[Recent Entries][Archive][Friends][User Info]
Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "nancylebov" journal:
[<< Previous 10 entries]
Interview about two methods of interrogation, an honest meticulous method and the method in common use in the US.
Douglas Starr compares the Reid technique with the PEACE technique.
Reid is a method of getting confessions-- once the police officer decides (on very little evidence) that the suspect is guilty and ignores all denials. If you suspect you are being subject to the Reid method, try arguing vociferously for an hour-- this may be taken as evidence of innocence. Reid uses people's impulse to be nice and cooperative against them. Reid gets false confessions.
Hundreds of thousands of people, worldwide, have been trained to use the Reid technique.
A major part of the Reid technique's reputation was based on getting what turned out to be a false confession.
There's a description of research which find that people (including police) are just plain bad at detecting lies-- and do worse if they focus on body language.
PEACE is a long, dull, open-ended cognitive grind-- an effort to elicit memories and find out whether the details make sense.
I get the impression that trained US military interrogators (not the folks at Abu Graib) use something of the sort.
It's tempting to me to hear about something like the Reid technique and then hate and despise everybody, but the truth is that suspicion of the Reid technique got started when a researcher noticed that confession was a common feature in convictions which got overturned, and scientists looked at it and found that its premises about lying and anxiety weren't sound. The British government developed the PEACE technique after a series of false confession cases. There has been institutional pushback against Reid.
After reading a lot about false confessions, I'd come to the conclusion that confession simply shouldn't be part of the judicial process. However, I also thought that the idea was so radical it couldn't get a hearing. It turns out that the British have given up on using confession-- it's physical evidence or nothing for them.
Unfortunately, the NPR transcript is just highlights, and the New Yorker article it's based on is behind a pay wall. I think hearing the whole interview is worth spending a half hour.
Two accounts of the police getting false confessions: American and Canadian
This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1028545.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comments so far on that entry.
Semi-random quince, splurge soup afterword|
Quinces are sweet-smelling, yellow-skinned fruit which are too astringent for most people to want to eat raw.
I hacked up a quince, and simmered it in some chicken stock + a little water so there was enough liquid to cover the fruit. Added powdered lavender flowers and a little hot pepper mix. Simmered for about twenty minutes (till the quince was soft) and added about 2 tablespoons of cream and some salt. (The stock and cream were from what didn't get used up in the Splurge Soup.)
The result is pretty tasty, though I might use less lavender next time. Or something else completely. If you like sweet fruit, I think you could do anything vaguely reasonable to a quince and get pleasant results. A lot of quince recipes include sugar and/or honey, but I can't see why. On the other hand, I don't know why people add sugar to sweet potatoes either.
The splurge soup lasted for 5 or 6 meals. It really doesn't tolerate re-heating very well, and I think what there was of the saffron taste faded in the refrigerator.
On the other hand, it did seem to cheer me up, probably more for nutritional reasons than extraordinary flavor. I'll be exploring more cream/seafood soups.
This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1028351.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comments so far on that entry.
I may need a ride from Philadelphia to Darkover and back|
My ride to Darkover Grand Council Meeting (a charming convention near Baltimore with an emphasis on fantasy and music)-- may be unavailable if work on his car isn't finished on Friday.
I have a small business that I want to take down there with me. It approximately fills the storage space and back seat of a smallish car.
If a ride down is possible but not the ride back, let me know.
I can be contacted at NancyL at panix dot com for details of logistics and money.
And yes, I rather like the idea of going to Darkover (the planet) by car in some reasonable amount of time, but I can't figure out a more specific joke.
This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1027974.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comments so far on that entry.
Cheap, probably safe remedies|
I just ran across this* about gelatin being good for arthritis. and found some confirmation here.
I've cleared up a case of gastric reflux by sleeping on my left side for a few nights. I'd have sworn I got the idea from wikipedia, but it isn't in the article now. I definitely picked it up from a fast search.
There's some evidence that a spoonful of honey before sleep (unfiltered honey on an empty stomach, not much sugar during the day) improves sleep for a high proportion of people who try it, and I've gotten mostly good results-- I'd been waking up many times during the night (presumably from hot flashes), but with honey, I'd only wake up once. It didn't work last night, but it's mostly worked. That spoonful is usually a tablespoon, but some people have reported good results with a teaspoon.
Anyway, what cheap and probably safe remedies have you found?
