Later On

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

Archive for January 20th, 2023

A simple chili, the kind with asparagus and sweet vermouth

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A pot of chili, in which are visible mushrooms, tomatoes, and asparagus.

I was in a chili mood, so I got out my 4-qt All-Clad Stainless sauté pan and drizzled in:

• about 1.5-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

And then I started prepping, adding to the skillet as I went:

• 1 large red onion, chopped coarsely
• 3 BBQ/spring onions, chopped (or use 1 bunch thick scallions)
• 10-12 small white mushrooms, quartered
• about 8 oz chickpea-rye tempeh, diced large
• about 2 tablespoons chipotle-garlic paste
• about 2 tablespoons chimayo chile powder
• about 2 tablespoons ground cumin
• about 3-4 tablespoons Mexican oregano
• about 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
• about 1 tablespoon dried thyme
• about 1 teaspoon MSG (it’s okay)

I then turned on the induction burner to 4 and sautéed that, stirring frequently with a wooden spatula. As it cooked, I added:

• 1 small can tomato paste

and continued to cook and stir until the tomato paste darkened somewhat. Then I added:

• 1 19-oz (540ml) can Aylmer’s Italian Seasonings stewed tomatoes
• enough sweet vermouth to fill the little can that held the tomato paste
• 2 squares Baker’s unsweetened chocolate
• 1 tablespoon ground coffee

I turned the burner to 225ºF and the timer to 10 minutes and covered the pan. When the bell went off, I added:

• about 12-13 ounces thin asparagus, chopped

I had a pound of asparagus, but I didn’t use the bottom portion of the spears.

I stirred that in, turned the burner on to 225ºF for another 10 minutes, and covered the pan. I just had a bowl, with a good sprinkling of nutritional yeast on top. 

It’s extremely tasty. The vermouth was a good idea, and the chocolate and ground coffee worked well. 

Written by Leisureguy

20 January 2023 at 4:02 pm

ChatGPT comes for white-collar jobs

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Annie Lowery has a sobering article in the Atlantic:

In the next five years, it is likely that AI will begin to reduce employment for college-educated workers. As the technology continues to advance, it will be able to perform tasks that were previously thought to require a high level of education and skill. This could lead to a displacement of workers in certain industries, as companies look to cut costs by automating processes. While it is difficult to predict the exact extent of this trend, it is clear that AI will have a significant impact on the job market for college-educated workers. It will be important for individuals to stay up to date on the latest developments in AI and to consider how their skills and expertise can be leveraged in a world where machines are increasingly able to perform many tasks.

There you have it, I guess: ChatGPT is coming for my job and yours, according to ChatGPT itself. The artificially intelligent content creator, whose name is short for “Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer,” was released two months ago by OpenAI, one of the country’s most influential artificial-intelligence research laboratories. The technology is, put simply, amazing. It generated that first paragraph instantly, working with this prompt: “Write a five-sentence paragraph in the style of The Atlantic about whether AI will begin to reduce employment for college-educated workers in the next five years.”

ChatGPT is just one of many mind-blowing generative AI tools released recently, including the image generators Midjourney and DALL-E and the video generator Synthesia. The upside of these AI tools is easy to see: They’re going to produce a tremendous amount of digital content, quickly and cheaply. Students are already using ChatGPT to help them write essays. Businesses are using ChatGPT to create copy for their websites and promotional materials, and to respond to customer-service inquiries. Lawyers are using it to produce legal briefs (ChatGPT passes the torts and evidence sections of the Multistate Bar Examination, by the way) and academics to produce footnotes.

Yet an extraordinary downside is also easy to see: What happens when services like ChatGPT start putting copywriters, journalists, customer-service agents, paralegals, coders, and digital marketers out of a job? For years, tech thinkers have been warning that flexible, creative AI will be a threat to white-collar employment, as robots replace skilled office workers whose jobs were once considered immune to automation. In the most extreme iteration, analysts imagine AI altering the employment landscape permanently. One Oxford study estimates that 47 percent of U.S. jobs might be at risk.

