Later On

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

Archive for December 9th, 2022

Election maps based on area are misleading

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Often a map of the US will be displayed showing how counties voted — Red for Republican, Blue for Democratic. However, such maps are (perhaps deliberately) deceptive because acres don’t vote, people do. The map shows area, not population.

Take a look at this map to see how far off those red-and-blue US maps are:

Map of the US showing the 144 largest counties (50.03% of population) in red and 2998 smallest counties (49.97% of population) in gold. Map is almost entirely god, with just a few small blotches of red scatted here and there, the biggest in southern California + southern Nevada.

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2022 at 8:33 pm

Christmas ferment

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Vegtables on a prep board: 5 Medjool dates, 3 small beets, 2 small heads red cabbage, 4 red Fresno peppers, 6 large peeled white cloves of garlic, 1 large piece of ginger root, 1 large red onion, 1 large red apple, emerald green bunch of curly-leaf kale.

As I mentioned earlier, I now have three 1.5-liter Weck cylindrical jars, and I use two per batch (about the right size batch since I’m the only consumer). Thus, I can start a new batch (of two jars) as soon as I empty one jar from the current batch. I emptied a jar a couple of days ago, and today I begin a new batch, which will be ready on December 23 (since I allow two weeks for fermentation). The jar remaining will probably last me until the new batch is ready. (My reference post on fermentation contains a fair amount of information along with a list of the ferments I’ve done to date.)

I like to have a theme in mind, even though I improvise the mix to a great extent. I had planned to reprise an earlier ferment, The Big Red One, but red kale was not available — but the store did have some very nice green kale. So I went with it, thinking the red and green would go with the season.

Above you can see the “before” photo of the current batch. Beginning toward the  bottom left corner and doing a clockwise inward spiral:

• 1 piece of ginger root – sliced thinly, mostly 1mm thick on mandoline
• 5 Medjool dates – removed seeds, chopped
• 3 smallish red beets – grated
• 2 small heads of red cabbage – used one, thinly sliced on mandoline; other not needed
• 1 bunch curly-leaf green kale – thinly sliced; a very nice bunch, firm and fresh
• 1 Cosmic Crisp apple – thinly (1mm) sliced on mandoline
• 1 red onion – halved, sliced across, and then pole-to-pole to make 3 sections of each half
• 5 cloves garlic, peeled – Russian red garlic, thus large cloves; cut into thickish slices
• 4 hot red Fresno peppers – cap removed, then sliced thinly by hand

I have learned from experience to mix the vegetables as I prep them, doing some of one vegetable, some of another, and so on, which gives a good start when I go to mix the veggies after all are ready. I also used a rubber spatula to mix them from time to time as I went.

I pick some ingredients with an eye to providing good food for the lactobacilli: the apple and the dates, for example, and the onion also is high in sugar.

About halfway through the prep, I poured the contents of a packet of starter culture into 1/2 cup of spring water and set it aside for it to come to life, which takes about 10 minutes.

I also made a quart of 2% brine to use in filling the jars — a little more than 2%, in fact, because I used 21g salt rather than 19g.

It took me rather too many batches before I realized that I had to add 2% of salt by weight to both vegetables and water so the mix would also be 2% salt. For a while, I was making sure the vegetable mix was 2% salt by weight but then added pure spring water (no salt). 😦 

Two large (1.5-liter) cylindrical glass jars filled with red chopped vegetables.

Once all the vegetables were ready to go, the total weight (bowl plus veggies) was 3016g (6.65 lbs). The bowl weighs 1135g, so the vegetables come in at 1881g (4.15 lbs), and thus I needed to work in 38g sea salt. I actually used 41g, and I massaged the salt into the vegetables at some length, to tenderize the vegetables, to get them to release some water, and so their own probiotics could contribute. (See this article.)

I added the 1/2 cup of water with the starter culture and massaged the vegetables a little longer to make sure the culture was well distributed through the batch.  Then I packed the two jars. I have a sauerkraut tamper to pack firmly. I then put a fermentation weight on top of the packed veg, poured in brine to just cover the weight, and put the lids on the jar.

The lids won’t be clipped down until fermentation is complete, so fermentation gas can escape when its pressure is enough to briefly lift the lid.

I’ll update this post with the final outcome. I have been reading so many articles about the importance of having a healthy and diverse gut microbiome that I enjoy eating my fermented vegetables even beyond the gustatory pleasure.