*From the same discussion: youraugustine said: "I have always suspected that border collies feel that if humans were THAT smart, they'd herd the sheep themselves, and this gets passed on via some kind of breed indoctrination as puppies."
This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1027833.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comments so far on that entry.
The Great [$location adjective] Novel, and a lot about women and Greatness|
supergee linked to LeGuin vs. "The Great American Novel".
This reminded me that I'd posted about The Great World Novel, and Jo Walton picked the topic up at Tor.com.
A bit I like from Mohsin Hamid:
“Gatsby’s” beauty, “Blood Meridian’s” beauty, “Beloved’s” beauty don’t lie in their capturing something quintessentially American, for there is no such thing.
This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1027579.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comments so far on that entry.
When people try to lose weight.....|
I've been hanging around in the fat acceptance community for a while, and there's a strong consensus there that trying to lose weight is a pretty reliable method of making your life worse, with many anecdotes (read the comments-- and they don't even include the stories about eating disorders which started with diets) and some science. On the other hand, for the world in general, mentions of efforts at losing weight get a lot of encouragement and stories about weight loss which improved health and quality of life.
This is a rather striking mismatch. Even better, I've asked at scholarly fat acceptance group about whether there are studies which look at weight loss efforts for the whole population-- how many people have tried what, and what the outcomes have been-- and I haven't gotten any answers. There are studies looking at the results of particular diets, but that's a different question. Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence, but it's at least possible that the study I want hasn't been done.
So, I'm going to try some completely informal, unscientific, non-ethics-checked questions to an audience which hasn't been randomly selected. If you've tried to lose weight/fat, what methods have you used? How has it worked out? On the whole, would you say your life is better, worse, or about the same as the result of what you've done to lose weight?
Edited to add: Please try to avoid giving advice to people in general. Part of the point of this discussion is to find out something about the range of experience, which is surprisingly wide.
I'll be doing a follow-up post about the advice I'm deducing from this discussion.
This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1027108.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comments so far on that entry.
In a discussion of what to call science fiction that isn't hard science fiction, I found myself wondering how you can identify science fiction which is based on solid social science.
This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1027053.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comments so far on that entry.
Scientific measurement of political speeches|
From Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature:
let’s have a look at political discourse, which most people believe has been getting dumb and dumber. There’s no such thing as the IQ of a speech, but Tetlock and other political psychologists have identified a variable called integrative complexity that captures a sense of intellectual balance, nuance, and sophistication. A passage that is low in integrative complexity stakes out an opinion and relentlessly hammers it home, without nuance or qualification. Its minimal complexity can be quantified by counting words like absolutely, always, certainly, definitively, entirely, forever, indisputable, irrefutable, undoubtedly, and unquestionably. A passage gets credit for some degree of integrative complexity if it shows a touch of subtlety with words like usually, almost, but, however, and maybe. It is rated higher if it acknowledges two points of view, higher still if it discusses connections, tradeoffs, or compromises between them, and highest of all if it explains these relationships by reference to a higher principle or system. The integrative complexity of a passage is not the same as the intelligence of the person who wrote it, but the two are correlated, especially, according to Simonton, among American presidents.
Integrative complexity is related to violence. People whose language is less integratively complex, on average, are more likely to react to frustration with violence and are more likely to go to war in war games. Working with the psychologist Peter Suedfeld, Tetlock tracked the integrative complexity of the speeches of national leaders in a number of political crises of the 20th century that ended peacefully (such as the Berlin blockade in 1948 and the Cuban Missile Crisis) or in war (such as World War I and the Korean War), and found that when the complexity of the leaders’ speeches declined, war followed. In particular, they found a linkage between rhetorical simple-mindedness and military confrontations in speeches by Arabs and Israelis, and by the Americans and Soviets during the Cold War. We don’t know exactly what the correlations mean: whether mule-headed antagonists cannot think their way to an agreement, or bellicose antagonists simplify their rhetoric to stake out an implacable bargaining position. Reviewing both laboratory and real-world studies, Tetlock suggests that both dynamics are in play.
Aside from intrinsic interest, this reminds me of some bits from Heinlein's fiction where he talked about mathematical analysis of language, not to mention something from Asimov's foundation.
Also, Lessing said something about expecting trouble when politicians start talking about blood. We have the tools to check that!
This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1026727.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comments so far on that entry.
