Tuesday, September 30, 2014

"Ebola case in Dallas confirmed by CDC, first diagnosis in U.S."

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified the media at 3:32 p.m. Tuesday that Dallas has the first diagnosed Ebola case in the nation."
The federal agency scheduled a media briefing at 5:30 p.m. from its headquarters in Atlanta. Dallas County officials are expected to participate.

A blood specimen from the patient was sent to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, a testing process that can take 24 to 48 hours to confirm an Ebola infection -- or not.

The results came back about 3:32 p.m.
Dr. Thomas Frieden CDCP Director
CNN Update.

"White House exempts Syria airstrikes from tight standards on civilian deaths"

"The White House has acknowledged for the first time that strict standards President Obama imposed last year to prevent civilian deaths from U.S. drone strikes will not apply to U.S. military operations in Syria and Iraq."
A White House statement to Yahoo News confirming the looser policy came in response to questions about reports that as many as a dozen civilians, including women and young children, were killed when a Tomahawk missile struck the village of Kafr Daryan in Syria's Idlib province on the morning of Sept. 23.

“They were carrying bodies out of the rubble. … I saw seven or eight ambulances coming out of there,” said Abu Abdo Salabman, a political member of one of the Free Syria Army factions, who attended the briefing for Foreign Affairs Committee members and staff. “We believe this was a big mistake.”
Obama was for protecting civilians until he was against it.

Rosie O'Donnell: Penalizing Muslim NFL Player 'Propels Us to War'

"According to View co-host and 9/11 truther Rosie O'Donnell, a Muslim NFL player being penalized for praying after a touchdown is the kind of thing that "propels us to war." Talking to the other women of the show about Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah, Whoopi Goldberg wondered if Americans are "feeding into Muslim fear."
"Yes. I think as a nation we are. I think that, you know, it propels us to war. You have to rally the country in order to bomb a country that did nothing to you and you need to rally them and so that's what I think that was."

She added, "Anyone is allowed to represent their joy in whatever way possible for two minutes on a football field and I think it's anti-Muslim bias."

"‘Breaking Bad plot’ was fantasy, says woman accused of trying to kill mother" (Update*)

"She said: “By this time, because of the messages I received from my mum and because I couldn’t cope with it and I wanted to escape from it all, I started to fantasise about trying to kill myself or my mum."
“It was as if I was thinking through it as if I was in my own TV programme or a character in Breaking Bad. I was in a really strange place in my mind.”

She said the person who wrote the emails “doesn’t resemble me”, adding: “I know how it appears, but the truth is I didn’t do anything. It’s all fabrication.

“It escalated and I had to go to work and pretend like everything was OK and I had to be at home and pretend everything was OK.

“But I was living this other life. This was my own way of coping – it was my coping mechanism. It was how I survived daily.”
Patel denies trying to murder her mother, who sits on the bench at Thames magistrates court, and acquiring a biological agent or toxin.

Patel wiped tears away from her eyes and told the jury: “I didn’t do it. I didn’t put anything in my mother’s coke.”
* Graphic designer who 'fantasised about being character from Breaking Bad' is cleared of trying to kill her mother... but convicted of acquiring biological agent or toxin.

You two bruddas!

James and I walked diagonally across an open parking lot toward a cluster of low unattractive and uninteresting buildings cast in the shade of palm trees. James said he needed a haircut. 

"You two brudduhs. Right? You two brudduhs." 

"Yes, we are brothers."

"Ha ha ha! I knew it. Ha Ha Ha. I see you two already. I say, 'you two bruddahs.' Ha ha ha I knew it! You two bruddas. I knew da whole time, you two bruddas. See? I can tell. Ha ha ha, you two look like twins dressed different.  You two bruddas."

This person is a little too well chuffed at guessing about us before we decided to enter. This seemed more of a lady place anyway, not what he is looking for. James is amused.  All women inside. 

"You older, you younger. Right?

That just flat pisses off James. 

We had been getting that the whole previous week in San Francisco. James is outgoing and he is easy to engage. For some reason people want to. If you met him, you'd want to talk to him. It occurred a few times that people James met took an interest in him and me secondarily and insisted on knowing but then not accepting when told, no, we are not boyfriends, we are not twins either, and he is younger than I by seven years. That was made more difficult as our jackets said otherwise. I was returning and James was wearing a windbreaker jacket I stole from him that had 'Colorado Buffalos' embroidered on it. Now he lives in San Francisco. It is a perfect Jacket. He left it at my house in Denver and I loved wearing it all over the place. I did not want to give it back and said so. Then he felt guilty for demanding it back and his Christian heart felt required to ransom it with a gift jacket exactly like it, but the new jacket is embroidered 'San Francisco' and I am wearing that one. Our jackets said we were lying about who is who and from where because explaining the details that say otherwise is too complex. James mentioned being bugged by that repeated age-guessing thing people do on us and continuously guessing him older not younger. It's making him review things. And now he doesn't like the subject. And for that, neither do I. But he is not having my advice to men whose hair is thinning, that is, counterintuitively, do not emphasize the thick portion that remains, on the contrary, de-emphasize the remaining hair or else you'll look like Mao Tse Tung.

Maybe I should have made sure James is old enough to know who that is and what Mao Tse Tung looks like. 

The place will do. James is being set up.

I am left to my amusement. The shop we are in emphasizes a nail polish display. 