Update: I put the two jars in the refrigerator on 23 December, and on the 24th I had a bowl of the ferment. It’s very tasty. I had spooned out the excess liquid, but once in the fridge the liquid level dropped a lot anyway — perhaps the fermentation going inactive meant no bubbles in the mass, and thus the liquid level could drop. Anyway, that’s just an observation, not a problem. I like this batch. My current Beets & Leeks will run a week longer.

Update 1/31/2023 – Just had another bowl of this, sprinkled with pumpkin seed. It is really good — maybe it’s gotten better in the fridge. This is another worth repeating. The kale held its green fairly well, though the beets tend to color things.

Update 2/13/2023 – Just had the first bowl from the second jar. It is so good. I think it must improve as it sits in the refrigerator. I definitely want to make this one again.

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2022 at 1:52 pm

The white-supremacist foundations of the (fictional) tragedy of the commons

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Heavenly Possum has a fascinating thread on Mastodon. It begins:

There is no such thing as the tragedy of the commons: a thread.

The oldest published reference to the idea is in a lecture by an early political economist at Oxford, William Foster Lloyd, in 1832 titled “On the Checks to Population.” Lloyd first articulated the argument that many of us have been taught as an inevitable and immutable fact of economic life: that any resource owned in common will be exploited to the point of ruin.

“Why are the cattle on a common so puny and stunted? Why is the common itself so hare-worn, and cropped so differently from the adjoining inclosures? No inequality, in respect of natural or acquired fertility, will account for the phenomenon.”


It’s not clear what, if any, empirical research Lloyd made into the status of England’s remaining commons at the time of his writing, and he doesn’t seem to have accounted for the fact that English landlords had been privatizing the commons for centuries, leaving increasingly marginal land for the commons.

Lloyd’s idea was championed by ecologist Garrett Hardin who, in 1968, published an essay in the journal Science titled “The Tragedy of the Commons.” In it, Hardin framed Lloyd’s argument in the context of global overpopulation, arguing that common property inevitably and inexorably led to resource exhaustion and advocating for total privatization of all resources as a remedy.


“[T]he rational herdsman concludes that the only sensible course for him to pursue is to add another animal to his herd. And another; and another…But this is the conclusion reached by each and every rational herdsman sharing a commons. Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit–in a world that is limited. Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.”

Hardin, casually and without evidence, dismisses the existence of commons that did not fall victim to this ostensibly inevitable tragedy: “Such an arrangement may work reasonably satisfactorily for centuries because tribal wars, poaching, and disease keep the numbers of both man and beast below the carrying capacity of the land.”


Hardin’s solution? “The social arrangements that produce responsibility are arrangements that create coercion…” Hardin believed that privatization, with its attendant exclusionary violence, was the only solution to the tragedy.

This story has been taught to countless students in countless economics and other classes. It is taken for granted and repeated endlessly. It has been gleefully embraced by the propertied class, because it works to ideologically justify their ownership of the world’s resources as necessary for the common good. It is rarely presented with any evidence, because it is assumed to be so logical, so self evidently true, that it does not need any.

The logic is airtight. People are utility maximizing, rational machines. When presented with a shared resource, of course they will exploit it to exhaustion. Of course. Even if most people were angels, Hardin argued, all it would take is one defector to start the race to over-exploitation. In the face of even one over-exploiter, each individual would have a rational incentive to also begin over-exploiting for personal gain. Every actor knows this choice will lead to eventual ruin for all, but if any one actor waits, they risk being left without even the tiniest share. Of course.


The first problem with Hardin’s tragedy is that it’s not true. The second problem, which helps explain the first, is that Hardin was a racist ecofascist who hated nonwhite people, blamed them for ruining the planet, and advocated strongly for their exclusion from western countries, what he called “lifeboat ethics.” There simply weren’t enough resources for everyone, he argued, so he wanted to prioritize white westerners. “Freedom to breed will bring ruin to all” is a line from his essay that people don’t like to teach when they push the myth of the tragedy.

The Southern Poverty Law Center maintains a profile on Hardin, who advocated for, among other things, segregation, eugenic forced sterilization, and ethnic cleansing. He likened nonwhite people having many children to a “passive” genocide of white people. He was, in short, a monster. We should understand his evidence-free arguments for a tragedy of the commons through this lens: Hardin was a racist and eugenicist who believed most people were too stupid not to over-exploit resources and had to be violently contained to ensure enough would be left over for the “right” people. This is not a work of ecological science or even economics, but rather white supremacist propaganda.


