Later On

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

Archive for December 10th, 2022

A repeat on the fasolada

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I’m making fasolada again, building on the lessons learned.

  1. I used Great Northern beans this time. They’re larger than navy beans and they worked much better. (Black beans next time.) I did not add salt to the soaking water. I used a little more than 1/2 kilo, but a few extra beans (about 1/4-1/3 cup) seemed fine. However, given their size, I recommend not using any extra: too much bean per liquid.
  2. I found that setting my induction burner to 275ºF allowed me to continue cooking the vegetables for 20 minutes. I used one extra carrot (they were skinny) and 4 celery stalks (because they were shorter than I expected, though they did have some nice leaves, which I included). I did use 5 cloves of Russian red garlic, and I used the garlic mandoline to slice them.
  3. I used 2 tablespoons tomato paste, which seems a better amount, and I did cook it with the veg for at least a minute.
  4. I used my spice & nut grinder to chop the rosemary leaves. It did an excellent job. I don’t know how big 1 sprig of rosemary is, so I use 3 of the pieces I had — stripped the leaves, put them into the grinder, and chopped them. Next time I’ll just use 2.
  5. I used 2 quarts of low-sodium veggie broth. With the extra and larger beans, it does not seem too soupy. Rather thick, in fact. I abandoned the idea of adding rolled oats, at least for now.
  6. I use a large Cosmic Crisp apple, and I halved it before adding it to the soup.

After cooking the veg, I added stock, rosemary, beans, and (halved) apple and set temperature to 225ºF and the timer for one hour, which was ample.  Very delicious.

One hour was plenty. Extremely good, but not so astonishing as last time because I knew what to expect. Great Northern beans definitely a better choice than navy beans. I bet Corona beans would be better yet.

Written by Leisureguy

10 December 2022 at 6:22 pm

Abandoned: The human cost of neurotechnology failure

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Liam Drew writes in Nature about one of the risks of using high-tech implanted medical devices:

Markus Möllmann-Bohle’s left cheek hides a secret that has changed his life. Under the skin, nestled among the nerve fibres that allow him to feel and move his face, is a miniature radio receiver and six tiny electrodes. “I’m a cyborg,” he says, with a chuckle.

This electronic device lies dormant much of the time. But, when Möllmann-Bohle feels pressure starting to gather around his left eye, he retrieves a black plastic wand about the size of a mobile phone, pushes a button and fixes it against his face in a home-made sling. The remote vibrates for a moment, then launches high-frequency radio waves into his cheek.

In response, the implant fires a sequence of electrical pulses into a bundle of nerve cells called the sphenopalatine ganglion. By disrupting these neurons, the device spares 57-year-old Möllmann-Bohle the worst of the agonizing cluster headaches that have plagued him for decades. He uses the implant several times a day. “I need this device to live a good life,” he says.

Cluster headaches are rare, but extraordinarily painful. People are typically affected for life and treatment options are very limited. Möllmann-Bohle experienced his first in 1987 at the age of 22. For decades, he managed sporadic headaches with a mix of painkillers and migraine medication. But in 2006, his condition became chronic, and he would be struck with as many as eight hour-long cluster headaches every day. “I was forced to succumb to the pain again and again,” he says. “I was kept from living my life.”

Möllmann-Bohle, evermore reliant on painkillers and now also taking antidepressants, was hospitalized numerous times. During one of these stays, however, he heard about an electronic implant that some people had started using to control their cluster headaches.

Developed by the start-up Autonomic Technologies (known as ATI) in San Francisco, California, the device had passed a series of placebo-controlled clinical trials with flying colours. “It worked remarkably well,” says Arne May, a neurologist at the University of Hamburg in Germany who led some of those trials on behalf of the start-up. In most people, stimulation reduced the pain of an attack, made attacks less frequent, or both1. Side effects were rare. In February 2012, while US trials continued, the European Medicines Agency granted the company approval to market the device across Europe.

Möllmann-Bohle contacted May, and travelled from his home near Düsseldorf, Germany, to meet him. Filled with hope that this might alleviate his suffering, Möllmann-Bohle underwent surgery to have the device fitted in 2013.