It is the exact same thing as a display of tiny paint bottles for model airplanes.  The names of the colors are all ordinary attractive-sounding enamel colors for ladies. James has already given his instructions that will lead to him looking like Mao Tse Tung. It is a quiet moment in the shop, I pick up bottles and read a pretend nail-color  to my brother, by way of fake-out interest, and put them back, one by one, 
* post apocalyptic burns
* radioactive waste grime 
* oil rainbow swirl on acid rain puddle
Something like that. The women listening in take a few moments to realize they're being put on James well used to my nonsense always up for a game begins formulating his own unhappy color described miserably as possible, "Oh, look and see if they have 
*speckled hagfish pale slime ell transparency." 
"Okay. I'll keep an eye out for it. But right now I'm looking at  
* biohazard mixed sludge"
* nuclear fallout harsh geiger 
* abandoned Mars explorer rust 
The joke was for my brother but that is not how things are in hairdressing shops that small, and the ladies wanting more names and wanting the previous names repeated so they could start their own line showed me again and surprised me again, how easily given over to laughter Hawaiian people are. The joke was not that funny. They were not offended we were making fun of their nail colors. They wanted more. They were having a great time imagining colors described miserably. They seem ever open to humor and there had already been a few phrases tossed to my brother intercepted by a nearby Hawaiian who burst out laughing at something incredibly stupid to the point they just seem to me open or willing or eager for humor. "More fun than a barrel full of monkeys" in reference to a wire basket filled with carved coconut monkeys is not that funny but it left a guy laughing over his steering wheel as he drove away from a convenience store, while my brother is all, "how droll." Are these people humor starved? Irony starved, wry observation starved? cynicism starved? I wondered.

The hairdresser did a great job on him given what she had to work with, shined him right up, but James emerged from the hut-like shop onto the brightly sunlit parking lot mad as h-e-double pu'ili sticks. In explaining why the hairdresser failed his direct instructions that would have made him look like Mao there was no consoling him. She did the right thing. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

"The Human Genome Is In Stalemate in the War Against Itself"

"There’s a sense of futility about this. Much of our genome seems to be engaged in an ultimately pointless duel whether neither side can give or gain any ground. But these battles aren’t quite as fruitless as they might seem."

"The team found that KZNFs partly suppress the genes around a retrotransposon too. When the cops finds their target, they tell all the bystanders to the lie on the ground too. This is important because it seriously affects the activity of many human genes, beyond retrotransposons. It means that KZNFs can eventually be used to control the activity of genes that jumping genes land next to. (“Excuse me, officer, but while you’re manhandling your suspect, would you mind also rescuing my cat?”) This arms race could have given rise to more complicated networks of genes, and perhaps more complicated bodies or behaviours." (read the whole thing)

You Belong to Me

"California adopts 'yes means yes' sex-assault rule"

"Gov. Jerry Brown announced Sunday that he has signed a bill that makes California the first in the nation to define when "yes means yes" and adopt requirements for colleges to follow when investigating sexual assault reports."
"Every student deserves a learning environment that is safe and healthy," De Leon said in a statement Sunday night. "The State of California will not allow schools to sweep rape cases under the rug. We've shifted the conversation regarding sexual assault to one of prevention, justice, and healing."

The bill requires training for faculty reviewing complaints so that victims are not asked inappropriate questions when filing complaints. The bill also requires access to counseling, health care services and other resources.

When lawmakers were considering the bill, critics said it was overreaching and sends universities into murky legal waters. Some Republicans in the Assembly questioned whether statewide legislation is an appropriate venue to define sexual consent between two people. There was no opposition from Republicans in the state Senate.
Link to the text of the bill  "SB-967 Student safety: sexual assault."

Twan meets David Hasselhoff

The lad's touched. Stay for Twan saying goodbye to Kitt and you're touched too. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Emotional Hot Air

T.C. Chamberlin, American Geologist 
In 1899, T. C. Chamberlin proposed that the CO2 content of the atmosphere decreased during times of enhanced continental erosion, ultimately resulting in glacial epochs.*

It seems fitting that two years earlier, the same man wrote presciently about the pitfalls of "emotional science:"
Love was long since represented as blind, and what is true in the personal realm is measurably true in the intellectual realm. Important as the intellectual affections are as stimuli and as rewards, they are nervertheless dangerous factors, which menace the integrity of the intellectual processes. The moment one has offered an original explanation for a phenomenon which seems satisfactory, that moment affection for his intellectual child springs into existence; and as the explanation grows into a definite theory his parental affections cluster about his intellectual offspring and it grows more and more dear to him, so that, while he holds it seemingly tentative, it is still lovingly tentative, and not impartially tentative. So soon as this parental affection takes possession of the mind, there is the rapid passage to the adoption of theory. There is an unconscious selection and magnifying of the phenomenon that fall into harmony with theory and support it, and an unconscious neglect of those that fail of coincidence. The mind lingers with pleasure upon the facts that fall happily into the embrace of the theory, and feels a natural coldness toward those that seem refractory. Instinctively there is a special searching-out phenomenon that support it, for the mind is led by desires. 
There springs up, also, an unconscious pressing of the theory to make it fit the facts and a pressing of the facts to make them fit the theory. When these biasing tendencies set in, the mind rapidly degenerates into the partiality of paternalism. The search for facts, the observation of phenomena and their interpretation are all dominated by affection for a favored theory until it appears to its author or its advocate to have been overwhelmingly established. The theory then rapidly rises to the ruling position, and investigations, observation, and interpretation are controlled and directed by it. From unduly favored child, it readily becomes master, and leads its author whithersoever it will. The subsequent history of that mind in respect to that theme is but the progressive dominance of a ruling idea. 
Briefly summed up, the evolution is this: a premature explanation passes into tentative theory, then into an adopted theory, and then into ruling theory. 
~ T. C. Chamberlin, The Journal of Geology18975: 837-848.  Link 
Geochemical evidence supporting T. C. Chamberlin's theory of glaciation.  A while back, I wrote a brief piece on calcium's role in sequestering CO2 and how the weathering of rocks releases more calcium: "This Is Calcium's Finest Hour."