Then along came Elinor “Lin” Ostrom and her 1990 work “Governing the Commons.” In it, Ostrom presented game theory approach to commonly owned resources, explaining how people as self-interested rational actors could avoid the logical trap of over exploitation. And then she did Hardin one better: she detailed the workings of actual extant commons which, according to Hardin and every neoliberal since, should not exist.

Ostrom illustrated what anthropologists and people in stateless societies have known for generations: people are perfectly capable of working out rules to sustainably manage shared resources. In her book, Ostrom detailed one common . . .

Continue reading. It’s worth it.

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2022 at 10:19 am

Ferguson and the Criminalization of American Life

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Gawker has an interesting article by David Graeber (co-author of The Dawn of Everything) that is worth reading. It’s from March 2015, written about the Department of Justice’s investigation of the Ferguson Police Department and the rotten, festering mess that investigation uncovered.

The whole article is worth reading, but let me quote just one paragraph:

In a very real sense, the “middle class” is not an economic category, it’s a social one. To be middle class is to feel that the fundamental institutional structures of society are, or should be, on your side. If you see a policeman and you feel more safe, rather than less, then you can be pretty sure you’re middle class. Yet for the first time since polling began, most Americans in 2012 indicated they do not, in fact, consider themselves middle class.

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2022 at 10:10 am

A human story more than a sports story

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My interest in American football is vanishingly small, but this profile of an NFL quarterback who walked away from the game is interesting at the human level, as an examination of the kinds of decisions we all face when we come to a fork in the road of life. Seth Wickersham writes for ESPN:

THE DAY AFTER he retired, Andrew Luck reached into the shower in the bedroom at his Indianapolis condo and turned the knob. He stepped back and waited for the water to get hot. It was the afternoon of Aug. 25, 2019, and he was in a fog over what he had done. When Luck had told Indianapolis Colts executives that he was going to walk away from football, they didn’t believe him. Couldn’t fathom it. “When you going to turn it on?” they asked two weeks before the season began. “I’m not,” Luck said. When he had told his teammates he hadn’t been able to live the life he wanted to live, they said they understood. Didn’t argue. They said they’d seen his pain and now sensed his relief. But his eyes dampened and his face reddened when he told them. He knew they wanted him for a shot at a Super Bowl, and he knew he wasn’t going to deliver. He also knew, no matter how guilty he felt, that he wasn’t going to change his mind.

When it came time to tell the rest of the world, Luck wrote it down. He sat at the counter in his kitchen and composed a retirement speech. He wrote longhand on a notepad and then typed parts and pieces into his laptop, polishing and rearranging as he went, titling it: ALUCK – FIRST DRAFT. It was strange to write. Usually, retirements are celebratory events at the end of storied careers. Nobody, not even Luck, would be celebrating this one. He used phrases like “I have a lot of clarity in this” and “it is the right decision for me.” The cycle of getting hurt, rehabbing, getting hurt again, had brought him to this place, he said. A place where it was time to “remove himself from football.”

The sports world was stunned. This was a generational quarterback. A quarterback on track for the Hall of Fame. A quarterback who’d just won the Associated Press NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award. A rare quarterback who seemed born to do what he was doing. This was Andrew Luck.

How could he walk away?

He delivered his speech, with trembling conviction. And the next day, at home, he couldn’t pick an emotion. They were all tangled together, relief mixed with mourning, guilt mixed with a profound unburdening, a dozen thoughts and feelings that he couldn’t name or even really describe. He had no idea what came next, or how hard it would be to find out. All he knew was that he didn’t have to pretend anymore. He stepped into the shower and stood under the water, and with the steam rising started to cry.

later, on a May morning in Indianapolis, Andrew Luck is holding a fishing rod and sliding into waders in a dirt parking lot a few miles from his house. He’s 33 now. He just said goodbye to his wife, Nicole Pechanec, and dropped off their 3-year-old daughter, Lucy, at preschool. Another daughter, Penelope, is due in two months. After Luck retired from the Colts, he tried to find new outlets for his obsessions. He makes a perfect cappuccino, the whole beans purchased from a local shop where he always tips generously. Skiing fills his need for an outdoor physical act that requires total concentration, with speed and danger. Cycling provides the rush of skiing but in warm weather, and is easier on the joints. Rowing is something Nicole encouraged. And he loves fishing for all the usual reasons: the quiet and detachment, the hope and adrenaline, the fact that he can go alone or with friends.