No single technology in modern memory has caused mass job loss among highly educated workers. Will generative AI really be an exception? No one can answer this question, given how new the technology is and given how slowly employment can adjust in response to technological change. But AI really is different, technology experts told me—a range of tasks that up until now were impossible to automate are becoming automatable. “Before, progress was linear and predictable. You figured out the steps and the computer followed them. It followed the procedure; it didn’t learn and it didn’t improvise,” the MIT professor David Autor, one of the world’s foremost experts on employment and technological change, told me. ChatGPT and the like do improvise, promising to destabilize a lot of white-collar work, regardless of whether they eliminate jobs or not.

People and businesses are just figuring out  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

20 January 2023 at 2:58 pm

Republicans like for (other) people to suffer

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Kevin Drum points out an unappealing characteristic of the Republican mindset:

Proposed restrictions:
• No white grains - people can only purchase 100% whole wheat bread, brown rice and 100% whole wheat pasta.
• No baked, refried or chili beans - people can purchase black, red and pinto beans.
• No fresh meats - people can purchase only canned products like canned tuna or canned salmon.
• No sliced, cubed or crumbled cheese. No American cheese.
What's next: A House subcommittee will consider the bill.

Sami Scheetz, a state representative in Iowa, tweets today about a bill introduced by state Republicans that restricts the kinds of food that can be purchased with SNAP (food stamps):

It’s obvious that this is intended to make low-income workers on SNAP even more miserable than they already are. But there’s more. As the list of what’s allowed and what’s not gets longer and longer, it becomes more and more of a hassle for supermarkets and corner stores to keep track of it. Some will decide it’s not worth the bother and just stop accepting SNAP.

So SNAP will be harder to use and will restrict you to a diet not dissimilar from that of your average American prison.

This single tweet encapsulates about 90% of why I’m not a Republican. They’re just so goddam meanspirited.

Written by Leisureguy

20 January 2023 at 12:38 pm

Today is Grooming Dept day

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Shaving set up: a red-handled shaving brush with a black synthetic knot, a tub of soap whose label is a mallard duck, a small glass bottle with white pump cap and a yellow label that says "Grooming Dept Rejuvenating Serum", and in front a stainless steel double-edge safety razor lying on its side.

In honor of Grooming Dept’s release of new products today (scroll down at link) — just now, in fact, and I placed my order already because they sell out quickly — I went with a Grooming Dept shave.

I began today’s shave, as I begin every shave, by rubbing the tiniest possible amount of Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave over my wet stubble. It’s such a tiny amount that my previous tub lasted 14 months, as I recall, and with this new formulation, I’m certain the tub will last more than two years. The Pre-Shave’s effect on the shave is wonderful. I never thought anything would replace MR GLO, but I now have two unwrapped bars of MR GLO in storage under the bathroom sink; I doubt that I’ll ever use them.

After massaging the pre-shave into my stubble, I wet my face, and then I load my RazoRock Amici brush with Grooming Dept Mallard Corretto shaving soap. This is one of my favorites (and no longer available, much as the current offerings will be before the weekend is over). You can see the ingredients at the link, and it does make an absolutely great lather in consistency and slickness. However, I am particularly drawn to the fragrance: “Scent Notes: Coffee, Brandy, Plum, Berries, Honey, Cacao Dust, Vanilla, Patchouli.” And, for Steve Riehle, these various scents combine synergistically to produce a heavenly fragrance, despite what reading the list might make you think.

I used my King C. Gillette razor this morning. The stock handle was for me unusable — heavy and slick — so I replaced it with this stainless steel RazoRock UFO handle — and of course, the head is an exact copy of the Mühle/Edwin Jagger design. However, the initials engraved on the cap are indeed those of King Camp Gillette. In that sense, it is a Gillette razor.

Three passes left my face perfectly smooth — Edwin Jagger does make a good razor — and I applied just a dot of Grooming Dept Rejuvenating Serum to rejuvenate my face. My face feels now like a teenage face, only without acne.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Storm Watcher, though there is in fact no actual storm to watch, just an overcast sky. “contains Yunnan and Ceylon teas. Full-bodied with low astringency, a selection of tea terroirs blended for a brisk, satisfying mug. Slightly smoky with toasted malty notes.”

Written by Leisureguy

20 January 2023 at 11:18 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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