The implant was a revelation. After the pattern and strength of the stimulation had been tailored to Möllmann-Bohle’s needs, around an hour’s use five or six times a day was enough to prevent attacks from becoming debilitating. “I was reborn,” he says.

But, by the end of 2019, ATI had collapsed. The company’s closure left Möllmann-Bohle and more than 700 other people alone with a complex implanted medical device. People using the stimulator and their physicians could no longer access the proprietary software needed to recalibrate the device and maintain its effectiveness. Möllmann-Bohle and his fellow users now faced the prospect of the battery in the hand-held remote wearing out, robbing them of the relief that they had found. “I was left standing in the rain,” Möllmann-Bohle says.

Hundreds of thousands of people benefit from implanted neurotechnology every day. Among the most common devices are spinal-cord stimulators, first commercialized in 1968, that help to ease chronic pain. Cochlear implants that provide a sense of hearing, and deep-brain stimulation (DBS) systems that quell the debilitating tremor of Parkinson’s disease, are also established therapies.

Encouraged by these successes, and buoyed by advances in computing and engineering, researchers are trying to develop evermore sophisticated devices for numerous other neurological and psychiatric conditions. Rather than simply stimulating the brain, spinal cord or peripheral nerves, some devices now monitor and respond to neural activity.

For example, in 2013, the US Food and Drug Administration approved a closed-loop system for people with epilepsy. The device detects signs of neural activity that could indicate a seizure and stimulates the brain to suppress it. Some researchers are aiming to treat depression by creating analogous devices that can track signals related to mood. And systems that allow people who have quadriplegia to control computers and prosthetic limbs using only their thoughts are also in development and attracting substantial funding.

The market for neurotechnology is predicted to expand by around 75% by 2026, to US$17.1 billion. But as commercial investment grows, so too do the instances of neurotechnology companies giving up on products or going out of business, abandoning the people who have come to depend on their devices. . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

10 December 2022 at 1:30 pm

Rose of Phrygia and too much menthol

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Shaving set up illuminated by strong morning sidelight streaming in from the right. A brush with a black narrow-waisted handle, cream-colored knot in the body with a dark gray top, a pink label on the tub of shaving soap, ornamented with a gold rose surrounded by gold vines, the name "Rose of Phrygia" in highly stylized lettering across the middle, to the right a brown bottle with the same label. In front, a large adjustable DE razor.

Dr. Jon’s Rose of Phrygia has a pleasant fragrance (“Dark, sweet spices over vetiver and tobacco with top notes of two different rose accords”)and a good lather, this being his Vol. 3 formulation:

Stearic Acid, Water, Castor Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Shea Butter, Mango Butter, Babassu Oil, Sodium Lactate, Fragrance, Sodium Hydroxide, Vegetable Glycerin, Myristyl Myristate, Avocado Oil, Sunflower Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Jojoba Oil, Meadowfoam Oil, Soy Wax, Cucumber Extract, Licorice Extract, Candelilla Extract, Sodium PCA, Sensolene, Squalane, Slippery Elm Bark, Aloe Vera Concentrate, Citric Acid.

I imagine the citric acid is to help the lather when hard water is used for the shave. The tap water here is quite soft, and I had no problem getting a fine lather with my Maggard 22mm synthetic brush.

The razor today is Rockwell’s T2 with the dial set at 4, and it did a very fine job. I tend to underestimate this razor, so when I use it, I am always pleasantly surprised by how good it is and what an excellent shave it gives.

A splash of Rose of Phrygia aftershave renewed the fragrance but also felt unpleasant because of the high level of menthol. For some reason, Dr. Jon seems to use menthol in all his aftershave. IMO, menthol should be at best an optional extra.I  resorted to a dab of Hermès Eau d’orange verte moisturizing face other to minimize the damage (and discomfort).

Other than that, it was a great way to start the weekend.

The tea this morning is another varietal, Murchie’s Assam Tippy Golden: “A dark, rich tea with full-bodied, malty flavour, with a hint of sweetness and a silk smooth finish.”

Written by Leisureguy

10 December 2022 at 11:32 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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