Academic Silos

First, Sharks & Deep Sea Squid! How cool is that?

Second, why was the academic response to pull it off the internet? The attitude behind that seems like an unattended, and unfortunate, consequence of the publish or perish academic system currently in place.

Yannis Papastamatiou, a shark ecologist at Florida International University, in Miami, saw the photograph and immediately contacted Verbeck. “He told me, Pull that thing off the internet! Nobody’s ever seen that before,” Verbeck recalls.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/06/sharks-fought-large-deep-sea-squid-first-time/

Saving lives is in their blood: Three generations donate blood

Back in 2012, I was travelling with one of my daughters to Oregon to see my dad. As I have mentioned elsewhere, my dad has long been a blood donor. Kelsey was interested in starting, so this happened. Story from TV station KVAL in Eugene.

John Bredesen, his son John Jr. and granddaughter Kelsey, all stopped by Lane Community College for the blood drive.

Saving lives is in their blood: Three generations donate | KVAL

Cadbury Creme Eggs: A glimpse of how they are made

I visited the Cadbury factory in Birmingham, England a number of years ago. The tour didn’t take us onto the actual factory floor so we didn’t get to see how they made the creme eggs like the video. But they did have a very nice demonstration setup where they show all the different processes. And, of course, give samples.

Cadbury Creme Egg

There was a History Of Chocolate that took itself way too seriously. The sense was the true human civilization didn’t actually start until the first people discovered the chocolate bean. And that Europe wasn’t truly civilized until the chocolate bean was introduced there. I just enjoyed the samples along the way.

In the demo setup, we got to see how they “enrobe” a candy bar so that it is completely covered with chocolate with no marks. It involved floating the filling piece (chilled, of course) through a curtain of chocolate and onto a chilled conveyor belt. Mmmm, “curtain of chocolate”. And there were more samples.

They also had several women demonstrating how they made dipped chocolates before they had fancy conveyor belts, floating candy bars, and curtains of chocolate. They had these long, bent forks with tiny tines and would dip the filling pieces into a pot of melted chocolate, flip it around a bit, and then set it on a cooled plate. The chocolate would be just runny enough to flow over the tine marks. The samples were good at this station.

Truth to be told, they had so many samples that I was turning them down by the end of the tour.

I did learn, however, that Cadbury Flake is one of the most awesome candy bars available. Unfortunately, we didn’t see how they make that one either. Rumor has it, Flake bars do not melt. I consider it a rumor because, while I have yet to personally experience one melting, I haven’t tried nearly enough to call it a fact. More research needed.


Chocolate Creme Egg
Half the sugar in Coke can
Sweet Sweet Indulgence

Fake Meat: White Castle Review

I am very interested in all the work going on in the “fake meat” area. Impossible and Beyond are both running full speed with the newest generation of vegetarian meats. To be clear, I am not a vegetarian. I love meat and do not intend to give it up. But I really hope that they succeed.

I believe that having a few more meals without meat is not a bad thing. Many others have written long and thoughtfully about the evils of meat and the benefits of a meatless diet. I don’t buy all of it. But it probably is better for me to eat less meat. And probably better for the planet as well.

So the first of my Fake Meat reviews is here: the White Castle Impossible Slider. And, for the record, I am a White Castle fan.

First Try: Lunch time. A White Castle near the state capital. I ordered two Impossible Sliders and a regular slider for comparison.

The box was a bit wider, implying that the burger would be bigger than the regular slider. It was wider, but primarily because of the bun. The Impossible patty appeared to be the same thickness as the regular slider patty. The menu says it comes with Gouda cheese, but the yellow/orange slice looked and tasted like the normal White Castle cheese. But then I never get a cheeseburger, so I can’t say for sure.

The first thing I noticed was that the bun was hard and cold. One of the beautiful things about a White Castle slider is the warm soft bun that segues into the burger. I intend to go back and try again to see if the cold hard bun is by design or a mixup. I hope that the bun was to be heated on the grill like a regular slider, but somehow wasn’t. The order took extra long, so maybe there was a problem?

The Impossible burger was dry, mainly due to the bun and the very unfortunate fact that I didn’t ask for ketchup and mustard on it. In the excitement of trying the Impossible, I forgot to specify it. Sigh. Another reason to try again.

Even with the bun and lack of ketchup and mustard, the burgers had the same taste. I will definitely order it again.

Second Try: White Castle near work. Again, I ordered two Impossible and two regular sliders. Remembered the ketchup, mustard, and pickle on all four. I learned that they cook them on a separate griddle so it never touches the meat. That isn’t necessary for me, but I understand why, as a business, they would make that decision. The bun problem from the First Try wasn’t as apparent, mainly because the regular slider buns were not hot and moist either. I noticed a little more taste difference between the Impossible and regular. Not being a chef like my sister, I can’t put useful words to the difference. The texture seemed very similar.

So two tries at two separate White Castles. They were good enough that I will continue to order them. Side Note: The impossible burger is about twice as expensive. But we should pay more for healthier food that is better for the planet, right?

Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician Featured in ‘Hidden Figures,’ Dies at 101 – The New York Times

They asked Katherine Johnson for the moon, and she gave it to them.

Wielding little more than a pencil, a slide rule and one of the finest mathematical minds in the country, Mrs. Johnson, who died at 101 on Monday at a retirement home in Newport News, Va., calculated the precise trajectories that would let Apollo 11 land on the moon in 1969 and, after Neil Armstrong’s history-making moonwalk, let it return to Earth.

A single error, she well knew, could have dire consequences for craft and crew. Her impeccable calculations had already helped plot the successful flight of Alan B. Shepard Jr., who became the first American in space when his Mercury spacecraft went aloft in 1961.

The next year, she likewise helped make it possible for John Glenn, in the Mercury vessel Friendship 7, to become the first American to orbit the Earth.

Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician Featured in ‘Hidden Figures,’ Dies at 101 – The New York Times

Square Root Of Change

Back in the early 1990s, I was working in IT at a multi-billion dollar manufacturing company. Ours was a small part of IT, separate from the mother ship. Responsible for about 2000 employees in our area, we had implemented several large projects over a two-year span; all bringing changes to the employees. I was a young IT acolyte, and I thought all change was good, great even. Why were people so grumpy? Sigh. I was so naïve.

Continue reading “Square Root Of Change”

How Much Football Is Even In A Football Broadcast? | FiveThirtyEight

Photo by Dave Adamson on Unsplash

The numbers are startling. An average NFL broadcast lasts well over three hours, yet it delivers a total of only 18 minutes of football action.

How Much Football Is Even In A Football Broadcast? | FiveThirtyEight

But somehow, viewers feel they are getting value from the broadcast. There are lessons in here in attention, the need to take a moment to processing what you have seen or heard, and maintaining interest.

The website at the link (FiveThirtyEight) is an excellent source of deeper analytics and modeling about season long sports. And elections, which is much the same as sports these days.

The Fake Image/Video Arms Race Continues

It is not always easy to tell the difference between real and fake photographs. But the pressure to get it right has never been more urgent as the amount of false political content online continues to rise. On Tuesday, Jigsaw, a company that develops cutting-edge tech and is owned by Google’s parent, unveiled a free tool that researchers said could help journalists spot doctored photographs — even ones created with the help of artificial intelligence.

Tool to Help Journalists Spot Doctored Images Is Unveiled by Jigsaw – The New York Times

This is a good arms race. Fake photos and videos exist and will get harder to detect. This is the side that will fight to identify those fakes. I hope there are others.