Seafood Cream Soup with Saffron and Asparagus
I was surprised at how self-conscious I felt about posting about this really rather moderate sort of a luxury, so there's going to be somewhat about money as well as cooking.
1 half pound each of shrimp, salmon (cut into fork-sized pieces), minced clams, and bay scallops
most of a pint of heavy cream
most of a quart of (store-bought) chicken stock
about a pound of asparagus
about half a cup of sliced almonds
about half a pound of oyster mushrooms
some white pepper
2 good-sized shallots, maybe a half cup when chopped up
about a teaspoon of saffron which was probably older than it should have been
some Pouldre Forte: Black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, galangal, cardamom, nutmeg, long pepper
First step, research! I looked at cream seafood soups and cream of asparagus.
I got one very valuable piece of information-- shell your shrimp, then simmer the shells for 15 minutes. The result had an amazing amount of flavor.
While the shrimp shells are simmering, I used enough butter to gently fry the almonds, asparagus, shallots, and mushrooms in a good sized aluminum pot.
When the shallots were done, I dumped in the cream, chicken stock, salt, pepper, pouldre forte and saffron, and simmered for about half an hour. Then I put in the salmon and shrimp (the largest pieces of meat-- bay scallops are tiny and minced clams are, well, minced) for a couple of minutes. When they were barely done, I put in the clams and scallops for something like a minute and turned off the heat.
It was a little bland, but when I added some hot sauce it was really excellent. On a second meal (a bowl of this soup is quite filling), I added an anchovy and that also worked well. This suggests that it mostly needed salt, but I'm going to try adding hot mustard in a future meal. More and/or stronger saffron would be a good idea.
It probably would have been better with the toasted almonds added as a garnish, but I just didn't want to bother.
OK, money. This cost about $50 or so, and I'm going to get at least five meals out of it. In other words, pricewise, it's just a little more expensive than fast food and highly competitive with low end restaurant food. Still, part of the theme was expensive ingredients.
So I'm going to look at modifying it to be cheaper and to be more expensive. And to look at what it would need to be kosher.
The most expensive part is the seafood (and I could have cut the price some by buying at the Italian Market instead of Whole Foods). The cheapest seafood was the clams. And I think spinach is cheaper than asparagus. I used oyster mushrooms because it was a seafood soup, so I went with the name. In retrospect, I think portobella mushrooms would have been better, and I'm looking forward to clam/spinach/portobella cream soup at some point. I'm not sure what spices or herbs it should have.
When I thought about increasing the luxury level, my first thought was pheasant stock-- pheasant seems to be about $25/$30 per pound in the US. dcseain pointed out that it's much cheaper in the UK, and a little research suggests that it's more like $10/pound there. Pheasant is very tasty, and I have no idea why no one has farmed it on a reasonably large scale in the US.
Other than that, there's upgrading the mushrooms. I think black trumpet and morel would be very nice, and both of them are visually interesting. Truffles are very expensive, but I've been disappointed by truffle products. I had a slice of truffle at a gourmet restaurant and it was wonderful, but I'm not sure whether it would go with the soup.
Macadamia nuts might work well.
I'm also unsure about good choices for more expensive seafood. Sea scallops at least have the virtue of being larger and more noticeable. I've had wonderful conch once (chewy and tasty). It might be a good idea. I can't see any point in getting larger shrimp.
As for kosher, all that's needed is for all the seafood to be fish rather than shellfish. I'm interested in suggestions for other sorts of fish. Bass? Trout?
This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1026417.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comments so far on that entry.
Leonardo's Viola Organista|
The viola organista has now come to life, thanks to a Polish concert pianist with a flair for instrument-making and the patience and passion to interpret da Vinci’s plans.
Full of steel strings and spinning wheels, Slawomir Zubrzycki’s creation is a musical and mechanical work of art.
‘‘This instrument has the characteristics of three we know: the harpsichord, the organ and the viola da gamba,’’ Zubrzycki said as he debuted the instrument at the Academy of Music in the southern Polish city of Krakow.
The instrument’s exterior is painted in a rich midnight blue, adorned with golden swirls painted on the side. The inside of its lid is a deep raspberry inscribed with a Latin quote in gold leaf by 12th-century German nun, mystic and philosopher, Saint Hildegard.
‘‘Holy prophets and scholars immersed in the sea of arts both human and divine, dreamt up a multitude of instruments to delight the soul,’’ it says.</a>
This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1026228.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comments so far on that entry.
[<< Previous 10 entries]