Derek Jeter final at-bat

Politics: "In big races, debates few and far between"

"In many of these cases, incumbents are rejecting debates they, or their predecessors, had readily agreed to in the past. Voters who rely on debates to clarify their thinking, to connect with a candidate or to get an answer to the question candidates choose not to discuss on the campaign trail, will have to make their decisions without that input."

"The troubling trend of debate-skipping is not limited to one party, one region, or one type of officeholder. It is evident in both close-fought campaigns and blowouts alike."


I saw this linked at TOP (major LOLs in the morning):

Tiny Detectives

I just started watching "True Detectives"

h/t Saint Croix

Sunday Morning With Van Morrison

A brilliant jazz/blues medley from his One Night In San Francisco album, arguably one of this five best albums.  Not bad for a pop singer from northern Ireland.....

The entire One Night in San Francisco live album is on YouTube, if you haven't heard it, or if you want to hear it again.  Here is the link.

Blessings of the day to you.


It's The Turtles all the way down:

That may be the very worst lip synching I've ever seen; the drummer is even faking hitting the drums.

Is that John Belushi's older brother singing?

When it stops being Science...

So... there's this thing.

And I'll start by saying that I'd like to be clear.  I don't spend much of any time crabbing about NdeGT.  In this instance he's just a symbol of a larger problem.  He's an illustration.  I wish I'd bookmarked a rant I saw a couple weeks ago about people who think it's so cool to claim to love science but in reality would never want to DO science... and hey, it's okay if you don't.  We don't all like the same things.  But it's so very Hip just now to claim to be all into that sciency crap.  And the best way to prove your bonafides is to publicly proclaim yourself a NdeGT fanboy or fangirl. It's like... all the coolness of being into science with none of the Math. That's not really his fault, I think, so I try not to blame him for it.

But all that is just context.

What I actually wanted to complain about was something that happened in class the other day.

It began completely unobjectionably.  We were discussing the interpretation of alluvial sediments and the implications for subsurface formations related to a paper that we'd read for class.  The author of the paper had gotten his doctorate on the basis of work he'd done showing a particular relationship that his newer paper entirely disproved.  Geology is full of such reversals of accepted truth.  The prof laughed and asked what things we might all believe to be true now would students be laughing over 20 years from now?  As an answer to that rhetorical question she started mocking the idea of CO2 not causing global warming or the world being only 7 thousand years old.

Anyone with any measure of OCD is twitching right now.

There is a point when it stops being science and it possible to locate that point by the moment when a rational person who has been presenting information logically begins to present it emotionally.  Widely derided ideas do not represent the scientific consensuses *today*.   The scientific consensus is the opposite.  But we'd entered a non-scientific state where politics and belief reside.  It doesn't matter how right she was about either CO2 or the age of the Earth, it matters that she slipped from logic to illogic... and at that point it's not science anymore.  At that point it's an excuse to mock to affirm moral superiority or political righteousness.  A little strawman pinata is tossed up there to bat at and destroy.  At that point it's illogic and disorder.

Connecting with that point, where the scientist passes over into emotion is the point where the fanboys and fangirls find they LOVE science.

Because math is hard.

(Here's a nice picture to make up for listening to me whine.)

What 1.1 Billion years looks like.  

Saturday, September 27, 2014

David Bowie: The Bewlay Brothers

"The Bewlay Brothers" is a song written by David Bowie in 1971 for the album Hunky Dory. The last track to be written and recorded for Hunky Dory, this ballad has been described as "probably Bowie's densest and most impenetrable song". Bowie himself supposedly told producer Ken Scott that it was a track for the American market, because "the Americans always like to read things into things", even though the lyrics "make absolutely no sense". Reflecting on the song in 2008, Bowie wrote "I wouldn't know how to interpret the lyric of this song other than suggesting that there are layers of ghosts within it. It's a palimpsest, then."

We were so turned on
By your lack of conclusions...

Chris Reed  3 months ago
"If you are a true Bowie fan and know the genesis of the song in all it's torment, gorgeous symbolism and haunting style then you will know that literally everything he ever had to say subsequently has it's roots here."

forest pop-up card

Four pages. Each page could be its own card. Why four pages? I do not know. It's ridiculous. It could be seen as obsessive, I guess. It's just showing off. Knock it off already.

The thing is you're sitting there going, "It could be this, or it could be that, or it could be this or that" and before you know it the whole room is a mess, not just the table, and there is pile of cut card stock and trials and failures and I throw out a dreadful lot of scraps but some of the pages in piles all around do end up getting mailed. That is honestly how most these happen, sometimes I think, "Okay, I don't want to waste this, who am I going to inflict this on?"

I kind of suspect they are received in the same spirit.

I was present at the party when this card was opened. (Had a lousy time and I mean it. I suddenly recall the whole thing at once, the before and after, suddenly the full range in terms of emotion all at once. The people who picked me up and who I expected to spend time with there ditched me. They were meeting my friends. I introduced them, boink, boink, boink,  then they disappeared. Looking back I realize they wanted to explore the place. An attractive townhouse. It is impressive, yes, I suppose, but Jeeze, did they have to disappear like that the whole time? I did catch up like three times on the first floor and they ditched me each time. Then outside another dude trapped me in conversation and went on about Bush about Republicans about resistance to his ideas of a glorious government. I think. I am so sick of that crap, Democrat activism everywhere palpably and all innocent parties become DNC functions. You're bringing me down, Man. When contradicted, conversation is shut right down because now you are being controversial and argumentative. He caused me to come way out of character and slip the knife between his ribs to watch him bleed. So, those two things overrode whatever else was nice about that party. Bartender, open bar, free dinner, smart people I've known for years, flowers all over, the place shinned up, most people eager to have a nice time. I couldn't get out of there soon enough. I pretty much broke things off with most everyone involved. The guy outside speaking unhappy politics is chief architect for the firm that renovated Red Rocks Amphitheater. You should see it, he did an amazing renovation and expansion up there. The whole place. I cannot even imagine better improvements that he brought to reality. I grew up climbing the outcroppings and having the park interfered with was troubling, but my friend improved it splendidly and in advanced refined taste. I said so. I told him his brilliance is seen in his conservation. He liked that. Conservation... conservative. I notice that in peoples' area of knowledge they are mostly conservative. Even clothing designers. Outrageous creative people are conservative in the things that they know. His architectural knowledge and superior comprehensive abilities shine through at Red Rocks. They had to dig into the place, expand under it and outward without disturbing what is there. And he did. He had to understand geology, archeology, manage government agencies and the rest. He shines. And then in other areas bum-rapingly stupid. I do not respect his political opinions, not one goddamn bit, given his fealty is sworn to a criminal enterprise. I can get as much from watching the Godfather. He's a made man. A kneepad-wearing partisan with splooge all over his bukaki face. And when I inquire about that sorely displaced loyalty it gets even more stupid.) I left at the first convenience.

