexicon of 50 ‘words’ based on patterns typically associated with human speech.


The electrical signals responded to changes in the environment such as food and injury, according to the paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

To record this activity, Adamatzky . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

27 November 2022 at 12:57 pm

Posted in Daily life, Science

The Exceptionally American Problem of Rising Roadway Deaths

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Whenever there’s a road accident locally, Facebook springs to life with comments denigrating the driver(s) (and/or pedestrian(s) if any are involved), but never comments denigrating the road designer or traffic engineer. Weird, eh? This NY Times article (no paywall) by  Emily Badger and Alicia Parlapiano is enlightening. The chart above is from the article, which begins:

About a thousand people gathered on a bright morning on the National Mall the Saturday before Thanksgiving for what has become an American tradition: mourning a roadway fatality. With the Capitol in the background and the tune of an ice cream truck looping nearby, the crowd had assembled to remember Sarah Debbink Langenkamp, who was biking home from her sons’ elementary school when she was crushed by a semi truck.

Ms. Langenkamp was, improbably, the third foreign service officer at the State Department to die while walking or biking in the Washington area this year. She was killed in August in suburban Bethesda, Md. Another died in July while biking in Foggy Bottom. The third, a retired foreign service officer working on contract, was walking near the agency’s headquarters in August. That is more foreign service officers killed by vehicles at home than have died overseas this year, noted Dan Langenkamp, Ms. Langenkamp’s husband and a foreign service officer himself.

“It’s infuriating to me as a U.S. diplomat,” he told the rally in her honor, “to be a person that goes around the world bragging about our record, trying to get people to think like us — to know that we are such failures on this issue.”

That assessment has become increasingly true. The U.S. has diverged over the past decade from other comparably developed countries, where traffic fatalities have been falling. This American exception became even starker during the pandemic. In 2020, as car travel plummeted around the world, traffic fatalities broadly fell as well. But in the U.S., the opposite happened. Travel declined, and deaths still went up. Preliminary federal data suggests road fatalities rose again in 2021.

Safety advocates and government officials lament that so many deaths are often tolerated in America as an unavoidable cost of mass mobility. But periodically, the illogic of that toll becomes clearer: Americans die in rising numbers even when they drive less. They die in rising numbers even as roads around the world grow safer. American foreign service officers leave war zones, only to die on roads around the nation’s capital.

In 2021, nearly 43,000 people died on American roads, the government estimates. And the recent rise in fatalities has been particularly pronounced among those the government classifies as most vulnerable — cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians.

Much of the familiar explanation for America’s road safety record lies with a transportation system primarily designed to move cars quickly, not to move people safely.

“Motor vehicles are first, highways are first, and everything else is an afterthought,” said Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board.

That culture is baked into state transportation departments that have their roots in the era of Interstate highway construction (and through which most federal transportation dollars flow). And it’s especially apparent in  . . . 

Continue reading. (no paywall) 

Written by Leisureguy

27 November 2022 at 12:11 pm

Interesting treatment of The Entertainer

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Written by Leisureguy

27 November 2022 at 11:58 am

Posted in Jazz, Video

Why it’s smart to wear a mask

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Full disclosure: I wear an N95 mask whenever I am in a public indoor space (e.g., grocery shopping). 

Chart showing how long it takes to get infected with covid when you and someone infected are using different mitigation levels. Example: if 1 of two persons is infected, if either one is wearing an N95 mask, the uninfected person is safe for 2.5 hours. If both are wearing N95 masks, the uninfected person is safe for 25 hours.

Written by Leisureguy

27 November 2022 at 11:03 am

Rebecca Solnit comments on class warfare in the US

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Rebecca Solnit comments in Facebook on that post. (And at the link you can see additional comments she made):

My friend Nancy posted this and I said Please Lord, just one movie in which city folk represent decency and sanity and country folk are wacked to hell and back (besides Cold Comfort Farm, which is great, but English and from the 1930s). To which I might add the old conceit in which the city represents decadence and the countryside wholesomeness has bedeviled the English-speaking world for several centuries and is now a fixture and a curse upon American politics, the right having convinced rural people that, first, they are the wholesome Real Americans and second that we city folk despise and hate them.

