Later On

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

Archive for January 16th, 2023

A strange golf story

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Caleb Hanning’s 9-year-old article in Grantland is fascinating. It begins:

Strange stories can find you at strange times. Like when you’re battling insomnia and looking for tips on your short game.

It was well past midnight sometime last spring and I was still awake despite my best efforts. I hadn’t asked for those few extra hours of bleary consciousness, but I did try to do something useful with them.

I play golf. Sometimes poorly, sometimes less so. Like all golfers, I spend far too much time thinking of ways to play less poorly more often. That was the silver lining to my sleeplessness — it gave me more time to scour YouTube for tips on how to play better. And it was then, during one of those restless nights, that I first encountered Dr. Essay Anne Vanderbilt, known to friends as Dr. V.

She didn’t appear in the video. As I would later discover, it’s almost impossible to find a picture, let alone a moving image, of Dr. V on the Internet. Instead, I watched a clip of two men discussing the radical new idea she had brought to golf. Gary McCord did most of the talking. A tournament announcer for CBS with the mustache of a cartoon villain, McCord is one of the few golf figures recognizable to casual sports fans because he’s one of the few people who ever says anything interesting about the sport.

The video was shot in March of last year, when McCord was in California for an event on the Champions Tour, the 50-and-over circuit on which he occasionally plays. In it, he explained that he had helped Dr. V get access to the nearby putting green, where he said she was currently counseling a few players. She was an aeronautical physicist from MIT, he continued, and the woman who had “built that Yar putter with zero MOI.” The credentials were impressive, but the name “Yar” and the acronym were unfamiliar.

According to McCord, before building her putter Dr. V had gone back and reviewed all the patents associated with golf, eventually zeroing in on one filed in 1966 by Karsten Solheim. As the creator of Ping clubs, Solheim is the closest thing the game has to a lovable grandfather figure. He was an engineer at General Electric before becoming one of the world’s most famous club designers, and his greatest gift to the sport was his idea to shift the weight in a club’s face from the middle to its two poles. This innovation may sound simple, but at the time it was revolutionary enough to make Solheim one of the richest men in America and the inventor of one of the most copied club designs in history. In Dr. V’s estimation, however, Solheim was nothing but a hack. “The whole industry followed [that patent],” she told McCord. “You’re using pseudoscience from the ’50s in golf!”

As the video went on, McCord told the story of how he had arranged a meeting between Dr. V and an executive at TaylorMade, the most successful clubmaker in the world, whose products McCord also happened to endorse. The gist of that meeting: This previously unknown woman had marched up to one of the most powerful men in golf and told him that everything his company did was wrong. “She just hammered them on their designs,” McCord said. “Hammered them.”

I was only half-awake when I watched the clip, but even with a foggy brain I could grasp its significance. McCord is one of golf’s most candid talkers — his method of spiking the truth with a dash of humor famously cost him the chance to continue covering the Masters after the schoolmarms who run the tournament objected to his description of one green as so fast that it looked like it had been “bikini-waxed.” This respected figure was saying that this mysterious physicist had a valuable new idea. But the substance of that idea wasn’t yet clear — over time, I would come to find out that nothing about Dr. V was, and that discovery would eventually end in tragedy. That night, however, all I knew was that I wanted to know more. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

16 January 2023 at 2:42 pm

The reality of climate change continues to emerge

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The American Southwest has not seemed to really care about water — think of all the green lawns in Phoenix and the fountains splashing in Las Vegas — but the reality is hitting a bit harder now that the Colorado River’s water supply drops and drops. Joshua Partlow reports in the Washington Post (no paywall):

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The survival — or at least the basic sustenance — of hundreds in a desert community amid the horse ranches and golf courses outside Phoenix now rests on a 54-year-old man with a plastic bucket of quarters.

John Hornewer picked up a quarter and put it in the slot. The lone water hose at a remote public filling station sputtered to life and splashed 73 gallons into the steel tank of Hornewer’s water hauling truck. After two minutes, it stopped. Hornewer, one of two main suppliers responsible for delivering water to a community of more than 2,000 homes known as Rio Verde Foothills, fished out another quarter.

“It so shouldn’t be like this,” Hornewer said.