They loved the card. Played with it the whole rest of the time.

But so. They liked my guacamole as well. Ate it until it was gone.

More photographs, links to construction pages, a lot more words.

Bret Easton Ellis: Generation Wuss

"My generation was raised by Baby Boomers in a kind of complete fantasy world at the height of the Empire: Boomers were the most privileged and the best educated children of The Great Generation, enjoying the economic boom of post-World War II American society. My generation realized that like most fantasies it was a somewhat dissatisfying lie and so we rebelled with irony and negativity and attitude or conveniently just checked-out because we had the luxury to do so. Our reality compared to Millennial reality wasn’t one of economic hardship. We had the luxury to be depressed and ironic and cool. Anxiety and neediness are the defining aspects of Generation Wuss and when you don’t have the cushion of rising through the world economically then what do you rely on? Well, your social media presence: maintaining it, keeping the brand in play, striving to be liked, to be liked, to be liked. And this creates its own kind of ceaseless anxiety. This is why if anyone has a snarky opinion of Generation Wuss then that person is labeled by them as a “douche”—case closed. No negativity—we just want to be admired. This is problematic because it limits discourse: if we all just like everything—the Millennial dream—then what are we going to be talking about? How great everything is? How often you’ve pressed the like button on Facebook? The Millennial site Buzzfeed has said they are no longer going to run anything negative—well, if this keeps spreading, then what’s going to happen to culture? What’s going to happen to conversation and discourse? If there doesn’t seem to be an economic way of elevating yourself then the currency of popularity is just the norm now and so this is why you want to have thousands and thousands of people liking you on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumbler—and you try desperately to be liked. The only way to elevate yourself in society is through your brand, your profile, your social media presence. A friend of mine—also a member of Generation Wuss—remarked that Millennials are more curators than artists, a generation of “aestheticists…any young artist who goes on Tumbler doesn’t want to create actual art—they either want to steal the art or they want to BE the art.”" (read the whole thing)


"Crankshaft is implausible"

"This is impossible. Even if the lawn mower is self-propelled, it cannot climb a tree, because the wheels disengage when you let go of the dead-man’s handle. Even if this feature is disabled, it cannot climb a tree, because the wheels are not touching anything; the rotation of the blade will not cause the mower to go up a tree, let alone stay there."
James Lileks

mouth breather

Some people suck. Their opinions suck and they keep on opining anyway. They have their mouth open every time you see them.

Seems frame 2 disappeared. Eh, it's not much. It's a purple straw that goes straight up and turns orange in pulses suggesting someone is sucking it. I saw this on Ace.

I don't even listen anymore. 

I see the items and don't even read them anymore.

flat sheet of butter

The idea is create a flat sheet of butter and place it on a sheet of yeast dough rolled flat as a pizza and fold in layers, roll out again, fold again, repeatedly until there are a stack of exceedingly thin but still discrete layers, and that works by keeping the butter cold.

Step 1: Create a spot in the freezer or the refrigerator, or both, that can accommodate a regular size baker's tray.

You see, we baker-types are actually temperature manipulators. We don't just bake things. We freeze things too. Puff pastry works by temperature control. The butter must not blend into the dough and that is prevented by keeping both dough and butter cold.

Step 2: Pull two of the same size trays. Pull enough kitchen plastic to cover one of them. Put the plastic covered tray in the freezer.

Step 3: Make dough.

1 Cup flour
1/2 Cup warm water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dry active yeast

Mix vigorously in a bowl cover with a plate and set aside.

Step 4: Make butter sheet.

One stick of butter (4 oz / 1/2 Cup)

See? Twice the mass of flour to butter, but the same weight of each. One cup of flour weights 4 oz and so does 1/2 Cup butter.


The sheet pans determine the size of everything. The dough will be rolled out to the full size of the pan while the butter is freezing.  The butter-slab needs to be 2/3 the size of the dough so proceed accordingly.

Butter is melted and poured onto frozen plastic-covered sheet so pour as close to top and bottom edge as possible and allow wide margins on both sides. Or else visualize a border for both trays, rolled dough and butter.

A pizza is un-risen bread dough and so is this. It does rise a little bit but go ahead and roll it to the size of the pan. The dough can be thin as a cracker but it needn't be. About 1/8 inch thick but it is not so important.

The yeast in the dough layers is not important to the puffing process and there is harm done if provided warmth to proof. Do not get the idea, "Hey, I started with yeast dough to puff up and the way I do that is provide warmth, now that the croissants are formed, or whatever, if only by the warmth of room temperature kitchen. I'll allow my finished product to proof at room temperature awhile."

Do not do that.

Let the finished rolls or what have you proof, fine, but in the refrigerator. Keep the butter cold. That is how the layers are kept separate all along. Do not suddenly switch or the butter will blend.