Hate them for their wholesome traditional ways, rather than maybe we don’t hate them or maybe we hate intolerance and racism and the repression that hides abuse of all kinds (and maybe not a few city people are refugees from those idyllic-looking rural places that want to kill queer people, unsubmissive women, immigrants, and dissenters). I will give it to Barbara Kingsolver’s new book Demon Copperfield, in that it portrays a lot of violence, cruelty, trapped ness, and addiction in rural America. Aunt June who went to Knoxville is maybe the strongest moral force in the book and the most cleareyed character. Thanks to Susan for reminding me that Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” is another portrait of rural America as unwholesome, and so is Jane Smiley’s retelling of King Lear in A Thousand Acres. What other classics of the unwholesome countryside are there? I think Thomas Hardy straddles the divide, loving some things and recognizing the cruelty and repression of others.

I grew up in a suburban cul-de-sac, the last subdivision before the country, on the edge of dairy farms. Our street was a spur off a long street, and I and learned to ride (western, of course) at the end of the long street become dirt road dead-ending in a horse pasture. I’ve spent many of the best days of my life in rural and wild places, and I admire the skill and toughness of people who work the land and tend it, but it’s probably assumed that since I’m urban, left, and environmental I hate rural people. And it’s true that I grew up among middle-class white people who mocked and ridiculed Dolly Parton and country music and southern accents, but I haven’t heard that nastiness in a long while.

I got an essay out of it years ago, titled “One Nation Under Elvis”: “The story that racism belongs to poor people in the South is a little too easy, though. Just as not everybody up here, geographically and economically, is on the right side of the line, so not everyone down there is on the wrong side. But the story allows middle-class people to hate poor people in general while claiming to be on the side of truth, justice, and everything else good.” In other words, a vile class war pretends to be an anti-racist war. I’ve met rich urban/northern racists and poor southern/rural antiracists. Categories are leaky.

To all this I’ll add a few paragraphs from this great column from four years ago by Paul Waldman (but please note that just as far from all conservatives/MAGA nuts are rural, so not all rural people are conservatives/MAGA nuts). Waldman writes: In the endless search for the magic key that Democrats can use to unlock the hearts of white people who vote Republican, the hot new candidate is “respect.” If only they cast off their snooty liberal elitism and show respect to people who voted for Donald Trump, Democrats can win them over and take back Congress and the White House.

The assumption is that if Democrats simply choose to deploy this powerful tool of respect, then minds will be changed and votes will follow. This belief, widespread though it may be, is stunningly naive. It ignores decades of history and everything about our current political environment. There’s almost nothing more foolish Democrats could do than follow that advice.

Before we proceed, let me be clear about what I’m not saying. I’m not saying that the desire for respect isn’t real. As a voter says in “The Great Revolt,” a new book by conservative journalist Salena Zito and Republican operative Brad Todd, “One of the things I really don’t get about the Democratic Party or the news media is the lack of respect they give to people who work hard all of their lives to get themselves out of the hole.”

But the mistake is to ignore where the belief in Democratic disrespect actually comes from and to assume that Democrats have it in their power to banish it.

It doesn’t come from the policies advocated by the Democratic Party, and it doesn’t come from the things Democratic politicians say. Where does it come from? An entire industry that’s devoted to convincing white people that liberal elitists look down on them.

It’s more than an industry, actually; it’s an industry, plus a political movement. The right has a gigantic media apparatus that is devoted to convincing people that liberals disrespect them, plus a political party whose leaders all understand that that idea is key to their political project and so join in the chorus at every opportunity.…/why-democrats-cant…/

[I’d also add that the Democrats reliably advocate for legislation–access to healthcare, education, social services, clean water, etc.– that would benefit anyone poor or struggling and most people who are rural (if not big farming and ranching interests), but this is often ignored by the mainstream media and the right just plies them with the red meat of ideological issues, with the help of conservative Christian churches obsessing about abortion, sexuality, “traditional families” aka patriarchal repression, and lately critical race theory, trans kids, and other us-vs.-them frames.]

p.s. Eric Michael Garcia, the author of this genius tweet, is the author of a book on autism titled We’re Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation. Link in comments. [Comments here – LG]

Written by Leisureguy

27 November 2022 at 10:57 am

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