He stands outside his black Audi sedan, fiddling with gear, and threads his line. A group of kids watches him from a distance. Luck is slimmer and more defined than he was in his playing days. His eyes are under a heavy brow, conveying little and absorbing everything. He is still famous around town, for the hope he once provided and the fading hope that he could still one day provide it again. He snakes through woods, down to a quiet river. There are some small rocks set up on a bank, where Lucy arranged them a few days ago when she came here with her daddy. That makes him smile. He steps into the water, cold and clear and perfect for trout, and lets out line in quick movements.

Time stretches out in front of him as it has stretched out in front of him since he threw a football better than almost anyone on the planet; strange and confusing, liberating and exhilarating, as he tries to understand how a game turned into an obligation and into a corruptive force.

“How do you fall out of love with something you loved?” he says.

He reels in his line and casts again and stares at the shimmering surface of the water.

“Elements of decisions of why I did it that I’m still processing,” he says.

“I think …”

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2022 at 9:53 am

Grooming Dept new offerings

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In a little over an hour, at 11:00am PST, Grooming Dept was roll out some new products. (They are now marked “Sold Out,” but at the appointed hour they will become available until they are actually sold out.) These will sell out very quickly, so I suggest you strike while the iron is hot. I adore the Moisturizing Pre-Shave, and one tub will last for well over a year and perhaps more than two because so very little is required for each use.

I’m pleased to announce the release of two Kairos SE soaps with matching aftershaves.

Ketoret – Grooming Dept Kairos SE ( Lamb Tallow + Emu Oil ) Shaving Soap

Ousia II – Grooming Dept Kairos SE ( Lamb Tallow + Emu Oil ) Shaving Soap

[Note that the aftershaves are not linked on the shaving soap page — they are found under “Aftershaves.” – LG]

Additionally, I would like to share with you the launch of my new brand: Aion Skincare. Initially, I’m introducing two new products under the new brand.

Aion Skin Hydrating Gel. It is an update to the popular Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel. The Hydrating Gel now shares many ingredients with the Grooming Dept Aftershave. It is an unscented product that can be used in a variety of ways.

Aion Skincare Nourishing Balm
I have spent a significant amount of time researching, designing, and refining the Aion Skincare Nourishing Balm. It is a complex cosmetic product that goes beyond just an aftershave balm. I carefully balanced its occlusivity, hydrating, and moisturizing properties to create a balm that will provide numerous benefits to your skin whenever it is used.

All Grooming Dept Moisturizing Preshave will be restocked.

All products will be available Dec. 9, 11:00AM (PST). All orders will ship on Wednesday, Dec 14.

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2022 at 9:39 am

Posted in Shaving

Three cheers for the Drunken Goat

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Shaving setup photo augmented with heightened coloration and lightly drawn overlaid lines. A brush with an ivory handle at the left, its silvtertip knot slightly golden by the color distortion, then a tub of shaving soap with a yellowish-brown label: The Drunken Goat, with a script "Mickey Lee Soapworks" arching over it.  Next appears a bottle of brown aftershave with the same name, and in front is a double-edge razor with a stainless-steel handle, lying on its side.

Today is the day of The Drunken Goat and a moment of mourning the closing of Mickey Lee Soapworks (which may someday yet return). 

I like this soap for both fragrance and performance, and this morning I felt a particular appreciation of my Rooney Style 3 Size 1 brush. I once had a Rooney Style 3 Size 3 brush, but — no surprise — the knot was just too big for me. 

Well-lathered atop my pre-shave application of Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave, I set to work with what I’m sure is an Edwin Jagger head (no markings to indicate brand, my perennial complaint) on a Maggard stainless-steel handle (the maple-leaf Maggard logo clearly etched on the base of the handle). Today brought a fair amount of blade feel for this head — perhaps the brand of blade — but no real diminution of comfort, and efficiency was as good as ever.

Three passes again made the rough places smooth, and a splash of The Drunken Goat aftershave carried the fragrance forward.

The tea this morning is another varietal rather than a blend, Murchie’s Keemun Extra Superior: “Smooth, incredibly well-rounded flavour with fruity undertones, light briskness, and a sweet finish. The Anhui province of China is home of the original tea gardens. The soil and climate conditions create teas that are naturally lower in caffeine than other fully fermented teas. Keemun teas are known for their complex characters and are often referred to as the “Burgundy of Teas”.”

Written by Leisureguy

9 December 2022 at 9:17 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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