The thing is, butter is 20% water. And now the butter and water are spread out in stacked layers between layers of dough that will also rise a little bit by yeast. The magic of puff pastry comes from water steaming out of the butter and escaping through the layers leaving the butter fat to toast the flakes. It is such a wonderful thing that occurs but water will not do that until its own internal temperature is 100℃ / 212℉ at sea level so start with an extra hot oven to thrust the whole pile kept cold so far into a shocking new reality where the only option is die; evaporate now and toast, it is your unhappy day, die puff pastry, die.

Then cut back the heat so it doesn't burn. After coming this far, allow enough time for the centers of the doughy areas to toast. What a bummer to take it out too early before it can toast and flake fully.

There are sausages inside there.

This puff pastry was brushed with olive oil because I am out of eggs and milk.

This is an exceedingly slipshod effort and it still worked beautifully.

I was tired. I rolled the dough fully only three times. 

The first was folded into three layers.

The second was folded into nine layers. 

The third was to form around sausages, so the dough did not even have the benefit of the exponential building of layers. One more turn would have made twenty seven layers. A fifth turn would produce eighty-one layers, but I did not bother with any of that because I liked what I was seeing at hand, and man, were these good and such fun to eat.

Flakes all over the place.

Flakes on my lips. Flakes on my plate. On my chair. On the floor around my chair. In my lap. Man, was that a good meal.

I made the sausages myself. 

This whole thing can be done much more easily with store-bought sausages and store-bought puff pastry. But who knows what they are using. I sure do not. 

The thing about good butter is that it needn't be from cows grazing the verdant gentle slopes of Tennessee, although that would be nice, best for butter to be fresh as possible. Butter is salted to extend its shelf life. Unsalted butter must be more carefully handled.  From my point of view unsalted butter from the closest freshest dairy is best. And it picks up odors so easily. You do not want it sitting around. 

Did you ever smell your ice cubes? Go ahead and smell you ice cubes. No, yeah, go on. 

Smell your ice cubes, I said. 

Smeeeeell 'em. 

Stick your nose right in the drinking glass and take a whiff.

You can have a brand new refrigerator, I've seen this several times, and keep it spotless and your ice stored up by your ice maker will pick up food odors. Apparently ice molecules are odor magnets. They grab odor molecules and freeze them in place. If you have an ice dispenser in your refrigerator door, I guarantee your ice smells. 

Mine does. And in their ice trays only the tops of the cubes are exposed to air, yet after a few days they smell, and that odor will affect everything. Best to make ice every day or so. Butter is the same way. Except butter is wrapped. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

"U.K. votes to approve air strikes as more allies join Islamic State fight"

"The coalition of nations participating in military action against Islamic State continues to grow – but so do worries about whether the campaign of air strikes has any hope of succeeding."

"Britain became the latest country to commit military resources to the fight, as its Parliament voted overwhelmingly on Friday to authorize air strikes against Islamic State targets inside Iraq. Prime Minister David Cameron told the House of Commons before the vote that the extremist group presented a genuine threat to the United Kingdom, and warned the fight against the self-declared caliphate would take “years” to win."

As to the efficacy of an air campaign alone strategy...

Secret recordings by Federal Reserve bank examiner, Carmen Segarra

"Our financial regulatory system is obviously dysfunctional. But because the subject is so tedious, and the details so complicated, the public doesn't pay it much attention.
That may very well change today, for today -- Friday, Sept. 26 --- the radio program "This American Life" will air a jaw-dropping story about Wall Street regulation, and the public will have no trouble at all understanding it.

...This sort of thing occurred often enough -- Fed regulators denying what had been said in meetings, Fed managers asking her to alter minutes of meetings after the fact -- that Segarra decided she needed to record what actually had been said. So she went to the Spy Store and bought a tiny tape recorder, then began to record her meetings at Goldman Sachs, until she was fired.

...I don't want to spoil the revelations of "This American Life": It's far better to hear the actual sounds on the radio, as so much of the meaning of the piece is in the tones of the voices -- and, especially, in the breathtaking wussiness of the people at the Fed charged with regulating Goldman Sachs. But once you have listened to it...consider the following:
  1. You sort of knew that the regulators were more or less controlled by the banks. Now you know.
  2. The only reason you know is that one woman, Carmen Segarra, has been brave enough to fight the system. She has paid a great price to inform us all of the obvious. She has lost her job, undermined her career, and will no doubt also endure a lifetime of lawsuits and slander.
So what are you going to do about it? At this moment the Fed is probably telling itself that, like the financial crisis, this, too, will blow over. It shouldn't."
-Listen here

Correction: originally I attributed this article to Tyler Durden, but it was written by Michael Lewis at Bloomberg View.

The nightmare comes to Oklahoma

"Police: FBI looking into Moore beheading after suspect tried to convert others to Islam"

UPDATE: 9/26/14 10:00 a.m. :
Officials with the Moore Police Department say the FBI is now involved in the investigation related to a brutal attack of workers at a food distribution plant.

Sgt. Jeremy Lewis says the alleged suspect, 30-year-old Alton Nolen had just been fired when he drove to the front of the business, hit a vehicle and walked inside.

He walked into the front office area where he met 54-year-old Colleen Hufford and began attacking her with a knife.

Sgt. Lewis confirms the type of knife used in the attack is the same kind used at the plant.

Lewis confirms that Hufford was stabbed several times and that Nolen “severed her head.”
It's here.

“You can’t even dream this stuff up”

Last night, baseball player Derek Jeter got a walk-off hit to win the game, in his last at bat at Yankee stadium, the home field where he played his entire 20 year hall of fame career.
The Yankees were up, 5-2, in the ninth. Most of the 48,613 kept looking at the dugout, wondering when Joe Girardi would send Brendan Ryan out to replace Jeter and bring with him an ovation that would shake the new stadium to its very core. Then it was 5-4 after a home run. And 5-5 after another.