Some living here amid the cactus and creosote bushes see themselves as the first domino to fall as the Colorado River tips further into crisis. On Jan. 1, the city of Scottsdale, which gets the majority of its water from the Colorado River, cut off Rio Verde Foothills from the municipal water supply that it has relied on for decades. The result is a disorienting and frightening lack of certainty about how residents will find enough water as their tanks run down in coming weeks, with a bitter political feud impacting possible solutions.

[Officials fear ‘complete doomsday scenario’ for drought-stricken Colorado River]

The city’s decision — and the failure to find a dependable alternative — has forced water haulers like Hornewer to scour distant towns for any available gallons. About a quarter of the homes in Rio Verde Foothills, a checkerboard of one-acre lots linked by dirt roads in an unincorporated part of Maricopa County, rely on water from a municipal pipe hauled by trucks. Since the cutoff, their water prices have nearly tripled. The others have wells, though many of these have gone dry as the water table has fallen by hundreds of feet in some places after years of drought.

“This is a real hard slap in the face to everybody,” said Hornewer, who has been hauling water to his neighbors for more than two decades. “It’s not sustainable. We’re not going to make it through a summer like this.”

The prolonged drought and shrinking reservoirs have already led to unprecedented restrictions in usage of the Colorado River, and the federal government is now pressing seven states to cut 2 to 4 million acre feet more, up to 30 percent of the river’s annual average flow. The heavy rain and snow pummeling California have not had much impact on the Colorado River Basin and major reservoirs Lake Powell and Lake Mead have fallen to dangerous levels.

This grim forecast prompted Scottsdale to warn Rio Verde Foothills more than a year ago that their water supply would be cut off. City officials stressed their priority was to their own residents and cast Rio Verde Foothills as a boomtown of irresponsible development, fed by noisy water trucks rumbling over city streets. “The city cannot be responsible for the water needs of a separate community especially given its unlimited and unregulated growth,” the city manager’s office wrote in December. . .

Continue reading. (no paywall)

There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of “We’re all in this together.” I suspect that the struggle will become considerably more intense once both food and water start to run short.

In the meantime, Wyoming is considering laws to prevent the sale of new electric vehicles to ensure that maximum burning of fossil fuels continue, and of course OPEC is pumping all the oil they can. There’s money to be made!

I’m reminded of a cartoon from the New Yorker years ago of a man floundering the water near a pier as he drowns. Another man, on the pier, shouts, “I’m sorry, I can’t swim. Would $10 help?”

Written by Leisureguy

16 January 2023 at 1:13 pm

What to Do if You Have COVID

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Covid is still here, still spreading fast, and still doing great damage to people’s immune systems, cardiovascular systems, and bodies in general. Useful information from People’s CDC:

A guide for preparing for illness, preventing spread to others, managing symptoms, and recovery

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Layers of Protection
  3. Planning Ahead
  4. When & How to Isolate
  5. Short Term Recovery
  6. Exiting Isolation
  7. Long Term Recovery
  8. Sources

1. Summary

View our abbreviated guide and full list of sources as well.

While you are healthy, it is important to plan ahead for illness. Despite the government consistently downplaying the disease and removing COVID protections,1 sustained high community transmission is all too common, increasing the risks of infection and reinfection for everyone. If you’re reading this guide before needing it, you are taking an important step towards being as prepared as possible!  

The People’s CDC has reviewed up-to-date research to create evidence-based guidelines and recommendations for what to do if you have COVID. 

Layers of Protection 

You can help prevent the spread of COVID by using multiple layers of protection. These layers include: ventilating and filtering air; masking with well-sealed and high filtration masks; staying up to date with vaccines and boosters; testing before seeing others; testing and isolating after possible exposures; and physical distancing and limiting time indoors. If you’re at home with others while isolating due to infection or exposure, you can implement additional household-specific layers of protection. These include creating isolation zones, minimizing time spent in shared zones, and clearly communicating the use of layers of protection within your household.

Planning Ahead

Improve the air quality of your home with humidifiers, purifiers, and open windows. Have supplies, contact information (medical provider, testing, social supports), and a plan of action ready in case of illness. Familiarize yourself with your work or school’s COVID policy and devise ways to extend the 5-day isolation period, if possible. 

