Cone of cold
A problem with which one is occasionally confronted in cooking is the removal of fat from a liquid with which one would like to do further things, for instance, if one wishes to make it into a sauce, or use it in gravy, or if perhaps it is to be stock or broth. Various fancy mechanical devices exist to facilitate this process but mostly they don't work; the most reliable is probably just a baster combined with a tall and thin glass: one waits for the fat to rise to the top and siphons (or pours) it off. The easiest way, if one has time, is just to refrigerate the liquid for a while; the fat will rise and solidify and can easily be scraped off. But what if one doesn't want to wait? Well! One simply pours one's liquid into a wide, deep bowl, and puts into that bowl a different, narrower bowl, made of some kind of metal that conducts heat well, and in which one has previously frozen a great quantity of water. The liquid will cool rapidly and if one then removes the ice-filled bowl its exterior will be covered o'er with disgusting mostly solidified fat. (Any desirable liquid which is also on the bowl can be gently scraped off without getting the fat off too.)
This line of thought immediately leads one to reflect that it would be better the more surface area the ice-filled object presented to the to-be-cooled liquid, so that a maze of twisting pipes would exceed a bowl. At this point one will doubtless realize that one is thinking of a strange variety of still, and conclude that ice would not be necessary if one could simply attach one end of water-tight assembly to one's faucet, route it through the liquid one wishes to strip of its fat, and then back to the sink—a sort of heat exchanger.
Congratulations and Sorry About the Job Market.
When my brother was graduating from the University of Michigan, the school arranged for Kevorkian to speak at his graduation ceremony. Then that caused controversy, so they replaced him with Cathy Guiswite. I'm pretty sure that's the funniest thing that ever happened to Cathy.
This Saturday, I get to listen to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
My favorite line from graduation ceremonies is when the valedictorian or student speaker is giving their speech and they say "I will never forget my four years here at Our Fair Highschool/College" and the whole emphasis on Memories Were Made.
Nobody tell T-Paw
Minneapolis is the gayest city in the US? I'm struggling to imagine what the straightest city might be.
I'm hip about time.
I watched Easy Rider last night for the first time. Talk about a real upper of a flick.
Anyway, one of my take-away thoughts was about the soundtrack, and how I have a vague dislike for music that I think of as 1970s Rock (though I may have to tweak the dates to include the late '60s, looking at the film's release date).
I can't quite put my finger on what exactly the problem is—why I can't quite get on that gusty bus. I want to say that all the meandering guitars and gravelly vocals feel like everything's too high on drugs. And don't get me wrong: drug use, as such, doesn't bother me. (Don't tell my mother or the D.A.R.E. officer.)
But too high is the feeling I get from certain songs. (Come to think of it, this too-high atmosphere is also an aspect of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the movie, that makes watching it uncomfortable for me. I haven't read the book.)
Steppenwolf's "The Pusher" captures this too-high feeling fairly well.
But I have a secondary theory! One that's not drug-related at all. I think I'm disinclined towards an overly closely recorded tight hi-hat sound, and that seems to be the flavor of the day for so many rock songs from that era. The Band's "The Weight" certainly has that bug, and I even rather like that song. But, gah, the hi-hat mic. Pull it back, man!
Do You Have Any Religious Beliefs? Do You Want Any?
Consider this thread a warm and affirming place for the religious and the irreligious alike to share the nature of their beliefs (or non-"belief" based faith) about the ultimate nature of reality, and to be respectfully questioned thereon.
Or it could be a food thread.
Single Payer Health Care, As Well As Moonlight, In Vermont
Ezra Klein has an interview up with Kevin Outterson, a professor of health law at Boston University, explaining how the Vermont single payer law is going to work. There's more about the law at the link from Outterson's name.
Music AND cooking!
Vegan Black Metal Chef!
His knife skills are somewhat lacking.
Often very funny people are terrible writers, because they read their own work with their own great delivery, and they don't realize that when I read their work with my crappy-to-nonexistent delivery, the effect will be very different. Good writers write writing that delivers itself, which clearly I'm not doing here.
Anyway, Tina Fey is very funny and a great writer. Go read Bossypants! It's fantastic!
She does succomb to the Ton Loc Trap* which is that she attributes her current success to irrelevant childhood facts. In her case, everything stems from being awkward in high school and befriending a bunch of awkward gay Drama geeks. I'm pretty sure Tina Fey is a hilarious adult because she's talented and hardworking, and it just so happens that was her background.
Spoilers allowed in this thread, but it's hard to see what would constitute a spoiler.
* I once heard Ton Loc on Lovelines. It went something like this:
Ton Loc: I got my super deep, scratchy voice because my mom served me super hot soup once when I was a child, when I was sick.
Adam Corolla: You have scarring? You had to go to the emergency room?
Ton Loc: No, it was just very hot.
Adam Corolla: Have you been telling this story for the past thirty years?
Ton Loc: Yes
Adam Corolla: You believe it?
Ton Loc: Yes
Adam Corolla: I don't. You just have a deep voice. One time your mom served you hot soup, and it doesn't have anything to do with anything.
How had I never heard of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 before today? That seems like a rather large historical blind spot. But, then, I've probably got several such gaps of which I'm blissfully ignorant.
Of course they want to get rich.
Rottin' in Denmark posts 7 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Started Working in Human Rights. It's very good.
Time to fan the Republican racism
I assume that Obama held off on immigration reform until now in order to get Republican presidential candidates to say crazy things while they try to court their most extreme base, and alienate the Hispanic community.
I remember thinking that the 2007 immigration reform bill was being rolled out for the same reason. The timing is identical.
Guest Post: Political Compromises Have Consequences, Part 679
So it's a good thing the federal government didn't shut down, all things considered. But one of the items that was sacrificed in the budget compromise was $88 million for housing counselors.
There are three things to know about housing counseling:
1. It helps poor, elderly, and/or disadvantaged people to successfully navigate the process of buying a house, OR renegotiating a mortgage to avoid foreclosure
2. It is needed because the things that "everyone knows" about buying a house are actually a kind of social capital that not everyone naturally has access to
3. Abolishing it on a federal basis will devastate the abilities of families to build wealth,* not just this year but for a generation to come.**
*While income in the US has become more equal across ethnic groups, wealth has not.
**No, it's not ideal that the most common way to build wealth in the US is to own a home, but for better or worse it is the system we have set up.
As detailed in the linked article, some foreclosure-prevention services will continue despite the funding cut. That said, I think this compromise is a direct result of 2008's inaccurate and racially-coded claim that the housing crisis was caused by irresponsible lending to poor and minority people.
So...if someone made you cut $88 million from the federal budget, where would you cut?
In that city lived a crocodile, named Gena
He was employed at the zoo—as a crocodile:
I enjoy watching this Gull fellow. I do wonder if it's the kind of thing for which I'd want to sit through an entire show. But in short internetical video clips, it's certainly entertaining.