The first impulse, of course, is anger. But then the fans realized something: More baseball meant one more at-bat, bottom of the ninth, third man up. The booing stopped then. And it was about then when the last spasm of fear rose inside Jeter’s stomach, up to his throat, farther up to his tear ducts.

“I think I’ve done a good job in my career of controlling my emotions,” Jeter would say. “I try to trick myself into not feeling those emotions, not feeling nerves or pain. But today I wasn’t able to do it.”
And then, a few seconds later, he would be inspired by the magnificence of it all: “Fifty thousand people chanting your name. I don’t know how many occupations that’s possible.”

declaration of serviceability in Egyptian hieroglyphics

This phrase is among the most touching sentiments I've seen. On the wall of a burial chamber, I suppose, a noble is commending their own intimate butt-kissing relationship with pharaoh. Although wealthy enough for funerary decoration, still liege.

This is typeface but in hand drawn pictures it would make an excellent tattoo.

   r-kh          n-f                    b3-kh                       n-f         ib       y

rekh nef bakh nef iby.

For a slave.

For the slave-minded. For someone devoted to a relationship. For a religious person. This would be a good tattoo for all those people, it says:

"He knew I was serviceably-minded toward him"

Is that gay or what? Ha ha, what a sub. What a bottom. What an ultra maroon-pants. 

The circle with horizontal lines we saw already in the name "Khufu" so we even know they sound like a gurgling "kh."  The smashed football above is a stylized mouth and it means the sound "r" so "r-kh."  Rekh means "know." (The mouth also signals "speaker" "he who speaks" administrator.) The flat thing is a document rolled up. It is a determinative sign meaning the word in front of it is in the conceptual world not the concrete world, as law, loyalty, math, and the like, words such as "know," "feel" and "think,"  things that happen in the mind.

Zig-zag water is "n" sound and also prepositional "to, for" 

Horned viper is masculine "father, he, him, his," and the like. It represents the sound "f." 

The bird is jabiru, b3, ba, a portion of the soul, ba+k means "do work," "do service," "serve," "deal with." Drawn with a little kneeling man ba+k+little man means "servant." There are other ways to say servant, a baseball bat "hn" biliteral. 

servant, b3-k, bak

The little man kneeling means "I" or "me" and this would make a great part of the tattoo. He wears a little skirt and a broad necklace and wide arm bracelets, eye kohl. 

The jug means "heart" The stroke under it means "the previous thing is real", a real heart, not just the sound "ib." The heart jug is another great tattoo element. It is a valentine, but right after the heart and "one" stroke are two diagonal strokes meaning precisely "two." 

Two hearts.

I can see how that could be confusing. They just said "a heart" and then they said "two." 

Two is exactly two. Never "a few" or "some."  

But three can be any plural three or beyond. 

Whereas in English we add an "s" sound to pluralize a word, ancient Egyptians added a "w" or "u" sound. The "y" sound expresses duality, depicted by two sedge fronds, two strokes, or repeating the noun once. Pluralizing to three and beyond, by drawing three of the same noun, or three strokes or "w" or "u."

"know to him service I to him two hearts."

"he knows my service to him is double hearted."

Good Lord, that is gay. 

Pay an artist to paint that across your interior mausoleum wall. For eternity.

By way of bragging, your boner fides as royal sub. 

He urgently wants to ease the way for himself into the afterlife. To all concerned he is bragging about knowing his place and keeping to it. He wants terribly to pick up where he left off. He is announcing his concern about his superior's awareness of his own slave-mindedness and his adherence to structure, his willingness to maintain order by hierarchy in pursuit of maat by obsequious servile compliancy. 

A better gay brag would be:

I fucked the pharaoh. And I also fucked the deputy. 

They said that's what they wanted so I honored their seniority.

It just sounds so weird when splayed out like that in little pictures then translated to English but it does have its Christian corollary.

"Thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven."

"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

The idea is your personal salvation is in your aligning all your desires with the urgency of divinity.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Faking Bad Update

The classic martini:

I added a little frosting on the outside to simulate condensation:

More サンプル here

Deaf Ninja

Austin daydreams a lot. That's just him. 
Austin's older brother wore an old fashioned box-style hearing aid strapped to his chest. Austin thought it made his brother look ridiculous. It made him laugh. That pissed off his brother so much he'd whip out his earplugs spin them around and smack Austin with them. 
Then one day during such an ear-plug pummeling episode it suddenly occurred to Austin: "Deaf Ninja" the movie. It'll be like the Matrix. Here, let me show you what happens...
This video was recalled by remembering the deaf guy from Texas who told a remarkably vivid story and it turns out I was remembering Austin Andrews. Then according to Austin's bio, he actually does live in Texas. Austin Texas, so there ya go. 

His manner of veering from textbook ASL into pantomime and embody the depiction so fully places Austin's story in the realm of gen-ewe-wine theater. Austin reminds me of Jeff because this is exactly how Jeff speaks, using ASL as armature to structure their own vivid pantomime with spelled letters delivered on spot and held in space rigidly and always rapidly and remarkably clearly as typed English. Their family backgrounds are similar too. And Jeff is very fond of Texas besides, due to the horses and rodeos. Jeff's word for "Houston" is "House."  

Austin's "Deaf Ninja" story is seven years old and now become a bit famous. Below, Daniel Moses says what he sees while watching Austin's video. I must say, Daniel does quite well indeed. No messing around either, Daniel gets right to it. Immediately Daniel's "Hello" is Austin's "Hello" in the video Daniel is watching. Daniel is saying what he is seeing on his monitor. Too bad Daniel's cam is not showing his monitor so we can read along, maybe the cam is in the monitor's frame like mine is. Daniel reads Austin wonderfully. I cannot do better myself and I marvel at Daniel's facility. 