Exposure and Testing 

If you’ve been exposed to someone who has COVID via shared air, you should isolate yourself for a minimum of 7 days. You should use multiple tests over the course of 5-7 days to determine if you are negative (1-2 tests over the course of the same 24 hours is not adequate).  If you test positive, you should isolate yourself for a minimum of 10 days after your first positive result. After 10 days, use rapid tests to find out if you are negative. If you are experiencing symptoms, but do not have access to adequate testing, you should isolate yourself for a minimum of 10 days after the first day of symptoms.

Short and Long Term Recovery

If you have COVID, we encourage you to . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

16 January 2023 at 11:29 am

Excellent 3-D models

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Tilt, turn, rotate, zoom in/out — a great collection of a wide variety of models. Start here with some minerals, but do explore.

Written by Leisureguy

16 January 2023 at 11:10 am

Posted in Software

Two Wee Scots went to a shave…

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Shave setup with two small badger brushes with shite handles and writing on the front next to a tub of shaving soap with a dark maroon label with white letters: "Strong 'n Scottish." Next is a tall rectangular bottle of translucent plastic labeled "Taylor of Old Bond Street Bay Rum" half filled with light brown liquid. A slant razor in stainless steel rests on the tub of soap.

Thanks to George P., who kindly lent me his Simpson Wee Scot, I can now directly compare the pre-Vulfix-acquisition Wee Scot (mine) with a post-Vulfix-acquisition Wee Scot (his). The two are shown side by side in the photo above, and someday I’ll tell you which is which. You can examine them more closely by clicking the photo.

Given the two Wee Scots, the choice of shaving soap was obvious: Meißner Tremonia’s Strong ‘n Scottish.After doing my regular pre-shave routine using Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave, I loaded each brush well. I had deliberately mixed the brushes so that I didn’t know which was which. (Before opening the package from George, I affixed a label to the bottom of my Wee Scot to avoid any possibility that I would not know which was which. Once I opened the two packages, I could see that the two brushes differed somewhat in appearance. The label, though, insures against a mixup. )

With both brushes well-loaded, I lathered my face, once with each brush. The two brushes have very different feels. One feels soft and somewhat wide, the other feels — well, not stiff, but quite resilient, and narrow in comparison to the first. I knew — okay, strongly suspected — that the brush with the soft, somewhat wide knot was the Simpson Wee Scot and the stiffer, narrower knot was the Vulfix. But I didn’t look.

The razor this morning is the very nice German 37 from Italian Barber, a bargain of a slant in the Merkur 37 pattern with the superior 3-piece design — superior, IMO, because it allows you to swap handles if you want, though I have not done that to date. 

I did a very comfortable and efficient three-pass shave. At the end, I tried lathering for a fourth pass just to check brush capacity. Though both brushes had ample lather for a fourth pass, the wider, softer Wee Scot clearly held more lather.

At the end of the shave, I checked to see which brush had the label, and my impression was correct: the softer knot was the pre-Vulfix Wee Scot. My understanding is that Simpson selected extremely fine bristles for their Wee Scot knot. That accounts for the softness, and it also means that the total wetted surface — the total surface area of all the knot’s bristles — is quite large, giving the brush a surprisingly large lather capacity. 

The Vulfix Wee Scot is not so old as mine, of course, and that may account for some of the difference, but I do think Vulfix’s bristle selection is different, which produces a knot of greater resilience (not to say that my brush’s knot was “floppy,” just that it was softer, with greater “give”) and less lather capacity (though still enough for a three-pass shave).

A good experiment, showing a clear difference between the brushes. I notice also that the lettering is done somewhat differently, and the two brushes have somewhat different coloration (obvious in the magnified image you get by clicking the photo above).

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Queen Victoria, a blend I have come to like a lot: “rich Darjeeling and Ceylon, smoky Lapsang Souchong and sweet Jasmine.”rich Darjeeling and Ceylon, smoky Lapsang Souchong and sweet Jasmine.”

I’m still enjoying the post-shave feel of my face. 🙂

Written by Leisureguy

16 January 2023 at 10:20 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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