Although, I would emphasize as Austin does, the old style hearing aid is a clunky box worn at the center of the chest. And it is funny-looking, not to me, to a younger deaf sibling, there is some very touching tragi-comic revelation here as Austin plays all the parts in his own day-dreamt story. Austin is his older brother wearing the box hearing aid on his chest while Austin is also himself looking and pointing and laughing. Austin is his older brother angry and in attack mode pummeling Austin with the earplugs while Austin is also young Austin being pummeled with whipping earplugs for being such a mean-spirited  non empathetic little prick. Austin is ninja  with eye slots through black head wrapping. Austin is writer and director. He uses stop action framing, he turns the camera sideways so the whole scene tilts over in Matrix-fashion the ninja hero turns sideways in midair and runs the walls as if they were flooring. Austin shows fog become rain and brings focus to one single drop that stops, revealing dream-time where projectiles are dodged and a fight is choreographed in slow motion, earplugs are deadly weapons and  swords are pulled from back-scabbords and slice up the whole screen. The fight ends. The raindrop suddenly falls we telescope back from Matrix space to real space, that is, Austin Andrew's fantasy space. There are a lot of theatrical and cinematographic techniques packed into Austin's idiosyncratic style. 

Daniel sees a lot and says it all. Daniel does excellently at saying what he sees. Now that you know, and now that you know Austin is coming at us in his personal way  and theatrically and less as a textbook and with ASL as convenient artistic armature and buttress, what do you see in Austin's telling? And isn't Daniel the student a wonderful teacher?

Oh! I see it now. Interpreting the video is Daniel's final exam. Well done. 

ASL to English Deaf Ninja interpreting final exam from Daniel Moses on Vimeo.

Daniel Moses http://vimeo.com/81431151

"Zoo in coverup after groundhog dropped by de Blasio dies"

"A week after Hizzoner dropped Staten Island Chuck in front of a crowd of spectators on Feb. 2, the winter-weather prognosticator died of internal injuries — and then the coverup began, The Post has learned."

Staten Island Zoo officials went to great lengths to hide the death from the public — and keep secret the fact that “Chuck” was actually “Charlotte,” a female impostor, sources said Wednesday.

The stand-in was found dead in her enclosure at the Staten Island Zoo on Feb. 9 — and a necropsy determined she died from “acute internal injuries,” sources said.
Here is what PETA has to say...

"The Declaration of Independence is a Beyoncé song"

Coalition of the willing

"Alaa, an ambulance driver, feeds cats in Masaken Hanano, Aleppo, Sept. 24, 2014. Alaa buys about $4 of meat everyday to feed about 150 abandoned cats in Masaken Hanano, a neigborhood in Aleppo that has been abandoned because of shelling from forces loyal to Syria's president Bashar Al-Assad on it. Alaa said that he has been feeding and taking care of the cats for over 2 months."

100% whole wheat

The problem with whole wheat is all that husk material makes a mess of things. It is too heavy and it damages gluten molecules while interfering with gluten's ability to connect with itself and to adjoining molecules making a sort of net that traps bubbles, the farts of yeasty fungi, like throwing handfuls of hay into nice stretchy dough.

I noticed this making tahini from sesame seeds. This is how thick I am sometimes. The bulk bins were labeled "sesame seeds husked" and "sesame seeds unhusked"

And I honestly could not tell which bin had seeds with husks and which bin had seeds stripped of husks. And I could not tell by comparing individual seeds either. Not without a loupe and an x-acto blade. So I bought both, and at home making them into pastes realized right off unhusked means they still have husks and, man, do they ever absorb a lot water. And its sesame flavor a bit muted. And both were a lot better than commercial tahini.

And now this is the same thing going on with wheat seeds.

Maybe a powerful sourdough starter can lift husky whole wheat where commercial yeasts cannot. Maybe it can interfere with the husk's interference if it were trained on whole wheat.

This sourdough starter right here collected just this week is fascinating. Let me tell you what I learned.

It is the second of two Denver cultures collected this summer, the third of three Denver cultures activated and used, the first is re-frozen the second discarded even though it was a superior culture. They are all superior these days.

I encountered a lengthy piece about a lazy way to catch a sourdough starter, the article was short enough, but the comments went on seemingly forever. 

Sidebar: something struck me back then while reading those comments. People actually went to college for this. They speak about yeast and chemical leaven and give dates and names and publications and history near and ancient. They begin their comment with *sigh.* 

Ewww, doesn't it make your skin crawl? They also begin, "I used to think as you do now, but then... [I saw the light]." 

So much arrogance evident and pride in academic knowledge and opinion and appeal to authoritah with no mention of direct experience. Women can be surprisingly wildly carelessly competitive bitches with each other. [/sidebar]

And in the comments people kept mentioning success rates with their approaches and I found those mentions very odd because I never had a failure.

I do this all the time, sometimes have a race to activation between the airborne collection slurry and another slurry of straight flour. (They both contain the same flour, so airborne collection begins with the same organisms in the same amount before being contaminated with airborne organisms) 

This last Denver culture is quite unusual. Collected carelessly over two weeks. It was sunbaked several days in a row, dried out nearly completely, was hailed on, rained on several times, wind battered for long periods, bits of plants flew in, a few tiny bugs were captured. It looked gross. The jar at top is half the liquid strained through a kitchen towel. (Coffee filter clogged, so did the Aeropress) 

Two weeks is a very long time to collect airborne organisms. On a good windy day you can do the same thing in an hour, just to show how ridiculous it is to collect airborne particles for two weeks. It's like not bathing for two weeks. These are the same organisms that make your own body stink in a single day with the same conditions of moisture and heat.

The liquid in the jar was fed whole wheat flour to turn it to paste and within four hours the mass sprang to life doubled in size with visible air pockets on the side of the jar and with a sweet odor. Shockingly fast. At room temperature.

That never happened before. 

I always used heat from a lightbulb. And it always took a day.

My aim is to gear it to whole wheat flour to produce 100% whole wheat loaves but those are always heavy as cinderblocks. Loaves made from nothing but milled wheat are the same thing as big pan of wheat seeds. Microscopically, the husks interfere severely with gluten strand formation, intermixed, microscopic husk particles, the material that makes great dietary fiber, slices adjoining gluten molecules as soon as they make connections and stretch like a billion tiny tight rubber bands stretching to increase elasticity within a solution of a billion tiny knives. 

The flour that makes the dough cannot interconnect inside, cannot form a gluten molecule matrix. It cannot form a skin. The particles remain discrete, baking the dough is like baking sand. The loaf cannot expand as we are used to.That it expands at all is amazing. The loaves bake more crumbly.

How do you get heavy wheat loaves to puff up?

Chinese cooks add baking soda to regular flour to make noodles that stretch impossibly long. They speak of lye-water, yes, they speak of 速溶蓬灰 for their noodles, but it is the same thing, jack with the pH. Similar deal with pretzels and with steamed dumplings.

Could baking soda exaggerate the gluten stickiness in whole wheat sufficiently to overcome the husk's interference? Could baking soda interfere with the husks in some way like soften their edges so that they do not cut? Would the acid in the sourdough culture create foaming bubbles with baking soda? Once baked, would baking soda interfere with sourdough flavor?

The sourdough culture is divided into two separate jars. One jar receives 1 level teaspoon baking soda, the control proceeds as usual. 

The baking soda foamed right up. 

This shows baking soda can be used to produce lighter airy loaves. The reaction is immediate.

Stirred back down, the culture foamed up again. 

And stirred back down again, the culture foamed up again. Better yet, when stirred the mixture appears stringy.

It was and stayed exceedingly foamy as the control proceeded its usual way, unusually fast for sourdough. 

So that's it then. I found the key. 

That test was done on a fermented sample. Two level teaspoons were added to the final additions of flour to achieve the noted effects. But the bread dough did not foam because its bulk did not ferment, did not develop its acid portion, and therefore will not be so flavorful. The flavor will come from wheat, not from days of fermentation.

But it could.

All that tells you when deciding on baking soda and how much to use, it gets down to how much fermentation the batch has, how developed its acidic portion. If old, then baking soda to foam right up and be ready to stick it directly into the oven, if new then baking powder to kick in when baked and allow time to rise as it will on its own with additional boost from the powder once hit by the heat.  Either baking soda or baking powder will adjust the pH and affect gluten elasticity and caramelization.

This loaf was not fermented in cold storage for three days so it will not have deeply complex sourdough flavor with a heavy acidic streak cutting through it. But it is not entirely unfermented either because the starter grew over a period of a few days beginning as a few tablespoons, then a quarter cup, then half cup, then full cup, and so on incrementally over days until its last increment contained additional freshly milled flour to bring the loose airy sponge to a denser bread dough. The last increment has more flour than water and does get time to proof since it is not foaming so needn't be rushed to the oven, but not given days to ferment. The last largest portion of flour has no time at all. No acid there to activate baking soda, so baking powder would be better. However, if then the whole finished loaf fermented before baking then baking soda instead to interact with the acid that will be produced over days.

Ebola Resurrection

"Two Ebola patients, who died of the virus in separate communities in Nimba County have reportedly resurrected in the county. The victims, both females, believed to be in their 60s and 40s respectively, died of the Ebola virus recently in Hope Village Community and the Catholic Community in Ganta, Nimba."

"But to the amazement of residents and onlookers on Monday, the deceased reportedly regained life in total disbelief. The NewDawn Nimba County correspondent said the late Dorris Quoi of Hope Village Community and the second victim only identified as Ma Kebeh, said to be in her late 60s, were about to be taken for burial when they resurrected."

"Obama’s new muse: George W. Bush"

"President Barack Obama drafted most of Wednesday’s United Nations speech by himself, but it often sounded like he had a ghost writer: the predecessor he mocked."
Type Obama’s money phrase — the evocative description of the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant as a “network of death” — into thesaurus.com and George W. Bush’s “axis of evil” could very well come out, as many tweeters and former aides to the 43rd president noted.

Obama didn’t just run against Bush’s foreign policy. He used to ridicule it. His rejection of the Bush worldview was so emphatic that it seemed to prompt the Nobel Peace Prize committee to give him the award just for getting elected. 
So much for all that. (read more)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Words to live by

The old family motto came from a comment by my mother:
We're not crazy; we're just mean.

Too true. But since I've either disowned my family or been disowned by them (and good riddance either way), I want a new motto. Today, in a text to my wife, I may have hit upon it.

If I'm going to be a fluffy pink poodle with purple sequins, I'm going to do it the right way.

Context might help you understand it, but why worry about that? Should probably make it first person plural, though....

-The Kitchen Drawer


Was there an informal motto in your family of origin? Do you have a personal motto? I don't know if this counts as a motto, but my go-to saying is, 'It could be worse.'

D'Souza avoids prison

"(Reuters) - Conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza avoided prison on Tuesday when a U.S. judge sentenced him to serve eight months in a community confinement center after he pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance law.
D'Souza, 53, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan to live in a center, which would allow him to leave during non-residential hours for employment, for the first eight months of a five-year probationary period.
Berman also ordered D'Souza to perform one day of community service a week during probation, undergo weekly therapy and pay a $30,000 fine.
D'Souza, a frequent critic of U.S. President Barack Obama, admitted in May to illegally reimbursing two "straw donors" who donated $10,000 each to the unsuccessful 2012 U.S. Senate campaign in New York of Wendy Long, a Republican he had known since attending Dartmouth College in the early 1980s.
"It was a crazy idea, it was a bad idea," D'Souza told Berman before being sentenced. "I regret breaking the law.""